Charles Blow

It is bad enough that Frank Bruni has decided that his New York Times column should be devoted to cheesy stories told in a you-can-succeed-if-you-really-try style.

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Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. I DON’T REMEMBER the missionaries’ names, only that one was blond and one was dark, one was from Oregon and one was from Utah. They arrived at our house on secondhand bicycles carrying bundles of inspirational literature. They smelled, I remember, of witch hazel and toothpaste.

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[Guest Post by Isaac Chotiner] From Charles Blow in today's New York Times, recounting a trip to the south where he spent time with blue-collar workers (the title of the column, 'They, Too, Sing America,' was admittedly fair warning): They are honest people who do honest work — crack-the-bones work; lift-it, chop-it, empty-it, glide-it-in-smooth work; feel-the-flames-up-close work; crawl-down-in-there work — things that no one wants to do but that someone must. They are women whose skin glistens from steam and sweat, whose hands stay damp from being dipped in buckets and dried on aprons.

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 [Guest post by Matthew Zeitlin] Some may object to dedicating a post to a tweet, but an argument advanced recently by Charles Blow, a New York Times columnist who is ostensibly focused on “all things statistical,” is based on a wildly misleading interpretation of life expectancy statistics and presents a good opportunity to get into the actuarial weeds . Blow objects to President Obama’s proposal, reported in the Huffington Post, to raise the eligibility age for Medicare, and one reason is that, “Deal pushes Medicare to 67 blk men are out. 67 is blk mens' life expt” [sic].

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Black people have been moving. South, that is, according to a recent and widely read piece in the Times—more, according to the latest census data, than since 1910. And from this article and the census, what we see is that black people first of all are able to move: They have the means to, and if they choose to live among whites, they are encountering ever less opposition to doing so. Moreover, it would appear that typically the black people moving are content with their decision.

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