Sometimes The Wire is more real than we realize // Morning Read-Up: August 7th, 2012

7 Aug

We start today with a deeply moving obituary from David Simon, about DeAndre McCullough, one of the main protagonists in Simon’s original Baltimore drug-life work, The Corner.

Fans of The Wire will recognize Simon’s empathy for those who end up working the corners or are hooked on drugs. Inner city life in Baltimore is hard and very often unpleasant.

At first, he was content with the book we wrote about his world.  By the time “The Corner” was published it was something of an epitaph for people who were already casualties.  Not just DeAndre’s father, but Boo, Bread, Fat Curt, his cousin Dinky, Miss Ella from the rec center.  The book was an argument that these lives were not without meaning, that they, too, were complete human beings in the balance.  He liked that someone — anyone — thought the people of Fayette Street mattered.

In time, though, he confessed to hating the last line of the narrative, the one in which he is defined as a street dealer and addict at the moment after taking his first adult charge in a raid on a stash house on South Gilmor Street.  There was a burden in that, and he grew tired of its weight.

*Who is Mitt Romney going to pick to be his vice-presidential candidate? Tech President suggests you track how many edits are made to the various candidates’ Wikipedia pages in the days leading up to the announcement. Such an approach would’ve worked pretty well in 2008, it seems.

Of course, you’d also need to know when Romney was going to be making the announcement…

**Canadian pollster Nik Nanos, working in conjunction with the Institute for Research in Public Policy, has found that Canadian are most concerned with the issues that are closest to their day-to-day lives. Stable healthcare and job creation topped the list, followed by education and community safety.

Improving the quality of life for First Nations, developing the Arctic and Canada’s international role were all rated much lower.

An interesting side-finding was that younger people apparently have more confidence that older people in the nation’s ability to solve problems.

There’s lots of interesting data to be found. [It’s a pdf, by the way.]

***In a presentation entitled ‘The Continued Economic Decline of the West,’ PA Consulting Group’s Jon Moynihan profiles the on-going slide of western economies.

Derek Thompson, a senior editor at The Atlantic, gives a breakdown here. Using some pretty nifty charts, he highlights issues like poor job creation in richer countries compared with their poorer ‘competitors’ to reinforce Moynihan’s points.

****Also from The Atlantic, a report on why cyclists run red lights. The three main reasons? A need to turn right, the light had not detected the cyclist’s presence (at user-activated lights) and the belief that no one else was around.


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