John Oliver Blanches at the 1900% Interest of the Payday Loans Industry – The Atlantic

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John Oliver Blanches at the 1900% Interest of the Payday Loans Industry - The Atlantic

Payday loan lenders are the most prevalent business in the U.S. &ndash, moreso than even Starbucks or McDonalds. This boggled John Oliver’s mind.

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              This article is from the archive of our playmate .

              John Oliver took on payday loans on last night’s Last Week Tonight, vacillating as only he can inbetween bafflement and outrage. The anger was for loan interest rates up to 1900%. The confusion was over why the industry can’t be stopped.

              Payday loans – or, as one could guess, loans that must be paid back on the next payday – are a massive industry in the U.S. There are more payday loan lenders in this country than there are McDonald’s and Starbucks locations. Oliver’s largest issue with them isn’t their ubiquity, however, it’s their perverse circle nature that prevents people from escaping.

              “It’s the circle of debt!” Oliver sang to the familiar Lion King theme. “And it screws us all.”

              So why can’t payday loans be stopped? “They are exceptionally good at avoiding regulation,” Oliver noted, using Texas as an example. “They actually attempted to rein in the payday loan industry there a few years ago.” Unluckily, State Rep. Gary Elkins – himself an holder of a payday loan chain – managed to block the bill.

              In the clip above, Oliver also points out similar efforts that were quashed or avoided in places like Ohio and Arizona. One effort even involved payday loan companies teaming up with Native American tribes – thus granting them their sovereign immunity.

              Attempting to defeat the industry is like “legislative Whack-a-Mole,” Oliver said of the futile efforts: “Just when you think you’ve squashed them, they pop up somewhere else, wearing a totally different clothing.”

              This article is from the archive of our fucking partner The Wire.

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              America Is Under Attack and the President Doesn’t Care

              Trump’s gravest responsibility is to defend the United States from foreign attack—and he’s done nothing to fulfill it.

              As the rest of America mourns the victims of the Parkland, Florida, massacre, President Trump took to Twitter.

              Not for him the rituals of distress. He is too consumed by rage and resentment. He interrupted his holidaying schedule at Mar-a-Lago only shortly, for a visit to a hospital where some of the shooting victims were treated. He posed afterward for a grinning thumbs-up photo op. Agony at another’s heartbreak—that emotion is for losers, evidently.

              Having failed at one presidential duty, to speak for the nation at times of national tragedy, Trump resumed shirking an even more supreme task: defending the nation against foreign attack.

              Last week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian persons and three entities that conspired to crack federal election law, to the benefit of Trump and Republican congressional candidates. This is not the entire of the story by any means. This Mueller indictment references only Russian operations on Facebook. It does not deal with the weaponization of hacked information via WikiLeaks. Or the reports that the Russians funneled millions of dollars of election spending through the NRA’s political act committees. But this indictment does demonstrate enough to response some questions about the scale and methods of the Russian intervention—and pose a fresh question, the most significant of them all.

              Trump’s Furious Tweetstorm Backfires

              The president attempted to distance himself from the story of Russian interference—and in the process, thrust himself right back into the center of the narrative.

              Donald Trump didn’t have any control over the decision by Russia’s Internet Research Agency to climb on what it called “information warfare against the United States of America.” As the indictment released on Friday stated, the effort began in 2014, long before Trump was a announced candidate—much less a serious one—for office.

              But by refusing to take information warfare seriously—in an attempt to distance himself from it and any questions it might raise about the legitimacy of his election—the president has paradoxically made the story about himself again and again.

              This solipsism was on display Saturday and Sunday morning, as Trump, at Mar-a-Lago and far from the strictures and structures of the White House, whipped out his most aggressive and scattered tweetstorm in some time. In theory, the things he said were designed to shove the story away from himself and downplay any connection. In practice, he coerced himself into the middle of the story, inextricably linking himself to it.

              The More Gender Equality, the Fewer Women in STEM

              A fresh examine probes a strange paradox: In countries that empower women, they are less likely to choose math and science professions.

              Tho’ their numbers are growing, only 27 percent of all students taking the AP Computer Science exam in the United States are female. The gender gap only grows worse from there: Just Legal percent of American computer-science college degrees go to women. This is in the United States, where many college dudes pridefully describe themselves as “male feminists” and ladies are instructed they can be anything they want to be.

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              According to a report I covered a few years ago, Jordan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates were the only three countries in which boys are significantly less likely to feel convenient working on math problems than women are. In all of the other nations surveyed, ladies were more likely to say they feel “helpless while performing a math problem.”

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              A few weeks ago, the contours of an immigration compromise looked clear: Republicans would let the “dreamers” stay. Democrats would let Trump build his wall. Both sides would guzzle something their bases found distasteful in order to get the thing their bases cared about most.

              Since then, Trump has deep throated up the deal. He announced on Wednesday that he would legalize the “dreamers,” undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, only if Democrats funded his wall and ended the visa lottery and “chain migration.” He would support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants only if Congress brought the number of legal immigrants down.

              There’s an irony here, which was pointed out to me by CATO Institute immigration analyst David Bier. Until recently, Republican politicians drew a bright line inbetween illegal immigration, which they claimed to hate, and legal immigration, which they claimed to love. Florida Senator Marco Rubio launched his presidential campaign at the Freedom Tower, Miami’s Ellis Island. Texas senator Ted Cruz, who in 2013 proposed a five-fold increase in the number of H1B visas for very skilled immigrants, proclaimed in April 2015 that, “There is no stronger advocate for legal immigration in the U.S. Senate than I am.” Mitt Romney promised in 2007 that, “We’re going to end illegal immigration to protect legal immigration.”

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              Note: Albeit this review avoids plot spoilers, it does discuss the thematic elements of the film at some length.

              After an animated introduction to the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda, Black Panther opens in Oakland in 1992. This may seem an odd choice, but it is in fact fairly apt. The film’s director, Ryan Coogler, got his begin in the city, having been born there in 1986. His filmmaking career has its roots there, too, as it was the setting for his debut feature, Fruitvale Station.

              A bunch of schoolboys (a fictionalized youthfull Coogler perhaps among them) play pickup hoops on a court with a milk-crate basket. But in the tall apartment building above them two black radicals are plotting a robbery. There’s a knock on the door and one of the guys looks through the peephole: “Two Grace Jones–lookin’ chicks—with spears!” I won’t recount the rest of the scene, except to note that the commingling of two very different iterations of the term “Black Panther”—the comic-book hero and the revolutionary organization, ironically established just months apart in 1966—is in no way accidental, and it will inform everything that goes after.

              The Total Text of Mueller’s Indictment of 13 Russians

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              Bari Weiss and the Left-Wing Infatuation With Taking Offense

              Outrage mobs are chipping away at democracy, one meaningless debate at a time.

              The mob was unusually vociferous, even for Twitter. After the California-born ice skater Mirai Nagasu became the very first American woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics, the Fresh York Times writer Bari Weiss commented “Immigrants: They get the job done.”

              What followed that innocuous tweet was one of the sillier, manufactured controversies I have ever seen on Twitter. Twitter’s socially conscious denizens most likely only realized they should be outraged at Weiss after they eyed other people being outraged, as is so often the case. Outside of Twitter, some of Weiss’s Times colleagues were also offended by the tweet—and even hurt by it. The critics’ protestation was that Nagasu isn’t herself an immigrant, but rather the child of immigrants, and so calling her one was an example of “perpetual othering.”

              Airbnb and the Unintended Consequences of ‘Disruption’

              Tech analysts are prone to predicting utopia or dystopia. They’re worse at imagining the side effects of a hard’s success.

              The U.S economy is in the midst of a wrenching technological transformation that is fundamentally switching the way people sleep, work, eat, shop, love, read, and interact.

              At least, that’s one interpretation.

              A 2nd story of this age of technological transformation says that it’s mostly a facade—that the last 30 years have been a productivity bust and little has switched in everyday life, aside from the way everyone reads and witnesses movies. People desired flying cars and got Netflix binges instead.

              Let’s call these the Disrupt Story and the Dud Story of technology. When a fresh company, app, or platform emerges, it’s common for analysts to divide into camps—Disrupt vs. Dud—with some yelping that the fresh thing will switch everything and others yawning with the expectation that traditionalism will win out.

              The Provocation and Power of Black Panther

              The largest success of the fresh Miracle film isn’t representation, but its contemplation of identity, responsibility, and the future of a diaspora in an interconnected world.

              This article contains light spoilers.

              Blackness invites speculation. The very idea of a global African diaspora creates the most fertile of grounds for a field of what-ifs. What if European enslavers and colonizers had never ventured into the African continent? More intriguing yet: What if African nations and peoples had successfully rebuffed generations of plunder and theft? What if the Zulu had won the wars against the Voortrekkers and the British, and a confederation of Bantu people had risen up and smashed Belgian rule? What if the Transatlantic children of the mother continent had been permitted to remain, building their empires with the bounties of the cradle of civilization?

              These are the questions that stimulate underneath the vibranium bedrock of Marvel’s Black Panther, due out in theaters this week. The basic premise of a superpowered king fighting crime in a futuristic feline-themed suit is the kind of fresh-off-the-panel act absurdity that marks today’s comic-book movies. But, on a deeper level, the fictional African nation of Wakanda is the same Atlantean archetype that has always haunted this diaspora. And like all variations on that archetypal story, Black Panther is a fantasy about black power.

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