Web Notables (Feb. 24, 2015)

Holocaust movies win, conservative PACs make money, black families homeschool, etc.

By The Editors Published on February 24, 2015

“Web Notables” is a daily feature that highlights articles readers may want to see but might have missed. It is compiled by senior editor David Mills.

‘Ida’ Wins: The Count Is Now 20 Out of 23, by J. Hoberman in the website Tablet. “Beginning with the 1959 movie The Diary of Anne Frank, there have been 22 Oscar nominees that, in one way or another represented the Holocaust, and since Shelley Winters won for Best Supporting Actress in 1959, 20 of these movies garnered at least one Academy Award.” Ida is the latest. See this review of the movie from the Jesuit magazine America and this interview with the director.

50 Million Down the Tubes, by John Hawkins on the Rightwing News website. Analyzing the way conservative PACs spend money through closely examining 17 of them, Hawkins discovered that “the bottom 10 performing PACs we researched spent $54,318,498 overall and only paid out $3,621,896 to candidates.” He explains how these PACs make (lots) of money on their work, mostly by outsourcing work to other companies the principals own. A few did their work very well, it should be noted.

Inside the Food Industry, by Joanna Blythman in The Guardian. Explaining “the surprising truth about what you eat,” the investigative journalist reports that many foods whose labels include only natural ingredients include all sorts of chemical ingredients. “Many of the additives and ingredients [on food labels] that once jumped out as fake and unfathomable have quietly disappeared. . . . Over the past few years, the food industry has embarked on an operation it dubs ‘clean label,’ with the goal of removing the most glaring industrial ingredients and additives, replacing them with substitutes that sound altogether more benign.” Rosemary extract, for example, is actually a “’clean-label’ substitute for the old guard of techie-sounding antioxidants (E300-21), such as butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT).”

Why Fahrenheit Is Better Than Celsius, on the website Isomorphismes. Because it’s “the best scale for everyday use.” (Note: one rude word.)

The Rise of Homeschooling Among Black Families, by Jessica Huseman in The Atlantic. An estimated 220,000 black children are being homeschooled, making up about 10% of the homeschooling population. “Studies indicate black families are more likely to cite the culture of low expectations for African American students or dissatisfaction with how their children — especially boys — are treated in schools,” as well as the children’s experience of racial prejudice, writes Huseman, a writer for The Hechinger Report. “Rooting children in their heritage in an educational setting allows them to do better emotionally and socially,” noted one scholar.

When Africa Bleeds, by Timothy George on the First Things website. “The earnestness with which [the West] intervenes in the ISIL attack in Syria and Iraq, or the Taliban problem in Afghanistan, etc., is not shown in the case of Nigeria,” says  the president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, quoted in the article. “Are these people less human than those being killed in other places where they have gone to directly intervene?” he asked. “My people are being killed like animals and the whole world is just watching.”

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