Women and blacks have made almost no headway in recent years in increasing their ranks at major United States law firms, according to the latest data from the National Association for Law Placement.

The organization’s annual compilation of legal employer data shows that although women and minorities made small gains at the level of law firm partner this year, the overall percentage of women associates, or entry-level lawyers, dropped in the last five years, and the percentage of African-American associates has declined every year since 2009.

“It’s troubling to see the numbers for women and African-American associates seemingly reversing course,” said James G. Leipold, the association’s executive director. This year, he said, “marks the sixth year of decline in representation of black associates and, while the percentage decrease is small, the overall number itself was small to begin with, so any decline is significant, and the trend is distressing.”

At the partnership level, representation of women and minorities rose slightly this year, compared with 2014. Women accounted for 21.46 percent of partners, up from 21.05 percent last year. Minorities accounted for 7.52 percent, up from 7.33 percent in 2014. Twenty-three years ago, in 1993, when the association first began tracking the numbers, women made up 12.27 percent of partners and minorities accounted for 2.55 percent of partners.

via Elizabeth Olsen,  Women and Blacks Make Little Progress at Big Law Firms

If the number of women and minorities is dropping at the associate level of law firms today, we can project that diversity will drop correspondingly at the partner level in years to come. In other words, little, no, or negative progress can be projected in the decade to come. This has to represent a great deal of complacency across the industry to the trend, and while some firms may be increasing diversity, that suggests that the majority are not, or are actually going retrograde.

Enjoy Your Robot-Fresh Meal 

Enjoy Your Robot-Fresh Meal

Robots are being built for the battlefield, to cook, and to hang out with senior citizens. Next, they’re changing farms. Deerfield Robotics, a Bosch startup, has created a robot the size of a small car that kills weeds. Machine learning will make the bot, named Bonirob, increasingly efficient over time, and using robots to deweed means eliminating potentially harmful herbicides. Add some harvesting botsand others to the mix and an entire farm could be run by a fleet of robots. That’s outside. Inside, the world’s first fully autonomous farming facility is scheduled to open outside of Kyoto, Japan, in 2017. Using hydroponic techniques, this can be an effective approach for urban farming, either underground or in vacant indoor space. Collectively, these two approaches could vastly change what people think of when they hear the phrase “farm fresh.”

via Enjoy Your Robot-Fresh Meal , NewCo.


“Identity politics for white people” is not the same thing as “racism”, nor are the people who advocate for it necessarily racist, though of course the categories overlap. In fact, white identity politics was at one point the underlying trend for the majoritarian American cultural mainstream. But since the late 1960s, it has been transitioning in fits and starts into something more insular and distinct. Now, half a century later, the Trump moment very much illuminates its function as one interest group among many, as opposed to the background context for everything the nation does. The white American with the high-school education who works at the duck-feed factory in northern Indiana has as much right to advance his interest as anyone else. But that interest is now being redefined in very narrow terms, in opposition to the interests of other ethnic groups, and in a marked departure from the expansive view of the freedoms of a common humanity advanced by the Founders and Abraham Lincoln.

Trump’s appeal to these narrow interests is understandable and smart, given the tenor of the times. Among members of the American right and disaffected independents, voices of outrage railing against the collapse of the rule of law have increased steadily throughout Obama’s second term. Their opinion of the Supreme Court has fallen steadily, and they no longer trust the agents of the IRS, EPA, or DOJ to do anything other than serve the wishes of the White House.

Trump’s brand of Jacksonian populism is perfectly tailored for this sentiment. He would throw the Constitution and the rule of law to the winds in pursuit of an aggressive promise of unilateral change – and they are fine with that. What we are hearing now from the Trump-supporting right is akin to the Roman people’s call for the dissolution of the Senate: the demand to install a strong horse, the outsider who will fix all things, the powerful man who promises he will, at long last, get things done for the people. As Alex Castellanos writes at CNN:

Trump is more than a legacy of Republican inaction. He is the inevitable result of decades of progressive failure. He is where frustrated nations turn when top-down, industrial age government fails to deliver what it promised and presents chaos instead. When a government that has pledged to do everything can’t do anything, otherwise sensible people turn to the strongman. This is how the autocrat, the popular dictator, gains power. We are seduced by his success and strength.
For those who believe Barack Obama has ruled like an Emperor, Trump offers them their own replacement who has the appeal of a traitor to his class, dispensing entirely with the politeness of the politically correct elites and telling it always and forever like it is. If the president is to be an autocrat, let him be our kind of autocrat, these supporters say. It’s our turn now, and we want a golden-headed billionaire with the restraint of the bar fly and the tastes of Caligula, gliding his helicopter down to the Iowa cornfields like a boss. He’ll show Putin what for.

via Are Republicans For Freedom or White Identity Politics? by Ben Domenech

This article does the best job I’ve seen of capturing the zeitgeist of Trumpism: the appeal of a ‘golden-headed billionaire with the restraint of the bar fly and the tastes of Caligula, gliding his helicopter down to the Iowa cornfields like a boss. He’ll show Putin what for.’

Beautiful, and deadly accurate.