Low Fast-food Wages Come At High Public Cost, Reports Say

Walmart to Get Stuck With Most of Food Stamp Shopping Spree

PHOTO: Shelves in the Walmart store in Springhill, LA

A communication breakdown still exists in the space between the celebration of multiculturalism and the commitment of hate crimes, a space where people mean well and certainly dont consider themselves racist, but still obliviously inflict damage and then refuse to acknowledge its existence or impact. Yesterday, Gawkers Cord Jefferson wrote a thoughtful article that explained how racism exists not just in overtly hateful thoughts and comments, but in the framework of plausible deniability that builds up around racism and how insane that plausible deniability can make people feel. Like those terrible Asian schoolgirl jokes on Seth MacFarlanes new sitcom Dads, Chinese Food can attempt to hide behind the post-racial America argument, the one that says that its okay to exploit stereotypes because they cant do us any harm, not anymore but it will fail. Thats the real danger behind the myth of colorblindness, the myth of post-racial America: the potential for the racism embedded in this confectionery video to be denied and enjoyed anyway. The problem, particularly with a viral video like this one, is that everyone sees it, but not everyone sees the damage implicitly wrought by it. Earlier today, a YouTube commenter wrote on the videos page , This is why kids become racist. She could be right; I can hear this song echoing down the halls of my high school as readily as I could The Fox. Viral videos like Chinese Food, when theyre widely viewed, become a part of our shared culture; theyre what millions of people talk about, reference in conversation, share with their friends. When those video depict other groups of people in inaccurate and demeaning ways for entertainment as exotic, monolithic, or otherwise fictionalized they encourage us to internalize those ideas, or at the very least to laugh them off. Chinese Food is, in a sense, a frillier, less overt manifestation of the same kind of minstrelsy that Miley Cyrus gets away with . It uses food the way Miley uses a dance incorrectly, with little concern for either accuracy or why its important to be accurate about other cultures to create celebrity, social capital or a desired image. This video will certainly follow Gold around for the rest of her life in far more consequential ways than Cyruss celebrity permits. But I wouldnt worry about her. In fact, Chinese Food will likely become a learning experience; over the next few days, Gold will almost certainly come to know the differences between Mongolian, Chinese, and Japanese cultures better than most people passing the song around.

Top food blogs of 2013

The bill could be a sizeable one for Walmart. Lynd said customers were “not unruly.” There were no fights or arrests made, but the scene was still chaotic, he said. “It was definitely worse than Black Friday. It was worse than anything we had ever seen in this town,” Lynd said of Springhill, which is near the border with Arkansas. “There was no food left on any of the shelves, and no meat left. The grocery part of Walmart was totally decimated.” Lynd said that around 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, a Walmart employee made an announcement on the intercom saying that the computer system had been restored and card limits had returned. At that time, customers left shopping carts full of food in store aisles, he said. “At that point in time, they knew the jig was up and they couldn’t purchase what they wanted to,” Lynd said. In the Walmart store in Mansfield, about 80 miles south of Springhill, staff temporarily closed the store to new customers to prevent a fire hazard with the existing number of shoppers. Mansfield’s Chief of Police Gary Hobbs said no arrests were made and there were no incidents besides customers “pushing and shoving.” Hobbs said there were reports that customers were checking out with six to eight shopping carts, then returning later in the day to purchase more. Unlike Walmart, other grocery stores in town told customers they would not accept EBT cards until the card limits were evident again, Hobbs said.

This is obviously nothing new (as anyone who used to have a Xanga account can tell you), but the fact alone that anyone, anywhere, can set up a platform and instantly reach millions of readers is one worth celebrating. So for the fourth year running, were ranking the top 25 food-oriented blogs, ranked according to readership and social media following. Theres plenty of time to argue the merits of what makes a food blog great, be it the amount of breaking news, quality of the recipes, layout, industry usefulness, or wide appeal, but for todays (and previous years) purposes, we took a very objective approach: we tracked down nearly 200 leading food blogs, using “best-of” lists from sites including Saveur and Babble, and then compiled four data points on each of them: the average number of monthly visitors for the past year (using Compete.coms data), and the number of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and Pinterest followers. To arrive at the final 25, we factored in the number of average unique visitors (this accounted for 50 percent of each blogs score) and the data from the three social media components (which accounted for the remaining 50 percent). The blogs with the highest total scores made the cut. While the list didnt change dramatically from last year, there were a few notable differences. The Kitchn made a leap from number six up to number two, and Picky Palate jumped from number 12 up to number five on our list. Skinnytaste , which ranked third last year, fell to number 10 this year, and David Lebovitz , whose star just keeps rising, jumped from number 11 up to number six. Simply Recipes held onto the top spot for the fourth year in a row. There were also several newcomers, while others fell off the list entirely. This year we welcome Bakers Royale , Chocolate & Zucchini , Elanas Pantry , Food52 , Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef , Simple Bites , and Thug Kitchen to our list, while we say goodbye to Annies Eats , Gluten-Free Goddess, Mommys Kitchen , Our Best Bites , Pinch My Salt, TasteSpotting , and A Year of Slow Cooking. Falling off our list in no way indicates a drop in quality; reasons vary from blog to blog. Some have slowed down the rate of posting entries; others have simply been surpassed by other blogs in traffic.

These statistics paint a picture of workers not being able to get their fair share of the largest, richest economy in the world, said Sylvia A. Allegretto, lead author of the report by the university economists, which was paid for by Fast Food Forward, a group that supports walkouts by fast-food workers. It is a good thing that we have these work supports, but they should be a last resort. Those workers are left to rely on the public safety net even though the nations seven largest publicly traded fast-food companies netted a combined $7.4billion in profits last year, while paying out $53million in salaries to their top executives and distributing $7.7billion to shareholders, according to the second report, by the National Employment Law Project, a worker advocacy group. Fast-food industry representatives disputed the findings. Their restaurants offer a valuable entry into the workforce for millions of people, they said, including the 40percent who are students. These misleading efforts use a very narrow lens and selective data to attack the industry for their own purposes, and fail to recognize that the majority of lower-wage employees work part-time to supplement a family income, said Scott DeFife, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association. The inclusion of the earned income tax credit shows just how misleading these efforts are, as it is a tax credit specifically designed for working families, not public assistance, and is used to inflate their numbers. But many others are trying to support households, advocates said. They pointed to the growing activism among fast-food workers, poorly paid employees of federal contractors and other low-wage workers who for the past year have been calling a series of small but growing number of one-day strikes. They are demanding pay raises to $15 an hour and an easier route to forming unions. The job actions are supported by organized labor groups, including the Service Employees International Union and Change to Win, which are lending staff and cash to the effort. The unions aim to increase pressure on lawmakers to raise the $7.25-per-hour federal minium wage while highlighting widening economic inequality. Tionnie Cross, 29, works at a McDonalds in Brooklyn, where she makes $7.35 an hour. Most weeks she is assigned no more than 28 hours, leaving her to rely on food stamps and government-sponsored health care to make ends meet, she said. I have a job, and Im broke, she said. It is really bad, because I dont want to depend on taxpayer money to survive. Fast-food industry representatives call the workers demands unrealistic.