Entries by Tom Baxter

Across the rural South, chicken plants become a social and economic flashpoint

Coming only three days after the murderous attack on the El Paso Walmart, last week’s ICE raids on seven Mississippi chicken plants drew a lot of national media attention and caused a lot of disruption in the small towns that were affected. Federal officials said this was the largest single-state workplace enforcement action in history, but it wasn’t the first time a chicken plant raid has wreaked havoc in the rural South.

"Do something!" "Do something!" But Americans disagree about what

On a day when President Trump has addressed the nation to condemn “racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” it might not seem appropriate to begin with Champ Bailey’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech on Saturday. But the former Georgia Bulldog great spoke about that very subject with expertise, as he put it. It’s something, he said, which black men “have more expertise in than any aspect of our lives.”

A time-lapse profile of Georgia from the 2020 Almanac of American Politics

(A note from Tom: This week I’m stepping aside for something special. The Almanac of American Politics, published every two years since 1972, is a necessity for political junkies, with its reams of demographic and election data and carefully crafted profiles of every state and congressional district. Volume by volume over time, it has become […]

Voluminous data shows the rich get richer, the older they get

Over the past four years, the staff of the Center for Household Financial Stability at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has produced a series of essays titled “The Demographics of Wealth.” It draws on interviews with more than 40,000 heads of households, conducted over more than a quarter century, to examine how factors like race, age and education affect a family’s financial health. You’re thinking, not exactly a summer beach read. No, but if you want a clear-eyed fix on the economy before the politicians start talking about it again, this is a great place to start.

Cracker Barrel's journey a microcosm of what Gay Pride Month celebrates

When word reached the corporate offices of Cracker Barrel last week that an anti-LGBTQ pastor and his group planned an event at one of its restaurants in Tennessee, the company released a sharply worded statement barring them. “We serve everyone who walks through our doors with genuine hospitality, not hate, and require all guests to do the same,” it said. That a sign of the changes since the restaurant chain banned gay and lesbian employees in 1991.

From tariffs to school lunches, Perdue toes to the Trump line as farmers' worries grow

Agriculture secretaries just don’t get the attention they deserve. A recent cover of the magazine caricatured Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Bob Barr shining the president’s shoes. No member of the Trump team has shined those shoes more enthusiastically, however, than the former Georgia governor, nor under tougher circumstances.

Stalled disaster relief bill a portent of how climate change becomes political

When you look at it short range, the failure to pass the disaster relief bill South Georgia farmers have been told was on the way is just another maddening example of Congress’s inability to do anything useful anymore. Looked at from a larger perspective, it is uncomfortably consistent with the direction the country is taking on climate change.

Scandal stalks organizations revered by the left and the right

What do the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Rifle Association have in common? More, it turns out, than these groups’ leaders and supporters would care to admit. In recent months, scandal has threatened the survival of both organizations, and in both, women with deep Atlanta connections have been thrust unexpectedly into key leadership roles.

Abrams gets a gentle reminder the buzz can't last forever

As she ponders which of a buffet line of races to jump into next, Abrams has been making the national media circuit, the hottest name on the bill at progressive conferences and a guest on talks shows, morning and night. Events promoting the reissue of her book, “Lead From the Outside,” are sold out around the country. It’d be nice if it could last forever, but sooner or later the current Democratic star has to make up her mind.