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photo by Dominic Gwinn

Yesterday the Rev. Dr. William Barber II was in Chicago protesting in front of the McDonald's headquarters. The 55-year-old pastor from North Carolina stood with local elected officials to support striking fast food workers fighting to raise the minimum wage. As Rev. Barber was being arrested by Chicago police along with 54 others, he was notified that he'd just been named a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and awarded $625,000.

See? Sometimes it PAYS to be a social justice warrior!


One of the most recognizable figures in the modern protest movement, Rev. Barber has encouraged tens of thousands of people all over the country to engage in nonviolent civil disobedience. Whether it's the #FightFor15, immigration reform, supporting public education, or ending racial discrimination, Rev. Barber keeps popping up with obnoxious protesters and marching through the streets in cities across America. It's as if nobody bothered to CC him that memo about all the evil political plans he's ruining. And now some George Soros social justice league is giving him money!

Barber has been helping to train local activists since 2014 when he founded Repairers of the Breach in response to the Republican takeover of the North Carolina legislature. Since then, Barber has helped train protesters and organizers to harass city halls with Moral Mondays. He's also the co-founder of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival, based on Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 campaign, that fights systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation. In announcing the award, the MacArthur Foundation said Barber was "merging moral and activist traditions," and "providing a faith-based framework for action that strengthens civic engagement and inspires the country to imagine a more humane society." TLDR: He created super-hippies.


The MacArthur Foundation is one of those do-gooder groups that funds NPR commercials and pays off student loans for liberal arts majors. Each year they give out a ton of money to help scientists, researchers, creatives, human rights advocates, and other nerds to keep doing whatever it is they do that makes the world a better place. There's no strings attached, these elitists just hand out a wad of cash and a fancy card that says they're the bees knees, and to play nice.

When the Raleigh News and Observer reached out to Barber, he stated that he was "thankful and humbled and overwhelmed and more committed than ever. Awards should only serve to push you to continue doing the work of justice. We planned this (protest) months ago, standing with working people. Maybe me getting arrested today was a metaphor."

In all there were 25 people who received MacArthur awards this year. They range from opera prodigies, journalists, urban farmers, and a podcaster. There's Vijay Gupta, the 31-year-old violinist who spends his free time playing in Skid Row, a project to map accessible legal aid for low-income people, and a journalist documenting abuses perpetrated by the West Virginia coal industry. While we're only SLIGHTLY pissed that we were passed over (again), all these people are doing amazing work that makes the world suck a whole lot less. MAZEL TOV.

[WaPo / NPR / Raleigh News & Observer / Windy City Times]

Yr Wonkette isn't greedy, our George Soros checks just keep getting lost in the mail. Click the widget below to be OUR MacArthur Genius grant!

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or lying in a gutter taking photos.

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to www.famoushotels.org.

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.



In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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