Cattle Rustlers, The “Woman Card,” and More: Today’s Recommended Reading

Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘net are doing, too. Today, we have an editorial on Hilary Clinton’s “Woman Card,” criticism about class on TV, a report on how to fix our traffic woes, and a story about modern cattle thieves and the men who track them down.

Curbed reported on the decline of the American transportation infrastructure, and the many ways — from self-driving cars to Uber to bike lanes — of steering the conversation about how America moves away from our current, seemingly unsustainable highway system.

These tunnels and rail systems, a chokepoint in a vital circulation system, now stand not as monuments to American accomplishment but as symbols of decline. The most recent Infrastructure Report Card from the American Society of Civil Engineers said the country would need to spend $3.6 trillion to repair our country’s crumbling roads, rails, pipes, power grids. For comparison, the entire 2015 federal budget was $3.8 trillion.

“It’s an embarrassment,” says Henry Petroski, a professor of civil engineering at Duke and author of The Road Taken, a history of the country’s infrastructure system. “The best we have is the Acela train, which is chronically delayed and has accidents. And there isn’t much hope in the current presidential candidates’ plans. At least they pronounce ‘infrastructure’ correctly. I haven’t heard them say anything that makes me overly optimistic.”

The Washington Post‘s Alexandra Petri unleashed a sharp retort to Donald Trump’s recent assertion that political support for Hilary Clinton is not based on her politics, but because she’s been playing “the woman’s card.”

Ah yes, the woman’s card.

I have been carrying one of these for years, proudly.

It is great. It entitles you to a sizable discount on your earnings everywhere you go (average 21 percent, but can be anywhere from 9 percent to 37 percent, depending on what study you’re reading and what edition of the Woman Card you have.) If you shop with the Woman Card at the grocery, you will get to pay 11 percent more for all the same products as men, but now they are pink.

Oxford American published a story about the rangers of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, a group of 27 men responsible for hunting down modern-day cattle rustlers. Though most of us think of cattle theft in the context of cowboys and “wild west,” ranchers say that crime is on the rise.

Cattle rustling, signature crime of the Old West, has returned to Texas. Rates of cattle theft in the state have risen fivefold in less than a decade. … Lawmen and rustlers now find themselves reenacting a centuries-old drama, one central to the creation myth of the American frontier. If the cowboy was the great American folk hero, the cattle rustler was his villainous twin. They were both lone figures seeking their fortune in the hinterlands, unbound by government or caste. But the rustler lacked an essential sense of nobility and fair play—he stole what the cowboy earned.

As part of a four-part series on the state of the American middle class, The New York Times Magazine explores how today’s TV landscape increasingly steers clear of issues related to class and working for a living.

In 2007, television underwent a great expansion — beyond the major broadcast networks, beyond televisions and into all kinds of genres — just at the moment the economy shrank, and a fantasy emerged. As real people became poorer and lost their jobs, the ones on TV got richer, and their jobs seemed more beside the point. All that space to tell new stories ended up dedicated to a limited set of jobs and an increasingly homogeneous notion of what work even means.