Volume 3.28 (July 7-13)

Pick of the Week– Health Insurance Is Not a Favor Your Boss Does for You (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “But when your insurance coverage includes birth control, your employer isn’t “buying you” anything. Your employer is basically acting as an administrative middleman between you and the insurance company. Your employer isn’t the one whose money is paying the premiums, you are. It’s compensation for the work you’ve done, just as much as your salary is.”

The Immigration Crisis

Fleeing Gangs, Children Head to US Border (Frances Robles, NYT)

Debunking 8 Myths About Why Central American Children Are Migrating (David Bacon, In These Times)

Break the Immigration Impasse (Sheldon Adelson, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet)

The Children of the Drug Wars (Sonia Nazario, NYT)

Sports

God Loves Cleveland (Bill Simmons, Grantland)– On MJ, LBJ and other sports geniuses.

Was this the Last Great World Cup? (Franklin Foer, The New Republic)

Science

The Medical Facts about Birth Control and Hobby Lobby– from an OB/GYN (Jen Gunter, New Republic)

Politics

7 academic papers, 4 government inquiries, 2 news investigations and 1 court ruling proving voter fraud is mostly a myth (Christopher Ingraham)

Millennials get cut off at the polls (Catherine Rampell, WaPo)

Justice Samuel Alito’s Deep Roots in the American Right (Peter Montgomery, The American Prospect)

Crack Down on Scientific Fraudsters (Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky, NYT)

Moderate voters are a myth (Ezra Klein, Vox)– “What happens, explains David Broockman, a political scientist at the University of California at Berkeley, is that surveys mistake people with diverse political opinions for people with moderate political opinions. The way it works is that a pollster will ask people for their position on a wide range of issues: marijuana legalization, the war in Iraq, universal health care, gay marriage, taxes, climate change, and so on. The answers will then be coded as to whether they’re left or right. People who have a mix of answers on the left and the right average out to the middle — and so they’re labeled as moderate.  But when you drill down into those individual answers you find a lot of opinions that are well out of the political mainstream. “A lot of people say we should have a universal health-care system run by the state like the British,” says Broockman. “A lot of people say we should deport all undocumented immigrants immediately with no due process. You’ll often see really draconian measures towards gays and lesbians get 16 to 20 percent support. These people look like moderates but they’re actually quite extreme.””

How Birth Year Influences Political View (Amanda Cox, The Upshot)

Are the Authoritarians Winning? (Michael Ignatieff, NYRB)

President Obama turns down joint, consumes more dangerous drug (German Lopez, Vox)– “But for all the debate about legalizing marijuana, the research is pretty clear that alcohol is much more dangerous — not just to an individual, but to society as a whole.”

The Challenge of Reform Conservatism (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)– “So, for example, I’m perfectly open to new ideas on, say, helping working class families with kids. But some pretty basic concerns about the current GOP on cultural issues – its open hostility to my own civil marriage, its absolutism on abortion, its panic at immigration, its tone-deafness on racial injustice – push me, and many others, into leaning Democrat for a while. And it’s important to note that even the reformicons are die-hard cultural and religious conservatives in most respects. On those questions, there is no airing of the idea of reform.  David Cameron’s post-Thatcher re-tooling of British conservatism took at least two major issues associated with the left-of-center – marriage equality and climate change – and embraced them fully. If the reformicons could do something like that, they would begin to gain traction outside of a few circles in DC and in the country at large. But they won’t; and, given the rigidity of the GOP base on those issues, can’t.”

Religion

The Pope and the Pederasts (Garry Wills, NYRBlog)

Surveillance

Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On (Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain, The Intercept)

Family

5 charts that show that child care in the US is broken (Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox)

Largest-ever study of same-sex couples’ kids finds they’re better off than other children (German Lopez, Vox)– “”So what this means is that people take on roles that are suited to their skill sets rather than falling into those gender stereotypes, which is mum staying home and looking after the kids and dad going out to earn money,” Crouch said. “What this leads to is a more harmonious family unit and therefore feeding on to better health and well-being.””

The Gaza Crisis

Former security chief: Blame the Israeli government, not the Palestinians, for the crisis (Max Fisher, Vox)

The tragedy never ends: Palestinian rockets force Israeli peace conference to evacuate (Max Fisher, Vox)

Why Israel’s racist violence problem is getting worse (Zack Beauchamp, Vox)

Economics

A huge debate about the labor market is driven by a nonsense acronym (Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox)– “One key issue lost in the debate, however, is that calling it a STEM shortage suggests a simple problem with a simple solution: so there aren’t enough workers in science and engineering? Simple: just get more people diplomas those fields.  But it’s not necessarily that there aren’t enough science and math scholars out there; it’s that there aren’t enough people out there with the particular skills the job market needs right now. Spending four years doing biology experiments is no guarantee for a job, and indeed might not go as far as a couple semesters of statistics or computer science.”

Our mismeasured economy (Lew Daly, NYT)

Free markets killed capitalism: Ayn Rand, Ronald Reagan, Wal-Mart, Amazon and the 1 Percent’s sick triumph over us all (Thomas Frank, Salon)

Mormonism

Saving Zion from America: Theorizing in the Aftermath (Gina Colvin, KiwiMormon)

I Was a Mormon Feminist, But I Give Up (Melanie Schmitz, xoJane)– “What the Church fails to grasp is that feminism is unique because every woman is unique. Not every woman is born loving children and wanting to become a wife. Personality and orientation dictate how they react to situations and how they will develop into adulthood. To force all women to bend to a certain mold and “assimilate,” as certain leaders have instructed, is unrealistic. “

A Painful Exodus (Jerilyn Hassell Pool, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

A God Who Listens (Lisa Hadley, Feminist Mormon Housewives)– “Think of all the time God spends listening. We all have so much to say. We do so much of the talking. I saw God in my mother when she was the Relief Society President in our ward in Florida. She spent countless hours on the phone with the women of our ward. I couldn’t extrapolate much juicy gossip from her end of the phone conversation (much to my disappointment) because she said very little. I don’t remember her offering much advice. You could tell that she was listening though and the women loved her for it.”

Volume 3.27 (June 30-July 6)

Foreign Affairs

Japan Announces a Military Shift to Thwart China (David E. Sanger and Martin Fackler, NYT)

Health Care

The Health Care Waiting Game (Elisabeth Rosenthal, NYT)– “Americans are more likely to wait for office-based medical appointments that are not good sources of revenue for hospitals and doctors. In other countries, people tend to wait longest for expensive elective care — four to six months for a knee replacement and over a month for follow-up radiation therapy after cancer surgery in Canada, for example.  In our market-based system, patients can get lucrative procedures rapidly, even when there is no urgent medical need: Need a new knee, or an M.R.I., or a Botox injection? You’ll probably be on the schedule within days. But what if you’re an asthmatic whose breathing is deteriorating, or a diabetic whose medicines need adjustment, or an elderly patient who has unusual chest pain and needs a cardiology consultation? In much of the country, you can wait a week or weeks for such office appointments — or longer if you need to find a doctor who accepts your insurance plan or Medicare.”

The Illogic of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance (Uwe Reinhardt, The Upshot)– “The Supreme Court’s ruling may prompt Americans to re-examine whether the traditional, employment-based health insurance that they have become accustomed to is really the ideal platform for health insurance coverage in the 21st century. The public health insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act are likely to nibble away at this system for small and medium-size business firms, especially those with a mainly low-wage work force.  In the meantime, the case should help puncture the illusion that employer-provided health insurance is an unearned gift bestowed on them by the owners and paid with the owners’ money, giving those owners the moral right to dictate the nature of that gift.”

Society

Donors Give More When They Have a Sense of Belonging (Robert Schiller, NYT)– “I called this new form a “participation nonprofit,” meant for causes that need substantial contributions. Such an organization, which might run a school or a hospital, would offer to sell shares instead of requesting donations. The share sales would really be donations, but would be framed differently and come with rights that would change the whole giving experience.  Shareholders could vote their shares at stockholder meetings, as they would in a traditional corporation. The organization would pay some kind of dividend, too, though this would go into a restricted account, to be used only for a charitable purpose of the owner’s choosing. And shareholders could bequeath the stock to heirs, and could even sell it, though the proceeds would also go into the restricted account. For this plan to work well, people would need to receive a tax deduction for their share purchases, which are really irrevocable contributions to charity.”

The Town Where Immigrants Hit a Human Wall (Jennifer Medina, NYT)– There are some people in this story I’d like to send to Central America, but they aren’t the ones who are originally from there…

Politics

Hobby Lobby is Only the Beginning (Paul Horwitz, NYT)– “A country that cannot even agree on the idea of religious accommodation, let alone on what terms, is unlikely to agree on what to do next. A country in which many states cannot manage to pass basic anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation is one whose culture wars may be beyond the point of compromise. And a nation whose marketplace itself is viewed, for better or worse, as a place to fight both those battles rather than to escape from them is still less likely to find surcease from struggle.  Expect many more Hobby Lobbies.”

How to use a super PAC to kill super PACs (Brian Fung, The Switch)

Can The GOP Be a Party of Ideas? (Sam Tanenhaus, NYT)

Why the Fight Over Executive Authority Will Define the Rest of Barack Obama’s Presidency (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “You’ll notice that in their litany of supposed “lawlessness,” Republicans have no examples in which Obama acted to achieve something they agreed with him about on the substance. In most of these cases and others like them, what Republicans find particularly infuriating is that they thought they had successfully used the legislative process to stymie Obama, only to find that he had other means at his disposal to move forward on his goals.”

Here’s How We Can End Gerrymanding Once and For All (Nicholas Stephanopoulous)

The War on Workers (Cynthia Estlund and William Forbath, NYT)

Sports

Tim Howard Lost, But He Just Had the Best Match of the World Cup (Nate Silver, Five Thirty Eight)

Science

When Beliefs and Facts Collide (Brendan Nyhan, The Upshot)– “In a new study, a Yale Law School professor, Dan Kahan, finds that the divide over belief in evolution between more and less religious people iswider among people who otherwise show familiarity with math and science, which suggests that the problem isn’t a lack of information. When he instead tested whether respondents knew the theory of evolution, omitting mention of belief, there was virtually no difference between more and less religious people with high scientific familiarity. In other words, religious people knew the science; they just weren’t willing to say that they believed in it.”

Why Polls Can Sometimes Get Things So Wrong (Lynn Vavreck, The Upshot)

A review of 166 independent studies confirms vaccines are safe and effective (Joseph Stromberg, Vox)

Race

The economy’s troubling double standard for black men (Jonnelle Marte, Wonkblog)– “A black man with an associates degree has the same chances — about 88 percent– of finding a job as a white high school graduate, according to a recent analysis of employment rates and education for whites and minorities by Young Invincibles, a nonprofit group focusing on the economic issues impacting millennials. Getting a bachelor’s degree ups those chances to 93 percent for a black man, the same as a white man who dropped out of college.  “In a lot of ways that proves the saying that black people need to work twice as hard to compete in this country as white people,” says Tom Allison, policy and research manager for Young Invincibles and author of the report.”

Everyone does drugs, but only minorities are punished for it (German Lopez, Vox)– “Even though white and black people use drugs at similar rates, a 2009 report from Human Rights Watch found black people are much more likely to be arrested for drugs. In 2007, black people were 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for drugs than white people.”

Without Economic and Educational Justice, There is No Racial Justice (Reilly Morse, The American Prospect)

The Big Picture

Boom Meets Bust in Texas: Atop a Sea of Oil, Poverty Digs In (Manny Fernandez and Clifford Krauss, NYT)

The $236,500 Hole in the American Dream (Dean Starkman, The New Republic)– Closing the racial wealth gap.

Mormonism

Who’s the Prophet Here? (RT, Faith Promoting Rumor)

Genesis of Doubt (Seth Payne, Worlds Without End)– “Is it too much to expect that Prophets, Seers, and Revelators respond to these questions — opening the scriptures to reason with the Church and show why, precisely, the current policy is based on both scripture and revelation?  Honestly, even a claim of modern revelation — if only in the form of inspiration such as that described by SWK in 1978 — confirming that women should not hold priesthood office or exercise its power (under normal circumstances and outside the temple) would have been enlightening and comforting because it would show that 1) Church leaders care about the concerns and questions presented to them as God’s representatives on earth and 2) they are willing, just like ancient prophets and Apostles, to present a defense or explanation of their position.”

Volume 3.26 (June 23-29)

Pick of the Week

Hero worship of the military is getting in the way of good policy (Benjamin Summers, WaPo)

Foreign Affairs

Fooling Mexican Fans (Francisco Goldman, NYT)– “The day before the Mexican soccer team’s thrilling underdog tie with the World Cup favorite, Brazil, last week, the lead editorial of the news site SinEmbargo was titled, “Ready for your Clamato and Gatorade?” — common hangover remedies. “In about three weeks, when you wake from your World Cup dreams,” the editors wrote, “remember that when the soccer fest began, the country was on the verge of monumental decisions. If upon waking, you realize that the country’s energy reserves have been cheaply sold off or whatever else, don’t bother protesting because this is a chronicle foretold.””

Breaking the Law to Go Online in Iran (Setareh Derakhshesh, NYT)

More punk, less hell! (Constantin Seibt, Tages Anzeiger)– How comedians and anarchists took the municipal government of Reykjavik.

The Big Picture

Inequality Begins at Birth (David Madrick, NYRB)

What Americans Think of the Poor (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “But the belief that “poor people have it easy” is just insane. It serves a psychological function—if you can convince yourself that poor people are living it up, then you can assuage whatever pangs of conscience you might feel for advocating that we cut food stamps or keep the minimum wage low or move heaven and earth to keep them from getting health insurance. It’s one thing to say that poverty in America today isn’t quite as miserable as in years past, because even if you’re poor you probably still have running water, a fridge, and a TV (this is a common argument conservatives make). But to actually believe they have it easy? What kind of person would agree to that?”

How America’s growing partisan split could be making the rich richer (Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox)

Education

How the Common Core Supports Capital (Shawn Gude, In These Times)– “What should be the guiding ethos of public education in a democratic society? What are we preparing students for, other than participation in economic life? And how should schooling be structured to reflect democratic values?  The short answers: Incredulity, not docility, is the trait to inculcate, along with a citizenry disposed to questioning received wisdom and orthodoxy and a less hierarchical teacher-student relationship. In each instance, the Common Core is an impediment.”

Americans Think We Have the World’s Best Colleges.  We Don’t. (Kevin Carey, The Upshot)– “When President Obama has said, “We have the best universities,” he has not meant: “Our universities are, on average, the best” — even though that’s what many people hear. He means, “Of the best universities, most are ours.” The distinction is important.”

The Economy

Why World War I Matters to Today’s Economy (Neil Irwin, The Upshot)– “But the lesson of the Great War is that this state of the world isn’t something we should take for granted. Rather, it’s something that every national leader, and every voter, should feel urgency to defend. The need to learn those lessons is why we study history to begin with, and one hopes the centennial of World War I can bring more people to come to grips with an episode in human history we might prefer to forget.”

The Disruption Machine (Jill Lepore, New Yorker)– “Ever since “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” everyone is either disrupting or being disrupted. There are disruption consultants, disruption conferences, and disruption seminars. This fall, the University of Southern California is opening a new program: “The degree is in disruption,” the university announced. “Disrupt or be disrupted,” the venture capitalist Josh Linkner warns in a new book, “The Road to Reinvention,” in which he argues that “fickle consumer trends, friction-free markets, and political unrest,” along with “dizzying speed, exponential complexity, and mind-numbing technology advances,” mean that the time has come to panic as you’ve never panicked before. Larry Downes and Paul Nunes, who blog for Forbes, insist that we have entered a new and even scarier stage: “big bang disruption.” “This isn’t disruptive innovation,” they warn. “It’s devastating innovation.””

Health Care

Bigger Health Companies: Good for Medicare, Maybe Not for Others (Austin Frakt, The Upshot)– “Larger organizations have greater market power to demand higher prices from those plans for doctor visits and hospital stays. And higher prices paid by plans translate into higher premiums for consumers. (This doesn’t apply to Medicare because its prices are set by the government, and no provider organization has so much market clout that it can force Medicare to raise prices.)”

Culture

Citizen Bezos (Steve Coll, NYRB)

Politics

The Supreme Court Thinks You’re Better Off Paying $150/month for Cable (Tim Wu, The New Republic)

The Great Crime Wave & the Tragedy of Mass Incarceration (Paul Romer, NYU Urbanization Project)

Dear Thom Tillis: How Long Does it Take for a Black Person to Become a Traditional North Carolinian? (Cynthia Greenlee, The American Prospect)

6 charts that show that Republican vs. Democrat wildly oversimplifies American politics (Andrew Prokop, Vox)

The Beltway Myth (Elizabeth Drew, NYRB)– “This metaphorical Beltway has been assigned almost mystical qualities. It’s the castle in a Monty Python movie. The people within it are as isolated from the rest of the country as they are unanimous in their opinions. In order not to learn anything from anywhere else in the nation, it would appear that the “Beltway crowd” reads only local news, doesn’t watch national television news or talk shows, makes no long-distance calls, and doesn’t travel—or when it does it never discusses politics lest its confined collective mind be polluted by outside information. As a concept of how information and opinion move between Washington and the rest of the country “the Beltway” is epistemological nonsense.”

Mormonism

Questions and Answers (John Dehlin, Mormon Stories)– Brother Dehlin explains himself.

Banishing Dissent: The Excommunication of Mormon Activist Kate Kelly (Kristine Haglund, Religion & Politics)

Mormons Say Critical Online Comments Draw Threats from Church (Laurie Goodstein, NYT)

Cyberbullying and “Gospel Revenge” in the Kingdom (john f., By Common Consent)

The real Mormon moment is now (Joanna Brooks, Ask Mormon Girl)

Knocking at the Gate (Michael Austin, By Common Consent)– “But I do know that we are allowed to ask him why He does things. And we are allowed to ask Him to change His mind. Like Christiana, we can knock until our fingers are bloody, and we can cry until our voices are raw. God can handle it. He will either open the door or he won’t, but He is not diminished by our requests. Those who are knocking at the gate have taken upon themselves the difficult and necessary task of wrestling with an angel. It is an ancient and honorable occupation that sometimes works out and sometimes does not. But, on balance, it has caused the arc of history to bend a bit more quickly towards justice.”

These Men Are Not the Enemies (Winterbuzz, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

10 Words that Would Have Altered History and Preserved Zion (Katie L., Feminist Mormon Housewives)

Volume 3.25 (June 16-22)

Pick of the Week– The Not-So-Beautiful Game (Philip Delves Broughton, NYT)– “However much I knew, I could never really “know” the game in the same way as those who had endured hot summer afternoons of Little League or long losing droughts with the Mets. Anyone could like El Duque, the same way anyone can like Lionel Messi.   So it is with the new crowds of World Cup fans. If I feel a little protective of my game, it’s because my enthusiasm for it has been uneven and hard won. “

Politics

The Truth About Our Libertarian Age (Mark Lilla, New Republic)– “Yet our libertarianism is not an ideology in the old sense. It is a dogma. The distinction between ideology and dogma is worth bearing in mind. Ideology tries to master the historical forces shaping society by first understanding them. The grand ideologies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries did just that, and much too well; since they were intellectually “totalizing,” they countenanced political totalitarianism. Our libertarianism operates differently: it is supremely dogmatic, and like every dogma it sanctions ignorance about the world, and therefore blinds adherents to its effects in that world. It begins with basic liberal principlesthe sanctity of the individual, the priority of freedom, distrust of public authority, toleranceand advances no further. It has no taste for reality, no curiosity about how we got here or where we are going. There is no libertarian sociology (an oxymoron) or psychology or philosophy of history. Nor, strictly speaking, is there a libertarian political theory, since it has no interest in institutions and has nothing to say about the necessary, and productive, tension between individual and collective purposes. It is not liberal in a sense that Montesquieu, the American Framers, Tocqueville, or Mill would have recognized. They would have seen it as a creed little different from Luther’s sola fide: give individuals maximum freedom in every aspect of their lives and all will be well. And if not, then pereat mundus. “

Population Shifts Turning All Politics National (Ashley Parker and Jonathan Martin, NYT)

Health Care

The Trouble with Apple’s Health App (Aaron Carroll, The Upshot)– “Yet I’m very skeptical we will see any great changes in the near future because of this development. A lack of true communication between information systems poses a huge challenge for these types of products. Although a law known as the Hitech Act, enacted as part of the stimulus package in 2009, encouraged hospitals and medical offices to start using electronic health records systems, it didn’t adequately address how to make different systems talk to each other. And so it’s common for practices, hospitals and emergency rooms to be unable to share data because they don’t use the same types of systems.”

Race

If Affirmative Action is Doomed, What’s Next? (David Leonhardt, The Upshot)

Guns

How Many Gun Deaths Are There in Your State? (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “Though there’s a strong correlation between rates of gun ownership and rates of gun deaths, it isn’t perfect. For instance, in Louisiana, which tops the list with almost 19 deaths per 100,000 population, gun ownership rates are slightly lower than some of the Western states near the top (one explanation comes from the“culture of honor” among Southern white men in which slights have to be met with aggression, producing higher rates of violence and homicide, but that’s a topic for another day). But as a general matter, states with higher rates of gun ownership have higher rates of gun death.”

Economics

Why We’re All Crony Capitalists, Like It or Not (Neil Irwin, The Upshot)– “And there’s the rub for those who want to shut down the Ex-Im Bank. It’s all well and good to assail crony capitalism and to say that taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing private industry. But it also would amount to unilateral disarmament on the international stage, essentially putting American exporters at a clear disadvantage compared with European and Asian competitors.  More broadly, the debate over the Ex-Im Bank exposes an uncomfortable truth about global capitalism. As much as a purist might believe there exists some state of nature in which governments neither subsidize nor obstruct business, and capitalism represents a pure survival of the fittest, that isn’t the world we actually live in.”

Mormonism

More Housewives, More Heretics (Winterbuzz, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

We Are Better Than This (Katie L., Feminist Mormon Housewives)– We aren’t actually, but this is worth a read anyway.

How the Mormons Conquered America (Michael Fitzgerald, Nautilus)

Volume 3.24 (June 9-15)

Pick of the Week– Pick any of the below on the John Dehlin/Kate Kelly debacle.

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This map shows every school shooting since Sandy Hook.

The Big Picture

U.S. inequality goes beyond dollars and cents (Larry Summers, WaPo)– “It is important to remember, however, that important aspects of inequality are unlikely to be transformed just by limited income redistribution. Consider two fundamental components of life: health and the ability to provide opportunity for children.”

The damage of poverty is visible as early as kindergarten (Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox)

The Police State

War Gear Flows to Police Departments (Matt Apuzzo, NYT)

Society

The Battle Over Dress Codes (Peggy Orenstein, NYT)– Good to see the modesty debate leave the ghetto of Mormonism.

No Money, No Time (Maria Konnikova, NYT)– “The poor are under a deadline that never lifts, pressure that can’t be relieved. If I am poor, I work or I churn until decisions like buying lottery tickets begin to seem like attractive alternatives. I lack the time to calculate the odds and think of alternative uses for my money.”

Politics

Why Polling Fails (Frank Luntz, NYT)– “Ironically enough in this wired-up age, the face to face remains a fundamental component of exploring voter mind-set. It is only by being in a room with voters that you can truly get the answer you need. It is about asking the right questions of the right people, and demanding honest answers.”

The single most important fact about American politics (Ezra Klein, Vox)– “Perhaps the single most important fact about American politics is this: the people who participate are more ideological and more partisan, as well as angrier and more fearful, than those who don’t.”

Polarization is Dividing American Society, Not Just Politics (Nate Cohn, The Upshot)

Message to ‘Moral Monday’ Protestors: Be Silent– Or Else (Leo Gerard, In These Times)

Voter Fraud is Rare, But Myth is Widespread (Brendan Nyhan, The Upshot)

The unelectable whiteness of Scott Walker (Alec MacGillis, New Republic)– “This interpretation of Walker’s appeal could hardly be more flawed. He has succeeded in the sort of environment least conducive to producing a candidate capable of winning a national majority. Over the past few decades, Walker’s home turf of metropolitan Milwaukee has developed into the most bitterly divided political ground in the country“the most polarized part of a polarized state in a polarized nation,” as a recent series by Craig Gilbert in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it. Thanks to a quirk of twentieth-century history, the region encompasses a heavily Democratic and African American urban center, and suburbs that are far more uniformly white and Republican than those in any other Northern city, with a moat of resentment running between the two zones. As a result, the area has given rise to some of the most worrisome trends in American political life in supercharged form: profound racial inequality, extreme political segregation, a parallel-universe news media. These trends predate Walker, but they have enabled his ascent, and his tenure in government has only served to intensify them. Anyone who believes that he is the Republican to save his partylet alone win a presidential electionneeds to understand the toxic and ruptured landscape he will leave behind.”

The Three Curses Faced by Democrats — And How to Lift Them (Paul Starr, The American Prospect)

Does Fox News Cause Ignorance, or Do Ignorant Viewers Prefer Fox News? (Danny Vinik, New Republic)

Feminism

The Washington Post Misused Data on Violence Against Women (Mona Chalabi, FiveThirtyEight)– “The op-ed focused on marriage, but marriage isn’t the only thing that could affect intimate partner violence. There could be other factors at play. Intimate violence rates are lower among married women, but we can’t rule out the possibility of confounding variables. To put the point more plainly: “the marrying kind tend to be more educated, wealthier and whiter,” so the focus on marriage should come with some exploration of the fact that education, income and race could also partly explain trends in intimate violence.”

Economics

Silicon Valley Tries to Remake the Idea Machine (Claire Cain Miller, The Upshot)

Education

Colleges are full of it: Behind the three-decade scheme to raise tuition, bankrupt generations, and hypnotize the media (Thomas Frank, Salon)

Making Schools Poor (Diane Ravitch, NYRB)– I’m not a supporter of tenure for public school teachers for various reasons, but its not because I think it is the main obstacle to giving our children effective educations.

Mormonism

A History of Women’s Excommunication (Juvenile Instructor)

On Excommunication (Ronan, By Common Consent)– “The fact is that many of those rocked by these things are active Mormons who serve faithfully in their wards. I know that they are in a minority in the church, but they also tend to be people of great talent and experience and so their disaffection is a loss to more than just their own families. I know this because they are people I know, including members of my own family whose talents are really missed in wards that really need them. Their loss, or even their increasing apathy, will contribute to those empty pews remaining unfilled. The gospel of love, so desperately needed in a world in which we are crying out for the kind of principled leadership that can answer the great questions about conflict, about greed, about the environment, about the poor, about preaching Christ in a secular world, is being sold for a mess of boundary maintenance so narrow that it may one day exclude half of the church.”

When it Really Matters (Tariq Khan, The Mormon Worker)– “We are in a moment right now when a few good Latter-day Saints, in spite of Church authority and in spite of the orthodox attitudes of many mainstream Mormons, are articulating dissenting ideas, and because of that, they are being targeted by authority for “Church discipline” and even possible excommunication.  Kate Kelly, John Dehlin, and Alan Rock Waterman, among others, are being targeted by Church authorities because they dare to stand against inequality within the Church, because they dare to make waves, because they dare to ask unorthodox questions, and because they dare to stand up for themselves and for others who are marginalized or denigrated by the Church.  Now is that moment when it matters to take a provocative stand.  Now is that moment when it can make a difference to be that one voice in the branch, ward, or stake who speaks in defense of these targeted heretics.  What are we going to do?  Be good obedient citizens?  Or will we be courageous enough to toss aside deference for authority and take the moral stand when it really matters?”

The Importance of Religious Heresy: Recent Contemplations (Gina Colvin, Kiwi Mormon)

Who Calls Apostasy? Picking Up the Pieces When Local Leaders Fail (Emily Belanger, Peculiar People)

This will have no effect on Internet Mormonism.  It’s much worse than that. (Cynthia L., By Common Consent)– “Instead, the outcome will be great damage to bricks-and-mortar Mormonism. What kills me is the thought of the thousands upon thousands of microaggressions this will unleash in chapels, foyers, family reunions, carpeted cultural halls, and RS Park Day moms’ groups. It is emboldening those who would divide our wards and wreak havoc on Zion in our in-person, flesh-and-blood religious lives.”