Volume 3.32 (August 4-10)

1001 Blistering Future Summers (Climate Central)

Politics

Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ Finally Arrived? (Robert Draper, NYT)

Revenge of the conservative nerds (Ezra Klein, Vox)– “Its argument isn’t the classically conservative argument that the left is full of nerds and their ambitious, arrogant designs should be mistrusted; it’s that the left is full of faux-nerds who lack scientific training but nevertheless wear glasses — and their ambitious, arrogant designs should be mistrusted. Or, to put it more simply, the problem isn’t nerds so much as liberal poseurs.”

Why Tea Party Members of Congress Act So Darn Crazy— And Liberal Democrats Don’t (Paul Waldman, American Prospect)

Religion

What Would Krishna Do? Or Shiva? Or Vishnu? (Gary Gutting, NYT)– Interview with Jonardon Ganeri

Feminism

If We Want Feminism to Have Real Impact, Then Let’s Stop Teaching So Much Theory (Elizabeth Segran, New Republic)

Men Have Every Right to Complain About Parenting (Rebecca Traister, New Republic) (NOTE: I don’t feel like this title gives a good sense of what this article is really about)– “But what of the two-parent, hetero unions in which men are full-fledged, equally-stressed-out participants? They exist! The fact that we don’t hear very much about themall while hearing lots of valuable stuff from the women who are bearing the brunt of the pressuresmeans that in some way we are reinforcing this unequal set up as a norm, re-affirming an expectation that women, even those who enter socially and professionally equal partnerships, are somehow destined to wind up uniquely over-taxed, fighting the demons of guilt and overwork fundamentally on their own.”

What’s love got to do with it? (Amanda Bennett, WaPo)– “Why does this upset me so? Well, you see, I got married two years ago, a few days shy of my 60th birthday. My friends (and new husband) tell me I still look super awesome, and I can still do a pretty good downward dog. But the inescapable fact is that — under normal circumstances (more about that later) — I am way past reproductive age. I have the hot flashes to prove it. If, as Niemeyer says, the whole point of marriage is not the mere parenting of kids but actual biological reproduction, it is clear to me that he believes that my marriage is invalid. To opponents of gay marriage, marriage is all about breeding. Since my breeding days are over, it looks like, marriage-wise, I should be, too.”

Justices’ Rulings Advance Gays; Women Less So (Adam Liptak, NYT)

Culture

Liberals Are Killing Art (Jed Perl, New Republic)– “The erosion of art’s imaginative ground, often blamed on demagogues of the left and the right, is taking place in the very heart of the liberal, educated, cultivated audiencethe audience that arts professionals always imagined they could count on. The whole question is so painful and so difficult that I have frankly hesitated to tackle it. It is relatively easy to point to the deformations of art at the hands of politically correct left-wingers and cheap-shot moralists on the right, as the late Robert Hughes did in the fast-paced, witty series of lectures that he published as Culture of Complaint in 1993. It is far more difficult to explain why people who pride themselves on their carefully reasoned view of the world want to argue that art is not a value in and of itself, but rather a vehicle or a medium or a vessel through which some other human value or values are expressed. That these thoughts are often voiced indirectly makes them no less significant. Indeed, such thoughts may be all the more significant because they are being expressed by critics and scholars who would deny that they are in any way discomfited by the unique powers of the arts. An illiberal view of art is gaining ground, even among the liberal audience. This is one of the essential if largely hidden factors that is undermining faith in our museums, our libraries, our publishing houses, our concert halls, symphony orchestras, and theater and dance troupes.”

The case against time zones: They’re impractical and outdated (Matthew Yglesias, Vox)

This is what it’s like to have HIV in 2014 (German Lopez, Vox)– “There was a consistent theme in these interviews. After people were diagnosed, they quickly learned that proper medication can make the disease less deadly and more difficult to transmit. Indeed, HIV isn’t the death sentence it was in the 1980s and early 1990s. The age-adjusted death rate among people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS dropped by 93 percent between 1987 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A large part of that, the CDC explains, is attributable to the development of highly effective antiretroviral medication.  The big problem for these HIV-positive people instead came through the stigma attached to the disease. Three decades after the rise of HIV terrorized the world, many misunderstandings attached to the disease remain — from misconceptions about whom it affects to confusion about how it’s actually transmitted.”

Foreign Affairs

Gaza: Is Israel Fighting a Just War? (Jeff McMahan, The Prospect)– Highly philosophical and technical take on the subject.

Did Israel violate international law in Gaza? (Amanda Taub, Vox)

Race

Telling white people the criminal justice system is racist makes them like it more (Dara Lind, Vox)

Voting

A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion votes cast (Justin Levett, Wonkblog)

Voter Discrimination Just Got Easier (Stephen Wright, NYRB)

Economics

A New Report Argues Inequality is Causing Slower Growth.  Here’s Why It Matters. (Neil Irwin, The Upshot)

Corporate America Hasn’t Been Disrupted (Ben Casselman, FiveThirtyEight)

Can Family Leave Policies Be Too Generous? It Seems So (Claire Cain Miller, The Upshot)– “A well-regarded study of 22 countries by two Cornell University economists found that European countries’ family-friendly policies made it possible for more women to work — but that European women are more likely to be in part-time jobs that do not lead to positions of power. As a result, women in Europe are half as likely as men to be managers, while in the United States women are just as likely to be managers.”

Mormonism

In Good Conscience… (Joe Spencer, Peculiar People)– “What I can’t make sense of is what can be meant by the formula itself. If one decides that certain convictions (or the lack thereof) are sufficient motivation to walk away, I don’t see how I can object. In such a case, one has made an eminently subjective decision the validity of which has no measure apart from the subject’s passion. But the formula regarding good conscience or good faith indicates that the matter has been decided for one. The formula appeals to a set of objective criteria the validity of which is supposed to be publicly available.”

Volume 3.31 (July 28-August 3)

Pick of the WeekWelcome to Dataland (Ian Bogost, Medium)– “Disney World is many things, and many of those many things involve crass conspicuous consumption and diluted, lowest-common-denominator cultural reverie. But despite commercialization, the phantom of Walt Disney’s down-home, populist futurism still drifts between the gaslamps. It’s a subtle alternative to both the dystopic surveillance state and the autarkic techno-futurist corporation. Here at Disney World, commerce takes place within a real, bounded physical community, and one already premised on the idea of fantasy in the first place. Perhaps this is all we really want: to participate in the fantasy of the future, to be invited to ponder and respond to it ourselves, rather than to be presented with it already formed.”

Intelligent People All Have One Thing in Common: They Stay Up Later Than You (Lauren Martin, Elite Daily)

Health Care

The US spends $15B a year to train doctors, but we don’t know what we get in return (Jason Millman, Wonkblog)– “The IOM panel says that groups participating in the GME program basically only have to report limited data to the federal government, leaving major questions about the program performance unanswered. Questions such as: Who’s being trained by the program? How much of the GME funding is used for education? Do doctors go on to practice in areas where there’s a shortage of physicians? And – probably most important – does the program produce competent doctors? On that last point, the IOM says the federal government doesn’t have data to measure whether the doctors are trained in patient safety or if they can provide coordinated care across different settings, a growing emphasis as America’s health-care system is changing to focus on preventive care and better management of chronic conditions.”

All Played Out (Ron J. Turker, NYT)– “We buy the hype about scholarships to college, but the numbers don’t support the athletic route to money. Despite what your “professional coach” tells you about your child’s athletic prowess, it isn’t possible to tell if your 12-year-old has the right stuff to be a college athlete. Very few scholarships are full-ride packages; most don’t come close to covering the cost of college. But when I tell parents that their kid’s chance of scholarship money is less than 2 percent, they shake their heads in sympathy for the other 98 percent.”

The Big Picture

More and more Americans are living with the ‘double burden’ of concentrated poverty (Emily Badger, Wonkblog)– “As Kneebone writes in a new brief: “This trend indicates that an increased share of poor individuals today face the ‘double burden’ of not only their own poverty, but also the disadvantages of those around them.””

The amazingly rapid suburbanization of poverty (Danielle Kurtzlebel, Vox)

America’s marijuana policy isn’t funny.  It’s racist.  (German Lopez, Vox)– “But for minority, poorer populations, marijuana policy is much closer to a civil rights issue. Marijuana isn’t just a drug that they would like to be able to use and carry out in the open. Marijuana criminalization has historically been used to harass and arrest people in minority and poor communities at hugely disproportionate rates.”

The Federal Marijuana Ban is Rooted in Myth and Xenophobia (Brent Staples, NYT)

Sexuality

So It Really Is All About Sex Then, Rod? (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)– “That is a really striking statement – though not one that exactly comes as a surprise to those familiar with Rod’s evolution over the years. It’s striking because it doesn’t actually concern itself with doctrine, the critical content of a faith tradition, like, say, the Resurrection of Jesus or the doctrine of the Trinity. It is not about a literal reading of Scripture as the only avenue to truth; it is not about whether doctrine can evolve; it is not about a belief in a personal, intervening God as opposed to a more distant and absent one. It is entirely about how one manages one’s private parts.”

Gay and bisexual youth are nearly 4 times more likely to attempt suicide (German Lopez, Vox)

Education

How the Government Exaggerates the Cost of College (David Leonhardt, The Upshot)

The Gaza Crisis

American aid to Israel doesn’t seem to buy any leverage.  Why? (Zach Beauchamp, Vox)

The Explosive Inside Story of How John Kerry Built an Israel-Palestine Peace Plan– And Watched it Crumble (Ben Birnbaum and Amir Tibon)

Is Genocide Right for You? (Aaron Bady, The New Inquiry)

Resistance is justified when Gaza is occupied (Eric Ruder, Socialist Worker)

An Israel Without Illusions (David Grossman, NYT)– “Here in Israel, as soon as the war is over, we must begin the process of creating a new partnership, an internal alliance that will alter the array of narrow interest groups that controls us. An alliance of those who comprehend the fatal risk of continuing to circle the grindstone; those who understand that our borderlines no longer separate Jews from Arabs, but people who long to live in peace from those who feed, ideologically and emotionally, on continued violence.”

Terrorism in the Israeli Attack on Gaza (Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept)– “In American media discourse, when Palestinians overwhelmingly kill soldiers (95% of the Israeli death toll) who are part of an army that is blockading, occupying, invading, and indiscriminately bombing them and killing their children by the hundreds, that is “terrorism”; when Israelis use massive, brutal force against a trapped civilian population, overwhelmingly killing innocent men, women and children (at least 75% of the Palestinian death toll), with clear intentions to kill civilians (see point 3), that is noble “self-defense.” That demonstrates how skewed U.S. discourse is in favor of Israel, as well as the purely manipulative, propagandistic nature of the term “terrorists.””

The Problem with Both ‘Pro-Israel’ and ‘Anti-Israel’ (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “Once you stop worrying about whether you’re pro-Israel or anti-Israel, you can judge the Israeli government’s decisions, developments within Israeli society, and other questions related to the country each on their own terms. You can also make judgments about the conflict that are freed from the necessity so many feel to continually compare the Israeli government’s actions to Hamas’ actions, or the opinions of the Israeli public to the opinions of the Palestinian public, with the only important question being which side comes out ahead. Those comparisons end up dulling your moral senses, because they encourage you to only think in relative terms.”

Israel’s Moral Justification for Killing Civilians (Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon, In These Times)– “The crux of the matter is that in the context of contemporary asymmetric warfare, the weak do not have many options. When there are no bomb shelters, people remain at home during extensive bombardment. And if, like in the case of the Palestinians in Gaza, fleeing is not an option—because all exits from the strip have been closed, or because the neighbour’s house is under the exact same threat as one’s own, or because one is already a refugee and does not want to become a refugee anew—staying put, which the high-tech states term “illegal human shields,” constitutes a form of resistance.”

Palestine: The Hatred and the Hope (David Shulman, NYRB)

For Gaza, ‘The Norm’ is Devastating (Noam Chomsky, In These Times)

Why 70% of the people killed in Israel-Gaza violence are innocent Palestinian civilians (Max Fisher, Vox)– “On the one hand, surely Israel is responsible for the bombs it drops in areas it knows to be civilian, especially given its overwhelming military superiority in the conflict. On the other, Israel and its defenders argue that Hamas forces it launch these overwhelming campaigns in civilian areas; this is not totally unreasonably, due to the Hamas tactics explained above.  But Israel bears some responsibility for this end too. Part of this comes from an unresolved contradiction in Israeli policy, which is both to avoid civilian causalities and to punish Hamas with overwhelming force in a way that will deter it from attacking Israel”

Why I have become more pessimistic about Israel (Ezra Klein, Vox)

Mormonism

Church Leadership and the Dilemma of Dementia (Gina Colvin, KiwiMormon)– This is the kind of post that I used to dismiss as probably wishful thinking on the part of heterodox Mormons.  However, having recently received independent corroboration from within the COB and noting that nothing characterizes recent LDS PR struggles so much as the absence of the President of the Church, or of anything that resembles “prophetic” leadership, I think this is a live issue.

Who is God? (Part 1) (Jason K., By Common Consent)

R-rated content in a PG Mormon life (Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood)– “The “never see R-rated movies” approach is problematic for a couple of reasons. First, adult Mormons take a guideline that is intended for teenagers in the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and expand it to all Mormons in all times and places. This all-or-nothing tactic goes beyond even what our church leaders have advised adults to do.  The idea behind that extrapolation — that a 50-year-old has no more sense than a 15-year-old about the moral acceptability of whatever behavior is depicted in a work of art (or, let’s lower the bar here, any form of entertainment) –- is just silly.  And we lump all ages and individuals together for a dark reason: to avoid moral discernment. Many of us just don’t want to do the hard work of deciding what is appropriate and what is not, so we surrender that decision-making to others.”

An Apologetics of Care (smallaxe, Faith Promoting Rumor)– “An apologetics of care seeks to reconfigure the context that induces feelings such as frustration, fear, and anger. It does not seek to remove these feelings since they serve important moral functions (frustration can signal, for instance, the fact that something valuable cannot be tended to); rather it seeks to validate these feelings through a process of sympathy (discussed below). An apologetics of care recognizes that people are relational beings seeking concern, comfort, and communion often before seeking an answer to a question. It recognizes that answers to intellectual concerns, provided without tending to the relationships they invoke, all too often fail to recognize the reasons for anger and frustration. “

Volume 3.30 (July 21-27)

Picks of the Week

The Problem with Collective Grief (Arnon Grunberg, NYT)– “The sad thing about mourning is that it really is quite unshareable, that it involves an extremely individual emotion. People have the right not to show their emotions and not to share them, even when it comes to soccer and calamity.  From this, it follows that we also have the right to admit that we sometimes feel nothing at all. The whole world puts a claim on our feelings, from the lady next door to our family members and the panhandler on the street, from the news about Gaza and on to Ukraine, from Congo to Syria. Our emotions are constantly being claimed.  That these claims have a numbing effect on us, that we are often indifferent, that we are busy enough as it is trying to provide emotional succor for those closest to us, and often don’t even succeed in doing that, seems to me not so much a sign of our inhumanity, but of our humanity. Were we to actually allow the world’s suffering to sink in, we would quickly become psychiatric cases, lulled by the power of psychotropic medications into a state of detachment.”

Blacklisted: The Secret Government Rulebook for Labeling You a Terrorist (Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept)

Health Care

Busy Doctors, Wasteful Spending (Sandeep Jauhar, NYT)– “And therein lies the sad irony of the health cost containment paradigm in this country. There is no more wasteful entity in medicine than a rushed doctor.”

Two Americas on Health Care, and the Danger of Further Division (Margot Sanger-Katz, The Upshot)

A Challenge to American Doctors (Arnold Relman, NYRB)– “Nevertheless, it is hard to deny two basic and fairly obvious points the authors want to make. First, inadequate social services in the US contribute to our poor national health. Second, adding welfare expenditures to those of medical care does help to some extent to resolve the American “paradox” of high medical expenditures and relatively poor health outcomes. But the resolution is not as complete or convincing as claimed, and there is no evidence that expanding welfare programs, as Bradley and Taylor argue, would more effectively improve national health than directly reforming the payment and organization of medical services.”

Border Issues

The war on marijuana is racist.  So is the rest of the war on drugs (German Lopez, Vox)

Why the Border Crisis is a Myth (Veronica Escobar, NYT)– “The irony is that this cash-intensive strategy comes from leaders who consistently underfund health care, transportation and education. And they ignore the crucial fact that children crossing our borders aren’t trying to sneak around law enforcement: They are running to law enforcement.”

How the war on drugs drives the child migrant crisis (German Lopez, Vox)

Inside the remote, secretive detention center for migrant families (Dara Lind, Vox)

Foreign Affairs

Behind the Scenes in Putin’s Court: The Private Habits of a Latter-day Dictator (Ben Judah, Newsweek)

We need an international court to stamp out corruption (Mark L. Wolf, WaPo)

The Big Picture

Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League (William Deresiewicz, The New Republic)– “I used to think that we needed to create a world where every child had an equal chance to get to the Ivy League. I’ve come to see that what we really need is to create one where you don’t have to go to the Ivy League, or any private college, to get a first-rate education.  High-quality public education, financed with public money, for the benefit of all: the exact commitment that drove the growth of public higher education in the postwar years. Everybody gets an equal chance to go as far as their hard work and talent will take themyou know, the American dream. Everyone who wants it gets to have the kind of mind-expanding, soul-enriching experience that a liberal arts education provides. We recognize that free, quality K–12 education is a right of citizenship. We also need to recognizeas we once did and as many countries still dothat the same is true of higher education. We have tried aristocracy. We have tried meritocracy. Now it’s time to try democracy.”

The many stubborn kinds of inequality that children face growing up in the US (Emily Badger, Wonkblog)

Economics

The Real Raw Material of Wealth (Ricardo Hausmann, Project Syndicate)– “The moral of the story is that adding value to raw materials is one path to diversification, but not necessarily a long or fruitful one. Countries are not limited by the raw materials they have. After all, Switzerland has no cocoa, and China does not make advanced memory chips. That has not prevented these countries from taking a dominant position in the market for chocolate and computers, respectively.”

Religion

Where Reason Ends and Faith Begins (TM Luhrmann, NYT)– “FAITH asks people to consider that the evidence of their senses is wrong. In various ways, and in varying degrees, faith asks that people believe that their minds are not always private; that persons are not always visible; that unseen presences should alter your emotions and direct your behavior; that reality is good and justice triumphant. These are fantastic claims, and the fact of their improbability is not lost on those who accept them.”

Politics

Elizabeth Warren’s 11 commandments for progressives show Democrats don’t disagree on much (Matthew Yglesias, Vox)–

  1. We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.”
  2. “We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth.”
  3. “We believe that the Internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and that means real net neutrality.”
  4. “We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage.”
  5. “We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them.”
  6. “We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt.”
  7. “We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting Social Security, Medicare, and pensions.”
  8. “We believe—I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014—we believe in equal pay for equal work.”
  9. “We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America.”
  10. “We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform.”
  11. “And we believe that corporations are not people, that women have a right to their bodies. We will overturn Hobby Lobby and we will fight for it. We will fight for it!”

Corporations are people.  So what if people were corporations? (Catherine Rampell, WaPo)– “If companies are claiming the rights and privileges of people, maybe people should start claiming the rights and privileges of corporations. Rights harmonization, in other words, should flow in both directions, since we’re now all indistinguishable, equally protected“persons” — in the court’s eyes, anyway.”

A Different Idea of Our Declaration (Gordon S. Wood, NYRB)– “Jefferson’s notion of equality in fact went well beyond the political equality that Allen emphasizes. Jefferson believed that everyone, including the humblest of black slaves, had this moral sense, this capacity to feel affection toward his or her fellow human beings. This belief, stronger in Jefferson than in any other of the revolutionaries, is what has made him, a slaveholding aristocrat, the perennial spokesman for America’s democracy. Even as they differ on the meaning of equality, however, both Jefferson and Allen agree on one central point. Democracy requires that at some basic level everyone in a society must be considered the same.”

End Partisan Primaries, Save America (Charles Schumer, NYT)– “We need a national movement to adopt the “top-two” primary (also known as an open primary), in which all voters, regardless of party registration, can vote and the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, then enter a runoff. This would prevent a hard-right or hard-left candidate from gaining office with the support of just a sliver of the voters of the vastly diminished primary electorate; to finish in the top two, candidates from either party would have to reach out to the broad middle.”

The Public Lightens Up about Weed (Juliet Lapidos, NYT)

How Did the GOP Turn into a Bunch of Clowns? (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)

The Gaza Crisis

Are the Media Reporting the Gaza War Fairly? (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “If Israel is losing the propaganda war, it’s because propaganda can only take you so far when the facts are telling a story you’d rather people didn’t hear.Social media has something to do with it, but it’s still traditional media that show the largest numbers of people what’s going on. And when you have a Palestinian death toll that now exceeds 500 and is going nowhere but up while the numbers of Israeli civilians who have died is still in the single digits, you just aren’t going to be able to spin a story of equal suffering and blame. It’s as though Hamas said, “I dare you to kill those people,” and Israel replied, “You got it,” then turned to the rest of the world and said, “Hey, what do you want — he dared me!””

Who Bears More Responsibility for the War in Gaza? (John Judis, The New Republic)– “Israel is one of the world’s last colonial powers, and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are its unruly subjects. Like many past anti-colonial movements, Hamas and Fatah are deeply flawed and have sometimes poorly represented their peoples, and sometimes unnecessarily provoked the Israelis and used tactics that violate the rules of war. But the Israeli government has continued to expand settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to rule harshly over its subjects, while maintaining a ruinous blockade on Gaza. That’s the historical backdrop to the events now taking place.”

Wild speculation on a highly controversial subject (The Yorkshire Ranter)

MH17, Iraq, Gaza and the deadly verbal dance around killing people (Annabelle Lukin, The Conversation)– “The global outrage over the killing of 298 civilians on flight MH17, apparently by a missile fired by pro-Russian rebels, is deafening. But the killing of Palestinians by Israeli troops in the Gaza strip – now at a figure well beyond the death toll in the fields of the Ukraine – just doesn’t seem to get people as hot and bothered.  Dead Palestinian children are no less dead than dead Dutch, Malaysian or Australian children. They are equally killed – murdered – by missiles made and sold by war profiteers.  If we can’t condemn all killing, then our hand-wringing over the deaths of the MH17 passengers is hypocritical. We are no better than Putin.”

God’s Foreign Policy (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)– “What’s absurd is the lockstep support for anything Israel might do in the United States. It’s the only country which, in a conflict with a US administration, will have Congressional Republicans and Democrats backing a foreign government over their own – and being rewarded for it in terms of money and votes. It’s the only country in which a foreign leader can address the US Congress as a rebuke to the US president – and get a standing ovation. It’s the only foreign country that receives $3 billion in aid and still gets to dress down the US president in the White House itself.”

Why the US has the most pro-Israel foreign policy in the world (Zack Beauchamp, Vox)

Netanyahu’s ‘Telegenically Dead’ Comment is Grotesque but not Original (Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept)– “One can say many things about a military operation that results in more than 75 percent of the dead being civilians, many of them children, aimed at a population trapped in a tiny area with no escape. The claim that there is no intent to kill civilians but rather an intent to protect them is most assuredly not among them. Even stalwart Israel supporter Thomas Friedman has previously acknowledged that Israeli assaults on Lebanon, and possibly in Gaza, are intended ”to inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties” because “the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians” (which, to the extent it exists, is the classic definition of “terrorism”). The most generous claim one can make about what Israel is now doing in Gaza is that it is driven by complete recklessness toward the civilian population it is massacring, a form of intent under centuries of well-settled western law.”

Mormonism

A Bird in Hand is Worth Two in the Bush (Kimberly, Feminist Mormon Housewives)– “So, I propose that we start treating the people who are actually warming the pews as valued community participants, instead of perpetuating behaviors that alienate these members, including the coarse injunction to “just leave”, which is hardly the missionary perspective Christ embodied.   If we note that only 30% of LDS members actually attend church, it might be a better choice to value the fact they are invested enough to be there, regardless of political leanings, doubts, personal tragedies, struggles with doctrine, or even activists who are inspired to ask their leaders for revelation pertinent to modern days.”

A Lost & Tired Generation (Sara Katherine Staheli Hanks, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

The challenge of ‘hastening the work’ in the UK (Aaron R., By Common Consent)– “The church is not growing in the UK. Baptisms are slowing and the younger generation – those raised in the church here – are not staying. The converts of the 70s-80s are still running the church but are now less socially tied to it. More than all of this, the old guard are carrying the weight of the unfulfilled promise of eternal families to mundane services every week; and that is not sustainable.”

Volume 3.29 (July 14-20)

Pick of the Week– On the Slaughter of Innocents (A Paper Bird)– “You cannot reconcile the contradictions of killing people in the best way possible unless you translate “responsibility” into the most bloodless terms: make it a duty you owe to abstract principles and not specific people. Legalism triumphs. This arcane realm is where the logic of this work leads the committed human rights activist, away from the actual experiences of victims. “

The Gaza Crisis

How the West Chose War in Gaza (Nathan Thrall, NYT)– “The current escalation in Gaza is a direct result of the choice by Israel and the West to obstruct the implementation of the April 2014 Palestinian reconciliation agreement. The road out of the crisis is a reversal of that policy.”

Rockets and the Gaza resistance (Sid Patel, Socialist Worker)– “We should start with the fact that Gaza and the West Bank are under military occupation by Israel. International law consistently upholds the right of occupied people to armed resistance against the occupier. Even if it didn’t, the Palestine solidarity movement should base itself on the principle of self-determination for the oppressed, which in this context means we can’t make our support for the struggle contingent on the resistance meeting certain conditions.”

Understanding the Permanence of Greater Israel (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)

Why Israel and other foreign militaries– not the global poor– get the biggest US aid packages (Matthew Yglesias, Vox)

Yes, Gaza militants hide rockets in schools, but Israel doesn’t have to bomb them (Max Fisher, Vox)

The Border Crisis

On Southern Border, Mexico Faces Crisis of Its Own (Randal C. Archibold, NYT)

 

A flood of bigotry about the border (Mario Cardenas, Socialist Worker)

To stem the child migrant crisis, first stop poverty and violence (Oscar Arias, WaPo)

Foreign Affairs

Can the world get by without Russia? (James Meek, London Review of Books)– “So Russia is map-big, nuke-big, history-big and gas-big. But it is not, in reality, as big as it appears. Its neighbours are not obliged to define their existence as props and brackets for its weight. It would be a tragic consequence of Putin’s worldview were the world to shun his country for a time; it would also be expensive in the short term, which makes it unlikely. But if the question is ‘Can the world get by without Russia?’ the answer is ‘yes.’”

Culture Wars

The Astonishing Actual History of the Gay Rights Movement (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)

How to Duplicate the Sweeping Victory of Same-Sex Marriage (Mark and Paul Engler, In These Times)– “This was not a win that came in measured doses, but rather a situation in which the floodgates of progress were opened after years of half-steps and seemingly devastating reversals. It was not something enacted thanks to a senate majority leader twisting arms or a charismatic president pounding his bully pulpit. Instead, it came about through the efforts of a broad-based movement, pushing for increased acceptance of LGBT rights within a wide range of constituencies. The cumulative result was to change the terms of national debate, turning the impossible into the inevitable.  This is perhaps the most important point: Rather than being based on calculating realism—a shrewd assessment of what was attainable in the current political climate—the drive for marriage equality drew on a transformational vision. It was grounded in the idea that if social movements could win the battle over public opinion, the courts and the legislators would ultimately follow.”

 

Are liberals rescuing marriage? (Noah Smith, noahpinion)– “Sexual permissiveness means that sex isn’t about marriage. But that means that marriage isn’t about sex. Most of the upper-class liberal educated Americans I know who are in stable, happy marriages had their share of premarital sex. Knowing what that lifestyle is like — and realizing that they wanted more — allowed them to be more content in their marriages, and more realistic about what marriage is all about (i.e., lifetime companionship and raising kids).  Feminism may be even more important for families. With traditional gender roles, only a man who can be a sole breadwinner is a worthwhile mate. That rules out a lot of men, and it might be a reason why less-educated Americans’ conservative values are holding them back from getting married. Feminism, on the other hand, rewards fathers for sharing child care and housework, and frees them from the heavy burden of antiquated expectations.  In other words, maybe liberal morality is simply better adapted for creating stable two-parent families in a post-industrialized world. Maybe conservative family values are hard but brittle, like diamond, while liberal family values are strong like titanium — able to bend without breaking.”

Policy

What it would take for cities to eliminate the need to own a car (Emily Badger, Wonkblog)

Politics

One political party is actively working to make government fail (guess which one!) (Christopher Ingraham and Tom Hamburger)

How long can the GOP last as the cranky oldster party? (Matthew Yglesias, Vox)

Economics

Motivating Corporations to Do Good (Eduardo Porter, NYT)– ““I don’t think we would get very far in addressing large social concerns if we left them to corporations,” said Margaret Blair of Vanderbilt Law School. “The ethic of shareholder values is just too strong, and our social problems are just too big.”  Elected governments are certainly imperfect. But to address our most intractable ills, they are the better tool.”

Religion

Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College and a New Religious Order (Sarah Barringer Gordon and Nomi Stolzenberg, Religion & Policies)– “What do we learn from this history? First, the binary divisions offered in Hobby Lobby (for-profit/charitable; closely held/public; religious/secular and so on) do not reflect the complexity and variety of American religious and commercial life, both in history and in the present. Second, the assertion that the regulation of such religious corporations is hostile to religion and inimical to religious freedom is false. Across the country and for much of American history, these regulations co-existed with great religious growth and innovation. In other words, regulation need not entail repression, and traditionally has not operated to the detriment of religion in American life. “

 

Mormonism

#yettheyexcommunicatekate (Jerilyn Hassell Pool, Feminist Mormon Housewives)– Horrifying stories of genuine disruptive misconduct by men that went unpunished or only lightly punished.

Where Can We Turn for Peace? Not Our Leaders (Dorothy Hatch Ward, Feminist Mormon Housewives)– “Relief Society Presidencies, Bishoprics, Stake Presidencies, and other priesthood and auxiliary leaders up the church hierarchy are protectors of the institution. They are duty-bound to play for the church’s team. Generally they care about us, they love us, they are trying to do their best, but when it comes down to it, if the choice is between protecting us and protecting the church, 99.9% of the time they will protect the church.”

A Stake That Listens (Lisa Hadley, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

To my Mormon daughters (C. Jane Kendrick)

 

The End of the ‘Mormon Moment’ (Cadence Woodland, NYT)– “The church will continue to lose members like me until it realizes that messages about diversity and inclusion are hollow when excommunication and censorship are the responses to dissent. While the church invests in missionary work, especially overseas, an unwelcoming posture is likely to hinder its growth.  The true legacy of the Mormon Moment might just be that the church was given the chance that many religious institutions desperately need to stay relevant in the 21st century: the opportunity to open itself to criticism and inquiry. The church has chosen not to. And it has killed its own moment by doing so.”

“I wasn’t going to excommunicate anyone” (Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood)– Interview with Bob Rees.

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.”