The Nightstand (February 19)

The Nightstand got a little out of control this week, but it did not feel right to cull any of the things I found throughout the week.  There is some really solid work going on in these articles below, and all are highly recommended.


The Nightstand

How Companies Learn Your Secrets (Charles Duhigg, NYT Magazine)– To be totally frank, this stuff scares the hell out of me.

Billionaire Romney Donor Uses Threats to Silence Critics (Glenn Greenwald, Salon)– A scumbag on every level.

Mitt Romney, as a student at a chaotic time for BYU, focused on family, church (Jason Horowitz, WaPo)– I was less interested in the specific revelations about Romney’s biography than how the public might receive some of the less palatable behaviors of BYU administration in the 60s and 70s.

Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It (Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff, NYT)– Such an important story, bringing together a bunch of relevant threads of the debt and government story.  See also Paul Krugman’s Friday column in the NYT “Moochers Against Welfare“)

We’re More Unequal than You Think (Andrew Hacker, NYRB)

Religious Freedom and Contraception (John Holbo, Crooked Timber)- One of the best takes I have seen on this whole silly issue.

How to Handle China’s Xi Jinping (Timothy Garton Ash, LA Times)

Obama’s White Whale: How the campaign’s top-secret project Narwhal could change this race, and many to come. (Sasha Issenberg, Slate)– Wow.  


Burden of Proof: Should Evidence Determine Policy? (Richard Wilson, The New Humanist)– As someone with admittedly technocratic leanings, this was a good reminder– even evidence-seeking and evidence-gathering have their own ideology.  Nevertheless, those making claims in the marketplace, in the political debate arena, and in the media ought to be held more seriously to account for the evidence beyond all claims.


The Mobility Myth (Timothy Noah, The New Republic)


Protocols of the Elders (Yair Rosenberg, Tablet)– Cleverly-titled short article on the similarities between historical anti-Semitic smears and the kind of nonsense that is tossed around about Mitt Romney’s propensity toward theocracy.


Contraception’s Con Men (Garry Willis, New York Review of Books Blog)



Why Mass Effect is the Most Important Science Fiction Universe of our Generation (Kyle Munkkittrick, io9)- I am just now finishing my second playthrough of Mass Effect 2, and I finished the original a couple of months back, all in preparation for the release of the concluding chapter on March 6.  I agree whole-heartedly with the author– this deserves to take its place among the sci-fi canon for this generation and ones to come.  Ignore the comments.


Coming Apart: the Review (David Frum, The Daily Beast)– So glad to see this book get the thorough dismantling that it so richly deserves.  In short, Murray gets the causation backward– the middle and lower classes and the rest of the economy and society aren’t falling apart because their families and values are defective, their values and families are degenerating because the economy no longer supports them in many important ways.


Romney, Mormonism and the American Compromise (Terryl Givens, UChicago Marty Center blog)


The War on Contraception Goes Mainstream (Sady Doyle, In These Times)

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