Volume 2.8 (February 18-24)

Apologies for the late posting of last week’s edition, but this was happening to my family last Sunday morning…

Photo: My beautiful niece, Eleanor, is here!!!

Read of the Week– Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us (Steven Brill, Time)– An absolute tour de force.  The research here must have been just as meticulous as the individual stories are maddening and heartbreaking.  As an attorney who works for hospitals and other health care clients, I feel a little worse about myself today. (I’m not saying that I was ignorant of the chargemaster or the fact that what hospitals charge is not necessarily what they collect from any insurance, including Medicare/Medicaid.  Anybody with an EOB from their insurance company can figure that out.  But the extent of the overcharging and variation in charging for the same items and services is truly appalling.)  Matthew Yglesias adds an interesting sidenote about doctor’s incomes (which he argues are too high) at Slate.

A close second place for read of the week goes to The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food (Michael Moss, NYT)

Feminism

Looking Back at a Domestic Cri de Couer (Janet Maslin, NYT)– Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Betty Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique.  A more critical take by Jennifer Schuessler (NYT) here.

Economics

How Capitalism Creates the Welfare State (Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish)

The wage theft epidemic (Spencer Woodman, In These Times)

Clayton Christensen wants to transform capitalism (Jeff Howe, Wired)– I was fortunate enough to be a friend of Christensen’s son Matt during my undergraduate years at Duke.  That association has blessed me multiple times throughout my life, including helping me land my current job.

Major Banks Aid in Payday Loans Banned by States (Jessica Silver-Greenberg, NYT)

In Paid Family Leave, U.S. Trails Most of the Globe (Tara Siegel Bernard, NYT)– Mine was one week (ending today).  That’s not nearly enough, even for a father.

Politics

Homeless, Hungry and Hung Out to Dry (Bryce Covert, The American Prospect)

Old and Rich? Less Help for You (Yuval Levin, NYT)– Why means-testing isn’t universal for government programs, I will never understand.

It’s For Your Own Good! (Cass R. Sunsteon, NYRB)

The premises and purpose of American exceptionalism (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

Lone Star Blues (Richard Parker, NYT)– A new group, Battleground Texas, run by Obama’s old campaign field director, just joined the fray earlier this month.

Religion

The Papal Abdication (Joseph Bottum, The Weekly Standard)

Overcoming Correlation, or Mormon Studies and Pastoral Care (Seth Payne, Worlds Without End)– In full agreement with Seth’s thoughts here.  Further comment by Dave Banack at Times & Seasons.

Black History Month at the JI: An Abortive Campaign against the Folklore (Armand Mauss, Juvenile Instructor)

Online Battle over Sacred Scrolls, Real World Consequences (John Leland, NYT)– Had to include this story just for the first line and the general craziness of it.

Culture

Scholar Finds Flaws in Work by Archenemy of Comics (Dave Itzkoff, NYT)– See the Rowan Kaiser article below as well, the fearmongering about video games will likely turn out to be of a piece with similar fears about comics.

Guns

NRA: No Research Allowed (Susan J. Douglas, In These Times)

The Glocks are falling! The Glocks are falling! (Kent Greenfield, The American Prospect)

Saving Private Gamer (Rowan Kaiser, The American Prospect)

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