Volume 2.12 (March 18-24)

Pick of the Week– Your Favorite Show is Too Long (David Haglund, Slate)- I wrote something similar about this several years back (link here)


David Brooks v. the House Progressives (Matthew Yglesias, Slate)

The Grim American History of the ‘Bicentennial Minute’ (Sarah Marshall, The Awl)

Seeking Profit for Taxpayers in Potential of New Drug (Jonathan Weisman, NYT)

Paul Ryan wants to cut income taxes; Bobby Jindal wants to kill them dead (Dylan Mathews, Wonkblog)

Weird Friends of the Court (Kent Greenfield, The American Prospect)

How Noam Chomsky is Discussed (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

Forty Years Behind on Sick Leave Policy, but Catching Up (Sharon Lerner, The American Prospect)

The Insupportable Equilibrium of Economic Thought (Mark Buchana, Bloomberg View)

In Some States, Gun Rights Trump Orders for Protection (Michael Luo, NYT)– This ought to be a national disgrace.  I would love to see KagroX add this to his running list of #gunfail.

Companies: Show Us the Money (Thomas DiNapoli and Bill de Blasio, NYT)

Why the Rich Don’t Give to Charity (Ken Stern, The Atlantic)– Like the article says, “because they’re assholes.”

Mormonism and Religion

Wealth Disparity and Social Decline: Perspectives from the Book of Mormon (Seth Payne, Worlds without End)

Women Praying in General Conference and Grassroots Efforts (JJohnson, Juvenile Instructor)– One of the most frequent criticisms that “protest” movements within the LDS Church get is that the Church is run by revelation and that leaders do not respond to pressure or input from “below.”  The historical truth is that almost everything the Church does today is the result of somebody other than the hierarchy’s ideas– Primary, Sunday School, the welfare program, the Relief Society, and the list goes on.

Dumb Reasons for Exclusively Male Priesthood (Alison Moore Smith, Times & Seasons)- The growing movement for women’s ordination in the LDS Church has forced me to think about this issue in depth for the first time (I am sorry to say).  My own conclusions run something like this:  Point me to a scripture in the LDS canon that (1) states that only men are allowed to hold the priesthood and (2) explains why.  I do not think that you can.  There are plenty of scriptures that take for granted a male-only priesthood, so much so that no one ever attempts to justify such a restriction.  That still leaves up for debate what the real origin is, but it seems to me that all the reasons that are thrown out, like the ones Alison enumerates here, are just the same sort of “folklore” that was trotted out to justify a ban on those of black African descent holding the priesthood prior to 1978.  It works with a slightly different orientation (putting women on a pedestal rather than declaiming their especially wicked past), but the effect is the same.

Rethinking the Proclamation (Dave Banack, Times & Seasons)

In Praise of Priestly Marriage (Peter Manseau, NYT)

Truth for our Times (mmiles, By Common Consent)– Punch line- be careful about labeling values, doctrine and so on “eternal,” “unchanging” or “timeless.”  You will always be wrong.

Debunked within a Week

Unfit for Work: The startling rise of disability in America (Chana Joffe-Walt, NPR)– I understand that some of the underlying facts set forth in this story have been challenged or at least problematized.  I still need to listen to the original This American Life podcast, and find some of the more complete critiques.  Having read it, I was immediately troubled by what I perceived as the moralism and assumptions of fraud that surrounded this trend.  I’m glad to know there is some more meat on that critique.

The Retro Wife (Lisa Miller, New York) – Another false trend story.  See debunking here– Have You Heard? Feminism’s Over (Jaclyn Friedman, The American Prospect)

Foreign Policy

In Defense of Obama’s Israel Speech (Marilyn Katz, In These Times)

The War We Couldn’t See (Christian Caryl, NYRB)


Learned Helplessness: Men as Victims of their own Sexuality (Rune, Feminist Mormon Housewives)


Anthony Robles’ Last Escape (David Merrill, Deadspin)

Building a Narrative that’s Explosive (Chris Sullentrop, NYT)- I have not yet played the newest iteration in the Gears of War franchise, which is the focus of this article, but I am currently deeply enmeshed in the world of Bioshock Infinite, a more narrative-heavy “literary” game franchise.  Games are meant to be fun first and foremost, but I look forward to a crop of future games that respects the growing age and maturity of gamers, as those who started as children in my generation become full-fledged adults.


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