Volume 2.20 (May 13-19)

Picks of the Week– I just can’t pick between the two of them, one shocking in its honesty and openness and the other just plain shocking.  My Medical Choice (Angelina Jolie, NYT) and Survivors- on street children (Ben Faccini, Aeon)

Politics

There is no alternative: on post-democracy (Henry Farrell, Aeon)

If Obama went Bulworth, here’s what he’d say (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog)

Washington gets explicit: its ‘war on terror’ is permanent (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

The rich can save Social Security, by giving up their checks (Jim Roumell, WaPo)– A quixotic quest, but maybe they will listen to one of their own.

Benghazi Was Neither a Terrorist Attack or an Act of Terror (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)

Preventative Measures (Hendrik Hertzberg, New Yorker)

Student Debt and the Crushing of the American Dream (Joseph Stiglitz, NYT)

The IRS Scandal

I think a better defense of this should have been forthcoming.  Agencies are entitled to use reasonable discretion, particularly in circumstances where their workload vastly exceeds the scope of their capacities.  And optics aside, what discretion could be more reasonable than to selectively apply higher scrutiny to the applications for tax-exempt status to groups that declare right there in the name that they are very very interested in politics?  To do otherwise and deliberately look the other way would have been administratively negligent.

Scandal Makers (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)

The Real IRS Scandal (Sheila Krumholz and Robert Weinberger, NYT)

The IRS Controversy and the Tax-Exempt Charade (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)

How is the IRS supposed to vet 501(c)(4) groups anyway? (Brad Plumer, Wonkblog)

The IRS was wrong to target the tea party.  They should’ve gone after all the 501(c)(4)s (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog)

Culture

One of Us (John Jeremiah Sullivan, Lapham’s Quarterly)

Why Star Trek Has to Come Back to Television as the Cable Show it was Always Meant to Be (Matthew Yglesias, Slate)– Plus, read Yglesias’ Completist feature in which he watches every TV episode and movie of Star Trek.

Will Blog for Swag (Jeff Saginor, The American Prospect)

Shooting Our Way to Safety (Charles Simic, NYRB)

The Joy of Tanking (Rany Jazayerli, Grantland)– Fingers crossed.

Entertainment News (Neal Gabler, NYT)– For the real Barbara Walters takedown, see Alex Pareene’s piece.

Why the world faces climate chaos (Martin Wolf, Financial Times)– “My view is, increasingly, that there is no point in making moral demands. People will not do something on this scale because they care about others, even including their own more remote descendants. They mostly care rather too much about themselves for that.”

Economics

Dirty Medicine (Katherine Eban, Forbes)

Here’s why hospitals set high prices (Sarah Kliff, Wonkblog)

Thinking Utopian: How about a universal basic income? (Mike Konczal, Wonkblog)

Millions of Americans live in extreme poverty.  Here’s how they get by. (Dylan Mathews, Wonkblog)

Bain Capital Might be Bad for America (Karl Smith, Forbes)– Not just another Mitt Romney hatchet job, but rather an important look at the difference between profits and innovation.

North Carolina needed 6,500 farm workers.  Only 7 Americans stuck it out.  (Dylan Mathews, Wonkblog)

How They Do It Elsewhere (Steven Greenhouse, NYT)

How Austerity Kills (David Stuckler, Sanjay Basu, NYT)

Mormonism and Modesty

The Friend and the Orange Tank Top: the difference between shaming and the Spirit (Lisa Butterworth, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

Children Can’t Dress Immodestly (Mathew, By Common Consent)

Appealing to your better half (Derek, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

 

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