Volume 2.31 (July 29-August 4)

Pick of the Week– Star Script Doctor Damon Lindelof Explains the New Rules of Blockbuster Screenwriting (Scott Brown, The Vulture)– Fantastic interview which seems to nail just about every single thing that is going wrong with movies these days.

Economics

Stranded by Sprawl (Paul Krugman, NYT)

With Fewer Barbarians at the Gate, Companies Face a New Pressure (Steven M. Davidoff, NYT DealBook)

The Power Behind the Throne at the Federal Reserve (Jesse Eisinger, NYT DealBook)– This same insight, by the way, is true of the federal and state court systems as well.  Clerks are a wholly unrelated influence on the judges and a power in their own right.  My experience clerking on the Utah Supreme Court left me shocked at how much discretion is left to some of the clerks.

Publicly owned companies need to invest (Harold Meyerson, WaPo)

Pennies at the Register, Dollars in the Paycheck (David Sirota, In These Times)

International

Lawyer Who Beat Chevron in Ecuador Faces Trial of His Own (Clifford Krauss, NYT)– I have said it before on this blog.  You will never get any money out of Chevron.  Ever.

In the Violent Favelas of Brazil (Suketu Mehta, NYRB)

English is a Dialect with an Army (Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic)

Culture

The Persisting Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema (Martin Scorsese, NYRB)– If it weren’t for the Lindelof interview above, I would have made this a pick of the week.  I’m trying to get more into classic cinema, instead of fretting so much about seeing the entirely forgettable new summer blockbuster.

Boycott Sochi? (Dave Zirin, Grantland)– I’m with the group (like Stephen Fry) who insist that the solution for the Olympics is not any one team, or group of teams, boycotting the games, but rather to strip Russia of the Games in their entirety.  It’s risky, but it is not as if there are not several cities with the necessary infrastructure.  The whole thing would probably turn out to be a mess, but I think people would give one of these cities with only six months’ notice the benefit of the doubt.

How Gay Marriage Became Legitimate (Richard A. Posner, The New Republic)

Legend of the Oregon Trail (Mental Floss)

What is ‘Seinfeld’ Worth? (Jared Bernstein and Dean Baker, NYT)

After Trayvon, black families are angry.  They should be. (Harold Pollack, Wonkblog)

The Big Picture

Luck, careers and income inequality (Phil Birnbaum, Sabremetric Research)

Why is the U.S.’s 1 percent so much richer than everywhere else? (Lydia DePillis, Wonkblog)

Over a Million Are Denied Bank Accounts for Past Errors (Jessica Silver-Greenberg, NYT DealBook)

All This Inequality Talk Does Nothing for the Poor (Clive Crook, Bloomberg View)

Feminism

Funny how gender never came up during Bernanke’s nomination. Or Greenspan’s.  Or Volcker’s. (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog)

I Do Not Want My Daughter to Be ‘Nice’ (Catherine Newman, NYT)– I have the same concerns about my daughter, who is a sweet sensitive nearly-5 year old.  Her kindness and sensitivity are deeply admirable qualities in any person, child or otherwise.  But they might be too risky as an adult, particularly an adult American female in a religious tradition that can walk all over its women.

The Surveillance State

Sen. Obama warned about Patriot Act abuses.  President Obama proved him right (Timothy B. Lee, The Switch)

NSA tool collects ‘nearly everything a user does on the Internet’ (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

Politics

The media loves covering scandals.  We don’t love telling you when the scandal falls apart. (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog)– This tells you most of you know about 24-hour cable news coverage.

Moral Mondays and the South’s New Liberal Gospel (Abby Rapoport, The American Prospect)– I am equal parts ashamed and proud to no longer be living in North Carolina for the Republic takeover and the progressive backlash.

Inside the Obamacare resistance (Sarah Kliff, Wonkblog)

The Texas Legislature’s Sexist Little Secret (Olivia Messer, Texas Observer)– If this is the way they act in “private,” how surprised should we be about their misogynistic antics on the public’s behalf.

Detroit

Grand plans by presidents, Republicans and Democrats, fail in Detroit (Michael A. Fletcher, Wonkblog)– Point.

Motown Down (John Cassidy, New Yorker)– Counterpoint.

Mormonism

My faith crises (Ronan James Head, By Common Consent)

Mormon Doubt Part 2: Two Recent Approaches to Reaching Out (Trevor Luke, Worlds Without End)

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