Volume 2.52 (Dec 23-29)

Pick of the WeekGovernor Grinch (Brad Kramer, By Common Consent)

Healthcare

ER Costs for Mentally Ill Soar, and Hospitals Seek Better Way (Julie Creswell, NYT)

The Economy

For ESPN, Millions to Remain in Connecticut (Steve Eder, NYT)

If the Private Sector is So Great, Why Did UPS Botch Christmas? (Alec Macgillis, New Republic)– “As amazing and wonderful as technology is, there are still limits to what is possible in narrow windows of time – sometimes you just need a few more weeks to get the complex new health insurance Web site for 36 states working properly, or you just run out of hours to beat Santa to the house – to millions and millions of houses. ”

U.S. Struggles to Keep Pace in Delivering Broadband Service (Edward Wyatt, NYT)– “Riga[, Latvia]’s average Internet speed is at least two-and-a-half times that of San Antonio’s, according to Ookla, a research firm that measures broadband speeds around the globe. In other words, downloading a two-hour high-definition movie takes, on average, 35 minutes in San Antonio — and 13 in Riga.”

Education

The Politics of Scholarship (Ray Haberski, U.S. Intellectual History blog)– “It would be empirically wrong to argue that the United States and Israel do not at time act like imperialist behemoths.  But are they not also more than that? And if so, what then is our obligation to scholarship that exists outside the politics of a particular academic society?  Judging from the machinations over its boycott, the ASA has limited its mission yet again by reducing the size of the “tent” under which scholars and their subjects might congregate.  As an academic association, that action is among the very few profound moves it can make, and in light of its particular history, it is an action with the potential—real and intended—to force scholars to further politicize their scholarship.”

Snowden

Three things I learned from the Snowden files (Jay Rosen, Pressthink)

The Snowden saga heralds a radical shift in capitalism (Evgeny Morozov, Financial Times)– “What eludes Mr Snowden – along with most of his detractors and supporters – is that we might be living through a transformation in how capitalism works, with personal data emerging as an alternative payment regime. The benefits to consumers are already obvious; the potential costs to citizens are not. As markets in personal information proliferate, so do the externalities – with democracy the main victim. This ongoing transition from money to data is unlikely to weaken the clout of the NSA; on the contrary, it might create more and stronger intermediaries that can indulge its data obsession. So to remain relevant and have some political teeth, the surveillance debate must be linked to debates about capitalism – or risk obscurity in the highly legalistic ghetto of the privacy debate.”

Politics

Beware Mayorphilia (Catherine Tumber, In These Times)– “With all their pluck and resourceful get-it-done-ism and cross-border networking, the world’s lovable mayors might be able to protect their constituents from the worst effects of climate change and wealth inequality. But they will never have the countervailing power to take down the far more insidiously networked Masters of the Universe, the root cause of most of our troubles—urban and otherwise.”

The Lobbyists and Legislators Who Kill Municipal Broadband in America (Matthew Yglesias, Slate Moneybox)– “So it’s not a question of should a municipally owned utility spend money on building a fiber-optic network. It’s a question of given that the municipally owned utility already has a fiber-optic network, shouldn’t it do something with it? The Texas state Legislature, doing the bidding of local telecom firms, says no. It can’t.  That’s insane.”

Culture

Why I’m Against ‘Daddy Days’ (Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic)– “So rather than hear about the stigma men feel in terms of taking care of kids, I’d like for men to think more about the stigma that women feel when they’re trying to build a career and a family. And then measure whatever angst they’re feeling against the real systemic forces that devalue the labor of women. I think that’s what’s at the root of much of this: When some people do certain work we cheer. When others do it we yawn. I appreciated the hosannas when I was strolling down Flatbush, but I doubt the female electrician walking down the same street got the same treatment.  This is obviously not a case against parental leave, so much as its a beef with the idea of “paternity leave.” I always worry when we have to couch our language so that people with power don’t get their feelings hurt. So you feel stigmatized for a few years. We’re all very sorry, and hope for the day when you don’t. (Thoughwith that ugly Baby Bjorn on, son, you should be stigmatized. Not hood at all, my dude.) But the fact that we even have to use the phrase “Daddy Days,” that we must have branding for men, says a lot about whose work we value and whose we don’t.”

Mormonism

Why Mormons Should Be Hopeful Gay Marriage Doesn’t Tear the Church Apart (Mathew, By Common Consent)– “The place gay people should have in our society and the legal rights accorded them are among the great issues of our time. It is good for the populace to have a conversation about them. It is even better when the conversation is had not just in magazines and newspapers or among like-minded people, but among a divided citizenry, preferably face to face in churches and family rooms where you are reminded of the ties that bind. Mormonism’s unique demography and social structure with an assist from the calendar have resulted in a largely civil discourse on an important civic matter. The last few days have made me hopeful that wherever we end up as a church, we will arrive as a people.”

Faculoner, Sorenson, Welch and Others on Scripture Study and Teaching (Ben S., Times and Seasons)

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