Volume 3.16 (April 14-20)

Pick of the Week– Uncivil Disobedience and the Opposite of Patriotism (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “If it was civil disobedience, he’d pay what he owes and then try, through the courts and public opinion, to change what he sees as these unjust grazing fees. But he hasn’t done that. He just refused to pay, and then led a heavily-armed standoff with the government.”

Foreign Affairs

Where I stand on containing Iran (Rand Paul, WaPo)– “Rather, it means that foreign policy is complicated and doesn’t fit neatly within a bumper sticker, headline or tweet.”

Playing Putin’s Game (Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest)

The Slaughter Bench of History (Ian Morris, The Atlantic)– “War is mass murder, and yet, in perhaps the greatest paradox in history, war has nevertheless been the undertaker’s worst enemy. Contrary to what the song says, war has been good for something: over the long run, it has made humanity safer and richer.”

What Crimea teaches us about the perils of personalized maps (Emily Badger, Wonkblog)

Health Care

Cost of Treatment May Influence Doctors (Andrew Pollack, NYT)– “Saying they can no longer ignore the rising prices of health care, some of the most influential medical groups in the nation are recommending that doctors weigh the costs, not just the effectiveness of treatments, as they make decisions about patient care.”

These 15 charts show our health care prices are totally insane (Sarah Kliff, Vox)

Race

Veterans and White Supremacy (Kathleen Belew, NYT)– “The report singled out one factor that has fueled every surge in Ku Klux Klan membership in American history, from the 1860s to the present: war. The return of veterans from combat appears to correlate more closely with Klan membership than any other historical factor.”

John Roberts and the Color of Money (Tom Levenson, The Atlantic)– “But even these pathologies are vastly less severe than those to be found through the lens of race. People of color are almost entirely absent from the top donor profile, and none more so than members of the community that white Americans enslaved for two centuries”

Education

Republics See Political Wedge in Common Core (Jonathan Martin, NYT)

The Big Picture

The Single Mother, Child Poverty Myth (Matt Bruenig, The American Prospect)– “Thus, high child poverty in the U.S. is not caused by some overwhelming crush of single mother parenting. The lowest of the low-poverty countries manage to get along in the world with similar levels of single mother parenting just fine. Morever, relatively high child poverty rates are the rule in every single family type in the U.S., not just some single mother phenomenon. We plunge more than 1 in 5 of our nation’s children into poverty because we choose to.”

Treat wage theft as a criminal offense (Catherine Rampell, WaPo)

Why America’s favorite anarchist thinks American workers are slaves (PBS NewsHour)– “Another example I always give is the John Lennon argument. Why are there no amazing new bands in England anymore? Ever since the ’60s, it used to be every five, 10 years, we’d see an incredible band. I asked a lot of friends of mine, well, what happened? And they all said, well they got rid of the dole. All those guys were on the dole. Actually in Cockney rhyming slang, the word for dole is rock and roll — as in, “oh yeah, he’s on the rock and roll.” All rock bands started on public relief. If you give money to working class kids, a significant number of them will form bands, and a few of those bands will be amazing, and it will benefit the country a thousand times more than all of those kids would have done had they been lifting boxes or whatever they’re making them do now as welfare conditionality.”

The new study about oligarchy that’s blowing up the Internet, explained (Andrew Prokop, Vox)– “Who really matters in our democracy — the general public, or wealthy elites? That’s the topic of a new study by political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern. The study’s been getting lots of attention, because the authors conclude, basically, that the US is a corrupt oligarchy where ordinary voters barely matter. Or as they put it, “economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.””

Are better schools the solution to poverty? (Gary Lapon, Socialist Worker)– “IF YOU think about it, the resources to end poverty exist in abundance, and they aren’t generally found inside of school buildings.  There are plenty of empty homes to house all the homeless and people living in substandard housing. There is plenty of food, within the U.S. and around the world, to feed everyone who is hungry. The technology exists to keep people–all people–healthy and living longer. Society is rich enough to ensure a decent standard of living for everyone in it.  But accomplishing any of these things depends on a redistribution of the wealth that currently resides in the pockets of the small minority who own and control in this society–many of the very same millionaires and billionaires who, not coincidentally, fund the “reformers” who claim it is necessary to fix education before it is possible to end poverty. History teaches us that the only way the U.S. ruling class has ever parted with even a small portion of its wealth is when it was forced to by struggle from below, particularly the struggles of the union movement.”

Politics

How Democratic and Republican morals compare to the rest of the world (Christopher Ingraham, Wonkblog)

Where your tax dollars go, in one chart (Matthew Yglesias, Vox)

Innovation: The Government Was Crucial After All (Jeff Madrick, NYRB)

Mormonism

On Mormon blogging, by “an accomplice of Lucifer” (Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood)

Why would a young person today be religious? (Damon Linker, The Week)– “In responding to the indifference of the nones, religious institutions face two challenges. First, convincing the nones to recognize and respect their own religious longings. Second, persuading them that what the churches teach and demand can truthfully satisfy those longings. My own view is that the first should be relatively easy to accomplish, but that the second may well be impossible.”

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