Volume 3.24 (June 9-15)

Pick of the Week— Pick any of the below on the John Dehlin/Kate Kelly debacle.


This map shows every school shooting since Sandy Hook.

The Big Picture

U.S. inequality goes beyond dollars and cents (Larry Summers, WaPo)– “It is important to remember, however, that important aspects of inequality are unlikely to be transformed just by limited income redistribution. Consider two fundamental components of life: health and the ability to provide opportunity for children.”

The damage of poverty is visible as early as kindergarten (Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox)

The Police State

War Gear Flows to Police Departments (Matt Apuzzo, NYT)


The Battle Over Dress Codes (Peggy Orenstein, NYT)– Good to see the modesty debate leave the ghetto of Mormonism.

No Money, No Time (Maria Konnikova, NYT)– “The poor are under a deadline that never lifts, pressure that can’t be relieved. If I am poor, I work or I churn until decisions like buying lottery tickets begin to seem like attractive alternatives. I lack the time to calculate the odds and think of alternative uses for my money.”


Why Polling Fails (Frank Luntz, NYT)– “Ironically enough in this wired-up age, the face to face remains a fundamental component of exploring voter mind-set. It is only by being in a room with voters that you can truly get the answer you need. It is about asking the right questions of the right people, and demanding honest answers.”

The single most important fact about American politics (Ezra Klein, Vox)– “Perhaps the single most important fact about American politics is this: the people who participate are more ideological and more partisan, as well as angrier and more fearful, than those who don’t.”

Polarization is Dividing American Society, Not Just Politics (Nate Cohn, The Upshot)

Message to ‘Moral Monday’ Protestors: Be Silent– Or Else (Leo Gerard, In These Times)

Voter Fraud is Rare, But Myth is Widespread (Brendan Nyhan, The Upshot)

The unelectable whiteness of Scott Walker (Alec MacGillis, New Republic)– “This interpretation of Walker’s appeal could hardly be more flawed. He has succeeded in the sort of environment least conducive to producing a candidate capable of winning a national majority. Over the past few decades, Walker’s home turf of metropolitan Milwaukee has developed into the most bitterly divided political ground in the country“the most polarized part of a polarized state in a polarized nation,” as a recent series by Craig Gilbert in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it. Thanks to a quirk of twentieth-century history, the region encompasses a heavily Democratic and African American urban center, and suburbs that are far more uniformly white and Republican than those in any other Northern city, with a moat of resentment running between the two zones. As a result, the area has given rise to some of the most worrisome trends in American political life in supercharged form: profound racial inequality, extreme political segregation, a parallel-universe news media. These trends predate Walker, but they have enabled his ascent, and his tenure in government has only served to intensify them. Anyone who believes that he is the Republican to save his partylet alone win a presidential electionneeds to understand the toxic and ruptured landscape he will leave behind.”

The Three Curses Faced by Democrats — And How to Lift Them (Paul Starr, The American Prospect)

Does Fox News Cause Ignorance, or Do Ignorant Viewers Prefer Fox News? (Danny Vinik, New Republic)


The Washington Post Misused Data on Violence Against Women (Mona Chalabi, FiveThirtyEight)– “The op-ed focused on marriage, but marriage isn’t the only thing that could affect intimate partner violence. There could be other factors at play. Intimate violence rates are lower among married women, but we can’t rule out the possibility of confounding variables. To put the point more plainly: “the marrying kind tend to be more educated, wealthier and whiter,” so the focus on marriage should come with some exploration of the fact that education, income and race could also partly explain trends in intimate violence.”


Silicon Valley Tries to Remake the Idea Machine (Claire Cain Miller, The Upshot)


Colleges are full of it: Behind the three-decade scheme to raise tuition, bankrupt generations, and hypnotize the media (Thomas Frank, Salon)

Making Schools Poor (Diane Ravitch, NYRB)– I’m not a supporter of tenure for public school teachers for various reasons, but its not because I think it is the main obstacle to giving our children effective educations.


A History of Women’s Excommunication (Juvenile Instructor)

On Excommunication (Ronan, By Common Consent)– “The fact is that many of those rocked by these things are active Mormons who serve faithfully in their wards. I know that they are in a minority in the church, but they also tend to be people of great talent and experience and so their disaffection is a loss to more than just their own families. I know this because they are people I know, including members of my own family whose talents are really missed in wards that really need them. Their loss, or even their increasing apathy, will contribute to those empty pews remaining unfilled. The gospel of love, so desperately needed in a world in which we are crying out for the kind of principled leadership that can answer the great questions about conflict, about greed, about the environment, about the poor, about preaching Christ in a secular world, is being sold for a mess of boundary maintenance so narrow that it may one day exclude half of the church.”

When it Really Matters (Tariq Khan, The Mormon Worker)– “We are in a moment right now when a few good Latter-day Saints, in spite of Church authority and in spite of the orthodox attitudes of many mainstream Mormons, are articulating dissenting ideas, and because of that, they are being targeted by authority for “Church discipline” and even possible excommunication.  Kate Kelly, John Dehlin, and Alan Rock Waterman, among others, are being targeted by Church authorities because they dare to stand against inequality within the Church, because they dare to make waves, because they dare to ask unorthodox questions, and because they dare to stand up for themselves and for others who are marginalized or denigrated by the Church.  Now is that moment when it matters to take a provocative stand.  Now is that moment when it can make a difference to be that one voice in the branch, ward, or stake who speaks in defense of these targeted heretics.  What are we going to do?  Be good obedient citizens?  Or will we be courageous enough to toss aside deference for authority and take the moral stand when it really matters?”

The Importance of Religious Heresy: Recent Contemplations (Gina Colvin, Kiwi Mormon)

Who Calls Apostasy? Picking Up the Pieces When Local Leaders Fail (Emily Belanger, Peculiar People)

This will have no effect on Internet Mormonism.  It’s much worse than that. (Cynthia L., By Common Consent)– “Instead, the outcome will be great damage to bricks-and-mortar Mormonism. What kills me is the thought of the thousands upon thousands of microaggressions this will unleash in chapels, foyers, family reunions, carpeted cultural halls, and RS Park Day moms’ groups. It is emboldening those who would divide our wards and wreak havoc on Zion in our in-person, flesh-and-blood religious lives.”


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