Volume 3.26 (June 23-29)

Pick of the Week

Hero worship of the military is getting in the way of good policy (Benjamin Summers, WaPo)

Foreign Affairs

Fooling Mexican Fans (Francisco Goldman, NYT)– “The day before the Mexican soccer team’s thrilling underdog tie with the World Cup favorite, Brazil, last week, the lead editorial of the news site SinEmbargo was titled, “Ready for your Clamato and Gatorade?” — common hangover remedies. “In about three weeks, when you wake from your World Cup dreams,” the editors wrote, “remember that when the soccer fest began, the country was on the verge of monumental decisions. If upon waking, you realize that the country’s energy reserves have been cheaply sold off or whatever else, don’t bother protesting because this is a chronicle foretold.””

Breaking the Law to Go Online in Iran (Setareh Derakhshesh, NYT)

More punk, less hell! (Constantin Seibt, Tages Anzeiger)– How comedians and anarchists took the municipal government of Reykjavik.

The Big Picture

Inequality Begins at Birth (David Madrick, NYRB)

What Americans Think of the Poor (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “But the belief that “poor people have it easy” is just insane. It serves a psychological function—if you can convince yourself that poor people are living it up, then you can assuage whatever pangs of conscience you might feel for advocating that we cut food stamps or keep the minimum wage low or move heaven and earth to keep them from getting health insurance. It’s one thing to say that poverty in America today isn’t quite as miserable as in years past, because even if you’re poor you probably still have running water, a fridge, and a TV (this is a common argument conservatives make). But to actually believe they have it easy? What kind of person would agree to that?”

How America’s growing partisan split could be making the rich richer (Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox)


How the Common Core Supports Capital (Shawn Gude, In These Times)– “What should be the guiding ethos of public education in a democratic society? What are we preparing students for, other than participation in economic life? And how should schooling be structured to reflect democratic values?  The short answers: Incredulity, not docility, is the trait to inculcate, along with a citizenry disposed to questioning received wisdom and orthodoxy and a less hierarchical teacher-student relationship. In each instance, the Common Core is an impediment.”

Americans Think We Have the World’s Best Colleges.  We Don’t. (Kevin Carey, The Upshot)– “When President Obama has said, “We have the best universities,” he has not meant: “Our universities are, on average, the best” — even though that’s what many people hear. He means, “Of the best universities, most are ours.” The distinction is important.”

The Economy

Why World War I Matters to Today’s Economy (Neil Irwin, The Upshot)– “But the lesson of the Great War is that this state of the world isn’t something we should take for granted. Rather, it’s something that every national leader, and every voter, should feel urgency to defend. The need to learn those lessons is why we study history to begin with, and one hopes the centennial of World War I can bring more people to come to grips with an episode in human history we might prefer to forget.”

The Disruption Machine (Jill Lepore, New Yorker)– “Ever since “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” everyone is either disrupting or being disrupted. There are disruption consultants, disruption conferences, and disruption seminars. This fall, the University of Southern California is opening a new program: “The degree is in disruption,” the university announced. “Disrupt or be disrupted,” the venture capitalist Josh Linkner warns in a new book, “The Road to Reinvention,” in which he argues that “fickle consumer trends, friction-free markets, and political unrest,” along with “dizzying speed, exponential complexity, and mind-numbing technology advances,” mean that the time has come to panic as you’ve never panicked before. Larry Downes and Paul Nunes, who blog for Forbes, insist that we have entered a new and even scarier stage: “big bang disruption.” “This isn’t disruptive innovation,” they warn. “It’s devastating innovation.””

Health Care

Bigger Health Companies: Good for Medicare, Maybe Not for Others (Austin Frakt, The Upshot)– “Larger organizations have greater market power to demand higher prices from those plans for doctor visits and hospital stays. And higher prices paid by plans translate into higher premiums for consumers. (This doesn’t apply to Medicare because its prices are set by the government, and no provider organization has so much market clout that it can force Medicare to raise prices.)”


Citizen Bezos (Steve Coll, NYRB)


The Supreme Court Thinks You’re Better Off Paying $150/month for Cable (Tim Wu, The New Republic)

The Great Crime Wave & the Tragedy of Mass Incarceration (Paul Romer, NYU Urbanization Project)

Dear Thom Tillis: How Long Does it Take for a Black Person to Become a Traditional North Carolinian? (Cynthia Greenlee, The American Prospect)

6 charts that show that Republican vs. Democrat wildly oversimplifies American politics (Andrew Prokop, Vox)

The Beltway Myth (Elizabeth Drew, NYRB)– “This metaphorical Beltway has been assigned almost mystical qualities. It’s the castle in a Monty Python movie. The people within it are as isolated from the rest of the country as they are unanimous in their opinions. In order not to learn anything from anywhere else in the nation, it would appear that the “Beltway crowd” reads only local news, doesn’t watch national television news or talk shows, makes no long-distance calls, and doesn’t travel—or when it does it never discusses politics lest its confined collective mind be polluted by outside information. As a concept of how information and opinion move between Washington and the rest of the country “the Beltway” is epistemological nonsense.”


Questions and Answers (John Dehlin, Mormon Stories)– Brother Dehlin explains himself.

Banishing Dissent: The Excommunication of Mormon Activist Kate Kelly (Kristine Haglund, Religion & Politics)

Mormons Say Critical Online Comments Draw Threats from Church (Laurie Goodstein, NYT)

Cyberbullying and “Gospel Revenge” in the Kingdom (john f., By Common Consent)

The real Mormon moment is now (Joanna Brooks, Ask Mormon Girl)

Knocking at the Gate (Michael Austin, By Common Consent)– “But I do know that we are allowed to ask him why He does things. And we are allowed to ask Him to change His mind. Like Christiana, we can knock until our fingers are bloody, and we can cry until our voices are raw. God can handle it. He will either open the door or he won’t, but He is not diminished by our requests. Those who are knocking at the gate have taken upon themselves the difficult and necessary task of wrestling with an angel. It is an ancient and honorable occupation that sometimes works out and sometimes does not. But, on balance, it has caused the arc of history to bend a bit more quickly towards justice.”

These Men Are Not the Enemies (Winterbuzz, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

10 Words that Would Have Altered History and Preserved Zion (Katie L., Feminist Mormon Housewives)


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