Volume 3.27 (June 30-July 6)

Foreign Affairs

Japan Announces a Military Shift to Thwart China (David E. Sanger and Martin Fackler, NYT)

Health Care

The Health Care Waiting Game (Elisabeth Rosenthal, NYT)– “Americans are more likely to wait for office-based medical appointments that are not good sources of revenue for hospitals and doctors. In other countries, people tend to wait longest for expensive elective care — four to six months for a knee replacement and over a month for follow-up radiation therapy after cancer surgery in Canada, for example.  In our market-based system, patients can get lucrative procedures rapidly, even when there is no urgent medical need: Need a new knee, or an M.R.I., or a Botox injection? You’ll probably be on the schedule within days. But what if you’re an asthmatic whose breathing is deteriorating, or a diabetic whose medicines need adjustment, or an elderly patient who has unusual chest pain and needs a cardiology consultation? In much of the country, you can wait a week or weeks for such office appointments — or longer if you need to find a doctor who accepts your insurance plan or Medicare.”

The Illogic of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance (Uwe Reinhardt, The Upshot)– “The Supreme Court’s ruling may prompt Americans to re-examine whether the traditional, employment-based health insurance that they have become accustomed to is really the ideal platform for health insurance coverage in the 21st century. The public health insurance exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act are likely to nibble away at this system for small and medium-size business firms, especially those with a mainly low-wage work force.  In the meantime, the case should help puncture the illusion that employer-provided health insurance is an unearned gift bestowed on them by the owners and paid with the owners’ money, giving those owners the moral right to dictate the nature of that gift.”


Donors Give More When They Have a Sense of Belonging (Robert Schiller, NYT)– “I called this new form a “participation nonprofit,” meant for causes that need substantial contributions. Such an organization, which might run a school or a hospital, would offer to sell shares instead of requesting donations. The share sales would really be donations, but would be framed differently and come with rights that would change the whole giving experience.  Shareholders could vote their shares at stockholder meetings, as they would in a traditional corporation. The organization would pay some kind of dividend, too, though this would go into a restricted account, to be used only for a charitable purpose of the owner’s choosing. And shareholders could bequeath the stock to heirs, and could even sell it, though the proceeds would also go into the restricted account. For this plan to work well, people would need to receive a tax deduction for their share purchases, which are really irrevocable contributions to charity.”

The Town Where Immigrants Hit a Human Wall (Jennifer Medina, NYT)– There are some people in this story I’d like to send to Central America, but they aren’t the ones who are originally from there…


Hobby Lobby is Only the Beginning (Paul Horwitz, NYT)– “A country that cannot even agree on the idea of religious accommodation, let alone on what terms, is unlikely to agree on what to do next. A country in which many states cannot manage to pass basic anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation is one whose culture wars may be beyond the point of compromise. And a nation whose marketplace itself is viewed, for better or worse, as a place to fight both those battles rather than to escape from them is still less likely to find surcease from struggle.  Expect many more Hobby Lobbies.”

How to use a super PAC to kill super PACs (Brian Fung, The Switch)

Can The GOP Be a Party of Ideas? (Sam Tanenhaus, NYT)

Why the Fight Over Executive Authority Will Define the Rest of Barack Obama’s Presidency (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)– “You’ll notice that in their litany of supposed “lawlessness,” Republicans have no examples in which Obama acted to achieve something they agreed with him about on the substance. In most of these cases and others like them, what Republicans find particularly infuriating is that they thought they had successfully used the legislative process to stymie Obama, only to find that he had other means at his disposal to move forward on his goals.”

Here’s How We Can End Gerrymanding Once and For All (Nicholas Stephanopoulous)

The War on Workers (Cynthia Estlund and William Forbath, NYT)


Tim Howard Lost, But He Just Had the Best Match of the World Cup (Nate Silver, Five Thirty Eight)


When Beliefs and Facts Collide (Brendan Nyhan, The Upshot)– “In a new study, a Yale Law School professor, Dan Kahan, finds that the divide over belief in evolution between more and less religious people iswider among people who otherwise show familiarity with math and science, which suggests that the problem isn’t a lack of information. When he instead tested whether respondents knew the theory of evolution, omitting mention of belief, there was virtually no difference between more and less religious people with high scientific familiarity. In other words, religious people knew the science; they just weren’t willing to say that they believed in it.”

Why Polls Can Sometimes Get Things So Wrong (Lynn Vavreck, The Upshot)

A review of 166 independent studies confirms vaccines are safe and effective (Joseph Stromberg, Vox)


The economy’s troubling double standard for black men (Jonnelle Marte, Wonkblog)– “A black man with an associates degree has the same chances — about 88 percent– of finding a job as a white high school graduate, according to a recent analysis of employment rates and education for whites and minorities by Young Invincibles, a nonprofit group focusing on the economic issues impacting millennials. Getting a bachelor’s degree ups those chances to 93 percent for a black man, the same as a white man who dropped out of college.  “In a lot of ways that proves the saying that black people need to work twice as hard to compete in this country as white people,” says Tom Allison, policy and research manager for Young Invincibles and author of the report.”

Everyone does drugs, but only minorities are punished for it (German Lopez, Vox)– “Even though white and black people use drugs at similar rates, a 2009 report from Human Rights Watch found black people are much more likely to be arrested for drugs. In 2007, black people were 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for drugs than white people.”

Without Economic and Educational Justice, There is No Racial Justice (Reilly Morse, The American Prospect)

The Big Picture

Boom Meets Bust in Texas: Atop a Sea of Oil, Poverty Digs In (Manny Fernandez and Clifford Krauss, NYT)

The $236,500 Hole in the American Dream (Dean Starkman, The New Republic)– Closing the racial wealth gap.


Who’s the Prophet Here? (RT, Faith Promoting Rumor)

Genesis of Doubt (Seth Payne, Worlds Without End)– “Is it too much to expect that Prophets, Seers, and Revelators respond to these questions — opening the scriptures to reason with the Church and show why, precisely, the current policy is based on both scripture and revelation?  Honestly, even a claim of modern revelation — if only in the form of inspiration such as that described by SWK in 1978 — confirming that women should not hold priesthood office or exercise its power (under normal circumstances and outside the temple) would have been enlightening and comforting because it would show that 1) Church leaders care about the concerns and questions presented to them as God’s representatives on earth and 2) they are willing, just like ancient prophets and Apostles, to present a defense or explanation of their position.”


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