Volume 3.37 (Sept 8-14)

Pick of the WeekThe Death of Adulthood in American Culture (A.O. Scott, NYT)

We Need Women


Mostly White Forces in Mostly Black Towns: Police Struggle for Racial Diversity (Shaila Dewan, NYT)

Foreign Affairs

Video Nation (Timothy Egan, NYT)– “We are roused to action by cruel realism, but only if it looks and sounds authentic. Reasoned calls to our better angels are no longer enough. It takes the YouTube snuff films of gangsters with a religious cause, or the fuzzy images captured by an elevator robo-cam, to move a nation.”

Here’s everything you need to know about ‘too extreme for al-Qaeda’ ISIS (Gary Brecher, Pando)

Obama’s Unauthorized War (David Cole, NYRB)

Experts: Obama’s legal justification for the war on ISIS is ‘a stretch’ (Amanda Taub, Vox)

Why More Americans Should See the Beheading Videos (Peter Maass, The Intercept)– “In the end, it is a strange twist: Instead of pushing us away from war, as the Vietnam generals feared, images of American casualties are now driving us into the vortex. Would seeing more of it really help? Instead of reasoned discussion, might there be more howls for revenge? Or might there be shrugs of seen-it-before indifference, as Susan Sontag warned in her 2002New Yorker essay, “Looking at War?” I wish we didn’t have to ask these questions — that there were no loathsome images to flash on our screens — and I wish we didn’t have a responsibility to look and think deeply. But we do, if the depravity of war is to be understood and, hopefully, dealt with.”


Women don’t stick with the sciences.  Here’s why. (Roten Ben-Shachar, New Republic)

Children with married parents are better off– but marriage isn’t the reason why (Emily Badger, Wonkblog)– “Two-parent households don’t just tend to have more money (which they might spend on tutors, museums, books or simply better health care and groceries). They also have more time (which they might spend on homework help, library visits and bedtime reading). Add the time factor to the parenting qualities I mentioned earlier (patience, commitment), and it’s possible that part of the marriage effect is really a “parenting effect”: Children with married parents also have more engaged parents, and it’s the engagement that really matters.”

Janay Rice and the Problem with Trauma Voyeurism (Sady Doyle, In These Times)


The Case for Open Borders (Dylan Mathews, Vox)

Health Care

Doctors’ Magical Thinking about Conflicts of Interest (Aaron E. Carroll, The Upshot)– “Some physicians, especially those opposed to the Sunshine Act, believe that they should be responsible for regulating themselves. But our thinking about conflicts of interest isn’t always rational. A study of radiation oncologistsfound that only 5 percent thought that they might be affected by gifts. But a third of them thought that other radiation oncologists would be affected.Another study asked medical residents similar questions. More than 60 percent of them said that gifts could not influence their behavior; only 16 percent believed that other residents could remain uninfluenced.  This “magical thinking” that somehow we, ourselves, are immune to what we are sure will influence others is why conflict of interest regulations exist in the first place. We simply cannot be accurate judges of what’s affecting us.”


Take Away Harvard’s Nonprofit Status (Annie Lowrey, Slate Moneybox)– “There’s an old line about how the United States government is an insurance conglomerate protected by an army. Harvard is a real-estate and hedge-fund concern that happens to have a college attached. It has a $32 billion endowment. It charges its rich students—and they are mostly from rich families, with many destined to be rich themselves—hundreds of millions of dollars in tuition and fees. It recently embarked on a $6.5 billion capital campaign. It is devoted to its own richness. And, as such, it is swimming in cash.”


What Will Doom the Death Penalty? (Daniel LaChance, NYT)


The Source of New York’s Greatness (Russell Shorto, NYT)


Mormon apostle to women: ‘Now, don’t talk too much in those meetings’ (Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood)– “But let’s remember that this statement came just after Elder Ballard’s recent Ensign article about women, men, and priesthood. “Now, sisters, while your input is significant and welcome in effective councils, you need to be careful not to assume a role that is not yours,” he wrote last month.So the “don’t talk too much” injunction is not so much a random aside as a visible pattern.Elder Ballard has twice in one month told Mormon women to rein in their voices.

How much is ‘too much’? (Cynthia L., By Common Consent)

Thoughts from a Mid-Single Mormon (Jennifer Purdie, By Common Consent)– “Personally, I think single life suits me. I travel the world, complete marathons and triathlons, salsa dance, own properties in multiple states, have a career and a graduate degree, and take the time to try out new hobbies such as surfing and beach volleyball. It’s awesome. But I come to church and no one asks me about those things. They ask me if I’ve started seeing anyone and then it’s followed by the obligatory, “Why are you still single?”  I once attended a mid-singles adult ward and the women astounded me with their philosophical, thoughtful conversations. I felt as though I were in a class at any university. We had a judge, pediatrician, triage nurse, college professor, among many other impressive professions all sitting in one room together. These women were intelligent, physically attractive and made numerous positive contributions to society.”


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