31 December 2012

The Nightstand (Dec 16th)

FYI-- all posts relevant to the "Wear Pants to (LDS) Church" Day will show up in the subsequent edition of The Nightstand in order to capture all the post mortems.

The Newtown Tragedy and Guns

Ten Arguments Gun Advocates Make, and Why They're Wrong (Paul Waldman, TAPPED)

Newtown and the Madness of Guns (Adam Gopnik, New Yorker)

The gun control that works: no guns (Lexington, The Economist)

All Eternity Shakes: Mormonism's Weeping God (Jacob, By Common Consent)-- A Mormon take on Newtown, suffering and the problem of evil

Foreign Affairs

Hedge Funds Stride the Stage of World Affairs (Peter Eavis, Dealbook-NYT)

Zero Dark Thirty: CIA hagiography, pernicious propaganda (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

Washington's plan to derail the Arab Spring (Editorial, Socialist Worker)


The Wise Man Doubts Often, and Changes His Mind (Nathaniel Givens, Times & Seasons)

Queer Today, Gone Tomorrow (William Saletan, Slate)

A Queer(er) Mormonism (Xarissa Holdaway, Peculiar People)


How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society (Judith Shulevitz, The New Republic)

09 December 2012

The Nightstand (Dec 9th)

The Economy

What If We Made Fewer Ph.Ds? (Leonard Cassuto, Chronicle of Higher Education)

Free Market Fairness (Martin O'Neill and Thad Williamson, Boston Review)

Raise the Economy's Speed Limit (Jared Bernstein, NYT)

The Measure of All Things (Jennifer Burns, The American Prospect)

Special Report: Amazon's Billion-Dollar Tax Shield (Tom Bergin, Reuters)- Few days go by when I don't feel worse about shopping at Amazon.

The Future of Shopping (Megan McArdle, The Daily Beast)


School Prayer (Rachel Whipple, Times & Seasons)-- This is about in line with my own thinking on the subject.  Also, let it be known that Raymond Takeshi Swenson has no idea what he is talking about on this issue, but let's at least all be grateful that, for once, he was able to keep his comment brief and to the point.

Babies, Nickled and Dimed (Amanda Marcotte, The American Prospect)

How to Talk about a Changing America (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)

Greedy Geezers, Reconsidered (Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect)

Laws Not Fit to be Defended (David Cole, New York Review of Books)

Paying for charitable giving (Fred Hiatt, WaPo)

How racism lives on in a 'color-blind' society (Brian Jones, Socialist Worker)

Global Issues

What is Peace? (Margaret Paxson, Aeon)

Save Your Kisses for Me (Adam Curtis, BBC The Medium and the Message)-- Great video/photo essay.

Aleppo: How Syria is Being Destroyed (Charles Glass, NYRB)


The Plight of the Alpha Female (Kay S. Hymowitz, City Journal)

I Am, It Turns Out (C. Jane Kendrick)-- A more personal take on a Mormon feminist "coming out"


Tentative Notes Toward a Theory of Liberal Mormonism (Matt Bowman, Peculiar People)

How Mormonism Changes and Managing Liberal Expectations (Nate Oman, Times & Seasons)-- THE big Bloggernacle post of the week, prompting comment all over the place, including Oman's own Facebook wall.  As others point out, I suspect that Oman is right about the way that the Church actually works (i.e. leaders following the mass opinion of the members rather than determining it) but his ascribing a misunderstanding of this primarily or exclusively to "liberals" (theological, political, or both) seems way off base to me.  Reactions from BCC here and by TT at FPR here (with Nate's reply here)

Previewing 2013: A Look Forward to Exciting Books in Mormon History (Ben Park, Juvenile Instructor)

2012 in Retrospect: An Overview of Noteworthy Articles and Books in Mormon History (Ben Park, Juvenile Instructor)-- I look forward to these posts from Ben and others every year.  It is always a huge help updating my Amazon wish list.

LDS Church Launches New Website Calling for Greater Openness and Understanding on LGBT Issues (Joanna Brooks, Religion Dispatches)-- Definitely the biggest news in Mormon world for this week, excluding the extensive navel-gazing prompted among the Bloggernaclerati by Nate Oman's post at Times & Seasons (see below).

Shunning Your Fellow Saints: You're Doing it Wrong (Jacob, By Common Consent)

02 December 2012

The Nightstand (Dec 2nd)

God's Tax Subsidies (Matthew Yglesias, Slate Moneybox)

Abraham Lincoln and the Cost of Inequality (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog)

The Shocks We Will Face After This Life (Kent Larsen, Times & Seasons)

Pioneer Prophet Roundable: Turner Responds (Juvenile Instructor)-- The Mormon historians' blog Juvenile Instructor has been publishing a roundtable discussion of various aspects of John Turner's recent biography of Brigham Young.  This post is Turner's response and all previous posts are linked to here.

Wal-Mart could easily pay (somewhat) more to its associates (Matthew Yglesias, Slate Moneybox)

When right-wing blather killed (Joan Walsh, Salon)

A minimum tax for the wealthy (Warren Buffett, NYT)

America, Israel, Gaza, the World (Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest)

Confronting a global austerity agenda (Socialist Worker editorial)

A Hospital War Reflects a Bind for Doctors in the US (Julie Creswell and Reed Abelson, NYT)

The great uncompromiser (Alan Maass, Socialist Worker)

As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price (Louise Story, NYT)-- The beginning of a series on "The United States of Subsidies."

A New Leader Pushes a Different Side of Mexico (Elizabeth Malkin, Randal C. Archibold, NYT)

Tax Burden for Most Americans is Lower than in the 1980s (Binyamin Appelbaum, Robert Gebelhoff, NYT)

Reflections on my Spiritually Heterogamous Marriage (Gina Colvin, Kiwi Mormon)

Its Time to Stop Killing in Secret (David Cole, NY Review of Books)

The Nightstand (Nov. 25th)

Its not an article, but I cannot recommend Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis' Lincoln highly enough.  Everything-- the cinematography, the staging, the acting, the screenplay, are just about perfect.

Israel/Palestine Conflict

The Tunnels of Gaza (James Verini, National Geographic)

Wrong side of the fence (Rachel Shabi, Aeon)

I Didn't Come Back to Jerusalem to be in a War (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate)

The 'both sides are awful' dismissal of Gaza ignores the key role of the US government (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)


How Costco Became the Anti-Walmart (Steven Greenhouse, NYT)-- This is a seven-year old article, but several friends were posting it around Black Friday when the Walmart strikes were getting fired up.  We are Costco shoppers for life (or at least as long as their customer- and employee-friendly policies remain in place).  See also Ezra Klein's Has Walmart been good or bad? at Wonkblog.

Inequality is Killing Capitalism (Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate)

A Free Market in the Sky (Clifford Winston, NYT)-- Anything that could make air travel cheaper and/or more pleasant-- bring it on.


Why Not Socialism? (Maria Svart, In These Times)

Time to end the war on drugs (Katrina vanden Heuvel, WaPo)


The Evolutionary Mystery of Homosexuality (David Barash, The Chronicle of Higher Education)

How to Survive Societal Collapse in Suburbia (Keith O'brien, NYT)-- Surprise, surprise-- he's Mormon.

When Do We 'Get It'? (A.O. Scott, Manohla Dargis, NYT)-- Great back-and-forth on emerging trend of non-straightforwardly narrative films.


The 'Truth' About Mormonism and Women (miri, Through the Looking-Glass)

25 November 2012

The Nightstand (Nov 18th)

Starting this week, I am going to start putting something, anything other than politics at the top of The Nightstand.  The election's over and any more navel-gazing on this particular front is just unseemly at least for the next little while.


How to Live Without Irony (Christy Wampole, NYT)

Dying for a Pro-Life Cause (E.J. Graff, The American Prospect)-- More strongly worded in places than I would personally care for, but it bears saying nonetheless.

What Do Animals Want? (Marian Stamp Dawkins, Edge)

No More Magical Thinking (David Remnick, The New Yorker)

One secret reason Petraeus had to resign (Marc Ambinder, The Week)-- See also With Petraeus, echoes of that other warrior David (Daniel Burke, Religion News Service).  Valuable context is provided by both articles.


The Best of the 'Mormon Moment' (Ben Park, Juvenile Instructor)-- I am proud to note that I posted most of these at the time of their original publication.  It's been a good couple of months, and this is the part that I hope will continue for many years.

A Mormon Reporter on the Romney Bus (McKay Coppins, Buzzfeed)


Stuff White People Like (Jonathan Cohn, The New Republic)-- See also Land of the 'Free Stuff,' Home of the Brave (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)

Romney and the 0 Percent (Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect)

Want Less Inequality? Tax It.  (Liam Malloy, John Case, The American Prospect)

The Party Next Time (Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker)

Finding compromise between the GOP and evangelicals (Robert Jeffress, WaPo)-- Yes, please.  Try this.  Just do it.

Putting Faith in the Conservative Creed (Amanda Marcotte, The American Prospect)

Is the Voting Rights Act doomed? (Nathaniel Persily, NYT)

Changing Times (Linda Greenhouse, NYT)

How to cut the charitable deduction without hurting charities (Dylan Mathews, WaPo)

18 November 2012

The Nightstand (Nov 11th)

Election Post-Mortems

The End of Political Truth? (David Corn, Mother Jones)-- see also The Real Loser: Truth (Kevin Kruse, NYT)

We Need a Little Fear (Jonathan Haidt, NYT)

What Romney Lost (Garry Wills, NYRB)

A Victory Over Suppression (Elizabeth Drew, NYRB)

Are Conservative Media Only Hurting Conservatives? (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)


The Election and Why Millennials are Leaving the Church Margins (Kerry Pimblott, Religion in American History blog)- I file this under the Mormon heading, not because it specifically applies to Mormonism on its own terms but because I think many of the same pressures are present.

Virtual Religion: Not So New (Susanna Morrill, Peculiar People)

Why Romney's Loss is Good for Mormonism (Patrick Mason, Peculiar People)

Why Romney's Loss is Good for Mormon Studies (Patrick Mason, Juvenile Instructor)-- No, I did not accidentally post the same item twice.  There are two different essays by the same author, with slightly different but related themes.

The Mormon Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Jackson Learns, The New Republic)-- Excellent review essay of several recent books.

The Mormonizing of America (Stephen Mansfield, Huffington Post)-- I'm not sure I am convinced by the thesis-- it seems to me that, unlike Jews (another small group that is historically over-represented in American institutions), Mormons have not been able to insinuate themselves into major media or cultural organizations in a way that has enabled them to prosper and perpetuate their message and "peoplehood."

Seizing the Mormon Moment (Rachel Lu, First Things)-- Certainly one of the more bizarre takes on the Mormon Moment.

Heavenly Mother and Paradoxical Embodiment (Rachael Rose, The Mormon Worker)

Don't Talk to Me About Coffee and Sex (nat kelly, Feminist Mormon Housewives)-- A plea for priorities.  Highly recommended.

13 Articles of Health Chastity (Lisa Butterworth, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

Banishing the Cross: Emergence of a Mormon Taboo (Michael Reed, Worlds without End)

Politics and Policy

Why Not an Income-Based Affirmative Action? (Richard Kahlenberg, WaPo)

Freedom & Diversity: A Liberal Pentagram for Living Together (Timothy Garton Ash, NYRB)

The Permanent Militarization of America (Aaron B. O'Connell, NYT)

You Are Not a Loan (Rebecca Burns, In These Times)

The Nightstand (Nov 4th)- The "Sweet Moses, It's Almost Over" Edition

Going Beyond Cultural Kid Stuff with a Wary Sense of Adventure (Dwight Garner, NYT)-- Our kids are currently 4,2 and -4 months so this has not come up for us yet, but it certainly will, probably sooner than we are prepared for it.

The Case for Obama: Why he is a Great President. Yes, Great. (Jonathan Chait, Daily Intel)-- Not sure about the title, but this is an effective summary of all the good reasons to vote for Obama, and a refutation of all of the bad reasons not to vote for Obama, if one is so inclined.

Nate Silver, Artist of Uncertainty (Samuel Popkin, The American Prospect)-- I followed Silver's 538 blog in 2008 and thought it was incredible.  I am probably one in the minority who thinks that he has been hurt (relatively) by his association with the NYT, even though it gives him a much broader audience and he continues to produce stellar analysis.  (See also Noam Scheiber's review of 'The Signal and the Noise' at NYT and Deadspin's coverage of the criticism of Nate Silver here)

Mormon Theological Ethics- Obedience to Authority (Seth Payne, Worlds without End)

Obama and the Politics of Race in the 21st Century: On Ta-Nehisi Coates's 'Fear of a Black President' (Carl Pedersen, U.S. Intellectual History Blog)

What Can Jeremiah Wright and Joseph Smith Teach Us About the American Presidency? (Max Perry Mueller, Religion and Politics)

What Happens When a Frankenstorm Hits the Madhouse (Charles Pierce, Esquire)

A New Right to Vote? (Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker)

The Case of the Mormon Historian (David Haglund, Slate)

Barack Obama, Pro-Life Hero (Eric C. Miller, Religion Dispatches)

What Do Mormons Pick and Choose from the Bible? (Jana Riess, Religion News Service)

Sandy's Closing Argument (Matt Miller, Washington Post)

Subsistence: The privilege of modern life (William Deresiewicz, The American Scholar)

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Origins of the Book of Mormon (William L. Davis, Los Angeles Review of Books)

Why We Can't Solve Big Problems (Jason Pontin, MIT Technology Review)

Why Do White People Think Mitt Romney Should be President? (Tom Scocca, Slate)

I Was Ayn Rand's Lover (George Saunders, The New Yorker)-- I was reading this while lying next to my sleeping wife, trying desperately not to guffaw loudly and shake the bed with my giggles.

Duck Beach to Absurdity (Rosalynde Welch, Patheos)

I'm Right (For Some Reason): Why Partisans Can't Explain their Views (Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach, NYT)

Best-ever thing you can read on climate change and the American press (Jay Rosen, Quote and Comment)

03 November 2012

The Nightstand (Oct 28)


The Lost World of George McGovern (Josh Garrett-Davis, NYT)

The Moral Clarity of George McGovern (Bruce Miroff, NYT)

The Politics of Jesus (Patrick Mason, Peculiar People)

The Voter Fraud Myth (Jane Mayer, New Yorker)

The War We Aren't Debating (Michael Massing, NYRB)

America Forgets the World (Jonathan Freeland, NYRB)

What's wrong with lesser evilism (Editorial, The Socialist Worker)

Journalism in the Obama age shows the real media bias (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

Stiffed (David Runciman, London Review of Books)

Romney and Romero (Kate Savage, The Mormon Worker)

News Flash: This Was Always Going to Be a Close Election (Steve Erickson, The American Prospect)


Religion, Race and Double Standards (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)-- Its damning because its (mostly sort of) true.  Joanna Brooks' take here.

Mormon Boundaries (Dave Banack, Worlds Without End)

Spencer W. Kimball and the Complexities of Mormon Political Theology (Matt Bowman, Political Theology)

Mitt Romney and Mormon Theology (Jon Pahl, Religion in American History blog)

Foreign Affairs

Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader (David Barboza, NYT)-- Capitalism for me, socialism for thee...

28 October 2012

The Nightstand (Oct 22nd)-- Election Fatigue Edition


'This Chamber Reeks of Blood' (Raymond J. Haberski, US Intellectual History blog)

The Grit and Grace of George McGovern (Tom Daschle, The American Prospect)

Blue states are from Scandanavia, red states are from Guatemala (Jonathan Cohn, The New Republic)-- Seems insulting to Guatemala

Giving children the right to vote (Seymon Dukach, WaPo)

The opiate of exceptionalism (Scott Shane, NYT)

Bill & Hillary Forever (John Heilemann, New York)

Reaping the Whirlwind (Linda Greenhouse, NYT)

Growing Up Romney (Noam Scheiber, The New Republic)-- The Romney family myth of self-reliance.

More Speech is Better (David Cole, NYRB)

Are Capitalism and Democracy Failing Us? (Raghu Rajan, Fault Lines)

The Arizonification of America (Jeff Biggers, NYT)- Arizona, the "meth lab of democracy"


No More Industrial Revolutions (Thomas Edsall, NYT)

Buyology (Jerry DeNuccio, The Smart Set)

The self-destruction of the 1 percent (Chrystia Freeland, NYT Sunday Review)

Sympathy for the Plutocrat (Nick Hanauer, Reuters)

Foreign Affairs

China's other power struggle (Charlie Zhu, David Lague, Reuters)

The billionaires next door (Chrystia Freeland, Reuters)


George Lucas' Force (Camille Paglia, The Chronicle of Higher Education)

07 October 2012

The Nightstand (October 7th)


Waiting for an Arab Spring of Ideas (Tariq Ramadan, NYT)

The Reality of Anti-Blasphemy Laws (Hussein Ibish, Open Zion)


Life-Span Gap Skews Entitlements Toward the Well-Off (Peter Orszag, Bloomberg View)

Corporate Welfare Queens (James Surowiecki, The New Yorker)

Inequality and Its Perils (Jonathan Rauch, National Journal)

I am a job creator: a manifesto for the entitled (Steven Pearlstein, WaPo)-- Now's who the entitled one?

Are Women Better Off Than They Were Four Years Ago? (E.J. Graff, The American Prospect)

Conservatism and Extreme Inequality (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)


Moving Beyond Affirmative Action (Thomas Espenshade, NYT)

Justice Kennedy is Back for More Torture (Noah Feldman, Bloomberg View)


Mormon Sister Missionaries: Progress with an Asterisk (Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood), (Re)Conceptualizing Our Gendered Missionary Image (Ben Park, By Common Consent) & Missionary Service and Mormon Femininities (Rosalynde Welch, Times & Seasons)-- The only thing that Mormons will be talking about this week.  I could have linked any of three dozen articles, commentaries, etc. on this, but these three seem to fit best.

New Youth Curriculum, and the Digital Facilitation of New Revelation (David Tayman, Worlds Without End)

Mocking Romney's Mormon Self-Sufficiency and What that Misses (Russell Arben Fox, By Common Consent)

Profits of Zion (Matt Bowman, Slate)


The US Presidential debates' illusion of political choice (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

Express yourself, but vote (Joel Bleifuss, In These Times)

We're all values voters (Nathaniel Frank, The American Prospect)


We're Here, We're Queer, Ya'll (Karen Cox, NYT)-- Clearly this wins the award for best article title of the week, if not the year.

01 October 2012

The Nightstand (September 30th)

Politics and the 2012 Election

The American Dream's Empty Promise (Robert Samuelson, WaPo)-- This seems like an appropriate time to reiterate that my listing an article on the Nightstand does not necessarily (though sometimes) imply either endorsement or agreement.  I think that Samuelson makes some solid points here and I am in agreement with the overall thrust that the "American Dream" is, and always has been, largely a fiction, never truly available to everybody (no matter how hard-working) at any given time.

Brown v. Warren: Choosing Between Automatons and Leaders (David Sirota, In These Times)

The Unraveling of Government (Mickey Edwards, NYT)

This Presidential Race Should Never Have Been This Close (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone)-- I think Taibbi's estimate that most Americans share the politics of the 99 vs. 1 percent dynamic pushed by the Occupiers is wrong, but that's mostly the fault of the lies put forward as the American Dream.

Legislate First, Ask Questions Never (Leonard Goodman, In These Times)

The League of Dangerous Mapmakers (Robert Draper, The Atlantic)

We Never Liked You Anyway (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)-- Since a couple of weeks ago, when the race started turning in a significant way for Obama, this is the scenario that I have envisioned.  Consider the following: Romney was the choice of his party only because the other candidates seemed to be refugees from the Island of Misfit Children, they have never fully trusted him, he has no current political position to fall back on (e.g. Senator) if he loses, and he has no natural constituency within the party.  Not to mention the empirical fact that he has run a disastrous general election campaign, at least up until this point.  The blame for this will fall completely on his shoulders and he will be tossed to the wolves at a moment's notice.  I mean, don't feel too sorry for the guy, he has $250 million in the bank, and all the potential in the world to make a great deal more during the rest of his life.  He'll be fine.

Mitt's Stake (Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New York)-- I have read a couple of stories like this, with genuinely moving and admirable vignettes about Mitt Romney's service as an LDS church leader.  And I have zero, ZERO doubt that they are factually accurate.  But what I cannot escape is the bewilderment of, "If Mitt Romney did those things, who the hell is this guy that keeps showing up on my TV saying these ridiculous and callous things?"

The Decay of American Democracy (Shadia B. Drury, Council for Secular Humanism)

Mormon Issues

Romney, Mormonism, and a Concern for the Poor (David Bokovoy, Worlds without End)

Gender and Priesthood (Nate Oman, Times & Seasons)

DC Third Ward Mormons would welcome Romney, even if most are Democrats (Michelle Borrstein, WaPo)

The Veil: Thick and Thin? (Dave Banack, Worlds without End)- "My suspicion is that, most of the time, we are on our own."

Mormon Modesty: We have to do better (Lisa Butterworth, Feminist Mormon Housewives)-- This is so important, I could repost it every week until my daughters leaves YW (which is approximately 18 years from now).


Spreading the Word (and Pictures) on 'Real' Sex (Cara Buckley, NYT)

The moral case for sex before marriage (Jill Filipovic, The Guardian)-- This seems like the appropriate time to reiterate (for the second time in the same week) that a link does not imply either endorsement or agreement.


Reinventing Ethics (Howard Gardner, NYT)

The Myths of Muslim Rage (Kenan Malik, Pandemonium)

Is Sweden awesome because it mooches off the US? (Dylan Mathews, Wonkblog)

Fighting Over God's Image (Edward Blum and Paul Harvey, NYT)

The Roberts Court Takes on Racial Justice (David Cole, NYRB)

23 September 2012

End of Summer Mega Update (September 23rd)

I promised myself that I would not do this again, but I am combining multiple weeks' worth of posts into one.    I have had a couple of weeks' vacation and did not spend that extra free time reading.  Time to play catch-up.  Again, stars mean they are the top 10.

Election 2012-- "Good heavens, Mitt Romney is terrible" edition

Extremism in defense of Gilded Age privilege (Katrina vanden Heuvel, WaPo)

***Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone)-- I love the way that Taibbi pulls no punches.  I am really surprised that the precise dynamics of how Mitt acquired his fortune have not become a bigger issue.  Probably too complicated for the average voter.

Ghosts of Ballots Past (Rick Valelly, The American Prospect)

Voting Wrongs (Elizabeth Drew, NYRB)

Election 2012 and the media: a vast right-wing conspiracy of stupid (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

Romney's theory of the "taker class" and why it matters (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog)

Mitt Romney is NOT the Face of Mormonism (Greg Prince, Huffington Post)

***The Political Education of Elizabeth Warren (Monica Potts, The American Prospect)-- Elizabeth Warran, along with Julian Castro (from my own state of Texas) are the two up-and-coming Democrats that I am most excited about.

***The Projection Party (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)

Mitt Romney's Fair Share (Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate)

***Mitt Romney's Best-Known Mormon Critic Tells It All.  One Last Time (Joanna Brooks, Religion Dispatches)-- Really important interview with Judith Dushku.

How Not to Govern (Jared Bernstein, On The Economy)

A Good Ole Boys' Family Feud (Theo Anderson, In These Times)

Praying for the White House (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)

The Election and the Future (Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, Democracy Journal)

The Crying Game (Charles Simic, NYRB)

Revolt of the Rich (Mike Lofgren, The American Conservative)

In the Twilight of Empire (Jeff Faux, In These Times)

The System That Wasn't There; Ayn Rand's Failed Philosophy (and why it matters) (Nicholas McGinnis, Engaging Science)

Mormons-- "60 days till the Mormon Moment is over" edition

***Why I Love Mormonism (Simon Critcheley, NYT)

***Why Mormon Men Love 'Church Ball' and are Scared of Homosexuality (Kristine Haglund, Religion & Politics)

And now for something completely different...nonviolence (christopherpdavey, The Mormon Worker)

Holy Rollers (Clare Malone, The American Prospect)-- And for a Mormon reflection on the same, see Joanna Brooks at Religion Dispatches.

Women's issues

A Never-Ending Story (Linda Greenhouse, NYT)

***The Legitimate Children of Rape (Andrew Solomon, The New Yorker)-- Just heartbreaking.

***To the Religious Right, I Am No Longer a Woman (Robin Marty, RH Reality Check)

Health care

Public Health versus Private Freedom (Peter Singer, Project Syndicate)

America's Health Worker Mismatch (Kate Tulenko, NYT)

The Fraying Hospital Safety Net (Pauline W. Chen, M.D., NYT)

How Much Health-Care Spending is Wasted? Lots. (Peter Orzsag, Bloomberg View)


Our alternative to the madness of the market (Eric Ruder, Socialist Worker)

***Is poverty a kind of robbery? (Thomas B. Edsall, NYT)

Wall Street's War on the Cities (Michael Hudson, CounterPunch)

The great transformation in the global labour market (Philip Brown, Hugh Lauder, Eurozine)

Capitalism and Government Are Friends After All (Alex Marshall, Bloomberg View)

***We're Winning the War on Poverty (Matthew Yglesias, Slate)

If Labor Dies, What's Next? (Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect)


Everything You Think You Know About China is Wrong (Minxin Pei, Foreign Policy)

Our Romance with Guns (David Cole, NYRB)

Learning as Freedom (Michael S. Roth, NYT)

The Throwaways (Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker)

An orgy of cynicism (Hussein Ibish, Now Lebanon!)

The drugs don't work: a modern medical scandal (Ben Goldacre, The Guardian)

Film is Dead? Long Live Movies (A.O. Scott, Manohla Dargis, NYT)

Where is Cuba Going (John Jeremiah Sullivan, NYT)

The Siege of Academe (Kevin Carey, Washington Monthly)-- It still feels like the missing piece of the puzzle here is the credentialing aspect.  You may know a ton, but how do you prove it?  Degrees from fancy universities have a signaling function and it seems that like will be the biggest hurdle for online education.

26 August 2012

The Nightstand (August 26th)

Election 2012

His Grief, and Ours (Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic)-- Without a doubt, the single must-read article of the week.

The Stakeholder Strategy (Kent Greenfield, Democracy Journal)

Investors in Health Care Seem to Bet on the Incumbent (Andrew Ross Sorkin, Deal Book/NYT)

The reality of trying to shrink government (Lawrence Summers, WaPo)

How to Succeed in Business Without Adding Value (David Moberg, In These Times)

Five Things Government Does Better than You (Monica Potts, The American Prospect)


Why Waiting is Torture (Alex Stone, NYT)

Testing What We Think We Know (H. Gilbert Welch, NYT)

Want a Global Economic Boom?  Open the Borders (Dylan Matthews, Wonkblog)

"We Are Not Self Made" (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)

Are You a Good Mormon or a Bad Mormon?  How Exclusive Language Might Just Lead to Apostasy (Emily Belanger, Peculiar People)

Follow the Money (David Conn, London Review of Books)

19 August 2012

The Nightstand (August 19th)

Ayn Rand

Atlas Spurned (Jennifer Burns, NYT)

Can You Be A Christian and Follow Ayn Rand? (Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood)-- Probably not, says author (and it is worth pointing out that Rand herself would likely agree).


Why Race Is Still a Problem for the Mormons (John Turner, NYT)-- Turner is the author of the new premier biography on Brigham Young, due in September.

How (George) Romney Championed Civil Rights and Challenged His Church (Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey, The Atlantic)-- The apple, falling so so far from the tree...

Why Mormons Should Write Fantasy Novels (Alan Hurst, Peculiar People)

A Historical Note on 'Unorthodox Mormonism' (Ben Park, By Common Consent)

Rawls? Rawls! Makes an Appearance in the MSM

The Veil of Opulence (Benjamin Hale, NYT Opinionator)-- Best article I have read this week.  Working Romney and Rawls into the same column is a stroke of genius.


Moral Compass: A Guide to Religious Freedom (Kenan Malik, New Humanist)

12 August 2012

The Nightstand (August 12th)


I, Nephi: Mormonism and its meanings (Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker)-- A review essay of four recent and forthcoming books on Mormonism.

A Mormon Girl Among Jews (Joanna Brooks, Tablet)-- If you have not seen Joanna's appearance on the Daily Show this week, go there now.

To Do the Business of the Church: A Cooperative Paradigm for Examining Gendered Participation Within Church Organizational Structure (Neylan McBaine, 2012 FAIR Conference)-- Neylan is my wife's cousin, one she was close to as a child.  Even aside from that fact, this presentation is eminently worthy of the time you take to read it.

Ethics and Society

The Perfect Non-Crime (Michael L. Rich, NYT)

Anything but Human (Richard Polt, NYT)

Women's (and Men's) Issues

The Upside of Ugly (Jessica Valenti, The Nation)

Who said "We could have it all"? (Ruth Rosen, Open Democracy)

Politics and Policy

The Silver Lining in the Drought (William G. Moseley, NYT)

The Folly of Attacking Outsourcing (Eduardo Porter, NYT)

Unintended Causation (Glenn Greenwald, Salon)

Big Med: Can Hospital Chains Improve the Medical Industry? (Atul Gawande, The New Yorker)-- I tend to think that the cheesecake is the best thing at the Cheesecake Factory, so that may destroy the point of this article but it is exciting to see these principles introduced to medicine.

Here's What Russian Bank Pussy Riot Said at the Conclusion of their Controversial Blasphemy Trial (Adam Taylor, Business Insider)

The Nightstand (August 5)

I like the idea I tried out last week of organizing these list by theme or topic, so I am going to continue to give that a try in the spirit of the continuing evolution of The Nightstand.

Mitt Romney Doesn't Know What He is Talking About Edition

Romney Hasn't Done His Homework (Jared Diamond, NYT)-- This feels like when Marshall McLuhan shows up in the middle of Annie Hall to school some fool standing in line for the movies.

Capitalism, Not Culture, Drives Economies (Fareed Zakaria, WaPo)


Spinning the Mission Experience (John K. Williams, Worlds Without End)-- Probably more true than most of us returned missionaries would like to admit (so we don't).

Mormonism's Occasionally Unrequited Love for Israel (Max Perry Mueller, The New Republic)

Politics and Policy

The Problem with the GOP's Health Reform Proposals in One Chart (Jeff Spross, ThinkProgress)-- I like this primarily for the chart showing what an overwhelming proportion of health spending is devoted to a very small number of people-- and almost all of them are old.

Conscience and Contraception Letter-- This is a letter from a group of academics, particularly law school professors, arguing that the contraception coverage mandate that is part of the Affordable Care Act is not an unconstitutional infringement of religious freedom.  Nice to hear something from people who actually know what they are talking about.

Americans Want to Live in a Much More Equal Country (They Just Don't Realize It) (Dan Ariely, The Atlantic)-- I have posted a similar article before and I will keep posting it as part of my contribution to the alleviation of public ignorance and apathy.

Barbarians in the Ivory Tower (Chris Parker, Houston Press)-- Makes clear once again what an abomination for-profit colleges are.

Double Jeopardy (Geoffery Sant, Slate)-- Lest we be too quick to judge, just remember that during the Civil War, a rich man could pay a poor man to take his place in the conscription draft.  To an extent, we have institutionalized this dynamic by forcing primarily the poor to fight wars that only benefit the rich.

The Republicans' Medicaid Cruelty (Jeff Madrick, NYRBlog)

Chick-Fil-A Has Delicious Haterade Edition

Let Chick-Fil-A Fly Free (Steve Salbu, NYT)The Chick Fellatio: stuck in the craw (Wayne Self, Owldolatrous Productions), and Some words for Christians on both sides of the Chick-fil-A war (Rachel Held Evans)-- I would express my thoughts more extensively on this topic, but I think enough ink has been spilled on it already.  Oh, what the hell.  The bottom line is this: most Americans (on all sides) have no idea what freedom of speech really means.  They think it means: all speech (but really only the views that I hold) must be free from public criticism or reproach.  What it actually means: those who disapprove of one's speech cannot commandeer the machinery of the state to prevent it or punish it.  Those mayors who have said they will keep Chick-Fil-A out of their cities probably understand this, and they almost certainly understand that it would be unconstitutional to ban a restaurant for its owner's views.  What they are engaged in is a kind of signaling to their gay constituencies that says: I'm on your side.  Give me your campaign contributions.  But as for the individual decisions of private citizens to give or withhold their consumer cash from an institution on any basis whatsoever, including the views of its ownership on issues of public policy, violations of freedom of speech simply do not enter the picture.


Glory Days: The Olympics As Ritual (Louis Menand, The New Yorker)

The Joke's On You (Steve Almond, The Bafffler)-- This critique of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert is not completely without merit.  Things can get a little too light and chummy if the guest is somebody really important.  For good measure, I have included a response from Stephen Deusner at Salon.

Team USA Deserves No Gold Medals for Internet Access (Susan P. Crawford, Bloomberg View)

02 August 2012

The Nightstand (June-July Mega Update)

So, its been over a month since I last published an edition of The Nightstand.  Instead of individual posts for each of the six weeks or so that I missed, I decided to combine them all into one MEGA update, or to be more formal, we'll call it the Summer Vacation edition.  This represents all my recommended articles from the latter part of June and the entire month of July.  If you feel the need to whittle this down even further, I have placed asterisks on the 10-12 most important articles (IMO) from this larger set.


**How the Mormons Make Money (Caroline Winter, Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

**Confessions of an ex-Mormon (Walter Kirn, The New Republic)

Mormons' First Families Rally Behind Romney (Jim Rutenberg, NYT)

The Mormon Lens on American History (Jennifer Schuessler, NYT)

**I'm a Mormon, Not a Christian (David V. Mason, NYT)-- So awesome, on so many different levels.

Mirroring Mormonism (Richard Livingston, Peculiar People)

Mormons, Soldiers, Socialists and Me (Heidi Harris, Peculiar People)

Why We're Afraid of Mormons (Rich Barlow, Boston University Today)

Is Mormonism an Experience? (Stephen Mansfield, WaPo)

The Truth about Mormon Stereotypes (Taylor Petrey, Peculiar People)

**Individualism, Communalism, and the Foreign Past of Mormonism (Ben Park, Peculiar People)


The Opportunity Gap (David Brooks, NYT)-- I have some problems with the analysis here, as well as the false dichotomy being perpetuated in the prescription, but all in all, a good reminder.

**The Sharp, Sudden Decline of the American Middle Class (Jeff Tietz, Rolling Stone)-- A nation and institutions that allow this sort of thing to persist do not deserve to live.

The Rise of Innovative State Capitalism (Joshua Kurlantzick, Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

Do Business Schools Incubate Criminals? (Luigi Zingales, Bloomberg View)

Workingman's Constitution (William E. Forbath, NYT)

**Two Classes, Divided by 'I Do' (Jason DeParle, NYT)

The Heart of the Matter (John Hussman, Hussman Funds Weekly Market Comment)

Poverty in the 50 years since 'The Other America' (Dylan Mathews, WonkBlog)

The Spreading Scourge of Corporate Corruption (Eduardo Porter, NYT)

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney and the New Gilded Age (Robert Reich)

**Where the Money Lives (Nicholas Shaxson, Vanity Fair)

What Happened to Romney's "Evangelical Problem"? (John-Charles Duffy, Religion & Politics)


Mexico's election gives a mandate to compromise (Jorge Castaneda, WaPo)

A Fight to the Last Mexican (David Simon, The Audacity of Despair)

One More Massacre (Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker)

Unpopular Mandate (Ezra Klein, The New Yorker)

For Mexico's President-Elect, a Strategic Journey (Randal C. Archibold, Karla C. Zabuldovsky, NYT)- For better or worse, Enrique Pena Nieto is probably your future Mexican president.

**Cocaine Incorporated (Patrick Radden Keefe, NYT)

The Kingpins (William Finnegan, The New Yorker)

Politics and Policy

**The Trouble with Online Education (Mark Edmundson, NYT)-- I am very confident in the ability of an online course to help students in more technical areas (e.g. statistics, sciences, etc.), but I agree with the author that it will never be the match of an in-person class when it comes to literature and more humanistic studies.

We've Seen this Movie Before (Roger Ebert, NYT)

What Would a Second Obama Term Bring? (Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker)

Benched (Jill Lepore, The New Yorker)

The Downside of Liberty (Kurt Andersen, NYT)

Rachel Maddow's Quiet War (Ben Wallace-Wells, Rolling Stone)

The Founders' True Spirit (E.J. Dionne, WaPo)

The Age of Illusion: An Interview with Chris Hayes (Jake Blumgart, Jacobin)

The Moral Hazard of Drones (John Kaag, Sarah Kreps, NYT)

Obama the Socialist? Not Even Close (Milos Forman, NYT)

How Pensions Violate Free Speech (Benjamin Sachs, NYT)

An Arms Race We Can't Win (Andrew Jensen, NYT)

What Can Mississippi Learn from Iran? (Suzy Hansen, NYT)

Why History Matters to Liberalism (E.J. Dionne, Democracy)

**War is Betrayal (Chris Hedges, Boston Review)

Five Delusions about our Broken Politics (Norman Ornstein, Thomas E. Mann, The American Interest)


'In Hell, We Shall be Free' on Breaking Bad (Michelle Kuo, Albert Wu, LA Review of Books)

Roger Ebert at 70: Did He Save or Kill Film Criticism? (Gary Susman, Moviefone)

**You Will Be Embarrassed About This in 20 Years (Michael Kinsley, Bloomberg View)

Moral Enhancement (Julian Savulescu, Ingmar Persson, Philosophy Now)

**Why Women Still Can't Have it All (Anne-Marie Slaughter, Atlantic Monthly) (with response at On Having it All (mraynes, First Fig))-- Will probably end up being the most-read long-form article of 2012.

How to Raise a Child (Judith Warner, NYT), review of Madeline Levine's Teach Your Children Well

The Olympics as Ritual (Louis Menand, The New Yorker)

Other News

**Back in the Gay (William Saletan, Slate) and Are Gay Parents Really Worse for Children? How a New Study Gets Everything Wrong (John Corvino, The New Republic)-- Discussing a new study summarized by the author here.  Worst survey methodology ever.

Dream to Nightmare (Doug Glanville, NYT)- I have a photo of me with Brien Taylor and a signed #1 pick baseball card from when I was in middle school.  We all really thought he was going to be somebody...I guess now he is-- a cautionary tale.

Why Elites Fail (Chris Hayes, The Nation)

11 June 2012

The Nightstand (May 28-June 3)

Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will (Jo Becker, Scott Shane, NYT)

The Wrong Side of White (W. Paul Reeve, Martin Marty Center blog)

A Gap in College Graduates Leaves Some Cities Behind (Sabrina Tavernise, NYT)

China's Blog Censorship Rules Have U.S. Parallels (Noah Feldman, Bloomberg View)

Mormon Patriotism and the Cultural Reading of Scripture (Ben Park, Peculiar People)

The Fairness Trap (James Surowiecki, The New Yorker)

The Pro-Life Paradox (Judith Lewis Mernit, The American Prospect)

Squeezing out the doctor (The Economist)

The Amazon Effect (Steve Wasserman, The Nation)-- I love the convenience of Amazon, but I just wish I could feel better about it as a company.

The 1 Percent's Problem (Joseph Stiglitz, Vanity Fair)

10 June 2012

The Nightstand (June 4-10)

Abortion Qualms on Morning-After Pill May Be Unfounded (Pam Belluck, NYT)

Why We Fear Mormons (J. Spencer Fluhman, NYT)

Not college for all, but college for more (William E. Kirwan, WaPo)

Keep the library open after graduation (Matt Cooper and Elizabeth Wiley, WaPo)

Why 2012 Matters (Garry Wills, NYRBlog)

Science: A Call for Humility (Russell Stannard, Huffington Post)

A Hasty Report from a Tearing Hurry (Raymond Tallis, Philosophy Now)

Mormons and Homophobia; Mormons and Gay Pride (Jana Riess, Religion News Service)

Latino Growth Not Fully Felt at Voting Booth (Adam Nagourney, NYT)-- I attended a session focused on precisely this issue this past week at the Texas State Democratic Party Convention here in Houston.  The numbers are quite shocking.

How Texas Inflicts Bad Textbooks on Us (Gail Collins, NYRB)

Mothers Beware! (Diane Johnson, NYRB)

How Markets Crowd Out Morals (Michael Sandel, Boston Review)

Justice for Sale (Lincoln Caplan, The American Scholar)

The Curious Case of Internet Privacy (Cory Doctorow, Technology Review)

Crossing the Line: Bordering on Revolution (Michael Lacey, Houston Press)

What is Wrong with Multiculturalism? (Kenan Malik, Pandaemonium)-- Not what you might think.  Also, make sure that you read the second half.

31 May 2012

The Nightstand (May 21-27)

Black Mormons and the Politics of Identity (Susan Saulny, NYT)

In China, Fear at the Top (Roderick MacFarquhar, NYT)

Unequal Shares (James Surowiecki, The New Yorker)

In Romney, Mormons See Path to Christian Mainstream (Noah Feldman, Bloomberg View)

Why China Won't Rule (Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate)-- Not sure I agree totally, but a worthy read nonetheless.

Israel In Peril (David Shulman, NYRB)

Who Will Save the Middle Class (Jeff Faux, The American Prospect)

The Latest to Botch Mormonism: Garry Wills (Joanna Brooks, Religion Dispatches)

Are Women Held Back by Colleagues' Wives? (Lauren Stiller Rikleen, Harvard Business Review)

Latter-day Politics (Amy Davidson, The New Yorker)

The Primal Ache (John Paul Rollert, Boston Review)

Why Private Equity Firms Like Bain Capital Really Are the Worst of Capitalism (Josh Kosman, Rolling Stone)

Is Mormonism Ridiculous? (Taylor Petrey, Peculiar People)-- Great article, but as usual, the comments section is atrocious.