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)