17 February 2013

Moving Day

Last week's issue of The Nightstand will be the last hosted at this URL and the Blogger platform.  This week's edition will be posted at wmotlthenightstand.wordpress.com.  (Don't try to remember it, just bookmark it or throw it into your RSS feedreader if you are so inclined).  I don't have any major complaints about the Blogger platform, but I was looking to shed myself of some baggage associated with the address (its misspelling for one, a mistake my wife has never let me forget).  I started this blog back in the summer of 2007 as a means of participating in the "Bloggernacle," or the online universe of LDS/Mormon-focused blogs that were popping up willy-nillly in those days.  It did not take long to realize that I was not going to be able to put the time and effort into the blogging enterprise to make much of a mark or attract a significant readership.  I have been heartened by the occasional appreciative comment or bit of praise I receive for something that I posted on the blog.  Gradually, I began to see myself in more of a curator's role, culling articles and longform pieces from around the Internet for the consumption of others.  This weekly collection, The Nightstand, started up as an adjunct to my own writing, but has gradually become my primary means of expression on the blog.  It turns out that as a busy associate in a BigLaw firm and a growing family, I have even less free time and less intellectual energy than I had as a law student.  So the new blog will be "The Nightstand @ Weightier Matters of the Law."  I cannot promise that I will not post something of my own as time and degree of interest allow, but I am going to let go of my own personal guilt for not getting it done.  I will also be adding a couple of new features to The Nightstand over the next couple of weeks and months, things that I hope will make it more reader-friendly, fun and useful.  I hope that as many of you as have followed me for some period over the past nearly six (really?) years will continue with me to a new venue.  I will keep this blog online and available for as long as I can, if for no other reason than nostalgia and to preserve the value of any links that have been made to it over the years.

10 February 2013

The Nightstand (Feb 10th)


Chilling legal memo from Obama DOJ justifies assassination of US citizens (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)-- An extremely effective and thorough take-down of the "white paper."

Do We Really Want to Live Without the Post Office? (Jesse Lichtenstein, Esquire)

What Democracy Lost in 2013 (Bob Moser, The American Prospect)

The NRA vs. America (Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone)

The real debate over citizenship (Robert Reich, The American Prospect)

Freedom for the few (Anthony Kammer, The American Prospect)

The Economy

Going Back Too Soon (Sharon Lerner, The American Prospect)

How We Overregulate and Underregulate at the Same Time (Matthew Yglesias, Slate)

The Global Farmland Rush (Michael Kugelman, NYT)


The Academic Counseling Racket (Joe Nocera, NYT)

Hip-hop Speaks to the Guns (Ta-Nehisi Coates, NYT)

The Boy Scouts vs. the Supreme Court (Cass Sunstein, Bloomberg View)

How the post office made America (Richard R. John, NYT)

Battling College Costs, a Paycheck at a Time (Ron Lieber, NYT)

Pass it on (L.D. Burnett, SUSIH)


Speak, Memory (Oliver Sacks, NYRB)-- I have often said that if I could have done anything else in college and with my career, it would have been neuroscience.


Reawakening (Megan Geilman, Scarlett called Scout)

She Says/He Says: The Give and Take of Temple Marriage (elisothel and rah, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

My missionary moment (Rachel Whipple, Times & Seasons)

On Coke, caffeine, and the Word of Wisdom (Aaron R., By Common Consent)

Date Me, Not My Uterus (Tracy M, By Common Consent)

A darn shame (John C., By Common Consent)

Pants, Prayers, and Women, 'Oh My!' The Role of Women in Early Christianity (David Bokovoy, Worlds without End)

The cosmology of the 'priesthood' restriction (J. Stapley, Juvenile Instructor)

How not to think about fundamentalism (Matt Bowman, Peculiar People)

Why would someone choose to follow Brigham Young? (Ben Park, By Common Consent)

03 February 2013

The Nightstand (January 27th)

Roe v. Wade Anniversary

Better Reporting for Abortions (Charles A. Donovan, NYT)

Leeches, Lye and Spanish Fly (Kate Manning, NYT)


Dumb America (Garry Wills, NYRB)

Please Take Away My Right to a Gun (Wendy Button, NYT)

Maximum lies about the minimum wage (Samantha Valente, Socialist Worker)

The Obama Majority (Harold Meyerson, WaPo)

How to Get America Online (Susan Crawford, NYT)

Everything you know about health care spending is wrong (Matthew Yglesias, Slate)

Is America a 'kludgeocracy'? (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog)

Freedom to choose, freedom to marry (EJ Graff, The American Prospect)

The Prosecution of Aaron: a response to Orin Kerr (James Boyle, The Public Domain)


Source Over Content: General, Generic, and Genereal Conferences (Daymon Smith, Uncorrelated Mormonism)-- This revelation feels so damning...

Antinomianism and the Church (J. Stapley, By Common Consent)

Of Prophets, Elephants, Truth and Charity (David Tayman, Worlds without End)

The Priesthood is not a Superpower (John C., By Common Consent)

Picketing Zion (Rachael, Peculiar People)

Ten Reasons Why I'd Like to See a Woman Pray in General Conference (Brad, By Common Consent)

The Implications of Encouraging Early Marriage in a Global Church (MMiles, By Common Consent)

Top 3 Scriptural Justifications for Cultural Lag (BHodges, By Common Consent)

On Complaining (Julie M. Smith, Times & Seasons)


Diderot, an American exemplar? Bien sur! (Andrew Curran, NYT)

Looking for Truth in Utah (Jean Cheney, Humanities Magazine)

Selling a new generation on guns (Mike McIntire, NYT)-- Earning their nickname the "merchants of death"-- just like drug peddlers.

A Farewell to Arms (Susan J. Douglas, In These Times)

MLK's vehement condemnation of US militarism are more relevant than ever (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)


Nothing to celebrate in Mexico (Jose Vivanco, WaPo)

The Nightstand (February 3rd)


Confessions of a Liberal Gun Owner (Justin Cronin, NYT)

Moral Perversity in David Mamet (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)-- Responding to this nonsense.

Breaking the Military's Brass Ceiling (Jeremiah Goulka, The American Prospect)

Obama, FDR and the Second Bill of Rights (Cass Sunstein, Bloomberg View)

Making Voting Constitutional (Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect)

Worried about the economy?  Then pass immigration reform (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog)

Obama's Big and Quiet Transformation (Michael Tomasky, NYRB)


Earthly Father, Heavenly Father -- Earthly Mother, Blank (Alison Moore Smith, Times & Seasons)-- All sorts of problems with this video.  (Also an excellent discussion at BCC at Tree of Life II)

On Missionary Work (Ben Park, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

Earthly Failings, Heavenly Success (Brad, By Common Consent)

In Defense of Higher Criticism (David Bokovoy, Worlds without End)

Mending a Fractured World (Ben Park, Peculiar People)

How Mormons and Evangelicals Became Republicans (Mark Silk, Religion in the News)


When Jim Crow Drank Coke (Grace Elizabeth Hale, NYT)

Aaron Swartz, Intellectual Property and the Humanities (Ben Alpers, SUSIH Blog)


Awaiting a New Darwin (H. Allen Orr, NYRB)

27 January 2013

The Nightstand (January 20th)

Aaron Swartz and internet freedom

How the legal system failed Aaron Swartz-and us (Tim Wu, The New Yorker)

The Death of Aaron Swartz (Clive Crook, The Atlantic)

Aaron Swartz's illusion over research (John Gapper, Financial Times)-- A useful counterpoint to some of the other discussions going on.  I'm not sure I am convinced by the final conclusion, but agreed that "liberating" scholarly articles from JSTOR et al. would not suddenly create a utopia of cheap information.  I can see a system emerging something like what exists (as of only recently) with judicial decisions.  They are available for free using Google Scholar; however, Westlaw and Lexis give them to you with lots of bells and whistles (hyperlinking to other cases, checking the validity and subsequent history, etc.)

Invasion of the data snatchers (Bill Keller, NYT)

The death of Aaron Swartz (Peter Singer and Agata Sagan, NYRB)

Carmen Ortiz and Stephen Heymann: accountability for prosecutorial abuse (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)


Who Has Abortions and Why It Matters (Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect)

POW! CRACK! What we know about video games and violence (Suzy Khimm, Wonkblog)

The most depressing graphic for members of Congress (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog)-- If they hate it so much, why don't they change it?

Gun research is allowed again.  So what will we find out? (Brad Plumer, Wonkblog)

Programmed for primetime (Bhaskar Sunkara, In These Times)-- It should be clear that I like Ezra Klein, since at least one item from Wonkblog shows up in every edition of The Nightstand.  However, I think there is something to the critique of an abandonment of pure progressivism in pursuit of technocratic respectability. Of course, there is the difference in venue and audience to contend with as well.

The case for socialist organization (Shaun Harkin, Socialist Worker)

After 'the end of big government liberalism' (Ezra Klein, Wonkblog)

Who Says You Can Kill Americans, Mr. President? (Vicki Divoll, NYT)

Southern Discomfort (George Packer, The New Yorker)-- Goes well with Garry Wills piece on the South from the January 27th edition.

Twelve Questions for John Brennan (David Cole, NYRB)

Enlightened surveillance? (Stuart Armstrong, Practical Ethics)


The delights of disgust  (Justin E.H. Smith, Chronicle of Higher Education)

Us and them (Marek Kohn, Aeon)


All is Well in Zion (Mark Brown, By Common Consent)

Roles, responsibilities and rights: what was Elaine Dalton talking about? (rah, FMH)-- What indeed? (See also Dear President Dalton (winterbuzz, FMH)

'Help Meet' or Their Own Agent (Brent Beal, FMH)

Manti Te'o and the Imaginary Mormon Girlfriend (John Turner, Religion in American History)

Should Women Pray in Public? (Julie M. Smith, Times & Seasons)

20 January 2013

The Nightstand (January 13)


Major Companies Push the Limit of a Tax Break (David Kocieniewski, NYT)

How the world manages to waste half its food (Brad Plumer, Wonkblog)


Organizing the Doctrine and Covenants Lessons: Or, Why the Topical Approach Doesn't Work (Ben Park, By Common Consent)

Questioning Mormonism (David Bokovoy, Worlds Without End)

Pride: How the motivation for most sins has (thus far) kept me from apostasy (John C., By Common Consent)

The Pedagogy of Sunday School (Norbert, By Common Consent)


A Standardized Testing Revolt (Abby Rapaport, The American Prospect)

The Question Torture Apologists Can't Answer (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)


Media Violence versus Real Violence (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)-- I should also put a special plug in here for David Waldman's Twitter feed (not sure if they are brothers, but there appears to be some resemblence).  David (as KagroX) has been documenting accidental gun deaths on a daily basis.  The pace is truly staggering.

13 January 2013

The Nightstand (Jan 6, 2013)


The Strangest Conservative Priority: Prepping a '2nd Amendment Solution' (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic)

America's Real Criminal Element: Lead (Kevin Drum, Mother Jones)

In Texas, Resistance to a Renewed Call for an Annual Roundup of Legislators (Manny Fernandez, NYT)-- This was one of the more seriously weird things we ran into when we moved to Texas-- the legislature meets only once every two years.  Its a huge state, with lots of problems, and a complex regional economy(ies), and is seriously "undergoverned."  But restricting meetings of the legislature is putting Texas' ridiculous commitment to conservatism into action.

Secrets and Lies of the Bailout (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone)

Guns and Drugs (Michelle Chen, In These Times)

The 'war on terror' - by design - can never end (Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian)

The Disappeared (Frank Dikotter, Foreign Policy)

Getting a better education and paying for it (Andres Pinter, WaPo)

Better, if not Cheaper, Care (Ezekiel Emanuel, NYT)

The big issues in macroeconomics: the fiscal multiplier (John Quiggin, Crooked Timber)

Religion and Mormonism

Tolkien: On Fairy Stories (Ronan James Head, By Common Consent)

A Church without Words (Heidi Harris, Peculiar People)

Purity Culture is Rape Culture (E.J. Graff, The American Prospect)-- There are some implications for LDS here IMO, but I am too timid to really sort them out.

One Miracle at a Time (Kevin Barney, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

The Mormon Guy's Career Guide to Mansplaining (Scott H, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

Issues in Mormon Feminism (Taylor Petrey, Peculiar People)

01 January 2013

The Nightstand (Dec 23rd)

LDS Women Wear Pants

To get the full scope of events related to "Wear Pants to Church" Sunday, you would have to access certain Facebook pages (some of which are no longer available).  In lieu of that, I have made a digest of several blog posts that represent distinct stages or aspects of the movement (or the reaction to it).

A decent intro into the movement and its purposes-- Mormon Feminists in Whoville and Why You Should Wear Pants to Church this Sunday (Sandra Ford, FMH)

A response to the disgusting backlash-- On Nastiness: Why Nice Mormons Can Be So Very Very Mean (About Pants) (fmhLisa, FMH)

If you acknowledge the inequality of men and women in the LDS Church and are OK with it, then go ahead.  But don't piss on my leg and tell me its raining...-- Mormon Male Privilege and How to Make Apparent Gender Disparity in the Church (Whoa-man, Exponent II)

A further refinement of the purposes and rationale behind the movement-- Feminism 101: Why Pants Matter- A Brief Primer on Social Norms (rah, FMH)

Personal preparation for confronting opposition-- Finding Your Inner Pants- Empowerment Through Self-Understanding and the Language of Authority (Anne Peffer, FMH)

A somewhat dissenting take (Welch, always the reluctant contrarian/hand-wringer...)-- Twelve hundred words on pants (Rosalynde Welch, Times & Seasons)

And another-- Pants, Doctrine and Culture, and Why Maybe We Shouldn't Worry (Rachael, Peculiar People)

Satirical response to the aftermath-- Mormonism is a Skirt, Not a Pair of Pants (Matthew Nokleby, FMH)

A response from abroad-- Less Than 1200 Words on Pants (RJH, By Common Consent)

A more biting response to the backlash-- How to Silence a(n LDS) Woman: You're Doing it Wrong (Jacob, By Common Consent)

The movement makes it into the NYT-- Mormon Women Set Out to Take a Stand, in Pants (Timothy Pratt, NYT)

A post-mortem-- What Was Pants to Church Sunday Really About? (Joanna Brooks, Religion Dispatches)

Plans for the future-- Post Pants: Mormon Feminism and inter-group cooperation (Reese Dixon, FMH)

Newtown and Guns

The Last Shot (Emily Bazelon, Slate)

This sacred text explains why the US can't kick the gun habit (Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian)

What Drives Suicidal Mass Killers? (Adam Lankford, NYT)

Video Games are Not the Problem (Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish)-- See the chart at the linked article.  Also worth noting the common-sense notion that we so far have no recorded slaying of upwards of 20 people by a teenager or young adult using an Xbox to bludgeon people to death.  See also Still No Strong Links between Video Games and Violence (Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect)

We Have the Technology to Make Safer Guns (Farhad Manjoo, Slate)

The Freedom of an Armed Society (Firmin Debrabander, NYT)

A quick rejoinder to fool Huckabee (RJH, By Common Consent)

Our Moloch (Garry Wills, NYRB)

Thinking the Unthinkable (The Anarchist Soccer Mom)

We Have Seen the Enemy and the Enemy is Us (gomw, The Mormon Worker)

Taking the Broad View on Guns (Paul Waldman, The American Prospect)

War at Home (Bob Herbert, The American Prospect)

'Politicizing' and the Rhetoric of Reaction (Ben Alpers, US Intellectual History Blog)


Can Books Cause Problems? Reflections on Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet (Dave Banack, Times & Seasons)

Malignant Mormon Memes- If This is Not Your Castle, You are Not My Prince (fmhLisa, FMH)-- The beginning of a potentially great series at FMH...


For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall (Jason DeParle, NYT)

Who Can Still Afford State U? (Scott Thurm, Wall Street Journal)

Erik Loomis and Free Speech (Ben Alpers, USIH Blog)


One Nation Under God? (Molly Worthen, NYT)

Apocalypse Always (Emily Suzanne Clark, Religion in American History Blog)


Influential GOP group releases, pulls shockingly sensible copyright memo (Timothy Lee, Ars Technica)

Everyone is a Taker (Jamelle Bouie, The American Prospect)

Catastrophiliacs (Sasha Lilley, In These Times)

Gerrymandering Isn't the (Only) Problem (Rob Richie, In These Times)

The Will to Secede (G. Pascal Zachary, In These Times)


All the World's a Game, and Business is a Player (Nick Wingfield, NYT)

The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart Got Its Way in Mexico (David Barstow, NYT)