Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

This May Be The Most Effective Anti-Poverty Program In America by Jonathan Cohn: “Child First is a ‘home visiting’ program, which means staff members work with families mostly in their homes rather than in office settings, sometimes meeting as frequently as three or four times a week. The first priority is addressing tangible problems like poor housing or lack of medical care, which sometimes means connecting families with public programs. But the main focus is improving relationships within the family, particularly between the parents and children, through a combination of advice and therapy.”

Raising Social Security’s retirement age is a disaster for the poor by Ezra Klein: “Raising taxes isn’t the only way to close Social Security’s shortfall, of course. It’s not even the only way to do it that’s progressive. There are all kinds of ways to cut benefits. But politicians who want to cut Social Security’s spending should find a policy that doesn’t target people who work the worst jobs and die the earliest.”

Welcome to the alternate universe of faux democracy by Christopher Walker: “Authoritarian regimes create a facade of democracy to maintain a veneer of legitimacy. By constructing fake political parties and phony social movements, as well as pseudo news media and GONGOs (government-operated nongovernmental organizations), autocrats simulate democratic institutions to prevent authentic democracy from ever taking root. Over time, these regimes have taken their imitation to a new level.”

A Crime Against Humanity by Scott Pelley: “U.S. intelligence estimates 1,429 civilians were killed; 426 of them, children. Of course, Syria is dying too. Prosecution of this atrocity will have to wait for whatever civilization emerges from the ruin. But the dead will be waiting because a crime buried without justice is never laid to rest.”

Chlorine gas attack reported in Syria by CNN: “A new horrific video shows a family with three small children suffering from a chlorine gas attack in Syria.”

Boston’s top cop, shaped by his Catholic faith, is torn on the death penalty by Margery Eagan: “You ask around Boston, you hear that Bill Evans is a tough cop, a cop’s cop, but also a calm and thoughtful cop who wants to build strong relationships between police and the neighborhoods they patrol.”

Playing the Princess: The Limits of Religious Freedom by Cathleen Kaveny: “Some Catholics might recognize in my argument echoes of Catholic teaching on ‘cooperation with evil,’ which analyzes an agent’s complicity in the wrongful act of others in a framework that takes into account the seriousness of the wrong involved and the distance of the agent from that wrong. Making an attenuated contribution to someone else’s morally objectionable action plan is often permissible, provided that it does not entail harm to innocent third parties. While the jargon around the analysis of “cooperation with evil” is technical, its insights aren’t narrowly Catholic. They offer a helpful way for everyone to assess his or her moral connection to the wrongful acts of others.”

Child Support Orders Should Establish Parenting Time by Anna Sutherland: “Even though the child support program’s caseload and budget have increased in recent years, in most places it still does not help establish visitation schedules for never-married noncustodial parents, who often lack the resources to pursue visitation rights through the legal system. Census surveys show that ‘only 33% of noncustodial parents (NCPs; usually fathers) reportedly had a legal visitation agreement, and 35% had no contact with their youngest child in the previous year.’ Most surveyed child support workers say that visitation problems are a common complaint among such parents.”

No Marriage Is an Island by Eve Tushnet: “Hill explores how our cultural expectations affect people who, for whatever reason, don’t expect to marry or have kids. How do we give and receive love? How do we lead lives which are fruitful and not just lonely expanses of time-before-death? So often gay people in the ‘traditional’ (for lack of a better word) churches receive no hint that we, too, have vocations—that we, too, are called to love specific other people.”

A War of Values With Russia by Anders Fogh Rasmussen: “No one should be fooled by the Kremlin’s spin doctors. The conflict in Ukraine is not about Ukraine. Nor is it about Russia, or even about NATO. It is about democracy. The West must respond accordingly.”

Hawaii Set To Become First State To Raise Smoking Age To 21 by Jon Passantino: “The bill, which would prohibit the sale of all tobacco products — including e-cigarettes — to people under 21, now goes to the governor’s desk.”

Love and Merit by David Brooks: “The culture of the meritocracy is incredibly powerful. Parents desperately want happiness for their children and naturally want to steer them toward success in every way they can. But the pressures of the meritocracy can sometimes put this love on a false basis. The meritocracy is based on earned success. It is based on talent and achievement. But parental love is supposed to be oblivious to achievement. It’s meant to be an unconditional support — a gift that cannot be bought and cannot be earned. It sits outside the logic of the meritocracy, the closest humans come to grace.”

Why pregnant women in Mississippi keep dying by Danielle Paquette: “The United States is the only advanced economy in the world with a rising maternal mortality rate. Deaths related to childbirth in the United States are nearing the highest rate in a quarter-century. An estimated 18.5 mothers died for every 100,000 births in 2013, compared with 7.2 per 100,000 in 1987. This means a woman giving birth here is twice as likely to die than in Saudi Arabia and three times as likely than in the United Kingdom.”

Sister Rosemary reveals the 3 words she’d say if she came face to face with evil warlord Joseph Kony by Purvi Thacker: “The director of St. Monica’s Girls Tailoring Centre in Gulu, Nyirumbe had a simple vision—take in the girls who were abducted by Kony, forced into sex slavery, and eventually escaped from captivity. Then, teach them skills, and give them a reason to keep living. The girls take basic courses on dressmaking, sewing and cooking, but the long-term mission is to help them integrate back into society and transform their lives.”