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Check out these recent articles from around the web:

How meritocracy harms everyone — even the winners by Sean Illing: “What makes Markovits’s book so interesting is that he doesn’t just condemn meritocracy as unfair for non-elites; he argues that it’s actually bad for the people benefiting from it. The “trap” of meritocracy ensnares all of us, he says, in ways that make life less satisfying for everyone.”

I’m a stay-at-home mom. Here’s what changed my mind about paid family leave. by Courtney Reissig: “I care about valuing life from the womb to the tomb. The maternal instinct that is so often talked about includes an innate impulse to care for the vulnerable. Many stay-at-home mothers have made specific sacrifices to care for their children. If anyone should stand up for policies that protect the vulnerable and value caregiving, it should be us.”

How America Ends by Yoni Appelbaum: “Whether the American political system today can endure without fracturing further, Daniel Ziblatt’s research suggests, may depend on the choices the center-right now makes. If the center-right decides to accept some electoral defeats and then seeks to gain adherents via argumentation and attraction—and, crucially, eschews making racial heritage its organizing principle—then the GOP can remain vibrant. Its fissures will heal and its prospects will improve, as did those of the Democratic Party in the 1920s, after Wilson. Democracy will be maintained. But if the center-right, surveying demographic upheaval and finding the prospect of electoral losses intolerable, casts its lot with Trumpism and a far right rooted in ethno-nationalism, then it is doomed to an ever smaller proportion of voters, and risks revisiting the ugliest chapters of our history.”

Elite police force spreads terror in the barrios of Venezuela by Angus Berwick and Sarah Kinosian: “The new reporting provides the deepest insight yet into the methods used by the force to snuff out perceived threats to Maduro’s increasingly authoritarian rule. This portrait of the FAES, a force of some 1,500 officers, complements earlier reports in which Reuters examined other blunt instruments used by the leftist leader to control his hungry and impoverished populace – from a multitudinous and loyal cadre of senior military officers to a special intelligence service created with the help of imported security advisors from Cuba. “

The End of Babies by Anna Louie Sussman: “Decades of survey data show that people’s stated preferences have shifted toward smaller families. But they also show that in country after country, actual fertility has fallen faster than notions of ideal family size. In the United States, the gap between how many children people want and how many they have has widened to a 40-year high.”

How Juul Hooked a Generation on Nicotine by Julie Creswell and Sheila Kaplan: “The company planted the seeds of a public health crisis by marketing to millennials, who had low smoking rates, and it ignored evidence that teenagers were using its products.”

Here’s how Russia will attack the 2020 election. We’re still not ready. by Renee DiResta, Michael McFaul and Alex Stamos: “Most of the attention in the battle against foreign disinformation has focused on bots, trolls and other digital actors on social media, but it must also include traditional media organizations. Editors and reporters should consider how they will react to these situations now, rather than improvising reactions to the wave of disinformation we know is on the way. Newsrooms should carefully consider how the volume of their coverage might be manipulated by strategic leaks.”

Which is worse, bigotry or cowardice in the face of bigotry? by Michael Gerson: “The racism, misogyny and dehumanization — the assault on migrants, Muslims and refugees — have only begun. And those who enable it are equally responsible for it.”

The Miseducation of the American Boy by Peggy Orenstein: “Then, during the second half of the 20th century, traditional paths to manhood—early marriage, breadwinning—began to close, along with the positive traits associated with them. Today many parents are unsure of how to raise a boy, what sort of masculinity to encourage in their sons. But as I learned from talking with boys themselves, the culture of adolescence, which fuses hyperrationality with domination, sexual conquest, and a glorification of male violence, fills the void.”

The Tax Break for Children, Except the Ones Who Need It Most by Jason DeParle: “The credit now costs the federal government $127 billion a year — far more than better-known programs like the earned-income tax credit ($65 billion) and food stamps ($60 billion). But children with the greatest economic needs are least likely to benefit.”

Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

How to Tax Our Way Back to Justice by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman: “It is absurd that the working class is now paying higher tax rates than the richest people in America.”

Why You Never See Your Friends Anymore by Judith Shulevitz: “Our unpredictable and overburdened schedules are taking a dire toll on American society.”

The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You by David Leonhardt: “For the first time on record, the 400 wealthiest Americans last year paid a lower total tax rate — spanning federal, state and local taxes — than any other income group, according to newly released data.”

I’m a Climate Scientist Who Believes in God. Hear Me Out. by Katharine Hayhoe: “Global warming will strike hardest against the very people we’re told to love: the poor and vulnerable.”

The 2010s Broke Our Sense Of Time by Katherine Miller: “The touch and taste of the 2010s was nonlinear acceleration: always moving, always faster, but torn this way and that way, pushed forward, and pulled back under.”

What’s Next After Catholic Colleges Decline? by Timothy O’Malley: “If the search for truth is integral to education, then love is the engine that drives this process of inquiry.”

Rubio’s ‘common-good capitalism’ considered by Stephen Schneck: “So what are we to make of Rubio’s common-good capitalism? As Catholics, should we be flattered that the church’s social teachings are invoked in the senator’s economic conversion? I think not. Common good capitalism owes much more to President Donald Trump’s “America First” populism and today’s angry GOP base than it does to Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum.”

Americans have a massive blind spot on drug use in Latin America by Brian Winter: “We’ve got to find a way to talk about the morality of recreational drug use and the consequences for people who live in faraway countries, who are almost always more vulnerable than consumers are, without being dismissed as a prude, a killjoy — or the kind of person you’d never, ever want to sit next to on your way home from a blowout bachelor party.”

An uprising in Iraq is the broadest in decades. It’s posing an alarming threat to Baghdad and Tehran. by Louisa Loveluck and Mustafa Salim: “A new generation raised in the shadow of the U.S.-led invasion is rising, and politicians from Baghdad to Tehran have been caught on the back foot.”

Chile Woke Up’: Dictatorship’s Legacy of Inequality Triggers Mass Protests by Amanda Taub: “Inequality is still deeply entrenched. Chile’s middle class is struggling with high prices, low wages, and a privatized retirement system that leaves many older people in bitter poverty. And a series of corruption and tax-evasion scandals have eroded faith in the country’s political and corporate elite.”

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Check out these recent articles from around the web:

Stories Survive: A Child of the Holocaust Reclaims a Resilient Heritage by Ryan Stellabotte: “A child survivor of the Holocaust was reluctant to share his family’s full story, until he saw a picture of himself as a 4-year-old boy at Auschwitz on a website denying the Holocaust.”

Democracy Dies When Labor Unions Do by Eric Levitz: “There’s a strong argument that giving ordinary Americans a say over how their workplaces are governed is just as fundamental to democracy as giving them the ballot.”

How Paying for College Is Changing Middle-Class Life by Caitlin Zaloom: “Perhaps the central theme that emerged from this research was that for middle-class parents, the requirement to help pay for college is seen not merely as a budgetary challenge, but also as a moral obligation. The financial sacrifices required are both compelled and expected. They are what responsible parents should do for their children.”

The process of impeachment is now inevitable by Michael Gerson: “For the first time in American history, the president has pleaded guilty to an impeachable offense. This is effectively what happened when the White House released the readout from President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. There is now no question that Trump asked the leader of a foreign country to investigate Joe Biden and his son — a request that was made in the context of a broader discussion of U.S. aid to Ukraine. This was the use of American power and diplomacy, not to serve the interests of the country, but for personal and selfish gain. It constitutes corruption of the first order.”

Don’t like that pope? Read what he wrote. by Michael Sean Winters: “So, instead of painting Francis in such a harsh and negative light, rather than poking fun at synods, or highlighting and even championing a score-settling text like Viganò’s “testimony,” I invite conservative Catholics to come to Francis and his teachings with an open heart and an open mind.”

Pope Francis will have the last word: The pontiff is responding to his U.S. critics by John Gehring: “Pope Francis’ opponents will continue to engage in the strange pursuit of appointing themselves the true guardians of Catholic orthodoxy while doing everything they can to undermine the successor of St. Peter. In Rome, the pope stays focused on reform and renewal, building a legacy that will long outlast his detractors.”

The West has lost confidence in its values. Syria is paying the price. by Anne Applebaum: “So many things have been lost in Syria: our commitment to “genocide prevention,” our consciousness of the “responsibility to protect,” our long-standing commitment to peacemaking and peacekeeping. But out of all of these things, it is this, our loss of empathy, that will over time prove most damaging and dangerous, not just to Syria but also to ourselves.”

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Check out these recent articles from around the web:

As Wedding Costs Rise, Perhaps It’s Time to Invest More in Marriage Prep by Amber Lapp: “If wedding planning is beginning to crowd out time and resources that could be better used helping couples actually prepare for marriage, it’s time for a new version of engagement—one that is driven less by commercial concerns and is more about establishing the kinds of supports most helpful to the couple in their new life together.”

The images Saudi Arabia doesn’t want you to see by Clarissa Ward, Salma Abdelaziz, Giles Clarke: “Yemen is in the grip of a vicious cholera outbreak and a near famine that have coincided to create one of the worst humanitarian crises on the planet. But you won’t find the story splashed on front pages and leading news bulletins around the globe — Yemen’s grinding two-and-a-half-year civil conflict, between Houthi militants and a Saudi Arabian-led coalition of Arab states that support the former Hadi government, is often called “the silent war” because it receives relatively little attention in the media.”

‘If you don’t think Francis is the cure, you don’t grasp the disease,’ CL head says by John L. Allen Jr. and Ines San Martin: “In essence, Carrón’s book is a synthesis of the vision for Christian life that comes from Giussani, as amplified by each of the last three popes. The key idea is that Christianity is about “disarmed beauty,” meaning a way of life that imposes itself through no power other than its own inherent attractiveness.”

The Vacuum Christian Indifference Creates by Justin Giboney: “Christians have been called to speak the truth in love, a command that bears itself out in the tone, focus, and substance of social and political outreach. Social justice that has the gospel at the center is both active and redemptive.”

Panicking with Grace: A Spirituality for Whatever’s Next by Teresa Donnellan: “This period of my life is far from over, and the task of shaping my adult life is still daunting. But I am optimistic that with the grace of God I will be able to recognize what God intends for me.”

The immoral Senate health care bill by Michael Sean Winters: “Both the House and Senate bills are exercises in Social Darwinism, a way to reward the wealthy and the healthy and to place heavier burdens on the poor. It is morally repugnant.”

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Check out these recent articles from around the web:

America’s new tobacco crisis: The rich stopped smoking, the poor didn’t by William Wan: “Among the nation’s less-educated people — those with a high-school-equivalency diploma — the smoking rate remains more than 40 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Today, rural residents are diagnosed with lung cancer at rates 18 to 20 percent above those of city dwellers. By nearly every statistical measure, researchers say, America’s lower class now smokes more and dies more from cigarettes than other Americans.”

The Confederate flag largely disappeared after the Civil War. The fight against civil rights brought it back. by Logan Strother, Thomas Ogorzalek and Spencer Piston: “Southerners reintroduced these symbols as a means of resisting the Civil Rights movement. The desire to maintain whites’ dominant position in the racial hierarchy of the United States was at the root of the rediscovery of Confederate symbols.”

As Merkel calls on Pope Francis, is a partnership in the works? by John Allen: “On many fronts, Merkel would seem to embody an agenda more congenial to that of Pope Francis. She’s an ardent supporter of Paris and environmental protection, she’s defended a strong pro-immigrant position that saw Germany take in an estimated one million refugees and migrants in 2015 alone, and when she was in Mexico last week, she pointedly said that “putting up walls and cutting oneself off will not solve the problem.”” Read More

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I got pregnant. I chose to keep my baby. And my Christian school humiliated me. by Madeline Runkles: “My school could have made an example of how to treat a student who made a mistake, owned up to it, accepted the consequences, and is now being supported in her decision to choose life. But they didn’t. It is my hope that the next Christian school will make the right decision when the time comes.”

Forget ‘Left v. Right’ — look for ‘bright’ and ‘Catholic,’ cardinal says by John Allen and Ines San Martin: “Early in his career, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria, was seen as a conservative protégé of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, while today he’s mostly viewed as a progressive ally of Pope Francis. Rather than any fundamental shift in himself or the Church, Schönborn says, what that illustrates is the inadequacy of the categories of ‘left v. right’ to begin with.”

Pope Francis and workers in Genoa by  Michael Sean Winters: “It is always odd to me that some of our conservative friends believe the church belongs in the bedroom dispensing advice but should be silent in the board room. Also odd that the left welcomes the introduction of ethics into the world of business but thinks sexual relations are “personal” and beyond the reach of the church’s concern. No, human dignity is implicated in the decisions made in both rooms, and for the Christian, human dignity is always rooted in what has been revealed to us in Christ Jesus, in whom we discern our true vocation as children of God.”

Canadian Catholic TV network relies on young adults to evangelize the world by Michael O’Loughlin: “Salt + Light makes it a point to have a range of voices on staff, who over the years have come from more than 20 countries and have represented various traditions and understandings of the church in the world today.” Read More

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Check out these recent articles from around the web:

I’m a pro-life evangelical. Republicans are pushing a health care bill that isn’t. by Katelyn Beaty: “As it stands, the AHCA would create economic barriers that make it very difficult for women to choose to bring children into the world. A health care bill that prohibitively raises the cost of bringing life into the world is not pro-life.”

Why Democrats and Republicans (still) cannot agree on health care reform by Michael Rozier: “Republicans are trying to replace a health care system that is already built on a conservative framework. There is no way to make it more market oriented and keep the protections people now enjoy.”

The conservative mind has become diseased by Michael Gerson: “A conspiratorial approach to politics is fully consistent with other forms of dehumanization — of migrants, refugees and “the other” more generally. Men and women are reduced to types and presented as threats. They also become props in an ideological drama. They are presented as representatives of a plot involving invasion and infiltration, rather than being viewed as individuals seeking opportunity or fleeing oppression and violence. This also involves callousness, cruelty and conspiracy thinking. In Trump’s political world, this project of dehumanization is far along. The future of conservatism now depends on its capacity for revulsion. And it is not at all clear whether this capacity still exists.”

Gasping for life Syria’s merciless war on its own children by CNN: “Terms like “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” are bandied about on an almost weekly basis when it comes to Syria, abstract concepts that are often weighed down with convoluted language related to the geopolitical machinations of the conflict. Yet when you watch these children choking on what were likely their last breaths, you understand what evil is.” Read More