Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

I Don’t Feel Like Buying Stuff Anymore by Anne Helen Petersen: “The old way wasn’t just unsustainable for millions of Americans. It was also deeply unsatisfying. Consumer sentiment — and behavior — suggests we’re hungry, even desperate, for something different.”

A Telling Spell of Catholic ‘Leadership’ by John Gehring: “At a time when Catholic bishops, public intellectuals, and editors need to speak and act with moral clarity more than ever, the past month has seen such leaders doing the opposite.”

What It Means to Live Without Fear by Josh Noem: “When he was elected pope in the fall of 1978, Pope St. John Paul II came out on the balcony over St. Peter’s square and the first thing he said to the whole world was, “Be not afraid!” It’s a simple phrase, but it meant something real coming from a man who resisted the Nazi regime as a teenager, who watched Communism brutalize his people as an archbishop.”

A Humble Gaze by Griffin Oleynick: “Lange’s life of looking at others, especially those harmed by vast systems of injustice, helped her see that victims were more than just their socioeconomic scars. Now, in a time when many have lost their lives and livelihoods, she helps us reimagine a better America, one characterized by resilience, sacrifice, and hope.”

Will the coronavirus pandemic open the door to a four-day workweek? by Miriam Berger: “Many of the benefits of a four-day workweek overlap, in theory, with the pros of working from home that extend beyond safety during the pandemic, Jansen said.”

COVID quarantine giving people a chance to catch up on their reading by Christopher White: “Everyone seems to be reading more since the COVID-19 pandemic – even Pope Francis. During his interview in March, the pope ticked off references to Virgil’s Aeneid, Alessandro Manzoni’s I promessi sposi, and several titles by Dostoyevsky. Recently, a Twitter craze led to individuals tagging six friends to post pictures of books currently on their desks or nightstands. In that same spirit, we reached out to six Catholics across the country to see what they’re reading for spiritual growth or pure escapism.”

What a Week’s Disasters Tell Us About Climate and the Pandemic by Somini Sengupta: “It all served as a reminder that the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 325,000 people so far, is colliding with another global menace: a fast-heating planet that acutely threatens millions of people, especially the world’s poor.”

What it means that one of our time’s greatest scientists is a Christian by Michael Gerson: “Collins is an extraordinary man who evinces and exemplifies an impressive humility. A scientific humility that allows for other types of valid human knowledge. A religious humility that yields an honored place to the scientific method. A professional humility that allows him to manage people who sometimes lack that virtue. And a personal humility that leads him to bear the tiresome burdens of needy friends.”

This Memorial Day, will we find meaning in our suffering? by E.J. Dionne: “We not only want to find significance in the lives of the dead but also seek reasons to move forward and find inspiration from their legacies. And when a nation confronts death on a massive scale, we need to know — or at least hope — that we will emerge at the other end better than we were.”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

The Tipped Red Tricycle: Why Economic Growth Is Not Enough by Amber Lapp: “One goal, then, ought to be to encourage the kinds of workplace conditions that support families—paid sick and family leave, a just wage, fair scheduling practices, and company culture that thinks long-term and for the good of its employees rather than short-term and only for the good of its investors.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Predicted This Moment by Gene Sperling: “Economic dignity means providing people with the capacity to care for family, pursue their potential and a sense of purpose, and contribute economically free from domination and humiliation. It is about more than putting food on the table: It’s about making sure Americans have the chance to be at that table with their loved ones. It’s about ensuring that economic deprivation and structural disadvantage don’t deny people life’s most precious, God-given moments, from bonding with newborns to caring for aging parents.”

A Time to Save the Sick and Rescue the Planet by António Guterres: “The impact of the coronavirus is immediate and dreadful. We must act now and we must act together. Just as we must act together to address another urgent global emergency that we must not lose sight of — climate change.”

Armed mobs: the grim apotheosis of libertarianism by Michael Sean Winters: “Those “Erroneous Autonomy” conferences started in 2014, which seems like a lifetime ago. Dark as the threat of libertarianism appeared then, none of us foresaw what we witnessed last week, armed protesters storming a citadel of democracy. The rest was predictable: the abuse of symbols, the racism, the self-contradictions, the totalitarian itch. But the threat of violence, expressed so openly and in such a raw fashion, this is new. Let the condemnations be swift and loud, before it is too late.”

The immigrant reality during COVID-19 by Edith Avila Olea: “In the midst of COVID-19, I feel as though we’re all walking through some degree of the hardships listed in the beatitudes. It’s no surprise that the pandemic has spared no group of people. Yet, we must recognize that the pandemic has impacted some groups of people more than others. Around the country, the pandemic has devastated minority communities, specifically black and Latino communities.”

Nuns vs. the Coronavirus by Emma Green: “The Jeanne Jugan Residence, named for the founder of the Little Sisters, was the first facility in Delaware to face a COVID-19 outbreak. Over a few weeks in March and April, roughly one in five residents died, and many others fell sick. The staff, along with the 11 sisters who live there, worked frantically as the virus spread through the home, with one resident after another rapidly deteriorating. At one point, three people died in a single day. So far, 11 people have died of complications related to presumed or confirmed cases of COVID-19.”

Pay attention by Katie Scott: “Be attentive to the moment. Yeah, buzzwordy. But when you try to truly do it, it’s tough. Especially now when there are so many worries on our minds. But the fruits are precious.”

Do US bishops really believe black lives matter? by Olga Segura: “At a time when so many young Catholics of color are frustrated with the institutional church, what example do our leaders set for the flock when they seem to align themselves publicly with the president?”

Shelter-In-Place Reflections on Family Life by Amber Lapp: “The question is, when the pandemic is over, will we find a new normal that continues to honor the demands and priorities of family life?”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions by George Packer: “This is the story of how a great republic went soft in the middle, lost the integrity of its guts and fell in on itself—told through government officials whose names under any other president would have remained unknown, who wanted no fame, and who faced existential questions when Trump set out to break them.”

How We Can Cultivate Communion in Solitude by Christian Santa Maria: “As I learn to grapple with this temporary reality of social distance, I’ve been challenging myself to befriend solitude. Solitude teaches me to pay attention to my desire to connect. I am learning not to be afraid of that desire for relationship within me that rises in the midst of silence. It calls me to recognize that the true connection I long for is not just socializing — it is for communion with others.”

This Won’t End for Anyone Until It Ends for Everyone by Samantha Power: “Given this still-developing emergency, and the fatal inadequacy of the U.S. government’s domestic preparedness and response so far, it is very hard to focus on the devastation that is about to strike the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. But if President Trump doesn’t overcome his go-it-alone mind-set and take immediate steps to mobilize a global coalition to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, its spread will cause a catastrophic loss of life and make it impossible to restore normalcy in the United States in the foreseeable future.”

We Are Living in a Failed State by George Packer: “When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity—to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category.”

The Taliban ‘Peace’ Deal by Griffin Oleynick: “With so little guaranteeing that the Taliban won’t continue business as usual, there’s reason to worry that life is going to get much worse for Afghans. As in business, so in foreign policy: Trump cuts and runs, leaving others to deal with the wreckage.”

‘You can’t get any closure’: How the coronavirus is changing Catholic funerals by Brian Fraga: “Not only funeral homes, but Catholic cemeteries, parishes and dioceses are trying to strike a delicate balance in burying the dead — one of the seven corporal works of mercy — and protecting the living from the coronavirus as the death toll in the United States continues to grow by the day.”

You are Loved and Loveable: Rolling Away the Stones by Mike Lewis: “How many of us have difficulty truly believing in God as a Father who will always love us, accept us, encourage us, and forgive us? How many see God as someone who cares about us, feels compassionate towards us, and understands our struggles and pain? How many of us see the Church as a strict and overbearing headmaster, rather than a mother who nurtures and encourages us, and to whom we know we can always turn when we are sad, hurt, and afraid?”

There are two paths out of this crisis. Which will we choose? by EJ Dionne: “In its aftermath, a crisis can breed division spurred by self-protection and mistrust, or it can call forth a spirit of solidarity rooted in empathy and a shared sense of mission. Which will we choose?”

Millennials Don’t Stand a Chance by Annie Lowrey: “The Millennials entered the workforce during the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Saddled with debt, unable to accumulate wealth, and stuck in low-benefit, dead-end jobs, they never gained the financial security that their parents, grandparents, or even older siblings enjoyed. They are now entering their peak earning years in the midst of an economic cataclysm more severe than the Great Recession, near guaranteeing that they will be the first generation in modern American history to end up poorer than their parents.”

Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services striving to continue worldwide impact during coronavirus pandemic by Nathan Ruiz: “As the impact of the coronavirus continues to grow in Maryland and the United States, Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services is striving to ensure that other countries are as prepared as possible for what the virus brings their way.”

E.P.A. Weakens Controls on Mercury by NY Times: “The Trump administration on Thursday weakened regulations on the release of mercury and other toxic metals from oil and coal-fired power plants, another step toward rolling back health protections in the middle of a pandemic.”

China’s Aggressive Diplomacy Weakens Xi Jinping’s Global Standing by NY Times: “In the past week officials in France, Britain and nearly two dozen African nations have rebuked actions or statements by the Chinese government.”

Covid-19 and the help of human kindness by Christopher Lamb: “As governments struggle to chart an exit strategy from lockdown, and people adapt to the “new normal” of social distancing, the Pope wants the Church to help build a fairer world in the aftermath after the Coronavirus crisis. A good place to start is by emphasising kindness, a virtue which can act as a vaccine to the virus of selfishness.”

We must remember lessons great and small from the quarantine by Elise Italiano Ureneck: “You promised not to take for granted the opportunity to sit face-to-face with family members and friends, and you committed to putting away your phone when you were with them. Zoom and FaceTime were cheap imitations of the real thing, but they did foster connection when you needed it.”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

The Politics of Dignity by EJ Dionne: “Dignity has strong implications for both policy and our culture. And it answers a moral yearning felt both individually and collectively. Lifting up dignity as a core national purpose is essential to renewing a society that has lost track of the powerful “We” that opens our Constitution.”

How to Beat a Populist by Larry Diamond: “The greatest threat confronting democracies around the world is not from without but from within. While we need vigilant and resolute responses to the escalating efforts of Russia, China, and other dictatorships to penetrate and subvert our democratic institutions, they cannot on their own reverse the extraordinary democratic progress of the last several decades. It takes homegrown autocrats to do that. And unfortunately, they are growing in number.”

We need to say ‘no’ to the dominance of money in politics, philanthropy, culture by Michael Sean Winters: “The rich are no longer content to dominate the halls of commerce. Now they wish to dominate other sectors of society. Collectively we need to stand up and say, “No.” We may not succeed, but we must try.”

The Cost of Inaction in Syria is Too High by Angelina Jolie: “It also raises fundamental questions for us as Americans: When did we stop wanting to stand up for the underdog, for the innocent, for those fighting for their human rights? And what kind of country would we be if we abandoned that principle?”

The Future of American Politics by David Brooks: “If you base your political and social systems on the idea that the autonomous self-interested individual is the basic unit of society, then you will wind up with an individualistic culture that widens the maneuvering room between people but shreds the relationships and community between people.”

No guarantees for Afghan women in draft U.S.-Taliban deal by NBC News: “The United States once vowed to liberate Afghan women from the draconian repression of the Taliban, but a planned deal between the U.S. and the insurgents offers no protections for the country’s women, who fear that their hard-won rights could be lost.”

What Happened in Delhi Was a Pogrom by Mira Kamdar: “The violence unleashed against Muslims in Delhi by armed Hindu mobs during President Donald Trump’s visit to India is a portent and a lesson. As Trump sat down to dine with India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, on Tuesday, Hindus in the same city were beating and shooting Muslims, and Muslims were fighting back, trying to defend their homes and businesses from looters and arsonists. More than 40 people were killed—including an 85-year-old woman too frail to flee her burning home—and more than 200 people, mostly Muslims, were injured.”

The Pied Pipers of the Dirtbag Left Want to Lead Everyone to Bernie Sanders by Nellie Bowles: “Julius Krein, the conservative founder of the new publication American Affairs, has noticed the new allies. ‘There is a lot of interesting convergence on some of the anti-woke thinking and many things that, perhaps surprisingly, we agree on, for different reasons,” he said. One of the Chapo hosts contributed a piece to his magazine. ‘It’s fairly easy to have fun, pretty exciting dialogue between right-wing anti-neoliberals and left-wing anti-neoliberals.’”


Around the Web

Check out these recent articles from around the web:

How misinformation overwhelmed our democracy by Sean Illing: “We live in a media ecosystem that overwhelms people with information. Some of that information is accurate, some of it is bogus, and much of it is intentionally misleading. The result is a polity that has increasingly given up on finding out the truth.”

Rising anti-Semitism is a sign of America’s declining health by Michael Gerson: “The level of anti-Semitism has always been a kind of test — a measure of a nation’s social health, or the lack of it. When the rights of Jews are violated, all human rights are insecure. When Jews and Jewish institutions are targeted, all minorities have reason for fear.”

Giving birth in America now costs more than a woman earns in a month by Irina Ivanova: “The cost of giving birth in America has skyrocketed in recent years — even for women with employer health insurance. A major study looking at women with employer-provided health insurance found that the average new mom spent $4,500 out-of-pocket to give birth in 2015, the most recent year data are available. That’s a 50% increase from 2007, when the typical new mom paid out just over $3,000 of her own money. It’s also more than three times the rate of inflation over that time period.”

In China’s Crackdown on Muslims, Children Have Not Been Spared by Amy Qin: “Thrust into a regimented environment and immersed in an unfamiliar culture, children in the boarding schools are only allowed visits with family once every week or two — a restriction intended to “break the impact of the religious atmosphere on children at home,” in the words of the 2017 policy document.”

Local newsrooms across the country are closing. Here’s why that matters by PBS NewsHour: “Across the country, local newspapers are printing fewer pages, less frequently — and sometimes collapsing entirely. Recent studies paint a grim picture of the decline in local newspapers and the impact it has on American politics.”

How Did Americans Lose Faith in Everything? by Yuval Levin: “What stands out about our era in particular is a distinct kind of institutional dereliction — a failure even to attempt to form trustworthy people, and a tendency to think of institutions not as molds of character and behavior but as platforms for performance and prominence.”

An Incoherent Truth by Thomas Chatterton Williams: “In a hyperpolarized system such as ours (as opposed to a European parliamentary government), what seem to be inevitable political coalitions are just as often post hoc frameworks grafted on top of marriages of convenience.”

Raising The Minimum Wage By $1 May Prevent Thousands Of Suicides, Study Shows by Graison Dangor: “A new study suggests that raising the minimum wage might lower the suicide rate — especially when unemployment is high — and that doing so might have saved tens of thousands of people from dying by suicide in the last quarter century.”

U.N. report lays out agonies faced by Syrian children amid war by AP: “In Syria’s civil war, girls as young as 9 have been raped and forced into sexual slavery. Boys have been tortured, forced into military training and ordered to carry out killings in public. Children have been targeted by sniper fire and used as bargaining chips to extract ransoms. Those gruesome facts have been the focus of a new report by U.N.-backed investigators of the Syrian war, which for the first time looks solely at the plight of the children caught up in the conflict.”

‘Staggering number’ of human rights defenders killed in Colombia, the UN says Radina Gigova by Radina Gigova: “Human rights activists and community leaders in Colombia are being killed at an alarming rate, the United Nations human rights agency warned Tuesday as it urged the government to “make a strenuous effort” to prevent attacks on those who are defending fundamental rights.”

Five myths about bipartisanship by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein: “From health care to climate to stimulus to deficit reduction to trade, debates where there was long common ground — and where there still is significant overlap — have been superseded by partisan warfare.”

College-Educated Voters Are Ruining American Politics by Eitan Hersh: “Many college-educated people think they are deeply engaged in politics. They follow the news—reading articles like this one—and debate the latest developments on social media. They might sign an online petition or throw a $5 online donation at a presidential candidate. Mostly, they consume political information as a way of satisfying their own emotional and intellectual needs. These people are political hobbyists. What they are doing is no closer to engaging in politics than watching SportsCenter is to playing football.”

The Working-to-Afford-Child-Care Conundrum by Ashley Fetters: “If all or most of one parent’s income were being canceled out by the costs of child care, perhaps the obvious solution would be for that parent to simply, like Tiffany, stop working and stay at home. But as Blau points out, in many cases it’s not a 1-to-1 ratio; a significant portion of the income may be going to child care, but perhaps the rest is needed to buy the groceries or make the monthly rent payment.”


Around the Web

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.”