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Cecily Cecily

Writing Worth Reading

The Unbearable Whiteness Of Liberal Media

Why do liberal publishers employ so few non-white staff, while urging diversity on everybody else? Non-whites make up 40% of the US population, but rarely more than 10% of editorial staffs. The problem is that the hiring happens through networks, which tend to be homogeneous; and nobody is keeping a public count. VIDA’s campaign for gender balance shows that naming and shaming does work (2,100 words)

Revolt Of The Cities

American cities are “charting a new course for American liberalism” thanks to a new cohort of mayors elected with progressive and populist agendas — typically including universal pre-school, mandatory inner-city hiring for major projects, higher minimum wages, more public transport. Bill de Blasio in New York gets the national headlines, but there are similar stories in Pittsburgh, Seattle, Minneapolis, Boston (4,300 words)

Sex, Economics And Austerity

Was Keynes less of an economist because he was gay and childless? Niall Ferguson’s claim has a long history. Schumpeter said much the same in 1946. Ferguson and Schumpeter reach the wrong conclusions, but have the right instincts: there is a lot of sex in economics. “Economics is not a morally neutral science but rather is intimately connected with questions about what we want from life, including the type of sex we want to have” (1,960 words)

The Mother Of All Girls’ Books

“Little Women is brutal, a ferocious wolf dressed up in the curly white sermons and sentimental homilies of children’s stories. Despite references to a kind and loving father, its fundamental faith lies not in God but in books”

My So-Called Ex-Gay Life

Arana recalls teenage experience of being pushed into undergoing ex-gay therapy. It didn’t work, of course. Far from it. Years later, he confronts the psychologist who made a career out of offering this therapy

Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

Legal background to the Trayvon Martin case. New laws in Florida and other American states make it easy to plead self-defence for almost any act of violence. And when the victim is dead, that plea is hard to contradict

Age Of Double Standards

American corporations declare bankruptcy without shame, wipe away debts, recapitalise, resume business. Whereas bankrupt individuals lose everything, including homes. Why? Because banks and corporations have political power

The Right To Tell Lies

Does freedom of speech include the right to tell lies? US Supreme Court is asked to decide. One plausible answer: Most lies have no value to society. But there is value in the freedom to lie, without worrying about being arrested

Fall Of The House Of Assad

If regime change does come to Syria, it will have repercussions throughout the Middle East. The outcomes could be generally positive, if properly managed. America’s best strategy: Help Turkey shape the post-Assad order

A Jew Of No Religion

Yoram Kaniuk, novelist, 81, wins court victory in Israel. He can be Jewish by nationality, but an atheist by religion. Sounds like progress. But raises new questions about church and state relations, and what it means to be Jewish

Revisiting The Obama Doctrine

In foreign policy Barack Obama is a “pragmatist with an idealist streak” who has been constantly reacting to one crisis or another, and largely adhered to his predecessor’s foreign policy. He doesn’t have a doctrine, he has a style

Debate We Should Be Having

Obsession with deficits and debts crowds out more urgent debate on how to get economy growing robustly. Right path: increase spending on jobs and infrastructure now, cut spending when recovery comes

Enduring Relevance Of Affirmative Action

Affirmative action has survived the Bush years by repositioning itself, no longer as a means of righting historic wrongs, but as a source of “diversity” from which everybody benefits

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