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Writing Worth Reading

Gay Marriage And Racism

Opponents of gay marriage should not be compared to opponents of interracial marriage. The analogy is flawed for three main reasons: Marriage was always gendered until very recently, but never intrinsically racist; opposition to gay marriage has deep religious roots, and religion, unlike racism, is constitutionally protected; the analogy is counter-productive, when the case for gay marriage is prevailing on its own merits (1,520 words)

New New Fatherhood In The Inner City

Review of Doing The Best I Can, by Kathryn Edin and Timothy Nelson, on the lives of poor single fathers in Philadelphia and Camden, N.J. They do love their children, they want to spend time with them, but they cannot or will not support them. “Lower-class fathers have tried to bargain for a wholesale reversal of gender roles, in which dads are the soft, emotional parents and moms are the tough, pragmatic ones” (1,500 words)

When A Bomb Goes Off In Afghanistan

Associate Press correspondent reflects on five years in Afghanistan. Partly an account of the daily routine — what you do when a bomb goes off, who you call for information, what you can deduce from the circumstances of the blast. But also an expression of regret that, as the America military presence winds down, so will the press coverage, and Afghanistan will go deeper into chaos with nobody outside knowing or caring (2,487 words)

Nancy Hatch Dupree Is Quietly Saving Afghanistan’s History

Portrait of “tiny, birdlike 86-year-old woman”, whose life is a “series of tales that would rival a Hollywood movie”, including “a passionate affair in 1960s Kabul with a handsome, Harvard-educated, ex-paratrooper and archeologist who made Indiana Jones seem positively suburban’. She became an authority on Afghan culture; was thrown out under the Soviets; and is back now, “commuting between her homes in Kabul and Peshawar, sometimes driving herself down the Khyber Pass in her little Renault 5″ (3,067 words)

What US Jews Don’t Get About European Anti-Semitism

“This is becoming a regular task for a British Jew: reassuring our American friends that, no, we are not living in a new dark age and, no, the lights are not going out all over Europe. Such fear is fed by the claim that the British capital has become Londonistan, a sharia-ruled outpost where al Qaeda sheiks preach on every street corner”

The Real Problem With Susan Rice

What did the wannabe Secretary of State think about invading Iraq? Beinart has gone back to look at her comments and finds them contradictory. And therein lies the problem. She’s a calculating careerist, not a foreign policy expert

Out Of The Ashes Of Dead Trees

Reflections on the death of Newsweek’s print edition. “There’s a reason why Drudge Report and the Huffington Post are named after human beings. It’s because when we read online, we migrate to read people, not institutions”

The Reality Of Anti-Blasphemy Laws

“Anti-blasphemy laws inevitably lead to the arrest and persecution of religious minorities, including children, in order to ‘protect sensibilities’ of religious majorities.” Such laws are about authority and control, not respect

What Does It Mean To Be Poor?

“The poor could stop being poor if they behaved differently. It’s numerically impossible to fall under the poverty line if you finish high school, wait to have children until you get married, and both work full time”

The Anti-Balfour Declaration

Benjamin Netanyahu has a problem. A committee he appointed has exceeded its mandate, with the result that he may be forced to clarify whether or not Israel sees itself as occupying the West Bank. Here’s why he would rather not say

Obama’s Shrewd Politics

Afghanistan. America’s “surge” has been a failure, but Obama has escaped punishment for it. “On no other major issue has Obama been so cynical. And on no other issue has his cynicism proved so politically shrewd”

The 99 Percent Wakes Up

Reflections on global economy, Occupy movement. “Much of what has gone on can only be described by the words moral deprivation. Something wrong had happened to the moral compass of so many people working in the financial sector”

Tax Me, For F@%&’s Sake!

Celebrated author joins arms with Warren Buffett in expletive-laden demand to be taxed more. “The channels making upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. Those who have received much must be obligated to pay”

Michael Lewis Interviews Himself

Chronicler of the financial crisis lends his advice to Occupiers. “If I were in charge I would probably reorganize the movement around a single, achievable goal: A financial boycott of the six ‘too big to fail’ Wall Street firms”

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