Article Recommendations (August 8, 2013)

Every few weeks or so, I try to list some of the articles that I’ve really enjoyed recently.  (Feel free to check out my lists of recommendations from February 17thJune 20th and July 28th.) So here are my newest suggestions (although the suggestions themselves aren’t all new):

“From Tom Paine to Glenn Greenwald, we need partisan journalism” by Jack Shafer (Reuters) – An incredible article defending openly biased journalism. “I care less about where a journalist is coming from than to where his journalism takes me.”

“Who am I to judge the Pope, says gay man” (The Daily Mash) – An absolutely brilliant satirical response to Pope Francis saying, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

“The Bomb Didn’t Beat Japan… Stalin Did” by Ward Wilson (Foreign Policy) – The article is an extremely well-supported and convincing argument that the use of nuclear weapons on Japan in World War II actually did little, if anything at all, to encourage Japan to surrender.  Warning: It’s a long read – but it’s undoubtedly worth your time.

“The Sad Legacy of Ronald Reagan” by Sheldon L. Richman (The Free Market) – Despite the seemingly infinite claims of President Reagan being a small government saint, his record indicates that he was far from a libertarian.  This article echoes the feelings of Dr. Ron Paul in his 1987 resignation letter to the RNC.

“In U.S., Strong Link Between Church Attendance, Smoking” by Frank Newport & Igor Himelfarb (Gallup) – As they so often are, this recent Gallup poll was really fascinating for me.  “Smoking in the U.S. is highly correlated with religiosity, with those who never attend church almost three times as likely to smoke as those who attend weekly.”

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Recommended Reading (6/20/13)

“How Geography Explains the United States” –  A very informative, yet digestible, explanation of how geography has shaped America and its worldview by Aaron David Miller for Foreign Policy on April 16, 2013.

“Study Finds College Education Leaves Majority Of Graduates Unprepared To Carry Entire American Economic Recovery” – Yet another masterpiece by the comedic geniuses at The Onion from May 13, 2013.

“The God I Don’t Believe In” – One of the best article about the nature of God that I’ve ever read, written by Rabbi Richard A. Block for The Huffington Post on June 10, 2013.

“A CLOSED LETTER TO MYSELF ABOUT THIEVERY, HECKLING AND RAPE JOKES” – Comic Patton Oswalt’s brilliant contemplation of life is masked as a examination of comedy, but even those who aren’t huge comedy fans can appreciate the letter from June 14, 2013.

-“From Ike to “The Matrix”: Welcome to the American dystopia” – Andrew O’Hehir’s June 16, 2013 article for Salon argues that the current state of America is “part Orwellian security state, part Huxley wonderland and part “Matrix.””  Whether or not you agree with his arguments, it’s a thought-provoking piece.

“150 Years of Misunderstanding the Civil War” – There seems to be a consensus among the American public that the Civil War was a noble and worthy conflict.  While recognizing the unimaginable horror of slavery as well as the Civil War’s role in abolishing it, the article presents intriguing, yet balanced, arguments that the Civil War wasn’t the glorious undertaking that it’s often cracked up to be. I also strongly recommend Ta-Nehisi Coates reply to the article.

-“Richard Nixon, hero of the American Left” – Warning: it’s long, even longer than the other articles on this list.  Still, Emmett Rensin’s May 5, 2013 article for Salon utilizes some of the most seductive prose that I’ve read.  Example: “My teenage descent into Nixonalia started the same way my Boomer parents got into drugs: with the toke that didn’t kill. … When a young person finds out that taking a toke doesn’t unleash an unimaginable horror into their lives, it does violence to their faith in received wisdom. Boomers decided that everything they had been told about drugs was a lie. For me, it meant that, for about five years of my life, I absolutely loved Richard Nixon. It just took one toke.”