Katherine Boo: “Reporting Poverty”
As a reporter, you know the tropes of how stories on poverty work in any country. A reporter will go to an NGO and say, “Tell me about the good work that you’re doing and introduce me to the poor people who represent the kind of help you give.” It serves to streamline the storytelling, but it gives you a lopsided cosmos in which almost every poor person you read about is involved with a NGO helping him. Our understanding of poverty and how people escape from poverty, in any country, is quite distorted.
Matt Yglesias: “Mitt Romney’s Incoherent View of Mothers”
That’s a provocative idea. And indeed it’s part of the idea behind the original pre-reform version of TANF known as AFDC. This idea, representing state-of-the-art 1930s thinking about gender roles held that the state should act as a breadwinner figure for families with dependent children that lacked adequate income. The idea wasn’t that mothers in such families “aren’t working” it’s that they’re doing the job of a mother, which is often conceptualized as “harder” and “a lot more important” than the job of earning wages in the labor market.
Hillary Clinton: “Remarks at Reception Marking Eid ul-Fitr”
When all of us who are people of faith – and I am one – feel the pain of insults, of misunderstanding, of denigration to what we cherish, we must expect ourselves and others not to resort to violence. That is a universal standard and expectation, and it is everyone’s obligation to meet that, so that we make no differences, we expect no less of ourselves than we expect of others. You cannot respond to offensive speech with violence without begetting more violence.And I so strongly believe that the great religions of the world are stronger than any insults. They have withstood offense for centuries. Refraining from violence, then, is not a sign of weakness in one’s faith; it is absolutely the opposite, a sign that one’s faith is unshakable.
We cannot afford to fall behind the rest of the world in terms of our infrastructure development, but that’s exactly what we are doing. At a time when interest rates are as low as we are likely to see, when labor and other costs are minimal due to lack of demand during the downturn, and when the need is so high, why aren’t we making a massive investment in infrastructure, which is ultimately an investment in our future? There are many, many public investments we could make where the benefits surely exceed the costs – these are things the private sector won’t do on its own even though they are highly valuable to society – so what are we waiting for?