Political Animal


April 29, 2012 7:05 AM Recommended reading

By Kathleen Geier

Here are some of the more interesting things I’ve read on the internets over the past couple of days:

Larry Mishel on the diverengence between pay and productivity, and the dramatic shift of income from labor to capital (Paul Krugman zeroes in on the astonishing data point that “incomes of typical workers would be 30 or 40 percent higher than they are if inequality hadn’t soared”);

In These Times’ Lena Chen on the link between the Great Recession and rising suicide rates (among other things, she reports on research suggesting that the economic downturn “has induced an unprecedented global decline in life satisfaction. In concrete terms this has translated into greater pessimism about the quality of life, diminished confidence in the ability of governments to shape brighter and fairer futures, and greater social unrest among other things”);

the great Garry Wills on the Vatican’s bullying of the nuns (in today’s New York Times Maureen Dowd also has one of her rare good columns on the same subject);

Michael Sean WInters’ takedown of the new book by the egregious Ross Douthat;

and finally, this extraordinary New York Times Magazine story by Eliza Griswold about Afghan women who risk death to write poetry.

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee


  • hedda Peraz on April 29, 2012 8:44 AM:

    I read the Douthat take-down, until my eyes glazed over.
    "Die Religion ist das Opium des Volkes"
    Marx was right, and I might add that organized religion is also the bane of mankind. (But a superb revenue generator.)

    Looks like I beat gulag out of the box today.

  • stormskies on April 29, 2012 9:28 AM:

    Larry Mishel on the diverengence between pay and productivity, and the dramatic shift of income from labor to capital..........


    Right. How is it possible, for example, that Brian " I am not a corporate cum slut " Williams can make $15 million per year for reading what is prepared for him to read on 20 minutes of his nightly propaganda ? That would be over $250,000 per week. That's right per week.

    That would equal the full time salaries of five teachers for our kid: just one week of the corporate cum sluts pay. Think about that. In one year it would equal 440 teachers.

    How is this possible ? And then think of all the other 'media elite" who have been made millionaires by the corporations who hire them to do their bidding.

    Inequality ?

  • Ron Byers on April 29, 2012 9:34 AM:

    I read the articles about nuns and found both very interesting. I do have to ask what has gotten into Maureen Dowd. She stands in solidarity with women religious. Her column is pretty darn good, but of the two Gary Willis reflection is the must read.

    Every Saturday Benen does his This Week in God comment. He seems to have missed the nuns' struggle for social justice and solid gospel teachings as opposed to the Bishops war against contraception, women priests and marriage equality that is pitting nuns against the bishops.

    I guess it isn't odd that the old mens club in Rome should take on Christ by declaring a war on its religious women. I guess the good sisters know it is never easy to be a follower of Christ. I commend them for their struggle.

  • Jack Lindahl on April 29, 2012 10:08 AM:

    I have to admit I don't understand Maureen Dowd's function as an op ed columnist at the NYT. She seems to have so little to offer, either in wit or intelligence or experience. And yet, there she is.

    On second thought, there's also Tom Friedman. So I take back what I said about Dowd.

  • hornblower on April 29, 2012 11:24 AM:

    Many nuns in the modern world are looking for a role before they die out as a religious subset. The old men Vatican types have no understanding what these women have done since they stopped cooking their dinner and weearing those outfts. There are few seminarians and fewer postulants. You would think they would join together to remain relevant. Maybe they could borrow some money from their parents and start a business.
    Not to be disrespectful but I worked with nuns for many years. They are as varied as people as the rest of us. Don't think of them as a group but as humans striving for meaning just like we do. Unfortunately, the Vatican knows only power and definately has no respect for womem in any walk of life.

  • Ron Byers on April 29, 2012 11:48 AM:

    One of the many unanswered questions that forever rattles around in my head is why has the organized Christian Church, at least from the time of Constantine forward, been so hostile to women. Clearly Christ wasn't hostile to women. The early Catholic Church had several women leaders. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene was called apocryphal and banned around the time of the Counsel of Nicea. One of the early popes gave a sermon claiming Mary Magdalene was a prostitute (no evidence in the gospels), and the Church's relationship with half its members has been downhill from there.

  • Texas Aggie on April 29, 2012 11:57 AM:

    Mr. Winters' take down of Douthat was interesting, but taking down anything that Douthat says is like beating up a paraplegic. It just isn't any challenge, and it is to the point of being immoral. Douthat is such a dope that no one takes him seriously except other dopes.

  • exlibra on April 29, 2012 12:57 PM:

    (in today’s New York Times Maureen Dowd also has one of her rare good columns on the same subject) -- Kathleen Geier

    As does Nicholas Kristof:
    It must be a nun Sunday :)

  • hornblower on April 29, 2012 12:57 PM:

    Mr. Winters makes some great points but as someone who grew up in the 50's I don't ever remember Catholic leaders talking about civil rights. Spellman and Sheen, who hated eachother, were silent on the subject. My all-white church was more concerned about communists than black Americans.
    As far as Catholic sex teachings growing up in the 50's don't get me started.

  • sjay on April 29, 2012 8:49 PM:

    Cardinal Shehan in Baltimore and Archbishop Rummel in New Orleans both desegregated Catholic schools in their respective archdioceses very early in the 1960s. Cdl. Shehan testified before the Baltimore city council on behalf of open housing legislation and was roundly heckled by segregationalists. He also marched in the 1963 Washington march.