Wednesday Reading List
1. Johan Norberg on Swedish Models for The National Interest:
Sweden is a Rorschach test: The Left sees a generous welfare state, and the Right sees an open economy that pushes for deregulation in the European Union. The only thing British reformists and French protectionists could agree on at the EU summit in Brussels in March was that Europe should learn from the Scandinavian model's combination of generous social provisions and a high-growth economy. Sweden is seen as the proverbial "third way", combining the openness and wealth creation of capitalism with the redistribution and safety nets of socialism. It is the best of both worlds.
But things in Sweden are not as good as the advocates would like to believe. Long the paragon of social democracy, the Swedish model is rotting from within.
2. One of my favorite topics. Shanikka on El Hajj Malik el Shabazz, Race & Politics for Political Sapphire:
Most people in the mainstream don't know (or don't want to know because it's inconvenient for their post-hoc reconstruction of Dr. King's views) that at the end of their respective lives, Dr. King and Malcolm X were politically moving towards each other, in terms of viewpoints about the struggle and methods. Over the years I have had many moments of fantasy about what could have been, for African-Americans, if Malcolm had continued to live even until Dr. King was killed 3 years later. Most Americans have this fantasy that it was Dr. King who was successful all by his lonesome, his Christian non-violence movement morally swaying Americans to his view, and that other than "small details", America itself has truly changed. And, but for folks -- mostly of color -- who just won't "move on", has solved its race problem.
Whereas if you actually study the history and compare on the ground to what exists today, it becomes obvious that but for Malcolm X, and the subsequent ascension of the Black Nationalist movement including its champions the Black Panthers in the urban areas, Dr. King's success --transitory as it appears to be, in hindsight -- was directly correlated with majoritarian America seeing full frontal what the alternative could be and *would be.
3. Sarah Elizabeth Richards on How To Humanize a Killer for Salon:
When the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, it ruled that courts must hold a separate sentencing phase during which lawyers offer the jury guidance when evaluating a life-or-death verdict. Jurors are instructed to consider the prosecution's aggravating factors or "case for death" as well as the defense's mitigating factors or "case for life." "The general idea is that you have to present every piece of possible information about the client so the jury can make the choice," explains Robin Maher, director of the American Bar Association's Death Penalty Representation Project. In the past six years, the Supreme Court has thrown out three capital sentences because the defense failed to adequately research or present a defendant's background, and some experts believe that such information was at least partially responsible for helping high-profile defendants such as Susan Smith, Lee Malvo and Terry Nichols avoid death sentences.
4. Belledame on Objectification. Read her whole series. Bringing a whole new rigor to the online "Sex Wars".
5. This is one of those topics it's extremely difficult to do well. But I think Punkindunkin's Sex, Sexuality, and the Fat Girl is quite well-written. It's my favorite thing from the Big Fat Carnival this time around.