In the World
Steve Thorngate on public life and culture
Joe Nocera thinks that everyone protesting the Keystone pipeline is pretty silly. He makes a series of weak arguments, and I'll direct you to others to explain why the pipeline isn't about a U.S. geopolitical advantage, why the environmental cost of tar sands oil extraction isn't small just because Nocera says so, why activism is more important than wonky incrementalism, and why a carbon tax wouldn't make tar sands extraction more viable. I'm more interested in Nocera's overall point: that we need to reduce demand for fossil fuels, not supply.
I will be the first to argue that good church music can be old or new, classical or pop or folk or whatever, content dense or repetitive, celebratory or somber. And as I've pointed out before, the best critiques of praise-band music usually come from within that world, not from outside haters. Anyway, this "How to write a worship song (in five minutes or less)" tutorial from Blimey Cow is a heap of fun.
Sen. Marco Rubio’s rebuttal to State of the Union last night was notable mostly for what it didn’t do: spend more than a hot second on the subject of immigration. I’ve been impressed to see the Florida Republican working to convince conservatives that it’s time for immigration reform. Sure, his urgency may be as electoral as it is moral. But that doesn’t make him wrong. Still, despite Rubio’s considerable gifts—and despite the low bar set by a thankless speaking gig—he sounded pretty out of touch.
Ordinarily I don't like to write about Fred Phelps and his family. When a group's main goal is to say hateful things and draw attention to itself, I don't want to help out with that project in any small way. But Megan Phelps-Roper, Phelps's granddaughter, is another story.
Like the Century, the Atlantic has been around a while. But they've got some much older archives posted online than we do. (We're working on it, slowly but surely.) Here's an astonishing example: from 1939, a firsthand account the Atlantic published of a German Jew's time in a concentration camp just before the war.
What does it take to replace a culture that tolerates violence against women with one that insists on respect? According to Breakthrough, an organization based in the U.S. and India, a key element is enlisting men to actively enforce nonviolent, respectful norms. A couple years ago, the group's Bell Bajao (Hindi for "Ring the Bell") project produced some amazing PSA videos in India.
The good news: the U.S. will now have the highest number of African-American senators ever. The bad news: that number is two. Out of 100.