The Common Good

Afternoon News Bytes: March 12, 2012

THE NEW YORK TIMES: The Nuclear ‘Implementation Study’
President Obama and his advisers are in the middle of a once-in-a-decade study of the nuclear arsenal and nuclear war plans. For strategic and budgetary reasons, they need to further reduce the number of deployed weapons and the number kept in reserve. If this country can wean itself from its own dependence, it will be safer and will have more credibility in its efforts to contain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, North Korea and others.
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THE NEW YORKER: The Unpersuaded
Richard Neustadt, who died in 2003, was the most influential scholar of the American Presidency. He was a founder of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and an adviser to Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton, and, in his book “Presidential Power” (1960), he wrote the most frequently quoted line in Presidential studies: “The power of the presidency is the power to persuade.
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FOX NEWS LATINO: Latinos See Rise In Poverty & Unemployment
The longest jobs recession since World War II is getting even worse for Latinos. New figures are out yesterday indicate that for the first time in a year Hispanics have seen a rise in unemployment.
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THE HUFFINGTON POST: When Will The Christian Right Return To The Teachings Of Their Gospel? (OPINION)
Who among today's leaders of the Church might take the lead in advocating needed societal change, as Rauschenbusch and Herron did during America's first encounter with unfettered corporate power and greed, complicit politicians, and a growing and unsustainable gap between the wealthy few and everyone else? Is there any possibility of a 21st century version of the Social Gospel movement emerging anytime soon?
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THE NATION: What Does the Kony Viral Video Say About Us?
Ultimately, as an attempt at policymaking or history, the Invisible Children film comes up short. But as an attempt at inspiration and education, as a jump-off point for learning and debating a faraway problem beyond the twenty-four-hour news cycle, it is a tremendous success.
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THE ATLANTIC: Why It's OK To Let Apps Make You A Better Person
In article after article, one theme emerges from the media coverage of people's relationships with our current set of technologies: Consumers want digital willpower. App designers in touch with the latest trends in behavioral modification--nudging, the quantified self, and gamification--and good old-fashioned financial incentive manipulation, are tackling weakness of will. They're harnessing the power of payouts, cognitive biases, social networking, and biofeedback. The quantified self becomes the programmable self.
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SLATE: Annan Leaves Syria Without A Deal
U.N./Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan left Syria after a second meeting with President Bashar al-Assad and told reporters he knew it would be difficult to reach a deal to end the fighting, reports Reuters. Still, the former U.N. head claimed he was “optimistic for several reason,” noting that “the situation is so bad and so dangerous that all of us cannot afford to fail.”
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THE WASHINGTON POST (ON FAITH): Do Atheists Need Religion? (OPINION)
I wrote “Religion for Atheists” because I was deeply frustrated by the anger and intolerance of ‘new atheists’ like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. They are atheists, and so am I, but their brand of atheism seemed painfully aggressive and destructive.
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THE HUFFINGTON POST: Obama's Religion Still A Campaign Issue: Many Alabama, Mississippi Voters Believe President Is Muslim
Ask President Barack Obama about his religious affiliation, and he's a Christian. Ask Mississippi or Alabama voters, and you might find a different answer.
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