D. Theodore Rave (Houston): Two Problems of Fiduciary Governance. There was another mass shooting this weekend but no one cares. Kavanaugh refuses to say if Donald Trump can pardon himself. Kavanaugh stumbled over two critical tripwires. Kavanaugh will say anything to get confirmed. It’s hard to find a federal judge more conservative than Brett Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh could shatter the alliance between the GOP and the antiabortion movement (and more). Wojciech Keblowski on why public transport should be free. Why is Nike working with Colin Kaepernick? Joshua Hunt on the myth of good and bad companies. Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played an NFL game in 2 seasons, but he just keeps winning.

Manvir Singh (Harvard): Magic, Explanations, and Evil: On the Origins and Design of Witches and Sorcerers. The impotent executive: Trump has torn through some establishment restraints on his conduct, but his weakness is still the major story of his presidency. In 2018, black women like Ayanna Pressley are fighting for political power — and winning. Enough, already, with anything Steve Bannon has to say — we got it the first time. Josephine Livingstone on David Remnick, Steve Bannon, and the revolt against the elites. Some friendly advice for ideas festivals everywhere. Kennan Ferguson reviews Comedy and Critical Thought: Laughter as Resistance, ed. Krista Bonello, Rutter Giappone, Fred Francis, and Iain MacKenzie.


“So. That New York Times op-ed from the anonymous Senior White House official. It’s high-grade seagull guano. A perfect example of how Decency Resistance is designed to shield the elite. Let me explain”. “The short summary of the anonymous White House senior staffer op-ed: We’ll serve and enable an incompetent and corrupt racist, as long as we can carry out our extreme right-wing economic agenda”. “By spreading word that they stood up to the president behind closed doors, these figures hope to burnish their reputations and distance themselves from the stain the Trump presidency leaves on nearly everyone it touches”.

“The problem for the president is it could be so many people”. “By recklessly calling Trump’s attention to the plot against him, the author is undermining its effectiveness”. “Speak in your own name. Resign in a way that will count. Present the evidence that will justify an invocation of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, or an impeachment, or at the very least, the first necessary step toward either outcome, a Democratic Congress after the November elections”.


Erwin Chemerinsky (UC-Berkeley): Fighting for the Constitution. Who is Bill Burck? Meet the former Bush attorney vetting Kavanaugh documents. What would you ask Brett Kavanaugh? We asked legal scholars that question about the Supreme Court nominee. What’s Brett Kavanaugh hiding? Republicans are clearly worried about nominee’s hidden records. How Brett Kavanaugh would transform the Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh may soon unshackle all rich political donors. The Second Redemption Court: The Supreme Court again appears poised to pursue a purely theoretical liberty at the expense of the lives of people of color. Why aren’t Democrats waging an all-out war to stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation?


Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra (Oxford): Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing? A Probabilistic Answer Examined. The decades-long Catholic priest child sex abuse crisis, explained. Myanmar is taking advantage of the Trump effect. Chuck Todd: “It’s time for the press to stop complaining — and to start fighting back”. Eric Levitz on 15 ways President Trump has hurt the American worker. Why does violence in Chicago attract so much attention, even though it’s not the murder capital of the U.S.? Allegations that Richard Nixon beat his wife, Pat Nixon, have circulated for decades without serious examination by the journalists who covered his presidency — it’s time to look more closely at what’s been hiding in plain view.

For female candidates, harassment and threats come every day. What was lost in Brazil’s devastating museum fire. Enjoying your cultural cheesecake: Maarten Boudry on why believers are sincere and shamans are not charlatans. Andrew Gillum, Stacey Abrams, and Ben Jealous could be the first black governors of their states — here’s how they got this far. Helaine Olen on the Trump administration’s scandalous handling of student loans. “The Trump administration’s agenda on student debt is so corrupt and regressive that it’s literally unbelievable. A straightforward description of its policies sound like an unhinged partisan attack”. The looming fight for Idlib, Syria’s last main rebel stronghold, explained.


Bob Woodward’s new book reveals a “nervous breakdown” of Trump’s presidency (and more). Of course there’s a tweet: Some sage advice for Donald Trump about picking a fight with Bob Woodward, from Donald Trump. There’s always a new low for the Trump White House. Everybody in the White House considers Trump an idiot (and more and more). “It is astonishing that the country has allowed this clownish hustler to remain President for almost two years”. Does anyone at this point still believe that Republicans would react in a meaningful way if Trump were to fire Rosenstein and initiate a Saturday Night Massacre against Mueller? Congressional Republicans don’t even pretend to stand up to Trump anymore.

The only thing standing between American democracy and Trump’s vision of a Putin-like regime that terrorizes the opposition while nourishing an oligarchy of regime supporters is that much-mocked word: a norm. Want to save the GOP, Republicans? Vote for every Democrat on this year’s ballot. The next decade is on the ballot in 2018: To reverse Republican gerrymandering, Democrats must win key races this fall. New 2018 midterm poll has Democrats up 14 points on Republicans. Bruce Bartlett on why Democrats are screwed even if they win.


Sara Sternberg Greene (Duke): The Bootstrap Trap. Behind Trump’s plan to overhaul the government: Scaling back the safety net. White America’s racial resentment is the real impetus for welfare cuts, study says (and more). Do existing pay differences reflect talent and hard work? Of course not. Dylan Matthews writes in defense of Social Security Disability Insurance: When Americans get too sick or injured to work, this program helps them survive. Actually, the U.S. can afford welfare. Everyone benefits from welfare — here’s why most people don’t know that: Sean Illing interviews Suzanne Mettler, author of The Government-Citizen Disconnect, on why so many people who need the government hate it.

William M. Sage and Jennifer E. Laurin (Texas): If You Would Not Criminalize Poverty, Do Not Medicalize It. Do work requirements for federal assistance help people escape poverty? No — here’s what really happens. Trump wants to move food stamps to a new agency — that could make the program easier to overhaul. Bryce Covert on the not-so-subtle racism of Trump-era “welfare reform”. Social democracy’s staying power: Lane Kenworthy on how the safety net can survive Trump. What America could do with European levels of military spending. You can get whites to oppose welfare with this one weird trick (and more). Emily Badger on the outsize hold of the word “welfare” on the public imagination.

Thor Berger (Lund) and Per Engzell (Oxford): Ancestry of the American Dream. Monica C. Bell, Andrea Taverna, Dhruv Aggarwal, and Isra Syed (Yale): Laboratories of Suffering: Toward Democratic Welfare Governance. Do programs that help the poor really discourage able-bodied people from working? The welfare state needs updating: Its designers did not foresee ageing populations, mass immigration or the gig economy. The profound social cost of American exceptionalism: Rich and technologically advanced, the United States continues to accept a degree of dysfunction that would be intolerable in any other rich society. The Trump administration’s new poverty report builds a phony rationale to punish the poor.

Umair Haque on why America is the world’s first poor rich country. When it comes to poverty reduction, increasing employment and increasing social spending can both help — but which is the more effective of the two approaches?


Sara Ochs (Elon): What Hun Sen’s Re-Election Means for the Fate of Cambodian Justice. Jeffrey Toobin on how Rudy Giuliani turned into Trump’s clown: The former mayor’s theatrical, combative style of politics anticipated — and perfectly aligns with — the President’s. Quinta Jurecic on that 60-day rule: “The only problem with this argument is that it’s wrong”. Bob Bauer on Don McGahn as White House counsel: An early appraisal. Nauru is a nation in democratic freefall propped up by Australia. Thread: “Wow. @SenSanders is really getting under Amazon’s skin. This response on their corporate blog is a feat of corporate-speak — sort of hilarious and enraging all at once. Let’s break this down”.

It’s time for the U.S. to stop supplying weapons to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Annie Linskey on how ethnicity was not a factor in Elizabeth Warren’s rise in law. Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 preparations get more aggressive. Jared Bernstein and Dean Baker on unions in the 21st century: A potent weapon against inequality. Helaine Olen on Labor Day in Trump’s America. Rebekah Entralgo on the sorry state of labor in 2018. Venezuela heading for “crisis moment” comparable to refugees in Mediterranean, UN says. Who gets a second chance? Louis C.K. decided it was time for his. No one knows how long the U.S. coastline is. What goes up in flames: Austerity kills, and fires show a society’s priorities.


Todd W. Shaw and Steven G. Calabresi (Northwestern): The Jurisprudence of Justice Samuel Alito. Clarence Thomas is the most important legal thinker in America. Is Clarence Thomas the Supreme Court’s future? The conservative justice’s obsession with the past was on full display during the recent term. Neil Gorsuch is the most illegitimate member of the Supreme Court in U.S. history. How the Trump administration is remaking the courts: Thanks to ruthless discipline — and a plan long in the making — the G.O.P is carrying out a sweeping transformation of the federal judiciary. Cristian Farias on Noel Francisco, Trump’s tenth justice. What happens when the Supreme Court becomes significantly more conservative than the public? Emily Bazelon on when the Supreme Court lurches right.

From Congressional Research Service, a report on Questioning Judicial Nominees: Legal Limitations and Practice; and a report on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh: His Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court. The long-shot path to killing Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination runs through the heart of the American health care system — and right into the November midterm elections. Welcome to the Brett Kavanaugh show.


From Public Seminar, Jeffrey C. Goldfarb on answering the question, what is socialism? Elizabeth Bruenig on why it’s time to reclaim “socialism” from the dirty-word category. Democratic socialism isn’t social democracy: Social democracies like Norway show that more humane, equitable, democratic societies are possible — but democratic socialists want to go beyond them (and a response). Ben Shapiro on why Nordic “socialism” won’t work in the U.S. Capitalism, socialism, and unfreedom: Minimal government doesn’t remove power from our lives. “Socialism” vs. “capitalism” is a false dichotomy: We need go-go capitalism to afford a generous welfare state, and people won’t support go-go capitalism without a safety net.

Franklin Foer interviews Elizabeth Warren on why she’s doubling down on market competition at a moment when her party is flirting with socialism. The new socialists: Why the pitch from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders resonates in 2018. Is this the stupidest book ever written about socialism? Bill Sher reviews The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts and Reason by Felix Biederman, Matt Christman, Brendan James, Will Menaker and Virgil Texas. Our great historic socialists: Today’s leftists have many admirable predecessors to learn from.


Cecile Fabre (Oxford): The Case for Foreign Electoral Subversion (“I simply wish to show that, under certain conditions and subject to certain constraints, subversion is pro tanto justified”). My fellow prisoners: George Blaustein on John McCain. Thread: “McCain’s funeral was very moving and appropriately political (as befits the funeral of a major political figure). But it also reflected the weakness of a certain type of politics, Decency Resistance or Ancien Regime Resistance”. From revolutionary to strongman: Gioconda Belli on how Daniel Ortega became a tyrant. Nuance, a love story: Meghan Daum on her affair with the intellectual dark web. Dvora Meyers on how USA Gymnastics is imploding. Can we really trust the wealthy to fix America?

Mollie Tibbetts’s father asks that her death not be exploited to promote racism. The death of the runner Mollie Tibbetts has ignited a national conversation about the harassment and fears women face every time they go for a run. Ben Smith: “I helped create insider political journalism. Now it’s time for it to go away”. Southerners tore down Silent Sam — now Northerners need to tear down Confederate flags. Serving time should not mean “prison slavery”: A national strike by prisoners is the latest iteration of demands for freedom from forced labor. Brazil museum fire: “Incalculable” loss as 200-year-old Rio institution gutted.

Advertisement