Since all of us have better things to do, we asked our robot intern Watson to find this week’s most interesting news stories and compile them into a short list for your convenience. Here’s what he came up with.
We’ve got Sweden, scandals and setbacks…step right in, these are the links of the week.
Sweden: the New Model, from The Economist
The past two decades, Sweden has been trying to revitalize its own economy. Inequality has risen as benefits and transfers were slashed, but less than might be expected. This article looks at the Swedish attempt at modernizing and reforming the European welfare state.
Why the Tea Party Failed, by David Weigel
The Republican base, energized into forming the radical Tea Party just a few years ago, stands dejected before the ruins of yet another failed Presidential campaign. What went wrong, and will they be able to survive the calls for moderation from within their own party?
A Setback, Not a Catastrophe, by Fred Barnes
Reading the Weekly Standard always helps get my adrenaline up on a slow day, but Fred Barnes spares us the usual demagoguery in favor of a relatively sober analysis of Republican strengths and weaknesses in the electorate. He might have a point regarding the strength of the GOP’s young bench compared to the Democrats, but he’s forgetting the Democrats’ Secret Weapon.
I Lived a CIA Conspiracy Theory, by Chuck Klosterman
You’ve probably read all you’ve ever wanted to know about the Petraeus scandal and more by now, but Chuck Klosterman’s unique perspective is well worth looking at. His advice column The Ethicist in the New York Times Magazine published an anonymous e-mail in July, asking how to proceed if your wife is having an affair with a high-ranking and visible government official. Both Klosterman’s reply as well as the fallout from people convinced Paula Broadwell’s husband had asked the New York Times for help are an amusing side-note to this already plenty farcical story.
No More Magical Thinking, by David Remnick
Over at The New Yorker, David Remnick suggests a far graver threat facing Obama’s second term than the looming fiscal cliff – the challenge of dealing with climate change. His article is a lone champion for dealing with long-term realities now, rather than focusing incessantly on the 24-hour news cycle. Sadly, apart from pointing out some admittedly staggering yearly damage estimates, his argument boils down to “something should be done”. True enough, but it feels like he’s preaching to the choir.
Darkness Falls, by John McAfee
Just days after we linked to the fascinating story of John McAfee’s bizarre gun-laden jungle hideout in Belize, the news broke that he was wanted by police for the murder of his neighbor. In a phone interview while on the run, he explained that he’d hidden from police by burying himself in sand and remaining out of sight for almost an entire day, while police searched the premises for any trace of him. This private journal that he posted on the web several months ago, though, gives a fascinating view into his own personal descent into madness.
That’s it for this week – if you have any suggestions for next week’s column, your best bet is apparently writing a petition to the White House.