Single Payer Is Not a Principle–Given the ill-will and recrimination, it’s easy to forget that this is a fight among friends and allies about how best to pursue shared goals and values. Much of the internal Democratic Party debate confuses instrumental operational questions with questions of core principle. By which I mean, to put it more simply: Single payer is not, in itself, a principle. It is one way to organize health-care financing. A regulated patchwork of private insurers undergirded by public subsidies and the individual mandate is another. In other words, these arrangements are means to an end, not ends themselves. After all, most American progressives would be thrilled to see the Dutch or German health-care systems enacted here, though neither of these is actually single payer in the sense that Medicare is. Democracy Journal
The Politics of the Planet of the Apes–We are, therefore, in dire need of revolutionary narratives. As part of the fabric that makes up our pop-cultural vocabulary, we need accessible and appealing tales that reject the utter nihilism of Game of Thrones–era neoliberal culture. More specifically: The left needs stories that foreground political organization in the face of exploitation and oppression. It needs popular myths that revive solidarity and compassion as crucial components of progressive political struggle. It needs casts of characters that are radically inclusive, fully embracing the fundamental intersections between feminism, anti-racism, and anti-capitalism. And it needs grand utopian horizons that don’t shy away from the promise of a future that is better — or, at the very least, different. lareviewofbooks.org
Eyes Off the Prize–In Lilla’s somewhat ahistorical telling, racial and sexual political correctness comes across as more causal of, than reactive to, conservatives’ long rollback of the Roosevelt dispensation. “Contrary to what the centrist coroners of the 2016 election will be saying, the reason Democrats are losing ground is not that they have drifted too far to the left,” Lilla writes. “Nor, as the progressives are already insisting, is it that they have drifted too far to the right, especially on economic issues. They are losing because they have retreated into caves they have carved for themselves in the side of what was once a great mountain.” Democracy Journal
Ed Skrein’s Statement About Quitting ‘Hellboy’ Highlights His Respect For His Character’s Asian Heritage–The news of a Hellboy reboot has left the fandom and fans of the very popular films curious at what the next era of Hellboy would bring. However, the news around this reboot took an interesting turn when actor Ed Skrein announced his departure from the Hellboy reboot. His exit follows many claims that the character he was going to play, Major Ben Daimio (who is of mixed Asian heritage), was being whitewashed. www.bustle.com
Feast Your Eyes on This Beautiful Linguistic Family Tree–When linguists talk about the historical relationship between languages, they use a tree metaphor. An ancient source (say, Indo-European) has various branches (e.g., Romance, Germanic), which themselves have branches (West Germanic, North Germanic), which feed into specific languages (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian). Lessons on language families are often illustrated with a simple tree diagram that has all the information but lacks imagination. There’s no reason linguistics has to be so visually uninspiring. Minna Sundberg, creator of the webcomic Stand Still. Stay Silent, a story set in a lushly imagined post-apocalyptic Nordic world, has drawn the antidote to the boring linguistic tree diagram. mentalfloss.com
HOW TO DE-FERALIZE YOUR CHILDREN FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL–Using bolt cutters, remove all small mammals currently using their hair as a habitat. This includes, but is not limited to, bats, badgers, opossum, chinchillas, ferrets, lemmings, and meerkats. Any creatures misappropriated from local zoos should be returned once liberated from your child’s pelt. Reptiles should be turned loose into wetlands and bird’s nests should be carefully placed high in the branches of native trees. www.mcsweeneys.net
Superblocks: how Barcelona is taking city streets back from cars–In America, we can’t even agree on the idea that cities are for people. We still decry bike lanes as a "war on cars," even in our allegedly progressive West Coast cities. So from where I’m sitting, the Barcelona plan is pretty fantastic: 186 miles of new bike lanes, a revamped bus system with better access and more frequency, more green space, and on and on.
But the coolest idea in it is "superblocks" (superilles in Catalan), a concept developed by Salvador Rueda, director of the Urban Ecology Agency of Barcelona.
The idea is pretty simple. Take nine square blocks of city. (It doesn’t have to be nine, but that’s the ideal.) Rather than all traffic being permitted on all the streets between and among those blocks, cordon off a perimeter and keep through traffic, freight, and city buses on that. www.vox.com
Fill Out This Bingo Card During Your First Faculty Meeting of the Year–Two years ago, McSweeney's triggered a wave of delight in academe when it published a "First Faculty Meeting of the Year Bingo" card, dreamed up by Lisa Nikolidakis. We asked you to fill it out and send it back to us. And while many of you dutifully crossed off your speaker’s hackneyed attempts to relate, some went the extra mile and provided us a few new options for the bingo board. The Chronicle of Higher Education
How to Find the Love of Your Life in a Bookstore: The Ray Bradbury Method–If you want to fall in love with a reader, go where the readers go. The late Ray Bradbury met his future wife, Marguerite McClure, at Fowler's Bookstore in Los Angeles when he was 22 years old. www.goodreads.com
This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley–Seven months later, I would sue Kleiner Perkins for sexual harassment and discrimination in a widely publicized case in which I was often cast as the villain — incompetent, greedy, aggressive, and cold. My husband and I were both dragged through the mud, our privacy destroyed. For a long time I didn’t challenge those stories, because I wasn’t ready to talk about my experience in detail. Now I am. www.thecut.com
We need to change how we bury the dead–For many people the word “funeral” is synonymous with caskets, flowers, cemeteries, and embalmed bodies. This “casket in the ground” method has been in use for generations, but it turns out it’s one of the worst ways you could dispose of a body. It’s incredibly wasteful and requires an immense amount of resources for the casket, burial vault, and space in the cemetery. It’s also expensive. The average cost of a “modern burial” is between $10,000 to $12,000. www.vox.com
The Best Feminist Books To Spark Your Awakening–So, you want to be a feminist? You've come to the right place. There's no better way to get educated, get angry, get inspired, and get impassioned than by cracking open a book.Each of the novels, memoirs, and essay collections will draw you in with quality writing and even more compelling stories. These are books that give time to the stories, lives, and truths of women. Each is worth a read, and then worth buying for all your friends to read, too. Because once you've awakened, there's no going back. www.refinery29.com
The Lost Art of Custom-Illustrating Your Favorite Books–It’s 1795, and you’re a bookish person with a modest library. The trouble is that very few of your books have illustrations, because illustrations are hand-printed and expensive. Fortunately, there is a guy for that. For a price, you can have your books taken apart, enhanced with extra illustrations, and rebound in your preferred style of leather. Literary Hub
What Trump’s Generation Learned About the Civil War–“The dominant story was that secession was a mistake, but so was Reconstruction,” Jonathan Zimmerman, a New York University professor who studies the history of American education, told me. “And Reconstruction was a mistake because [the North] put ‘childlike’ and ‘bestial’ blacks in charge of the South, and the only thing that saved white womanhood was the Ku Klux Klan. When African Americans read this in their textbooks, they obviously bristled.” www.theatlantic.com