Evening Edition – Midwest Report – Thursday, May 23, 2013

Evening Edition – Midwest Report – Thursday, May 23, 2013

Welcome to the Midwest Report, Common Culture’s daily effort to chronicle Midwestern matters.

The Report concentrates on items relevant to politically progressive Midwesterners, as well as the culture war and its consequences within our region.

Morning editions are daily and they focus on the Midwestern states, while evening editions are less frequent, and focus generally upon nation stories that are still relevant in the Midwest.

Today’s edition contains links to six articles.

Have a great evening, everyone. :)

Corey McLaughlin




Why Second-Term Scandals Are Almost Inevitable,” written by Cass R. Sunstein for Bloomberg, and published on 05/22/13.


“In the last month, there has been a lot of talk about whether American presidents face a second-term curse. It’s not clear that such a thing exists, but any second-term president is likely to have to deal with some real or apparent scandals. The reason isn’t arrogance, distraction or hubris. It’s a matter of arithmetic.

Whether a president will face an alleged or actual scandal depends on two variables. The first is whether something inappropriate, or at least apparently so, has happened either at his direction or on his watch. The second is whether someone has both the incentive and the ability to bring the allegedly inappropriate action to the attention of the public…

Political predictions are hazardous, but here’s a safe one: However wonderful his character, and whatever his political party, any second-term president will have to deal with a real or apparent scandal (or two, or three). The reason? Arithmetic.”




Boy Scouts set to vote on lifting gay youth ban,” written by Molly Hennessy-Fiske for the L.A. Times, and published on 05/23/13.


“Thursday’s vote on whether to lift the ban on gay youths in the Boy Scouts of America could symbolize a cultural shift…

‘This work really symbolizes where we are as a country,’ said Rich Ferraro, a spokesman for the New York-based gay advocacy group GLAAD, noting that as gays have gained greater acceptance nationwide, banning them from Scouting ‘is not just anti-gay, it’s anti-American.’…

‘We’re not going to stop until Scouting is open to all,’ Ferraro said.”




Obama Brings Culture War to Morehouse,” written by Nicholas F. Benton for Falls Church News-Press, and published on 05/22/13.


“President Obama is in his heart, to put it in a single phrase, “old school.” He’s “old school civil rights,” and if you parse his speech Saturday, you will find that at its critical points, notions of compassion and empathy rise to the forefront.

He is “old school civil rights” as Dr. King was. Philosophically, he embodies the best of western civilization’s highest notions of “virtue” and applies them to the human condition and, even more ambitiously, to the governing of a nation.

The visionary exaltations of Dr. King, such as his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, invoked these notions, beyond boundaries of race or any other category of division among people. It was his repeated calls to a human-wide solidarity of common purpose rooted in justice and peace that completely freaked out the nation’s ruling class.

They’d always depended on “divide and conquer” to contain the masses while ripping them off. Dr. King threatened to destroy the effectiveness of that approach.

So the ruling classes ushered in a culture war, on the philosophical level known as “postmodernism,” to reintroduce old notions of “each against all,” and attacking tendencies toward social solidarity with radical angry individualism and anarchy, spiced with a lot of drugs and senseless rioting.

Greed and selfish self-interest replaced empathy as the national rallying cry, and it rent the national fabric all the way down to the desperate, poorest streets of America’s inner cities.

It remains an ongoing cultural war, and Obama is now using the bully pulpit of the presidency to engage it.”




Obama’s new Energy chief: Climate change ‘not debatable’,” written by Ben Geman for The Hill, and published on 05/22/13.


“New Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz doesn’t want to spend his tenure battling over climate science.

‘Let me make it very clear that there is no ambiguity in terms of the scientific basis calling for a prudent response on climate change,’ Moniz told Energy Department employees shortly after his swearing-in.

‘I am not interested in debating what is not debatable,’ Moniz said in his remarks at the Tuesday ceremony. ‘There is plenty to debate as we try and move forward on our climate agenda.’”




Hunger Games: The conservative plan to starve government has paid off with the IRS scandal,” written by Noam Scheiber for the New Republic, and published on 05/23/13.

“Since the Republican House takeover in 2010, conservatives have laid the groundwork for a cynical two-step: First, squeeze funding for government programs, making it harder for civil servants to do their jobs. Then, when the inevitable screw-up comes, use it as further justification for cuts. Against this backdrop, the IRS scandal looks like only the latest step in the conservative long-game. “




The Military’s Culture of Sexual Violence,” written by Margaret Carlson for Bloomberg, and published on 05/21/13.

“I have a suggestion about how to help instantly reduce sexual assaults in the military. Round up those in charge of handling sexual-assault cases.

What fertile ground. In the space of two weeks this month, two of the top officers in charge of preventing sexual assaults were accused in sexual assaults. Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, the officer in charge of the Air Force program, was arrested in a Washington suburb after he grabbed a woman in a parking lot. An officer in the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention unit at Fort Hood in Texas, meanwhile, is under investigation for abusive sexual conduct.

Sexual violence in the military is so pervasive, even some of those who have been charged with rooting it out are themselves violent. The military just can’t seem to curb the epidemic on its own. It’s more important to pretend nothing has happened when a complaint is lodged; many are never relayed to military criminal authorities, while others are swept under the rug. It’s the victim’s fault — for upsetting camaraderie and esprit de corps. Get her (or him: the Pentagon estimates that 54 percent of victims are men) to be quiet or charge the complainer with conduct unbecoming an officer or insubordination.”



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