MICHAEL BARBAROPhoto links here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
The spread of sex-selective abortion is often framed as a simple case of modern science being abused by patriarchal, misogynistic cultures. Patriarchy is certainly part of the story, but as [Mara] Hvistendahl points out, the reality is more complicated — and more depressing. Thus far, female empowerment often seems to have led to more sex selection, not less. In many communities, she writes, “women use their increased autonomy to select for sons,” because male offspring bring higher social status. In countries like India, sex selection began in “the urban, well-educated stratum of society,” before spreading down the income ladder. Moreover, Western governments and philanthropic institutions have their fingerprints all over the story of the world’s missing women. ... The American establishment helped create the problem, but now it’s metastasizing on its own: the population-control movement is a shadow of its former self, yet sex selection has spread inexorably with access to abortion, and sex ratios are out of balance from Central Asia to the Balkans to Asian-American communities in the United States. This places many Western liberals, Hvistendahl included, in a distinctly uncomfortable position. Their own premises insist that the unborn aren’t human beings yet, and that the right to an abortion is nearly absolute. A self-proclaimed agnostic about when life begins, Hvistendahl insists that she hasn’t written “a book about death and killing.” But this leaves her struggling to define a victim for the crime that she’s uncovered. ... the sense of outrage that pervades her story seems to have been inspired by the missing girls themselves, not the consequences of their absence. Here the anti-abortion side has it easier. We can say outright what’s implied on every page of “Unnatural Selection,” even if the author can’t quite bring herself around. The tragedy of the world’s 160 million missing girls isn’t that they’re “missing.” The tragedy is that they’re dead.--Ross Douthat
Bon Temps is a world where it doesn't matter whom you love or how. A fantasy world that we are getting closer to all the time.--Molly Lambert
WILLIAM GALE & BENJAMIN H. HARRIS
On economic growth, real GDP has risen 0.8% over the 13 quarters since the recession began, compared to an average increase of 9.9% in past recoveries. From the beginning of the recession to April 2011, real personal income has grown just .9% compared to 9.4% for the same period in previous post 1960 recessions. The standard response from Obama apologists is that recession of 2008 and 2009 was different because, as former Clinton administration economist Robert Shapiro puts it, "this was a financial crisis, and these take longer to recover from." In fact, in most cases, the deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery to make up for lost ground. That was what Ronald Reagan's critics said when the U.S. economy soared during 1983 and 1984 with quarterly growth numbers exceeding 7%. At the time, liberal Keynesians yawned and declared the good times nothing more than a normal snapback from the deep recession.--Stephen Moore
Daniel Brothers, Debi Kilb, Karen Luttrell, Neal Driscoll & Graham Kent
I'm So Meta Even This Acronym.--Douglas Hofstatder