Summary of “Why marriage is both anachronistic and discriminatory”

First, state-recognised marriage means that the state defines marriage and controls access to it.
In a marriage regime, the state may also place religious or racial restrictions on marriage.
Access controls reflect sexist, heterosexist, racist and generally inegalitarian interpretations of the meaning of marriage, with the result that the honorific aspect of marriage is also applied unequally.
Child marriage of this sort happens not only in parts of the world where arranged marriage is common, such as India, Africa and the Middle East, but also in countries where the dominant form of marriage is romantic.
Sociological research shows continuing associations between marriage and gender inequality: married women do more housework than both married men and unmarried women; married women are unhappier than married men; marriage renders women more vulnerable to some sorts of domestic violence.
In progressive circles, marriage has become fashionable again as the movement to recognise same-sex marriage has gained popular and legal support in a great many countries including the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Nordic countries, Spain, France, Ireland, Canada and Australia.
So same-sex marriage repeats the question of whether marriage can be equal, and how.
Rectifying the heterosexism of traditional marriage via the recognition of same-sex marriage has been a vital political advance.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Rockets Have Become the Warriors’ Perfect Foil”

The Rockets had closed the gap with the Warriors before Steph Curry suffered an MCL sprain in his left knee.
The Rockets have basically become a streamlined version of the Warriors: They have copied a few essential parts of the Dubs’ formula while discarding the rest.
Now, the NBA championship may come down to whether the Rockets know the Warriors better than the Warriors know themselves.
After the Rockets suffered humiliating playoff defeats to the Warriors in 2015 and 2016, Golden State became Daryl Morey’s white whale.
The Rockets made a statement on opening night with a 122-121 win over the Warriors, even though Paul was limited by a knee injury that kept him out for the next month.
Transitioning from heavy isolation to heavy passing and movement would be dramatic, but “There’s a makeup in every player who’s ever played,” Kerr says, “That if you get to touch the ball and you get to be a part of the action-whether it’s as an assist man, ball mover, shooter, dribbler-the more people who are involved in the offense, the more powerful it becomes.”
Golden State will have to count on Livingston and Iguodala to have some gas left in the tank, even though Houston will be liberally helping off them and daring them to shoot 3s. Quinn Cook, a two-way player who has been pressed into the starting lineup because of Curry’s injury, may need to play important minutes even if Curry is back at full strength by the Western Conference finals.
Every superhero needs a nemesis, and the Rockets are the perfect foil for them.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Moscow Midterms”

It’s midafternoon in Moscow when voting starts.
On certain voter files, so when the American voters show up in person today, their information won’t match their IDs.
Intelligence officials like John know that the Russians aren’t just targeting local officials but voting service providers as well – the vendors who make voting machines and software and who sometimes help municipalities or counties draw up their ballots.
Alexei targeted Bonnie and a few other clerks whose towns use touch-screen voting machines.
While a voting machine itself will never be connected to the internet, the touch-screen voting machines, as well as optical scan machines, all require programming that is done on other computers.
American election board officials comforted the public that there were paper trails attached to most voting machines, a backup measure, in case something went wrong.
Not only is it a swing state, but many of its counties use digital machines that don’t produce paper records – the vote tally is stored only in the machine.
Not only were his hacks of online voter registrations a success, but the ensuing chaos – America is burning hot with indignation and accusations of disenfranchisement – has provided Alexei with the perfect cover for his work on the voting machines.

The orginal article.

Summary of “There Is More At Stake In The Census’s Citizenship Question Than Response Rates”

If response rates decline, states with larger proportions of non-citizens could lose political power.
The addition of the question plays into an ongoing legal debate over how political districts should be drawn within states.
As things stand today, states use census data to draw congressional and state legislative districts with approximately equal total populations, including people who are ineligible to vote.
Sue Evenwel, the lead plaintiff in the case, lived in a state Senate district with approximately 584,000 citizens eligible to vote, while a neighboring district had only about 372,000 eligible voters.
The court unanimously rejected Evenwel’s argument that states must redistrict based on “Electoral equality.” In her majority opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “Nonvoters have an important stake in many policy debates By ensuring that each representative is subject to requests and suggestions from the same number of constituents, total population apportionment promotes equitable and effective representation.”
While the court declined to force states to draw districts according to the voter-eligible population, it did not say whether states could if they wanted to.
If adding the citizenship question is Step 1 in this question returning to the high court, Step 2 would be a state or municipality deciding to redistrict according to voter-eligible population during the next round of redistricting, in 2021.
In the first scenario we discussed – lower response rates among non-citizens – political representation would shift in favor of states with larger proportions of eligible voters.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The demise of the nation state”

The current appeal of machismo as political style, the wall-building and xenophobia, the mythology and race theory, the fantastical promises of national restoration – these are not cures, but symptoms of what is slowly revealing itself to all: nation states everywhere are in an advanced state of political and moral decay from which they cannot individually extricate themselves.
The reason the nation state was able to deliver what achievements it did – and in some places they were spectacular – was that there was, for much of the 20th century, an authentic “Fit” between politics, economy and information, all of which were organised at a national scale.
There have been many moments in history when politics was suddenly expanded to a new, previously inconceivable scale – including the creation of the nation state itself.
As the growth of digital currencies shows, new technologies will emerge to replace the other fundamental functions of the nation state.
Militant religious groups in Africa and the Middle East are less engaged in the old project of seizing the state apparatus; instead, they cut holes and tunnels in state authority, and so assemble transnational networks of tax collection, trade routes and military supply lines.
The nation state became the universal template for human political organisation only after the first world war, when a new principle – “National self-determination,”, as US President Woodrow Wilson named it – buried the many other blueprints under debate.
The era of national self-determination has turned out to be an era of international lawlessness, which has crippled the legitimacy of the nation state system.
The history of the nation state is one of perennial tax innovation, and the next such innovation is transnational: we must build systems to track transnational money flows, and to transfer a portion of them into public channels.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A healthcare algorithm started cutting care, and no one knew why”

One of the most bizarre cases happened in Idaho, where the state made an attempt, like Arkansas, to institute an algorithm for allocating home care and community integration funds, but built it in-house.
A court wrote that “The participants receive no explanation for the denial, have no written standards to refer to for guidance, and often have no family member, guardian, or paid assistance to help them.” The appeals process was difficult to navigate, and Eppink says it was “Really meaningless” anyway, as the people who received appeals couldn’t understand the formula, either.
“You could argue everybody ought to get a lot more care out there,” he says, but an algorithm allows state officials to do what they can with the resources they have.
At the time, they knew it was some sort of new, computer-based system, but there was no mention of an algorithm; the math behind the change only came out after the lawsuit was filed.
It’s not clear whether the state has since started counting diabetes issues.
While the algorithm sets the proportions for care – one care level, for example, might be two or three times higher than another – it’s the state’s decision to decide how many hours to insert into the equation.
Fries says there’s no best practice for alerting people about how an algorithm works.
Her hours were briefly restored after a judge ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor in the federal lawsuit, only for them to be cut again after the state changed its notification system to comply with the ruling and reimplemented the algorithm.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Fight Over Teacher Salaries: A Look At The Numbers”

The Fight Over Teacher Salaries: A Look At The Numbers : NPR Ed Teachers in many states are angry after years of stagnant wages.
The teachers strike in West Virginia may have ended last week when Gov. Jim Justice signed a law giving educators a 5 percent pay increase, but the fight in other states is just warming up.
“It’s gotten so bad that the state Department of Education has had to issue emergency teacher certifications to replace teachers as quickly as possible,” reported Emily Wendler of member station KOSU in July.
Even Shawn Sheehan, a math teacher in Norman, Okla., and the state’s 2016 teacher of the year, decided he simply couldn’t afford to stay.
Sure, life can be done on $400, $450 a month, but I would challenge others out there to buy diapers, groceries and all the things that you need for a family of three on $400. That is why we reached out to EdBuild, to see whether they could help bring more clarity to the conversation about teacher salaries.
EdBuild used 2015-16 average teacher salaries as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics and a cost-of-living index produced by the Council for Community and Economic Research.
In some cases, deep pockets of veteran teachers may also conceal low pay for young teachers.
Oklahoma ranks 49th in average teacher salary but jumps to 40th. Still low, to be sure, and cold comfort to Oklahoma teachers, but it’s nuance worth knowing.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The California Sunday Magazine”

Brown was wrong about his father, Edmund “Pat” Brown, governor from 1959 to 1967, architect of modern California, who expanded the state university system, built more than a thousand miles of freeways, and created the State Water Project and the California Aqueduct.
History will record that Edmund “Jerry” Brown Jr. is now the longest-serving governor in California history, a distinction unlikely to be eclipsed.
Tony Kline, who served as Brown’s legal affairs secretary in those days, tells the story of a bill landing on Brown’s desk that would ban the sale of meat from a certain species of Caribbean turtle.
At his final state budget press conference, Brown told a room full of reporters: “The next governor is going to be on the cliff. What’s out there is darkness, uncertainty, decline, and recession.”
“Our initial view,” Ken Alex, a senior adviser to Brown on environmental issues, says, “Was that we needed to get our California house in order.”
Bill McKibben, the author and environmental activist, says, “Clearly, California is on the forefront of many positive things about renewable energy, but what the world really needs Brown to do now is be the first leader who’s willing to stand up to the admittedly very powerful fossil-fuel industry and say we need to start the managed decline of this industry, because science makes it clear that that’s what has to happen. His ability to be the breakout leader on this is very real if he seizes it.”
Brown had not come here just on behalf of California.
Jerry Brown, the pessimist and the rationalist, sat back in his chair and gazed out, allowing himself a moment to take it all in.

The orginal article.

Summary of “With Xi’s Power Grab, China Joins New Era of Strongmen”

Almost no one would have described China as genuinely democratic before the latest move, which was announced without fanfare on Sunday; the country remains a one-party state with extensive control over political, social and economic life.
Mr. Xi’s gambit ended a period of collective and term-limited leadership begun by Jiang Zemin, who held the same post as Mr. Xi from 1993 to 2003, that many had hoped was leading China toward greater rule of law and openness.
Whatever the chaos of Boris N. Yeltsin’s era in 1990s, democracy was taking root when Mr. Putin came to power – in a relatively free and fair election, no less.
President Trump’s critics say that while he may not yet have eroded democracy in the United States, his populist appeals and nativist policies, his palpable aversion to the media and traditional checks on power, and his stated admiration for some of the strongest of strongmen are cut from the same cloth.
Mr. Putin has long cited such flaws to shore up his power at home; the campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election in the United States seemed intended, in the first place, to discredit American democracy still more.
The “Contagion” of 1989, which saw popular protesters bring down Communist governments in Central and Eastern Europe, infected China, too.
Mr. Xi, as a result, believes that only stability can ensure his vision of China’s revival and emergence as the world’s power.
In last fall’s Communist Party congress, Mr. Xi even presented China as a new model for the developing world – a thinly veiled argument that the United States and Europe were no longer as attractive as they once were.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Behind the minimum wage fight, a sweeping failure to enforce the law”

As Democrats make raising the minimum wage a centerpiece of their 2018 campaigns, and Republicans call for states to handle the issue, both are missing an important problem: Wage laws are poorly enforced, with workers often unable to recover back pay even after the government rules in their favor.
This failure to enforce both the minimum hourly wage – $7.25 under federal law – and rules requiring higher pay for overtime distorts the economy, giving advantages to employers who break the law.
Interviews with scores of state officials, legal-services advocates and labor specialists indicate that the failure to enforce minimum wages touches every corner of the country, but is especially acute in the six states that have no investigators probing wage violations at all.
Asked to comment on POLITICO’s findings, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, who helps lead a group of 22 Senate Democrats who support a plan to gradually increase the federal minimum to $15 per hour, and who has pushed his own bill to provide up to $50 million in grants to employers, nonprofits, unions and others who can assist in the enforcement of wage and hour laws, expressed concern but quickly pivoted to the larger issue of raising the minimum wage.
Workers who are shortchanged on minimum wage or overtime pay have three options: They can hire a private attorney; they can file a complaint with the state labor agency, if it enforces wage claims; or they can file a complaint with the federal Labor Department’s Wage and Hour division.
“State labor agencies in the South that enforce wage laws are few and far between,” observes Meredith Stewart, a senior staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
State figures included many forms of wage theft and enforcement actions depending on what the state reported, including minimum wage, overtime and unpaid wages and benefits.
Said Rep. Bobby Scott, ranking member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee: “If there is not strong enforcement of wage theft, then any efforts to raise the minimum wage, strengthen overtime, or protect workers’ tips are ineffectual.”

The orginal article.