Friday, May 31, 2013

Pew Study: Forty Percent of Mothers Are Now the Family Breadwinner.

Megyn Kelly clashes with Lou Dobbs and Erick Erickson over breadwinner moms.

Pew: 40 Percent of Mothers Are Now the Family Breadwinner. By Josh Voorhees. Slate, May 29, 2013.

Breadwinner Moms. By Wendy Wang, Kim Parker, and Paul Taylor. Pew Research Center, May 29, 2013. PDF here and here.

Breadwinner Moms. By Mona Charen. Real Clear Politics, May 31, 2013. Also at National Review Online.

Breadwinning Wives and Nervous Husbands. By Richard H. Thaler. New York Times, June 1, 2013.

Gender identity and relative income within households. By Marianne Bertrand et al. University of Chicago, May 2013.

Gender Differences in Mate Selection: Evidence from a Speed Dating Experiment. By Raymond Fisman et al. Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 121, No. 2 (May 2006).

Women as primary breadwinners. Video Panel. Meet the Press. NBC News, June 2, 2013.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The Downside of Being the Breadwinner. By Margaret Talbot. The New Yorker, May 31, 2013.


There might be something else going on, too. When people talk about the difficulty of rearing children today, they may actually be talking about economics and about work. Life is harder when mothers work outside the home because, obviously, there’s more to do in the same amount of time. That’s an existential reality and it ought to banish forever, please, the wretchedly misleading ideal of “having it all.” (Just when you think it’s finally been cudgelled into submission it pops up again, as yet another panel title or column opener.) But life is also stressful and often demoralizing in twenty-first-century America because we all live under a speeded-up, coercively multitasking, vacation-poor, debt-burdened, harsher, and less forgiving form of capitalism than do the citizens of many other industrial countries, and than we ourselves lived under for much of the late twentieth century. (See George Packer’s new book, “The Unwinding,” for an eloquent treatment of how we got there.)

Manhattan Moment: Another side of “feminist victory.” By Kay Hymowtiz. Washington Examiner, May 30, 2013.

Not All Good News in Breadwinner Mom Study? Video with Kay Hymowitz. Lou Dobbs Tonight. Fox Business, June 5, 2013.

The new F-word: Father. By Kathleen Parker. Washington Post, May 31, 2013.

The Triumph of the Working Mother. By Stephanie Coontz. New York Times, June 1, 2013.

The Truth May Hurt, But Is Not Mean. By Erick Erickson. RedState, May 30, 2013.

Watch the Men of Fox News Freak Out Over Female Breadwinners. By Amanda Marcotte. Slate, May 30, 2013.

Erick Erickson, Meet My Wife. By Jonathan Cohn. The New Republic, May 30, 2013.

Erick Erickson: “Anti-Science” For Men Not To Play “Dominant Role” In Family. Video. Real Clear Politics, May 30, 2013. YouTube.

Fox News Host Megyn Kelly Shreds Lou Dobbs And Erick Erickson Over Women In The Workplace. By Brett LoGiurato. Business Insider, May 31, 2013. With video.

Megyn Kelly Destroys Fox Pundit For Views On Working Moms: “What Makes You Dominant And Me Submissive?” By Rebecca Leber. ThinkProgress, May 31, 2013.

Megyn Kelly slams Erick Erickson, Lou Dobbs over sexist “breadwinners” comments. By Katie McDonough. Salon, May 31, 2013.

Megyn Kelly Demolishes Lou Dobbs, Erick Erickson Over Sexist Comments. By Jack Mirkinson. The Huffington Post, May 31, 2013.

Megyn Kelly Dominates on Fox. By Amy Davidson. The New Yorker, May 31, 2013.

Lou Dobbs, Erick Erickson Attempt to Dominate Megyn Kelly; Fail. Ace of Spades HQ, May 31, 2013.

Neal Dewing Talks About the Importance of Breadwinning. Storify, May 31, 2013.

Ben Domenech Bounds Into the Breadwinner Brouhaha. Storify, May 31, 2013.

Bethany Mandel at Twitter, May 31, 2013:

Please, don’t tell me that my being at home is better for my kid, I already know that. Tell me how that’s financially possible. . . . Don’t tell me that cutting my cable will somehow make up for the loss of my entire income. I’m already crazy thrifty & cheap . . . “Move to Texas.” Great suggestions folks. We’ll leave my husband’s career and our entire families (and their free childcare) for no job. I can do math. . . . Surviving on one income and not sacrificing our entire lives to do it is impossible in modern day America. This is my point.

Kathleen McKinley: Young women see the trophy wives, the divorce left with little, & know it could be them one day. No stigma to that anymore. Twitter, May 31, 2013.

Megyn Lets Loose on Fellow Host, Blogger Over “Offensive” Working Mom Comments. Video. Fox News Insider, May 31, 2013. YouTube.

A Spiritual Way of Seeing. By Peter Gabel.

A Spiritual Way of Seeing. By Peter Gabel. Tikkun, Spring 2013. Also find it here.

Freudian narratives, Marxist theory, and the worldview of liberalism are often blind to the spiritual dimension of social life—they fail to perceive the power of humanity’s desire for love and connection with others. Finding a Point by Mel Kadel.

Most critics analyzed Lars von Trier’s Melancholia through a Freudian lens. Here, the character Justine (Kirsten Dunst), her nephew Leo, and her sister Claire await the apocalyptic collision of Earth with an errant planet. Magnolia Pictures.

Why MOOCs Are Like the Music Industry. By Alex Sayf Cummings.

Why MOOCs are Like the Music Industry. By Alex Sayf Cummings. History News Network, May 30, 2013.

Historians at MOOC Partner Schools Say Faculty Not Consulted. By David Austin Walsh. History News Network, May 30, 2013.


What does all this have to do with MOOCs? Everything. Proponents of “massive open online courses” argue that by putting an entire course’s lectures online and letting students anywhere in the world “enroll” for free tears down barriers that keep students out of the college classroom. People who could never have the money or cultural capital to attend MIT can acquire the same knowledge as a coed in Cambridge. In one recent experiment, over 93,000 students participated in Jeremy Adelman’s world history course at Princeton.

MOOCs, then, appear to represent everything democratic, inclusive, and populist about American culture at its best. Knowledge is freed from the halls of academe and anyone can learn – they can even earn credit for taking certain courses, and some traditional colleges, including my own institution, are increasingly willing to accept it.

If we’re being open and inclusive, though, what are we opening and what we including people in? Is watching a series of videos the same thing as taking a course? How can a professor evaluate the performance of 93,000 people? It seems indisputable that tens of thousands of students cannot possibly receive personal feedback and mentoring from one instructor.

As philosophers at San Jose State University argued recently, in a widely circulated letter, the MOOC vision of democratic education raises some serious ethical concerns. Is a lecture recorded in Princeton or Cambridge, for a highly privileged group of students, going to be relevant to diverse, working- and middle-class students at a large public university? Will there become two tracks of education – one for the elite, who get the luxury of having their own, real, live professor, and a system for the masses, where college means watching videos and taking quizzes?

Indeed, at its extreme the MOOC movement threatens the very existence of “professor” as a job, as some scholars are no doubt beginning to realize. If a university can license a MOOC for a few thousand dollars a year, why would they want to give a middle class salary and health benefits to a tenured faculty member? A few institutions might retain a handful of well-known faculty for prestige, but the business of moving students through the system and depositing knowledge in their brains will require far fewer instructors.

In a less dystopian scenario, Coursera could still be a trojan horse for a corporate takeover of higher education: swapping standardized, prepackaged learning for the old model of professors drawing on their own distinctive expertise to teach and guide students.

These concerns have nothing to do with Luddism, and professors are not just worried about their own jobs. MOOCs raise fundamental questions about what education is and what the institutions we care about so deeply ought to do and ought to look like. I don’t see education as merely a transmission of knowledge – a filling of a pail, which can be done individually or en masse – but about the building of skills and capacities, relationships and experiences. Who ever felt the same way about a YouTube video as they did about the great teacher or professor who changed their lives?

The problem is not with the technology, but with scale. Indeed, professors ought to be more open to tools that can enhance their teaching, from posting podcasts of lectures online to piping in experts from around the world to speak with students via videoconference. Where I teach, students of all ages enter the classroom struggling with jobs, kids, and long commutes; hybrid courses that mix in-class experiences with out-of-class projects and modules could make it easier for them to succeed, undeterred by the challenges of making it to campus or finding a sitter. Entirely online classes can achieve a great deal of good too, as long as students are able to interact with each other and instructors are able to provide extensive feedback on student work. Where MOOCs fall short is by making that personal relationship between student and professor next to impossible.

As the New Yorker recently said of MOOCs, “their stated goal is democratic reach.” And many of the impulses behind this movement are laudable. When MIT began posting lectures and course materials online through its OpenCourseWare initiative several years ago, I applauded. MOOCs, like blogs, wikis, and countless other innovations, can open up knowledge to vast numbers of people in ways that were never before possible. Like public libraries, they could be a peerless friend to the autodidact.

But as with any promise of democracy and liberation, we should be cautious about what lies behind the hype. What claims to be leveling and inclusive could be exclusionary, shunting the less privileged into an inferior system; what is meant to empower the masses could end up enriching a small few, like Coursera and Udacity, at the expense of the many. Everyone wants to make college more accessible and ensure all students achieve the greatest possible success. But pretending that watching a bunch of videos is the same thing as a college education seems like a massive betrayal of the technology’s democratic promise.

Iran’s Erotic Revolution. By Afshin Shahi.

Erotic Republic. By Afshin Shahi. Foreign Policy, May 29, 2013.

Iran is in the throes of an unprecedented sexual revolution. Could it eventually shake the regime?

Iranian co-eds.

Nixon: “The Press Is the Enemy.”

President Nixon confers with Henry Kissinger. AP.

Nixon’s the one still preoccupied with enemies. New York Times, December 3, 2008.

Tricky Dicky: Nixon recordings confirm popular view. By Dan Glaister. The Guardian, December 3, 2008.

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum Releases Additional 198 Hours of Tapes from Fifth Chronological Tape Release.

Nixon to Henry Kissinger, December 14, 1972. Audio excerpt.


Henry, remember. We’re going to be around and outlive our enemies. And also never forget: The press is the enemy. The press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy. The professors are the enemy. Professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times and never forget it.

Why the Jihadis Fight. By Clifford D. May.

Why They Fight and What Democracy Demands. By Clifford D. May. National Review Online, May 30, 2013.

President Obama’s Speech on Counterterrorism Strategy at National Defense University. NJBR, May 25, 2013. With related articles.


In his 6,000-word speech at the National Defense University last week, President Obama devoted only one paragraph to the ideology of those who proclaim themselves America’s enemies. But those 101 words are worth a closer look.

“Most, though not all, of the terrorism we face is fueled by a common ideology,” the president began. Quite right: Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Iran’s rulers, Hezbollah, Hamas, and many others who utilize terrorism do indeed see the world through similar lenses. The president did not name their ideology, but most of us have come to employ such terms as “jihadism,” “Islamism,” “political Islam,” and “radical Islam.”

The president described this ideology as “a belief by some extremists that Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West.” This, too, is accurate. If you read the writings of Osama bin Laden, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and such Muslim Brotherhood intellectuals as Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna, there can be no doubt that, by their lights, this conflict is inevitable.

The extremists also believe, Obama continued, “that violence against Western targets, including civilians, is justified in pursuit of a larger cause.” He refrained from defining that cause, though earlier in the speech he did mention that “deranged or alienated individuals” have been “inspired by larger notions of violent jihad.”

More specifically, they believe that Muslims have been divinely commanded to wage war against those who refuse to accept Allah as the supreme authority of the universe; Mohammed as Allah’s prophet; the Koran as the revealed and unchanging word of Allah; and sharia as the law that mankind must obey.

They believe, too, that the world is divided between the Dar al-Islam, the lands where Muslims rule, and the Dar al-Harb, the lands where infidels rule. They reject the possibility that the two realms can — or should — peacefully coexist. On the contrary, the Dar al-Islam must do whatever is necessary to defeat and destroy the Dar al-Harb.

Many Westerners find it difficult to comprehend that people actually hold such beliefs. These Westerners — there is no tactful way to say this — are ignorant of world history, the millennia of conflicts in which one group after another has attempted to impose its language, culture, religion, and DNA on others.

The use of religion or ideology to justify such aggression and domination is hardly new. Contrary to much wishful thinking, “conflict resolution,” tolerance, multiculturalism, and similar newfangled Western ideas have not been universally embraced.

Next, the president said: “Of course, this ideology is based on a lie, for the United States is not at war with Islam.” That is something of a non sequitur: As noted above, a central tenet of the ideology he’s discussing holds that Islam is at war with the United States and other nations that persist in rejecting Islam’s message — and that the conflict must continue until the infidels submit.

Further: “And this ideology is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims.” Here, Obama returns to solid ground. Most Muslims have no wish to wage jihad against non-Muslims, no desire to strap their children into bomb vests or even to give money to the Islamic “charities” that support such missions. But if only 5 or 10 percent of the world’s more than a billion Muslims do see such efforts as virtuous, we’re still looking at an enormous movement — one lavishly funded by the plentiful oil under lands ruled by Muslims.

The president noted that Muslims “are the most frequent victims of terrorist attacks.” There can be no question about that — in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, and many other corners of the world. What’s more, the extremists reserve their most vehement hatred for fellow Muslims who reject their ideology, who — as they see it — have abandoned the true faith in favor of a watered-down interpretation of Islam. They call such Muslims apostates, and the punishment for apostasy is death. This is among the reasons so few Muslims dare speak out against the fundamentalists.

Obama concluded his single-paragraph disquisition with this: “Nevertheless, this ideology persists.” Yes, it does, and that raises the key strategic question: What is to be done? The president answers: “This war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.”

Wars do end — but rarely because one side declares them over unless, of course, that side is prepared to accept defeat. Imagine President Roosevelt, circa 1943, deciding it was time to end the “wars” in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, even as German and Japanese troops continued to spread fascism. Imagine President Kennedy saying it was time to wind down the Cold War even as the Soviets were expanding the frontiers of Communism. The ideology that confronts us today is no less totalitarian, no less supremacist, and no less bellicose.

Surely, what history advises is that appeasement is a policy certain to fail. Surely, what democracy demands is that we stand up to those who threaten our freedom — even if that means paying the price and bearing the burden of a long war.

The End of the Old Order. By Victor Davis Hanson.

The End of the Old Order. By Victor Davis Hanson. National Review Online, May 30, 2013.

The well-intentioned social programs of the 1960s make no sense today.


The now-aging idealists of the 1960s long ago promised us that a uniformly degreed citizenry — shepherded by Ivy League–branded technocrats — would make America better by sorting us out by differences in age, gender, education, and race. It is now past time to end that ossified dream before it becomes our collective nightmare.

Woolwich: Underclass Meets Islam. By Theodore Dalrymple.

Thoughts on Woolwich. By Theodore Dalrymple. City Journal, May 28, 2013.