In this week’s New Yorker

November 21, 2012

Some great stuff:

* Adam Gopnik’s lead editorial, “Military Secrets,” which includes this brilliantly succinct comment: “Benghazi is a tragedy in search of a scandal; the Petraeus affair is a scandal in search of a tragedy”;

* Victor Zapana’s sad, brave “Personal History” story about his mother, who was famously convicted in a notorious/controversial instance of “shaken baby syndrome”;

* Nick Paumgarten (above) totally geeking out, at considerable length, about being a “Deadhead” — since he’s an editor at the best magazine in the world, he gets incredible access to cool stuff, and online he posts a list of his thirteen favorite live recordings available for free streaming or downloading from an amazing website I never knew about,;

* “Queer Eyes, Full Heart,” Emily Nussbaum’s detailed mash note to Ryan Murphy, creator of Glee, Nip/TuckAmerican Horror Story, and other TV shows (who knew Nussbaum could be so gay-savvy?); and

* Jill Lepore “Tax Time,” which takes one of the most boring subjects on earth and gives it her diligent reporter’s all, ending with this eloquent take-home:

“Taxes are what we pay for civilized society, for modernity, and for prosperity. The wealthy pay more because they have benefited more. Taxes, well laid and well spent, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare. Taxes protect property and the environment; taxes make business possible. Taxes pay for roads and schools and bridges and police and teachers. Taxes pay for doctors and nursing homes and medicine. During an emergency, like an earthquake or a hurricane, taxes pay for rescue workers, shelters, and services. For people whose lives are devastated by other kinds of disaster, like the disaster of poverty, taxes pay, even, for food.

“What’s surprising, given how much money and passion have been spent to defeat a broad-based, progressive income tax over the past century, and how poorly it has been defended, is that it has endured – testimony, perhaps, to American’s abiding sense of fairness. Taxes are a pact. That pact needs renewing.”


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