Roundup: Fracking, rich people, Islam, etc.

Here are links to some interesting articles I read on-line during the week.

2012 or Never by Jonathan Chait in New York magazine is an argument that the Republican Party’s policies put it on the wrong side of ongoing demographic changes.  The future electorate is going to be more and more like Barack Obama—young, urban, hip and non-white.  I think the Democratic leaders are making a mistake if they rely on demographics and Republican self-destruction to win their elections for them.  The party that wins the support of a majority of the electorate will be the one that actually does something about unemployment, outsourcing, declining wages and financial abuses.

The Big Fracking Bubble by Jeff Goodall in Rolling Stone is a profile of Hugh McClendon, founder of Chesapeake Energy, which is possibly the largest company engaged in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.  It reportedly owns drilling rights on 15 million acres of land, more than twice the area of Maryland.  One disappointed Pennsylvania farm owner who sold drilling rights to Chesapeake said that the United States is destroying its water resource in order to extract an energy resource.

Upper class people more likely to cheat on the Raw Story web site describes a study which indicated that rich people on average are more willing than poor people to break traffic laws, cheat for financial gain and even take candy from children.  The researchers concluded that wealth generates a sense of entitlement.

Are They Really Religious? by Alaa al Aswany, an Egyptian journalist, for Huffington Post says the form of Islam being imported into Eygpt from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States emphasizes form over substance.  Hospital staffs leave emergency rooms unattended while they participate in their daily prayer routine.  Members of Parliament grow beards in tribute to Mohammad but are unconcerned with torture and corruption in the Mubarrak regime.  True religion, he writes, emphasizes the human values of truth, justice and freedom, not the details of ritual observances.

Tunisia: Moderate Political Islam Eschews Violence is a profile by my friend Tom Riggins on his web log is a profile of Said Ferjani, a leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, and his teacher, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, founder of the party. The Ennahda Party, which represents a more moderate and democratic form of Islam than the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, won the recent Tunisian elections in coalition with two smaller parties, and is now participating in the drafting of a new Tunisian constitution.

Bradley Manning’s quest for justice is a report by Logan Price in The Guardian newspaper in England.  Reporting on Manning’s arraignment in military court for allegedly providing secret information about U.S. war crimes to Wikileaks, Price says that Manning holds to a higher standard of truth than the court does.

Thirty More Years of Hell is a rant by Connor Kilpatrick in Jacobin magazine about the world the Baby Boomer generation has created for the Millennial generation.

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