The passing scene: Links & comments 9/19/13

The Stranglehold on Our Politics by Elizabeth Drew for the New York Review of Books.

Elizabeth Drew reported on how the Republican victory in state legislature elections in 2010 enabled them to redraw legislative and congressional districts so that they can win a majority of seats even without a majority of votes.  Republicans have a majority of votes in the House of Representatives, and the Tea Party bloc has a majority in the Republican caucus.  So a political minority is in a position to veto what a majority of voters want.

I don’t admire the current Democratic leadership, with a few exceptions.  I think the current Republican leadership is worse, also with a few exceptions.  Even if Americans only have a choice of evils, they deserve a free and fair choice.

The United States’ disservice to Afghan translators by Dakota Meyer and Bing West for the Washington Post.

The United States has a disgraceful history, going back to the Vietnam Conflict, of abandoning foreigners who served the U.S. military in our unsuccessful wars.  We seem to be about to repeat that history in Afghanistan.  Whatever the rights and wrongs of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, we Americans have a moral obligation to our troops who risked and sacrificed to carry out that policy, but to their Afghan comrades who put their trust in the United States.

Chin Peng tale shows difficulties of confronting history by Achara Ashayagachat for the Bangkok Post.  Hat tip to the Big Mango.

The Malayan Communist guerrilla leader Chin Peng fought the British, the Japanese and the newly independent government of Malaya, and spent the last third of his life in Thailand, where he died last month at the age of 88.  More than 30 years after he laid down his arms, the Malaysian government forbids his body to be returned to his home country for burial.

The Entire State of the US Economy, the Fed and the Stock Market in One Disturbing Paragraph by Joe Weisenthal for Business Insider.

I got virtually no interest on my bank account or my money market fund, so if I don’t want the real value of my retirement savings to dwindle because of inflation, I need to keep a portion of them in stock and bond mutual funds.   The reason that interest rates are close to nothing is the Federal Reserve Board’s policy.

Women Waiting Tables Provide Most of the Female Jobs Gains in the U.S. by Ian Katz and Alex Tanzi for Bloomberg Business News.

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