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What matters now. A publication from Medium about politics, power, and culture.
An abandoned, ruined hospital wing; in the foreground, a dancing Uncle Pennybags figure from the Monopoly game, he has removed his face, revealing a skull. Image: Nitram242 (modified) https://www.flickr.com/photos/25165196@N08/7082538687/ CC BY: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

As the US health care system reels under shortages and capacity issues, Matt Stoller reminds us that the brittleness of the US health care supply chain predates covid, and is directly attributable to monopolization, and its handmaiden, corruption.

https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/the-villains-behind-our-medical-supply

As Stoller writes, the last decade has seen the health care industry plagued by shortages of basics: “from saline to epinephrine to chemotherapeutic agents to antibiotics, to sterilized water.”

The FDA has maintained a drug shortages advisory page for years, long before covid hit, with doctors prescribing less-familiar, more error-prone meds to patients because the standard-of-care drugs were unavailable.

https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/drug-shortages

Now…


This billboard is currently off the state highway in my town, put up by a local realtor working at a mainstream realty company. The billboard reads “Tired of the Plandemic? Move to the country!” and has an image of Pepe the Frog holding a phone.

The other day, a friend sent me a photo of the billboard from the side of the road in my hometown. It was put up by a local realtor and read: “Tired of the Plandemic? Move to the country!” and implored viewers to contact him. Next to the text was an image of Pepe the Frog. “Isn’t this ridiculous?” my friend said, as if it were just distasteful.

But it’s so much more than that. It’s dangerous.

The pandemic (referred to in the billboard as the “Plandemic” in a nod to the conspiracy video that circulated the internet in the…


Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

Here is Nicholas Christakis, the sociologist and physician at Yale University, tweeting in solidarity with a political science lecturer at UCLA, Lt. Col. W. Ajax Peris, under fire for using the n-word in class:


Photo by KEEM IBARRA on Unsplash

In 2010, Hillary McFarland’s Quivering Daughters was a unique breakout book in my area of fascination: women raised under Christian patriarchy and those who escape it. McFarland offered a text that reflected what I would hear from sources over and again throughout the coming decade, how much they loved their parents, how much the faith they imposed hurt them.

It was a book that gave a lot of comfort to many young women who grew up burdened with helping parent their plentiful siblings, while shouldering restrictive doctrines that dictated their clothing, education, and relationships. …


I was born in the fall of 1974. My mother was a teenager when she became pregnant with me. Living in a small blue-collar town in Western Pennsylvania, about a year after Roe v Wade had been decided, she found herself with child and without many options. Abortion, while newly legal at the time, was still nothing easy to come by. In 1972 when my mother was still in high school, abortion was still unequivocally against the law in her home state. …


Photo by Jason Jarrach on Unsplash

The other day, I came to a stop at an intersection a few miles from my house. The intersection is a whopper, with four wide, divided streets crossing, creating a huge starburst of concrete. As far as I know, there has never been a stoplight at this intersection. It’s controlled only by stop signs. Drivers proceed through it in an orderly, civilized way. You might have to sit a while, since there are often as many as eight cars waiting to work their way across, but I’ve never seen anyone jump their place in the commonly understood first-in-first-out process. By…


The “Justice for J6” rally tomorrow aims to address the purported injustice in the prosecution of those who rallied at the Capitol on January 6. As President Trump stated this week (after saying on January 7 “To those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction: You do not represent our country, and to those who broke the law: You will pay.”),

Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election.

I don’t think that anyone is being “persecuted.” But I do believe that there…


There is a lot of news going on in the world right now, as there always is, and how much it affects your life in many ways depends on how closely you decide to pay attention to it. California recall, the Texas abortion law, Afghanistan … it can feel overwhelming, and it’s a downright slow news drip compared to what we went through most of 2020.

But for most of the parents I know, there is only one news story that they care about, that they are focused in on with laser-like fashion. All other stories fade away, and that’s…


Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

You guys.

I don’t even know where to begin.

I’ll start this letter to you with full disclosure.

For three years, my family has lived deep inside the belly of an elite midwestern university. We are a “faculty family,” here to provide some balance to the culture of campus life. We are encouraged to engage, but we have few actual residential life responsibilities. …


NOTE: Within this text, wherever gender is not key to the explanation, I am using the Elverson ey/em construction of the Spivak Pronouns.

Photo by Efren Barahona on Unsplash

In the 1970s people believed things. They believed that Richard Nixon was a crook. They believed that the war in Vietnam was essential to preserve democracy around the world. They believed that The Beatles were the best band in history. Some people even believed that Jesus had been reincarnated in Texas. People believed things as they have always believed things. Among most people, those beliefs were private possessions. If pressed, an individual may express a belief; but…

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