Juan Cole offers "Seven Myths About the Radical Sunni Advance in Iraq." Chief among them: ISIS isn't terribly popular with Iraqis, a meme you'd ordinarily think the right would be pushing a bit harder, except that admitting that most Sunnis in Iraq are not knuckle-dragging fanatics doesn't help you beat the war drum. Read the whole thing, but also attend point #6 closely, in which we are reminded that air strikes won't work any better against guerillas than conventional ground warfare does.
The Los Angeles Times reports at considerable length about the multitudinous failures of our attempts to build a "missile defense" system. Launching four or five or 10 missiles and hoping one of them will take out an incoming missile from an enemy nation is a lousy way to defend a country, no matter how many jobs it supposedly creates in Alabama. And fooling the "missile defense" system would be a much cheaper proposition than building Even More Missiles. Why do it, then? As DJ Shadow would say, "it's the money."
The incomparable Dave Zirin pens a dispatch from the front lines of a protest at the World Cup in Brazil, where police fired tear gas and live ammunition at protestors (though, thanks in part to an unfavorable wind, they wound up accidentally tear-gassing tourists). A majority of Brazilians now think Brazil getting the 2014 World Cup was a bad idea -- after all, building or refurbishing 12 soccer stadia that may never get used again does seem a little short-sighted when your country has other problems. I bet a majority of Russians think similarly about Sochi, though given their leadership they may never say so in large numbers.
Surprise, surprise: researchers find that corporations that have CEOs who make more than $20 million annually are more likely to lose money than CEOs who don't. That's for all the folks who believe that if a CEO makes enough money to gild the plumbing in his seventh vacation home, it must be because he's "earned" it. Researchers also find that "incentives" (like stock options) to improve CEO performance tend to lose their effectiveness as they're due to be paid out. But who needs an "incentive" to run a corporation well, anyway? Are we really that decadent that we accept, however implicitly, that corporate leaders are so crooked and incompetent that they need "incentives"?
Finally, Jonathan Merritt reminds us that Hobby Lobby -- the corporation trying to get the Obama Administration's birth control mandate overturned because it supposedly offends the corporation's "religious beliefs," gets a lot of its products from China -- where factories pay workers (including far too many children) in dung pellets to work 20-hour days, and where state-mandated abortions number 13 million annually (which is twice as many abortions per capita as in the United States). It's one data point, but one that exposes they hypocrisy of Hobby Lobby's executives.