Peggy Orenstein in the Los Angeles Times on scrutinizing Komen As Orenstein observed the Komen Foundation rescind its Planned Parenthood funding then reverse course, she watched a friend die of metastic cancer and noted that the death rate for those with metastic disease hasn't changed in 25 years. "That controversy ought to motivate us to dig deeper, to push harder to understand how the money so generously and, frankly, blithely donated to breast cancer causes is spent," she writes. Komen, for instance, reserves 15 percent of its budget for research and almost half of it for "awareness" and mammography support. She argues Komen doesn't discriminate among its many corporate partners and marginalizes the experiences of those who won't survive the disease, and she says perhaps donors should look to other charities that do better. "I hope that those who protested the Planned Parenthood move keep going, demanding — insisting — that rather than just making people feel good, the organization actually does good."
Amy Davidson in The New Yorker on Obama and religion For years, a chain e-mail has circulated purporting that President Obama had cancelled a National Day of Prayer ceremony while a Day of Prayer ceremony was held for Muslims on Capitol Hill. "Neither was true," writes Davidson, but, "The e-mail points at a couple themes that have emerged in the campaign, and the dangerous way they are intertwined." She describes how the candidates portrayed Obama's conflict with the Catholic Church as part of a broader war on Christianity. That debate feeds into one about Obama's identity, with claims that he's overly secular quickly feeding into claims of his "affinity for Islam." Beyond the election, Davidson worries about the effect of this discourse on millions of Americans who are, in fact, free from religion or practicing Islam. "The primary races have left us with a degraded political discourse. Will there be an even steeper descent once the general election begins?"