Sunday, November 10, 2013

Writing by Saslow, Gawande & Cowen - on the Navy Yard shooting, food stamps, health care & Texas

There's been a few pieces of writing I've come across lately that were all linked together in a fairly circuitous route.

A writer I find to be one of the best working today is Eli Saslow as his pieces so frequently use great detail to tell an emotional and often heart-wrenching story and two recent Washington Post works of his very much fit that description. Published last month after the gun deaths of 12 people in Washington D.C. was "At Navy Yard, the ‘Cube Farm’ had settled into its reassuring Monday routine. Then, a jolt." and just yesterday was "Too much of too little", a piece with the subtitle "A diet fueled by food stamps is making South Texans obese but leaving them hungry."

Very much related to the Saslow piece on food stamps both because of the topic and with it being by a writer whose byline I'm always interested to see was "States of Health" by Atul Gawande for the New Yorker. About the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) the piece is from a noted physican and excellent writer and just makes me bothered by what seems to be the fervently held opposition by some to more universally provided health care.

The final piece to note here also relates to Saslow's piece set in South Texas as the October 28 issue of Time Magazine featured the interesting cover story "Why Texas Is Our Future" by Tyler Cowen, economics professor and author of Average is Over. Noted up front in the story is that "three of the five fastest-growing cities are in Texas" and what I also found interesting in the story, and also connected it to the pieces by both Saslow and Gawande, was the mention of how stratified Texas is in terms of it's upper, lower and increasingly small middle class. There's been a lot written about the concept of income inequality, a shrinking middle class and an upper class living in a completely different America than the lower class and Cowen's piece (which requires a Time account to read online any of the nine web pages it split into) shows a state that's both emblematic of the dynamic and driving it.