Tag Archives: National Journal

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

President Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks at the signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

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The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Below, our favorite stories of the week. Kindle users, you can also get them as a Readlist.

Sign up to receive this list free every Friday in your inbox.

* * *

Read more…

The Awful Emotional and Financial Toll of Dementia

Lost too often in the discussion about a cure has been a much more basic, more immediate, and in many ways more important question: How can we better care for those who suffer from the disease? Dementia comes with staggering economic consequences, but it’s not the drugs or medical interventions that have the biggest price tag; it’s the care that dementia patients need. Last year, a landmark Rand study identified dementia as the most expensive American ailment. The study estimated that dementia care purchased in the marketplace—including nursing-home stays and Medicare expenditures—cost $109 billion in 2010, more than was spent on heart disease or cancer. “It’s so costly because of the intensity of care that a demented person requires,” Michael Hurd, who led the study, told me. Society spends up to $56,000 for each dementia case annually, and the price of dementia care nationwide increases to $215 billion per year when the value of informal care from relatives and volunteers is included.

Tiffany Stanley, in National Journal, offers a heartbreaking first-person account of caring for her aunt, who had Alzheimer’s disease.

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Photo courtesy The Stanley Family

Longreads Best of 2013: The Best Sentence I Read This Year

Catherine Cloutier is an online producer at The Boston Globe’s Boston.com.

“Life, Feinberg says, guarantees misfortune. The wolf is always at the door.”

James Oliphant’s profile of Ken Feinberg in the National Journal transformed the way I view our nation’s response to tragedy. The monetary value of a life lost to violence is rarely equal. In highly publicized events, such as the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., or the Boston Marathon bombings, private donations flood victims and their families, while victims of inner-city gang violence often do not receive enough compensation to pay for a funeral. Feinberg tries not to ponder this inequity when distributing victim compensation. He looks at the numbers, determines a method of distribution, and gets the checks out quickly. He has a job to do. It’s math, not emotion. For one week and much of the many that followed, my life and job revolved around the coverage of one of these tragedies. Reading this article, particularly lines like the one I featured, gave me perspective on that event in light of other tragedies in our country. Violence and death are constants; what’s not constant is the attention given to them.

How Much Is a Life Worth?)

James Oliphant | National Journal | August 2013 | 18 minutes (4,405 words)

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Photo: aigle_dore, Flickr

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A writer debates his dad about the legacy of Baby Boomers: Do they deserve blame for our current economic situation?

You could call this anecdote Exhibit A in my father’s defense of the boomers, which he offered over coffee on the first day of our weeklong dispute. It boils down to a claim that he didn’t exactly inherit a great deal, either. Tom Tankersley’s argument breaks into two categories. First, he deflects blame for all of the bad stuff of the past several decades to previous generations and myopic politicians. Second, he builds a case that the boomers did far more good than harm.

The Greatest Generation, his parents’ cohort, paid a lot less into Social Security and Medicare than it took out of it, he says. (This is true.) It did nothing to reduce pollution, conserve natural resources, or halt the nation’s growing and dangerous addiction to fossil fuels. ‘Previous generations did not have a Clean Air Act or a Clean Water Act,’ he says. His enacted both. (Also true.)

Point, parasite.

“My Father, The Parasite.” — Jim Tankersley, National Journal