Let's just go ahead and get the most important thing that happened on the Internet this week right out of the way:
Now, onto links:
51 of the most beautiful sentences in literature
Just take a few minutes to read these quietly.
Israel's dark future
For a country whose existence is central to our involvement in the Middle East, I have to admit that I don't know much more than the highlights of Israel's history. This is a look at the increasingly authoritarian path Israel is marching down, and examines how important the role of a true democracy is to the Jewish state identity. Reading David Ben-Guiron's decades-old warnings about occupying the Palestinian territories ring true today.
Hillary's 50% chance at the presidency
I am really depressed by what feels like the inevitability of a Clinton presidency. Nate Silver ran her campaign through his models and has come to the conclusion that she has about a 50% chance of winning. His analysis is worth reading, as it explores the impact of the current president on her candidacy, and generally leads one to believe that the events of the next year and leadership of the current administration will determine Hillary's fate as much as she will.
Why Hillary will beat herself
During the campaign, I think we often forget that an effective presidency is more about being a great manager than ideology. It's been clear in the Obama administration: we elected a guy who had no executive experience, and his leadership and management has been sorely lacking. Bloomberg has a piece on how terribly managed Clinton's 2008 campaign was, and it'll be interesting to see how many of those lessons are applied in 2016. If Hillary is still as weak a leader as she was eight years ago, I don't think it matters how you feel about her ideologically or how effective a negotiator she was in the Senate or abroad.
Intuit wants to keep your taxes complicated
Not really a surprise, but Intuit's lobbying forces have been working to make sure you need to keep using TurboTax. An column in the New York Times this week wonders why we can't simplify the process of filing taxes, and comes to the conclusion that the biggest impediment isn't the government, but rather the market-leading tax software ensuring it doesn't lose its position in the market.
Iraq is as much Obama's failure as Bush's
Another staunchly liberal publication fires a salvo across the administration's bow! Slate looks at post-surge Iraq and compares it to today's fractured country and wonders: what happened? I agree with their conclusion: that America's focus on "ending the war" came at the expense of vacating our position of leadership, allowing Maliki to run wild, and led to the exact circumstances that have us getting back involved today.