The Horserace

A truism for those of us who study the media and political coverage is what an amazingly bad job the mainstream media does covering political campaigns.  The coverage is almost exclusively on the game of politics, who's ahead and who's behind, i.e., the horserace, and sadly lacking in the actual information that citizens in a democracy need.  It is pretty clear that most political reporters: 1) love this game aspect of politics, and 2) are woefully uninformed and disinterested about the policy matters which profoundly affect American lives.  Despite a lot of media self-flagellation, the coverage is worse than ever.  The Times has the details on a recent study conducted by Pew and Harvard (quite ironically, this story is written by Katherine Seeley whom is a high priestess of this fatuous journalism).  The highlights:

Almost two-thirds of all stories (print, television, radio and
online) focused on the political aspects of the campaign, while only 1
percent focused on the candidates? public records.

Only 12 percent of stories seemed relevant to voters? decision making; the rest were more about tactics and strategy.

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of John Edwards, a Democrat, got more attention than 10 of the 19 candidates then in the race and nearly as much as her husband.

And the following is a really important point– the public not only deserves better, but wants better:

The campaign coverage has been sharply at odds with what the public
says it wants, the study found, with voters eager to know more about
the candidates? positions on issues and their personal backgrounds,
more about lesser-known candidates and more about debates.

But
the media is even more obsessed this time around with questions of
tactics and strategy, despite what the study described as a
?generational struggle? in both parties. Horse-race stories accounted
for 63 percent of reports this year compared with what the study said
was about 55 percent in 2000 and 2004.

All this, of course, very much reinforces the point I like to hammer home to my students: be aware of what you actually are learning and, importantly, what you are not learning from the media from their distorted focus on the horserace
.

Free Rice

One of my students just sent me a link to a really cool website: Freerice.com.  You test your vocabularly with progressively harder words and the more correct answers you get, the more the sites advertisers contribute to a UN food program.  There are 50 levels of vocabulary words.  I made it up to level 44, where I was done in by words I had never come close to seeing.  Its quite addictive– give it a try (and let me know if you beat level 44).

UPDATE: So, one of my students actually sent me the screenshot of his 45 today, so I was compelled to get back at it (yes, I am that pathetic).  New high: 46.

Classic Mr. T (& more)

Let's go with two cool website posts in a row.  I also just discovered Hulu via this Salon blog which highlights all the ways it is very cool. Its got entire episodes of new and classic TV shows, and even some movies, in high quality streaming video.  For all of you who missed “The A Team” (the show that gave Mr. T his such-deserved fame) the first time around, here's your chance!  And I should note, that I credit my successful election to West Springfield Elementary student council president in 1983 to my “Mr T says vote for Steven G” posters.

The Politics of Fear

It is a great thing that Paul Krugman's columns are no longer hidden away behind the NYT's subscription wall.  He had a terrific column today outlining just how outrageous the Republicans attempts to scare us these days are:

In America?s darkest hour, Franklin Delano Roosevelt urged the nation
not to succumb to ?nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.? But that
was then.

Today, many of the men who hope to be the next president ? including
all of the candidates with a significant chance of receiving the
Republican nomination ? have made unreasoning, unjustified terror the
centerpiece of their campaigns.

Consider, for a moment, the
implications of the fact that Rudy Giuliani is taking foreign policy
advice from Norman Podhoretz, who wants us to start bombing Iran ?as
soon as it is logistically possible.?…

Beyond that, the claim that Iran is on the path to global domination is
beyond ludicrous. Yes, the Iranian regime is a nasty piece of work in
many ways, and it would be a bad thing if that regime acquired nuclear
weapons. But let?s have some perspective, please: we?re talking about a
country with roughly the G.D.P. of Connecticut, and a government whose
military budget is roughly the same as Sweden?s…

And Mike Huckabee, whom reporters like to portray as a nice,
reasonable guy, says that if Hillary Clinton is elected, ?I?m not sure
we?ll have the courage and the will and the resolve to fight the
greatest threat this country?s ever faced in Islamofascism.? Yep, a
bunch of lightly armed terrorists and a fourth-rate military power ?
which aren?t even allies ? pose a greater danger than Hitler?s panzers
or the Soviet nuclear arsenal ever did.

All of this would be funny if it weren?t so serious.

In
the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration adopted fear-mongering as a
political strategy. Instead of treating the attack as what it was ? an
atrocity committed by a fundamentally weak, though ruthless adversary ?
the administration portrayed America as a nation under threat from
every direction.

Most Americans have now regained their
balance. But the Republican base, which lapped up the administration?s
rhetoric about the axis of evil and the war on terror, remains infected
by the fear the Bushies stirred up ? perhaps because fear of terrorists
maps so easily into the base?s older fears, including fear of
dark-skinned people in general.

And the base is looking for a candidate who shares this fear.

Having read this today, I particularly enjoyed Bill Maher's riff (funnier, less insightful) from this week's HBO show.  Then I realized that the occasional Maher columns I see at Salon, are actually his rants from “Real Time.”  Anyway, this was a really good one:

New Rule: This Halloween,
every time you see something that's supposed to scare you, like a
skeleton or a severed head or the ingredients in diet pudding … take
a moment and think about fear: What are you afraid of; what should you
be afraid of. What's really scary this Halloween is that the same group
of idea-free losers who won the last presidential election could win
the next one by making us afraid of the wrong things. Which is why this
year for Halloween, I'm going as something truly horrifying: a melting
polar ice cap…

At the Republican debate this week, Mike Huckabee said, “Islamofascism is the greatest threat we ever faced.” Really? More than the Nazis? And the Russians? And the Redcoats?

In his latest ad, Mitt Romney warns eerily that Muslim jihadists
want to establish an Islamic caliphate covering the whole world,
including America.

And I thought the people scared of gays and Mexicans were paranoid.
Islamic terrorists taking over America? They can barely get across the
monkey bars. Our defense budget is $600 billion a year, they're using
guns they took off a dead Soviet in 1981 — I think we can hold
Charleston.

We're the most powerful nation on earth with the largest economy
and the best military, and we're made to act the fool by a few thousand
cave dwellers who still put out their video on VHS.

At the risk of making this post record length (there was just so much good material in both the Krugman and Maher columns), I realized that Political Science actually has a little light to shed on the matter, too.  Basically, a series of research programs have shown that fear appeals can be quite effective.  When exposed to fear appeals, citizens become more attentive to political information and more open to changing their opinions– obviously something of great potential value in an election campaign.  Political Scientist extraordinaire, Jamie Druckman, nicely summarizes this line of research in a recent Science

Social Security Hype

One of the interesting ironies of Washington politics is that one needs to soberly approach the coming “crisis” in Social Security to be seen as a serious politician.  The truth, though, is that Social Security is actually in pretty good shape, despite all the negative hype.  Medicare, on the other hand, is quite a different story– yet it seems to be warnings about Social Security we always hear about.  TNR's Jonathan Chait puts it in context:

The beginning of the fall season brought to Washington another periodic
upsurge of entitlement hysteria. Newcomers were alarmed, but those of
us who have witnessed the spectacle were able to take it in with some
patience. Entitlement hysteria pops up all at once, sometimes prompted
by a discrete stimulus, such as a report of the Social Security
Trustees, but other times seemingly at random. Affected parties tend to
furrow their brows and scold politicians in particular, and Americans
in general, for our myopia in the face of the demographic tidal wave of
retiring baby boomers who will drown the federal budget with
unsustainable benefits…

Those afflicted with entitlement hysteria are
identifiable not by the realization that big social programs will need
a fix–which is widely understood– but by the urgency and gravity of
their pleas. Entitlement hysterics' favorite statistic is the
retiree-worker ratio. In 1950, they will explain in somber tones, there
were 18 workers for every retiree. But, by 2030, there will be barely
more than two. Absent reform, they warn, we will all be wage slaves,
toiling away as our languid baby-boom masters while away their
declining years on cruise ships and RVs.

There's
some truth to their analysis, but it misses the point in a crucial way.
The two largest entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare, are
in very different shape. The Social Security Trust Fund is scheduled to
last until 2042, at which point we'll have to hike up taxes or trim
spending a bit. Medicare, on the other hand, faces a day of reckoning
in 2019.
[emphasis mine]

Yet, when one looks at the behavior of media elites and politicians, the story is reversed:

Yet one of the oddities of the entitlement
hysterics is that they are far more obsessed with the minor problems of
Social Security than with the massive problems of Medicare. Indeed, if
you look closely at their dire proclamations, they inevitably follow
the same pattern: They begin with an ominous summation about
entitlements–thus lumping together Medicare with Social Security–then
swiftly proceed to demand that Social Security be shored up forthwith.

Russert's
recent harangue at the Democratic presidential debate was a classic
example. He began by warning of the crisis faced by “Social Security
and Medicare” but proceeded to ask no fewer than 14 questions about
Social Security, and zero about Medicare. It's as if he began
fulminating against crime in the greater New York area and then
immediately began demanding a large new police deployment in Chappaqua…

Ten or 20 years ago, you could plausibly deem
Social Security's finances among the most pressing national problems.
Those who were willing to take on the problem were admired for their
farsightedness, bipartisanship, and seriousness of purpose. Social
Security's place on our list of national problems has long since been
overtaken, but, among Washington establishment types who remember those
days, the issue retains its totemic significance. Entitlement hysteria
has become less a response to a crisis than an expression of
statesmanship.

Four days after his debate
inquisition, Russert boasted to an NBC colleague on air, “I tried to
get these candidates to take positions on Iraq, on Social Security, on
the big issues.” They didn't, of course. But noble failure in the face
of complacency and cowardice is the entitlement hysteric's perpetual
burden.

So, should we not worry at all about entitlement problems?  No, but we've got a lot more important things to worry about.

Killer Monkeys!

Slate's always entertaining Explainer column earlier this week addressed the always pertinent question, “What do you do if you're attacked my Monkeys.”  Here's the news story that raises the question:

NEW DELHI (AP) ? Wild monkeys attacked a senior government official
who then fell from a balcony at his home and died Sunday, media
reported.

New Delhi Deputy Mayor S.S. Bajwa was rushed to a
hospital after the attack by a gang of Rhesus macaques, but succumbed
to head injuries sustained in his fall, the Press Trust of India news
agency and The Times of India reported.

Many government
buildings, temples and residential neighborhoods in New Delhi are
overrun by Rhesus macaques, which scare passers-by and occasionally
bite or snatch food from unsuspecting visitors.

Honestly, I'm amazed that a story this bizarre has not had a little more media attenion.  Anyway, Slate is kind enough to provide an answer as to what to do should a similar situation befall you:

What if you can't or won't appease the monkeys with food? You can try
to chase them off by shaking a stick at them, but they might get
violent if cornered. If they don't budge, bop 'em on the head; visitors
to temples in India sometimes carry a stick for just this reason.
Primatologists will sometimes send a macaque warning signal called the open-mouth threat.
Basically, form an “O” with your mouth, lean toward them with your body
and head, and raise your eyebrows. Female victims might seek protection
in a group of men, since monkeys are somewhat afraid of males. But
whatever you do, don't freak out; those who scream, wave their arms,
and run away are only going to make the macaques even more aggressive.

Anyway, don't say you haven't been warned about what to do next time you are faced with killer monkeys.

The Hillary pathology

One of the things that I find most interesting about Hillary Clinton in my role as a political scientist is the absolutely pathological and irrational dislike that so many people (mostly Republicans, of course) have for Hillary Clinton.  After many times of asking people why exactly they hate Hillary so much, the most common answer seems to be a variation on “I just do.”  If they actually provide reasons, the reasons are almost invariably not based on anything to do with political reality.  Anyway, the increasingly pathetic Republican field for president has decided that absent any good plans of their own, simply opposing anything Hillary suggest will substitute for an agenda.  Here's Harold Meyerson on the matter:

My conservative brethren in the op-ed commentariat have made a
disquieting discovery: The Republican candidates for president are
saying nothing that addresses the economic anxieties of the American
middle class. Both David Brooks and Michael Gerson, writing last Friday
in the New York Times and The Post,
respectively, expressed a mixture of amazement and horror at the
disdain that the candidates display toward broadly centrist proposals
to bolster Americans' economic security, and at the candidates'
apparent indifference to their need to craft such proposals of their
own.

“The Democrats propose something” such as expanding health-care
coverage for children or providing federal matching funds for 401(k)
accounts for families of modest means, bemoaned Brooks, “and the
Republicans have no alternative.” Gerson grumbled that the candidates
were taking gleeful potshots at the “baby bonds” notion — providing
newborns with small savings accounts — that Hillary Clinton briefly
floated, despite the fact that the idea has won support from the right
as well as the left.

In fact, with the honorable exception of long-shot candidate Mike
Huckabee, the Republican field seems content with an economic program
that comes down to opposing whatever Hillary Clinton proposes. Rudy
Giuliani, campaigning hard to convince the Republican base to overlook
his heresies on such cultural hot buttons as abortion rights, seeks to
win over the faithful by claiming the mantle of Hillary-Basher Club
Champion. A tax credit for parents struggling to pay their children's
college tuition? Matching funds for 401(k)s? Baby bonds? Crazy notions
all, not because of their substance — Rudy can't be bothered with
their substance — but because they were proposed by — get this –
Hillary! The GOP crowds roar.

As a road map to governance, this is both dim and skimpy. President
Giuliani, Romney, McCain or Thompson can reliably be counted on to be
against whatever Clinton is for. Beyond that, if we total up their
domestic and economic policy proposals, they intend to do almost
nothing at all.

I think it speaks volumes about which of the two parties takes governing more seriously when Democrats are brimming with extensive, well-researched, policy proposals (you may not agree with them, but they are detailed and based upon thorough analysis) and the leading Republicans can do little better than Giuliani's laughable 12 committments and the anti-Hillary approach. 

Dumbledore is gay!

Just in case any of you Harry Potter fans had not heard, Albus Dumbledore is, in fact, gay

J.K. Rowling has outed one of the main
characters of her best-selling Harry Potter series, telling
fans in New York that the wizard Albus Dumbledore, head of
Hogwarts school, is gay. Speaking at Carnegie Hall on Friday night in her first U.S.
tour in seven years, Rowling confirmed what some fans had
always suspected — that she “always thought Dumbledore was
gay,”

This article in Salon provides an intersting analysis of all the hints at the matter in book 7.  It is also an interesting essay on JK Rowlings unwillingness to let her characters go now that the novel is done.

The newest political donor?

The Post has an interesting story about the latest way to get around the $2300 limit in campaign contributions– have your kids give.

Elrick Williams's toddler niece Carlyn may be one of the youngest
contributors to this year's presidential campaign. The 2-year-old gave
$2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

So did her sister and brother, Imara, 13, and Ishmael, 9, and her
cousins Chan and Alexis, both 13. Altogether, according to newly
released campaign finance reports, the extended family of Williams, a
wealthy Chicago financier, handed over nearly a dozen checks in March for the maximum allowed under federal law to Obama.

Such campaign donations from young children would almost certainly run
afoul of campaign finance regulations, several campaign lawyers said.
But as bundlers seek to raise higher and higher sums for presidential
contenders this year, the number who are turning to checks from
underage givers appears to be on the rise.

“It's not difficult for a banker or a trial lawyer or a hedge fund
manager to come up with $2,300, and they're often left wanting to do
more,” said Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive
Politics. “That's when they look across the dinner table at their
children and see an opportunity.”…

Although campaign finance laws set a limit of $2,300 per donor per
year, they do not explicitly bar donors based on age. And young donors
abound in the fundraising reports filed by presidential contenders this
year.

A supporter of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R), Susan Henken of Dover, Mass.,
wrote her own $2,300 check, and her 13-year-old son, Samuel, and
15-year-old daughter, Julia, each wrote $2,300 checks, for example.
Samuel used money from his bar mitzvah and money he earned “dog
sitting,” and Julia used babysitting money to make the contributions,
their mother said. “My children like to donate to a lot of causes.
That's just how it is in my house,” Henken said.

Well, since the Greene family is not about to max out at $4600 (the limit for the two adults among us), I think Evan's career of political contributions will have to wait.  He sure is cute though, isn't he?

The FBI is in on the torture

Well, its not just the CIA that has taken to torturing terrorism suspects, turns out the FBI is in on the program, too.  And, just to add insult to injury, the Administration made sure that this information was redacted from the official, only they were too late.  Kevin Drum is a much better summarizer than me, so:

Shortly after 9/11, an Egyptian national named Abdallah Higazy was
rounded up by the FBI and told to confess that he had been part of the
plot. If he didn't, he was warned, things would go badly for his
family. So he confessed. But then it turned out the FBI had made a
mistake. He wasn't part of the 9/11 plot after all.

So he sued the FBI. On Thursday the Second Circuit Court issued an
opinion in the case, but a few minutes later the decision was pulled
down from the court's website. Steve Bergstein tells the story:

The
next day, the Court of Appeals reissued the Higazy opinion. With a
redaction. The court simply omitted from the revised decision facts
about how the FBI agent extracted the false confession from Higazy. For
some reason, this information is classified. Just as the opinion gets
interesting, when we are about to learn how an FBI agent named
Templeton squeezed the “truth” out of Higazy, the opinion reads at page
7: “This opinion has been redacted because portions of the record are
under seal. For the purposes of the summary judgment motion, Templeton
did not contest that Higazy's statements were coerced.”

Obvious
lessons here: (a) forced confessions aren't worth the tape they're
recorded on, and (b) redactions for national security reasons often
aren't for national security reasons at all. But you already knew that,
didn't you?

What is particularly disturbing about this, is how little noise this is making in the mainstream media, to quote one of Drum's commenters (under the psuedonym, Katie Couric), “This redaction story is obviously a very disturbing account that
requires further fol- — oh, my God! Isn't that Britney Spears, hanging
out with O.J.? OK, we're outa here! Hey, you guys! Wait up! America
wants to know …”

In fairness, though, this is not all the media's fault.  The sad truth is that the Democratic majority has basically rolled over again and again and presented their belly to Bush on issues of torture.  If there is no opposition to these deplorable policies outside the lefty blogosphere, the media is just not going to cover it. 

Ritalin = cocaine

Let's go ahead and make it two drugs posts in a single week.  Slate is running a really fascinating series by Tim Wu, a Columbia law professor, about how much of our legal system is shaped by non-enforcement or selective enforcement of laws rather than what is actually on the books.  His first topic is drugs.  They're illegal–right?  As it turns out most every illegal drug has a legal– though, of course, regulated– counterpart which is pharmacologically quite similiar and has very similar effects on brain chemistry.  For example, I was quite surprised to learn that ritalin and cocaine are very similar:

As many have pointed out, drugs like Ritalin
and cocaine act in nearly the exact same manner: Both are dopamine
enhancers that block the ability of neurons to reabsorb dopamine. As a
2001 paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association
concluded, Ritalin “acts much like cocaine.” It may go further than
that: Another drug with similar effects is nicotine, leading Malcolm
Gladwell to speculate in The New Yorker that both Ritalin and
cocaine use are our substitutes for smoking cigarettes. “Among adults,”
wrote Gladwell, “Ritalin is a drug that may fill the void left by
nicotine.” Anecdotally, when used recreationally, users report that
Ritalin makes users alert, focused, and happy with themselves. Or as
one satisfied user reports on Erowid, “this is the closest
pharmaceutical *high* to street cocaine that I have experienced.” In
the words of another, “I felt very happy, and very energetic, and I had
this feeling like everything was right with the world.”

The Ritalin/cocaine intersection is but one example. Other substitutes are opoid-based drugs available in somewhat legalized versions, with names like Vicodin and OxyContin.*
Clonazepam and valium may not be exact substitutes for marijuana, but
they all seem to attract users seeking the same mellowing effects and
loss of some forms of anxiety. In short, the differences between
pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs may ultimately be much more social
than chemical.

Of course, this is not just a primer on finding legal substitutes for street drugs.  There's a broader point here:

So, as the FDA has licensed chemical substitutes for what were once
thought to be dangerous drugs, does that mean roughly the same thing as
the legalization of cocaine, marijuana, and heroin? Not exactly. Drugs
prescribed are usually taken differently than recreational drugs, of
course, even if at some level the chemical hit is the same. More
broadly, the current program of drug legalization in the United States
is closely and explicitly tied to the strange economics of the U.S.
health-care industry. The consequence is that how people get their
dopamine or other brain chemicals is ever more explicitly, like the
rest of medicine, tied to questions of class.

Antidepressants and anxiety treatments aren't cheap: A fancy drug like
Wellbutrin can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,400 a year. These drugs
also require access to a sympathetic doctor who will issue a
prescription. That's why, generally speaking, the new legalization
program is for better-off Americans. As the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University
reports, rich people tend to abuse prescription drugs, while poorer
Americans tend to self-medicate with old-fashioned illegal drugs or
just get drunk.

And here's an amazing statistic.  Its not just the world's energy resources Americans hog:

Expert Joseph Califano estimates that the United States, representing
just 4 percent of the world's population, consumes nearly two-thirds of
the world's recreational drugs.

And to think I stick with just caffeine and pseudoephedrine.  Evidently, I'm not doing my part.

Your kids need more sleep (and probably you, too)

Fascinating article in New York Magazine this week about the ever-increasing wealth of scientific information on just how bad chronic sleep deprivation is for kids in myriad ways.  In fact, there's actually more evidence that lack of sleep is responsible for the growth of childhood obesity rates than changes in kids' diets.  The article reports on some disturbing findings from a number of experiments:

The University of Pennsylvania?s David Dinges did an experiment
shortening adults? sleep to six hours a night. After two weeks, they
reported they were doing okay. Yet on a battery of tests, they proved
to be just as impaired as someone who has stayed awake for 24 hours
straight.”…

“Sleep deprivation hits the
hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived
people fail to recall pleasant memories yet recall gloomy memories just
fine. In one experiment…sleep-deprived college students tried to
memorize a list of words. They could remember 81 percent of the words
with a negative connotation, like cancer. But they could remember only
41 percent of the words with a positive or neutral connotation, like
sunshine or basket.”…

Sadeh sent 77 fourth-graders and sixth-graders home with randomly drawn
instructions to either go to bed earlier or stay up later for three
nights. Each child was given an actigraph (a wristwatchlike device
that?s equivalent to a seismograph for sleep activity), which enabled
Sadeh?s team to learn that the first group managed to get 30 minutes
more sleep per night. The latter got 31 minutes less sleep…The performance gap caused by an hour?s difference in sleep was bigger
than the normal gap between a fourth-grader and a sixth-grader. Which
is another way of saying that a slightly sleepy sixth-grader will
perform in class like a mere fourth-grader. ?A loss of one hour of
sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation
and development
,? [emphasis mine] Sadeh explains…

It?s drilled into us that we need to be more active to lose weight.
So it spins the mind to hear that a key to staying thin is to spend
more time doing the most sedentary inactivity humanly possible. Yet
this is exactly what some scientists seem to be finding. In light of
Van Cauter?s discoveries, sleep scientists have performed a flurry of
analyses on children. All the studies point in the same direction: On
average, children who sleep less are fatter than children who sleep
more. This isn?t just in the U.S.; scholars around the world are
considering it, as they watch sleep data fall and obesity rates rise in
their own countries.

Three foreign studies showed
strikingly similar results. One analyzed Japanese elementary students,
one Canadian kindergarten boys, and one young boys in Australia. They
all showed that kids who get less than eight hours of sleep have about
a 300 percent higher rate of obesity than those who get a full ten
hours of sleep. Within that two-hour window, it was a ?dose-response?
relationship, according to the Japanese scholars.

In
Houston public schools, according to a University of Texas at Houston
study, adolescents? odds of obesity went up 80 percent for each hour of
lost sleep.

After reading all this, I definitely realized that I spend my high school years entirely sleep-deprived.  I guess I should be all the more proud of my good grades as a result.  Maybe if I was getting 8 hours instead of 7, I would have been at Harvard instead of Duke.  I would've really missed the basketball, though.

I think a really interesting aspect of this research are the findings that high schools and middle schools really need to start later.  Mine started at 7:30, and my kids are slated to start at 7:30 once they hit 6th grade– which scares and appalls me.  Especially in light of evidence like this:

Convinced by the mountain of studies, a handful of school districts
around the nation are starting school later in the morning. The best
known of these is in Edina, Minnesota, an affluent suburb of
Minneapolis, where the high school start time was changed from 7:25
a.m. to 8:30. The results were startling. In the year preceding the
time change, math and verbal SAT scores for the top 10 percent of
Edina?s students averaged 1288. A year later, the top 10 percent
averaged 1500, an increase that couldn?t be attributed to any other
variable. ?Truly flabbergasting,? said Brian O?Reilly, the College
Board?s executive director for SAT Program Relations, on hearing the
results.

Another
trailblazing school district is Lexington, Kentucky?s, which also moved
its start time an hour later. After the time change, teenage car
accidents in Lexington were down 16 percent. The rest of the state
showed a 9 percent rise.

Of course, the article goes on to explain that most school systems are too afraid of such a dramatic change to do what is so clearly in the best interest of the kids.  Oh well, that's enough– I think I should go to bed. 

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