July 27, 2014 1 Comment
1) Very nice Vox animated short explaining the political uniqueness of North Korea. Some really interesting historical perspective I was totally unaware of.
2) Eminent health care expert Victor Fuchs on why the US spends so much more on health care than other nations.
3) New York Times on why Americans are not so great at math.
4) It’s really just pathetic and amusing to see conservatives try and explain politics with regards to race by pretending that today’s Democratic party is of a piece with the virulently racist Democratic Party of the pre-Civil Rights era South. Nice takedown from Jamelle Bouie.
5) Speaking of race, I’m feeling pretty confident these pre-school boys would not have been suspended so much if they were white (and so is their mom).
6) Say what you will about Texas justice (and I’ll say a lot), but give them credit for doing a lot more than many other states to remedy their history of gross injustice. Here’s an interesting case of a man who was exonerated via DNA and didn’t even know about it until after the fact (he had already finished his prison sentence).
7) Nice essay from national security reporter extraordinaire, Tom Ricks, on why he has found himself moving leftward in recent years.
8) Really interesting analysis of “kidspeak.” Let’s just say “like” means so much more than you may realize.
9) I talked to the NYT reporter who wrote this story for a good 30 minutes, but not even a single quote. That said, it was a really interesting conversation and hopefully it will lead to some NYT quotes in the future. Oh, and it’s a good story on NC politics.
10) This is wild. Apparently we harvest the blood of horseshoe crabs to create a basic and widely-used test for the presence of bacteria.
11) Really enjoyed this Amy Davidson comment on Republicans and immigration policy:
It is one thing for Republicans to decide that they will not be the party of immigration reform, but it is another to decide that they will be the anti-immigration party. If they do, they will define themselves in opposition to America’s future and, incidentally, to its past—one built by newcomers like the gold prospector from Canada who, in 1876, sailed on a ship around South America and staked a claim that became the town of Oracle. In the short term, there may be benefits, in the form of an energized base, but enjoying them requires a distinct lack of shame. If Adam Kwasman was abashed by his Y.M.C.A. mixup, many of his allies don’t think that chasing down a busload of kids was a mistake at all. No children had been brought to Oracle since then, and that was enough for some to call the episode a victory. For the Republican Party as a whole, it might be better described as a dangerous temptation.
12) There does seem to be a place for “broken windows” policing. But it seems clear that place is not always and everywhere. Circumstances matter– who would’ve guessed. Nice NYT editorial:
Mr. Bratton is a pioneer of broken windows policing and Mr. de Blasio is a stout defender. The tactic was embraced in the crime-plagued New York of 20 years ago. But while violence has ebbed, siege-based tactics have not. The Times reported on Friday that the Police Department made 394,539 arrests last year, near historical highs.
The mayor and the commissioner should acknowledge the heavy price paid for heavy enforcement. Broken windows and its variants — “zero-tolerance,” “quality-of-life,” “stop-and-frisk” practices — have pointlessly burdened thousands of young people, most of them black and Hispanic, with criminal records. These policies have filled courts to bursting with first-time, minor offenders whose cases are often thrown out, though not before their lives are severely disrupted and their reputations blemished. They have caused thousands to lose their jobs, to be suspended from school, to be barred from housing or the military. They have ensnared immigrants who end up, through a federal fingerprinting program, being deported and losing everything.
13) And lastly, the NYT is beginning a series on how we need to end our prohibition on marijuana. Let me reiterate– I’ve never smoked dope, never will, and will strongly discourage my kids, but our current policy is an utter failure on so many levels and needs to be changed. Here’s the first of the NYT series on state-by-state policy.