Shameful!

Puppy mills are just plain evil.  They exploit and abuse dogs for profit.  They simply should not exist.  Yes, you should be able to raise dogs and sell them, but certainly not abuse them in the process.  And when you consider the number of times puppy mills end up being raided and closed down and dozens of dogs put into the system they create serious externalities.  Thus, it only makes sense that they be properly regulated.  Even the Republicans in the NC House see this.  The NC Senate?  Not so much.  From WRAL:

— A proposal to regulate large commercial dog breeders appears to be dead for the year, doomed once again by opposition from state Senate leaders.

The House passed legislation in 2013 that would require large breeding operations, or “puppy mills,” to meet basic standards of animal welfare, sanitation and humane treatment. The Senate refused to take up the proposal.

Large commercial breeders that sell puppies to the public are not regulated by the state. There are no inspections or licensing requirements.

For years, poll numbers have consistently shown that North Carolina voters favor state regulation of dog breeding operations. But the American Kennel Club, hunting groups and agricultural interests have worked diligently against the idea. They argue that requiring kennel inspections violates breeders’ property rights and say setting standards for companion animals could trigger similar requirements for livestock breeding operations.

This opposition is just stupid.  And shame, shame on the supposed dog lovers at the AKC.  As for the agricultural interests, the bill is about dogs!  Yes, the mis-treatment of pigs and other livestock in NC is deplorable, but that’s not what this bill is about.  It’s not some small step from regulating dog breeding to regulating hog farms.  It would be nice if it was, but clearly not in the actual world we live in.  And so frustrating that people pretend otherwise.

And you know what is really shameful about this whole sorry thing, the admitted reason that the Senate leaders will not allow a vote on the legislation:

Advocates for regulation calling Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s office say they’re being told “the puppy mill language was pulled due to unethical behavior on the part of its supporters.”

The reference to “unethical behavior” stems from an incident in January when regulation supporters met with Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, a veterinarian who opposes the House legislation.

Rabon’s comments in that meeting were laced with obscenities, calling House leaders a profane term and accusing McCrory and his wife of improperly lobbying for the 2013 bill. He also told them the legislation wouldn’t be considered in 2014.

The supporters recorded the meeting and released it to the media, embarrassing Rabon and Senate leaders.

The woman who recorded the meeting said the audio recorder was in plain sight at all times, but Senate leaders accused her and others of “secretly” recording the meeting and attempting to “extort” lawmakers by releasing it.

Got that?  A horrible person (and I happily stand behind that characterization based on this information) was publicly shown to be horrible and the Senate leadership cannot abide by it.  The solution is to make dogs suffer.  That’ll show those animal lovers!  Record us acting like complete jerks and the dogs get hurt!  This is just so breathtakingly immature and stupid.  And these are the people running my state!  Ugh.

Quick hits (part II)

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.

Surprise: lower tax rates lead to lower tax revenues

Surprise, surprise.  After that substantial tax cuts (overwhelmingly benefiting NC”s wealthiest citizens) the super-charged economic growth the Republicans predicted has not materialized (yes, unemployment has improved, just like it has done pretty much everywhere).  The result, NC is coming in well-short in projected revenues (hey, I could have projected this).  Who will pay the price?  Teachers, those wanting a better education for their kids, the elderly and disabled, etc.  But hey, richer North Carolinians can now trade in their Lexus for a Mercedes.  Hooray!  From WRAL:

— New figures from legislative analysts confirm the 2013 cut to individual income tax rates is costing the state far more than originally projected.

Last year, Republican leaders authored a plan to cut income taxes from a three-tiered marginal system of 6 percent, 7 percent and 7.75 percent to a flat rate of 5.8 percent for 2014 tax year.

According to a memo Thursday from legislative analyst Brian Slivka and chief economist Barry Boardman, the updated cost of the tax cut is $690 million for the current tax year.

That’s $205 million, or 43 percent, higher than the original projection of  $475 million.

The cost for the 2015 tax year is also projected to be $200 million higher than original estimates – $890 million rather than $690 million…

Republican leaders said last summer that lowering taxes would cause the economy to grow, helping more people find work and bringing in more revenue. They expressed confidence that the cost to the state would be actually be lower than initial projections.

But in the memo, Boardman and Slivka explain that North Carolina wages have not grown as quickly as projected last year.

And how’s this for some cogent economic context:

It’s not yet clear what effect, if any, the revision will have on the current budget negotiations.

However, to put the revision in context, the cost of a 7 percent average teacher pay increase, according to the House’s latest offer, is about $265 million.

The cost of a 6 percent average teacher raise, according to an earlier House offer, is about $178 million, while the cost of funding all current teaching assistants for 2015 is about $450 million.

The cost of the Senate’s earlier proposed cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services, including cutting Medicaid eligibility for thousands of blind, disabled, and elderly patients, is about $228 million.

But, gee, who could have predicted this?  Oh, I don’t know, maybe anybody who has actually paid any attention to evidence on tax rates and economic policy in recent years.  Of course, now the Republicans get want they really want– lower taxes for rich people and the ability to throw up their hands and say there just isn’t enough money for teachers, the poor, elderly, disabled, etc.  And this surely can’t be good for higher education, either.

How we think about poor people

Great post from Thomas Mills.  I think a huge difference between Republicans and Democrats really comes down to our basic conception of what it means to be poor.  Obviously, it is a combination of individual choice and societal circumstance, but Republicans put far more emphasis on the former, the Democrats on the latter.  Personally, I would say Democrats allow for individual choice to play a role more than Republicans allow for societal context, but that’s an empirical question to be settled.  Anyway…

Back in the early 1990s, I went to work as a human resource director for an aluminum die cast company. The company had moved to rural North Carolina from the Midwest because of low wages, low taxes and no unions…

On dispute after dispute, I found myself siding with employees rather than management. 

I believed in the carpal tunnel syndrome that management denied existed. I thought the guy who got his hand permanently disfigured should continue to get workers’ compensation despite the company’s claim that he had received job training and now should be on his own. And when employees walked out after management insisted on leaving garage sized-doors open despite temperatures in the low 20s, I explained that they were not on a “wildcat strike,” as management contended, but that their mamas had taught them a long time ago to have enough sense to shut the door and come in from the cold. 

Needless to say, I didn’t last long. After six months, I quit. In my exit interview, my supervisor, who was gruff but basically a good guy, told me, “You’re just so naive. These people will get away with as much as they can while doing as little work as possible.”

And that, I believe, is a common Republican world view. They think the majority of poor people and working folks aren’t trying to get ahead in life; they are trying to get over on the system. [emphasis mine]…

Like my former bosses, Republicans are probably thinking “What a bunch of naive liberal bunk.” And that’s the difference in the Democrats who ran the state and the Republicans who control it now. 

Nobody ever considered Marc Basnight, Tony Rand or Jim Hunt anti-business. But those Democrats also weren’t anti-poor. They understood that poverty was often caused by circumstances beyond people’s control and they also believed that government had a role in alleviating the impact of hardship on families. Most importantly, though, they believed that children were victims of poverty, not causes of it, and that education and support, from early childhood through college, offered the children of poverty the chance to escape it. 

As long as we have leaders who see our poorest citizens as burdens and grifters, we’re doomed to make poverty harsher and ensure a permanent underclass. The free market may be the vehicle to create jobs, but it does little to soften the blow of poverty. To create the type of society I believe in, we need to do both. [emphasis mine]

Amen.

Southern Democrats’ dilemma

Nice piece from Bob Moser on the dilemma for current Southern Democratic senate candidates.  The long-standing playbook has been to position oneself very centrist to appeal to conservative Southern Democrats.  But changing demographics means the demographic base in the South is both more minority and more liberal.  So, what’s a Senate candidate to do?

 But Hagan’s tentative attitude [about Obamacare] has become a common theme across the South this year. As the region has become the Republican Party’s national fortress, Southern Democrats have won Senate seats by playing down their ties to their party.This year, six Democrats — three incumbents and three challengers — are waging competitive campaigns. The results in North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi could determine whether Obama faces a hostile Senate for his last two years in the White House. (Republicans need to pick up six seats to gain control, and only about 15 are competitive nationally.)

The question is whether Democrats in these states are better served by following the region’s five-decade-long drift toward the GOP — or by betting that the climate is finally changing in their favor…

It’s a sign of things to come in states like North Carolina, where large influxes of Latino immigrants and “relocated Yankees,” both black and white, are tilting the demographic balance toward the Democrats and inspiring a new progressive movement. But despite Obama’s own surprising Southern breakthroughs — after Al Gore and John Kerry lost the entire region, he won three large Southern states in 2008 and two in 2012, falling just short in North Carolina — the region’s blue future is still a long-term proposition. Candidates like Hagan are stuck between the past, when Southern Democrats’ recipe for victory involved courting white moderates and conservativesand a future in which they’ll be able to successfully campaign as full-throated, national-style Democrats. To win, Hagan and her compatriots must simultaneously woo independent-minded whites while persuading massive numbers of young voters and nonwhites, who lean left on both economic and social issues, to join them.

It’s an awkward proposition, to be sure. But the Democratic contenders have appeared hell-bent on making it look downright impossible…

“The old blue-dog model doesn’t work anymore,” says Ed Kilgore, a Georgia native and Democratic strategist who helped craft that model during his years with the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. “The people you’re appealing to aren’t going to vote for any Democrat anymore. You just don’t go right on every conceivable issue.” But that is exactly what his old friend [Georgia Senate candidate Michelle] Nunn — aside from her progressive stances on abortion rights and gay marriage, which she doesn’t like to talk about — is doing. Her platform consists of reducing corporate tax rates, entitlement “reform” (read: cuts) and debt reduction, supporting the Keystone pipeline, and cheering for military strikes in Syria. It’s not exactly catnip for the state’s emerging majority.

Okay, so no big changes this year, but Moser has an interesting prediction for the future:

What might happen if Democrats in the fast-evolving 21st-century South ran as honest-to-goodness, true-blue Democrats? Because the old Republican Lite habit dies hard — and because politicians of all stripes are timid by nature — we won’t find out this year. But it won’t be long. Perhaps in 2016, maybe in 2020, the mold will be broken: A new-style Southern Democrat will run in a state like Georgia or North Carolina or Texas and win with a full-throated progressive message. The demographics make it inevitable. And the result ultimately will be a whole new national political order. No longer will it be Southerners in Congress who are the stubborn impediments to progressive reform, as they’ve been for 150 years. And no longer will Republicans have a stranglehold on the region in presidential elections. The five largest Southern states — Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, and Florida — account for most of the region’s electoral votes. They’re also the states where conservative whites are losing their hegemony by the day. How will the GOP carry national elections without them?

By the next decade, if demographics are (and they usually are) destiny, it will be Southern Republicans who are dodging and ducking and triangulating, conjuring ways to hold on to their aging and shrinking white base while appropriating Democratic issues and rhetoric to woo the new progressive majority. If they need tactical advice, they can always hire Kay Hagan or Michelle Nunn as campaign consultants. Their species of Southern Democrat will be, by then, a fading relic of a strange, distant, and inexplicable past.

I’m not quite as convinced of this scenario as Moser.  For one, there’s the possibility that the white voters is these states– though a shrinking majority– move as heavily Republican as the white voters in the deep South.  But still, I’d rather be a Democrat in these states (at least NC, VA, and FL, maybe GA) in 2016 or 2020 than a Republican.  And as for the ambitious Democratic politicians, it will be interesting to see when an unabashed national/i.e., liberal, rather than a more conservative “Southern Democrat” breaks through to win major state-wide office.

The pope I don’t like

Pope Francis– awesome.  Art Pope– not so much.  Anyway, nice story about the latter in the Post recently.  I had a great conversation with the new NYT reporter on “the South” beat today (hopefully, that should result in my expertise in the NYT sometime in the future) and we discussed Pope, among many other things.  It is quite clear that this one man has a hugely disproporationate influence in NC politics.  That said, when one looks at the rather substantial intra-party squabble going on over the budget right now, it’s also clear that Pope is not quite the puppetmaster many of his detractors believe him to be.  Safe to say if he really was the all-powerful wizard behind the curtain, the Republican party would not be acting as it currently is (unless this is some super-smart devious plan to fool journalists and people like me).  Anyway, here’s some good stuff from the Post story:

There is no one in North Carolina, or likely in all of American politics, quite like Art Pope. He is not just a wealthy donor seeking to influence politics from the outside, nor just a government official shaping it from within. He is doing both at the same time — the culmination of a quarter-
century spent building a sphere of influence that has put him at the epicenter of North Carolina government and moved his state closer to the conservative vision he has long imagined.

“There are not many people as influential, because few people have invested the time and the money that he has on behalf of his state,” said Republican former governor James G. Martin, who tapped Pope, then 28, to be a lawyer in his administration in the 1980s.

From the outside, Pope’s family foundation has put more than $55 million into a robust network of conservative think tanks and advocacy groups, building a state version of what his friends Charles and David Koch have helped create on a national level.

They even have the whole thing in graphic form:

Art Pope’s influence on North Carolina

 

The Republicans’ women problem

The real problem for Republicans with women voters is that women are simply more liberal than men on most all the key role of government issues that define so much modern political debate.  And it has been this way since at least the 1980’s.  This is very well established ground within political science.  In fact, Laurel and I were actually just working on studying “just” the gender gap before we somewhat accidentally studies across the impact of children, which has shaped our research ever since.

Earlier this week, I wrote about GOP Congresswoman Renee Ellmer’s inane comments about how pie charts are just too tough for women voters.   A number of nice blog posts, etc., on the issue around, but I particularly enjoyed Amy Davidson’s.  It also featured this excerpt from Ellmer’s that I had not previously noticed:

Ellmers’s comments reflect a certain Republican school of thought: women love the G.O.P; they just don’t realize it. (Their lack of self-awareness is such that, as a G.O.P. postmortem on the 2012 election noted, Obama’s margin with women was eleven per cent.) This, Ellmers said, is a matter of “tone”: “Women, by and large, agree with us on all of the issues. If you go through each issue, they agree. [emphasis mine]It’s how we are able to articulate ourselves—make sure that we’re getting the point across that we care, before we do anything else.”

This just could not be further from the truth!  Where is Ellmers getting this misinformation?  Fox news, I suppose.  Regardless, how can their be any hope of Republican legislators effectively addressing the needs of women citizens if they are so sadly misinformed about women (on average, of course) really think!  For a little context, here’s some charts from a Pew 2012 poll that looked at the gender gap on various key issues:

Yet, somehow Ellmers believes that women actually agree more with Republicans?!  Also noteworthy (and I hope I’ve mentioned this before), the gap is definitely not about abortion (as clearly seen in the last chart).

I also enjoyed Amanda Marcotte’s take, to a degree:

Women are likelier than men to make minimum wage or less.Women are more likely to fall into one of the eligibility categories for Medicaid.Women still make lower wages because of gender discrimination. Women like having contraception coverage and a social safety net. If anything, making the impact of policy easier to understand would drive even more women away from Republicans and toward Democrats.

But, alas, she’s got to go and ruin it by making it also about abortion when the data just don’t support that.

Regardless, insofar as Ellmers’ take is indicative of that of Republican politicians, don’t expect to see this pronounced gender gap narrowing much any time soon.

Quick hits (part I)

Lots this week.  More tomorrow. Here we go…

1) This security system tested at the World Cup seems pretty great.  Would love to see it in airports soon.

2) Krugman’s nice column on the failure of Obamacare to fail.

3) This NYT piece on the utter mis-handling of a rape and a college is truly a must-read.

4) Heck, not just marijuana, the case for decriminalizing all legal drugs.  This Vox piece presents a very even-handed analysis.

5) As if I could somehow ignore an article entitled “We are our Bacteria.”

6) NC Republicans have argued that cutting unemployment benefits has helped get more people working.  The evidence (and Dean Baker) suggest otherwise.

7) Former Obama Budget Director Peter Orzag with a nice column on political polarization.

8) I’ve actually said some nice things about Politico here.  Charles Pierce takes on an article that shows all that is wrong with them.  Remind me never to get on Pierce’s bad side.

9) Fascinating NYT column on just how hard it is to learn a foreign language as an older adult.  And how good it may be for your brain.

10) Sweden has totally embraced vouchers and school choice.  The result?  Declining student performance.

11) Loved this Mark Bittman column on the true cost of a hamburger.  If there’s one concept from public policy, I wish more people understood, it’s externalities.  And hamburgers are all about externalities.

12) I had the same thought as the person Sam McDougle upon seeing the trailer for Lucy.  As if humans only use 10% of their brain.  Sadly, aparently a lot of people still belief this total malarkey.

13) Apparently nitrous oxide, yes, laughing gas, is quite an effective anesthestic for child birth.  It is widely used in Europe, yet hardly in America.  In part, because of a turf battle between anestheloiogists and nurses.

14) Loved this Guardian column on Manuel Neuer’s goalkeeping, especially this part:

 On a football pitch you are looking to gain any advantage you can. Like the opposition, you only have access to 11 players so you must use these players as efficiently as possible. If one of them has no role other than babysitting the net, then you’re already at a disadvantage.

Football is a lot like chess. You have the same number of pieces as your opponent, you face-off on the same playing surface and you both have the same aim. The great chess players know they need to get the most out of each of their pieces to win. This gives rise to the maxim: “The King is a fighting piece – use it.” …

By using your goalkeeper not just to protect your own goals but to actually participate in defending, building attacks and keeping the ball, you are utilising your 11th man. If your opposition are not doing this, you immediately have a man advantage.

Poet Laureates and Elitism

I couldn’t decide if I was going to blog about the fact that our governor named someone who’s entire poetry resume consisted of two self-published volumes to be the state poet laureate.   Sure, it’s small potatoes but it is indicative of McCrory’s overall cluelessness.  Apparently, there was nothing “written on the walls” for McCrory to consult:

“We were not aware of the traditional process that was in place, it wasn’t written down anywhere on the walls,” McCrory said, surprising reporters who told him it was online last week.

Might I suggest that next time something is not written down, the governor and his staff might consult google or bing.  There, they would quickly discover that the position of laureate is expected to have some eminence and esteem.  Nothing against the poor women who has already resigned.  Alas, the governor was far more concerned with knee-jerk anti-elitism:

“One of my objectives is to open up the availability of all appointments to people that typically aren’t inside the organized groups,” McCrory said. “We’ve got to open up opportunities for people that aren’t always a part of the standard or even elite groups that have been in place for a long time. And it’s good to welcome new voices and new ideas.”

Those stupid elitists!!  Like college professors who think they know more than other people on an topic just because they’ve devoted their life to studying it.  Raleigh’s Scott Huler has a brilliant response:

You have to give Gov. Pat McCrory credit: He’s doing everything he can to stamp out elitism in our state. Given how many years we’ve spent having people do jobs they were educated and trained for – ending up with nothing but one of the fastest-growing economies and best places to live in the nation – it seems like a worthy experiment.

His most recent attack on the “elite” came when he appointed to the position of poet laureate someone who apparently has never published a poem she didn’t pay for. He said one of his goals is to “open up opportunities for people that aren’t always a part of the standard or even elite groups that have been in place for a long time.”

And you can’t disagree; he has demonstrated that time and again since his inauguration. Sure, you can point out that a good thing for inexperienced poets to do is practice writing poems, but that would be like suggesting that inexperienced, say, actors should, oh, I don’t know, practice acting. When of course commonsensical anti-elitism says that what you should do is give them Academy Awards rather than keep giving the prizes to the same old Meryl Streeps and Daniel Day-Lewises who have been clogging up the ranks for so long.

Same, obviously, with physics and chemistry. McCrory has shown himself world class at ignoring scientists on topics like climate change, but that just shows what a maverick iconoclast he is. Do you want all these so-called scientists to keep getting all the Nobel Prizes and Fulbrights? Pshaw. We should be giving them to people who like to think they have something to say about those subjects. Waiting until people have in some way proven themselves is exactly the opposite of good old-fashioned American anti-elitism.

Right indeed.  I think Huler quite nicely makes the point that this self-evidently foolish choice of a poet laureate speaks to a larger, anti-intellectual “anti-elitism” that characterizes McCrory’s approach and does a huge dis-service to the state.

Less testosterone = better government?

Quite honestly, probably so.  There’s plenty of good research that women legislators are better at compromise and working with colleagues.  And boy do we see the effects of a testosterone-fueled pissing match in NC’s current intra-party budget debate.  Rob Christensen:

Having covered North Carolina legislatures since the 1970s, I have come to the conclusion that budget negotiations could be resolved much more quickly with one simple solution.

No one should be allowed to participate in the budget negotiations unless they are wearing makeup and heels. That is, men should be barred from budget negotiations and replaced by women.

I come to this conclusion after following the House-Senate budget negotiations last week in which the Senate walked out and in which there were threats made to stay until Christmas.

This is the sort of mau mauing/so’s-your-mama/I’m-prepared-to-wait-till-hell-freezes-over posturing that is the norm in budget negotiations in Raleigh, no matter whether Republicans or Democrats are in control. And it is relatively mild when compared to the government shutdown shenanigans of Washington.

Much of this is being fueled by testosterone – the natural male drive to prevail, to show off, to engage in competition, to heckle or even humiliate the opponent and to never back down. It is sometimes said that sports and politics are male substitutes for battle. It is no wonder that one of the fastest growing sales of drugs is testosterone creams…

But exasperating the policy differences are male egos and questions about political power and will. House Speaker Thom Tillis wants to make his points in his U.S. Senate bid. Gov. Pat McCrory wants to show that he is his own man. And Senate leader Phil Berger doesn’t want to give up control of the conservative revolution. Last year they were arguing over who was the baddest, toughest conservative hombre in town.This year, they are arguing over who can give teachers the biggest raise.

Women, of course, have egos. But they are much more likely to set aside their differences and sensibly work out a compromise – which is what will eventually happen anyway when everybody gets tired of the posturing.

Now, this is Christensten’s non-empirical impression, but the truth is nobody knows NC politics better and, like I said, it is actually backed up in the abstract by PS research.  This article was also shared on FB by a female reporter I know who has commented time and time again abut just what a poisonous, frat-boy atmosphere, has existed in the legislature under both parties.  Though, it should be noted that Republicans re-districted out a bunch of Democratic women and that Republican leadership is especially noteworthy for a paucity of prominent women (and not just in NC).

Don’t worry your pretty little head with charts

Republican men have quite a history of saying really stupid things about women.  Interesting that NC’s own Renee Ellmers should say something right up there with the dumbest of them.  This is good stuff:

How are Republicans planning to fight the “war on women” narrative so rampant among Democrats and the left?

In a word, “messaging,” but it appears that’s as far as their strategy goes.

A group of conservative women, mostly members of the Republican Study Committee, met Friday to discuss issues facing women today and how the GOP can better explain how its policies could help…

Then came the bashing of both genders, courtesy of Ellmers.

“Men do tend to talk about things on a much higher level,” Ellmers said. “Many of my male colleagues, when they go to the House floor, you know, they’ve got some pie chart or graph behind them and they’re talking about trillions of dollars and how, you know, the debt is awful and, you know, we all agree with that.

First she’s saying that men (perhaps only Republican men) don’t know how to connect with people. Second, she’s saying people are too stupid to understand pie charts.

Ellmers then said that women mainly want more time in their lives (don’t men as well?) and the first example she gave was that women wanted “more time in the morning to get ready.”

As for connecting to women specifically, Ellmers drove it home with a line that, had there been liberals in the audience, would have made the news.

“We need our male colleagues to understand that if you can bring it down to a woman’s level [emphasis in original] and what everything that she is balancing in her life — that’s the way to go,” Ellmers said.

I’ll let that speak for itself.  Okay, in fairness, Ellmers was arguing for more of personal connection rather than abstract information.  But that’s good for all voters, not just women.  Somehow, I think women can grasp pie charts just as well as men.

Super-Mega Quick hits

Sure, I’m at the beach, but quick hits will not be denied!  (In fact, it’s extra long as a direct result)  There’s a ton, but I didn’t feel like breaking them up this week.  Sorry.  Enjoy…

1) Krugman on conservative delusions about inflation.  It really is pretty amazing how these continue.

2) Challenges universities face from a professor’s point of view.

3) Loved this essay in the Atlantic on how all the mothers in animated movies are dead.  Or at least essentially out of the picture.  A notable exception– The Incredibles, one of the best animated films in the past decade (and a favorite of all the Greene kids and parents).

4) Nice Brenday Nyhan in the Upshot.  When beliefs and facts collide, beliefs win.  Though, not for me and my enlightened and scientifically-minded readers :-).

5) Apparently, this is the year of 42 year old women.  It just so happens I’m married to one.

6) Kristof on just one more sad story of wronful imprisonment.  I’m going to be reading this guy’s book.

7) Three psychological findings I wish I’d known in high school.  Indeed.

8) I so loved classic rock when I was a teenager.  I thought I was much too cool for the rock of the times.  Of course, now that’s “classic rock” too.  538 with a look by the numbers.

9) Nice Economist piece on the myth of the omnipotent presidency and the damage that the myth does.

10) Yahoo Tech presents 15 entertaining novelty twitter accounts.  Some of these really are awesome.

11) Fascinating story on the last days of Diane Rehm’s husband and how we starved/dehydrated himself to death (he had advanced Parkinson’s).

12) Back before youtube there was jibjab.  This land is your land was a revelation.

13) Okay, turns out that whole how to/not to praise children thing really is getting complicated.  Still, I think it is clear that it is a good idea not to over-praise nor praise excessively for innate abilities.

14) Nice Salon piece on how NC”s new Republican-led voter disenfranchisement laws really are the most evil in the country.

15) I was fascinated by this Atlantic piece on how the “crossover” has taken over the new car market.  I had no idea.  Of course, my cars are from 1998 and 2000.  Really interesting on the history of cars versus minivans versus SUV’s, etc.

16) When I first read about the Kentucky State Senator and the temperature on Mars, I figured he couldn’t really be that dumb.  Turns out he’s not.  But still pretty damn stupid.  I’m sorry, Democratic state legislators just don’t come this dumb.

17) Pope Francis, radical environmentalist.

18) There was going to be a Seinfeld episodes about guns, but the cast nixed it when they were already rehearsing.

19) It is just too easy to be declared a suspicious person by the US Government.  With all sorts of bad consequences.

20) How coffee fueled the Civil War.  My sense is that stimulant drugs have fueled soldiers whenever and wherever they have been available.

21) You all know about my love for apples.  Turns out, I’ve really got to get my wife to start eating more.

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