Good for NC

Governor Bev Purdue signed a law today that makes it a serious felony with jail time at stake for the:
“malicious abuse, torture or killing” of an animal.  Hooray for NC.  People who do these sorts of things are surely guilty of plenty of unsavory activities and don’t belong on the streets.  As usual for legislation like this, it took a single dramatic incident to build the legislative momentum:

The law is a named after Susie, now a 1-year-old pit bull-shepherd mix. As a puppy, Susie was beaten, set on fire and left to die. Susie survived, was rescued and has been adopted. She lost her ears, though, and still bears scars.

Lashawn Whitehead, 21, of Greensboro, was convicted of felony cruelty to animals and sentenced to probation.

Advocates of Susie’s Law said they were outraged that state law allowed White to be sentenced only to probation.

Of course not all animal abusers go on to become serial killers, but its a pretty well-established fact that most serial killers start out this way.  Of course, this law won’t stop the problem, but when it comes to criminal law, there’s something to be said for straight out retribution.  I’m glad I live in a state that now says anybody who undertakes such a heinous act deserves to spend some time in jail for it.

Quote of the day (puppy version)

“What motivated him to throw a puppy at the Hell’s Angels is currently unclear,” said a spokesman for local police.

From this.

US health care is not good

The Commonwealth Foundation has released a new report that assesses the overall quality of the US Health Care relative to the rest of the world.  It addresses a number of the complaints that led people the WHO rankings that put the US at 37 in the world.  Short version: no, we really are not so good compared to most other developed nations.  Ezra Klein summarizes:

But even with all that spending, “the U.S. ranks last overall, as it did in the 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror. Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last on dimensions of access, patient safety, coordination, efficiency, and equity. [emphasis mine]

Last!  But, alas you say, who really cares about access and equity as long as I get my health care.  Nope, still not so good.  Things like patient safety and coordination really matter and work much better in a coordinated national system.

“Even when access and equity measures are not considered, the U.S. ranks behind most of the other countries on most measures. With the inclusion of primary care physician survey data in the analysis, it is apparent that the U.S. is lagging in adoption of national policies that promote primary care, quality improvement, and information technology.” Here’s a summary table:


This pretty graph paints a not at all pretty picture for health care in the US.  The Affordable Care Act is a good start, but we’ve got a long way to go.

Chart of the day

One of the rather pernicious and false beliefs among the anti-immigrant crowd is that this new generation of Hispanic immigrants is uniquely bad at learning English as is here to change our culture! (cue scary music).   Matt Yglesias links to a nice chart that shows this decidedly not to be the case:

Lisa Wade has a good chart which shows that contrary to perception, today’s immigrants are somewhat more English-capable (perhaps because of the global trend toward English) than those of the previous major migration episode:

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As Yglesias put it, “tell your friends.”  For me, I’m in the habit of telling my students.

So, while we’re at it, here’s a Alabama Republican gubernatorial candidate on the matter:

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