Chart of the Day

Has America moved beyond race?  Look at this and you tell me (via Ezra):

Umm, wow.  Not all that surprising, but still somewhat depressing.  Here Ezra excerpts the PS paper it’s from:

The chart above this post comes from a more recent research paper (pdf) by Tesla and Sears that concludes:

Very little has changed since Barack Obama became president. More specifically, we show:(1) Obama’s early presidential job approval ratings were influenced considerably more by racial attitudes than was the case for previous presidents, (2) support for Obama from white racial liberals had much to do with those highly racialized presidential approval ratings, (3) the effect of racial resentment on evaluations of Obama remained remarkably stable from early 2008 to November 2009, (4) President Obama continued to be evaluated not just as an African American but as someone who was distinctly “other,” and (5) Obama-induced racialization spilled over into issues on which the White House took visible positions, such as health care.

Interestingly, race may be a net benefit:

Another way to say this is that far from marking the end of us-vs.-them elections associated with Richard Nixon’s infamous Southern strategy, the 2008 election was arguably the beginning of its inverse: an electoral campaign where race, because of the skin color of the Democratic nominee, was a central issue, but this time, the “racially progressive” coalition proved larger than the racially conservative coalition. Call it the Northern strategy.

Still, I’d be much happier when a candidate’s skin color just isn’t a big deal.  Obviously, we’re not there yet.

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Really dumb quote of the day

I really don’t want to leave Sarah facing the back in her car seat for two whole years, because in my experience, babies are much happier when they get to face forward and see what’s going on.  As a result, most parents look forward to turning their child around at about the age of 1, as has been recommended.  Alas, the latest safety recommendations say we should probably wait until the age of two.

Toddlers are usually switched from rear-facing to forward-facing car seats right after their first birthday — an event many parents may celebrate as a kind of milestone.

But in a new policy statement, the nation’s leading pediatricians’ group says that is a year too soon.

The advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics, issued Monday, is based primarily on a 2007University of Virginia study finding that children under 2 are 75 percent less likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries in a crash if they are facing the rear.

Okay, so, that’s pretty clear.  I guess we’ll see what Kim thinks on the matter in another 8 months.  One thing is for sure, though, anybody dumb enough to make the following statement most definitely should not be a go-to person for quotes on this issue:

The academy’s previous policy, from 2002, said it was safest for infants and toddlers to ride facing the rear, and cited 12 months and 20 pounds as the minimum requirements for turning the car seat forward. But Ms. Baer, a certified child passenger safety technician, said parents tended to take that as a hard and fast rule.

“A lot of parents consider turning the car seat around as another developmental milestone that shows how brilliant and advanced their child is,” she said, “and they don’t realize that it’s making their child less safe.”

Seriously?! Really, this has to be one of the dumbest things about parents I’ve ever read.  The child-less Kevin Drum even flagged this.  Oh, I know, parents can be really stupid about their kids, but turning them around is a car seat based on their age and weight as an indicator of brilliance??!  Let’s find somebody a little smarter to comment on car seat safety issues.

Watch out for the people you know

I haven’t really paid much attention to the “yoga murder” other than to have some vague sense that it happened. Until Slate’s Chris Beam used it as a great jumping off point for a piece about the relative dangers of being murdered by those you know versus those you don’t.   Short version: you are much more likely to be killed by someone you know.   That’s a good thing– it makes us feel like we have some control over the situation.  It is the utter randomness of murder by a complete stranger that is so scary.  Of course, a crazy jealous/stalking ex-spouse is presumably pretty scary, too.   The Yoga murder seemed to start off as a “random” stranger murder, but now it seems the victim was likely killed by a co-worker.  So, why do people (falsely) assume so many homicides are random when few actually are?  Beam:

Why do we assume that so many homicides are random? The FBI is partly to blame. In the early 1990s, the bureau released a report claiming that half of all homicides were committed by strangers. But that report was flawed, says Rosenfeld: It conflated police reports in which it was established that victim and offender didn’t know each other, and unsolved reports that didn’t establish their relationship one way or another. The more random the crime, of course, the more necessary the FBI. “Randomness is scary,” says Joel Best, professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware. “It implies that you can’t protect yourself.”

Politicians like to play up the randomness of violence, too. “It gives everyone a stake in the problem,” says Best. Even liberals and conservatives can agree that randomness is good: “If you’re conservative, talking about random violence allows you to gloss over the obvious relationship between victimization and class,” says Best. “If you’re a liberal, you can gloss over the relationship between [committing] violence and race.” Everybody wins. Except, you know, the victims.

The media does its part, of course. Murders don’t typically make headline news, unless there’s something unusual about them—for example, that they occur in an upper-middle-class suburb. (Slate‘s Timothy Noah calls this genre of news coverage “When Bad Things Happen to White People.”) By covering random crime, news organizations help to create the impression that most crime is random.

Thank goodness they’re wrong. Police rely on crime’s non-randomness in order to stop it.

As for me, I think I know which of my co-workers I need to watch out for :-).

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