How you spend your time

Found this via Ezra.  It’s awesome.  Derek Thompson puts together a bunch of charts on how people spend their time.  Here’s the lead chart:

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Compared to average my “caring for others” is way higher and, sadly, my sleep is down. Then again, I do pretty well on working hours (though, that depends a lot on how you count reading about politics).

Running in moderation

I’ve got to say, I absolutely love the latest research on the long-term (i.e., lifespan) benefits of moderate running:

researchers at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health and other institutions combed through the health records of 52,656 American adults who’d undergone physicals between 1971 and 2002 as part of the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study at the Cooper Institute in Dallas. Each participant completed physical testing and activity questionnaires and returned for at least one follow-up visit.

The researchers found that about 27 percent of the participants reported regularly running, although in wildly varying amounts and paces.

The scientists then checked death reports.

Over the course of the study, 2,984 of the participants died. But the incidence was much lower among the group that ran. Those participants had, on average, a 19 percent lower risk of dying from any cause than non-runners.

Notably, in closely parsing the participants’ self-reported activities, the researchers found that running in moderation provided the most benefits. Those who ran 1 to 20 miles per week at an average pace of about 10 or 11 minutes per mile — in other words, jogging — reduced their risk of dying during the study more effectively than those who didn’t run, those (admittedly few) who ran more than 20 miles a week, and those who typically ran at a pace swifter than seven miles an hour.  [emphasis mine]

Well, you can probably guess my jogging regimen– it’s probably in the neighborhood of 12 miles a week at a 10-11 minute/mile pace.  Hooray for me.


Scalia and immigration

Maybe Antonin Scalia once upon a time demonstrated some great legal mind, but now he is just a buffoon.  “Why doesn’t he just run for office, already?!” as one of my friends put it to me in an email.  For him to, even in the tiniest part, talk about Obama’s recent immigration decision regarding people who came here as children when discussing the totally unrelated (in a Constitutional sense) provisions of the Arizona law shows just how far off the reservation he has gone.  If yet to see the thorough takedown he deserves, but I liked this bit at TNR:

 Scalia made a cursory effort to link his argument to the Arizona case, but the presence of this digression seems to me entirely political. Scalia’s free to score political points whenever he chooses, but to do so from the Court’s chambers—all while claiming to be the proponent of unbiased, objective originalism—is mendacious in the extreme, and transparent to boot.

Furthermore, the fact that even three justices dissented in this shows just how entirely political the dissenters are.  This should really be a 9-0 slam dunk.  The Nation’s David Cole puts it succinctly:

While the politics of immigration is deeply divided, both conservative and liberal justices have long been united on one thing: immigration law is a federal matter. The immigration power is expressly assigned to Congress by the Constitution, and it obviously implicates basic questions of federal sovereignty and foreign relations. To allow each state to enforce its own immigration law would be a total disaster.

And, if you want more, former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger has a nice take at Slate (this was no partial win for Arizona).  Much like national defense and foreign affairs, immigration policy is so obviously a matter for the federal government, and not states to legislate and has been so since the very beginning.  Whether you are an originalist– like Scalia– or not, dissenting from the majority opinion as simply a matter of politics, not jurisprudence. Scalia (and Thomas and Alito) don’t like immigrants or the federal government so they are going to support Arizona’s laws in conflict with federal immigration law and that’s that.

Photo of the day

Amazing, amazing set of lion photos obtained by using Will Burrard-Lucas using his Beetlecam.  Seriously, just check out the whole page.  Here’s two of my favorites:


Republican plans for cutting the deficit













Get that little joke?  Anyway, awesome chart via Yglesias:


The truth will out

On occassion, Republicans make the mistake of actually speaking the truth when discussing policy.  Via Drum:

From Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, telling a friendly audience about the state legislature’s accomplishments this year:

Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.

Apparently this drew a “loud round of applause,” and why not? Photo ID laws like Pennsylvania’s are mainly about politics, and everyone knows it. They suppress turnout primarily among minorities, the poor, and the young, and those are well-known Democratic-leaning constituencies. In a close election, Pennsylvania’s law might very well allow Romney to win the state.

Anyway, it’s good to hear someone admit this. Usually they’re smart enough to pretend that voter ID laws are about preventing voter fraud.  [emphasis mine]

The wait times

When I talked about health care policy last week and mentioned how much better other countries do than the US, not surprisingly, some of my conservative students pulled out the “but what about the wait times?!” line.  Now, admittedly, Canada does a poor job with wait times, but plenty of countries get way more efficient (similar quality, way less cost, covers all citizens) health care than the US with no additional wait times.  I was thinking about this, as on an anecdotal level, I read this on a discussion forum I subscribe to on Tuberous Sclerosis:

Hi everyone, I am hoping to get some insight into how Children’s Hospitals around the nation are. My son O____ has TS and is 2, and he has excellent neurologists that we really like. We go to a major Children’s Hospital that has a TS clinic. The problem is that wait time to get anything done is unbelievably long. O____’s seizures have come back with a vengeance, and we have been working with his meds for the past few months- new doses, new meds, off old meds, etc. Of course, nothing seems to be working. They recommended we come in for an overnight EEG, which seems like a great idea. The problem is that when I called to schedule it, the soonest appointment they have is in mid-September. Really, we have to wait 3 months while my son has seizure after seizure on a daily basis???

We have had to deal with crazy wait lists for scheduling his eye appointments, his MRIs, his neurology appointments, everything. I feel like this hospital has the best doctors and facility in our region, but this 3 month wait for EEGs is keeping him from getting the care that he needs. Is this the norm for how Children’s Hospitals operate?

Sadly, far from an isolated story.  You know, it would be one thing to pay 50% more for health care than the rest of the world if there weren’t plenty of stories like this, but sadly, all that extra money isn’t really buying us anything of value (unless you value the quality of the automobile your doctor and hospital administrators drive).

If you want the empirical case on wait times, great post by Aaron Carroll (which includes this chart).


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