How men spend their time

Via the Atlantic, this is quite interesting:



Educated men today, it appears, do more to support their educated, career-oriented wives and their communities. Lower class men reserve more time for themselves. It’s one more bit of evidence of how the country is splitting culturally as it splits economically.

My own observations.  There’s no way the average college educated man is spending 8 hours/night sleeping and 8+ for the less educated.  Strongly suggests some problems with the subjectivity of the data.  As for me, compared to other educated men: less sleep, less work, more childcare, more housework, and less repair.  My big existential question– is walking the dog exercise or pet care?  As for gardening and lawn care you can put me in pretty close to 0.

The swiss-yachting of Romney

Alec McGillis is convinced that this is among the more devasting political attack ads in recent years.  I’m not convinced, but here’s McGillis:

“Ridicule, as I venture to use it myself,” wrote the author in the Chronicle in 1890, “seems to me to be the most excellent of offensive weapons because it hurts without damaging. No man’s good reputation is permanently impaired by ridicule, yet most men would rather be slandered rather than ridiculed. It is monstrous hard to bear; it lacerates the sensibilities horribly—if artfully done.”

What better way to describe the power of the Obama ad? Rather than hitting Romney’s offshore accounts and Bain Capital outsourcing head on, it tucks them within the framework of ridicule, making Willard Mitt Romney look not just objectionable but utterly risible. In this sense, it combines in one the two most devastating attacks against John Kerry in 2004—the dead-serious assault on his Vietnam War service and the sardonic attack on his flip-flopping, using the unfortunate images of his wind-surfing much as Obama uses Romney’s lamentable singing here.

Apparently Ezra agrees that this is a devastating ad.

Of course, this is also a good excuse to show the classic GWB anti-John Kerry wind-surfing ad in 2004.  I show this to my classes every semester and always gets a big laugh:

Photo of the day

Yesterday’s National Geographic Photo of the day:

Photo: A pelican and an iguana in the Galapagos Islands

Pelican and Iguana, Galápagos

Photograph by Paul Coleman, My Shot

This Month in Photo of the Day: Animal Pictures

A pelican and an iguana rest on rocks in the Galápagos Islands.

Romney’s retirement

Nice post from Jeffrey Toobin on Mitt Romney’s “retroactive retirement:”

Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign, went on CNN yesterday to explain the circumstances surrounding the former governor’s departure from his position at Bain Capital. Gillespie settled the controversy by saying that Romney left Bain and went to work at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 1999 and then “retired retroactively” from Bain in 2002. This explanation has met with criticism and ridicule.

This is unfair…

The concept of “retroactive retirement” is well-established. Ben Affleck retroactively retired from the cast of “Gigli,” thus restoring his bankability as a movie star. As the journalist Matt Yglesias recalled, Michael Jordan retroactively retired from his two seasons playing for the Washington Wizards, and thereby preserved his basketball legacy. The director Julie Taymor retroactively retired as director of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” when it was an infamous Broadway flop; she then retroactively unretired when the show became a hit. (The matter is now in litigation.)

Equality of opportunity depends upon equality of outcome

Really  interesting post/chart from Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog:

Now, obviously this correlation isn’t perfect, and the countries below the regression line have figured out how to have more social mobility than their Gini coefficient would suggest. What’s more, Krueger’s numbers have encountered some criticism (which, in my humble opinion, is unfounded). But the fact remains that every country with substantially more mobility than the U.S. is more equal in terms of outcomes as well. [emphasis mine]. The distinction between equality of outcomes and opportunity has some theoretical appeal, but in practice, you get both or neither.

Assessing NCLB

Kevin Carey has a really nice and succinct look at what NCLB has and has not accomplished over the past decade.  I found his summary of the law’s successes to be the most interesting:

IN THE END, No Child Left Behind didn’t usher in a new era of educational opportunity for disadvantaged children. But the law still has a legacy. It has exposed truths about the illogic and injustice of American public education that can’t be ignored.

The simple act of publishing annual test scores “disaggregated” by race, ethnicity, language and disability status has proved that discrimination remains deeply embedded in our public education system, and not just in dysfunctional urban schools. So-called “good” school districts still warehouse their “difficult” students in unchallenging courses taught by indifferent teachers. We won’t go back to the time when that kind of malpractice could be plausibly denied.

NCLB’s concessions to federalism—giving states total discretion to set academic standards—exposed the idiocy of allowing 50 state bureaucracies to make independent judgments about the essential math and reading skills all children must learn. The result was a system where far more students were “passing” state tests in Mississippi than in Massachusetts, even though the the NAEP ranks those states last and first, respectively, in student achievement. The body politic has a high but not infinite tolerance for ridiculousness, and so the vast majority of states are now in the process of adopting a single set of Common Core Standards.

The information generated by NCLB’s annual testing regime has also created an empirical foundation for education research that never existed before. New curricula, better teacher training, smaller class sizes, increased funding, revised teacher tenure policies, technology-enabled learning, charter schools—all of these ideas and many others can be evaluated in a way that was never possible before. NCLB’s flawed accountability system didn’t work very well, but the data it created may help identify something better to take its place.

Whole thing is well worth a read.

Hardball redux

Well, the Democrats really must be playing hardball, as the Post’s Chris Cilliza and Greg Sargent come so a similar conclusion.  I am amused that everybody seems to see this as acting like Republicans.  About time for some symmetry.

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