Quick hits

1) Loved this in the Atlantic on 5 statistics problems you’re probably inclined to get wrong and how come.

2) Listened to a fascinating Fresh Air interview with Andrew Solomon about his book about raising a child very different from yourself– whether due to disability, sexual orientation, the child resulting from a rape, etc.  Here’s a great NYT review that’s a nice summary.

3) Liked Kevin Drum’s take on the decline in crime across many cities despite various approaches to crime reduction.  Short version: the dramatic reduction of environmental lead (my take from last year).

4) Love Ezra’s take that Obama’s no longer negotiating with himself:

Perhaps the key lesson the White House took from the last couple of years is this: Don’t negotiate with yourself. If Republicans want to cut Medicare, let them propose the cuts. If they want to raise revenue through tax reform, let them identify the deductions. If they want deeper cuts in discretionary spending, let them settle on a number. And, above all, if they don’t like the White House’s preferred policies, let them propose their own. That way, if the White House eventually does give in and agree to some of their demands, Republicans will feel like they got one over on the president. A compromise isn’t measured by what you offer, it’s measured by what the other side feels they made you concede.

5) Unlike most writing about the no new tax pledge, John Cassidy emphasizes that’s really about no revenue increases from changing the tax code, period:

His [Norquist] troubles began the day after the election, when Speaker Boehner indicated that he was amenable to raising tax revenues, if not tax rates—a statement that seemed to open the wary for an agreement that eliminated some of the loopholes and deductions that wealthy taxpayers enjoy. However such a deal was structured, it would almost certainly violate Norquist’s pledge, which commits its signatories to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates,” and also to “oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

6) Liberal women are less content with the amount of sex they are having than are conservative women.

7) Yglesias on the very annoying fact that such a key motivating principle of “Fix the Debt” is not just reducing the deficit, but lowering marginal tax rates.  That’s a different issue entirely and very much shapes their approach to their supposed prime goal of deficit reduction.

8) Shocking research finds that sex is considered the activity that makes people the happiest.

9) Obama is coming to take your guns away!!  Or so believe the people of Lubbock, TX (and surely many other places to reality).  Hello, earth to gun nuts– he’s not.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to Quick hits

  1. Mike from Canada says:

    Didn’t Boehner already renege on his statement to possibly allow increases via tax loophole cuts, or am I thinking of something else?

    • Steve Greene says:

      I’m thinking maybe. But anything much before Christmas, I just don’t think means much. I’m just glad Obama figured out how to negotiate (Tomasky’s also got a nice one on the topic I’ll be linking).

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