Just what you’ve been waiting for

Looks like my book is out in paperback now at an actually affordable price ($25).

The Politics of Parenthood: Causes and Consequences of the Politicization and Polarization of the American Family

And, if that’s too much, you can actually get the kindle version for $9.99.

Work, marriage, and fatherhood

Had a really interesting conversation about that titular triumvirate with the director of NCSU’s Women’s Center and today I just came across this interesting research summary in the Atlantic.  Short version:  it’s good to me, i.e., be a married, working father who’s wife does not work full-time outside the home.  The details:

In the forthcoming paper in next month’s American Sociological Review, “A Reconsideration of the Fatherhood Premium: Marriage, Coresidence, Biology, and the Wages of Fathers,” Killewald shows that the wage gain does in fact exist, but that boost is not available to everyone.

Killewald found that married, biological fathers who live with their families are associated with a wage bonus of about four percent after they have kids. Unmarried fathers, fathers who do not live with their children, and stepfathers do not receive this premium.  [emphasis mine]
Wow.  Memo to the single men– put a ring on it.  So, what’ going on?
Killewald found that married fathers who lived with their biological children did not receive a statistically significant wage increase if their wives worked full-time. Men married to women who work less than full-time or who stay at home, however, are all but guaranteed the bonus. This may imply that diminished household responsibilities allow these men to fully devote themselves to their careers, making it possible to have a wife who does unpaid labor.
Well, the kids must be suffering from absent fathers who work to much– right?  Nope:
One might assume that an increased dedication to the workplace would mean that these fathers are spending less time at home, but research indicated that the men who had enjoyed the largest fatherhood premium also reported spending the most time with their kids. This is consistent with what we know about fathers who do not live with their children or non-biological fathers who are less engaged with the children they do live with: They spend less time together. While work and family often seem in conflict, men who fill the traditional role of provider do seem to be “having it all.”
Hey, look at me, I’ve got it all!  (Actually, I do, and I appreciate it very much.  But I still really miss my dog).

Photo of the day

Great National Geographic compilation of Amazing wildlife photos (if you like African wildlife photos, definitely check out the whole set):

Brendon Cremer / brendoncremerphotography.com

Tsessebe in the mist, by guide Brendon Cremer. Photographed at Wilderness Safaris Duba Plains in the Okavango, Botswana. Early mornings on the plains in the cooler months often produce some great opportunities to photograph animals in the mist. The tsessebe is consider by many to be the fastest antelope in Africa (Brendon Cremer / brendoncremerphotography.com)

Map of the day

I just love this map of NFL Sports fan-dom by county (as based on Facebook data):

NFL fans by U.S. county, according to Facebook

Quite interesting to see just how much variation in geographic reach.  The Cowboys do seem to be “America’s team” and the Ravens seem to have about the geographically smallest fan base.  And you’ve got to be impressed with the Steelers.

Tea Party Higher education in NC

Obviously, our governor here has well-learned how to pander to the right wing, but I really hope he’s not dumb enough to actually pursue the breathtakingly asinine view on higher education he discussed on right-wing talk-radio earlier this week.  From the N&O:

UPDATED: Gov. Pat McCrory said he would propose legislation to overhaul the way higher education is funded in North Carolina, putting the emphasis on job creation not liberal arts and taking specific aim at the state’s flagship university.

“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs,” McCrory told conservative talk show host Bill Bennett, the former education secretary for President Ronald Reagan, during an interview Tuesday morning. (Listen to the audio here.

McCrory echoed a crack the radio show host made at gender studies courses at UNC-Chapel Hill, a top tier public university. “That’s a subsidized course,” McCrory said, picking up the argument. “If you want to take gender studies that’s fine, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”

The Republican governor said he instructed his staff Monday to draft legislation that would change how much state money universities and community colleges receive “not based on how many butts in seats but how many of those butts can get jobs.”

I hope I don’t have to explain what an absolutely moronic view of higher education this is.  As one of my FB friends said, it’s as if he wants to turn higher education into Devry Tech.   I saw this on a friend’s status, which I thought was perfect:

From Lisa Levenstein, a UNC Greensboro associate professor of history: “McCrory’s assumption that a college liberal arts education will not prepare students for employment reflects a profound misunderstanding of the 21st century labor market. Today’s eighteen year olds can no longer predict their long-range career trajectories. Most of them will switch jobs every 4 to 6 years, assuming 5-7 positions over their lifetimes. A liberal arts education with its emphasis on highly-transferable critical thinking skills and effective writing and speaking is ideal preparation for this rapidly-changing workforce.”

Another friend linked to this great Op-Ed by my friend and colleague, Mark Nance, that actually ran last October, but really needs to make its way to the governor’s desk.  It’s a really excellent piece, but only the conclusion makes sense as an excerpt:

Aligning our universities with the needs of industry sounds good and I applaud UNC system President Tom Ross for starting the conversation. But if producing “what business needs” means shifting from a broad education to a narrow training, we risk shifting our economy away from one that is driven by creativity and radical innovation. We may produce graduates that today’s businesses need, but we may stop producing the graduates that tomorrow’s businesses need. If we do that, we will stop producing tomorrow’s businesses.

In this jobs-focused time, we surely want to avoid that strategy.

And finally, to belabor the obvious, it’s a real shame that McCrory does seem to think that knowing how to learn, how to think critically, or write effectively, are valuable job skills.  Of course, these are all things I do in my dreaded Gender & Politics course.  And I daresay, when it comes to critical and creative thinking  my students typically get as much or more out of this class than any I teach.  And as for the content  I daresay understanding the dynamics of gender in contemporary society and politics can be quite useful for almost any job, even one on an assembly line (the type, it seems, Mr. McCrory might prefer).

One of my more conservative-oriented students came by yesterday to discuss this and said, “but doesn’t McCrory have a point that…”  I cut him off.  Yes, there are absolutely ways we should think about reforming higher education and what the role of state universities should be in this, but Pat McCrory has shown himself to be completely and utterly lacking credibility on the issue, so any serious conversation should start elsewhere.

I wonder how many of the Democrats and genuine Independents who voted for McCrory realized they were getting a Tea Party radical.  Ugh.

Photo of the day

Our beloved dog, Sasha.  After seeming perfectly healthy when I went to bed Monday, yesterday saw cluster seizures I ended up spending hours and hours at the NCSU veterinary hospital yesterday and left after making the gut-wrenching decision to have Sasha euthanized.  That’s why there was little blogging yesterday (and we’ll see how much I get to today).  She was a terrific dog whom we had for far, far too short a time– only 3 1/2 years (she was probably about 6– we don’t know for sure her age as she was a rescue).  Worst part by far?  Explaining it to the kids.   Ugh.

And, this is one of my favorite pictures I’ve taken of a family member period.  “Likes” of the post will be appreciated as a sign of sympathy, I wouldn’t assume that you like that this happened.

Must-see video of the day

Okay, I love birds and have always found their flocking behaviors kind of amazing to watch, but I’d have to think this video is pretty astounding no matter what (as always with Vimeo, its even better when you click through to watch larger at the vimeo site):

Photo of the day

Via John Dickerson’s FB feed, came across this set of very cool, extremely rare, color photography of Paris from over 100 years ago:

On love

Just read this about love.  Not a lot to say.  Just really good.  Hard to come up with a good excerpt though, just read it. Here’s the deal:

We kick-started the year with some of history’s most beautiful definitions of love. But timeless as their words might be, the poets and the philosophers have a way of escaping into the comfortable detachment of the abstract and the metaphysical, leaving open the question of what love really is on an unglamorously physical, bodily, neurobiological level — and how that might shape our experience of those lofty abstractions. That’s precisely what psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, who has been studying positive emotions for decades, explores in the unfortunately titled but otherwise excellent Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become (UKpublic library). Using both data from her own lab and ample citations of other studies, Fredrickson dissects the mechanisms of love to reveal both its mythologies and its practical mechanics…

Fredrickson zooms in on three key neurobiological players in the game of love — your brain, your levels of the hormone oxytocin, and your vagus nerve, which connects your brain to the rest of your body — and examines their interplay as the core mechanism of love, summing up:

Love is a momentary upwelling of three tightly interwoven events: first, a sharing of one or more positive emotions between you and another; second, a synchrony between your and the other person’s biochemistry and behaviors; and third, a reflected motive to invest in each other’s well-being that brings mutual care.

And, there’s this, of course:

Really obvious gun control legislation

Anybody honest about gun policy will admit that the assault weapons ban is mostly (though not all) for show.  It would make a tiny dent at most in gun deaths.  You really want to cut down on gun deaths, you need to cut down on the extraordinary amount of gun trafficking, both legal (i.e., private sale loophole for background checks) and illegal– straw buyers.  The fact that the NRA and assorted gun nuts opposes even these blindingly obvious steps as “the first step towards government confiscation of all firearms!” is what is so frustrating about all this.  Greg Sargent has a nice post on Democratic plans to have a straight up or down vote on simply cracking down on straw buyers:

But beyond that, there’s still another major provision of Obama’s gun package that also has a shot — and it will be introduced in Congress this week with bipartisan support.

I spoke this afternoon with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who will introduce a measure tomorrow or Wednesday, with GOP Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, that would impose much more serious penalties on so-called “straw purchasers” who currently get little more than a legal slap on the wrist for buying and reselling guns to those who fail background checks. Gillibrand believes this will be a very difficult proposal for Republicans to oppose, since it is designed only to target gun sales that are explicitly all about putting guns into the hands of those who presumably shouldn’t have them, having failed background checks.

“This piece is bipartisan already,” Gillibrand told me. “I think it has a great chance of success, because it doesn’t effect law abiding gun owners at all.”

Crucially, Gillibrand said she will be calling for a straight up or down vote juston this proposal. Just as a vote only on the universal background check piece would do, this will force Republicans — and red state Dems who are reportedly skittish about gun reform — to take a position directly on something that is only about keeping guns out of the hands of those who don’t have them. “Eighty five percent of weapons used in crimes in my state come from out of state and 90 percent of them are illegal,” Gillibrand said.

Pressed on whether the House GOP would really allow a vote on this provision, given GOP hostility to gun regulations, Gillibrand insisted it would, given that it should be a no brainer: “It’s a bill that can be significantly bipartisan.” She even said Kirk has been reaching out to some House Republicans to gauge support.

Safe to say if Republicans cannot bring themselves to defy the NRA and vote for this, there’s really no hope of any sensible gun policy whatsoever.  And to the gun nuts who would oppose such obviously sensible legislation– what the hell is wrong with you?!

I haven’t written about the new assault weapons ban proposal because I’m a slacker, but I think it will ultimately prove to be politically useful because it will allow various people to say they opposed new gun control by opposing it and allow Democrats to compromise by giving up on it while, hopefully, allowing more important legislation to go through.  From what I’ve read, the new ban is actually much smarter policy than the old one and would very likely actually save some lives.  Alas, far too many Americans love their AR-15’s more than they love other people’s children.

Video of the day

This is pure awesomeness:

On the immigration proposal

1) Wow.  Amazing what losing an election overwhelmingly among the fastest growing segment of the population can do to ideological purity.  Republicans are completely caving on this.  On the one hand, it bothers me that it is such naked electoral calculation.  On the other, however you get there, it’s clearly the right step policy-wise.  And nice to see that elections have consequences.

2) Sure, this is the Senate, and there may be some question as to whether the GOP House will go along.  But they will.  Please, Sean Hannity has already given his seal of approval out of fear of ever winning a national election again.  If Fox News is onboard with reform, which they will be, so will be plenty enough Republican legislators.

3) On that note, I like Chait’s post that the Republicans have basically adopted the agenda Krauthammer suggested right after the election– compromise on immigration and stay hard right on everything else.   Of course, Krauthammer is wrong.

4) Yglesias points out that even on some of the obvious bi-partisan low-hanging fruit, the outlines right now fall foolishly short.

 It will provide for automatic green cards to “immigrants who have received a PhD or Master’s degree in science, technology, engineering, or math from an American university.”

If I have any big complaint, it’s that the bill is oddly timid on the less controversial high-skill piece. What’s the fear of America being overrun by foreign economists, lawyers, doctors, and other skilled professionals who don’t have STEM advanced degrees? For that matter, what’s wrong with foreign-born STEM workers who did their graduate work in the United Kingdom or Canada or France or India or Japan? And do skilled STEM workers really all have to have advanced degrees? Where’s Bill Gates’ PhD? I feel confident we can do better on this front.

When first reading this, I though, well, this would’ve sure helped my Canadian friends who struggled for years and years to get green cards despite the husband having a PhD in biochemistry and a career in pharmaceutical drug design.   Then I read Yglesias point and realized my friend’s PhD is actually from Simon Fraser in Canada.  As Yglesias points out– truly moronic.  We”ll take the PhD from Southwestern Arkansas but not the one from Oxford?

5) This may indeed help Republicans with Hispanic voters, but not nearly as much as they think.  First, I really think the issue is largely symbolic to Latinos.  As long as Republicans use rhetoric that demeans Hispanic immigrants and culture, regardless of the policy, Latinos will not support Republicans.  The GOP needs to clean up it’s way of thinking, not just change how it votes in Congress and state legislatures.  But beyond that, great post by Jamelle Bouie on the fact that Hispanics are simply far more liberal across today’s key issues than your average voter:

Latinos have been a reliable Democratic constituency for more than thirty years — Walter Mondale won 66 percent of Latinos, Michael Dukakis won 70 percent, and on average, Democratic presidential candidates finish with 63.5 percent support from Hispanic voters…

The reason is straightforward: Latinos are more liberal than the median voter. According to the most recent Pew poll on these questions (released last year), 75 percent of Hispanics say they support bigger government with more services, compared to 41 percent of the general population. Fifty-one percent say abortion should be legal, and 59 percent say “homosexuality should be accepted by society.” There just isn’t much appetite among Latinos for the traditional small government approach of the GOP. Comprehensive immigration reform may reduce hostility towards the Republican Party, but it won’t increase vote share.

I think those Mondale and Dukakis figures are really telling.  The truth is that GWB was quite an anomaly among national Republicans in his appeal to Latino voters that, given our bias towards recent history, makes it easy to forget the above facts.   Rubio would presumably be another anomaly.  But just that, an anomaly– not a start of a major new trend of Hispanic voters being truly available to the GOP.

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