Immigration public opinion (it’s the intensity, stupid)

So, the latest Gallup poll on immigration is pretty amazing.  They ask questions about the major provisions of immigration reform proposals and get this:

Next, suppose that on Election Day you could vote on key issues as well as candidates. Would you vote for or against a law that would ... ? Immigration issues, June 2013

And get this, check out the amazing non partisan difference on the “path to citizenship” proposal:



Wow.  Not surprisingly, Kevin Drum asks:

So what’s going on here? Why are House Republicans apparently feeling so much pressure over this?

1) Very many Republicans have no clue that this is what that “path to citizenship” actually looks like.  They just know that Hannity, Rush, etc., are telling them that Democrats are giving “amnesty to illegal aliens” and that’s surely a bad thing.  Phrase it that way, and you sure won’t get 86% Republican support.

2) Alas, what hardly anybody every measures is intensity of preference.  And that 13%?  They feel quite strongly that this “invasion” of illegal immigrants that “amnesty” is going to bring is going to pretty much ruin our country.  And they vote in Republican primaries.


I don’t have anything special or unique to say about the very sad and much too soon passing of James Gandolifini, but I will recommend this terrific appreciation from the New Yorker’s David Remnick.  It also includes several terrific clips from the show.  I still think I’d personally put the Wire on a plane slightly above the Sopranos, but it doubtlessly one of the absolute greatest achievements in filmed entertainment ever.  I’m definitely going to re-watch the whole series some day.  And, of course, Gandolfini was brilliant as Tony Soprano– surely among the greatest fictional characters ever of any medium.

On a related note, Yglesias has a nice post on how the Sopranos changed the market for high quality television:

In the three-network paradigm, what you wanted from a show was broad, shallow appeal. The potential audience for the most broadly appealing show at any given time slot was enormous. And even if you didn’t have the most broadly appealing show, the potential for counterprogramming was large. The key thing was to be inoffensive and widely accessible. You wanted a show that all kinds of people could relate to at least a little, and a show that didn’t cross any red lines.

The very existence of cable started to change things somewhat, but HBO was a specific kind of cable that changed things in a specific way. Because HBO was a subscription channel, suddenly preference intensity mattered a great deal. Putting a show on HBO that 10 million people thought was “just OK” did the network no good. You needed a show that some nonzero quantity of people liked so much that they wanted to pay HBO money to be able to watch it

Yep.  I pay HBO a pretty chunk of change every month because I don’t just like, but love, much of their original programming.

Photo of the day

I’ve been fascinated by Everest ever since I read one of my favorite book’s ever, Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air (if you’ve not read this, seriously do so.  I did pretty much nothing else over the two days I read this).  And I recently enjoyed a great New Yorker article about an actual brawl among mountain climbers on Everest at 20-some thousand feet.  So, of course I’m a sucker for this great Big Picture gallery on Everest:

Climbers make their way to the summit of Mount Everest on May 18, 2013, in the Khumbu region of the Nepal Himalayas. Nepal celebrated the 60th anniversary of the conquest of Mount Everest on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (Adrian Ballinger/Alpenglow Expeditions via Associated Press)

How to teach boys

Interesting piece in the Atlantic on how teachers should deal with the difficulty of teaching boys K-12.  And let’s be clear, no matter where you want to put the ultimate cause, boys are definitely struggling in American schools compared to girls:

Something is rotten in the state of boys’ education, and I can’t help but suspect that the pattern I have seen in my classroom may have something to do with a collective failure to adequately educate boys. The statistics are grim. According to the book Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys: Strategies That Work and Why, boys are kept back in schools at twice the rate of girls. Boys get expelled from preschool nearly five times more often than girls. Boys are diagnosed with learning disorders and attention problems at nearly four times the rate of girls. They do less homework and get a greater proportion of the low grades. Boys are more likely to drop out of school, and make up only 43 percent of college students.

Yowza.  So, what are some strategies that might really help reach boys?

The authors asked teachers and students to “narrate clearly and objectively an instructional activity that is especially, perhaps unusually, effective in heightening boys’ learning.” The responses–2,500 in all–revealed eight categories of instruction that succeeded in teaching boys. The most effective lessons included more than one of these elements:

  • Lessons that result in an end product–a booklet, a catapult, a poem, or a comic strip, for example.
  • Lessons that are structured as competitive games.
  • Lessons requiring motor activity.
  • Lessons requiring boys to assume responsibility for the learning of others.
  • Lessons that require boys to address open questions or unsolved problems.
  • Lessons that require a combination of competition and teamwork.
  • Lessons that focus on independent, personal discovery and realization.
  • Lessons that introduce drama in the form of novelty or surprise.

Other than requiring motor activity (which I totally understand the need for) this simply strikes me as a great list for teaching anybody.  Wouldn’t it be great if in focusing on strategies that were more effective for boys, teaching was more effective for boys and girls.  I’m currently reading Top Dog (follow up to the brilliant Nurtureshockwhich is about the science of competition and there are very important differences between men and women when it comes to competition (though it is far more subtle complex than the idea that men like competition more than women).  Anyway, I was interested to see the competitive element pop up a couple times.

Not sure what difference these ideas would make in my college classroom as the boys I have are the ones who successfully navigated the K-12 gauntlet, but I may have to try some of these.

Moral Monday focus

Let’s just make it a Moral Monday Morning.  Very smart post, I thought, from NC’s pre-eminent Democratic strategist Gary Pearce.  If the Moral Monday protests are going to have real impact they need more focus and the obvious target is education (though depending on just what happens with NC tax policy, I think you could make a case for taking on the regressive shift in the tax burden).  Pearce:

Looking at the Great Republican Rollback, Democrats are tempted to attack on every front: taxes, Medicaid, teacher pay, jetty ban, Jordan Lake, Child Fatality Task Force, Rural Center, Racial Justice, voter ID, jobless benefits, campaign financing, etc., etc.

Focus, people.

In politics, to say 10 things – or even two things – is to say nothing. It can also sound like just bigger government and more spending.

The sweet spot is education.

Education is the Democratic brand in North Carolina. A series of Democratic governors and legislators took control of that franchise. Some years back – in the era of Governors Holshouser and Martin – Republicans tried to take some of it. Now they are giving it all away.

Take the gift. Focus on public schools. The university system and the community colleges. The proven value of early childhood education. Common-sense solutions like better-paid teachers and smaller class sizes. Focus on education’s importance to economic growth. Remember that education is what matters most to the growing demographics: young people, families, Hispanics and well-educated people from around the country who come here and want good schools for their families.

Don’t overstate; understate. Ask voters: “Is the Republican school plan right? 46th in teacher pay? We were 21st! Eliminate teacher aides? Bigger class sizes? Cut early-childhood education? Eliminate teacher scholarships? No extra pay for teachers with graduate degrees? Cut teacher training? Tax money for private schools? If you think that’s right, vote Republican. If you don’t, vote Democratic.”

Gary Pearce knows politics.  NC Democrats should probably be hammering this from now until November 2014.

Who the Moral Monday protesters are

The Art Pope-funded Civitas Institute  (i.e., our NC version of the Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation) has created a database of all the arestees from the Moral Monday protests.  Supposedly, this is supposed to benefit the conservative cause (nice take on this from Institute for Southern Studies), but I’m not sure how it does:

The Civitas database includes each protester’s name, city and county of residence, sex, race, age, arrest date, occupation, employer (and whether it’s in the public, private or nonprofit sector), interest group affiliations, and mugshot…

Civitas says the project aims to shine a light on the growing protest movement. “Recent media reports have suggested that the protesters disrupting the General Assembly at ‘Moral Mondays’ represent a cross-section of North Carolina citizens,” according to a statement on its website. “We decided to investigate that claim. Using arrest records and other public documents, we investigated who really is involved in these protests — the results may surprise you.”

Now, there’s an offensive game of “Pick the Protester” where you can guess the county of the arestee based on a mug shot, but other than that, I think it is very useful information that does nothing at all to hurt the Moral Monday cause.  It seems to me that what we see is that the protesters really do represent NC quite well.  A plurality are employed in the private sector, there’s a good mix of Black and white (Hispanics, definitely under-represented), and people of all ages.  Probably not surprising that those arrested skew older (no children to take care of and enough life experience and stability not to overly worry about the consequences of the arrest).   Sure, most of them are from nearby counties, but why on earth would you expect otherwise.  In fact, the number who have journeyed here from Charlotte is impressive.  Very few Republicans arrested– and it is silly for those who insist that this is really bipartisan– but I don’t think diminishes the protests at all.

Anyway, check it out.  Here’s a few of the figures:


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