Video of the day

Absolutely love this new video from Chipotle.  Which, oddly enough, is actually an ad for a new IOS game they produced.

Just brilliant combination of animation, story, and music.  And, no, Chipotle is not perfect and they surely make some serious compromises to run an operation of such a large scale.  But their heart is clearly in the right place and I really which more restaurants shared their commitment to (at least modestly) humane meat.

And, also, for what it’s worth, this video very much reminds me of the awesome (and undeservedly obscure) animation dystopia, 9:

Crossing a line?

Had an interesting interview today.  Got a call from a reporter friend about the NC Republican’s very public umbrage-taking (something we could definitely use less of in politics) about a protest yesterday that had “crossed a line.”

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Republicans may have control of the Governor’s Mansion and the state legislature, but a top GOP leader said Tuesday that the state’s political rhetoric has gotten out of control.

State Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope said that recent “Moral Monday” protests, led by the NAACP and a network of liberal groups, have crossed rhetorical lines and unfairly attacked party leaders…

Protesters in Charlotte last month were “holding signs with Confederate flag images and Jim Crow language,” Pope said. Those signs featured the faces of Gov. Pat McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger against the backdrop of a Confederate battle flag to make a point about a recently passed elections law bill. Pope said those images were “outrageous and unacceptable.”

He also pointed to Monday’s protests in front of the Governor’s Mansion.

“NAACP protesters carried around coffins in what was described bizarrely as a reference to tragic events in Birmingham 50 years ago,” Pope said.

Four young girls were killed in a church bombing five decades ago, helping to spark civil rights protests.

“How in the world does one stretch from the tragic event from the Birmingham bombings, an event likely perpetrated by a Democrat, to an open vitriolic attack on our new Republican governor?”  Pope asked.

My personal take?  Probably crossed a line.  But also, welcome to politics.  Mostly, though, I think reasonable people of both parties could very much disagree as whether these protests crossed a line.  I think Rev. Barber makes a good case that they don’t:

Asked for a response, the Rev. William Barber, president of the state conference of the NAACP, said he was praying for Pope and other Republican leaders.

“We must be reminded of history and, in the light of history, what is inflammatory is for the governor and legislature to pass laws that take us backwards, not forward. What is inflammatory is for the governor and the legislature to engage the kind of bullying politics that violates our deepest constitutional values and our deepest moral values,” Barber wrote in an email.

Speaking specifically about the coffin images, Barber said, “When we lift up the memory of the martyrs to those who love truth and justice, it is not inflammatory – it is informative. It informs us about where we have been and inspires us to fight against going backwards as a society.”

Anyway, this was one of those cases where it’s not like there’s a body of Political Science research for me to fall back upon and I’m more a political “expert” than the informed academic I like to be.  That said, I am pretty happy with what I came up with and think it is informed by political science:

“To give it attention means they’re worried about it,” said Steve Greene, a political science professor at North Carolina State University…

“If Moral Monday wasn’t doing anything, they would brush it off and not give it any attention,” said N.C. State’s Green. [sic!]

Those leading the Moral Monday protests, Greene said, want to show themselves as a cross-section of the state, albeit a liberal-minded one. Republicans, he said, are speaking both to their base as well as moderate voters when they express outrage about the symbolism used by the protests.

“This is the Republican’s chance to say ‘No, look, they are a bunch of radicals,'” he said.

My fellow political scientists reading this may certainly tell me I’m wrong.  Anyway, thought it was pretty interesting.

Photo of the day

Amazing In Focus gallery of the Colorado flooding.

Cattle find dry ground near Fort Collins, Colorado, on September 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Colorado Heli-Ops, Dennis Pierce)

Chart of the day

Where the poor and rich spend their money.  Via Derek Thompson:

Why are you not dead?

Really enjoyed this Slate piece last week about how public health is so key to driving improved lifespans.  This was the rare Slate article my wife came across, and she was fascinated by it.  Like most people, she assumed that our great advances were in modern medicine, not public health.  As she said, “it’s the water!”  And the water, of course, is about public health measures.  Anyway, I really like the article’s hook– why are you not dead?  I.e., what sort of medical problem have you survived that would likely have killed you in the 19th century or earlier.

I asked around, and here is a small sample of what would have killed my friends and acquaintances:

  • Adrian’s lung spontaneously collapsed when he was 18.
  • Becky had an ectopic pregnancy that caused massive internal bleeding.
  • Carl had St. Anthony’s Fire, a strep infection of the skin that killed John Stuart Mill.*
  • Dahlia would have died delivering a child (twice) or later of a ruptured gall bladder.
  • David had an aortic valve replaced.
  • Hanna acquired Type 1 diabetes during a pregnancy and would die without insulin.
  • Julia had a burst appendix at age 14.

As for me?  Good chance I’d still be alive.  Perhaps a case of measles, mumps, etc., for which, of course, I’ve been vaccinated, but otherwise I’ve had a very healthy life.  Seems like a good time to mention again that I’ve never needed an antibiotic.  As for my kids?  David was in the hospital in 1st grade for a week with serious pneumonia and a pleural effusion— quite possibly deadly without potent antibiotics.  As it was, he had to be hooked up to the Pleur-evac 3000 (yes, really).  Alex has a rare genetic disease that leads to seizures.  Terrifically controlled with modern medicine.  Without?  I don’t like to think about it.  Not to mention the roughly 50-50 chance he’ll need brain surgery before he’s an adult.  Evan and Sarah?  So far, so good.  Short version– in the Greene family we love our clean water, but damn thankful for modern medicine, too!

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