Video of the day

This comes from a local news anchor, so it is super-viral in the area, though popular enough to garner almost 12 million views so far.  Pretty entertaining.

For your listening pleasure

Had a nice year-end wrap-up conversation with NC Policy Watch’s always excellent Chris Fitzsimon.  Pretty NC-focused, but if you are inclined, listen away…

Today in Pope Francis awesomeness

From Huffpo:

Mothersnon-mothersand celebrities alike have come to arms in the support of public breastfeeding, and now, so has the Pope.

In an interview with La Stompa, Pope Francis was asked about the state of hungry children in the world. In response, he suggested that people should recycle food and be less wasteful, and then told a story that was both a reminder of the resources we have, and a declaration that breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t be ashamed to feed their babies when they’re hungry. He explained:

At the Wednesday General Audience the other day there was a young mother behind one of the barriers with a baby that was just a few month s old. The child was crying its eyes out as I came past. The mother was caressing it. I said to her: madam, I think the child’s hungry. “Yes, it’s probably time…” she replied. “Please give it something to eat!” I said. She was shy and didn’t want to breastfeed in public, while the Pope was passing. I wish to say the same to humanity: give people something to eat! …

Although one could argue that the Pope’s statement was just explaining world hunger — not breastfeeding liberation — it does appear that all he wants is for babies to get fed. And he doesn’t care where. Judging by this photo taken last March, breastfeeding doesn’t look like it’s bothering His Holiness one bit.

Photo of the day

From the Big Picture best of the year photos:

Amish boys watch a game of baseball outside the school house in Bergholz, Ohio, on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Many Amish families gathered following the final day of school for a celebration and farewell picnic. (Scott R. Galvin/AP

Chart of the day

From today’s Monkey Cage:

States with higher black turnout are more likely to restrict voting



To paraphrase a FB friend: sometimes correlation is  causation.  And from the text:

More specifically, restrictive proposals were more likely to be introduced in states with larger African-American and non-citizen populations and with higher minority turnout in the previous presidential election.  These proposals were also more likely to be introduced in states where both minority and low-income turnout had increased in recent elections.  A similar picture emerged for the actual passage of these proposals. States in which minority turnout had increased since the previous presidential election were more likely to pass restrictive legislation.

But, I’m sure it’s really just about stopping voter fraud and protecting the “integrity of elections.”  Riiiiiiight.

Does having daughters make you Republican

Well, ever since Sarah was born I find myself being sick of all those lazy, free-riding poor people and those damn tree huggers who are always worried about stupid little things like the quality of our air and water.  Or not.  But maybe in 1994 I would’ve felt that way.  There was some recently published research– I was remiss in not commenting upon here– that found that Americans with daughters were more Republican than those without.  If you have followed this issue at all, like me, you likely said “what?”

I read a little more (though not the whole study yet) and found that this is all based off the 1994 General Social Survey.  I use GSS data myself all the time and had looked for a “gender of child” variable.  Turns out the only year they used this variable was 1994.  I decided that in the current political context analyzing 1994 public opinion data was simply too dated.  Obviously, I should have decided otherwise as Laurel and I could have been the one’s to make a splash with this years ago.

Anyway, the Atlantic’s Olga Khazan nicely summarizes some of the problematic issues with relying on 1994 data to think about politics today:

The study in question, by Dalton Conley of New York University and Emily Rauscher of the University of Kansas, found that having more daughters than sons, as well as having a daughter first, “significantly reduces the likelihood of Democratic identification and significantly increases the strength of Republican Party identification.” What’s so thrilling for Douthat is that this connection between daughters and conservatism contradicts past research that’s found the opposite to be true: That having more girls in the family increases the likelihood of holding a liberal worldview.

The study authors’ theory is that a daughter’s fertility comes with steep costs if unleashed too early or with the wrong guy. Have sons, and you may develop devil-may-care, supposedly Democratic attitudes, but give birth to girls and you’ll want the most buttoned-up social policies possible, the better to protect your damsels against untimely insemination. The proxy for these conservative values in political terms, at least for many voters, is the Republican Party…

First of all, the effect was only strong for rich parents. And even as Douthat argues that looking out for one’s daughters causes people to gradually “tiptoe” toward conservative ideas, he disregards what the two parties have come to represent since 1994, when the data for the study was collected.

One of the metrics the authors used for Republicanism was which candidate the person was likely to support in the 1992 election—and people with daughters were indeed less likely to vote Democrat that year. But the Democratic candidate in 1992 was Bill Clinton, who was accused of having an extramarital affair during the campaign…

What’s more, it turns out having daughters also made people more liberal in one very important way. The authors found that having a girl actually increased the pro-abortion sentiment of parents, consistent with the idea that parents generally want to avoid pregnancies among their teenaged daughters…

A lot has changed in social policy since the early ’90s. The GOP has become more uniformly anti-abortion as pro-choice moderates have been squeezed out. Meanwhile, Republicans have made stricter abortion laws a major cause, from “personhood” bills to candidates like Todd Akin to laws shuttering dozens of abortion clinics in states like Texas.

I don’t want to attribute this all too abortion, but I think there’s plenty of reason to believe a study with 2013 data would have substantially different results.  Sure, I’m biased on the matter, but I think there’s enough intellectual ferment going on here that surveys that ask if there’s children in the home really need to ask the gender of those children.

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