Here’s a right we need

Loved this Borowitz Report:

RIGHT NOT TO GET SHOT FACES UPHILL FIGHT IN SENATE

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WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Senate Republicans today vowed to filibuster a controversial bill supporting the right not to get shot.

G.O.P. leaders lambasted the bill, arguing that the right to go to school, work, or one’s home without fear of being shot was not guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

“The Second Amendment makes it very clear,” said Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming). “The right to bear arms shall not be infringed by a tiny minority’s desire not to be shot.”

But according to the pollster Harland Dorrinson, of OpinionFact Polling, the right not to get shot, while controversial, is beginning to gain traction with the American electorate.

“Like gay marriage, not getting shot is an idea that has taken some getting used to, but people are starting to wrap their brains around it,” he said.

Poll numbers notwithstanding, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said today that he would join the effort to filibuster any not-getting-shot-related bill: “The only way we Republicans can protect our democracy is by preventing a vote.”

Times have changed

It was only 10 years ago that Republicans were convinced they needed to get anti gay marriage amendments on the ballot to help them in the 2004 election.  And now?

Public opinion on same-sex marriage has shifted so dramatically in recent years that Democratic groups now see the issue as a critical way to mobilize voters in a slew of races up and down the ballot.

Just a decade ago, widespread opposition to gay marriage did just the opposite, allowing Karl Rove to mobilize conservatives in 13 states and help reelect George W. Bush as president.

The changing political dynamics were on full display this week as Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (D) announced he would not defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. Herring won a close election with strong support from gay-rights groups, and his decision infuriated conservatives, who accused him of violating his oath to uphold state laws.

Ballot initiatives on same-sex marriage are already in the works in Oregon, and possibly Indiana and Ohio, this fall. The issue is also expected to figure prominently in an array of congressional and state races across the country.

Democrats say they are confident that the issue will help them in many blue and purple states, and they believe it won’t hurt them much in red states, either.

“There isn’t a single Republican big-money group that spends significant resources in Senate races that has even been willing to say on the record, ‘Yes, we will campaign on discrimination and bigotry and attack Democrats who support equality,’ ” said Matt Canter, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “I can only assume that these groups recognize that they risk sounding hateful and out of touch on issues that matter in this election if they were to pursue such a strategy.”

The Republican side is more divided. The party remains officially opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage, a position strongly backed by religious conservatives who form a key part of the base. But some Republican leaders say they do not expect the issue to be central in most midterm contests.

“I’m not sure of any races where this is an issue,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski wrote in an e-mail.

I wish Democrats were as motivated by social justice as by gay marriage (alright, go ahead, tell me gay marriage is social justice, but you know what I mean), but either way the result is to elect Democratic politicians who care about social justice, so I’ll take it.

Photo of the day

From National Geographic:

Picture of climber Alex Honnold dangling from a seaside cliff in Oman

Going Solo

Photograph by Jimmy Chin, National Geographic

Determined to finish a new route, superclimber Alex Honnold dangles from an overhang on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula. After pushing as far as possible on the rock, a deepwater solo climber simply lets go.

http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/cliff-climber-oman-chin/

Fasting diets

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of fasting diets, ever since I caught a bit of Michael Mosley on Dianne Rehm.  I don’t think I’ll do one (mostly because I’d feel the need to avoid family and friends on fast days– eating is a very social activity), but I’m definitely intrigued.  Thus, I really enjoyed the run-down on the science and evidence behind the diets from the Atlantic’s James Hamblin.  What I found most interesting is that the research is based on a one-day on, one day off model of fasting, but the super popular diet is a 5 days eat, 2 days fast diet that doesn’t actually have the science behind it.

Varady says the 5:2 diet is unsubstantiated. “Unfortunately people take my alternate-day fasting studies and apply them to fasting only one or two days per week. That hasn’t actually been proven to work. We don’t know what happens. It’s a little frustrating. I know you don’t get the same hunger-suppressing effect, so people tend to binge on their feast days.”

Anyway, pretty interesting, even if I’m not quite willing to starve myself every other day.

Quick hits

DJC told me in person yesterday how much he enjoys quick hits.  Now I’m feeling extra pressure!  Hope these are up to spec…

1) Actually told my son, David, about this one today.  Students should be tested more.  It’s not what you think, though, it’s really about the research that testing yourself on material is the best way to learn it.  Schools should more of this and less of the static, summative, standardized tests.

2) Given all we’ve learned about brain science and human adolescence it is crazy that in NY and NC, persons aged 16 are automatically charged as adults.  An NYT editorial lays out why this is bad policy and should change.

3) I really need to read more Radley Balko.  Loved this on the latest national freak-out over kids snorting smarties.  We had that back in my day!

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/opinion/krugman-the-undeserving-rich.html?hp&rref=opinion

4) Enjoyed this TNC take on Richard Sherman.  Yet also this Seth Stevenson take at Slate.

5) It is such a damn joke that the US is basically a third world country when it comes to credit card security.  Somehow, I think Visa, Mastercard, etc., have enough money that they can improve things.  Thanks to the Target fiasco, they presumably finally will.  Also, a very nice NPR story on this.

6) Nice narrative and detail about just what happened when the man was recently shot for texting in a movie theater.  Yup, more guns sure keep us safer!

7) Classical music is dying.  I love it, but I sure ain’t doing my part by going to the symphony.  Throw in the babysitter and it’s just too expensive.  Loved going to the symphony (at amazing student rates) in Columbus, Ohio.

8) Speaking of declines.  Charles Blow and Jordan Weissman on the decline of reading books.  Makes me sad.  Weissman suggests, though, the decline may have bottomed out.

9) Hey, let’s go with a decline trifecta.  Slate’s Will Oremus completely rips apart, based purely on logical reasoning, the stupid “research” that predicted FB’s virus-like demise within a few years.  What killed me about this was the totally credulous media reports of unpublished, un peer-reviewed research largely, I presume, because it had an Ivy-league pedigree.

10) John Sides and Lynn Vavreck (who you may know from the Monkey Cage) argue that Obama’s 2012 campaign did not actually revolutionize the use of data after all.

11) Money is not such a great way to measure a college major.

11) Fascinating look at google searches parents have for sons versus daughters.  E.g.,

google

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