Mini rant of a dead horse

Okay, so much more important stuff to write about, but I cannot resist because this one bugs me so much:

Anyone accessing the popular dating site OKCupid with Firefox today is in for a surprise. Instead of the homepage, is serving Firefox users with a message calling out Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for his support of California’s Proposition 8, highlighted by a $1000 donation made in 2008. “Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples,” the message tells users. “We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.”

Enough of this.  Corporate CEO’s surely have all sorts of beliefs that would be considered odious to the average liberal.  But somehow gay marriage is the one that we should all be taking collective action on?  Hey look, I feel for gays and think they have the right to get married.  But I’m not going to apologize for feeling more strongly for the poor and oppressed who are truly struggling just to get by every day in a system that is stacked against them.  Do many CEO’s take an Ayn Randian view of the poor in their hammocks?  Surely, but where are all the boycotts for this?  I just wish there were more to on-line active liberalism these days than a seemingly singular obsession with gay marriage.

The clearest evidence of the Yankee infiltration of NC

Not much of a baseball fan these days, but I love this map of favorite baseball team by county for the whole country.  Must admit I was surprised that I’m actually in NY Yankee territory.  But, then again, my hometown of Cary, NC has been referred to as Containment Area for Relocated Yankees.  I guess this is the proof.  Also interesting to see that the Yankees basically fill in gaps where there is no favorite local team.  Lastly, it is sad to me, growing up a NoVA Orioles fan to see that they have been supplanted by the Washington Nationals.  I’ll always be an Orioles fan.

Now That the Baseball Season Is Here, Who’s Your Team ?

Photo of the day

Sadly, the Exxon Valdez is still having an environmental impact 25 years later.  Here’s an In Focus gallery from the spill:

The Exxon Baton Rouge (smaller ship on left) attempts to offload crude oil from the Exxon Valdez after the Valdez ran aground in Prince William sound near Valdez, Alaska, on March 26, 1989. (AP Photo)

The 99.9%

The fact that the really, really rich are the ones who have been so disproportinately benefiting in recent years is not exactly news, but Derek Thompson’s post is about as succinct a summary of the issue as I’ve seen.  This chart is really pretty astounding– it’s not even so great to be in the top 1%.  After that, though…

It turns out that wealth inequality isn’t about the 1 percent v. the 99 percent at all. It’s about the 0.1 percent v. the 99.9 percent (or, really, the 0.01 percent vs. the 99.99 percent, if you like). Long-story-short is that this group, comprised mostly of bankers and CEOs, is riding the stock market to pick up extraordinary investment income. And it’s this investment income, rather than ordinary earned income, that’s creating this extraordinary wealth gap.

Now, I don’t know what the solution to this is, but I’m going to suggest that the status quo in this matter is definitely not a good thing.

Video of the day

Off for a day of family fun.  Entertain yourself with these awesome videos.  Pretty cool to have a dad that is a Pixar animator.  Here’s one:

More here.

How the Republicans saved North Carolina’s economy

Or not.  NC Republicans like to claim that it’s there elimination of pesky environmental regulations, tax cut for the wealthy, cuts to education, etc., that are lowering the states unemployment.  Or, just maybe, we’re following the national cycle (from WSJ)

Hmmm.  Yes, we recovered faster than most states for a while, but that’s because there was more to gain.  But the worst part is we’re not actually creating jobs.  Just people who’ve given up looking for work:

North Carolina led the U.S. in job losses last month, a sign of stress for a state scaling back its support for its jobless residents.

The Tar Heel State shed a seasonally adjusted 11,300 jobs in February from the prior month as it continues to grapple with the decline of its traditional manufacturing, tobacco and textile industries, according to new Labor Department figures released Friday.

Employment increased in 33 states, while it decreased in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Nationwide, payrolls rose 175,000 in February.

North Carolina’s unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage point to 6.4%, one the nation’s largest declines, though the fall was primarily the result of a shrinking labor force. The number of people either working or looking for work declined by 64,000 people from February 2013, according to data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Spin all you want, but less North Carolinians working– regardless of the unemployment rate– is not a good thing for the state economy.


Photo of the day

Really loved the gallery I linked to yesterday.  Here’s another:

The courtship of white storks on their nest near Biebesheim am Rhein, western Germany
The courtship of white storks on their nest near Biebesheim am Rhein, western GermanyPicture: AFP/GETTY

Photo of the day

From last week’s Telegraph Animal photos of the week:

A cat enjoys a comforting back massage from a young crab-eating macaque. The display of friendship was caught on camera by Hendy Mp, 25, at his friend's home in Indonesia.
A cat enjoys a comforting back massage from a young crab-eating macaque. The display of friendship was caught on camera by Hendy Mp, 25, at his friend’s home in Indonesia.

Quick hits

On time this week.  Enjoy.

1) Are you really so busy?  Probably not (okay, DJC is pretty busy– though not too busy to read this blog).

2) How phthalates may be affecting male fertility.

3) Right-wing columnist says Republicans should just stop worrying about non-white people.

4) I love this study that clearly demonstrates causality (an actual experiment) on how money buys access in DC.

5) This one takes a while, but totally worth it.  How malaria keeps developing resistance to whatever we throw at it and the desperate (and very important) fight to prevent the latest resistant strain from spreading.

6) Republicans in NC continue to make it harder for college students to vote.  Just a coincidence.  They probably didn’t even know that young people are more Democratic these days.

7) Quality and profit in higher education are inversely related.

8) Body language really isn’t so great for detecting lying.  Also, a fun little test you can take yourself with it.

9) Fortunately my kids have never had lice.  But if they do, it’s good to learn that schools are becoming more rational about it.  Lice are basically harmless, it’s just that we’re grossed out by them:

Lice are not particularly contagious, they hurt basically no one, and they’re not a public health risk. Lice don’t actually matter. It’s high time that squeamish parents and school administrators stop acting like they do.

10) Probably not a good idea to get a degree in art or education from a lower-tier public university (at least economically speaking).

11) Hooray.  Now thanks to the success of the gun nuts, we’ve got a “knife rights” movement.

12) Nice Kristof column on the “takers” that conservatives never complain about.

13) I grew up right near Mclean, VA and I totally get that way too many parents are way too obsessed with their kids going to the most elite colleges and doing everything in their power to make that happen.  Personally, I went to Duke, Kim went to Duke, but we’ll be quite happy to have the kids go to NC State (or any other fine NC public institution).

14) How about a pill that increases the plasticity of your brain so you can learn things like you could when you were a kid.  It’s coming.  Brave new world.


Start fighting on Obamacare already!

Now, I’m not political strategist, but the idea that Democrats can succeed politically with “well, we no Obamacare needs some tweaks and we’re going to work on that” is, of course, ludicrous.  Republicans are pounding Democrats on the issue and all we get is “yeah, but you are exaggerating– we’ll fix the problems.  Oh, and it helps some people.”  Or something like that.  How about instead of all those “Obamacare ruined my life ads.” An “Obamacare saved my life.  Literally.”  ad.  You know there’s absolutely got to be those stories out there now.  And heck, stretch the truth if you need to– that’s politics.  A young mom with subsidized Obamacare coverage had a cancer screening and caught her cancer in State I and now is cured?  Put her and her kids on TV, damnit.  That’s how you do these things.  Here’s Drum from today:

From Kathy Bentzoni of Slatington, Pennsylvania, who signed up for Obamacare after giving up her “useless” old coverage because it was too expensive and denied all her claims. A few weeks ago, knowing she could afford it, she went to the ER complaining about numbness in her fingers:

Where would I be without Obamacare? ER, 3 units of blood, multiple tests in the hospital and a 5-day inpatient stay without insurance? Probably dead.

I have to thank Obamacare for saving my life.

Bentzoni would have been treated in the ER regardless of her insurance status. Without insurance, though, she might not have gone. Or she might have waited too long. But on March 1, knowing that it wouldn’t bankrupt her, she went in time to avoid the worst. And thanks to Obamacare, she can afford the ongoing care she’ll need to treat her rare blood disorder.

This is from a piece at CNN highlighting five Obamacare success stories. More like this, please.

Democrats own Obamacare.  Period.  There’s just no running away at all.  So Democrats need to start playing hardball themselves and talking about people who would have died (heck, that’s a lot worse than oh, no, my insurance premium went up $100 and I had to buy it!) if not for Obamacare.  Why isn’t this happening?  If Democrats don’t fight back at all on the issue it becomes a complete self-fulfilling prophecy that it’s a losing issue.  Time to get past the website and tell some stories about bankruptcies avoided and lives saved.

Photo of the day

From a New Yorker gallery of photos from the outskirts of Moscow


Zapadnoe Biryulevo I, 2011. (Alexander Gronsky)

Margin of error

My friend, colleague, and former office-mate, Mike Cobb has started a new blog for a local news station (the TV station with the best actual coverage of politics I’ve ever seen) that focuses on polling.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what he does with it.

Here’s his inaugural post where he does a nice job deconstructing recent presidential polls and the generally horrible job the media does in covering them:

Bloomberg recently released a poll indicating President Obama’s approval rating had “rebounded” from 42 percent to 48 percent. They wrote that this increase was “the biggest positive change of his presidency.” The very next day, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found Obama’s approval rating was 41 percent. Contrary to Bloomberg, the WSJ wrote, “Obama’s approval rating hits new low.” …

News reports on these polls were misleading, contributing to the appearance of dramatic differences when they are not. This happens because news media usually collaborate with a specific pollster, and their subsequent coverage of their polls ignores other polling on the topic if a different pollster conducted it.

For the Wall Street Journal, the 2 percentage point decline in Obama’s approval rating since January is within the margin of sampling error (plus or minus 3 percentage points), so it is not possible to tell if Obama’s approval rating was declining, or the 2 point change reflected random error introduced by sampling. Further, Obama has polled lower than 41 percent in other surveys, so it’s not accurate to say this was Obama’s lowest rating.

For Bloomberg, ignoring other polls that show a much lower approval rating gives the misleading appearance that Obama’s approval is rebounding – it’s probably improving only within their own polling. To be sure, Bloomberg is not the only poll to find Obama’s approval rating is closer to 50 percent than 40 percent, but a solid majority of all polls suggests approval is currently closer to 40 percent.

I’ve made this point before and it remains a damn good one.  It borders on journalistic malpractice to report your single poll in a vacuum just because it is from a particular polling organization and ignore all the other polls on the same question.  Anyway, the polling average is pretty clear that Obama is in the low 40’s, not exactly where he wants to be and not something that will help in the 2014 elections.

Anyway, nice start from Mike.  I do like the name for the blog, but I would have preferred Marge Innovera.

%d bloggers like this: