What is moral?

I loved this Gallup post looking at what Americans consider to be morally acceptable:

Moral Acceptability of Various Issues, May 2014

First comment– there’s a lot of “unacceptable” moral behavior going on when it comes to pornography and teenagers having sex.  And, it’s pretty cool to see the party breakdown:

Moral Acceptability by Party Identification, May 2014

Lots of interesting stuff here, but I find the tiny gap on birth control quite notable.  Also interesting to see the huge (though not surprising) gap on abortion.  Big gap on out-of-wedlock childbirth as well.

Photo of the day

From a simply way-too-cute Big Picture gallery of animals babies:

Nine-day-old giraffe Bine licks the nose of its giraffe aunt Andrea at Friedrichsfelde Zoo in Berlin,†Germany, May 9. The baby giraffe was born on 30 April during opening hours and numerous visitors were able to watch the birth. (STEPHANIE PILICK/EPA)

The public on homosexuality

Two interesting new Gallup features.  First, on whether homosexuality is nature or nurture:

Origins of Homosexuality: Innate or Environmental?

Would love to see the crosstabs on that with views about gay marriage, party ID, etc.  Still, interesting to see the big change followed by relative stability for the past decade.

Second, interesting to see that support for adoption is greater than support for marriage:

Americans' Support for Same-Sex Adoption vs. Support for Same-Sex Marriage

Quick hits

1) Pro-gun cliche bingo.

2) It’s not easy for psychiatrists to identify which seriously mentally ill people will actually become violent.

3) The real origin of the religious right— segregation, not abortion.

4) Terrific first-person account of the exploitative plasma donation system in the US.

5) Love this series of self-portraits of “culture” and “counter-culture” for the past 10 decades.

6) One of those policy areas where nobody pays attention, but the NC GOP is also making major cuts in our state court system.  Justice.  We don’t need no stinkin’ justice.

7) Isla Vista shootings?  Of course gay marriage is to blame.

8) Nietzshe quotes randomly paired with Family Circus cartoons.  Oh how I love this.

9) I liked this take on the shooting and America’s unwillingness to address it’s gun laws:

Look, we’ve collectively decided, as a country, that the occasional massacre is okay with us. It’s the price we’re willing to pay for our precious Second Amendment freedoms. We’re content to forfeit the lives of a few dozen schoolkids a year as long as we get to keep our guns. The people have spoken, in a cheering civics-class example of democracy in action.

But, mostly, it made me think of Gary Wills similar, but far more brilliant take after Newtown.  I’ve posted it before, but well worth revisiting.

10) Richard Posner with a very interesting take on a new book on America’s prisons.

11) The latest science looks at our metabolically demanding brains— especially the prefrontal cortex– and our undemanding muscles in an evolutionary context.  Great stuff.

12) Andrew Cohen with a nice take on the meaning of Scalia’s perpetual certainty.

13) Cops in PA can search your car for hiding spaces without a warrant.  And they can seize your car just for having a hiding space.  Is this America?

14) All that losing in primaries.  Let’s be clear, the Tea Party won.  (i.e., The Republican Party basically is the Tea Party now) .


More on the NC Budget

Thomas Mills takes the same material and does far better than me:

The senate budget cuts teaching assistants for all classes above first grade and eliminates funding for text books. Remember when Republicans used say they just wanted to cut bureaucracy so they could put more money into classrooms? Well, that was bullshit.  They’re giving teachers raises but reducing their classroom resources, so you can say that our kids are taking the hit to cover the tax cuts for the rich that the legislature and McCrory passed last session. 

But it’s not just children. The senate is also “overhauling” (read cutting) Medicaid. They propose taking the program away from the Department of Health and Human Services and kicking a bunch of elderly and sick people off it. Ironically, they say that a lot of those people can get coverage because of Obamacare, the program they’ve done so much to thwart. 

In both these proposals, education leaders and medical providers say the senate is wrong-headed. There is little doubt that people who can least defend themselves will suffer. But this isn’t about helping people. This is about ideology. The senate wants to push responsibility for schools, the sick, mentally disabled and elderly back onto counties, municipalities and families, regardless of how ill-equipped they may be to handle it. 

It’s yet again why I’m a Democrat and they are Republicans. I believe that we, as a society, have an obligation to care for our most vulnerable citizens. Republicans believe it’s every man and woman for themselves. If you’re living in a gated a community, own a vacation home or two and send your kids to elite private schools, that’s a pretty good deal. If you’re already struggling to get by, having to take additional financial responsibility for an aging parent or sick relative could send you straight into poverty. 

My name is Steven and I’m 42

I’ve long been fascinated by baby names, so this 538 post on the age of various names, e.g., the average Steven is 45, the average Fred is 64, hit my sweet spot like a white-chocolate bunny wrapped in twizzlers.  So cool to see a graph of things we inherently know, e.g., these are names for old people:


And conversely, it’s fun to see the new trendy baby names.  E.g., the typical Mason is a scant six years old:


As for me, I was quite clearly born right around the time of peak “Steven” as the median age for my name is 45.  As for my son, David, apparently I’ve given him a relatively old name as it is 46.  Also quite fun to see once popular names that have made a comeback, e.g., Oliver, that have a huge interquartile spread.

Lots more fun stuff.  Check it out.

Photo of the day

Telegraph gallery of never before seen photos from WWI frontline:

A Viscount in the Armoured Cavalry Branch of the French Army left behind a collection of hundreds of glass plates taken during World War One (WWI) that have never before been published. The images, by an unknown photographer, show the daily life of soldiers in the trenches, destruction of towns and military leaders. The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the WWI.

Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener (2nd L) meeting French General Albert Baratier (R), on horseback, as French Marshal Joseph Joffre looks on (2nd R), on the Champagne front, Eastern France in 1915Picture: REUTERS/Collection Odette Carrez

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