Super Mega Quick hits

1) If you read one thing this week, read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Case for Reparations” in the Atlantic.  Seriously.  I knew it was still pretty bad how official policy treated Blacks for most of the 20th century, but I didn’t appreciate how bad.  Really a disturbing and an amazing article  that I think pretty much every American should read.

2) NYT on the intra-party conflict between NC’s Republican governor and Republican legislature.  I liked this bit:

But Chris Fitzsimon, director of the left-leaning NC Policy Watch, called Mr. McCrory the “mayor” of North Carolina, saying the governor had been relegated to a quasi-ceremonial role. “He’s out somewhere every day touring a factory, cutting a ribbon, and yet he can’t get any significant policy through the General Assembly and he can’t stop things he opposes,” Mr. Fitzsimon said.

3) I’ve always loved the little bit of probability theory of how surprisingly common it is for two people to share a birthday.  I really need to try this out in my classes (much like one of my professors demonstrated to me 20+ years ago).

4) The birth of the Koch brothers as a political force.  It all started with the 1980 Libertarian VP nomination.

5) Loved this essay about admitting to our kids that the primary purpose of sex is actually pleasure.  David had understood the basic biology for years before we got around to the fact that his mother and I had “mated” more than the four times necessary for he and his 3 siblings.  He was so suprised.  And his questions were so funny– but where?  but when?  etc.

6) Great EJ Dionne column on Elizabeth Warren.

Warren tells of meeting with Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), a former FBI agent, to talk about the consumer agency. “After a bit,” she reports, “he cut me off so he could make one thing clear: He didn’t believe in government.”

That seemed strange coming from the graduate of a public university and a veteran of both the military and a government agency, though Warren didn’t press him then. “But someday I hoped to get a chance to ask him: Would you rather fly an airplane without the Federal Aviation Administration checking air traffic control? Would you rather swallow a pillwithout the Food and Drug Administration testing drug safety? Would you rather defend our nation without a military and fight our fires without our firefighters?”

How often are our anti-government warriors asked such basic questions?

7) Ezra provides the best explanation I’ve seen for Jill Abramson’s ouster– her boss just didn’t like her.

8) Paul Ryan’s take on poverty– back to the 19th century.

9) Awesome infographic on “what’s the difference” between oft-confused animals, e.g., alligator vs. crocodile.

10) The unknown environmental crime of the 20th century– Soviet whaling.  Great story.  And so disturbing.

11) Really nice essay about the role of force in rape and how we and victims think about the crime.

12) Remember that horrible chemical spill in WV where they had to bring in tons of bottle water.  Not surprisingly, the nearby prisoners were not a high priority for clean water.  Not surprising, but so very wrong.

13) The NFL and DirectTV are totally screwing the public.  The disdain for the fans is truly disgusting.

14) Albuquerque police seem to have quite the high number of “justifiable” shootings.  It basically seems that there is a culture where bad policing provokes suspects to the point where the police can legally shoot them.

15) Republicans are now making now effort to hide the fact that they don’t actually care at all about the basic welfare of poor children.  At least if they live in cities.

16) Matt Bai on our age of intolerance:

What’s happened is that we’ve effectively left behind the Age of Persuasion and ushered in the Age of Confirmation. It sometimes seems the whole world exists to re-affirm our conceptions of it; you can get through days, even weeks, without being at all discomfited, if you know which sites to visit and which channels to watch.

17) Political polarization— a nice summary of the asymmetry.

18) The next frontier for tackling your health through healthy bacteria— your skin.  We’ve basically made a commitment to completely washing away helpful skin bacteria which process sweat, etc., and keep our skin healthy.  What if we sprayed that bacteria back on our skin and gave up showers?   You know I’m thinking hard about this one :-).

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