Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s photos of the week gallery:

Adrenaline junkie Huseyin Burak Tuzer takes a selfie while paragliding with a tourist along the coast of Fethiye and Oludeniz in Turkey

Adrenaline junkie Huseyin Burak Tuzer takes a selfie while paragliding with a tourist along the coast of Fethiye and Oludeniz in TurkeyPicture: HUSEYIN BURAL TAZER/MERCURY PRESS

Whites, party, region, and Ferguson

EJ Dionne digs into public opinion data regarding Ferguson and the results are quite interesting:

At first glance, the Washington Post/ABC News poll taken Nov. 25-30 tells us what we thought we knew. The nation is starkly split, with 48 percent of Americans approving of the grand jury’s decision not to bring charges against Wilson and 45 percent disapproving. Only 9 percent of African Americans approved; 85 percent disapproved. Among whites, 58 percent approved and 35 percent disapproved…

But to examine white opinion more closely is to see another level of discord. (And my thanks to Peyton Craighill, The Post’s polling manager, for running these numbers for me.) Among white Democrats, only 37 percent approved of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Wilson, but 80 percent of white Republicans did…

Regional differences were just as striking and followed patterns that have been with us since the Civil War. Fully 70 percent of white Southerners supported the decision not to indict Wilson, but that was true of only 46 percent of whites in the Northeast, 50 percent in the West and 57 percent in the Midwest…

And a sizable generation gap affects whites’ views on Ferguson: Younger whites are much more likely to identify with the views of African Americans than older whites are. Only 45 percent of whites younger than 40 approved of the grand jury’s decision; 46 percent disapproved. Whites between 40 and 64 approved of the decision, 63 percent to 33 percent, and those 65 and older approved of it, 68 percent to 24 percent.

On a not entirely unrelated matter, excellent post from Nate Cohn looking at the decline of White Southern Democrats

What is clear is that today’s Southern Democrats are no match for today’s racial and political polarization. Last month, strong Democratic Senate candidates — with recognizable political family names, the benefits of incumbency and, in some cases, flawed opponents — lost across the region. They struggled to run more than a couple of points ahead of Mr. Obama…

But white support for Republicans in the South might rival, or in some places even exceed, white support for Democrats during the Solid South. In the November election, Ms. Landrieu received only 18 percent of the white vote, according to the exit polls, a figure nearly identical to the 19 percent of the vote that Republicans averaged in the state’s presidential elections from 1880 through 1948. The exit polls showed that Mr. Obama won 14 percent of white voters in Louisiana in 2008.

The demise of the Southern Democrats now puts the party at a distinct structural disadvantage in Congress, particularly in the House. The young, nonwhite and urban voters who have allowed Democrats to win in presidential elections are inefficiently concentrated in dense urban areas, where they are naturally drawn into overwhelmingly Democratic districts by congressional mapmakers. They are also concentrated in populous states, like California and New York, which get the same number of senators as Alabama or Mississippi.

Cohn takes an even-handed look and provides a lot of the history regarding race, but ends up putting most of this on religiosity and culture.  That’s definitely a big part of the story, too, but I would argue that their are certain elements of the southern “culture” that are not all that different from views on race.

Quick hits (part I)

1) Seth Masket on what St. Elmo’s Fire teaches us about party polarization.

2) John Dickerson makes a persuasive case that a Republican presidential hopeful needs to speak up about Ferguson.  I suspect most will decide that the benefit of reaching out across the political spectrum will be outweighed by the cost among Southern Whites on a racially-charged issue.

3) I enjoyed the idiocy of the Republican social media strategist who lost her job for her totally out-of-line comments about Obama’s daughters.  Apparently, it took her much prayer and a discussion with her parents to learn the error of her ways.  Should not have been that hard.  Loved Amy Davidson’s take on the matter.

4) Love this idea– magnetizing football helmets to reduce the sudden massive deceleration and limit head injuries.

5) College students do not know what is best for their own learning.  Time for more metacognition work with them:

Students often assume learning depends on how smart they are and downplay the value of hard work. Despite this, my own research has shown that when compared with intelligence, effort and curiosity have as big or bigger an effect on learning outcomes.

Worse still, students’ focus on ability is not just incorrect; it handicaps their learning. Carol Dweck’s research has shown that students who focus on ability rather than effort do worse, because it makes students think that trying harder will not help.

On the other hand, if students do not accept that they are stupid and do not believe their efforts are at fault, they are left with another explanation: it’s the teacher’s fault. And there is independent evidence that students who think highly of themselves blame the teacher if they get bad grades.

6) A major hurricane has not hit the US in over nine years.  Now, let’s not go for the gambler’s fallacy and decide we are “due,” but regardless, there’s interesting ways this is a potential problem:

That’s nine long years without a hurricane. Nine years of homes and businesses and schools springing up and people moving in from out-of-state to fill them. Nine years of local government turnover to politicians and officials who have never handled an emergency situation. Nine years for people to “be lulled into a false sense of security and/or forget how horrible hurricanes can be,” as the Capital Weather Gang put it back in October.

7) Why NC is ground zero for the 2016 election.

8) Due to being ostracized for his odious racial comments, James Watson has had to sell his Nobel Prize.

9) When I first read the UVA rape story, the actual details of the gang rape simply did not pass the smell test with me.  I found them truly incredible.  That said, the hugely problematic and pervasive “rape culture” in which social status was far more important than protecting women rung very true.  Well, now it is coming to light that there’s very serious questions about the veracity of the gang rape allegations.  Great take from Hanna Rosin.

10) Scientists are finding evidence that HIV is actually evolving to become less lethal.

11) The Wire re-mastered for HD!!  I think I may just have to re-watch the whole thing.  Should I watch it with David (in some ways a very mature 15 year old attuned to social injustice)?  Or does he need to be a bit older still?  Nice piece in Slate looking at the technical challenges involved.

12) I remember lots of news stories about the chemical leak in Bhopal, but being 12 I never really got the scope of the tragedy.  Nice piece from Ozy looking back and at the lasting damage 30 years later.

13) I find it fascinating how steeply the production of NFL running backs drops off.  After 27 it is all downhill– and fast!

14) Life lessons from George Constanza

15) I think Darrell Wilson probably should have been indicted, but there’s so much conflicting testimony (i.e., reasonable doubt) that it’s hard to imagine there ever could have been a conjunction.  Nice take in TNR.  And PBS has created an awesome chart that shows all the conflicting testimony.

16) Good for UAB for canceling their football program rather than wasting a ton of money on an arms race they cannot compete in.

17) As for the other football, an interesting analysis that suggests Man U’s last Premier League championship was luck, as much as anything.  What was most interesting to me was to learn that opponent’s own goals are almost pure luck.  I would have figured otherwise thinking they would correlate with being under attack in the box more often.

18) I had been paying almost no attention at all to the new Star Wars movie.  That is until I saw the trailer.  Wow.  Really, really enjoyed this Ian Crouch take–inspired by the trailer– on the new versus original movies:

George Lucas, having created the “Star Wars” movies, committed the great sin in his prequels (“The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones,” and “Revenge of the Sith”) of not being much interested in re-creating the original trilogy. He gave up the spit-and-glue aesthetic of those films, whose clunky reminders of real-world physical realities were a key to their charm, in order to explore the early limits of digital filmmaking. Matters such as characterization or narrative (never mind acting) got lost along the way. It turned out that Lucas didn’t have much to say beyond the fact that he had new ways to say things. What resulted were technical marvels and boring, soulless movies.

My very favorite thing on the matter, though?  Colbert on the new lightsabers.  A must-watch.


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