Goal of the day

Awesome.  Chile vs. Peru.

The lucky post

I was having a great conversation with my 9-year old the other day about the role of luck in success.  You know my take– sure I work reasonably hard and I’m smart, but it is little more than luck that I was born to highly-educated upper-middle class parents in an educated, stable community and that I have a brain that is good at processing information and deferring gratification.  I think we all know that luck (and context– which is closely related) matter, but I think in most things, people tend to under-estimate the impact of luck and random factors and I think this is especially so among political conservatives.  Anyway, it reminded me of this article from back in February that I meant to blog about back at the time.

This is great– it’s about a CEO, who for the purposes of the upper-hand in a divorce case, argues that his success is about luck, not his own skill.  It may be largely a cynical legal ploy (or not).  Regardless, I think he’s right:

The divorce of the oil billionaire Harold G. Hamm from Sue Ann Arnall has gained attention largely for its outsize dollar amounts. Mr. Hamm, the chief executive and founder of Continental Resources, who was worth more than $18 billion at one point, wrote his ex-wife a check last month for $974,790,317.77 to settle their split. She’s appealing to get more; he’s appealing to pay less.

Yet beyond the staggering sums, the Hamm divorce raises a fundamental question about the wealth of executives and entrepreneurs: How much do they owe their fortunes to skill and hard work, and how much comes from happenstance and luck?

Mr. Hamm, seeking to exploit a wrinkle in divorce law, made the unusual argument that his wealth came largely from forces outside his control, like global oil prices, the expertise of his deputies and other people’s technology. During the nine-week divorce trial, his lawyers claimed that although Mr. Hamm had founded Continental Resources and led the company to become a multibillion-dollar energy giant, he was responsible for less than 10 percent of his personal and corporate success…

In a filing last month supporting his appeal, Mr. Hamm cites the recent drop in oil prices and subsequent 50 percent drop in Continental’s share price and his fortune as further proof that forces outside his control direct his company’s fortunes.

Lawyers for Ms. Arnall argue that Mr. Hamm is responsible for more than 90 percent of his fortune.

While rooted in a messy divorce, the dispute frames a philosophical and ethical debate over inequality and the obligations of the wealthy. If wealth comes mainly from luck or circumstance, many say the wealthy owe a greater debt to society in the form of taxes or charity. [emphases mine] If wealth comes from skill and hard work, perhaps higher taxes would discourage that effort.

Sorting out what value is created by luck or skill is a tricky proposition in itself. The limited amount of academic research on the topic, which mainly looks at how executives can influence a company’s value, has often found that broader market forces often have a bigger impact on a company’s success than an executive’s actions.

Of course, skill, hard-work, etc., matter.  Just not as much as most political conservatives think they do.  Furthermore, I would argue that brains and a good work ethic are themselves substantially determined by luck.  Not to argue that these things should not be rewarded in the marketplace, but things look different when you realize how much luck is involved.

Photo of the day

Wow.  Amazing gallery of photo contest of Earth and Sky photo contest at the Telegraph.  And this one is only a second-place winner:

The contest began in 2007, running annually. In 2009, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Astronomical Union designated TWAN as a Special Project of the International Year of Astronomy.

The second place winner in the Beauty category is Brad Goldpaint of the United States, for his photo “Moonlit Darklings” taken in July 2014. The moonlight strikes Mt Rainier in Washington, northwestern USA, as the Milky Way drifts across the night sky.

Picture: Goldpaint Photograph



Race, region, and partisanship

So the Political Scientists FB group (yes, there is one, and it’s pretty useful) had a recent discussion about PS perspectives on the confederate flag issue.  Somebody linked to this excellent article (in a top journal) from 10 years ago.  Its findings are still quite relevant.  And I’m pretty damn sure they data is not faked :-).  Here’s the abstract:

Our focus is the regional political realignment that has occurred among whites over the past four decades. We hypothesize that the South’s shift to the Republican party has been driven to a significant degree by racial conservatism in addition to a harmonizing of partisanship with general ideological conservatism. General Social Survey and National Election Studies data from the 1970s to the present indicate that whites residing in the old Confederacy continue to display more racial antagonism and ideological conservatism than non-Southern whites. Racial conservatism has become linked more closely to presidential voting and party identification over time in the white South, while its impact has remained constant elsewhere. This stronger association between racial antagonism and partisanship in the South compared to other regions cannot be explained by regional differences in nonracial ideology or nonracial policy preferences, or by the effects of those variables on partisanship. [emphasis mine]

No, it’s not all about race.  But don’t let anybody tell you it’s not important in the transformation of Southern politics.

The gun conversation we’re not having

Really liked this Jessica Winter piece on how it’s a lot easier for us to take on the Confederate Flag than the real problem in the recent murders– guns:

Almost literally overnight, the chimera of consensus around the Confederate flag as a divisive but misunderstood symbol of “heritage” or “Southern pride” fell away, revealing the banner for what it is. The obscenity of the flag and the murderous racism it represents have dominated a national conversation about the American way of hate and violence for all the right reasons.

The flag has also dominated the conversation for a single wrong reason, which is that most Americans have given up on achieving meaningful gun control in their lifetimes or in their grandchildren’s lifetimes…

When 20 dead first-graders cannot result in new and meaningful national measures on gun control or even in weak and largely symbolic national measures on gun control, then perhaps—if you are of a certain cast of mind—that is the moment to retreat on gun control.

And we have. People will still talk about it…

Mostly, though, we find other things to talk about.

Adam Gopnik has not, though, and few (if any) write better on the topic:

The reason that we have gun massacres in numbers wildly out of proportion to any other rich country is because we have too many guns. When gun massacres have happened elsewhere—as they sometimes have, in Canada and Scotland and Australia and elsewhere—the common-sense response has been to change the laws, and, almost always, after the laws are changed the massacres end. In the United States, they continue. It seems like a good bet that changing the law here would change that.

In the areas of gun crime where there has been extended study, we know for certain that serious gun control works to end, or at least limit, gun violence. It is as robust a correlation as any in the social sciences, as sure a thing, as I’ve written before, as knowing that antibiotics act to limit and end infections. You go looking for sane counterarguments in favor of overarmed America and find that none exist. Guns don’t protect anyone from anything. Their presence simply increases the odds of domestic tragedy, of a domestic altercation turning into a homicide (or a suicide). The data confirms what common sense suggests: not even the most desperately paranoid among us could possibly be perpetually prepared for an actual home invasion—as very rare as such incidents actually are. The fantasy of the armed homeowner bravely repelling the evil armed intruder is just that. The number of justified homicides is overwhelmed by the number of gun tragedies. In 2012, thirteen states, including New Jersey and New York, reported no justifiable homicides at all. Not one. The notion that gun possession could stop, rather than increase, the number of casualties in the home is another fantasy created by violent movies and television programs, and is only possible in them. (Violent crime is dropping under the gun-control regimes in Europe and Canada as well, just as it has in the States. We’re still the only country that has gun massacres so routinely that our leader has to figure out what new thing he can say each time out.) …

Mental health, the enduring structures of racism—these are issues that we have to deal with, too. But they are not at the heart of the tragedy. Gun massacres happen for no reason at all, as well as for crazy reasons. Every country has people who come into the grip of delusions. Even peaceful Norway produced its lunatic. Most countries keep lethal weapons out of their hands. After a mass killing, grief is supported by wisdom; laws change, and killings stop…

All the facts are in; all the social science is long settled; the constitutional positions are clear, if contested, and the wiser way known and shared by mankind. On one side are facts, truth, and common sense. On the other, an obsession with dark fantasies of individual autonomy and power—the sheer fetishistic thrill of owning lethal weapons. On one side is the sanity and common sense shared by the entire world; on the other, murder and madness and a strange ongoing American mania. If we don’t change, then, well—it will happen again, again. And then again.

Powerful stuff.  That said, I’m a little more skeptical of the power of policy change in the US context giving how deeply gun-owning (and totally irrational fears on the part of gun-owners) is embedded in our culture.  I don’t know that we could ever get to Western European levels of gun violence, but we could sure do a lot better.

Here’s the problem in infographic form via Vox:


And lastly, loved this Washington Post Op-Ed from a hunter who (quite properly) hates the NRA:

Some time after I bought my first gun, I got a robocall from the National Rifle Association, asking me to join. After the customary “Please stay on the line…” from a pleasant but earnest voice, I recoiled from the barkings of an angry-sounding man.

Did I know that Barack Hussein Obama and European leaders are meeting on American soil right now, at this very moment, to plot the confiscation of my guns?

The caller continued with his insinuations of an imminent United Nations plot against America, but before I could be handed off to a live operator, I hung up the phone.

I was amused, and then insulted, that someone would think I was dumb enough to fall for such a pitch. But the sad truth is that there are enough people willing to open their checkbooks to make such a noxious fundraising appeal worthwhile. [emphasis mine]…

The NRA and its adherents want us to bristle with alertness to danger, keeping a loaded gun within reach at all times. But where is the concern for people who want to live without fear of guns entering their lives? …

I agree with the NRA on one point: Tightening controls on gun ownership will not eliminate gun violence. And it may not do much to address the psychopathology of young men who commit mass murder…

But by filtering out at least some people who are poor candidates for responsible ownership, gun control will reduce the steady bloodletting of everyday life in our cities, a pervasive environment of danger that police departments around the country have decried, calling for greater handgun controls…

The Charleston massacre probably won’t result in gun reform, but its survivors have challenged the NRA’s bleak, seething worldview by suggesting that kindness can be the dominant mood of our public life. By offering perhaps premature forgiveness to the young man who killed their loved ones with a legally purchased Glock semiautomatic, they have shown us the possibility of living a more open, less timid existence. They imagine a world of joy, community and shelter, not fear, hatred and violence.


Chart of the day (pace of social change)

This is a static image– the animated charts over at are even cooler.



Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s Animal photos of the week:

A pair of fox cubs play in the woodlands of Lappeenranta in Finland while their mother sleeps nearby

A pair of fox cubs play in the woodlands of Lappeenranta in Finland while their mother sleeps nearbyPicture: TOPI LAINIO / CATERS NEWS

Get over it

As you know, I’m no dancing in the streets, tears of joy, etc., person when it comes to marriage equality.  All well in good, but the negativity over this on the right is just absurd and laughable to me.  For example, Bobby Jindal— a Rhodes Scholar who has turned himself into an utter intellectual embarrassment:

“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body,” Jindal said in a statement on Friday. “If we want to save some money, let’s just get rid of the court.”

“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” he added.

Although several other 2016 GOP candidates came out in opposition to the decision, with a few even suggesting the need for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn it, they all stopped short of advocating for what amounts to an undemocratic insurrection.

Enjoyed Jennifer Rubin (a phrase I rarely use) on Jindal

First, the intensity with which one utters disapproval is not a measure of one’s conservative bona fides.  Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s hysterical rhetoric suggesting we defund the Supreme Court does not make him more conservative or more anti-gay marriage than other conservatives who disagreed with the court. Former Texas governor Rick Perry said, “I’m a firm believer in traditional marriage, and I also believe the 10th Amendment leaves it to each state to decide this issue. I fundamentally disagree with the court rewriting the law and assaulting the 10th Amendment. Our founding fathers did not intend for the judicial branch to legislate from the bench.” The former version not only turns off people who disagree with Jindal on this issue but a great many others who think now think he’s reckless.

But what really got me started on thinking about this post was a NYT article on how Evangelicals are dealing with this new reality:

WEST CHICAGO, Ill. — The tone of the worship service was set at the start. An opening prayer declared it “a dark day.” The sermon focused on a psalm of lament. In between, a pastor read a statement proclaiming the church’s elders and staff “deeply saddened.” …

“I came in with a great sense of lament, because of what happened on Friday,” the church’s teaching pastor, Lon Allison, told worshipers before reading a statement declaring, “We cannot accept or adhere to any legal, political or cultural redefinition of biblical marriage, nor will we conduct or endorse same-sex ceremonies.”

A dark day?  Sadness?  Get over it.  Nobody is going to make you marry gay couples in your church.  Nobody.  Presumably, these churches accept that gay couples exist, whether they like it or not.  Similarly, civil marriage exists, whether they like it or not.  In reality (and not like this point hasn’t been made hundreds of times), it literally has almost nothing to do with them.  A major theme of Christianity is doing what is right, whether it is popular or not.  Well, then, accept that you have an unpopular, minority viewpoint, continue to practice it, and stop freaking out that the majority of America (and our political institutions) disagrees with you.

And, of course, this is really going to have very little impact on people who aren’t actually gay couples or their close families.  And everybody will just get used to it.  Jon Bernstein:

As early as the general election in 2016, but almost certainly soon afterward, same-sex marriage will be an ordinary part of life in the U.S.

Oh, bigotry will still be with us, and it will be appalling in some situations. Changing attitudes takes time. And there are still legal and legislative challenges ahead, beginning with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal to fire people because they’re gay.

Marriage, however, is a done deal. And despite the close 5-4 split in Friday’s Supreme Court decision, including vigorous dissents to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion, this issue will rapidly be tossed into the history books alongside questions of whether women should vote or alcohol should be prohibited.

In other words, this is going to be very much like Loving v. Virginia, which recognized the right to marriage regardless of race or ethnicity.

How do I know? Because we’ve seen it in state after state in which marriage equality was enacted. There’s no controversy remaining in Massachusetts; for that matter, there’s little or no controversy remaining in Iowa, which had court-imposed marriage equality in 2009. On a related issue, conflict over gays and lesbians serving in the military ended immediately after “don’t ask, don’t tell” was replaced four years ago. In practice, extending full citizenship and human rights to all regardless of sexual orientation and identity is actually not all that controversial — at least not after the fact.

Yep.  Evan (9) is just old enough to get what’s going on here, but by the time Sarah (4) is a teenager she’ll just live in a world where men can marry women, men can marry men, and women can marry women, and that’s that.  This ship has sailed.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Nice Krugman column on slavery’s long-lasting impact on American society and politics.

2) Loved this Vox piece on how the voice for Siri was created (by a human) and on how voice artists work.

3) Some days I hate how much email I get.  Definitely some good suggestions in here.  Some I already use (Doodle!).  And my favorite piece of advice:

“If we email each other three times over the same issue, it’s time for one of us to pick up the phone.”

4) Why North Carolina lawmakers just back-tracked part way on the state’s Voter ID law.

5) Enjoyed Toobin’s take on King v. Burwell.

For writing the opinion upholding the law, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., is being hailed (and denounced) as a latter-day Earl Warren—a Republican appointee who turns out to be a secret liberal. This is hardly accurate. Roberts is still the author of the Shelby County case, which gutted the Voting Rights Act, and an eager member of the court majority in Citizens United and all the other cases that undermined our system of regulating political campaigns. But as his restrained and cogent opinion in King demonstrated, he is not a partisan ideologue. Quoting liberally from opinions by Justice Antonin Scalia, Roberts made the commonsensical observation that a law must be interpreted as a whole, not by the analysis of a few stray words here and there. And the context of the full A.C.A. compelled the obvious conclusion that the subsidies were intended to go to individuals on both the federal as well as state exchanges. The law would otherwise make no sense.

Meanwhile, George Will writes that this is all part of the liberal project to overthrow the Constitution.  Seriously.  It’s just amusing to me that so many still seem to see Will as a more reasonable, sober conservative.  If only.

6) Really enjoyed this essay on why “white privilege” is not the problem.  Does not explicitly mention John Roberts, but certainly akin to his idea that the best way to get past racism is to stop talking about race at all.  I don’t necessarily agree with all this,  but it is very thoughtful and thought-provoking.

7) Also enjoyed Reihan Salam’s same-sex marriage take:

Back in 2005, Peter Berkowitz, a conservative political theorist, made the case that the triumph of same-sex civil marriage was all but inevitable. The reason he gave was that arguments that can be made in the language of individual freedom almost always win out in the constitutional realm over those grounded in other considerations. One could argue that the debate over abortion is a clash between two interpretations of what individual freedom demands. Do we protect the autonomy of women or do we protect the rights of unborn children? The fact that both sides of the abortion debate can be rooted in the language of individual freedom has kept the debate alive.

But the debate over same-sex marriage is different. Advocates of same-sex marriage insist that the organization of intimate relations should be left up to the individuals in question, an idea that has become an article of faith among modern Americans. Proponents alone are rooting their arguments in individual freedoms. Critics of same-sex marriage, in contrast, tend to emphasize the potential harms children might experience as society moves away from traditional marriage.

8) Got in a huge argument on FB about the problem of sexism in Jurassic World.  I really don’t like the way this essay seems to suggest every dumb thing a female character does or every poor writing choice is inherently “sexist.”  Sure there’s some valid points here, but I would argue that when you are alienating the likes of me from your feminism, you are doing more harm than good to the feminist cause.

9) Do conservatives have more self-control than liberals?  At least one study says so.

In a series of three studies with more than 300 participants, the authors found that people who identify as conservative perform better on tests of self-control than those who identify as liberal regardless of race, socioeconomic status and gender.

They also report that participants’ performance on the tests was influenced by how much they believed in the idea of free will, which the researchers define as the belief that a person is largely responsible for his or her own outcomes.

10) Your big long read for the week– an interesting take from a British science journalist arguing that climate science is way politicized, alarmist, and harming scientific credibility.  There’s definitely some important ideas in here worth really thinking about and considering, but the author (a genuine science journalist, but also a Conservative MP in Parliament), is clearly very political in his take, which very much undermines his credibility.  As for me, on the whole big picture thing, I would say that if chances of catastrophe are not likely, but simply non-trivial, that’s still a damn good reason to try and do something about it.

Photo of the day

Gotta love the post major Supreme Court decision intern dash:

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: News interns run out with the ruling regarding same-sex marriage from the U.S. Supreme Court June 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 26: News interns run out with the ruling regarding same-sex marriage from the U.S. Supreme Court June 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. The high court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)Alex Wong Getty Images


Gay marriage scrooge

I’m pleased the Supreme Court ruled as it did.  I think the decision will result in a huge amount of benefit for gay couples (and their families) with very little cost to society (people being really upset about other people’s marriages strikes me as a pretty minimal cost.  All the arguments about the “harms” of same-sex marriage pretty much come down to “but the bible says its wrong” which is no basis for policy in this country.

Obviously, I’ve read a lot on the matter in the past 24 hours, but my favorite is Richard Posner’s clear argument in a Slate discussion:

John Stuart Mill in On Liberty drew an important distinction between what he called “self-regarding acts” and “other-regarding acts.” The former involves doing things to yourself that don’t harm other people, though they may be self-destructive. The latter involves doing things that do harm other people. He thought that government had no business with the former (and hence—his example—the English had no business concerning themselves with polygamy in Utah, though they hated it). Unless it can be shown that same-sex marriage harms people who are not gay (or who are gay but don’t want to marry), there is no compelling reason for state intervention, and specifically for banning same-sex marriage. The dissenters in Obergefell missed this rather obvious point.

I go further than Mill. I say that gratuitous interference in other people’s lives is bigotry. The fact that it is often religiously motivated does not make it less so. The United States is not a theocracy, and religious disapproval of harmless practices is not a proper basis for prohibiting such practices, especially if the practices are highly valued by their practitioners. Gay couples and the children (mostly straight) that they adopt (or that one of them may have given birth to and the other adopts) derive substantial benefits, both economic and psychological, from marriage. Efforts to deny them those benefits by forbidding same-sex marriage confer no offsetting social benefits—in fact no offsetting benefits at all beyond gratifying feelings of hostility toward gays and lesbians, feelings that feed such assertions as that heterosexual marriage is “degraded” by allowing same-sex couples to “annex” the word marriageto their cohabitation.

The best part, though, is where he takes on the dissents:

The chief justice criticizes the majority for “order[ing] the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?” We’re pretty sure we’re not any of the above. And most of us are not convinced that what’s good enough for the Bushmen, the Carthaginians, and the Aztecs should be good enough for us. Ah, the millennia! Ah, the wisdom of ages! How arrogant it would be to think we knew more than the Aztecs—we who don’t even know how to cut a person’s heart out of his chest while’s he still alive, a maneuver they were experts at…

Justice Samuel Alito’s dissent, to which I turn briefly, ascribes to the states that want to forbid same-sex marriage the desire “to encourage potentially procreative conduct to take place within a lasting unit that has long been thought to provide the best atmosphere for raising children. They thus argue that there are reasonable secular grounds for restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples.” That can’t be right. States that forbid same-sex marriage do not do so in an effort to encourage gays and lesbians to marry people of the opposite sex and thereby procreate. The nation is not suffering from a shortage of children. Sterile people are not forbidden to marry, though by definition they do not procreate. There is no greater reason to forbid gay marriage, which is actually good for children by making the children adopted by gay couples (and there are a great many such children), better off emotionally and fiscally.

Alito says that states that want to prohibit same-sex marriage “worry that by officially abandoning the older understanding, they may contribute to marriage’s further decay.” This doesn’t make sense. Why would straight people marry less and procreate less just because gay people also marry and raise adopted children, who, but for adoption, would languish in foster homes?

That said, somehow I don’t think the dissents (mostly Roberts’) are entirely unreasonable given that this decision would have been truly unthinkable a mere 20 years ago.  And you know it would have been.  Emily Bazelon— a big supporter of this decision, for sure– nonetheless has a thoughtful piece on whether we really do want major policy changes happening in this fashion:

The dissenters are clear and thorough about the downsides of this. Chief Justice John Roberts asks sarcastically of his colleagues, “Just who do we think we are?” He also makes this sensible pitch for judicial restraint: “When decisions are reached through democratic means, some people will inevitably be disappointed with the results. But those whose views do not prevail at least know that they have had their say, and accordingly are — in the tradition of our political culture — reconciled to the result of a fair and honest debate.”

Roberts warns that “stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept.”

I’m persuaded by the counter-arguments that rights are rights (and liberty is liberty, damnit) regardless of whether the country is ready for it and whether it has to be imposed by the courts.  I think it is a fair argument, though, that it is better for society when these policy changes happen through ordinary democratic processes.

So, why then, the title of this post?  I guess I’m frustrated that this has come to symbolize so much of the contemporary liberal project.  Sure, this is really good for gays and their families, but I didn’t see a tenth as much passion (of changed FB profile photos) when millions of Americans received literally (potentially) life-saving access to health insurance and protection against personal financial catastrophe that can come from health problems.  You would think that this decision had magically eliminated poverty and human suffering.  Alright, then, I guess I’m just a same-sex marriage scrooge.

Why can’t I just be happy for this decision and gays and their families?  Because political agendas, activism, and attention are– at least to a degree– zero sum.  Attention focused on gay rights is not focused on poverty, structural inequality, structural racism, the catastrophe of our criminal justice system (and the much-related War on Drugs), etc., which I would argue creates way more harm to way more people.  Actually, then, maybe I should be happy as the gay rights thing is pretty much won now.  Maybe this will mean more liberal energy translated into other areas where we really need to make a difference.  I doubt it, but I can hope.

Quick hits (part I)

1) It’s hard out there for a pollster.  Nice piece on why it is getting harder and harder to do accurate polling these days.

2) It’s going to be harder than ever for NC to have enough good teachers given how the Republicans in charge feel about education.

3) Wonkblog with a great series of maps on America’s ethnic/racial demographics.

4) Europe’s biggest problem (one we fortunately do not share) is it’s low birth rate.

5) The destruction of defendant’s rights.

6) How working mothers are good for kis:

The researchers find statistically significant differences in outcomes for both boys and girls, though the outcomes are different.

  • Daughters of working moms grow up to earn more money, in part because daughters of working moms are more likely to be employed and more likely to be employed in a supervisory role.
  • Sons of working moms don’t have significantly different economic outcomes, but dogrow up to be more likely to spend time taking care of family members or doing household chores.

In other words, the adult children of mothers who held jobs when they were little kids are likely to grow up as adults who are somewhat less gender-conforming. Their daughters “lean in” more in the labor market, and their sons “lean in” more at home.

7) With all the other big Supreme Court news (yeah, I’ll get to Obergefell), hardly anybody noticed part of the new deal getting rolled back with a ruling on raisins.  Yes, raisins.

8) Another little noticed, but important, Supreme Court case on race and criminal justice.

9) The NC legislature wants to eliminate Driver’s Ed (my oldest just finished the classroom portion a week ago).  There may or not be good reasons to do this, but their justification is embarrassing.

Their argument for no longer requiring 120,000 teenagers to take drivers ed is that it is too expensive for families. The reason that it is too expensive for families is the Senate Republicans ended the state’s $26m appropriation to teach it, putting cost on families. Gotta admire their audacity if not their logic.

10) With Seinfeld coming to Hulu, loved Todd VanDerWerf with a piece on how Seinfeld changed television.  And Matt Zoller Seitz writes about how Seinfeld paved the way for the TV anti-hero we are so familiar with now.


11) Fascinating story of a a DC area man recorded the horrible things an anesthesiologist said about him while he was under.  He won a bunch in a lawsuit.


12) Tom Edsall with a really good piece on why don’t the poor rise up:

People today, Ray continues, “are not only able to make choices in an ever-expanding range of situations, but they are also compelled to do so.”

In effect, individualization is a double-edged sword. In exchange for new personal freedoms and rights, beneficiaries are agreeing to, if not being forced to, assume new risks and responsibilities.

In addition to opening the door to self-fulfillment, “the rise of individual rights and freedoms has its price,” writes Nikolai Genov, a sociologist at the Berlin Free University in “Challenges of Individualization,” published earlier this year.

Placing an exclusive stress on the expansion of rights and freedoms of individuals by disregarding or underrating the concomitant rise of individual responsibilities brings about social pathologies. They undermine solidarity as the glue of social life.

As a result, individualization can come “at the expense of various forms of common good in general, and of various forms of solidarity in particular,” Genov observes…

All of which brings us back to the question of why there is so little rebellion against entrenched social and economic injustice.

The answer is that those bearing the most severe costs of inequality are irrelevant to the agenda-setters in both parties. They are political orphans in the new order. They may have a voice in urban politics, but on the national scene they no longer fit into the schema of the left or the right. They are pushed to the periphery except for a brief moment on Election Day when one party wants their votes counted, and the other doesn’t.

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