Quick hits (part II)

1) Nice look at the political geography of North Carolina.

2) Why it is really important whether the Sage Grouse gets listed at and endangered species or not.

3) Of course I hate that Fox has purchased National Geographic.  But if the choice is a Fox-owned NG, or no NG (certainly a possibility in this changing media landscape), I’ll go with the former.

4) Sure it’s anecdote, but this Slate piece on what some teachers think about the Common Core shows how the it can be effective for getting more out of our students.

5) The rise of victimhood culture.  So happy I only taught at Oberlin for one year.  Pretty sure I would have been fired by now.

6) Do college students have too much privacy?  Here’s a good argument saying, Yes.


Some in Congress, notably Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) are agitating to revise the law. But perhaps it is time to throw it out altogether. Without FERPA, universities could send students’ records directly to their guardians, and allow administrators to immediately alert or respond to families if a student is in crisis. Where’s the harm in that? Of course, if a student has good reason to keep her family in the dark, she should have the right to apply for an exemption or waiver (inverting the status quo).

Transferring all power to the students is not fair to them; they never asked for that responsibility. At a time when young people seem perfectly happy to share every moment of their lives online, they’d probably not blink an eye if they were forced to continue to share their educational records. Rescinding this law may improve the shameful college completion statistics. Most important, it will keep families connected and allow our children to remain young just a little bit longer.

7) If you really want to understand women in combat and the US Marines, this is a long, thoughtful piece on the matter.

8) What I find most appalling about this story about a Physics professor falsely arrested for spying is that the FBI and US Attorneys can basically ruin someone’s life through incompetence and face no consequences for it.  As long as that’s the case, we can expect continued incompetence and abuse of power.

9) John Cassidy on Jeb and the return of voodoo economics (of course, they never actually left).

You won’t see that figure, or anything like it, on Bush’s Web site, of course. Just like Reagan, Jeb’s brother George, and Mitt Romney in 2012, Jeb talks about simplifying the tax code, boosting American competitiveness, stimulating growth, and restoring “the opportunity for every American to rise and achieve earned success.” That’s how voodoo economics is always marketed. But, despite the welcome addition of a few populist touches, such as pledging to euthanize the carried-interest deduction, Bush is writing the same old tired script.

10) Bill Ayers with a terrific example of how to lie with statistics (and how not to).

11) Supposedly the Feds are finally going to go after Wall Street for all their malfeasance that led to our economic collapse.  Color me skeptical.  Much easier to go after Chinese-American physics professors.

12) If there’s a dubious or overblown health claim out there, I always want to see what Michael Specter has to say about it.  Sugar:

Yet, like the anti-fat credo of my youth, “That Sugar Film” places too much certainty in the belief that a single food can be the problem. If only it were that simple. Many nutritionists believe it’s time to stop demonizing individual components of our diet—whether it’s fat, carbohydrates, cholesterol, or even sugar. It’s time to acknowledge that the special diets that obsess us—whether they consist of fruit or eliminate fruit, rely on meat or banish it—don’t work.

We eat too much processed food, and our diets are disgraceful. Live solely on M&M’s and sugary drinks and you are going to get sick. For sugar to exist as a normal, safe part of our food, all we need to do is maintain balanced diets. The problem, of course, is that we don’t.

13) Mischiefs of Faction (now at Vox!) on how “special interests” and government really work.

14) Been meaning and failing to do a post on this great Nate Cohn piece looking at what the Political Science has to say about Trumps’ chances (still not good at all).

15) Also been meaning for two long to link to this two great WP posts on why it is so hard for college-graduate women to find a suitable partner (it’s the math).

16) Your long read for the day… is college tuition too high?  (Ummm, yes).


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