About that fear of refugees

From a recent Gallup post… Yes, it is pretty unfortunate and wrong how much Americans are needlessly opposed to Syrian refugees, but it is interesting to see how much this opposition is driven by Republicans.  Sure, even 40% of Democrats disapprove of admitting the Syrian refugees, but check out these numbers among Republicans:

Opinions on Syrian Refugees Coming to U.S., by Political Party

And, of course, I can’t help but thinking about what a high percentage of this 85% are Jesus-loving Evangelical conservatives.  Better to just focus on what Jesus had to say about sodomy (oh right, nothing).

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Photo of the day

love using slow shutter speeds on flowing water.  Especially waterfalls.  So, this really cool waterfall is just 40 minutes from my in-laws and a super-easy 1/2 mile hike from the parking, yet somehow we never even knew about it.  If you are ever in the area and want a really easy drive (i.e., not a lot of curvy mountain roads) and easy hike for a waterfall, Toms Creek Falls seems hard to beat.  (And also, a really cool abandoned mine shaft).

IMG_2116

 

Quick hits (part I)

Sorry for the delay.  Thanksgiving vacation and all.

1) Really interesting piece about Massachusetts‘ complicated relationship with Common Core.

2) Vox summarizes the research on children and happiness.  Maybe it really doesn’t make a difference on average and I suppose I would still be a happy person without kids, but no way would I be as happy.

3) Kristof with a strong column on anti-refugee sentiment.

4) Had no idea that Syracuse, NY had one of the worst slum problems in the country.  On how a downtown highway contributes to the problem.

5) I don’t buy “expensive” running shoes, but maybe I should go even cheaper based on research.

6) Max Ehrenfreud spoke with psychologists about the psychology of support for Trump:

From a psychological perspective, though, the people backing Trump are perfectly normal. Interviews with psychologists and other experts suggest one explanation for the candidate’s success — and for the collective failure to anticipate it: The political elite hasn’t confronted a few fundamental, universal and uncomfortable facts about the human mind.

We like people who talk big.

We like people who tell us that our problems are simple and easy to solve, even when they aren’t.

And we don’t like people who don’t look like us.

Most people share these characteristics to some degree, but they seem to be especially prevalent among Trump’s base.

7) Contra the rest of the country, Virginia has gone on a marijuana arrest binge.  Not surprisingly, the state is way disproportionately arresting Blacks.

8) NPR story on how young people are much more okay with “socialism” than older Americans.  Surely, in part, it just doesn’t have the same connnotations as it did a generation ago.

9) Really good NPR interview about political polarization and trust with great political scientist and fine human being, Marc Hetherington, about his new book:

You say that Americans really aren’t getting all that ideologically polarized. That doesn’t feel true. So how on Earth is that right?

Hetherington: People are not so polarized on issues specifically or in terms of their ideological predispositions.

And the reason is that most people don’t pay that close of attention to politics. And in order to have extreme viewpoints on the issues or in terms of their ideologies, that requires a lot of political expertise to take extreme positions on issues.

But that doesn’t mean that we’re not polarized. It just means that we’re not polarized in terms of our issue positions or ideologies. We point out that ordinary Americans are, in fact, polarized, but it’s in their feelings, not in their issue positions. We’ve come to dislike our opponents in a way that we’ve never disliked them at this level before.

How did that happen?

It’s a combination of lots of things over time. A big part of this, at least to Tom and me, is that there’s really nothing that [our representatives] in Washington agree on across party lines any longer. In other words, all the moderates kind of disappeared from the people who represent us.

It’s a story that’s tied up in the evolution of the parties on racial issues. As race came to dominate politics, no longer could Southern Democrats survive, so they were replaced with ever-more conservative Republicans and, in the Northeast, Northeastern Republicans couldn’t survive; they were replaced by really liberal Democrats.

So, the center of both parties ended up disappearing, in fact, becoming pretty conservative among the Republicans [and] Southerners, and liberal among the Democrats — the Northeasterners and far Westerners, for that matter.

So, a big part of why we don’t like each other is the people who provide us with our cues — that is, our leaders — they basically spend all their time telling us that the other side is always wrong, on every single vector. And that’s one of the things that causes people to dislike the other side.

Another important piece is the types of issues that divide us these days — when we are divided about things people have deep, strong feelings about, like race and ethnicity, as it is tied up in immigration these days, or gay rights.

10) Oh man do I hate the guardians of propriety on twitter.

 

11) The Washington Post takes its turn on money and college sports.  Good stuff.

12) On having fewer kids to do your part for the environment.  Hey, at least I recycle!

13) On the Catholic Church in Africa (with Francis visiting this week).  Oh my.

At the synod last month, Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea grabbed headlines with a speech that equated gay rights with terrorism. He said both were “apocalyptic beasts” with a “demonic origin.”

“What Nazi-fascism and communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” said Cardinal Sarah, who has served in the Vatican for years and was named to the top liturgical post there by Francis in 2014.

14) It would be great if we could clean up pollution really cheaply in local lakes with solar-powered devices.  Seems like time to admit they are not working, though.

15) Randall Munroe (XKCD) explains relativity.

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