Quick hits (part II)

1) So, in addition to the refugee thing, our governor now wants the state to join a lawsuit about transgender restrooms.  More evidence that McCrory will try and get re-elected by appealing to the GOP base in 2016, rather than 2012’s strategy of appearing a moderate acceptable to Democratic voters.  (Not that Democrats are going to the mattresses on transgender bathroom issues, but it speaks to a culture war focus to gin up GOP base support).

2) I saw a drug ad yesterday that advertised the drug as the most prescribed for a particular condition.  Why in the world then, does it need to be advertising directly to consumers?  Nice Op-Ed in NYT against this practice.

3) Judge Posner certainly understands what “undue burden” means.  And a nice piece on it from Dahlia Lithwick.

4) Fascinating society in Northern Syria based on radical notions of gender equity:

‘‘The battle made me think of women differently,’’ he told me. ‘‘Women fighters — they saved us. My society, Yazidi society, is more, let’s say, traditional. I’d never thought of women as leaders, as heroes, before.’’

Mirza heard about the academy at a refugee camp, and here his education in feminism had continued. He and his fellow students studied a text that Ocalan wrote on gender equality called ‘‘Liberating Life.’’ In it, Ocalan argues that problems of bad governance, corruption and weak democratic institutions in Middle Eastern societies can’t be solved without achieving full equality for women. He once told P.K.K. militants in Turkey, ‘‘You don’t need to be [men] now. You need to think like a woman, for men only fight for power. But women love nature, trees, the mountains. … That is how you can become a true patriot.’’

5) Why today’s college students don’t want to be teachers.

6) Are good doctors bad for you health?  Quite possibly.  Excellent column from Zeke Emmanuel:

One thing patients can do is ask four simple questions when doctors are proposing an intervention, whether an X-ray, genetic test or surgery. First, what difference will it make? Will the test results change our approach to treatment? Second, how much improvement in terms of prolongation of life, reduction in risk of a heart attack or other problem is the treatment actually going to make? Third, how likely and severe are the side effects? And fourth, is the hospital a teaching hospital? The JAMA Internal Medicine study found that mortality was higher overall at nonteaching hospitals.

7) On the rising prominence of on-line polls.

8) Dylan Matthews on how the media has no idea how to deal with Trump’s shameless lying.

9) George Will’s take on the overly-sensitive students in recent college protests.  I could deal without Will’s smugness, but some more good examples of this all going too far.

10) John Cassidy on the latest pharmaceutical merger:

Read, in his statement explaining the proposal to merge with Allergen, said that it would help put Pfizer “on a more competitive footing within our industry.” This was a reference to the fact that other big pharma companies, such as AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, and Novartis, are headquartered in countries with lower corporate tax rates than the United States. However, there is scant evidence that being based in the United States has handicapped Pfizer or made it more difficult for the company to raise capital.
To the contrary, being based in the United States enables Pfizer to exploit the vast reservoirs of technical expertise that reside here, and to access federal support for scientific research. For example, according to the company’s Web site, it has dozens of collaborative projects with the National Institutes for Health. And being headquartered in the United States certainly hasn’t prevented Pfizer from making a lot of money. Over the past two years, the company has generated almost nineteen billion dollars in net profits.

11) What to do about those prosecutors who abuse their authority with no concern for Constitutional rights?  Prosecute them.  A thousand times, yes.

12) Nice piece from early-childhood expert (and Matt Damon’s mom!) on putting way too much emphasis on testing and academics at way too early an age.  Kind of depressing.

13) The highest bridge in the world.

14) Jamelle Bouie on why “fascist” is the most appropriate term for Donald Trump:

With that said, it is true that there are fascist movements, and it’s also true that when you strip their cultural clothing—the German paganism in Nazism, for example—there are common properties. Not every fascist movement shows all of them, but—Eco writes—“it is enough that one of them be present to allow fascism to coagulate around it.” Eco identifies 14, but for this column, I want to focus on seven.

They are: A cult of “action for action’s sake,” where “thinking is a form of emasculation”; an intolerance of “analytical criticism,” where disagreement is condemned; a profound “fear of difference,” where leaders appeal against “intruders”; appeals to individual and social frustration and specifically a “frustrated middle class” suffering from “feelings of political humiliation and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups”; a nationalist identity set against internal and external enemies (an “obsession with a plot”); a feeling of humiliation by the “ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies”; a “popular elitism” where “every citizen belongs to the best people of the world” and underscored by contempt for the weak; and a celebration of aggressive (and often violent) masculinity.

If you are so inclined, Bouie spells out how these apply to Trump.  But I think it is plenty obvious.

15) Not impressed by Mockingjay Part 2.  One movie would have been plenty sufficient.  More so, the source material just wasn’t that great.  Suzanne Collins came up with a terrific idea for The Hunger Games.  It was a great idea for one book, not three.

16) Nice long read in Wired on how humans got such big brains.

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