Single issue voter

Saw this on FB today– too good not to share.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Used to love Pat Conroy novels.  The first author I read where I really appreciated the language.  Sorry to hear of his passing.

2) How a college student is giving away high-quality, free, political photographs and getting the professionals up in arms on the matter.

3) Vox with a comprehensive look at the American public’s knowledge of abortion (short version: lots of misperceptions.).

4) Clarence Thomas finally spoke up this week.  To defend the gun rights of domestic abusers.

Justice Thomas has a record of near absolutism on the Second Amendment. Last December, while the nation was still mourning the mass killing of more than a dozen people at a facility for the developmentally disabled in San Bernadino, California — a crime that was committed with assault rifles — Thomas penned a dissenting opinion suggesting that assault rifle bans are unconstitutional.

Indeed, it now appears that Thomas believes that the Second Amendment should be read so broadly that even domestic abusers must be allowed to own guns. And that he is so committed to this cause that it is the only thing that he’s spoken about in ten years of Supreme Court hearings.

5) How twitter is working to combat ISIS.

6) Chris Christie embodies why Americans hate politicians.

7) Laurence Tribe with a Scalia takedown.

Scalia’s ability to bring the Constitution’s text, structure, and history to the very center of the nation’s conversation through elegant and colorful prose should never be confused with the idea that his “originalist” methods actually served the disciplining and constraining functions he attributed to them. Nor should we permit his captivating rhetoric to seduce us into accepting the judgments he claimed those methods required him to reach. I see him, with great respect, as a worthy adversary—but an adversary all the same—of the just and inclusive society that our Constitution and laws should be interpreted to advance rather than impede. Method is insufficient to determine, much less eclipse, outcome when the Court confronts the most significant and difficult questions that the Constitution and federal statutes leave open.

Because ours is a constitutional democracy and not a purely majoritarian system, I have never been convinced that constraining the judiciary is a constitutional end in itself—much less an end to be valued above all others. But even if it were, depicting Scalia’s interpretive methods as more rigorous than others—in the sense that they better restrict judges by rendering their substantive visions of justice and decency less relevant—is an exercise in self-delusion: even in Scalia’s own opinions, text, context, and history were often far less determinate than he liked to assert.

8) The horrible president at Mount St. Mary’s finally quits.

9) Re-thinking how we think about cancer.

10) Chait on Trump and the GOP:

Watching Trump divert those sentiments away from the traditional right-wing formula has admirably awakened right-wing elites to their ugly underside. Still, the fact that these qualities continue to reside within traditional Republican politics has created an odd split-brained response. Conservatives depict Trump as a cancer in the Republican body politic, ignoring its obvious spread elsewhere. Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens pleads, “it’s enough to fault Barack Obama for being a lousy president without also accusing him of being a sworn enemy of the United States.” Of course, Marco Rubio, the candidate Stephens touts in his column as the preferable alternative, has also depicted Obama as not merely misguided but the mastermind of a secret and deliberate plot to weaken the United States. (“Let’s dispel with the fiction …” etc.) Max Boot denounces Trump for advocating the reinstitution of torture without acknowledging that Rubio advocates the same (or that Boot is advising Rubio on foreign policy). A Washington Examiner editorial frets that Trump “usually avoids specifics, but the few things he has discussed in any detail fall apart upon inspection,” but the same can be said of the mainstream Republican field, which has embraced a fantastic combination of enormous tax cuts, defense spending increases, a balanced-budget amendment, no cuts in retirement benefits for anybody 55 or over, and Obamacare repeal without a detailed alternative.

When figures like George W. Bush and Sarah Palin brushed aside detailed policy critiques as the picayune obsessions of Washington insiders, Republicans cheered their vapid anti-intellectualism as the righteous populist folk wisdom. It has been a bracing experience for conservative elites to behold when the forces they have successfully harnessed for so long shake free and turn against them. Conservatives are right that Trump does not represent their ideas perfectly, or even very well. What he represents instead is the actual constituency for those ideas.

11) Nice to know that in Texas, voters want to put people with no connection to reality whatsoever on the state board of education.

12) Very good one from Benjamin Wittes on Trump as a national security threat:

I ask this question not with the snarky intent of landing a political punch, but in deadly earnest. Never before in my lifetime has either political party been led by a man with such an unusual combination of—from a national security perspective, anyway—terrifying liabilities. Individually, each would be grounds for concern. In combination with one another and as embodied in a single political figure of extreme charisma and proven attractiveness to a significant swath of the electorate, they are a toxic brew that I have no doubt makes this country less secure. They do this, I suspect, even if Trump is not ultimately elected President but merely becomes the Republican nominee..

This is Trump: promising outcomes without programs, promising to do by force of personality and will what a country cannot do through policy or democratic deliberation. It is a lie in all spheres. But in the national security space, it is a particularly pernicious lie. Our tools are too dangerous for cults of personality. Our problems are too hard to wish away with magical thinking. The stakes are too high to permit magic to eclipse persuasive thought and analysis. And the relationship between our tools and tyranny is too intimate to allow demagogues anywhere near the decisions the national security apparatus has to make—or the machineries with which it makes them.

13) Saletan on how Rubio is confused on why Trump’s racism is bad.

14) To win the general election, Trump would likely need the support of almost 70% of white men.

15) I was happy with the GRE way back in the day, but then again, I am a white male who scored very well.  Apparently, though, there’s a real problem in this regard:

ETS studies have also concluded the GRE particularly underpredicts for women over 25, who represent more than half of female test-takers. Research from as far back as the 1960s leads experts to believe that the inconsistencies in GRE performance trace to a combination of factors including access to coaching, a disparity in educational opportunities that better prepare some students for the test, the content of the test, the way students are tested, and even the student’s own insecurities regarding race and gender. Sternberg puts it bluntly: “The GRE is a proxy for asking ‘Are you rich?’ ‘Are you white?’ ‘Are you male?’” [emphasis mine]

It’s this aspect of the test that most troubles Julie R. Posselt, an assistant professor of higher education at the University of Michigan and the author of Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping. “The GRE adds information, but it is a noisy signal that says little about a student’s ability to be successful as a scholar. Yet in many programs it’s treated as a very significant piece of information. And unfortunately, requiring very high GRE scores for admissions undermines diversity,” says Posselt, who recently studied the admissions process at 10 top-ranked doctoral graduate programs.

16) James Fallows on what John Kasich should have said at a recent debate (emphases in original):

John Kasich’s fundamental argument for staying in the campaign boils down to:I’m the sane one. I’m the one with a heart. I’m the one who cares about the actual machinery of legislation. I’m the one who can get something done. The chance to show that he really meant it came with the question, to which he could have said something like:

Look, I’m a loyal Republican. I’ve given my working life to this party, because in the Congress and in the State House I’ve seen what sensible conservatism can mean for our people. The party of Lincoln and of Eisenhower and of Reagan, the party of [fill in the next three lines of “morning-in-Amerca”-ism] has always stood for liberty and opportunity at home, and for strength and dignity abroad.

And it’s precisely because I care so much about those principles, and because I have so much respect for the generations of Republican men and women across this country who have worked so hard to make them a reality, that I will not stand for the hi-jacking and perversion of our party by someone who has just happened upon it as his latest vehicle of convenience, and who represents nothing that Lincoln or Eisenhower or Reagan would support.

Because I care so much for the Republican Party, I will not support someone who is the antithesis of everything it represents. I will work as hard as I can to keep Donald Trump from being our nominee — and I cannot support him as a potential president.

17) On a very similar note, Saletan on the unwillingness of the other candidates to truly stand up to Trump’s dangerous extremism:

Trump answered: “They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.” He added, “We should go tougher than waterboarding.” Baier repeated his question: “But targeting terrorists’ families?” Trump replied: “I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader. … If I say, ‘Do it,’ they’re going to do it.”

This wasn’t a gaffe. It was a casual promise of dictatorship. [emphases mine] For a response, Baier turned to Cruz, the GOP’s self-styled constitutionalist. But Cruz raised no objection. He shrugged that “yelling and cursing at people doesn’t make you a tough guy,” and he assured the audience that he would be tougher than Trump. Rubio faulted Trump, but only for ignorance: “He was asked a question about the issue of commanders not following his lead on killing the family of terrorists. And his answer basically was, ‘If I tell them to do it, they’re going to do it.’ Now, that’s just not true.” Rubio could have said this was a good thing and that Trump’s threat was rash. Instead, the senator’s only complaint was that Trump couldn’t do what he promised.

At the end of the debate, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich pledged to support Trump if he won the nomination. But their moral silence about his answer to Baier was far more damning. Why has Trump gotten this far? Because no one in his party has the guts to stand up to him.

18) Nice Vox post explaining the surprisingly interesting history of Trump, the “short-fingered vulgarian.

19) a nice list of things that suggest that we really are doing pretty well here in America, despite what certain short-fingered vulgarians say.

20) Love this Economist article that takes a look at The Party Decides, the 2016 campaign, and the rising influence of political science in political journalism.  Read it!!

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