Quick hits (part II)

1) Would really like to see some rigorous studies of microdosing with LSD.  I think there is some real potential there.  Alas, all we are left with is lots of anecdotes– like Ayelet Waldman’s— thanks to good old schedule I.

2) Not all that surprisingly, if you want your kids to have safer sexual practices you should, you know, talk to them about sex.  Also, boys get left out of this a lot.

3) Farhad Manjoo on how Netflix is deepening our cultural divide:

Yet for a brief while, from the 1950s to the late 1980s, broadcast television served cultural, social and political roles far greater than the banality of its content would suggest. Because it featured little choice, TV offered something else: the raw material for a shared culture. Television was the thing just about everyone else was watching at the same time as you. In its enforced similitude, it became a kind of social glue, stitching together a new national identity across a vast, growing and otherwise diverse nation.

“What we gained was a shared identity and shared experience,” Mr. Strate said. “The famous example was Kennedy’s funeral, where the nation mourned together in a way that had never happened before. But it was also our experience watching ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘All in the Family’ that created a shared set of references that everyone knew.”

As the broadcast era changed into one of cable and then streaming, TV was transformed from a wasteland into a bubbling sea of creativity. But it has become a sea in which everyone swims in smaller schools.

4) Republican legislators in two states looking to abolish tenure at public universities.  Presumably, only a matter of time before NC legislators get this idea.

5) I saw “Silence” with David yesterday and we both really, really liked it.  Powerful and thought-provoking.  It certainly took it’s time, but I was never bored.

6) The real problem for teacher in NC says an NC teacher?  Not enough time.  I will totally buy that.

7) It’s Girl Scout Cookie time.  Loved this feature in the LA Times that lays out the differences in the cookies between the two bakeries.  I grew up loving “Samoas” and my wife grew up loving “Carmel Delites.”  This graphic shows that, clearly, Samoas are superior.

8) On Ivanka Trump’s fake feminism.

9) Loved this James Kwak piece on “economism” as applied to the minimum wage:

The argument against increasing the minimum wage often relies on what I call “economism”—the misleading application of basic lessons from Economics 101 to real-world problems, creating the illusion of consensus and reducing a complex topic to a simple, open-and-shut case. According to economism, a pair of supply and demand curves proves that a minimum wage increases unemployment and hurts exactly the low-wage workers it is supposed to help…

The real impact of the minimum wage, however, is much less clear than these talking points might indicate. Looking at historical experience, there is no obvious relationship between the minimum wage and unemployment: adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum was highest from 1967 through 1969, when the unemployment rate was below 4 percent—a historically low level. When economists try to tackle this question, they come up with all sorts of results. In 1994, David Card and Alan Krueger evaluated an increase in New Jersey’s minimum wage by comparing fast-food restaurants on both sides of the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border. They concluded, “Contrary to the central prediction of the textbook model … we find no evidence that the rise in New Jersey’s minimum wage reduced employment at fast-food restaurants in the state.”

10) Seven hard questions about health care reform that Democrats need to hold Republicans feet to the fire on.

11) The areas where both experts and the public agrees on effective gun control.  Hey, maybe give these a try!  Oh, right, Republican politicians are not in these charts.

12) Neither GRE’s nor undergraduate GPA appear to be particularly good measures of graduate school success.  Well, that makes things difficult.

13) The latest PS research on Voter ID and vote suppression.  This is important:

The proliferation of increasingly strict voter identification laws around the country has raised concerns about voter suppression. Although there are many reasons to suspect that these laws could harm groups like racial minorities and the poor, existing studies have been limited, with most occurring before states enacted strict identification requirements, and they have uncovered few effects. By using validated voting data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study for several recent elections, we are able to offer a more definitive test. The analysis shows that strict identification laws have a differentially negative impact on the turnout of racial and ethnic minorities in primaries and general elections. We also find that voter ID laws skew democracy toward those on the political right.

14) Saw some pretty strong liberal pushback against this NYT piece, but I think it is worth having a reasonable discussion over whether we should be subsidizing the purchasing of sugar soda through food stamps.  Maybe that opens a Pandora’s box, but it seems that we could probably all agree this is not something the government should be subsidizing.

15) Quirks and Quarks just did a whole show on mindfulness meditation.  This segment was the best explanation I’ve yet heard.


16) Good stuff from Roger Cohen:

Trump’s psyche is no great riddle. He’s a study in neediness. Adulation is what he craves; admonishment he cannot abide. Trafficking in untruths and conspiracies, he calls the press that he secretly venerates dishonest for pointing this out. That’s called transference. Soon he will have at his disposal far more potent weapons than Twitter to assuage his irascibility and channel his cruelty. It is doubtful that he will resist them over time. There is rational cause for serious alarm. If the world was anchored by America, it is about to be unmoored.

17) Gender bias in health care is a real problem.  How checklists can fix it.

18) Evan Osnos on the Senate confirmation process:

Trump is making an astonishing bet that he will be the first President in a quarter century to manage not to have a single nominee disqualified. And he is betting that the American people, having just elected the first modern President to refuse to release his tax returns, are, in effect, done with ethics. He is betting that, like his oft-cited prediction that he could shoot someone and not lose votes, virtually nothing that could come out after a nominee is confirmed will undermine his Presidency. He is betting, in effect, that we’re too dumb or too demoralized to care.

19) These fake books are so hilarious.

20) I may have posted this before, but if so, I just re-came across it.  I’ve been saying for years that free, widespread, encouraged IUD use is the best anti-poverty program we could have.  Jordan Weissman explains.




About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

6 Responses to Quick hits (part II)

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    #4 –
    First they gerrymandered and picked their own voters and we didn’t fight it effectively. Then they passed voter suppression laws targeting minorities and young people and we didn’t fight it strongly enough. Next they stripped women of the much of the choice to control their own bodies and we haven’t fought it effectively. Soon they will be busy filling the federal courts with those who support these actions and we may not be able to stop it.
    Now they are coming for the university faculties’ free speech which tenure guarantees and we……………..
    If you love the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, prove it. Act.
    Let’s get this one right!

  2. Jon K says:

    5) I went and saw “Silence” today. I was a bit surprised that a 4:15 showing in Potomac Mills area of Woodbridge only drew about 10 people to see this movie. I really liked the movie, but Scorsese needs an editor. The same story could have been told in no more than 2 hours. The torture got a bit repetitive. I thought the point had been made after the third or fourth crucifixion or burning at the stake but it just kept on happening. If I watch it again it will be at 1.25 or 1.4 speed. That said it really did hit on several really interesting points.

    Maybe because it’s because I am a Protestant, but I have never really understood the veneration of religious artifacts and images. Being forced to step on an image of Jesus wouldn’t be a problem for me or shake my faith in God. I would think that God would be more interested in what was in my mind and heart and not so much as interested in what I may be forced to do publicly. I thought it took way too long (and way too many bodies) for him to come to similar conclusions.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Right. I kept thinking “just step on it, God knows what’s in your heart!” But, clearly, in the Catholic culture of the time, the power of material symbols of the faith was super-super strong. That was not something that was at easy for them to do. They were clearly not thinking, “God knows what’s in my heart and doesn’t want me to be tortured.”

      • Jon K says:

        That’s for sure. I also felt conflicted towards completely thinking that the Japanese were completely wrong in their opposition to the peasants converting to the European religion. After all the priests were not just spreading religion. They were spreading a foreign language, foreign values, and were a clear threat to the existing order. Japan had legitimate reasons to resist European influence.

        I still thought that their methods were unnecessarily brutal, but I could see clear political reasons why they would respond that way.

  3. Jon K says:

    6) I found her article to be a bit whiny. Bi respect teaching as a profession and I think teachers should receive proper compensation. That being said, there aren’t many other jobs that come with a a 3 month vacation built in ever year. Also I have no sympathy for her call to Restore or protect salary incentives for earning an advanced degree, National Board Certification, and longevity status. Quite frankly, there have been many studies done that show none of these things contributes to quality teaching or better student outcomes. I strongly agree with a lot of research that casts doubt on the benefit of graduate degrees in education.

  4. Stefan says:

    Thanks for including the article by Zoltan Hajnal on the effects of voter ID. The Baker Institute did a study of registered non-voters in Texas Congressional District 23 in the 2014 election and found that the non-voters who thought that they lacked the requisite ID favored Pete Gallego, who lost his reelection bid to Will Hurd. The study is here: http://www.bakerinstitute.org/media/files/files/e0029eb8/Politics-VoterID-Jones-080615.pdf

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