Photo of the day

This image of the Oscars audience at the moment of the all-time epic screw-up is pretty priceless.  Especially Matt Damon and the Rock:

The stunned Oscars ceremony audience after learning that "Moonlight" and not the previously announced "La La Land" had won the best picture award. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The stunned Oscars ceremony audience after learning that “Moonlight” and not the previously announced “La La Land” had won the best picture award. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Why I know so few smokers

It’s always fun talking to my kids about “back in my day.”  Like when people smoked in restaurants.  Or, improbably and horribly given the recycled air, on airplanes.  Anyway, I was telling David about the significant and ongoing decline in smoking and found this nice collection of charts.  I think this one of smoking by education level is most interesting:

Given that most everybody I know has an undergrad or grad degree (or, is at least well on their way to the first), not surprising that– thankfully— I know hardly any smokers.

Quick hits (part II)

1) I think there are some bad dudes in the border patrol and they’re out of control under Trump.

2) Betsy DeVos on how college faculty are indoctrinating:

“The faculty, from adjunct professors to deans, tell you what to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think. They say that if you voted for Donald Trump, you’re a threat to the university community,” read the remarks. “But the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights of people with whom you disagree.”

3) On efforts to build a better battery.  Hopefully, one of these approaches will work, because the slow pace of battery development is holding us back.

4) Men who exercise a ton have worse sex lives.  Too obsessed with exercise?

5) I love playing with fire and would happily teach my kids to do so, but they’re too afraid.

6) Jedidiah Purdy on North Carolina’s lessons for the anti-Trump resistance.

7) Politico story on how Trump’s staff has to make sure he seems plenty of praise in the media.  We have a toddler for a president.

8) Love the operation to fill the CPAC convention with Russian “Trump” flags.

9) Not that we’ll actually do this, but, yeah, it probably would be a great idea to teach school kids about the realities of death.

10) Raise your hand if you want to be treated by a doctor that’s been awake for more than a day.  Well, we may be going back to it:

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education — the professional body charged with overseeing the nation’s physician training programs is poised to eliminate the 16-hour limit on work shifts for first-year resident physicians (referred to as interns) that it implemented in 2011. It proposes allowing interns to return to working extreme shifts of 28 hours — twice each week…

Despite these flaws, those within the medical community opposing work-hour limits have latched onto this study and have pressured the ACGME to again allow the 28-hour shifts. They argue that handoffs of care between doctors at change of shift are unsafe and that shortening shifts — which results in more handoffs — could counterbalance any benefit of reducing fatigue. However, studies lookingdirectly at this issue have found the 16-hour shift system to be much safer overall. While botched handoffs are an important source of medical error, the solution to poor handoffs is not to avoid them, but to improve them.

11) Meanwhile, bad hospital design makes us sicker.  Naturally, Europeans do this better.

12) Liberals amok?  Bestsy DeVos has a lot she wants to do as Secretary of Education.  I don’t agree with it, but that’s a reality.  Does the New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead expect her to resign a week into her term over the issue of transgender kids in school bathrooms?

13) This is fun– totally unbiased survey on the failing mainstream media.

14) My colleague and friend, Richard Clerkin, on the foolishness of repealing that Johnson amendment that prevents non-profits from making political endorsements.

15) I thought I had blogged about Yglesias‘ excellent take on Achen and Bartels’ Democracy for Realists back when Yglesias wrote, “This is the best book to help you understand the wild 2016 campaign” back in October.  But, maybe I forgot to.  Or maybe DJC forgot that I did, because he just sent me an email with a link to it.  Either way… big oversight if I didn’t share before, and if I did, it’s worth recommending again, because it’s really, really good.

16) And, while we’re at it, DJC also strongly recommends “How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next.”  Two less quick hits for him to read on Sunday.

The declining authority of statistics – and the experts who analyse them – is at the heart of the crisis that has become known as “post-truth” politics. And in this uncertain new world, attitudes towards quantitative expertise have become increasingly divided. From one perspective, grounding politics in statistics is elitist, undemocratic and oblivious to people’s emotional investments in their community and nation. It is just one more way that privileged people in London, Washington DC or Brussels seek to impose their worldview on everybody else. From the opposite perspective, statistics are quite the opposite of elitist. They enable journalists, citizens and politicians to discuss society as a whole, not on the basis of anecdote, sentiment or prejudice, but in ways that can be validated. The alternative to quantitative expertise is less likely to be democracy than an unleashing of tabloid editors and demagogues to provide their own “truth” of what is going on across society.

You know me, give me data, or give me death.

17) Rob Christensen on how NC Republicans have so ruined the NC brand (and been so much dumber than Republicans in neighboring states):

But neighboring Republican governors, while more circumspect in their language, have run as fast as they can away from job-killing legislation similar to HB2.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal last year vetoed a bill that critics said would have curtailed the rights of Georgia’s LGBT community. “I do not think we have to discriminate against anyone to protect the faith-based community in Georgia, of which I and my family have been part of for all of our lives,” Deal said.

Nikki Haley, then South Carolina’s governor and now U.N. ambassador, last year said a bathroom bill was not needed.

“I don’t believe it’s necessary,” Haley said. “There’s not one instance that I’m aware of. When we look at our situation, we’re not hearing of anybody’s religious liberties that are being violated, and we’re again not hearing any citizens that are being violated in terms of freedom. Like it or not, South Carolina is doing really well when it comes to respect and when it comes to kindness and when it comes to acceptance. For people to imply it’s not, I beg to differ.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam helped defeat legislation last year that would bar transgender students in public schools from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity rather than their birth certificate.

“Personally, I am not hearing about problems out in the districts,” Haslam said. “I’m hearing that our school boards have figured out to how to adjust to each situation that arises, and to date, I’m not hearing parents say we have a problem in our schools today.”

In most of these Southern states it was the political clout of the business community and the sports world – the political mainstream – that defeated efforts of conservative evangelicals, talk radio/social media and others aligned with the political right who have used scare tactics to paint false pictures of hulking men invading women’s bathrooms and lockers.

Yep.  It’s not like the business community doesn’t have clout in NC.  I still don’t quite get how they were dumb enough to get totally rolled by the hayseed social conservatives.

18) Ezra Klein on how Trump is especially dangerous when he’s losing.

19) Good David Brooks column on the anti-immigration stupidity of the GOP.

20) When it comes to immigration enforcement, I’m increasingly of the opinion that there’s a lot of power-trip types who have self-selected into these agencies and who know feel totally emboldened thanks to Trump.  A couple examples.

21) Motivated reasoning is so strong.  Fun and depressing take at what happens when you confront conservative activists with the fact that Trump is spending way more on travel than Obama did.

22) Ted Lowi was a hell of a political scientist.  And super charming and personable when I got to hang out with him at a reception about 10 years ago.

We’re #1

I very much enjoyed this Kevin Drum post about where he goes for data sources.  I use OECD data all the time, but I usually use do something like a google image search on “OECD health care spending per capita.”  Thus, I did not realize there was a really cool OECD data portal.  I searched on “health outcomes” just for fun, and this came up.


Yeah, we’re the worst, but we’re not a crazy outlier.  That said, damn are they doing something right in Japan and Korea.  Surely, there’s got to be something we can learn from them.

Anyway, more cool charts in the future now that I’ve found this!

Best health care article ever.

Seriously.  As long-time readers of this blog know, I find the science, and social science, of human medicine absolutely fascinating.  I’ve been reading articles and books on the subject my entire adult life.  David Epstein’s recent tour de force in Pro Publica is simply amazing.  Ostensibly focused on the fact that so many doctors don’t actually follow evidence-based guidelines in treatment, it addresses cognitive biases in doctors, patients, the politics of health care, the influence of big Pharma, society’s dramatic mis-understanding of how much health is about lifestyle and public health, the awesomeness of NNT (number needed to treat), and more.  Your mileage may vary, but for me, it’s as if somebody said “write an article on all the stuff in health care and medicine that Steve Greene finds fascinating.”

It’s the weekend.  You’ve got time.  Just read it.

Photo of the day

From a Wired gallery of amazing birds:

Red Canary, Canary Islands.  Luke Stephenson.  

Where’d the 2016 Gender Gap go?

Actually, it was really big.  That said, probably not as big as a lot of people were expecting.  My friend Barry Burden (and colleagues) with a nice piece on this in the latest issue of the Forum.  Some highlights:

The reality of the 2016 election did not match these expectations. Although men and women continued to vote for different parties on average, exit polls showed that 54% of women and 41% of men voted for Clinton, a gender gap of 13 points. As Figure 1 shows, this disparity between the sexes is larger than gaps observed in previous elections, by not by much. It is only three points larger than the gap in 2012 and just two points larger than it was in 2000. 5 Rather than a dramatic break with prior elections resulting from the Clinton-Trump face-off, 2016 represents the continuation of a gender divide that has slowly expanded in recent decades…

Partisanship aside, popular commentary on the gender gap in 2016 also overlooked what political scientists know about the issue areas where men and women disagree. Although politicos and journalists pay a great deal of attention to the politics of gender, gender in the electorate itself does not form as strong of a partisan cleavage as do social characteristics such as race, ethnicity, and religiosity. Despite the prominence of “women’s issues” such as abortion rights and birth control access, public opinion scholars have long observed men and women to have fairly similar attitudes on these issues on average. Instead, the “issue content” of the gender gap – where it exists at all – falls more strongly along social welfare policy, economics, and foreign policy, as well as the relative salience given by men and women to these issue areas (Chaney, Alvarez, and Nagler 1998; Manza and Brooks 1998; Kaufmann and Petrocik 1999; Box-Steffensmeier, De Boef, and Lin 2004; Kaufmann 2006)…

Gender was a central factor in the 2016 campaign. How could a contest between a hyper-masculine misogynist and the first female major party candidate not be? Yet expectations for a “Grand Canyon” sized gender gap were not met in large part because they were out of step with previous scholarship on the gender gap and scholarship on partisan voting behavior more broadly. The gender gap in vote choice from past elections already reflected gender differences in party preferences and in policy views, broadly speaking. And due to the recent growth in the constraint between partisanship and discrete issue preferences, neither partisanship nor voters’ issue preferences are manipulable in the way that journalistic conjectures often assume.

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