Quick hits (part I)
February 18, 2017 3 Comments
1) Love this Wired feature on the challenges facing the NYT. I love the idea of it re-inventing itself as a premium subscriber service like HBO and Netflix. For the record, I think NYT, HBO, and Netflix are all terrific and worth paying for. (Though, “The Young Pope” please!)
2) Nick Kristoff on a stark, ignored, reality: husbands (and a hell of a lot of other things) are far more dangerous than terrorists.
3) John Oliver decide to take the message to Trump where he’ll see it– cable news ads.
4) I don’t doubt that those who have fought to remove smoking from public gathering places have overstated the health benefits of doing so, as argued in this extreme example of a #slatepitch. That said, I find it amusing that the piece does not even address the fact that most of us non-smokers (i.e., most of us Americans) strongly prefer to not be around noxious vapors fouling our air.
5) Interesting Op-Ed– what modern day Muslims should learn from Jesus.
6) Why is Trump so obsessed with apologies? Like so much else, it’s a simple dominance display for him:
For Trump, apologies aren’t about resolving conflict or fostering relationships or even setting the record straight. Like so much of what he does, they are about besting someone. Trump expresses his displeasure at how he has been treated; the offending party feels compelled to make amends. An apology that requires threats or twitter trolls to extract only highlights Trump’s superior strength all the more. Your criticisms of Trump may not have been wrong. You may not feel one bit bad about them. You may loathe and disdain him even more after apologizing. What matters to him is that you have had to publicly ask for his forgiveness. Which proves you are a total loser.
7) Zack Beauchamp takes a deep-dive into the utterly delusional world of “counter-jihadism” that is so influential with Trump’s own delusional worldview.
8) NYT pulling no punches in the lede on Pruitt’s confirmation.
The Senate on Friday confirmed Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency, putting a seasoned legal opponent of the agency at the helm of President Trump’s efforts to dismantle major regulations on climate change and clean water — and to cut the size and authority of the government’s environmental enforcer.
9) Advice to conservative college students from a formerly conservative professor.
10) Drum with more evidence for the lead-crime link.
11) Amanda Taub with a good piece on “the deep state” you’ve likely been hearing much about.
12) I got more enjoyment out of “why liberals are wrong about Trump” than anything I read all week. Just trust me and click the link. Seriously.
13) Peter Beinart on how much of the anti-Trump right has made peace with Trump:
It’s not deranged to worry that Trump may undermine liberal democracy. It’s deranged to think that leftist hyperbole constitutes the greater threat. Unfortunately, that form of Trump Derangement Syndrome is alive and well at National Review. And it helps explain why Republicans across Washington are enabling Trump’s assault on the institutions designed to restrain his power and uphold the rule of law.
It is inconvenient for National Review that the individual in government who now most threatens the principles it holds dear is not a liberal, but a president that most conservatives support. But evading that reality doesn’t make it any less true.
14) Raising the price of a $575 life-saving drug to $4500. So wrong. Pharmaceutical companies make life-saving drugs. Many pharmaceutical companies are also greedy and evil while they’re at it. Talk about preying upon human suffering.
15) John Cassidy on Republican plans to cut Medicaid:
Still, the Republican Party’s internal machinations are a secondary matter. The key point is that G.O.P. leaders are intent on ripping up a successful and affordable reform that helped fill a gaping hole in the social safety net. In the process, they will endanger the health of a lot of Americans who don’t have the resources to protect themselves and their families. And that’s shameful.
16) Why yes, there are some bad dudes when it comes to immigration. Unfortunately, it seems that some of these bad dudes are actually working for ICE.
17) More evidence for modern conservatism as white tribal politics.
18) I know you’ll be shocked to see evidence of how Trump tried to keep Black families out of his properties.
19) Terrific piece in Vox looking at (and speculating upon) the mating history of humans and neanderthals. This particular bit was new to me:
Siepel has also found evidence of an even earlier mating than those that took place around 50,000 years ago. In the fully sequenced Neanderthal genome published in 2014, he found some human genes dating back to 100,000 years ago. “Instead of finding Neanderthal segments in modern human genomes, we identified modern, human-like segments in one of the Neanderthal genome,” he says.
It goes to show these matings weren’t a one-time event in our history. (And it adds a wrinkle to the common story that humans left Africa around 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Human DNA found its way into Neanderthals 100,000 years ago, so there must have been an earlier human incursion into Europe. Those humans, though, did not survive.)
20) Democrats are now more inclined to embrace conspiracy theories. Why? Because conspiracy theories are for losers.
21) Doctors finally admit that lifestyle and exercise– not drugs– are the best treatment for lower back pain. I found this bit of particular interest:
Obesity, being overweight, smoking, depression, and anxiety have all been linked with lower back pain. But the cause is usually more complicated. “Our best understanding of low back pain is that it is a complex, biopsychosocial condition — meaning that biological aspects like structural or anatomical causes play some role, but psychological and social factors also play a big role,” said Chou, who wrote a big evidence review that helped inform the new ACP guideline.
For example, in patients who have nearly identical results from an imaging test like an MRI, those who are depressed or unsatisfied with their jobs tend to have worse back pain than people who aren’t, Chou said. Partly for this reason, doctors don’t generally recommend doing MRIs for acute episodes of low back pain, since they can lead to overtreatment — like surgery — that also won’t improve health outcomes.
As for the modestly annoying lower-back pain I began experiencing about 10 years ago… I started sleeping with a pillow under my hips (I sleep on my stomach) and it’s never been anything but a very occasional annoyance since.
22) Catherine Rampell on Republicans plans to completely gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It really is truly breathtaking how much Republicans are totally willing to screw over the little guy. There’s plenty of areas where I just disagree with Republicans, and I get that, but I really do not understand how people justify these types of positions.
23) Drum’s quasi fact-checking of Trump’s disaster press conference is so entertaining. My favorite part:
I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred. I don’t watch it any more…Well, you look at your show that goes on at 10 o’clock in the evening. You just take a look at that show. That is a constant hit…Now, I will say this. I watch it. I see it. I’m amazed by it.
Fact-check: Schrödinger’s cat. Trump both watches and doesn’t watch CNN.
24) Yeah, the modern research university really is built off the exploitation of adjuncts. But that’s because far too many people are willing to work for $3-4000 per class in the hopes that it will lead to somethhing good and permanent when it almost never, ever does. Hope springs eternal… And, yes, universities need to stop producing so many more PhD’s than there are decent jobs. Damn, perverse incentives.
25) Great Vox conversation with Gary Kasparov on Putin and Trump.