Quick hits (part I)

1) Our absurd levels of mass incarceration place a huge burden not only on the prisoners, but their families as well. And that includes a significant financial burden.

2) Really good Yglesias post on how Wall Street seems to hate decent wages for American workers.

3) China is taking all the damn fish out of the ocean:

Having depleted the seas close to home, Chinese fishermen are sailing farther to exploit the waters of other countries, their journeys often subsidized by a government more concerned with domestic unemployment and food security than the health of the world’s oceans and the countries that depend on them.

Increasingly, China’s growing armada of distant-water fishing vessels is heading to the waters of West Africa, drawn by corruption and weak enforcement by local governments. West Africa, experts say, now provides the vast majority of the fish caught by China’s distant-water fleet. And by some estimates, as many as two-thirds of those boats engage in fishing that contravenes international or national laws.

4) Terrific Wired article on genetics and pain.  Understanding some very rare genetic diseases may help us with better cures in the future.

5) The Post with three priorities to improve your life.  Not a bad list: more interpersonal interaction, easing up on the smartphone addiction, trying to find not just happiness, but meaning.

6) When Transgender men take testosterone, physical changes deepen their voice.  For those transitioning to a woman, no such luck.  A lot can be done with good speech therapy, but it’s hard work.  Probably wouldn’t hurt me to have a few sessions so that I’m not regularly called “mam” by strangers on the phone.

7) What I most liked about this NYT article about how maybe it’s better to fast before a workout based on a study of only 10 men, was how much the commenters ripped into the Times for even thinking about publishing a study based on only 10 men.

8) OMG, lunch shaming poor kids is just so awful.  I cannot believe that there are school districts that will literally take a kids lunch from them and throw it away!  Then again, free lunch is just going to teach these kids that government is a hammock.

9) Seth Masket on Three Myths of politics Trump is clearly rebutting, “Myth 1: Politics Is Easy and Most Politicians Are Lazy or Stupid…Myth 2: The Best Politicians Have the Least Experience…Myth 3: The Country Should Be Run Like a Business.”

10) Surprise, surprise, more evidence that dietary sodium is not a great villain.  Hooray, salt!

11) Some real numbers on all the massive voter fraud out there.

12) How Europe bans GMO food by avoiding decisions on their legality.

13) Basically a cartoon guide to motivated reasoning.  Pretty good stuff.  Will probably share with my students.

14) This bit in an Andrew Exum piece about Trump and Andrew Jackson drew me up short:

Now, may the Lord have mercy on me for this, but perhaps because I have lived in Washington, D.C., for the past several years, as I worshipped last weekend, I also saw something else in the pews: voters. These people—God-fearing Christians committed to racial reconciliation and social justice—should be among the voters for whom a multicultural Democratic Party is competing. [emphasis mine]

But one thing that shines through among many evangelical voters—as well as other, non-evangelical Trump supporters with whom I have spoken back home—is how turned off they are by the smug self-righteousness of contemporary progressive discourse.

Ummm, yeah, no.  If they were truly committed to racial reconciliation and social justice then they ought to be able to overcome a little cosmopolitan smugness to support the one political party that actually believes in these principles.

15) Dave Weigel with a nice piece on how the media just seems incapable of being fair to HRC.

16) McSweeney’s with the professor’s mantra for this time of year, “I would rather do anything else than grade your final papers.”

17) EJ Dionne rips the Republicans on the AHCA:

“This is who we are,” Ryan told his colleagues this week. “This will define us.”

Yes, it will. So please, Mr. Ryan, have the decency to stop giving those speeches in which you tell us about the depth of your concern about the poor and how you became interested in poverty “at a young age.” No one who would risk throwing so many poor people off health insurance with those enormous Medicaid reductions to score a political victory can claim any real interest in the welfare of the neediest Americans. Stick to tax cuts. At least you have convictions about those.

18) Dallas police officer (rightly) charged with murder.  This simply does not happen in a million years without body cameras.  Body cameras are not a panacea, but they are a step in the right direction.

19) Love this quote from Milbank on Comey:

If Comey is mildly nauseated by the thought that he had “some impact,” he should have his face over the toilet bowl when he considers that he handed Trump the presidency. Certainly, there were many factors behind Clinton’s loss. But in an election this close there can be no doubt that Comey’s action was enough to swing the outcome.

20) And, while we’re at it, if you doubt that Comey should be puking his guts out, you have Nate Silver’s very thorough analysis to contend with.

21) I liked this Op-ed arguing against a pro-choice litmus test for the Democratic party.  I don’t think there should be any single litmus test.

Equating non-support of abortion to a total abandonment of women’s rights, the way a pointed headline in New York Magazine did last month, ignores the reality that women’s rights should include far more than that — from an end to pervasive sexual harassment to broader support for mothers. And yes, economic factors may play a role for many women deciding whether to obtain abortions. But suggesting, as did ThinkProgress’s Bryce Covert in a recent New York Times op-ed, that an unyielding abortion rights stance is the only way to ensure women’s ability to achieve financial security confuses cause and effect.

Equating progressivism with being pro-abortion rights assumes that providing a single, simple solution — making it easier to terminate pregnancies — is worth more effort than addressing the root causes of the problem. An equally if not more progressive strategy might focus instead on addressing the lack of maternal leave and child-care policies, demanding a living wage, and pushing back against an economic system that penalizes women for having and rearing children in the first place. And while one might argue that Democrats are already doing all of the above, the willingness to excommunicate those who disagree with one strategy even if they adhere to all others makes it clear which issue matters the most.

22) Solid Jamelle Bouie piece on Trump and the Civil War.

 23) Scientific American uses science and typologies to explain why some people don’t return their shopping carts.  That’s a little unnecessary.  I’ll tell you in four words– they are selfish jerks.

24) Being cited by Nate Cohn in nytimes.com— I’d call that a good day.  One of the best semi-random emails I ever sent was to Seth Masket about the 2010 health care vote.

But the Affordable Care Act did a lot of damage to the House Democrats who voted it into law.

study by the political scientists Brendan Nyhan, Eric McGhee, John Sides, Seth Masket and Steven Greene showed that the Democrats who voted against the A.C.A. outperformed those who voted for it by a net 10 to 15 points in 2010. (Mr. Nyhan is an Upshot contributor.) Our estimates are lower, at around 5 to 10 points, in part because many of the Democratic A.C.A. opponents fared particularly well in the 2008 elections, but it’s a considerable effect either way. (Our estimates are based on the results of recent congressional and presidential elections by district, member ideology and whether the candidates voted for the A.C.A.)…

These results tell a pretty clear story about who could be hurt the most this midterm: the Republicans who ran well ahead of the national party in 2016 but who voted for the A.H.C.A. and were subsequently seen as no different from Donald J. Trump. On the other hand, a similar Republican who voted against the Republican plan might have just taken a modest step toward electoral survival.

25) Catherine Rampell nails it again.  Perfectly captured in the headline, “What do Bigfoot and moderate Republicans have in common?”

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