Quick hits (part I)

1) More evidence of the ongoing damage of environmental lead.  As Brendan Nyhan says (and Drum, of course):, “Can’t believe lead removal and mitigation isn’t a first-order policy concern.”  Yep.

2) Ed Yong on the evolution of beauty in animals, and the always-fascinating story of duck sex.

3) Pretty sure my undergrads could tear apart this pretty anemic “rich people always get better stuff” defense our Republican health care.

4) Economists who believe in Trump’s approach to supply side economics (tax cuts pay for themselves through greater economic growth) = economists who misread the question.

5) The Russian experiment to tame foxes is so fascinating and deserves the wider audience this book should bring it.

6) I hope it’s actually good, because I’m pretty sure I’m going to see Blade Runner 2049 no matter what.

7) How the damn anti-vaxxers created a measles outbreak in Minneapolis.

8) Yascha Mounk throws a glass of cold water on happiness over Macron’s win:

But while it’s only natural to be relieved, this is no time to get complacent. On the contrary, there are four reasons why the triumphalist narrative that is already taking hold in the aftermath of the French elections is understating the populist threat to liberal democracy…

Finally, and most important, a lot of the commentary on the rise of populism is treating the success of candidates such as Trump as though they were the result of a mysterious virus that might subside just as quickly as it spread. But to make this argument is to close our eyes to the fact that the current challenge to the political system has been steadily growing over time—which suggests that it has deep, structural causes.

9) I presume I missed this two years ago, but nice to see Columbia Journalism Review give credit to the terrific (and incredibly rare) state politics coverage from our local TV station, WRAL.

10) So, somehow I had never read the famous 1948 short story, “The Lottery.”  Alexandra Petri has, and she has a lot of fun with it.  Well worth reading both.

11) Will Saletan with all the ways Republicans are trying to defend the AHCA.  A lot of explanation that really comes down to one thing: lie.  

12) Catherine Rampell makes the case that Trump’s policies are basically waging a war on Millennials.

13) Warren Buffett appreciates the biggest long term threat to our economy– health care:

Mr. Buffett, in a remarkably blunt and pointed remark, implicitly rebuked his fellow chief executives, who have been lobbying the Trump administration and Washington lawmakers to lower corporate taxes.

In truth, Mr. Buffett said, a specter much more sinister than corporate taxes is looming over American businesses: health care costs. And chief executives who have been maniacally focused on seeking relief from their tax bills would be smart to shift their attention to these costs, which are swelling and swallowing their profits.

It was clarifying to hear Mr. Buffett frame things this way. The need for corporate tax relief has become the lodestar of the corner office, with C.E.O.s rhapsodizing over President Trump’s plan to try to stimulate growth by cutting tax rates for businesses.

14) The key to Trump’s win… white turnout up; Black turnout down:

15) With Comey, it’s easy to forget the mess that is Michael Flynn and Trump’s failure to fire him after he knew he was compromised by the Russians.

16) In no surprise at all, cultural anxiety– not economic concerns– where key in white working class voting for Trump.  German Lopez with summary of PRRI report:

The new survey, by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) for the Atlantic, focused on white working-class voters (those without a college education or salaried jobs), who were part of the key demographic behind Trump’s rise. It looked at how much of their support for Trump correlated with, among other factors, “fears about cultural displacement” — a polite way of describing fears of immigrants from other countries and people of other races.

PRRI concluded: “White working-class voters who say they often feel like a stranger in their own land and who believe the U.S. needs protecting against foreign influence were 3.5 times more likely to favor Trump than those who did not share these concerns.”  [emphasis mine]

17) This interactive dialect map is from 2013 and I probably shared it then, but a friend recently posted on FB and it is so amazing how accurate this is.  It pegged me to Arlington, VA– just miles from my childhood home of Springfield, VA.

18) Good thing Jessica Colotl has had her DACA status revoked and is being sent back to Mexico.  Just the kind of person who is ruining this country.  And, oh my, this 60 Minutes story about the woman married to an illegal immigrant who voted for Trump because she didn’t think her husband was a “bad hombre.”  Ugh.

19) Dylan Matthews on how liberals can improve the tax code.

20) Okay, I really don’t know enough history on the matter to say “worst Attorney General ever,” but now Sessions wants to re-up harsher punishments on low-level drug offenders.

21) Very much enjoyed Friedersdorf’s practical political advice for liberals.

22) David Leonhardt on how the French media got the leaks right and American media didn’t:

The two cases obviously are not identical. (And van Kote wasn’t criticizing American journalism; the criticisms are mine.) But they are similar enough to say that the French media exercised better, more sober judgment than the American media.

This issue isn’t going away. Our digital world ensures that the private information of public figures, and not-so-public ones, will be released again in the future.

The media cannot always ignore that information, tempting as it may seem. But it also should not pretend that the only two options are neglect and sensationalism. There is a middle ground, one where journalistic judgment should prioritize news over the whiff of news.

23) The Census is important.  The director quitting in protest is not good.

24) The 13-year old Spanish girls soccer team that beat all the boys.  At younger ages, there’s really no reason girls teams shouldn’t be able to beat boys.  13 is probably about the last age this could happen.

25) The nationalist/populist right can only do as well as the center-right will let it.  In France, that was a huge loss.  In the U.S., the mainstream right gave it the presidency.

26) Congratulations to EMG (or actually, EGW now) on her lovely wedding yesterday evening.  My guess is she’s not spending her post-wedding morning catching up on quick hits– but she better get to it.

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