Quick hits (part II)

1) German Lopez with a nice post on the Justine Damond shooting and race in America.

2) The hazards of meritocracy— new study find that believing life is fair can lead disadvantaged kids to worse behavior.  Presumably, because life is not fair.

3) NYT article on dogs at the beach.  I love that dogs are allowed at Topsail Island where we go every summer.  This year we spent the whole week without a single bit of evidence of irresponsible dog owners failing to clean up.

4) Love Jane Brody’s take on the fallacy of “better safe than sorry” when it comes to cancer screening.  Largely, because the “better safe than sorry” so often leads people astray:

Few may realize that ill-advised screening tests come at a price, and not just a monetary one that adds many billions to the nation’s health care bill. Every screening test has a rate of false positive results – misleading indications of a possible cancer that requires additional, usually invasive, testing with its own rate of complications…

A primary reason: The widespread belief that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Why take a chance that a potentially lethal cancer will go undetected until it’s too late for a cure? Doing something is often more appealing than doing nothing. Many who think this way consider only the beneficial “what if’s” and not the possible downsides of cancer screening tests.

5) These photoshops of old-school teen book covers are hilarious and definitely NFSW.

6) Sarah Binder with the lessons of the ACA repeal failure.

7) Keith Gaddie in praise of McCain on FB:

Every game theory instructor in the US is delighted with McCain’s maneuver. It conveys timing, information, mover advantage, and shows the iterative nature of true politics — that these are not single play, one-shot events.

And, to the frustration of those who complain about not giving Sens. Murkowski and Collins their due, a gaming approach must contend with crediting McCain. He did vote to advance the bill, but to a point where it could be dealt a fatal blow. He eased leadership concerns. They were banking on a 50-50 whip count with Pence to tie-break.

Then, with every other vote cast, he stuck a political shiv in the ribs of Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and the majority. He held his vote until it had the most power. The leadership would have held the bill if a third Republican woman was a nay, or if McCain was accounted for in the whip count as a nay.

McCain was freaking Russell Case, with one last good rocket, and he punched it where it did the most damage at just the right moment.

8) Rich people are, on average, worse human beings.  Seriously, the evidence is clear.  Our society used to recognize this fact but doesn’t really any more.

9) Nice to see that plenty of police departments recognize just how wrong Trump is on issues of police brutality even if the morons behind him cheering don’t.

10) Nice Julia Azari on partisanship in elections versus governing.

11) Yes, I’m with Sessions and Trump’s DOJ on this.  As much as people may wish that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protected employment based on sexual orientation there’s just no fair reading of the law to make that case.   Words have meaning.  Do I think sexual orientation should be protected?  Hell, yeah, so let’s work to pass a law to do that.  Not pretend that one written in 1964 to protect women (Title VII) part does so.

12) Eight positive thinking skills which social science says will improve your life:

■ Recognize a positive event each day.

■ Savor that event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it.

■ Start a daily gratitude journal.

■ List a personal strength and note how you used it.

■ Set an attainable goal and note your progress.

■ Report a relatively minor stress and list ways to reappraise the event positively.

■ Recognize and practice small acts of kindness daily.

■ Practice mindfulness, focusing on the here and now rather than the past or future.

13) Steven Pearlstein says this is the beginning of the end of Trump’s presidency.

14) Paul Waldman on how Republicans treat their voters like morons (because it works so well).

What’s truly remarkable isn’t that a bunch of cynical politicians thought they could ride their base voters’ anger into control of Congress by lying to them about what they could actually accomplish; it’s that their voters actually believed it. And then those voters got even angrier when it turned out that the president had the ability to veto bills passed by a Congress controlled by the other party. Who knew! So instead of looking for a presidential candidate who would treat them like adults, they elected Donald Trump, a man who would pander to their gullibility even more.

15) Steve Benen on how Eric Cantor— now that he’s out of office– admits to how Republican politicians lie to their voters.

16) Jim Newell argues that most Republican politicians didn’t even really want the repeal and replace:

Did any Republicans in Congress actually want to “repeal Obamacare” on the policy merits? Certainly not the moderates, even though they too had villianized the law. The rank and file are just sheep, willing to vote for whichever bill the leadership tells them to. Obamacare repeal was never an animating spiritual force. It was mostly a bloc of conservatives in both chambers—the Freedom Caucus in the House, and Sens. Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz in the Senate—who wanted to do away with the policy architecture that Obamacare installed, instead of just reaping the political benefits of opposing it. And that’s just not enough people.

Despite the aura around it, Obamacare, in its individual market reforms, is essentially just the idea that sick people should be able to purchase quality insurance at roughly the same price as healthy people. All of the law’s regulations, carrots, and sticks—guaranteed issue, community rating, essential health benefits, the individual mandate, subsidies, single risk pools, etc.—were put in place to make such a market feasible. To “repeal Obamacare” is to segregate sick people from healthy people, so that the healthy are not subsidizing the sick.

It turns out, most people don’t really want to do this. Which is why, in each chamber, when the conservative bloc would put forth a version of an amendment that would truly “repeal Obamacare,” it was met with a revolt from the rest of the party.


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