Quick hits (part II)

1) ESPN football broadcaster is giving it up– can no longer be complicit in a sport that damages so many brains.

2) Google vs. progressive thinktank.  Google wins.

3) How Waffle House prepares for natural disaster rapid-response.

4) Charles Pierce (again) on Harrvey:

This is a result of neglect, not on the part of this administration, for which neglect is a business plan, but on the part of all of us. We allowed citizenship to decay to the point that we now do not recognize the most fundamental truth of the American experiment: that The Government is Us. It is not Them. The creation of a political commonwealth is ongoing and it starts anew, over and over again, whether we participate in it or not, because somebody always will. Pericles warned us eons ago, when he warned citizens that we may have no interest in politics, but that politics always will have an interest in us. Our ignorance of this fundamental fact is the reason we now find ourselves in a situation in which a political calamity has to address a meteorological catastrophe. Harvey’s giving the Houston the high water, but we’ve all in our own way given it the hell.

5) Statues of famous people “don’t send any message”??!!  Drum asks, of George Leef, “where does National Review find these people.”  NC’s own conservative thinktank.  And, I have served on the NC Civil Rights Commission with him.  You might be interested to know that state-level civil rights commissions are set up to include voices of those who aren’t really a big fan of civil rights.

6) Time to ditch the concept of “100 year flood“?

That’s no surprise to experts, who say the concept of the “100-year flood” is one of the most misunderstood terms in disaster preparedness. In the wake of catastrophic flooding on the Texas coast, the media has been workinghard to explain the termturning out dozens of articles explaining that a “100-year flood” is not a flood that you should expect to happen only once every 100 years. Instead, it refers to a flood that has a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year. Over the course of a 30-year mortgage, a house in a 100-year floodplain has a 26 percent chance of being inundated at least once.1

Stories that emphasize this fact are “doing the Lord’s work,” said Wesley Highfield, professor of marine sciences at Texas A&M University at Galveston. But there are still more holy offices to perform. The concept of using a “100-year flood” as a benchmark for risk isn’t just misunderstood; it obscures fundamental statistical problems in how we assess flood risks — problems that can lead to residents and homeowners believing themselves to live in a zone of safety that isn’t there. It may be time for us to find a different way of evaluating that risk altogether.

7) Was recently reminded by a student of this nice New Yorker piece, “why facts don’t change our minds.

8) I’m shocked, shocked the Florida State fired the graduate teaching assistant who tried to push back against football player favoritism:

As the Florida State University football team was marching to a national title in the fall of 2013, the school was investigating allegations of academic favoritism involving a half-dozen of its leading players, including one who scored the winning touchdown in the championship game.

The inquiry, previously unreported, stemmed from a complaint by a teaching assistant who said she felt pressured to give special breaks to athletes in online hospitality courses on coffee, tea and wine, where some handed in plagiarized work and disregarded assignments and quizzes. The assistant, a 47-year-old doctoral student named Christina Suggs, provided emails and other evidence in late August 2013 to the Florida State inspector general, an independent office. But her case was soon taken over by the university’s attorney…

Even so, two things are certain: By the end of 2013, Florida State had tightened standards for the online hospitality courses. And Ms. Suggs had lost her job and left the school.

Also… online courses on coffee and tea?!  Ummm, this is not great for universities’ reputations.

9) Given the well-established link between animal abuse and serious violent crimes against humans, hell yeah we should take animal abuse more seriously.

10) Republican pollster losing faith in her party:

“What has really shaken me in recent weeks is the consistency in polling where I see Republican voters excusing really bad things because their leader has excused them,” she told me. “[Massachusetts Governor] Charlie Baker, [UN Ambassador] Nikki Haley, [Illinois Representative] Adam Kinzinger—I want to be in the party with them. But in the last few weeks it has become increasingly clear to me that most Republican voters are not in that camp. They are in the Trump camp.”

The portion of the party coalition willing to tolerate, if not actively embrace, white nationalism “is larger than most mainstream Republicans have ever been willing to grapple with,” she added.

Ummm, yeah!  Of course, this has been there for decades.  It’s just that after Trump, there’s simply no denying it for any remotely open-minded person.

11) While we’re at it, Jamelle Bouie:

Seven months into his presidency, Donald Trump is deeply unpopular. In Gallup’s latest poll of presidential job approval, he’s down to 34 percent, a level unseen by most presidents outside of an economic disaster or foreign policy blunder. In FiveThirtyEight’s adjusted average of all approval polling, he stands at 37 percent. And yet, few Republican lawmakers of consequence are willing to buck him or his agenda, in large part because their voters still support the president by huge margins. What we have clearer evidence of now is why. From polling and the behavior of individual politicians, it’s become harder to deny that people support the president not just for being president, but for his core message of white resentment and grievance—the only area where he has been consistent and unyielding.

12) Emily Bazelon on the gerrymandering wars– democracy versus math.

13) Paul Ryan introduced “do your taxes on a postcard.”  Of course, like much of Paul Ryan, it sounds smart and reasonable on the surface, but is a giant con if you know anything about policy.  Yglesias.  And  Drum:

In other words, cut the crap. If you have simple wage income and take the standard deduction, your taxes are already postcard simple. For anyone else, the tricky part is calculating your income based on the rules passed by Congress and enforced by the IRS. Ryan’s postcard does nothing to change that, which means that in real life your postcard will be accompanied by dozens or hundreds of pages of additional worksheets, schedules, and references.

But who cares, right? Honesty is for suckers these days.

14) Excellent Upshot piece on how to understand rising inequality by looking at the life of a janitor at one of America’s largest corporations, then and now.


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