Quick hits (part II)

1) Steve Saideman makes the case for disbanding ICE.  I’m increasingly inclined to agree.

2) One thing that really intrigued me in this pre-vote story on the Ireland abortion referendum was the pervasive belief that this was an issue for women to decide:

The argument over the referendum has exposed wide divisions among Irish women and has emerged to some extent as a debate among women for women.

In contrast to the United States, where male politicians, donors and social commentators have often dominated the abortion issue, many men in this Irish vote are tending to hang back, seeing abortion as a woman’s matter. That is in large part a reaction to earlier generations, when women’s issues in Ireland were solely decided by men, including leaders of the Roman Catholic Church.

3) And the post-referendum coverage which emphasizes how far Ireland has moved in such a short amount of time.  My brief take– the near-absolute power of the Catholic Church in Ireland led to obscene levels of corruption.  Once that corruption was finally revealed, the Catholic Church has basically lost all credibility.

4) Sad, sad story of heart transplant gone wrong and everything cascading from there.

5) What is wrong with people that think a man who has clearly been rehabilitated and living a great life out of prison should be sent back in over a technicality?!  Also, he should have never had 35 years in the first place for selling drugs.  This is where you need the pardon power.  But alas, the man is Black and this is a federal issue and Trump is president.

He’s going to prison. To finish out a 35-year term for selling crack to an informant in the 90’s.

Charles had already served 21 years before his sentence was cut short as a result of crack guideline changes passed by the Obama administration. But the U.S. Attorney’s office appealed his release on the grounds that Charles was legally considered a “career offender” due to a prior stint in state prison. They said the retroactive change in the law did not apply to him — and a Court of Appeals agreed.

“He’s rebuilt his life and now they’re coming to snatch it,” says “Wolf”, who met Charles at a halfway house in 2016. They’ve volunteered together almost every Saturday since, long after fulfilling their community service requirements.

6) Was pretty interested to see how Liverpool used Moneyball principles to make it to the Champions League final.

7) Party identification is everything.  The latest research:

In short, people sought and then followed the advice of those who shared their political opinions on issues that had nothing to do with politics, even when they had all the information they needed to understand that this was a bad strategy.

Why? This may be an example of what social scientists call the halo effect: If people think that products or people are good along one dimension, they tend to think that they are good along other, unrelated dimensions as well. People make a positive assessment of those who share their political convictions, and that positive assessment spills over into evaluation of other, irrelevant characteristics.

Our findings have obvious implications for the spread of false news, for political polarization and for social divisions more generally. Suppose that someone with identifiable political convictions spreads a rumor about a coming collapse in the stock market, a new product that supposedly fails, cheating in sports or an incipient disease epidemic. Even if the rumor is false, and even if those who hear it have reason to believe that it is false, people may well find it credible (and perhaps spread it further) if they share the political views of the source of the rumor.

Our results also suggest some harmful consequences of political polarization. Suppose that people trust those who are politically like-minded, even on subjects on which they are clueless. Suppose that they distrust those with different political opinions on nonpolitical issues where they have real expertise. If so, the conditions are ripe for a host of mistakes — and not just about blaps.

8) Antibiotics in meat animals is a complicated issue.  It could be damaging our own gut microbiomes.

9) Dan Balz on Trump’s Mueller strategy:

President Trump is waging a war of attrition against special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. If his goal is to poison the reception to whatever Mueller’s findings turn out to be, as seems evident from what he and his allies have done, he is making progress.

The slow but steady separation of public opinion underscores the degree of success in the president’s strategy. Through constant tweets in which he has used exaggeration, distortion and outright falsehoods — combined with the activities of his congressional supporters in hectoring the Justice Department and the FBI — Trump hopes to turn the ultimate confrontation into one more partisan battle.

He has created diversions that have helped to reshape attitudes, primarily among Republicans. It started long ago, when he charged, without evidence, that President Barack Obama had wiretapped the phones in Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. That proved to be false, but it did not deter him from claiming other alleged abuses without solid evidence to back them up…

The pattern continues to repeat itself. Step by step, week by week, the president and his allies cross lines that legal experts insist should not be crossed. The president’s ongoing conflict with the Justice Department and his inflammatory tweets about the Mueller investigation have become so commonplace that it can be easy for people to forget how abnormal it all is.

10) What is the responsibility of a college to let parents know one of their students may be suicidal?

11) Really good Atlantic essay on how to limit school shootings (or at least make them less lethal):

Virtually everyone I spoke with, from the FBI to academic researchers, told me it’s nearly impossible to stop a determined shooter; they’re always one creative step ahead. In one way, Dimitrios Pagourtzis broke with recent shooters: He used his father’s shotgun, rather than a semiautomatic weapon—although Pagourtzis made the shotgun far more lethal by using buckshot. In other cases—at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; at Virginia Tech; at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut—the gunman used a semiautomatic weapon to wreak even more carnage. Stopping a young person from stealing his parents’ legally owned shotguns is impossible; but experts like Michael Caldwell say that restricting the sale of semiautomatic weapons would go some way to limiting the carnage.

“It may not decrease the number of incidents, but it would decrease the number of fatalities,” says Michael Caldwell, the University of Wisconsin professor, not just because he can get off fewer rounds, but because bullets fired from an AR-15 are so much more lethal. “You don’t have to hit the target straight on to kill a person. If you’re shot in the torso, it will kill you.”

One study tracked school shootings in three dozen countries—incidents in which two or more people died. Half of those shooting incidents occurred in the United States. Given that, according to some studies, Americans are no more emotionally troubled than people in Europe and Canada, the stark difference is guns. Children outside the U.S. “don’t have access to AR-15s or Glocks or other weapons that our kids have access to,” says Dewey Cornell. “That’s a huge glaring obvious problem. It’s obvious to scholars in the field. It’s obvious to folks in other countries. For some reason it’s not obvious to our politicians.”

12) A sad question reveals our cycles of violence:

Researchers with the Boston Reentry Study were one year into their interviews, following 122 men and women as they returned from prison to their neighborhoods and families, when they asked the kind of question that’s hard to broach until you know someone well.

They prompted the study’s participants to think back to childhood. “Did you ever see someone get killed during that time?”

Childhood violence, including deadly violence, kept coming up in the previous conversations. The references suggested a level of childhood trauma among people leaving prison that standard survey questions don’t capture. And so the researchers wanted to be methodical — to ask everyone, directly, just like this.

The answers, among hundreds of other questions the study explored, give insight into the life trajectories that precede prison, and the limitations of the criminal justice system that places people there. In total, 42 percent of the study’s participants said “yes.”…

What, then, is to be done with the knowledge that four in 10 prisoners typical to the Massachusetts state prison system saw someone killed as a child?

Mr. Western argues that this should force us to reconsider the simplified model of offenders-and-victims, and to allow more second chances to people we peg in the first category.

“The whole ethical foundation of our system of punishment I think is threatened once you take into account the reality of people’s lives,” he said. In the study, the people who had experienced the most extreme childhood trauma and violence also struggled the most in adulthood with drug addiction and mental and health problems. The line between the two is not straightforward. But it’s also not irrelevant.

13) 24 years of marriage today.  Pretty happy with it ;-).

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

5 Responses to Quick hits (part II)

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    #!! Politicians do know that guns are the issue. They act as if money and power are much more important than saving lives. Actions speak louder than words.

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    #13 Congratulations!

  3. Nicole K. says:

    10) I’m really conflicted on this issue. After all, college students are adults. They are not children, and they should not be treated as children. Having your private information given to you parents without your consent is perfectly fine for children. It is not OK for adults.

    However, if the parents are the people paying the bill, they should probably be able to know that they aren’t wasting their money. For example, when my narcolepsy was undiagnosed whether or not I passed a course I signed up for came down to whether or not there was a paper assignment that required extended out of class effort to complete. If all I had to do was show up and pass tests, I was usually smart enough to do that and do a decent enough job of participating in the class, despite having an above average numbers of missed classes.

    In fact, I remember this exact scenario playing out when I took your criminal justice course in 2011. I was able to pretty much make it to most classes. And I don’t think I’m wrong in believing that I understood the material being taught better than just about everyone else in the course, and I believe my questions, answers, and comments in class clearly demonstrated that.

    However, I could not produce the paper that was required to pass the class. This was because my narcolepsy had gotten so severe and I was so sleep deprived that I could not maintain the focused attention required to produce it. Whenever I tried to even start, my body would literally shutdown and I would be paralyzed by excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).

    Since I didn’t know I had EDS or that it was even a medical condition, the only explanation I had was that I must have a crippling anxiety disorder, despite not feeling particularly anxious. For 10 years and until I specifically sought out a neurologist specializing in sleep medicine, every single doctor l told that I felt tired all the time diagnosed it as either ADD, anxiety, or depression. Since I am not a doctor, I felt like I had to accept what they were telling me, and it led to unhelpful psychiatric treatment that perpetuated my cycle of academic failure because it caused me to think that I could be successful academically if I just tried hard enough. So each time I failed a class, I kept that information to myself and promised myself I would do better the next time that I tried.

    Because my parents had to get information about how I was doing academically only from me, I was able to mislead them about how dire my academic situation had become. I was afraid of anything that would cause my parents to force me to move closer to them because I didn’t want them to see how I lived and that I could barely take care of myself because I didn’t want them to know and I didn’t think there was anything I could do to make things any better for myself. I even went as far as Photoshopping grade reports that I sent them to “prove” I was doing OK. It wasn’t until I finally got medical treatment that worked and actually became aware that I lived in filth and had destroyed my undergraduate GPA that I finally came clean with them and became completely transparent about both my medical and academic problems.

    Although I was able to turn things around, earn my undergraduate degree, and actually get into a masters program, I have to live with the fact that I basically perpetuated a decade-long fraud on my parents and caused them to literally spend tens of thousands of dollars of money on undergraduate classes that I basically flushed down the toilet.

    I’m conflicted about this for several reasons. Part of me thinks that since they were paying, they should have been able to find out whether there money was being wasted without having to rely on information solely provided by me when I had a clear and obvious reason to lie about it. However, I don’t think that things would have worked out better for me had they learned this information earlier and forced me to move closer to them. I honestly believe that as long as I was a zombie with no hope of anything changing, being able to actually see how bad I was doing would have helped anything. I’m not confident that I would have gotten to the neurologist specializing in sleep medicine if I was living in Weaverville and not Raleigh.

    This is because there just aren’t that many of those doctors to choose from. In fact, I’m continuing to drive to Reston VA for neurology treatment because I trust that doctor, have had an extremely good experience being treated by that practice, and only need to see the neurologist 2 times a year. It’s just easier to stay with that doctor than try to find one locally that I know will be comfortable treating me and maintaining the medication mix that has proven to be effective for me.

    I also believe that I was able to recover my undergraduate career because I lived in the local area and was able to meet with faculty in the PS department regularly enough to demonstrate that I was on effective treatment, was motivated to succeed, and devise a workable plan that would allow me to graduate. I don’t think that would have worked out as well had those meetings occurred over the telephone rather than in person.

    So while I regret causing my parents to spend a ton of money on classes that I failed, I believe that being able to maintain in a holding pattern until my narcolepsy could actually be diagnosed and treated has worked out to my benefit. I just am not convinced that transparency would have been useful or helpful for me.

    I also believe that as an adult, I should be able to control how my personal information is disseminated to others except when withholding that information represents a clear danger to myself or others. I don’t think that anything in my case meets that threshold. I was miserable, but I never wanted to hurt myself or anyone else.

    If a student clearly expresses a desire to kill themselves or hurt someone else, then I believe that the school has a duty to provide information without the consent of the student. But that is a pretty high threshold. Suspicion someone is suicidal does not meet that standard. Yes, that means some people may take their own lives, but I think anything less leads to treating adults as children. I’m just not OK with doing that.

  4. Mika says:

    #6 Nice article! I loved watching Klopp’s Dortmund and love watching Liverpool games. There’s always something happening there. Liverpool played in the final very well the first 30 mins but then Salah injured and everything changed. When you looked at the players they had on the bench and compered it to who Real had on it’s bench it was painfully obvious that it just isn’t very big club.

    One thing that is lacking from the article is any mention of workhorses Milner, Henderson and Wijnaldum (or Oxlade-Chamberlain / Can). They aren’t the worlds most technical players but they run and then run some more. They win the balls at midfield and then pass it to Firmino and Mane & Salah start running towards the goal. Two or three passes and then they have a goal scoring opportunity. Fast.

    #16 24 years. That’s dedication too 🙂 Congrats!

  5. Jessy Smith says:

    “Stopping a young person from stealing his parents’ legally owned shotguns is impossible”

    Pardon my language, but that is bullshit.
    It’s only impossible as long as firearm owners (parents) refuse to lock up their firearms and ammunition and use firearm safes. When toddlers to ten year old children can just pick up dad’s loaded firearm from an unlocked closet the bar isn’t set very high.

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