Quick hits (part II)

1) Though I’m not much of a Bernie fan, I am a pretty big fan of Elizabeth Warren.  Enjoyed this Rebecca Traister profile of her as the vanguard of Trump opposition.

2) Emily Yoffe on how “zero tolerance” is almost always a bad idea.  Amen!

3) The plastic straw ban gains momentum.  And yet:

The Ocean Conservancy’s 2017 Coastal Cleanup Report compiled beach cleanups around the world and found that the most common trash item found on beaches is cigarettes, followed by plastic bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, and bags. Straws and stirrers placed seventh on the list, at about 3 percent of the total trash. Bloomberg News estimates that on a global scale, straws would probably only account for 0.03 percent of total plastic waste by mass. Another study found that an estimated 46 percentof the debris in the ocean is abandoned fishing equipment.

Seriously, though.  My family uses re-usable water bottles all the time.  We bring our bags to the grocery store, we bring plastic home from fast-food restaurants to recycle.  Some, I’m not going to be lectured to because I still like drinking with plastic straws.

4) Chart from Axios.  Forget drugs– it’s all about hospital and physician prices!

5) Fortunately, I almost never have occasion to go to the trendy restaurants of today.  They are, indeed, too damn loud!

6) Anne Applebaum on the Russian threat:

This matters because Butina is at most the tip of the iceberg, one of the sillier, more junior players in a broader game. Far more important are Russian oligarchs bearing bribes or Russian hackers probing vulnerabilities in our political system as well as our electrical grid. To push back against them, as well as their equivalents from the rest of the autocratic world, we will need not only to catch the odd agent but also to make our political funding systems more transparent, to write new laws banning shell companies and money laundering, and to end the manipulation of social media. It took more than a generation for Americans to reject the temptations of communist authoritarianism; it will take more than a generation before we have defeated kleptocratic authoritarianism too — if we still can.

7) Bill Browder (the man responsible for the Magnistky Act) on Trump.

8) Civil War re-enactment is a dying world.  In part, because it is increasingly difficult to ignore the social-historical context of the War and focus just on the military specifics.

9) Forget batteries, we already have an affordable and efficient way to store energy on an industrial scale.  Use it to pump water uphill.  Seriously.  They are no considering a major project at Hoover Dam.  Also, a good Planet Money on this approach, recently.

10) Though I think we sometimes go too far in truly ambiguous cases (often, involving alcohol) about sexual assault policies, as far as what we teach our children and encourage in society, I really liked this take that “consent” is too low a bar.”

11)

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