Mid-week Quick hits

I’m going to be on a retreat and totally without electronics but my phone, so not a lot of blogging.  The least I can do is post the delinquent quick hits part II

1) NYT on the nonsense of the “wellness-industrial complex.”

2) Great Daily Show segment on Trump voters and Space Force.

3) Great Ezra Klein piece on “white threat in a browning America.”  Consider this a must-read.  Seriously– this means you.

I spent months talking with politicians, social psychologists, and political scientists about what happens in moments like this one, moments when a majority feels its dominance beginning to fail. The answer, attested to in mountains of studies and visible everywhere in our politics, is this: Change of this magnitude acts on us psychologically, not just electorally. It is the crucial context uniting the core political conflicts of this era — Obama and Trump’s presidencies, the rise of reactionary new social movements and thinkers, the wars over political correctness on campuses and representation in Hollywood, the power of #MeToo and BlackLivesMatter, the fights over immigration.

Demographic change, and the fears and hopes it evokes, is one of the tectonic forces shaping this era in American life, joining income inequality and political polarization in transforming every aspect of our politics and culture. But to understand what it is doing to us as a country, we need to begin by understanding what it does to us as individuals.

4) Fentanyl has made German Lopez reconsider his take on drug legalization.  Sensible, but we still sure need decriminalization, if not full legalization.

5) Paul Waldman on what Democrats have learned from Republicans:

But what distinguishes this moment from the past few decades is that policy caution has become unacceptable to Democratic voters, and Democratic politicians are responding. Past Democratic candidates would say, “Of course we’d all like X, but the policy and political challenges make it impossible, so Y is the best we can achieve.” Democratic candidates in 2018 (and 2020) are saying, “We should do X, and don’t tell me it’s impossible.”

By now you may have heard of the Overton Window, which was articulated by a think-tank scholar named Joseph Overton in the 1990s as a way of explaining to potential donors why they should fund the advocacy of ideas that didn’t seem to have a lot of popular support. The idea predated Overton by some time, but for whatever reason, his metaphor stuck. The theory is that at any particular moment, certain ideas are considered worthy of debate and others are considered too radical to even talk about, but if you can shift the window of debate, you may be able to make a radical idea sound mainstream and eventually turn it into policy.

It’s important to understand that the Overton Window isn’t some kind of magic key anyone can use to transform politics; plenty of activists try to shift the debate and fail. But there are times when we see the process in action. Right now, Democrats have taken an idea — single-payer health insurance — that used to be considered unworthy of consideration and forced it into the center of the national debate.

6) National Geographic, “Early Native Americans Imported Exotic Parrots, DNA Reveals: The discovery suggests that scarlet macaws were being bred for trade centuries earlier than previously thought.” (Thanks, EMG)

7) Rick Gates’ public lesson on money laundering.

8) Not so sure of the validity of suing a nicotine delivery product for getting you addicted to nicotine.

9) Sit better and fix your back pain.  I keep trying to remember to do this.  When I do, it does feel good.

10) David Frum takes it to Dinesh D’Souza:

The desire to wipe the smirk off the condescending face of some resented critics—to expose them, diminish them, hurt them—is that not the mainspring for so much of the pro-Trump political movement? Shortly before the 2016 election, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal seethed at those who believe that “not only is Donald Trump coarse and boorish, anyone who supports the man is as revolting as he is.” The conservative columnist David Limbaugh lamented in the summer of 2017 the “snobbish condemnation” he suffered on social media from Never Trump conservatives. Tucker Carlson Tonight is a nightly eruption of rage against elite “preening.” “Don’t for a second let them take the moral high ground,” Carlson warned in June of this year. Certainly in D’Souza’s case, Obama’s success came to seem more and more of an affront to the proper order of things.

11) Sure, definitely fair to claim, “‘Unite the Right’ flops while the left triumphs,” but we’re talking about the morons in the Washington Post all over the news media.  You know how much news coverage a march of 40 people deserves?  Zero.  Any coverage for these morons is a victory for them.  Just ignore them!

12) Forget “Medicare for all,” how about dramatically expanding Medicaid?

13) It is great that the public school Lebron James is helping is just an ordinary public school.

14) The chicken we eat in America is riddled with Salmonella.  What’s frustrating as hell is that it just doesn’t have to be this way:

Gremillion notes that other countries have taken steps that protect consumers to a much greater degree. Whereas the US regulatory system focuses on salmonella in the slaughterhouse, and the “preferred solution is dousing the chicken with antimicrobial sprays,” regulators in some European countries “make sure that the breeder stock for the poultry are not infected and passing down salmonella, that the feed is not contaminated, that the birds have the vaccinations they need, that the workers follow biosecurity protocols.” As a result, he says, Sweden and Denmark “have practically eliminated salmonella from poultry products.” [emphasis mine]

If knowing that US supermarket chicken quite often carries salmonella isn’t chilling enough, consider this: In a recent analysis of Food and Drug Administration data, the Environmental Working Group found that “over the last five years of available data, on average, 1 in 5 strains of salmonella found on grocery store chicken were resistant to amoxicillin, a type of penicillin.” In short, it’s getting harder for doctors to treat infections from this common pathogen.

We are so damn stupid in this country.  Yes, I’m sure chicken costs a bit more in Europe, but ask people how much money they’d be willing to pay to avoid the risk of Salmonella.

15) Jason Alexander as Colonel Sanders.

16) Just in case you missed the amazing Stephen Miller takedown written by his uncle.

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

10 Responses to Mid-week Quick hits

  1. ohwilleke says:

    @12 Medicaid expansion isn’t sustainable. It managed by paying dramatically below market rates to providers. But, as a result, even now, lots of people with Medicaid, can’t find providers who will take them.

    • Nicole K. says:

      That’s the same problem with Medicare-for-All. If everyone had Medicare, reimbursement rates would immediately drop compared to what private health insurance pays. It would potentially put many hospitals out of business, especially in rural and less populated areas. Our health care infrastructure is not optimized for a single-payer system, and it would be a very painful transition were we to implement one.

      However, single payer health care is not the only way to ensure universal coverage for all citizens. Eliminating employer-sponsored plans and having everyone obtain health insurance via subsidized exchanges (similar to the current Obamacare ones) would be a lot easier.

    • Steve Greene says:

      It’s sustainable if medical providers simply have to become less rich across the board 🙂 (like the rest of the developed world).

  2. Mika says:

    #2 This isn’t a representative sample is it?

    #14 How much does chicken cost in US? We have no salmonella and chicken cutlets (?) cost in this online food store about $4,13 – 6,70 / 1 lbs depending on the size of the package. I think it costs a little less in normal store.


    • Nicole K. says:

      if you are buying boneless chicken breast, it’s around $3.50-4.00 a pound. However, if you look at whole chicken’s average retail price per pound it’s about $1.50 a pound.

      • Nicole K. says:

        As long as you cook it properly, you kill all the salmonella in the chicken. I can only remember getting sick from eating chicken once, and that was clearly undercooked prepared food that I got at the NCSU dining hall. I stopped eating it when I realized it wasn’t fully cooked, but I still had to deal with an upset stomach and also running but not getting anywhere for about a day or so. I just made sure to drink a lot of gatorade and was fine. It wasn’t a big deal. I also made sure that my boss (I worked there at the time) removed/replaced it right away.

      • Mika says:

        Cheers! Ok then it’s a little bit cheaper in there. I’ve never bought a whole chicken but I know that these “chicken legs” (?) are way cheaper than those boneless chicken breasts.


        In our household chicken is always properly cooked. Even ever so slightly raw chicken meat is yucky.:-)

      • Steve Greene says:

        Right, but I think the biggest risk is people not being careful enough with cross-contamination.

      • Mika says:

        Oh yeah that was mentioned in the article too. I don’t understand how people can use the same knives and boards with meat and vegetables. Another big no-no in our household.

      • Nicole K. says:

        I’ve worked in food service in a variety of places, and I’ve seen people regularly ignore procedure regarding cross contamination in every single one. People just don’t think about the potential consequences when they are in a hurry to get their work done.

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