Quick hits (part I)

Lots of good stuff this week.  Let’s go.

1) I did not read the (surely great) NYT series on how big business has basically taken away all our rights in the fine print (with a very strong assist from the Supreme Court), but I did love the Fresh Air interview on the matter.

2) A physician on the problem of allowing only 15 minutes for appointments.

3) Sadly, NC Republican legislators really do pretty much hate public schools.

4) Frank Bruni with a nice takedown of the epic phoniness of Ted Cruz.

5) Loved the Wired interview with JJ Abrams about making the new Star Wars movie.

6) So, our whole Middle East terrorism problem.  We should be talking more about Saudi Arabia.  And another take on Saudi Arabia.   And yet one more.  Maybe all these people are onto something.

7) On how building relationships with students leads to student success.

Last year faculty on my campus met for dinner to discuss How College Works,by Daniel F. Chambliss and Christopher G. Takacs. The book documents a long-term study the authors conducted to understand which aspects of the college experience had the greatest impact on students — both during their undergraduate years and afterward.

Their most consistent finding: Students cited the relationships they formed as the most important and memorable aspect of college. Those relationships began with fellow students, but also included connections with faculty and staff members. The number and intensity of those relationships not only predicted students’ general satisfaction with college, but had the power to motivate them to deeper, more committed learning in their courses.

8) Can reading (books) make you happier?  Of course.  That said, it makes me sad that the author of one of my very favorite books, The Corrections, left me pretty disappointed with Purity.  

9) So, what’s up with this daesh thing?  An explanation.

10) Great story on the secret effort to thwart the Nazi’s nuclear effort by blowing up their heavy water production.

11) Fascinating story on risk at baseball games and umbrellas.  I don’t go to many baseball games, but when I do, you will never find me near the field down the baselines.

12) And speaking of fascinating… this story of the most extensive face transplant ever.  At least click through and check out the photos.

13) Summary of my colleagues’ research on how state-level corruption doesn’t really hurt political parties.

14) It’s time (is it time?) for the Supreme Court to end the death penalty.

15) Future redistricting and North Carolina’s changing demographics.

16) What a journalist learned from interviewing imprisoned ISIS fighters.

17) Scoring in hockey is down significantly.  Goalies are bigger and better.  Time for bigger goals?

18) Religious children are more selfish than secular kids:

The findings “robustly demonstrate that children from households identifying as either of the two major world religions (Christianity and Islam) were less altruistic than children from non-religious households”.

Older children, usually those with a longer exposure to religion, “exhibit[ed] the greatest negative relations”.

The study also found that “religiosity affects children’s punitive tendencies”. Children from religious households “frequently appear to be more judgmental of others’ actions”, it said.

19) Phil Klay’s tweets on the refugees (whole series at the link).  And another opportunity to plug his brilliant book, Redployment.  

20) Very much enjoying the new Gimlet podcast, Suprisingly Awesome.  Especially this episode on free throws.

21) Long read to finish things off– John Judis on Bernie Sanders.



Quick hits (part II)

1) Stan Greenberg argues the future belongs to Democrats.

But the culture war ignited by Rove is a fire that requires ever more toxic fuel – it only works by raising fears of the moral and social Armageddon that would follow a Democratic victory.

The Republicans have, of course, won big numbers of seats at state level and inoff-year elections in the past decade. However, their conservative supporters, motivated by moral purpose, are now angry that Republican leaders have failed to stop Obama, particularly as the country, as they see it, tips into global and economic oblivion.

On the other hand, this intensifying battle for values has also left the Republicans with the oldest, most rural, most religiously observant, and most likely to be married white voters in the country. These trends have pushed states with large, growing metropolitan centres, such as Florida, Virginia and Colorado, over the blue Democratic wall, creating formidable odds against Republicans winning theelectoral college majority needed to win the presidency.

Encamped in the 20 states of the south, the Appalachian valley, parts of the plains states and Mountain West, conservatives have waged their culture wars to great effect. But those states account for only 25% of the voters. Success here turns Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz into plausible candidates – but not plausible presidents in a country that is past the new electoral tipping point. America will get to send that message 12 months from now.

2) My mom used to do facilitated communication with my severely autistic older brother.  She was absolutely convinced it works.  Alas, the science suggests otherwise.

3) Relative, not absolute, poverty is what matters to  most people and it’s way better in Scandinavian countries.

4) Not at all surprising (but nonetheless interesting) to learn just how nutty Ben Carson’s foreign policy adviser is.

5) I was never a regular viewer of the Daily Show– just Jon Stewart’s best clips that went viral.  That said, I find it quite interesting to see where Noah is not living up to Stewart’s legacy.

6) I did think this week’s Thursday NFL game looked a little weird.  Little did I realize what a disaster this was with red/green color-blindness.

7) Enjoyed Yglesias‘ thorough take on this week’s Republican debate.

8) Love this Connor Friedersdorf take on the intolerance of student activism.  Been meaning to write a post on it all week.  Oh well

9) And a great take from Bill Ayers— especially on the problem of a lack of clear goals:

Earlier today I likened the ongoing protests (some of which are occurring on my campus today, in solidarity with others) to a conflict. As a conflict scholar, the steps towards resolution are clear:

– Identify the essentials of the conflict. Who are the players? What are their interests, and what are they fighting about? What are the rules of the surrounding environment that shape how the conflict is conducted?

– Decide on the desired end goal. If the conflict were over, what would you want that to look like? What resolution do you seek, and what does that resolution look like for ALL of the actors involved?

– Evaluate and choose a strategy for achieving that goal. Can I get there through unilateral action, or do I need the cooperation of those with different views? Can I engineer a solution that meets my needs regardless of what the other side wants, or do I have to persuade others to join with me in a mutually-agreed settlement?

I don’t think we’ve yet had much clear thinking about any of these things. Conflicts often arise between aggrieved students and university administrators or faculty, which is an example of the lamppost fallacy: tackling what you can see, rather than going where the problem really is. The fundamental conflict is between members of minority groups (blacks, latinos, transgender, etc.) and members of the majority group who want to discriminate against and oppress them. [emphasis mine] If that is the core of the conflict, there is no unilateral solution – neither group can wipe the other out, both must continue to live in the same society together. The question is, how?


10) The wonderful world of streaming video isn’t really all the wonderful and will become less so.  And on a related note, Netflix is no longer so interested in it’s DVD back catalog.  This is a problem (I’ve been on “very long wait” for “Aliens” for half a year.  I’m just going to buy it).

11) It’s always been kind of amazing how GWB essentially took no blame for 9/11.  Now some more research on all the dire warnings his administration ignored.  Chait:

Chris Whipple’s revelations about the CIA’s urgent, ignored pleas to focus on the threat from Al Qaeda before 9/11 flesh out an increasingly consistent portrait drawn byKurt Eichenwald and other reporters. A broad and consistent body of evidence had persuaded intelligence officials that Al Qaeda was poised to carry out a devastating attack against the United States. It was not just the famous August memo, “Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.” — the one Bush dismissed at the time as ass-covering — but a much longer and more desperate campaign to wake up Bush’s inner circle. Whipple reports, “Months earlier, starting in the spring of 2001, the CIA repeatedly and urgently began to warn the White House that an attack was coming.”

But the Bush White House was dominated by neoconservatives, who were ideologically fixated on the threat posed by states and dismissed the threat of non-state actors…

In retrospect, Bush’s ability to portray himself to America as a committed and triumphant vanquisher of terrorism rested almost entirely on emotional manipulation. Bush standing on the rubble at Ground Zero; Bush throwing a strike at Yankee Stadium before a cheering crowd; Bush landing on an aircraft carrier — it was all brilliant political theater. And it supported a conclusion 180 degrees from reality. Of the manifold failures the Bush administration wrought, its handling of the terrorist threat should rank as the worst.

12) Women are better-suited to the modern workplace.

13) A great lesson in how to abuse intellectual property law.  Now that the copyright for Diary of Anne Frank is expiring, the owners of the copyright are saying that Anne Frank’s father was a co-author in an effort to extend the copyright.

14) Graeme Wood’s great Atlantic article on Isis from this past spring is definitely required reading now.

15) Nice column from Frank Bruni on every shameless pundit (eg., Gingrich, Coulter, etc.) trying to use the France attack to further their own unrelated political agenda.  (And for what it’s worth, if concert-goers had been packing heat and started firing back at the terrorists–presumably not exactly easy in a crowded theater– they would’ve just blown themselves up sooner).

Quick hits

Sorry for being a blogger failure this week.  Turns out that two job candidates, plus a mid-week trip to the zoo, plus a hockey game, plus a piano concert leave little time left for blogging.

Nothing to say on France yet, other than damn it’s horrible and I sure hate those damn Islamic extremists.  Ugh.

1) It almost seems like the Starbucks Christmas cup imbroglio is something created by liberals to embarrass conservatives for looking like morons.  Are there really people out there all freaked out about this?  Oh, yes.

2) Always go to the funeral.  Good advice.

3) Loved Mike Pesca’s spiel on Common Core math in this gist podcast.  He rightly points out that a lot of parental complaints come down to “I didn’t have to do this.”  Yes, it can be frustrating at times, but is it truly rational to believe that math education should be frozen in time exactly like you learned it?  Common Core math is not some communist plot.  It’s a plot from professors of math education.

4) Don’t like what dissertation research might find?  Well, if you are a Republican State Senator in Missouri, you try to block it.  Yikes.

5) Loved Todd VanDerWerff’s fascinating deconstruction of Peanuts.

6) George Will as had enough of Bill O’Reilly.  Though I wonder if his vitriolic take on Killing Reagan would still be there if his wife was not a Reagan adviser..

7) The Republican debates as socialism.

8) Dave Roberts pushes back on my (though, not me in particular, of course) on Keystone.

It is also ludicrous to imagine that the primary goal of climate activist campaigns is to reduce emissions. It would be like criticizing the Montgomery bus boycott because it only affected a relative handful of black people. The point of civil rights campaigns was not to free black people from discriminatory systems one at a time. It was to change the culture. “Keystone isn’t a perfect battlefield,” wrote Michael Grunwald, “but neither was Selma or Stonewall.” …

This also follows from the first two. If the metric of success is emission reductions, and emission reductions from supply-side fights are uncertain, then there’s no point in fighting supply-side projects.

This assumes that emission reductions are the sole reason to go after the supply side, and thereby, I think, fundamentally misses what activists are trying to do. It’s not to reduce emissions, one project at a time. It’s to change culture.

Great points.  And more on this soon, but I’m so tired of liberals not making this argument, but rather fallacious policy arguments like we expect from conservatives on tax cuts.

9) Supreme Court pretty comfortable with police shooting into a car despite an imminent threat.

10) Do you know about CRISPR? (DNA modification).  This is really, really going to change the world.  Nice Wired story.  And a great Radiolab from earlier this year.

11) John Kasich— only “moderate” because of the radical extremists you are comparing him to.

12) Boxing’s brutality is surely a big part of it’s gradual disappearance.  Could football be next?

13) Jamelle Bouie on the Republican debate:

Moreover—and more importantly for the politics of economic growth—the Republican candidates were silent on one of the key questions of the 2016 election. “The Democrats will inevitably ask you and voters to compare the recent presidents’ jobs performance,” said moderator Gerard Baker to Carly Fiorina. “In seven years under President Obama, the U.S. has added an average of 107,000 jobs per month. Under Clinton, the economy added about 240,000 per month; under George W. Bush, it was only 13,000 a month. If you win the nomination, you will probably be facing a Democrat named Clinton. How are you going to respond to the claim that Democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than Republicans?”

Fiorina dodged the question. She didn’t have an answer. And neither did anyone else on the stage. Later, moderator Maria Bartiromo threw Rubio a softball on Hillary Clinton. “Why should the American people trust you to lead this country even though she has been so much closer to the office?” His answer was smooth—“[I]f I am our nominee, they’ll be the party of the past”—but it ignored this basic question of economic performance.

This is a problem. Barring disaster, President Obama will finish his term with a growing economy. Republicans need to show Americans that they can do better—that they can deliver growth and resources to the people who need them. Otherwise, little else matters. The Democratic nominee will inherit the Obama economy and prevail.


Quick hits (part I)

Lots of good stuff this week.  Let’s go!

1) The Economist on how libertarians hijacked liberal economics.

2) Daniel Craig on Hollywood’s sexist double-standard on aging.  And, he’s a great Bond.

3) Vox puts the shocking arrest of a SC student into the larger context of the policy of police in schools.  And some good Amy Davidson commentary on the matter.  And a good take on the racial component from Jamelle Bouie.

4) Nice NYT Editorial on the concealed carry fantasy.

5) This article about Jeb’s flailing campaign was even before his poor debate performance.  There’s just no way this guy is going to be president.

They didn’t have to look far for an explanation. All they had to do was listen to Jeb on Saturday in South Carolina.

“If this election is about how we’re going to fight to get nothing done, then I don’t want any part of it,” the candidate said. “. . . I’ve got a lot of really cool things that I could do other than sit around, being miserable, listening to people demonize me and me feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.”

I don’t want any part of it? I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do? Elect Trump if you want? The self-described “joyful tortoise” may have just delivered the most petulant political speech since the future 37th president said “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”

Bush is correct that Trump’s campaign of insults has made the 2016 GOP primary race an ugly affair. But his response — suggesting he’d take his ball and go home rather than sully himself — is precisely what has sunk Bush’s candidacy so far. Angry voters want a fighter, and Bush, justifiably dubbed “low-energy” by Trump, doesn’t seem to have it in him. The way to combat Trump’s demagoguery and race-baiting is not to look down your nose at him and say “Tut-tut.” It’s to hit Trump back with as much force as he delivers.

6) Great interview with Anne-Marie Slaughter about her new book.  Short version: our society really needs to start truly valuing giving care to others.

7) It is interesting to learn that Florida and Texas are doing surprisingly well in teaching their students.  But damn it, it would be a lot more interesting if we actually knew why.

8) Leadership mistakes of the Galactic Empire from Star Wars.  Awesomeness.

9) Are we becoming inured to TV shows killing off main characters?

10) Really good piece from Fareed Zakaria admitting his mistake of supporting the Iraq War.  Definitely a good one to read the whole thing (it’s pretty short, too):

Consider this: The United States replaced the regime in Iraq and gave the new one massive assistance for a decade. The result? Chaos and humanitarian tragedy. Washington toppled Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya but chose not to attempt nation-building in that country. The result has been chaos and humanitarian tragedy. Washington supported a negotiated removal of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime in Yemen and the election that followed, but generally took a back seat. The result again was chaos and humanitarian tragedy.

The reality in that part of the world is that many of its regimes are fragile, presiding over weak institutions, little civil society, and often no sense of nationhood itself. In that situation, outside interventions, however well-meaning, might not make things better. Sometimes they can even make things worse.

11) Yes, LARC’s are awesome, but they are way under-used.

12) How the disappearance of large animals, and their poop can disrupt ecosystems.

13) Why is academic writing so bad?

14) I love candy corn.  And since Sarah does too, we even eat at not just at Halloween.  Really enjoyed this National Geographic story on the history of it.

15) The Memory Palace is one of my favorite podcasts and it definitely deserves more popularity.  This episode on lead and the wrongness of America may have been my favorite so far.

16) Enough with turning things pink and thinking you are actually doing something about women’s health.

17) REI is closing its stores on Black Friday and encouraging it’s employees and customers to get outside instead.  Not that I shop at REI, but I totally plan on taking them up on it (hope to do some hiking in the NC mountains that day).

18) Happy Halloween.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Jeb had brought his brother and 9/11 back into the news.  Just to be clear, GWB was president for almost 9 months before 9/11 happened and he certainly could have done more to prevent it.

2) More evidence for quantum entanglement.  It is a crazy universe we live in.  And if that’s not cool enough, how about this.  Birds may use quantum entanglement for navigation!.

3) Polarization in action.  Used to be pretty small differences in how Democrats and Republicans viewed Planned Parenthood.  Not any more.

4) It’s a small but absurd injustice what we make inmates (and, really, their families) play for phone calls.  Fortunately, that’s about to change.

5) Canada’s new PM is promising larger deficits.  We should be doing this, too:

Given the state of the world economy, it is absolutely insane that more rich countries aren’t running larger deficits.

How come? Because this is an incredibly inexpensive moment for governments to borrow money. In fact, it may be the best time in recorded history for sovereigns to load up on debt. Interest rates have been hovering around zero more or less since central banks cut rates during the recession, and given the many economic headwinds before us, it may be a long while before they rise much higher. At points this year, countries have issued bonds with negative interest rates—meaning investors are literally paying governments to hold their money because they can’t think of anything safer to do with it. In circumstances like that, when the global bond markets are basically shouting “treat yo’self” at just about every finance minister in the developed world, the only reasonable move for a government is to borrow and use the free or nearly free money to make investments that might help the economy grow long-term, like building or fixing up roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

6) Restaurant tipping is stupid and profoundly unfair.  Hopefully, more restaurants will follow the path of this prominent restaurant group.

7) A Republican takes Ben Carson to task for his absurd use of Nazi analogies.

8) We really, really, should be having our kids moving more in school.  Good to see some places are figuring this out.

9) Interesting piece on how friendships change in adulthood.  I liked this simple definition of what we really want in a friend.

“I’ve listened to someone as young as 14 and someone as old as 100 talk about their close friends, and [there are] three expectations of a close friend that I hear people describing and valuing across the entire life course,” says William Rawlins, the Stocker Professor of Interpersonal Communication at Ohio University. “Somebody to talk to, someone to depend on, and someone to enjoy. These expectations remain the same, but the circumstances under which they’re accomplished change.”

10) Interesting interview with our local TV meteorologist about how he finally got past his Rush Limbaugh love and accept the science of global warming.

11) Really interesting piece in the Economist on the difficulties of recruiting for the US armed forces.

12) Yes, “Back to the Future” is a damn near perfect movie.

13) Political Science research on angry Republicans.

14) The general awesomeness of breast milk is pretty well known.  What’s really sad is in developing nations with high infant mortality that don’t seem to know it.  Kristof.

15) On free markets and human weakness:

Just as free markets can serve the public good “by an invisible hand” (asAdam Smith saw more than two centuries ago, and is the foundation of the field of economics), free markets will do something else. As long as there is a profit to be made, they will also deceive us, manipulate us and prey on our weaknesses, tempting us into purchases that are bad for us. That is also a fundamental feature of market equilibrium, in which supply and demand balance each other out.

My fellow economists, while they recognize such behavior in individual instances, fail to see this as a general principle. And thus a lot of bad things happen, such as the candy at the checkout counter.

Just as free markets can serve the public good “by an invisible hand” (asAdam Smith saw more than two centuries ago, and is the foundation of the field of economics), free markets will do something else. As long as there is a profit to be made, they will also deceive us, manipulate us and prey on our weaknesses, tempting us into purchases that are bad for us. That is also a fundamental feature of market equilibrium, in which supply and demand balance each other out.

My fellow economists, while they recognize such behavior in individual instances, fail to see this as a general principle. And thus a lot of bad things happen, such as the candy at the checkout counter.

16) Apparently overt racism is alive and well at NC State.  This was written by one of my students.

17) People don’t actually want equality.  They want fairness.  I’ll buy that.

18) Good to know that Obama, etc., are catching on to the fact that our kids take way too many standardized tests.  This desperately needs to change.

19) Drum on IRS and email “scandals.”

Kadzik said that their investigation found evidence of mismanagement and institutional inertia, “But poor management is not a crime.” I guess that’s what they call this kind of organized oppression in Obama’s America.

Anyway, I urge everyone to consider this outcome when thinking about Hillary Clinton’s email server. Both are “scandals” pushed relentlessly by a right wing that’s infuriated over everything related to the Obama administration. Both had some surface plausibility. And both were kind of sexy.

But as usual with these kinds of things—Solyndra, Fast & Furious, Benghazi, Sharyl Attkisson’s computer, etc. etc.—there’s really nothing there. Sometimes some bad judgment, sometimes not even that. The fact that Republicans are outraged and have large megaphones to spread that outrage doesn’t change this and doesn’t justify 24/7 news coverage. So maybe a more temperate approach to these endless manufactured right-wing outrages would be appropriate. Just a thought.

20) Great piece from Yglesias on how success in presidential elections and helpful demographic trends are letting Democrats ignore the deep structural problems the party faces.  (I put this here so DJC would actually read it).

Quick hits

1) Great Rolling Stone article on the Freedom Caucus.  Gives a really full and nuanced picture of these radicals.

2) Will Saletan with among the better takes on the Benghazi hearings.  And a good take from John Cassidy.

3) Not only most powerful hurricane ever measured, but reaching the theoretical limits of hurricane strength.  Amazing.

4) And a good Politco piece on the Freedom Caucus:


There hasn’t been a bloc like the Freedom Caucus for at least a century, one that refuses to work with its own party leadership while being steadfastly unwilling to reach across the aisle. “There have been groups that often broke from the party, but in doing so, they didn’t stand as a third force,” says former GOP Rep. Mickey Edwards. “This group is very different.”

The Freedom Caucus, rather than breaking from Republican ranks, has forced Republican leaders to break from them. It’s a perverse sort of political jujitsu. One of outgoing Speaker John Boehner’s supposed crimes was that he went begging Democrats for help passing legislation when he couldn’t find the votes within his own caucus. Some rank-and-file Republicans, meanwhile, have made a separate peace with Democrats on reviving the Export-Import Bank. Normally the opposite would happen and it would be the insurgents reaching across the aisle. But that presupposes an interest in governing.

5) Seth Masket on why we should not be asking “who won?” after debates.

6) I must say, I agree with google on this.  I hate the idea of an app for every stupid website you want to go to.  Just give me a goo mobile website.

7) A James Hamblin video on our meatless future.  I really do think this is going to happen.  It’s just chemistry.

8) Weight Watchers might be doomed by all the free weight loss apps, but I still love it for basing it’s diet around choice and actual scientifically-based weight loss principles.  We’ll see if Oprah can save it.

9) Yes, it is time for baseball’s unwritten rules to be re-written, but that is not why the sport is losing popularity.  No, that’s because it’s boring and takes too long:

Baseball has lagged behind basketball and football in popularity for a number of reasons, but primarily because the game is too buttoned down. In many ways, baseball has been the team version of golf.

10) Finally, the truth on what makes for good college teaching.

11) I love Terry Gross.  I already lament whenever she retires because there’s just no other interviewer close.  And I loved this NYT Magazine profile.

12) Best piece I’ve read on explaining the reasoning behind the recent and important (and somewhat complicated) Federal Appeals Court decision on gun control.

13) You know what’s good for poor people, but not bad for rich people?  More poor people living near rich people.

Critics would do well to study Mount Laurel itself, where an affordable housing development that opened in 2000 has yielded benefits that have been chronicled in a study led by the Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey. The study, recounted in the book “Climbing Mount Laurel,” shows that an attractive, well-maintained affordable housing development in an affluent neighborhood can improve the lives of struggling families without jeopardizing local property values, precipitating more crime or becoming an economic burden on the community.

14) And how white children may benefit from integrated schools.

15) I used to think birth order was bunk.  Then I read some research in grad school and thought it was real.  Latest research says it’s basically bunk.

16) Jesus would probably not be such a big Tea Party fan.

17) Enjoyed this post on the Star Wars movies in light of the new trailer:

Coming to the original “Star Wars” trilogy at the right age is a minor blessing: young enough to be confused by the fact that “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” looked like the future, or to be terrified by pretty much all of “The Empire Strikes Back,” or to think that tiny Teddy bears armed with sticks and rocks really might be able to defeat armored professional soldiers. But old enough to recognize the regret and redemption of Obi-Wan Kenobi, squirm at the flirty banter of Han and Leia, and understand just how magnificently terrible it would be to discover that Darth Vader is your father.

18) Those “social welfare” PAC’s that are supposedly about educating the public rather than electoral advocacy are about the biggest, most embarrassing sham in American politics.  Looks like the one supporting NC Senator Thom Tillis has been caught in its fraud.  I doubt anything will happen.  And the N&O on it.

19) The secret to a easy to remember but hard to crack password?  Poetry.

20) If you are betting, Hillary is way under-valued as a presidential candidate.  I really need to put actual money in this some day.  For now, I’ve just got lunch riding on it (in a bet dating back to 2013).



Quick hits (part II)

1) Maybe all the sitting won’t kill you after all.  For now, I’m sticking with regular exercise and never trying to sit more than 30 minutes straight.

2)George Will on Bernie and inequality.  Will is such an idiot.  He’s on to me.  I’m against our massive inequality not because it is harmful to our society and spreads the fruits or American progress far too narrowly, but rather because I’m just plain envious.

Sanders focuses less on empathy for the poor than on stoking the discontent of those who are comfortable but envious. They will ultimately be discomfited by the fact that envy is the only one of the seven deadly sins that does not give the sinner even momentary pleasure. Fortunately, for most Americans, believing in equality simply means believing that everyone is at least as good as everyone else.

3) The case for getting football out of our universities.

4) Liked this take on the niqab from a Canadian Muslim woman.

5) Yes– we totally should have more traffic roundabouts.  They are awesome and Americans need to get over their fear.

6) Vox’s Andrew Prokop says maybe Bernie really did win the debate.  Of course, Prokop assumes that winning the debate is about doing the best among the audience actually watching.  As you know, I think that is actually a poor metric.

5) But many voters haven’t been following the race so closely. Beforehand, a third of Democrats said they didn’t yet know enough about Sanders to have an opinion on him. Even many of those who did know about him likely hadn’t been exposed to him all that much. So when Sanders makes the case at length for why he’s a democratic socialist, many of these voters might not have heard that before — and might like it.

7) Interesting interview with Aaron Sorkin on writing the Steve Jobs movie.  Not having seen the movie, it strikes me as a huge mistake to focus so much on Steve Jobs as a father.  It’s just not why he is an interesting and transformative figure

8) What happens to great on-line journalism when a website no longer exists?

9) When Back to the Future Part II hits the real 2015.

10) Ben Carson’s ignorance about anything other than brain surgery really is breathtaking.

11) What happens when men are photoshopped out of politics.

12) I’ve had to review a couple of manuscripts lately that use the Implicit Attitude Test.  You can try it yourself.  Despite my best efforts, I ended up moderately implicitly racist.

13) High deductible health plans sound great in theory.  In practice— not so much.

14) That whole thing with Alabama and drivers licence offices struck me as more complicated than liberal headlines were letting on.  And, yeah, not so much racism.

15) Love this Vox explainer on Denmark.  Personally, I had an awesome 3 days in Copenhagen back in 1989.

16) This piece in HuffPo on how we do such a poor job treating schizophrenia is fascinating.  Read it.

It will come as no surprise that one reason the United States lags so far behind the rest of the world is its deeply dysfunctional system for financing medical care in general, and mental health care in particular. In other countries, national health care systems have broad authority to set priorities and budgets. Officials can respond more quickly to emerging research and take a longer-term view of social investments because, unlike insurance companies, they don’t have shareholders to please…

There’s also a deeper problem at work. Too many people, including some mental health professionals, think of psychiatric disease as something fundamentally different from physical disease. And yet the more we learn about mental illness, the less meaningful that distinction appears. McGorry now believes that the model of screening, preventative care and aggressive early treatment could be used to reduce the incidence not only of schizophrenia, but of other mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disease.


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