Quick hits (part II)

Criminal justice heavy version, but that happens when I’m teaching a course on something.

1) Pretty awesome smackdown of right-wing Christian hypocrisy from Samantha Bee.

2) John Cole with an angry take on angry Bernie supporters:

I’ll just repeat what I said this morning- Bernie voters are like college students who want their current grade changed because they didn’t read the syllabus, or because their GPA is important, or because they thought they did better, or they don’t think the rubric on an assignment is fair, or because they worked really hard and are convinced they deserve a better grade.

I’d also point out that all of this is in contrast to the 2016 Clinton campaign, which is the photo-negative of the 2008 shitshow fail parade that we all endured. The Clinton team has been on point the entire time. There haven’t been stupid misstatements, her surrogates haven’t been running around saying stupid things about Guam or that black votes don’t count, there hasn’t been anything that reminds me of 2008 from them. They’ve run an serious, sober, meticulous 50 state campaign, and this as much as anything is why they are winning. They haven’t been flawless, but compared to the Bernie Sanders butthurt amateur hour, it’s been the best campaign this century. She is a much better candidate this time around.

I am so sick and tired of the Bernie or bust crowd and their bullshit. You don’t get points for introducing new voters when you spend the entire campaign telling them their vote doesn’t count and they got screwed and the system is corrupt just because you aren’t getting your way.

3) Megyn Kelly completely caves to Trump.

4) Man, is Venezuela totally screwed.  I feel so bad for the people there.

5) Yes, Opioid addiction is a real problem.  But it’s not quite what everybody thinks.  A nice post exploding some myths

The risk of addiction also has been exaggerated. According to NSDUH, those 259 million painkiller prescriptions in 2012 resulted in about 2 million cases of “dependence or abuse,” or one for every 130 prescriptions. A recent study by Castlight Health estimated that 4.5 percent of people who have received opioid prescriptions qualify as “abusers,” and its definition, based on the amount prescribed and the number of prescribers, probably captures some legitimate patients as well.

According to NSDUH, only a quarter of people who take opioids for nonmedical reasons get them by obtaining a doctor’s prescription. Hence the sequence that many people imagine—a patient takes narcotics for pain, gets hooked, and eventually dies of an overdose—is far from typical of opioid-related deaths.

6) I’ve really loved this series on how to improve college teaching.  Definitely going to have to buy this guy’s book.  This one, which applies well beyond the college classroom, is about repeated learning over time to obtain long-term mastery.

7) Due to Constitutionally inhumane overcrowding in its prisons, California reduced it’s prison population 17%.  All the law and order types predicted a horrible crime wave.  Nope, crime is basically no worse.  Over-incarceration anybody?

8) And while we’re at it, the naysayers predicted all sorts of doom for Colorado legalizing marijuana.  Again, not so much bad stuff.

9) Speaking of marijuana, those working most strongly against it’s legalization in California?  Police and prison guard interest groups.  Are they that concerned about the scourge of legal marijuana users?  Of course not.  They are concerned about a huge cash cow drying up.

10) Fascinating research on how men versus women are judged and rewarded for their appearance.  Maybe I’ll top showering:-).

They found that a substantial amount of attractiveness was the result of grooming, and here’s where they found gender differences, Wong says. “For women, most of the attractiveness advantage comes from being well groomed. For men, only about half of the effect of attractiveness is due to grooming.”

In other words, the study suggests that grooming is important for both men and women in the workplace, but particularly for women. Changes in grooming have a substantial effect on whether women are perceived as attractive, and their salaries. In fact, as the charts below show, less attractive but more well-groomed women earned significantly more, on average, than attractive or very attractive women who weren’t considered well-groomed.

11) Oh, man, way back in the day, Print Shop was about the coolest software there was.

12) Josh Marshall on the ease of getting under Trump’s skin:

Today is quite a good day for the Democrats. Why? Because it shows how easy it was for Priorities USA, the pro-Hillary SuperPac (originally a pro-Obama SuperPac), to hurt Trump with a very focused strike on his immense vulnerability with women. But more than that, they clearly got under his skin. Trump’s been on Twitter raging non-stop all morning about how he was “misquoted” in the Priorities attack ad. I discussed whether he was ‘misquoted’ here. Basically he wasn’t. But, Good Lord buddy, good luck with whining about a SuperPac being mean.

Trump and Trump’s campaign know that he’s toxic to women for numerous reasons. Getting hit on this gets him mad – mad and undisciplined. No one likes a whiner.

I suspect that SuperPacs in Hillary’s orbit, seeing this, will run more ads which are a bit unfair, which push the margins, just to get inside Donald’s head like this.

 

13) Great piece from Vox’s Dara Lind on the relationship between Ferguson and related protests and the possibly-related increase in crime.

14) Open tab for too long– why are highly educated Americans getting more liberal?

Quick hits (part I)

1) Expert tax reporter David Cay Johnston on the real problem with Donald Trump and his taxes.

2) Your computer and TV screen are showing you way less interesting colors than they should be.

3) There’s been plenty written about how the Golden State Warriors have revolutionized, but this particular statistic really blows me away.

What amazes fans even more is the location of those shots. NBA players shoot an average of 28% from 27 feet or beyond. Most players don’t even take them unless the shot clock is running out. Mr. Curry has taken 253 such deep shots this year and made 47% of them. [emphasis mine] The result is that defenders have strayed even farther from the basket to guard him, opening even bigger spaces for his teammates.

4) Careful with what browser tabs you have open when posting screen shots.

5) How HB2 is impacting the NC tourism industry.

6) What I found most interesting about this NYT story on research using drugs in dogs to combat the aging process (with intended lessons for human longevity) is that a primary focus is rapamycin, which has been found to be particularly effective in treating my son’s genetic disease, Tuberous Sclerosis.

7) Changing just how dark Obama’s skin is in experiments changes people’s support for conservative policies.

8) In a test of science and engineering skills, 8th grade girls outperformed 8th grade boys.  Good for them.  Let’s figure out what’s happening after 8th grade and do something about it.

9) Dylan Matthews on the failure of the TSA:

The TSA has never presented any evidence that the shoe ban is preventing attacks either. “Focusing on specific threats like shoe bombs or snow-globe bombs simply induces the bad guys to do something else,” Schneier tells Vanity Fair’s Charles Mann. You end up spending a lot on the screening and you haven’t reduced the total threat.” …

The solution is clear: Airports should kick out the TSA, hire (well-paid and unionized) private screeners, and simply ask people to go through normal metal detectors with their shoes on, their laptops in their bags, and all the liquids they desire. The increased risk would be negligible — and if it gets people to stop driving and start flying, it could save lives.

10) Drum on the absurdity of Republicans wanting to impeach the IRS director.  And the Post’s Lisa Rein on the conservative war against the IRS.

11) Honestly, the craziness of Donald Trump pretending to be his own PR guy is 1) truly hilarious; 2) way under-reported.  Seriously, imagine if any other major political figure had done something like this.  It would be a lead story for a week.  Trump has so successfully lowered the bar for appropriate behavior.

12) I like this Gawker take on Trump’s strategy for attacking Clinton, “Donald Trump Hoping You Hadn’t Heard About Benghazi or Monica Lewinsky.”

13) A nice Politico analysis of Trump’s support:

Donald Trump likes to say he has created a political movement that has drawn “millions and millions” of new voters into the Republican Party. “It’s the biggest thing happening in politics,” Trump has said. “All over the world, they’re talking about it,” he’s bragged.

But a Politico analysis of the early 2016 voting data show that, so far, it’s just not true.

While Trump’s insurgent candidacy has spurred record-setting Republican primary turnout in state after state, the early statistics show that the vast majority of those voters aren’t actually new to voting or to the Republican Party, but rather they are reliable past voters in general elections. They are only casting ballots in a Republican primary for the first time.
It is a distinction with profound consequences for the fall campaign…

“All he seems to have done is bring new people into the primary process, not bring new people into the general-election process … It’s exciting that these new people that are engaged in the primary but those people are people that are already going to vote Republican in the [fall],” said Alex Lundry, who served as director of data science for Mitt Romney in 2012, when presented Politico’s findings. “It confirms what my suspicion has been all along.”

14) Greg Koger on why the Republican Party was too weak to fight off Trump.

15) Apparently a lack of resilience in college students is a growing problem.  Honestly, I have not noticed any differences in recent years.

16) No, it wouldn’t really solve our campaign finance problems if politicians spent way less time dialing for dollars.  But, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. 

17) Derek Thompson on the inter-relationship between racism, economic anxiety, and Trump support.

18) They are razing a famous/infamous building at NC State.  It’s round!  Most everybody I know hates it, but I loved having my Intro to American Government in Harrelson 207.  Only lecture hall I’ve ever had where I felt like I could truly connect with the students in the back row.

Roughly 85 percent of N.C. State students at some point attended a class in Harrelson, which accommodated up to 4,500 students in 88 circular and windowless classrooms.

Harrelson was the most-used academic building in the UNC system for decades and became known for its uncomfortable seating, loud heating and cooling system, lack of natural light and pie slice-shaped bathroom stalls.

19) Pre-sliced apples have been a huge boon for the apple industry.  Honestly, I’m not surprised.  I eat a whole apple every day at work, but I do much prefer the sliced apple I make myself when I’m home.

20) Nate Silver explains how he got Donald Trump wrong.  Lots of really good stuff in here.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Why you get worse gifts from close friends.  (People not as close aren’t trying to impress you, just get you what you want).

2) In an utterly unsurprising finding to people who don’t just want to punish women for having sex, a new study shows that contraception reduces abortion rates; anti-abortion laws do not.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… if you really want to reduce abortion, you should want contraception to be as easily and readily available as possible.

3) So not a fan of gender reveal ceremonies.  Do they have something to tell us about transphobia?  Maybe.

4) Headline pretty well captures it: “Congress to America: Drop Dead.”  (Though, it should be Republican Congress).

In February, Obama urgently requested more than $1.8 billion to address Zika, and Congress since then has done nothing but talk. Republicans have protested that the administration doesn’t need the money, that they have questions that haven’t been answered or that the request is vague. These objections are absurd.

Even Senator Marco Rubio laid into his fellow Republicans a few weeks ago, saying: “The money is going to be spent. And the question is, Do we do it now before this has become a crisis, or do we wait for it to become a crisis?”

Rubio is right. It’s always more cost-effective and lifesaving to tackle an epidemic early.

“I’m very worried, especially for our U.S. Gulf Coast states,” said Dr. Peter Jay Hotez, a tropical diseases expert at Baylor College of Medicine. “I cannot understand why a member of Congress from a Gulf Coast state cannot see this train approaching. It’s like refusing emergency preparedness funds for an approaching hurricane.”

We don’t know how badly Zika will hit the U.S. But, the first American has just died of it, and federal health professionals are debating whether to counsel women in Zika areas to avoid pregnancy — and to me, that sounds serious.

The larger mistake is that budget cutters have systematically cut public health budgets that address Zika, Ebola and other ailments. The best bargain in government may be public health, and Republicans have slashed funding for it while Democrats have shrugged.

5) Shockingly, spinal surgeons are more likely to perform spinal surgery when they profit from the devices used in the treatment.  I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

6) Bathrooms and the religious right.

 

7) Meanwhile, Garrett Epps declares HB2 a “Constitutional Monstrosity.”

8) Kids need to learn how to play by themselves.  And to play with other kids if they don’t want to play alone.  I make no apologies for using my iphone when at the playground.

I need my kids to stop playing with me at the playground.

I don’t mean I need them to leave me alone and stop smothering me in attention because I’d like 10 minutes with my phone and to wander pointlessly through the pathways. But on the other hand, yeah, that’s exactly what I mean. I need them to play tag by themselves. Climb some branches. Explore the riverbank. Find frogs. Be dinosaur robots. Anything other than standing there, pawing at my legs, scampering off then returning every 30 seconds with a command to play some game I’ve not heard of. Somehow, at ages 12 and 4, they can’t entertain themselves.

9) If it isn’t enough that we treat the animals used for meat horribly, we also treat the humans in meat production horribly.  Can’t we just pay a little more for meat and have animals and humans treated not horribly?!

10) Not surprisingly, the founder of the Creation Museum just doesn’t understand science.

11) Swaddling may increase the risk of SIDS.  But I bet it doesn’t if you follow other safe bedding practices.  Of course, that’s never addressed in these studies.

12) State mandated burials for all aborted and miscarried fetuses in Indiana.  Sorry, that’s just nuts.

13) Why the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs have been so successful for so long.

14) Just another mentally ill individual dying from mistreatment in jail.  Nothing to see here.

15) Is there a genuine problem of liberal intolerance on college campuses?  Maybe.  Though, honestly, in my experience it’s not happening in the Political Science departments.

Quick hits (part I)

1) Tom Edsall takes a thorough look (it’s always thorough with Edsall) on a wide range of recent polling data about Trump, noting especially the possible social desirability bias to lead Trump to do much better in polls without a human interviewer.  Here’s his conclusions:

There are a few conclusions to be drawn.

First, the way Trump has positioned himself outside of the traditional boundaries of politics will make it unusually difficult to gauge public support for him and for many of his positions.

Second, the allegiance of many white Democrats and independents is difficult to predict — cross-pressured as they are by the conflict between unsavory Trump positions they are drawn to and conscience or compunction. The ambivalence of many Republicans toward Trump as their party’s brazenly defiant nominee will further compound the volatility of the electorate.

Finally, the simple fact that Trump has beaten the odds so far means that it is not beyond the realm of possibility that he could beat them again. If he does take the White House, much, if not all, of his margin of victory will come from voters too ashamed to acknowledge publicly how they intend to cast their vote.

2) Are universities too corporatized?  Yes!  But I think this “Slow Professor” take oversells the problem.

3) Why there is still a black market for marijuana even where it is legal.

4) An interesting contrary take on Grit.  I actually have Duckworth’s new book sitting on my shelf (and am cautiously optimistic it might help with my decidedly-lacking-in-grit teenager).

5) No, science isn’t broken.

6a) Oh man did this interview with liberal Sanders supporter, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas, Thomas Frank come in for sharp criticism from many PS friends on FB.

6b) As did this:

You wrote a piece a little while ago about data journalism and technocracy and the so-called expert consensus. You attacked people like Ezra Klein and the focus on political science in journalism. Can you explain how that critique connects with your broader thinking about the Democratic Party?

I would say that it reflects the culture of liberalism in the same way that there is a lot of scientific sounding stuff that liberals really eat up. They love it when something is explained to them by someone who appears to be a great authority figure. This is the culture of liberalism. A great example is to look at the New York Times op-ed page and how many of the contributors are academics. This is also a problem with journalism, generally.

OK, but is your problem that the people who are consulted as being experts are not actually experts, or that the idea of going to experts is itself problematic?

Both of those are true to some degree. It’s not, obviously, that experts are wrong across the board, but that it’s easy to conceal an agenda by covering it with expertise. It’s really easy. It’s easy to do it with numbers. There are all sorts of ways to do things like that.

I think the latter is true as well. The way I try to get at truth is more through cultural history. That’s what I sort of naturally gravitate back to all the time. I think when you try to understand everything with numbers it is obviously going to leave a lot of things unspoken and unanalyzed.

Suffice it to say that anyone who attacks Ezra Klein, using data, and using political science research to inform journalism is not going to win me over to his position.

7) Creative ways to fight Zika-carrying mosquitoes.

8) Could Macy’s troubles threaten a third of American malls?  My very own, now Macy’s-less mall is surely in trouble.

9) Is a sub two hour marathon humanly possible?  One exercise scientist thinks so and is working to make it a reality.

10) The link probably won’t work for most of you, sorry, but I was very intrigued by this article on the “Tedification” of the large lecture and the study of “proxemics.”  I used to teach my large lecture (150 students) in a surprisingly intimate room where I felt like I could truly connect with the students at the back of the room.  That building has been demolished and in the new room I have, I literally cannot see the students at the back of the room, 20 feet higher than me.  I cannot help bu think that has to be worse for learning.

Michael Tingley and Amy Donohue, both principals at Bora, say the new rooms were designed using studies of proxemics, which show that students learn better when they are closer to the professor.

“There is an evolution in technology that is changing how institutions interact with their students,” Mr. Tingley says, adding that their aim was to make large lectures have a “campfire feel.”

Lynne L. Hindman, research coordinator at Oregon State, is conducting research of her own to analyze the effectiveness of teaching and learning in the new rooms. Ms. Hindman has gathered data from lectures taught in the LInC100 arena and plans to use heat-sensing cameras to identify movement patterns of the professors who teach in them. She hopes to map students’ grade-point averages to individual seats in the classroom, to see if placement correlates to grades.

11) Dahlia Lithwick on the difficulty of covering Merrick Garland.

12) Being a truck driver used to be a great job.  Not anymore.

13) Daily diet soda in pregnancy is linked to greater likelihood of an overweight 1-year old.  And with all the expected controls.  I gotta admit… hmmmm.

14) Back when I just had two kids, we were great with getting them to bed by 7:30 every night.  I hate that my 16-year old was in bed before 8:00 every night until 2nd grade, yet my current 5-year old is rarely in bed before 8:30.  A downside of four.  Really good article on bedtimes.

And well-rested kids behave quite differently than sleep-deprived kids. In that same interventional study I mentioned earlier, the 7- to 11-year-olds who were put to bed an hour earlier for five nights were rated by their teachers (who didn’t know that they’d gotten more sleep) as being less irritable and impulsive than usual. A similar studyfound that four nights of going to sleep an hour earlier made 8- to 12-year-olds more even-keeled and boosted their short-term memory, working memory, and attention skills compared with kids who had their bedtimes shifted later by an hour. Anotherstudy found that 2-year-olds who had early bedtimes were, at age 8, 62 percent less likely than those with later or inconsistent bedtimes to have attention problems and 81 percent less likely to have aggression issues.

15) The neuroscience of why you cannot lose weigh on a diet.

16) All those “pro-business” reforms Republicans are always talking about that will increase economic growth?  Based on cross-national comparisons, not so much.  Drum:

More than likely, pro-business reforms in the US would have little to no effect on economic growth. Here’s Soltas:

Maybe the lesson here is to beware the TED-talk version of development economics. Shortening the time it takes to incorporate a small business is not a substitute for deeper institutional reforms, such as those that support investment in human and physical capital, remove economic barriers that hold back women and ethnic or religious minorities, or improve transportation, power, and sanitation infrastructure.

17) Max Boot has had enough of Trump’s Republican Party.

18) Jon Cohn explains that, yes, Hillary Clinton is a progressive.

19) Finally got around to reading Emily Bazelon’s excellent NYT Magazine piece “Should prostitution be a crime?”  In short: it depends. It is fascinating how completely divided both the feminist and human rights movements are over what the approach should be.  It also seems very clear that what policy makes sense surely very much depends on the unique history, culture, and socio-demographics of the country involved.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Paul Waldman is confident Hillary Clinton will not face any criminal charges over email (and that the media won’t really care):

That point about her intending to break classification rules is important, because in order to have broken the law, it isn’t enough for Clinton to have had classified information in a place where it was possible for it to be hacked. She would have had to intentionally given classified information to someone without authorization to have it, like David Petraeus did when he showed classified documents to his mistress (and then lied to the FBI about it, by the way). Despite the enormous manpower and time the Justice Department has devoted to this case, there has never been even a suggestion, let alone any evidence, that Clinton did any such thing.

But when it comes to the presidential campaign, that isn’t going to matter. Republicans already know what they think: Hillary Clinton is a criminal whose every thought and action is vile and despicable, so of course she broke the law…

And the media, always operating on the rule that when it comes to the Clintons any smoke should be treated as fire — even if there’s a bunch of Republicans operating a smoke machine in full view — will offer endless breathless stories about the “scandal” and how it just shows that people don’t trust Clinton. [emphasis mine]

2) Want a spouse way more attractive than you?  Have a long-established friendship first.

3) It’s no accident that Oxycontin is so addictive.  It’s actually related to the evil venality of big Pharma.

4) Julia Azari on why Bernie shouldn’t drop out and hotly-contested primaries.  I particularly liked the citing of this research by my friend:

In a 1998 study of presidential elections, University of New Mexico political scientist Lonna Atkeson challenged the theory by suggesting that divisive primaries occur when the party is already divided. In other words, divisive primaries are the symptom, not the disease. We’re in the midst of an open primary, but take recent incumbent presidents as an example: Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992 ran into trouble in the general election, but not because they were challenged in the primaries. They attracted challengers in the primaries because they were already in political trouble. Controlling for factors that account for this political trouble — the strength of the economy and the president’s popularity — Atkeson found that the effect of divisive primaries on how well the nominee does in the general election drops out. In other words, divisive primaries don’t make the incumbent party vulnerable; the causation runs the other way.

5) Jeffrey Toobin says the Supreme Court seems ready to legalize corruption.

6) You are probably no more surprised than me that teenagers who take “purity pledges” are more likely to end up pregnant.

7) The one about the ethnic-looking man taken off a plane for doing math.

8) Trump’s electoral map challenge.

9) The most highly-compensated occupations taking local cost of living into account– e.g., live like a king as a surgeon in Oklahoma.

10) Obama’s latest ideas for reducing crime.  Evidence suggests more cops works, but a lot of people are uncomfortable with that idea.  Here’s my proposal– more cops with much better training.

11) I imagine beef can actually be raised in a way that is sustainable and good for the planet, as argued here.  That said, I also imagine that 90+%  of beef is currently raised in ways that are not good for the planet.

12) Poor Heidi Cruz:

Heidi Cruz has a formidable résumé: Armed with an MBA from Harvard, she is a former director of the Western Hemisphere at the National Security Council (where she reported to Condoleezza Rice), a former director of the Latin American office of the Treasury Department, and presently, a director at Goldman Sachs (where she is on leave). She was even an economic adviser to a leading Republican presidential campaign—it just happened to be Bush 2000, and not Cruz 2016.

And yet most of Heidi Cruz’s time on the trail was spent performing genial if largely forgettable duties: the wife as helpmeet. Her most memorable campaign performances included recounting a story about her husband’s purchase of 100 cans of Campbell’s soup when they were newlyweds, and assuring the American public that he is not, in fact, the Zodiac Killer.

13) Rather than implementing proper regulations to protect drinking water where I live, NC Republicans tried a shortcut that scientists assured them wouldn’t work.  After a year with no success from this shortcut and plenty of wasted money, the Republicans have finally admitted it won’t work.

14) Toddlers keep shooting people with guns.  Gun advocates keep insisting smart guns would be a horrible idea.

15) The Law School Admissions Council is evil.

16) Mark McKinnon on the GOP’s failure on issues of equality.

17) 8 years ago this week I was on the CBS Early Show.  I lost any link to the video until FB “On This Day” brought it back to me and the link still works!  And, yes, I did look younger 8 years ago.

18) More Republicans need to be saying stuff like this:

From 2006 to 2009, I worked in the White House for George W. Bush. As an actor and writer in New York, this isn’t always a popular thing to tell people. But I do, because I am proud to have worked for a president who led with principle and conviction. As a West Wing staffer, I saw firsthand that President Bush’s sole motivation was to do what he thought was best for our country. People may have disagreed with his policies, but they couldn’t disagree with his intentions.

From 2009 to 2010, I spent a year working for Congressional Republicans. In contrast to my time at the White House, I saw that many in Congress put their personal and partisan interests ahead of the country’s needs. Many times, the GOP’s only agenda was to defeat Barack Obama at all costs. It didn’t matter what Obama’s policy was; all that mattered was winning and eventually regaining power for the GOP.

This desire for control of the presidency, and the belief that any Republican is better than any Democrat, is why many Republicans are now embracing Trump. They claim that the GOP needs to coalesce behind Mr. Trump because he is a better alternative than Hillary Clinton. He is not. ..

While I disagree with many of Hillary Clinton’s policies, she is clearly qualified to be president. She possesses judgment and self-restraint. She does not have a track record of irrational, risky, and unsound business decisions and public comments. She has a long record of public service. She can be trusted with controlling our military and nuclear weapons. Mr. Trump cannot.

Any Republican who claims that it’s better to elect Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton either lacks proper judgment, or has become so blinded by partisan ideology that they have lost objectivity. [emphasis mine]

19) Just because you want to raise a child with grit doesn’t mean they can’t quit things.  You just need to be smart about it. And, I just ordered Duckworth’s new book.

20) When it comes to Trump vs. Paul Ryan, Yglesias argues that Trump has hand.

Throughout his rise to domination over the Republican Party, leaders in Washington have indulged the fantasy that somehow if Trump won the nomination he would become morereliant on them than he was on the campaign trail.

The exact reverse is the case. Precisely because Trump isn’t a professional politician and has no particular personal, emotional, or intellectual investment in larger Republican Party projects, it’s not so bad for him if the whole thing goes down in flames. The party’s institutional leaders and rank-and-file apparatchiks, by contrast, have a great deal of personal, emotional, and intellectual investment in the larger project. The costs of defecting from Team Trump are very high, most of them won’t do it, and Trump knows it.

Throughout his rise to domination over the Republican Party, leaders in Washington have indulged the fantasy that somehow if Trump won the nomination he would become morereliant on them than he was on the campaign trail.

The exact reverse is the case. Precisely because Trump isn’t a professional politician and has no particular personal, emotional, or intellectual investment in larger Republican Party projects, it’s not so bad for him if the whole thing goes down in flames. The party’s institutional leaders and rank-and-file apparatchiks, by contrast, have a great deal of personal, emotional, and intellectual investment in the larger project. The costs of defecting from Team Trump are very high, most of them won’t do it, and Trump knows it.

21) Donald Trump and the history of Paleoconservatives.

Quick hits (part I)

So, so much good stuff this week.  I could have spent all my time blogging and not got to all I wanted to.  Alas, I spent a lot of my time grading and got to write even less than I would have liked.  Anyway, on with the show.

1) Is Gwynneth Paltrow wrong about everything?  Yeah, you do know the answer to that.

2) Taylor Batten lets loose on the architects of HB2.

3) Our increasingly horrible efforts at providing actual justice (in the form of decent legal representation) for the poor, for example, really deserved it’s own post.

4) An open letter from your horrible Facebook friends.

5) Alexandra Petri on Trump, Clinton, and the Woman Card.

6) How the new bathroom laws effect kids with special needs and their parents.  A subject near and dear to my heart.

7) Great professor humor– I would rather do anything than grade your final papers.

8) The NYT guide to really short workouts (I still try and get in their mis-named 7 minute workout once or twice a week).

9) Discrimination against political conservatives at American universities.

10) Just in case you missed this big story this week about The Biggest Loser and weight loss.  Biggest lesson seems to be, don’t ever let yourself get obese.  Wonkblog makes a good case, though, that this is actually pretty misleading.

11) Vox with research-based diet tips.  You probably already know all these (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, sustainable for you, etc.).

12) So Comcast has a new modem that lets you get fiber optic speed with old-school cable.  If this is possible, why the hell is everybody re-wiring with fiber optics?  Seems like something is missing in this story.

 

13) And back to the woman card, I make no apologies for thinking that Democrats are better off with a known skilled, competent, liberal legislator like Chris Van Hollen who happens to be a white male, than a Black woman with a much lesser political resume.  That said, there’s a lot of really good reasons to elect more women.

14) A “simple” guide to quantum entanglement.

15) Bill Ayers says he’s not afraid of President Trump.  For once, we disagree.  I think he should be.

Despite our howls of protestation about the evils of our opponents (whoever they may be), there is a center of gravity in the American political system. That center can (and does) shift over time – since the 1980s it has shifted significantly to the right, which is why repeated Republican protestations about being victims in a country about to collapse into leftist socialism are bafflingly bizarre. The conservative movement has in fact been succeeding in slow, steady increments, yet to listen to them talk you’d think they were Davy Crockett at the Alamo.

And this is why I refuse to be afraid, even if Donald Trump is elected President. Whatever else he does, he will not push the country still farther to the right – he’s not a conservative and never has been, which is why he keeps violating conservative principles on the campaign trail. He will not make the country more racist or xenophobic than it already is – all he is doing is drawing out the existing racism, xenophobia, and misogyny in the population. In a way (as some in the NYT have argued) he may be doing us a favor by bringing this nastiness out into the light where it can be more effectively countered.

Trump as President would be confronted with a badly divided and electorally weakened Republican party in Congress, quite likely a Democratic Senate that can filibuster anything he tries to do, and a vast Federal bureaucracy with decades of experience in centrist governance. Washington, DC isn’t the Celebrity Apprentice – you can’t just fire everybody and start over. If he tries – really tries – to impose his desires simply by force of will, as he has tended to do in his business life, he will rapidly find himself unable to do much of anything, and he might be impeached. His penchant for litigation will get him nowhere – who do you sue when you’re the President?

16) This advice for wannabe cheerleaders seemed reasonable to me. It’s no secret that they are after a particular look and body style, do we really need to pretend otherwise.

17) How Ramsay Bolton represents a decline in the quality of Game of Thrones storytelling.

18) I’m sorry, call me transphobic and backwards, but I am just not down with the regular use of “cisgender.”

19) High School football player shows part of his penis (which nobody actually notices) in team photo.  Full weight of the criminal justice system comes down on him.  I’m glad there’s not more serious crimes going on for them to worry about.

 

There are other costs, too: The case will take resources from the prosecutor’s office to investigate and prosecute, time and money from a trial court as it hears the case, and up to thousands of dollars for food, housing, and medical care, among other expenses, if Osborn is put in jail or prison. (According to the Vera Institute of Justice, the average prison inmate costs Arizona $24,805 each year.)

To put it another way, there’s a serious risk here that the criminal justice system will inflict more pain on Osborn and costs on society than he inflicted on anyone else — all over a high school prank that parents and the school could have addressed by themselves.

20) And how’s this for overzealous law enforcement?  Detain a kid on counterfeiting suspicion for using a $2 bill.  Ugh.

 

21) I get the feeling there’s not a lot of people like me when it comes to Radiohead.  I really like some of their albums a lot, but I don’t really love them.  That said, I absolutely love this new song and video.  Watch!!

22) And your weekend long(ish) read: Lee Drutman on the fraying of the Republican-big business alliance and what it means.

 

We’re #2!

Hey look, NC is #2.  Alas, that’s #2 in the nation in the real-dollar decline in teacher pay.  Bested only by Indiana (shockingly, another state run by Republicans).  Oh, and please don’t give me the retort that Democrats were in charge for most of this period, it’s quite clear when the declining commitment to public education in NC started.

nc

Oh, and the actual graphic at the link is interactive, so worth clicking through and checking out.

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