The tarnished NC brand

Great Op-Ed from good friend and dedicated Fully Myelinated reader, Damon Circosta, in the N&O today about the damage to North Carolina’s brand the current Republican government is responsible for.  Think states don’t have a brand?  Just ask yourself what you first think when you hear Alabama or Mississippi and if you’d ever want to move there.  Compare that to California.  This stuff matters.  Damon:

Set aside for a moment the economic damage. Pretend for a second that thousands of our residents are not being made to feel unwelcome in their own state. In addition to all of the tangible, immediate problems with HB2, we are jeopardizing something more ethereal. The North Carolina “brand” is in peril. When the brand is tarnished, it can take a long time to repair, if it can be repaired at all.

We might not like to think about our brand. When our state’s motto is “to be, rather than to seem,” talking about appearances can feel shallow. But for generations, North Carolina cultivated the notion that we were the exceptional Southern state. We attracted good people and enterprise through a combination of investments in our schools, respect of others and a disposition toward kindness and reason. Our brand helped attract a mix of people who have driven our state and our economy forward. They brought their talents, their families and their resources and now call this place home. I am proud to be one of them.

A study out of the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center says that the potential loss of federal funds in North Carolina could result in $2.4 billion in wages and 53,000 jobs. While those numbers seem staggering, they pale in comparison to the loss of brand equity HB2 is causing. We might be able to quantify job losses when organizations like PayPal and Deutsche Bank announce their plans to disinvest in North Carolina. We never will be able to calculate how much we lose when North Carolina gets crossed off the list in some corporate site selection meeting or the next great tech startup chooses to start elsewhere.

We won’t know of the untold thousands of people who wanted to come here to learn or invent or innovate until they heard about North Carolina’s intolerant ways.

Sadly… yes!  The Republican “leadership” is doing the kind of intellectual damage to our state that can potentially take decades to overcome.  There is a huge advantage to being thought of as the good Carolina.  Our good brand has affected the state in all sorts of ways, big and small, that provide a more vibrant economy and make it a better place to live.  Hopefully some sanity can prevail before even more damage is done.

 

NC Republicans: bad for business

Obviously, Republicans want to make the current controversy all about bathrooms, privacy, and political correctness.  That works for them and they will surely continue to do it.  But Democrats have a big advantage in that mainstream corporate America–not just a bunch of Hollywood liberals and entertainers is behind them.  And in being against the hate-inspired NC legislation (prominently, not just bathrooms but preventing local protection of LGBT rights), the business community strongly helps the Democrats’ case.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me the Democrats’ Fall campaign in NC has written itself, “North Carolina Republicans: Bad for Business.”  Republicans can talk about privacy and men in women’s restrooms all they want, but I don’t think that resonates with voters like the fact that HB2 is demonstrably and undeniably costing the state jobs and business investment.  That’s a valence issue.  Everybody wants jobs and economic growth and the Republicans are on the wrong side of it because of HB2.  It’s not clear to me how you spin away the fact that numerous national/international companies have said they will not be investing in our state as a direct result of HB2.  Talk about “politicial correcntnness” all you want, but the undeniable fact is that the Republicans’ narrow social agenda is bad for the North Carolina economy.

And here’s some good coverage on the behind the scenes business angle on this I meant to quote from, but, hey, at least this post is existing in reality and not just my head (the graveyard for most of my “posts”).

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)

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.

 

A way out on HB2?

The N&O suggests that being sued by the US DOJ offers McCrory an out:

Now it’s official. The state of North Carolina and its governor are breaking the law.

The U.S. Justice Department delivered that verdict Wednesday in a letter to Gov Pat McCrory regarding the legality of House Bill 2, the anti-LGBT law that includes a measure preventing transgender people from using public facilities that align with their gender identity.

In the letter, Valita Gupta, principal deputy assistant attorney general, told the governor, “The Department of Justice has determined that, as a result of compliance with and implementation of NC House Bill2, both you and the state of NC are in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

That determination means millions of dollars, perhaps billions of dollars, in federal funding to North Carolina may be suspended unless the state repeals or significantly amends HB2. McCrory has until Monday to say whether the state will comply or defy…

McCrory, who is up for re-election and sinking in the polls because of the damage from HB2, should be and likely is alarmed by the federal demand. He thought HB2 would stir his Republican base and put his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, in the uncomfortable position of defending “men in women’s rooms.” But the ploy backfired, and he’s now desperate for a way out of it.

The U.S. Justice Department offers McCrory an exit. He should take it. He should say that the law is not worth the damage it has done to North Carolina’s reputation and economy and that it’s certainly not worth losing what some estimate could be $4.5 billion in federal funding.

Alas, McCrory is not driving the NC Republican bus on this or anything else:

ut North Carolina’s response ultimately will not be up to the governor. Berger is the adamant force behind this law. He has no concerns about being re-elected. And he politically seceded from the U.S. government once Barack Obama became the head of it. Berger apparently welcomes a battle over states rights and discrimination. He said in a statement, “This is a gross overreach by the Obama Justice Department that deserves to be struck down in federal court.”

My wife asked me yesterday what happened in Indiana and other states when similar laws were passed.  I got to inform her that our Republicans are uniquely intransigent as those states’ Republicans backed down once they saw the real costs in lost business, etc.  Yay, NC.

Quick hits (part II)

1) How Intel made the wrong bet on the future of technology 10 years ago.

2) Contrary to what politicians and media would have you believe “normal America,” is not some small town in “the heartland,” but rather, a racially diverse, mid-size metropolitan area.

3) Jon Cohn on why it is so hard to keep health care prices down:

If you want to know why it’s so hard to fight the pharmaceutical industry and reduce spending on prescription drugs, pay close attention to a new Obama administrationinitiative and the reaction it’s getting on Capitol Hill — even from would-be allies in the Democratic Party.

The initiative seeks to change how Medicare pays for cancer therapies and other medications that physicians administer directly to patients in their offices or other outpatient settings. Under the current arrangement, Medicare basically reimburses doctors for the price of these drugs and then adds on an extra fee.

Not everybody agrees, however. The administration’s proposal has provokedintense opposition from the pharmaceutical industry and other physician groups, such as oncologists, for whom the existing system is extremely lucrative. They insist the proposed changes could disrupt the medication supply for cancer patients and other people in need of life-saving medication — arguments that some patient organizations have also made.

4) Inciting political anger is a lucrative business.

5) Actual science behind “resting bitch face.

6) The N&O on the recent federal court decision upholding NC’s Voter ID law:

One and all, these changes in state and local law would have been closely scrutinized by the Justice Department, in pre-clearance, and probably disallowed.

In upholding the recent monkey business in voter-eligibility requirements and procedures, Judge Schroeder, a George W. Bush appointee, wrote with wonderful obtuseness: “In North Carolina’s recent history … certainly for the last quarter-century, there is little official discrimination to consider.” Which raises the question of what the weasel words “little” and “official” mean in context. My own judgment is that Schroeder must occupy a noiseless and newsless cocoon.

7) Extend the range of you remote car key.

8) What do you do with the prisoner/whistleblower who reports the egregious malfeasance of prison guards?  Why, in America, punish him all the more, of course.

9) I’d been wanting a piece explaining how Leicester City has basically pulled off the most improbably feat in modern sports history (seriously, it’s the maintaining this level over a full 38 game season that is so amazing) and Slate has come through:

The best tactics in the world can help you steal a couple of games you shouldn’t win. They can’t steal you a league title. To win the Premier League, you need great players, and Leicester has them. For a team operating on a limited budget, the most valuable asset is the late bloomer, someone whose growth curve shoots skyward after the big clubs have taken their look and moved on. Right back Danny Simpson and midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who made his first appearance for England in March, spent time in Manchester United’s academy. Defender Robert Huth was brought to England from Germany by Chelsea, while Kasper Schmeichel, son of Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel, started his career at Manchester City. All are now regular starters for a team that is assured of finishing above those who deemed them surplus.

Leicester has somehow gotten all of these late bloomers to flower at the exact same moment. The 25-year-old Algerian Riyad Mahrez, English football’s newly anointed player of the year, has scored more goals this season than he did in his previous four of first-team soccer combined. Striker Jamie Vardy scored five goals last year in his first Premier League season and is currently on 22 and counting. Leicester’s youngest regular starter, pint-sized destroyer of worlds N’Golo Kanté, was brought over from the midtable French club Caen this summer for $8 million; he is now wanted by somewhere between most and all of Europe’s top clubs.

If any one of these players had broken out last season, he likely would have been sold off for a handsome profit. Leicester City would have gotten paid, the player would have gotten paid, and the fans would have been upset but ultimately accepted the realities of the game’s economics. Everybody would have been OK with the status quo.

10) Reagan’s tax cuts were definitely not the key to economic growth in the 1980’s.  Of course, Republicans will never stop claiming otherwise.

11) Will Saletan with the ultimate takedown of the polls say Bernie is more electable nonsense.

12) Women curse in public way less than men.  Good for them, damnit!  Seriously.  Not a big fan.  Nonetheless, it’s subtle sexism at work.

13) Yes,  Cruz naming Carly Fiorina as his VP runnnig mate was very short-term thinking, but as Seth Masket points out, VP selections are (lamentably) almost always short-term thinking.

But as we reflect on Ted Cruz’s pick, it’s worth remembering how many presidential candidates picked running mates based on immediate exigencies and naked political calculation. The multi-year scrutiny — with all the debates, speeches, ads, and punditry — that we apply to the top of the ticket is simply not in effect for the position that’s a heartbeat away from the presidency. It’s usually just a handful of people thinking about what will get their campaign through the next few months.

14) Republicans like to point to high risk pools as the key to replacing Obamacare.  Drum points out that there’s no way this would actually work.

15) And Drum again, with a brief look at a recent Pew report that interestingly shows that Democrats have a real education gap while Republicans have an age gap.

16) Our system of cash bail that punishes people for being poor is uniquely horrible and needs to be done away with.

17) I used to really like Salon way back when it was new.  I was even a subscriber.  Now, I pretty much only read it when I want to see what the far left is thinking.  This is an example of why.

18) British physicians urge a switch to e-cigarettes over the real ones.  Yes, harm reduction!  American doctors remain skeptical, but hard for me to see how this is not a positive step.

19) Love this Op-Ed from my NCSU colleague, Mark Nance, on how HB2 is part of the fruits of gerrymandering:

Of all the amazing aspects of this story, however, what is most striking is what’s not there. By most accounts, McCrory was not the driver of the bill. He likely preferred a very narrow bill to overturn the Charlotte ordinance as a strategy against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper. So where are those who really pushed the bill? Where has the GOP leadership been and why aren’t they on the front lines defending the bill? Where are the 11 Democrats who voted for it? Why aren’t they defending the good reputation of North Carolina?

The Associated Press recently went to great lengths to get comments from all lawmakers who voted for the bill, with miserably bad response rates. It took a comment from the president of the United States to get Senate leader Phil Berger to respond, an exception that proves the rule: The politicians who pushed hardest for this bill have said nothing in the face of staunch criticism. Why?

They don’t have to. About 90 percent of the legislators who voted for the bill either face no challengers in their elections this fall or won their last election by more than 10 percentage points.

20) Obama wants law enforcement to use smart guns.  Smart.  We need to create a market for these and a strong push from the federal government would really help with that.

21) Ross Douthat trying to understand how so many Republicans support Trump despite his obvious handicap in the general election:

On the evidence of past campaigns, this engagement inclines them (in the aggregate) to balance ideology and electability when they vote. That is, as engaged partisans they’re more likely to have particular litmus tests, more likely to have specific issues or causes that they care about. But they’re also more likely to loathe the other party, the other ideological team, with a passion that makes winning in November seem essential. And because they follow politics relatively closely, they’re more likely to have a clear sense of who can win and who simply cannot…

But here the model isn’t completely broken, because a majority of Republican voters don’t actually believe that Trump faces long odds, don’t agree that he’s less electable than Cruz or Kasich (or Rubio or whomever further back). Instead, since last fall Republican voters have consistently told pollsters that they think Trump is the candidate most likely to winin November. So the party’s voters are choosing electability — as they see it — over ideology; they’re just in the grip of a strong delusion about Trump’s actual chances against Hillary Clinton.

The reason for this delusion might be the key unresolved question of Trump’s strange ascent. Is it the fruit of Trump’s unparalleled media domination — does he seem more electable than all his rivals because he’s always on TV? Is it a case of his victor’s image carrying all before it — if you win enough primary contests, even with 35 percent of the vote, people assume that your winning streak can be extended into November? Is this just how a personality cult rooted in identity politics works — people believe in the Great Leader’s capacity to crush their tribe’s enemies and disregard all contrary evidence?

22) How regulating banks is like getting hockey players to wear helmets.

 

Quick hits (part I)

1) Fascinating NYT profile of a car salesman who obsessively decided to take on ISIS on-line.  And was arrested by the FBI for his efforts.

2) Smoking gun presentation in the VW emissions cheating.  What I hadn’t known before is they could have just made the cars a few hundred dollars more expensive instead of cheating.  When you look at their liability now, one of the most epically bad, short-sighted financial decisions ever.

3) Frank Bruni’s take on the bathroom wars.

4) Surely I’ve mentioned this before, but this is one notion that always needs disabusing– no, marijuana is not a gateway drug:

And that brings up an important flaw of the gateway theory in general. Science writers and readers are fond of saying that correlation does not imply causation, and this is a perfect example. Let’s say 11 percent of pot smokers start using cocaine, as this graphic shows. That doesn’t mean one drug led to the other. As Miriam Boeri, an association professor of sociology at Bentley University points out, poverty, mental illness, and friend groups are all much stronger predictors of drug use. Marijuana isn’t a “gateway” to harder drugs in the same way that ordering an appetizer isn’t a “gateway” to an entree: One comes before the other, but you’re eating both because you’re already at the restaurant.

5) The case (in video form) for starting school later.  It’s simple, of course– science.

6) How a Cold war command center was built under a mountain in Colorado.

7) Most spree killers are not able to be diagnosed with a defined mental illness.  Rather, they are undefinably crazy.

8) NSF found a great way to shrink the number of grant proposals– stop having deadlines.  Heck, about the only thing I an manage to do without a deadline is a blog post.

9) The neuroscience take on the philosophical question of what is reality, anyway?  Reminds me of all the stuff I used to read for fun back in my college says when I went through my phase of interest in metaphysics.

As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions—sights, sounds, textures, tastes—are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it—or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion—we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like.

Not so, says Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. Hoffman has spent the past three decades studying perception, artificial intelligence, evolutionary game theory and the brain, and his conclusion is a dramatic one: The world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality. What’s more, he says, we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion, as it maximizes evolutionary fitness by driving truth to extinction.

10) Teen birth rates are way down.  Hooray!

11) Speaking of birth, more research on the relationship between sharing a uterus with older brothers and being gay.

12) Yes indeed, so many “supersized” television episodes are simply too long and need judicious cutting.  There’s often a lack of discipline in making a streaming episode as long as you want instead of fitting it into a 23 or 46 minute block (I’m quite sure this was part of the problem with the Netflix season of Arrested Development).

13) Nice report from 60 Minutes on one of the under-appreciated problems of our current campaign finance laws– it turns politicians into telemarketers.

14) Really interesting interview on the relationship between intelligence and happiness.

Pinsker: One of the premises of your book is that people may have a sense of what will make them happy, but they approach those things in ways that don’t maximize happiness. Could you provide an example of that disconnect?

Raghunathan: If you take the need for mastery—the need for competence—there are two broad approaches that one can take to becoming very good at something. One approach is to engage in what people call social comparisons. That is, wanting to be the best at doing something: “I want to be the best professor there is,” or something like that.

There are many problems with that, but one big problem with that is that it’s very difficult to assess. What are the yardsticks for judging somebody on a particular dimension? What are the yardsticks for being the best professor? Is it about research, teaching? Even if you take only teaching, is it the ratings you get from students, or is it the content that you deliver in class, or the number of students who pass an exam or take a test and do really well in it? So it gets very difficult to judge, because these yardsticks become increasingly ambiguous as a field becomes narrower or more technical…

Raghunathan: What I recommend is an alternative approach, which is to become a little more aware of what it is that you’re really good at, and what you enjoy doing. When you don’t need to compare yourself to other people, you gravitate towards things that you instinctively enjoy doing, and you’re good at, and if you just focus on that for a long enough time, then chances are very, very high that you’re going to progress towards mastery anyway, and the fame and the power and the money and everything will come as a byproduct, rather than something that you chase directly in trying to be superior to other people.

15) Damn do I love articles on how the potato changed civilization.

16) With Jim Vandehei in charge, it’s no wonder Politico used to be horrible more often than not.  Just two of many pieces I saw eviscerating him for a recent clueless Op-Ed.

17) The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is pretty much perfectly suited for spreading disease among humans.

18) Conor Friedersdorf on the small tent of the social justice movement activists.

19) Loved this response to those boycotting Target over their bathrooms.

In fact, if you oppose transgender rights, you shouldn’t even be spreading AFA’s petition using their recommended #BoycottTarget hashtag because Facebook, Twitter, and Google all aced the CEI. Every minute spent on those social media giants helps them promote LGBT equality, including the T.

If you don’t want your money to go to a company that openly supports transgender people, you can’t buy an iPhone, eat an Egg McMuffin, drink a Sprite, stock up Budweiser, or fill your prescriptions at either of the nation’s two largest pharmacy chains because Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Walgreens, and CVS all scored a 100 on the HRC index.

20) Universities are much more interested in genetic diversity than diversity of viewpoints.

21) What it really means to be a political moderate (as opposed to what DC journalists think it means).

22) It really does seem like the NC Chamber of Commerce may have struck a corrupt bargain to support HB2.  They sure don’t seem to be all that interested in what actual businesses are saying.

23) Dahlia Lithwick on Bob McDonnell and the “everybody does it” defense of corruption before the Supreme Court.

 

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