February 13, 2016 17 Comments
1) Lee Drutman reviews Rick Hasen’s new book on campaign finance. Good stuff (both the review and the book). Really, it’s a great essay on how we should think about campaign finance in terms of equality instead of corruption.
2) Latest research to show that Voter ID laws disproportionately affect minorities.
3) On how South Dakota’s mandatory abstinence program (from alcohol, not sex) had a positive impact. The secret? Actually following the most basic criminology. Rather than focusing on severity, punishments are swift and certain, but not harsh.
4) Jedediah Purdy pushes back on people the likes of Krugman and me (because, of course Krugman and I go together) dissing on poor Bernie.
5) Good piece on the long struggle against lead poisoning.
6) With all the campaign drama it is easy to overlook that the Republican campaign has taken a disgusting pro-torture pose (thanks to Trump, of course).
7) How fundraising turns Congress into a part-time legislature:
This presidential race has featured a lot of conversation about the effects of money on politics, with both a billionaire and a socialist claiming that donations induce politicians to change their views. The vast social science literature on this topic is inconclusive (so far), but two conclusions are warranted:
- If legislators spend most of lives in a bubble of fellow politicians, staff, and donors, they will probably become less familiar with the problems and preferences of most of their constituents. This can help explain why legislators are much more responsive towealthy constituents and organized interests.
- Fundraising crowds out time for legislators to do the hard work of legislating: drafting proposals and reaching compromise with other legislators. Sure, many legislators seem averse to “compromise” anyway, but they may be more willing to try if they saw legislating as a full-time job with measurable results, the way they now view their FEC filings.
8) Vox’s Timothy Lee says everyone is under-estimating Ted Cruz. He didn’t ask me; I’m not.
9) The Senate may be getting rid of the most essential part of criminal justice reform in it’s bill:
If true, the Politico report would essentially mean that the Senate is axing the best, most promising part of its bill.
You simply can’t fix mass incarceration in America if you’re unwilling to shorten the prison sentences of anyone who could be considered a “violent” criminal. That’s especially true in state prisons, where the vast majority of US prisoners are held and where half of them are serving sentences for violent crimes.
When politicians talk about criminal justice reform, they tend to leave out this inconvenient fact. They prefer to talk about “nonviolent drug offenders” — even when they’re talking about state prisoners. [emphasis mine]
The original Senate bill went beyond this. It didn’t do anything too risky — the laws it proposed to change around firearms and “career criminals” are so bad that federal judges routinely complain about them.
But on an issue where states have usually led and the federal government has followed, the original Senate bill could have made a statement that states needed to dig deeper and reform sentencing for “violent offenders.” Instead, it’s sending the message that helping violent offenders is politically radioactive.
10) Hooray, the FBI finally arrested Cliven Bundy. David Graham on the FBI’s patience.
11) On the scientists who defend toxic chemicals for a paycheck.
12) Hillary Clinton would probably be doing better among younger voters if more of them had reproduced and had daughters. Seriously. Data.
13) How your neanderthal DNA may be affecting your tendency towards certain illnesses.
14) Mark Schmitt asks if big programs liberalism is over.
15) Krugman on the Groundhog Day-ness of the Republican Party:
The truth is that the whole G.O.P. seems stuck in a time loop, saying and doing the same things over and over. And unlike Bill Murray’s character in the movie “Groundhog Day,” Republicans show no sign of learning anything from experience.
Think about the doctrines every Republican politician now needs to endorse, on pain of excommunication.
First, there’s the ritual denunciation of Obamacare as a terrible, very bad, no good, job-killing law. Did I mention that it kills jobs? Strange to say, this line hasn’t changed at all despite the fact that we’ve gained 5.7 millionprivate-sector jobs since January 2014, which is when the Affordable Care Act went into full effect.
Then there’s the assertion that taxing the rich has terrible effects on economic growth, and conversely that tax cuts at the top can be counted on to produce an economic miracle.
This doctrine was tested more than two decades ago, when Bill Clinton raised tax rates on high incomes; Republicans predicted disaster, but what we got was the economy’s best run since the 1960s. It was tested again when George W. Bush cut taxes on the wealthy; Republicans predicted a “Bush boom,” but actually got a lackluster expansion followed by the worst slump since the Great Depression. And it got tested a third time after President Obama won re-election, and tax rates at the top went up substantially; since then we’ve gained eight million private-sector jobs.
Oh, and there’s also the spectacular failure of the Kansas experiment, where huge tax cuts have created a budget crisis without delivering any hint of the promised economic miracle.
16) Among the more important social science of parenting things I learned is that your kids lie to you all the time. This is a look from a teacher’s perspective. I was disappointed last year when I found out one of my kids had been lying to me about not doing homework, but now the research on how incredibly prevalent this type of behavior is really helped me keep it in perspective.
17) I got in an absurdly long FB argument with a friend and reader of this blog who implicitly argued that this video means Hillary is no better than Ted Cruz or Donald Trump. Drum puts the video in proper perspective.
18) Of course animals have empathy, damn it. Strikes me as hubris to think otherwise. Vox on the debate over animal emotions:
19) Terrific goal. Absolutely amazing first touch. And shared far less than deserved, I expect, because it’s a woman.
20) Whenever friends see my computer with Chrome open, they are astounded by all my open browser tabs (they won’t get it if I just say, “they’re all for quick hits… some day!”). How David Roberts handles the browser tab issue.
21) How to change someone’s mind according to science. Short version: Numbers, longer arguments, high-quality examples, other stuff.
22) Enjoyed this David Roberts‘ piece on how to think about Clinton versus Sanders and the meaning of ideology.
23) Finally decided to close this open tab and add to quick hits– Tom Edsall’s take on the political science research on how Democrats and Republicans are increasingly negative towards each other.