Nature or nurture

There’s a good blog post to be written about this fascinating Pew study that looks at our perceptions of gender differences.  Alas, this is not that post.  I did, however, want to at least share a few cool charts instead of relegating it to quick hits:

And, here’s the partisanship breakdown:

And check out this partisan gap on child-rearing.  I think I see a future political science article in this once the Pew data becomes available:

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Quick hits (part I)

1) Unsurprisingly, Congressional Republicans’ ideas on “reforming” higher education are horrible.  Pretty sure this would take 60 votes in the Senate, but in some bad reporting from the NYT, that isn’t even mentioned.

2) Really, really, really good article on problems of over-treatment in modern medicine.  It’s one thing to treat when physicians are unsure, what’s really dispiriting is the interventions that continue even with solid evidence against them.  Also, a great discussion of the misleading “relative risk” versus the infinitely more useful, “number needed to treat.”

3) Who even knew there was so much that could be written about electric razors.  I actually found this quite interesting.  I swear by the Mach 3 Turbo blade myself, but my blade-phobic firstborn uses a rotary electric.

4a) Really enjoyed this take on Mark Hamill and his role in Last Jedi.  Easily the best thing about the movie for me.

4b) And a very interesting take that Last Jedi “redeems the prequels.

5) Why we’re at it, the cognoscenti are always hating on Return of the Jedi, as they always do when a new Star Wars movie comes out.  Empire will always be my favorite, but I quite like this defense of Jedi from Drum.

6) Yglesias on the tax bill, “We’re witnessing the wholesale looting of America: Unchecked by norms or political prudence, it’s smash-and-grab time for the GOP.”

7) Tomasky on the dangerous differences between Nixon and Trump:

Donald Trump is a lawless president. It’s obvious to anyone who’s watching and isn’t in a state of contemptible denial that he feels constrained by no law. He cares nothing about the Constitution and he’ll lie about anything to anyone at anytime. That’s difference one.

Difference two: Nixon had no “news” channel defending and egging on his every lawless act. Trump, of course, does. That Fox chyron over the weekend, “A Coup in America?”, was shocking even for Fox. Referring to law enforcement agencies, to the FBI, as carrying out a coup? Because they have the audacity to investigate Dear Leader?

Difference three: Nixon also didn’t have a lawless Republican Party defending his moves and attacking his critics and trying to shut down an obviously legitimate investigation, but that is what we have now.

8) In a surprise to nobody who’s been through it, traditional workplace sexual harassment training doesn’t work.  On the bright side, some better approaches do work.

9) Aarron Carroll on the problematic new blood pressure guidelines:

The Sprint study essentially showed that people truly at high risk should have their blood pressure managed more aggressively than we thought. But that has not been the message of news on the new guidelines. That has focused far more often on the many newly reclassified people with mild blood pressure, who were not the focus of the Sprint intervention.

In fact, almost none of the newly labeled hypertensive people (those with systolic blood pressure between 130 and 140) should be placed on medications. These people should be advised to eat right, exercise, drink responsibly, and not smoke.

That’s exactly what physicians would have been advising people before these changes. Is there anyone left who doesn’t know those things are important for good health?

10) Pretty awesome McSweeney’s guide to asking questions at public events.

11) Excellent NYT editorial on the awfulness of the tax bill and how it exacerbates our huge inequality problem.  Was going to give it it’s own post, but now seems like a good time to mention that I hate the way NYT using a funny format for it’s charts that prevents easy copy/paste.  But you should click through and check out the charts.

12) This is why I so hate so much of what Evangelical Christianity has come to represent today.

13) Dan Harris (my original mindfulness guru– I’ve switched over to Headspace because I love that I can always keep it to 10 minutes) on meditation and rushing his 2-year old to the ER.

14) John Williams score for the Star Wars films is some of the best music there is.  Period. And it does so much to enhance the films.  More than worthy as a subject of academic study.

15) Frum on the tax bill awfulness:

If the idea behind tax reform is to eliminate favoritism from the tax code, then the tax law of 2017 is anti-reform: an aggressive loading of the costs of the state upon disfavored persons, groups, and regions. It leaves behind an unstable legacy, both economic and political. Economically, the system invites gaming. Politically, it accelerates the exodus of college-educated professionals out of the Republican Party. It will tint the blue states ever bluer, up and down the income scale.

States like California and New York desperately need a competitive Republican Party—especially at the state level—to challenge the lazy and often corrupt practices of local Democratic machines. This new tax law will have the opposite effect, wrecking whatever little remains of GOP strength in the states that motor American innovation and growth. It threatens to push New Jersey, Colorado, and Virginia into single-party blue rule as well, by painfully demonstrating that the party of Trump is not only obnoxious to their values but implacably hostile to their welfare.

16) I’ve been meaning to do a post on the Economist’s “The State of Marriage.”  I’ve failed long enough.

 

Quick hits (part I)

1) Good article in Chronicle of Higher Ed about the Canadian graduate student reprimanded for showing a video debate about gender neutral pronouns.

2) Check out America’s declining fertility rate.  You know how to maintain economic growth and a society that is not hopelessly old when this is below 2.0?  That’s right– immigration.

3) Washington State University campus Republicans re-elected their organization’s president even after he was shown to be a a white nationalist.

4) Yglesias on tax cuts and deficits

At some point Democrats will be in a position to govern again, and will likely want to roll back significant elements of this unpopular and regressive tax plan. At that point, they’ll have a choice between spending the money raised on deficit reduction (as the partial repeal of the Bush tax cuts did) or to help pay for worthwhile new programs. It’s true, of course, that Republican politicians will opportunistically flip and start condemning debt as the greatest evil of all.

More to the point, it’s true that the CEO class — currently hungry for tax cuts — will revert to “grand bargain” mode and insist that tax increases, if they must happen, should be paired with spending cuts. It’s true that much of the media will cover this hypocrisy in a clueless and irresponsible way. But the most important truth of all: Democrats will have the power to govern as they see fit, and the right choice will be to implement sound economic policy, not obsess about the deficit. So let’s not spend the Trump years in a senseless state of debt panic.

5) Very useful reminder from Chait that even the least conservative GOP Senator, Susan Collins, is still in conservative fantasyland on taxes.

6) Seth Masket on Trump facing consequences:

There are some important ways in which Trump is paying a price for his behavior, however, and these should not be ignored simply because they move slowly. For one, there’s a very serious criminal investigation of this administration moving ahead. Robert Mueller’s investigation has now produced four indictments this year, including that of the president’s former campaign manager and his choice for national security advisor. In the legal world, this is fast, and consequential, work, and could well end up as a case for impeachment and removal.

What’s more, we shouldn’t ignore the fact that Trump is highly unpopular. His approval ratings seem mired in the 30s during a period of solid economic growth, low crime, low gas prices, low inflation, and a relatively peaceful international environment. This unpopularity is costly to him and his agenda and it could prove devastating for his party.

7) I love my Netflix.  Interesting Vox take on the future of streaming.

8) Ahhhh, McSweeney’s, “Things to do at work besides showing your penis to coworkers.”

9) Former child actress gets the best of FCC Chairman in battle over net neutrality.

10) Lemurs and gut microbiomes— two of my favorite topics together!  Also, I love that their is now a journal called “Gut Microbes.”

11) A good (and much shorter than Jesse Singal’s long, but excellent) article on the deep flaws of the widely-used Implicit Attitude Test to measure racism.  And a nice further (short) response from Jesse Singal.

12) In a similar vein, excellent Hidden Brain podcast on the heinous mis-use of super-flawed personality tests.

13) Nice Mea Culpa from Billy Bush.

14) Philip Bump, “Why aren’t you paying the estate tax? Maybe because you bought 311,000 bottles of whisky.”

15) What happens when cheerleaders in small-town NC take a knee for the anthem.

16) Really enjoyed this piece from Allison Benedikt (who married her former workplace supervisor) on the grey area of workplace romance:

If a younger woman asks an older and more professionally powerful man for job advice, and that man ends up hitting on the woman, is that on its own harassment? Is it always wrong when a man is attracted to a woman at work, and acts on that attraction? If that man tries to, say, kiss the woman he is attracted to, and she’s not into it, and they leave it at that, was that forcible kissing? If a woman is not attracted to a man who comes on to her, and that man is in a position of any sort of power, is that clearly a fireable offense? I don’t think the answer to these questions is definitively yes. And yet, these tales and others like them have been stitched into the narrative of behavior that’s truly beyond the pale, and at times punished accordingly…

But when John took me to a dark bar after we closed our first story together, or when he made his move on the steps of the subway station, in the romantic glow of the Duane Reade sign, why wasn’t that harassment? Though he wasn’t the editor of the magazine or anything close, he controlled which assignments I got, and which I didn’t, and would have been the person to write my evaluation, had we done those back then. There were the steps John took to evaluate my interest before leaning in for that kiss, like asking me out for drinks after work. But what if I had felt pressure to say yes to his  invite? Or what if, when he did kiss me, I had pulled away? At the time, our work and our social lives were all mixed up in wonderful, messy, risky ways. I know John wouldn’t have punished me at work had I not been interested in his advances; if he had, that would have been harassment, and not OK. Even so, life at the magazine might have become uncomfortable for me, or for him, if things hadn’t worked out. Maybe I would have wanted to find another job, or maybe he would have. Maybe, because I was younger and less established, it would have fallen on me to figure that out, which would have been hard, but no harder than needing to find a new job because I wasn’t advancing or because I hated my boss for nonkissing reasons. Maybe I wouldn’t have cared at all that this weird dude kissed me. Maybe I would have been flattered. Or maybe it would have really sucked. In none of those scenarios, though, would John have been a sexual harasser simply because he had more power in the office than I did and made a move. He took a risk. I was capable of evaluating his advances for myself. In my case, I welcomed them. If we had just met today, though, I fear there’s no way he would have even tried…

Of course not all workplaces are the same, and I have no interest in arguing that every office should be flirty and fun, or that all bosses should feel free to flirt with abandon. My point is not that I know where the line is. It’s that, even in the midst of the most public reckoning with atrocious and abusive male behavior of my lifetime, the line is not as clear as much of the dialogue would have you think. We spend a huge portion of our waking hours at work, and particularly when you are young and single or childless or divorced or simply working all the time, much of your social life revolves around your colleagues. We have work crushes and work wives and husbands, and sometimes we kiss our co-workers or sleep with them. Sometimes that turns into something real—my husband and I are not the only long-married couple to come out of that now-defunct magazine. But sometimes it turns into everyone at a bar, drinking a little too much, and a man touching a woman’s arm or leg or rubbing her shoulder, trying to make a move, and that woman not being into it. That’s an uncomfortable situation, but we all make each other uncomfortable sometimes, particularly when sex and attraction are involved. The goal should be for a person to say “no thanks, dude,” without consequences, not for rejection to never be necessary at all.

17) A nice, succinct summary of how CRISPR-CAS9 gene editing works.

18) History tells us that getting rid of net neutrality is a radically bad idea.

19) Was talking about people taking their kids to Disney World at way too young ages at lunch and I hit upon the term “performative parenting.”  Unsurprisingly, I’m not the first to coin it, but damn is it an apt term in our social media age.

20) Or not.

21) The best solution to obesity is actually bariactic surgery.  A huge part of its effectiveness is that it actually changes how the body produces hunger and satiety hormones.

22) Really interesting piece from Farhad Manjoo on how Amazon has led to a growth in surprisingly cheap– while still being good– consumer electronics.  I’ve definitely benefited from this headphones and very much recognize the attempts of these small companies to work rigorously for strong Amazon reviews.

23) Chait with the case for why the Steele dossier on Trump is likely mostly true.

24) And he points to this assessment from intelligence pros:

[Editor’s Note: In this special Just Security article, highly respected former member of the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, John Sipher examines the Steele dossier using methods that an intelligence officer would to try to validate such information. Sipher concludes that the dossier’s information on campaign collusion is generally credible when measured against standard Russian intelligence practices, events subsequent to Steele’s reporting, and information that has become available in the nine months since Steele’s final report. The dossier, in Sipher’s view, is not without fault, including factual inaccuracies. Those errors, however, do not detract from an overarching framework that has proven to be ever more reliable as new revelations about potential Trump campaign collusion with the Kremlin and its affiliates has come to light in the nine months since Steele submitted his final report.]

 

25) Christina Cauterruci argues the Democrats have successfully played the long game with Franken’s resignation:

I’d counter with an even longer game: Think about the Democrats with long, bright futures ahead of them, the rising stars, the next Obamas, the legislators who might pass universal Medicare or eliminate Medicaid abortion bans or become president someday. If Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown, and Kamala Harris didn’t condemn Franken, they’d lose no small degree of faith among women currently feeling empowered by the #MeToo movement to root out abusers. If Franken was allowed to keep his seat while his party comrades twiddled their thumbs, young people who already think the Democratic Party is a corrupt instrument of the bourgeoisie would have one more reason to write it off for good. By sacrificing one senator, however popular he might be and whatever the perils of relinquishing his seat, Democrats were able to prevent irreparable damage to the party’s reputation among the people it should care about most: its base.

There’s another still longer game to think about, too. In the best-case scenario, the hurt caused by Franken’s resignation will be a memorable lesson to Democrats: Don’t mistreat women, or promote the candidacies of people who do—otherwise, your party might take a debilitating loss when it can least afford it, and the whole country will suffer. The moral high ground can be painful to walk, but at least there are fewer gropers there.

 

Quick hits (part I)

1) Farhad Manjoo on ending net neutrality:

Because net neutrality shelters start-ups — which can’t easily pay for fast-line access — from internet giants that can pay, the rules are just about the last bulwark against the complete corporate takeover of much of online life. When the rules go, the internet will still work, but it will look like and feel like something else altogether — a network in which business development deals, rather than innovation, determine what you experience, a network that feels much more like cable TV than the technological Wild West that gave you Napster and Netflix.

If this sounds alarmist, consider that the state of digital competition is already pretty sorry. As I’ve argued regularly, much of the tech industry is at risk of getting swallowed by giants. Today’s internet is lousy with gatekeepers, tollbooths and monopolists.

2) The reasonable case for ending net neutrality.

3) Epigenetics for the win:

For the study, scientists at the University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute followed about 100 infants over four years. They asked parents of five-week-old babies to keep a journal of their child’s behavior — things like crying, sleeping, and feeding. They also asked parents to keep track of how long and how often they gave care to their child that involved physical contact, according to a press release.

When the children were about four and a half years old, the scientists swabbed the inside of their cheeks to take a DNA sample, and then checked to see if there were any differences between children who were touched often as infants and those who were touched less often.

4) One tiny but telling piece of the tax abomination is taking away the tax break for teachers who purchase their own school supplies.  And at the same time the richest 1% gets 62% of the benefit.  Unreal.

5) Great conversation with Stephanie Coontz on our current #metoo moment.

6) $1800 to get ears pierced at the hospital.  Oh, yeah, only in America.

7) Jesse Singal is right, companies should more often ignore on-line mobs.

8) Fred Kaplan on Tom Cotton to the CIA:

First, Cotton is an ideologue to an extent beyond any CIA director except possibly William Casey during the Reagan administration. Since his election to the House in 2012, and then to the Senate two years later, Cotton has taken outspoken stances far to the right on every issue domestic and foreign

The upshot is that the CIA, which is supposed to be an independent source of intelligence as far removed as possible from political pressures, should not be led by a partisan firebrand. Yet strict loyalty is precisely what Trump wants from a CIA director—and from his entire inner circle.

9) How BoredPanda has managed to thrive while upworthy, etc., have disappeared.

10) Really good piece on five ways to fix the use of statistics in science and social science research.

11) Intriguing idea on how to address inequality:

The solution is simpler than it seems. There’s a tried and tested way, within the system we have now, of giving everyone a share in the investment returns now hoarded by the wealthy. It’s called a social wealth fund, a pool of investment assets in some ways like the giant index or mutual funds already popular with retirement savings accounts or pension funds, but one owned collectively by society as a whole. One that paid dividends not to the few, or even just to the shrinking middle class lucky enough to have their savings invested, but to everyone…

Here’s how it could work. The federal government would create and run a new investment fund, and issue every adult citizen one share of ownership. The fund would gradually come to own a substantial and diverse portfolio of stocks, bonds and real estate. The investment return that the fund generates would be paid out to each citizen in the form of a universal basic dividend, and the shares would be nontransferable to preserve the institution’s egalitarian purpose.

The net result of such a system would be to gradually transform private wealth, which is very unevenly distributed, into public wealth that every person in society owns an equal part of. If, over time, the social wealth fund came to own one-third of the country’s wealth, that would allow it to distribute an annual dividend equivalent to about a third of the total returns on invested capital each year, which represents about a tenth of net national income. In 2016, based on the latest available census population figures, that would have meant around $6,400 paid to all adults or $8,000 paid to every person between the ages of 18 and 64.

12) First-person account from an admiral of how the opioid epidemic claimed his college-age son.

13) Now that they’ve got their deficit-busting tax bill, of course Republicans want to cut programs that help middle-class people.

14) “Lonely deaths” in aging Japan.

15) In addition to the utter absurdity of the content, the process by which Republicans passed their tax bill is an absolute embarrassment.  It’s an insult to banana republics to call this banana republic stuff.

The tax plan very nearly failed on a procedural vote Thursday, before leadership corralled its wayward members back into line. Over the past 24 hours, they have cut deals that would redirect half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years, without so much as a single public hearing or one expert testimony.

16) Charles Blow:

That’s right: Not satisfied with his implicit (though obvious) endorsement of white supremacy here in America, Trump has now explicitly endorsed white supremacy in another country.

These are not mistakes. These are not coincidences. This is not mere bungling. These are revelations of the soul. This is who Trump is and who he has always been. This is who he was before he entered politics, and who he remains.

The Trump Doctrine is White Supremacy. Yes, he is also diplomatically inept, overwhelmed by avarice, thoroughly corrupt and a pathological liar, but it is to white supremacy and to hostility for everyone not white that he always returns.

When the political vise tightens on him, he just so happens to find a nonwhite target to attack.

When his tongue gets loose within him, he just so happens to find a nonwhite target to attack.

Anyone who doesn’t see this is choosing not to. [emphasis mine] They are clueless as an act of convenience, willfully blind and intentionally ignorant. Or conversely, they not only see it, but cheer it.

Either way, the people who elected Trump and those who continue to support him are to blame for what they have inflicted on this country.

17) Why a healthy dose of guilt is good for kids.  I need to step up my game.

18) Mike Pesca with the best take I’ve yet heard on the NYT nazi-next-door article.

19) Trump’s impact on the middle east:

In short, it appears that Mr. Trump and the Saudis have helped the government achieve what years of repression could never accomplish: widespread public support for the hard-line view that the United States and Riyadh cannot be trusted and that Iran is now a strong and capable state capable of staring down its enemies.

20) An Op-Ed asks, “does religion make people moral?”  I think we all know the answer– hell no.  Okay, maybe sometimes, but the Roy Moore’s of the world are a plenty big counter-example:

My humble answer is: It depends. Religion can work in two fundamentally different ways: It can be a source of self-education, or it can be a source of self-glorification. Self-education can make people more moral, while self-glorification can make them considerably less moral.

Religion can be a source of self-education, because religious texts often have moral teachings with which people can question and instruct themselves. The Quran, just like the Bible, has such pearls of wisdom. It tells believers to “uphold justice” “even against yourselves or your parents and relatives.” It praises “those who control their wrath and are forgiving toward mankind.” It counsels: “Repel evil with what is better so your enemy will become a bosom friend.” A person who follows such virtuous teachings will likely develop a moral character, just as a person who follows similar teachings in the Bible will.

But trying to nurture moral virtues is one thing; assuming that you are already moral and virtuous simply because you identify with a particular religion is another. The latter turns religion into a tool for self-glorification. A religion’s adherents assume themselves to be moral by default, and so they never bother to question themselves. At the same time, they look down on other people as misguided souls, if not wicked infidels. [emphasis mine]

 

You’re spending too much time with your kids

Maybe.  Especially if you are a college-educated American woman.  Pretty cool set of charts in the Economist:

Among the many notable features is the the increasing gap by education in every country.  Quantity of parental time does not necessarily equal quality.  Back in the 70’s and 80’s, my super-awesome mom just sent me out to play.  Lots less of that today.  That said, insofar as parental involvement helps kids (and this is presumably a rough metric of parental involvement), this suggests the rich (college-educated) getting richer.

Also, what is up with Denmark?!

Quick hits (part II)

1) Kind of fascinating to see NYT run a health column about sodium and high blood pressure and get so much wrong.  Unlike most on-line comments (which are a cesspit), NYT readers are an impressive lot and these comments are actually far more informative than the article.  Including linking to this earlier NYT piece which is far more accurate on the matter.

2) It seems crazy that we should need an Op-Ed to argue that we should not be criminally charging sexual assault victims with lying.  But we do.

3) Yes, it is overblown in conservative media, but, damn, sometime PC liberalism really does run amok at universities.

4) Jeffrey Toobin on the cultural legacy of Charles Manson:

Manson died on Sunday—remarkably, he was eighty-three years old. His era had long passed by the time of his death, but his legacy was surprisingly durable. In media, in criminal law, and in popular culture, Manson created a template that, for better or worse, is still familiar today.

5) Honestly, the case for Lena Dunham as a racist is the reason that conservatives think liberals are way too ready to cry racism.

6) Jon Bernstein on the case for superdelegates:

So why keep them? Supers have several practical functions. Their votes for the winner of the primaries and caucuses extends the delegate lead, adding both legitimacy and certainty to the nominee. That’s something they’ve done in close contests, such as the 2008 cycle. 2 But they’re also a fail-safe if something goes wrong. The proportional system of delegate allocation makes it possible that the winning candidate will fall just short of a delegate majority if one or more spoiler candidates hang on and accumulate delegates even after they no longer have a chance to win. Supers, if that happens, would presumably put the plurality winner over the top, avoiding an ugly and counterproductive deadlocked convention.

Both of those possibilities are more likely than usual in 2020, a year without any obviously strong Democratic frontrunners (Sorry, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders: Party actors and voters are not rushing in large enough numbers towards either of you to clear the field). It’s likely the Democratic field will wind up more similar to those of 1976, 1988, or 2004, with no clear early leader and at least a possibility that multiple candidates will remain viable well into the primaries and caucuses.

7) So, we know that lots of mass murderers have a red flag of domestic abuse.  What’s really interesting is that offenders who choke and strangle their victims are basically waving a bright red flag that we really ought to be paying attention to.

8) For some reason, I always find the subject of how sporting events (in this case NFL games) are assigned to different regional affiliates to be really interesting.

9) This big NYT feature on the problems with the NYC subway system is pretty amazing.  And not in a good way.

None of this happened on its own. It was the result of a series of decisions by both Republican and Democratic politicians — governors from George E. Pataki to Mr. Cuomo and mayors from Rudolph W. Giuliani to Bill de Blasio. Each of them cut the subway’s budget or co-opted it for their own priorities.

They stripped a combined $1.5 billion from the M.T.A. by repeatedly diverting tax revenues earmarked for the subways and also by demanding large payments for financial advice, I.T. help and other services that transit leaders say the authority could have done without.

They pressured the M.T.A. to spend billions of dollars on opulent station makeovers and other projects that did nothing to boost service or reliability, while leaving the actual movement of trains to rely on a 1930s-era signal system with fraying, cloth-covered cables.

They saddled the M.T.A. with debt and engineered a deal with creditors that brought in quick cash but locked the authority into paying $5 billion in interest that it otherwise never would have had to pay.

In one particularly egregious example, Mr. Cuomo’s administration forced the M.T.A. to send $5 million to bail out three state-run ski resorts that were struggling after a warm winter.

And, my God, the pay!

Subway workers now make an average of $170,000 annually in salary, overtime and benefits, according to a Times analysis of data compiled by the federal Department of Transportation. That is far more than in any other American transit system; the average in cities like Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington is about $100,000 in total compensation annually.

The pay for managers is even more extraordinary. The nearly 2,500 people who work in New York subway administration make, on average, $280,000 in salary, overtime and benefits. The average elsewhere is $115,000.

New York is more expensive than most other cities, but not by that much. The latest estimate from the federal Department of Commerce said the region’s cost of living was 22 percent higher than the national average and 10 percent higher than the average for other areas with subways.

Mr. Samuelsen rejected the idea that subway workers were overpaid, arguing that it is a dangerous job in which assault is common. “We earn every penny that we make,” he said. “This is New York City. This isn’t Mayberry. It costs $700,000 to buy a house in Brooklyn. What do you want us to make? Fifteen dollars an hour?”

10) Dave Leonhardt on how America is an outlier in driving deaths:

But it’s not just speed. Seatbelt use is also more common elsewhere: One in seven American drivers still don’t use one, according to the researchers Juha Luoma and Michael Sivak. In other countries, 16-year-olds often aren’t allowed to drive. And “buzzed driving” tends to be considered drunken driving. Here, only heavily Mormon Utah has moved toward a sensible threshold, and the liquor and restaurant lobbies are trying to stop it.

The political problem with all of these steps, of course, is that they restrict freedom, and we Americans like freedom. To me, the freedom to have a third beer before getting behind the wheel — or to drive 15 miles an hour above the limit — is not worth 30 lives a day. But I recognize that not everyone sees it this way. [emphasis mine]

Which is part of the reason I’m so excited about driverless technology. It will let us overcome self-destructive behavior, without having to change a lot of laws. A few years from now, sophisticated crash-avoidance systemswill probably be the norm. Cars will use computers and cameras to avoid other objects. And the United States will stand to benefit much more than the rest of the industrialized world.

Until then, be careful out there.

11) And the six main causes of automobile accidents in Slate.

12) On how to raise girls and boys to counter-act gender stereotypes.  I especially liked the part about parenting boys:

What could make a big difference is raising boys more like our girls — fostering kindness and caretaking, not just by telling them to respect women, but by modeling egalitarianism and male affection and emotional aptitude at home. While parents and other adults teach girls to protect themselves against the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, that doesn’t do much to stem the tide of Weinsteins. Raising our boys differently would.[emphasis mine]

Parents should also shift the ways they teach girls to protect themselves. When we’re young, many of us were told to tell Mom and Dad if anyone ever touched us in a way that felt icky; as we grow up, we are armed with pepper spray and rape whistles, with instructions to always carry cab fare, not leave our drinks unattended at a bar, that no should mean no.

This is an understandable impulse, and some of the advice is good. But what girls don’t learn is how to be the solo aviators of their own perfect, powerful bodies — to happily inhabit their own skin instead of seeing their physical selves as objects to be assessed and hopefully affirmed by others; to feel entitled to sex they actively desire themselves, instead of positioned to either accept or reject men’s advances. Nor are we allowed full expressions of rage or other unfeminine emotions when we are mistreated. No wonder we try to politely excuse ourselves from predatory men instead of responding with the ire that predation merits.

One of the most important ways to move forward at this moment is to simply be aware that these assumptions and prejudices exist, and to deal with them head-on instead of pretending they aren’t there. Here, daughters of conservative men are at a particular disadvantage: Three-quarters of Republican men say that sexism is mostly a thing of the past.

Quick hits (part I)

1) Interesting take on how to parent our kids— a lot more gender neutrally– to prevent our boys (mostly) from becoming sexist pigs.  Whatever my mom did certainly worked and I’d like to think I’m carrying that on another generation.

2) That said, when you start getting into posts saying that nobody should have to hug anybody because it’s all about consent and bodily autonomy, you are going too far.  Wanting all my kids (boys or girl) to hug their grandparents when they visit does not make me a sexist pig.

3) There’s just sooooo  much everything that Russia revelations that would have dominated weeks of news in a different presidency hardly get any notice.  Drum on the latest:

Russians were behind the email hacks. They were behind the social media agitprop. They were behind the attempts to compromise polling places. There’s really not any doubt about this anymore.

Did Donald Trump collude with the Russians? Did Wikileaks know they were acting as a Russian pawn? Did the Russian hacks do enough damage to steal the election from Hillary Clinton? Nobody knows. It’s possible we’ll never know. But we do know that Russian officials were behind all this, and that their goal was to weaponize a personal grudge and ensure that Clinton never became president of the United States. This should outrage you even if you support Trump. The fact that an awful lot of Republicans don’t seem to care is a grim harbinger of a decadent political system on the precipice of decline and collapse.

4) Nice to see that the regional University accrediting body (SACS) is now paying attention to the fact that UNC said its totally illegitimate classes were legit to escape NCAA sanctions.

5) The gruesome world of 19th century surgery.  Not for the faint of heart.

6) This David Roberts piece is the scenario that really scares me, “What if Mueller proves his case and it doesn’t matter?”

7) Of course Trump’s EPA is ignoring its own scientists in favor of industry shills.

8) What ICE is doing is not good for our criminal justice system.

9) This is one of those social science findings you just want to like so much that it really makes me wonder how true it is.  Would love to see some replication in a variety of realms.  Short version– being a loser (at least when playing video games) makes men far more likely to lash out at women in sexist ways.

10) Let’s stick with the social science deserving of extra skepticism because it confirms my priors.  I really like this one because I think Just World bias is a huge and under-appreciated factor in political beliefs:

It is commonly assumed that political attitudes are driven by self-interest and that poor people heavily favor policies aimed at redistributing wealth. This assumption fails to explain the popularity of economic conservatism and the degree of support for the capitalist system. Such outcomes are typically explained by the suggestion that most poor people believe they will become rich one day. In a representative sample of low-income Americans, we observed that less than one-fourth were optimistic about their economic prospects. Those respondents who believed that they would become rich one day were no more likely to endorse the legitimacy of the system and no more supportive of conservative ideology or the Republican Party, compared to those who did not believe they would become rich. From a system justification perspective, we propose that people are motivated to defend the social systems on which they depend, and this confers a psychological advantage to conservative ideology. Providing ideological support for the status quo serves epistemic motives to reduce uncertainty, existential motives to reduce threat, and relational motives to share reality with members of mainstream society. We summarize evidence from the United States, Argentina, Lebanon, and other countries bearing on these propositions—including a survey administered shortly before the 2016 U.S. Presidential election—and discuss political implications of system justification motivation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)

11) Of course Republicans are approving conservative bloggers with no courtroom experience as Federal judges.

12) The Virginia exit polls.  Lots of goodies in here.

13) Seth Masket on the rural white “no shows” in Virginia.

14) I liked the way David Brooks described the divide in Virginia:

One way to capture the emerging divide is by using the British writer David Goodhart’s distinction between Somewheres and Anywheres.

Somewheres are rooted in their towns and have “ascribed” identities — Virginia farmer, West Virginia coal miner, Pennsylvania steelworker. Anywheres are at home in the global economy. They derive their identity from portable traits, like education or job skills, and are more likely to move to areas of opportunity.

Somewheres value staying put; they feel uncomfortable with many aspects of cultural and economic change, like mass immigration. Anywheres make educational attainment the gold standard of status and are cheerleaders for restless change…

These days, only a tiny percentage of Northern Virginia workers are government employees. Instead, the region is defined by the two big drivers of Anywhere culture: highly educated information age workers and fiercely energetic immigrants. In Bailey’s Crossroads, there are Korean grocery stores near Persian, Indian and Salvadoran restaurants. The Dulles office corridor is a hub of the global economy.

Trump’s party is not at home on this ground and can’t play on it. Trumpians just want to wall it off. “DC should annex NOVA and return the governance of Virginia to Virginians!” Jerry Fallwell Jr. tweeted, referring to Northern Virginia, after the election results.

Populism has made the Republicans a rural party and given the Democrats everything else. In Virginia, Democrats won by a landslide among anybody who grew up in the age of globalization. Among voters 18-29, they won by an astounding 69 to 30 percent. Among voters 30-44, they won by 61 percent to 37 percent.

We could be seeing the creation of a new Democratic heartland, exurbia, and this alignment could hang around for a while. The stain Trump leaves on the G.O.P. will take some time to wash away. But this is bigger than Trump; it’s an alignment caused by the fundamental reality of the populist movement.

15) The Republican tax bill, “House Republican: my donors told me to pass the tax bill ‘or don’t ever call me again’: Chris Collins is saying the quiet part loud.”

16) Of course the tax plan is a huge giveaway to the rich that raises taxes on many middle-income Americans.

17) Michelle Goldberg’s election anniversary column was really good:

A secular Turkish journalist told me, her voice sad and weary, that while people might at first pour into the streets to oppose Trump, eventually the protests would probably die out as a sense of stunned emergency gave way to the slog of sustained opposition. The Russian dissident writer Masha Gessen warned that there’s no way, with a leader who lays siege to the fabric of reality, to fully hold on to a sense of what’s normal. “You drift, and you get warped,” she told me.

They were both right. The country has changed in the past year, and many of us have grown numb after unrelenting shocks. What now passes for ordinary would have once been inconceivable. The government is under the control of an erratic racist who engages in nuclear brinkmanship on Twitter. He is dismantling the State Department, defending the hollowing out of the diplomatic corps by saying, on Fox News, “I’m the only one that matters.”

He publicly pressures the Justice Department to investigate his political opponents. He’s called for reporters to be jailed, and his administration demanded that a sportscaster who criticized him be fired. Official government statements promote his hotels. You can’t protest it all; you’d never do anything else. After the election, many liberals pledged not to “normalize” Trump. But one lesson of this year is that we don’t get to decide what normal looks like.

18) David Simon’s “The Deuce” is no “The Wire” but it did grow on me a lot.  Perhaps, because like the greatest TV show ever, it is ultimately about capitalism.

19) Ezra Klein takes a look at the political science research on partisanship versus ideology (partisanship wins):

In theory, ideology comes first and party comes second. We decide whether we’re for single-payer health care, or same-sex marriage, or abortion restriction, and then we choose the party that most closely fits our ideas. You’re a liberal and so you become a Democrat; you’re a conservative and so you become a Republican.

The truth, it seems, is closer to the reverse: We choose our party for a variety of reasons — chief among them being the preferences of our family members, core groups, and community — and then we sign on to their platforms. In this telling, write Kinder and Kalmoe, “ideological identification is primarily an effect, not a cause, of a person’s political views.”

This theory makes a prediction: If party identification is stronger than ideological identification, then as parties change their ideological identities, their loyalists will change with them, rather than abandoning them. And that’s a lot closer to what we see…

Trump’s ideological heterodoxies were a key reason pundits assumed he would eventually be wiped out in the Republican primaries. Many believed Republicanism was conservatism, and so a non-conservative could never win over Republican voters. But party trumps ideology. Republicanism is Republicanism, and for most voters, it is based more on group attachments and resentments than it is on ideology. These were the voters Trump understood and political elites didn’t, and he understood them because he is one of them: His group allegiances were tribal even as his ideology was flexible.

Trump was far better than Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz at expressing his distaste for Democrats, for immigrants, for Black Lives Matter protesters, for condescending cosmopolitans, for President Obama. That Rubio and Bush and Cruz were better at expressing their fealty to conservative ideology didn’t much matter. Henry Adams once wrote that “politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, had always been the systematic organization of hatreds,” and Trump was masterful at organizing those hatreds.

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