Quick hits (part II)

Managed to get out a timely Sunday quick hits even while at the beach by working ahead.  Hooray for me.

1) I’m going to start with this Vox list of 31 “bite-sized” TV shows to binge, mostly because I want to find this link later for suggestions.  And because it contains Party Down (easily the best TV show almost nobody’s ever heard of) and Black Mirror, which I’ve really enjoyed of late.

2) Kevin Drum on new government regulations about overtime.  Of course, the business lobbyists say this will ruin American business.  As Drum points out, they say that every time and they are always wrong.

3) The Upshot on how abortion and gun control are different from gay marriage.

4) The New Yorker’s Lincoln Caplan on John Roberts.

5) Just another piece further emphasizing that you really should not tell your kids they are smart.  Of course, after reading Nurtureshock, I did pretty much stop doing that.  Alas, regardless of what I say, Evan knows he’s damn smart, regardless of how much I praise him for hard work (especially when he doesn’t have to work hard for a good outcome).  Not sure what I’m supposed to do about that.

6) Some good stuff on teenagers and risk-taking.  The key?  Keep them away from other teenagers:

We found that having friends in the same room doubled the number of risks that teenagers took but had no effect on adults. We then repeated this experiment using brain imaging: we scanned people while playing the same games either with or without peers able to see their performance on a monitor in another room. Not only did we once again find that the presence of peers increased risk taking among adolescents but not adults––we also found that when peers were watching, this lit up reward centers in the adolescents’ brains but not in the adults’ brains, and that the more these centers were activated, the more risks teenagers took.

7) Wasn’t sure I was actually going to read this, but got totally sucked into this Marshall Project report on life at Rikers Island from many different perspectives.

8) David Roberts says the Supreme Court’s EPA decision is pointless.  Also liked Drum’s succinct summary.

9) Nice NYT infographic (a little large to insert here) on the interesting splits this term among the Supreme Court’s conservatives.

10) I enjoyed Tim Lee’s suggestion on issues where conservatives and liberals agree and therefore, you’d think, would be able to get something done.  But, Drum gets right to the heart of why nothing has gotten done on these issues:

There’s a common theme to all four of these issues: there are special interests who care a lot about them, but no real benefit for working politicians to reach across the aisle and fight back. In theory, they might have similar attitudes on these four items, but why bother doing anything about it? No one is jamming their phone lines about this stuff and no one is voting for or against them based on their positions. If activists want action on this kind of googoo stuff, they have to figure out a way to make the public care. Once they do that, they’ll have at least a fighting chance of getting politicians to care too. Until then, don’t get your hopes up.

11) Hope you saw some good fireworks.  Here’s videos of the federal government blowing up mannequins to keep you safe.  Great stuff.

12) The math to a lasting relationship.

13) I keep meaning and failing to do a good post on colleges, sexual assault, and the meaning of sexual consent.  And failing.  So just read this.

Quick hits (part I)

1) It’s hard out there for a pollster.  Nice piece on why it is getting harder and harder to do accurate polling these days.

2) It’s going to be harder than ever for NC to have enough good teachers given how the Republicans in charge feel about education.

3) Wonkblog with a great series of maps on America’s ethnic/racial demographics.

4) Europe’s biggest problem (one we fortunately do not share) is it’s low birth rate.

5) The destruction of defendant’s rights.

6) How working mothers are good for kis:

The researchers find statistically significant differences in outcomes for both boys and girls, though the outcomes are different.

  • Daughters of working moms grow up to earn more money, in part because daughters of working moms are more likely to be employed and more likely to be employed in a supervisory role.
  • Sons of working moms don’t have significantly different economic outcomes, but dogrow up to be more likely to spend time taking care of family members or doing household chores.

In other words, the adult children of mothers who held jobs when they were little kids are likely to grow up as adults who are somewhat less gender-conforming. Their daughters “lean in” more in the labor market, and their sons “lean in” more at home.

7) With all the other big Supreme Court news (yeah, I’ll get to Obergefell), hardly anybody noticed part of the new deal getting rolled back with a ruling on raisins.  Yes, raisins.

8) Another little noticed, but important, Supreme Court case on race and criminal justice.

9) The NC legislature wants to eliminate Driver’s Ed (my oldest just finished the classroom portion a week ago).  There may or not be good reasons to do this, but their justification is embarrassing.

Their argument for no longer requiring 120,000 teenagers to take drivers ed is that it is too expensive for families. The reason that it is too expensive for families is the Senate Republicans ended the state’s $26m appropriation to teach it, putting cost on families. Gotta admire their audacity if not their logic.

10) With Seinfeld coming to Hulu, loved Todd VanDerWerf with a piece on how Seinfeld changed television.  And Matt Zoller Seitz writes about how Seinfeld paved the way for the TV anti-hero we are so familiar with now.


11) Fascinating story of a a DC area man recorded the horrible things an anesthesiologist said about him while he was under.  He won a bunch in a lawsuit.


12) Tom Edsall with a really good piece on why don’t the poor rise up:

People today, Ray continues, “are not only able to make choices in an ever-expanding range of situations, but they are also compelled to do so.”

In effect, individualization is a double-edged sword. In exchange for new personal freedoms and rights, beneficiaries are agreeing to, if not being forced to, assume new risks and responsibilities.

In addition to opening the door to self-fulfillment, “the rise of individual rights and freedoms has its price,” writes Nikolai Genov, a sociologist at the Berlin Free University in “Challenges of Individualization,” published earlier this year.

Placing an exclusive stress on the expansion of rights and freedoms of individuals by disregarding or underrating the concomitant rise of individual responsibilities brings about social pathologies. They undermine solidarity as the glue of social life.

As a result, individualization can come “at the expense of various forms of common good in general, and of various forms of solidarity in particular,” Genov observes…

All of which brings us back to the question of why there is so little rebellion against entrenched social and economic injustice.

The answer is that those bearing the most severe costs of inequality are irrelevant to the agenda-setters in both parties. They are political orphans in the new order. They may have a voice in urban politics, but on the national scene they no longer fit into the schema of the left or the right. They are pushed to the periphery except for a brief moment on Election Day when one party wants their votes counted, and the other doesn’t.

Quick hits (part II)

These should have gone up yesterday– sorry.

1) Toddlers have a sense of justice–probably not that much of a surprise to those who have raised toddlers– but this is a cool experiment with puppets.

2) Generic Concerta not as effective as brand Concerta, but somehow the FDA says it’s okay anyway?!  (At least for 6 months).  How is this okay?!

3) Jamelle Bouie argues that in order be “authentic” Hillary should just go full-on policy nerd.  That would certainly appeal to me.

4) Onion on Charleston and guns:

FAIRFAX, VA—In the wake of Wednesday’s mass shooting that left nine dead at a church in South Carolina, sources confirmed today that National Rifle Association officials had already started up with their shit about what would be an even greater injustice. “What happened in Charleston is a terrible tragedy, but what would be even worse is if we reacted to this event by passing laws infringing on our constitutional rights,” said NRA board member Charles Cotton, who, right on cue, let loose the same predictable flood of steaming horseshit about how the real threat facing Americans comes from legislators who would attempt to restrict access to firearms.

5) If Republicans in NC can’t win something fair-and-square, they are plenty open to rigging the rules– in this case, judicial elections.

6) Nobody wants to talk about menstruation (I’m not afraid!  I also buy feminine hygeine products unashamedly), but it is an important health and education issue for many women and girls in the developing world.

7) Both Drum and Chait with nice posts on how John Kasich is utterly unqualified to be the Republican nominee for president as he thinks there is a moral case for expanding health care access.  Chait:

Kasich came face to face with the actual political choice faced by American politicians: whether to support the coverage offered under Obamacare for the poor, or to leave them with nothing. Kasich actually came out and said that taking health insurance away from extremely poor people is immoral.

This was completely beyond the pale, infuriating conservative activists. Kasich has found himself increasingly alienated within the party…

There are plenty of Republicans who believe that their party must veer back toward the center on economics, or social issues, or both. The overwhelming majority of them, however, go about this project with the utmost caution. They don’t openly challenge the moral foundations of their party’s most sacred pieties.

8) Matt Yglesias on his lessons from paternity leave.  Number one– dads get credit just for being adequate.

9) Jon Cohn dives into the latest polls on Obamacare.  This is a really important point:

6. If it’s health care, people assume it’s Obamacare.

So what’s the mystery factor? The best guess is that people are holding the law responsible for all of the problems of the health care system — including those like rising deductibles, narrowing hospital networks, or even long waits at the doctor’s office that most experts believe have little or nothing to do with the law itself.

10) Cool NYT feature on how there’s been dramatic improvement in survival from heart attacks, not from any new medical technology, but from way better coordination of the humans involved.  Time if of the essence, and in some places, they’ve figured out how to get things done much faster– and it’s not easy.

11) Alas, too many members of Congress are still in the pocket of for-profit universities (a nice example of how money indeed does matter in influencing politics) and fighting against much-needed rules to stop these places from basically scamming their students and the American taxpayer.

12) Clarence Thomas joining the majority in the Texas confederate flag license plate case ultimately shows that– like every other justice– he ultimately just decides what he wants and then looks to justify it.  And Mark Joseph Stern on how two other recent opinions show that he is not actually interested in meaningful analysis (and also profoundly lacking in empathy):

As a straightforward application of federal and constitutional law, Brumfield’s case is an easy one. Thomas’ dissent is an effort to muddy the waters, to pass off his own retributive notions of morality as rational legal logic.

13) Who says we can’t teach non-cognitive skills?  The latest research from a project in Chicago is really heartening and suggests we should be doing a lot more programs like this.

14) Seth Masket with a nice column on how Donald Trump shows that money on its own cannot buy political office and that political parties are really important;

Money can help a bit more in primaries and caucuses, but only so much. Studies have shown that, at least in presidential elections, endorsements by politicians are a far better predictor of who will win the nomination than fundraising.

Here’s where Donald Trump comes in. By virtue of his celebrity, he can certainly attract media attention. (Indeed, he got far more attention for his announcement last week than did Jeb Bush, who is widely seen as one of the more likely candidates for the nomination.) And by virtue of his substantial personal fortune, he can buy all the things a presidential candidate needs—offices, staffers, advertising, planes, etc. He could literally spend a billion dollars on winning the Republican presidential nomination and still be a billionaire when it’s over.

But here’s the catch: He won’t win it. He’ll never get close to the Republican nomination, for the very simple reason that party insiders despise him. They think him a clown and an embarrassment to the party.

Get your kids out of the house

Okay, my oldest is only 15, but I worry about his ability to successfully navigate the adult world not all that long from now.  I was therefore especially intrigued by this 538 post from last month about how having young adult children living at home impacts parents:

A woman whose children have left home can expect to spend 10.5 hours a week on household and child care. However, when those children don’t leave home, she spends 18 hours a week, on average, on those activities. A man, on the other hand, spends 5.5 hours on home and child care, whether he has adult kids in the house or not. In other words, women with adult children living at home spend, on average, eight more hours a week on house and child care, whereas men are unaffected. [emphases mine]

Well, I guess this means my wife should be the one to really want David out of the house after college.  More interesting stuff:

When it comes to their sex lives, men without children in the home have significantly more sex each month than men with children of any age at home. Interestingly, the same is not true for women. Women with kids under the age of 18 at home have the most sex, followed by women without kids. Women and men with kids over 18 at home have the least amount of sex – about 10 minutes a month.4

Alright, I guess that means all the kids are moving out even if we have to rent an apartment for them :-).

My wife is part of a trend

Of highly-educated women having more babies.  This is kind of interesting:


That’s us in the 3+, of course.  Brigid Shulte in Wonkblog:

But a new report by the Pew Research Center has found something surprising: more highly educated women in the United States are becoming mothers than ever before. And they’re having bigger families.

Childlessness among women age 40 to 44 is at its lowest point in a decade. And among the most highly educated — women with medical degrees or PhDs — the share of childless women has dropped from 35 percent in 1994 to 20 percent…

Not only are a greater share of educated women becoming mothers, they’re also having larger families than before. The share of mothers with at least a master’s degree who have just one child fell from 28 percent to 23 percent. While those having three or more children rose from 22 percent to 27 percent.

That said, the Greene family of four kids is becoming ever more rare:

So, what’s with educated women having more children?  There’s some speculation in the piece, but no answers:

The surprising findings could signal that as more women have become educated, workplaces are getting more used to accommodating working mothers, or that by delaying childbirth, older women have established their reputations as good workers and have more control over their schedules.

“If there are women benefitting from changing work policies, I’m guessing it would be highly educated women,” Livingston said, “And not women with less education.”

Which could explain why women with less education, who work in hourly jobs with little power or control over their schedules, are having fewer children.

But we don’t actually know.  Certainly, more research on this would be interesting.  As for 4+ kids… you should!

Quick hits (part II)

1) Dana Milbank on just how radical Republicans have gotten and how quickly it’s been happening.

2) One way I end up with quick hits is by often having 20+ browser tabs open Chrome.  Sometimes when the wrong tabs are open, the whole computer slows to a crawl.  Now I understand why, and even better, Google is fixing the problem.  Also no more ads just randomly playing when the tab has been sitting open for hours.  Already installed the Beta..

3) Yes, Ted Cruz is an idiot, but unfortunately, politicians all too rarely make the straightforward and sincere apology when they screw up, as Cruz has done in the case of Joe Biden.

4) Some great satire from the New Yorker on (fictitious) Republican attempts to use a toddler’s temper tantrum in the Oval Office for political gain.

5) Steve Benen on a Congressional hearing this week and the phony Republican arguments on King v. Burwell.

Just once, I want to hear an ACA critic admit what is plainly true: King v. Burwell is a brazenly stupid con, but they’re playing along with the charade because they really hate the president and his signature domestic policy initiative.
Pretending the case is anything but a laughingstock is, at this point, simply impossible.

6) Best way for doctors to be sued less for malpractice?  Be more open with and talk to their patients more.  Of course, I’ve known this for years ever since reading The Medical Malpractice Myth upon Kevin Drum’s recommendation of it.

7) Yet more on the state of Kansas reaping the fruits of its tax cuts.  Of course, now they are looking to raise taxes in the most regressive manner possible via increased sales tax.  That’s some redistribution for you.

8) Really enjoyed this Monkey Cage piece on political fact-checking and when it works and when it doesn’t:

What fact-checking does best is reduce or prevent inaccurate political rhetoric and may be most effective during primary races. The growing effort is helping to shape what politicians say and whether their partisans take those statements on faith or with facts.

Political fact-checking can’t do everything. The old line “I know what I believe, don’t confuse me with the facts” accurately sums up how stubbornly people can hold onto their most cherished convictions.

9) Given the choice, chimpanzees prefer cooked food.  And on a tenuously related note, I really enjoyed finally seeing “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” yesterday.  Andy Serkis is awesome.

10) Do feminists need to take women’s sports more seriously?  Maybe.  Though, I’m not sure I buy the premise that America’s sports fans would love women’s sports more if they just got more media coverage.

11) Fascinated by this story of the first ever skull and scalp transplant.

12) So, the main point of this essay was about teaching your kids to support causes even if you don’t believe in the cause.  But I was floored to learn that many people oppose Autism Speaks because they are trying to end autism.  That’s nuts!

13) Why America never adopted the metric system (or at least why not when everybody else first did it).  And I’d never heard this part before.

14) Interesting piece on why Obama should offer Snowden a deal:

Did he expose violations of law? Check. Last month, a federal appeals court held that the phone records collection program was illegal. Did he reveal abuses of authority? Check. The NSA’s inspector general has acknowledged dozens of incidents in which employees tracked phone calls and emails of former girlfriends, objects of romantic interest, or in one case an “unfaithful husband.” Did he point out gross mismanagement? Check. The mere fact that Snowden was able to walk out with a treasure trove of top-secret information more or less proves the point. Did Snowden bring to light the waste of public funds? Quite possibly, check again. The government has provided no evidence that the costly program has prevented a single terrorist attack.

Unfortunately for Snowden, the Whistleblower Protection Act contains a major exception: It does not apply to people who work for intelligence agencies, including the NSA. The Justice Department maintains that Snowden’s actions fall under a very different kind of law, the draconian and anachronistic Espionage Act of 1917. The Whistleblower Protection Act protects you as long as you believe you are doing right in leaking information about government wrongdoing to the press—even if you are wrong. The Espionage Act treats you as a traitor even if you acted with patriotic intent, as Snowden convincingly claims to have done—and even if you are right.

The chasm between the government’s encouragement of some whistleblowing and its severe punishment of other whistleblowing constitutes the limbo in which Snowden finds himself.

15) Scientists can calculate your risk of dying in the next five years based on 13 questions.  I’m as likely to die in the next five years as a British (that’s the population studied) 16-year old.

16) Woman almost dies from a broken bat.  I don’t go to baseball games much anymore, but when I do, you better believe I sit behind the net or well clear of the area quick-flying foul balls and broken bats go.

(Belated) Quick hits (part II)

1) Bill Moyers on the challenge of journalism in our plutocracy.

2) I’m with Drum.  Man do I hate it when politicians decide some particular disease needs funding because it happens to affect somebody in their own family.  The failure of empathy and vision on such matters is just breathtaking.

3) The politics of facial hair.

4) Can family friendly policies be too generous?  Maybe.

5) Americans (and me) love their circumcision.  (And there’s a pretty fascinating case in here involving child custody, too).

6) Cool interactive feature on how family income affects a child’s chances of going to college.

7) I hate the tone of this piece, but it’s nice to see some conservatives admitting our criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform.

8) Something tells me, though, the author of the above would not admit to the pervasive racism throughout our criminal justice system.  Vox nicely summarizes it, though.

9) Pretty amazing story about the chocolate diet hoax.  You really should read this to be an informed consumer of health journalism.  Personally, I vaguely recall seeing some links about this and concluding based on the headlines that it was probably junk science with nothing there.

10) I was actually watching this Messi goal when it happened.  One of the most impressive I’ve ever seen.

11) Former GW Bush administration flunkie took to the NYT in a data-free column to argue that the Democratic party has shifted even further left than the Republicans have moved to the right.  Seth Masket corrects this with a little thing called data.

12) The NC legislature passed a horrible law to prevent employees from reporting malfeasance by their employers (yes, seriously).  To his credit, our governor vetoed it.  Alas, it appears the legislature has the votes to override.

13) I’m frequently amazed at who has a “black belt” in martial arts.  Suffice it to say, earning a black belt is not what it used to be.

14) As for this academic career advice from an almost geezer?  Already on top of almost all of it.  Apparently I figured out early in my career what took him decades.  Good advice for a lot of careers actually.

15) How America became a global power in a series of maps (via Vox).

16) I love apples and I love Planet Money, so this story was just catnip for me.  That said, I do think Honeycrisp apples are good, but way overrated (and over-priced)..


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