Quick hits

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:

De Waal thinks it’s wrongheaded for some scientists to dismiss observations of empathy in animals. After all, it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. If human empathy is so robust and adaptive, it must have evolved from more primitive forms.

“It is hard to imagine that empathy — a characteristic so basic to the human species — came into existence only when our lineage split off from that of the apes,” says de Waal. “It must be far older than that.”

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.

Thinking about SIDS

As someone who has (debatably) successfully raised four children to pre-school age and older, I’ve thought a lot about SIDS over the years.  Especially since my wife and I ignored the advice of the famous “back to sleep” campaign and let our babies sleep on their stomachs so that they could sleep more deeply.  In the case of David, we actually had doctor’s permission because of his bad GERD, but with the others, we just went with it because it was quite clear that they slept more soundly on their stomachs than their backs.  And when you’ve got a newborn to take care of, sound sleep is definitely your friend.

In fact, in the NIH official recommendations on the matter, the fact that your baby will sleep more deeply on their stomach is specifically mentioned as a reason not to do it:

Compared with infants who sleep on their backs, infants who sleep on their stomachs:

  • Are less reactive to noise.
  • Experience sudden decreases in blood pressure and heart rate control.
  • Experience less movement, higher arousal thresholds, and longer periods of deep sleep. [emphasis mine] 5,6

Here’s the thing, in reading about SIDS through the years, what seems fairly clear to me, but that they never tell you, is that if you follow all the other safe, sleeping recommendations, i.e., make sure they cannot get their face in bedding, under a blanket, etc.., make sure you don’t fall asleep next to them while you are intoxicated in any way, and others, that your risk of SIDS is going to be really, really low.

Here, the American Academy of Pediatricians provide their broad “safe infant sleeping environment” guidelines:

The recommendations described in this report include supine positioning, use of a firm sleep surface, breastfeeding, room-sharing without bed-sharing, routine immunization, consideration of a pacifier, and avoidance of soft bedding, overheating, and exposure to tobacco smoke, alcohol, and illicit drugs. [emphasis mine]

Notice that supine sleeping position is just one of a series of safety considerations.  My guess is that if you mess up on all these others (though, I don’t want to get into the bed-sharing debate, but, again, guilty), having your baby on it’s back is definitely protective.  What goes unsaid, though, is that if your baby truly has a safe sleeping environment otherwise, there is probably minimal additional risk from being on their stomach instead of the back.  Of course, what also goes unsaid is that authorities don’t actually trust parents to implement all these other factors, so the “better safe than sorry” approach is to have your baby on its back.

From my reading on the subject, it seems pretty clear that, in one sense, SIDS is suffocation.  The baby fails to get enough oxygen.  Now, if your baby is just buried under a heavy comforter, that’s not so much SIDS as obvious suffocation.  SIDS is the fact that instead of waking up and crying because it cannot breath, the baby’s arousal mechanism does not kick in and it dies from lack of oxygen.  With stomach sleeping and deeper sleep, it is therefore more likely that this arousal mechanism will fail and the baby will die from lack of oxygen when in a low oxygen environment.  Here’s the thing, though, as far as I have been able to read on the matter, this only becomes relevant if for some reason the baby is not getting enough oxygen, e.g., head under a blanket, caught in padding at side of crib, etc.  So, it seems to me that if you can be sure your baby will have a steady supply of oxygen and the sleeping environment is fully safe in that regard, the issue of stomach versus back should likely have minimal impact.

Now, I get why they emphasize back-sleeping so much.  Plenty of parents make mistakes in these other regards and back-sleeping is clearly more forgiving of these other mistakes.  But when the only going for you with your colicky newborn is some nice, sound sleeping, it’s nice to know you can get that on your baby’s stomach.  A little more forthrightness on what SIDS really is and the role that back-sleeping plays would be nice.

Now, let’s be clear, I’m not saying that you should ignore this advice and put your newborn to sleep on its stomach.  I am, saying, however, that I strongly, suspect the practice of stomach sleeping when accompanied by otherwise safe sleeping practices is not nearly as dangerous as made out to be.  And, I suspect, only very marginally more dangerous than back-sleeping.

The best post I have found written on the matter from a statistical perspective is from a parent.  Here’s the key section:

Correlation is not causation: the actual statistics on SIDS

Basically, the statistics in the United States are roughly thus:

— about 1 in 1000-1500 prone-sleeping babies die of SIDS
— about 1 in 2000-3000 supine-sleeping babies die of SIDS

(Black and Native American populations have 2-3 times the rates as whites, but the cause is unknown.  There are also other seemingly random variations that occur in different regions of the US, different seasons of the year, etc.)

No matter what position, 999 of 1000 babies will be just fine.  If we randomly chose a sleeping position for infants, about 1/3 of SIDS deaths would still occur in babies on their backs.


Anyway, the upshot.  If you have a healthy baby that sleeps better on their stomach, chances are very small, this will directly contribute to SIDS.  If you have a healthy baby that sleeps better on their stomach and you follow all the other safe sleeping guidelines, it would seem chances are very, very small, that this would contribute to SIDS.  Just a little perspective.

Quick hits (part I)

1) Maybe we should be prescribing more medical marijuana and less opioids.  Seriously.

So the evidence suggests marijuana is good for treating chronic pain without any huge side effects.

What about opioids? While there is research that opioids effectively treat acute pain, there is no good evidence for their treatment of chronic pain.

2) I was annoyed at this piece arguing that there’s no such thing as a “healthy” food, only “nutritious” food where the author claimed this was not just a semantic distinction.  No, really it is.  In common usage, kale is healthy and sugar cookies are not and we all know what that means.  So, sure a zoologist might complain when you say that a snake is “poisonous”– it’s not, it’s venomous, but we all know to stay away from the bite.

3) A critic’s tour of David Bowie’s musical changes.  Yes, Bowie did some really good stuff, but from my FB feed, you would have thought all the Beatles and Rolling Stones died at one time.

4) Here’s actually my favorite David Bowie appearance ever.  From the much under-appreciated Extras.

5) Max Fisher on Bernie Sanders’ problems on foreign policy.


6) Drum argues that Republicans are going way too easy on Donald Trump.  He seems to have a point.

7) It’s become quite the truism that NFL coaches are way over-cautious.  Still, an enjoyable analysis looking at recent playoff games.  And the last minutes of the Green Bay game in regulation was amazing.

8) Carly Fiorina turns pre-school field trip into anti-abortion event.

9) There’s so many damn https://news.ncsu.edu/2016/01/bertone-home-arthropod-2016/ in your home (and probably even more in mine).  NC State behind this cool research.

10) Drum on Trump and “two Corinthians”

Now, nobody with a brain has ever believed that Donald Trump is a Christian in any serious sense. I don’t think he could pass a third-grade test of Bible knowledge. But today’s gaffe, as trivial as it seems, suggests more: that he literally has paid no attention to Christianity at all. In fact, given how hard that is in a country as awash in religious references as the United States, it suggests much more: Donald Trump has spent most of his life actively trying to avoid religion as completely as possible. And yet, apparently evangelicals love him anyway. Go figure.

11) And some first-rate Trump satire.

12) The myth of limited resources to support NC education.

13) Maybe Gillian Anderson getting offered less money than David Duchovny for the new X Files is sexism.  Maybe he’s a more bankable star because of work since the X Files first aired.  I’m not sure, but don’t assume the former without at least addressing the latter.

14) Loved this NYT feature on scientific research on the origins of dogs:

Modern dogs are different from modern wolves in numerous ways. They eat comfortably in the presence of people, whereas wolves do not. Their skulls are wider and snouts shorter. They do not live in pack structures when they are on their own, and so some scientists scoff at dog-training approaches that require the human to act as pack leader.

Wolves mate for the long haul and wolf dads help with the young, while dogs are completely promiscuous and the males pay no attention to their offspring. Still, dogs and wolves interbreed easily and some scientists are not convinced that the two are even different species, a skepticism that reflects broader debates in science about how to define a species, and how much the category is a fact of nature as opposed to an arbitrary line drawn by humans.

15a) A look at Jane Mayer’s new book on the Koch brothers.

15b) And Mayer’s piece on their re-branding in the latest New Yorker.  I actutally had thought they were sincere about criminal justice reform.  Now I’m not so sure.

16) Haven’t watch Making a Murderer yet, but I find the controversy fascinating.  I really liked this piece in Slate:

So, it’s not bias that unsettles me. Rather, it’s bias posing as impartiality that makes me uneasy. Because so much seems to have been left out, I now have lingering doubts that the directors of Making a Murderer ever gave the other side a genuinely fair hearing.

Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, the directors of the superb Paradise Lost trilogy, were consistently upfront about the injustices they felt were committed against the West Memphis Three, yet they were still able to secure interviews with the investigators who wanted to keep the three behind bars. It was largely because of the global attention the trilogy received that those injustices were (at least partially) corrected when Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. were released from prison in 2011. Sometimes, artistic advocacy is a very good thing, but only when it feels complete.

Whether or not you loved or hated the evidentiary back-and-forth of Serial, Sarah Koenig excelled as an investigative reporter when it came to putting all her cards on the table. The detectives and prosecutors involved in Adnan Syed’s conviction declined to speak with her, but Koenig still managed to give the prosecution’s theory of the crime real consideration, as the jury in his trial would had to have done. That added depth and dimension to her story.

17) Loved this three-way loser ending of Jeopardy.  Seriously, nobody thought to save at least $1?!

18) Seth Masket on how Republicans can stop Trump.

19) Such a good little idea on programming your phone.  I went right ahead and did this.

20) How Charlottesville, VA moms got Whole Foods to enforce their no guns policy.

21) Had an open tab on this one for too long.  How poor parents raise their kids differently than middle-class parents.

22) Can we cure unpleasant emotional memories (and PTSD, etc.) with a drug?  Maybe.

23) Great Tom Edsall piece on the nature of Republican orthodoxy today.

Good try!

No, it’s not enough to just praise our children for effort, rather than innate ability.  That can be empty praise.  Alas, it’s not all that easy to properly cultivate a growth mindset in our kids.  Good piece in NYT’s Motherlode blog building off a recent article by Carol “it’s all about grit” Dweck:

The growth mind-set has joined “grit” in the pantheon of desirable qualities we long to bestow upon our children, while secretly suspecting that those particular gifts aren’t ours for the giving. We have collectively seized on the idea that a growth mind-set leads to success, while a fixed mind-set produces the child on the floor sobbing “I can’t. I’m bad at this. I’ll never get it.”

And so we sing the effort song again and again, even when the result of that effort is perhaps not all that we would wish, and even when we know that their effort was strongly boosted by our behind-the-scenes help in varying forms…

That’s far from the real message of the research surrounding the growth mind-set. The exclusive focus on effort has been misplaced, says Dr. Dweck, whose book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” delivered the phrase into popular culture. The emphasis should be on learning as an active process, not a goal. “We’re not just saying ‘effort’ anymore,” she says. “We also talk about using good strategies and getting help from others.” Part of a growth mind-set is being willing to learn how best to learn. “Parents may be familiar with the growth mind-set, but they may be using it toward the goal of the next test grade or school application. That’s not what it is. It’s about learning and improving and loving the process. Those other things come about as a byproduct.”

Just as effort alone can’t deliver results, praising effort isn’t enough to help a child develop a love for the challenge of learning. Both parents and teachers should follow that “great effort” message with something more. Dr. Dweck provides a list of suggestions in anarticle for Education Week. When a child is trying but not succeeding, she writes, appreciate the effort, then add “Let’s talk about what you’ve tried, and what you can try next.” When a child is discouraged, avoid the “you can do it if you try” trap. Instead, acknowledge the challenge. “That feeling of math being hard is the feeling of your brain growing.”

As children get older, parents can also talk with them about the ways their successes haven’t been entirely dependent on their own efforts, no matter how great those have been. “They should recognize that not everyone has the opportunities to develop their abilities in the same way,” says Dr. Dweck. “Other kids may be working hard, but not have people teaching them the right strategies, or giving them the help they need to flourish.” …

So how do you raise a child with a growth mind-set, along with a nice healthy appreciation for where it came from and the will to keep it strong? By applying the encouraging messages of the growth mind-set to yourself. I’ll borrow, out of context, another phrase from Dr. Dweck: “The point isn’t to get it all right away. The point is to grow your understanding step by step. What can you try next?”

Good stuff.  So, “good try” is not the easy solution and we know not to say “you’re so smart.”  Like many worthwhile things in life, getting it right is a lot more complicated.

Quick hits (part II)

1) John Judis, who once argued for the “Emerging Democratic Majority” takes to Vox to caution that maybe changing demographics are not so beneficial to the Democrats.

2) Yglesias on the single-payer debate we are not, but should be having:

Medicare works because it pays providers less

Single-payer skeptics tend to be simply incredulous that government-run systems, both in the United States and abroad, are more cost-effective. Isn’t the government a legendary cesspool of waste and inefficiency? Why would a government-run system be more efficient?

Well, here’s the answer: Foreign single-payer systems pay doctors less. They also pay pharmaceutical companies less. They pay less for medical devices, too.

It turns out that Medicare uses this trick, too, offering doctors only about 80 percent of what private insurance plans pay them…

The problem, politically speaking, is that doctors and hospital administrators like money. When politicians try to take away their money, they complain and they lobby. And it turns out that most people have more confidence in doctors than they do in members of Congress, so not only does the lobbying cash count but the complaining is extremely effective.

3) And Harold Pollack on the incredibly difficult politics of creating a single payer system in America.  These two paragraphs are important:

As with ACA, the biggest winners would be relatively disorganized low-income people in greatest need of help. The potential losers would include some of the most powerful and organized constituencies in America: workers who now receive generous tax expenditures for good private coverage, and affluent people who would face large tax increases to finance a single-payer system. [emphasis mine] At least some of these constituencies would need to be accommodated in messy political bargaining to get single-payer enacted. And states would have a role to play, too, potentially replicating the messy patchwork we got with ACA reforms.

Single-payer would require a serious rewrite of state and federal relations in Medicaid and in many other matters. It would radically revise the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which strongly influences the benefit practices of large employers. Single-payer would require intricate negotiation to navigate the transition from employer-based coverage. The House and Senate would be in charge of this tension, and at risk of the negotiations among key legislators and committees who hold sway.

4) So, this is a somewhat old National Journal piece analyzing the states that will pick the president.  It’s still incredibly relevant, but I’ve had it in an open tab for far too long without ever writing a post.  So…

5) Maybe teenage marijuana use does not lead to lower IQ after all.  Maybe.

6) How will you die?  Who knows?  God?  But you can at least take a look at these cool statistics for the likeliest age and cause (short version: old from disease).

7) Tipping as we practice it is, of course, so stupid.  But as long as we’re going to continue with it, servers should definitely be pooling tips.

8) Great Dahlia Lithwick (and Sonya West) piece on Florida’s absurd law to prevent doctors from asking about guns in the home:

The result was the Firearms Owners’ Privacy Act. The law provides that licensed health care practitioners and facilities: “may not intentionally enter” information concerning a patient’s ownership of firearms into the patient’s medical record that the practitioner knows is “not relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others,” and “shall respect a patient’s right to privacy and should refrain” from inquiring as to whether a patient or their family owns firearms, unless the practitioner or facility believes in good faith that the “information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.” Violations of the act could lead to disciplinary action including fines and suspension, or revocation of a medical license. Proponents of such laws say these doctor-patient dialogues violate the patients’ Second Amendment rights.

If something seems amiss to you about this argument, you’re not alone. A group of three doctors, the Florida Pediatric Society, and the Florida Academy of Family Physicians, joined by the Brady Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed suit, claiming that the gun-talk ban violates the physicians’ free speech rights. As their complaint points out, restrictions on speech (such as this one) that only apply to a particular subject matter are generally recognized as being the worst kind of First Amendment violation—a content-based regulation. In order for the government to enact a content-based regulation on speech, it must show that the law serves a “compelling” interest. The doctors explain, however, that in light of the connection between guns and injuries, accidents, and suicides, this law actually stops doctors from addressing an incredibly serious health-related topic.

9) Want to reduce political polarization?  Give to political parties, not candidates and groups.


10) Apparently, the state of Kansas considers using marijuana (even if clearly prescribed for medical purposes in a state where it’s legal) to be cause to take your kids away.  Yet, you can be a raging alcoholic.  Ugh.

11) Interesting take on our over-protectiveness as parents and what it says about us as a society:

In September, the journalist Selena Hoy tackled the unique independence of Japanese children for CityLab, noting that kids in that country often venture onto public transit by themselves at age 6 or 7. She found the big difference between Japan and the U.S. to be an “unspoken” sense of community. Hoy writes:

What accounts for this unusual degree of independence? Not self-sufficiency, in fact, but “group reliance,” according to Dwayne Dixon, a cultural anthropologist who wrote his doctoral dissertation on Japanese youth. “[Japanese] kids learn early on that, ideally, any member of the community can be called on to serve or help others,” he says.

The path to giving American kids greater autonomy may have nothing to do with laws, but with parents putting trust—misplaced or no—in the kindness of strangers.

12) Way back when, I use to drive a Plymouth Sundance Turbo(!).  Sold it the week before I got married for a Geo Prizm because I wanted something more reliable.  Apparently turbo engines are way more advanced now and making a comeback.

13) Eric Holder takes a big step to limit the utter travesty that is Civil Asset Forfeiture.  Sadly little news coverage of this.  Thanks, Obama!!

14) Andrew Prokop on Trump and Cruz’s contrasting strategies for winning Iowa:

The upshot is clear: Cruz thinks he can win by mobilizing the traditional conservative base whose pulse he’s spent years taking. But Trump is hoping to win by using his star power and xenophobic rhetoric to transform the composition of the GOP caucus electorate. And the question of which of them succeeds will have major implications not just for the primaries but for just what the Republican Party actually is today.


15) On moms as the default parent.  I got an email the other day from an organization that does focus groups and they need kids.  “Moms, tell us what toys your child plays with…” began the email.  I was so pissed.  As if a typical dad could not even tell you his child liked legos or barbies or whatever.  I responded as I think Evan would love a lego focus group, but I let them have my $.02 on how the email was addressed.

16) I don’t recall super-highly recommending Frum’s Atlantic cover story analyzing the fractures within the contemporary Republican Party.  If I already did, it is certainly good enough to read again.



Daughters and politics

There’s a fair amount of pretty cool research that suggests having a daughter– as opposed to only sons– affects the political views of parents (e.g., among members of Congress, or this summary).  The latest is some research that shows greater support for Hillary Clinton among parents of daughters.  Via the Monkey Cage:

The analyses above combine the five biweekly YouGov/Economist surveys conducted since Joe Biden announced he would not run for president. Taken together, these data reveal a large effect of child’s sex on support for Hillary Clinton.

The first columns of the display, in fact, shows that parents of daughters are 14 percentage points more likely to support Hillary Clinton in the primaries than parents of only sons.  The error bars in the figure suggest that the effect of having a daughter on support for Clinton is somewhere between 8 and 20 percentage points.

The remaining columns also indicate that this “daughter effect” on Clinton support is consistent for all kinds of parents.  Mothers and fathers alike, regardless of how many children they have, are more likely to support Hillary Clinton in the primaries if they have a daughter.  Additional analyses also uncovered a statistically significant effect of daughters on support for Clinton among white, African American, and Hispanic parents.

It remains to be seen, though, whether this large and consistent impact of parenting daughters will extend into support for Hillary Clinton’s probable general election campaign. Clinton’s gender could be less of a factor in such a partisan election, where Americans who explicitly want to vote for (or against) a female candidate may have to cross party lines.

Cool stuff!  I’ve long wanted to add the gender of children into my parenthood and politics research but it is a rare political dataset that includes the gender of children (the vast majority simply include their presence or absence in the household, if anything).   Looks like I need to get my hands on some yougov data.

How tall will your kids be

I didn’t realize there was a handy formula for estimating the height of children based on their parents.  There is.  From the NYT:

For boys, the formula combines the height of both parents, adds five inches (or 13 centimeters) and divides by two.

For girls, it combines the height of the parents, subtracts five inches and divides by two. A more complex formula accounts for extremes in parental height.

Obviously, not all children of the same parents, nor even those of the same sex, end up the same height. Adult height tends to decrease in younger siblings, and younger children may grow more slowly.

Other factors are involved in growing taller, most notably nutrition, but genetics is estimated to account for 60 percent to 80 percent of one’s final height. A 2000 study of 8,798 pairs of adult Finnish twins, published in the journal Behavior Genetics, found that heritability accounted for around 78 percent of height in adult men and 75 percent in women.

According to this, my boys should be about 5’11.5″  (half an inch shorter than me) and Sarah should check in 1/2 in inch taller than her mom, at 5’6.5″.  We’ll see.  I actually think only Alex will make it, though.


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