February 19, 2017 2 Comments
I’m sure this data is pretty similar to exit polls, but this does seem especially stark:
It’s almost like education saves people for falling for white ethno-nationalism. Or something like that.
Politics, parenting, science, education, and pretty much anything I find interesting
February 18, 2017 3 Comments
1) Love this Wired feature on the challenges facing the NYT. I love the idea of it re-inventing itself as a premium subscriber service like HBO and Netflix. For the record, I think NYT, HBO, and Netflix are all terrific and worth paying for. (Though, “The Young Pope” please!)
2) Nick Kristoff on a stark, ignored, reality: husbands (and a hell of a lot of other things) are far more dangerous than terrorists.
3) John Oliver decide to take the message to Trump where he’ll see it– cable news ads.
4) I don’t doubt that those who have fought to remove smoking from public gathering places have overstated the health benefits of doing so, as argued in this extreme example of a #slatepitch. That said, I find it amusing that the piece does not even address the fact that most of us non-smokers (i.e., most of us Americans) strongly prefer to not be around noxious vapors fouling our air.
5) Interesting Op-Ed– what modern day Muslims should learn from Jesus.
6) Why is Trump so obsessed with apologies? Like so much else, it’s a simple dominance display for him:
For Trump, apologies aren’t about resolving conflict or fostering relationships or even setting the record straight. Like so much of what he does, they are about besting someone. Trump expresses his displeasure at how he has been treated; the offending party feels compelled to make amends. An apology that requires threats or twitter trolls to extract only highlights Trump’s superior strength all the more. Your criticisms of Trump may not have been wrong. You may not feel one bit bad about them. You may loathe and disdain him even more after apologizing. What matters to him is that you have had to publicly ask for his forgiveness. Which proves you are a total loser.
7) Zack Beauchamp takes a deep-dive into the utterly delusional world of “counter-jihadism” that is so influential with Trump’s own delusional worldview.
8) NYT pulling no punches in the lede on Pruitt’s confirmation.
The Senate on Friday confirmed Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency, putting a seasoned legal opponent of the agency at the helm of President Trump’s efforts to dismantle major regulations on climate change and clean water — and to cut the size and authority of the government’s environmental enforcer.
9) Advice to conservative college students from a formerly conservative professor.
10) Drum with more evidence for the lead-crime link.
11) Amanda Taub with a good piece on “the deep state” you’ve likely been hearing much about.
12) I got more enjoyment out of “why liberals are wrong about Trump” than anything I read all week. Just trust me and click the link. Seriously.
13) Peter Beinart on how much of the anti-Trump right has made peace with Trump:
It’s not deranged to worry that Trump may undermine liberal democracy. It’s deranged to think that leftist hyperbole constitutes the greater threat. Unfortunately, that form of Trump Derangement Syndrome is alive and well at National Review. And it helps explain why Republicans across Washington are enabling Trump’s assault on the institutions designed to restrain his power and uphold the rule of law.
It is inconvenient for National Review that the individual in government who now most threatens the principles it holds dear is not a liberal, but a president that most conservatives support. But evading that reality doesn’t make it any less true.
14) Raising the price of a $575 life-saving drug to $4500. So wrong. Pharmaceutical companies make life-saving drugs. Many pharmaceutical companies are also greedy and evil while they’re at it. Talk about preying upon human suffering.
15) John Cassidy on Republican plans to cut Medicaid:
Still, the Republican Party’s internal machinations are a secondary matter. The key point is that G.O.P. leaders are intent on ripping up a successful and affordable reform that helped fill a gaping hole in the social safety net. In the process, they will endanger the health of a lot of Americans who don’t have the resources to protect themselves and their families. And that’s shameful.
16) Why yes, there are some bad dudes when it comes to immigration. Unfortunately, it seems that some of these bad dudes are actually working for ICE.
17) More evidence for modern conservatism as white tribal politics.
18) I know you’ll be shocked to see evidence of how Trump tried to keep Black families out of his properties.
19) Terrific piece in Vox looking at (and speculating upon) the mating history of humans and neanderthals. This particular bit was new to me:
Siepel has also found evidence of an even earlier mating than those that took place around 50,000 years ago. In the fully sequenced Neanderthal genome published in 2014, he found some human genes dating back to 100,000 years ago. “Instead of finding Neanderthal segments in modern human genomes, we identified modern, human-like segments in one of the Neanderthal genome,” he says.
It goes to show these matings weren’t a one-time event in our history. (And it adds a wrinkle to the common story that humans left Africa around 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Human DNA found its way into Neanderthals 100,000 years ago, so there must have been an earlier human incursion into Europe. Those humans, though, did not survive.)
20) Democrats are now more inclined to embrace conspiracy theories. Why? Because conspiracy theories are for losers.
21) Doctors finally admit that lifestyle and exercise– not drugs– are the best treatment for lower back pain. I found this bit of particular interest:
Obesity, being overweight, smoking, depression, and anxiety have all been linked with lower back pain. But the cause is usually more complicated. “Our best understanding of low back pain is that it is a complex, biopsychosocial condition — meaning that biological aspects like structural or anatomical causes play some role, but psychological and social factors also play a big role,” said Chou, who wrote a big evidence review that helped inform the new ACP guideline.
For example, in patients who have nearly identical results from an imaging test like an MRI, those who are depressed or unsatisfied with their jobs tend to have worse back pain than people who aren’t, Chou said. Partly for this reason, doctors don’t generally recommend doing MRIs for acute episodes of low back pain, since they can lead to overtreatment — like surgery — that also won’t improve health outcomes.
As for the modestly annoying lower-back pain I began experiencing about 10 years ago… I started sleeping with a pillow under my hips (I sleep on my stomach) and it’s never been anything but a very occasional annoyance since.
22) Catherine Rampell on Republicans plans to completely gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It really is truly breathtaking how much Republicans are totally willing to screw over the little guy. There’s plenty of areas where I just disagree with Republicans, and I get that, but I really do not understand how people justify these types of positions.
23) Drum’s quasi fact-checking of Trump’s disaster press conference is so entertaining. My favorite part:
I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred and just the hatred. I don’t watch it any more…Well, you look at your show that goes on at 10 o’clock in the evening. You just take a look at that show. That is a constant hit…Now, I will say this. I watch it. I see it. I’m amazed by it.
Fact-check: Schrödinger’s cat. Trump both watches and doesn’t watch CNN.
24) Yeah, the modern research university really is built off the exploitation of adjuncts. But that’s because far too many people are willing to work for $3-4000 per class in the hopes that it will lead to somethhing good and permanent when it almost never, ever does. Hope springs eternal… And, yes, universities need to stop producing so many more PhD’s than there are decent jobs. Damn, perverse incentives.
25) Great Vox conversation with Gary Kasparov on Putin and Trump.
February 17, 2017 1 Comment
Damn, this guy is the worst ever. Check out comparable disapprove rates early in a presidency. Pew:
Take heart, the American people are onto him– right?
Well, fair to say most of us. But, damnit, Republicans have their heads so deep in the sand on Trump they could reach Eastern Russia (seems more appropriate than China). And, of course, politically speaking, that’s what matters the most right now.
Trump is doing (marginally) better with R’s at this point than the previous three Republican presidents. Just wow. I get partisanship, I get the tribalism, but, I mean there’s “Republican President” and there’s Trump.
That said, I will honestly be surprised if he is not a historically unpopular president within a year. Partisanship is strong; it’s not invincible. And Trump’s awfulness will surely test it for many.
February 16, 2017 Leave a comment
Not always the biggest fan of Thomas Friedman, but he nails it here:
Every action, tweet and declaration by Trump throughout this campaign, his transition and his early presidency screams that he is compromised when it comes to the Russians.
I don’t know whether Russian oligarchs own him financially or whether Russian spies own him personally because of alleged indiscreet behavior during his trips to Moscow. But Trump’s willingness to attack allies like Australia, bluster at rivals like China, threaten enemies like Iran and North Korea and bully neighbors like Mexico — while consistently blowing kisses to Russian President Vladimir Putin — cannot be explained away by his mere desire to improve relations with Moscow to defeat the Islamic State. And the Flynn ouster gives our government another, desperately needed opportunity to demand the answers to these questions, starting with seeing the president’s tax returns.
We need to know whom Trump owes and who might own him, and we need to know it now. Save for a few patriotic Republican senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, the entire Republican Party is complicit in a shameful act of looking away at Trump’s inexplicable behavior toward Russia. [emphasis mine]
If Republicans want to know how they should be behaving on this issue, they should ask themselves what they would be saying and doing right now if a President Hillary Clinton had behaved toward Russia the way Trump has, and had her national security adviser been found hinting to the Russian ambassador to hold tight because a softer United States policy toward Russia was on its way.
Yep, but, you know what’s more important than our president seemingly being compromised by a hostile foreign power? Of course you do– tax cuts for rich people!!
February 16, 2017 3 Comments
Not really. Jim Newell captures it:
It should be pointed out, too, that Puzder’s loss of Republican support has little to do with his record of pulverizing low-wage workers as a boss. That was the whole point of considering him! And they would’ve gotten away, too, if it wasn’t for that Oprah. Ah, well. Trump should have no difficulty finding another rich person with a horrendous record on, and future ambitions for, the degradation of working conditions to put in charge of American labor policy.
Sure, I suppose there’s some moral victory in one of Trump’s worst nominees not getting through. But this is hardly a victory for sensible Labor policies.
February 16, 2017 5 Comments
[I like to think of Earth 2 as the one where Hillary picked up 80,000 more votes in 3 key states; or the one where Comey didn’t throw the election to Trump.]
So, Earth 3, with a normal Republican as President. Frum again:
Suppose Mike Pence were president now. Tax-reform legislation would be hitting the floor of the House. A competent White House staff, headed by people with intact reputations for honesty, would be hammering out the compromises necessary to repeal healthcare reform. A functional National Security Council would be generating options for responding to Russia’s cheating on arms-control treaties and aggression in Ukraine. Democrats and liberals would be assailing congressional Republicans on immigration and abortion—not espionage and treason.
Alas, here on Earth 1, Republicans are showing far more interest in power and partisanship than country:
Instead, their hopes, their interests, their constituencies, and possibly their careers are all at risk, subordinated to the personal imperatives of a president who does not share their principles and does not care about their party.
Each member of Congress went into this line of work with some idea of serving their country. They do not yet know whether clandestine cooperation occurred between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. They do not know whether that clandestine cooperation continues now. Possibly Trump imagines that he is using Putin, rather than being used by him.
But what they do know is that Trump is doing damage to U.S. alliances and the U.S.-led global economic order. They know that he’s staffed his White House with disturbing personalities who do not seem to recognize or accept ordinary ethical norms. They hear from business leaders, foreign heads of government, and their own contacts in the defense and intelligence agencies that they are alarmed and frightened. They see the president of the United States behaving in ways no president should behave. They are partisan creatures, as they have to be in their line of work, but they have enough experience to appreciate that concerns don’t cease being valid just because they are raised by their Democratic colleagues. They must feel that their restraint on the president and the White House is the most important constitutional line of defense against presidential corruption—or worse. If they don’t act decisively now, when will they act? If this isn’t bad enough—what will be?
Let me answer that… When Trump threatens to raise taxes on rich people. As far as I can tell, that’s the only red line. Still waiting to be proven wrong. Ugh.
[And, just because this came up in the Google image search for Earth 3]