Quick hits

Late on these because I’ve been at a Political Science conference.  Using 30 minutes of free WiFi in Chicago-Midway to see how many I can get through.  Relatedly, less quotations this week.  Sorry.

1) Really interesting Washington Post story on the incredible hardship faced by women after they have been freed from Boko Haram.

2) SAT and ACT are now making big money by having states (including NC) using them as Common Core tests.  Meanwhile, the tests actually designed to be used with Common Core… not so much.

 

3) Of course many of the businesses who are now opposing NC’s HB2 helped elect them social conservatives who brought us this backward legislation.

4) I hadn’t realized that the Washington DC Metro was so new when I started riding it as a kid.  It’s now really showing it’s age at 40.

5) Nicholas Kristof’s latest on what whites don’t get:

LET’S start with a quiz. When researchers sent young whites and blacks out to interview for low-wage jobs in New York City armed with equivalent résumés, the result was:

A) Whites and blacks were hired at similar rates.

B) Blacks had a modest edge because of affirmative action.

C) Whites were twice as likely to get callbacks.

The answer is C, and a black applicant with a clean criminal record did no better than a white applicant who was said to have just been released from 18 months in prison.

A majority of whites believe that job opportunities are equal for whites and blacks, according to a PBS poll, but rigorous studies show that just isn’t so. [emphasis mine]

6) Garrett Epps on how the challenge to redistricting backfired.

7) A former student of mine shared this in all seriousness on FB (and praised NC’s recent efforts on HB2).  Oh my.  Thought about defriending her for rank stupidity, but decided there’s utility in having some of the crazy come across my feed.

8) The Constitution as a Code of Honor.

9) Conor Friedersdorf on how the drug war has helped fuel the opioid epidemic.

10) I’ve really wanted to do a full post on Hillary Clinton and gender and perceptions of honesty.  I haven’t.  So, do me a favor and read Jill Abramson and Christina Cauterucci.

11) Every time I go through airport security, I feel like the terrorists have one.  In this case, IBM won by making $1.4 million for an app that makes a random left or right arrow.

12) So, this article about Jay Bilas and Mike Gminski is totally old, but new to me, about my two favorite basketball analysts who are both former Duke players.

13) The day after a friend was asking me about the relationship between religiosity and income in the US, this from Andrew Gelman popped up in my feed.

14) Hillary Clinton’s taking autism seriously from a policy perspective.  Of course, my favorite thing about Hillary is that she takes most everything seriously from a policy perspective.

Clinton’s autism plan, announced Tuesday, is well-informed and shows a grasp of the issues that few outside of disability rights circles have. If she wins the election and does even half of the things she promises, she could make an enormous difference in the everyday lives of autistic people. If she loses, she has still tremendously raised the bar on how presidential candidates can and should address autism.

Her plan focuses on necessary and sorely needed support programs for autistic people: improving employment opportunities and housing availability, significantly limiting the use of physical restraints, guaranteeing access to assistive communication technology for people who are nonverbal or have difficulty with spoken language and a specific call to do research on adult autism prevalence and needs. These issues are of vital importance to autistic people and our loved ones. No other major US presidential candidate has made these issues a part of his or her political platform.

15) Really good Paul Pierson and Jacob Hacker on the institutionalized resistance to change in the Republican party.

16) Well, North Carolina can no longer claim to be the more sensible, non-backward Carolina (seriously, Nikki Haley looking like a statewoman compared to our “leaders”), but we’ll always have Mississippi.

17) If Donald Trump published an academic article.  Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

18) Frum with a really interesting take on how the world might have been different had the Allies lost WWI.

Quick hits (part IIa)

1) Neil Irwin is quite pleased with the latest employment numbers and what they say about the job market.

2) Really enjoyed Drum’s take on declining rates of marriage.  I think he’s onto something:

Why has marriage declined in America? Here’s my dorm room bull theory: it’s because men are pigs.

I know, I know: #NotAllMen blah blah blah. That said, let’s unpack this a bit. Basically, an awful lot of men are—and always have been—volatile and unreliable. They drink, they get abusive, and they do stupid stuff. They’re bad with money, they don’t help with the kids, and they don’t help around the house. They demand subservience. They demand sex. And even on the one dimension they’re supposedly good for—being breadwinners—they frequently tend to screw up and get fired.

In other words, marriage has been a bad deal for women pretty much forever. But they’ve been forced into it by cultural mores and economic imperatives, and that’s the only reason it’s been nearly universal in the past.

Nothing has changed much about that. It’s still a bad deal for an awful lot of women, but cultural mores and economic imperatives have changed, and that means more women can afford to do what’s right for themselves and stay unmarried these days.

But there’s one exception to this: the college educated. Well-educated men are fairly reliable; they have good earning power; they generally aren’t abusive; and they’ve been willing—slowly but steadily—to change their habits and help out with kids and housework. For college-educated women, then, marriage is a relatively good deal. For everyone else, not so much.

And that’s why marriage is declining among all groups except the college educated.

3) The GMO labeling movement is about faith, not facts.  Indeed.

4) Nice Charlotte Observer editorial about Georgia’s Republican governor doing the right thing, where our’s failed to.

5) Man this political correctness on campus is so out of control.

4) Really liked this piece on breastfeeding as comfort feeding and the American ideology of child-rearing.

According to James J. McKenna, a professor of anthropology and the director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab at the University of Notre Dame, it’s a common idea in Western parenting that parents should restrict their infants’ feeding behaviors. This idea has little to do with babies’ biological well-being, he says; rather, it developed as a safeguard against raising spoiled children whose parents schedule around their whims.

The argument stems in part from the 1928 book Psychological Care of Infant and Child, written by the American psychologist John B. Watson. In it, Watson warns against the inevitable dangers of a mother providing too much love and affection, and overly comforting children. By that logic, “comfort feeding”—breastfeeding babies to soothe them, even if they aren’t hungry—is asking for problems down the line.

But the argument doesn’t line up with their cognitive development, McKenna explains. “Infants don’t have wants. ‘Wants’ assumes a more advanced cognitive awareness,” he says. “Infants only have needs. There’s a big difference.”

“Western psychology was never kind to our infants,” he adds. “We’ve departed from natural behaviors and have given moral meaning to the recommended practices that have no science to back them up.” [emphasis mine]

5) Hillary Clinton speaks out against a sub-minimum wage for the disabled.  I don’t doubt there can be an exploitation, but as the parent of a future disabled adult who I would love to be able to work for a subminimum wage, I fear throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Alex will likely never be as productive a worker to justify the minimum wage (especially $15), but I would love for him to have a job because it would be so good for him, regardless of the wage.   Subminimum wage makes that possible.

6) Loved the recent Reply All podcast on Zardulu.  Here’s a good NYT story on her and pizza rat, etc.

7) Does NC’s right-wing Christians encourage a new law enable discrimination against Christians?

8) Nate Cohn on Trump voters and race:

There’s a remarkably strong correlation, for example, between Mr. Trump’s support and the number of racist Web searches by state. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight said that the measure was the single strongest correlation of support for Mr. Trump that he could find.

Survey data point toward the same finding. For instance, support for Mr. Trump was strongly correlated with higher levels of resentment about racial issues — like the belief that black people don’t work hard enough and yet receive special favors — in an analysis of the American National Election 2016 Pilot Study.

Mr. Trump’s strength among voters with higher levels of racial resentment helps explain his strength among the new Republicans, many of whom shifted allegiance during moments when race was particularly salient in politics, the 1960s, the 1980s and even during the Obama era.

Of course, not all of the new Republicans left the Democrats because of racial resentment. The Democrats’ leftward shift on other cultural issues — like abortion and gay marriage — undoubtedly alienated many Catholics and Southern Evangelicals. The rising affluence of these same groups most likely diminished the economic appeal of the Democratic message over the last century as well.

But Nixon’s “Southern strategy” had a Northeastern component, and it drew plenty of old Democrats into the Republican Party.

 

Quick hits (part II)

1) We’re probably doing this peanut allergy thing all wrong.

2) Enjoyed Kevin Drum’s take on Hillary Clinton’s trust gap with young voters.

3) Future Wi-Fi may be  way more energy efficient and that’s a really good thing.

4) There’s been an interesting ongoing debate about putting limits on doctors’ hours when they are in residency.  Regardless of patient care (which obviously matters) this, too, is a really important reason for sane hours:

But there’s an important point that these studies—and the national conversation about resident work hour restrictions as a whole— are missing. A return to less restrictive duty hours would represent a big backwards step for the medical system as a whole. Eliminating these policies would lead to a system that disproportionately discriminates against women and parents—particularly mothers, who are more likely to take on primary parenting roles. Women are still vastly underrepresented in most surgical specialties and in healthcare leadership, and “weeding out” parents by removing any hope for family time won’t help things.

5) Interestingly, it may be that Americans are too religious to embrace socialism.

6) Personally, I’ve never understood the fascination that many men have with girls kissing and lesbian porn.  But it’s definitely a thing.  A potential explanation for why.

7) Dana Goldstein with a thoughtful review of two new books on the folly of mass incarceration.

8) On the positive influence of graduate student instructors in college.

9) What’s the deal with handedness anyway?  Nice explanation at 538.

10) Charles Pierce on how with Trump being Trump, it becomes too easy to forget just how nuts Ted Cruz is.  And a longer, but really interesting take on the cruelty of Cruz.

11) Drum on Hillary’s honesty problem:

It’s pretty obvious that Hillary is doing her best to tap dance around this. If you were watching, you could almost hear the gears grinding in her head. She desperately doesn’t want to give a yes-or-no answer—probably because she knows perfectly well that this isn’t a yes-or-no question—but it’s obvious Ramos isn’t going to give up. So she’s making calculations in real time about whether she can afford to provide an ambiguous answer in front of a Latino crowd on national TV, or if she should just cave in and make a Shermanesque statement.

Part of this calculation, of course, is that Bernie Sanders is standing right next to her, and she knows that Bernie will have no trouble with a Shermanesque statement. He thrives on them. And that will appeal to Latino voters. Grind, grind, grind. So eventually she gives in and flatly promises never to deport anyone without a criminal record.

Which, as we all know, is almost certainly an impossible promise to keep. And Hillary hates that. She knows what the legal and political realities are, and she hates having to pretend they don’t exist. But this year, we’re running an election where reality doesn’t matter. A big chunk of both Democratic and Republicans voters flatly don’t care if policies are realistic. They just want to know what a candidate feels.

12) Oh man do I love the story of the ardently pro-gun mom shot by her toddler.

13) Trump’s economic policy is basically mercantilism.  It may sound good if you don’t understand economics.  But, it’s dumb.

Economists persuaded governments to abandon mercantilism by demonstrating that trade barriers impose higher prices on the masses while narrowly benefiting those sheltered from competition. The United States largely dismantled its broad tariffs in the mid-20th century, opening the modern era of globalization. But some tariffs remain, providing a reminder of the costs and benefits.

Annual imports of Chinese tires increased to 46 million in 2008 from 15 million in 2004, and American tire makers shed several thousands of jobs. So the Obama administration, at the urging of workers’ unions, in 2009 imposed a Trump-like tariff beginning at 35 percent and expiring after three years.

“Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires,” President Obama said in his 2012 State of the Union address.

The measure, however, also increased the amount that Americans spent on tires by about $1.1 billion, according to calculations by Gary Clyde Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. That money, had it been spent on other things, would have supported jobs in other parts of the economy.

14) The corrupting influence of living in corrupt societies.

15) I do love the strategery of Rubio telling his supporters to vote for Kasich in Ohio.

16) Dara Lind says that Democrats should definitely not be voting for Trump.  (Sorry, I just can’t help it).

17) The awesomest article (plus cool maps) you’ll read about Daylight Savings.  Also, it has nothing to do with farmers.

18) Good take on the massive folly with the businessman president at Mount St. Mary’s university.

19) No, marriage will not fix poverty.  But it would help.

20) Damn the students at Western Washington have some pretty crazy demands.

21) Answers and questions on the difficulty and complexity of closing the gender wage gap.

God and Partisanship

Love this infographic from Pew:

The political preferences of U.S. political groups

Though there’s some really strong relationships, it’s worth nothing that few denominations are truly monolithic.  And I do get a kick out of the fact that Catholic pretty much perfectly mirrors the US population.

Trump and Evangelicals

Although it is ignored by the media more often than not, not all Evangelical voters are defined by their religion, just like not all African-Americans are solely defined by their race, or gay people are defined by their sexuality.  Oh, sure, there’s plenty of commonalities and some real basis for making political conclusions, but we need to stop being so shocked that Trump is winning among evangelical voters.  538:

But by Saturday evening it was too late; South Carolina had voted and Bush had managed to win only 7 percent of evangelicals. Instead, a plurality — 34 percent — went for Donald Trump, about the same share as the state’s GOP primary voters overall.

According to the Edison Research/National Election Pool, evangelicals even chose Trump over contenders like Marco Rubio (21 percent) and Ted Cruz (26 percent) who frequently cite their Christian backgrounds as a guidepost. Cruz, who won the Iowa Caucuses and outperformed polls largely based on evangelical support, has a national prayer team. Trump couldn’t or wouldn’tname his favorite verse of the Bible and has made gaffes includingmisnaming one of its books.

Trump’s win among evangelicals was a bit of a surprise to the media — the cable networks hammered away at the issue, and on Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd peppered Cruz with questions about why he lost the group that had supported him in Iowa. But the South Carolina results show evangelicals are a diverse group with sometimes differing priorities. [emphasis mine] Trump did well among less-conservative evangelicals but not among those who want a candidate who shares their values. And after all, two-thirds of South Carolina evangelicals voted for one of the other candidates instead.

Hey, roughly 1/4 of white Evangelicals identify as Democrats, of course they are not monolithic.  And, you can have a particular style of loving Jesus and still love Donald Trump because he’s the only one willing to defy political correctness and let us know that most of the Mexican immigrants are rapists and murderers and that most of the Muslims coming to this country are out to ruin the American way of life, and damnit, Donald Trump is just all about winning.  No reason you can’t believe all that and that abortion and gays are ruining America.

 

Quick hits (part II)

1) Yglesias makes the case that demographics mean that Bernie Sanders supporters are the future of the Democratic party.

2) Ian Milhiser calls the power-plant regulation case the most important Supreme Court case in human history (maybe not after yesterday’s events):

Yet, despite the aggressiveness of the challengers’ arguments against executive power, these arguments aren’t even the most ambitious portion of their case against the Clean Power Plan. To the contrary, the states challenging the EPA offer a theory of states’ rights that, while difficult to parse, appears to press for limits on federal power that would call into question why we should even bother having a federal government in the first place…

The challenge to the Clean Power Plan, in other words, is more than just a threat to the Obama administration’s efforts to ward off a global catastrophe. It is also one of the most ambitious attempts to rethink the role of government to reach the Supreme Court in years. And five justices thought this challenge had enough merit that they halted the Clean Power Plan before any lower court had even considered those rules.

3) I do find lazy reporting on superdelegates to be really frustrating.  Here’s the real story.

4) Apparently David Denby got around to The Teacher Wars a year late.  Still, good stuff on teaching and education policy.

5) Drum on how the 1994 crime bill did not create mass incarceration.

6) Mount Saint Mary’s has re-instituted the fired professors.  But this statement tells me the people in charge still have no idea how to run a university:

In the statement, a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, the Rev. Kevin Farmer, said the board “continues to support” Mr. Newman. He added: “We embrace his vision for the future of the university and believe he is the best person to carry it out. We have every desire to resolve the tension on campus and move forward together.”

7) On the amazing compress-ability of cockroaches.

8) Cool Pew infographic on the religious denominations of American presidents.

9) Interestingly, Eric Posner makes the legal argument that Cruz is not eligible to be president.

10) Why we use lead for water pipes anyway.

11) How about that– a Republican criminal justice reform that makes sense:

As a legal principle, mens rea means that causing harm should not be enough to constitute a crime; knowingly causing harm should be. Walking away from the baggage carousel with a suitcase you mistook for your own isn’t theft; it’s theft only if you knew you didn’t own it. Ordinary citizens may assume that this common-sense requirement is already the law of the land. And indeed law students are taught that prosecutors must prove not just that a defendant did something bad, but also that his frame of mind made him culpable when he did it.

But over the years, exceptions to the principle have become common because mens rea requirements have not been consistently detailed in laws. In one often-cited case, the president of a company that mistakenly shipped mislabeled drugs was convicted of a crime even though he had no way of knowing that the labels were incorrect

12) Republican tax plans, of course, all exist in a fantasyland.  Repeat the same line a few times in a debate and the media is all over you.  Release a tax plan that is all unicorns and rainbows, and get a free pass.

13) Dahlia Lithwick on the leftward drift of Supreme Court justices.

14) Kristoff’s take on how the GOP created Trump:

So how did we get to this stage where the leading Republican candidate is loathed by the Republican establishment?

In part, I think, Republican leaders brought this on themselves. Over the decades they pried open a Pandora’s box, a toxic politics of fear and resentment, sometimes brewed with a tinge of racial animus, and they could never satisfy the unrealistic expectations that they nurtured among supporters.

15) Loved this explanation behind the development of the yellow first down line for football games.  A technological innovation that has truly added to the enjoyment of the game.  I also had fun just during the most recent Super Bowl explaining this to my 10-year old.

16) Will Saletan rips into Rubio good for his Islamophobia.

17) Way back when, it was women who pushed for temperance as they bore so many of the ill effects of widespread alcohol abuse.  More than 100 years later, that’s still the case.  What we really need is more people smoking dope and less drinking alcohol.

18) On the problems of Meryl Streep being a “humanist” instead of a “feminist.”

19) David Brooks is going to miss Obama.

20) The Atlantic’s Eric Liu is skeptical of Bernie’s revolution:

But now that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have spoken, it’s time to take the idea of political revolution more seriously—more seriously, indeed, than Sandershimself appears to have. It’s time to ask: What exactly would it take?

It starts with Congress. And here it’s instructive to compare Sanders and Donald Trump. Both rely on broad, satisfying refrains of “We’re gonna”: We’re gonna break up the big banks. We’re gonna make Mexico build the wall. We’re gonna end the rule of Wall Street billionaires. We’re gonna make China stop ripping us off.

The difference is, Trump’s refrains are more plausible. That’s because today’s Congress is already willing to enact many of his proposals, whether repeal of Obamacare or severe restrictions on immigration. And if Trump became president, the 115th Congress would very likely be more conservative than the 114th.

21) Andrew Prokop thinks Hillary finally has her argument contra Bernie.

22) And Seth Masket argues she’s still in solid shape after the NH loss.

23) And I might as well stick with a theme and close some tabs, but linking this Vox post where 6 political scientists all agree that Sanders would perform worse (by varying amounts) than Clinton in the general election

 

 

 

Religion and evolution

I didn’t realize yesterday was “Darwin Day.”  I guess I should have.  In honor of it, Pew with a nice chart of beliefs about evolution by religious group:

Belief in evolution by religious tradition

If people want to say evolved over time while “guided by Supreme being” I’m fine with that, as the scientific evidence has nothing to say about that either way.  It’s just damn clear that the human species has evolved from earlier hominids.  To simply say humans have “always existed in present form” as a solid majority of Evangelical Christians do is to close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and yell “I can’t hear you” in response to science.

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