Why fight global warming when the weather is so nice?

Really enjoyed this Op-Ed from Political Scientists Patrick Egan and Megan Mullin.  Good (and disturbing) stuff:

In a poll taken in January, after the country’s warmest December on record, the Pew Research Center found that climate change ranked close to last on a list of the public’s policy priorities. Why?

In a paper published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, we provide one possible explanation: For a vast majority of Americans, the weather is simply becoming more pleasant. Over the past four decades, winter temperatures have risen substantially throughout the United States, but summers have not become markedly more uncomfortable… [emphases mine]

Our findings are striking: 80 percent of Americans now find themselves living in counties where the weather is more pleasant than it was four decades ago. Although warming during this period has been considerable, it has not been evenly distributed across seasons. Virtually all Americans have experienced a rise in January maximum daily temperatures — an increase of 1.04 degrees Fahrenheit per decade on average — while changes in daily maximum temperatures in July have been much more variable across counties, rising by an average of just 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit per decade over all. Moreover, summer humidity has declined during this period.

As a result, most people’s experiences with daily weather since the time that they first heard about climate change have generally been positive…

To those of us who believe climate change is the most profound challenge of our age, our discovery is both illuminating and disheartening. In previous work, we’ve shown that Americans make sense of climate change in part through their personal experience of the weather. Our new findings suggest that the weather changes caused by global warming cannot be relied on to spur the public to demand policies that address the problem. By the time the weather changes for the worse later in this century, it may be too late.

And it will change for the worse. Under all likely scenarios, seasonal trends are projected to eventually reverse: Future warming in the United States will be more severe in summer than in winter. Should greenhouse gas emissions proceed unabated, we estimate that 88 percent of Americans will be exposed to less pleasant weather at the end of this century than they are today.

Fascinating combination of science and social science.  Also, damn, that sucks!  I love pleasant weather!  I know, hedonic adaption and all that, and various research suggests I’m no happier with good weather.  But I’m pretty sure I am.  For example, I just cannot get enough of this late April weather– warm, no humidity yet, and no mosquitoes yet.  I really feel like I actually enjoy my days more.  And damn it, I guess by the time I’m an old man I’ll be hating April.  Carbon tax?


Loved this Wonkblog piece on what we have done to dairy cows through artificial selection:

If there were one thing Temple Grandin, who teaches animal science at Colorado State University, could change about the milk business, it would be the way the industry has messed with its cows.

“What they’ve done is basically the equivalent of taking a car, putting it in neutral, and then dropping a brick on the accelerator until it blows up,” said Grandin. “These cows are constantly in the red zone.”

The chart below shows the simultaneous fall in the number of milk cows and rise in the amount of milk each cow produces on average. There are almost 2 million fewer milk cows today than there were in 1980, but production has remained fairly stable. And guess who is shouldering the brunt of that load?

The answer, of course, is milk cows.

With bottom lines in mind, the industry has long pushed to get more out of its four-legged employees. For many years, that meant operational tweaks, such as changing barn design, altering what cows were fed and being fussy about things such as milking schedules. But more recently, it has meant screwing with the actual anatomy of the animals.

Holsteins, the majestic black and white cows that make up the vast majority of milk cows in the United States, don’t look like they used to. In fact, we have altered their genetic makeup by 22 percent since the 1970s, as Modern Farmernoted in 2014. Today’s cows are taller, heavier, have higher and larger udders, and tend to stand on differently shaped legs. [emphasis mine] And there’s a growing sense we have gone too far…

In many ways, Grandin is one of those advocates. A longtime dairy-industry expert, she divides producers into two categories: the progressives and the not progressives. The former, which she says account for about a third of the industry, have moved away from the practice of breeding “milking machines,” choosing to raise smaller cows that tend to be healthier, as well as productive over a longer period, and opting to feed their herds grass as often as possible. The latter, meanwhile, are driving up the efficiency numbers you see in the chart above, selecting for cows that tend to suffer from a number of adverse health outcomes.

1) This is just awful.  Yes, on some level any use of dairy cows is exploiting animals.  But we can do it in more or less humane ways and this is undoubtedly at the wrong end of that spectrum.  How about we pay a little more for a milk and have a little more decency in the lives of the cows.  Sounds like a more than reasonable trade-off.  (And the article makes a good case that it’s the long-term sensible thing to do as well).

2) I wish all the Cassandras who spend their time railing against perfectly healthy soybeans, etc., that have many benefits, but were created through genetic manipulation in a lab would pay more attention to the extreme genetic manipulation that happens every day through good old selective breeding practices.  I’m far more concerned by what we are doing to the cows (and chickens!) than what we are doing to corn and soybeans.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Drum on how easily Donald Trump is “disgusted.”  (And this sure makes me worry about the political future of my third boy):

This brings to mind Jonathan Haidt’s theory of moral foundations, which suggests that although liberals and conservatives share a set of five innate moral roots, they prioritize them quite differently. Conservatives, for example, are especially sensitive to moral foundation #5:

Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology ofdisgust and contamination….It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants.

I wonder how strongly Donald Trump scores on this particular moral foundation? Pretty strongly, I’d guess. I wonder how much it explains his approach to politics? And I wonder how much it explains his popularity with a certain subset of conservatives?

2) It costs $200,000/year to keep Lenin’s corpse looking good.

3) Enjoyed this Op-Ed on NC Republican Legislators.

4) Oregon Senator Jeff Merkely had a recent NYT Op-Ed endorsing Bernie.  This part really grabbed my attention.  I’m sorry, but Bernie or no Bernie, the world has changed dramatically and it is hard to see how Bernie returns us to a time when a single, non-college educated head-of-household could typically support a comfortable, middle-class American life.

I grew up in working-class Oregon. On a single income, my parents could buy a home, take a vacation and help pay for college. My father worked with his hands as a millwright and built a middle-class life for us.

My parents believed in education and they believed in the United States. When I was young, my father took me to the grade school and told me that if I went through those doors, and worked hard, I could do just about anything because we lived in America. My dad was right.

Years later, my family and I still live in the same working-class community I grew up in. But America has gone off track, and the outlook for the kids growing up there is a lot gloomier today than 40 years ago.

5) If your Alabama daycare is unregulated for religious reasons, you can get away with pretty much anything.

6) Cannot say I was the least bit surprised to learn that the social support that comes from marriage helps cancer survival rates.

7) The educational power of making our students uncomfortable.  Amen.

What we should not do is shelter our students. There is so much talk about “trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” in academe today. Many suggest that a classroom should be devoid of anything that could make students feel uncomfortable or unsettled. But history is unsettling. The present is unsettling. It unsettles with its crimes against humanity, its wars, its sex trafficking, even its presidential debates. There should be more being said about the power of discomfort.

Isn’t college by nature an uncomfortable experience? You leave your parents, your friends, your siblings, your neighborhood, even your dog. You live in a dorm where you may or may not know your roommate, you get a job, you lose a job, you date, you make love, you drink too much, you get sick, you fail a class — all of these experiences are discomforting but necessary for your development.

8) Just in case you missed the story of the student removed from a Southwest flight simply for speaking Arabic.  America at it’s worst.

9) The idea that felons cannot vote after they have paid their full debt to society strikes me as preposterous and thoroughly anti-democratic.  Good for Terry McAuliffe for remedying this in Virginia.

10) Conor Friedersdorf on how Americans have become so sensitive to harm.

11) Nice NPR piece on science and the loss of our shared reality.

Our ability to deal with climate change has clearly been adversely affected by this rejection of scientific endeavor. But facing into the winds of this strange primary season, we can see how this denial yielded other consequences, too.

If the point of science is to provide us with a method for establishing public knowledge, then its rejection is also the rejection that such public knowledge is possible. [emphasis in original] If we hold science in esteem because it represents a best practice for establishing shared facts that hold regardless of ethic, religious or political background, then denying science means denying the possibility of such facts. It implies there can be no means for establishing facts about the world and no reason to award authority to mechanisms that deliver those facts.

This wholesale rejection of a shared reality was always the great danger lying in organized, politicized climate science denial. After all, why stop with climate science? Once you get started down this road, who or what determines that it’s gone too far?

12) It’s pretty clear what HB2 is all about.

13) That phase where you are just falling asleep and in the bizarre liminal state between awake and asleep is so cool.  Should yield some interesting research.

14) How is it that B-52‘s are still in service after all these years?  Just the right engineering.

The bomber’s staying power can be attributed to many things, not least of which, according to officers in charge of maintaining the airplanes in the Command’s Directorate of Logistics, is its uniquely forward-thinking original design. “The build of the B-52 was one of both over- and, conversely, under-engineering,” said a directorate representative, who chose not to be identified, per directorate guidelines. “Its flexibility has led to its continued relevance and ability to adapt to current and emerging global threats.”

Under-engineering simply means the B-52 has plenty of physical room for growth and additional systems and components. Most aircraft are designed with tight tolerances, densely packed with hardware the airframe was designed to accommodate. You can’t just remove one thing and throw in something else, whereas the B-52 allows for that kind of swapping…

Even with the modernization, the currently flying B-52s are all about 55 years old, about the age humans start getting calls from the AARP. This is where the over-engineering comes in. “The airframe itself remains structurally sound and has many useful flying years ahead of it,” the directorate official says. “Most of the B-52 airframes are original and their longevity is a testimony to the original design engineers.” In other words, they did a killer job making a durable airplane.

15) Sadly, too many Senators seem to foolishly think the “tougher is better” approach will somehow work as effective drug policy.  Nope.  Tried that.

16) Liked this Vox post on the Harriet Tubman $20:

The $20 is a perfect incident to prompt this divide precisely because it has very little real content. There’s nothing in Tubman’s life or legacy that contradicts any points of modern-day conservative ideology or Republican Party policy ideas. But the very idea of going back through history and finding white male heroes to demote in favor of black female heroes rubs some people the wrong way.

Fox’s Greta Van Susteren’s negative reaction to the news, and conservative journalist Philip Klein’s negative reaction to Van Susteren, captures the dynamic very well.

Trump himself denounced the move as “pure political correctness,” a term that has little specific content but that allows Trump to affiliate himself with the view — shared by most Republicans but not by most Americans overall — that anti-white discrimination is as big of a problem in America as anti-black discrimination.

17) Just watched The Big Short.  Just like all the critics, thought it was really, really good (of course, also very much enjoyed Michael Lewis’ book).  Also, wanted to mention, that when the film ends and “When the Levee Breaks” comes up, that is just an awesome moment.  Enjoyed reading about how hard it was to secure the rights from Led Zeppelin.

18) A two-year old kills himself with a gun.  Just another day in America.

19) An experienced water quality expert in NC complains about the anti-science approach to cleaning water in NC and loses his job.  But don’t worry, it wasn’t political.

20) Donald Trump really does have New York values– as can be seen in his acceptance of gays.

21) Don’t really like Liberal’s undue skepticism of nuclear power equated with the flat-out anti-science of conservative global-warming skeptics, but this is an interesting column from Eduardo Porter.

22) Drum says we need to stop trying to cut middle-class income taxes.  He’s right.

23) Jamelle Bouie makes the case that there is no Bernie movement.

Quick hits (part I)

1) More evidence that anti-bacterial soaps do more harm than good (the point of soap is to actually wash the germs away, not kill them).  I’ve tried to use regular soap for years, but it can actually be hard to find the liquid soap that is not anti-bacterial.

2) Really enjoyed reading about Peggy Orenstein’s new book on girls and sex.  I think I’ll be giving this to Sarah in 8-10 years.

3) How to get your children to behave through positive behavioral reinforcement.  Maybe too late for my kids.  But I probably should try, because they sure won’t behave.

4) Just a video of a submarine surfacing through ice.  Nothing cool to see here.

5) Had this article about the lawyer who took on Dupont in an open tab for a long time.  Glad I finally read it.  Really good stuff.

Bilott doesn’t regret fighting DuPont for the last 16 years, nor for letting PFOA consume his career. But he is still angry. ‘‘The thought that DuPont could get away with this for this long,’’ Bilott says, his tone landing halfway between wonder and rage, ‘‘that they could keep making a profit off it, then get the agreement of the governmental agencies to slowly phase it out, only to replace it with an alternative with unknown human effects — we told the agencies about this in 2001, and they’ve essentially done nothing. That’s 14 years of this stuff continuing to be used, continuing to be in the drinking water all over the country. DuPont just quietly switches over to the next substance. And in the meantime, they fight everyone who has been injured by it.’’

Bilott is currently prosecuting Wolf v. DuPont, the second of the personal-injury cases filed by the members of his class. The plaintiff, John M. Wolf of Parkersburg, claims that PFOA in his drinking water caused him to develop ulcerative colitis. That trial begins in March. When it concludes, there will be 3,533 cases left to try

6) Apparently, it is quite exhausting when your full-time job is blurring out people’s exposed private parts for a television show.

7) Steve Benen on the amateurishness of Trump’s delegate operations.

8) Thanks to Pat McCrory, it’s not easy being Pat McCrory.

9) Time to re-think how we think about the “tree of life.”

Existing genetic studies have been heavily biased towards the branches of life that we’re most familiar with, especially those we can see and study. It’s no coincidence that animals made up half of the “comprehensive tree of life,” and fungi, plants, and algae took up another third, and microscopic bacteria filled just a small wedge.

That’s not what the real tree of life looks like.

We visible organisms should be the small wedge. We’re latecomers to Earth’s story, and represent the smallest sliver of life’s diversity. Bacteria are the true lords of the world. They’ve been on the planet for billions of years and have irrevocably changed it, while diversifying into endless forms most wonderful and most beautiful. Many of these forms have never been seen, but we know they exist because of their genes. Using techniques that can extract DNA from environmental samples—scoops of mud or swabs of saliva—scientists have been able to piece together the full genomes of organisms whose existence is otherwise a mystery.

Using 1,011 of these genomes, Laura Hug, now at the University of Waterloo, and Jillian Banfield at the University of California, Berkeley have sketched out a radically different tree of life. All the creatures we’re familiar with—the animals, plants, and fungi—are crowded on one thin branch. The rest are largely filled with bacteria. [emphasis mine]

10) The octopus who escaped back to the ocean.

11) NYT Editorial on the endemic racism in the Chicago PD.  Also, a good occassion to plug the old, but truly not at all dated, Courtroom 302.  

12) Evan Osnos on Trump’s convention strategy.

13) Apparently, Republicans only think Zika virus affects blue states.  Or maybe, they are just against doing something about it because Obama is for it.  Ugh.

14) Mike Munger on the beauty of the virtual classroom discussion.  It’s got it’s value, but I think Munger is over-selling it.

15) Should we have government-sponsored childcare?

In a new report published Wednesday, a group of economists argued the market alone can’t fix this problem. Researchers at the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank in the District, say daycare should become a national priority, a human right on par with public education, because it contributes to academic achievement gaps, among other unequal outcomes later in children’s lives.

In order to make high-quality child care — with well-trained staff and a cognitively enriching environment — available to all in the current system, many children would have to be crammed into the best day care centers and safety would have to be severely compromised, said co-author Josh Bivens, EPI’s research and policy director.“The easiest way,” he said, “would be to shove 70 kids in one class.”

Rather than encourage this dystopia, he said, America should invest more resources into building a national childcare system, one that rewards quality.

16) 538 on how a Penn State lab is predicting sunset quality.  Cool.

17) Speaking of the sun, the Sunlight Foundation on how lobbyists effectively prevent saner tax policy.

18) How about a space probe to the “nearby” star Alpha Centauri?  Mostly, this caught my eye because despite having almost no creative ability, the one good story I remember writing in elementary school was “journey to Alpha Centauri.”  The beginning and end of my career as a science fiction author.

19) This is pretty damn cool– click on the caterpillar and see the moth/butterfly it becomes.

Quick hits (part IIb)

Very busy weekend.  Had to divide up the quick hits an extra time to make sure I got it all in before Monday.

1) Drum’s good take on the new Pierson and Hacker book.

2) Linda Greenhouse on Supreme Court “hijacking.”

Really? Any belief counts, as long as it’s sincere? Any belief, no matter the consequences to third parties who don’t share the belief? Given judges’ extreme diffidence about questioning the basis for any religious belief, that’s a not-implausible reading of a statute that only the much-missed Justice John Paul Stevens had the nerve to call unconstitutional. In aconcurring opinion 19 years ago, Justice Stevens said that because the Religious Freedom Restoration Act gave churches “a legal weapon that no atheist or agnostic can obtain,” the law amounted to an unconstitutional establishment of religion. “This governmental preference for religion, as opposed to irreligion,” he wrote then, “is forbidden by the First Amendment.”

3) Teenagers who are literally ruining their lives trying to get into Ivy league schools should stop trying to get into Ivy League schools.  Yeah, high school is hard work, but there’s got to be time for fun.

4) Interesting Atlantic piece on the sewage in the water for the upcoming Olympics and a look at the history and sociology of how it got to be this way.

5) We have a pretty good idea on how to make policing better.  We just need to do it.  Good interview in Vox.

A better way forward is to realize that overgeneralizing — either in terms of enforcement or prevention — is unlikely to succeed, because violence is “sticky,” meaning it concentrates among a small number of identifiable places, people, and behaviors. Focusing our attention and efforts where it matters most will get us better results and is more feasible as a matter of politics and budgets.

GL: What were some of the most promising programs? What about the worst?

TA: The best programs share a number of elements — specificity, proactivity, legitimacy — that Christopher Winship and I outline in our paper. Focused deterrence, also known as the Group Violence Intervention, has a strong track record of success around the country, especially in places like Boston, Cincinnati, and Stockton, California. Cognitive behavioral therapy has also repeatedly demonstrated strong results, especially in Boston with ROCA Inc. and in Chicago with the Becoming a Man program.

The worst strategies generally emphasize punitive scare and control tactics with youth.Scared Straight is best example of a strategy that actually increases crime among those kids who participate in the program, but there are others, such as youth boot camps and curfews. In a different area, gun buybacks are enormously popular but don’t do much to reduce gun violence.

GL: You said in the report that we should dedicate police resources to certain places. What do you mean by that?

TA: A better understanding of what we mean by “place” is very helpful. In this area it’s really important to get specific. At least in the US and likely in most of the rest of the world, crime and violence are sticky; they’re hyperconcentrated in a small number of places, people, and behaviors.

When I say hyperconcentrated, I don’t mean that crime and violence concentrate in a bad or violent neighborhood. They concentrate on a specific street corner, a specific nightclub on a certain night, or a specific liquor store. So when we look at a dangerous neighborhood, generally what we’re seeing is not a whole neighborhood but two or three hot spots. That’s very important to understand.

6) Aaron Carroll on the absurd sleep deprivation we subject our teenagers to.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

7) The lack of funding for criminal defense in Louisiana is truly shameful, unfair, and un-American (and a natural outgrowth of hard-right Republican budgetary policies).  If judges can demand states do better with prisons I don’t understand why they cannot demand states actually ensure defendants get a decent defense.

8) On the bright side, sounds like the Supreme Court might finally be catching onto the problem of criminally inadequate criminal defense in the states.

“The upshot,” Breyer concluded, “is a substantial risk that accepting the Government’s views would—by increasing the government-paid-defender workload—render less effective the basic right the Sixth Amendment seeks to protect.”

Breyer’s logic is worth following to its endpoint. He acknowledges that throwing Luis and others like her to the public-defender system would weaken her Sixth Amendment rights to effective counsel. But what does that say about the constitutional rights of poor defendants who have no other choice?

The question has national implications. Underfunding and understaffing in state public-defender systems weakens the quality of legal representation they can provide to clients. Virtually all of Kentucky’s public defenders exceeded the American Bar Association’s recommended caseload in 2015. Minnesota’s public defenders took on almost double the ABA standard in 2010—170,000 cases for fewer than 400 lawyers—and spent only an average of 12 minutes on each caseoutside the courtroom.

Some states face even greater crises. In cash-strapped Louisiana, where 8 out of 10 defendants cannot afford a lawyer, the system is on the verge of collapse. The state’s 2017 budget includes a 62 percent cut in state funding for public-defender system, with 11 of the state’s 42 offices in danger of shutting down by October. In one office, a waiting list for legal representation had more than 2,300 names on itin March. Defendants often languish behind bars, separated from employment and family, while they wait.

9) Nice Atlantic video on the surprising ineffectiveness of campaign ads.

10) John Oliver and the journalist as advocate.

Chattoo was also impressed by Oliver’s piece last summer on bail bonds in New York, in which he demonstrated that they were little more than a tool for locking up poor people. “It immediately set the agenda, and a month later, [New York Mayor] Bill De Blasio announced a complete policy change,” she noted.

Feldman argues that Oliver’s work reveals a troubling truth about traditional journalists: They often rely on objectivity as a crutch.
“That can have devastating consequences in that it leads to uncritical deference to official sources,” she says. For some journalists, she adds, a he-said, she-said approach to reporting “can be an easy way out.”

As these scholars and journalists see it, “objectivity” was always a false measure of journalistic excellence, and a superficial stand-in for more meaningful ideas like honesty, accuracy, and transparency — terms that might better describe the characteristics of a top-tier journalist.

11) Maria Konnikova on the psychology of electability.


12) Barney Frank is decidedly not impressed with Bernie Sanders.  A great read.



13) You know what, I don’t really doubt that the US women’s soccer team is the victim of gender discrimination in pay.  That said, I got so tired of all the reporting talking about them bringing in more revenue than the men (and the American tv ratings– enough with the American TV ratings in a global sport).  It was only 538 that brought up this fact below.  Now, that may be discrimination from FIFA, but given that disparity of revenue coming in, puts US Soccer in a different light to me.  Also, fair or not, we cannot ignore the marketplace for soccer and it’s not just America.

While U.S. Soccer is not responsible for FIFA prize money, it’s worth noting that the men’s prize money for losing in the round of 16 amounted to $9 million. The women’s prize money for winning the whole tournament was $2 million.

14) Ebola’s hidden impact on the eye.  Scary and sad.

In the aftermath of the epidemic, almost half of over 15,000 West African Ebola survivors have exhibited new ophthalmic symptoms that, left untreated, can lead to severe uveitis (inflammation of the eye), cataracts, and blindness. In Sierra Leone, where an already-weak health system has been leveled by the outbreak, ophthalmological capacity is dismal—the country of 6 million people has just three ophthalmologists. And the nightmare is magnified by a frightening curveball: the possibility that live Ebola virus could be replicating in the eyes of discharged Ebola survivors, pleading to be disrupted by instruments and released back into the population.

As long as that question goes unanswered, the eyes of Ebola survivors are considered inoperable. Patients who need surgery are told to go home, to wait, until researchers confirm whether their eyes are viral landmines. Meanwhile, they’re going blind.

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 I)

1) Of course we are not completely safe from terrorism.  And, of course, that’s a good thing.

2) Some bad news… After a moratorium the feds are resuming the evil that is civil asset forfeiture.

3) I still need to read the Atlantic article on The Obama Doctrine.  That said, I really liked this bit about it:

It is true, contra the apologists, that ISIS is a Muslim problem (read my colleague Graeme Wood on this subject). Those who have read “The Obama Doctrine” know that the president believes this to be true, and that he has called on Muslim leaders and clerics to examine the causes of extremism in their community. But it is also true that Islam is the solution to the ISIS problem. The great mass of the world’s billion-and-a-half Muslims are not ISIS supporters, nor sympathizers, and it is also true, of course, that most of ISIS’s victims are Muslim. Only Islam can truly defeat this movement. One reason Obama is cautious in using heated, or overly generalized, rhetoric is that he would like to avoid a situation in which ordinary Muslims come to believe that the West despises their religion. It is a core interest of ISIS to convince non-radicalized Muslims that there is no space for them in the West. Trump and Cruz are helping ISIS make this case; Obama, and the national-security apparatus of the United States, are not interested in doing this.

4) Really interesting take on how the undue burden standard has eroded Roe v. Wade.

5) Al Franken for vp.

6) Drum on HRC’s non-scandalous email scandal.

7) Apparently real Marxism is making a comeback on the left.  Chait is not amused.

Many Marxist theorists have long attempted to rescue their theory from its real-world adherents by attributing its failures to idiosyncratic personal flaws of the leaders who took power (Lenin, Stalin, Mao … ). But the same patterns have replicated themselves in enough governments under enough leaders to make it perfectly obvious that the flaw rests in the theory itself. Marxist governments trample on individual rights because Marxist theory does not care about individual rights. Marxism is a theory of class justice. The only political rights it respects are those exercised by members of the oppressed class, with different left-wing ideological strands defining those classes in economic, racial, or gender terms, or sometimes all at once. Unlike liberalism, which sees rights as a positive-sum good that can expand or contract for society as a whole, Marxists (and other left-wing critics of liberalism) think of political rights as a zero-sum conflict. Either they are exercised on behalf of oppression or against it. Any Marxist government immediately sets about snuffing out the political rights of parties or ideas deemed reactionary (a category that also inevitably expands to describe any challenge to the powers that be). Repression is woven into Marxism’s ideological fabric.

8) There’s a tick bite than can lead to a red meat allergy.  Bizarre!  And I’m pretty sure this is what happened to a friend of mine years before they knew the tick bite was a cause.

9) The trade deficit— far more complicated than politicians (here’s looking at you, Trump) would have you believe.

10) This professor sounds like a bit of a jerk.  But I love that he took a stand on meaningless bureaucratic standards of “learning outcomes” in his syllabus:

He [Professor Woodrow Wilson] continued:

The object of education is not merely to draw out the powers of the individual mind: It is rather its right object to draw all minds to a proper adjustment to the physical and social world in which they are to have their life and their development: to enlighten, strengthen, and make fit. The business of the world is not individual success, but its own betterment, strengthening, and growth in spiritual insight. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” is its right prayer and aspiration.

Mr. Dillon, who grew up near Wilson’s hometown, in central Virginia, liked that formulation. So when he was asked to define the desired “learning outcomes” for students in his laboratory course in genetics, he pasted the entire quotation and nothing more.

But antique manifestos were not what Mr. Dillon’s bosses had in mind.

11) Norm Ornstein’s prescient August 2015 column on Trump.

12) How parents can connect with their teenagers through 80’s music (we do this all the time with the Sirius XM Big 80’s and First Wave stations).   That said, I mostly connect through 90’s and 00’s music (Weezer, Nirvana, and Muse).

13) Really, really, good Brookings piece on the complexity of medical marijuana policy:

Medical marijuana policy in the United States is putting Americans at risk. The federal government keeps people who live in states that don’t have medical marijuana programs from accessing a product that could benefit their health. And even as it prevents some people from having it, it erects barriers against research into the safety and efficacy of a product used by tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people who do live in states that have legalized it.

Although there are a number of policy changes, large and small, that Congress and the administration could make to overcome the deficiencies of this system, thus far they have chosen not to do so. Yet, as numerous organizations like the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws have documented, a substantial majority of Americans in every state that has been polled supports changes (in some form) to the nation’s medical marijuana laws. Gallup and CBS News polls have pegged national support for reform at between 70 and 85 percent.

While elected officials cling to the status quo, failing to recognize and address the inherent hypocrisies in the nation’s laws, patients like Jennifer Collins and her family, and business owners like Rabbi Kahn and his family, are enduring unnecessary hardships. Far from being outliers, they are typical of the many people victimized by an unjust, arbitrary, and downright harmful system that hinders access to a clinically proven medical benefit.

It is time for government to transform medical marijuana policy into a system that is rational, functional, consistent, and informed by science—not politics.

14) Our governor’s office put out a truth and myths about HB2 statement.  Suffice it to say, it did not fare well when held up to the scrutiny of a fact check.

15) I love this from one of the few Democrats who voted for the bill because it shows how utterly stupid the supporters are:

And Rep. Ken Goodman of Rockingham – one of 11 Democrats who voted yes – tweeted that “corps who threaten to boycott N.C. can’t wait to locate in Cuba.”

16) If you value it, you should be willing to pay to read it.

17) Nate Silver on how Trump hacked the media:

Put another way, Trump has hacked the system and exposed the weaknesses in American political institutions. He’s uncovered profound flaws in the Republican Party. He’s demonstrated that third-rail issues like racism and nationalism can still be a potent political force. He’s exploited the media’s goodwill and taken advantage of the lack of trust the American public has in journalism. Trump may go away — he’s not yet assured of winning the GOP nomination, and he’ll be an underdog in November if he does — but the problems he’s exposed were years in the making, and they’ll take years to sort out.

18) The culture of sensitivity at Harvard.

19) A high-level defector from Trump’s campaign let’s loose.

20) Everybody was fine with non-discrimination ordinances until opponents made them all about bathrooms.

21) The commodification of higher education.

22) Frank Rich’s good, long take on Trump and the GOP.


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