Quick hits (part I)

Had a really busy week getting back from vacation in the mountains and than leaving for the mountains to go on a retreat with the NC State Park Scholars.  It was awesome, but definitely slowed the blogging.  Anyway, plenty of quick hits.

1) I’ve been pretty intrigued by applied rationality since listening to this Ezra Klein interview with Julia Galef.  I must say, teaching people how all the cognitive biases (that Kahneman & Tversky and other have so successfully uncovered) may be influencing their own decision-making seems like a great idea.

2) I’m a fan of Morgan Marietta’s PS research.  Here’s his latest (with some others) on Trump’s rhetoric:

Conventional wisdom suggests that Donald Trump’s rhetoric – aggressive, insulting, often offensive – would be counterproductive to electoral success. We argue that Trump’s surprising victories in both the primary and general campaigns were partly due to the positive effects of his appeals grounded in the intersection of threat and absolutism. The content of Trump’s rhetoric focused on threats to personal safety (terrorism), personal status (economic decline), and group status (immigration). The style of Trump’s rhetoric was absolutist, emphasizing non-negotiable boundaries and moral outrage at their violation. Previous research has shown perceived threat to motivate political participation and absolutist rhetoric to bolster impressions of positive character traits. Trump employed these two rhetorical psychologies simultaneously, melding threat and absolutism into the absolutist threat as an effective rhetorical strategy. Analysis of Trump’s debate language and Twitter rhetoric, as well as original data from political elites at the Republican National Convention and ordinary voters at rallies in New Hampshire confirm the unconventional efficacy of Trump’s rhetorical approach.

3) Like most of my FB friends who posted this, I would not be allowed to immigrate to America based on Trump’s proposed criteria (being over 40 really hurts).

4) There’s just no way$78,000 into debt for a theater degree from Harvard it makes any sense at all to go .

5) I probably posted this before, but just had a good FB conversation with a contemporary about younger adults today changing in bathroom stalls instead of the locker room.  Okay, nudity in a locker room takes some getting used to, but really, changing basically on top of a toilet?  Mark Joseph Stern claims, “If You Are Not Comfortable Being Naked Around Other People, You Are Not an Adult.”

6) Definitely would have been a post about the whole google memo if it wasn’t such a busy week.  So many thoughts.  A few posts I really liked, though.  I think Conor Friedersdorf is right that the memo really was mischaracterized.  I think the author puts way too much emphasis on biology and not enough on culture, but an “anti-diversity screed” this was not.  Also, enjoyed Ross Douthat’s take.  That led me to Slate Star Codex which had the most interesting discussion of gender and academic interests/abilities that I’ve read in years.  This was also a really nice take from a female computer scientist in Vox that put in placed the memo into a context of why it really bothered people so much.  I will say what really bothers me is the idea held by many on the left, that any discussion of biological differences in the intellectual abilities/interests/personality traits of the sexes is inherently sexist.  To me, a fair reading of the science and social science is that there really are differences that are best explained by biology, but, on the whole, those are largely dwarfed by culture in our present society.

7) Ostensibly about CNN firing Jeffrey Lord (should have never hired him), but really about the misguided sense for “balance” that can make CNN (and others) such a poor news source:

False balance, in the way I mean the term, refers to the flawed journalistic impulse to give each side of an argument equal time and weight regardless of each side’s relative standing to facts and truth. False balance is a hallmark of bad journalism, and the unmerited elevation of crackpots’ bad opinions is a hallmark of false balance. I do not mean to suggest that an unpopular opinion is necessarily a bad one. Popular history is rife with Galileo situations where lone truth tellers are thwarted by establishment forces. But Jeffrey Lord is not one of these people. Jeffrey Lord is a marginal gadfly who was free to appear on CNN so often because he literally had nothing else to do…

The problem with Jeffrey Lord wasn’t that he was awful. It was that CNN didn’t care he was awful—or, rather, that CNN said, Our political programming will not be complete until we find an analyst who is really, really awful, and then put him on air constantly in the name of “balance.” This impulse is the most insidious form of, yes, fake news: cable networks’ habit of hiring superficially articulate frauds and fakers to interpret the news, in the process falsely equating their bad opinions with informed people’s good ones and creating a space where nothing means anything and fame is equated with moral standing. Lord spent two years disguising his advocacy as analysis and cashing CNN’s paychecks in the process, and CNN was all too happy to let him do it. Now he’s gone, but not really, because there is an endless supply of Jeffrey Lords out there. There is no real escape. We will never be saved.

8) I’m somewhat of a baby name obsessive myself, so I loved this New Yorker article on the matter.

9) I’ll just go with the headline, “California Crops Rot as Immigration Crackdown Creates Farmworker Shortage.”

10) I generally support the idea that universal healthcare should be a (soft) litmus test for Democrats.  The idea that “Medicare for all” should be a litmus test is moronic.  Alas, that’s what some of the Bernie types are pushing:

Bernie Sanders’s advisers are promoting a “litmus test” under which Democrats who don’t swear to implement single-payer health care would be booted from the party in primaries. Sanders pollster Ben Tulchin penned an op-ed with a colleague under the headline “Universal health care is the new litmus test for Democrats.” Nina Turner, head of the Sanders group Our Revolution, told Politico this week that “there’s something wrong with” Democrats who won’t “unequivocally” embrace “Medicare-for-all.”

11) Personally, I’m a big believer in political pragmatism as the way to actually achieve big goals.  Sure, advocate for Medicare for all, but, realistically, if you want to get all Americans covered, something like expanded Medicaid buy-in seems far more likely to succeed.

The key to making a pragmatic political case for Medicaid starts by recognizing that neither Medicare nor Medicaid is going to replace the nation’s system of employer-sponsored coverage. There is insufficient political appetite for such a sweeping overhaul, whichever federal program is involved. Nor is there cross-national evidence that eliminating private insurance altogether is a worthy goal: Other nations with universal insurance almost always rely on a mix of public and private coverage.

The question then is: Which program is a better fit for an incremental expansion strategy? The clear answer is Medicaid. For more than 30 years, Medicaid has incrementally increased its eligibility criteria while Medicare covers the same group of the elderly and the disabled that it did decades ago.

Medicaid also has the political advantage of dividing its cost among federal, state, and local governments, whereas Medicare is funded entirely by the federal government (and beneficiaries).

Perhaps most crucially, individual states are already free to adopt a Medicaid buy-in approach, so long as they get federal permission to do so. And several state legislatures are considering exploring the Medicaid buy-in strategy. There is no need to wait for a Democratic takeover of the presidency and Congress — both of which are necessary ingredients of a federal Medicare expansion.

12) Your instagram posts may hold clues to your mental health.  Presumably mine show I’m pretty damn happy.

13) Really enjoyed this Vox analysis of “Fox and Friends” in the age of Trump.  They are not just “state media” but have taken to giving him advice.

14) I found Harold Pollack’s argument that we have a problem with having so many old politicians to be pretty compelling.  And I’m definitely for staggered Supreme Court term limits.

15) Hell yes we use way to much solitary confinement and we should dramatically reduce the practice.  NYT with nice editorial on the matter.

16) Nice chart from Kevin Drum on tax rates that shows– like everything else– things are getting easier for the rich:

17) I love the Lula Roe clothing that my wife and daughter have been wearing a bunch of lately.  That said, it’s pretty clear that they (and other similar multi-level-marketers) have a business model that exploits the women who sell it.

18) As a fellow Political Parties guy, I very much agree with Seth Masket: improve our primary process by making it less democratic:

Allowing party delegates to do more deliberation could, in some cases, cause intra-party strife, especially if party insiders pick someone that their activist base doesn’t like. This is arguably what happened to the Democrats in 1968, when the party nominated Hubert Humphrey over the clear preferences of the anti-war activists whose favored candidates dominated the primaries. It was reactions to that nomination that led to the explosion of primaries and the massive increase in intra-party democracy over the past four decades.

This was a defensible shift at the time, but it seems we’ve over-corrected. Picking good nominees for organizations as vast and diverse as our national parties requires not just enthusiasm, but deliberation and compromise. Casting a vote in a primary booth, voters really don’t have the incentive or ability to forge such coalitions. Convention delegates do. And the more we move to disempower those delegates, the worse our nominees are likely to be.

19) And, I’ll close it out with a long read.  You want a case of a presidential campaign unambiguously conspiring with a foreign government to change an election result, look no further than Nixon and Vietnam.  More people should know about this.

Quick Hits (part I)

1) Bias for and against ugliness:

But it also appears that voters on the right tend to identify attractiveness with conservative views, and, when there’s little other information to go on, beauty plays a bigger role in their voting choices than it does for liberals.

Democrats might still find solace in the ugliness premium. Lenz summarized the situation in terms that Darwin might have appreciated. “There are such strong selection pressures for attractiveness,” he said. “My guess is that, in jobs where there’s a premium on looking good, if you see a funny-looking person there, they’ve got to be amazingly talented, because it’s the only way they could have gotten where they are. Henry Waxman”—who, he added, was highly regarded for his commitment and work ethic—“is a good example of that.”

2) Unsurprisingly, Trump is basically a lying con-man at golf, just like everything else.

3) I don’t think I’ve ever read an NYT piece (an Op-Ed against colleges weakening Title IX enforcement on sexual assault) where the comments have been so much better than the Op-Ed (short version– the key is not the standard of proof, but due process, which is pretty much ignored in the Op-Ed).

4) More reason to love Pope Francis as the Vatican tells conservative American Catholics to get over the culture war and actually care about the stuff Jesus did.

5) In a world of too many shelter dogs and not enough space, it makes sense that shelters would test dogs for aggressiveness, etc., before deciding who gets euthanized.  Alas, turns out those tests may not have any predictive validity.  Also, why do so many horrible humans basically just abandon their dogs.  So frustrating.

6) Back in the day, people would leave struggling communities to go to where the jobs are.  Now, it seems, they much prefer to stay in the struggling communities, blame Blacks and immigrants for their problems, and expect Donald Trump to make America great again.  This was a really interesting WSJ piece on this problem, but I don’t feel like it really gave a convincing explanation for why geographic mobility has declined so much.  Cities have always been vastly culturally different from rural areas.

7) If they actually taste reasonably like potato chips, I will happily eat jellyfish chips.  I think.

8) Of course Donald Trump is likely guilty of tax fraud in selling real estate to his son.  In a regular presidency, people would actually care.

9) Paul Waldman on Trump’s empty threats:

This all adds up to a president who is incredibly frustrated that no one is doing what he wants, yet has no idea how to change the situation because he still doesn’t understand Washington. In the business world, Trump utilized threats often, especially threats to sue people. Given that Trump is one of the most litigious people on the planet (he has sued other people more than 2,000 times, according to one count), this was a threat you might be scared by — particularly if you were someone with less money and influence than him. But when he made the same threat to those with a comparable level of resources, it wasn’t so frightening. Remember when he threatened in October to sue the New York Times because it reported that multiple women were accusing him of unwanted sexual advances? The paper was not afraid and didn’t change how it reported on him, and the suit never materialized.

When he was only a businessman, things were straightforward and easy for Trump to understand: He can intimidate little guys, but not big guys. But power in Washington is much more complicated. Power is diffuse, spread across many individuals and institutions. And it changes as circumstances change.

10) Damn, Jennifer Rubin is pretty much done with the Republican Party.

11) From what little I heard, I thought the #noconfederate movement was pretty asinine.  Now that I’ve read an interview with it’s instigator, I’m even more convinced of that.  Loved Mike Pesca’s take in a recent spiel.  Came across TNC’s take after originally queuing this post.  It’s good, but I still think dramatically overstates the case against.

12) Charles Krauthammer with a surprisingly good column on how the guardrails of democracy are doing a good job holding up against Trump of late (among the more amazing features of Trump– how often he has led me to agree with Krauthammer).

13) I really like Julia Galef’s idea of a surprise journal:

Galef set out on a personal quest to identify her wrong assumptions. The outcome: the Surprise Journal. She keeps this journal with her at all times, writing down when something surprises her and why. For example, she noticed she was surprised that both older and younger people were attending her workshops, because she assumed people would self-segregate by age. She was surprised that her students would mention a concept from one of her colleague’s classes, because she didn’t expect that idea to be very memorable. “I started thinking about surprise as a cue that my expectations were wrong,” she says.

14) Apparently McMaster is cleaning house at the National Security Council.  That’s good news for America’s security.

15) Chait on Trump’s conversation with the Australian PM is so good.  Title captures it, “Australia’s Prime Minister Slowly Realizes Trump Is a Complete Idiot.”

16) Well, this is somewhat disturbing… intelligent people are more likely to stereotype.

17) Jack Shafer’s take on Fox News and Trump was so good.  Definitely read all of this one:

That Fox has ended up gulling a president is a programming accident. When the late Roger Ailes conceived Fox News two decades ago, he hoped to create shows that attracted—is there a polite way to put this?—an older demographic that seeks news that reinforces its prejudices and rarely challenges them. And he succeeded. It was only by chance that Ailes ended up creating a network that appealed to this particular flighty, low-attention-span 71-year-old.

The Ailes demographic wants to be told that the world is going to hell, a message that harmonizes with the declining status and health many of them experience. The Ailes demographic wants simple and reductionist viewpoints on America’s cultural and policy dilemmas—from crime to immigration to taxes to war and trade. The Ailes demographic seeks the restoration of the social mores it remembers from its youth, and if the past can’t be restored, it wants modern mores castigated. And it wants to be frightened and outraged. Fox almost never disappoints them.

It was the network’s dumb luck that Trump aged into its core audience as he reached the White House. Like so many of his fellow senior citizens, Trump now spends his golden years huddled at the Fox hearth, shouting amen as it voices his resentments and disappointments. Only the hearth is in the White House. As news, real and not, travels from Fox’s lips to Trump’s tweets, we have the chance to see media history in the making. Presidents have, from time to time, courted publications to advance a White House agenda or steered the news by feeding tips to columnists and reporters, but never before has a president so consistently echoed an outlet’s message.

18) Thanks to BF for sharing this about expected Solar Eclipse day traffic jams.  Maybe I should just go to SC the night before.  I tried out my solar eclipse viewing glasses on the sun the other day– so cool.

19) Really interesting philosophical take on anti-free speech campus lefitsts:

The identity politics that thrives on today’s college campuses continues to use the language of sin adopted more broadly by the cultural left of the ’60s. Students are taking on urgent issues like women’s rights, racial profiling and police brutality, climate change, and economic inequality. And while they spend a lot of their time refining politically correct forms of speech, these can be helpful learning tools, especially for young people making their way into society. When their approach becomes judgmental and unyielding, however, it backfires, leaving activists vulnerable to apathy, infighting, and ineffectiveness.

Among other things, their focus on sinfulness turns politically useful activism into useless performance. On college campuses, for example, candid and necessary discussions about race among well-meaning students can degenerate into something less productive, according to McWhorter. “For white people, it is a great way to show that you understand racism is real,” McWhorter said last month. “For black people and Latino people, it is a great way to assuage how bad a self-image a race can have after hundreds of years of torture.” In this way, activism becomes more about an insider conversation and competition, and less about effecting change. “White privilege is real,” McWhorter said. “The issue is that it shouldn’t be used as something to shut down conversation, to inculcate unreligious people with a new sense of original sin.”

20) Enjoyed this NYT on back-to-school Tech you need and don’t need for college students, but was taken aback by, “You probably don’t need a printer, either. Few professors request hard copies of term papers and other assignments anymore.”  Seriously?!  Am I actually an outlier dinosaur by requiring hardcopies?  Not as far as I can tell.

21) Ryan Lizza thinks Kelly may actually be able to reign in Trump.  We’ll see.

22) Frum makes an interesting case that, yes, it really was a failure of Trump’s leadership that Republicans could do nothing about health care:

The Republican Party had marched itself into a hopeless dead-end on health care. The party had promised not only to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but to replace it with something that would offer better coverage at a lower price—while also spending less public money and cutting the taxes that financed the whole thing. This was clearly impossible. Yet nobody dared say what everybody knew.

Only presidential leadership could have marched the party back out of this cul-de-sac. Theoretically, Donald Trump could have been the president to do so too. Of all the 2016 candidates, he had been the least beholden to outdated party ideology. He owed little or nothing to the interest groups that four years previous had compelled Mitt Romney to disavow his own health-care plan in Massachusetts. He was perfectly positioned to tell his own party: 2012 was the repeal election. We lost. Now it’s time to try something new. [emphasis in original]

Rescuing a party from unworkable commitments is a job only a presidential nominee can do.

It was Dwight Eisenhower’s nomination in 1952 that finished off Republican opposition to a permanent NATO commitment.

John F. Kennedy’s nomination served notice that the Democrats would end their long equivocation between pro- and anti-civil-rights wings.

Ronald Reagan put an end to the GOP’s long ambivalence about Social Security; Bill Clinton in 1992 reinvented the Democrats as a party that accepted limits to the growth of government.

It could have been Trump who likewise rescued the GOP from the excesses of Tea Party Republicanism.

23) NYT on Hollywood dialect coaches.

24) Here’s how you actually fix Obamacare if you want to– it’s not that complicated.  And Drum with the short version.

25) Recently came across this column of Paul Waldman from last year on Ben Sasse and the totally disingenous appeals to the wisdom of the common man.  It’s so good.  Just read it.

Now Ben Sasse isn’t an idiot — in fact, he’s an extremely smart guy. He went to Harvard and got a Ph.D. at Yale. He served in George W. Bush’s administration and was a university president at a young age. He understands how government works. But he’s playing a game here, one that says that you don’t need to actually understand anything about policy, that the “adult” response to the current political situation is a formless grunt of displeasure. That’s the worst kind of pandering, to tell people that their own ignorance and refusal to confront real choices is actually the soul of wisdom.

 

Quick hits (part II)

1) German Lopez with a nice post on the Justine Damond shooting and race in America.

2) The hazards of meritocracy— new study find that believing life is fair can lead disadvantaged kids to worse behavior.  Presumably, because life is not fair.

3) NYT article on dogs at the beach.  I love that dogs are allowed at Topsail Island where we go every summer.  This year we spent the whole week without a single bit of evidence of irresponsible dog owners failing to clean up.

4) Love Jane Brody’s take on the fallacy of “better safe than sorry” when it comes to cancer screening.  Largely, because the “better safe than sorry” so often leads people astray:

Few may realize that ill-advised screening tests come at a price, and not just a monetary one that adds many billions to the nation’s health care bill. Every screening test has a rate of false positive results – misleading indications of a possible cancer that requires additional, usually invasive, testing with its own rate of complications…

A primary reason: The widespread belief that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Why take a chance that a potentially lethal cancer will go undetected until it’s too late for a cure? Doing something is often more appealing than doing nothing. Many who think this way consider only the beneficial “what if’s” and not the possible downsides of cancer screening tests.

5) These photoshops of old-school teen book covers are hilarious and definitely NFSW.

6) Sarah Binder with the lessons of the ACA repeal failure.

7) Keith Gaddie in praise of McCain on FB:

Every game theory instructor in the US is delighted with McCain’s maneuver. It conveys timing, information, mover advantage, and shows the iterative nature of true politics — that these are not single play, one-shot events.

And, to the frustration of those who complain about not giving Sens. Murkowski and Collins their due, a gaming approach must contend with crediting McCain. He did vote to advance the bill, but to a point where it could be dealt a fatal blow. He eased leadership concerns. They were banking on a 50-50 whip count with Pence to tie-break.

Then, with every other vote cast, he stuck a political shiv in the ribs of Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and the majority. He held his vote until it had the most power. The leadership would have held the bill if a third Republican woman was a nay, or if McCain was accounted for in the whip count as a nay.

McCain was freaking Russell Case, with one last good rocket, and he punched it where it did the most damage at just the right moment.

8) Rich people are, on average, worse human beings.  Seriously, the evidence is clear.  Our society used to recognize this fact but doesn’t really any more.

9) Nice to see that plenty of police departments recognize just how wrong Trump is on issues of police brutality even if the morons behind him cheering don’t.

10) Nice Julia Azari on partisanship in elections versus governing.

11) Yes, I’m with Sessions and Trump’s DOJ on this.  As much as people may wish that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protected employment based on sexual orientation there’s just no fair reading of the law to make that case.   Words have meaning.  Do I think sexual orientation should be protected?  Hell, yeah, so let’s work to pass a law to do that.  Not pretend that one written in 1964 to protect women (Title VII) part does so.

12) Eight positive thinking skills which social science says will improve your life:

■ Recognize a positive event each day.

■ Savor that event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it.

■ Start a daily gratitude journal.

■ List a personal strength and note how you used it.

■ Set an attainable goal and note your progress.

■ Report a relatively minor stress and list ways to reappraise the event positively.

■ Recognize and practice small acts of kindness daily.

■ Practice mindfulness, focusing on the here and now rather than the past or future.

13) Steven Pearlstein says this is the beginning of the end of Trump’s presidency.

14) Paul Waldman on how Republicans treat their voters like morons (because it works so well).

What’s truly remarkable isn’t that a bunch of cynical politicians thought they could ride their base voters’ anger into control of Congress by lying to them about what they could actually accomplish; it’s that their voters actually believed it. And then those voters got even angrier when it turned out that the president had the ability to veto bills passed by a Congress controlled by the other party. Who knew! So instead of looking for a presidential candidate who would treat them like adults, they elected Donald Trump, a man who would pander to their gullibility even more.

15) Steve Benen on how Eric Cantor— now that he’s out of office– admits to how Republican politicians lie to their voters.

16) Jim Newell argues that most Republican politicians didn’t even really want the repeal and replace:

Did any Republicans in Congress actually want to “repeal Obamacare” on the policy merits? Certainly not the moderates, even though they too had villianized the law. The rank and file are just sheep, willing to vote for whichever bill the leadership tells them to. Obamacare repeal was never an animating spiritual force. It was mostly a bloc of conservatives in both chambers—the Freedom Caucus in the House, and Sens. Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz in the Senate—who wanted to do away with the policy architecture that Obamacare installed, instead of just reaping the political benefits of opposing it. And that’s just not enough people.

Despite the aura around it, Obamacare, in its individual market reforms, is essentially just the idea that sick people should be able to purchase quality insurance at roughly the same price as healthy people. All of the law’s regulations, carrots, and sticks—guaranteed issue, community rating, essential health benefits, the individual mandate, subsidies, single risk pools, etc.—were put in place to make such a market feasible. To “repeal Obamacare” is to segregate sick people from healthy people, so that the healthy are not subsidizing the sick.

It turns out, most people don’t really want to do this. Which is why, in each chamber, when the conservative bloc would put forth a version of an amendment that would truly “repeal Obamacare,” it was met with a revolt from the rest of the party.

 

Quick hits (part I)

1) Marshall Report on how fake cops got millions of dollars worth in real weapons.

2) From out of nowhere, Yasha Mounk has become indispensable reading this year.  He argues that we’re heading for a constitutional crisis:

n short, just how bitter things will get now depends, as it has for the past months, on two simple questions: Will an overwhelming majority of Americans finally turn against Trump? And will Republican senators and congressmen finally start to put country above party? The answer to both is far from clear.

If moderate Republicans finally move to indict Trump, it may, in retrospect, come to seem inevitable that they would eventually find the courage of their convictions. But if they continue to give the president cover by expressing moderate hesitation while aiding and abetting his assault on the American Constitution, that too would, with the benefit of hindsight, come to seem inevitable.

3) Really love this idea that diets are actually a placebo.  That said, if you find a system of eating that gets you to consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.

4) Vox with the best article I’ve yet read on this year’s solar eclipse.  Easily the best explanation of exactly what’s going on and why it’s so rare.  My plan is to hope for a clear day and simply hop on I-95 South until I get into the zone of totality about 2:30 from here in South Carolina.

5) Mexico City as a case study for how limiting parking space regulations can be key for the health of a city.  Seriously.

6) As you know, I’m all for legalized marijuana.  That said, I don’t think that should make us oblivious to what might be some real downsides (though not even close to the downsides of the war on drugs approach).  Very interesting study in the Netherlands found a real negative impact on college student performance.

7) I was on a panel with Steven Rogers discussing his research on state legislatures at the MPSA conference this past spring.   Rogers basically finds that state legislators are virtually unaccountable for unpopular votes.  Ain’t democracy great?!

8) James Poniewozik argues for skipping the beginning of TV series that took a while to get going.  Probably really good advice when it comes to Parks and Rec.  I loved Bojack Horseman from the beginning.

9) Here’s an interesting idea, “Accepting your darkest emotions is the key to psychological health.”

According to their analyses, the magic of acceptance is in its blunting effect on emotional reactions to stressful events. It’s that mechanism that can, over time, lead to positive psychological health, including higher levels of life satisfaction. In other words, accepting dark emotions like anxiety or rage, won’t bring you down or amplify the emotional experience. Nor will it make you “happy”—at least not directly.

“You always interpret null effects very cautiously,” Ford says, “but to us, it appears that acceptance uniquely affects negative emotions, and isn’t interfering with positive emotions.”

What’s more, acceptance seems to be linked to better mental health when it’s used in response to negative emotions, not positive ones, she adds, so this is not about living in the world with a “broadly detached attitude.” No need to play it too cool.

This totally makes sense to me.  I’m a very happy person.  But, I also really like to complain, whine about stupid drivers in traffic, etc.  When people comment about all my whining I’ve said that I feel better because I just get it out.  Turns out, I was basically right.

10) NPR on Trump’s Boy Scout speech:

This wasn’t the first time he has talked about politics in a setting where that could be seen as inappropriate. Remember that speech in front of the CIA memorial wallin which he asserted that most of the people in the room probably voted for him?

It won’t be the last time, either.

This president couldn’t care less about political and societal norms. But let’s be very clear — none of this is normal. Trump has been publicly shaming his attorney general, mocking special counsel and congressional investigations, and confirming the existence of what was previously a covert CIA program — and that was all just Tuesday, and he did it on Twitter.

Trump has no filter. It’s giving Americans a window into his mind, but there is a thin line between openness and recklessness.

11) Excellent Ross Douthat column on just how awful Trump is on wanting to fire Sessions and how he literally should not be president.

12) Found this Atlantic piece on the nature of the burqini and society to be really fascinating:

As The Washington Post’s Carlos Lozada recently noted in an article quoting Samuel Huntington, the fundamental question facing Western democracies today isn’t “which side are you on,” but rather “who are we?” The burqini and what it represents—Muslims expressing religiously conservative preferences—challenges certain Western conceptions of national identity, particularly in staunchly secular contexts like, say, France, where wearing the headscarf in public schools is prohibited by a law passed in 2004. I find this to be a flagrant violation of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, but a majority of French voters, as expressed through their representatives, disagree with me. France, unlike the United States, has an ideological orientation based around an aggressive, even radical, secularism. Is it not the right of French citizens, collectively as well as individually, to express that national identity, however much I (or any other American) disagrees with it?

13) Really good NYT Magazine piece on how Hollywood is trying to turn every existing intellectual property into movies– yes, even Fruit Ninja— rather than coming up with original scripts.

 

14) Loved this Atlas Obscura piece on how to use nature find your way– especially the one about the crescent moon.

15) Just to be really, really clear– you should not force quit apps on your IOS device unless they have crashed.

16) Lee Drutman on the divisions among Democrats:

But I did find one area of notable discord between Clinton and Sanders supporters — their degree of disaffection with political institutions. Support for the political system correlated with positive feelings toward Mrs. Clinton, while voters who felt negatively toward the political system tended to feel positively toward Mr. Sanders.

Most members of the Democratic Party establishment are pragmatists who made it where they are by working within the system that exists, not the one they wish existed. They often have frustration bordering on contempt for those who lack their hardheaded realism.

Yep.  Proudly pragmatic and Clinton supporter.

17) Really wanted to write more about the stupid, stupid transgender ban.  Did very much enjoy Saideman’s take looking at this as a Principal-Agent problem.

18) Loved this Post “this is not okay” editorial.  Damn straight it’s not:

WHEN PRESIDENT TRUMP attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a tweet Tuesday for not aggressively investigating Hillary Clinton, most attention focused, understandably, on the implications for Mr. Sessions. Yet even more alarming than the president’s assault on his own attorney general is Mr. Trump’s return to the “lock her up” theme of his 2016 campaign. We need to recall, once again, what it means to live under the rule of law. Since his inauguration six months ago, so many comparisons have been made to “banana republics” that it is almost unfair to bananas. But there is a serious point to be made about the difference between the United States of America and a state ruled by personal whim.

In a rule-of-law state, government’s awesome powers to police, prosecute and imprison are wielded impartially, with restraint and according to clearly defined rules. These rules apply equally to rich and poor, powerful and weak, ruling party and opposition. In such states, individuals advance on the basis of their talent and initiative, not whom they know. Companies invest where they think the returns will be highest, not to please those in power. The result is that, over time, rule-of-law states prosper. Banana republics do not…

To list those basic expectations is to understand how low Mr. Trump is bringing his office. Just in the past few days, he urged Navy men and women to call Congress on behalf of his political goals and turned the National Scout Jamboree into an unseemly political rally, calling the nation’s politics a “cesspool” and a “sewer” and disparaging his predecessor and the media. Routinely he trades in untruths, even after they have been exposed and disproved. He has launched an unprecedented rhetorical assault on the independence of the Justice Department, the FBI and the special counsel’s office — and now he is again threatening his defeated 2016 opponent.

19) Or, as EJ Dionne puts it, “The norms of government are collapsing before our eyes.”  Of course, you can thank spineless Republicans, as well as Trump, for that.

20) Political Scientists ask, “Did Evangelicals Hold Their Noses and Vote for Trump?”  The answer is a decided, no, they did it as willingly as anybody else.  Once again proving their love for Jesus does not seem to extend to anything Jesus actually preached.

21) I’m undecided on whether I’ll read Alexandra Fuller’s new novel about Native Americans.  It sounds really good, though.  Mostly, I just find it sad that half the review needs to be about whether the book is “cultural appropriation.” Damn do I hate that.  Might as well not have female authors try to imagine the interior lives of male characters and vice versa.  Ugh.

22) Paul Waldman unloads, “This is what you get when you elect Republicans”

This has been quite a week in Washington, a week full of terror, intrigue, suspense, backstabbing and outright chaos. While we might not have been able to predict the particular contours of the catastrophe that complete GOP rule has been, we should have known it would turn out something like this.

Guess what, America: This is what you get when you elect Republicans.

It goes much further than their repugnant and disastrous effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but all the contemporary GOP’s pathologies could be seen there: their outright malice toward ordinary people, their indifference to the suffering of their fellow citizens, their blazing incompetence, their contempt for democratic norms, their shameless hypocrisy, their gleeful ignorance about policy, their utter dishonesty and bad faith, their pure cynicism, and their complete inability to perform anything that resembles governing. It was the perfect Republican spectacle…

The devolution from that Republican Party to the one we see today took a couple of decades and had many sources, but its fullest expression was reached with the lifting up of Donald J. Trump to the presidency, this contemptible buffoon who may have been literally the single worst prominent American they could have chosen to be their standard-bearer. I mean that seriously. Can you think of a single person who might have run for president who is more ignorant, more impulsive, more vindictive and more generally dangerous than Donald Trump? And yet they rallied around him with near-unanimity, a worried shake of the head to his endless stream of atrocious statements and actions the strongest dissent most of them could muster.

23) Love this Wired story, your brain is your memories.

24) Really  enjoyed this blog post on how different news organizations decided to cover Scaramucci’s profanity.  Was totally surprised the NYT just went with the direct quotes.

25) I can’t believe Apple has discontinued making Ipods.  Is there not a place left for a portable music player that’s much smaller and convenient for exercise than a phone?  I swear by my tiny Ipod Nano 6th generation which goes on every workout with me (I’m on my 3rd or 4th).

Quick hits (part I)

1) Obviously I don’t know much about China and North Korea.  But I do know that if Evan Osnos thinks something is our least bad option, there’s a good chance it actually is:

At the G-20 meeting in Hamburg this week, the world’s attention will focus largely on Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin. But Trump’s meeting with Xi will have more immediate relevance in dealing with the Korea crisis. In an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Thursday, Jake Sullivan and Victor Cha, foreign-policy advisers in the Obama and Bush Administrations, respectively, proposed a new approach to getting China invested in freezing the North Korean missile tests. Instead of threatening North Korea with cutting off trade, they propose, in effect, paying it to cut off missile tests. “The basic trade would be Chinese disbursements to Pyongyang, as well as security assurances, in return for constraints on North Korea’s program. . . . If North Korea cheated, China would not be receiving what it paid for. The logical thing would be for it to withhold economic benefits until compliance resumed.” The Times outlined a similar idea in an editorial of its own this week.

This approach is no silver bullet, but, in the “land of lousy options,” as diplomats call the North Korea problem, it is as good as any, in part because it does not rest on a false understanding of the other party. The relationship between Xi and Trump–leaders of the world’s two largest economies, a rising power and an addled power, straining to coexist—may well prove to be the most consequential diplomatic liaison of its time.

2) Emily Yoffe on Trump’s TV addiction.

3) Linda Greenhouse in Gorsuch:

Whether out of ignorance or by deliberate choice, Neil Gorsuch is a norm breaker. He’s the new kid in class with his hand always up, the boy on the playground who snatches the ball out of turn. He is in his colleagues’ faces pointing out the error of their ways, his snarky tone oozing disrespect toward those who might, just might, know what they are talking about. It’s hard to ascribe this behavior to ignorance — he was, after all, like three of his colleagues, once a Supreme Court law clerk. But if it’s not ignorance, what is it? How could the folksy “Mr. Smith Goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee” morph so quickly into Donald Trump’s life-tenured judicial avatar? …

And while liberals have every reason to gnash their teeth over the justice who holds the seat that should have been Merrick Garland’s, they can perhaps take some comfort in the unexpected daylight that has opened between him and two of the court’s other conservatives, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy. My concern when Justice Gorsuch joined the court was how like Chief Justice Roberts he seemed in demeanor and professional trajectory. I could see him as a natural ally who would bolster the chief justice’s most conservative instincts. It now seems just as likely that Neil Gorsuch’s main effect on John Roberts will be to get on his nerves.

4) I had not heard of the Charlie Gard case till I read about it in Vox.  I don’t think it all unreasonable that a health system without unlimited resources (British NHS) does not want to spend millions of dollars on an unproven treatment for a single child.

5) Amusingly enough, Americans pretend to order their steak less cooked than data suggests they actually do.  I make no apologies for being a medium-well person.  Not big on blood in my food.  Here’s a chart based on orders at Longhorn Steakhouse:

how americans order steak

6) Surprise, surprise, immigrant farm workers are not actually taking the jobs of Americans:

Before they can hire workers through the program, farmers must first try to recruit locally. But many say they don’t have much luck.

“We just don’t have the local labor here to work the farms,” Wooten said. “We wouldn’t be able to run without immigrant labor. It’s that simple, and it’s a lot more than just agriculture.”

A 2013 study by the Center for Global Development analyzed more than a decade’s worth of data from North Carolina farms and found that “no matter how bad the economy becomes, native workers do not take farm jobs.”

7) In other unsurprising news, internet trolls tend to test high in psychopathy.

8) Headline I was not expecting to see, “FBI investigated complaints that Bobby Knight groped women at U.S. spy agency.”

9) Good news for the con artists who pose as “scientific” experts based on fraudulent “forensic science.”  They are protected from lawsuits even in cases of gross negligence.

10) This very computer I’m typing on used to use Kasperky anti-virus until NC State decided to go with another vendor.  Apparently, national security types are so hot on the idea of a Russian company providing key cyber-security.

11) I watched a ton of TV as a kid and safe to say I turned out fine.  My kids have lots of screen time and I’m pretty sure they’ll (well, most of ’em) will turn out fine, too.  Loved this NYT essay:

But the ability of parents to limit screen time, like the ability to limit unwholesome food, has become more than a matter of health. It has become a statement of class, order, purity and parental authority.

We are told that tech billionaires, including Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, limited screen time strictly for their own children. The internet is awash with articles linking screen time to depression, A.D.H.D., even psychosis…

Perhaps my writing this is just an attempt to wash away guilt, but I have even made peace with our love of poor-quality screen time, so long as we are still doing the other things that make up a good life. There are too many problems in the world worth worrying about for bourgeois parents like me to waste energy and resources perfecting and regimenting our little worlds.

And what is this teaching my children? I hope it is teaching them that it is O.K. to waste some of the 24 hours in a day. I hope it is teaching them that there is value in making space in your life for laziness and pleasure, for the purposeless passing of time.

12) Enjoyed Dana Goldstein’s article on the growing trend of campus common reading.  I’ve  been a discussion leader for NC State’s program for at least 8 years or so now.  NC State even got the shout-out for this year’s Between the World and Me, which I’ll be starting soon.

13) Hollywood sure does have a bad movie problem.  Maybe there’s hope that Chinese viewers will stop paying for any American crap with a bunch of explosions and this can get better.

14) This John Roberts graduation speech is so good.  It’s honestly hard to believe that the person who could say these words takes some of the SC positions that he does.

15) I’d noticed some Axios links in my various feeds, but didn’t realize it was basically dumbed-down Politico.  Don’t expect a lot of Axios links here.

16) Ezra’s excellent July 4th essay:

We are diminished when our president lies, and even more so when we begin taking his habitual lying for granted. The New York Times published a comprehensive list of falsehoods Trump told since taking office and found it wasn’t until March that Trump went a full day without saying something flatly untrue. The absence of public dishonesty, for Trump, is usually driven by an absence of opportunity to be publicly dishonest. “On days without an untrue statement, he is often absent from Twitter, vacationing at Mar-a-Lago in Florida, or busy golfing,” the Times found…

We are diminished when our president spends his time and energy — and thus the nation’s time and energy — on the wrong issues. At Axios, Mike Allen notes Trump has tweeted the words “opioid” or “opioids” just once — but “loser” 234 times, and “dumb” or “dummy” 222 times. Political capital is finite, and our future is harmed when it is squandered.

We are diminished when the president knows nothing about the issues he faces, and does not try to learn more. It is embarrassing that the president’s staffers have taken to writing his name as often as possible in briefing documents for fear that he will lose interest otherwise, that they fill his press clips with sycophantic praise in an effort to distract him from Twitter, that they fight to appear on Fox & Friends because they know he takes advice from the television better than from his own advisers. We have a president who was not humble enough to realize health care and North Korea are complex problems, and who has not responded to that realization by seriously studying the issues.

17) The science of why bird eggs have different shapes.

18) Among the crazy and horrible things the U.S. does, sending kids adopted from foreign countries as young children back to their “home” country via adult deportation is pretty up there in the wrongness.

19) Texas seems to think that the court system should be fair and merciful for police officers.  Others, not so much.

20) A friend shared something on Facebook about glysophate being responsible for the rise in Celiac and gluten problems.  And it’s based on a study in Interdisciplinary Toxicology.  Well, that sounds good.  Not so much.  Turns out it’s a Slovakian pay to publish journal.  And worst, part, there is not actually Roundup-resistant GMO wheat, upon which the whole idea is predicated.

21) Chait’s been really excellent on Republicans and health care lately:

And today McConnell himself made the same point again. Only this time, he didn’t phrase it quite like a threat. “If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement,” heannounced, “then some kind of action with regard to private-health-insurance markets must occur.”

This is, of course, a comical admission that the entire premise of the Republican onslaught has always been a lie. Republicans have insisted for seven years the law was totally beyond repair, and that the entire thing must be repealed, including its Medicaid expansion. The truth is that the marketplaces have largely stabilized, and they face long-standing challenges providing competition in rural areas, but nothing like the death spiral Republicans have claimed. Even Trump’s own health-care experts have admitted the Obamacare exchanges are healthy. [emphasis mine]

If Republicans want to give up their long-standing boycott of any tinkering with the bill and instead pass some simple patches, they might anger some conservatives, but they will also steer clear of inflicting humanitarian disaster on their own constituents, who might not appreciate it.

22) Very nice piece in Upshot about how Republicans are all for local government.  Except when local government is controlled by liberals who want to pass, you know, liberal policies.

The best parenting advice

I love David Roberts’ post on parenting advice.  Especially this:

If the David Brookses of the world were honest, their parenting advice would begin: Have a healthy kid, live in an affluent area (with low crime and good schools), be from a socially privileged demographic, and make a decent amount of money. From there on, it’s pretty much coasting.

Check, check, and check.  Look at me– awesome parent ;-).  And my parents, too.  Clearly, very wise of them to be born white, healthy, and middle class.  And some more:

Like any parent, I would love to believe that my awesome kids are a result of my awesome parenting. Sadly, expert opinion indicates it ain’t so. Genes have an enormous influence. Peers and culture have an enormous influence. But parenting styles inside the home, apart from extreme cases like abuse or neglect, have very little long-term influence on a person’s personality or success in life, at least that social scientists have been able to detect. (Vox’s own Matt Yglesias wrote about some of this research recently.)

This isn’t to say parents and parenting aren’t important. Parents supply the genes, except in cases of adoption (or remarriage). They control, at least to some extent, the peers and environments to which children are exposed. And of course they crucially affect a child’s quality of life at home, which, as I will argue shortly, is not some minor detail.

But it’s safe to say that your kids’ long-term fate will not be meaningfully affected by the speed and timing of potty training, the brand of educational videos you purchase, or the precise tone of voice in which you discipline. A large proportion of the Parenting Industrial Complex isn’t about kids — it’s about generating content for nervous parents who feel like they should be doing something.

Another way of putting this same point is that an enormous amount of a child’s fate is determined by luck, by accidents of birth, socioeconomics, and geography. My kids are about the luckiest little bastards on the planet. They were born to stable, reasonably well-adjusted parents who have good jobs, a home in a safe neighborhood, and a large reservoir of social capital upon which to draw. (Their parents were lucky, too, in other words.) They were born healthy and haven’t been injured or suffered serious illness. They have parents who haven’t divorced, or been laid off, or faced a serious health crisis. They attend good schools alongside the children of other educated, engaged parents. They are white males, with all the advantages, seen and unseen, that come along with that. [emphasis mine]

If any one of those things had been different, parenting would be a greater challenge, no matter my parenting style. I don’t have the standing to offer any wisdom to the single mother working two jobs. I know very little about the struggles of raising children with serious mental or physical disabilities. I’ll never have to have the kinds of conversations about hatred and vulnerability that every parent of minority or LGBTQ children eventually must.

Also, seems like a good time to plugSelfish Reasons to Have More Kids (which I haven’t done in a while).

And, as long as I’m on parenting.  Maybe, you need to parent more like a Cameroonian farmer.  From NPR:

Now for the first time, there’s a study reporting on what happens when psychologists give the marshmallow test to kids outside Western culture, specifically 4-year-old children from the ethnic group Nso in Cameroon.

“The Nso are a community who live off subsistence farming, mainly corn and beans,” says Bettina Lamm, a psychologist at the Universitaet Osnabrueck, who led the study. “Most of the children live in mud brick houses without water and electricity. They have to work a lot to take care of younger siblings and help their parents on the farm.”

Guess what? These kids rocked the marshmallow test.

“The difference was huge,” Lamm says. “The Cameroonian kids really behave very differently, and they were able to wait much better.”

Lamm and her colleagues ran the experiment on nearly 200 Cameroonian and German kids. The Cameroonian kids were offered a puff-puff — a little doughnut popular there.

Compared to German children in the experiment, the Cameroonian kids waited, on average, twice as long for the second treat. And way more Cameroonian kids — nearly 70 percent — waited the full 10 minutes to snag the second marshmallow. Only about 30 percent of the German kids could hold out, Lamm and her team reported in the journal Child Development in early June…

Lamm says they don’t know exactly why the Cameroonian kids were so good at the marshmallow test. Kid behaviors are complicated and sophisticated. But one reason may be the Nso parenting style, which is completely different than Western parenting.

“Nso children are required very early to control their emotions, especially negative emotions,” Lamm says. “Moms tell their children that they don’t expect them to cry and that they really want them to learn to control their emotions.”

This parenting style starts very early — when children are newborns.

“The moms breast-feed their babies before they start to cry so they don’t need to express any negative emotion,” Lamm says. “This emotion is already regulated before it’s expressed.”

Western moms spend a lot of time looking at their babies for signals to figure out what their babies need. The Nso moms don’t do this.

“They believe they — the moms — know what is good for a baby, and they do what is good for a baby,” Lamm says. “They don’t need to look for signals from the baby.”

As the children get older, this parenting style continues.

“Kids are really expected to learn to control their needs and not ask for their desires or wishes,” she says.

Given the amount of whining and negative emotion that comes from my kids, I just may be the opposite of a Cameroonian farmer.  But, at least I gave them good genes and good socio-demographics.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Garrett Epps with an interesting take on the church/state issues in the SC’s recent decision.

2) Love this take on insurance from Adrienne LaFrance— “good health never lasts.”

Good morning, fellow mortals!

At this pivotal moment in American policymaking, I’m here to remind you of our individual and collective doom. Wellness, like youth, is temporary. In the end, you either get sick, then die—or you die before you can get sick in the first place. It bears repeating, apparently, at a time when the health-care debate in the United States has become so partisan as to imply the population of sick people and well people is just as cleanly divided as Americans are politically split. But this isn’t the case.

You can’t choose to be healthy or ill the way you can choose to be a Republican or a Democrat. You can’t choose for your babies not to be born with medical problems.

You can do everything right to stay in good health. You can be one of “those people who lead good lives,” as the Alabama Republican Representative Mo Brooks put it in a television interview, explaining why healthy people should get to pay less for insurance than sick people. And you’re still likely to find yourself facing unexpected medical costs at one point or another.

3) Tennessee legislature condemns porn as a public health crisis leading to a decline in marriage.

4) Gorsuch’s anti-gay dissent is really pretty pathetic.

5) Yglesias on the conservative health care vision:

Having worked out a few of the rough kinks in the House plan, conservative wonks are in fact on board for a program that reduces taxes on high-income households by hundreds of billions of dollars and pays for it with hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to health care for lower-income households. The bill leaves Medicare unchanged (indeed, it keeps in place Obama-era reforms that Republicans opportunistically denounced) and it leaves in place the employer-based framework that serves the majority of middle-class Americans.

But it cuts taxes for the rich, cuts taxes for insurance industry players, cuts taxes for some employers of low-wage workers, and it pays for it all by stripping low income people of their coverage without thinking too hard about what happens next. That’s not an absence of vision for what the country should look like, it’s what the vision is.

6) The Art Pope-funded John Locke foundation has this handy “analysis” titled, “Want Affordable Health Insurance? Scale Back on Benefit Mandates.”  Of course, a more apt title might be, “Want Affordable Health Insurance? Scale Back on requiring insurance benefits that people actually need to be healthy.”

7) Love this take from Bill Ayers on the nature of expertise:

But there’s another aspect to expertise that actually contributes to its widespread rejection. The nature of expertise is that people who are experts see things that non-experts can’t see. They perceive things in the universe that are, quite literally, invisible to the rest of us.

This phenomenon has been well-documented in all sorts of arenas. Elite athletes, for example, have been studied extensively. It turns out that, while they tend to be in excellent health and have certain physical gifts, they’re not especially more physically gifted in general than the rest of us. It’s that the tens of thousands of hours of practice they put in have rewired their brains so they can perceive things other’s can’t. That’s why the best hitters in professional baseball actually stand a good chance of hitting a baseball thrown by a professional pitcher, traveling at more than 95 miles per hour. He can see things about that ball that are invisible to the rest of us.

The same is true in medicine. An experienced doctor will see in a list of symptoms, or the way a patient answers a question, possible diagnoses that we know nothing about. Nor can we understand the connections between those little bits of information and the much larger issue. Doctors carry around a whole world of knowledge in their heads that is inaccessible to non-experts.

So it goes for nearly every field of human endeavor. Architects see things in buildings that the rest of us miss. Musicians hear things in music we can’t hear. Engineers, lawyers, designers, auto mechanics – in almost any human endeavor involving expertise, experts are privy to a world out of reach of the rest of us…

I encounter this all the time in my own area of expertise – politics – because, as John Stewart Mill put it over 100 years ago, politics “is a subject which no one, however ignorant, thinks himself incompetent to discuss”. In the political realm, we all think that we can see everything there is to see. And when “experts” come along and try to point out what we can’t see, we often dismiss them because, well, we can’t see what they’re pointing at. We think they’re just making it up.

8) Meant to have this last week.  Trevor Noah on Philandro Castille.  Good stuff.

9) NC State doing its part for breeding better blueberries.  It turns out the real trick is finding tasty blueberries that hold up to machine-picking.

“Right now, 20 percent of blueberries are harvested mechanically, while 80 percent is handpicked,” he said. Because handpicking is expensive, he said, “We want to reverse that – we want 80 percent to be mechanically harvested and 20 percent handpicked.”

I’m all for more affordable blueberries.

10) Kevin Williamson post in National Review about Trump is so good.  Read it.

Trump may have his problems with women, but it is his unrequited love of the media that is undoing him.

“I always tell the president, ‘You don’t need them,’” says Sean Hannity, the self-abasing monkey-butler of the Trump regime. The president, Hannity says, can reach more Americans via Twitter than he could through the conventional media. That isn’t true, of course: Only about one in five Americans uses Twitter. Hannity might be forgiven for not knowing this, a consequence of his much more general habit of not knowing things. But he actually does know the president. How could he possibly believe that this man — this man — does not need them?

He needs them the way a junkie needs his junk.

Donald Trump cares more about how he is perceived in the media than he cares about anything else in the world, including money. Trump is a true discipline of Bishop Berkeley, professing the creed of the social-media age: Esse eat percipi— “To be is to be seen.” Trump is incapable of enjoying anything — money, success, sex — without being perceived enjoying it.

11) How forgetting is the key to learning.

12) Good Jelani Cobb piece on militarizing the minds of police officers:

For the past two decades, David Grossman, a former Army Ranger and self-described product of a law-enforcement family, has been conducting police-training seminars on the use of deadly force. Policing is a complex job that at times requires split-second decision-making. More often, though, it requires a reservoir of knowledge about social interaction and human behavior, and the ability to read situations that may become violent. Officers are granted a great degree of latitude in their work, partly because interacting with the public requires more nuance than any rigorous set of codes could possibly hope to encompass. Grossman’s “Bulletproof Warrior” philosophy, however, dispenses with these gray areas. Here the war on crime is not metaphorical; police are a kind of domestic militia tasked with subduing a potentially lethal enemy. Danger is ambient, ever present, and unpredictable. (Grossman did not respond to a request for an interview.) Grossman’s seminar exists at the opposite pole of the current drive for criminal-justice reform. While progressives emphasize police training to de-escalate conflict, Grossman’s seminar pushes officers to become more comfortable with the use of deadly force. As Grossman informs one group of attendees, “only a killer can hunt a killer.” Killing is a central theme of Grossman’s seminars but is only a fractional portion of law enforcement’s responsibilities. The vast majority of police in this country never use deadly force in the course of their careers. [emphasis mine]

Jeronimo Yanez, the police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile, in Minnesota, last year, belongs not only to the small percentage of officers who have killed civilians but also to the much larger group of officers who have attended Grossman’s seminars. He reacted quickly, interpreted an otherwise calm moment as the paramount danger, and fired seven times into a vehicle with a four-year-old girl in the back seat. A jury determined that Yanez had not committed any crime, but, at the very least, no reasonable person would understand his handling of the situation as good policing.

13) Richard Hasen on the absurd fraud that is Trump’s voting fraud commission.

14) How Netflix is trying to be the new HBO.

15) Headline says it all category, “Syrian doctor caught in travel ban gives up, moves to Canada.”  I’m sure he was, in actuality, a potential terrorist wanting to destroy America.

16) It’s nice to be reminded that Harry Potter books were not always a phenomenon.

17) Good piece on the Republicans’ “uncertainty strategy” on Obamacare.

18) How Illinois became a poster child for fiscal mismanagement.

19) I think you know the answer to the question in this Guardian headline, “Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?”

The core of Elsevier’s operation is in scientific journals, the weekly or monthly publications in which scientists share their results. Despite the narrow audience, scientific publishing is a remarkably big business. With total global revenues of more than £19bn, it weighs in somewhere between the recording and the film industries in size, but it is far more profitable. In 2010, Elsevier’s scientific publishing arm reported profits of £724m on just over £2bn in revenue. It was a 36% margin – higher than Apple, Google, or Amazon posted that year.

But Elsevier’s business model seemed a truly puzzling thing. In order to make money, a traditional publisher – say, a magazine – first has to cover a multitude of costs: it pays writers for the articles; it employs editors to commission, shape and check the articles; and it pays to distribute the finished product to subscribers and retailers. All of this is expensive, and successful magazines typically make profits of around 12-15%.

The way to make money from a scientific article looks very similar, except that scientific publishers manage to duck most of the actual costs. Scientists create work under their own direction – funded largely by governments – and give it to publishers for free; the publisher pays scientific editors who judge whether the work is worth publishing and check its grammar, but the bulk of the editorial burden – checking the scientific validity and evaluating the experiments, a process known as peer review – is done by working scientists on a volunteer basis. The publishers then sell the product back to government-funded institutional and university libraries, to be read by scientists – who, in a collective sense, created the product in the first place.

20) Some places in America have too many jobs and not enough workers.

21) Another great take on Republican Medicaid cuts, “Plan on Growing Old? Then the Medicaid Debate Affects You.”

These are the stories we tell ourselves: I will never be poor. I will never be disabled. My child will develop normally. They stand a decent chance of being true, even.

There is one tall tale, however, that ought to inspire a great deal of skepticism: I will be able to pay for myself in my old age.

In fact, a majority of people cannot and do not. One in three people who turn 65 end up in a nursing home at some point. Among the people living in one today, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 62 percent cannot pay the bill on their own.

And when that happens, Medicaid pays. The very Medicaid program that stands to have hundreds of billions of dollars less to spend if anything like the health care bills on the table in Washington come to pass.

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