May 26, 2016 Leave a comment
Loved this article about what it takes to be a great sports photographer (lots and lots of hard work) and really loved this image:
Politics, parenting, science, education, and pretty much anything I find interesting
April 30, 2016 1 Comment
Didn’t expect an NFL Draft post from me, did you? Well, I’m all about people and institutions acting dumb by irrational fear of marijuana use. From Thursday night:
CHICAGO – Three weeks ago, Laremy Tunsil was the likely No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.
On Thursday, he suffered one of the most bizarre falls down the draft board in recent history after a video of him wearing a gas mask and smoking a bong was posted on his verified Twitter account just before the start of the draft.
Tunsil slid behind Notre Dame’s Ronnie Stanley, drafted by the Baltimore Ravens at No. 6, and Michigan State’s Jack Conklin, to the Tennessee Titans at No. 8, until the Miami Dolphins finally ended his fall at 9:43 p.m. ET at pick No. 13.
Got that? Presumably the college football player with the potential to have the single biggest impact in the NFL slipped 12 places to #13 because someone posted a video of him using a bong. That’s nuts! Go Miami Dolphins for having the sense to take a steal of a pick. This guy could be getting drunk off his ass four nights a week and nobody cares, but a video of him using marijuana and he’s player non grata?! Just so dumb.
April 9, 2016 5 Comments
Late on these because I’ve been at a Political Science conference. Using 30 minutes of free WiFi in Chicago-Midway to see how many I can get through. Relatedly, less quotations this week. Sorry.
1) Really interesting Washington Post story on the incredible hardship faced by women after they have been freed from Boko Haram.
2) SAT and ACT are now making big money by having states (including NC) using them as Common Core tests. Meanwhile, the tests actually designed to be used with Common Core… not so much.
3) Of course many of the businesses who are now opposing NC’s HB2 helped elect them social conservatives who brought us this backward legislation.
4) I hadn’t realized that the Washington DC Metro was so new when I started riding it as a kid. It’s now really showing it’s age at 40.
5) Nicholas Kristof’s latest on what whites don’t get:
LET’S start with a quiz. When researchers sent young whites and blacks out to interview for low-wage jobs in New York City armed with equivalent résumés, the result was:
A) Whites and blacks were hired at similar rates.
B) Blacks had a modest edge because of affirmative action.
C) Whites were twice as likely to get callbacks.
The answer is C, and a black applicant with a clean criminal record did no better than a white applicant who was said to have just been released from 18 months in prison.
A majority of whites believe that job opportunities are equal for whites and blacks, according to a PBS poll, but rigorous studies show that just isn’t so. [emphasis mine]
6) Garrett Epps on how the challenge to redistricting backfired.
7) A former student of mine shared this in all seriousness on FB (and praised NC’s recent efforts on HB2). Oh my. Thought about defriending her for rank stupidity, but decided there’s utility in having some of the crazy come across my feed.
8) The Constitution as a Code of Honor.
9) Conor Friedersdorf on how the drug war has helped fuel the opioid epidemic.
11) Every time I go through airport security, I feel like the terrorists have one. In this case, IBM won by making $1.4 million for an app that makes a random left or right arrow.
12) So, this article about Jay Bilas and Mike Gminski is totally old, but new to me, about my two favorite basketball analysts who are both former Duke players.
13) The day after a friend was asking me about the relationship between religiosity and income in the US, this from Andrew Gelman popped up in my feed.
14) Hillary Clinton’s taking autism seriously from a policy perspective. Of course, my favorite thing about Hillary is that she takes most everything seriously from a policy perspective.
Clinton’s autism plan, announced Tuesday, is well-informed and shows a grasp of the issues that few outside of disability rights circles have. If she wins the election and does even half of the things she promises, she could make an enormous difference in the everyday lives of autistic people. If she loses, she has still tremendously raised the bar on how presidential candidates can and should address autism.
Her plan focuses on necessary and sorely needed support programs for autistic people: improving employment opportunities and housing availability, significantly limiting the use of physical restraints, guaranteeing access to assistive communication technology for people who are nonverbal or have difficulty with spoken language and a specific call to do research on adult autism prevalence and needs. These issues are of vital importance to autistic people and our loved ones. No other major US presidential candidate has made these issues a part of his or her political platform.
15) Really good Paul Pierson and Jacob Hacker on the institutionalized resistance to change in the Republican party.
16) Well, North Carolina can no longer claim to be the more sensible, non-backward Carolina (seriously, Nikki Haley looking like a statewoman compared to our “leaders”), but we’ll always have Mississippi.
17) If Donald Trump published an academic article. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
18) Frum with a really interesting take on how the world might have been different had the Allies lost WWI.
March 26, 2016 3 Comments
1) Nice look at the the very nice work some friends of mine having done on conspiracy theories in American politics.
2) Plenty disturbing that this professor was ever suspended.
3) I always talk about the symbiotic relationship between media and politicians. Jim Rutenberg on just how true this is in the case of Trump.
4) Vox, of course, with a very nice explainer of how a brokered convention would work.
5) Loved this summary of all the ways Finland gets it right on education:
Finland doesn’t waste time or money on low-quality mass standardized testing. Instead, children are assessed every day, through direct observation, check-ins and quizzes by the highest-quality “personalized learning device” ever created — flesh-and-blood teachers.
In class, children are allowed to have fun, giggle and daydream from time to time. Finns put into practice the cultural mantras I heard over and over: “Let children be children,” “The work of a child is to play,” and “Children learn best through play.” …
The emotional climate of the typical classroom is warm, safe, respectful and highly supportive. There are no scripted lessons and no quasi-martial requirements to walk in straight lines or sit up straight. As one Chinese student-teacher studying in Finland marveled to me, “In Chinese schools, you feel like you’re in the military. Here, you feel like you’re part of a really nice family.” She is trying to figure out how she can stay in Finland permanently.
In the United States, teachers are routinely degraded by politicians, and thousands of teacher slots are filled by temps with six or seven weeks of summer training. In Finland teachers are the most trusted and admired professionals next to doctors, in part because they are required to have master’s degrees in education with specialization in research and classroom practice.
“Our mission as adults is to protect our children from politicians,” one Finnish childhood education professor told me. “We also have an ethical and moral responsibility to tell businesspeople to stay out of our building.” In fact, any Finnish citizen is free to visit any school whenever they like, but her message was clear: Educators are the ultimate authorities on education, not bureaucrats, and not technology vendors.
6) Loved this profile of PPP pollster and all-around good guy, Tom Jenshttp://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/not-average-pollster-phones-trump-credible-says-n-c-manen.
7) Do baboons appreciate magic? Watch this and make up your own mind.
8) Given that many a libertarian economist likes the idea of a basic income, maybe we should try and make this happen.
9) Republicans in NC insisted we could take the cheap, short-cut to addressing pollution in the lake that provides me drinking water. They were wrong.
10) Great Seth Masket on the movie version versus the realities of politicians:
A familiar character in mainstream political films is the apolitical politician. This goes back at least to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), in which Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart), a good-natured, naive idealist who somehow can quote from the Constitution while knowing nothing about the actual functioning of the federal government, is appointed to the United States Senate. With a bit of coaching from his sole legislative aide (with whom he’s in love), he stages a filibuster that roots out the corruption at the heart of the Senate and destroys an evil political machine in the process. His instincts and his strength of character prevail over entrenched political power…
As with the other films, this is fundamentally a silly concept. The idea that someone would be perfect for a job precisely because they have absolutely no experience with it is perverse. It represents a profound misunderstanding of how government functions, assuming that budgets would be balanced, wars would be ended, and the people’s needs would be met if we could just get politics out of the equation. It also displays a serious misunderstanding of what corruption is, seemingly suggesting that the normal logrolling that keeps a legislature functioning is inherently evil. Someone who doesn’t understand politics would be far more at risk of being corrupted of course—they wouldn’t know whom to trust… [emphasis mine]
But we can see elements of such characters in the rise of Trump. Here is a candidate whose chief selling points are that he is an outsider, untainted by actual government service, and that he gets things done through instinct and character. What’s more, as he explains it, the problems facing the country, whether due to a slow economy or a shadowy foreign army, are easy to fix once you get rid of the stupid, corrupt people in government.
11) Even if you are not a sports fan, you should appreciate pretty much the most improbably comeback in college basketball history. I believe I read somewhere the odds of Texas A&M winning this game had fallen to .03%.
12) I love the song “Stressed Out” by 21 Pilots. On how it is an anthem for millennials.
13) This short video is titled “why empathy is a bad thing.” Good points, but should be titled why empathy can be a bad thing.
14) Put me in the camp that believes Emily’s List is totally wrong and counter-productive going after Chris Van Hollen in Maryland. In a world of limited resources, hard to see how it is truly justified going after a liberal Democrat who has been very solid on women’s issues.
15) Really, really good one on the lies behind NC’s new legislation:
But mostly, the backers of this bill are liars. They are cynically creating and exploiting public fears to score points with their base, raise money, and win victories against LGBT people in areas of employment and public accommodations—victories they know they couldn’t get if they attacked the issue honestly.
Surely, by now, the national groups behind this legislation—the Family Research Council, Alliance Defending Freedom, American Family Association—are fully aware that they are lying. They know that there is not a single case on record of a man taking advantage of a nondiscrimination bill, dressing up as a woman, being allowed into a women’s restroom, and sexually assaulting someone. They also know that ordinances like Charlotte’s would not eliminate single-sex restrooms and locker rooms.
So, these purported men of God are liars.
What about North Carolina’s governor, Pat McCrory? Here’s where it gets interesting, because if you read his comments closely enough, he knows that he, too, is a liar—but is lying in just the right way to cover his lying, sorry ass.
16) Oh, and just for fun, the law makes it harder for workers to sue if they’ve been discriminated against.
17) And just so we’re clear, law enforcement is clear about this fictional risk:
“It’s common sense — biological men should not be in women’s showers, locker rooms and bathrooms,” GOP Rep. Dean Arp of Monroe said, according to the Associated Press.
Even some citizens have expressed similar concerns.
“It’s going to open the door for people with malicious intent who would masquerade as transgenders to come in and actually take advantage and have access to our kids,” Donna Eaton of Carey said, according to Talking Points Memo.
Police departments and sexual assault experts, however, beg to differ, according to Media Matters, “a non-profit progressive information and research center,” as the organization defines itself.
In a new report, Media Matters interviewed 15 experts across the country — from law enforcement officials to sexual assault victim advocates — who all said that the notion that LGBTQ laws open up women’s bathrooms to sexual predators is baseless.
“Sexual assaults stemming from non-discrimination laws are not even remotely a problem,” John Elder, a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police, told Media Matters.
Other police departments around the country also said the “bathroom myth” was unsubstantiated.
18) Listened to a Seinfeld interview the other day. This is old, but as relevant as ever about sports.
19) Even if you are not a fan of HBO’s Silicon Valley (and you should be) so long as you appreciate this modern golden-age of comedy, definitely check out this Wired feature.