Ten Miles Square

December 2012 Archives

December 31, 2012 2:11 PM The Top Ten of 2012

This year that is fast disappearing will not be remembered in these quarters with very much warmth. It was a fairly hideous, sickening year, the year that I felt I...

By Jamie Malanowski

December 31, 2012 12:50 PM Chart of the Day: Health Care Spending by Age and Country

Dan Munro has a post up at Forbes: The Year In Healthcare Charts. Though they’re all worth a look, this is the one that dilated my pupils: This is, apparently,...

By Austin Frakt

December 31, 2012 12:21 PM Clinton’s Clot, Krauthammer’s Shame

Earlier this month, Hilary Clinton, having picked up a virus on one of her many overseas trips, became dehydrated, fainted, fell, hit her head, and suffered a concussion. That caused...

By Mark Kleiman

December 31, 2012 12:15 PM Forget

xkcd: [Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]...

By Austin Frakt

December 31, 2012 11:44 AM Wall Street and the Fiscal Cliff

Four take-aways from this National Journal story:1. Wall Streeters are “all Keynesians now.” (No Hayekians in hedge funds?) Like all sane people, they want the government, in a situation of...

By Mark Kleiman

December 31, 2012 10:59 AM Why I Think Merkely/Udall Has It Wrong

On Senate reform, suppose you're in the group -- which according to what they say publicly includes most leading Democratic Senators -- who wants to find a middle ground between...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 31, 2012 10:00 AM Reforming the Senate at a Snail’s Pace

As the clock runs out on the dysfunctional 112th Congress, few have been impressed by its paltry record and balky performance.  But pardon my glee: December has been a great...

By Sarah Binder

December 31, 2012 8:53 AM Gun-liability Insurance

I’m not a fan of mandatory liability insurance for gun owners; Megan McArdle picks some good holes in the proposal, without even mentioning the big problem about how to attribute...

By Mark Kleiman

December 28, 2012 10:57 PM Hoyer, McConnell, and Hostage-taking

The usual suspects are pretending to have their fee-fees hurt because Steny Hoyer compared the Republican debt-ceiling threats to hostage-taking. Two things to note here: 1. It was Mitch McConnell...

By Mark Kleiman

December 28, 2012 10:47 PM Brian Schatz

The most important thing about the transition from Daniel Inouye to Brian Schatz is that it matches the general transition from the 112th to 113th Senates: the outgoing Democrats had...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 28, 2012 12:03 PM Claiming Parental Authority, Reprise

I have written before about professionally successful, generally competent people who are nonetheless seemingly incapable of exercising parental authority. Matt Richtel reveals another aspect of this social phenomenon: Parents who...

By Keith Humphreys

December 28, 2012 10:50 AM Predictions

Dave Weigel has a post up detailing the predictions he got wrong this year. It's admirable...not so much because he's taking responsibility, but because of the effort required. Re-reading my...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 27, 2012 11:58 AM The Difference Between Irving Kristol and John Yoo

Walking through the poli sci department the other day, I saw a pile of old books and magazines being thrown away, and happened to notice an article, “’Human Rights’: The...

By Andrew Gelman

December 27, 2012 11:54 AM Which Cans To Kick?

Matt Yglesias has a good item about the possibility of pushing back the fiscal cliff deadline. Good topic, and I'm surprised there hasn't been more talk about it. Congress certainly...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 26, 2012 11:00 AM Russia's New 'Good News — or Else' Policy Idea

Tim Frye sends along this op-ed from Michael Bohm in the Moscow Times: State Duma Deputy Oleg Mikheyev from the Just Russia party came up with an original idea to...

By Andrew Gelman

December 26, 2012 10:58 AM Myth: More People Commit Suicide Around the Holidays

From our first book. Holidays can bring out the worst in us – even as we gather with our family and friends for the purpose of celebrating. Maybe the holidays...

By Aaron Carroll

December 26, 2012 10:12 AM Citizen Budgeting

So maybe this whole fiscal cliff thing has got you really worried about the national debt. Maybe, having given up on the idea that our elected officials will solve this...

By Daniel Luzer

December 26, 2012 9:48 AM Mildly Cranky Blogging

The basic, underlying fact of the fiscal cliff negotiations is, well, what you learn in high school civics: the eventual solution will need to pass the House, the Senate, and...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 26, 2012 8:12 AM Grove Patterson on Faith

I was fortunate to be friends with the great psychologist Seymour Sarason, who said that when he came to the end of his days, he knew it would make him...

By Keith Humphreys

December 26, 2012 8:08 AM Money and the 2012 Elections

Thomas Ferguson, Paul Jorgensen, and Jie Chen write: Only hours after polls closed on Election Day, a revisionist wave began building that downplayed the role of big money. Analysts asked...

By Andrew Gelman

December 26, 2012 8:00 AM The Failure of Plan B

After the House Republicans punted on legislation to extend the Bush tax cuts for all non-millionaires last night, today’s news cycle has been focused on a) what the failure of...

By Gregory Koger

December 26, 2012 7:36 AM Do Unmarried Poor Have Bad Values or Bad Jobs?

A large U.S. government-funded experiment to encourage low-income parents to marry, a legacy of the George W. Bush administration’s Healthy Marriage Initiative, has just fallen flat. Even if you were...

By Andrew Cherlin

December 25, 2012 9:42 PM The Growing Political Polarization of Santa Claus

For Christmas Eve, I featured a guest post from  Dr. Will Jennings, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Southampton, which noted a growing trend in the percentage of survey...

By Joshua Tucker

December 24, 2012 10:02 AM Learnt Climate Helplessness: an Xmas Puzzle

A holiday post-prandial puzzle for you.Another chart of the attitudes of Americans to climate change, from a long-term Yale/GMU project – it’s nice to know that GMU has some reality-based...

By James Wimberley

December 24, 2012 9:52 AM AIDS Is Still with Us, Still Taking Too Many Lives

The New York Times recently included an obituary for the AIDS activist Spencer Cox. Dead at age 44 of AIDS-related causes well before his time, Cox played a key role...

By Harold Pollack

December 24, 2012 9:00 AM The Bell Still Rings For Me, As It Does For All Who Truly Believe

As a parent of young children, I am interested in stories about when children stopped believing in Santa Claus and how they reacted to the news. I am particularly intrigued...

By Keith Humphreys

December 21, 2012 11:55 AM Postal: It’s Not (Really) About the Guns

On Friday morning a week ago a 20-year-old Newtown, Connecticut man murdered his mother and then drove her car to a local school, Sandy Hook Elementary. He forced his way...

By Daniel Luzer

December 21, 2012 11:45 AM The Jewish Vote in 2012

The Republicans had high hopes for winning a larger share of the Jewish vote in 2012 than they did in 2008. They scored a minor victory by increasing their vote...

By John Sides

December 21, 2012 11:24 AM Cloture Votes Do Not Equal Filibusters

I don't really agree with filibuster abolitionist Tim Noah about the solution to the dysfunctional Senate, but I need to correct him anyway when he makes his case weaker than...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 21, 2012 11:18 AM No, Boehner Isn't Nuts

Speaker John Boehner is getting pretty bad reviews pretty much everywhere for his gambit of submitting a Plan B for a House vote, with Plan B made up of a...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 21, 2012 11:11 AM To Get Better Gun Control, Don’t Use the Phrase

We can now be confident that last week’s massacre of 26 women and children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, will not be swept under the carpet like so...

By Jonathan Alter

December 21, 2012 11:00 AM The External Cost of Guns v. Smoking

A quick post on the cost of smoking v. cost of guns, given the intuitive notion that second hand smoke and violence might be (conceptually) similar. I am not an...

By Don Taylor

December 21, 2012 10:53 AM Turning Down the Chair

David Hawkings makes an interesting point in today’s CQ/Roll Call Daily Briefing. He notes the historic nature of Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s ascension to the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee...

By Andrew Rudalevige

December 21, 2012 10:05 AM God and Guns

Steve Greene takes issue with claims by Mike Huckabee and others that gun violence is a result, in part, of our society having "turned away from God." Steve takes the...

By Seth Masket

December 21, 2012 10:00 AM There’s a Very Short Fuse on the Exploding Can*

Is the House Republican Conference the ACME Corporation of our time—selling crazy products that fail at the worst possible moment?  This week’s product was Plan B—a short-lived back up...

By Sarah Binder

December 20, 2012 11:42 AM Why Has the Obama Administration Secured So Few Treaty Ratifications?

John Bellinger, the legal adviser for the State Department from 2005 to 2009, laments in this morning’s New York Times that the Obama administration has secured Senate approval for the fewest number of...

By Erik Voeten

December 20, 2012 11:39 AM Supply Chains and Labour Rights

The fire in Bangladesh has spurred a broader political controversy over whether large US firms such as Walmart have a responsibility to improve safety conditions in their subcontractors. This feeds...

By Henry Farrell

December 20, 2012 11:30 AM Planbee

Obviously, I'm assuming that after Speaker Boehner introduced Plan B to the GOP conference yesterday, the Republican Members of the House have been spending the day running around covering up...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 20, 2012 11:24 AM The Capital-Gains Tax: A Tragedy in Two Acts

Critics of the capital-gains tax are absolutely correct when they say that a tax on capital hurts our economy by reducing the incentive to save and invest. They say the...

By Michael Kinsley

December 20, 2012 11:19 AM Quality of Cliff Deal Easier to Gauge Than Quantity

Is the deficit reduction deal being negotiated by U.S. President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner likely to be small-ball, medium-sized or a massive grand bargain that...

By Ezra Klein

December 20, 2012 10:57 AM It’s Not the Video Games

Many people have taken exception to my defending video games against charges of causing violence. You’re sure I’m wrong. When I come up against deep-seated beliefs like these, I’ve learned...

By Aaron Carroll

December 20, 2012 10:00 AM Following the Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

Just a few points: 1. What gets reported from the negotiators is usually part of the negotiations. That is, reporters hear what the negotiators want them to hear. And you...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 20, 2012 9:52 AM Why Is Rudolph’s Nose Red?

The reindeer’s nasal mucosa was richly vascularised with an abundant microcirculation ferrying a rich concentration of red blood cells; the mean perfused vessel density was 20 (0.7 mm/mm2) with...

By Austin Frakt

December 20, 2012 9:08 AM Policy Windows and Gun Control

Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, we've heard a lot of policy proposals. We've also heard from people saying we should just slow down and not have a policy discussion while...

By Hans Noel

December 20, 2012 8:45 AM The Stigma of Mental Illness

Earlier this week, when I linked to a post at Gawker by a woman whose son has extreme mental health issues, I got a ton of feedback from you. Many...

By Aaron Carroll

December 19, 2012 12:45 PM What If the Democrats Had Passed an Assault Weapons Ban in 2009-2010?

Via email, Pat Egan emails his thoughts on that counterfactual question: If the Democrats controlled the House right now, there’d be an assault weapons ban on the books in two...

By John Sides

December 19, 2012 11:37 AM President Obama: Just Let Me Be Clear

It's very frustrating to be a politician. President Barack Obama is quite eager to ensure that his words are not misinterpreted. Four words, it turns out, appear over and over...

By Daniel Luzer

December 19, 2012 10:58 AM Slippery Slopes, the Second Amendment, and Political Compromises on Gun Control

Last Saturday, I questioned skeptics who claim that the 2nd amendment and its interpretation by the Supreme Court prohibits meaningful regulation of gun sales and manufacturing. Indeed, I argued that...

By Erik Voeten

December 19, 2012 10:51 AM Tweeting Tragedy: A First Look at Newtown Related Hashtags on Twitter

One of the ways people have responded to the horrors of Newtown has been through the use of social media. I don’t know if my experiences are typical, but I...

By Joshua Tucker

December 19, 2012 9:03 AM What the Newtown Shooting and the Fiscal Cliff Have in Common

The Newtown shooting was a horrific and cruel event. Though I was touched, as every parent was, my heart breaks for the grieving families who experienced it more closely than...

By Austin Frakt

December 19, 2012 8:08 AM What Policymakers Can Do about Gun Violence

The deaths of so many children and their teachers and school officials at Sandy Hook Elementary, and of a mother at the hand of her killer son, have caused me...

By Susan Ginsburg

December 18, 2012 12:40 PM Daniel Inouye

Senator Daniel Inouye, an American hero, RIP. I don't have much to say about Inouye as a Senator that others haven't said. Here's the WaPo obituary. Truly, a great American....

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 18, 2012 12:34 PM It happened in Connecticut

After this latest school shooting, things seem different. I have no idea if we’ll end up with meaningful bullet control (as Chris Rock would say), but the translation of grief,...

By Andrew Gelman

December 18, 2012 10:43 AM Will There Be Gun Control Legislation?

Jon Chait is pessimistic.  Jon Bernstein perhaps less so.  Alec MacGillis even less so.  Here is my two cents:First, this shift in public opinion is worth mentioning: More than half...

By John Sides

December 18, 2012 9:31 AM Guns and Strategy

I strongly recommend Jonathan Chait's largely pessimistic view (from the point of view of those who want legislation) of the chances of getting anything restricting guns in any way whatsoever...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 17, 2012 11:26 AM Hair of the Dog

Let’s reflect on the two real lessons of the Battle of Newtown.First, the Second Amendment is not about hunting animals and punching paper, it’s about winning a war against the...

By Michael O'Hare

December 17, 2012 11:02 AM The Expiration of The U.S. Assault Weapons Ban Increased Homicides in Mexico

That is the key conclusion from a recent working paper (pdf, ungated) by Arindrajit Dube (UMass), Oeindrila Dube (NYU) and Omar Garcia Ponce (NYU): Does access to arms promote violent crime? We...

By Erik Voeten

December 17, 2012 10:31 AM The Heroism of a Teacher: At Once Unfathomable and the Most Sensible Thing in the World

Liviu Librescu was a prominent engineering researcher who also happened to be a Holocaust survivor. He was shot to death in the Virginia Tech massacre. At age 76, Librescu was...

By Harold Pollack

December 17, 2012 10:10 AM A Political Response to Gun Violence

A common reaction to the tragic events that unfolded in Newtown, Connecticut, is a sense of helplessness. If you've watched this and other mass shootings this year and believe some...

By Seth Masket

December 17, 2012 10:08 AM "Change in Behavior, Not a Change in Rules"

That's what Lamar Alexander said that the Senate needs. Truth is, he's right! The best possible solution to the currently dysfunctional Senate would be for the minority party to return...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 17, 2012 9:57 AM Why The Second Amendment Rulings May Make a Ban on Assault Weapons More Likely

In the aftermath of yesterday’s tragedy, several experts argue that new gun control measures are unlikely to succeed in part because of recent Court rulings that have strengthened the second amendment, including...

By Erik Voeten

December 17, 2012 9:50 AM Data on Cross-Country Civilian Ownership of Small Arms

In the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, there has been a lot of discussion about the relative prevalence of gun ownership in the United States as opposed to...

By Joshua Tucker

December 17, 2012 9:44 AM On the Political Power of the Gun Rights and Gun Control Lobbies

Here are some relevant studies.Here is a 2006 overview of the National Rifle Association by Kelly Patterson and Matthew Singer (from this volume; hat tip to Burdett Loomis).  It details...

By John Sides

December 17, 2012 9:38 AM Changing Frames and Changing Public Opinion about Gun Laws

To begin, here are several findings about public opinion and gun control: Support for gun control in the abstract has declined, even as many specific gun control policies are favored...

By John Sides

December 16, 2012 6:40 PM Mass Shootings, Gun Control, and Short Attention Spans

My GW colleague Danny Hayes in the Polisci Perspective feature at Wonkblog: This phenomenon – the media’s intense interest in, and subsequent boredom with, a public policy problem –...

By John Sides

December 14, 2012 12:49 PM Pat Leahy on Colorado and Washington: “Legislative Options Exist”

Senate Judiciary chair Pat Leahy of Vermont has written a fascinating letter to drug czar Gil Kerlikowske. (Full text at the jump.) It’s much friendlier to legalization than I would...

By Mark Kleiman

December 14, 2012 12:40 PM Getting to Yes Doesn’t Have to Mean Terrible Policy

I’ve been following the tussle in the blogosphere between Jon Chait (and to a lesser extent Ezra Klein) and others with respect to “caving” on raising the eligibility age for...

By Aaron Carroll

December 14, 2012 12:30 PM The Congressional Roots of the Fed’s New “Evans Rule”

That’s Charlie Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, who has been credited as a key force behind today’s somewhat surprising move by the Federal Open Market...

By Sarah Binder

December 14, 2012 12:27 PM Political Football

The college football bowl season gets underway this weekend with an exciting doubleheader. First up is the Gildan New Mexico Bowl (featuring two five loss teams hoping to avoid becoming...

By Andrew Rudalevige

December 14, 2012 12:24 PM War on Budgeting Shows Up Again

Jonathan Chait had a nice one yesterday in which he looked at GOP attempts to understand why Barack Obama is pushing tax increases on the rich. The gist of it...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 14, 2012 10:45 AM Eric Holder's Marijuana Memo

On hot-button social issues, Barack Obama prefers to lead from behind. So when Barbara Walters asks him “Do you think marijuana should be legalized?” and he replies, “I wouldn’t go...

By Mark Kleiman

December 14, 2012 10:33 AM Puzzles of Criminal Justice

Four recent news stories about crime and punishment made me realize, yet again, how little I understand all this.1. “HSBC to Pay $1.92 Billion to Settle Charges of Money Laundering”:...

By Andrew Gelman

December 13, 2012 11:36 AM What's With Virginia Republicans?

Yesterday I said that it's highly unlikely that states will actually adopt the "Pennsylvania plan" in which Republicans take advantage of GOP unified government in states which vote for Democrats...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 13, 2012 11:08 AM It’s Universal Coverage, Stupid

I’ve read all the arguments against (and for) raising the age of Medicare eligibility, but not this one: the ambition of universal coverage — or at least universal access to...

By Austin Frakt

December 13, 2012 10:45 AM The Senate and Accidents of History

Excellent post yesterday from Jordan Ragusa on the origins of the filibuster and more. I especially agree with his conclusion about the controlling importance of the "determine the rules" clause,...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 13, 2012 10:27 AM Good Conservative Policies Fall Off Fiscal Cliff

There’s a problem at the heart of the fiscal cliff talks between U.S. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. Well, many problems, actually, but one is especially apparent....

By Ezra Klein

December 13, 2012 9:50 AM The Economist and the Irish Famine

The Economist has a review of two books on the Famine in the most recent issue. Both authors describe the folly and cruelty of Victorian British policy towards its near-forsaken...

By Henry Farrell

December 13, 2012 9:32 AM The Conservative Case for Right-to-Work Laws

The enactment of a so-called right- to-work law by the state of Michigan this week is indeed, as the news media have described it, a blow against the union movement....

By Michael Kinsley

December 12, 2012 5:29 PM The Heritage Filibuster Flub

Filibusters, which allow member of the minority party to slow down and even prevent legislation supported by the majority, are a source of incredible gridlock in Washington. Senate Majority Leader...

By Daniel Luzer

December 12, 2012 12:48 PM Why Illegality Makes Drugs More Expensive Than Taxes Ever Could

One of the central rationales for making certain drugs illegal is to elevate their price and thereby reduce consumption. It’s astoundingly effective: illegality makes lightly processed plant matter (e.g., cocaine)...

By Keith Humphreys

December 12, 2012 12:10 PM Navigating Debates about Redistricting

People feel passionately about redistricting.  They don’t like how it’s done, or how it’s disadvantaged their party, or both.  So when political scientists come along to say “redistricting might matter...

By John Sides

December 12, 2012 12:00 PM The Unstoppable Rise of Social Media

Social networking has spread around the world with remarkable speed. In countries such as Britain, the United States, Russia, the Czech Republic and Spain, about half of all adults now...

By Joshua Tucker

December 12, 2012 11:36 AM Don't Worry About the Pennsylvania Plan

If you want to know why the Pennsylvania plan of rigging the Electoral College by having Republican majorities in the Keystone State change the way that electoral votes are allocated...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 12, 2012 11:30 AM Why Republicans Need Change

Jamelle Bouie argues that Republicans may well win the presidency without actually changing much or offering new ideas. I think that's broadly correct: the out-party just doesn't matter all that...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 12, 2012 11:07 AM Does Political Rhetoric Matter?

Kevin Drum has an addendum to my post about the rhetoric of the "fiscal cliff," which I think is mostly correct. (As a reminder, I was arguing that liberals should...

By Ryan Cooper

December 12, 2012 9:28 AM Raising the Medicare Age of Eligibility Will Make Seniors Pay More for their Medicare

Yep. It will.See, Medicare doesn’t work like your typical insurance company, which rates different people differently. It’s not making a profit, or advertising, or paying out dividends. Whatever it pays...

By Aaron Carroll

December 12, 2012 8:43 AM Attack of the Giant Killer Debt Limit

Here you go again with this nonsense.Compared to the last round, there’s one big plus: Obama has said he won’t negotiate this time and has proposed scrapping the wretched thing:...

By James Wimberley

December 11, 2012 10:49 AM Is There a "Six-year Itch" in Elections?

Charlie Cook expects that 2014 will be a tough election for Democrats due to the "six-year itch." The 2014 vote is what’s known as a “six-year itch” election, with the...

By Seth Masket

December 11, 2012 10:41 AM Why Only Some Criminal Organizations are Violent

Dr. Vanda Felbab-Brown’s interview in the current Journal of International Affairs makes the important point that transactional crimes (e.g., drug trafficking) have no inherent association with violence. The Mexican drug...

By Keith Humphreys

December 11, 2012 10:23 AM Politicians, Change, and the GOP

How do parties change? Over the weekend, my Salon column was about the GOP candidate rollouts last week, and how unimpressive they were on policy. I mean, not that they...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 11, 2012 8:45 AM Who Are Those Guys?

Or gals. Either way, some political anthropology is in order.Via Drum, Dave Weigel objects to the media narrative about the supposed new Republican flexibility on raising taxes on those making...

By Jonathan Zasloff

December 11, 2012 8:34 AM Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age Isn’t Harmless

I just can’t believe we’re still talking about raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67.I’ve written so much about what’s wrong with this policy, that I hesitate...

By Aaron Carroll

December 11, 2012 8:27 AM Psst, Wanna Buy a Disability-Free Year of Life?

Health is priceless, but that doesn’t stop economists from pricing it. Cutler, Rosen, and Vijan tell us that, on average, an additional year of life for a 65 year old...

By Austin Frakt

December 10, 2012 12:15 PM FOX Needs a Conservative Counterpart to Up with Chris Hayes

Regular readers might surmise that I’m a fan of MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes Saturday and Sunday morning talk show. You might assume I watch because I (mostly) share the...

By Harold Pollack

December 10, 2012 12:01 PM We’re Number 1!

Naturally, the anti-American, socialist-sympathizing Democrats are all in an uproar because the Republican minority in the Senate blocked ratification of a treaty that basically writes the Americans with Disabilities Act...

By Mark Kleiman

December 10, 2012 11:46 AM Not Everything Good Saves Money

I’ve taken a lot of heat for my stance on preventive care. Unlike a lot of politicians, I’ve often held that it doesn’t necessarily save a lot of money. It...

By Aaron Carroll

December 10, 2012 11:42 AM Who Gets Blamed for Another Recession?

David Brooks writes in the New York Times: The Republicans may still blow it. If President Obama is flexible and they don’t meet him partway, Republicans would contribute to a...

By Andrew Gelman

December 10, 2012 10:56 AM Health Care Maze

By Ji Lee and accompanying this NY Times opinion piece. [Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]...

By Austin Frakt

December 10, 2012 10:20 AM The Zero Sum View of Life

At an annual conference, I have lunch with a colleague whom I don’t know very well. When the bill comes he says that he paid when we had lunch once...

By Keith Humphreys

December 10, 2012 9:51 AM An Important Mental Mistake You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

I just returned from a nice short visit to Duke University, where I met many faculty from their Center for Child and Family Policy. Over breakfast with the distinguished psychologist...

By Harold Pollack

December 07, 2012 12:00 PM The European Central Bank's New Role

I’ve a review in the new issue of The Nation of Harold James’ history of the euro (Powells, Amazon) which does the usual annoying-reviewer-trick of taking a book and using...

By Henry Farrell

December 07, 2012 11:58 AM Jim DeMint and The Revolving Door

It’s already been noted that Jim DeMint’s departure to head up the Heritage Foundation brings with it much greener pastures: as president, he will likely make upwards of $1 million. ...

By John Sides

December 07, 2012 11:52 AM Is Lindsey Graham Safe in 2014?

…Graham has been moving to the right over his career in in the Senate… I suspect this movement is especially pronounced in the current Senate (we don’t have the data yet)...

By John Sides

December 07, 2012 11:46 AM The Intellectual Poverty of the Sovereigntist Argument Against the Disabilities Convention

There is a pretty strong consensus that the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the Senate rejected on Tuesday, would have imposed no meaningful sovereignty costs on...

By Erik Voeten

December 07, 2012 11:13 AM Talking "Fiscal Cliff"

I completely endorse Kevin Drum's smart post today about liberal complaints about the name "fiscal cliff" for the convergence of a spending sequester, expiring tax rates, and other things. Drum...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 07, 2012 11:06 AM Help Republicans Rescue Their Party From Itself

Cruelty, fear, cowardice, xenophobia and disrespect invaded the inner sanctum of the U.S. government this week, bringing embarrassment and dishonor to what was once the greatest deliberative body in the...

By Jonathan Alter

December 07, 2012 10:20 AM Lincoln: Best Film Ever About …. The House of Representatives

I suppose the competition isn’t very stiff.  (Even the rare film on Congress tends to focus on the Senate—Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Advise and Consent, The Candidate.)  Still,...

By Sarah Binder

December 07, 2012 10:14 AM “Spice” and "K2" as Artifacts of Cannabis Prohibition

Gavin Aronsen at Mother Jones makes an important and obviously correct point: demand for the synthetic cannabinoids marketed as “Spice” and “K2″ is entirely an artifact of cannabis prohibition generally,...

By Mark Kleiman

December 07, 2012 10:09 AM His Own Petard

The Congress appropriates money. The Congress levies taxes. (Subject, of course, to the President’s veto power.) The President must spend appropriated money and collect the revenue due under the tax...

By Mark Kleiman

December 06, 2012 12:30 PM What Filibuster Reformers Are Missing

Sahil Kapur over at TPM today has a very optimistic reading of the Merkley/Udall talking filibuster plan. As he tells it, the talking filibuster plan they are considering would "dramatically...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 06, 2012 12:15 PM The Health Care Delivery System Is Changing

I made the point to somebody-or-other recently that the health care delivery system is already undergoing big change. My point was that it may be premature to layer even more...

By Austin Frakt

December 06, 2012 12:10 PM Are Porn Stars Really Healthier and Happier?

Andrew Sullivan flags a new study in the Journal of Sex Research that reports that women who appear in pornographic films experienced no more child abuse and has higher levels...

By Keith Humphreys

December 06, 2012 11:55 AM Four Traits Make a Great Secretary of State

The U.S. secretary of State sweepstakes is on. Who’s it going to be? Susan Rice, John Kerry, Tom Donilon or some mystery candidate who will surprise us all? Forget the...

By Aaron David Miller

December 06, 2012 11:49 AM My Pathetic Weakness for ‘Downton Abbey’

As an Anglophile, I’m as pathetic as the next chap. My idea of a good time is to be in London, drinking at lunch with some well-lubricated British journalist friends,...

By Michael Kinsley

December 06, 2012 11:46 AM The Panetta-Burns Statistic

Chuckles all round about PPP´s poll asking for opinions on the nonexistent ¨Panetta-Burns¨ deficit reduction plan (8% for and 17% against) and whether defunct ACORN stole the 2012 election (49%...

By James Wimberley

December 06, 2012 11:30 AM Lobbying and Member Incentives

Matt Yglesias saw "Lincoln" and got interested in patronage and the incentives it provided to, in this case, exiting lawmakers in a lame duck session. It will surprise none of...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 06, 2012 9:34 AM Another Excuse Bites the Dust: Health Costs and American Lifestyles

Whenever I present data showing that we under-perform other health care systems. or that our health in general is worse than other countries’, someone tries to blame it on our...

By Aaron Carroll

December 05, 2012 12:50 PM This Is Not Entitlement Reform

When “entitlement reform” comes up these days, just about the only thing I hear mentioned is raising the age of Medicare eligibility. I could offer up another link rant on...

By Austin Frakt

December 05, 2012 11:45 AM What Good is a UN Human Rights Treaty?

Dan Drezner argues that yesterday’s Senate vote to reject the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reflects a victory of a sovereigntist lobby that seeks to protect the U.S....

By Erik Voeten

December 05, 2012 11:39 AM Finally, a Good Film About the Presidency

I saw "Lincoln" the other night. This is a very good and very rich film -- it contains a great deal of detail, both in the script and on the...

By Seth Masket

December 05, 2012 11:33 AM The Republicans’ “Serious” Offer, in One Chart.

Confused about what exactly the GOP’s latest fiscal offer includes? Wondering whether it might not be some sort of conservative-Democratic proposal from Erskine Bowles, in spite of not being Simpson-Bowles,...

By Andrew Sabl

December 05, 2012 11:28 AM Bad Choices

The insulting treatment of Susan Rice by John McCain and other Republican senators over the real Benghazi tragedy, and manufactured scandal, has worked in her favour as a candidate to...

By James Wimberley

December 05, 2012 11:25 AM Negotiations with Hostage-takers

… such as Boehner and McConnell, operate by their own set of rules. The Democratic Strategist offers some useful reflections, along with an actual law-enforcement guide to dealing with the...

By Mark Kleiman

December 05, 2012 11:16 AM Still with the Vaccines and Autism

A twitter follower alerted me to this: I was in my car yesterday listening to C-SPAN (yes, I do that sometimes), when to my stunned surprise I heard Congressman Dan...

By Aaron Carroll

December 05, 2012 11:05 AM Do Electoral Laws Affect Women’s Representation? Perhaps Not as Much as We Thought

With record numbers of women elected to the US Congress in last month’s elections, some in the media have brought out the “year of the woman” moniker to describe this election. ...

By Joshua Tucker

December 05, 2012 10:57 AM C'mon, National Review

It's natural and normal that supporters of the majority party in the Senate will move over time to oppose filibusters and other minority protections, while supporters of the minority party...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 05, 2012 10:41 AM The Misguided 18 Percent Budget Solution

Since 1950, federal revenue has averaged about 18 percent of gross domestic product -- 17.8 percent of GDP, to be exact. A neat bit of trivia, but who cares? Lots...

By Ezra Klein

December 04, 2012 9:43 AM Why Don't Politicians Cross Party Lines More Often?

Mitt Romney joined Barack Obama for an undoubtedly awkward lunch last week. According to a White House statement, "They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together...

By Seth Masket

December 04, 2012 9:36 AM Washington and Colorado Pot Laws and the Mexican Drug Trade

Keegan Hamilton has a usefully skeptical piece on the Atlantic website challenging claims that cannabis legalization in Washington State and Colorado will dismantle the Mexican drug trafficking organizations.Overall, the piece...

By Mark Kleiman

December 04, 2012 9:25 AM Which Party Is Better for Minorities?

Speaking to donors after the election, Mitt Romney attributed his loss to President Obama to the administration’s strategy of “giving a lot of stuff” to blacks and Latinos, citing in...

By John Sides

December 04, 2012 8:29 AM Community Health Centers and Second-Class Health Care

Federally-funded community health centers (CHCs) are a significant part of the safety net. They provide care to low-income Americans, most of whom either have no health insurance or rely on...

By Keith Humphreys

December 03, 2012 12:57 PM Yeah the Country Is Changing. No, you Don’t Need to Be Scared

I’ve been thinking post-election about the genuine human fears harbored by many people that the country they grew up in is gone, or at least slipping away. I spoke with...

By Harold Pollack

December 03, 2012 12:53 PM Here is Something That Didn’t Happen

All Republicans know that President Obama is an anti-Semitic Islamist Marxist who wants to throw Israel into the sea; after all, Bill Kristol has been saying so for years. So...

By Jonathan Zasloff

December 03, 2012 12:37 PM Just Forget Everything That’s Been Said for the Last Year

This has been the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging. I hope you all missed me terribly.I still followed some news when I was away. I’ve been waiting for this:...

By Aaron Carroll

December 03, 2012 12:32 PM Those Romney Internal Polls

The New Republic's Noam Scheiber has (some of) Mitt Romney's internal polling from the last weekend of the campaign, and has discussed it with Romney pollster Neil Newhouse. It's worth...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 03, 2012 12:10 PM Reality Checking the Reality Check

Under the header “Reality Check II,” Andrew Sullivan reports: There’s a new poll out on ending Prohibition on marijuana. This one’s a CBS News’ poll taken after the election, and...

By Mark Kleiman

December 03, 2012 12:00 PM Over the Cliff?

I haven’t been paying close attention to the Fiscal Cliff negotiations. I’ve been more or less assuming that since the shape of a final deal seems fairly obvious, the two...

By Mark Kleiman

December 03, 2012 11:00 AM Can the States Sabotage Obamacare?

After surviving near-death experiences on Capitol Hill, in the Supreme Court, and during the presidential election, the Affordable Care Act is now confronted with unanticipated sabotage in conservative state...

By Greg Anrig

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