Ten Miles Square

April 2013 Archives

April 30, 2013 2:46 PM Climate Change Is Not an Environmental Issue, Video Edition

I made this post, largely inspired by this David Roberts post, into a video. It's punchy, fairly short, and hopefully at least somewhat amusing. Warning, there is a bit of...

By Ryan Cooper

April 30, 2013 12:24 PM Barack Obama on the Politicization of Science

From the President's remarks yesterday regarding the 150th Anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences: One of the things that I've tried to do over these last four years and...

By Seth Masket

April 30, 2013 12:20 PM An Economics Paper for Joe Biden, Literally (or Not)

Just published, by Mialon, Hugo M., and Sue H. Mialon. 2013. “Go Figure: The Strategy of Nonliteral Speech.”American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 5(2): 186-212: We develop a model of figurative or...

By Austin Frakt

April 30, 2013 12:07 PM Can Corporate Social Responsibility Improve Labor Standards?

The disaster in Bangladesh has led to much heated discussion in the blogosphere and elsewhere about how best to improve labor and safety standards for workers in the developing world....

By Henry Farrell

April 30, 2013 12:04 PM How to Make Richard Florida Very Happy

Under the heading, Technology Start-Ups Take Root in Berlin, Mark Scott writes: More than two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German capital has gone from a...

By Andrew Gelman

April 30, 2013 10:15 AM Sequestration and the "Post-Policy" GOP

Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas write: Republicans wanted entitlement cuts. They’re not getting them. They wanted to protect defense spending. Instead, the Pentagon is getting gutted while Medicare and Social...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 30, 2013 10:11 AM What Obamacare Can Really Do: Help the Underinsured

Here's something to think about the next time someone disses Medicaid. Most people, even me, talk about the reduction in the numbers of uninsured being the biggest impact of the...

By Aaron Carroll

April 29, 2013 10:38 AM New Yorkers Not Preparing for the Next Flood

Most of New York’s coastal residents hurt by Hurricane Sandy are turning down a very generous incentive to sell their damaged homes to the state. The State intended to transform...

By Matthew Kahn

April 29, 2013 10:32 AM “Trapped in a Taylor Swift Album”

This post’s title is not designed to drive web traffic from TMZ. No, really: President Obama has made it not only possible but necessary for me to take Ms. Swift’s...

By Andrew Rudalevige

April 29, 2013 9:45 AM Grover Norquist Takes on Terrorism

Frank Gaffney says it. David Horowitz agrees. Michelle Malkin chimes in.Right. So you already know it’s a lie.But what if there’s some truth hidden there?No, of course Grover Norquist wasn’t...

By Mark Kleiman

April 28, 2013 10:49 AM How Women Run for Office

Molly Ball has a nice piece up in the current Atlantic noting that female candidates are all the rage right now in both major parties. She cites campaign practitioners who...

By Seth Masket

April 28, 2013 10:22 AM George W. Bush’s Long-Shot Campaign to Be Seen as Another Truman

The dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was more than an opportunity for the five living U.S. presidents to compare notes on what Stefan Lorant...

By Jonathan Alter

April 26, 2013 11:53 AM George W. Bush: Mr. Debt-man

With the opening of his presidential library in Dallas, the forty-third president is enjoying renewed popularity. How quickly America forgets. The Washington Post treats readers to these adorable photographs of...

By Daniel Luzer

April 26, 2013 10:50 AM Are We Fighting the War on Breast Cancer Too Hard?

Go over to the NYT, right now, and read this. Peggy Orenstein has written what may be the best piece on our “war” on breast cancer to date. I could...

By Aaron Carroll

April 26, 2013 10:45 AM How Twitter Impacts Voting

Fabio Rojas points me to this excellently-titled working paper by Joseph DiGrazia, Karissa McKelvey, Johan Bollen, and himself: Is social media a valid indicator of political behavior? We answer this...

By Andrew Gelman

April 26, 2013 10:33 AM George W. Bush: It's Not About How Smart He Was

The discussion of George W. Bush's intelligence, or lack thereof, continues. My position on this, as I've said many times, is that I've heard him speak on baseball and he...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 26, 2013 10:23 AM The Death of 'Off-the-Record'

One of the very useful bits of education I had as a grad student were the frequent visits from politicians, other political actors, and journalists to small lunch seminars hosted...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 25, 2013 12:35 PM How to Reduce Carbon Emissions: Listen to Business

Barack Obama (2009) : President Obama is offering a U.S. target for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the range of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020…. In light of...

By James Wimberley

April 25, 2013 12:05 PM Grading the Senate

In a thoughtful post, Jon Bernstein hands out a tentative report card on Senate reform, suggesting that the Senate deserves a passing grade based on its performance so far this...

By Sarah Binder

April 25, 2013 12:00 PM Members of Congress Still Don't Understand How Obamacare Works

There was an awesome article in Politico yesterday on how certain members of Congress are trying to come up with a plan to exempt themselves and their aides from Obamacare....

By Aaron Carroll

April 25, 2013 11:58 AM Are Judicial Nominations Getting Any Better?

The good news is that the Senate is getting better at processing judicial nominations. The bad news? It's running out of nominations to process. Not because all the vacancies are...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 25, 2013 11:53 AM Republicans Will Clobber Obamacare Until They Hug It

After John Boehner was elected leader of the House Republicans in 2006, Fox News host Chris Wallace asked him what was, at the time, an obvious question: “Medicare prescription drug...

By Ezra Klein

April 25, 2013 8:14 AM What's the Real Power of the Bully Pulpit?

Most denizens of the political science blogosphere will know by now of the recent punditry doing violence to what political science knows about presidential success in Congress. First CQ’s David...

By Andrew Rudalevige

April 25, 2013 8:02 AM The Senate Reform Report Card

The Senate just voted unanimously to confirm Jane Kelly, nominated by the president for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. This is how it's supposed to work! Kelly was nominated...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 24, 2013 11:15 AM Colbert on Reinhart and Rogoff

This is the finest Colbert bit I've seen in five years or more: The Colbert ReportGet More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,Video Archive...

By Ryan Cooper

April 24, 2013 9:45 AM Max Baucus: Good Senator?

Max Baucus announced yesterday that he's retiring after this Congress. He's been, I'd say, a good Senator -- with the faults of good Senators. Senate Finance Committee Chairs, at least...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 24, 2013 9:42 AM How to Label Pot

Imagine – just hypothetically – that a state decided to open a legal (at the state level) commercial market in cannabis, with some of the users intending to use the...

By Mark Kleiman

April 24, 2013 9:28 AM Why Social Media Ain't Like Real Media

This is the fake tweet (the AP twitter account was hacked) that yesterday caused the US Stock market to briefly lose $200 billion worth of value: While the market recovered...

By Joshua Tucker

April 24, 2013 9:00 AM How Constituent Contact Can Matter: The Michigan Anti-Bullying Bill

Does contacting one’s legislator influence public policy? We answer this question with a field experiment in which Michigan state legislators are randomly assigned to be contacted by their constituents about...

By John Sides

April 24, 2013 8:37 AM How Are Those Obamacare Health Exchanges Going to Work?

We’re less than a year away from the implementation of the health insurance exchanges. No one knows exactly what will happen. Massachusetts remains our best predictor, though. A new study...

By Aaron Carroll

April 23, 2013 11:50 AM Why Do GOP Politicians Think Their Constituents Are More Conservative Than They Really Are?

Jeremy Fox points us to a paper by David Broockman and Christopher Skovron, who look at legislators’s perceptions of their constituents and compare to estimates of the the actual issue...

By Andrew Gelman

April 23, 2013 11:45 AM Not Your Average Chechen Jihadis: Drawing the Wrong Conclusions About the Boston Bombing

Ever since the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing were identified as ethnic Chechens, the national conversation about the incident seemed to focus on the connection between the violence and...

By Joshua Tucker

April 23, 2013 11:38 AM An Unusually Naive Slip From Wonkblog

Today's Wonkbook (from Evan Soltas and Ezra Klein) tells the story of the Republican reluctance to go to conference on the budget, and concludes: And Senate Democrats aren’t having it....

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 23, 2013 10:11 AM He Blew the Whistle on My Lai—Would Ridenhour Be Digging-Into Drones in 2013?

I scanned social media headlines on my way to this year’s Ridenhour Awards at the National Press Club. The awards, which I covered last year for the Washington Monthly, have...

By Michael Clifford Longman

April 23, 2013 10:00 AM How to Make Menu Labeling Work

I’ve been skeptical about menu labeling, not because I think the idea is bad, but because I‘m unconvinced that it will work in practice. That said, I’m always happy to...

By Aaron Carroll

April 23, 2013 9:00 AM Do Partisans Believe What They Say?

Markus Prior writes: On factual survey questions about economic conditions, opponents of the president often report significantly worse economic performance than supporters of the president. Scholars have so far interpreted...

By Andrew Gelman

April 22, 2013 6:21 PM Americans Really Don’t Care About the Environment

Today is Earth Day. Pew Research is therefore eager to publicize a poll indicating that 52 percent of Americans think protecting the environment should be “a top priority for the...

By Daniel Luzer

April 22, 2013 12:13 PM Everything that's Wrong with American Politics Coverage in One Convenient Sentence

Maureen Dowd: Even House Republicans who had no intention of voting for the gun bill marveled privately that the president could not muster 60 votes in a Senate that his...

By Seth Masket

April 22, 2013 11:30 AM Why Do Gun Rights Advocates Have So Much Political Firepower?

Now that the manhunt in Boston has ended, observers are taking one last look at the failure of gun control proposals in the Senate. I will not linger on dubious...

By David Karol

April 22, 2013 11:27 AM Krauthammer Was Very, Very Wrong

It’s now been exactly a decade since Charles Krauthammer told us that Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to...

By Henry Farrell

April 22, 2013 11:15 AM Climate Change Is Not an Environmental Issue

Glen Canyon Dam Just downblog, my colleague Daniel Luzer reads some unfortunate polling data finding that only 52 percent of Americans believe protecting the environment is a top-tier issue, which...

By Ryan Cooper

April 22, 2013 9:51 AM How Americans Deal With Risk

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we tolerate risk here in the United States, after we literally shut down a major city last week to catch one man. I...

By Aaron Carroll

April 22, 2013 8:47 AM The Partisan Effects of Immigration Reform

Alex Engler writes: I just finished an article for the Georgetown Public Policy Review that you might be interested in. I took a thorough look at the influence of the...

By Andrew Gelman

April 22, 2013 8:37 AM American Stereotypes of Muslims

My Wonkblog post today begins with a tweet from Chuck Woolery and segues into a forthcoming article by Kimberly Gross and me about American stereotypes of Muslims and their consequences...

By John Sides

April 19, 2013 4:06 PM The Filibuster Did Save Us From Some Republican Stuff...

I mostly want to call everyone's attention to two excellent posts, by Brian Beutler and by Ryan Grim, which take seriously a key fact about the gun bill consideration: simple...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 19, 2013 3:20 PM Childhood Bullying: Not a Big Deal?

Children have been bullied since — well, since we’ve had childhood. There are now widespread movements to prevent school bullying. It’s clear that bullying was tragic for girls like Rehtaeh...

By Bill Gardner

April 19, 2013 1:19 PM References on Chechnya, the Caucasus, and Related Violence, Plus a Word of Caution

I have been debating whether to write this post for the last few hours since rumors regarding the identity of the Boston marathon bombers and their Chechen origin began to...

By Joshua Tucker

April 19, 2013 1:13 PM This Is Important: Not All Muslims in the Post-Soviet Region are Radical Islamists or Chechen Nationalists

Muslims in Russia are often alleged (most recently by President Putin) to be potential Islamists, ready to support the radical Chechen separatist project of establishing an Islamic state in the...

By Joshua Tucker

April 18, 2013 1:52 PM Another Day, Another Thing Blows Up

In the small Texas town of West, just north of Waco a fire at a fertilizer plant turned into an explosion and is estimated to have killed betweenfive and...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 18, 2013 1:49 PM Make No Mistake: Background Checks Were Filibustered

The background checks portion of the bill was defeated yesterday. It was being added as an amendment to the bill, and under a consent agreement all amendments needed 60 votes;...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 18, 2013 1:03 PM Republican Senators Have Some Reasonable Changes for Electronic Health Records

This is a long-standing topic for me, but here's the nickel summary: I love information technology, but am skeptical about its “imminent” widespread use. This is in part because doctors...

By Aaron Carroll

April 18, 2013 12:54 PM The Unavoidable Riskiness of Fame

The following, by Tyler Cowen, more or less makes a point I had made on Twitter. There is a genuine tension between becoming (and staying) “famous” and expressing all the...

By Austin Frakt

April 18, 2013 12:35 PM Obama’s Three Fateful Leadership Tests

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama’s team became famous for submitting almost everything they did to rigorous A/B testing. Staff members would send different versions of a message to...

By Ezra Klein

April 18, 2013 11:07 AM Boston Bombing: One Suspect Dead, One On the Run

UPDATE: Ruslan Tsarni, the instantly famous uncle of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers, spoke at a sort of impromptu press conference, and advised his surviving nephew to turn himself in:...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 17, 2013 12:16 PM The Austerians Taking Some Gut Punches

Recent developments have shaken two of the pillars of the austerity consensus. First, the IMF has been backing further and further away from its historic role as the black-jacketed austerian...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 17, 2013 11:41 AM In Boston Attack, the Best Response Is Resiliency

Ten years ago, a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated himself at a cafe in the German Colony neighborhood of Jerusalem. Seven people were killed, including David Applebaum, an American-born emergency-room doctor...

By Jeffrey Goldberg

April 17, 2013 11:35 AM What Drives the Choice of Prostate Cancer Treatment?

I thought I had blogged on this paper before, but I can’t find a prior post. So, here are some quotes and brief comments on Zeliadt, S. B., Ramsey, S....

By Austin Frakt

April 17, 2013 11:31 AM Do Evidence-Based Metrics Control Drug Costs?

From Health Affairs, “Compared To US Practice, Evidence-Based Reviews In Europe Appear To Lead To Lower Prices For Some Drugs“: In Europe drug reimbursement decisions often weigh how new drugs...

By Aaron Carroll

April 17, 2013 11:28 AM Three Straight Presidential Reelections Is a Weak Trend

After Hoover was defeated in 1932, the next incumbent to lose in a general election was Ford, in 1976, followed in short order by Carter in 1980 and Bush in...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 17, 2013 11:11 AM Reinhart-Rogoff on Debt and Growth: Fake but Accurate?

Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart have become known for warning that debt-to-GDP ratios over 90 percent are linked to poor economic growth. But a new working paper from economists at...

By Josh Barro

April 16, 2013 2:50 PM We Don't Know Yet If the Boston Attack Was Terrorism

When President Obama gave his first statement about the Boston Marathon bombing he was careful not to use the word "terrorism," instead saying "We still don’t know who did this...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 16, 2013 12:05 PM Roger Ebert, Levon Helm, Rodriguez: Return of the Stoic Hero?

Anyone who spends any time watching cable television is bound to develop a fairly depressed view of the American character. Vain housewives, self-absorbed designers, responsibility-denying restauranteurs, narcissistic chefs, fascistic dance...

By Jamie Malanowski

April 16, 2013 11:54 AM The Boston Marathon Bombing

Erica Chenoweth on some of the strategic aspects of the bombing: The blasts were near-simultaneous and co-located in a way that was sure to inflict maximal damage. One cannot necessarily...

By John Sides

April 16, 2013 11:20 AM Be Not Afraid

The awful horror of the Boston Marathon bombing, like any similar attack, is undeniable. The random, graphic violence, the smoke and blood, the shaking eyewitnesses, and perhaps most of all,...

By Ryan Cooper

April 15, 2013 3:42 PM Obama's Drones vs. Bush's Extraordinary Renditions: By the Numbers

The Obama administration's drone policy has been compared to the CIA-led extraordinary rendition policy on several abstract policy levels, but number of victims is particularly striking. The CIA program had...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 15, 2013 1:58 PM Build a Better Federal Tobacco Tax

President Obama’s budget proposal includes a hike in tobacco taxes. Right now, taxes are so high in some places (e.g., New York City, Chicago) that evasion happens on a grand...

By Keith Humphreys

April 15, 2013 11:03 AM Against the Pointless and Execrable Cuba Embargo

Jay-Z and Beyonce went to Cuba for their fifth wedding anniversary, causing a huge kerfuffle over whether or not they went there legally. Marco Rubio and others question how "educational"...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 15, 2013 10:48 AM Reforming the Vatican

Pope Francis has set up a committee of 8 cardinals to advise him how to reform the Curia. (I get this from a good Huffpo report by Nicole Winfield.) The...

By James Wimberley

April 15, 2013 10:45 AM What Would a Soda Ban Have Accomplished?

I’ve discussed the potential soda ban in NYC repeatedly. One of my main concerns was that it would not have accomplished its main goal – reduced overall calorie consumption. But...

By Aaron Carroll

April 15, 2013 10:00 AM The End of Washington Gridlock?

That sound you’re hearing may be the cracking of gridlock in Washington. Bipartisan bills on three of the big issues of 2013 -- the budget, immigration and guns -- could...

By Jonathan Alter

April 15, 2013 9:43 AM Wasting Time in HIV Prevention

Election night 2008 was a promising moment for public health. The Bush era had brought political acrimony, managerial problems, and under-funding had brought severe morale problems to the alphabet soup...

By Harold Pollack

April 15, 2013 8:00 AM Happy Tax Day: How TurboTax Works to Keep Your Taxes Difficult

Why are taxes so hard? Part of the reason seems to be that tax preparation companies' lobbying efforts ensure that doing your taxes are really complicated. When doing your taxes...

By Daniel Luzer

April 14, 2013 4:09 PM Two Explosions at the Boston Marathon: 3 Dead and 100+ Injured

This post has been updated throughout. UPDATE: The Boston Globe has video of the first explosion, shot by Steve Silva: A pair of explosions occurred near the finish line of...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 12, 2013 10:00 AM Here’s One Way to Make Political Science Research More Accessible

Just finished up a very interesting discussion at the Midwest Political Science Association annual conference about ways we can continue to make political science research more accessible to wider numbers...

By Joshua Tucker

April 12, 2013 8:20 AM From 'Mad Men' to a Mad Congress

The season premiere of “Mad Men” ended with Don Draper staring at the front page of the New York Times from Jan. 1, 1968. “World Bids Adieu to a Violent...

By Ezra Klein

April 11, 2013 1:31 PM Congressional Influence as a Determinant of Subprime Lending

Stuart Gabriel, Ryan Vaughn and I have a new working paper where we document some interesting correlations concerning what types of borrowers during the 2003 to 2006 years received “good...

By Matthew Kahn

April 11, 2013 1:06 PM The Path to Obamacare Is Well-Trodden

It’s almost cliche to say that the U.S. doesn’t pay attention to health system models of other nations when considering reforms. Maybe so. But one might not draw that conclusion...

By Austin Frakt

April 11, 2013 12:59 PM The House Republican Majority Gets Rolled, Again

Kudos to the NYT’s Derek Willis for catching the latest Hastert Rule violation on the floor. A majority of the House Republican conference was rolled when the House voted to...

By Sarah Binder

April 10, 2013 3:01 PM Without a Central Bank, Cryptocurrencies Like Bitcoin Will Remain on the Economic Fringe

The big news in cryptocurrency today is a huge collapse in Bitcoin price, down from $226 to $130 at one point just while I was watching—half its value gone in...

By Ryan Cooper

April 10, 2013 1:13 PM Alberta Is Becoming a Petro-Parasite on Canada

April 4th saw a spectacular pipeline rupture in Mayflower, Arkansas, spilling heavy Albertan tar sands oil over a suburban street. Unsurprisingly, this has intensified the debate over the Keystone XL...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 10, 2013 1:09 PM Time to Un-Hamstring the ATF on Gun Crimes

Despite its frequent assertions that it represents the interests of law-abiding gun owners and dealers, the NRA has put a lot of time into defending precisely those people who do...

By Max Ehrenfreund

April 10, 2013 12:19 PM The Wildly Disproportionate Cruelty of Drug Sentences

John Horner was working at a fast-food restaurant when he was befriended by the police officer to whom he sold some of his pain medication. The result of this mistake:...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 10, 2013 12:04 PM Are Filibusters of Executive Branch Nominees Constitutional?

President Obama’s announcement making three nominations to the National Labor Relations Board should remind us that the GOP is the party of permanent constitutional crisis. It has been quite clear...

By Jonathan Zasloff

April 10, 2013 11:28 AM Is Gun Control Really Going to Happen?

The big news late yesterday morning was that the Senate had no real trouble getting to the gun bill, voting 68-31 for cloture on the motion to proceed to the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 10, 2013 11:00 AM Margaret Thatcher and AIDS: Harm Reduction Heroine

I’ve been following my left-liberal friends’ reaction to Margaret Thatcher’s death. I take it they’re not huge fans of her historical legacy. I’m not such a big fan myself. But...

By Harold Pollack

April 10, 2013 10:46 AM Conservatives on Gay Marriage: How Will They Continue to Oppose it?

I’ve been thinking, since he posted it, about Jonathan Chait’s piece several days back regarding the anti-marriage-equality movement’s swan song. Alertly noting the tone of elegy and self-pity in Maggie...

By Andrew Sabl

April 10, 2013 9:39 AM Why Medicare Reform Hasn’t Worked

Nicholas Bagley’s “Bedside Bureaucrats: Why Medicare Reform Hasn’t Worked” (PDF) is a well-reasoned critique of the program and the Affordable Care Act’s reform of it. The premise establishes the fundamental...

By Austin Frakt

April 10, 2013 8:22 AM Tim Kaine Is Not Really Sure if he Supports Federal Funding of Political Science Research or Not.

My colleague Paul Wahlbeck sent a letter to his senator, Tim Kaine, asking him to support National Science Foundation funding of political science research and to oppose the Coburn amendment. ...

By John Sides

April 10, 2013 8:16 AM The Filibuster Can't Defeat Gun Control

Everyone's beating up on Harry Reid. Dan Savage: Republicans regard first and second graders as expendable. Wish Dems felt the same about the filibuster. And, sure, might as well quote...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 09, 2013 11:31 AM Antonin Scalia's Funny Reasoning

Doug Hartmann writes (link from Jay Livingston): Justice Antonin Scalia’s comment in the Supreme Court hearings on the U.S. law defining marriage that “there’s considerable disagreement among sociologists as to...

By Andrew Gelman

April 09, 2013 11:19 AM Thatcherism Retrospective

Margaret Thatcher, RIP. I find I have very little to say about her. What matters about Thatcher, or at any rate about Thatcherism, is that there really was a significant...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 08, 2013 10:34 AM Should We Rewrite the Second Amendment?

Political scientist (and my co-author and friend) Zachary Elkins says yes in this New York Times op-ed: This constitutional uncertainty should suggest to both sides the possibility of agreeing on...

By John Sides

April 08, 2013 10:27 AM An Update on Vermont’s Single Payer System

I’ve covered Vermont’s efforts to achieve its own style of health care reform. As a reminder, Vermont is the state where candidates for governor tried to show that their opponents...

By Aaron Carroll

April 08, 2013 10:07 AM Do Political Endorsements Work?

When political scientists make claims that party insiders are influential in primary or general elections (and we do that from time to time), there's an assumption built in there that...

By Seth Masket

April 08, 2013 10:02 AM Gun Control: “Let’s Turn Our Pistols Into Plowshares”

One aspect of the gun issue gets less attention than it should: The need in a million ways to change our cultural norms regarding responsible gun ownership and use, and...

By Harold Pollack

April 08, 2013 10:00 AM Manage Your Family Finances. Don’t Make Policies that Presume Everyone Can

I recently completed a long video interview with Helaine Olen, whose fascinating new book Pound Foolish excoriates the personal finance industry. More on that interview in due course.I’m fascinated...

By Harold Pollack

April 07, 2013 11:15 AM Gerrymandering Really Isn’t a Big Deal

Noam Scheiber has a recent piece about the Republican party that makes two points.  The first is that Republicans in Congress—especially the House of Representatives—are more out of touch with...

By Eric McGhee

April 05, 2013 1:10 PM The Real Story About Black Conservatives

I hope everyone has read the latest Ta-Nehisi Coates NYT item, this one about Benjamin Carson and other Obama-era black conservatives. It's as good as you would expect it to...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 05, 2013 1:05 PM Roger Ebert on Alcoholism and Recovery

Years ago, when I was researching Alcoholics Anonymous in Urbana, Illinois, I found out inadvertently that Roger Ebert was a member. I did not of course tell anyone until he...

By Keith Humphreys

April 05, 2013 12:51 PM The Do-little House of Representatives: Why so Little Legislating?

I noticed the other day that House lawmakers have cast relatively few recorded roll calls this year—voting just 89 times before leaving town for spring break.  To put those roll...

By Sarah Binder

April 05, 2013 12:41 PM Big Banks’ Success Could Spell Their Doom

Is Washington likely to break up the country’s biggest banks? No, not right now. But perhaps soon. Political momentum for dismantling them has been, in recent weeks, overstated. That unanimous...

By Ezra Klein

April 05, 2013 10:09 AM My Interview With Shane Smith, Founder of Vice

Shane Smith is the 42 year-old (b. 1970) co-founder and CEO of Vice, the international media company. In March, he also began serving as one of the three lead correspondents...

By Jamie Malanowski

April 04, 2013 7:05 PM North Carolina to Establish State Religion?

According to a piece by Laura Leslie at WRAL: A resolution filed by Republican lawmakers would allow North Carolina to declare an official religion, in violation of the Establishment Clause...

By Daniel Luzer

April 04, 2013 1:35 PM Three Drone Developments

There has been some interesting news on the drone front lately. The first is the “Out of Sight, Out of Mind" project, which is a online infographic that provides details...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 04, 2013 10:43 AM Victor Cha on the Colbert Report on North Korea

My colleague Victor Cha was on the Colbert Report talking about North Korea. Take a look: The Colbert Report Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,Video Archive [Cross-posted at...

By Erik Voeten

April 04, 2013 10:38 AM How Do We Get People Talking about Climate Change?

I wrote one over at Plum Line yesterday about a Media Matters push to get people to lobby the broadcast networks to run more stories about climate. My argument was...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 04, 2013 10:35 AM Copayments Are Stupid

Let’s make a deal. You shell out just $500 and I’ll pick up the tab for any automobile you care to buy. I’d better protect myself a little, so the...

By Austin Frakt

April 03, 2013 10:50 AM 42.8% of US Counties Show an Increase in Female Mortality

There is a frightening graph in a recent article in Health Affairs by David Kindig and Erika Cheng. Kindig and Cheng looked at trends in male and female mortality rates...

By Bill Gardner

April 03, 2013 10:19 AM How Much Do Politicians Really Care About Public Opinion?

I'm not gong to get full-on cranky at Robert Reich's column today...only somewhat cranky. Reich's complaint is that politicians are happy to follow public opinion when it comes to marriage...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 03, 2013 9:34 AM How Intellectual Property Became a Free Trade Issue

The decision by India’s Supreme Court to deny a patent to Novartis for Glivec has caused furore among US pharmaceutical manufacturers, who are calling for harsher and more punitive patent...

By Henry Farrell

April 03, 2013 9:28 AM Are North Korean Moves Irrational?

There is a larger game at work here that probably centers on the difficult-to-read domestic politics of North Korea. It is by no means assured that Kim Jong Un has...

By Joshua Tucker

April 03, 2013 8:44 AM Fact-checking and Reality-testing

So the WaPo fact-checker decides to award Barack Obama Three Pinocchios – that is, call him a liar – for saying that “as many as” or “nearly” 40 percent of...

By Mark Kleiman

April 02, 2013 3:52 PM Republicans Are Right, Everything about American Elections Takes Too Long

If the RNC ‘autopsy’ report got anything right it’s that the Republican primary cycle is too long, and too expensive. In particular it talks about a need to have fewer...

By Rhiannon M. Kirkland

April 02, 2013 10:54 AM Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Retirement and the U.S. Senate

Over the weekend, I had a Salon column arguing that Ruth Bader Ginsburg should retire at the end of the current Supreme Court term (with retirement taking effect upon confirmation...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 02, 2013 10:40 AM The Aryan Brotherhood and the Prison-gang Problem

So far, it’s not clear whether the Texas chapter of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang is carrying out a systematic assassination campaign against criminal justice officials. What is clear is...

By Mark Kleiman

April 02, 2013 10:21 AM Can We Develop New Apps to Make Government Work Better?

I’m a judge in a new competition sponsored by ChallengePost that seeks new “apps to educate people about partisan gridlock and help empower them to do something about it.”  You...

By John Sides

April 02, 2013 10:07 AM Voting Irregularities in the Washington Post Peeps Contest?

Lined up in my home office are 117 very grumpy Cardinal Peeps.  They lost the Washington Post Peeps Contest.  They did not even make the top 42 set of finalists...

By Sarah Binder

April 02, 2013 9:59 AM "Next in Line" Doesn't Mean Anything in Presidential Politics

I like some of David Frum's advise to Democrats about 2016 and dislike some of it, but I'm afraid I'll mostly have to nitpick his premise. Yeah, it's the old...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 02, 2013 9:36 AM Conservative Morality In Action

Via Jared Bernstein, we learn about how the sequester has made us a stronger country: At least two Indiana Head Start programs have resorted to a random drawing to determine...

By Jonathan Zasloff

April 02, 2013 8:31 AM What’s the Point of Twitter?

Time to discuss Twitter. See Klein and Yglesias.If you don’t use Twitter then you may be of similar mind to the me of early 2011. About two years ago I...

By Austin Frakt

April 02, 2013 8:16 AM Melissa Harris-Perry: Political Science Is Not Punditry.

[Originally posted at The Monkey Cage]...

By John Sides

April 01, 2013 10:02 AM That Quote Doesn't Mean What Liz Cheney Thinks it Means

Jon Chait beat me to this. I don’t care. I’ve have a ridiculously busy morning, and I want to point it out, too.Liz Cheney has an op-ed in the WSJ...

By Aaron Carroll

April 01, 2013 9:55 AM Do Republicans Need a Re-boot?

That is the subject of my latest post at Wonkblog.  It focuses on three claims that will be familiar to readers: Romney was supposed to lose the 2012, based on...

By John Sides

April 01, 2013 9:08 AM What Are People Inhaling When they Advocate Policies Not to Hire Smokers?

I am an emphatic tobacco control advocate. My mother-in-law and my father-in-law both died horribly and young of lung cancer. I yield to no one in my desire to tax...

By Harold Pollack

April 01, 2013 8:58 AM Point vs. Plane

Via @mamajoan: The sign was posted at MIT, of course. [Originally posted at The Incidental Economist]...

By Austin Frakt

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