Ten Miles Square

October 2013 Archives

October 31, 2013 5:52 PM Immigration: Dead or Undead?

Greg Sargent has been doing great reporting and analysis on immigration, and today he reports on a third Republican Member who has signed on to the House Democrats' bill. There...

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 31, 2013 10:43 AM What are Institutional Review Boards and Why Should We Care? An Interview with Zach Schrag

In 2010, George Mason University Professor Zach Schrag published a book, “Ethical Imperialism: Institutional Review Boards and the Social Sciences,” exploring the history of federally regulated academic research in the...

By Rachel Cohen

October 31, 2013 4:59 AM Five Terrible Pundit Mistakes in One Wretched Ron Fournier Column

Oh god: This is what happens when the two parties ruling Washington lose touch with America and pander to their crazy-extreme bases: President Obama's competency and personality ratings are nose-diving,...

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 31, 2013 4:18 AM Does the Tea Party Want to Win Elections?

Kevin Drum ponders what he calls a “timid” National Review article about the Tea Party by Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru. Drum agrees with L&P’s diagnosis that the Tea Party...

By Keith Humphreys

October 31, 2013 4:07 AM Digging Into the "Oreos Are as Addictive as Cocaine" Study

I have to agree with Keith’s post below: the Connecticut College study does not show that “Oreos are as addictive as cocaine.” The college should not have put out a...

By Mark Kleiman

October 30, 2013 11:12 AM If Insurers Are Using Obamacare to Trick Their Customers Into Expensive Plans, They Need a Nice Letter from the FTC

Via Kevin Drum, Paul Waldman presents a truly epic pair of posts demonstrating that many insurers’ claims that rates are going up because of the Affordable Care Act are misleading...

By Jonathan Zasloff

October 30, 2013 11:07 AM Rand Paul, Serial Plagiarist

This is really too funny for words. Rachel Maddow nails Rand Paul ripping off pieces of an anti-abortion speech he gave at Liberty University in support of Ken Cuccinelli’s dying...

By Mark Kleiman

October 29, 2013 4:29 AM National Review Takes on the Radicals, Gently

Sometimes, the twitter machine just spits out perfect material for items to write. So this morning I wound up opening tabs on Ramesh Ponnuru and Rich Lowry's epic (five-screen) condemnation...

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 28, 2013 4:26 PM The Possible Coming Filibuster Conflagration

The first of the three DC Circuit Court nominees is headed to the Senate floor this week. Where we can expect...well, apparently we have no idea. Sahil Kapur has an...

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 28, 2013 4:21 PM It's Called Peer Review, Folks, and We Have It for a Reason

I am frequently asked by journalists to comment on unpublished studies that make one odd claim or another. When I was younger and more patient, I used to dig up...

By Keith Humphreys

October 28, 2013 4:18 PM Refusing the Medicaid Expansion: Self-Imposed Redistribution from Rich to Poor

At present, 24 States (and DC) have decided to move ahead with the Medicaid expansion provided for in Obamacare, and 21 have rejected expansion, while 6 are still considering their...

By Don Taylor

October 25, 2013 4:10 AM Ross Douthat on Health Care Cost Containment and Innovation

Ross Douthat’s essay against “Medicaid for all” - which boils down to opposition to any form of health-care cost control other than loading the cost on the patients - drew...

By Mark Kleiman

October 24, 2013 12:05 PM Public Opinion on Weed vs. Marriage

I said over at PP yesterday that I think Democrats have a fight coming over marijuana, thanks to new polling that shows a majority currently favor legalization. I compared the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 24, 2013 12:02 PM Public Opinion on Cannabis: Is the Legalization Question Settled?

Public opinion on cannabis legalization has been trending positive since sometime in the late 1990s. By a couple of years ago, it was just about break-even. But in the latest...

By Mark Kleiman

October 24, 2013 11:17 AM The Party Versus the Incumbent in the Colorado State Legislature

There may be an interesting struggle between an incumbent lawmaker and her party coming up soon in Colorado. Anti-gun-control activists in the district of state Senator Evie Hudak (D-Arvada) are...

By Seth Masket

October 23, 2013 1:45 PM A New Municipal-Level Challenge to Roe vs. Wade in New Mexico

Downtown Albuquerque, via Shutterstock This November, Albuquerque, New Mexico could become the first city in the nation to enact a municipal abortion ban. The proposed law, “Pain Capable Unborn Child...

By Rachel Cohen

October 23, 2013 4:30 AM The Senate Isn't Really an "Old Boys Club" Any More

I can understand why Mark Tracy was annoyed by the hype about the role of Susan Collins in settling the shutdown, but his takedown is really an overreaction. Tracy notes...

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 22, 2013 4:26 PM Being Arrested Is An Extremely Common Experience for Young Americans

Radley Balko wrote a shocking link-bait headline: 1 in 25 Americans was arrested in 2011! Balko’s statistic was derived by dividing the number of people in the country by the...

By Keith Humphreys

October 22, 2013 4:23 PM Beware the Special Election Hype

The death last week of long-time Member of the House C.W. Bill Young last week means we're going to get something that this Congress has managed to put off so...

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 21, 2013 6:32 PM Cannabis Taxes Will Wind up Too Low, Not Too High

Legal cannabis will naturally be much, much cheaper than illegal cannabis. A joint is the same sort of item as a teabag: the dried flowers of a plant in a...

By Mark Kleiman

October 21, 2013 6:30 PM How Might Economics Education Be Improved?

Bob Frank opens his reflections on teaching economics with a discouraging examination of how badly we get our students to understand the really wonderful content of his discipline. Why do...

By Michael O'Hare

October 21, 2013 3:33 PM President Obama Can Ease Sanctions on Iran by Himself -- But That's Not the End of the Story

Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran Diplomatic talks between world leaders and Iran earlier this month ended on the highest note in decades. While Iran stopped short of pledging to freeze...

By Rachel Cohen

October 18, 2013 1:02 PM Why We Have Campaigns

Alex Roarty called Ted Cruz the 2016 Republican "frontrunner" today: The Republican establishment despises Ted Cruz. And that’s great news for the senator from Texas: It’s the most prominent sign...

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 18, 2013 12:36 PM Why Only Republicans Can Save Us From the Tea Party

There is only one route to restoring health to the American polity, comity to its dialogue, constructive and collegial approaches to governance, an end to extortion and a restoration of...

By Curtis Gans

October 17, 2013 2:36 PM Barriers to Marijuana Tax Revenue in Washington State

Prior to the 2012 election in which Washington voters passed a marijuana legalization initiative, state officials estimated that legalization would generate up to $560 million in new tax revenue in...

By Keith Humphreys

October 17, 2013 2:33 PM The House Vote Broken Down

So here's some quick analysis of the vote (h/t Christian Grose) in the U.S. House of Representatives tonight to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. I have only...

By Seth Masket

October 17, 2013 2:30 PM When Thieves Fall Out...

Part of the reason for the policy success of the Tea Party crowd is the willingness of the people who pretend to be the adult supervision in the GOP -...

By Mark Kleiman

October 16, 2013 10:54 AM Posner Reverses Himself on Voter ID

Richard Posner, who wrote the majority opinion upholding the Indiana voter-ID law, has figured out that he was wrong, and that his colleague who argued that such laws are primarily...

By Mark Kleiman

October 15, 2013 11:13 AM Why Government Haters Hate Government Shutdowns

In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman documents an important psychological phenomenon that is relevant to understanding reactions to the federal government shutdown. In a series of psychological studies, research...

By Keith Humphreys

October 15, 2013 10:51 AM Regional Differences Have Doomed the Tea Party

Outside the Deep South, Appalachia and interior West, the Tea Party is over.

By Colin Woodard

October 14, 2013 2:46 PM Europe Keeps Moving Right

I have written before about how many Americans perceive European governments as far more left-wing than they are today. This chart from The Economist is from June of 2011, but...

By Keith Humphreys

October 14, 2013 2:17 PM Not Only Is this GOP More Conservative than in 1995, It's More Conservative than in 2011

President Obama is in a heated confrontation with the Republican Party in the House. As we enter week two of the government shutdown, the media continues to make two comparisons:...

By Thad Hall

October 11, 2013 4:35 AM Is John Boehner Oliver Cromwell?

Oliver Cromwell, via Since the government shutdown began, commentators have had plenty to say about the unprecedented, constitutional implications of today’s fight between the House of Representatives and the President....

By Paul Gottlieb

October 10, 2013 1:21 PM The State of American Women

The Center for American Progress recently published an important study on the well-being of women in the United States. Entitled, “The State of Women in America: A 50-State Analysis of...

By Rachel Cohen

October 10, 2013 12:00 PM Gee, It's Almost Like National Review Is Full of Stone Deficit Hypocrites

As the second week of the shutdown grinds on, I thought some data collected by DePaul professor Wayne Steger for a project on hypocrisy in ideological appeals might be informative....

By Gregory Koger

October 10, 2013 11:50 AM The Partisan Squabble-Industrial Complex

Okay, it's mostly funny that Ted Cruz showed up at a meeting of Senate conservatives with a poll he himself commissioned that "shows" why his shutdown strategy is a brilliant...

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 09, 2013 2:16 PM The Government Shutdown Is Killing Antarctic Science

Antarctica, seen from a NASA aircraft, via There’s been a lot of news lately about the unexpected side-effects of the government shutdown, but here’s one that hasn’t garnered the attention...

By Rachel Cohen

October 09, 2013 1:03 PM Passing the Torch to the Same Generation

A fellow airplane passenger recently told me what he considered a tragic story. He had built a large company up from scratch over 40 years. As his 70th birthday approached,...

By Keith Humphreys

October 09, 2013 5:51 AM How Belgium Survived 20 Months Without a Government

If you think a few days of “government shutdown” in the U.S. is bad, consider that in 2010-2011, Belgium had a political crisis that prevented formation of a government for...

By Raymond A. Smith

October 08, 2013 1:02 PM It's Harry Reid's Alamo Too

Harry Reid's political interests are loosely aligned with President Obama's but they are not identical. (For one thing, Reid cares a lot more about the 2016 election.) It's striking that...

By James Wimberley

October 08, 2013 11:38 AM Obama’s Impeachment Would Probably Benefit Obama

In a normal political environment, it would be crazy and irresponsible to speculate about the possibility of Presidential impeachment. But in the current environment, it would be insouciant not to....

By Keith Humphreys

October 05, 2013 3:01 PM A Debt Ceiling Ace in the Hole?

With tensions over the government shutdown rising and the markets beginning to burn, The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky wrote yesterday that the Democrats just might have a workable plan-...

By Rachel Cohen

October 04, 2013 12:03 PM The Anti-Obamacare Hostage Taking Will Damage Future Policymaking

Unsurprisingly, there were human and computer glitches on the first day that Americans could sign up for insurance through Obamacare. Preparing for the launch of a large, complex federal...

By Keith Humphreys

October 03, 2013 2:07 PM Fournier Transform

DC's worst false-equivalence offender strikes again.

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 02, 2013 4:38 PM Enough Said: Played for Laughs

TV stardom can make an acting career. The best actors on the most successful series—think James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Elaine Benes--become not only popular characters but...

By Louis Barbash

October 01, 2013 9:55 PM The 'Fraidy Cat' Conference

OK, all through this thing, and all day Monday, I thought that a shutdown was relatively unlikely. Not impossible, but below 50/50. Why? Because it was pretty obvious that only...

By Jonathan Bernstein

October 01, 2013 2:18 PM Lack of Dragnet Surveillance Isn't Why Intelligence Agencies Missed 9/11

Senate Intelligence Chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), in an effort to protect the National Security Agency from a major reduction of its surveillance capabilities, is arguing that the U.S. could...

By Rachel Cohen

October 01, 2013 9:30 AM Shutting Down Our Innovation Future

The shutdown of the federal government has earned deserved derision from all corners of American society, and the negative impacts of the debacle will be felt by millions even if...

By Robert D. Atkinson

October 01, 2013 9:00 AM The GOP: “A Party of Nihilists, Anarchists, and Extortionists”?

Despite the massive gerrymander that allowed the Republicans to keep a majority of House seats with a minority of the votes, the “clean” Continuing Resolution (that is, one that doesn’t...

By Mark Kleiman

October 01, 2013 8:45 AM Shutdown Psychology Made Simple

The best explanation of the U.S. government shutdown points to two factors. The first involves information, or what people think they know. The second involves incentives, or what motivates our...

By Cass Sunstein

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