Ten Miles Square

November 2013 Archives

November 29, 2013 11:51 AM Against Symmetry: Republicans-love-being-lied-to Edition

Lots of us liberals felt sorry for Dan Rather for having used what turned out to be fabricated documents in reporting on George W. Bush’s derelictions of duty while using...

By Mark Kleiman

November 28, 2013 4:27 AM On the Dangers of Nominating Extremists

Just how costly is it for a party to nominate an ideological extremist? Or have our elections grown so polarized that every election is a base election and no one...

By Seth Masket

November 28, 2013 4:16 AM Beware the Crosstabs! Part the Second

Last week I took someone to task for placing too much weight on Gallup's reports of Latino voters supposedly disproportionate turn away from Barack Obama. One week more, and...it's disappearing...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 27, 2013 12:30 PM On Black Friday Date Creep

If you showed up at Walmart between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Thanksgiving, you could have ordered a Furby Boom! for $29, less than half the list price. It’s...

By Max Ehrenfreund

November 27, 2013 11:19 AM Thanks to Obamacare, One Million People Now Have Health Insurance

There’s one group of Americans who have a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving: the million who now have medical insurance for the first time, thanks to Barack Obama and the...

By James Wimberley

November 27, 2013 4:57 AM The Time I Nearly Convinced Myself I Had ESP

Keith Humphreys, more or less I am not a skeptic of psychic phenomenon on principle. We have solid scientific evidence that the human brain is capable of extraordinarily mysterious feats...

By Keith Humphreys

November 27, 2013 4:48 AM This Scene From "A Christmas Story" Explains Republican Filibuster Abuse

First, some prelude music: One aspect of last week's Senate showdown still puzzles me: why did the Senate Republicans filibuster judges when they knew that their behavior could lead to...

By Gregory Koger

November 27, 2013 4:47 AM Are We Overstating Alcohol's Health Benefits?

Everyone “knows” that two glasses of red wine a day are good for your health. But, as Will Rogers said, it’s not what you don’t know that hurts you: it’s...

By Mark Kleiman

November 26, 2013 11:30 AM Time for a Plan C

After years of fighting to make Plan B available without a prescription to girls of any age, the discouraging announcement that Norlevo, a European drug identical to Plan B,...

By Rachel Cohen

November 26, 2013 4:35 AM The Filibuster and Majoritarianism

Ezra Klein writes last week (my emphasis): So the question here isn't so much about the change in power now as it is in the change in power over time....

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 26, 2013 4:01 AM Department of Ironic Names, Drug Trafficking Bureau

The federal government runs a program aimed at aiding areas especially hard-hit by drug dealing. Each High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA, pronounced “high-da”) gets some money and a coordinator...

By Mark Kleiman

November 25, 2013 5:04 PM Humphreys’ Law of Captive Audience Rage as Applied to Cell Phones on Airplanes

In its finite wisdom, the Federal Communications Commission is mooting an end to the inflight cell phone ban on airplanes. The likely impact of such a move may at first...

By Keith Humphreys

November 25, 2013 3:09 PM The Iranian Deal

Congratulations to Secretary of State John Kerry and his boss. This seems like a remarkably good deal. According to the agreement, Iran would agree to stop enriching uranium beyond 5...

By Mark Kleiman

November 22, 2013 4:49 AM An Innovative Solution to Budgeting: Cut Deficits AND Grow the Economy

It is hard to fix a problem without a correct diagnosis. Unfortunately, the dominant economic theories in today’s budget debates fail at this essential task. They therefore prescribe the wrong...

By Rob Atkinson

November 21, 2013 4:59 AM When Does the Party Decide?

By the end of 2011, Mitt Romney had the overwhelming share of campaign money and endorsements on his side in his bid to become the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. To...

By Seth Masket

November 21, 2013 4:32 AM Nuke em, Harry!

At last, Harry Reid has concluded that the Senate cannot function with an effective 60-vote threshold for confirming nominees, when the his Republican colleagues are using their minority power to...

By Mark Kleiman

November 21, 2013 4:08 AM Filibuster Showdown Update

Greg Sargent is reporting that Harry Reid is going to move towards a showdown on judicial filibusters sometime in the next week, perhaps in the next couple of days. He...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 20, 2013 2:27 PM Lance Armstrong's Ignoble Last Stand

Yesterday, in a last ditch effort to avoid testifying in court to his doping history, Lance Armstrong agreed to pay a $3 million settlement to a Nebraska-based insurance company...

By Rachel Cohen

November 20, 2013 4:18 AM Elizabeth Warren Herself Probably Doesn't Know if She's Going to Run

I'm giving the credit for this to Noam Scheiber, although he cites another piece when he says: Here's why it doesn't matter if Warren or her fundraisers say she's not...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 20, 2013 4:17 AM The British Middle Class in One Short Paragraph

Harriet Walker, a columnist for The Independent, was feeling disappointed in herself for not confronting in a social situation someone who expressed political/cultural views she abhored. When she told her...

By Keith Humphreys

November 20, 2013 4:14 AM Mind the Crosstabs!

Pundits are still in the Obamacare failure frenzy mode, and it's leading them to make some rash judgments. Here's Josh Kraushaar: The president isn't just losing his skeptics from the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 19, 2013 10:04 AM The Ridiculous Obamacare Press Frenzy

Oy, Kraushaar. Oy, Galston. Oy, half the damn press corps. It's ugly out there, folks. The two that set me off in particular today are Josh Kraushaar'smassive overinterpretation of the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 19, 2013 4:40 AM How Much Subsidy Should Each Person Get for Health Insurance

For all the bubble and boil the past 4.5 years on health reform, there are basic questions that have not been asked clearly, much less answered. An important one is...

By Don Taylor

November 19, 2013 4:30 AM Healthcare.snfu? Not So Fast

The HHS has released its first detailed statistical report on ACA online applications processed in the first month (October 1 - November 2). Their summary below the jump:...

By James Wimberley

November 18, 2013 4:53 PM Virginia’s Gubernatorial Race: Debunking the “Rural vs Urban” Explanation

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that the real split in the Virginia governor’s race - and in opinion toward the Tea Party - is between the section...

By Colin Woodard

November 18, 2013 3:58 PM Teacher Transfer

Moving top teachers to poor schools can help. The trouble is convincing them to do it.

By Rachel Cohen

November 18, 2013 2:09 PM If You Want the American Dream, Go To Finland

As the Washington Monthly explains in its current cover package, the American dream—the notion of equal opportunity for all, the chance to make something of yourself—is dying. This is not...

By Blake Fleetwood

November 16, 2013 4:52 AM The Hell of Life Without Parole

Unlike some of my friends, I can imagine situations where the death penalty would be justified. (That doesn’t mean I think there’s a way to make it work under U.S....

By Mark Kleiman

November 16, 2013 4:51 AM Eric Holder Impeachment Odds

Well, not the president. Just the Attorney General. And not actual impeachment; just a few radicals planning to introduce articles of impeachment today. Ah, but this is as good an...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 15, 2013 4:32 AM Statistics on the Prevalence of Drug Users Can Be Misleading

Drug policy development and analysis often focuses on the prevalence of users, most commonly the proportion of the population that has used one drug or another in the past 30...

By Keith Humphreys

November 15, 2013 4:20 AM Gridlock and Polarization

National Journal is running a funny-looking chart of partisan polarization in the House with this explanation: If you're looking for a quick fact to explain congressional gridlock, it's this: In...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 15, 2013 4:00 AM The Obama Polling Collapse Is Massively Overstated

Sometimes, I think it helps to be a solid 1500 miles away from Washington. Or maybe it helps to have read a little history. Or maybe I'm just an old...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 14, 2013 4:24 AM What Is Going on With These Ridiculous Art Prices?

An interesting, but probably not immortal, Bacon sold for $142 million at auction yesterday. Note that it’s a tryptych, which might (depending on the droit d’integrité laws in effect where...

By Michael O'Hare

November 14, 2013 4:23 AM What Are Republicans Thinking on Filibusters?

At this point in the current filibuster showdown, most of the focus is on what the Democrats will do, with Republicans blockading three seats on the DC Circuit Court. It...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 14, 2013 4:22 AM What Kind of Genes Did William Jennings Bryan Have?

FREE COUNTDOWN WIDGET Larry Bartels has a nice discussion of genopolitics research over at The Monkey Cage today. In it, he contrasts my new book “Political Ideologies and Political...

By Hans Noel

November 13, 2013 4:17 AM Poisoning, Chemical Warfare, and the Controlled Substance Act

A woman tries (unsuccessfully) to poison her husband’s lover. The local prosecutor declines the case. The U.S. Attorney prosecutes under a statute implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention. The poisoner pleads...

By Mark Kleiman

November 13, 2013 4:04 AM Icarus in China

This post isn't about solar per se. Instead, it's about imagery and power. Check out thisphoto below the jump:...

By James Wimberley

November 11, 2013 5:08 PM A Simple Obamacare Reform Deal

I wrote the essence of what is below on October 31 at my home blog but forgot to post it here due to sugar haze. Since then, a few bubbles...

By Don Taylor

November 08, 2013 11:09 AM New Jersey: Regional Divide Reflected Even in Christie's Landslide

To the surprise of nobody, Republican Chris Christie was reelected governor of New Jersey in a landslide Tuesday. Commentators have rightly observed that a relative moderate like Christie can do...

By Colin Woodard

November 08, 2013 4:49 AM Only McAulliffe’s Polling was Accurate in Virginia

The closeness of the Virgina Governor’s race surprised many political observers. To understand why, take a look at this table, which was created from Real Clear Politics’ helpful summary of...

By Keith Humphreys

November 08, 2013 4:13 AM Are There Limits to Solar Efficiency?

Cambridge physics professor David Mackay is scientific adviser to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change. In his online best-nonseller Sustainable Energy - without the hot air, page 39,...

By James Wimberley

November 07, 2013 4:49 AM A New Option for Eliminating Methamphetamine Labs

The 2014 legislative cycle in a number of states will witness efforts to curtail the methamphetamine labs that cause so much death, destruction and environmental despoliation from West Virginia to...

By Keith Humphreys

November 07, 2013 4:46 AM Colorado's 2013 Initiatives: County-Level Analysis

All the returns aren't in yet, but the ones we have suggest that the vote on Amendment 66, a statewide education tax initiative, was a straight-up ideological one. Here's the...

By Seth Masket

November 07, 2013 4:30 AM Getting the Virginia Governor's Election Right: McAuliffe Won

The interpretation of the Virginia governor's race, with Terry McAuliffe defeating Ken Cuccinelli by (based on results so far) 2.5 percentage points, appears to be dominated by questions about why...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 06, 2013 3:22 PM Is the Tea Party Tide Receding?

Republicans won some and lost some in last night’s off-year elections, but the results were an unmitigated disaster for the Tea Party. In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie’s thumping reelection...

By Will Marshall

November 06, 2013 2:34 PM Virginia: Two Regional Cultures, Stark Differences in Gubernatorial Election

For two years now, I’ve been arguing in this space, in the pages of the Monthly, and elsewhere, that the Tea Party was doomed on the national stage because it’s...

By Colin Woodard

November 06, 2013 4:52 AM Could More Money Fix the Republican Party?

Jonathan Bernstein has been making a strong case that the major problem in American politics right now isn't polarization; it's that the Republican Party is broken. That is, our political...

By Seth Masket

November 06, 2013 4:50 AM Consultants and the Kludgepocalypse

One more on this topic and then I'll let it go. As I said in the Prospect piece, I pretty much agree with Steven Teles in his description of "Kludgeocracy"...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 05, 2013 4:11 AM In Defense of Kludgeocracy

My column today over at TAP is an argument with Steven Teles, who has been writing important things about the US policy-making process as a "Kludgeocracy." Generally, I think his...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 05, 2013 4:08 AM The Republican Establishment Returns to Life in Virginia

Marc Fisher and Laura Vozella have penned an intriguing extended piece on the problems faced by Tea Party candidate Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia Governor’s race. Key figures in the...

By Keith Humphreys

November 05, 2013 3:57 AM Snatching Food from the Mouths of Widows and Orphans

This is vile, it stinks to heaven. I used to be pretty good at teaching public policy in a non-partisan manner (we have some of my former students reading this...

By Michael O'Hare

November 04, 2013 2:56 PM Structural Reform of Time

If the claims that the twice-annual change from Standard to Daylight Saving causes bursts of auto and workplace accidents and sleep-related heath problems are true, it seems to me the...

By Mark Kleiman

November 04, 2013 2:51 PM Mass Violence and Overreaction

What we knew when the police and FBI started responding to the LAX shooting was that someone had walked into one of the terminals and shot several people. What the...

By Michael O'Hare

November 01, 2013 10:29 AM Violence Is a Regional Issue

In my book, American Nations, I argue that we’re not one country, but several, and have been since the colonial era. We may be bound up in a generally successful...

By Colin Woodard

November 01, 2013 4:57 AM Of Course Mitch McConnell Has "Blocked" the Senate 400 Times

Earlier this week, Glenn Kessler wrote one of the puzzling fact-check columns I've seen in a while. It was over a claim by Democratic challenger Allison Lundergan Grimes that Mitch...

By Jonathan Bernstein

November 01, 2013 4:56 AM The FDA’s Mixed Signals on Pain Pill Policy

Prescription opioids like hydrocodone are remarkably useful for acute pain relief but are also capable of fomenting addiction and overdose. The most effective public policies regarding these medications keeps both...

By Keith Humphreys

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