Ten Miles Square

December 2013 Archives

December 30, 2013 10:03 AM The Most Disgraceful Practice in American Politics Today

It's called "targeted demobilization of minority voters." The phrase come from Perspectives on Politics, a leading journal published by the American Political Science Association. December’s issue includes a sobering article...

By Harold Pollack

December 30, 2013 10:01 AM What I Did Right and Wrong in My First Experience with a Helicopter Parent

Many years ago, I taught my first-ever university course. It resulted in my first contact with what is now widely termed a helicopter parent (yes, we had a few even...

By Keith Humphreys

December 28, 2013 9:06 AM Weekend Film Recommendation: Two Adaptations of A Christmas Carol

RBC Weekend Film Recommendation is on holiday break this week, but here are two previously recommended movies well worth revisiting at this time of year: Scrooge: Alastair Sim and Michael...

By Keith Humphreys

December 28, 2013 9:03 AM Rick Altice Interviewed

When I was a doctoral student, I wrote a desk-jockey dissertation. I analyzed a gigantic dataset to examine informal economic transfers within low-income families. Then I took a Yale postdoc....

By Harold Pollack

December 27, 2013 9:11 AM George Will backs plasma-fusion research

George Will thinks we should put more money in to plasma-fusion research. He may well be right. Obviously he would be right if for $30 billion we could have cost-competitive...

By Mark Kleiman

December 26, 2013 11:03 AM How to Legalize Cannabis

Debating whether to legalize pot is increasingly pointless. Unless there’s an unexpected shock to public opinion, it’s going to happen, and sooner rather than later. The important debate now is...

By Mark Kleiman

December 26, 2013 10:57 AM Should Ginsberg Retire?

I've got to disagree with Emily Bazelon's take on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Bazelon is defending Ginsburg's right to stay on the Supreme Court from a number of legal and political...

By Seth Masket

December 25, 2013 9:18 AM A Good Christmas Present?

On December 25th and 26th, Amazon will be giving away free e-book copies of my Fundamentals of Environmental Economics. This is not your typical textbook. This book presents many new...

By Matthew Kahn

December 25, 2013 9:13 AM Book recommendation: Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere

I’ve just finished reading Neverwhere for the third time since I picked it up at random in a used-book store four months ago. Gaiman, apparently, is rather well-known, but I’d...

By Mark Kleiman

December 25, 2013 9:05 AM A Shameful Christmas Memory

Some part of me cringes internally with the approach of Yuletide because it reminds me of an inexcusable social gaffe I committed on Christmas Day a few years ago. They...

By Keith Humphreys

December 24, 2013 4:59 AM Urban Planning and Social Capital

One of the things that first struck me when I came to Berkeley was how porous the campus culture was compared to Harvard. At the Kennedy School, I had spent...

By Michael O'Hare

December 24, 2013 4:57 AM Key and Peele Nail It on Bullying

At least this clip is on-the-money regarding one channel to school bullying and violence…. (h/t Kevin Carey)....

By Harold Pollack

December 23, 2013 7:53 PM Once More on Strategic Judicial Retirements

I one of those who have been writing for quite a while that if Breyer and Ginsburg care primarily about advancing the positions they've fought for on the Court, the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 23, 2013 7:52 PM Understanding and Reducing Federal Prison Overcrowding

The Department of Justice’s Inspector General has released a report highlighting challenges within the federal prison system. The IG correctly identifies overcrowding as a root cause of numerous other problems,...

By Keith Humphreys

December 20, 2013 4:42 AM Christie's Henchmen Lawyer Up

The Chris Christie/Ft. Lee/George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal is now moving a warp speed. Now we’ve taken what may be the fatal next step, from “overblown,” “mistakes were made,”...

By Mark Kleiman

December 20, 2013 4:25 AM Makers v Takers in Health Insurance

Peder Zane laments that Obamacare has turned his family into takers in the health insurance realm. My post shows the subsidy different groups now get for health insurance, with the...

By Don Taylor

December 19, 2013 4:36 PM What If the US Had a Multiparty System Like Germany’s?

With the U.S. still barely recovered from to al partisan gridlock and political dysfunction, Germany has once again formed a “grand coalition” bringing together the two main center-right and center-left...

By Raymond A. Smith

December 19, 2013 4:42 AM Do Any Non-Medicare Recipients Want the Democratic Presidential Nomination?

Jerry Brown, aged 75, is getting some attention as a possible Democratic presidential candidate in 2016, joining Elizabeth Warren (age 64), Hillary Clinton (age 66) and Joe Biden (age 71)....

By Keith Humphreys

December 19, 2013 4:17 AM The 3 Wrongest Things About Those Ubiquitous Brain-Scan Pictures

Last week I interviewed a self-proclaimed expert on the application of brain research to the classroom. Within minutes this person had mentioned the ideas of “mirror neurons,” and the...

By Anya Kamenetz

December 18, 2013 4:44 AM The High Cost of Mistreating the Federal Civil Service

Sometimes the forced brevity of Twitter has very good results. Harold Pollack (@haroldpollack, for those of you keeping score at home) put up a Tweet a few days ago that...

By Mark Kleiman

December 18, 2013 4:39 AM Republicans Now Accidentally In Favor of Good Governance

I'm not sure whether it was in response to my earlier item or not, but Andrew Sprung tweets: So constructive to have all hands in a major political party poised...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 18, 2013 4:02 AM Gridlock Is a Constitutional Feature

Peter Aldhous has a nice article up at Medium about the persistence of polarization in American politics. I particularly recommend it because he begins with journalistic/reformist claim that gridlock has...

By Seth Masket

December 17, 2013 9:13 AM So-Bad-It's-Good Film Recommendation: The Fountainhead

Keith appears not to have reviewed this pearl, so here goes: I came upon this on TCM recently. A movie about a heroic architect, with Coop and Patricia Neal, what...

By Michael O'Hare

December 17, 2013 9:09 AM Letter to the Washington Post’s Public Editor Regarding Poor Science Reporting

I emailed this to the Washington Post’s Public Editor 5 weeks ago, and was disappointed to get not even a perfunctory answer. Dear Mr. Feaver, As a professor of psychiatry...

By Keith Humphreys

December 17, 2013 9:07 AM Nobody Tell Megyn Kelly that Jews Didn't Used to Be "White"

Yes, we all know that Megyn Kelly is dreaming of a white Christmas, with a white Santa and a white Jesus. And yes, she’s collecting the mockery she deserves. But...

By Mark Kleiman

December 16, 2013 12:32 PM How North Carolina Could (sorta) Have Universal Coverage by 2016

Could North Carolina became the first State to achieve universal health insurance coverage? A student asked me recently what it would take financially to do so, and how it could...

By Don Taylor

December 14, 2013 4:25 AM Traditional Terrible Customer Service, Courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois

There’s not much more to my post than the headline: I’ve just concluded my sixth phone call with BCBS of Illinois (having been hung up on the first five times...

By Kelly Kleiman

December 14, 2013 4:22 AM The Republican Party is not a Suicide Pact

Jamelle Bouie has a very nice response to William Galston and Elaine Kamarck's recent essay "The New Politics of Evasion." Galston and Kamarck describe the Republicans as being on the...

By Seth Masket

December 14, 2013 4:21 AM Yeah, Bipartisanship Isn't About To Break Out

Brian Beutler has this right: Ever since he became speaker, Boehner has been reluctant to forge coalitions with Democrats, particularly when Democrats end up controlling the policy and supplying the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 13, 2013 4:03 PM Nelson Mandela: (Almost) the Last of the Lions

The passing of Nelson Mandela marks nearly the end of the generation of great leaders who presided over the astonishing half-decade of 1989-1994, when the post-World War II status quo...

By Raymond A. Smith

December 13, 2013 4:25 AM Checking in on the First Obamacare Million

On November 28 I welcomed the first million enrollees under ACA, whether to marketplace policies or Medicaid/SCHIP. The post was based on the fragmentary data available at the time, brought...

By James Wimberley

December 13, 2013 4:19 AM Political Dogs that Haven't Barked

Right to it: 1. Ross Douthat mentioned this one today: as far as we know, it turns out that employers are not dumping their employees on the exchanges. At least...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 12, 2013 4:54 AM Uruguay to Legalize Pot

I dare say Mark will want to comment on this, but I’ll beat him to the punch with the news. Uruguay’s Senate has passed the marijuana legalization law by a...

By James Wimberley

December 12, 2013 4:14 AM Conservatives' Weird Definition of Health Insurance "Benefit"

Jonathan Chait: The problem here is that their definition of who would “benefit” is exceedingly narrow. You “benefit,” by his way of thinking, only if your actuarial costs exceed your...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 12, 2013 3:57 AM Who Is the Senior Republican Funeral Exploiter?

I don't really have anything to say about this, other than to say that it's not the first time. Or the second time. In fact, the evidence strongly suggests that...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 11, 2013 12:38 PM An Interview with Patrick Howley, Daily Caller Sexpert

Women just keep voting for Democrats, who can tell why?

By Samuel Knight

December 11, 2013 4:58 AM Post-Nuclear Option, Republicans Haven't Gone on an Obstruction Binge--Yet

While waiting for the budget deal, Senate Democrats are attempting to get through a bunch of nominations before the end of the session. Republicans this morning are forcing extra votes,...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 11, 2013 4:53 AM I Like Awards, Despite Their Dark Side

I was in a meeting of the board of an academic professional society and someone proposed that an annual award be created to acknowledge scholarly achievement. To my surprise, one...

By Keith Humphreys

December 10, 2013 2:09 PM Republicans' Devious New Plan to Kick the Poor

Now they're trying to make it harder for families on food stamps to save money.

By Rachel Cohen

December 10, 2013 1:22 PM Did Obama Change His Mind on Immigration Reform?

That depends on what "comprehensive" means.

By Peggy Orchowski

December 10, 2013 4:46 AM Gun Control Didn't Ruin Obama's Second Term

Alex Seitz-Wald test-drives what could easily become a new liberal fantasy: The Connecticut massacre set in motion a cascade of events that led the White House to burn through its...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 10, 2013 4:05 AM Fictitious Radio Astronomers to Political Scientists: You Are Not Alone

I recently re-watched "Contact" (1997) and was surprised how relevant it was to current issues, including religious terrorism and the conflict between faith and empiricism. But what really jumped...

By Seth Masket

December 10, 2013 4:00 AM Why Some "Straight" Journalists Are Unvarnished Deficit Scolds

Kevin Drum is absolutely right in his response to Lori Montgomery's WaPo story today about budget negotiations: There's nothing wrong with talking about the federal deficit in a story about...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 09, 2013 8:11 AM Another Outrage of the Day Turns Out Not To Have Happened

Remember the lesbian waitress who didn’t get a tip from a couple who hated her “lifestyle”? Remember the story going viral and all the talking heads and bloggers nattering on...

By Keith Humphreys

December 06, 2013 4:38 AM Hoping to Save the Filibuster

Yes, this is most certainly futile: Republicans aren't going to do it, and most people who care don't want it to happen anyway. But I'd like to see the filibuster...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 06, 2013 4:35 AM Chris Cilliza Is Still Wrong About the Filibuster

I'll join those who are impressed that Chris Cillizza went back toassess why he was wrong when he asserted during the summer that the Senate would never go nuclear. Acknowledging...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 06, 2013 4:30 AM Obamacare Repeal Is Still Dead

A few bullet points on health care reform at the start of December... *The brutal truth of "repeal" is that whatever the politics, every day a flat-out repeal of the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 05, 2013 4:27 AM Obamacare Is Becoming a Normal Political Issue

I made the point yesterday that what we're starting to see is the re-emergence of health care as a normal political issue, along with the end fight over passing and...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 05, 2013 4:12 AM David Gergen Calls for More David Gergens

David Gergen is the prototypical Washington wise man, an experienced operative who has served under four presidents and was famously brought into the Clinton White House to provide more experienced...

By Brendan Nyhan

December 05, 2013 4:09 AM Eating the Seed Corn in the Health Research World

Michael White’s essay on the dismal state of the National Institutes of Health is a must-read for anyone who cares about progress in medical and public health research. The positive...

By Keith Humphreys

December 04, 2013 4:15 AM Nobody Cared About George HW Bush's Tax Pledge

I did an item today about today's calls for Obama to start firing people willy-nilly that was probably not nearly harsh enough. But the one thing I left out that...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 04, 2013 4:13 AM Is "No Labels" Really Centrist?

The Boston Globe recently ran a profile of the bipartisan advocacy group No Labels, which purports to help Washington overcome gridlock and get members of Congress working together across party...

By Seth Masket

December 04, 2013 4:09 AM In Defense of Partisan Hack Pundits

Jonathan Chait argued something yesterday that I think is wrong: [L]et me reveal a couple professional secrets here. Intellectual consistency is a basic value for political commentators. You want to...

By Jonathan Bernstein

December 03, 2013 2:26 PM How We Talk About Michelle Obama

Over Thanksgiving break I spent some time thinking about the reactions to Michelle Cottle’s controversial Politico Magazine piece criticizing Michelle Obama for acting as an advocate for a relatively...

By Rachel Cohen

December 02, 2013 4:48 AM My Obamacare Glitch Is Fixed

I tweeted about this last night, but why not make a post out of it: I've been stuck at the same place at Healthcare.gov since mid or late October, and...

By Jonathan Bernstein

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