Ten Miles Square

January 2014 Archives

January 31, 2014 12:04 PM Henry Waxman and the Substitute Party

Rep. Henry Waxman, who has represented West Los Angeles in the Congress for four decades, has announced that he will retire at the end of this term. Waxman is justifiably...

By Seth Masket

January 31, 2014 11:40 AM The Tea Party Gets Something Right

The conservative case for sentencing reform grows even stronger.

By David Dagan

January 31, 2014 10:55 AM Private Score of Senate Republican Health Proposal

Brad Flansbaum sent me a link to a private score of PCARE, the reform plan released on Monday by Republican Sens. Burr, Coburn, and Hatch. I don’t know the Center...

By Don Taylor

January 30, 2014 2:26 PM Engineering Porn On Its Way East

One of the specialized delights of crossing the Bay Bridge while its new eastern span was under construction was seeing the Left Coast Lifter at work. Especially in a tech...

By Michael O'Hare

January 30, 2014 4:54 AM The Link Between Overcrowded Prisons and a Certain Terribly Dangerous Drug

Over the few months, I have given some talks about public policies that could reduce the extraordinary number of Americans who are in state or federal prison. The audiences in...

By Keith Humphreys

January 30, 2014 4:52 AM Graphics and Newspaper Editing

One of the results of the economic squeeze on newspapers has been a loss of editorial talent, including copy-editing (has anyone else noticed how rough and sloppy the prose is...

By Michael O'Hare

January 29, 2014 3:38 PM Davos, Now with Refugee Tourism

There is nothing quite like plutocratic whines from the global .01%. Take this gem from the head of a “European consumer goods company” quoted by the New York Times Dealbook...

By Ari Rabin-Havt

January 29, 2014 12:46 PM Pete Seeger and the Rule of “De Mortuis”

I see that “conservatives”(Howard Husok and Scott Johnson, for example) are showing their respect for traditional values by pissing on Pete Seeger’s grave before it’s even been dug. Like Mike...

By Mark Kleiman

January 29, 2014 12:26 PM Today's One Percenters Approaching French Aristocrat Levels of Blithe Self-Parody

I don’t know who this toad Kevin O’Leary is, but somewhere in the great media world he has a job opining on the global situation. I don’t know what the...

By Jamie Malanowski

January 29, 2014 4:20 AM Responding to the President, 80s Style

Last night, after the President's State of the Union address, Republicans offered not one, not two, but three separate responses. This raises the question: what should they look like? How...

By Seth Masket

January 28, 2014 4:11 PM The State of the Union Response Game: Parties as Solutions to a Coordination Problem

This evening will display American political parties in full sway. After (or during!) the State of the Union speech and the Republican rebuttal, legislators and party spokespersons will rush to...

By Gregory Koger

January 28, 2014 4:09 PM RIP Pete Seeger

When someone like this dies at 94, working for what he thought was right to the very end, I don’t think there’s anything to be sad about. Seeger’s political judgment...

By Michael O'Hare

January 28, 2014 8:41 AM Muddling Governments Can Be Good Governments

Governments often face unenviable tasks that border on the impossible, given particularly thorny political and administrative complexities. Commentators typically deride governments when they fail in their initial attempts to address...

By Matt Andrews

January 27, 2014 7:21 PM China's Li Na First Asian Woman to Win the Australian Open

On Saturday, China’s Li Na became the first Asian woman to win the Australian Open. The audience at Li’s acceptance speech was greatly entertained by her sense of humor...

By Summer Jiang

January 27, 2014 12:54 PM Three Questions About the Latest "Accidental" Gun Nut Killing Spree

Since when seconds count the police are minutes away, a brave and self-reliant West Virginia homeowner engaged in the sort of defensive gun use that proves the value of an...

By Mark Kleiman

January 27, 2014 12:47 PM College Sports Now Poaching Ninth Graders, Apparently

This is completely crazy, not to mention abusive. A ninth-grader is committing to a college because of a soccer scholarship. It verges on the immorality of arranged child marriages: this...

By Michael O'Hare

January 27, 2014 12:40 PM Behold the Hideous Ralph Lauren US Olympic Team Uniforms

There’s plenty to not like about how the Olympics have evolved: nationalism, commercialization, appropriation by vile host regimes…and now we’re going to be biting our fingernails right through February waiting...

By Michael O'Hare

January 25, 2014 4:55 AM Weekend Film Recommendation: Railroaded!

I have praised Anthony Mann’s many noir westerns with Jimmy Stewart here at RBC, but have never recommended any of his more traditional urban noirs. Let me rectify that by pointing...

By Keith Humphreys

January 24, 2014 3:48 PM Democrats are United, Republicans are Divided. So What?

One shouldn't read too much into party tea leaves, but those leaves can be so damned unsubtle at times. Yesterday, for example, we learned that the nation's largest left-leaning SuperPAC,...

By Seth Masket

January 24, 2014 3:45 PM Europe Falling Down on Climate

The European Union is flaking on climate change, because doing anything about it will hurt GDP in the short run. This is particularly nuts for them, because Europe is a...

By Michael O'Hare

January 22, 2014 12:33 PM Why Does a Governor Want Expensive Status Symbols?

I won’t pretend to be sad about the indictment of former VA Governor Bob McDonnell on corruption charges. If I have any compassion to spare, I’ll use it on the...

By Mark Kleiman

January 22, 2014 12:24 PM Is Cannabis Addictive?

Ask this woman. My dad will never stop smoking pot. Sometimes I wonder about the man he might have been, and the lives we all might have had, if he’d...

By Mark Kleiman

January 22, 2014 12:22 PM Marginal Labor Income Tax Rates under the ACA

I was a discussant of Casey Mulligan’s paper Average Marginal Labor Income Tax Rates Under the ACA at the UNC Tax Symposium hosted in Chapel Hill, NC by Doug Shackelford...

By Don Taylor

January 21, 2014 2:07 PM U.S. Marijuana Possession Enforcement Intensity is Down Over 40%

Future historians of drug policy will appropriately regard the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado as a significant reduction in U.S. law enforcement’s role in cannabis regulation....

By Keith Humphreys

January 21, 2014 12:53 PM From the Beltway to the Train Tracks: With Iran in Mind

Pictured: the author What do people do when they get out of government-related work? If they came to the profession with hopes of changing the world for the better, some...

By Julie Ershadi

January 21, 2014 4:49 AM Journalism vs. Hackery

Steve Kornacki is a reporter. Jennifer Rubin is a partisan hack. So is Stuart Rothenberg. So is Ruben Navarette. And of course Rich Lowry. Query: Is there anyone telling us...

By Mark Kleiman

January 21, 2014 4:44 AM On Shutting Off Blog Comment Sections

A few months ago, the editors of Popular Science’s blog announced the following change in policy: Comments can be bad for science. That’s why, here at PopularScience.com, we’re shutting them...

By Keith Humphreys

January 17, 2014 3:12 PM Weekend Film Recommendation: The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

What the hell do you think spies are? Moral philosophers measuring everything they do against the word of God or Karl Marx? They’re not! They’re just a bunch of...

By Keith Humphreys

January 17, 2014 8:11 AM Dissecting Christie's Latest Polling Numbers

Some political reporters have been parsing poll questions about whether Conegate makes people think better or worse of Gov. Soprano, and Christie’s cheerleaders are rejoicing over the results. I never...

By Mark Kleiman

January 16, 2014 4:45 AM How to Make Money in Marijuana Investing: Fleece Investors

John McDuling in Quartz: “Investing in marijuana stocks is a lot more dangerous than smoking marijuana.” There is a ton of money to be made in the cannabis business: by...

By Mark Kleiman

January 16, 2014 4:43 AM Anti-Christ Legions of the Underworld

… ought to be the name of a Heavy Metal band. But it’s actually how a spokesman for Colorado Right to Life described the ACLU, for its support of the...

By Mark Kleiman

January 16, 2014 3:37 AM The Political Geography of Obamacare

As you all know, December was an excellent month for the ACA exchanges, federal and state. The official HHS totals at 28 December were 2.15 million for market policies, 1.58...

By James Wimberley

January 15, 2014 10:21 AM Takeaways from the Latest in Cannabis Legalization Polling

No big surprises from the cannabis questions in the latest CNN-ORC poll. It looks as if the Gallup numbers from earlier in the year (58 for legalization, 39 against) were...

By Mark Kleiman

January 15, 2014 10:04 AM Time to Yell at Senate Democrats Who Support the Iran Sanctions Bill

If you’re a constituent of, of contributor to, Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (CO), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Cory Booker (N.J), Ben Cardin (Md.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.),...

By Mark Kleiman

January 15, 2014 4:30 AM Real Estate Opportunities Provided by Climate Change?

Justin Gillis focuses on which U.S Eastern coastal areas are at increased flood risk due to rising sea levels. People have to live somewhere. If specific areas such as Norfolk...

By Matthew Kahn

January 14, 2014 5:34 PM The Most Dangerous Part of The New Iran Sanctions

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Barack Obama Imagine this: Sometime in the next year, President Barack Obama travels to Geneva and sits down at an ornate table in...

By Ali Gharib

January 14, 2014 4:53 AM The Restaurant Industry's Strange Practice of Not Writing Important Things Down

At some point in my adult life, many people in the restaurant industry were seized by the idea that wait staff should not write down customers’ orders. I wonder where...

By Keith Humphreys

January 13, 2014 3:49 PM The Marxist plot Against West Virginia

When a company called Freedom Enterprises (no, really) poisons the water supply for 300,000 people by carelessly allowing thousands of gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol to leak into the water supply...

By Mark Kleiman

January 13, 2014 3:46 PM Don't Look Now, but This is the Golden Age of American Politics

Frances Lee, writing as part of the Monkey Cage's wonderful series on polarization, notes that we are living in an era of incredible competition between the two major parties nationally:...

By Seth Masket

January 13, 2014 1:26 PM Thank Local News for the Bridgegate Story

Unfortunately, few small towns have that kind of coverage anymore.

By Steven Waldman

January 10, 2014 12:13 PM J. Edgar Hoover and the WASPocracy

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

By Mark Kleiman

January 10, 2014 12:11 PM Chris Christie at Canossa

Hard to see how Christie survives the Fort Lee episode now. In his presser yesterday, we learned that for four months, he was unable to learn anything about the little...

By Michael O'Hare

January 10, 2014 4:38 AM Weekend Film Recommendation: Strange Days

Before Kathryn Bigelow became one of Hollywood’s hot tickets for films like The Hurt Locker (2008), and before her public spat with James Cameron, she turned out some fairly unknown...

By Johann Koehler

January 09, 2014 2:42 PM Fast Track Dead on Arrival?

Trying to sneak the Trans-Pacific Partnership past normal Congressional procedure won’t work.

By Ari Rabin-Havt

January 09, 2014 12:00 PM Duck Decoy

How the entertainment industry made the Duck Dynasty family into rednecks.

By Daniel Luzer

January 09, 2014 4:08 AM Christie lied. An old lady died.

Turns out my earlier plea for someone to invest some shoe leather into finding people who were seriously damaged by Conegate has been answered. Emergency responders were delayed in attending...

By Mark Kleiman

January 09, 2014 4:04 AM “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”

That was an email from Bridget Anne Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff in Chris Christie’s office, to David Wildstein, Christie’s Port Authority patronage appointee, two weeks before Wildstein gridlocked Ft....

By Mark Kleiman

January 08, 2014 4:21 AM Parties in a Postmaterialist Age

Over the holidays, I got into an extended discussion with my Twitter buddy Xenocrypt about the likely impact on the 2016 election of three “hot” issues: same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization, and...

By Richard Skinner

January 07, 2014 12:39 PM A Climate Reality Check

I’m not qualified to judge whether the sale of Climate Corporation to Monsanto is a Good Thing or a Bad Thing, or how much of the “Monsatan” label Monsanto has...

By Mark Kleiman

January 07, 2014 12:33 PM How to Push Phony Poll Numbers in the Public Square

A Vanderbilt University poll has shown that regardless of political affiliation, Tennesseeans strongly support returning Sudafed and other cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine (PSE) to prescription-only status. This policy has...

By Keith Humphreys

January 06, 2014 9:55 PM Cannabis Legalization: Compared to What?

David Brooks and Ruth Marcus both have anti-cannabis legalization essays up. Brooks doesn’t mention 650,000 arrests a year, 40,000 people behind bars at any one time, or $35 billion in...

By Mark Kleiman

January 05, 2014 9:58 PM Hey Pot Prohibitionists: Should We Also Ban College Football?

Question for David Brooks, Ruth Marcus, Joe Scarborough, and other opponents of cannabis legalization: It seems likely that very heavy cannabis use starting in adolescence and continuing for many years...

By Mark Kleiman

January 03, 2014 6:47 PM Snowplow Accountability in NYC

With all its problems, New York is a well-run city that keeps coming up with really creative public policy. My favorite is the dog program that allows pooches off-leash in...

By Michael O'Hare

January 03, 2014 10:05 AM If You Like Your Reduced ER Use, You Can Keep It

The latest results are in from the great Oregon Health Insurance Experiment (OHIE). In a randomized experiment, individuals offered Medicaid coverage showed higher rates of emergency department (ED) use than...

By Harold Pollack

January 03, 2014 10:00 AM Skepticism about TED Talks

TED of course stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and I’ll talk a bit about all three. I Think TED actually stands for: middlebrow megachurch infotainment. That’s one of the choice...

By Keith Humphreys

January 02, 2014 9:41 AM U.S. Prison Admissions are at a Two-Decade Low

Like most people who write about trends in incarceration, I generally focus on how the size and nature of the entire U.S. prison population changes from year to year (e.g.,...

By Keith Humphreys

January 02, 2014 9:37 AM Ambushed by a Drug Policy Fanatic

Anyone who has followed the drug threads on RBC will have noticed the presence of opinionated, stubborn, ignorant, irrational, and angry advocates of drug legalization. That might create a false...

By Mark Kleiman

January 02, 2014 9:15 AM Curtorial Malpractice

Chris Burden put himself on the map a few decades ago with some rather puerile enactments of risk. He had himself shot in the arm with a .22, and nailed...

By Michael O'Hare

January 01, 2014 11:22 AM My New Year's Day Menu

I was watching Anthony Bourdain “Parts Unknown-Sicily” the other night, and was amazed at how similar the scene where they slaughtered the pig and then prepared the meat was to...

By Don Taylor

January 01, 2014 11:05 AM Republicans Were *This* Close to Nationalizing the Means of Production

Darren Samuelsohn has a fascinating piece of alt-history up at Politico, arguing that congressional Republicans would have backed a broad range of big government initiatives if not for the challenged...

By Seth Masket

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