Ten Miles Square

April 2014 Archives

April 30, 2014 6:20 PM The Fetus of Monarchy? Why the Bush and Clinton dynasties would be different

In a thought-provoking piece on Monday, Brendan Nyhan suggests, “Maybe it’s time for Americans to admit that we like the familiar faces and names of politicians from famous families.” And...

By Julia Azari

April 30, 2014 12:13 PM Moderate Candidates' Campaigns Are Expensive - Very Expensive

Winning or defending a seat in Congress is more expensive than ever. And among Democrats at least, it’s especially pricey for Congressional candidates who run as “moderates.” In 2012, self-described...

By Anne Kim

April 30, 2014 12:10 PM A Blue Ribbon Commission to Study Marijuana Legalization

It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which California voters don’t legalize recreational marijuana in the near future. But as Jonathan Rauch put it, marijuana legalization is lot more like...

By Keith Humphreys

April 30, 2014 9:18 AM Where Did the Objective Press Come From? Weirdly Enough, from the Party System

As Jonathan Ladd noted in his wonderful post on Colbert and Stewart, American journalism changed substantially between the 19th and 20th century. While it was common for newspapers to be...

By Seth Masket

April 29, 2014 11:09 PM A Parade of Improbabilities

Felix Gilman’s new book, The Revolutions is out (Powells, Amazon) . It’s very, very good. The novel starts from the strange blend of middle-class self improvement, encounter with (and...

By Henry Farrell

April 29, 2014 2:12 PM Catch of the Day: Fauxbamacare!

Nice catch by Ezra Klein, who looks at New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown’s health-care proposal and sees…"Fauxbamacare!” Brown is picking up on a real opportunity here. The polls around...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 29, 2014 11:19 AM Everyone Is Misreading Pope Francis on Inequality

“Inequality is the root of social evil,” Pope Francis wrote in a Twitter post yesterday, with words that thrilled the left worldwide more than anything he had said since denouncing...

By Ramesh Ponnuru

April 29, 2014 9:27 AM Towards a Political Geography of Baseball

Facebook recently did a study of baseball fandom on-line, including a map of Facebookers’ favorite teams. Upshot did it even better, producing a map that goes down to the zip-code...

By Richard Skinner

April 28, 2014 4:20 PM Will Inexperience Count in 2016?

This may be fun trivia and nothing more, but if Ted Cruz, Rand Paul or Elizabeth Warren were to win a presidential nomination, they would each score a kind of...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 28, 2014 9:21 AM You Can't Kick Nixon Around For Pot Crackdowns and Mass Incarceration

At the Atlantic, David Graham has written one of countless articles accusing Richard Nixon of starting the war on marijuana: Though pot was still legal as the 1970s dawned, Nixon...

By Keith Humphreys

April 27, 2014 7:07 PM "The Late Soviet Scenario"

Pope Francis made news with a sort-of-private phone call to an Argentine woman, whom he permitted to take communion despite her marriage to a divorced man. Once again, the pope...

By Harold Pollack

April 26, 2014 7:29 PM Washington State Court of Appeals Bans Medical Marijuana Stores

I completely failed to see this one coming. A brief history lesson: Washington State has had a medical marijuana law since 1998. In 2011, the legislature passed a bill allowing...

By Mark Kleiman

April 26, 2014 5:06 PM Cannabis, Bill Bennett, and the Technique of Selective Reading

A friend emails, “Bill Bennett read your book … or, at least, every other page of it.” Well, yes. Bennett and his sidekick Christopher Beach, in using the Caulkins et...

By Mark Kleiman

April 25, 2014 5:58 PM Weekend Film Recommendation: Boomerang!

The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict. “April of Dana Andrews” ends with a recommendation of a first-rate docudrama he made at the peak...

By Keith Humphreys

April 25, 2014 5:55 PM Chris Christie Is No Mitt Romney, Unfortunately

Sean Trende today makes a key point about assessing presidential nomination contests: “No candidate comes to an election with a perfect resume -- certainly not Bill Clinton, certainly not George...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 25, 2014 2:05 PM Will the GOP Declare War on Rand Paul?

If Jeb Bush’s biggest vulnerability may be immigration, Rand Paul’s leading problem as a presidential aspirant is his views on foreign policy. Despite attempts to recast himself as a “realist,”...

By Richard Skinner

April 25, 2014 9:56 AM John Boehner is a Ridiculous Man

As soon as I saw what John Boehner had done, I knew that the folks at Red State would lose their minds. While speaking at the Middletown, Ohio, Rotary Club,...

By Martin Longman

April 25, 2014 8:52 AM Lead and Crime: A Hole in the Theory

Kevin Drum, whose “Criminal Element” essay linking violence rates to lead exposure has been (as it deserves to be) extraordinarily influential, links to a BBC story in which a more-than-usually-dim...

By Mark Kleiman

April 24, 2014 2:14 PM Why Neither Party Has a Political Edge

What Jonathan Chait says seems to be becoming conventional wisdom. That doesn’t make it true: We appear to have entered a period in which Democrats command a normal advantage in...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 24, 2014 10:38 AM Bundy's Racist Rant and the Partisan Asymmetry in Motivated Cognition

Cliven Bundy, right-wing hero, is a howling racist. Good to watch Rand Paul and Greg Abbott backpedaling now. But wasn’t it enough that Bundy denied the jurisdiction of the government...

By Mark Kleiman

April 23, 2014 9:37 PM Vice President Rand Paul?

Senator Rand Paul's libertarianism (support for drastically smaller government and suspicion of foreign entanglements and the security state) sets him apart from the rest of the potential Republican candidates for...

By Ramesh Ponnuru

April 23, 2014 1:37 PM Was Paul Ryan A New Kind of V.P. Candidate?

The Ryan budget is in the news once again, attracting questions about the issues that will shape the 2014 midterms. Worth mentioning, however, is that only in the last 20...

By Julia Azari

April 23, 2014 12:57 PM Piketty's Tax Hikes Won't Help the Middle Class

I apologize in advance, because I am going to talk about a book that I have not yet read. To be clear, I intend to read Thomas Piketty’s "Capital in...

By Megan McArdle

April 23, 2014 10:19 AM Why We Struggle to Accept the Dual Nature of Addicted Criminal Offenders

An elderly man is found unconscious at the wheel of his idling car in the median strip of a busy interstate. Miraculously, he struck no other vehicle when he careered...

By Keith Humphreys

April 22, 2014 3:29 PM Happy Krauthammer Day

The day has rolled around again when we celebrate Charles Krauthammer’s linking of his, and his administration friends’ credibility to a confident prediction about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Hans...

By Henry Farrell

April 22, 2014 12:48 PM Max Weber's Birthday

Max Weber was born 150 years ago today. People should read his two seminal essays, Science as a Vocation, and Politics as a Vocation (PDFs), if they haven’t already. Both...

By Henry Farrell

April 22, 2014 10:40 AM Why Voters Won't Turn Out for ObamaCare

Dean Baker's good point about the Affordable Care Act is one that I've tended to play down: Everyone currently holding insurance, at least outside of Medicare, wins from the added...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 21, 2014 10:41 AM Emergent Insurgents, and Why the New RNC Rules Matter

If the Republican National Committee has its way, we will see a different – shortened and streamlined - nomination process in 2016. The GOP will shorten its primary season, move...

By Julia Azari

April 21, 2014 9:03 AM Cannabis Use and Problem Drinking: NORML Tries a Fast One

Sometimes b.s. science in support of drug policy advocacy reflects the choices of the scientists. Sometimes it reflects the choices of the advocates. I got a note from a friend...

By Mark Kleiman

April 21, 2014 8:58 AM The Very Political Neuroscience of Cannabis

If you were a neuroscientist and discovered that there were, on average, measurable anatomical differences between (1) the brains of 20 young right-handed people who smoke an average of a...

By Mark Kleiman

April 19, 2014 12:12 PM Weekend Film Recommendation: Canyon Passage

My April-long tribute to Dana Andrews continues this week with an underappreciated 1946 frontier yarn made in glorious Technicolor by an extraordinarily unlikely director: Black and white film noir...

By Keith Humphreys

April 19, 2014 12:11 PM Submit to Elsevier With Gusto and Abandon! A Modest Proposal

As long time readers may recall, I am not a big fan of Elsevier and was a public advocate of the position that no-one should submit to Elsevier journals at...

By Henry Farrell

April 19, 2014 12:07 PM Megan McArdle vs. the Rest of the Red Team

A previous post asked whether any “conservative” pundit or pol had criticized the armed mob that threatened federal officials carrying out a lawful court order in the Bundy Ranch confrontation....

By Mark Kleiman

April 18, 2014 2:08 PM Becoming An American

I became a US citizen earlier today. Most native-born Americans have relatively little interaction with the immigration services. It might come as a relief to those of you who worry...

By Henry Farrell

April 18, 2014 11:03 AM Will Jeb Bush Get Stopped at the Border?

A lot of the punditry commenting on Jeb Bush’s flirtation with a presidential run has focused on his views on immigration. But where do Republicans actually stand on immigration? Nate...

By Richard Skinner

April 18, 2014 8:58 AM Love Soundbites? Thank the Election of 1908

We can point to several presidential elections as pivotal ones -- 1960 saw the first televised presidential debate, 1952 saw the first widespread TV advertising, etc. But 1908 may top...

By Seth Masket

April 17, 2014 9:04 PM How Presidential Nominees Are Really Picked

One more important point about presidential nominations. To say that “the party decides” doesn’t necessarily mean that it will choose another Mitt Romney, John McCain or Bob Dole over more...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 17, 2014 2:39 PM How the Right Stopped Believing in Democracy

With the sole (glaring) exception of their success in making abortions inconvenient, the conservative movement is clearly losing the culture war, and losing it badly. So, we should expect to...

By Martin Longman

April 17, 2014 11:02 AM Catch of the Day: Ted Cruz's 1979 Groundhog Day

For movement conservatives, it’s always 1979. Catch of the Day to Mike Konczal for noting Tail Gunner Ted’s latest: Senator Ted Cruz’s speech crystallized just how disconnected the Republican worldview...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 17, 2014 8:53 AM Ukraine: Who Are You Gonna Believe?

For reasons I can only partly fathom, some progressive pundits (though, I’m happy to say, no progressive politicians) have decided to accept a career secret policeman as the authoritative source...

By Mark Kleiman

April 16, 2014 8:51 AM The Fetishization of Elite University Admission

A friend of mine who served on a local school board attended multiple meetings in which parents complained about the way GPA and class rankings were calculated for high school...

By Keith Humphreys

April 16, 2014 8:47 AM The New Range War: A Query

Has a single “conservative” pundit or politician condemned the practice of pointing loaded weapons at law enforcement officials carrying out a valid court order? Not that I’ve seen, so far....

By Mark Kleiman

April 15, 2014 9:13 PM Obamacare Haters Aren't Mysterious

Paul Krugman is puzzled: The Affordable Care Act is one of the great comeback stories of public policy: after a terrible start, it has dramatically exceeded expectations. But hardly anyone...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 15, 2014 5:11 PM "The Luck in the Head"

A new collection of Ian Miller’s art is out today. When I was in my early twenties, I was mildly obsessed by Miller’s graphic novel collaboration with M. John Harrison,...

By Henry Farrell

April 15, 2014 9:05 AM How It's Done: Mark Begich Campaigns On Obamacare

As long as the polls show the net favorables for “Obamacare” under water, there will be a temptation for Democrats, especially in Red states, to run away from it. That...

By Mark Kleiman

April 15, 2014 9:01 AM RBC’s Candidate for Harvard Overseer

Whenever I hear the term “Harvard Board of Overseers” I imagine a bunch of slavedrivers with whips. That, of course, is grossly unfair: Harvard, like the rest of New England...

By Mark Kleiman

April 14, 2014 7:54 AM Which Pharmacy Chain is Truly Anti-Smoking?

CVS Pharmacies recently took the remarkable step of ending its sales of tobacco products nationwide. The remaining US pharmacy chains were recently asked to follow CVS’ lead by a range...

By Keith Humphreys

April 11, 2014 8:51 AM Weekend Film Recommendation: Where the Sidewalk Ends

My tribute to Dana Andrews continues with the film with which he closed out the most glittering decade of his career. In 1944, Andrews and his frequent co-star Gene Tierney,...

By Keith Humphreys

April 10, 2014 7:03 PM Seeing Our Race and Class Differences, Seeing Past These Differences, Too

The internets are filled with recent reminders of the many ways we fail to recognize our own parochial and privileged perspectives in both intellectual life and in our institutional roles....

By Harold Pollack

April 10, 2014 1:06 PM What Makes Hillary Different

Jonathan Bernstein had a good piece up yesterday advising reporters to stop focusing on the question of whether Hillary Clinton will or won't run in 2016. His argument is that...

By Seth Masket

April 09, 2014 4:22 PM Watch Party Agendas, Not Candidates

We often get it backward when thinking about presidential nominations. Our usual approach -- which treats candidates as the key players, looks at things from their point of view, and...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 09, 2014 11:54 AM The Real Exercise of Free Speech

If you think the Koch Brothers are morally reprehensible, you might want to avoid buying products like Angel Soft, Soft ‘n Gentle, or Quilted Northern toilet paper, Brawny paper towels,...

By Martin Longman

April 09, 2014 9:40 AM "Almost Awesome in its Evilness." Jon Gruber on States' Rejection of Medicaid Expansion

Over at healthinsurance.org, I interviewed MIT economist Jon Gruber on the state of ACA.  We discussed a huge range of things, ranging from the case for the “Cadillac tax” to...

By Harold Pollack

April 08, 2014 2:12 PM Moral Hazard

One of the nice things about living in a civilized society is being able share the risk of catastrophe across populations larger than your family and close friends.  We have...

By Michael O'Hare

April 08, 2014 11:26 AM PhRMA and the Political Economy of Sponsored Content

Two speculations and an announcement following up on previous posts on Talking Points Memo and sponsored content. First, the reason why TPM and some other policy/politics sites are moving towards...

By Henry Farrell

April 07, 2014 10:01 PM Pulling Jockeys in the Race for Scottish Independence

Scottish support for leaving the United Kingdom is at 47% in the most recent poll, to the surprise of some members of the Tory Party (Whose proper name of course...

By Keith Humphreys

April 07, 2014 5:14 PM Bring Back Congressional Earmarks - But the Right Way

Over the past few election cycles, Congressional earmarks have come to epitomize the worst in “pork-barrel” spending and government waste. Thanks to a combination of bad optics, wasteful behavior, and...

By Moira Campion McConaghy

April 07, 2014 5:08 PM Wingers 'R'-Stupid Dept.

Stephen Colbert is indeed a comic genius. He does a completely over-the-top impression of a factually clueless and ethically impaired wingnut. And yet actual non-elite conservatives seem to think he...

By Mark Kleiman

April 06, 2014 9:53 AM Who Are the Long-Term Unemployed?

After, Republicans blocked a third attempt by Senate Democrats to pass an extension of jobless benefits in early February, the Senate recently struck a bipartisan deal that could retroactively restore...

By Anne Kim

April 06, 2014 9:43 AM In Case You Were Wondering: Paul Ryan on Health Insurance

Paul Ryan admits that the popular parts of Obamacare – guaranteed insurance even for those with pre-existing conditions, allowing people up to 26 coverage under their parents’ insurance, a ban...

By Mark Kleiman

April 05, 2014 8:54 AM Piketty on Capital: A Footnote

I’m sure that there’s going to be plenty more discussion here on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (there’s lots of good arguments to be had, but it is...

By Henry Farrell

April 04, 2014 4:23 PM Why Won't Pro-Climate Republicans Speak Up?

A good question from dabenj: “How come Americans are so much more climate-skeptical than the rest of the Western world's population?” The first-order answer is clear. Americans are more climate-skeptical...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 04, 2014 9:36 AM Women Political Donors Already Lag; McCutcheon Will Make it Worse

Some of the commentators who downplay the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC say the decision affects only a small universe of mega-donors who’ve bumped up against...

By Anne Kim

April 04, 2014 7:49 AM Weekend Film Recommendation: A Tribute To Dana Andrews Begins

RBC Weekend Film Recommendation takes a break from recommending movies this week in favor of recommending the next best thing: A book about the movies! And with it I commence...

By Keith Humphreys

April 03, 2014 10:21 PM Bureaucratic Politics 101: the U.S. Adjusts Its Position on the Drug Treaties

Historically, the United States was the chief architect of the prohibition-oriented international drug control regime, and among the most “hawkish” of the signatories (along with Sweden, France, Russia, Japan, and...

By Mark Kleiman

April 03, 2014 3:40 PM Getting Honest About the One Percent

There's a problem with how we talk about wealth in America, and it's probably skewing our understanding of economics and sociology. So much of the rhetoric of inequality has to...

By Daniel Luzer

April 03, 2014 11:47 AM What's the Matter With South Carolina?

I read about this last week, before the Faculty Senate voted unanimously against the appointment of their new neo-confederate president. Members of the College of Charleston community are not happy...

By Martin Longman

April 02, 2014 5:59 PM Catch of the Day: U.S. Elections Still Broken

Ed Kilgore earns the Catch for pointing out that an individual example of election-administration malfeasance - in this case, the counting of the ballots for the D.C. elections yesterday -...

By Jonathan Bernstein

April 02, 2014 5:36 PM Why the McCutcheon Decision Might Make Politics More Transparent and Accountable

So the Supreme Court dropped a bombshell today with its decision in the McCutcheon v. FEC case, ruling that aggregate limits on contributions to federal campaigns are unconstitutional. This is...

By Seth Masket

April 02, 2014 2:01 PM Don't Tell Anyone, But Democrats and Republicans Actually Agree on Health Care Policy

Historians will look back on the debate over Obamacare since its enactment and wonder, why all the fuss? They’d understand, of course, that Republicans weren’t part of the final legislative...

By David Kendall

April 02, 2014 9:28 AM Who Fills the Hole in the Political Center?

“Moderate” voters are one of the most misunderstood blocs of the electorate. While they have historically comprised a plurality of American voters - 41 percent of voters in 2012 and 44...

By Stefan Hankin

April 01, 2014 11:25 PM Grading Kathleen Parker's Latest Work

Oh, Kathleen Parker, you actually knew it was insane to enlist H.L. Mencken on your side of a political argument and, yet, you did it anyway. H.L. Mencken gets a...

By Martin Longman

April 01, 2014 1:18 PM Why Young Invincibles Still Need ObamaCare

An ongoing concern for the future success of the Affordable Care Act is the extent to which “young invincibles” - Americans ages 18 to 34 - are signing up for...

By Anne Kim

April 01, 2014 8:00 AM If ObamaCare Helps You, You Don't Exist

According to Byron York, if you are getting Medicaid benefits or you are 26 years or younger and getting coverage on your parents' health insurance plan, you simply do not...

By Martin Longman

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