Ten Miles Square

May 2014 Archives

May 31, 2014 9:13 AM Both Seller and Buyer Be

We hear financial experts -- past and present members of the Federal Reserve, even Allan Greenspan -- calling for breakup of the big banks that gave us the Great Meltdown....

By John Winslow

May 30, 2014 12:59 PM Defending the Nation, Defending Themselves: The Politics of Presidential Doctrines

This week, Obama gave the commencement address at West Point. The speech has received wide attention as the articulation, at long last, of an “Obama doctrine” of foreign policy. In...

By Julia Azari

May 30, 2014 11:03 AM Would You Pay $84,000 for a New Liver?

There’s a new drug called Sovaldi, manufactured by Gilead Sciences Inc., that can cure hepatitis C. Not every case of it, mind you, but most. John LaMattina of Forbes provides...

By Megan McArdle

May 30, 2014 10:54 AM Weekend Film Recommendation: The Double

I confess I’m not as much of a fan of The IT Crowd, the show for which this week’s movie recommendation director is most widely known. In fact, before Richard...

By Johann Koehler

May 29, 2014 5:23 PM Don't Peek Under the Hood of Those Polls

Nate Cohn looks under the hood of some of the polls that use automated calls to gather data. He finds that the methods that make the results problematic are the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 29, 2014 12:00 PM Mississippi Hops Aboard the De-Incarceration Train

Mississippi has just become the latest state to roll back overly tough criminal sentences, promote alternatives to incarceration for criminal offenders and invest in re-entry programs for former prisoners. Their...

By Keith Humphreys

May 28, 2014 1:59 PM George Packer and His Problems

George Packer’s review of Glenn Greenwald’s book on the Snowden affair is largely based around an argument taken from Max Weber. Edward Snowden is a child of the internet and...

By Henry Farrell

May 28, 2014 1:04 PM How a Bill (Rarely) Becomes a Law

One of the best things I’ve read recently is Andrew Prokop's piece in Vox about the successful enactment of the DATA Act, which makes government spending information more easily available....

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 27, 2014 4:46 PM Texas Votes Again, and Again

Another Election Day in Texas. Today is the runoff primary for the 2014 general election. Most of the excitement is on the Republican side, with bitter races for lieutenant governor...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 27, 2014 11:37 AM Political Economy is Political

The best explanation of the current Piketty-Financial Times brouhaha was written by Mike Konczal a few weeks before it actually happened. As Foucault argued, the ability of social science to...

By Henry Farrell

May 27, 2014 8:26 AM George Washington's Cook

Another portrait in the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum in Madrid, not as good as Ghirlandaio’s exquisite memorial to Giovanna Tornabuoni but of greater historical interest to American readers. Smartphone photo by me,...

By James Wimberley

May 26, 2014 1:10 AM Thanks, But We Still Hate Obamacare

Greg Sargent gets a great nugget from Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, who "recently conducted a statewide poll in Kentucky for an unnamed client and found that Kynect polls very positively,...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 23, 2014 1:41 PM Summertime Food Assistance: Only Rural Kids Need Apply

Josh Marshall recently highlighted Republican efforts to limit food aid for the summer to rural children only. Let me say that once again for emphasis: “limit food aid…to rural children...

By Chad Stanton

May 23, 2014 11:21 AM Weekend Film Recommendation: The Offence

The James Bond films made Sean Connery an international superstar, but presented him few challenges as an actor. In the midst of Bondmania, desperate to avoid typecasting and to...

By Keith Humphreys

May 23, 2014 9:16 AM Will You Still Study Me When I'm 64?

When older patients seek out health care, they are unwittingly enrolling in an experiment: Will medical procedures that have been proved effective mainly on the young also help the elderly?...

By Keith Humphreys

May 22, 2014 5:06 PM How Incompetent Can a Cabinet Secretary Be?

The debate about whether President Barack Obama should fire Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki is an opportunity to look at the question of when presidents should get rid of...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 22, 2014 8:25 AM Obama Should Fix Nomination Process

Good news! Today, the Senate finally got around to confirming Stanley Fischer to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, five months after he was nominated. His nomination in January occurred...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 22, 2014 8:19 AM What's a Moderate?

Last week, I wrote about some of Bonica, McCarty, Poole, and Rosenthal's research showing that the wealthiest Americans are actually rather moderate in their politics (judging from their donation patterns),...

By Seth Masket

May 21, 2014 1:26 PM For Congressional Districts, Shape Doesn't Matter

Another Wonkblog post about House districting by Christopher Ingraham has driven me to bloggy cliché. After his epic fail on the same subject last week, Ingraham was thoroughly schooled by...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 21, 2014 9:44 AM Will Common Core Turn Your Children Gay?

Homophobes have always been obsessed with the idea that LGBTQ people “turn” otherwise heterosexual people “gay.” The latest high profile case involves Florida State Rep. Charles Van Zant. In railing...

By Chad Stanton

May 21, 2014 9:21 AM I Don't Know Whether This Point Needs to be Belabored...

...but David Brooks apparently doesn’t know what ‘democracy’ means. The quickest way around all this is to use elite Simpson-Bowles-type commissions to push populist reforms. The process of change would...

By Henry Farrell

May 20, 2014 11:50 AM How Biden Became Diamond Joe Six-Pack

Josh Marshall at TPM wants to know: Where did the legend of Joe Biden come from? And by that I mean, the current wildly popular Biden alter-ego or maybe the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 20, 2014 9:48 AM One Cure For Cancer

The Mayo Clinic: In a proof of principle clinical trial, Mayo Clinic researchers have demonstrated that virotherapy – destroying cancer with a virus that infects and kills cancer cells but...

By James Wimberley

May 19, 2014 1:22 PM Another Presidential Poll to Ignore

A Pew Research Center poll finds that, compared with 2008, a lot more Americans view experience as a governor as the best preparation for the White House; fewer see service...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 19, 2014 11:21 AM Is the Cannabis Market Headed for "Bud-lightification"?

Annie Lowrey has a smart piece in the NYT Magazine about how the cannabis business is likely to look after legalization. She gets one key point – much lower prices...

By Mark Kleiman

May 19, 2014 11:16 AM The Incarceration Tipping Point

The three-decade-plus growth of incarceration in the U.S. at one point seemed an unstoppable public policy juggernaut, insensitive to political and economic changes. Until it wasn’t: The number of people...

By Keith Humphreys

May 17, 2014 11:27 PM Former HUD Secretaries Make an Impressive List

With news that San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro may soon be nominated as the next Secretary of Housing & Urban Affairs (HUD), I decided to take a look at a...

By Martin Longman

May 16, 2014 10:28 AM Weekend Film Recommendation: Black Angel

Dan Duryea, sometimes called “the heel with sex appeal” was usually cast as a second lead or a one-dimensional villain (For example in the outstanding noir Too Late for...

By Keith Humphreys

May 16, 2014 10:17 AM Are the Super-Wealthy Buying Democracy?

At the "American Gridlock" conference last week at American University, Keith Poole presented some work (PDF) that he'd been conducting with Adam Bonica, Nolan McCarty, and Howard Rosenthal. (His...

By Seth Masket

May 15, 2014 5:48 PM McConnell's Ideology-Free Policy Blockade

More on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy of all-out rejectionism. As I wrote earlier, part of the problem with this approach is that it sacrifices achievable policy gains for...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 15, 2014 11:17 AM Courting the Parties

Like Hans, I attended the American University conference on “American Gridlock: Causes, Characteristics, and Consequences of Polarization.” Brandon Bartels of George Washington University wrote one of my favorite papers, especially...

By Richard Skinner

May 15, 2014 9:43 AM Even Less to Like About Flying Coach

Harold Meyerson does not like what's happening to air travel: Next month, JetBlue is adding a first-class section to its hitherto classless -- but relatively classy -- planes. By virtue...

By Megan McArdle

May 14, 2014 1:05 PM U.S. Mental Health Policy Comes of Age

From the very first days of the U.S. health insurance system, the stigma of mental illness was formally codified into benefit design. Both public and private insurers provided inferior coverage...

By Keith Humphreys

May 14, 2014 10:42 AM They Will Not Be Mollified

I noted on Sunday that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had not only been booed in his home district, but his ally had been ousted as the chairman of the...

By Martin Longman

May 14, 2014 9:19 AM Millennials Losing Faith in President, Not Presidency

Ezra Klein is excited today because, he says, “Millennials are losing faith in the presidency.” That’s based on a poll of young people by Harvard University, which found that trust...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 13, 2014 3:12 PM Don't Want Your Kid to Marry a Democrat (or a Republican)? Blame Presidential Politics

What is political polarization? Why did it happen and why does it persist? Most scholars and analysts have considered these questions together, assuming that the nature, its root causes, and...

By Julia Azari

May 13, 2014 1:16 PM What If Timothy Snyder is Wrong About Ukraine?

“We easily forget how fascism works,” writes the Yale historian Timothy Snyder, author of the distinguished Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, this week in “The Battle in Ukraine Means...

By Jim Sleeper

May 13, 2014 8:42 AM Catch of the Day: Futile Campaign-Finance Regulation

The Catch goes to Seth Masket at the Monkey Cage. He has a great post on the futility of campaign-finance regulation to date. The reaction to regulation has generally been...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 12, 2014 3:17 PM Don't Trust Those Early Polls

An Arkansas poll shows incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Pryor with a 51-40 lead over his Republican challenger, Representative Tom Cotton. Be very careful about overinterpreting these results. First, it’s still...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 12, 2014 9:06 AM Republicans Should Check Their Impeachment Urge

Ed Kilgore thinks House Republicans may be moving toward attempting to impeach President Barack Obama on the spurious grounds of the phony Benghazi scandal. Is he right? I’ve gone back...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 12, 2014 9:01 AM The New Report on Mass Incarceration Makes an Unimpeachable Case for….Public Policy Blogging

In the preface to the new National Research Council report on mass incarceration is an acknowledgement of legendary criminologist James Q. Wilson, who conceived the project in 2008. Who better,...

By Keith Humphreys

May 11, 2014 10:57 AM Happy Mother's Day

Billy Collins’ poem is a funny and sweet gift to mothers everywhere And awesome, classy athlete Kevin Durant knows who is the real MVP [Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]...

By Keith Humphreys

May 09, 2014 8:53 PM All Filibusters, All the Time

Judging from Glenn Kessler’s takedown of a claim by Barack Obama, I guess I need to go over the right way to count filibusters, again. The correct count of how...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 09, 2014 1:12 PM 'Check Your Privilege' Means 'Shut Your Mouth'

We've all known forever that Princeton University is a place of many privileges. It has recently gotten a new one: Starting an argument from there, filled with conservative sentiments and...

By Ramesh Ponnuru

May 09, 2014 9:34 AM Weekend Film Recommendation: House of Cards

After a gold-plated bollocking by Margaret Thatcher, political advisor Michael Dobbs had more than a few drinks and scribbled down two letters: F.U.. That experience planted the seeds of...

By Keith Humphreys

May 08, 2014 6:14 PM Does Harry Truman Deserve a Train Station?

Should Washington’s Union Station be renamed for Harry S. Truman? Today, Missouri’s senators introduced a bill to do just that. Truman was a good president, and he's probably somewhat underappreciated...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 08, 2014 10:24 AM Benghazi Shouldn't Worry Democrats

Democrats seem to be hotly debating whether to boycott the House select committee that Republicans have said will investigate the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya....

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 08, 2014 9:42 AM Close the Coalhouse Door

The US campus movement for university divestment from fossil fuels has claimed its first big scalp. From Climate Progress: Stanford University announced Tuesday it would divest from the coal industry,...

By James Wimberley

May 07, 2014 2:29 PM Catch of the Day: Parties Are Alive and Well

A Catch to Josh Huder for pointing out the absurdity of a column by Eliza Newlin Carney that begins: The Supreme Court’s recent ruling to overturn limits on aggregate campaign...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 07, 2014 12:10 PM Thom Tillis Makes My Point in His Divide & Conquer Video

Following on my last piece on Why Resentment is Key to Conservative Politics, I want to introduce you to the winner of last night's Republican senatorial primary in North Carolina,...

By Martin Longman

May 07, 2014 10:29 AM Why Resentment is Key to Conservative Politics

Jay Nordlinger raised an issue yesterday at The Corner that is really a fundamental part of American politics that people should make sure to understand: Many of us have asked...

By Martin Longman

May 07, 2014 9:31 AM Are Mutual Help Groups for Addictions Effective?

In debates about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other addiction-related mutual help organizations, many people rely on the handful of methodologically weak studies done 25 or more years ago (or the...

By Keith Humphreys

May 06, 2014 2:38 PM Does Inequality Help Artists? Not So Much

Matthew Yglesias, responding to Tyler Cowen and my critique of same. high levels of income inequality lead to high prices for art. A lot of this reflects higher prices for...

By Henry Farrell

May 06, 2014 10:20 AM Iowa and New Hampshire Should Keep Voting First

As Democrats confirmed their (planned) schedule of primaries and caucuses for the 2016 election, Ed Kilgore is upset that Iowa and New Hampshire (and Nevada and South Carolina) are keeping...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 06, 2014 7:42 AM Real Death Panels

Remember those death panels, how the ACA was going to kill lots of Americans (especially your grandmother)? I’m still enraged at the idea, goverment just killing old people. Terrible thing,...

By Michael O'Hare

May 05, 2014 1:05 PM Benghazi Won't Matter in 2016

It looks like the phony Benghazi scandal isn't going away. And, yes, I suppose that Hillary Clinton will need to deal with it if she continues running for president, because...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 05, 2014 11:20 AM Unlearning How White People Ask Personal Questions

When I met my fiance’s African-American stepfather, things did not start well. Stumbling for some way to start a conversation with a man whose life was unlike mine in almost...

By Keith Humphreys

May 04, 2014 8:41 PM The Ignorance of Jim DeMint

Jim DeMint, the radical right-wing former senator from South Carolina and current Heritage Foundation head appeared on a program called “Vocal Point with Jerry Newcombe of Truth In Action Ministries”...

By Jamie Malanowski

May 04, 2014 12:26 PM Brooks, Wieseltier: Cries of American Weakness by the People Who Weakened America

Cries for American military preparedness are growing louder and louder by the day, rising, circling, and echoing one another in a frenzy that even the awfulness of events in Ukraine...

By Jim Sleeper

May 03, 2014 10:49 AM McConnell's Nuclear Blunder Haunts Republicans

This was a huge week for judicial nominations in the Senate. Nine judges were confirmed, including one at the appeals level. We also got confirmation that Republicans committed a terrible...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 02, 2014 1:20 PM Good Jobs Report Won't Matter in November

Does the strong jobs report released today signal anything major for the midterm elections in November? It's unlikely. The best case one might make for a positive effect for the...

By Jonathan Bernstein

May 02, 2014 9:41 AM Weekend Film Recommendation: Waking Ned Devine

Tullymore is a quiet, bucolic village in rural Ireland. The pub owner is also the banker and accountant; the grocery store doubles as the post office; whatever drama typically occupies...

By Johann Koehler

May 01, 2014 11:58 AM Inequality and the Arts

Tyler Cowen on inequality and the arts. Piketty fears the stasis and sluggishness of the rentier, but what might appear to be static blocks of wealth have done a great...

By Henry Farrell

May 01, 2014 11:49 AM Elizabeth Bear on Knowledge in Pre-Modern Society

I’ve just finished Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky sequence (Powells, Amazon). It’s fantasy, based around a rough analogue to Central-Asia-plus-China-plus-bits-of-Rus, in which pasty skinned Westerners are weird and occasional aberrations. It’s...

By Henry Farrell

May 01, 2014 9:05 AM Remembering One of Bob Hoskins' Best Films

To acknowledge the death of the versatile actor Bob Hoskins, I repost below a film recommendation from a few years ago. It was originally written to acknowledge the passing of...

By Keith Humphreys

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