Monthly Archives: August 2015

Senator Claire McCaskill made public the widely known secret that her campaign did what it could to help Todd Akin become her Republican opponent in 2012:

So how could we maneuver Akin into the GOP driver’s seat?

Using the guidance of my campaign staff and consultants, we came up with the idea for a “dog whistle” ad, a message that was pitched in such a way that it would be heard only by a certain group of people. I told my team we needed to put Akin’s uber-conservative bona fides in an ad—and then, using reverse psychology, tell voters not to vote for him. And we needed to run the hell out of that ad. {…}

If we were going to spend that kind of money on ads for Akin, I wanted to get him nominated and start disqualifying him with independent voters at the same time. By that prescription, our ad would have to include Akin’s statement that Obama was a “menace to civilization” and that Akin had said of himself that he was “too conservative” for Missouri. This presentation made it look as though I was trying to disqualify him, though, as we know, when you call someone “too conservative” in a Republican primary, that’s giving him or her a badge of honor. At the end of the ad, my voice was heard saying, “I’m Claire McCaskill, and I approve this message.”

This is hardly the first time that this has been done. The GOP has been known to pump money in Green Party efforts to split the left-of-center votes. And, of course, there is always at least talk of crossing during the primaries in order to vote for the weaker candidate on the other side’s roster. And while it’s been done before – or tried – it’s also going to be done again.

This may be sketchy, but it is presumably legal. Isn’t it? Rick Hasen, who initially believed it was, had second thoughts:

On reflection, I think the stronger issue is whether McCaskill made an unreported and excessive in kind contribution to the Akin campaign by sharing the results of her polling data. If she gave the campaign something worth more than the limit (which was probably $2600 in that election) she’d be giving an in-kind contribution, and a contribution worth that much would have to be reported.

Well did the Senator give Akin something of value? It looks like it. After all, we know it is valuable to him because the Senator writes “Akin did not have money for polling,” and she provided the information he needed to clinch the primary (at least in the Senator’s telling). Elias’s response to this point is: “There’s no suggestion she shared ‘polling data’. She only ‘gave clearance, allowing [pollster] to speak in broad generalities.” Perhaps that distinction will work, but I still think the issue is a serious one and merits a fuller analysis (and certainly fuller than I can give it now). I’m not suggesting the Senator broke the law, but there is enough here to justify a closer look.

I wanted to buy into this argument, and it may indeed be legally correct. However, if I am being honest with myself, if this is in fact illegal it’s likely against a law that I oppose or would oppose application in this particular case. This strikes me as free speech and free assembly on a pretty fundamental level.

I will also say, in defense of it, that it’s not strictly dishonest. McCaskill opposes Akin and all she did was say so! And it’s hard to get too excited about it, given the inevitability of Use Every Tool At Your Disposal, even if it involves things like improving your odds with reverse psychology.

Be that as it may, this comes across to me as sausage-making stuff and there is something unseemly to me about bragging about it. Harry Reid’s lies about Mitt Romney were constitutional, and a part of the game so to speak, but not exactly something to be proud of. The same goes for Jon Huntsman’s shot across the bow to Mitch Daniels, though in that case being silent about it while everyone blamed Mitt Romney was itself a bit of a problem.

This one at least has the virtue of assisting people, in a way, finding their preferred candidate. A plurality of Missouri voters preferred Todd Akin. And people who voted for Ralph Nader wanted Ralph Nader as their president or at least wanted him to make more rather than less of a dent in the tally. In addition to the other bad things it’s not, it’s not cheating.

It is, however, hard for me to overlook the bad faith. I have the notion that things work better when the elections are between the best possible holders of the position. “Best” is subjective here, but it seems unlikely to me that if McCaskill were to lose, that she would prefer lose to Akin instead of Brunner. That she would actually consider Akin rather than Brunner to be the representative of state. And it’s not inconceivable that Akin could have won, creating a Lester Maddox situation. As it is, of course, the gambles often pay off for the gambler. The voters in Missouri were left with McCaskill and a more undesirable option. Arguably, the responsibility of the party system, and the primary system, and the current state of the Republican Party, more than McCaskill herself… but a situation engineered in good part by McCaskill.

Perhaps it can be said that more light is better. That McCaskill’s fessing up merely makes the phenomenon more known and that maybe voters will avoid being manipulated – if we want to call it that – in the future. I personally see if as taking the dirty part of politics, and reveling in it. Finding something of a glitch in the system and bragging about its exploitation. Haha, we didn’t even like the guy, but we did everything we could to bolster his chances at becoming a US senator because it helped our odds somewhat. Aren’t we clever! A cleverness not only accepted, but celebrated.

I have a friend from Louisiana who argues – and truly believes – that Louisiana politics is no more corrupt than an any other state. It’s just that Louisiana is more open about it. It’s a function of honesty, rather than corruption, that Louisiana has the reputation that it does. No doubt corruption levels outside of the usual suspects (Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, etc) is higher than we sometimes believe, but the land of Edwin Edwards gets a lot of attention in part because it becomes so audacious that even Louisiana cannot ignore it. And even then, the voters accepted it repeatedly. Which is what happens when something becomes a norm and, to a degree, celebrated (“Edwards may be a crook, but he’s our crook!”)

All of that bringing to light Edwards’s last re-election, with the informal slogan “Vote for the crook, it’s important!” The slogan was bandied about because the alternative was David Duke with incumbent Buddy Roemer finishing third. Edwards got lucky because it’s unlikely he would have been able to beat Roemer. Perhaps today the wiser course of action would be to lend money to the Duke campaign, and give Louisiana the choice that favored him. With the added bonus of being able to express in a book how clever you are for lending support and aid to a fascist.

Category: Statehouse


Sonny Bunch blames the rise of Donald Trump on pop culture and professional wrestling.

In Ferguson, some Oath Keepers decided to arm black protesters in solidarity.

Vice asks the very Vicey question: What are things going to be like for Jared Fogle behind bars?

When more than half of the stadium was empty, I thought that might register with media depiction of the event, but the media keeps letting him pretend the stadium was full.

Contrary to the claims of Trump and other lefty weirdos, Jeb Bush’s PAC did not actually photoshop him on to a black guy, and it was kind of a weird theory to begin with.

In the tenth anniversary of Katrina, Owen Courreges wishes that people would stop calling New Orleans better after the disaster.

I’m on board with re-evaluating the Confederate Flag and other things, but this is silly.

A bear poking its head through a doggie door? I’m going with scary.

A millionaire in the UK is fined after recycling gravestones for his patio.

South Carolina passed some rigid laws to prevent pesky calls, but a recent court decision has placed it in jeopardy.

George Orwell recently turned 110, and a Dutch Artist celebrated by putting party hats in surveillance cameras.

Even if they’ve made the long transition from scourge to the cute mascot of anti-global warming efforts, maybe you should hunt polar bears because polar bears will hunt you.

A couple that was getting it on fell in a moat and died.

You have maybe seen the videos of the bears playing in the pool. Uncle Steve makes a good point, which is that while it may be an exotic novelty to most, it’s probably a common plague to them.

Category: Newsroom

Tim Harford on chain proliferation:

But an alternative explanation is that large companies [like Starbucks] deliberately open too many stores, or launch too many products, because they wish to pre-empt competitors. Firms could always slash prices instead to keep the competition away but that may not be quite as effective — a competitor might reasonably expect any price war to be temporary. It is less easy to un-launch a new product or shut down a brand-new outlet. A saturated market is likely to stay saturated for a while, then, and that should make proliferation a more credible and effective deterrent than low prices.

A recent paper by two economists from Yale, Mitsuru Igami and Nathan Yang, studies this question in the market for fast-food burgers. Igami and Yang used old telephone directories to track the expansion of the big burger chains into local markets across Canada from 1970 to 2005. After performing some fancy analysis, they concluded that big burger chains did seem to be trying to pre-empt competition. If Igami and Yang’s model is to be believed, McDonald’s was opening more outlets, more quickly than would otherwise have been profitable.

And here I thought Starbucks was trying to bring about the end of the universe.

I can’t say that I dispute the findings of the paper, but I will say that there is a difference between having a Starbucks across the street from somewhere, and down the street. especially in populous areas, crossing the street is a pain in the arse! And it actually can be the difference between my choosing to stop off for coffee, or my choosing not to. It was better for me if the Starbucks was across the street, and therefore required a much-dreaded lefthand turn, but that would have been bad for Starbucks.

I miss the west. So few coffee places out here. But enough about coffee.

I still can’t believe that there are only two McDonald’s in Stone County (pop 30k). Especially given how ridiculously busy one of them is. If nothing else, having another McDonald’s – even one across the street or even just down the street – could help handle the overflow.

In other franchise/chain-related observations, an auto shop with a Popeye’s within walking distance is the best kind of auto shop.

Category: Market

sunburnLibertarianism, mapped.

Alia Wong looks at the history of Sesame Street, and what we did and didn’t learn from it.

As someone for whom DSL is the only broadband option available, reports of the demise of DSL are disturbing.

Women are less likely to be exonerated of their crimes. Why? Sometimes, there was no crime.

The Yakuza has an age problem.

Wolf-Coyote Hybrids are migrating to cities.

School districts are scrambling to hire teachers.

“About fifty-four per cent of [liberal arts] graduate students report feeling so depressed they have “a hard time functioning, as opposed to ten per cent of the general population.”

Evidently, your cell phone battery can be used to track you.

Aww, Canada, we 2/3 like you, too! Philippines! And Germany, you break my heart.

An… enterprising individual figured out how to use 23andme’s website to allow webmasters to block people from websites on the basis of their ancestry.

Vox has some interesting energy maps.

Unleash the power of your brain using brain drumps.

Good news! Colonizing the moon may be easier than expected!

Category: Newsroom

Could 2016 finally be the year of the brokered convention?! Mike Hunt Ray Rice thinks it might be, but Hanley is skeptical:

That scenario assumes the candidate isn’t determined prior to the convention. While the sheer number of candidates increases that probability, let’s remember that 1) it hasn’t happened in the modern primary era, and 2) we’re still a year away from the convention, and 5-6 months away from the first primaries (god willing and the states don’t go crazy). Candidates are going to start disappearing from any real consideration before that first convention, and then money will stop flowing to those who show poorly early on and redirect to the candidate the money likes, most likely producing a winner before the last primaries (unless all the states suddenly compress them so tightly there’s no time for that process to take place).

While recognizing the mathematical possibility of a brokered convention, I’d wager against it.

So would I. But I’d wager against it just a little bit less than usual, if Trump sticks around. Which I would also bet against, but things are not going According To Plan. And Trump has the potential – albeit a very unlikely one – to keep all of the oxygen out of the room until Iowa. He can keep the frontrunner seat warm, with little danger of other candidates being intimidated.

The most important thing is that Trump will not get the air of inevitability a leader would, if he is on top. That will encourage more candidates to try to stick around because the writing won’t be as clearly on the wall. Fundraising will push some candidates out almost immediately, but it’s easy to imagine an unusual number saying “Hold on until Super Tuesday, then I’ll show them!” and nobody will know what to do because of the Trump factor. So even if we wins Iowa and New Hampshire, you’re probably looking at at least three other candidates and maybe more. (There were four enduring candidates in 2012, including Ron Paul.)

The second most important thing is that the natural nominee is somebody that almost nobody has confidence in. There was definitely a dearth of confidence in Mitt Romney, but (a) not this much and (b) there were no other viable candidates. If Bush can’t convince people that he is Their Guy – which I think is possible – there is no other logical successor.

This is especially true given the oddity of the schedule. Won’t everyone coalesce around the most popular not-Trump? That assumes any sort of consistency, and the early schedule has one state that plays to the strengths of other candidates. Scott Walker is in a good position to be the top NTC in Iowa, Jeb or Kasich in New Hampshire, Cruz in South Carolina, and Rubio in Nevada. After that all hell breaks loose on Super Tuesday with a lot of delegates proportionally assigned. This is also where Trump is likely to struggle if his campaign has been going well up to this point.

Now, most likely Super Tuesday will declare the top NTC. In 2012, it sort of set up Santorum as the primary anti-Romney, but Gingrich still hung in there. Things could drag on. Especially if it’s one of those things where Jeb kinda does well enough to hang around but not well enough to inspire confidence, leaving hope for Kasich, Walker, or Rubio boosters. And since Trump does have the air of invincibility, he can be leading and have it still be considered a wide open race. (If somebody else is leading, it’s over.) If there’s much more dithering after that, and Trump does not have a majority…

All of this is very unlikely, of course. But short of the death of a frontrunner, this is the closest to a plausible scenario I have ever been able to really imagine. The combination of Trump and Jeb with potentially low ceilings make everything more complicated. So, too, may the proliferation of candidates, but I don’t expect that to last.

And even more glorious than anything? We could go into a brokered convention having no idea at all knowing who is going to win.

My money would be on Mitt Romney.

Category: Statehouse

Some study somewhere argues that women bosses get less respect from male subordinates than men bosses do. That’s probably not the first such study and it probably won’t be the last. The study, or at least the news account that summarizes the study, reflects my own experience fairly well, but perhaps for reasons different from what the study suggestions.

For most jobs I’ve had, my immediate supervisors have been mostly women. In the private sector jobs, as you moved up the food chain to middle management and upper middle management, the demographics grew increasingly male while in academia, I’ve noticed that women tend to predominate more higher up on the food chain. But in most cases, my supervisors in most jobs have been women.

I’ve noticed that I probably do treat them differently than I would male bosses. It’s not necessarily that I don’t show them respect, or that I show them less respect. I think I do show them respect (although I’m open to considering whether that’s just a self-imposed illusion). But I act differently. I’m probably more….confident? assertive?….when dealing with female superiors than I likely would be if dealing with male superiors. Something that from a male boss I’d probably interpret as an order, from a female boss I’m probably more likely to interpret as a suggestion.

I believe–but I have no real evidence, just my impressions–that I still enjoy special consideration as a male employee, even though my current workplace is dominated by women at all levels. At meetings, for example, I’ve noticed that my (by a large majority female) coworkers tend to be much more quiet and attentive when I speak. I’ve also noticed an unfortunate tendency on my part to choose to interrupt people. Therefore, I try not to speak that much.

I’ve also noticed that library patrons sometimes heed what I say more than they do what my female colleagues say, even though I don’t outrank them. I can be jovial and lackadaisical with the patrons and they take me seriously, whereas my female colleagues sometimes have to act much more sternly and come off as (…well you know the word…) in order to get the same respect.

With very few exceptions, I don’t run into anything that makes me self-conscious about “being a man in a woman’s environment.” The exception is the sometimes sexist language or jokes I’ll occasionally hear from people in authority against men. I’m not arguing that that type of banter is “just as bad as” misogynistic language. In fact, it happens rarely, much more rarely than I imagine what women in some/most workplaces have to experience. (In fact, I’m thinking only of one instance in particular.) But it bothers me nonetheless.

The study I linked to above, or at least the description of the study, posits something it calls “precarious manhood theory,” or the notion that

manhood is ‘elusive’ and ‘tenuous’. In other words, manhood is not something that is guaranteed to be achieved with age, nor is it guaranteed to remain. Instead, men must continuously prove their manhood.

I won’t discount that, but it doesn’t seem to be my personal experience. And I think that explanation neglects another, plausible explanation. Namely, supervisor/employee relationships are inherently conflictive. Apparent disrespect is often the employee staking his or her own advantage against their bosses. When the supervisor is female and the employee is male, gender privilege undoubtedly works as one of the tools the employee can use. That’s probably sexism–and misogynistic sexism–at work, but it seems more complicated than these studies, or at least popular summaries of such studies, acknowledge.

Don’t get me wrong. Even though I think there’s more at work here than sexism and even though in some cases I might be less inclined to rush to judge the worker than others might be, I’m no longer the knee-jerk, Marxist-leaning laborite I used to see myself as. I no longer believe that the worker is right just because he/she is a worker, and I believe showing less respect to female bosses just because they’re female is wrong.

Category: Market

Some of you may recall a couple of years ago when some big city politicians announced that they would block Chik-Fil-E from opening up a store in their cities:

The uproar continues, and quite properly so (earlier here and here), over the threats of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago alderman Proco (“Joe”) Moreno to exclude the Chick-Fil-A fast-food chain because they disagree (as do I) with some of the views of its owner. Among the latest commentary, the impeccably liberal Boston Globe has sided with the company in an editorial (“which part of the First Amendment does Menino not understand?…A city in which business owners must pass a political litmus test is the antithesis of what the Freedom Trail represents”), as has my libertarian colleague Tom Palmer at Cato (“Mayor Menino is no friend of human rights.”)

The spectacle of a national business being threatened with denial of local licenses because of its views on a national controversy is bad enough. But “don’t offend well-organized groups” is only Rule #2 for a business that regularly needs licenses, approvals and permissions. Rule #1 is “don’t criticize the officials in charge of granting the permissions.” Can you imagine if Mr. Dan Cathy had been quoted in an interview as saying “Boston has a mediocre if not incompetent Mayor, and the Chicago Board of Aldermen is an ethics scandal in continuous session.” How long do you think it would take for his construction permits to get approved then?

Given the amount of pushback they got, I had somewhat naively thought that we might not be going there again. As it turns out, though, that is not to be. The newest target is one Donald J Trump. In New York City:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that his city may not be able to break its business contracts with Donald Trump but will avoid future deals with the 2016 GOP contender.

“My impression is that unless there has been some breaking of a contract or something that gives us a legal opportunity to act, I’m not sure we have a specific course of action,” the Democratic mayor told reporters Monday, according to CNN and Capital New York.

“But we’re certainly not looking to do any business with him going forward,” de Blasio added.

And Washington DC:

A pair of Democratic lawmakers are petitioning the Obama administration to block GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump from showcasing his name on the businessman’s new hotel in Washington, D.C.

In a letter to the Department of Interior and General Services Administration (GSA), Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) and Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) requested that Trump be prevented from having his name “prominently displayed” on the newly refurbished Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue, blocks from the White House.

“Trump’s recent and repeated remarks disparaging women, Mexican-Americans, and other Latinos are hateful, divisive and completely inaccurate,” the pair wrote to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and recently confirmed GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth in a letter dated Aug. 13.

And, once again, in Boston:

Donald Trump, a reality TV star currently yelling crazy shit on his way through a Republican presidential primary while sporting a sad trombone haircut, is not welcome in Boston.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told the Boston Herald Monday that Trump would have to apologize to immigrants for his inflammatory comments.

“I think his comments are inappropriate. And if he wanted to build a hotel here, he’d have to make some apologies to people in this country,” said Walsh, the son of immigrants from Galway.

Each of these cases differ slightly from the others. But as much as I am not a fan of Donald Trump*, city contracts and business arrangements really should not depend on such things. I mean, really shouldn’t. We should at least be able to agree on that.

Given the givens, I have little issue with NBC using its pocketbook to cancel The Apprentice, or Macy’s to sever there relationship. But it does get different once we’re starting to talk about governments – even local ones – using their purse strings and regulatory levers to favor some people over others in such a fashion. Are there some circumstances in which I could imagine being okay with it? I don’t know… maybe? But not really. If their views are repugnant enough, there ought to be something behavioral that you can hang your hat upon.

Which doesn’t really work for Trump, of course, because as much as he hates illegal immigrants, one thing he doesn’t do is refuse to hire them.

This is pretty unlikely to be much of a slippery slope. First, because it’s unclear that they can even do what they’re talking about doing. It mostly looks like chest-thumping. But slope or so, this is the sort of thing that should be discouraged and opposed right out of the gate. Even if the “victim” is Donald Trump.

* – Hey Mike Rice, still waiting to hear an answer to the question of whether or not you are on Team Trump with Lion and Dave Hackensack.

Category: Statehouse
-{The Doctor}-

PBS ran an article on dissenters on the Dr Seuss Question:

Amid the adoration is a small but vocal group of parents who take issue with the author’s use of nonsensical language.

There’s Jennifer Graham, who once took to The National Review as a frustrated mom.

“I always thought the point of reading to children was to teach them about language,” she writes. “How does Dr. Seuss help? Heck, he knew so few words that he had to make most of his up.”

She writes about losing it while reading Seuss to a group of children: “‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT A TRUFFULA TREE IS!’ I shriek. ‘I don’t know what any of this stuff is!’”

There’s Amy Mascott, a state-certified reading specialist in Maryland, who wrote a blog post two years ago that began with a confession: “I don’t love Dr. Seuss. I don’t, and I haven’t, and I won’t. So there. I said it.”

And there’s this commenter from a online Goodreads discussion. “Is Dr. Seuss good for kids? He makes up words. Then when my kids start making up words I have to be the bad guy and shoot them down.”

Our child development specialist frowned down on Dr Seuss. Less so for the fantastical language and more for the lack of literal illustration. The cows do not look like cows, and Sneeches don’t look like anything. It was her perspective that time spent learning what a Gox is would be better learning what an ox is, with a picture of an ox. She wasn’t 100% against Seuss, though that might have been more of a practical concession (“These people won’t listen to me if I am too adamant”) than an ideological one.

I’ve found myself undisturbed, which for those who know me isn’t surprising. I am actually quite impressed with my daughter’s ability to pick up on abstract imagery, to see a cartoon cow that doesn’t look like a cow, but successfully associate it with an actual cow. She is genuinely better at identifying the Play-Do outlines. She calls something a pig and I look at it and hey yeah that actually is a pig I had thought it was a dog.

-{Bad Books}-

Alan Jacobs takes issue with parents complaining about how bad children’s books are, wondering if our parents ever complained about the books they had to read to us.

Well, they didn’t complain to me or anything. And I wouldn’t dream of complaining to Lain. It is indeed one of those parental tasks to be taken with a smile. That doesn’t mean, of course, that we can’t vent on the Internet. At least a little bit. And that’s probably one of the differences. Used to be you just vented to other parents.

I enjoy reading to Lain within limits. Lain, however, does not always recognize limits. She is particularly aggressive with Clancy, who is more indulging. Since she isn’t around all day, she doesn’t quite need to set the boundaries that I do.

Lain’s library was mostly procured over eBay. You can get large sets of books for really reasonable prices. Some of them are not in the best condition, but that’s okay because if the book falls apart, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to pay full price for it. Sometimes you’re kind of glad it’s gone. Other times, though, you know it’s worth paying $10-20 for because you know that both parent and child will enjoy it. That’s worth a lot.

Some of the books are really bad, and Lain’s tastes are a bit spotty. The worst books are the educational ones. Intended for somewhat older kids. There’s one called You Will Go To the Moon, which is vaguely technical (explaining how a space station would simulate gravity) and boring. Also, given that she will not in fact go to the moon, a cruel lie. There’s another one about whale migration that I am not a big fan of, though it taught her the word “whale.”

I find myself wondering if Dr Seuss just ruined the industry. He was so prolific, and so good, and his works mostly so timeless, that I wonder if he rendered obsolete any book written since. More likely, it’s related to the fact that writers probably like to consider themselves above writing children’s books. It’s probably considered less impressive to say at a dinner party that you write children’s books than loftier stuff aimed at mature audiences. (I also think this is why comic books have “matured” over the years, or at least a contributing component.

It seems to be a pretty tight market, in the overall. The free ebook options, which for some reason I expected to be many, are actually quite rare (though Gecko on the Wall is great, and Danielle Bruckert‘s other books tend to be fun). And Kindle is so hit-and-miss with independent authors, and children’s books themselves especially so, that I haven’t really dived in as much as I otherwise might.

-{Berenst#in Bears}-

This is really, really important. Evidently, there is a rip in our time-space continuum that has been identified by the Berenst#in Bears.

Here’s the thing. These books play such a huge role in the collective memories of so many people, all of whom clearly and distinctly remember “BerenstEin”, that I am not the first to propose the notion that somehow, at some time in the last 10 years or so, reality has been tampered with and history has been retroactively changed. The bears really were called the “BerenstEin Bears” when we were growing up, but now reality has been altered such that the name of the bears has been changed post hoc.

In 1992 they were “stEin” in 1992, but in 2012 they were “stAin” in 1992.

Some explanations have been proposed. One person suggested a change due to time travel, similar to “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury. It’s an interesting theory, and I admire it for its simplicity, but it is flawed. Time travel doesn’t actually work that way, and if someone had “stepped on a butterfly”, it would not impact the future because they had already stepped on the butterfly before they left for the past; history has to be consistent.

I would like to make a modest proposal: We are all living in our own parallel universe.

When my wife pronounced them Berenstain Bears, I thought it was analogous to how she pronounces the president’s name “Oh’bamm’ah” rather than “Oh’bomb’ah”). So imagine my surprise when I notice the spelling.

Which is doubly problematic. That means that not only am I from a timeline alternate to the current one, but my wife is from this timeline. It’s almost enough to make me question our basic compatibility.

Category: Theater

twitterhugKristin Wilcox looks at ways liberal arts colleges need to try to sell themselves. (Not sure if I got this from Hanley or I need to forward this to him.)

Uncle Steve applies Moynihan’s Law to a recent David Leonhardt and Bradford Wilcox pieces on marital success and family in red and blue states.

Dan Kahan writes about the problem he sees with consensus messaging in the climate change debate.

Tyler Cowen looks at the economic states in Kansas and Louisiana. Scott Sumner tackles Louisiana.

Italy promised pain if the EU didn’t agree to distribute the superstate’s refugees, but France and Germany are not so sure about the solution.

Rivals Apple and Samsung are teaming up to replace SIM cards.

Police officers are taking advantage of superpowered comrades to fight crime. No masks and capes, alas.

Dick Tracy wasn’t a particularly good movie, but it was visually marvelous.

Rent-controlled apartments in Sweden are less segregated by income, but more segregated by ethnicity.

Canadian oil fields are looking at self-driving trucks.

Will Germany’s demographic crunch knock it off its perch at the top of the EU?

There are some stories with happy endings of people who use technology to locate their lost or stolen smartphone or laptop. This is not one of those stories.

If oil extraction is causing earthquakes in Oklahoma, it may not be an issue of fracking as much as salt water disposal.

The LDS Church is showing off the stone that Joseph Smith allegedly used to translate the Book of Mormon.

Ross Douthat argues that there is no pro-life case for Planned Parenthood. The results of the Colorado experiment have been oversold, but it’s still something I’d like to see pursued.

Did Hiroshima and Nagasaki save Hokkaido from Soviet rule?

Category: Newsroom


A World War II vet and Walmart employee celebrates his 103rd birthday.

Vox explains Sesame Street’s move to HBO. Boy, mixed feelings about that. But more episodes is good. I had no idea that they produced so few a year.

The joke writes itself: The daughter of the Governor of Oklahoma had to disconnect her trailer from the Governor’s Mansion.

A paper that boosted Golden Rice has been retracted over concerns of subject consent. (There is, it should be added, no evidence of falsification or fabrication.)

To quote Jesse Walker: “No!”

A judge in Texas ordered a 20 year old man to marry his 19 year old girlfriend within 18 days.

By ending up on the sex offender registry, Zach Anderson (the 19 year old who slept with the 14 year old who represented herself as being 17) was prohibited by an animal shelter from getting a dog.

A bounty hunter in Arizona raided the wrong house. No, I mean he really raided the wrong house.

Some pictures on a cell phone in a town dump lead to the arrest of a sailor.

I’m trying to imagine how this guy explains the gap in his resume. “I cared about the success of my clients a little too much, it turns out.”

Come on, Jared, all you had to do was keep your weight off and not be a creep, and you were pretty much set for life.

Here’s something interesting from Hanley about printing a bridge from those 3D printers… in mid-air.

A deep undercover agent in London went a little too deep, and a woman won a $685,737 judgment.

The courts in the UK have ruled that making private copies of your music is illegal.

Category: Newsroom