Kevin Drum Feed | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2009/07/politics-healthcare%3Bwww.aollatinoblog.com/category/moda%3Bwww.aollatinoblog.com/tag/JuezDeLinea/%3Bwww.aollatinoblog.com/tag/JuezDeLinea/%3Bwww.aollatinoblog.com/2008/03/14/salsa-para-enchilada http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Friday Cat Blogging - 28 August 2015 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/friday-cat-blogging-28-august-2015 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This is how we roll around here in August: stretched out to maximum length for maximum cooling power. Plus it might lure someone over to give Hilbert a tummy rub. Pretty often it does, in fact.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hilbert_2015_08_28.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 40px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 19:00:11 +0000 Kevin Drum 282931 at http://www.motherjones.com "Political Correctness" Is Mostly Just Code For Not Insulting People http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/political-correctness-mostly-just-code-not-insulting-people <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>S.E. Cupp says that Donald Trump's rise can be laid at the feet of liberal political correctness. <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_08/tell_us_what_you_really_mean_b057337.php" target="_blank">Ed Kilgore isn't buying:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Is that the source of all this hysteria? Conservative media accounts of random college speech code incidents and the occasional dumb move by a school principal? Something that <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_political_correctness.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">affects maybe a tenth of one percent of the population?</p> </blockquote> <p>Well....maybe. When it's on a 24/7 loop on Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, it probably seems like an epidemic. I can see it raising a lot of hackles. But let's continue:</p> <blockquote> <p>I'm sorry, I don't buy it. The Trump supporters and proto-Trump supporters I know are upset by things like having to listen to Spanish-language messages on customer service lines, not being able to call women "chicks" without someone frowning at them, and having to stop telling racist jokes at work. That's what "political correctness" is code for: having to worry about the sensitivities of people who were invisible or submissive not that very long ago.</p> <p>If Cupp is right and I'm not, then let's all cooperate in convincing Republican politicians and conservative pundits to stop using the term "political correctness" and come right and and tell us what the beef is about. Is it really "trigger warning" requirements at scattered liberal arts colleges? Or is it this whole new world we're in where people have to question old habits? When Ben Carson calls inhibitions about torturing terrorism suspects "political correctness," it's pretty clear he's yet another apostle for the Church of the Day Before Yesterday, when America was never wrong and dissenters kept their mouths shut.</p> </blockquote> <p>I could do with a little less speech policing from all sides, frankly. It gets a little tiresome sometimes. Still, the truth is that Ed is right: for the vast, vast majority of us, it leaves our lives entirely unaffected as long as you can avoid flat-out slurs against women, blacks, gays, Jews, and so forth. Really, that's about 99 percent of it. Is that really so hard?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:41:51 +0000 Kevin Drum 282926 at http://www.motherjones.com Man Is the Irrational Animal http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/man-irrational-animal <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Mark Kleiman points out that most of us need to hold more or less rational beliefs about our professional lives. "Even people whose stock-in-trade is deception&mdash;con artists, stockbrokers, lobbyists&mdash;have to observe the rules of arithmetic when it comes to totting up the take." <a href="http://www.samefacts.com/2015/08/elections/52349/" target="_blank">But that's only half the story:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Most of the time, though, people aren&rsquo;t at work, and much of what they think and talk about has little if any relevance to practical decisions in their own non-working lives. Freed of the need to think rationally, most people seem to prefer the alternative.</p> </blockquote> <p>Yep. This is why, say, it costs nothing to claim that evolution is nonsense and shouldn't be taught in schools. For the 99.9 percent of us who don't work in fields that require it, evolution doesn't affect our daily lives in any way at all. Believing or not believing is affinity politics and nothing more. This explains how Donald Trump gets away with being a buffoon:</p> <blockquote> <p>The deepest mistake is to regard someone who acts as if he doesn&rsquo;t give a damn whether anything he says is true, or consistent with what he said yesterday, as stupid....As far as I can tell, Donald Trump simply isn&rsquo;t bothered by holding and expressing utterly inconsistent beliefs about immigration, or for that matter denying obvious facts in the face of the crowd that witnessed them. And it doesn&rsquo;t much bother most of his voters, either....And if we deal with it by imagining that Trump, or Trump voters, are &ldquo;stupid,&rdquo; we&rsquo;re going to make some very bad predictions.</p> </blockquote> <p>We forgive a lot in people we like. Liberals forgive Hillary Clinton for her lawyerly and incompetent defense of her email practices. Trump fans forgive the fact that he makes no sense. But forgiveness is a virtue, right? I guess that makes Trump's supporters the most virtuous folks on the planet.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:55:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 282921 at http://www.motherjones.com Sarah Palin: No Bible Verses for You! http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/sarah-palin-no-bible-verses-you <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Great news! <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/08/sarah-palin-interview-donald-trump" target="_blank">Sarah Palin will be interviewing Donald Trump</a> at 10 p.m. Eastern on her brand new show, <em>On Point</em>, which started Monday and airs on the One America News network. It will be the greatest, classiest, rogue-iest interview ever!</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_sarah_palin_on_point.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Wait. What's that? You don't get OAN on your cable system? Me neither. Bummer. Maybe it'll be on Palin's Facebook page eventually.</p> <p>What makes this whole thing a little weirder than even the normal Palin weirdness is that she announced her upcoming interview with a standard-issue blast on the lamestream media for asking Trump a gotcha question about his favorite Bible verse. "By the way," she writes, "even with my reading scripture everyday I wouldn't want to answer the guy's question either... it's none of his business; it IS personal." What makes this weird is that Palin has been happy to talk about this before. For example, <a href="http://billygraham.org/story/sarah-palin-draws-strength-from-scripture/" target="_blank">in this interview:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>In dealing with her daily challenges, Palin leans on the Bible verse that says, &ldquo;God hasn&rsquo;t given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and might and a sound mind.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>That's 2 Timothy 1:7 (close enough, anyway), and Palin has mentioned it on other occasions too. It really does seem to be one of her favorites. So why is this suddenly so personal that she doesn't think anyone should have to talk about it? Are we now all keeping our favorite Bible verses a deeply held secret?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:38:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 282911 at http://www.motherjones.com It Turns Out That Those "Full and Unedited" Planned Parenthood Videos.... Aren't http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/it-turns-out-those-full-and-unedited-videosarent <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I gave up on the Planned Parenthood sting videos a long time ago. It's pretty obvious there was no criminal behavior unmasked, or even any unethical behavior.<sup>1</sup> The claims of the producers never matched the reality of the videos, so I stopped watching when new ones came out.</p> <p>But Sarah Kliff soldiered on! She not only watched them all, she watched the full, unedited versions. And she discovered something after reading a forensic analysis of the videos from Planned Parenthood: they aren't actually full and unedited. The folks who ran the sting claim that they did nothing more than edit out bathroom breaks, <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/8/28/9217323/planned-parenthood-tapes-edited" target="_blank">but Kliff isn't buying it:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Take the first example I wrote about here, the meeting with the Texas Planned Parenthood clinic where the tape appears to jump forward a half-hour. In that case, nobody suggests a bathroom break. There's no change in meeting; when the video jumps forward, they're still sitting in the exact same seats.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the longer videos show lots of small-talk footage that isn't especially relevant to the argument over fetal body parts. I know because I watched all of it. There are moments in a car, where directions are being given and all the camera footage is totally blurry, where people stand around in hallways, where they talk about the relationship between caffeine and headaches. Those moments weren't cut from the tape &mdash; and it's hard to know what would make those different from the bathroom breaks and other moments deemed irrelevant to the audience.</p> </blockquote> <p>I guess we need a chant for this. <em>Release the video! We demand to see the bathroom breaks! Explain the timestamps!</em> Or something. As far as I'm concerned, Planned Parenthood has long since been exonerated in this episode, so I don't really need to see anything. But I am curious about just what they decided to leave out.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Standard caveat: If you think abortion is murder, then everything on the video is unethical and immoral.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:52:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 282906 at http://www.motherjones.com Blaming Culture Is a Liberal Thing? Seriously? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/blaming-culture-liberal-thing-seriously <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/423221/hypocrisy-culture-kills-crowd-charles-c-w-cooke" target="_blank">Over at <em>National Review</em>,</a> Charles Cooke writes about the gruesome murder of WDBJ reporters Alison Parker and Adam Ward on Wednesday:</p> <blockquote> <p>As I have written over and over again during the last few years, I do not believe that we can learn a great deal from the justifications that are forwarded by public killers....Mine, however, is not the only view out there. <strong>Indeed, there is a sizeable contingent within the United States that takes the question of what murderers purport to believe extremely seriously indeed.</strong> It is because of these people that we had to examine &ldquo;toxic masculinity&rdquo; in the wake of the Isla Vista shooting....[etc.]</p> <p>....Half-joking on Twitter, the <em>Free Beacon&rsquo;s</em> Sonny Bunch reacted to this news by observing that, &ldquo;instead of going on a killing spree, this guy should&rsquo;ve gotten a columnist gig at the <em>Guardian</em>.&rdquo; As with all humor, there is some truth at the root of this barb....For what reason is this <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_jesus_moral_decay.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">guy exempt? Why do we not need to have a &ldquo;national conversation&rdquo; about hypersensitivity?</p> <p><strong>The answer, I imagine, is politics, for this instinct seems only to run one way.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Generally speaking, I agree with Cooke. Crazy people are always going to find something to justify their worldview, and they're going to find it somewhere out in the real world. The fact that any particular crazy person decides to have it in for the IRS or Greenpeace or women who laughed at him in high school doesn't mean a lot. It only becomes meaningful if some particular excuse starts showing up a lot. Beyond that, I even agree that the culture of hypersensitivity has gotten out of hand in some precincts of the left.</p> <p>That said....is Cooke kidding? This instinct only runs one way? After the Columbine massacre in 1999, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1999/05/12/gingrich/" target="_blank">Newt Gingrich denounced</a> the "liberal political elite" for "being afraid to talk about the mess you have made, and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done." Conservatives have been raising Cain about the pernicious effects of Hollywood liberalism, video games, and the decline of religion for decades. Hysteria about the counterculture and liberal moral decay goes back at least to the 60s. I could go on endlessly in this vein, but I don't want to bore you.</p> <p>Complaining about the effects of liberal culture&mdash;whether on shooters specifically, crime more generally, or on all of society&mdash;has been a right-wing mainstay for as long as I've been alive. The left may be catching up, but it still has a ways to go.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:11:19 +0000 Kevin Drum 282896 at http://www.motherjones.com The Real Lesson From Emailgate: Maybe the State Department Needs More Secure Email http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/maybe-state-department-needs-more-secure-email <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>David Ignatius talked with "a half-dozen knowledgeable lawyers" and concluded that <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-hillary-clinton-e-mail-scandal-that-isnt/2015/08/27/b1cabed8-4cf4-11e5-902f-39e9219e574b_story.html" target="_blank">the Hillary Clinton email affair has been overblown.</a> No big surprise there. Click the link if you want more.</p> <p>But here's the curious part. Part of Clinton's trouble stems from the fact that sensitive information was sent to her via email, which isn't meant for confidential communications. However, as Ignatius points out, this is a nothingburger. Everyone does this, and has for a long time. But why?</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s common knowledge that the classified communications system is impossible and isn&rsquo;t used,&rdquo;</strong> said one former high-level Justice Department official. Several former prosecutors said flatly that such sloppy, unauthorized practices, although technically violations of law, wouldn&rsquo;t normally lead to criminal cases.</p> </blockquote> <p>Why is the classified system so cumbersome? Highly secure encryption is easy to implement on off-the-shelf PCs, and surely some kind of software that plugs into email and restricts the flow of messages wouldn't be too hard to implement. So why not build more security into email and ditch the old system? What's the hold-up?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 15:11:35 +0000 Kevin Drum 282886 at http://www.motherjones.com Clarence Thomas Can't Catch a Break http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/clarence-thomas-cant-catch-break <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Yesterday <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/28/us/justice-clarence-thomas-rulings-studies.html?_r=0" target="_blank">the <em>New York Times</em> ran a story</a> saying that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas hoisted language from briefs submitted to the court "at unusually high rates." I was curious to see the actual numbers, so I opened up the study itself. <a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2574451" target="_blank">Here's the relevant excerpt from Figure 2:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_supreme_court_briefs.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 15px;"></p> <p>I dunno. Does that look "unusually high" to you? It looks to me like it's about the same as Sotomayor, and only a bit higher than Ginsburg, Alito and Roberts. It's a little hard to see the news here, especially given this:</p> <blockquote> <p>Since his views on major legal questions can be idiosyncratic and unlikely to command a majority, he is particularly apt to be assigned the inconsequential and technical majority opinions that the justices call dogs. They often involve routine cases involving taxes, bankruptcy, pensions and patents, <strong>in which shared wording, including quotations from statutes and earlier decisions, is particularly common.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So at most, Thomas uses language from briefs only slightly more than several other justices, and that's probably because he gets assigned the kinds of cases where it's common to do that. Is there even a story here at all?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 14:47:00 +0000 Kevin Drum 282881 at http://www.motherjones.com Either 35, 36, or 39 Percent of Psychology Results Can't Be Replicated http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/either-35-36-or-39-percent-psychology-results-cant-be-replicated <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/08/27/trouble-in-science-massive-effort-to-reproduce-100-experimental-results-succeeds-only-36-times/" target="_blank">The <em>Washington Post</em></a> informs me today that in a new study, only 39 out of 100 published psychology studies could be replicated:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_psychology_replication_wapo.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 50px;"></p> <p>I wonder if I can replicate that headline? Let's try the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/28/science/many-social-science-findings-not-as-strong-as-claimed-study-says.html" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em>:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_psychology_replication_nyt.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 50px;"></p> <p>Huh. They say 35 out of 100. What's going on? Maybe <a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/psychology-results-evaporate-upon-further-review" target="_blank"><em>Science News</em></a> can tell me:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_psychology_replication_science_news.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 50px;"></p> <p>Now it's 35 out of 97. So what <em>is</em> the answer?</p> <p><a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6251/aac4716" target="_blank">Based on the study itself,</a> it appears that <em>Science News</em> has it right. It's 35 out of 97. Using a different measure of replication, however, the answer is that 39 percent of the studies could be replicated, which might explain the <em>Post's</em> 39 out of 100. And it turns out that the study actually looked at 100 results, but only 97 of them had positive findings in the first place and were therefore worth trying to replicate. But if, for some reason, you decided that all 100 original studies should be counted, you'd get the <em>Times'</em> 35 out of 100.</p> <p>So there you go. Depending on who you read, it's either 35, 36, or 39 percent. Welcome to the business of science reporting.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 28 Aug 2015 05:04:52 +0000 Kevin Drum 282876 at http://www.motherjones.com Joe Biden Isn't Sure He Has the "Emotional Fuel" to Run for President http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/joe-biden-note-sure-he-has-emotional-fuel-run-president <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This is the first hard evidence we have that Joe Biden is <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/08/biden-may-not-have-emotional-fuel-for-2016-run.html" target="_blank">seriously thinking about a presidential run:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>On Wednesday he made his first public comments on his potential 2016 run &mdash; though not intentionally. CNN posted audio recorded during what was supposed to be a private conference call for Democratic National Committee members in which the vice-president confirmed that he's actively considering entering the campaign....<strong>"We're dealing at home with ... whether or not there is the emotional fuel at this time to run," Biden responded.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>I've got nothing but sympathy for what Biden is going through right now, but the fact remains: If you're not sure you have the fuel for a grueling presidential campaign, then you don't.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Top Stories Joe Biden Fri, 28 Aug 2015 03:10:37 +0000 Kevin Drum 282871 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump: The Bible Is Great, But, Um, Let's Not Get Into Specifics http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/donald-trump-bible-great-um-lets-not-get-specifics <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As a blogger, it's hard not to love Donald Trump. Here's the latest, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/videos/2015-08-26/donald-trump-the-full-with-all-due-respect-interview" target="_blank">in an interview with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>I'm wondering what one or two of your most favorite Bible verses are and why.</strong></p> <p>Well, I wouldn't want to get into it because to me that's very personal. You know, when I talk about the Bible it's very personal. So I don't want to get into verses, I don't want to get into&mdash;the Bible means a lot to me, but I don't want to get into specifics.</p> <p><strong>Even to cite a verse that you like?</strong></p> <p>No, I don't want to do that.</p> <p><strong>Are you an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy?</strong></p> <p>Uh, probably....equal. I think it's just an incredible....the whole Bible is an incredible....I joke....very much so. They always hold up <em>The Art of the Deal</em>, I say it's my second favorite book of all time. But, <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_god_sistine_chapel.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">uh, I just think the Bible is just something very special.</p> </blockquote> <p>OK, it's not only Trump I love. Props also to Heilemann for asking Trump if he's an OT guy or an NT guy. Who talks about the Bible that way?</p> <p>We've seen this schtick from Trump before, of course. He's stunningly ignorant, and routinely refuses to answer whenever someone asks about a factual detail more than an inch below the surface. Needless to say, he refuses because he doesn't know, but he always pretends it's for some other reason. "I don't want to insult anyone by naming names," he'll say, as if this isn't his entire stock in trade. Or, in this case, "It's personal," as if he's a guy who leads a deep personal life that he never talks about.</p> <p>The interesting thing is that this schtick also shows how lazy he is. It's been evident for several days that someone was eventually going to ask him for his favorite Bible verse, but he couldn't be bothered to bone up even a little bit in order to have one on tap. Ditto for everything else. Even when he says something that's going to raise obvious questions the next day, he never bothers to learn anything about the subject. I guess he figures he's got people for that.</p> <p>Of course, there is an advantage to handling things this way. By shutting down the Bible talk completely, he guarantees he'll never have to talk about it again. I mean, today it's Bible verses, tomorrow somebody might want him to name the Ten Commandments. And since it's pretty obvious that he hasn't cracked open the Bible in decades, that could get hairy pretty fast. Better to shut it down right away.</p> <p><strong>POSTSCRIPT:</strong> So which <em>is</em> Trump? OT or NT? I expect that he admires the OT God more. <em>That's</em> a deity who knows what he wants and doesn't put up with any PC nonsense about it. Plus they built a lot of stuff in the Old Testament: towers, walls, arks, temples, etc. That would appeal to Trump. On the other hand, the New Testament has all those annoying lessons about the meek inheriting the earth, rich men and needles, turning the other cheek, and a bunch of other advice that Trump has no time for.</p> <p>So: Old Testament. Definitely Old Testament.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:30:04 +0000 Kevin Drum 282861 at http://www.motherjones.com How Much Is 1.6 Months of Life Worth? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/how-much-16-months-life-worth <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/08/27/cancer-drugs-arent-just-really-expensive-theyre-a-bad-value/" target="_blank">From Carolyn Johnson at Wonkblog:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>With some cancer drug prices soaring past $10,000 a month....</p> </blockquote> <p>Hey, that's me! A friendly FedEx delivery person just delivered this month's $10,000 supply to me an hour ago. So, what's up?</p> <blockquote> <p>With some cancer drug prices soaring past $10,000 a month, doctors have begun to ask one nagging question: Do drug prices correctly reflect the value they bring to patients by extending or improving their lives?</p> <p>A study published Thursday in <em>JAMA Oncology</em> aims to answer that question by examining necitumumab, an experimental lung cancer drug....in a clinical trial, researchers found that <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_drug_cost.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">adding the drug to chemotherapy extended life by 1.6 months, on average.</p> <p>....In order to estimate what the price of this drug "should" be based on its value to patients, the research team modeled various scenarios....one additional year in perfect health in the U.S. is worth somewhere between $50,000 and $200,000....Based on their calculations, the drug should cost from $563 to $1,309 for a three-week cycle.</p> <p>....There are many variables that go into the price of a drug, but mounting evidence suggests that the value it brings to patients is not the biggest factor. <strong>"How they price the drug is they price it at whatever the market is willing to bear," said Benjamn Djulbegovic, </strong>an oncologist at the University of South Florida.</p> </blockquote> <p>Well, sure, but this raises the question of <em>why</em> the market is willing to bear such high prices. Why would an insurance company approve a large expenditure for a drug that has only a tiny benefit?</p> <p>There's a lot that goes into this. Obviously some people benefit from necitumumab by a lot more than 1.6 months&mdash;and there's no way to tell beforehand who will and who won't. And it costs a lot to develop these drugs. And patients put a lot of pressure on insurers to cover anything that might help. And, in the end, insurance companies don't have a ton of incentive to push back: if drug prices go up, they increase their premiums. It doesn't really affect their bottom line much.</p> <p>There's also the size of the total market to consider. The chemo drug I'm currently taking, for example, is only used for two conditions. There's just not a whole lot of us using it. In cases like that, a drug is going to be pretty expensive.</p> <p>But here's something I'm curious about: who puts more pressure on insurance companies to cover expensive drugs, patients or doctors? My doctor, for example, was totally gung-ho about my current med. I was much less so after I read some of the clinical studies online. Why? Because most chemo drugs have unpleasant side effects (though mine has turned out OK so far), which means that, like many patients, I'm reluctant to take them unless the benefit is pretty clear cut. Doctors, on the other hand, just want to do whatever they can to help, and have no particular incentive to hold back. So maybe it's doctors who need to be in the forefront of pushing back on expensive drugs. They're the ones in the doctor-patient relationship who know the most, after all.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:04:33 +0000 Kevin Drum 282821 at http://www.motherjones.com Saul Bellow Was 30 Years Ahead of Me http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/saul-bellow-was-30-years-ahead-me <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here's a fascinating little August tidbit, via Jeet Heer on Twitter. It's an excerpt from <em>The Dean's December</em>, by Saul Bellow, published in 1981. Albert Corde, an academic, is talking to a scientist (obviously modeled on the seminal lead researcher Clair Patterson) about the "real explanation of what goes on in the slums":</p> <blockquote> <p>"And the explanation? What is the real explanation?"</p> <p>"Millions of tons of intractable lead residues poisoning the children of the poor. They're the most exposed....<strong>Crime and social disorganization in inner city populations can all be traced to the <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_brain_lead.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">effects of lead.</strong> It comes down to the nerves, to brain damage."</p> <p>....Direct material causes? Of course. Who could deny them? But what was odd was that no other causes were conceived of. "So it's lead, nothing but old lead?" he said.</p> <p>"I would ask you to study the evidence."</p> <p>And that was what Corde now began to do, reading through stapled documents, examining graphs....What was the message?....A truly accurate method of detecting tiny amounts of lead led to the discovery that the cycle of lead in the earth had been strongly perturbed. The conclusion: Chronic lead insult now affects all mankind....<strong>Mental disturbances resulting from lead poison are reflected in terrorism, barbarism, crime, cultural degradation.</strong></p> <p>....Tetraethyl fumes alone could do it&mdash;engine exhaust&mdash;and infants eating flaking lead paint in the slums <strong>became criminal morons.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>What's interesting is the mention of crime. Lead was a well-known neurotoxin by 1981, strongly implicated in educational problems and loss of IQ. So it's no big surprise that it might pop up as a prop in a novel. But nobody was yet linking it to the rise of violent crime. That would wait for another 20 years. And a truly credible case for the link between lead and crime <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline" target="_blank">wouldn't appear for yet another decade,</a> when the necessary data became available and technology had advanced enough to produce convincing brain studies. Neither of those was available in the 1980s.</p> <p>Nonetheless, the germ of the idea was there. In a way, that's not surprising: I've always felt that, given what we know about what lead does to the childhood brain, its link to violent crime should never have been hard to accept. It would actually be surprising if childhood lead exposure <em>didn't</em> have an effect on violent crime.</p> <p>Anyway, that's it. Your literary connection of the day to one of my favorite topics.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:50:25 +0000 Kevin Drum 282811 at http://www.motherjones.com Nerds and Hacks Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose Except Your Chains. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/nerds-and-hacks-unite-you-have-nothing-lose-except-your-chains <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>David Roberts has a long post at Vox about tech nerds and their disdain for politics. He highlights one particular tech nerd who describes both major parties as "a bunch of dumb people saying dumb things," <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/8/27/9214015/tech-nerds-politics" target="_blank">and jumps off from there:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>There are two broad narratives about politics that can be glimpsed between the lines here. Both are, in the argot of the day, problematic.</p> <p>The first, which is extremely common in the nerd community, is a distaste for government and politics....a sense that government is big, bloated, slow-moving, and inefficient, that politicians are dimwits and panderers, and that real progress comes from private innovation, not government mandates. None of which is facially unreasonable.</p> <p>The second is the conception of politics as a contest of two mirror-image political philosophies, with mirror-image extremes and a common center, which <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_jobs_wozniak.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">is where sensible, independent-minded people congregate.</p> </blockquote> <p>There's about 4,400 more words than this, so click the link if you want to immerse yourself.</p> <p>But I have a little different take on all this. The truth is that politics and tech are the same thing: inventing a product that appeals to people and then marketing the hell out of it. Back in the dark ages, this was a little more obvious. Steve Wozniak invented, Steve Jobs sold. It was so common for tech companies to be started by two people, one engineer and one salesman, that it was practically a cliche.</p> <p>The modern tech community has lost a bit of that. Oh, they all chatter about social media and going viral and so forth. As long as the marketing is actually just some excuse for talking about cool new tech, they're happy to immerse themselves in it. But actually <em>selling</em> their product? Meh. The truly great ideas rise to the top without any of that <em>Mad Men</em> crap. Anyway, the marketing department will handle the dull routine of advertising and....well, whatever it is they do.</p> <p>Politics, by contrast, leans the other way. Inventing new stuff helps, but the real art is in selling your ideas to the public and convincing your fellow politicians to back you. It's all messy and annoying, especially if you're not very socially adept, but it's the way human beings get things done.</p> <p>Well, it's <em>one</em> of the ways. Because Roberts only tells half the story. As much as most tech nerds disdain the messy humanness of politics, it's equally true that most politicians disdain the eye-rolling naivete of tech nerds. You wanna get something done, kid? Watch the master at work.</p> <p>In politics, you have the wonks and the hacks&mdash;and it's the hacks who rule. In tech, you have the nerds and the salesmen&mdash;and it's the nerds who rule. There are always exceptions, but that's the general shape of the river.</p> <p>But guess what? The most successful nerds have always been the ones who are also willing to figure out what makes people tick. And the most successful politicians have been the ones who are willing to marry themselves to policy solutions that fit their time and place. That doesn't mean that nerds have to slap backs (Bill Gates never did) or that successful politicians have to immerse themselves in white papers (Ronald Reagan never did), but wonks and hacks and nerds and salesmen all need each other. The political hacks and the tech nerds need to get together and get messy. And more important: <em>they have to genuinely respect each other.</em> When that happens, you have a very, very powerful combination. So get to work.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:22:30 +0000 Kevin Drum 282801 at http://www.motherjones.com TGIAS: Finally, August Is Almost Over http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/tgias-finally-august-almost-over <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>August is almost over. Huzzah! Kids are back in school, the weather will soon turn balmy, and we only have to pay attention to Donald Trump for a few more days. In September we'll have more important stuff to obsess over. Right?</p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_lion_silly_season.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Well, we can hope. In the meantime, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/08/27/the-most-damning-part-of-donald-trumps-political-rise/" target="_blank">Dan Drezner has a question:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>For this entire calendar year, I&rsquo;ve heard how the current crop of GOP presidential candidates &ldquo;showcase[s] the party&rsquo;s deep bench of talent&rdquo;....And, to be fair, this seemed to be a fair analysis. There are no fewer than nine sitting and former governors of big states in the field....And yet, after all the declarations, we&rsquo;re at a political moment when Trump is clobbering all of these talented politicians in the polls &mdash; and doing so by honing the lessons he learned from reality television.</p> <p>....So here&rsquo;s my question: What does it say about the deep GOP bench that none of them have managed to outperform a guy who has no comparative political advantage except celebrity and a willingness to insult anyone who crosses his path?</p> </blockquote> <p>I've had the same thought myself. Nor is this a partisan question: the Democrats have such a weak bench this year that there's literally only one truly plausible candidate in the entire field. And this isn't because Hillary Clinton is so widely beloved: there's just no one else around who seems to have the usual bona fides to run for president. Hell, even the sitting vice president, usually a shoo-in to run, has a public persona that's a little too goofy to make him a strong candidate.</p> <p>In other words, there are hardly any decent candidates in the entire country. What the hell is going on?</p> <p>But Drezner actually prompts another question that's been rattling around in my brain: Is there anyone out there who could be the Democratic equivalent of Donald Trump? There was some inane blather earlier this month comparing him to Bernie Sanders, but that was always pretty preposterous. Sanders is a serious, longtime politician. He may be too extreme for you, but he's not a buffoon.</p> <p>More specifically: Is it even <em>possible</em> that someone like Trump&mdash;no political experience, buffoonish, populist, boorish&mdash;could ever make a big impact in a Democratic primary? It's never happened before, but then, it's never happened quite this way in the Republican primary either. It makes me wonder. What if Trump had held on to his lifelong liberal beliefs instead of "evolving" so he could compete as a Republican? What would be the fate of a liberal Donald Trump? Would a big chunk of the liberal base embrace him?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 27 Aug 2015 15:39:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 282796 at http://www.motherjones.com US Economy Growing Faster Than We Thought http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/us-economy-growing-faster-we-thought <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-gdp-expands-at-3-7-pace-in-second-quarter-1440678866" target="_blank">This is welcome news:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The U.S. economy expanded at a brisker pace than initially thought in the second quarter as businesses ramped up spending, a hopeful sign for an economy that has been repeatedly buffeted by bad weather, domestic political standoffs and overseas turmoil.</p> <p>Gross domestic product, the broadest sum of goods and services produced across the economy, <strong>expanded at a 3.7% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the second quarter of 2015,</strong> the Commerce Department said Thursday, up from the initial estimate of 2.3% growth.</p> </blockquote> <p>Average growth in the entire first half of the year was still fairly sluggish, thanks to a miserable first quarter, but today's news might be evidence of some decent acceleration in the economy. Given all the bad news of the past month or so, this comes as a bit of a relief.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 27 Aug 2015 14:49:45 +0000 Kevin Drum 282791 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's Why No One Cares About Modern Philosophy http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/heres-why-no-one-cares-about-modern-philosophy <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Via someone on the right (I don't remember who, sorry) I learned of a minor tempest over at Vox.com. One of their editors asked a Swedish philosopher, Torbjorn Tannsjo, to write a piece defending the "repugnant conclusion," <a href="http://leiterreports.typepad.com/files/you-should-have-kids-00000003.pdf" target="_blank">which Tannsjo describes thusly:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>My argument is simple. Most people live lives that are, on net, happy. For them to never exist, then, would be to deny them that happiness. And because I think we have a moral duty to maximize the amount of <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_overpopulation.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">happiness in the world, that means that we all have an obligation to make the world as populated as can be.</p> </blockquote> <p>There are a number of caveats in the piece, but that's basically it. <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/8/26/9212591/why-vox-didnt-run-a-piece-endorsing-the-repugnant-conclusion" target="_blank">Vox ended up rejecting it,</a> partly because they decided not to launch a planned new section for "unusual, provocative arguments," and partly because they were squeamish about the implications of a piece which argued that "birth control and abortion are, under most circumstances, immoral."</p> <p>Brian Leiter, a professor of law and philosophy at the University of Chicago, <a href="http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2015/08/so-much-for-trying-to-bring-philosophy-to-the-public.html" target="_blank">was appalled:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>If you solicit a piece from a philosopher, knowing what their work is about (as was clearly the case here), you have an obligation to publish it, subject to reasonable editing. What you can't do, if you are an even remotely serious operation (and not an echo chamber), is reject it because someone not paying attention might think the argument supports a conclusion they find icky.</p> </blockquote> <p>I'll confess to some puzzlement about this affair. Leiter is right that Vox editors must have known exactly what Tannsjo was going to write. That was clear from the start. So why did they get cold feet after seeing the finished product? On the other hand, Leiter is dead wrong that any publication has an obligation to publish every piece it solicits.<sup>1</sup> That doesn't pass the laugh test, whether the writer is a philosopher or not. Stuff gets rejected all the time for a million different reasons, potential offensiveness among them.</p> <p>But here's the part I really don't get: Why on earth would anyone take Tannsjo's argument seriously in the first place? The entire thing hinges on the premise that we all have a moral duty to maximize the absolute amount of felt happiness in the universe. If you don't believe that, there's nothing left of his essay.</p> <p>But virtually no one <em>does</em> believe that. And since&nbsp;Tannsjo never even tries to justify his premise, that makes his entire piece kind of pointless. It would have taken me about five minutes to reject it.</p> <p>I dunno. Too many modern philosophers seem to revel in taking broadly uncontroversial sentiments&mdash;in this case, that we have an obligation to future generations&mdash;and then spinning out supposedly shocking conclusions that might hold if (a) you literally care only about this one thing, and (b) you take it to its absurd, ultimate limit.<sup>2</sup> But aside from dorm room bull sessions, why bother? That just isn't the human condition. We care about lots of things; they often conflict; and we always have to end up balancing them in some acceptable way. Nothing in the real world ever gets taken to its ultimate logical conclusion all by itself.</p> <p>I suppose this kind of thing might be interesting in the same way that any abstract logic puzzle is interesting, but it's not hard to see why most people would just consider it tedious blather. If this is at all representative of what Vox got when it started looking around for unusual, provocative arguments, I don't blame them for deep sixing the whole idea.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Depending on the publication and the type of article, they might owe you a kill fee for the work you put into it. But that's all.</p> <p><sup>2</sup>Well, that and ever more baroque versions of the trolley problem.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 27 Aug 2015 01:48:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 282771 at http://www.motherjones.com Chart of the Day: World Trade Is Down 2% This Year http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/chart-day-world-trade-down-2-year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here is your chart to ponder today. It shows the <a href="http://cpb.nl/en/number/cpb-world-trade-monitor-june-2015" target="_blank">total level of world trade:</a></p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_world_trade_level_june_2015.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 40px;"></p> <p>You can see the huge dip during the 2008-09 recession, followed by a steady recovery. Until this year, that is. During the past six months, world trade has declined by about 2 percent.</p> <p>Most of this loss was made up in June, but monthly figures are volatile and June could be just a temporary artifact. Time will tell. Most likely, this is yet another indication of a weak global economy, one that's going to get even weaker if China's recent troubles portend a genuine recession.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:51:25 +0000 Kevin Drum 282756 at http://www.motherjones.com Hillary's Email: Still No There There http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/hillarys-email-still-no-there-there <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The AP's Ken Dilanian reports on the use of <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/1a67b7bfbe9c44628abd35236f12723c/state-department-officials-routinely-sent-secrets-over" target="_blank">email in the State Department:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The transmission of now-classified information across Hillary Rodham Clinton's private email is consistent with a State Department culture in which <strong>diplomats routinely sent secret material on unsecured email during the past two administrations,</strong> according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.</p> <p>....In five emails that date to Condoleezza Rice's tenure as secretary of state during the George W. Bush administration, large chunks are censored on the grounds that they contain classified national security or foreign government information....<strong>In a December 2006 email,</strong> diplomat John J. Hillmeyer appears to have pasted the text of a confidential cable from Beijing about China's dealings with Iran and other sensitive matters.</p> <p>....<strong>Such slippage of classified information into regular email is "very common, actually,"</strong> said Leslie McAdoo, a lawyer who frequently represents government officials and contractors in disputes over security clearances and classified information.</p> <p>What makes Clinton's case different is that she exclusively sent and received emails through a home server in lieu of the State Department's unclassified email system. <strong>Neither would have been secure from hackers or foreign intelligence agencies, so it would be equally problematic whether classified information was carried over the government system or a private server, experts say.</strong> In fact, the State Department's unclassified email system has been penetrated by hackers believed linked to Russian intelligence.</p> <p>....Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said State Department officials were permitted at the time to use personal email accounts for official business, and that the department was aware of Clinton's private server....<strong>There is no indication that any information in Clinton emails was marked classified at the time it was sent.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Whatevs. Let's spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of congressional committee time investigating this anyway. Maybe we'll finally find that Whitewater confession we've been looking for so long.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Top Stories Wed, 26 Aug 2015 19:12:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 282736 at http://www.motherjones.com Sigh. Yet Another Thing to Freak Out About. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/yet-another-thing-freak-out-about <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/08/back-to-school-with-mutant-super-lice" target="_blank">Mutant super lice?</a> WTF? I blame liberal moral decay.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:57:27 +0000 Kevin Drum 282731 at http://www.motherjones.com Breaking News: Kids Don't Like to Eat Vegetables http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/breaking-news-kids-dont-eat-vegetables <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Excellent news! We have new research on <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/08/26/schoolchildren-are-tossing-an-average-of-more-than-a-third-cup-of-fruits-and-veggies-in-the-trash-each-lunch/?hpid=z5" target="_blank">whether kids like to eat vegetables:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The Agriculture Department rolled out new requirements in the 2012 school year that mandated that children who were taking part in the federal lunch program choose either a fruit or vegetable with their meals.</p> <p>...."The basic question we wanted to explore was: <strong>does requiring a child to select a fruit or vegetable actually correspond with consumption.</strong> The answer was clearly no," Amin, the lead author of the study, said in a statement.</p> </blockquote> <p>This will come as a surprise to exactly zero parents. You can (usually) make your kids eat vegetables if you refuse to let them leave the table until they do, but that's what it takes. Ask my mother if you don't believe me.<sup>1</sup></p> <p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_fruit_vegetable_consumption.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">I'm not actually making fun of the researchers here. Sometimes seemingly obvious things turn out to be untrue. The only way to find out for sure is to check. And in fact, the study actually did produce interesting results:</p> <blockquote> <p>Because they were forced to do it, children took fruits and vegetables&nbsp;&mdash; 29 percent more in fact. <strong>But their consumption of fruits and vegetables actually went down 13 percent after the mandate took effect</strong> and, worse, they were throwing away a distressing 56 percent more than before. The waste each child (or tray) was producing went from a quarter of a cup to more than a 39 percent of a cup each meal. In many cases, the researchers wrote, "children did not even taste the [fruits and vegetables] they chose at lunch."</p> </blockquote> <p>Yep: when kids were required to plonk fruits and vegetables onto their trays, average consumption went <em>down</em> from 0.51 cups to 0.45 cups. Apparently sticking it to the man becomes more attractive when kids are forced to do something.</p> <p>In any case, the researchers kept a brave face, suggesting that eventually the mandates would work. We just need "other strategies" to get kids to <a href="http://www.publichealthreports.org/issueopen.cfm?articleID=3386" target="_blank">like eating vegetables:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Because children prefer FVs in the form of <strong>100% fruit juice or mixed dishes, such as pizza or lasagna,</strong> one should consider additional factors, such as the types of whole FVs offered and how the cafeteria staff prepares them. Cutting up vegetables and serving them with dip and slicing fruit, such as oranges and apples, can positively influence students&rsquo; FV selection and consumption by making FVs more accessible and appealing.</p> </blockquote> <p>I dunno. Cutting up veggies and serving them with dip decidedly doesn't make them taste anything like pizza or lasagna. I speak from decades of pizza-eating experience here. Anyway, parents have been trying to get their kids to eat their vegetables for thousands of years, and so far progress has been poor. I'm not sure what the answer is. Shock collars? DNA splicing? GMO veggies that taste like candy bars?</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Yeah, yeah, some kids actually like vegetables. Little bootlickers.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 26 Aug 2015 17:38:44 +0000 Kevin Drum 282711 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch Ted Cruz Turn a Simple Immigration Question Into an Attack on Obama and the Mainstream Media http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/watch-ted-cruz-turn-simple-immigration-question-attack-obama-and-mainstream-media <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_ted_cruz.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Megyn Kelly tried to nail down Ted Cruz last night on a simple question: If a pair of illegal immigrants have two children who were born in the United States and citizens, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/08/25/ted-cruz-and-megyn-kelly-tangle-over-immigration/?hpid=z5" target="_blank">would he deport the citizen children?</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Cruz did not answer the question, but instead launched into an explanation of how he thinks the immigration system should be changed, starting with finding areas of bipartisan agreement such as securing the border, and then streamlining legal immigration.</p> <p>"But that doesn't sound like an answer," Kelly said...."You've outlined your plan, but . . . you're dodging my question. You don't want to answer that question?" Kelly asked.</p> <p>...."Megyn, I get that's the question you want to ask. <strong>That's also the question every mainstream media journalist wants to ask,</strong>" Cruz said.</p> <p>"Is it unfair?" Kelly asked. "It's a distraction from how we actually solve the problem. <strong>You know it's also the question Barack Obama wants to focus on," Cruz said.</strong></p> <p>"But why is it so hard?" Kelly asked. "Why don't you just say yes or no?"</p> </blockquote> <p>This is Ted Cruz showing off his debating skills. His supporters hate the mainstream media and they hate President Obama, so Cruz adroitly turns this into a show of defiance against both. "I'm not playing that game," he insists, the courage practically oozing out of his pores.</p> <p>Nice job, senator!</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:59:23 +0000 Kevin Drum 282696 at http://www.motherjones.com Did Donald Trump Discover Religion in 2011? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/did-donald-trump-discover-religion-2011 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here is Donald Trump on religion <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0411/52942.html" target="_blank">in a 2011 interview:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>&ldquo;I believe in God. I am Christian. I think The Bible is certainly, it is THE book,' Trump told CBN's David Brody.</p> <p>....When asked by Brody about whether he keeps a lot of Bibles, Trump said, "Well I get sent Bibles by a lot of people... we keep them at a certain place. <strong>A very nice place.</strong> But people send me Bibles. And you know, it's very interesting. I get so much mail, and because I'm in this incredible location in Manhattan, you can't keep most of the mail you get.</p> </blockquote> <p>I put this up for two reasons. First, Trump's claim that he puts all the Bibles he receives in "a very nice place" is pretty amusing. I'd like to see this Taj Mahal of Bible storage! Second, it's the earliest reference I can find to Trump talking about religion.</p> <p>I don't have access to a good news database, so I can't really say for sure that Trump never displayed any religious tendencies before this. I <em>can</em> say that even though he's a Presbyterian, he got married in 2005 in an Episcopalian church. And when his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism, he apparently had no problem with it. That's not much, but it's all I've got.</p> <p>So what's the deal with Trump and religion? He seems to have discovered it pretty conveniently during his slow-but-steady conversion process into a viable Republican presidential candidate, but maybe not. Maybe he's been a regular churchgoer all along. Does anyone know?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:27:10 +0000 Kevin Drum 282691 at http://www.motherjones.com Quote of the Day: Donald Trump is the "Political Equivalent of Chaff" http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/quote-day-donald-trump-political-equivalent-chaff <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>By now everyone has heard of Donald Trump's run-in with Univision reporter Jorge Ramos at his press conference yesterday. But just because it was so<iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="258" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/FnsytGGNh58" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;" width="400"></iframe> entertaining, I'm going to quote conservative blogger Leon Wolf at length <a href="http://www.redstate.com/2015/08/25/awesome-terrible-majesty-donald-trump-press-conference/" target="_blank">about the whole affair:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Donald Trump just held a press conference prior to a speech in Iowa which was&nbsp;&mdash; and I say this without exaggeration&nbsp;&mdash; the most bizarre thing I have seen in a lifetime of following politics. It was at once an illustration of why the media fixates on him, and also why the other candidates in the race cannot deal with him.</p> <p>He opened the conference by yelling at Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, who he claimed asked a question without being called on. He continued to yell at Ramos at some length about being out of turn, <strong>then turned to one of his campaign staffers, nodded, and pointed at Ramos, whereupon the staffer removed Ramos from the conference.</strong> (Note: I would have zero problem on principle with throwing Ramos out of a press conference on the merits).</p> <p><strong>The next reporter&rsquo;s question, naturally, was, &ldquo;Why did you have him thrown out?&rdquo; Amazingly, Trump responded to this question, I&rsquo;m not kidding, by answering, &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t have him thrown out, you&rsquo;ll have to ask security, whoever they are.&rdquo;</strong> When reporters pressed him with the obvious fact that the person who had him removed was on his staff (he appeared to be wearing a Trump button even, but I can&rsquo;t swear to that), he immediately changed his tune to say that it was because the reporter was a &ldquo;highly emotional person,&rdquo; with no mention of the fact that <em>30 seconds earlier he had been denying that he had Ramos thrown out at all.</em></p> <p>....When a politician goofs once, it&rsquo;s easy for that to get stuck in the feedback loop of the media and other candidates.</p> <p>Watching Donald Trump speak and answer questions, though, is like watching a billion targets appear in the sky all at once, for a political opponent. <strong>Each thing he says is so bizarre, or ill informed, or demonstrably false, or un presidential in tone or character, that it becomes impossible to know which target to lock on to or focus on.</strong> And to the extent that he makes a policy statement, it is so hopelessly vague and ludicrous that it&rsquo;s impossible to know where to begin, at least within the context of the 30-second soundbite that the modern political consumer requires (and chances are, he will say something diametrically opposed to it before the press conference is over anyway).</p> <p><strong>Donald Trump is the political equivalent of chaff,</strong> a billion shiny objects all floating through the sky at once, ephemeral, practically without substance, serving almost exclusively to distract from more important things&nbsp;&mdash; yet nonetheless completely impossible to ignore.</p> </blockquote> <p>I have only one point to make here: Ramos was being a jerk and a bully, but in the end, he was only doing to Trump what Trump does to everyone else. And that made the whole thing worthwhile because we learned what happened when Trump is faced with someone willing to be as much of a bully as he is: he couldn't handle it, so he had the guy thrown out and then lied about doing it.</p> <p>Needless to say, he can't have the Secret Service toss Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping out of the room if he gets annoyed at them. So what does he think he's going to do? If he can't even handle Jorge Ramos, how is he going to handle Enrique Pe&ntilde;a Nieto?</p> <p>And then there's the inevitable question: will this episode hurt or help Trump? Answer: It will hurt him with Hispanics, of course, but Trump doesn't care. He's playing entirely for the Republican base right now, and they're going to love this. If he has the guts to toss out Jorge Ramos, maybe that means he'll have the guts to deport 11 million illegal immigrants too. Vote Trump!</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Wed, 26 Aug 2015 14:47:58 +0000 Kevin Drum 282686 at http://www.motherjones.com All of Our Negotiating Partners Think the Iran Deal Is Just Fine http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/08/all-our-negotiating-partners-think-iran-deal-just-fine <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The <em>New York Times</em> reports that the Iran deal is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/25/world/europe/europe-doesnt-share-us-concerns-on-iran-deal.html" target="_blank">just a big yawn in Europe:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The matter is settled, according to Camille Grand, director of the Strategic Research Foundation in Paris and an expert on nuclear nonproliferation. <strong>&ldquo;In Europe, you don&rsquo;t have a constituency against the deal,&rdquo;</strong> he said. &ldquo;In France, I can&rsquo;t think of a single politician or member of the expert community who has spoken against it, including some of us who were critical during the negotiations.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mr. Grand said the final agreement was better than he had expected. &ldquo;I was surprised by the depth and the quality of the deal,&rdquo; he said. <strong>&ldquo;The hawks are satisfied, and the doves don&rsquo;t have an argument.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>No arguments? I got your arguments right here. <em>24 days! Self-inspections! $150 billion! Death to America! Neville Chamberlain!</em></p> <p>If the Europeans have no arguments against the deal, they aren't even trying. They should try calling the Republican Party for a set of serious, detailed, and principled talking points.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Tue, 25 Aug 2015 22:18:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 282671 at http://www.motherjones.com