Kevin Drum Feed | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2013/08 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Maybe Cheaters Prosper After All http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/maybe-cheaters-prosper-after-all <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The world seems to be awash in teensy little pieces of social science research that are (1) possibly fascinating but (2) also possibly meaningless. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2016/02/08/why-winners-become-cheaters/" target="_blank">Roberto Ferdman</a> points us to one today that suggests <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/01/25/1515102113" target="_blank">winning makes you more likely to cheat in the future.</a> The participants, as usual, are a small number of university students.</p> <p>Our eager young test monkeys were broken into pairs and competed in a task. The winners were determined randomly, though the participants didn't know that. Then they went on to round 2, where they threw a pair of dice. The details are unimportant except for these: (1) the <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_cheating.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">higher the throw the better, and (2) it was pretty easy to cheat since no one could see the dice except the thrower. The chart on the right shows the basic result. The average throw should be 7, and in the control group that's what it was. In the test group, winners obviously cheated since their average throw was much higher than 7. Losers either didn't cheat or, possibly, actually underreported their throws a bit.</p> <p>Why? Who knows. The authors suggest that winning creates a sense of psychological entitlement, but: "We do not claim that a sense of entitlement is the only factor that accounts for dishonest behavior following a competition. Given the complexity of the situation under study and the variety of mechanisms that drive dishonest behavior, it is likely that other mechanisms also come into play."</p> <p>So...maybe this is interesting. Maybe it's meaningless. Maybe the authors should have run this experiment a dozen times to see if the results hold up. I'm not sure. However, it seems perfectly suited for drawing sweeping conclusions about the American psyche<sup>1</sup>&mdash;maybe David Brooks can do something with this?&mdash;and that alone makes it worth writing about.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Shhh. Don't tell anyone the study was done at an Israeli university.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:26:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 296251 at http://www.motherjones.com Marcobot Seems Unfazed by Saturday Unmasking http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/marcobot-seems-unfazed-saturday-unmasking <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>There's not really any way of telling whether the Marcobot meme is hurting Marco Rubio. There was a little bit of polling yesterday, but not enough to show anything serious. Still, for what it's worth, here's the penultimate Pollster aggregate before tomorrow's primary. Really, there hasn't been a whole lot of movement at all over the past month or so. Rubio got a bit of a bump from his Iowa performance, but that's about it. Tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion, after which we can all go back to forgetting New Hampshire exists.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_new_hampshire_pollster_2016_02_08.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 5px 60px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 08 Feb 2016 16:29:57 +0000 Kevin Drum 296236 at http://www.motherjones.com Just How Cozy Is Hillary Clinton With Wall Street? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/just-how-cozy-hillary-clinton-wall-street <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Hillary Clinton has received a lot of campaign money from the financial industry over the years, and after she left the State Department she gave several lucrative speeches to Goldman Sachs and other big banks. As Michael Hirsh puts it, this has given her a reputation for being <a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/hillary-wall-street-117092_full.html#.Vrg0qVKO7Q4" target="_blank">"more than a little cozy"</a> with Wall Street.</p> <p>But is she? The truth is that I haven't paid much attention to this question. In terms of the presidential campaign, it's pretty obvious that Bernie Sanders is a lot tougher on the financial industry than she is. The details of their plans don't really matter. Sanders has practically made a career out of attacking Wall Street. As president, he'd make financial regulation a top priority; he'd appoint tougher watchdogs; and he'd use the bully pulpit relentlessly to call out Wall Street's sins.</p> <p>Still, what about Clinton? How cozy with the financial industry <em>is</em> she? I asked about this on Twitter over the weekend, figuring that all the Bernie supporters would give me an earful. But no such luck. Mostly they just told me that she had taken Wall Street money and given Wall Street speeches. The only concrete criticism was one that<iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="258" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/12mJ-U76nfg?start=0" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;" width="400"></iframe> Elizabeth Warren made in 2004: that Clinton had changed her view on the bankruptcy bill after she accepted lots of Wall Street money to get elected to the Senate.</p> <p><a href="http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/08/clinton-and-the-bankruptcy-law/?_r=0" target="_blank">But that didn't really hold water.</a> She opposed the bill in 1999 because she wanted alimony and child-support payments to take precedence over credit card companies during bankruptcy proceeding. The bill passed anyway, but Bill Clinton vetoed it. In 2001, she brokered a compromise that gave priority to alimony and child support, and then voted for the bill. It didn't pass at the time, and in 2005 her compromise was removed from the bill. She said then that she opposed it.</p> <p>This is classic Hillary. Once George Bush was president, she had no way of stopping the bill&mdash;so she worked hard behind the scenes to get what she could in return for her vote. Love it or hate it, this is the kind of pragmatic politics she practices. But there's no hypocrisy here; no change of heart thanks to Wall Street money (she supported the bill when it protected women and children and opposed it when it didn't); and no real support for the financial industry.</p> <p>What else? Clinton says she gave several speeches in 2007 warning about the dangers of derivatives and subprime loans, and introduced proposals for stronger financial oversight. <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/jul/15/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-says-she-called-wall-street-regula/" target="_blank">Apparently that's true.</a> I'm not aware if she took a stand on the repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999, but I don't think this was responsible for the financial crisis and wouldn't hold it against her either way. (And it was supported by nearly the entire Democratic Party at the time.) The CFMA <em>did</em> make the financial crisis worse, but Bernie Sanders himself supported it. Clinton voted for Sarbanes-Oxley, but everyone else did too.</p> <p>Clinton has consistently supported increasing the minimum wage&mdash;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/hillary-clinton-wants-fast-food-workers-make-more-money" target="_blank">though not to $15.</a> She supported the Lilly Ledbetter Act. She supports higher taxes on the wealthy. She supported <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-privateequity-clinton-idUSN1339356720070714" target="_blank">repeal of the carried interest loophole</a> in 2007. The <em>Boston Globe</em>, after an extensive review of her voting record in the Senate, summed up her attitude with <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2016/01/16/clinton-record-wall-street-laissez-faire/Z2a3iOsj40wryeRN2iT6qK/story.html" target="_blank">this quote from a lobbyist:</a> "The financial sector viewed her as neutral. Not helpful, but also not harmful." <a href="http://www.taxjusticeblog.org/archive/2015/04/what_we_know_about_hillary_cli.php#.Vrg4M1KO7Q4" target="_blank">Citizens for Tax Justice</a> gives her a generally favorable grade on financial issues.</p> <p>The word "cozy" does a whole lot of heavy lifting in stories about Hillary Clinton and Wall Street. But what does it mean? Does she have an actual record of supporting Wall Street interests? By ordinary standards, is her current campaign proposal for financial regulation a strong one? (I've been impressed by her rhetorical emphasis on shadow banking, but it's not clear just how far her proposals go in real life.) Has she protected financial interests against the Bernie Sanders of the world?</p> <p>I think it's safe to say that Clinton has hardly been a scourge of the banking industry. Until recently, her main interests were elsewhere. But if there's a strong case to be made for "coziness," I've failed to find it. Anyone care to point me in the right direction?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:00:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 296221 at http://www.motherjones.com Sunday French Fry Blogging http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/sunday-french-fry-blogging <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A few weeks ago I had lunch at my favorite diner and I asked what kind of oil they cooked their fries in. Corn oil, it turns out. But the owner of the place happened to be standing right there, and with no prompting he immediately grokked why I was asking:</p> <blockquote> <p>Nobody makes fries the old way anymore. They used to be so good. These days&mdash;phhht. There's no taste at all. But everybody got afraid of the health <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_fries.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">stuff, so it's all vegetable oil now.</p> </blockquote> <p>The fries at this place range from good to spectacular depending on the whims of the deep fryer, so it's not impossible to get tasty fries from corn oil. Still, fries made in beef tallow&mdash;or a mixed oil that includes animal fat of some kind&mdash;are unquestionably better. So why hasn't anyone picked up on this? There's plenty of evidence suggesting that fries cooked in animal fat might be no worse for you than fries cooked in vegetable oil, and even if this is wrong there should still be a market for an "artisanal fries" menu item or some such. Upscale burger places are forever looking for ways to differentiate themselves for the foodie crowd, so why not this? I'd buy them.</p> <p>It's a mystery. Nobody should be afraid of some occasional fries cooked in animal fat. And if you are, nobody is going to take away your bland canola oil fries anyway. Someone needs to get on this bandwagon. Who will do it first?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 07 Feb 2016 18:45:07 +0000 Kevin Drum 296201 at http://www.motherjones.com Is Academic Science Hopelessly Corrupt? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/academic-science-hopelessly-corrupt <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech scientist who uncovered the lead poisoning in Flint, is absolutely brutal about the way funding priorities <a href="http://chronicle.com/article/The-Water-Next-Time-Professor/235136" target="_blank">have corrupted academic science:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>We&rsquo;re all on this hedonistic treadmill &mdash; pursuing funding, pursuing fame, pursuing h-index &mdash; and the idea of science as a public good is being lost. This is something that I&rsquo;m upset about deeply. I&rsquo;ve kind of dedicated my career to <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_marc_edwards.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">try to raise awareness about this. I&rsquo;m losing a lot of friends.</p> <p><strong>....Q. Do you have any sense that perverse incentive structures prevented scientists from exposing the problem in Flint sooner?</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> Yes, I do. In Flint the agencies paid to protect these people weren&rsquo;t solving the problem. They <em>were</em> the problem....I don&rsquo;t blame anyone, because I know the culture of academia. You are your funding network as a professor. You can destroy that network that took you 25 years to build with one word. I&rsquo;ve done it.</p> <p><strong>....Q. Now that your hypothesis has been vindicated, and the government has its tail between its legs, a lot of researchers are interested.</strong></p> <p><strong>A.</strong> And I hope that they&rsquo;re interested for the right reasons. But there&rsquo;s now money &mdash; a lot of money &mdash; on the table....The expectation is that there&rsquo;s tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars that are going to be made available by these agencies....I hate to sound cynical about it. I know these folks have good intentions. But it doesn&rsquo;t change the fact that, Where were we as academics for all this time before it became financially in our interest to help? Where were we?</p> <p><strong>....Q. When is it appropriate for academics to be skeptical of an official narrative when that narrative is coming from scientific authorities? Surely the answer can&rsquo;t be "all of the time."</strong></p> <p>I grew up worshiping at the altar of science, and in my wildest dreams I never thought scientists would behave this way....Science should be about pursuing the truth and helping people. If you&rsquo;re doing it for any other reason, you really ought to question your motives.</p> <p>Unfortunately, in general, academic research and scientists in this country are no longer deserving of the public trust. We&rsquo;re not.</p> </blockquote> <p>In academia these day&mdash;and especially in the hard sciences, which are expensive to support&mdash;funding is everything. To a large extent, at big research universities faculty members basically work on commission: they have to bring in enough money to pay their own salaries and bankroll their own labs. And when was the last time a salesman on commission badmouthed his own product?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 07 Feb 2016 16:56:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 296196 at http://www.motherjones.com Maybe Twitter Isn't Planning to Ruin Your Life After All http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/maybe-twitter-isnt-planning-ruin-your-life-after-all <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Twitter, the big outrage over the past few days has been the news that the corporate suits are planning to change the way your Twitter feed works. Instead of simply listing every tweet from your followers in real time, <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/alexkantrowitz/twitter-to-introduce-algorithmic-timeline-as-soon-as-next-we#.lf8rQlJDP" target="_blank">they'll be rolling out an algorithm</a> that reorders tweets "based on what Twitter&rsquo;s algorithm <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_twitter_crash.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">thinks people most want to see." This is something Facebook has been doing for years.</p> <p>Power users are apoplectic, despite the fact that it's not clear what's really going on. A developer at Twitter hit back <a href="https://twitter.com/bhcarpenter/status/695811814244773892" target="_blank">with this:</a> "Seriously people. We aren't idiots. Quit speculating about how we're going to 'ruin Twitter.'" Nor is it clear when this is really going to roll out. And the rumors suggest that it will be an opt-in feature anyway. Chronological timelines will still be around for everyone who wants them.</p> <p>In any case, I'd suggest everyone give this a chance. Computer users, ironically, are notoriously change averse, which might be blinding a lot of us to the fact that chronological timelines aren't exactly the greatest invention since the yellow first down line. Maybe we really do need something better. More generally, here are a few arguments in favor of waiting to see how this all plays out:</p> <ul><li>I'm a semi-power user. I don't write a lot on Twitter,<sup>1</sup> but I read it a lot. Still, I have a job and a life, and I don't check it obsessively. And even though I follow a mere 200 people, all it takes is 15 minutes to make it nearly impossible to catch up with what's going on. Being on the West Coast makes this an especial problem in the morning. A smart robot that helped solve this problem could be pretty handy, even for those of us who are experts and generally prefer a real-time feed.</li> <li>One of my most common frustrations is coming back to the computer after a break and seeing lots of cryptic references to some new outrage or other. What I'd really like is a "WTF is <em>this</em> all about?" button. An algorithmic feed could be a useful version of this.</li> <li>As plenty of people have noted, Twitter is a sexist, racist, misogynistic cesspool. There are things Twitter could do about this, but I suspect they're limited as long as we rely on an unfiltered chronological timeline. Once an algorithm is introduced, it might well be possible to personalize your timeline in ways that clean up Twitter immensely. (Or that allow Twitter to clean it up centrally&mdash;though this obviously needs to be done with a lot of care.)</li> <li>One of the most persuasive complaints about the algorithm is that it's likely to favor the interests of advertisers more than users. Maybe so. Unfortunately, Twitter famously doesn't seem able to find a profitable business model. But if we like Twitter, the first order of business is for it to stay in existence&mdash;and that means it needs to make money. This is almost certain to be annoying no matter how Twitter manages to do it. A good algorithm might actually be the least annoying way of accomplishing this.</li> <li>Needless to say, all of this depends on how good the algorithm is. It better be pretty good, and it better improve over time.</li> </ul><p>So....stay cool, everyone. Maybe this will be an epic, New Coke style disaster that will end up as a case study in business texts for years. It wouldn't be the first time. Then again, maybe the algorithm will be subtle, useful, and optional. I'll be curious to try it out, myself.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>Arguments on Twitter are possibly the stupidest waste of time ever invented. Everything that's bad about arguments in the first place is magnified tenfold by the 140-character limit. It's hard to imagine that anyone other than a psychopath has ever emerged from a Twitter war thinking "That was great! I really learned something today."</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 07 Feb 2016 16:13:36 +0000 Kevin Drum 296191 at http://www.motherjones.com Last Night's "Marcobot Moment" May Have Ruined a Political Career http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/last-nights-marcobot-moment-may-have-ruined-political-career <!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_marco_rubio_covers.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">I was out to dinner last night&mdash;the duck at Il Fornaio was great!&mdash;so I missed the Republican debate. That was too bad, because apparently the highlight of the night was Chris Christie's brutal beatdown of Marco Rubio over precisely the point I made a few days ago. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/let-us-all-take-random-walk-through-new-hampshire" target="_blank">Here's my version:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>To me he seems like a robot: he's memorized a whole bunch of virtual index cards, and whenever you ask a question he performs a database search and recites whatever comes up. The index cards aren't bad, mind you, and I suppose they allow him to emulate a dumb person's notion what a smart person sounds like. This is despite the fact that he normally talks with the same kind of hurried clip employed by nervous eighth graders reading off actual index cards.</p> </blockquote> <p>This has always been my basic take on Rubio, and it makes me a little puzzled by his appeal among the conservative intelligentsia. But maybe they don't really care? Maybe they agree with Grover Norquist's take on the presidency <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/13/grover-norquist-speech-cpac.html" target="_blank">from four years ago:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go....We just need a president to sign this stuff....Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States.</p> </blockquote> <p>Well, Rubio has the requisite number of working digits, and he's reliably conservative even if he's not one of the great thinkers of our age. So maybe it doesn't matter if he's a callow empty suit. As long as he signs the stuff that Ryan and McConnell send him, and can give a good speech now and then defending it, he's aces. At a minimum, though, this requires Rubio to effectively hide his inability to think outside of sound bites. Christie shattered that illusion for good last night when he bluntly pointed out Rubio's robotic repetition of the exact same puerile talking point within the space of a couple of minutes. <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/430906/marco-rubio-and-chris-christies-brutal-exchange" target="_blank">Here's conservative Rubio fan David French:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Marco Rubio&rsquo;s already-famous exchange with Chris Christie was indeed a brutal moment. I still can&rsquo;t believe that Rubio went back to the same talking point right after Christie called him on it. Watching it real-time, I honestly wondered if Rubio forgot what he just said. <strong>When he started to do the same thing<iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="258" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/HNRNHgi1RzU?start=0" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;" width="400"></iframe> a third time, I couldn&rsquo;t believe my ears.</strong> Christie wasn&rsquo;t masterful &mdash; not by any means &mdash; Rubio just served him the worst kind of hanging curve.</p> </blockquote> <p>French compared this to Rick Perry's famous "Oops" gaffe from 2012. <a href="https://twitter.com/JamesFallows/status/696176435854229504" target="_blank">James Fallows</a> called it the "most self-destructive debate performance since Quayle &rsquo;88." Social media immediately branded it the "Marcobot" moment, and mashups of the Rubio/Christie exchange showed up everywhere. <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/06/transcript-of-the-feb-6-gop-debate-annotated/" target="_blank">Here's the edited transcript:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><em>RUBIO:</em> And let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. <strong>Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country,</strong> to make America more like the rest of the world....</p> <p><em>RUBIO:</em> But I would add this. Let's dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing. He knows exactly what he's doing. <strong>He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world....</strong></p> <p><em>CHRISTIE:</em> That's what Washington, D.C. Does. The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and <strong>then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.</strong> See Marco, the thing is this. When you're president of the United States, when you're a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn't solve one problem for one person.</p> <p><em>RUBIO:</em> Here's the bottom line. This notion that Barack Obama doesn't know what he's doing is just not true. <strong>He knows exactly what he's doing.</strong></p> <p><em>CHRISTIE:</em> There it is. There it is. <strong>The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody....</strong>It gets very unruly when he gets off his talking points....</p> <p><em>RUBIO [an hour later]:</em> I think anyone who believes that Barack Obama isn't doing what he's doing on purpose doesn't understand what we're dealing with here, OK? <strong>This is a president who is trying to change this country.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>So there you have it: the exact same canned line three times in a row. And then, even after being called on it in humiliating fashion, he repeats it yet again for a fourth time an hour later.</p> <p>Will this hurt Rubio? If he's smart, he'll own it. He'll make it the centerpiece of his campaign going forward, sort of like "Make America great again." Unfortunately, now that Christie has pointed out Rubio's index-card habit, everyone is going to be looking for it on every other subject too. Reporters will be combing through his debates and stump speeches looking for canned talking points, and then doing side-by-side comparisons as if he's an author being accused of plagiarism.</p> <p>We'll see how this plays out. But it sure can't be good news for ol' Marcobot. He might need to think about getting an upgrade to his programming.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 07 Feb 2016 14:26:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 296176 at http://www.motherjones.com Here Is Today's French Fiscal Horsepower History Lesson http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/here-todays-french-fiscal-horsepower-history-lesson <!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_kevin_4cv.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">No one is going to care about this post. Too bad. I feel like writing, and on a weekend you take what you can get.</p> <p>Anyway, I was musing the other day about the fact that I've always owned foreign cars. Partly this is just chance, partly the fact that I live in California, and, I suppose, partly because my parents always owned foreign cars. The first one was purchased around the time of my birth, and we kids called it the <em>bye-bye,</em> for reasons I presumably don't have to explain. It was, as it happens, a Renault. But which Renault?</p> <p>I did a bit of lazy googling last night, but nothing looked quite right. Then this morning, I noticed one of those Fiat 500s that J-Lo hawks on TV, and thought that it looked a little like the old Renault. Except I was sure the Renault had vents in the rear.</p> <p>But wait. Rear vents means a rear engine. So I googled that, and instantly got a million hits for the 4CV, which was clearly the old bye-bye. My mother confirmed this telephonically a bit later. And that got me curious. Citro<span class="st">&euml;</span>n, of course, produced the iconic 2CV, which first came off the assembly line at about the same time. What's with that? What's the appeal of __CV to postwar French auto manufacturers?</p> <p>The answer turned out to be pretty funky. CV stands for&nbsp;<span lang="fr"><i>chevaux vapeur,</i></span> or horsepower. But the 4CV is not a 4-horsepower car. CV, it turns out, is used to mean <em>tax horsepower</em>. After World War II, France (along with other European countries) wanted to encourage people to buy low-power cars, so they put a tax on horsepower. But just taxing horsepower would have been too simple. Instead, they used a formula that took into account the number of cylinders, the piston bore, and the stroke. Here's the formula for the 4CV:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_france_tax_horsepower.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 10px;"></p> <p>These numbers were undoubtedly carefully engineered to produce the highest result that would round down to 4. In fact, the 4CV had a whopping 17 horsepower, and could get to 60 mph in just under 40 seconds. Ours had a few wee problems chugging along at 6,000 feet in Flagstaff on the way to Denver in 1960, but what can you expect for 17 horsepower?</p> <p>So that's your history lesson for the day. Apparently the French tax the horsepower of cars to this day, though the formula has changed over time. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_horsepower#France" target="_blank">According to Wikipedia,</a> "Since 1998 the taxable power is calculated from the sum of a CO<sub>2</sub> emission figure (over 45), and the maximum power output of the engine in kilowatts (over 40) to the power of 1.6." The power of 1.6? I guess they still love a little pointless complexity in France.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:35:54 +0000 Kevin Drum 296141 at http://www.motherjones.com A Nice Paragraph About Why Humans Are So Damn Paranoid http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/nice-paragraph-about-why-humans-are-so-damn-paranoid <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I'm reading <em>Sapiens</em> right now, a history of early mankind published last year by historian Yuval Noah Harari. I haven't gotten very far into it, so I don't know <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_sapiens.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">if his idiosyncratic theories will end up being persuasive. Still, it's the kind of learned but big-think book I tend to like regardless of how well it holds up. I wish more deeply accomplished people were willing to write stuff like this.</p> <p>That said, here's a nice excerpt about the dangers of moving to the top of the food chain too fast:</p> <blockquote> <p>[It was] only in the last 100,000 years&mdash;with the rise of <em>Homo sapiens</em>&mdash;that man jumped to the top of the food chain....Other animals at the top of the pyramid, such as lions and sharks, evolved into the position very gradually, over millions of years. This enabled the ecosystem to develop checks and balances that prevent lions and sharks from wreaking too much havoc.</p> <p>....In contrast, <strong>humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust.</strong> Moreover, humans themselves failed to adjust. Most top predators of the planet are majestic creatures. Millions of years of dominion have filled them with self-confidence. Sapiens by contrast is more like a banana republic dictator. <strong>Having so recently been one of the underdogs of the savannah, we are full of fears and anxieties over our position, which makes us doubly cruel and dangerous.</strong> Many historical calamities, from deadly wars to ecological catastrophes, have resulted from this over-hasty jump.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is just another way of saying that human intelligence evolved too fast for human emotions and morals to keep up. Either way, though, it sure rings true. Just take a look at the current presidential race. If any country should feel self-confident and safe, it's the United States. But boy howdy, we sure don't, do we?</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:39:48 +0000 Kevin Drum 296121 at http://www.motherjones.com Yep, the "Top Secret" Emails Were All About Drones http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/yep-top-secret-emails-were-all-about-drones <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>So just what was in those "top secret" emails that Hillary Clinton received on her personal email server while she was Secretary of State? The <em>New York Times</em> reports what everyone has already figured out: they were about drones. What's more, the question of whether they contain anything that's actually sensitive is <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/06/us/politics/agencies-battle-over-what-is-top-secret-in-hillary-clintons-emails.html?_r=0" target="_blank">mostly just a spat between CIA and State:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Some of the nation&rsquo;s intelligence agencies raised alarms last spring as the State Department began releasing emails from Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s private server, saying that a number of the messages contained <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_drone_top_secret.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">information that should be classified &ldquo;top secret.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>The diplomats saw things differently and pushed back at the spies. In the months since, a battle has played out between the State Department and the intelligence agencies.</strong></p> <p>....Several officials said that at least one of the emails contained oblique references to C.I.A. operatives. One of the messages has been given a designation of &ldquo;HCS-O&rdquo; &mdash; indicating that the information was derived from human intelligence sources...The government officials said that discussions in an email thread about a <em>New York Times</em> article &mdash; the officials did not say which article &mdash; contained sensitive information about the intelligence surrounding the C.I.A.&rsquo;s drone activities, particularly in Pakistan.</p> </blockquote> <p>The whole piece is worth reading for the details, but the bottom line is pretty simple: there's no there there. At most, there's a minuscule amount of slightly questionable reporting that was sent via email&mdash;a common practice since pretty much forever. Mostly, though, it seems to be a case of the CIA trying to bully State and win some kind of obscure pissing contest over whether they're sufficiently careful with the nation's secrets.</p> <p>Release them all. Redact a few sentences here and there if you absolutely have to. It's simply ridiculous to have nebulous but serious charges like these hanging like a cloud over the presidential race with Hillary Clinton unable to defend herself in any way. Release them and let the chips fall where they may.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 16:01:24 +0000 Kevin Drum 296116 at http://www.motherjones.com What's It Like Being a Gay Soldier Fighting ISIS? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/whats-it-being-gay-soldier-fighting-isis <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I took my third dose of dexamethasone yesterday, and then a low-dose sleeping pill at midnight. I slept from 3-5 am. My body is currently a battlezone between the buzz from the dex and the sedative effect of the Temazapam, so perhaps my sense of humor is skewed. Still, I couldn't help but snicker at the cover of the latest <em>Harper's</em> that I took to bed last night:</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_harpers_isis_gay_assad_army.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 15px 65px;"></p> <p>I love all my fellow lefties, even the ones who think I'm a squishy centrist sellout. You keep me honest. But sometimes you just have to laugh at our obsessions. A package about the war against ISIS is a fine idea, but using a third of it to highlight the plight of gay soldiers in the Syrian army? That's so PC it makes your teeth hurt.</p> <p>Of course, you might not find it funny at all&mdash;and you'll let me know it. If so, there's no point in explaining why this is so amusing. Like religion, you either get it or you don't.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:32:18 +0000 Kevin Drum 296111 at http://www.motherjones.com Female Genital Mutilation Is Not a Uniquely Muslim Problem http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/female-genital-mutilation-not-uniquely-muslim-problem <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The <em>Independent</em> reports that about 5,000 girls and women in Britain are <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/fgm-cases-in-england-reported-every-109-minutes-a6854911.html" target="_blank">subjected to female genital mutilation each year:</a> "FGM<span> is carried out for cultural, religious and social reasons within families and communities where it is believed to be a necessary preparation for adulthood and marriage." Ian Tuttle is exasperated by their <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/430884/female-genital-mutilation-england-109-minutes" target="_blank">kid-glove treatment of the practice:</a></span></p> <blockquote> <p><span>True. But </span><em>which</em><span> cultures? </span><em>Which</em><span> religions? <strong>Hint: It&rsquo;s not Anglicans</strong>....L</span><span>et&rsquo;s be frank: </span>FGM<span> is not spontaneously afflicting preteen and teenage girls; it&rsquo;s not an illness being randomly caught. It&rsquo;s a barbarous act being perpetrated by parents of young girls in specific and identifiable cultural/religious groups. Refusing to acknowledge that reality does not help to protect <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_female_genital_mutiliation_africa_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">vulnerable women; it aids those who seek to repress them.</span></p> </blockquote> <p>Hmmm. "Not Anglicans." Obviously Tuttle is blaming Muslims. Oddly, though, he doesn't come right out and say this. Why? The map on the right might provide a clue.</p> <p><a href="http://www.unicef.org/cbsc/files/UNICEF_FGM_report_July_2013_Hi_res.pdf" target="_blank">According to UNICEF,</a> the practice of FGM is mostly limited to central Africa. It's not common in Morocco or Algeria or Libya or Saudi Arabia or Oman or Jordan or Syria or Iran. Basically, it's concentrated in a small swath of states in western Africa and another swath of states along the Red Sea (those in red and orange). With the exception of a handful of countries, only a small percentage of women who undergo FGM believe the practice is required by religion.</p> <p>Still, that religion is Islam. There's no need to tiptoe around that ugly fact. Or is there?</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_female_genital_mutiliation_religion.jpg" style="margin: 15px 0px 15px 45px;"></p> <p>Basically, FGM is a practice limited to certain parts of Africa&mdash;and although it's more common among Muslims than other religions, Christians are pretty close in most countries. As for Britain, its FGM problem is more due to where their African immigrants come from than it is to Islam per se.</p> <p>Female genital mutilation is a barbaric practice, and Muslims in many countries are far too tolerant of it. Anyone who fights it&mdash;as do many feminist NGOs as well as Islamic clergy and scholars&mdash;is literally doing God's work. But it's uncommon in the heartland of Islam, and in Africa it's practiced by plenty of Christians too. The only way to represent it as a uniquely Islamic problem is to imply it with a wink and a nudge but without actually producing any evidence.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:10:22 +0000 Kevin Drum 296106 at http://www.motherjones.com Let Us All Take a Random Walk Through New Hampshire http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/let-us-all-take-random-walk-through-new-hampshire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I'm feeling a little bored, and that means all of you have to listen to me regaling you with a bunch of random political tweets from my timeline. This is, truly, the best way of getting a real feel for the campaign trail from afar. First up is Donald Trump, who canceled an event today because airports were closed in New Hampshire:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">so Trump lied again? Airports were open but he used weather as his excuse to cancel New Hampshire events.</p> &mdash; Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) <a href="https://twitter.com/CheriJacobus/status/695729343042035713">February 5, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Apparently so. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/politics/donald-trump-snow-new-hampshire-town-hall/index.html" target="_blank">CNN reports</a> that Trump's operator at LaGuardia was open for business, and the operator in Manchester says it is "always open for business, 24 hours a day." And even if Trump did have airport trouble, it was only because he insists on going home to New York every night. Apparently the man of the people just can't stand the thought of spending a few nights at a local Hilton.</p> <p>This whole thing cracks me up because of Trump's insistence that he's a "high energy" guy. But he can't handle a real campaign, the kind where you spend weeks at a time on the road doing four or five events a day. He flies in for a speech every few days and thinks he's showing real fortitude. He'd probably drop from exhaustion if he followed the same schedule as Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush.</p> <p>Next up is Marco Rubio:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">I've been to like 4 Rubio events in the past month and I already have most of his stump speech memorized. It, um, doesn't change very much.</p> &mdash; McKay Coppins (@mckaycoppins) <a href="https://twitter.com/mckaycoppins/status/695753435736645632">February 5, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>This is what makes it hard for me to figure out Rubio's appeal. To me he seems like a robot: he's memorized a whole bunch of virtual index cards, and whenever you ask a question he performs a database search and recites whatever comes up. The index cards aren't bad, mind you, and I suppose they allow him to emulate a dumb person's notion what a smart person sounds like. This is despite the fact that he normally talks with the same kind of hurried clip employed by nervous eighth graders reading off actual index cards.</p> <p>Of course, this is just a specific example of a more general problem. Every four years, it looks to me like none of the Republican candidates can win. They all seem to have too many obvious problems. But of course <em>someone</em> has to win. So sure, Rubio reminds me of an over-ambitious teacher's pet running for student council president, but compared to Trump or Carson or Cruz or Fiorina or Christie&mdash;well, I guess I can see how he might look good.</p> <p>And now for some old-school Hillary Clinton hate:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Nice. <a href="https://twitter.com/AP">@AP</a> says "a blogger specifically asked for transcripts of her speeches" instead of crediting <a href="https://twitter.com/the_intercept">@the_intercept</a> <a href="https://t.co/RcWDPL2mCk">https://t.co/RcWDPL2mCk</a></p> &mdash; Andrew Perez (@andrewperezdc) <a href="https://twitter.com/andrewperezdc/status/695761125967663105">February 6, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Well, I'll be happy to credit the <em>Intercept</em>, but I can hardly say it reflects well on them. This is yet another example of hCDS&mdash;Hillary Clinton Derangement Syndrome.<sup>1</sup> I mean, has any candidate for any office ever been asked for transcripts of their paid speeches? This is Calvinball squared. Besides we all know the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/02/05/what-hillary-clinton-should-say-but-cant-about-her-wall-street-speaking-fees/" target="_blank">real reason Hillary doesn't want to release the transcripts:</a> she gave the same canned speech to everyone and happily pocketed an easy $200 grand for each one. Hell, who wouldn't do that? Plus there's the obvious fact that the hCDS crowd would trawl through every word and find at least one thing they could take out of context and make into a three-day outrage. Hillary would have to be nuts to give in to this.</p> <p>Who's next? How about Ted Cruz?</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Carson campaign uploads <a href="https://twitter.com/tedcruz">@tedcruz</a> voicemails telling caucusgoers Carson is dropping out and to caucus for Ted instead <a href="https://t.co/pYe5gw8DGJ">https://t.co/pYe5gw8DGJ</a></p> &mdash; Brian Ries (@moneyries) <a href="https://twitter.com/moneyries/status/695624938179469312">February 5, 2016</a></blockquote> </blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Cruz really pissed off Ben Carson in Iowa, just like he seems to piss off nearly everyone who <a href="http://theslot.jezebel.com/heres-what-happens-when-you-try-and-track-down-a-ted-cr-1752337625" target="_blank">actually gets a whiff of him up close.</a> This is bad for Cruz because he's trying to appeal to evangelical voters. Unfortunately, Carson has apparently decided that as long as he's going to lose, he might as well mount a kamikaze attack against Cruz on the way down. And evangelicals listen to Carson. If he says Cruz bears false witness, then he bears false witness.</p> <p>Finally, some good news for Bernie Sanders:</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">2 national polls released today both have Sanders at his highest levels yet: 42% in Quinnipiac, 45% in Reuters (latter is online poll).</p> &mdash; Taniel (@Taniel) <a href="https://twitter.com/Taniel/status/695769211449245697">February 6, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></blockquote> </blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>As it turns out, the Quinnipiac poll is probably bogus. Sam Wang points out that the median post-Iowa bounce was +6 percent in New Hampshire and +4 nationally&mdash;<a href="http://election.princeton.edu/2016/02/06/the-post-iowa-bounce-goes-to-hillary-clinton/" target="_blank">in <em>Hillary's</em> favor.</a> So everyone should take a deep breath.</p> <p>Still, the big <em>Bernie</em> bounce is what people were talking about today, and it will contribute to an irresistible media narrative. And let's face it: Hillary Clinton has never been a natural politician. Most Democrats like her, but they don't love her, and this makes Sanders dangerous. What's more, since Clinton already has a record for blowing a seemingly insurmountable lead to a charismatic opponent, he's doubly dangerous. If Democrats convince themselves that they don't <em>have</em> to vote for Clinton, they just might not. She has lots of baggage, after all.</p> <p>Is this fair? No. It's politics. But Clinton still has more money, more endorsements, more superdelegates, more state operations, and&mdash;let's be fair here&mdash;a pretty long track record as a sincerely liberal Democrat who works hard to implement good policies. Sanders may damage her, but she's almost certain to still win.</p> <p>And that's that. Isn't Twitter great? It's practically like being there. I can almost feel my shoes crunching on the snow drifts.</p> <p><sup>1</sup>This is a good example of a <em>retronym</em>. At first, we just had CDS. But then Hillary ran for president, so we had to make up a new term for insane Bill hatred: bCDS. And that, of course, means we also need hCDS. It's like <em>brick-and-mortar store</em> or <em>manual transmission</em>.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Sat, 06 Feb 2016 01:53:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 296091 at http://www.motherjones.com Friday Cat Blogging - 5 February 2016 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/friday-cat-blogging-5-february-2016 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Here are the furballs up on the balcony surveying their domain. All is well in the kingdom&mdash;though Hilbert does appear to be alarmed about something. Probably a patch of light on the opposite wall or something. Hilbert is quite convinced that we humans don't take the threat of light patches seriously enough. Someday, perhaps he'll have the last laugh.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_hopper_hilbert_2016_02_05.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 65px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:54:38 +0000 Kevin Drum 296051 at http://www.motherjones.com The Bernie vs. Hillary Fight Is Kind of Ridiculous http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/bernie-vs-hillary-fight-kind-ridiculous <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow supports Hillary Clinton: "I think Bernie's terrific as an advocate. There's a difference between a strong community advocate and being someone who can get things done." Martin Longman says this is an example of <a href="http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2016_02/the_democratic_camps_are_getti059521.php" target="_blank">how nasty things are getting:</a> "Breaking out the Sarah Palin talking points isn't smart. Talk about how people view socialism all you want, but don't dismiss community organizers or advocates. This isn't a Republican campaign."</p> <p>I had to laugh at that. Nasty? I'd rate it about a 1 on the Atwater Scale. Toughen up, folks.</p> <p>And speaking of this, it sure is hard to take seriously the gripes going back and forth between the Hillary and Bernie camps. Is it really the case that we can't even agree on the following two points?</p> <ul><li>Sanders is more progressive than Clinton.</li> <li>Clinton is more electable than Sanders.</li> </ul><p>I mean, come on. They're both lefties, but Sanders is further left. The opposing arguments from the Clinton camp are laughable. Clinton is more progressive because she can get more done? Sorry. That's ridiculous. She and Bill Clinton have <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_liberal_conservative_gallup.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">always been moderate liberals, both politically and temperamentally. We have over two decades of evidence for this.</p> <p>As for electability, I admire Sanders' argument that he can drive a bigger turnout, which is good for Democrats. But it's special pleading. The guy cops to being a socialist. He's the <a href="http://voteview.com/dwnomin.htm" target="_blank">most liberal member of the Senate</a> by quite a margin (Elizabeth Warren is the only senator who's close). He's already promised to raise middle-class taxes. He can't be bothered to even pretend that he cares about national security issues, which are likely to play a big role in this year's election. He wants to spend vast amounts of money on social programs. It's certainly true that some of this stuff might appeal to people like me, but it's equally true that there just aren't a lot of voters like me. Liberals have been gaining ground over the past few years, but even now <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/180452/liberals-record-trail-conservatives.aspx" target="_blank">only 24 percent of Americans</a> describe themselves that way. Republicans would tear Sanders to shreds with hardly an effort, and there's no reason to think he'd be especially skilled at fending off their attacks.</p> <p>I like both Sanders and Clinton. But let's stop kidding ourselves about what they are and aren't. Republicans won't be be swayed by these fantasies, and neither will voters. We might as well all accept it.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:50:12 +0000 Kevin Drum 296046 at http://www.motherjones.com Obamacare Enrollment Up About 15 Percent This Year http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/obamacare-enrollment-about-15-percent-year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Open enrollment for Obamacare is over, and <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2016/02/04/fact-sheet-about-127-million-people-nationwide-are-signed-coverage-during-open-enrollment.html" target="_blank">HHS announced yesterday</a> that 12.7 million people signed up via the exchanges plus another 400,000 via New York's Basic Health Program. So that gives us 13.1 million&mdash;up from 11.4 million last year. And since HHS is getting better at purging nonpayers, this number should hold up better throughout the year than it did in 2015. Charles Gaba has more details <a href="http://acasignups.net/16/02/05/2016-open-enrollment-tally-127m-or-130m-or-134m-depending-pov" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <p>Add to that about 15 million people enrolled in Medicaid thanks to the Obamacare expansion, and the total number of people covered this year comes to 28 million or so. This means Obamacare has reduced the ranks of the <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_uninsured_cdc_cbo_2q_2015_1.jpg" style="margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">uninsured <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhis/earlyrelease/Quarterly_estimates_2010_2015_Q12.pdf" target="_blank">from 19 percent to about 10 percent.</a> Not bad.</p> <p>Obamacare's raw enrollment numbers remain lower than CBO projected a few years ago, but that's partly because employer health care has held up better than expected&mdash;which is a good thing. The fewer the people eligible for Obamacare the better. <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/10/closer-look-2016-obamacare-enrollment" target="_blank">More on that here.</a> Generally speaking, despite the best efforts of conservatives to insist that Obamacare is a disastrous failure, the truth is that it's doing pretty well. More people are getting covered; costs are in line with projections; and there's been essentially no effect on employment or hours worked. The only real problem with Obamacare is that it's too stingy: deductibles are too high and out-of-pocket expenses are still substantial. Needless to say, though, that can be easily fixed anytime Republicans decide to stop rooting for failure and agree to make Obamacare an even better program. But I guess we shouldn't hold our collective breath for that.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:07:29 +0000 Kevin Drum 296016 at http://www.motherjones.com Here's How Morality Shapes the Presidential Contest http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/heres-how-morality-shapes-presidential-contest <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A few years ago Jonathan Haidt wrote <em>The Righteous Mind</em>, an attempt to understand the way different people view morality. I won't say that I bought his premise completely, but I did find it interesting and useful. In a nutshell, Haidt suggests that we all view morality through the lens of six different "foundations"&mdash;and the amount we value each foundation is crucial to understanding our political differences. Conservatives, for example, tend to view "proportionality"&mdash;an eye for an eye&mdash;as a key moral concern, while liberals <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_candidates_moral_foundations.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">tend to view "care/harm"&mdash;showing kindness to other people&mdash;as a key moral attribute. You can read more about it <a href="http://moralfoundations.org/" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <p>So which presidential candidates appeal to which kinds of people? <a href="http://www.vox.com/2016/2/5/10918164/donald-trump-morality" target="_blank">Over at Vox,</a> Haidt and Emily Ekins write about some recent research Ekins did on supporters of various presidential candidates. I've condensed and excerpted the results in the chart on the right. As you can see, Democrats tend to value care but not proportionality. Republicans are just the opposite. No surprise there. But were there any moral values that were unusually strong for different candidates <em>even after controlling for ideology and demographics?</em></p> <p>Yes. Sanders supporters scored extremely low on the authority axis while Trump supporters scored high on authority and low on the care axis. Outside of the usual finding for proportionality, that's it. Hillary Clinton supporters, in particular, were entirely middle-of-the-road: "Moral Foundations do not significantly predict a vote for Hillary Clinton; demographic variables seem to be all you need to predict her support (being female, nonwhite, and higher-income are all good predictors)."</p> <p>So there you have it. Generally speaking, if you value proportionality but not care, you're a Republican. If you value care but not proportionality, you're a Democrat. Beyond that, if your world view values authority&mdash;even compared to others who are similar to you&mdash;you're probably attracted to Donald Trump. If you're unusually resistant to authority, you're probably attracted to Bernie Sanders. The authors summarize the presidential race this way:</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Bernie Sanders draws young liberal voters who have a strong desire for individual autonomy</strong> and place less value on social conformity and tradition. This likely leads them to appreciate Sanders's libertarian streak and non-interventionist foreign policy. Once again, Hillary Clinton finds herself attracting more conservative Democratic voters who respect her tougher style, moderated positions, and more hawkish stance on foreign policy.</p> <p>....On the Republican side...despite Trump's longevity in the polls, authoritarianism is clearly not the only dynamic going on in the Republican race. In fact, the greatest differences by far in the simple foundation scores are on proportionality. <strong>Cruz and Rubio draw the extreme proportionalists &mdash; the Republicans who think it's important to "let unsuccessful people fail and suffer the consequences,"</strong> as one of our questions put it.</p> <p>....One surprise in our data was that <strong>Trump supporters were not extreme on any of the foundations.</strong> This means that Trump supporters are more centrist than is commonly realized; consequently, Trump's prospects in the general election may be better than many pundits have thought. Cruz meanwhile, with a further-right moral profile, may have more difficulty attracting centrist Democrats and independents than would Trump.</p> </blockquote> <p>So which moral foundations define you? If you're curious, <a href="http://moralfoundations.org/questionnaires" target="_blank">click here and take the test.</a></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:10:56 +0000 Kevin Drum 295996 at http://www.motherjones.com Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in January http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/chart-day-net-new-jobs-january <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The American economy <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm" target="_blank">added 151,000 new jobs last month,</a> 90,000 of which were needed to keep up with population growth. This means that net job growth clocked in at a ho-hum 61,000 jobs&mdash;all of it in the private sector. The headline unemployment rate ticked down to 4.9 percent. This is not a great result, but all the trends were in the right direction. Labor force participation was up, the number of employed workers was up, and the number of unemployed people declined.</p> <p>Surprisingly, this produced decent wage growth: both hourly and weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees went up at an annual rate of about 3.5 percent. That's not bad.</p> <p><img align="middle" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_net_jobs_january_2016.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 15px 0px 5px 25px;"></p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:17:01 +0000 Kevin Drum 295991 at http://www.motherjones.com We Are Live-Blogging the Democratic Debate in New Hampshire http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/we-are-live-blogging-democratic-debate-new-hampshire <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As debates go, this one was pretty good. The moderators generally did a good job, allowing the candidates to argue when it made sense, but ending things when it looked like there was nothing useful left to say. This is a lot easier with two people than ten, of course, and also easier when both candidates are relatively civil.</p> <p>Hillary was more aggressive than I've seen her before. Her complaint early on that Bernie was slandering her with innuendo and insinuation (and "artful smears") was tough but, I think, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/yes-bernie-sanders-questioning-hillary-clintons-integrity" target="_blank">also fair.</a> And I have a feeling Bernie felt a little embarrassed by it. He was certainly careful to pull things back to a civil tone after that. Hillary is not a natural campaigner, but she's a good debater, and this was Hillary at her pugnacious best.</p> <p>Obviously foreign affairs are not Bernie's strong point, but I was still a little surprised at just how poorly prepared he was to say much of anything or to draw much of a contrast with Hillary's views. Either he really doesn't know much, or else he thinks his dovish views are losers even <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_democratic_debate_2016_04_04_0.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">among the Democratic base. I won't pretend that Hillary was a genius on this stuff&mdash;almost nobody is on a debate stage&mdash;but at least she sounded well briefed and confident.</p> <p>On financial issues, Bernie was surprisingly weak. This really is his strong point, but he continues to have a hard time getting much beyond platitudes. I get that it's a debate and 90 seconds isn't much, but it's still enough time for a little more detail than "the system is rigged." Hillary didn't do much better, but she held her own and gave a strong response to the two (!) questions about her Goldman Sachs speeches.</p> <p>Overall, I doubt this debate changed many minds. Bernie insisted that we can dream. Hillary insisted that we figure out what's doable. I'd score it a clear win for Hillary based on her aggressiveness and generally solid answers compared to Bernie's platitudes and obvious reluctance to attack hard. But I admit this might just be my own biases talking, since Hillary's approach to politics is closer to mine than Bernie's.</p> <p><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/04/sanders-clinton-debate-transcript-annotating-what-they-say/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_debate-print-1115pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory" target="_blank">Debate transcript here.</a></p> <hr width="30%"><p><strong>11:06 -</strong> And that's a wrap.</p> <p><strong>11:04 -</strong> Hillary: We need to "come up with the best answers." That's her campaign in a nutshell.</p> <p><strong>11:02 -</strong> No, neither Hillary nor Bernie will pick the other as VP. Come on, Chuck.</p> <p><strong>10:58 -</strong> But Bernie will happily get suckered! It's campaign finance reform for him.</p> <p><strong>10:55 -</strong> Hillary isn't going to be suckered into setting a top priority, thus throwing all the others under the bus. Come on, Chuck.</p> <p><strong>10:47 -</strong> I thought this was a 90-minute debate. What's the deal?</p> <p><strong>10:44 -</strong> Regarding Flint, I will not be happy until either Hillary or Bernie mentions that we now know lead poisoning leads to higher crime rates, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline" target="_blank">"as brilliantly set out in an article by Kevin Drum a couple of years ago."</a> I will vote for whoever says this first.</p> <p><strong>10:42 -</strong> Bernie on the death penalty: In a violent world, "government should not be part of the killing." I have to admit I've never really understood this particular bit of reasoning.</p> <p><strong>10:31 -</strong> Ah. Hillary now gets to use Colin Powell as backup for her email problems.</p> <p><strong>10:29 -</strong> Hillary is thrilled about all the young people supporting Bernie. OK then.</p> <p><strong>10:25 -</strong> Bernie loves the caucus process? Seriously?</p> <p><strong>10:17 -</strong> Bernie: "Pathetic" that Republicans refused to support VA reform.</p> <p><strong>10:12 -</strong> I hate to say this, but Bernie on North Korea sounds about as well briefed as Donald Trump. Very strange situation. Handful of dictators&mdash;or, um, maybe just one. Gotta put pressure on China. "I worry very much about an isolated, paranoid country with atomic bombs."</p> <p><strong>10:10 -</strong> Bernie does himself no favors on national security. I'm closer to his position than Hillary's, but Bernie honestly sounds like he's never given this stuff a moment's thought. At least Hillary has some views and sounds confident in her abilities.</p> <p><strong>10:08 -</strong> Bernie wagging his finger again. I'm pretty sure the hosts will call on him regardless.</p> <p><strong>10:06 -</strong> Bernie really needs to have a foreign policy other than "I voted against the Iraq War."</p> <p><strong>10:05 -</strong> Why is there bipartisan loathing of being "the policeman of the world"? What does this even mean?</p> <p><strong>10:03 -</strong> Hillary: we have a very cooperative government in Afghanistan. You bet. Wildly incompetent and corrupt, but pliable.</p> <p><strong>10:01 -</strong> Everyone agrees that a Muslim civil war is the right way to handle the Middle East.</p> <p><strong>9:59 -</strong> Hillary frequently insists on responding even when Bernie hasn't really left a mark. Leave well enough alone!</p> <p><strong>9:58 -</strong> Hillary provides Shermanesque answer about not sending ground troops to Iraq or Syria.</p> <p><strong>9:46 -</strong> Oh FFS. Is "Release the transcripts!" going to be the next big Hillary "scandal"?</p> <p><strong>9:44 -</strong> Unfortunately, Hillary doesn't really explain her more complicated financial regulation plan very well. There's probably no help for that, especially in 90 seconds.</p> <p><strong>9:42 -</strong> I'm with Hillary on reinstating Glass-Steagall. To me, it's the Democratic equivalent of raising the retirement age to save Social Security: easy to understand, but not the best answer by a long way.</p> <p><strong>9:41 -</strong> Hillary defends her Goldman Sachs speeches competently, but Bernie doesn't really fight back. He just provides a generic answer about the pernicious power of Wall Street.</p> <p><strong>9:31 -</strong> Hillary is attacking very hard tonight. Bernie voted to deregulate derivatives! Not that there's anything wrong with that. You think she's played this game before? Bernie responds by telling people to look up a YouTube.</p> <p><strong>9:29 -</strong> Bernie answers with generic criticism of special interests and money in politics. Not a strong response.</p> <p><strong>9:27 -</strong> Hillary criticizes Bernie for claiming to run a positive campaign, but constantly attacking her "by innuendo, by insinuation." Then she asks him to stop the "artful smear" he's been carrying out against her. This is a tough hit on Bernie.</p> <p><strong>9:26 -</strong> Hillary: "I won't make big promises." Not sure that came out as well as it should have.</p> <p><strong>9:23 -</strong> I think Hillary missed a chance to say that of course Bernie is a Democrat and he shouldn't have to defend himself on that score. It would have been a nice moment for her with no downside.</p> <p><strong>9:19 -</strong> Hillary refers to Bernie as "self-appointed gatekeeper" of who's a progressive. Ouch.</p> <p><strong>9:17 -</strong> Bernie: Obama was a progressive by 2008 standards.</p> <p><strong>9:15 -</strong> Bernie: none of his ideas are radical. True enough, by non-American standards.</p> <p><strong>9:14 -</strong> Good answer from Hillary on whether she's progressive enough: Under Bernie's standards, no one in the party is truly progressive.</p> <p><strong>9:07 -</strong> Hillary: "The numbers just don't add up" for all of Bernie's proposals.</p> <p><strong>9:01 -</strong> I see that Rachel Maddow is as excited as I am that Martin O'Malley has dropped out.</p> <p><strong>9:00 -</strong> And with that, on with the debate!</p> <p><strong>8:58 -</strong> This is the second election cycle in which I've liked both of the Democratic frontrunners. In 2008 I ended up leaning for Obama, which I don't regret. This year I'm leaning toward Hillary. Both times, however, I've been surprised at how fast things turned ugly. But ugly they've turned.</p> <p><strong>8:53 -</strong> Last night on Twitter I said that Hillary Clinton had given a terrible answer to the Goldman Sachs speech question. I was immediately besieged with outraged comments about how I was just another Beltway shill who's always hated Hillary. This morning I wrote that Bernie Sanders was disingenuously pretending not to criticize Clinton over her Wall Street contributions even though he obviously was. I was immediately besieged with outraged comments about how I was just another Beltway shill who's always been in the bag for Hillary. Welcome to the Democratic primaries.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum 2016 Elections Elections Hillary Clinton Top Stories bernie sanders Fri, 05 Feb 2016 01:53:28 +0000 Kevin Drum 295961 at http://www.motherjones.com Rubio Feasts on the Leftovers in New Hampshire http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/rubio-feasts-leftovers-new-hampshire <!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_new_hampshire_gop_poll_2016_02_04_0.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Apologies for two polls in one day, but the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/04/politics/new-hampshire-republican-cnn-wmur-poll/index.html" target="_blank">latest CNN poll</a> shows something interesting in the Republican race. Donald Trump is still in the lead in New Hampshire, but in the wake of the Iowa caucuses Marco Rubio has picked up a lot of support. Basically, several other folks have either left the race or lost their fan base, and nearly all of it has gone to Rubio.</p> <p>It's only one poll, and the absolute margin of error is large, but it probably shows the trend fairly well. And what it suggests is that as the also-rans steadily drop out of the race, Rubio is picking up the bulk of their support. If this happens in other states as well, Rubio could be well on his way to building a commanding lead.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Fri, 05 Feb 2016 01:25:55 +0000 Kevin Drum 295981 at http://www.motherjones.com More Classified Emails Found on Private Server http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/more-classified-emails-found-private-server <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The indefatigable Ken Dilanian reports the latest news on <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/rice-aides-powell-also-got-classified-info-personal-emails" target="_blank">classified information being sent to private email accounts:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>The State Department&rsquo;s Inspector General has found <strong>classified information sent to the personal email accounts of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and the senior <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_colin_powell.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">staff of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,</strong> NBC News has learned.</p> <p>In a letter to Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy dated Feb. 3, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick said that the State Department has determined that 12 emails examined from State&rsquo;s archives contained national security information now classified &ldquo;Secret&rdquo; or &ldquo;Confidential.&rdquo; The letter was read to NBC News.</p> <p>....Colin Powell told NBC News he strongly disputed that the information in the messages was classified, and characterized the contents as innocuous. <strong>Said Powell, &ldquo;I wish they would release them so that a normal, air-breathing mammal would look at them and say, &lsquo;What&rsquo;s the issue?&rsquo;&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Sorry, Colin! It's an election year, and no normal mammals are to be found. Just the usual horde of hacks and bottom-feeders.</p> <p>FWIW, I agree with him. Just release everything. Aside from a few zealots at the CIA playing stupid interagency games, nobody who's actually seen any of these emails seems to think there's anything even slightly confidential about any of them. It's long past time to cut the crap and put this whole thing to bed one way or the other.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 04 Feb 2016 19:42:41 +0000 Kevin Drum 295936 at http://www.motherjones.com Debate Live-Blogging Tonight! http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/debate-liveblogging-tonight <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I don't find the Democratic debates nearly as interesting as the Republican slugfests, but I'll be liveblogging tonight's showdown regardless. It's on MSNBC at 9 pm Eastern, and for the first time we don't have to waste a third of our questions on Martin O'Malley. That alone makes it worth tuning in.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 04 Feb 2016 19:01:03 +0000 Kevin Drum 295931 at http://www.motherjones.com Donald Trump Losing Steam After Iowa Loss http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/donald-trump-losing-steam-after-iowa-loss <!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_gop_poll_ppp_2016_02_04_0.jpg" style="margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">It's only one poll, and a national poll at that, but PPP says Donald Trump is <a href="http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2015/PPP_Release_National_20416.pdf" target="_blank">suffering badly from his loss in Iowa:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>"Donald Trump's really seen some cratering in his support this week," said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. "A key part of his message has always been that he's a winner and now that he's lost something Republicans&mdash;and especially conservatives&mdash;aren't finding him as compelling as they did a few weeks ago." [Marco] Rubio is the candidate with the real momentum in the race. He's up 8 points from his 13% standing in our poll right before Christmas."</p> </blockquote> <p>Trump is still a few points ahead in the main polling, but PPP also polled a three-man race between Trump, Rubio, and Ted Cruz. The winner was Rubio. Trump can huff and puff and threaten to sue the entire state of Iowa&mdash;in other words, his usual MO&mdash;but it's not going to change things. Live by the polls, die by the polls.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 04 Feb 2016 18:54:49 +0000 Kevin Drum 295926 at http://www.motherjones.com Flint Probably Has Bigger Problems Than Lead Pipes http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/flint-probably-has-bigger-problems-lead-pipes <!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.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2016/02/flint_mayor_karen_weaver_calls.html" target="_blank">The latest from Flint:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Mayor Karen Weaver is calling for immediate removal of lead pipes from Flint's water distribution system, and is expected to detail her request at a news conference later Tuesday, Feb. 2....<strong>Replacing all of Flint's lead service lines has been estimated to cost more than $60 million.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2016/02/11_cities_in_jersey_have_more_lead-affected_kids_t.html" target="_blank">The latest from New Jersey:</a></p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Eleven cities in New Jersey, and two counties, have a higher proportion of young children with dangerous lead levels than Flint, Mich., does,</strong> according to New Jersey and Michigan statistics cited by a community advocacy group....In New Jersey, children 6 years of age and younger have continued to ingest lead from paint in windows, doors and other <img align="right" alt="" class="image image-_original" src="/files/blog_lead_new_jersey.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 20px 0px 15px 30px;">woodwork found in older homes, particularly in older, poorer cities, said Elyse Pivnick, director of environmental health for Isles, Inc., a community development organization based in Trenton.</p> <p><strong>"In light of the Flint debacle, we wanted people to understand that water is not the only thing that's poisoning children,"</strong> she said. "Most people think the lead problem was solved when we took lead out of gasoline and new homes in the 1970s, but that's not true."</p> </blockquote> <p>I suppose it's inevitable that residents of Flint want to replace their lead pipes. But it's probably unfortunate. At this point, Flint's water pipes are almost certainly pretty safe, and will become even safer over the next few months as properly treated waters rebuilds the scale inside the pipes. A multi-year program to replace them will most likely have no effect at all on childhood lead levels.</p> <p>So what would I spend $60 million on if I had the choice? Two things:</p> <ul><li>Lead paint abatement in older homes. The biggest danger points are <a href="http://www.ricknevin.com/uploads/4-6_Prevent_Childhood_Lead_Poisoning.pdf" target="_blank">window casings in old homes,</a> because the friction from opening and closing windows eats through newer layers of paint and exposes old lead paint, which is then ground into lead dust.</li> <li>Soil testing and cleanup. This is decidedly unsexy, but in modern cities this is where most of the lead is. Lead from gasoline spent decades settling into urban soil after we burned it in our cars, and every summer, when the weather dries up, it gets "resuspended" and becomes a source of lead poisoning all over again.</li> </ul><p>In both cases, the lead poisoning mechanism is the same: small children get lead dust on their fingers and then lick it off. This is one of the reasons that lead poisoning is a much smaller problem for adults than for children. Lead in small doses doesn't affect mature brains strongly, and even if it did, adults mostly don't play in the dirt and then lick their hands. Kids do.</p> <p>The first step in soil abatement is mapping: figuring out which spots have the highest levels of lead contamination. The next step is cleaning it up. There are multiple ways of doing this, some <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/science/earth/21fishbones.html" target="_blank">cheap</a> and some <a href="http://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/wkrch9_stu_eng.pdf" target="_blank">expensive,</a> and only a professional evaluation can determine the best method in specific areas.</p> <p>Anyway, that's that. The problem, of course, is that there's no chance at all that anyone is going to give Flint $60 million to clean up its soil and its old windows. But someone might give them $60 million to replace their lead pipes. It won't do nearly as much good, but at least it's something.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 04 Feb 2016 17:38:05 +0000 Kevin Drum 295916 at http://www.motherjones.com The Party Is Deciding....On Marco Rubio? http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/02/party-decidingon-marco-rubio <!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_rubio_endorsements.jpg" style="border: 1px solid black; margin: 8px 0px 15px 30px;">Over at FiveThirtyEight, they're taking <em>The Party Decides</em> out for a spin by tracking the most important sign of just <em>how</em> the party decides: endorsements. This is allegedly the key metric for predicting the nomination, and they report that young Marco Rubio is now solidly in the lead and <a href="http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/marco-rubio-is-now-winning-the-race-for-endorsements/" target="_blank">moving ahead quickly:</a></p> <blockquote> <p>Although four more endorsements and a slight lead in points do not make Rubio a lock as the choice of Republican elected officials, this bump is a sign that members of Congress could be starting to see him as the most acceptable option for the nomination....Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush &mdash; he had led our list since August &mdash; but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.</p> <p>....Iowa caucus winner Ted Cruz has slowly been picking up points as well &mdash; he&rsquo;s added seven since the beginning of the year &mdash; though he has yet to receive an endorsement from a sitting senator or governor.</p> </blockquote> <p>Poor Ted. Everyone hates him, so the only endorsements he can get are from a few&nbsp;backbench House members. I guess he'll show them when he's sitting pretty in the Oval Office next year.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Thu, 04 Feb 2016 16:39:06 +0000 Kevin Drum 295901 at http://www.motherjones.com