Sunday assorted links

by on December 18, 2016 at 2:58 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Clothes and fashion in Cuba.

2. When is talk meddling OK?

3. Profile of Hans Rosling, recommended.

4. In defense of moderation (NYT).

5. The science of better-tasting milk (WSJ), here is ungated.  “By now, she says, consumers mistakenly believe that this is how milk is supposed to taste.”

6. Further background on North Carolina.

1 Bob December 18, 2016 at 3:55 pm

Ya know… it gets tiresome trying to reason with morons like Hans Rosling who are relentlessly trotted out by The Great and The Good (as they reflect on the blinding light of their moral virtue), let alone reason with the people they dumb down.

The Demographic Transition™ as The Final Solution to the Exponentiation Question has two damning flaws:

1) To the extent that it is effective, it relies on a bidding war for young women between The Economy and The Family being won by The Economy and thereby selecting out of the next generation the very qualities demanded by The Economy.

2) Evolution is ruthlessly indifferent to our idiotic “social theories” and will respond to any attempt by creating germlines (coevolved meme/gene complexes) that are resistant to the manifest brain-death of #1. Case in point: Africans.

2 Thomas Taylor December 18, 2016 at 4:08 pm

If only women were miserable enough to have to accept any man, how wonderful it would be for the Economy… (I mean, videogames makers would sufger, I guess.)

3 Alain December 18, 2016 at 4:03 pm

#4 So strange that article didn’t come out 8 years ago. Very strange. A completely dogmatic administration for 8 years and no calls for moderation, heck, I think that they cheered every imperial act. Maybe they just missed it.

4 anon December 18, 2016 at 4:28 pm

I think you just illustrated my point below, but not in the way you think.

Any number of moderate proposals were painted as coming from an opposite extreme. I know this is an oldie, but the classic is Obama choosing an old conservative plan for health care, only to have it be called “socialism, destroying the nation.”

If you see “completely dogmatic,” you can’t see straight.

5 Will December 18, 2016 at 4:42 pm


6 So Much For Subtlety December 18, 2016 at 4:54 pm

So conservative he could not get a single Republican vote. He could not even get all the Democratic votes.

Perhaps if you stand with Noam Chomsky, Obama looks like a moderate. He doesn’t to the mainstream

7 anon December 18, 2016 at 4:55 pm

Neither does stonewalling the old conservative plan make it “socialism, destroying the nation.”

8 So Much For Subtlety December 18, 2016 at 5:51 pm

No, it is the socialism that makes it socialism. Obamacare was an extremist policy loathed by the majority of Americans, pushed by the President over the objections of the Republicans in Congress – and only passed because of the abusive “lawfare” of the Left.

Why precisely should the Republicans have voted for it?

9 anon December 18, 2016 at 6:02 pm

If you are right, and it was not all theater and grandstanding, Republicans can now repeal, and do nothing more.

People will rejoice to go back to 2008 law?

10 So Much For Subtlety December 18, 2016 at 6:09 pm

It is easy to turn a fish tank into bouillabaisse, it is very hard to turn bouillabaisse into an aquarium full of fish.

Obama has inflicted massive damage on the medical industry. He has created whole new classes of mendicant dependents. The Republicans in Congress are still spineless. I doubt they look forward to four years of bogus “This child got cancer because Paul Ryan voted to repeal” stories from CNN.

But we will see.

11 anon December 18, 2016 at 6:22 pm

I am sorry, but no. If the American people wanted a reverse, repeal is easy.

It worked for Prohibition which was a huge change back and forth.

So I call b.s. on “oh no, we can’t repeal, because now it’s broken.”

12 Mcmike December 18, 2016 at 6:50 pm

@ so much.

For the last several years the republicans have been categorically insisting at every opportunity that they intend to turn the soup back into fish, if given the chance.

Have they been lying?

13 Alain December 18, 2016 at 8:53 pm

If people had wanted Obamacare then those who marketed it wouldn’t have sold it as a cost containment measure, when 90% of the bill was about access.

This was the left pitching something they had always wanted so badly, but knew that the nation did not want. Of course the media did not, at all, call the democrats out on their lies. But that’s how our media works.

14 Daniel Weber December 19, 2016 at 3:46 pm

You can’t just undo the “no preconditions” part of Obamacare. Even if it’s a horrible idea, people have it and won’t settle for losing it.

In case you were wondering, this is a reason to not pass laws that cannot be undone. Some might see it as an excellent motivation for passing them, but those people weirdly see passing legislation as the end goal, instead of having good policy.

15 McMike December 19, 2016 at 10:07 pm


The preexisting conditions exclusion rule is hardly a significant part of what supposedly made ACA so radical and socialist. It’s just one more coverage inclusion/exclusion rule that are made routinely. It was immediately priced in by the insurers and business proceeded apace.

It’s hardly what all the hubbub was about.

16 Ricardo December 20, 2016 at 1:48 am

“You can’t just undo the “no preconditions” part of Obamacare. Even if it’s a horrible idea, people have it and won’t settle for losing it.”

Of course you can. If the Republicans still don’t have a better plan that guarantees access to affordable health insurance, that’s their fault. And if they don’t care about ensuring access to health insurance for people with either pre-existing conditions or low incomes, then they should have the guts to say so and let their constituents make an informed choice about whether they should stay in power.

17 Mcmike December 18, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Since when do Republican votes correlate with conservativism?

18 Jan December 18, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Don’t be coy. The conservatives weren’t voting for or against a health plan, friend. They were voting for or against Obama and we know what side of that the Republican party was on.

19 So Much For Subtlety December 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm

There is no reason to think the Republicans would not have voted for something that wasn’t such a piece of sh!t. But it was.

Given it was, given that Obama did not deign to make any sort of attempt at compromise, given that the voters hated it, why precisely should the Republicans in Congress have supported it? Not even all of Obama’s only party did. They did not get elected to help Obama loot the nation. They are under no obligation to help Obama rule. They are only there to do what is best for the country. Which they mainly failed to do.

The idea of the soft-Left Republican leadership as some hard Right ideologues is absurd. For most of Obama’s Presidency he had Republicans who loathed their base and belonged to the same donor class everyone else did. Yet Obama thought it beneath him to talk to them and make a deal.

20 anon December 18, 2016 at 6:07 pm

That’s hilarious. You have fully drunk the Kool-Aid.

I don’t suppose you were so precient that in 2008 you knew Republicans in Congress were the true (second string) enemies of true Republicans everywhere.

21 Jan December 18, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Haha. You must not remember the bipartisan negotiations that went on for months. Remember the Gang of Six? It was clear they weren’t going compromise to do anything on health care. And recall what Mitch McConnell’s stated goal was when Obama took office. Well, McConnell failed to achieve that but he will surely be successful in throwing millions of poor people off of their insurance plans and simultaneously killing the individual market. Congrats!

22 Alain December 18, 2016 at 4:54 pm

You’re a dork. Pure and simple.

Obama lecturing the republicans that elections have consequences and that his proposals would go through? Fair, but, amazingly, the current administration is called a sore loser.

Jack Lew banging his fist during the negotiations over the expiration of the bush tax cuts and giving nothing to the house? Lauded as a shrewd move.

Obama pushing through CO2 restrictions through redefining CO2 as dangerous pollutant? Perfectly fine.

Obama and Holde deciding which laws to enforce via executive mandate, again perfectly fine.

This administration has played exceptionally tough with its opposition, which we’ll and good, but to be chided by the media that moderation is important when they cheered each and every time Obama circumvented normal proceedure, well the hypocrisy is a little much to take.

23 anon December 18, 2016 at 4:58 pm

A majority of Americans support action on climate change, so again a miss.


24 enoriverbend December 18, 2016 at 6:52 pm

“A majority of Americans support action on climate change”

But it’s not all that important compared to other topics:

25 anon December 18, 2016 at 7:30 pm

I am just calling out this “dangerous pollutant” stuff. Most agree that it qualifies for government action, and few are running around with their hair on fire.

Obama did not ban gasoline, or do anything equal to the far right wing panic.

26 Cliff December 19, 2016 at 10:36 am

Maybe a mainstream final goal, but an extremist way to get there?

27 anon December 18, 2016 at 5:07 pm

To answer the bigger question with data, Obama is closer to the center than GWB was:

28 TMC December 19, 2016 at 9:21 pm

No sense of irony in pointing to DailyKos to tell who is more moderate?

29 derek December 18, 2016 at 7:52 pm

There is nothing moderate about Obamacare. Giving extraordinary power and discretion to a Secretary over 1/6 of the economy is not moderate. Having the IRS administer health care is not moderate. Nothing about it is moderate.

By the way, us radicals in Canada are smarter than any of you US parochial leftists. We knew better than having control over such a complex and personal thing as health care in one person’s hands, there are as many health care systems as there are provinces.

It is an extreme piece of legislation where it has extreme penalties for making a dollar more; it forces vast numbers of people into part time jobs; it meddles in first amendment issues. It is extreme because it doesn’t work. It was a compromise between the Insurance companies who saw themselves out of the profit and loss business to an administrative role.

Republicans showed a rare level of intelligence not supporting that dog’s breakfast.

And Democrats are so stupid they put Pelosi back as House minority leader for her brilliance at leading the Democrats down a multi cycle pattern of loss. That is pretty extreme if you ask me.

30 Ricardo December 19, 2016 at 6:08 am

“There is nothing moderate about Obamacare. Giving extraordinary power and discretion to a Secretary over 1/6 of the economy is not moderate. Having the IRS administer health care is not moderate. Nothing about it is moderate.”

Very flimsy ideological talking points. The fact that health care makes up one sixth of the economy is a uniquely American phenomenon, for starters. Second, you neglect to mention that the U.S. government already had “power and discretion” over half of the health care sector through Medicare, Medicaid (along with the states) and the VHA and had an extensive set of regulations dealing with employer-sponsored health insurance, which probably covered another 4% of the economy or so. In economy-wide terms, PPACA’s regulation of the individual insurance market was an incremental change dealing with a relatively small part of the economy.

31 Nattering Nabob December 19, 2016 at 6:32 am

Very flimsy ideological talking points.

I think you misspelled “Marginal Revolution”…

32 Cliff December 19, 2016 at 10:39 am

You’re talking about a plan floated by a conservative think-tank 25 years ago, not one that ever had any support from Republicans, right?

33 Ricardo December 19, 2016 at 11:33 am

Chuck Grassley, Bob Dole, Orrin Hatch and Newt Gingrich are all on the record as having supported an individual mandate before. Gingrich maintained his support for an individual mandate right up until 2008.

34 Bob December 19, 2016 at 9:01 pm

And despite this extensive support, n

35 Mcmike December 18, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Indeed. You beat me to it.

So much of the reaction to Trump seems to originate from a place where there was never a GW Bush administration, or in this example, there hasnt been an eight year GOP program of hyperbolic opposition to Obama

36 GoneWithTheWind December 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm

#4 “Wah, wha, wha, Hillary lost, Wha, Wha, Wha, he will undo Obama’s treachery and treason, Wha, wha, wha.

Did I miss anything?

37 anon December 18, 2016 at 6:24 pm

No, with “treachery and treason” you told us just how right wing and nutty you are.

38 GoneWithTheWind December 19, 2016 at 10:17 am

Every left wing political activist organization and every left wing demonstration has the backing of, the collaboration with and the funding from communist organizations. The DNC knows this and are happy with it. Obama knows this and in many cases coordinated it and he is happy with it. All of the Democrats (and Republicans) in congress know this and (the Democrats at least) are happy with it. And of course all of the MSM know this and happily cover it up. The Communist Party of America and other communist organization within the U.S. are committed to the over through of America. Is that treason? Is it “nutty” to think that is treason?

39 anon December 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

4. I am a great fan of moderation, pragmatism, but we are in this spot precisely because most people who are politically active, are not.

40 Dzhaughn December 18, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Cowen says Average is Over. To what degree does that means moderation is over as well? We’ll just see more and more extreme forms of moderation. A good description of Cowen, actually.

We need to find more Rock Stars who will go All-In for moderation.

41 Brian Donohue December 19, 2016 at 9:48 am

Excerpt: The business of a government, Oakeshott said, is “not to inflame passion and give it new objects to feed upon, but to inject into the activities of already too passionate men an ingredient of moderation.”

Judging by your behavior, you’re not the fan of moderation you claim to be.

42 Jack December 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm

The talk meddling article strikes me as bs. The various examples the writer gives involve very different issues and his analysis is banal and muddled.

43 Joël December 18, 2016 at 4:49 pm

I disagree. It is a very good, if not exceptionally deep, piece. The various examples the writer gives involve very different issues, you say, but that’s the point of this list of examples: help people wanting to prevent some from or other of talks meddling with other’s business to clarify their mind and come up with a “universalizable maxim” (as Kant would say) justifying their aim. As for me, I found that there is no justification in limiting free speech in any of the examples the writers give.

44 Mcmike December 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Seems to me the analogous example here is that you have evidence that your neighbor’s wife is cheating on him…

45 Donald Pretari December 18, 2016 at 4:43 pm

#4…All government — indeed, every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act — is founded on compromise and barter.

Edmund Burke Second Speech on Conciliation with America (1775)

46 dearieme December 18, 2016 at 6:20 pm

#5: “A new study finds …” It may be news to the WSJ/SJW but it’s rather old hat to Telegraph readers. Some might say that the claim that it’s new is ….Fakenews.

47 Jan December 18, 2016 at 6:55 pm

Oh haven’t you heard? Everything is fake news now. Actually, not everything. Just news you don’t like–that’s fake news. Whether the information in the news is factual is beside the point.

48 Rich Berger December 18, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Hands up, don’t shoot.

49 rayward December 18, 2016 at 6:38 pm

4. Defining moderation down. Of course, Wehner was minister of propaganda in the Bush administration. And after. Bush hands off a financial system and economy in total collapse, and Wehner says Obama is bitter and graceless when Wehner’s political party does everything in its power to prevent Obama and the Fed from righting the ship, and Wehner claims that Obama “undermined America’s moral self-confidence”. Now Wehner defines moderation as accepting the immoderate Trump. People like Wehner are why we face the crisis of Trump as our president and now Wehner wants absolution for his sins. The Hell with Wehner!

50 MOFO. December 19, 2016 at 8:23 am

“we face the crisis of Trump”

You lost, grow the fuck up.

51 msgkings December 19, 2016 at 11:44 am

“You lost, grow the fuck up”

Something MOFO heard for the last 8 years but ignored

52 enoriverbend December 18, 2016 at 6:44 pm

The best thing to read for background on the recent NC legislative squabble is probably Rob Christensen’s

As he points out, both the Democrats and the Republicans have treated the same issue with the same techniques repeatedly. (Although the Democrats were first, that’s only because NC was wholly Democratic for such a long time in the 20th century — in fact, Rob points out one similar tussel between two wings of the Democrats.)

53 Edward Pierce December 18, 2016 at 6:46 pm

The issue with a call to moderation is, of course, that those on the political fringes see themselves as moderate. It is their political opponents (exclusively) who are being unreasonable.

54 Mcmike December 18, 2016 at 6:54 pm

Actually the bigger problem is the situational maleability of what various factions define as extreme at any given time

The words moderate and extreme are meaningless now as a result

55 DJF December 18, 2016 at 7:05 pm

And those in power now proclaim they are moderates

Even though they have supported massive bailouts of the rich and powerful, multiple wars, mass immigration, trade policies which enrich communist dictatorships, transformation of marriage and now we have 31 flavors of gender and probably soon it will outnumber Baskin Robbins flavors

56 derek December 18, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Only an extremist would try to force people with religious beliefs to do something contrary to their beliefs.

An ill educated, historically illiterate fool as well.

There are no moderate Democrats left. There are getting fewer Democrats anywhere near power. I wonder if there is a correlation?

57 peri December 19, 2016 at 10:33 am

If there are no moderate Democrats left, that is only because they are Republicans now. It is either imbecility, or canniness, the failure to acknowledge the obvious: we only move in one direction in this country, the supposed binary in political thought legitimizing this perpetual leftward movement.

58 milk December 18, 2016 at 7:02 pm

Re WSJ / Milk:

>Meanwhile, you might want to buy milk in cardboard cartons.

You silly Americans; the cardboard containers for milk are standard in Europe.

59 Christian P Hansen December 18, 2016 at 7:57 pm

I didn’t read the article but my first though was: how many adults actually drink milk? Seems weird to me.

60 anonymous as usual December 18, 2016 at 10:27 pm

Milk is super important for people who have sensitive teeth, there is some sort of pain-killing effect. So milk consumption goes up in a person’s fourth decade and further on, when the sensitive teeth problem becomes more important. A glass of milk and a glass of orange juice and cup of coffee are the best way to hydrate in the morning unless you are in athletic training. Dairy milk is the best accompaniment to most sandwiches, and even Asian food often goes better with dairy milk than with, say , coconut milk. Then there is egg nog at Christmas time and pints and pints of ice cream and gallons and gallons of milkshakes for the joyous long days and short nights of summer. Of course there is an atavistic aversion to milk being imbibed by adults – there was a cool scene in one of the William Powell/Myrna Loy movies where William Powell was aghast that someone served him a full glass of milk (but he drank it, hoping to alleviate a hangover, if I remember correctly), but it is not easy to stay healthy for 1/2, 3/4, or even a full century, and milk helps.

61 dearieme December 19, 2016 at 6:43 am

When I don’t feel like water, wine, tea, coffee, hot chocolate or beer I often drink milk. I prefer it non-homogenised and out of glass rather than plastic, but I will settle for second best if it’s all that’s available.

62 anonymous as usual December 19, 2016 at 9:12 pm

You are lucky – I often have to settle for third best – homogenized milk , out of some carton that is some chemical variant of plasticized cardboard, and with God knows how many preservatives in it. And often I can tell the cow has been fed fishmeal instead of grass or hay (not that cows willingly eat hay) – that is not a pleasant taste! But milk is milk, and I do not like to complain. Anyway, Thx for reading my comment, I enjoy your comments on various topics ….

63 Mark Thorson December 18, 2016 at 8:44 pm

No incentive is needed to get rid of fluorescent lights in milk display cases. LEDs are on the march — smaller, cheaper, more efficient, and mercury-free. Fluorescent lights are doomed like fax machines and print phonebooks.

64 Adovada December 18, 2016 at 9:46 pm

#5 – Correct, Mr. Hanson. Also, how many European national leaders came out against Trump before the election? Was that meddling? There will be no really effective way to prevent or discpline cross-national hacking, so get used to it. Further, if another nation had really bad information about an incumbent US president, and released it before his re-election bid, would that not be valuable to the US popuation? I view the DNC revelations as that type of whistleblowing. That’s not “fake news”.

65 Peter Akuleyev December 19, 2016 at 5:56 am

Yes, exactly how many European leaders came out against Trump? I live in Europe, and don’t recall any coming out explicitly against Trump, but feel free to provide some sources.

66 prior_test2 December 19, 2016 at 6:33 am

Is this adequate? – ‘French President François Hollande said that Trump “makes you want to retch”.

67 Adovada December 19, 2016 at 9:40 am

You are joking, right?

68 Careless December 19, 2016 at 1:45 am

#5 how much of this lower per capita consumption is simply the fact that the US has a much, much higher proportion of lactose intolerant people these days?

69 jb December 19, 2016 at 5:28 am

#2: Did I miss it, or was there no mention in the meddling link about the intentions of the meddler? If my wife’s friend tells her I don’t do enough housework, it makes a big difference whether her goal is to help my wife by calling it how she sees it or to break apart my marriage.

70 Will Nowak December 19, 2016 at 4:31 pm

#3. Did anyone take the test on Rosling’s site? Part of me doubts that we are as ill-informed as Rosling believes. When you ask questions like “Roughly what percentage of the world’s population has electricity at home?”, few individuals have a good grasp of the actual answer (the scale of this question makes it hard for most people to fully fathom (myself included)).

So, as a guilty and rich American, I don’t want to come across as naïve, and I respond accordingly. If I report that the % of homes with electricity is lower than the actual answer, I will come across (if only in my own mind) as humble, aware of my privilege, and concerned about the plight of the world population. If I were guess too high (assuming that everyone else has electricity like I do), that makes me appear ignorant to the plight of others.

My point being that there is a bias to these questions. Few people know the answer with any precision, and there are cognitive biases that make us err systematically.

71 a Fred December 19, 2016 at 5:00 pm

I took it and noticed the same effect. The bias you describe was all in the same direction and would lead to a reaction along the lines of “Things are better than I thought.” Maybe he wants to encourage and inspire, rather than instill or exploit guilt.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: