Monday assorted links

by on July 10, 2017 at 12:49 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 rayward July 10, 2017 at 1:06 pm

2. I suspect that the method described by Reihan would result in some Democrats being elected to the House in some red states but far more Republicans being elected in blue states, because blue voters are so concentrated in so few districts. Now if House members were elected nationwide using proportional representation, it would solve the concentration dilemma. Indeed, one of the more contentious issues considered by the Framers was whether the upper chamber should be apportioned among the states based on population (as was the lower chamber). Having every state with exactly the same number of Senators (two) gives rural states an enormous advantage. I won’t detail how the Framers decided on equal representation (read Michael Klarman’s new book), but I will point out that the least populous states (i.e., the Southern states) were expected eventually to have larger populations than the then more populated northern states because there was so much unused land in the Southern states, resulting in a migration pattern south. It’s not just economists who are often wrong when making predictions of the future.

2 mulp July 10, 2017 at 1:24 pm

But the farming practices in the South quickly depleted the land, so westward expansion was required just to support the existing small population of citizens. The southern Founders understood that and worked to have the Congress ensure westward expansion to sustain the South.

Farming in the North was more sustainable, plus industry needed workers to both produce, and to consume the production.

The South remained a colony economy, pillaging the land for export to buy imports for the wealthy who constantly increased their land holdings.

3 Dick the ButcherA July 10, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Possibly, westward expansion was the only national policy embraced by both the north and south. Otherwise , they were two separate and distinct cultures and economies.

I had my high school AP American History before it was revised. The long term thrust was westward expansion of slave states vs. free states to maintain the Congressional balance so that the north could not abolish the evil engine that (most believed) made possible King Cotton. The Northern economy also benefited (industrial development and growth) from King Cotton (at a high cost tom the south) through tariffs which made their manufactured goods’ prices “competitive” with long-established England’s.

Truly by 1865, the once-opulent plantations of Georgia and South Carolina were vast wastelands – after Sherman had pillaged and raped them.

4 byomtov July 10, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Sherman or not, much of the “opulence” was based on the labor of slaves. Free the slaves, and the opulence disappears, as if by magic.

5 chuck martel July 10, 2017 at 6:07 pm

There would be no “opulence” or slaves either without the near-extermination of the indigenous population in both the North and the South and the enclosure of their tribal commons. It’s quite obvious that Americans consider it to be more sinful to hold a person in bondage than to kill them. That a valuable living slave is in a more despicable situation than a verminous dead Native American.

6 Dick the ButcherA July 10, 2017 at 1:49 pm

How many votes does Reihan have?

7 Hana July 10, 2017 at 2:11 pm

The two Senators rule gives small population states an advantage, not just rural states. Both Texas and California have huge rural areas, and yet they only have two Senators.

8 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Exurban, small town, and rural zones account for just north of 20% of the population of California and 40% of the population of Texas. Populous states are populous because of ample core cities and tract suburbs. North Carolina is just about the only state with a population above the mean wherein most people live in dispersed settings.

9 Hana July 10, 2017 at 5:43 pm

That’s not disproving my point. The rural population from your percentages of California would be 8 million and Texas 10 million. Or in other words, in the top 15 of state populations. The true statement remains that it is small population states, not rural states. (I always think of farming and ranching when I think of Rhode Island).

10 John Hall July 10, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Their proposal basically looks like a single transferable vote system. I think it’s too much of a change for most people.

The problem with the proportional system you describe is that it completely removes districts. Again, another big change that is too confusing. Moreover, there is evidence that a pure proportional system has a lot of issues. Too much power for small parties. I’m more in favor of a mixed member proportional system like New Zealand and Germany. Districts + some proportionality.

11 byomtov July 10, 2017 at 2:37 pm

I think you can do PR in less complex ways than Salam and Richie propose, so that you avoid some of the complications.

One piece that they miss is reallocation of excess votes for winners. In some systems once a candidate has enough #1 votes to be elected the extra is distributed among those candidates who occupied the #2 spot on the excess votes.

Anyway, I agree that the current system really needs improvement.

12 John Hall July 10, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Oh, so it’s basically a bastardized version of SVT.

13 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 3:51 pm

I think it’s too much of a change for most people.

They’ve used it in Ireland and Australia for decades. They’ve implemented it in Minneapolis. People aren’t idiots. To assist, you need three changes in practice:

1. A rule that ballots arriving in the mail after the morning of the election are mailed back to the sender. You have to have multiple rounds of tabulation and you cannot keep changing the contents of the ballot pool.

2. A revised electoral calendar which sorts offices to be elected across a 4 years cycle, reduces the number of elected offices, and moves referenda and court-system elections from November to May. A general rule of 4 year terms for non-judicial positions would be helpful, so you’d have federal elections in year one, general-purpose local offices in year two, general purpose state offices in year three, and special purpose offices in year four. It would help to have provisions in state law which require that special-purpose offices will be replaced with appointive equivalents unless their enabling legislation is reconfirmed in a referendum at least once every thirty years. North Carolina elects 11 statewide offices. Why not cut that down to about 2?

3. Varying the order of candidates on the ballot in non-partisan ‘jungle’ contests. You should have as many stereotypes as candidates who qualify for the ballot, and print up equal numbers of each stereotype, sending one to one set of precincts, another to another set, and third to a third set, and so forth.

14 Brett Champion July 10, 2017 at 1:08 pm

The problem with representative democracy is not how we elect our officials, it’s universal suffrage. Rational ignorance leads to bad choices regardless of the partisan makeup of an electorate.

In the past this did not do much damage because we asked little of our government. Now that most people seem to want the government to be their friend, spouse, and parent, it’s going to cause problems because the great majority of voters are incapable of voting on policy, so the vote on personality, which is a terrible way to pick legislators and executives.

15 Borjigid July 10, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Whatever our problems are, non-universal suffrage is unlikely to improve anything.

16 ladderff July 10, 2017 at 4:26 pm

This reads like a prayer, which is basically what it is.

17 Dick the ButcherA July 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

America does not only suffer from the worst political establishment/elites in American History – and that’s a]saying a lot. Too many American voters suck at the State’s teats and vote that way.

The jig’s up when the tax taker voters outnumber the taxpayers.

18 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 4:04 pm

The vast bulk of common provision is distributed to the elderly and adjudicated disabled, who account for just north of 20% of the electorate. I don’t think their voting patterns differ that much from the mean. The young have been voting by large margins for the Democratic Party the last 10 years, even though the young qua young don’t get much other than subsidized student loans and Pell grants.

19 Hazel Meade July 10, 2017 at 2:43 pm

They aren’t even voting based on personality. They are voting based on tribal affiliation.

20 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm

How would you persuade me that most of the people here are not, including you Hazel?

21 Hazel Meade July 11, 2017 at 10:58 am

I try to vote based on what I think will advance policies that I support, regardless of which political party is advancing them. Obviously, we’re all subject to cognitive biases including the human tendency to align with a tribe. I think that it’s important for people to be aware of cognitive biases and to try to overcome them, including tribal affiliation. Think a good measure of whether someone is voting based on tribal affiliation is likely to degree to which they tend to defend their tribe even on non-policy-related topics.

22 Hwite July 10, 2017 at 9:57 pm

Dumb people vote based on tribal affiliation.

Smart people vote based on policies: policies they chose to support because of (perceived) positive effects on their tribal group.

23 Lanigram July 11, 2017 at 12:14 am

Even smart people are biased. In fact, they just construct more sophisticated fictional personal narratives. They do a great job fooling themselves.

“Cognitive Sophistication Does Not Attenuate the Bias Blind Spot”

24 Hazel Meade July 11, 2017 at 10:59 am

Someone can support policies because they are universally good, not just because they have good effects on their tribe. Or at least try to.

25 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Rational ignorance leads to bad choices regardless of the partisan makeup of an electorate.

Maybe. Or maybe our political class sucks hump. And maybe it sucks hump because our professional-managerial class in general represents a significant regression in quality from that of previous generations.

You can see two fine examples of frivolity in recent elections: the two-step which put Justin Trudeau in the Prime Minister’s chair in Canada and the election of Barack Obama in the United States. Both seem a co-operative efforts of elites and public.

26 msgkings July 10, 2017 at 4:11 pm

“because our professional-managerial class in general represents a significant regression in quality from that of previous generations.” – I doubt this is the case, but if so it’s hard to see how that would change for the better going forward

27 Potato July 10, 2017 at 11:59 pm

Comes down to the filter: what are we selecting for ? What limits do we put in place, formally or informally?

Eisenhower was a general. Kennedy was mostly fluff but still a combat veteran. George Bush the Elder parachuted out of a fighter plane in the pacific. Even Nixon was a WW2 navy logistics veteran.

That’s one Heinleinesque filter. Are the people that will lead us willing to put their lives on the line for the polity they expect to lead? Noone cares anymore.

Since then we’ve had bill Clinton, George bush the younger, Obama, and trump.

So at least at the top the filter for service and self sacrifice is gone.

There must be other filters that have disappeared that served a purpose.

28 msgkings July 11, 2017 at 1:46 am

Excellent comment +1

29 Ricardo July 11, 2017 at 9:43 am

The decline of military service as a prerequisite for being elected President seems to be due to the decline of universal conscription. It was difficult for the son of an upper-middle class or elite family to avoid service during World War II but not so during Vietnam. A more persistent filter is that the vast majority of Presidents served in the Senate or as a Vice President or state Governor. A smaller number were high-level cabinet appointees, members of the House, or military generals.

30 Art Deco July 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Bush trained as a fighter pilot, not an activity you undertake if you’re intent on living a quiet life. He was not a combat veteran, but only a modest minority of the 1944-51 male cohorts were posted to VietNam and any point (about 20%), and many of them (about 40% per one estimate I’ve seen) spent the entire time in rear-echelon positions. Most people who’ve had military service are not combat veterans, among them Ronald Reagan, Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, and Albert Gore.

Obama was born into a cohort wherein military service was unusual and purely voluntary. Trump took advantage of a temporary medical deferment (I-Y). About 200,000 men from each age cohort received one of these. He was then later excused consequent to the draft lottery; not impressive, but common and above-board. The dealings Mitt Romney and Richard Cheney had with local draft boards could be characterized about the same way. Only Clinton undertook crafty evasive maneuvers to shirk his service obligations. Ditto Bernie Sanders.

The frequency of military service among men varies from cohort to cohort consequent to external factors. By way of example, about 80% of the 1922 cohort were in the service during WWii, but only 40% of the 1927 cohort. Service was modal for the 1927-38 cohorts (about 65% or so), less so for the 1939-53 cohorts (approx 45%). Prevalence of service is not a reliable indicator of courage in and of itself.

Service certainly tempered those men in some way; so did growing up on farms for earlier generations, as did growing up during the Depression. As a general rule, the older generations had fewer embarrassments in their past than do younger cohorts. They were better people.

31 Art Deco July 11, 2017 at 2:38 pm

The decline of military service as a prerequisite for being elected President seems to be due to the decline of universal conscription. It was difficult for the son of an upper-middle class or elite family to avoid service during World War II but not so during Vietnam.

A common fallacy. The Statistical Abstract has data on the commonality of military service for the cohorts born from 1930-38. About 55% were on active duty at some point, 9% saw reserve or guard service, 12% were contingently disqualified (I-Y), 12% were categorically disqualified (IV-F), and 12% were excused for miscellaneous reasons. Only a modest minority of those on active duty were posted to Korea. The ecology of military service was quite similar in many respects to that faced by the 1939-53 cohorts. For college-bound youth, it was modal to do your service after you’d graduated. For the later cohorts, about 45% served and 30% were excused for miscellaneous reasons. The share disqualified was about the same.

Again, only about 20% of the most vulnerable cohorts were posted to VietNam in any capacity, and for a great many of them, it was a desk job in Da Nang or some such. It was atypical for the children of wage-earning famlies to see VietNam service.

32 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Now that most people seem to want the government to be their friend, spouse, and parent, i

Who wants that? Does the man in the street want that, or do cadres want that and the man-in-the-street puts up little resistance?

33 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 4:08 pm

it’s universal suffrage.

Which you’d replace with what? People who yap this way fancy they’re ‘the smart fraction’ and the smart fraction should rule. Of course, the smart fraction in charge gets you the court system and higher education as we know it.

34 Potato July 11, 2017 at 12:02 am


Mandarism did not work well for the Chinese, and is leading us straight into stupidity and incompetence.

The best and brightest choose to work on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley, and in consulting.

Culture is upstream of our dysfunction.

35 mulp July 10, 2017 at 1:14 pm

2. The structure of voting as it currently stands drives the winners and losers mode of governance.

The best alternative is approval voting. It’s very simple. Given a slate of five, ten, a hundred candidates, you vote for every candidate you approve of. If you approve of only one, you vote for one. If you approve of ten, you vote for ten.

The winner, or winners, are those with the highest approval.

This is the way at-large voting works when filling 2, 3 or whatever district wide seats on city council or school board, except those limit the number of approvals to the number of seats to be filled. Voting systems merely set the number of allowed votes to the number of candidates.

The system is very simple. One election with no primaries.

The gaming of elections now becomes extremely complicated.

How does one candidate make every opponent totally unacceptable to the majority without becoming unacceptable to the majority? If two candidates tear each other down, partisan voters might approve of one of them, but then approve of a milk toast moderate to stop the evil opponent. If moderates vote in approval of the moderates, the moderates will get more votes in approval than the “strong” partisan candidates defining the extremes, votes from both extremes of partisans plus votes from moderates.

36 Hello Sailer July 10, 2017 at 3:25 pm

President Taylor Swift thanks you for your support.

37 msgkings July 10, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Not until 2028 at the earliest

38 TMC July 10, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Maybe not even then. What happens if someone asks for her birth certificate? The world will be in a tizzy.

39 msgkings July 10, 2017 at 9:44 pm

She’ll be ok, she named her biggest selling album after her birth year

40 Thomas July 10, 2017 at 5:24 pm

How do you limit candidates? Unlimited candidates = a popular vote, wherein every partisan is a candidate and every partisan votes for their partisans, and limited candidates = how do we pick the candidates?

41 Hazel Meade July 10, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Is this the typical Japanese playground? Because there are lots of wierd artistic playgrounds in the US as well.

For example:

42 TvK July 10, 2017 at 5:18 pm

That rings a bell. ..Those designs at the playground are by Tom Otterness. You can also find a large set of his statues on the boulevard of Scheveningen in the Netherlands.

43 Falstaff July 10, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Reihan is wide of the mark. American political problems are cultural, not a matter of the mechanics of electing representatives.

44 EverExtruder July 10, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Pretty much this. Politics is always downstream from culture, and something toxic has been brewing and allowed to fester for a long time.

45 Thiago Ribeiro July 10, 2017 at 2:19 pm

The American system promotes too much needless friction and polarization, hence Trump who still did not deliver much. In Brazil, when president Rousseff left the power, President Temer inherited her coalition minus her leftist party. Governments change, the country is and must be permanent.

46 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Reihan is wide of the mark. American political problems are cultural, not a matter of the mechanics of electing representatives.

Actually, the U.S. Senate is a godawful institution, and should be replaced.

47 Falstaff July 10, 2017 at 11:22 pm

The Senate or the way we elect senators? Or both?

Pitch an alternative.

48 Daniel Weber July 10, 2017 at 5:05 pm

If you want Congress to work together, then give the populace the ability to vote, each election, on an up-or-down vote for the entire slate of current legislators. If it fails, everyone currently in office (you would want to state this carefully to avoid people resigning to avoid their fate and skate back in) and up for re-election (ie, 1/3 the Senate each election day) is removed and their votes tossed out.

This would need some kind of preference- or approval-based voting in each district and state, so it’s clear what it means for the person is second place to become the winner, assuming the incumbent wins.

49 Potato July 11, 2017 at 12:06 am

So now the government is in chaos constantly. I fail to see how that improves anything.

You’re trying to limit people’s representation on a geographic/regional basis.

The whole point of Madison is that competing regional factions will lead to the population not doing stupid things.

50 Borjigid July 10, 2017 at 1:30 pm

4. Upworthy still exists? I am disappointed.

51 Jeff R July 10, 2017 at 1:48 pm

5. The body counts from the post colonial wars in Africa reached eight figures. Good luck, Europe!

52 Art Deco July 11, 2017 at 2:13 pm

It requires some dubious accounting to get from here to there. You haven’t had 8-figures worth of combat deaths or collateral damage. The figures are derived from dubious efforts to measure excess mortality in Equatorial Africa and incorporate not merely violent deaths but supposed elevated death rates from crop failures, disease etc. UN agencies have admitted in recent years they’ve been making large errors attempting to calculate fertility rates, so I would not take some meme retailed by Global Security at face value.

53 The Engineer July 10, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Illinois had proportionate voting for its state House seats until, I believe, the 1970’s. There is a very small contingent that would like to bring it back. It pretty much worked as Reihan says it would, there is no need to speculate in hat regard.

However, in the end, it was blamed for certain problems that could only be solved by its demise.

54 Brian Donohue July 10, 2017 at 2:49 pm

No. Illinois had ‘minority’ representation, so there were three representatives elected from each district, at least one of which represented the minority party in that district. It was an awful idea.

When Illinois abolished minority representation, they cut the size of the House by 1/3. That was a good thing.

55 Edgar July 10, 2017 at 2:43 pm

4. FWIW Denmark has a tradition of private schools and about 15.6% of all children at basic school level attend private schools, which are supported by a voucher system.

56 Axa July 10, 2017 at 2:46 pm

#5: Mr. Douthat gives too much importance to Christianity. In very few places, it has existed for 2000 years, but it’s just one thing among many that provide identity to Europe.

Europe is a Greek word. Greek philosophy and Roman law are so ingrained in culture that are part of present life. Christian Europe was not an spontaneous event. Christianity came from the Middle East and was adopted by Romans when it helped them in their power struggles. St. Patrick is known for converting Ireland to Christianity around in the 5h century. Switzerland and Germanics conversion? 7th to 8th century. France converted in the year 800. Before Christianization, there were many rites and traditions that have been put in the single box of “paganism”.

People in Europe don’t speak “Christian”, they speak languages with Latin, Germanic or Slavic origins. Democracy, another damned Greek idea, is 5 centuries older than Jesus Christ. Only two centuries after Europe was fully converted into Christianity, the Age Enlightenment happened and the idea of separating religion and state spread gradually.

Greeks, Romans, Pagans, Renaissance, Enlightenment, people speaking very old languages and following equally old traditions………and Mr. Douthat is worried about “Christianity and Judaism replaced by indifferentism and Islam”.

57 Anon July 10, 2017 at 2:57 pm

Ditto to his recent article justifying the existence of a God, essentially a Christian one. Two millennia is but a speck in human history.

58 msgkings July 10, 2017 at 3:01 pm

But it is the most recent and most consequential two millennia, when human history really got going.

59 Anonymous July 10, 2017 at 4:27 pm

It is a convenient calendar, but something based on the steam engine might be closer to the mark.

And hey, it works for Japan.

60 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Europe is a Greek word. Greek philosophy and Roman law are so ingrained in culture that are part of present life.

Greek philosophy was handed down through the Church and the common law owes little to Roman practice. To what extent is Roman law discernable in continental systems?

61 Axa July 10, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Don’t mistake Greek theology for Greek philosophy.

About Roman law, it was used without major changes until 250-150 years ago depending on each western Europe country. It’s the foundation of Western legal civilization.

62 Art Deco July 11, 2017 at 2:15 pm

Don’t mistake Greek theology for Greek philosophy.

Thomas Aquinas is known as a philosopher. Sorry it bothers village atheists.

63 Oreg July 11, 2017 at 10:27 am

@Art Deco: The German and French legal systems, for instance, draw heavily from Roman law and in turn have inspired many other countries.

64 Art Deco July 11, 2017 at 2:18 pm

Emperor Napoleon assembled a series of blue ribbon commissions to systematize and codify French law. I assume there’s some genetic relationship between extant local practice in France and Roman law and perhaps the experts used old Roman templates. Its rather de trop to deny the contribution of the intervening 15 centuries.

65 Anonymous July 10, 2017 at 4:30 pm

I don’t think Douthat made consistent contact with factual, historic, and non-ideological world history in that piece.

The successes of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore show greater variation in models of success than he credits.

66 Anonymous July 10, 2017 at 4:58 pm

I should not have used “success” twice in that sentence. Variations in levels of market freedom and parliamentary democracy in a not purely Christian context?

67 Anonymous July 10, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Historic and history too!

68 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 3:42 pm

2. You can do without PR in a country with legislative bodies the size of ours. That’s more proper for local contests. See Donald Horowitz: the vote pooling which takes place when you have ordinal-balloting in single-member districts can act to dampen contention as candidates compete for the voters’ second-choice tick.

You could also make nomination procedures contingent on the ratio of one-party’s registrants to another. One might nominate by caucus, convention and primary if the ratio is below a certain threshold – say, 5-3 and nominate through a pure petition process if it exceeds that. That way, in non-competitive constituencies, dissenting factions of the Democratic Party (and, more rarely) the Republican Party can come out of the woodwork and contend in a general election. Ordinal balloting will prevent perverse results (should you have a multiplicity of Democratic candidates facing a single Republican). You can do away with pro-forma general elections following contested (or more frequently, uncontested) Democratic primaries.

Other features which might be helpful: a practice manual for drawing electoral districts which limits and distributes discretion over constituency boundaries, an end to requirements that strict equipopulousness be observed, longer terms for the House, mandatory rotation in office (no one serves more than 10 years in any bloc of 12, or stands for election if they cannot complete the term), and mandatory retirement (no one stands for election over age 72).

69 msgkings July 10, 2017 at 3:44 pm

A lot of this makes sense, but it’s hard to see a mechanism for getting there.

70 mgregoire July 11, 2017 at 11:19 am

Electoral reform as proposed by Mr. Salam has a critical weakness: too complicated. You need a system that citizens trust, and so it has to be one which can easily be explained and verified.

Two simple improvements I’d suggest for US elections:
1. Constituency boundaries drawn by independent commission, certainy not by state governments.
2. Less frequent elections. It is a banality in other countries to observe that politicians behave more crassly as elections approach; how can one expect any long-term thinking with elections every two years?

Of course the optimal (but completely unrealistic) solution would be to adopt the Westminster model of government…

71 Art Deco July 11, 2017 at 2:25 pm

Independent commissions will not do much good. They’re subject to capture by partisan interest or by incumbents’ interest (as happened in Colorado) What you need is a rule book which limits discretion. You also need to be lax about equpopuousness. The more districts have to be equal, the more discretion has to be exercised in drawing district boundaries. Distributed discretion, wherein the task of making a discretionary cut is farmed out to several authorities, should be the order of the day. Any trial or appellate court whose geographic jurisdiction encompasses the area to be partitioned should do (and the lowest level court if more than one court fits that description) should do.

The rule book does not have to be voluminous. I have a beta model that’s just bullet points.

72 Thiago Ribeiro July 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Only Brazilian blacks are fit to rule

73 Art Deco July 10, 2017 at 4:25 pm


74 Thiago Ribeiro July 10, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Real Brazilians do not care about racial differences.

75 Thiago Ribeiro July 10, 2017 at 6:13 pm

That being said, Brazilian blacks are widely considered the best blacks in the world.

76 Thiago Ribeiro July 10, 2017 at 6:42 pm

And Brazilian Whites are the best Whites in the world. And Brazilian Asians are the best in the world.

77 Edgar July 10, 2017 at 4:41 pm

6. Seems to be standing on Barry Cunliffe’s shoulders. If I had my copy of “Europe between the oceans : themes and variations, 9000 BC-AD 1000 ” handy I think there is even a map showing that trade route.

78 Edgar July 10, 2017 at 4:44 pm

2. He lost me at “bipartisan.” No two party systems please.

79 Floccina July 10, 2017 at 4:44 pm

#2 rather than that maybe the states could break things up by function. An elected health care commissioner, an elected education commissioner etc.

80 Edgar July 10, 2017 at 4:57 pm

5. So I rose to the bait and was pleasantly surprised that a NYT piece displayed a modicum of insight. Until the end when the mindless frothing Trump-hate made its inevitable appearance. Give them points for consistency at least.

81 y81 July 10, 2017 at 6:25 pm

7. I hate riding on the plane with animals. For one thing, I’m allergic. So are lots of other people: it’s bizarre that the airlines and the government prohibit everyone from having peanuts, when peanut allergies are incredibly rare, but allow animals, when animal allergies are common. Another reason why I hate both the airlines and the government, and avoid both to the maximum extent possible.

82 Dan Lavatan-Jeltz July 10, 2017 at 9:36 pm

The animals also hate you, but it seems implausible you are allergic to all of them – I strongly suspect you are an animal and animals that are allergic to themselves (or those with identical protein structures) die quickly. It is a lie that peanuts are prohibited, I’ve brought peanuts on flights fairly frequently.

That said, the article or the airlines misrepresent their policies – I’ve brought a service ant on a Delta flight and the TSA did not say anything to me about it. If they could actually detect such things that might even be useful. Exotic animals have a specific definition under USDA rules and ducks are not exotic.

83 Ray Lopez July 10, 2017 at 7:27 pm

#1 was interesting, Russia has primitive ICBM radar systems (recall Korean Air flight 007 in 1983, shot down by the Russians, and might respond negatively to a perceived attempt to intercept North Korean missiles heading to the USA.

North Korean nukes are underreported. People assume the problem will go away but Kim is showing to be worse than Stalin in some ways. Recall Stalin was not interested in world revolution, but he did have plans to liquidate even more enemies and had he directed his paranoia outward, like Kim is doing, we could have had a nuclear war IMO.

84 Ray Lopez July 10, 2017 at 7:31 pm

#6 – on Ozi the Alpine axeman’s axe: supports two Cu circuits (not the electrical kind, but the mechanical kind), also consistent with the speculated reason Ozi was murdered: as Jared Diamond has pointed out, violence often occurs at borders between two different cultures or tribes, and that’s where Ozi was found (at the border of the Alps); this new evidence is consistent with this speculated hypothesis by anthropologists on Ozi. Ozi was a metal trader (not a heavy metal head banger either, but the real deal) and he saw a lot of slings and arrows come his way in this 40-odd years on earth as a metal trader.

Bonus trivia: Marc Rich was also a metal trader and got pardoned by Clinton, while living in Switzerland. Fair? I say so, as his ‘crime’ was routine back in those days (and probably now) so it was selective prosecution for what every metal dealer was doing in the 1970s.

85 Evans_KY July 10, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Reihan is one of the brightest conservative minds. SALT, EITC, and now FairVote.

Let’s paint this country purple again.

86 Art Deco July 11, 2017 at 2:28 pm

The country does not need to be purple. It does need more of a sense of decorous competition. Not much to be done about that. The only people who can fix that are the people who maintain no neutral principles of adjudication and who insist everything is played for keeps.

87 Jay July 10, 2017 at 9:39 pm

With four years of data Donkblog proclaims “Obamacare marketplaces just had their most profitable first quarter ever”! Journalists really have a problem with sample size don’t they – they do love the anecdote.

88 Jay July 10, 2017 at 9:50 pm

I really wish I didn’t click to the comment section of the link above. It includes this gem from an ignorant uninformed sad excuse for a human being…

“so how do we pay for it (Single Payer)..  
1. Remove the CAP on Income from the Medicare Payroll tax..  ”

I can say with 99.9999999% certainty this person has never filed taxes with income subject to FICA in excess of the income cap for social security taxes. If they ever did they would have noticed the Medicare taxable income amount is not capped.

89 Kevin- July 11, 2017 at 10:15 pm

4. I’ve guest taught in Viborg, Denmark the last two Januarys, and the building where I’m housed looks out on one of these forest kindergartens. It’s amazing to head off to teach collage-age kids at 8:30 am, in subfreezing weather, and see scores of happy, laughing little Danish tykes outside romping around outside, pretty much on their own. And when I’d return hours later they’d still out there, in their little insulated jumpers, still going. I didn’t see any teachers or minders guiding them or doing anything, really, just letting them play and find their own way. I didn’t realize it had a name, though it did appear to be distinctly Scandinavian. I’m glad to know there’s a whole philosophy behind it.

Such a simple, beautiful concept. Reminds me of how happy I was having unstructured time as a little guy, and how much I hated being told when to nap, when to sit, when to pretend to read.

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