Well-Intentioned Bullshit On The Supposed Wonderfulness Of Daycare
Carrie Lukas and Steven E. Rhoads write at National Affairs:
While there are obviously many good things to be said about the professional progress of women and the significant contributions they have made in their fields, good things tend to come with tradeoffs. More women in the workforce means that more children need some form of child care. (A small but growing minority of fathers in the United States stay at home with their children: 2 million fathers, or 16% of stay-at-home parents, in 2012. Over half of these men were either unemployed or disabled.) For many parents, decisions about work and child care are among the most difficult choices they must make.
These decisions are made all the more difficult by a lack of reliable research on daycare. There is more research than anyone needs on the dangers of certain fabrics used in car seats and backpacks or the risks of drinking from a garden hose or eating conventionally grown fruit. And sober examination of the actual findings of these studies consistently reveals that the risks are being exaggerated; unless a child eats the fabric on his backpack, he isn't really at risk.
But when it comes to daycare -- something that instinctively worries many parents -- few are willing to take a hard look. The media, which seemingly report constantly on alarming new risks to children, rarely present the public with information from studies on the impact of daycare, especially when the findings suggest that daycare is associated with significant negative outcomes.
The reasons for this are several, and are understandable. Many reporters may be reluctant to highlight such studies because of the politically charged nature of the issue. Some may worry that acknowledging any downsides to daycare would impede the cause of women's equality, by inviting people to conclude that children would be better off if mothers dropped out of the workforce. And many journalists send their kids to daycare, and therefore may be predisposed to overlook negative findings about a choice they have already made for their own children.
A deeper reason may be that the psychologists who study daycare have attempted to downplay or put a comforting spin on troubling findings. Just last year, an important study found that the culturally liberal outlook of almost all social psychologists had biased the studies and conclusions they reached. It is likely that a similar outlook, and in particular an unwillingness to present findings that may interfere with women's progress in the workplace, has similarly harmed the work of developmental psychologists regarding daycare.
This bias and lack of information does a serious disservice to parents, who need to know about the best research in order to make fully informed choices for their families -- even, and especially, if that research does not validate their biases. Politicians also need to know what the full range of research shows, especially as they consider policy reforms that could lead many families to change their decisions about how their children are cared for. President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have both called for increasing government's financial support of paid child care, but it is not at all clear that increased use of child care would produce better results for children.
The available research suggests that heavy use of commercial daycare leads to some poor outcomes for many children. Subsidizing this form of child care effectively discourages the use of other arrangements that have not shown these negative effects. A better policy would help parents in a broader way, providing financial help regardless of families' child-care choices.
Acknowledging evidence that daycare may have drawbacks is not meant to demonize parents using daycare. One of the authors of this essay, a mother of five, currently uses part-time daycare for her own children. Like millions of other parents, she believes it is the best option for her family in balancing different considerations such as cost, convenience, and the desire to support a work life as well as ensure the well-being of her children.
Linky with a bit of sand in its eye.
My Microaggressions: I've Apparently Ruined A Number Of People Emotionally Today, In Just Eight Hours
It's only been about eight hours that I've spent here, in Vancouver, at the annual Human Behavior and Evolution Society conference, but according to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's new list of "microaggressions," I'm a deeply offensive person.
They ... define microaggressions as "brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial, gender, sexual orientation and religious slights and insults to the target person or group."
These "indignities" include complimenting a speaker on her footwear, using the terms "husband/boyfriend" or "wife/girlfriend" instead of "partner/spouse," asking where someone is from, referencing Christmas vacation or suggesting a round of golf.
I hit almost all of these, I'm proud to say: Complimented Catherine on her shoes and meant to say something about Louise Barrett's, but got interrupted.
Said "boyfriend," etc., numerous times, asked about 12 people where they were from (though, admittedly, not because they looked exotic).
Referenced Christmas at one point, though I can't remember why.
I did not, however, suggest a round of golf -- though I did mention how people going out of turn at a four-way stop causes people to want to get out of their cars and put a golf club through their windows.
I explain why this is in "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck":
Although the cost from that is minuscule, someone who imposes it on us is stealing from us (as well as turning us into a chump for obeying the rules), and psychologically, even tiny fairness violations are a big deal.
Anthropologist Robert Trivers explains in his famous 1971 paper on reciprocal altruism that our sense of outrage at cheaters and rule-breakers probably developed when our ancestors started living cooperatively in small, stable hunter-gatherer bands. In an environment where group members survive by trading food and favors, there's a need to guard against the shifty-ass cheaters whose idea of reciprocity is give-and-take: You give; they take. To keep the two-legged rats at bay, our psychology evolved to include a cheater detection and punishment department, logging who owes what to whom and dispatching that information to the enforcement division, our emotions.
I now have a goal: To get lists of colleges' definitions of what microaggressions are and use them all in a single afternoon.
Very unsexily-named links.
LAX TSA Sign: "Thank You For Participating In Security." "Participating."
That was the wording at the bottom of a sign at LAX TSA -- one telling you to take off your shoes, etc.
I thought of some changes to the sign this morning -- at just after 5 a.m., the time I had to arrive to go through the pointless TSA to get on a 7:15 a.m. flight. (Their recent 95% miss rate suggests that they couldn't catch a terrorist if he or she crawled up their ass and yodeled.)
This sort of thing:
"Thank you for participating in (hah hah) 'security'"
It also occurred to me that "participating" was one of those Orwellian words. I "participate" in a fun event.
What I'm doing here is being coerced into cooperating with a pointless, civil liberties-violating process that Americans accept as meaningful for our security when it was been shown countless times to be anything but.
Here's Jonathan Corbett easily defeating the scanners.
Here's the latest attack in Turkey -- likely ISIS, they say. And here is the Brussels attack -- which nobody needed to go through security to do, as many of us have talked about in previous years. (We are sitting ducks at the TSA civil liberties-violating stations.)
I'm not optimistic about the interest of many people in this country in protecting and preserving our civil liberties.
My piece from a few years back on how the TSA molests our civil liberties is here.
White People Don't Get To Have Opinions About Non-White People
"Mattress Girl" Emma Sulkowicz posts at Instagram:
@oliviasulko caught me looking derpy with the Woman of Courage Award. From my speech today:
Camille Paglia has publicly called my artwork a "masochistic exercise" in which I neither "evolve" nor "move-on." She speaks as if she, a white woman, knew what was best for me, a woman of color she's never met. Many people ask me how I've "healed" from my assault, as if healing were another word for "forgetting about it," "getting over it," or even "shutting up about it." To expect me to move on is to equate courage with self-censorship. The phrases--suck it up, move on, and get over it--are violence. People who say these phrases equate what is right with what is expected.
I think courage means, "Afraid in a way that makes you do what is right, even if it's unexpected." I dedicate this award to everyone who has not told me to get over it. Thank you for validating my fear and my way of handling it. Thank you for creating a world in which we can tackle the things that terrify us by doing the unexpected right thing.
Thank you #nationalorganizationforwomen
"Doing the unexpected right thing"?
Cathy Young writes at Minding The Campus:
Sulkowicz's account of her rape strains credulity to the extreme. Sulkowicz accuses Nungesser of an extremely brutal assault that should have left her visibly injured (with bruises not only on her face but on her neck and arms, unlikely to be covered by clothing in August and early September in New York) and in need of medical attention. Yet no one saw anything amiss after this attack, and both Nungesser and Sulkowicz went on to chat and banter on Facebook as if nothing happened. Sulkowicz's claim that she kept up a friendly act hoping to confront him about the rape seems extremely dubious, given the near-psychotic violence she alleges and the lack of any sign of unease or tension in their online conversations. (When I reread these archives recently, I checked the timestamps to see if there were any awkward pauses; there weren't, not even when Nungesser asks Sulkowicz to bring more girls to his party and she replies, "I'll be dere w da females soon.")
Is Sulkowicz a "false accuser"? We don't know that. It's possible that something ambiguous happened between her and Nungesser that night--something that she later came to see as coercive and embellished with violent details. But I would say the odds of her account being factually true are very low.
Oh, and P.S. this notion of non-whiteness as a ticket to extra-special treatment and privileges (typically extra kid glove-ery) leads many people to strrrretch to claim a position as supposedly stomped-on minorities.
Poor underprivileged Emma.
Oh, that reminds me...anybody feeling at all sorry for the man in this, Paul Nungesser, whom the police decided not to even charge due to a lack of evidence that he actually did what he was accused of?
Instagram via @CHSommers
Skylinks between buildings.
Women Who Walk Places In The Summer
They are called FitFlops, which made me go "Yick, probably hideous," and some are, but for the Today's Deal at Amazon, there are also some very cute ones. 40 to 50 percent off, today only on FitFlops.
Also a Today's Deal: Up To 50% Off Select Wenzel Tents. (For people who like to walk into the woods and stay there.)
And one more Deal of the Day: Save on BBC comedies -- including Black Adder.
Search Amy's Amazon for things not linked here. And thank you all -- so much -- for all of your purchases through my links!
What Took The Cops So Long In Orlando?
There are a number of reasons I'm not a cop -- and one of them is that I tend to not be the person you'd want running things in some scary situation. My adrenaline takes off like a pack of hungry cheetahs after the Easter Bunny, and well, you can visit with my decision-making ability after it gets back from a restorative month in the Baltics.
Well, the Orlando cops are in those cop jobs, and survivors and families of victims are asking what the hell took the cops so long -- why it took three hours and six minutes from the time the officers entered the club to the time they finally shot Omar Mateen.
Over the course of Mateen's shooting rampage, which left 49 people dead and 53 injured, the gunman took the lives of roughly 15 people in the men's and women's bathrooms, including some shot after police had him cornered.
For crucial minutes after police entered the nightclub, Mateen moved between the two bathrooms, shooting people there, survivors said.
It may take weeks or more for authorities to piece together a detailed account of the police response, especially the minutes after a half dozen armed officers first entered the club and confronted Mateen.
But some survivors and family members of victims have asked in recent days why police, after cornering the gunman, didn't raid the bathrooms right away. According to the FBI, 3 hours and 6 minutes elapsed from the time officers entered the club to the killing of Mateen during the hostage rescue, when he shot as many as three more people.
"I just feel that with so many cops to one person, it should have been a little quicker," said Albert Murray, whose 18-year-old daughter Akyra Monet Murray was the night's youngest victim, killed in the women's bathroom.
It's easy to stand back and second-guess here in the safety of my little house a coast away.
Do the actions of the police make sense to any of you?
Father Knows Best? No, FDA-Father Knows Best
Paul E. Peterson writes at the WSJ that the FDA is trying to take away his autistic son's treatment on ideological grounds:
Though they have never met my son David and have no information about his specific diagnosis or care, bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration are endangering his life by proposing to stop the one treatment that has allowed him to lead a happy life that includes learning, socializing and having loving relationships with his family.
David is one of a small percentage of individuals with autism and mental disabilities who engages in life-threatening self-injurious behaviors, including shoving his hands down his throat and banging his head with such force as to permanently damage his ear. For the past 10 years he has been dissuaded from such activity by means of an abundance of rewards if he controls his self-harming behavior and an unpleasant, but harmless, two-second skin shock via an electronic stimulus device, or ESD, if he attempts self-injury.
While the device has been used effectively for many years with individuals like David at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, a residential special-needs school in Canton, Mass., the FDA is trying to ban it at the behest of ideologically driven advocacy groups such as the Disability Law Center in Massachusetts, whose executive director calls the therapy "horrible torture."
...The FDA also asserts that the skin shock constitutes physical and psychological harm. My wife and I have both experienced an ESD application. The experience is disagreeable, but not nearly as painful as a paper cut to the finger. Nor have we detected any sign of psychological damage to our son. Quite the contrary: David loves to visit his family, and he is no less happy to return to his friends in the residence where he lives.
...The FDA asserts that skin shocks are no longer necessary but it provides no documentation that drugs are effective for people like my son. In the past, drug therapy aggravated David's self-injurious behavior. The use of psychotropic drugs also poses multiple risks of physical and psychological side effects. By contrast, skin shocks have no demonstrated side effects beyond a temporary redness to the skin that usually disappears within minutes.
...Before arriving at his special-needs school, David's attempts at self-injury were continuous unless he was physically constrained. Today, he is in excellent physical health, and he has made striking gains in his sociability, curiosity and ability to carry out basic self-care. He participates in community events and visits his family about once a month. His attempts at self-injury average once a week, a low level he has sustained for the past several years.
Our son, who is now 45 years old, is enjoying a quality of life that my wife and I did not believe was possible before he had access to this treatment. The FDA's proposal would place his health--and life--at risk. The alternative treatment plan for him is physical restraints and mind-numbing drugs. For the sake of our son and others like him who have benefited from an electronic stimulus device, the FDA must withdraw its proposed regulation.
Here's the FDA press release.
And here's the thing. People are individuals. Drugs and devices are tested on the masses, but sometimes, a drug or device that isn't such a good idea for one person is a lifesaver for another.
For example, I can't get Betahistine (Serc) in this country. It is the one drug -- sans any real side effects for me -- that I can take to get across town without getting drowsy and without getting the least bit carsick.
I only learned this because a friend had to take it for vertigo -- a friend who lives in another country. I was so completely desperate to be able to go places by car without getting motion-sick that I ordered it and tried it.
It's a miraculous help. I can go long distances in traffic and make it across town when, before, I couldn't even go four miles in traffic without getting at least somewhat nauseated and maybe worse.
However, because the studies on this were poor, I can't get it here; I have to order this drug from foreign countries on eBay. Thanks, FDA!
This is annoying, lemme tell you -- but imagine if the one thing stopping your 45-year-old autistic son from doing serious physical harm to himself was something the FDA decided to put a kibosh on.
Loquacious with hot tippies.
Wild Conspiracy Theory Or Is There Something To It?
Story asking whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev might have been a double agent recruited by the FBI.
Making "The No Fly List" The "No Second Amendment For You!" List
There's sense and there's knee-jerk sense, and the headline of this post reflects the latter.
It's human nature to resort to knee jerk sense, and I bet most of us do it and/or do it more often than we know or admit.
About the subject of this post...the "no fly" list is the list of people thought to be too dangerous to board an airplane, because they might kill everyone on it for Allah (typically -- though there are apparently environmental nuts and other nuts and suspected violence-doers on it).
Now, if you ask, "Do you want people who seem like they might be terrorists to be able to get guns?" the answer seems obvious: "Well, duh...no."
Except...whoops...who's on the "no fly" list? 4-year-olds and members of Congress who, say, maybe have the same names as suspected terrorists.
How do you get off the no fly list?
Well, is there a god, and if so, are you close personal friends?
Otherwise, you're very likely shit out of luck.
When Congressman Tom McClintock found out he was on the list, here's how it went down, per Sac Bee's Christopher Cadelago:
Turns out that when he was in the state Senate a decade ago, McClintock said, he discovered he couldn't check into his flight.
"When I asked why, I was told I was on this government list," McClintock said, calling the whole experience "Kafkaesque."
"My first reaction was to ask, 'Why am I on that list?' 'We can't tell you that.' 'What are the criteria you use?' I asked. 'That's classified.' I said, 'How can I get off this list?' The answer was, 'You can't.' "
He said it ended up being a case of mistaken identity with an Irish Republican Army activist the "British government was mad at."
McClintock said he soon learned that a fellow state senator also had been placed on the list, as well as the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy. McClintock said he at least had the state Senate sergeant-at-arms to work through to clear up the confusion - "something an ordinary American would not."
Still, he said it took months of working with officials and repeated petitions to the government to get his name removed.
"The farce of it all was that I was advised in the meantime just to fly under my middle name, which I did without incident," he added.
Our Constitution says we get certain rights -- not that we have to go through some kafkaesque process to try to get these rights.
And there is zero due process being afforded people here. They're put on this suspect list, with no way to get off. And then we tell them they can't buy a gun?
But wait -- pause a moment before you answer, even if you think guns should be completely banned from ownership by private citizens.
Because...if you take someone's Second Amendment right away from them -- sans any sort of trial or conviction -- what right do you take away next? (Because eroding or removing one right makes it that much easier to erode or just take away the next.)
Oh, and how many people in nasty custody battles or neighborhood spats will be reporting the spouse or the guy next door for supposed "terroristic language" or something like that?
So...right...not so fast on this rush to keep "suspected terrorists" from owning firearms.
Also -- of course -- anyone who thinks making guns illegal will stop terrorism is, plain and simple, kind of an idiot.
Guns are illegal in France.
That sure did wonders to stop that Charlie Hebdo massacre, huh?
Today's Deal at Amazon -- good one -- 50% Off or More ECCO Shoes for men.
Another Today's Deal: Save on "Game of Thrones: Season 1 & 2" - DVD and Blu-ray.
And yet another today-only deal: Up to 62% Off PetSafe Fountains and Feeders.
And thank you all so much for all of your purchases -- like a charcoal grillie thing somebody bought the other day, among other things.
To buy things not seen here, click the search window here: Search Amy's Amazon.
Ironically, half the time when people say "be more open minded," what they really mean to say is just "have my ideas."
Let's Get Honest On Race
Though modern life allows us to jet around, marry, and have babies with people very different from us -- making the world increasingly racially "blendo" -- races do exist.
Being against racism doesn't necessitate pretending that there's no such thing as race.
The reality is, various peoples have various things in common, from looks to talents to diseases they're prone to. If you're black, we're not going to test you for Tay Sachs (a disease Jews get), but we will look to see if you're a carrier for sickle cell (a disease blacks get).
Bo Winegard, with Ben Winegard and Brian Boutwell, write at Quillette
Most people believe that race exists. They believe that Denzel Washington is an African American, that George Clooney is a Caucasian, and that George Takei is an Asian.* Many intellectuals, however, contend that this belief results from an illusion as dangerous as it is compelling. "Just as the sun appears to orbit the earth", so too do humans appear to belong to distinct and easily identifiable groups. But, underneath this appearance, the reality of human genetic variation is complicated and inconsistent with standard, socially constructed racial categories. This is often touted as cause for celebration. All humans are really African under the skin; and human diversity, however salient it may appear, is actually remarkably superficial. Therefore racism is based on a misperception of reality and is as untrue as it is deplorable.
With appropriate qualifications, however, we will argue that most people are correct: race exists. And although genetic analyses have shown that human variation is complicated, standard racial categories are not arbitrary social constructions. Rather, they correspond to real genetic differences among human populations.
If you want to staff a professional basketball team, I suggest you avoid Ashkenazi Jews -- especially this Ashkenazi Jew.
And no, my saying that doesn't mean I'm a hater. It suggests I have an IQ over 76.
Winegard, Winegard, and Boutwell continue:
Furthermore, we believe that scientists can and should study this variation without fear of censure or obloquy. Racism isn't wrong because there aren't races; it is wrong because it violates basic human decency and modern moral ideals. In fact, pinning a message of tolerance to the claim that all humans are essentially the same underneath the skin is dangerous. It suggests that if there were real differences, racism would be justified. This is bad science and worse morality. Promoting a tolerant, cosmopolitan society doesn't require denying basic facts about the world. It requires putting in the hard work and effort to support the legal equality and moral dignity of all humans.
Again, as they put it:
Racism isn't wrong because there aren't races; it is wrong because it violates basic human decency and modern moral ideals.
An interesting comment from Quillette:
Can you please define what "racism" is? If person A forms a private country club, and is comfortable only with members of his own race, is he "violating the dignity of individual humans"? Should such behavior be banned?
If a woman has an aesthetic preference for what her partner looks like partly because she wants children who look like herself?
Society would condemn both individuals, and punish the person with the private country club by law.
We accept that individuals have preferences about other humans they work, socialize, and live with. Sometimes their preferences are honorable, sometimes they're arbitrary, and other times they're neither ("we just hit it it off"). Why do we allow this for the most part but then condemn it as "racism" when it's based on certain physical characteristics, and say that it violates human dignity?
What society calls something "racist," it's usually about to interfere in something it should leave itself out of.
I find that when someone calls someone else racist, it's usually because they're trying to shut them up.
Her name was Linka. She wore a...
Sin Taxes Get Results -- Mainly In Making Smug Legislators Feel Good
There's this rush to pass soda taxes lately -- which the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Michelle Minton calls a "failed experiment that needs to end."
Sin taxes have existed since at least the reign of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, who legend has it enacted a tax on beer to reduce public drunkenness and raise money to war against Rome. Also known as "lifestyle taxes," sin taxes are placed on goods based on the notion that increasing the price will discourage individual behaviors perceived as unhealthy--like smoking--or dangerous when consumed irresponsibly--like drinking--and as having negative effects on society. At the same time, these taxes raise revenue to offset the supposed public costs of the supposedly harmful products being taxed, or to fund other government programs. Today, public health advocates champion taxing sugary foods and drinks, like soda, as a way to fight obesity.
In a survey of 8,000 households done before and after implementation of the soda tax, researchers at the Mexico Autonomous Institute of Technology (ITAM) found that those in the lowest socioeconomic strata were least likely to reduce soda purchases in response to the price increase. This may be due to wealthier people having access to a greater variety of substitutes or those in lower socioeconomic levels seeing soda as a luxury item they are not willing to give up. Whatever the reason, the result is that those with the least amount of money are paying a greater proportion of the soda tax, which raised $1.3 billion for the Mexican government in 2014.
The most surprising finding from the ITAM study was that homes with an obese head of household were least affected by the change in soda prices, meaning that those individuals whose behavior the tax was designed to influence were the least likely to respond.
Even if sin taxes manage to influence sales or consumption decisions, there is no guarantee the effect will remain constant over the long term. In Finland, for example, a 2011 tax on confectionery items reduced sales of sweets at first, but within a year media and shops reported that sales had returned to pre-tax levels. Similarly, the Mexican soda tax correlated with a decline in sales volume of 1.9 percent, but rebounded the following year--increasing by 0.5 percent in 2015 over the previous year's sales.
One of the best ways to decrease obesity would be to build a time machine and go back and stop all the government bureaucrats from pushing the public to eat a high-carb, low-fat -- and scientifically unfounded diet.
People drank soda long before American blimped up. The difference was that they ate fatty (and thus satiating) food, so they weren't jonesing for sugar and snacks all day.
Look at a picture of a crowd from the 50s versus a crowd from, say, 2005. Or go to the Atlanta airport -- one of the scariest places I've been, vis a vis the large number of morbidly obese people moving through the place.
What made Americans so fat? No, not soda, which, again, they drank in the 50s, but meddling bureaucrats who were sure they knew what was best for us.
The Myth Of Moderate Islam
It is not "radical Islam" but Islam that calls for the death of gays and the stoning of women who commit "adultery" (sometimes this just means the women are raped without having four male witnesses present who can testify that it is a rape and not consensual sex).
As the YouTube description says:
The next time someone tries to convince you that what happened in Orlando has nothing to do with Islam, or at least, moderate Islam.....show them this video.
Note at the end, he answers a question from "the sisters' side" -- as women are corralled away from the men.
Another video (without embedding enabled) -- Bill Maher, talking about how liberals are afraid to criticize Islam and be called racist. All of his guests, who know zippo about Islam and what it commands, argue that it doesn't call for what it calls for.
Binka, bottle of inka...
Shoes For People Who Walk Places
I personally veer off more in the direction of hooker shoe heights (and wear boots myself -- and high heels almost everywhere but the shower), but for people who walk places: Up To 40% Off Keen Shoes as Today's Deal at Amazon.
Here's something I've bought -- amazing hair elastics for women with thick hair, that actually hold it in place and don't get all stretched out in 25 seconds (or two wearings). They're called Burlybands, and they are worth the price.
Another thing I've discovered is great -- this Plackers anti-teeth-grinding thing to wear at night. The moldable kind changes my bite (bad!). This is this minimal little thing and it's great. They sell three at once because you wear through them in a few months. Worth it, worth it, worth it (and it's cheeep!). (Takes about a week to get used to -- before you stop finding it in your sheets in the morning.)
For reading at the beach -- my funny and science-based book on why we're experiencing so much rudeness and how we can behave less counterproductively (and get other people to do that, too): "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck."
Buying a new copy helps support the author (and helps the author get further book deals as someone who sells books). And the book is only $11ish, brand new.
For items not seen here, Search Amy's Amazon.
And thank you all so much for all of your purchases.
What Kind Of Constitution-Trampling Country Are We Becoming?
Utah can't find money for the legal defense for poor people convicted of crimes who can't pay for their own -- but somehow found $2 million to study the subject of indigent defense systems. From Fault Lines at Mimesis Law:
The ACLU of Utah and law firm Holland & Hart have filed a class-action lawsuit against the State of Utah, claiming that its public defender system is underfunded, overburdened, inconsistent and generally inadequate. The ACLU claims it is suing Utah for "failing to meet its Sixth Amendment obligations under the U.S. Constitution."
Christina Flores writes at KUTV:
The problem is more pronounced in rural, smaller counties.
David VanDyke, a private attorney in Wayne County said he spent one year as the county's public defender. He was paid $7,200 dollars for the entire year. To make a living he had to keep private clients and that meant he could not give all his attention to the indigent defendants he was hired to represent for the county.
The Sixth Amendment:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In other constitution trampling, at the border, another American citizen is medically raped as a form of search -- sans probable cause.
if you'd like your Fourth Amendment rights slightly less violated at the airport, you're being asked to pay $85 for the "privilege," via "Pre-Check."
On campus, students find the First Amendment a little too free speech-oriented for their liking.
On a positive note, this is still a far freer country than Iran or North Korea.
Your Government Prefers Itself More Powerful, Even If You're More Likely To End Up Dead
Scott Rasmussen writes at TownHall that Uber infuriates regulators but increases public safety.
What happens when less regulation leads to improved safety? Will the regulators back off to protect consumers or keep fighting to protect their turf?
I think we know the answer to that -- like in New York City, where politicians like Mayor Bill de Blasio claim that Uber is more dangerous than taxis. Why? As Rasmussen puts it, "because it is not heavily regulated by political appointees."
A new study, released by Angela K. Dills of Providence College and Sean Mulholland of Stonehill College, shows that reality is the opposite of what the regulators and politicians portray. When Uber first enters a market, there is a "6 percent decline in the fatal accident rate" and more than a 50 percent decline in DUIs.
Not only that, the safety improvement continues to grow the longer that Uber is in a market. "For each additional year of operation, Uber's continued presence is associated with a 16.6 percent decline in vehicular fatalities." That seems logical as more and more people get in the habit of using the ride-sharing service.
For those who place their faith in the Regulatory State, these results don't make any sense. How can an unregulated service be safer than a heavily regulated service? The answer is that Uber is heavily regulated by consumers. They are a much tougher audience to satisfy than bureaucrats. If the company does not provide a safe and convenient service, people will not use it.
Not good enough for the politicos, because public safety is, uh, job two for them.
The politicians and regulators have declared war on services that reduce traffic fatalities and DUIs while improving customer services. Sadly, this shows that politicians and regulators are more interested in protecting their turf rather than protecting consumers.
Here's Vocative's Ryan Beckler on Austin, post-Uber and Lyft:
In their place, they left a patchwork of rogue Facebook groups, drivers struggling to find rides, bartenders terrified to over serve, and stranded drunks trying to get home.
The Sound Of One Anus Clapping
This post is not meant to offend people with two or three anuses or people who came into the world anus-free.
No, this post is meant to mock today's college students, many of whom have turned being pathetic into a fierce intercollegiate competition.
The clear winner, however, is this Colby College person -- the one who filed a response with the campus Stasi known as the Bias Incident Prevention and Response Team after hearing someone say something extremely offensive.
The remark: "On the other hand..."
This, of course -- how could you not know this? -- is offensive to people who lack hands.
From Robby Soave at Reason:
The BIPR Team's files note that these words were flagged for targeting people on the basis of "ability." I must therefore presume that the person offended by the phrase "on the other hand," possessed only one hand, or thought that a one-handed person might feel triggered by such a proclamation of dual-handedness.
Free speech rights?
I get it -- the First Amendment is mean.
Betraying Vets And Canceling Their Medical Care: Business As Usual At The VA
Just as how somebody shows their character by how they treat the "little people," especially when no one's looking, the VA reveals what a corrupt and awful bureaucracy it is by stiffing sick vets on care -- and then lying about it.
At PJM, Tyler O'Neil writes:
Contrary to popular belief, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is not getting better. An Inspector General (IG) report released Monday revealed excessive abuse in Houston, Texas. The report found that leadership at the VA medical center instructed staff to cancel veterans' appointments and record those cancellations as requested by the veteran. It also found that records understated many wait times, revealing systemic incompetence in the organization.
"Getting an appointment at the VA is much like the lottery -- maybe you get lucky, maybe you don't," Cody McGregor, national outreach director at Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) and a retired Army sniper who lives in Houston, told PJ Media in an interview Tuesday. He denounced VA staff as "manipulating the lives of people who have sacrificed everything."
The report found that "two previous scheduling advisors and a current director of two CBOCs [Community Based Outpatient Clinics] instructed staff to input clinic cancellations incorrectly as canceled by patient." The IG found that out of 373 appointments, staff incorrectly recorded 223 as canceled by the veteran.
While the staff rescheduled veterans' appointments for 219 of these 223 appointments, they did not reschedule the remaining four. Even worse, 94 of the rescheduled appointments were set beyond 30 days, with veterans waiting an average of 81 days.
Would you let your dog be treated this way?
Here's how it works for a guy who's fought wars on the behalf of the rest of us:
The result of these wait times has a very human face -- North Carolina veteran Wilbur Amos, who has waited over 9 months for surgery due to VA ineptitude. Staff not only delayed his appointments, they also sent him to the wrong facilities! Debilitated by three excruciating hernias, Amos said he's worried he might inadvertently twist his bowels and die from septic shock if he's not treated soon.
And here's what really matters at the VA:
Nevertheless, the VA is still requesting more money and hiring more non-medical employees than doctors. The agency added 39,454 new jobs between 2012 and 2015, but only 3,591 of them were doctors. At the same time, the VA spent $454 million on lawyers, $303 million on "painting, gardening and interior decorating..."
Yes, what really matters is that people who work in the VA have a nice environment in which to deny all those suffering vets medical care.
Austin Responds To Uber Response
Earn a living in Austin? Austin's response: "Fuck you!"
Get a ride as a consenting adult from another consenting adult who wants to drive you and take your money? Austin's response: "Fuck you!"
When Uber and Lyft pulled out of Austin after Austin tried to impose onerous regulations, gypsy cabs -- entirely unregulated -- popped up to fill the void.
Well, Blueberry Town reports that "the Austin Police Department has decided, or been instructed, to put its jackboots down on the necks" of drivers trying to recover some of the income they lost when these companies pulled out.
Oh, and note that Uber and Lyft vetted their drivers. In the non-Uber and -Lyft environment, there is no vetting at all.
And Blueberry Town notes that the cops are not only issuing fines but seizing cars, with the Transportation Department of Austin impounding four of the cars of drivers from Arcade CIty, a peer-to-peer network connecting passengers with drivers via Facebook.
Yeah, don't issue a ticket to these poor slobs. Impound their freaking cars so they cannot get to any other job, either. That'll fix 'em just right.
Are You Getting That Particular Drug Because You Need It Or Because Your Doctor Has Unwittingly Been Bribed By A Drug Company?
I write in "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" about research by psych prof Dennis Regan that suggests that giving someone even a small gift triggers our psychological mechanism for reciprocity:
Participants were told it was research on art appreciation. The actual study--on the psychological effects of having a favor done--took place during the breaks between the series of questions about art. Regan's research assistant, posing as a study participant, left the room during the break. He'd either come back with two Cokes-- one for himself and one he gave to the other participant--or come back empty-handed (the control group condition).
After all the art questions were completed, the research assistant posing as a participant asked the other participant a favor, explaining that he was selling raffle tickets and that he'd win a much-needed $50 prize if he sold the most. He added that any purchase "would help" but "the more the better." Well, "the more" and "the better" is exactly what he got from the subjects he'd given the Coke, who ended up buying twice as many tickets as those who'd gotten nothing from him.
Regan's results have been replicated many times since, in the lab and out, by Hare Krishnas, who saw a marked increase in donations when they gave out a flower, book, or magazine before asking for money; by organizations whose fund-raising letters pull in far more money when they include a small gift, like personalized address labels...
Unfortunately, it's not so benign when it happens in a medical situation.
Charles Ornstein reports at NPR that whether a drug company rep buys your doctor lunch makes a difference in whether you get prescribed their pricey, brand-name drug:
Evidence is mounting that doctors who receive as little as one meal from a drug company tend to prescribe more expensive, brand-name medications for common ailments than those who don't.
A study published online Monday by JAMA Internal Medicine found significant evidence that doctors who received meals tied to specific drugs prescribed a higher proportion of those products than their peers. And the more meals they received, the greater share of those drugs they tended to prescribe relative to other medications in the same category.
The researchers did not determine whether there was a cause-and-effect relationship between payments and prescribing, a far more difficult proposition, but their study adds to a growing pile of research documenting a link between the two.
A few examples:
Physicians who received meals related to Crestor on four or more days prescribed the cholesterol-fighting drug at almost twice the rate of doctors who received no meals. The difference was even more marked for the other drugs. Physicians who received meals prescribed Bystolic, a blood pressure pill, at more than five times the rate of their uncompensated peers; Benicar, for high blood pressure, at a rate 4.5 times higher; and Pristiq at a rate 3.4 times higher.
Higher rates of prescribing were also observed when doctors received just a single meal, even after taking into account a physician's specialty and region of practice.
Dr. R. Adams Dudley, a professor of medicine and health policy at UCSF and one of the study's authors, said he and his colleagues expected to see "some evidence that doctors were responsive to incentives, what with their being humans and all."
Still, he said, "I think we were probably surprised that it took so little of a signal and such a low-value meal. ... It has changed our thinking."
Here's a good question:
In an editor's note, Dr. Robert Steinbrook wrote that the recent analyses "raise a broader question. Is it necessary to prove a causal relationship between industry payments to physicians and the prescribing of brand-name medications?"
Other than for research and development, and related consulting, Steinbrook wrote, "it is already evident that there are few reasons for physicians to have financial associations with industry. Outright gifts, such as meals, may be legal, but why should physicians either expect or accept them?"