MadCity Blogs

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 7:00pm

Two-Face Walker disses "Obamacare" but grabs up $69 million in federal funding from it

Uppity Wisconsin - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 7:59pm

Reuters news service in a dispatch today cites Gov. Scott Walker as among Republican governors and presidential hopefuls who seek to dismantle the Affordable Care Act while sucking tens of millions of dollars from the "Obamacare" federal funding teat -- $69 MILLION, in Wisconsin's case. Wow. What a terrible law. KA-CHING!

In maintaining his contrary positions on Obamacare, Walker adds to his pedigree as a sort of especially twisted Batman comic-book villain, flipping a figurative coin and figuring out which side he should take in any political situation. Only he's a super Two Face, in that he often opts to take both sides simultaneously.

In this paradoxical approach, Walker joins another Wisconsin Republican, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, who calls Obamacare the worst law in his memory yet himself just signed up for health insurance coverage under it. Like Walker, Johnson has filed futile, mostly PR-driven lawsuits to stop the law, and, if he could, says he would repeal it wholesale even though he's taking advantage of it for his personal benefit. Now there's a man of principle!

Here's an excerpt from the Reuters dispatch describing anti-Obamacare Walker's particular Obamacare fund grab. See the link below for the full story including other Republican governors:

Walker's administration has accepted at least $69 million through Affordable Care Act grant programs, according to a Reuters analysis - a figure that does not include programs that the U.S. Health and Human Services Department says existed before the law took effect. It also excludes grants that went to state universities or other entities not directly under Walker's control.

During that period, Walker returned $38 million that his Democratic predecessor [Jim Doyle] had secured to set up a state-based insurance exchange, and turned away hundreds of millions of dollars to help expand Medicaid. He expanded the state's own Medicaid program to cover more residents without federal money, in part by moving 80,000 participants onto private insurance plans subsidized by Obamacare.

Walker's explanation for his fiscally imprudent Medicaid expansion (which was accompanied by other, roughly equal cuts in the program): He didn't trust that the federal funds would actually be made available -- even though he trusted the feds to send hin $69 million for other Obamacare programs.

Go figure. And be sure to figure in the hundreds of millions that are now being covered entirely by state taxpayers because of Two-Face Walker's inconsistent politics.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/01/us-usa-election-obamacare-excl...

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Medieval Salve Kills Antibiotic Bacteria

Fearful Symmetries - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 3:08pm


Perhaps the Dark Ages aren't as dark as generally thought.

Researchers have discovered that a medieval salve for eye infections is very effective against some nasty strains of bacteria which laugh at futile attempts to kill them with antibiotics. The recipe was taken from the above "Bald's Leechbook". I presume that none of the researchers knew Old English which means that a medievalist of some stripe at some point had to translate. Score one for liberal arts majors!

But researchers recently found that a thousand-year-old Anglo-Saxon treatment for eye infections works as an antibiotic against one of today’s most notorious bacteria, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The British researchers will present their findings this week at an annual microbiology conference held in the United Kingdom.

Christina Lee, a professor in Viking studies at the University of Nottingham, translated the recipe from the Old English in Bald’s Leechbook, which was written in the 9th century and is one of the earliest known medical textbooks. The researchers prepared four batches of the recipe, which called for two species of garlic and onions, wine, and bile from a cow’s stomach brewed in a brass cauldron and let sit for nine days before use.

take cropleek and garlic, of both equal quantities, pound them well together, take wine and bullocks’ gall, of both equal quantities, mix with the leek, put this then into a brazen vessel, let it stand nine days in the brass vessel, wring out through a cloth and clear it well, put it into a horn, and about night time apply it with a feather to the eye; the best leechdom.

The researchers tested the concoction on cultures of MRSA bacteria in synthetic wounds as well as in rats. No individual ingredient had no effect on the cultures, but the combined liquid killed almost all the cells; only about one in 1,000 bacteria survived. At more dilute concentrations, the salve didn’t kill the bacteria, but still interrupted their communication, preventing them from damaging tissues.
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"This case is garbage. It’s a garbage case. It’s a RICO case that means nothing."

Althouse - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 1:48pm
Said one of the lawyers in the case against Atlanta teachers who were accused in a systematic scheme falsifying students' scores in at least 44 schools.
Eleven of the former educators were convicted of racketeering charges, The Associated Press said, in a decision announced [today] in a Georgia courtroom. Only one of the 12 educators on trial was acquitted of the racketeering charge; verdicts on the theft and false statements charges were mixed.
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Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson sent the RFRA bill back to the legislature to be amended to look just like the longstanding federal RFRA.

Althouse - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 1:42pm
"This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial. But these are not ordinary times," he said. He wants Arkansas to be known as "a place of tolerance."
“What is important from an Arkansas standpoint is one, we get the right balance,” he said, “and secondly, we make sure that we communicate we’re not going to be a state that fails to recognize the diversity of our workplace, our economy and our future.”...

Several businesses and tech companies, including the state’s largest employer, Walmart, as well as the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Municipal League and other civic groups have spoken out against the legislation.Meanwhile, in Indiana, under time pressure from — of all things — basketball, the state legislature is working on amending the language in its RFRA.
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At the Indiana-Rolls-Her-Own Café...

Althouse - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 10:42am


... come on in, there's CAKE for everybody.

Talk about whatever you like. Consider — if you must shop — using The Althouse Amazon Portal. And click there anyway, because Amazon went retro for April Fool's.

The photograph was taken at Paul's Books in Madison, where there are many delightful little things taped to the bookcases. What "Indiana/Intellectually She Rolls Her Own" means, you'll have to speculate.
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"I could literally show you 20 charts, and 19 of them would show no relationship between the amount of parents’ time and children’s outcomes... Nada. Zippo."

Althouse - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 10:19am
Says Melissa Milkie, a sociologist co-author of "the first large-scale longitudinal study of parent time to be published in April in the Journal of Marriage and Family."
The study’s findings shook some parents, many of whom had built their lives around the idea that the more time with children, the better. They quit or cut back on work, downsized their houses or struggled to cram it all in....

Building relationships, seizing quality moments of connection, not quantity, Milkie said, is what emerging research is showing to be most important for both parent and child well-being. “The amount of time doesn’t matter, but these little pieces of time do,” she said. Her advice to parents? “Just don’t worry so much about time.”What's missing from this analysis, I think, is that a single-earner household can be less stressful and complicated with a division of labor, so that it creates the space in life for those quality things — building relationships and seizing moments and so forth. If you say, I'll go off to work and I'll transport the kids in and out of day care and get everything done including some seized moments, how good will those moments be? I think the real issue here is whether a single earner brings in enough money for the family to live on. But I'm also perceiving the usual encouragement to women to get out there and make careers for themselves. Don't worry about it.
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"One of our editors... found some Polaroids from 1977 that showed a large excavation project at The [Playboy] Mansion."

Althouse - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 9:50am
"We asked the new general manager at The Mansion about these photos. He said, very matter-of-factly, 'that’s probably when they built the tunnels in the 70s.'"
So, according this blueprint, tunnels were built to the homes of “Mr. J. Nicholson,” “Mr. W. Beatty,” “Mr. K. Douglas” and “Mr. J. Caan.” We’ll go ahead and assume they’re talking about Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Kirk Douglas and James Caan – all of whom lived near the Playboy Mansion during the late 1970s and early 1980s. There are no dates on the architectural schematics, but the dates on the Polaroids were from 1977.
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Cass Sunstein on Friedrich Hayek on the effect of Harriet Taylor on John Stuart Mill.

Althouse - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 9:22am
An essay in The New York Review of Books. Excerpt:
[I]t is crucial to see that in contending that people may be restrained only to prevent “harm to others,” Mill was speaking of the effects of social norms and conventions, not merely of government. Much of his attack was on the oppressive quality of public opinion.... His particular case for liberty emphasized the immense importance of allowing “experiments of living.” In his view, “the worth of different modes of life should be proved practically, when any one thinks fit to try them. It is desirable, in short, that in things which do not primarily concern others, individuality should assert itself.”
Click for more »
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And you know, the kids, like all kids, loved the rock, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we are going to keep it.

Althouse - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 8:47am
The inventor of the Pet Rock has died. "Gary Dahl, the man behind that scheme — described variously as a marketing genius and a genial mountebank — died on March 23 at 78."

Shouldn't that be a genial genius and a marketing mountebank?
One night in the mid-’70s, he was having a drink in Los Gatos.... The bar talk turned to pets, and to the onus of feeding, walking and cleaning up after them.

His pet, Mr. Dahl announced in a flash of bibulous inspiration, caused him no such trouble. The reason?

“I have a pet rock,” he explained.

A pet rock, Mr. Dahl quickly realized, might just have legs.

“People are so damn bored, tired of all their problems,” he told People magazine in 1975. “This takes them on a fantasy trip — you might say we’ve packaged a sense of humor.”Meade sent me that link along with a second link, which he thinks is good material for a bloggerly riff: "Scott Walker, Allergic to Dogs, May Run Against Political History."
Jeb Bush can lament how he lost a Labrador (named for his brother Marvin) to cancer. Marco Rubio has a Shih Tzu, with a name like a gift from heaven: Manna. Ted Cruz goes one better: His rescue mutt is called Snowflake. (“Dear Jesus, please, please, PLEASE bring us a puppy,” his daughters prayed, according to Mr. Cruz’s Facebook page.) And if Mr. Walker makes it to November, he could face Hillary Rodham Clinton and her toy poodle, Tally.

Mr. Walker, who gives a gloomy stump speech filled with “worry,” perhaps could use a four-legged image softener of his own. But he is allergic to dog dander, an aide confirmed.

And in that, he is running against the long sweep of United States political history. If the ritual for presidential candidates wooing American voters had a handbook, “must love dogs” would be somewhere near the front....Meade thinks Scott Walker could get a Pet Rock and go all Nixon....



And you know, the kids, like all kids, loved the rock, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we are going to keep it.
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Bo Ryan was the pinball wizard of Pennsylvania.

Althouse - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 8:17am
He was better than anyone at freezing the flippers, he says. But what's happening in that second video? Nigel Hayes says: "We care more about suckoffs than smash battles. We’re a super smash brothers team. FIFA’s taken a back seat to that, all we care about is suckoffs." Okay, I had to research that. I don't even know what FIFA is, let alone suckoffs. So I think FIFA is a soccer videogame. And I'm going to trust Reddit on "suckoffs":
Is he talking about blowjobs or am I outta the loop on something?

I imagine they are all bad at Smash, so matches are "suckoffs" because they are seeing who sucks the most? That's all I got.ADDED: You know, there's a lot of pressure on the Badgers to be adorably weird.
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"The Problem Isn’t That Trevor Noah Is Offensive. The Problem Is That He’s a Giant Dope."

Althouse - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 7:40am
Headline at Slate.
The problem is not that Trevor Noah tells offensive jokes. It’s not even that he routinely breaks The Daily Show's covenant of speaking truth to power in favor of speaking truth to fat chicks or Thai hookers or, as the Washington Post’s Wendy Todd points out, black Americans who give their kids names that Noah disapproves of. The problem is that Noah’s jokes are so annihilatingly stupid.Jeez, they're swarming this poor man. A giant dope? Isn't that insult dopey? I read the article, and it seems that Noah's problem is he needs better joke-writers. I'd say: He's getting "The Daily Show"'s joke-writers, so the question is only how he looks, how he delivers the jokes, and how he manages the interviews. If you're not going to rest on the ground that his old jokes were so offensive that he can't be the face of the brand, what's the problem? He's a giant dope? That makes zero sense. It's as if the writer — Jessica Winter — doesn't know that there are writers. That's annihilatingly stupid.

Now, the Wendy Todd article (linked above) makes a much stronger point: It seems that "The Daily Show" may be installing Noah because he's been getting away with mocking black people. Todd, who is black, says:
[On "The Tonight Show"] Noah joked that black people are misidentified as African Americans. “They’re not African, but we’ll play along,” he said, adding, “Many of them really try to connect with Africa, you know? Some of them have these African names. They’ll be like, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s my girl Wanda, yeah, yeah. Yeah that’s right, that’s Dashiqua, or dat’s Taniqua.” Noah emphasized all this “hilarity” by using stereotypical B-Boy hand gestures to drive it home — because this is how all black people communicate, obviously. Leno’s predominantly white audience ate it up....

Not only did Noah get away with these routines, now he’s being rewarded for them. And the sadder thing is that the next time we have this “there aren’t enough people of color in the late night arena” conversation, people will point to Noah and say, “See, we gave you another one.”
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Have we just lost the last person who was alive in the 19th century?

Althouse - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 7:15am
Misao Okawa, born March 5, 1898, has died. She had the distinction of being the oldest person alive, but who is the oldest person now?

Japan identifies a 115-year-old woman as its new oldest person. She was born on March 15, 1900. Perhaps beyond Japan, there is someone older, but it may be that there is suddenly no one left from the 19th century.

IN THE COMMENTS: I am made to regret that I didn't title this post: Have we just lost the last person who was alive in the 1800s?
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Hardy Boys and Girls: On Undergraduates and Self-Infantilization

School Information System - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 2:05am

Andy Seal:
There has recently been a spate of essays investigating a striking tendency on campuses across the nation: many undergraduates are seeking more and more to avoid or pre-empt encounters with speech or images that they deem “triggering” or traumatizing. Instead of allowing these encounters to happen (as they would be forced to do in the world after college), they either try to form safe spaces in which they “burrow” as in a “cocoon” or they attempt to secure remedial action by school authorities after the fact.

I’m going to address one of these essays specifically here rather than the genre, Judith Shulevitz’s “In College and Hiding from Scary Ideas,” from the New York Times. Shulevitz references a couple of other similar pieces should you care to catch up, but her piece covers most of the arguments I’ve heard regarding students’ “self-infantilization.” To cut to the chase, I think what she and others have described is neither a process of infantilization nor a process initiated by the students themselves, and her essay badly misdirects readers from the larger transformations in higher education that I believe are actually at issue here.

Let us begin with one of the subtexts of Shulevitz’s essay: that undergraduates today are less mentally strong and flexible than students of yore. Well, it’s not much of a subtext, in fact. She writes, “it’s disconcerting to see students clamor for a kind of intrusive supervision that would have outraged students a few generations ago. But those were hardier souls. Now students’ needs are anticipated by a small army of service professionals — mental health counselors, student-life deans and the like.”

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PhD ‘overproduction’ is not new and faculty retirements won’t solve it

School Information System - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 2:04am

Melonie Fullick:
In my last post I took a look at some of the history and context of Canadian universities’ hiring of contract faculty. While I was digging around for information, I couldn’t help noticing the relevance of some of the material to another ongoing debate in higher education: that of the “overproduction” of PhDs. Since “too many PhDs” is a recurring theme in media commentary about graduate education (e.g. Nature, The Economist), I thought I’d explore the issue in more depth and connect it to some of the research I found. Are we really “producing” too many PhDs, and if so, is this a recent problem?

Let’s start with doctoral enrollment increases: how have PhD numbers increased over time, for example in Ontario? Recent graduate expansion has been significant within a short period. On this COU page, we find the specifics spelled out: “Between 2003 and 2011, the government added funding for 15,000 additional graduate spaces. In the 2011 budget, the government announced funding for an additional 6,000 graduate spaces” to 2015. That’s more than 20,000 places added in about 10 years, some of it clearly an echo of the Double Cohort’s undergraduate enrollment bulge. Over that period, PhD students have comprised about 35 percent of total graduate enrollments.

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Everything to Like About Kevin Carey’s End of College & Reasons to Pause

School Information System - Wed, 04/01/2015 - 2:03am

Miloš Milovanović:
Kevin Carey’s new book, “The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere” has legs. It has been in the New York Times, on NPR and has an active Twitter hashtag (#endofcollege). Carey’s thesis is that technology can make learning happen anywhere. Rather than go to college once or twice, people will go to college forever. Colleges have grown greedy and short-sighted in their quest for prestige. Online degrees and short-term credentials of various sorts can, should, and probably will be the death of traditional higher education. The thesis should sound familiar. It’s been made enough times. But the thesis is better at describing than prescribing because it ignores the faultlines that created the problem: the politics of race, class, gender and inequality.

Carey’s take on higher education disruption is not unique for ignoring politics some people would rather not deal with. Many technological solutions to social problems have a blind spot for politics. And I don’t just mean electoral politics and public policy (although both are major). I mean the politics of how we choose where we live, how we live, and who we are. Fundamentally, most architects of the end of college want an apolitical solution to a political problem. Like Carey, they provide solutions for problems as we wished they worked and not the problems as they actually work.

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