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Coffee News (and Another Example of Bad Science Reporting)

intellectual-invention

First comes the spiffy headline via the BBC:  Regular coffee drinkers have ‘cleaner’ arteries Hooray! he thought, between sips of strong, black Colombian… But then, actually reading the article: Drinking a few cups of coffee a day may help people avoid clogged arteries – a known risk factor for heart disease – Korean researchers believe. […]

Some Charts for the Morning: Latin American Economies

travel-suitcase

Via The Telegraph:  Colombia: from failed state to Latin American powerhouse Some regional comparisons:  

In the Company of Misery

travel-suitcase

Via Bloomberg:  The 15 Most Miserable Economies in the World. Misery, as in the misery index (“unemployment rate + change in the consumer price index = misery”):

From the “You Can’t Make this Stuff up” File (TP for Oil Edition)

travel-suitcase

Via Bloomberg:  Tissue Paper-for-Venezuelan Oil Swap Offered by Trinidad. The absurd nature of the headline aside, this is not a funny story at all given the utter disaster that is the Venezuelan economy.  The unnecessary and man-made nature of the the situation just adds to the tragedy.

Controlling Congress

Capitol Buidling Dayime2

A theme that just won’t go away.

Speaking of IRV

us-politics

My post on voting for Best Picture (and the ensuing comments) talked quite a bit about IRV (instant run-off voting).  Georgia is presenting a case where IRV might solve a problem (and is, apparently, at least being discussed). Via Peach Pundit:  Finding Alternatives to Runoff Elections Just Got More Urgent One of the most disruptive […]

Early Front-runner for Headline of the Year

money-bankruptcy

Via the BBC:  Urinating man claimed to be Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard

Latin American Stall?

travel-suitcase

An ominous headline from The Economist:  Latin America’s progress has stopped For the past three years, the poverty rate has stayed stubbornly at around 28% of the population, according to household surveys collated by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The proportion that is extremely poor (with a daily income of […]

Coffee News

money-bankruptcy

Via ABC:  Up to 5 Cups of Coffee a Day OK, Gov’t Advisory Committee Says You can consume up to 5 cups of coffee a day, or up to 400 milligrams of caffeine, without detrimental effects, according to a new report that will help shape the official government dietary guidelines due out later this year. […]

Electoral Systems Matter

sandra-bullock-oscar

Decision rules matter.

Today in Grand Irony

gay-marriage

The same-sex marriage battle is on in Alabama

A Personal Observation on Vaccinations

Vaccine Vial And Needle

(Plus an amusing video).

On Existential Threats

Mike Huckabee

I don’t Think that Means What you Think it Means (Huckabee Edition)

From the “You Can’t Make this Stuff up” File

travel-suitcase

Via NPR:  China Seizes Toilet Tissue Featuring Likeness Of Hong Kong Leader.

Alabama Chief Justice: Ignore the Federal Court

Moore

Roy Moore is at it again.

I will Believe it When I see it

us-politics

Via WaPo:  Jeb Bush previews 2016 run, promising ‘adult conversations’ on big issues. I would adore such a conversation.  Alas, my experience with US campaigns makes we skeptical.  (And that observation is not aimed at Bush, but is a general observation).

Another Use for Drones

us-politics

Via the BBC:  Drone carrying drugs crashes near US-Mexico border A drone carrying more than six pounds (2.7kg) of methamphetamine has crashed near Mexico’s border with the US. Mexican police in Tijuana say they were alerted to an unidentified object in a car park of a shopping centre. “The drone had packages taped to it […]

The Global 1%

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  Richest 1% to own more than rest of world, Oxfam says The wealthiest 1% will soon own more than the rest of the world’s population, according to a study by anti-poverty charity Oxfam. The charity’s research shows that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the richest 1% increased from 44% […]

Cuban Activists Released; US-Cuban Talks Set

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  Cuba releases dozens of opposition activists The Cuban authorities have released at least 36 opposition activists since Wednesday, according to dissident organisations. They are believed to be from a list of 53 activists the United States requested to be freed as part of efforts to mend links. More info at the link. […]

Chart of the Day: Gas Prices

money-bankruptcy

Via the WSJ:

Venezuela Officially in Recession

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  Venezuela recession confirmed as Maduro attacks US ‘oil war’ The Venezuelan economy is now officially in recession after the central bank released figures showing that it has been shrinking all year. The bank said the economy had declined by 2.3% in the third quarter of 2014. It also revealed for the first […]

Rousseff Starts Second Term

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff sworn in for a second term Representatives from more than 130 countries attended the swearing-in ceremony, which also saw Vice-President Michel Temer take his oath. The presidents of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro; Uruguay, Jose Mujica; Bolivia, Evo Morales, and Chile, Michelle Bachelet were among the leaders present. US Vice President […]

Looking to the New Congress

us-politics

NPR has a short piece on the coming Congress that is worth a read:  Some Not-So-Conventional Wisdom About The Next Congress. The piece counters what it perceives as the conventional wisdom on the coming Republican control of both chambers: 1. Republicans are going to have to show they can govern. [...] 2. House Democrats will […]

Man Shot by Police at Altercation at Animal Shelter

money-bankruptcy

Via AL.com:  Dothan police officer shoots, injures sovereign citizen during altercation outside animal shelter Dothan police officer shot and injured a man during an altercation outside the Dothan City Animal Shelter Tuesday afternoon. The shooting occurred after an officer responded to a disorderly conduct complaint at the animal shelter located on Jerry Drive at around 12:30 […]

Meanwhile, on Another Branch of the Family Bush

us-politics

Via USAT:  The dynasty lives on: George P. Bush takes oath of office in Texas George P. Bush — grandson and nephew of presidents and eldest son of a likely 2016 presidential contender —  took his oath of office Friday. As commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, Bush will oversee an agency that manages […]

365 in the Books (on to the Next 365)

money-bankruptcy

As I have noted from time to time, photography is a hobby of mine. For the last several years (since 2009) I have engaged in Project 365 (i.e., taking a picture every day for a year). I have managed to make 365 in 2010 and now for 2014. Happy New Year! On to 2015.

Obama Approval Improves

us-politics

Gallup’s most recent approval numbers put the president’s approval and disapproval at 48% (his best for both in over a year). Not surprisingly, other polling shows a clear positive trend on consumer confidence:

If you Have a Few Brain Cells to Spare, Watch This

money-bankruptcy

I understand that the main job of cable news anchors/hosts is to fill time between commercials, but surely they could do better than this (wherein we get speculation about the metric system and the lack of “cowboys attitudes” in non-US pilots): And, of course, the best part is the utter lack of comparative framework insofar […]

Public Opinion on Cuba

travel-suitcase

Via WaPo‘s The Fix: Sixty-eight percent support ending the trade embargo with Cuba — up 11 points from 2009 — and 74 percent support ending travel restrictions to Cuba — a jump of 19 points from five years ago. The main issue over time: More info at the link.

Chart of the Day

us-politics

Via Wonkblog: If anything the chart is amusing because the op/ed it skewers so clearly deserves the skewering. The chart is also amusing because it really underscores the ridiculous nature of the charges the Obama administration has a) socialist in any serious sense of the term or b) been an economic disaster. I am not […]

Dangerous Times: Perception and Reality

travel-suitcase

Steven Pinker ad Andrew Mack remind us over at Slate that:  The World Is Not Falling Apart News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not […]

Comparative Human Rights Abuses

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Via the Monkey Cage (Putting Cuban human rights violations in some context), Erik Voeten notes In a recent article (ungated) in the American Political Science Review, Penn State political scientist Christopher J. Fariss develops a smart measurement model that captures the common component among different measures of physical integrity rights. Moreover, this model generates measures […]

Drezner on Cuba

travel-suitcase

If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend Dan Drezner’s piece on Cuba from yesterday:  Every big question you have about the U.S. opening to Cuba, answered

Some Questions for Those who Oppose an Opening with Cuba

Cuban American Flags

A little round of Qs and As on US-Cuban policy.

Ok, This is Silly: No “Team America”

travel-suitcase

Via TPM Livewire:  Paramount Blocks 2004 Movie ‘Team America’ From Being Shown In Theaters

US-Cuban Relations and Venezuela

travel-suitcase

Via Bloomberg:  Obama Makes Maduro’s ‘Insolent Yankees’ a Tougher Sell “Maduro’s anti-US rhetoric is being undercut by the Cuban government,” said Gregory Weeks, head of Latin American studies at the University of North Carolina. “One of the biggest repercussions is that Maduro’s foreign policy is based on exclusion of the U.S. and now its biggest […]

Sony, “The Interview,” and Running Government Like a Business.

military-soldier-sunset

It strike me that the situation with Sony and The Interview is a good example of why you can’t run government like a business. While the US government would have to make calculations about warding off future attacks, national reputations, etc. in the face of terrorist threats, all Sony (And AMC, etc.) had to do […]

Hatred Won’t Improve the Discourse

academic-book-glasses

Now, granted, communications is not my academic area of expertise, but I am pretty sure that starting off a column with  the sentence “I hate X” pretty much precludes any chance of communicating (at least having discourse with) members of group X. And yet, Susan J. Douglas, Professor  and Chair of Communications at the University […]

Colombia also Feeling the Fall of Oil Prices

travel-suitcase

Via Reuters:  Colombia Congress passes tax reform to contain deficit Colombia’s lower house passed a tax law that will earn the government 53 trillion pesos ($22.3 billion) over the next four years mostly from businesses, by extending and modifying existing taxes that will expire at the end of this year. The package was passed by […]

Placing Jeb in Ideological Context

Elephants Fighting

Also: charting the rightward shift in the GOP.

Chart of the Day

travel-suitcase

This is from the iPhone story, but it deserves its own post:

Rubles and iPhones

travel-suitcase

Via the BBC:  Rouble turmoil leads to Apple halting online sales in Russia Technology giant Apple says it cannot sell products online in Russia because the rouble’s value is too volatile for it to set prices. The company stopped sales of its iPhones, iPads and other products in the country after a day in which […]

Sowell Deploys a TTBS

us-politics

As a follow-on to my post the other day (On Ticking Time Bombs) I see that Thomas Sowell is joining in the fun: If you knew that there was a hidden nuclear time bomb planted somewhere in New York City — set to go off today — and you had a captured terrorist who knew […]

On Ticking Time Bombs

Nuclear Explosion

The “ticking time bomb scenario” is a TV trope and, therefore, is a terrible guide for making policy.

What Does “Linked to Terrorism” Mean?

military-soldier-sunset

A question occurs in response to Doug Mataconis’ post this morning:  what does "linked To terrorism" mean?*   After all, we often want to know if a given act of violence is “terrorism” or not (and we seem, collectively, to react differently if an act is “terrorism” or not). If an armed individual holds hostages because […]

Hayden and “Rectal Hydration”

us-politics

Via The Hill:   Ex-CIA director defends rectal rehydration “These were medical procedures,” Hayden said during a tense interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” He added that the method was used because detainees were dehydrated, and that giving them intravenous fluids with needles would be dangerous.  ”I’m not a doctor,” he said. “What I […]

Rationalizing Torture

us-politics

I would recommend the following (audio only at the moment):  What Is Torture? Our Beliefs Depend In Part On Who’s Doing It. The piece is about social science research on torture and notes, among other things, 1.  Humans are likely to define “torture” differently if it their group doing it versus when other groups do […]

Gruber

us-politics

Dana Milbank’s piece on the Gruber testimony is worth a read:  The Jonathan Gruber hearing was a zany coda to Darrell Issa’s tumultuous tenure. His summary of the events are not that different than this report from Fox News:  Gruber apologizes for ‘mean and insulting’ ObamaCare comments and this one from The Hill:  Gruber grilled […]

You are Defending Torture

us-politics

So far the only critique of the Senate report has been that the techniques deployed by the CIA did, in fact, produce good and useful intelligence. Setting aside whether that is true or not, keep in mind that such an argument is a defense of torture. I have not seen anyone disputing the actual content […]

Least Shocking Headline of the Day

us-politics

“Dick Cheney Was Lying About Torture” (Politico).

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