Thursday Tabs

Some of these have been piling up for a while.

  • AP, “More than half of foreign-born people in US live in just 4 states and half are naturalized citizens.” When geographic profile maps are basically just population maps.
  • Nate Silver, “Sonia Sotomayor’s retirement is a political IQ test.” Wherein a data scientist concocts elaborate indexes to demonstrate that a 69-year-old woman could die and that it matters.
  • Daniel Pink, “Why not pay teachers $100,000 a year?” Because it would be really fucking expensive?
  • CBC: “CSIS warned the Prime Minister’s Office in 2023 that China ‘clandestinely and deceptively’ interfered in [Canadian] elections.” It’s not just American elections that are being targeted.
  • The Verge, “President Biden is now posting into the fediverse.” Well, someone on his staff is, anyway. Whatever the hell the fediverse is.
  • NPR, “Japan will give new cherry trees to replace those lost in D.C. construction.” A 1912 gift from Tokyo has become a Capitol tradition.
  • Antenna, “Do NFL Sign-ups Stick Around?When people sign up for streaming apps in order to watch sporting events, they tend not to cancel at the first opportunity. A staggering 71% of those who signed up for Peacock for the AFC Wild Card are still paid subscribers. Ditto 68% of those whos signed up for Paramount + during the Super Bowl.
  • Former Microsoft executive Steven Sinofsky, “United States v. Apple (Complaint).” The government’s case against Apple is novel. My main takeaway is how often these cases come too late in a product cycle, just as the industry in question is about to shift.
  • Former Random House executive managing editor Benjamin Dreyer, “If you’re still using these dated words, you’re not alone.” Not what I was expecting. It’s a column about words that hang on even though the technology that inspired them has not.
  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Stomach bug norovirus surges in Texas and US, causing vomiting, diarrhea.” I guess Texas really is a whole ‘nother country.
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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Joe says:

    We got Peacock “on a trial basis” to watch a particular movie after Christmas. Yep, still there. But we did have it for the AFC game and some particular basketball games. I perceive Peacock is going to continue to grab certain must-see (to someone) events to pump the effect the article discusses.

  2. Scott says:

    This is one way to get the top .01%’s attention.

    Truong My Lan: Vietnamese billionaire sentenced to death for $44bn fraud

    Behind the stately yellow portico of the colonial-era courthouse in Ho Chi Minh City, a 67-year-old Vietnamese property developer was sentenced to death on Thursday for looting one of the country’s largest banks over a period of 11 years.

    It’s a rare verdict – she is one of very few women in Vietnam to be sentenced to death for a white collar crime.

    Or is it because the fraudster is a woman?

  3. Scott says:

    This made me laugh.

    Nigel Farage’s new party fired an election candidate for being ‘inactive’. Turns out he was dead.

    Reform UK spokesperson Gawain Towler said Wednesday night he was “mortified” at the error.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Daniel Pink, “Why not pay teachers $100,000 a year?” Because it would be really fucking expensive?

    But ignorance is far more expensive.

  5. Lounsbury says:

    In follow-up to the LNG / RE subject, it is worth a highlight to the New York Times grid arty of 9 April

    Experts broadly agree that the sluggish build-out of the electric grid is the Achilles’ heel of the transition to cleaner energy. The Energy Department estimates that the nation’s network of transmission lines may need to expand by two-thirds or more by 2035 to meet President Biden’s goals to power the country with clean energy.

    But building transmission lines has become a brutal slog, and it can take a decade or more for developers to site a new line through multiple counties, receive permission from a patchwork of different agencies and address lawsuits about spoiled views or damage to ecosystems. Last year, the United States added just 251 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, a number that has been declining for a decade.

    The urgency to address the constraints – both for Transmission (that is long-distance conveyance) and Distribution (that is retail / local level grid) – is vastly more than the Lefty climate activist misplaced focus on cutting off hydrocarbons by legal fiat.
    Technological upgrade evoked there is part of the answer – although the industrial investment to build cabling (at required reliability and scale) for current and expanded need is not trivial, it is already a concern for existing technology – industrial mfg capacity is not quickly expandable at quality on a mere goverment order.

    Far more entertaining, the Pro-Cannibalism candidate drop.
    Merely being dead as a candidate (which one has to admit is a form of inactivity after all) seems rather banal in comparison with being pro-cannibalism.

    One candidate, in Aberdeenshire, was ditched after they made pro-cannibalism comments and suggested the former U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace “should be left to die” in Afghanistan, while several others have been dropped for making offensive comments on social media.

    and of course pro-organ harvesting, that is quite special.

    The party are, for now, standing by other candidates whose outlandish views have been revealed by the press — including one who said criminals should have “their organs harvested.”

  6. James Joyner says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:I fear we’d just be paying the same folks more money rather than attracting more elite talent to the job.

  7. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: There are bunches and bunches of jobs in America where people want to make more than the job is worth. Teaching is one of those jobs and it’s a time for teachers to just suck it up and stop complaining about not to being able to live on what they make.

  8. Rick DeMent says:

    @James Joyner: We could say the something about any job including portfolio managers, CEO’s, and other C suite positions that pay obscene amounts of money for reasons untethered from the actual value they produce. But no one seems to want to let the market do it’s magic on them.

  9. Scott F. says:

    According to a new analysis released Tuesday by the National Priorities Project, in 2023, the average taxpayer contributed $5,109 for the Pentagon, veterans’ programs, deportations and border defense. By comparison, the typical U.S. taxpayer contributed $346 to K-12 education.

    In the US, we gladly accept ignorance in order to feel secure.

  10. Mr. Prosser says:

    Even though the US stole the property of and put Japanese-Americans and immigrants in concentration camps during WWII, the government spared the cherry trees. It’s very much like the Tao/Zen yin/yang symbol.

  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    Ok, I’ve read a bit of Steve Sinowsky’s piece, and I am unimpressed. My nickel summary is:

    * Steve has skin in the game. He is a former Microsoft executive. It appears he was there during their own anti-trust case. He is anything but impartial.
    * He argues that the tech world changes, and companies who were on top are no longer on top. This is like arguing “all murderers die eventually, why do we have to do anything about them?”. Real harm was done to us by Microsoft and now Apple. If we are to address injustice at all, why not here?
    * He argues that “Apple has been doing these things all along, and now they are illegal?” Yes. That’s how antitrust law works. An action by itself may not be illegal, but if you do it to maintain a monopoly, it’s illegal. This is a foundational concept. Of course, it’s also a cautionary. Be careful of what you do to succeed, because it might one day bite you on the ass.
    * He complains that “Google + Samsung” did the same thing. That’s not a monopoly. Google + Samsung. You said it right there. Also, it’s not the same thing.

    I stopped reading there. It’s recycled complaints from US v. Microsoft.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: Strange hearing that sentiment from a man who moved into the *highest scoring school district* in VA where his taxes are higher than elsewhere so those schools can be properly supported.


    @just nutha: people want to make more than the job is worth.

    I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not so I’ll treat this as semi serious: We get what we pay for. Well educated students pay for themselves over the decades. We pay for the ignorant students over the decades.

    Every time I drive by the local HS I see the student parking lot festooned with MAGA flags and stickers. Soon we are gonna get it good and hard.

  13. Andy says:

    I’m perfectly willing to spend more money on K-12 education and teacher salaries (especially here in Colorado, where teacher salaries are low), but I also want to see some value from that money. Inflation-adjusted per-student spending has gone up consistently for over a century (ie. we’re spending more every year on average), and approximately doubled in the last 40 years. Looking at my kid’s experience compared to mine, I definitely see a lot more money spent today on administration and on administrators and support staff and technology. Raising salaries to attract more and better teachers makes sense as long as that’s what actually happens and that money isn’t diverted into more administration or other areas that don’t actually improve education.

    There are many districts with very high per-student spending, high teacher salaries, and low student performance, and others with good student performance with much lower spending and salaries.

    So all this makes me skeptical of the idea that more money = more/better education. There are problems with education in America that money won’t solve.

    We see a similar dynamic with university education. Costs have skyrocketed, but looking at what my kids get now, the actual learning portion is no better than what I had in the mid-1980s and arguably worse in some ways. Almost all my classes were taught by full professors; that is true for my daughter at a private college (which is actually a lot cheaper than CU Boulder) but not true for my son at a smaller state college, who seems to have a lot of probably poorly paid adjuncts. Where is the value added for a product that is four times the cost?

  14. Kathy says:

    Maybe not $100 grand, but how about paying teachers, and for that matter everyone else, a living wage?

    As to quality, I had some fantastically good teachers, and some abominable ones. Most were adequate.

  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Not to worry; it’s hard for me to tell whether I’m being sarcastic or channeling thoughts I’ve heard for decades now, too.

    Sometimes, I can’t even tell the difference between the two. 🙁

  16. Andy says:


    How do you define a living wage?

  17. DrDaveT says:

    Why not pay teachers $100,000 a year?

    Because paying people on the basis of the importance of their work to society is Godless Communism.

    At least in the case of education we’re collectively willing to tax everyone to pay for public schools. Though I do get tired of hearing the same people who are unwilling to pay for good teachers complain about the quality of the public schools.

  18. DrDaveT says:


    I definitely see a lot more money spent today on administration and on administrators and support staff and technology. Raising salaries to attract more and better teachers makes sense as long as that’s what actually happens and that money isn’t diverted into more administration or other areas that don’t actually improve education.

    It’s a thorny problem. Does teacher safety count as administration? How about the infrastructure needed to get disruptive kids out of the classroom so that they aren’t ruining everyone else’s education? Support to special needs kids has greatly increased in quantity and quality (and thus cost) over my lifetime — is that a bad thing? On the other hand, art and music instruction are vanishing — we aren’t willing to pay for them. That seems tragic to me.

    I certainly agree with you that money is necessary, but not sufficient.

  19. Kazzy says:

    @just nutha: Indeed! A job that requires at minimum a bachelor’s degree and, in most areas, a master’s degree to maintain certification definitely should have a national average starting salary of about $42K.

  20. Kazzy says:

    @Andy: An oft-ignored variable in these calculations is special education spending. A special education student could easily cost 10X a general ed student. But that would just get worked into the per-pupil funding calculation.

    A micro-example. Imagine a school with 10 students, 1 of whom requires specialized support. The per pupil spending for a gen ed student is $9000. But for the special ed student, its $25000. Total spending is $106K for a per pupil average of $10.6K… meaning the average for ALL students is 20% higher than the average for gen ed students, but that average doesn’t really represent the spread. Now let’s say you have a more robust definition of who receives special services and a more robust variety of special services. Now you’ve got 2 of your 10 students who qualify for services and their services cost $30K. Per pupil spending is now $13.2K, nearly a 25% increase over the previous scenario. And schools are trending in the direction of identifying more students for services and providing more (and more expensive) services. And this is all due to an unfunded federal mandate.

    All that to stay that just looking at per pupil spending over time really doesn’t pain a clear picture of where that money is going. And that is before you get into the very real administrative bloat.

    Note: I fully support having robust services for students with special needs. I’m just pointing out how looking at big picture numbers doesn’t really tell much of the story of how funding is being used.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kazzy: Thanks for that example. School funding works a lot like predestination (from another thread today) in that lots of people imagine that they know what’s going on.

  22. Grumpy realist says:

    For years, public ( and private) education was able to get tons of brilliant people to act as teachers at low, low prices because teaching was one of the few professions open to women. As soon as other professions became open, the attraction of teaching dropped considerably.

    If the U.S. had wanted to continue to keep the same high level of individuals as teachers, states should have a) increased salaries b) treated teachers with much more respect, and c) listened to teachers as to what sort of work conditions would be required. As it is, we’ve used public schools as a dumping ground/ baby-sitting service for people’s children and totally ignored the problems that teachers have with undisciplined or mentally ill kids, try to pay them as little as possible, and don’t treat the profession with any respect whatsoever.

    We deserve the mess we’re creating for ourselves.

  23. Andy says:

    Matt Yglesias has a good post on his substack on education. The increase in costs with no comparable increase in outcomes he attributes to Baumol’s Cost Disease, which makes sense.

    Since it’s paywalled, here’s the summary:

    The upshot of all of this is that I think the American school system has a lot of problems — money that is wasted by urban patronage machines, children left behind even in “good” schools, and a lot of basic conflicts over mission — but I don’t have a strong sense that there’s some comparably large foreign country that is doing dramatically better in an easy to copy way.

    These are the big overarching problems in education policy as I see it:

    1. Parents care enormously about peer effects, but it’s mathematically impossible to give every student a school full of above-average peers.

    2. Selection effects are quantitatively larger than treatment effects, so the dominant bureaucratic strategy for achieving good results is to find overt or covert means to select.

    3. Despite (1) and (2) it’s not the case that peers and selection are the only thing that matter, treatment effects are real and instructional quality is worth caring about.

    4. Annoyingly, if you want effective instruction it is in fact useful to sort students by ability. So trying to achieve (3) runs you headlong into thorny issues related to (1) and (2).

    5. Baumol Effects mean that the base case you should expect is to spend more and more money over time without any improved results to show for it — an outcome people understandably hate.

    The upshot is that while if you look at any specific school system in detail, you will almost certainly find lots of room for improvement, this is a genuinely very difficult set of problems.

  24. Franklin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I just looked up our favorite local public school teacher, turns out we *do* pay him six figures. I believe he has 30-ish years of experience which might have something to do with it. Honestly, they should pay the guy twice as much.

  25. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    From the top linked article about more than half of foreign born people live in just 4 states:

    “The share of the foreign population from Asia went from more than a quarter to under a third during that time,”

    I…what? We live in the stupidest reality.

  26. wr says:

    @Andy: “We see a similar dynamic with university education. Costs have skyrocketed, but looking at what my kids get now, the actual learning portion is no better than what I had in the mid-1980s and arguably worse in some ways. ”

    This not only has nothing to do with the idea of paying teachers better, it actually goes to the opposite problem. Because university professors’ salaries have nothing to do with the rising costs of higher ed. In fact, average tenured professor salaries have stagnated or even dropped over the last years — and that’s at the same time as more and more classes are being shunted off to very poorly paid adjuncts.

    What we have now is one class of poorly-paid academics and a huge and ever-growing new class of wildly overcompensated middle managers. The right-wing mantra of “run education like a business” has become law, and like businesses many universities now exist to beggar the workers, screw the consumers, and shovel money to the management class.