Wednesday’s Forum

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Bill Jempty says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Today in healthcare news:

    Proteins in the blood could warn people of cancer more than seven years before it is diagnosed, according to research.

    Scientists at the University of Oxford studied blood samples from more than 44,000 people in the UK Biobank, including over 4,900 people who subsequently had a cancer diagnosis.

    They compared the proteins of people who did and did not go on to be diagnosed with cancer and identified 618 proteins linked to 19 types of cancer, including colon, lung, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver.

    The study, funded by Cancer Research UK and published in Nature Communications, also found 107 proteins associated with cancers diagnosed more than seven years after the patient’s blood sample was collected and 182 proteins that were strongly associated with a cancer diagnosis within three years.

    ​The authors concluded that some of these proteins could be used to detect cancer much earlier and potentially provide new treatment options, though further research was needed.​

    Also:

    Hospital surgical teams that include more female doctors improve patient outcomes, lower the risk of serious complications and could in turn reduce healthcare costs, according to the world’s largest study of its kind.

    Studies show diversity is important in business, finance, tech, education and the law not only for equity but for output. However, evidence supporting the value of sex diversity in healthcare teams has been limited.

    Now researchers who examined more than 700,000 operations spanning a decade report that hospitals with more women in their surgical teams provide better outcomes for patients. The findings were published in the British Journal of Surgery.

    “Care in hospitals with greater anaesthesia-surgery team sex diversity was associated with better postoperative outcomes,” the researchers concluded. “The main takeaway for clinical practice and health policy is that increasing operating room teams’ sex diversity is not a question of representation or social justice, but an important part of optimising performance.

    “Healthcare institutions should intentionally foster sex diversity in operating room teams to potentially reduce major morbidity, which, in turn, can enhance patient satisfaction and reduce costs.”
    ………………..
    Hospitals with teams comprising more than 35% female surgeons and anaesthesiologists had better postoperative outcomes, the study found. Operations in such hospitals were associated with a 3% reduction in the odds of 90-day postoperative major morbidity in patients.

    The researchers noted that the 35% threshold they observed echoed findings from research in other industries in various countries, including the US, Italy, Australia and Japan, that also showed better outcomes once teams had 35% female members.
    ………………….
    Hallet said her research team wanted to challenge “the binary discourse of comparing female and male clinicians” and instead “highlight the importance of diversity as a team asset or bonus in enhancing quality care”.

    Cue up the caterwauling of fragile white men in 3… 2… 1….

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    So, as good of election news as can be hoped from Maryland. In Baltimore our inexperienced Mayor won reelection over our corrupt former Mayor who was sponsored by the detestable billionaire hobbyist, David Smith, famous for Sinclair Media and owning 150+ Fox News stations. During the campaign, his protégée mouthed the same “I Hate Baltimore” shibboleths as he does.

    Angela Alsobrooks won the Democratic Primary for US Senator, defeating a sitting US Rep and will face our former governor Larry Hogan in the general. While I could drive myself crazy parsing out who would have a better shot at defeating Hogan, that would entail spending too much time fretting about the racists in Western and Southeastern Maryland, as well as trying to read the tea leaves over whether Donald Trump actively campaigning against Hogan will help or hurt him in this state. So I’ll put that aside and simply be happy that someone with governmental executive experience has a shot at a Senate seat, and that is sorely needed amongst all the lawyers and professional legislators that make up that body.

    Our corrupt City Council President has been soundly defeated by a long term Councilman, and also came in third to an upstart newcomer who was publicly funded. I hope to see more of her in the future.

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  4. charontwo says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Correlation is not necessarily causation.

    It might be that some factors that result in team diversity also tend to cause better outcomes.

    Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This is kinda fun: Graffiti-covered door from French revolutionary wars found in Kent

    Markings include public executions and a sailing ship chiselled into door in 1790s by bored English soldiers

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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Via commenter Satby over at BJ we get this piece: Do Better, New York Times

    The New York Times is out with its Battleground States Poll, so time for everyone to panic. But not me! I’m here to make sure everyone takes a deep breath and puts out any fires they may have set to their hair.

    And fires were set, indeed. In fairness, if you were to view just the headlines and breathless cable news coverage of the poll, you might just have an anxiety attack. According to the Times, Trump is leading Biden in 5 out of 6 battleground states—and there goes the election, our democracy and the world!

    One common reaction among readers is to sigh and simply say, “Ignore the polls.” While this is understandable, given how wrong they usually are and how much stress they inevitably cause, I want to push back on this approach.

    I prefer instead to question the polls and their methodologies and call them out on why they are non-predictive and how they have been misused to create electoral agita. In doing so, I hope to arm readers with actual arguments and data that they can absorb and perhaps even transmit to others whose hair may be on fire. Telling the fire-setters to ignore the polls, when none of the media ever does, is unlikely to prove effective. Explaining, on the other hand, that the poll they may be citing is an outlier, and not to be taken at face value for the following reasons, is a far more informed and productive path, in my view.

    Let me say this plainly: The Times poll is intentionally Trump- and conservative-leaning, both in how it was structured and how it was promoted. There may be fine reasons for this, but they are not discussed anywhere. And its data contains some eyebrow raising anomalies that it either glosses over or ignores completely.

    With all that said, let’s get into it a bit.

    The whole is well worth reading.

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  7. Rick DeMent says:

    When it come to polls I often hear people talk about “internal polling” where the. The sort done by campaigns that is typically something they do independently and not generally shared with the public. People also seem to agree that this polling is generally more “accurate”.

    If there is anyone familiar with the workings of national campaigns, what is different between this kind of polling and the kind that other organizations such as the NYT or YouGov do? Are the internal polls more comprehensive? More targeted? Or are they just as prone to error as any other poll and the campaigns are fooling themselves? Do they spend more money and have superior methodology? And if they really are higher in quality and predictiveness why don’t these other public polls use the same technique?

    Anyone have any insight?

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  8. MarkedMan says:

    We really need Angela Alsobrooks to win the open Maryland US Senate seat, and I wonder how Hogan is going to play his campaign against her. He will get a lot of support from David Smith, meaning the Fox News station and the Baltimore Sun will be all in for him, 24/7 and that will be a big help. But his tack in the past has always been to play to the suburbs and the rural areas by shitting on the “urbans” in Baltimore City, and that was effective for him in his two gubernatorial races. But I don’t think that is a definite winning strategy this time. Although suburbanites like nothing better than hearing someone trash the city that serves as one of the dumping grounds for all their undealt with problems (the rural areas are the other main dumping ground but they are heavily Republican so Hogan knows better than to go after them), it may not be enough. There may be enough sophisticated suburban women that realize a Republican Senate will mean no pro-Abortion Justices confirmed, at any level. Given that he has given up entirely on attracting people from Baltimore, and that the rural areas aren’t anywhere near big enough to offset that, he needs to have a very strong showing in the suburbs. So there is hope.

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  9. Kathy says:

    Has anyone noticed Lardass’ family has not shown up at the courtroom, except this guy Eric and his wife, who claims to be related somehow?

    Also that GQP politicos started showing up and talking to the media covering the trial, only after the gag order penalties, and especially after Judge Merchan warned Lardass he would be locked up. Essentially they are taking on the burden of attacking witnesses that the gag order forbids.

    Back to the first point, it’s touching how his family abandons him when there’s no expectation of monetary or material gain. Truer transactionalists do not exist. It really brings a tear to your eye.

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  10. Mikey says:

    From Twitter (it will always be Twitter to me, because fuck you Elon), a pithy take on the nature of Trumpism:

    @_giacomo_volpe_

    Trumpism is maybe better understood as a pride movement for bad people than as a political movement

    Imagine youre a piece of shit, living with resentment for everyone treating you as such

    Then one of you emerges, rises to take the WH. Would you care about policy? Hypocrisy?

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  11. Senyordave says:

    @Rick DeMent: I worked for Arbitron and Nielsen, and both companies were premier polling organizations, known for doing quality surveying. One thing that costs a LOT of money is getting a true representative sample. That includes correcting for as many variables as possible, the obvious ones being age and sex, but also political affiliation, ethnicity , and phone (landlines VS cell). If a newspaper in Iowa does a poll, they will probably do it on the cheap. The Biden campaign won’t blink at spending $200k for an Iowa poll; an Iowa newspaper almost certainly would not do the same.

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  12. Scott says:

    My old man rant of the day:

    A while back, decades by now, people complained incessantly about second hand smoke. Not only about the health implications but about the invasion into personal space.

    Today, while walking the dog and the sun just rising, all I could smell was pot smoke. I walk a long ways so it wasn’t just an isolated location. And it seems to be totally prevalent just about everywhere and at all times.

    I don’t care about people smoking or drinking but I don’t want to it to intrude into my personal space.

    OK, rant over.

    BTW, is anyone working on breeding the stink out of cannabis? That would make someone a fortune.

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  13. Kylopod says:

    Polls for the Maryland Senate primary were wildly off. She trounced him by double digits, when the final polls were neck-and-neck, and previously Trone had a substantial lead.

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  14. Rick S says:

    @Rick DeMent: I don’t know about the hows and whys, but it makes sense that the internal polling is going to put more effort into getting things right. They actually have a vested interest in getting an accurate result, because that is what the campaign teams need to determine their strategy. OTOH, a poll that’s going to be used for a newspaper article doesn’t have to be accurate. It only needs to get people talking and clicking.

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  15. Scott says:

    Who’s the best looking dog?

    It’s Military Working Dog official picture day

    Be sure to get a good bath the night before and wake up early to try on five outfits and reject them all because it’s Picture Day at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, which means a new round of official portraits for military working dogs.

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  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: Pot nowadays smells very different than back in my day. It’s not just my imagination as I have a stellar memory for smells. I remember when I was in China in 2011 and catching a whiff of a type of plastic that hasn’t been used in the US for decades and immediately being returned to 1964 and the smell of my baby brothers plastic pants, which went over his cotton diapers (no disposables back then!).

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  17. Jen says:

    @Rick DeMent: Former political worker here, hi!

    The differences are minor, but can have an impact on the poll results. First, polling companies use random-digit dialing, while campaigns use samples from lists. This difference should be negligible, but when you think about it, the campaign sample is more targeted to people who actually vote. So, polling company A uses a random sample of registered voters, while campaign X uses a list of the people who actually voted in the last similar election. Campaign X’s list, in this case, is slightly more weighted towards actual voters.

    The second difference is depth. Campaigns’ internal polling can be very detailed. Fewer people finish the surveys, but for those who do, the campaign knows a LOT about the respondents.

    It costs a lot of money to do the kind of internal polling that campaigns do, which is another difference.

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  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: The polls were off for every office I followed. According to the polls Dixon led Scott in the Mayoral race but with all precincts reporting she is down 26,934 to 33,241. Of course, being backed by a Trump loving billionaire hobbyist, she has refused to concede. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fox News station and the Baltimore Sun start running articles about “the rigged election”.

    There are some important lesson in this. First, anyone can run in a primary. While Dixon may have formerly come across as a standard Democrat, she’s now a mouthpiece for a trumpish buffoon and repeated his talking points denigrating the lazy urban youths and so forth. The third candidate that was making double digits before dropping out and endorsing Dixon was also a very conservative, pro-business, pro-law and order candidate. In a one party town with a valid primary, there are candidates of every philosophy running and the Party affiliation doesn’t really mean anything. Any registered voter is free to pick from any of them. And your vote is magically multiplied. The primary winner is all but guaranteed to win in the general, but only a fraction of the electorate vote in the primary. It’s like being able to cast 4-5 votes in a contested general.

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: is anyone working on breeding the stink out of cannabis? That would make someone a fortune.

    I hope not. Every time I smell dope it’s a free trip to my misspent youth.

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  20. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    Oh, I think we’ve all noticed that none of Trump’s family, except for Eric, have shown up at his trials. That’s why Vance, Tuberville, et al showed up in their adorable little Trump outfits of blue suit, white shirt, and red tie. They were providing the cheering section his wife and kids obviously don’t want to do.

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  21. becca says:

    @Scott: I smell pot all the time around here. In heavy traffic there’s always an occasional whiff as cars go by. The grocery store is especially odoriferous. There are a couple of areas on my morning dog walk where people are up early “smoking the good stuff”.
    We gave up pot over a year ago. Stopped drinking alcohol before that. We have embraced our inner fuddyduddy.

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  22. MarkedMan says:

    @becca: I was in the supermarket over the weekend and noticed the three youngish people behind the seafood/meat counter appeared to be totally baked, as did the checkout clerk. No odor though.

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  23. CSK says:

    This is good. I like Charen’s description of Trump as “a lying, despot-loving, quadruple-indicted, ignorant cretin.”

    http://www.thebulwark.com/p/flirting-with-disaster-trump-second-term

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  24. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I’ve been wondering about it. Some hasty online searching suggests seats may be reserved for the defendant’s family and supporters. There seem to be no hard rules, much depending on the presiding judge and the court’s staff. But it makes sense to guarantee admission to close supporters in a criminal trial.

    So, what if Lardass is charging people to attend in those reserved seats?

    So the trophy wife, Javanka, et al might wish to attend, but not a those prices.

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  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Scott:

    If you were outside, while walking the dog and off your property, you were not, by definition, in your personal space. Just sayin’.

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  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Scott:
    Try walking around Vegas. We have legal weed and jumped into it with both feet. The number of cannabis dispensaries here is impressive. Tourists from less free states love to come here, spark up and walk around like defiant teenagers, perhaps missing the fact that it is very, very hard to outrage people in this city. It is not legal to smoke weed in public places, including on casino grounds, and I actually saw a security guy enforce this. Once.

    It’s a wee bit hypocritical since we still have exactly one (1) smoke-free casino. (Park MGM if you’re interested.) Most casinos do a good job sucking out the tobacco smoke, but other times it can be a bit much.

    My condo has a nice big balcony in a high rise, so I can pollute (cigars and marijuana) with abandon. I am aware that it’s an obnoxious smell – they don’t call it skunk for nothing – and I have a horror of inflicting it on innocent bystanders. But hotel rooms can be a problem if there’s no balcony. My work-around is to sit in the shower with shower doors and bathroom door closed. Then hit it with a spray of ozium and run the water. I have yet to be charged a marijuana cleaning fee.

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  27. drj says:

    Why there won’t be a Trump equivalent in today’s Democratic Party:

    In 1992, those whites scoring at the top of the authoritarianism scale split their two-party vote almost evenly between Bush and Clinton (51-49). In 2000 and 2004, the difference becomes statistically significant but still pretty small.

    By 2012, those high authoritarianism white voters went 68-32 for Romney over Obama. In both Trump elections it was 80-20 among those voters.

    So from 50 Republican-50 Democrat to 80 Republican-20 Democrat in the space of 24 years.

    In short, the authoritarians have left and gone elsewhere.

    My guess is that any reversal will take about as much time as the process that gradually led the Democratic Party to become the party of civil rights, which occurred – on the national level – in the period from FDR to Nixon.

    If it ever happens, it will probably take a generation or two.

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  28. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    I’m pretty certain it would come out if Trump charged for seats at his trial. Number one, I’m sure it’s illegal. Number two, and far worse from Trump’s perspective, is the look of it. How would people react if they knew Trump had to pay his wife and kids to show up for him? There would be laughter and scorn, the two things Trump can’t endure.

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  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @drj: I blame Obama.

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  30. Stormy Dragon says:

    By 2012, those high authoritarianism white voters went 68-32 for Romney over Obama. In both Trump elections it was 80-20 among those voters.

    I’m not sure how that can be when I’ve been repeatedly assured everyone who voted for Trump is really a disillusioned Obama voter. /sarc

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  31. MarkedMan says:

    Just a random thought to add to the now dead thread from yesterday on the trade war with China. In addition to all the other bad things China is currently doing, it is using trade to coerce foreign policy objectives, not just domestic ones. Lithuania and Australia immediately come to mind as countries who saw their trade dramatically reduced because of pro-democracy statements from government officials.

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  32. Bill Jempty says:

    The headline of the day- Slovakian prime minister shot in assassination attempt, rushed to hospital

    Personal note- I have been to Slovakia though briefly. While traveling by car from Zakopane Poland to Prague Czech Republic, my wife and I passed through Slovakia.

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  33. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: THC vapes?

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  34. charontwo says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    gift link to relevant piece:

    Gift

    from LGM:

    Here’s an extremely interesting and important article from Thomas Edsall (gift link), on shifting patterns of authoritarianism in American politics and culture.

    ETA: Sorry, didn’t see the link already posted upthread.

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  35. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Not paying them to show up. That would be out of character. Charging them to show up. How else does one demonstrate love and loyalty and devotion but with money?

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  36. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    Nah, even he wouldn’t expect to do that and get any results. His wife and kids are as chintzy as he is.

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  37. gVOR10 says:

    @drj: The Thomas Edsall piece drj links to is well worth a read. Long, a degree of skimming is recommended, but well worth a read.

    I’ll direct attention to a somewhat peripheral issue. Edsall quotes political scientist Pippa Norris,

    An extensive literature has demonstrated that the “silent revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s has gradually led to growing social liberalism, recognizing the principles of diversity, inclusion and equality, including support for issues such as equality for women and men in the home and work force, recognition of L.G.B.T.Q. rights and the importance of strengthening minority rights.

    Conservatives have spent billions creating RW activist “think tanks”, astroturfing the Tea Party, taking control of college departments and colleges, buying a Supreme Court majority, creating partisan media, hijacking school boards, purging libraries, inventing CRT in grade school, and so on. They justify this as tit-for-tat for liberals creating an activist Court and shifting culture left. They can’t see the difference between buying it and a bottom-up, organic, shift. They seem unable to understand that people could disagree with them and things change. It must have been a Soros driven plot.

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  38. MarkedMan says:

    Looking a bit closer at the election results, I have some real hope for Baltimore today, but for an odd reason: My Councilman, who I and my wife voted for and who has been stellar on the constituent services front, is a hair’s breadth either way from winning or losing, and it will take a recount to tell. Why do I think this is a good thing? Because I suspect that the reason his popularity plummeted (He won 55% in a 7 candidate race for his first term, and ran unopposed in his next) is because of his last minute endorsement of Dixon, the corrupt former Mayor and pet of David Smith, the owner of Sinclair Media and 150+ Fox News Stations. And if the voters reacted to that endorsement despite his overwhelming popularity, well good on us. My wife and I pulled the lever for him solely because of our and our neighbor’s experiences reaching out to his office for help with various neighborhood things. Like I said, stellar, and that’s the most important thing in a councilman. But I have to admit my hand hovered a bit, thinking about his Dixon endorsement. For those who haven’t ever called on his office, that may have been a tipping point.

    There’s another interesting thing about Costello. He’s very conservative, in a traditional way (not in a crazy trumper way). If Republicans were viable in Baltimore I’m sure he would be a Republican rather than a Democrat. And I think it gives some proof to my point that if what you care about is policy and effectiveness, a one party town offers the best options. He has no real demands on him to demonstrate his Democratic bona fides, since everyone who has even the remotest shot is a Democrat.

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  39. Beth says:

    Well, that was fun. I just got a new client referral call that got mad at me over my voice and hung up on me. On one hand, they can fuck right off, on the other, that really sucks.

    Being trans is awesome.

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  40. MarkedMan says:

    @Beth: That sucks. I work with a woman who transitioned and she still has a very male voice. I’ve never talked to her about it, but I can guess that, without the name, people assume she is male.

    As for someone who gets mad because a person’s voice doesn’t match what they expect given the name, I think you had it about right. They can fuck right off. Although you might take solace in the fact that they are probably a miserable argumentative SOB who has no real friends and whose family can’t stand them.

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  41. CSK says:

    @Beth:

    Was that to what this person had an objection????

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  42. steve says:

    charontwo, Ozark- As an inside observer and someone who chaired a department for a long time and did a fair bit of hiring I think there is both some correlation and some causation, but it is hard to separate them. The history was that surgery was dominated by surgeons, meaning males. There really wasn’t much of a concept of a team. Surgeons just demanded and got what they want. However, once we figured out and got surgeons to accept the idea that it is a team of people that cares for patients having surgery and got them to accept that (we see this in the ICU too) care improved. There are still places where surgeons dont want to accept this and especially at small hospitals where they may be desperate to find and keep surgeons they still let the surgeons reign supreme.

    Women are less likely to want to work at smaller hospitals because of call issues and because things often dont work so much on a team basis. So since women tend to work at larger hospitals and work more willingly in teams it is not surprising that those hospital have better outcomes. However, there is other data in other fields that shows, IIRC, that having women on a team as a separate variable improves outcomes. Certainly from observation and there is literature to support it, I think women are not only generally good at working in teams, they bring different perspectives.

    From my POV those are generally good, sometimes bad, but it does lessen the likelihood that one person is making all of the decisions and promotes group responsibility. Anyway, I am probably not doing a good job of this but I think it is a combo of women bringing different perspectives and groups that are willing to accept and even promote women are the same groups likely to work as a team, which improves outcomes.

    Steve

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  43. Beth says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Phones are the worst. I wish there was a way to reverse the damage that Testosterone did to my voice. The funny part was there are a LOT of cis women in this neighborhood who have very deep voices, some much deeper than mine. I’m deeply annoyed and upset, but I’m going to take solace in the fact that it was work I didn’t want to do and I was almost certainly not going to get paid for/stiffed.

    @CSK:

    You would not believe the number of people who argue with me over the phone because of my voice. “why yes, I am Beth. No, I am not her husband. Yes I am a woman. Yes, I am beth, sigh. I haven’t had any vocal training and vocal feminization surgery is risky and I’ve yet to hear anyone that had what I would consider an acceptable outcome. I could do some vocal training, but 1. I don’t owe anyone a “feminine” voice (whatever that is) and 2. I would have to consciously work at it every single time I talk. I cannot begin to do that.

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  44. CSK says:

    @Beth:

    If you announced your name loudly and precisely when you picked up the phone, would that help?

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  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: You didn’t want them as a client anyway.

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  46. MarkedMan says:

    @Beth: On the plus side, it seems that people who get vocal training are likely to be opera singers. So there’s that.

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  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve: I suspect you are correct on both counts.

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  48. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Beth:

    Same here.

    I just finally got to the top of the waiting list for the transgender voice therapy clinic at Temple University and hoping that will help when I start soon…

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  49. Franklin says:

    @Beth: I’m sorry about that. Obviously somebody has a bug up their ass and it isn’t you.

    It was interesting to hear that’s there such a think as vocal feminization surgery, which sounds fraught in multiple ways. So I have been taking vocal lessons for singing for awhile now, and I had a goofy idea to sing a duet with myself at one point and the teacher did manage to coax a plausible feminine singing voice out of me. It certainly requires concentration and effort. I wonder if one could train themselves to do it consistently without thinking, and if so how much time it would take. I imagine it’d be something like teaching yourself to sit up straight if you’re a natural sloucher, but harder.

    Anyway, just a curiosity. Totally agreed that you don’t owe anyone anything and it’d be purely for yourself if you pursued a more feminine voice in some way.

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  50. Barry says:

    @drj: “If it ever happens, it will probably take a generation or two.”

    Longer, IMHO, because the ‘liberal’ media will never tolerate 1% of Trump in a Dem official. *That* will take two generations on its own.

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  51. JKB says:

    Meanwhile in Rafah, Hamas adds to the dead civilian count in Gaza murdering civilians seeking help from UNRWA distribution center. While Hamas killers use the diplomatic status of UNRWA vehicles as cover to operate.

    Foreign Minister Israel Katz commented on the footage on X, formerly Twitter, saying, “Hamas terrorists firing at civilians from within a UNRWA facility next to UN vehicles in Rafah. No lie from Antonio Guterres and Philippe Lazzarini will hide the truth: UNRWA is an arm of the terrorist organization Hamas.”

    https://twitter.com/IDF/status/1790453273071112670

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  52. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: Sorry. At least they reveal themselves as a shithead early on, rather than later on when you’re trying to bill them. Still sucks, but I’m glad you don’t have to deal with this bigot any longer.

    This reminds me of a story of my first real job. The head of the client’s QA team was named Kim, and had a very masculine voice. We only dealt with them by phone, or email. No one was sure, but we all eventually settled on she/her pronouns.

    Eventually management called us all aside, and informed us that Kim was just a man, and it was a “Man Named Sue” situation (not Korean or anything, just Canadian). So we shifted to he/him.

    And then we send a team up to the client office, and they report back “she/her”. And everyone just shrugged and went back to she/her.

    This was in 1994 or so, among a bunch of software engineers. They just didn’t care. No one really understood, and there were probably a few jokes, but they just didn’t care.

    I hope we can get back to youngish Gen X apathy on this before too long. Clueless, stupid people seem much better than those with hate in their hearts.

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  53. Kathy says:

    Louisiana has a map, and it includes a second black-majority district.

    On the other hand, Romney went and said something stupid. Namely, that Biden should have pardoned the Dozy Don as soon as federal charges were announced.

    It’s one of those pieces where you think the headline is the worst part, then you read on…

    Romney lists some reason that sound reasonable, but aren’t quite, and then he says this: “And, frankly, the country doesn’t want to have to go through prosecuting a former president.”

    Translation: the president, or Lardass, is above the law.

    It’s true: the rich just have more money.

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  54. CSK says:

    @Kathy:

    I suppose it’s possible that, in a muted way, Romney was referring to the possibility of violence on the part of the MAGAs. They sure did a number on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

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  55. Kathy says:

    Recently, Singapore Airlines announced it had a very good year, and would pay bonuses equivalent to roughly 8 months salary to their employees

    At the same link you can find a reference to a bonus Emirates paid for approx. 20 weeks worth of salary as a bonus to employees, also as a result of having had a good year.

    Then I searched whether either airline paid a dividend and/or bought back shares. According to Copilot, both paid dividends, and Singapore bought back shares.

    How about that? In good times, you can reward employees and investors.

    There ought to be a lesson in there of some sort…

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  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy:

    Translation: the president, or Lardass, is above the law.

    I interpreted Romney’s comment differently–“Because I am a Republican, I will disagree with whatever Biden chooses to do; additionally, I don’t want my party’s leader to be a criminal, and because I am not the party leader, but Trump is, I have to support a pardon for him.”

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  57. gVOR10 says:

    @Kathy: Sounds like Romney’s usual act, trying to have everything both ways. Does he still think he has some future with the Republican Party?

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  58. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    When the objective is violence, there will be violence regardless of any other considerations. if Lardass is convicted, if he loses the election, if he wins the election.

    The first two will be easier to handle than the last one, sanctioned as that would be by those in power. Think SS.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    That does ring true.

    @gVOR10:

    He’s retiring from the Senate, and he’s 77. Though Biden is running at 82, I doubt Mitt is eyeing a run at 81. So it must just be habit.

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  59. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Beth:
    @Beth:

    When I moved to Portland from Seattle in the very early 80s, I worked as a legal secretary (paralegals were unknown here) for a company who’s tag line in ads was “we’re the Kelly Girl People.” True story.

    So, here comes this guy up to the front desk of the law firm. 5’9″, 225, 3 piece suit, Van Dyke goatee, hair in a ponytail to the middle of my back, saying, “Hi, I’m Luddite, and I’m your Kelly Girl. ”

    The fact that I could type 120+, knew shorthand, and could run every computer they had made me invaluable.

    However, there were some attorneys who simply couldn’t deal with the dude. I absolutely loved it!

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  60. Kathy says:

    Speaking of violence, Season 2 of Blood of Zeus is out on Netflix, only four years after the first season.

    I know the trump pandemic screwed things up more than we realize, even if we keep pretending it didn’t really happen. BUt this is one of the big problems of streaming as it exists right now. I may have more to say on that later.

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  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR10: @Kathy: The hagiography biography being written by his LDS protege at The Atlantic (which they excerpted a while back) has Mitt seeming to resist retiring because “I won’t have anything [important] to do.” The saddest thing about my generation (and the people immediately preceding us who are still alive) is that we seem to not be able to face the possibility of not being “important” anymore.

    And it’s not just the Mitt Romneys who are that way. One of the teachers I worked with in Korea was angry about the fact that because she had turned 65, our school wasn’t going to extend her contract. Her reason? “Where are they going to find people with the skill sets and abilities we bring to our students?”

    Before you start taking her side (and agreeing with peers of mine at the school who were saying the same thing about my retiring–“you’re too young (at 63) to retire”) remember that we were mostly teaching Level One English as a Foreign Language. So basically, “My name is Min hee. What’s yours?” Yeah. They’ll never be able to find anyone who can do what I do. :-X

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  62. matt says:

    @Michael Reynolds:My go to for hotels was to bring a toilet paper tube (paper towel works too) with some dryer sheets. Stuff the dryer sheets in the tube and exhale through the tube after snuffing the bowl/one hitter. We’d also put damp towels over the gap of the door to catch anything that might drift into the hallway. If the bathroom has an exhaust fan all the better.

    The dryer sheet tube thing is something I picked up in high school and it’s been super effective.

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