Author Archive

Obama, More Fiscally Conservative Than Reagan

Obama Reagan

The Article: Obama Is More Fiscally Conservative Than Reagan by Joe Weisenthal in Business Insider.

The Text: Why isn’t the economy surging?

Because we’re still running a policy of government austerity.

This chart, via our friend Matt Busigin, shows that at this point in his Presidency, Reagan was running a deficit as a % of GDP that’s higher than what Obama is today.

Deficit GDP

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Why “Ban Bossy” Is A Misguided (At Best) Campaign

Sheryl Sandberg

The Article: “Lean In” Guru Sheryl Sandberg Wants to Ban the Word Bossy… As If there Weren’t Larger Problems to Address by Tiny Dupuy in AlterNet.

The Text: “Lean In” Author and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s campaign to cheer young girls to participate launched last week. Sandberg claims little boys get called leaders and for the same behavior little girls are branded as bossy. “Together we can encourage girls to lead. Pledge to Ban Bossy,” reads the site.

It’s only a word that’s keeping women from leadership?

What happens the first time these imagined little girls get called something truly awful? “You know, some people think of you as an inspiring female attorney and mother. Other people think of you as the overbearing yuppie wife from hell. How would you describe yourself?” That’s what a reporter asked Hillary Clinton—when she wasn’t actually running for office—on the campaign trail in 1992. Bossy is one of the nicer things Hillary gets called.

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Why Obama Is Losing Millennials

Obama Millennials

The Article: Why Obama Is Losing Millennials by Julian Zelizer in CNN Online.

The Text: President Obama attracted a lot of attention when he went on “Between Two Ferns,” going mano-a-mano with comedian Zach Galifianakis. The President handled Galifianakis’ barbs well, throwing some back at the comedian (ridiculing his film “Hangover 3,” for example) and successfully stoking interest in his health care program, based on the uptick in traffic that followed.

The show was condemned by some who saw it as disrespectful of the office of the presidency; others said the president performed brilliantly, doing what presidents need to do in this day and age, by appearing on a hip and edgy popular culture outlet.

Reaching young people any way he can is particularly urgent with the March 31 deadline for health coverage enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. The administration has not made its sign-up targets, and evidence suggests balance between young and healthy versus old and infirm is not what the President wanted.

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Why The Climate Change Deniers Have Won

Climate Change

The Article: The climate change deniers have won by Nick Cohen in The Guardian.

The Text: The American Association for the Advancement of Science came as close as such a respectable institution can to screaming an alarm last week. “As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,” it said as it began one of those sentences that you know will build to a “but”. “But human-caused climate risks abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes.”

In other words, the most distinguished scientists from the country with the world’s pre-eminent educational institutions were trying to shake humanity out of its complacency. Why weren’t their warnings leading the news?

In one sense, the association’s appeal was not new. The Royal Society, the Royal Institution, Nasa, the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Geological Survey, the IPCC and the national science bodies of 30 or so other countries have said that man-made climate change is on the march. A survey of 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on global warming published in the last 20 years found that 97% said that humans were causing it.

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You’re Not As Busy As You Say You Are

Busy Woman

The Article: You’re Not As Busy As You Say You Are by Hanna Rosin in Slate.

The Text: Are you too busy? You should be, and you should let people know in a proud but exasperated tone. Like this, from an old colleague I recently asked for advice: “I would like to help but I can not. I am desperately trying to finish a screenplay and a talk I need to give in Milan. Once I get an assistant I will be happy to help!” Or this, from the website of a researcher I know: “I work roughly 100 hours a week and am getting more and more behind as the years go by. I am simply unable to keep up with demands on my time let alone handle more requests. I feel extremely guilty about this, but it’s important that I push folks away so that I can continue to produce research and do the work that I do.”

Desperate and need to give a talk in Milan. Unable to keep up and do the work that I do. The art of busyness is to convey genuine alarm at the pace of your life and a helpless resignation, as if someone else is setting the clock, and yet simultaneously make it clear that you are completely on top of your game. These are not exactly humble brags. They are more like fretful brags, and they are increasingly becoming the idiom of our age. In her new book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, Washington Post reporter Brigid Schulte calls this cultural epidemic the “overwhelm,” and it will be immediately recognizable to most working adults. “Always behind and always late, with one more thing and one more thing and one more thing to do before rushing out the door.” Muting the phone during a conference call so no one can hear soccer practice drills in the background, stepping over mounds of unfolded laundry, waking up in a 2 a.m. panic to run over the to-do list, and then summing up your life to your friends—in the two seconds you dedicate to seeing your friends—as “crazy all the time” while they nod in agreement.

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