Links, 8/31/10

  • Jay Cost, “Health Care Reform Has Endangered the Democratic Majority” – I’d be interested to see numbers that find a Democratic incumbent unelectable purely because of his stance on health care. I suspect enough of us are aware of entitlements to know we can’t afford another entitlement, especially not one this massive. The more general question is whether there’s something nearly intuitive approximating rationality among voters, whether opinions widely held have a closer link to knowledge in some cases.
  • Mark Bauerlein, “Reading is Not a Skill” – from the article: …texts contain embedded assumptions, things the writer assumes the reader will know. Their example: “A-Rod hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.” Think of the implied meanings. One, it’s the ninth inning. Two, a man on first and one out. Three, the Yankees are behind. Etc. If you don’t have the domain knowledge, you’re not a bad reader. “You merely lack the domain-specific knowledge of baseball to fill in the gaps.” This is why reading is not an abstract transferable skill (except at the most basic levels of literacy).
  • Conor Friedersdorf, “Will the November Election be about America’s Fiscal Future?” – from the article: Should the GOP retake Congress on a Tea Party platform [me: no comment], provoking general election battles that turn on government spending, the budget deficit and the national debt, it stands a chance of earning a mandate from voters to address America’s perilous fiscal situation.
  • “The ‘Housewives’ Husband Who Wishes He Said No” (nytimes) – I’ve got a lot of questions, some of which the article addresses partly. How did this guy not know what reality tv would do to his life? Was he utterly clueless about his wife’s tendencies, and where this was headed? None of this is to judge, but more to wonder about this new world of reality tv: in some cases the “tv” or the “reality” can be dropped from the phrase.


  1. Some great links. I agree with the “Reading is not a skill” article in that I think reading comprehension is based on your background knowledge of the subject.

    The reality TV article…It is amazing those shows are still able to find people willing to ruin their lives for the sake of the show and 15 minutes of fame.

  2. The Housewives article got me to thinking about the Springer Show….at a fairly early age, I deduced that the show was in fact fake.

    Seriously….if you got a phone call from one of the Springer Show’s producers to fly on out with your wife, girlfriend, fiancee or whatever, would you:

    A) Hang up right quick
    B) Say out loud ‘Sure! What’s the worst that could happen?

    I kinda got the feeling those were the choices a more alert Charles Ommanney when the topic first came up.

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