Morning Must Reads: December 16

In the News: Who had the Worst Year in Washington; The Senate vote on budget deal; and GOP's winning strategy

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Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

The Washington Post decides who had the worst (and best)  year in Washington [Washington Post]

“Supporters of a budget agreement worked over the weekend to secure the necessary votes in the Senate to approve the two-year deal, which they expect will pass—but by a much narrower margin than it won in the House last week.” [Wall Street Journal]

Unemployment Benefits End Right After Christmas. Here’s What Happens Next. [National Journal]

Newt Gingrich: Budget Deal Keeps Focus on Obamacare [Politico]

“Even the slightest hint that a GOP contender might support anything besides all-out repeal of the health care law is drawing attacks from the right. So, increasingly, in races across the country, proposals to fix the existing law or retain any of it are being ruled out by Republicans eager to further burnish their conservative credentials.” [Politico]

GOP Firebrands Tone Down Their Message and Run Again [New York Times]

How to Fix Congress: The Game the Senate Should Play [Slate]

How Janet Yellen’s Agenda Could Transform Washington [National Journal]

House Republicans Strategy for 2014 Victory: Think Small, Do Little [TIME]

“Drug makers are finding it hard to convince doctors, patients and insurers that the new advances are worth their typically premium prices. Skepticism is particularly steep for drugs aimed at conditions that already have effective treatments. Of 271 drugs launched since 2006, only 13 have notched yearly U.S. sales of more than $1 billion, down from 33 of 257 drugs introduced during the previous five years, according to ZS Associates. The sales and marketing management consultant to drug makers analyzed about 500 drug launches.” [WSJ]

Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce Laws on Gun Control [NYTimes]

A Letter to Mandiba [New Yorker]

 

522 comments
Sue_N
Sue_N

Daughter failed her driving test. She's got until February to retake before we have to resubmit her paperwork.

I know she feels bad, but there's a little part of me going, "Whew." Gives us more time to let her practice behind the wheel.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Rick Santorum: "courts banning anti-sodomy laws leads to enabling polygamy"

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum - who a decade ago came under fire for comments indicating polygamy would become legal if courts banned anti-sodomy laws - responded to the ruling over the weekend.

"Sometimes I hate it when what I predict comes true," the former U.S. senator tweeted Sunday.

The Family Research Council, led by prominent social conservative Tony Perkins, also weighed the Utah statute, warning of "serious consequences of redefining marriage."

"Throughout history, marriage has been future-oriented, focused on the next generation and the best interests of children. The reality is that society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad," Perkins said Monday.

"However, redefining marriage to fulfill the desires of same-sex couples or polygamists only moves society away from this vital public interest and creates social chaos."

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

I'm watching Rep. Van Hollen talking to Ed Schultz about using the upcoming farm bill's cuts / savings to pay for extending unemployment benefits. Now if hardball is played and farm bill fails over stonewalling here, imagine the damage done to R's by hitting their rural base. (Never mind that farm subsidies are socialist, but I digress.)


DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Test Scores Are in the Genes

More than school or family environment, a child’s genetics influences high school exam results. 

Genetics accounts for some 58 percent of the variation in test scores of more than 11,000 high school students taking the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education), a qualifying exam common in the U.K., according to a study published in PLOS ONE. In contrast, students’ school environment and home life accounted for only 36 percent of the variation.

“Some children find it easier to learn than others do, and I think it’s appetite as much as aptitude,” Robert Plomin, an expert in behavioral genetics who led the study at King’s College London told The Guardian. “There is a motivation, maybe because you like to do what you are good at.”

Plomin and his colleagues came to their conclusions by comparing the test scores of identical twins, who share 100 percent of their genes, to non-identical twins, who share only half their genetic material. The researchers suggest that because schools aim to give an equal education to all children, genetic differences impacting educational success are apparent. Of course, identifying specific genes that might play a role will be difficult, Plomin admitted.

Professor of science education Michael Reiss of the Institute of Education in London argued that knowing the role of genetics in academic is not particularly helpful. “Some people have to wear glasses because of genetic defects, and other people wear them for reasons that have nothing to do with genetics. As long as you are wearing glasses in school, it doesn’t matter at all,” he told The Guardian. “The genetics is utterly irrelevant.”

But Plomin disagreed, suggesting that genetic differences underlying variation in learning ability should be taken into account when designing school programs. “Education is still focused on a one-size-fits-all approach, and if genetics tells us anything it’s that children are different in how easily they learn and what they like to learn,” he told The Guardian. “Forcing them into this one academic approach is going to make some children confront failure a lot, and it doesn’t seem a wise approach.”

fitty_three
fitty_three

@Sue_N 

Looks like your wish was granted.

Maybe you should give Ivy a kingdom or two.  Texas would do nicely, I think.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@Sue_N I did too when I was 16. That "parallel parking cone" never knew what hit it!


It was a much needed dose of humility for a young Paul.


Next time I got 100.


And I am now an excellent parallel parker. But clearly not that humble. 

outsider
outsider

@Paul,nnto24 hour news cycle is killing the news. 


Too much Gotcha reporting. And 60 minutes is stepping in it the way CNN is. 



DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@MementoMori 

I HOPE that the Obama Administration will use this as an opportunity to let the issue die out by not seeking to appeal the decision, but I'm almost certain that won't happen.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@DonQuixotic 

Aside from the protection of women from abuse aspect which does exist in some very notorious polygamist groups, the entire complaint about polygamy is just f-ing stupid.  If everyone's an adult and everyone's consenting, take your indignation and stuff it.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@mantisdragon91 

First they came after those with money and asked them to chip in a few more dollars and I didn't speak up because nobody I knew had any money thanks to those f-ing cheapskates.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@mantisdragon91 

Please let the evidence be that the judge happens to be friends with a gay couple and this is absolute proof in the eyes of Scott Lively that the judge is inherently biased

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@DonQuixotic 

I would argue that one problem with this is the inherent dependency on the current style of teaching and assessment.  Certain genetics might predispose you towards stressing out on tests or not really performing well with current teaching styles but may prove to be just as capable and intelligent when given alternate forms of tutoring.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@Paul,nnto

My first test, I failed because I came to an unmarked T intersection with a car sitting in the prong.  Now, he's supposed to have the right of way and I knew he had the right of way and I slowed down to let him in but he waved me on.  My instructor didn't see him waving me on.

Sue_N
Sue_N

The trooper said her car control needs work. Also she made a wide turn and strayed into what would have been oncoming traffic had any traffic been oncoming. So, yeah, she needs a bit more practice.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

A story on people getting rich on disability fed to them by Coburn, Logan's made up story, a fluff piece on NSA, All in the last couple of months.


I actually get mad watching it.

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@DonQuixotic @MementoMori  “The Government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack or otherwise aided the Government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature,” he wrote.


Seems to be the core of the Government's case, no?

collioure
collioure

@outsider@DonQuixotic

Santorum is more Catholic than Republican - a strange bird IMO. 

And the Church, as I often tell my Catholic wife, is far too interested in sex.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@deconstructiva@DonQuixoticHe is too busy comparing his fight against ObamaCare to that of Nelson Mandela's against Apartheid. The two great injustices of our time.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@forgottenlord @DonQuixotic 

An equally large complaint against polygamist sects that is often overlooked is the abuse young boys suffer in them.  Often when they become teenagers many young boys are banished from the communities for arbitrary reasons to deliberately thin the pool of men that can marry women.  There's a great documentary produced by VICE about the community of young destitute boys that grow up outside of the Utah communities as a result.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@forgottenlord@mantisdragon91 

Healthcare for everyone versus mass murder and torture of millions. I mean what kind of fool would you be not to realize Universal Healthcare is the far greater evil.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@forgottenlord@mantisdragon91We have winner


So Rev. Lively has appealed the judge's ruling in hopes that a higher court will overrule the judge and throw the case out. In the meantime, Rev. Lively was unexpectedly provided with reams of documentation proving the presiding judge is anything BUT neutral regarding homosexuality.  This is NOT surprising. - See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/cadc-needs-30000-spread-incriminating-evidence-against-judge-scott-lively-case#sthash.VYfVE7MX.dpuf

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@DonQuixotic 

How do you detach genetics from home environment?  Unless you focus entirely upon adopted kids...their home environment is still somewhat influenced by their parents.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@Sue_N 

She'll do better next time. The first time is always a journey into the totally unknown, which is bound to make her nervous. All them meskins running across the streets probbly dint help neether.

Next time, she'll do a lot better, since she knows what to expect.

Just kidding about teh meskins, though;-)

outsider
outsider

@Sue_N@Paul,nnto 

I gave up a long time ago. It used to be a very good show. But that was a long time ago. 

Sue_N
Sue_N

@Paul,nnto That disability story almost had me throwing things at the TV. Completely one-sided, just sheer propaganda from Coburn.

That's when I gave up on 60 Minutes, so I missed the Benghazi and NSA travesties.

collioure
collioure

@outsider@collioure@DonQuixotic 

Well, here in France and I suspect in other European countries the divide between Church and State is more pronounced.  A candidate making a religious appeal here would be rebuked by all.

outsider
outsider

@collioure@outsider@DonQuixotic 

Only in the US though, it seems. Internationally it is less (sex is) influential.  That's why American clergy, and the religious right, are looked at as being kind of backward. 


But yes, Santorum is a very odd guy.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@DonQuixotic 

Basically, my belief is there's a world of difference between polygamist sects and polygamists.  Polygamist sects are doomed to rampant abuse and problems because there's just no way for the numbers to work out.  Polygamists, however, can exist in fully healthy and equal relationships and shouldn't be penalized because of the inherent flaws that exist in the organized variations of their lifestyles.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

@mantisdragon91

A bleeding heart Liberal.  You would take my millions to save hundreds of people from dying and depriving my wife of her third helicopter.  You monster!