“When to Control for X”: Gabriel Rossman on Self-Justification Through #science

At Vox, Ezra Klein raises an important meta-theoretical point in social science analysis, which is that it is very hard to distinguish mechanisms from controls. If there is a zero-order correlation between X1 and Y, but it drops out when you introduce X2, this in of itself does not tell you if the X1~Y relationship is spurious or if it is mediated. If being shot at is correlated with death, but the effect falls out of significance once you control for exsanguination, one would not say that the … [Read more...]

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The Pope and the Prison System: Two Links

"Some Inmates Who Met Pope Francis Are Only in Jail Because They're Poor": PHILADELPHIA -- When Pope Francis visited an overcrowded prison on Sunday, he talked to inmates about the need for "rehabilitation" and for inmates to get "back on the right road." What he may not have realized is that most of the inmates being held in Philadelphia's Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility have not yet been convicted of a crime.Some of the inmates who met Pope Francis have been charged with serious c … [Read more...]

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“Why Transgender Kids Should Wait to Transition”: Pacific Standard

short essay:...But research has shown that most gender dysphoric children outgrow their dysphoria, and do so by adolescence: Most will grow up to be happy, gay adults, and some, like myself, to be happy, straight adults. There is a small proportion of trans kids whose dysphoria will persist and who would benefit from medical intervention, but the tricky part remains predicting whom these ideal candidates will be. For a young child whose gender dysphoria would have desisted without … [Read more...]

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“Married or Not, All Families Deserve Equal Benefits”: WaPo

I would frame this in terms of supporting caregiving--framing things in terms of "equality" just encourages people to judge the depth of others' relationships in the abstract (are boyfriends and husbands really equal?), instead of asking whether caregiving and sacrificial love are really taking place. Still, this makes an important point: Both government and the private sector can do more. Only three states have paid family leave laws, and only California’s law covers care for siblings, gran … [Read more...]

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“I Reviewed Jail on Yelp Because I Couldn’t Afford a Therapist”: The Marshall Project

with many and varied windows into the human condition:...User-review sites have become an unlikely destination for raw, informative accounts of Americans’ everyday interactions with our criminal justice system. Yelp declined to provide the number of prison and jail reviews on its site, but dozens of correctional facilities are filed under “Public Services & Government” alongside DMVs and post offices. Search for your local prison or jail and chances are that Google reviews will pop up alo … [Read more...]

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“Redesigning a Prison Town”: Next City

magazine: ...Ionia is a prison town. That is its primary industry. That’s why there’s a shiver that runs through town when word spreads about the possible closure of one of those facilities. Most of the thousands of inmates incarcerated in them come from 130-some miles away in southeast Michigan, where Detroit is the hub. The distance makes for a severe reduction in family visits and programming, which ultimately increases recidivism — that is, it increases crime. But building prisons here is wh … [Read more...]

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The Long, Hot Summer: Jesse Walker on Rising Crime in US Cities

at Reason: ...On top of all that, there's the simple fact that we don't know yet whether this is a blip or a trend. In 2005, after crime had been declining for more than a decade, the FBI revealed that homicides, robberies, and aggravated assaults had all grown more common in the previous year. The Police Executive Research Forum promptly produced a paper titled "A Gathering Storm—Violent Crime in America," which opened with a warning that such numbers could be "the front end of a tipping point … [Read more...]

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