Weekly Meanderings, 21 June 2014

Weekly Meanderings, 21 June 2014 June 21, 2014

What to have for breakfast? Cleveland Clinic:

You’re driving for hours on an uphill road. You’ve got the air conditioner cranked, the windshield wipers on and the gas pedal to the floor. After six hours, your car starts to sputter. You pull over to get some gas.

Now imagine the car is your body. It works hard on autopilot all night to keep you functioning — yet too many of us don’t fill the tank after waking up.

Unfortunately, skipping breakfast not only increases the risk of weight gain but also influences energy levels, mood, and cognitive function.

You need the right fuel for premium performance. Start with these five.

[Greek yogurt, fresh fruit salad, veggie omelet, whole grain English muffin with peanut butter, quinoa cereal with cinnamon.]

Wacky church designs.

Good for New Zealand’s Anglicans.

TOMS selling out?

The fashion/philanthropy world was surprised by the news in The Financial Times this week that TOMS — the shoe brand started by Blake Mycoskie in 2006 and based on the One-to-One model (for every pair sold, a pair is given away) — wasup for sale.

The company has, according to an inside source, retained the Los Angeles-based boutique investment bank Sage Group to explore options. It was behind the sale of Juicy Couture to Liz Claiborne, and the acquisition by Kellwood of the Los Angeles contemporary label Vince.

Possibilities could include selling a minority stake or a majority stake, and talking with potential buyers, including individuals, large luxury conglomerates and private equity groups.

What did it all mean? That was the question — but I finally got a few answers from an executive at the brand.

Clever study, including by one Brad Wright!

Turns out, according to a new study, that when you’re Jewish and searching for a job, you’re not just one of the chosen people, you’re one of the more chosen people, at least in the modern American South. The study of religious discrimination in hiring recently published in the journal Social Currents found job applicants whose résumés betrayed a religious affiliation were 26 percent less likely to be contacted by an employer — except for Jewish applicants.

Researchers Michael Wallace, Bradley R.E. Wright and Allan Hyde of the University of Connecticut sent 3,200 fake applications to 800 jobs within 150 miles of two major Southern cities through a popular employment Web site. Each employer got four résumés with comparable job qualifications. The only thing that set the fake job candidates apart was whether their résumés mentioned involvement with a religious group — such as membership in the Muslim Student Association or Hillel House, a Jewish organization.

I wonder if there is a perceived non-religious status with anyone who marked an application as “Jewish.”

Paul Marshall, at The Weekly Standard, on the reporting (or non-reporting) about persecution of Christians:

For at least three reasons, the contemporary persecution of Christians demands attention: It is occurring on a massive scale, it is underreported, and in many parts of the world it is rapidly growing.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life finds that Christians are suffering persecution in more places today than any other religious group; between 2006 and 2012, Pew says, they were targeted for harassment in 151 countries—three-quarters of the world’s states. Similar findings are reported by the Vatican, Newsweek, the Economist, and the 60-year-old Christian support group Open Doors. Most people in the West are unaware of these facts, though that may be changing.

A few cases do get press coverage—the desperate plight of Meriam Ibrahim, for instance, who gave birth in a Sudanese prison just the other day. She was raised a Christian, but after officials learned that her long-absent father was a Muslim, she was sentenced to death for apostasy—for leaving Islam. And since in Sudan a Muslim woman may not be married to a Christian, her marriage to her American husband was declared void, and she was convicted of adultery and sentenced to 100 lashes to be administered before her execution. These punishments will be dropped if she renounces her Christian faith, which she steadfastly refuses to do.

Another case receiving attention is North Korea’s sentencing of a South Korean missionary, Kim Jong-uk, to life with hard labor. On May 30, he was convicted of espionage and trying to start a church. North Korea also still holds Kenneth Bae, an American sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor on charges of trying to use religion to overthrow the political system.

The Chinese government’s demolition of the 3,000-member Sanjiang church in Wenzhou on April 28 was newsworthy partly because of the church’s size, but also because Sanjiang was not an “underground” church but an official, approved, government-registered “Three-Self” church. Some 20 other official churches in the area have had all or parts of their buildings removed or demolished, and hundreds more are threatened with destruction.

And, most notorious, the abduction into slavery of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria on April 14 by the al Qaeda-linked Boko Haram led news cycles and tweets for a time, though the religious dimensions of the story were often played down. While the kidnapped girls include Muslims (Boko Haram regards them as apostates because of their Western education), most are Christians, seized in a predominantly Christian area and now subjected to forced conversion.

20 nutrition myths debunked.

A fun quiz: Name that church! 

My son, Lukas, occasionally sends a link my way connected to Nate Silver’s stunning capacity to predict political races, and here is a clip from 538’s study of the Cantor-Brat race:

The second dimension of DW-Nominate is less commonly discussed. It describes differences among members of Congress that can’t easily be placed on a left-right scale — for instance, voting on civil rights issues during the mid-20th century. (Many northern Republicans voted in favor of civil rights legislation, while many New Deal Democrats from the South voted against it.) More recently, the second dimension has come to represent something like an insider vs. outsider (or establishment vs. tea party) spectrum.

I don’t want to claim that Cantor’s defeat was all that predictable — it wasn’t. But he does share something in common with those who lost before him, as DW-Nominate places him firmly on the establishment side of the spectrum. In fact, DW-Nominate’s insider-outsider score has had statistically significant explanatory power in describing the outcomes of Republican primaries for the U.S. Senate since 2010 — even if we control for how conservative the district is (based on its presidential voting in 2012) and how conservative the candidate was (based on DW-Nominate’s left-right scale)….

One last thought: This race is another example of why you shouldn’t trust the internal polls put out by candidates. Just a few weeks ago, Cantor released a survey showing himself up 34 percentage points. A public poll had the race much closer, with a 13 point lead for Cantor. I’ve written about the bias of internal surveys released to the public. We should assume that internal polls are biased and misleading — unless we have a good reason to think otherwise.

Splendid report comparing early airplane travel to now.

How to announce a pregnancy. Things have sure changed since Kris was pregnant all those years ago.

Artificial beach in Jerusalem not to the liking of the ultra-orthodox, by Michele Chabin:

JERUSALEM (RNS) The creation of a temporary artificial beach in Jerusalem — a landlocked city located atop a mountain — has outraged many ultra-Orthodox Jews in this holy city.

Several ultra-Orthodox rabbis lodged a complaint with the Jerusalem city council charging that the beach will encourage unseemly behavior and desecration of the Jewish Sabbath. The city issued a permit for the private initiative but provided no funding.

Built at the First Station, a restored train station complex that, unlike most of West Jerusalem, boasts restaurants and activities that are open on Shabbat, the whimsical “beach” consists of tons of white sand, beach chairs, a lifeguard’s station and a watermelon stand. A surfing simulator will open soon.

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