Recent quotes:

Rural areas lag in degree attainment while urban areas feature big racial gaps

Fully 84 percent of the counties in the bottom 10 percent on degree attainment rates are mostly or completely rural, the group found. And just 16 percent of the counties in the top 10 percent are rural. Counties with low attainment rates are most heavily concentrated in the South, running from the borders of Oklahoma and Texas to the Atlantic Ocean. Proximity to a college campus is a major driver of the rural attainment gap. Rural counties are home to 14 percent of the nation's campuses, the analysis found, even though these areas cover 97 percent of land area in the U.S.

USDA ERS - Rural Education

While the overall educational attainment of people living in rural areas has increased markedly over time, the share of adults with at least a bachelor's degree is still higher in urban areas. In 1960, 60 percent of the rural population ages 25 and over had not completed high school; by 2018—58 years later—that dropped to 13 percent. Over the same period, the proportion of rural adults 25 and older with a bachelor's degree or higher increased from 5 percent to 20 percent; in urban areas, this proportion stood at 35 percent in 2018. The proportion of rural adults with a bachelor's degree or higher increased by 5 percentage points between 2000 and 2018, and the proportion without a high school degree or equivalent, such as a GED, declined by 11 percentage points.

The Place of College Grads in the Urban-Rural Divide - Bloomberg

While college grads make up 55 percent of the workforce in most leading urban counties (there is one urban county, Falls Church, Virginia, where the share of college grads is a staggering 80 percent), less than 10 percent of adults hold a college degree in the lowest-performing urban counties. By way of comparison, college grads make up a similar 55 percent in the leading rural counties and less than 5 percent or so in the lowest-performing rural counties.

Obesity Rates Continue to Rise Among Americans | MedPage Today

According to data from the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the prevalence of obesity in American children, adolescents, and adults was higher than it has ever been in nearly 60 years. Among American adults ages 20 and older, 42.4% had obesity, reported Cheryl Fryar, MSPH, of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues in the latest Health E-Stats. Another 30.7% of adults were categorized as overweight, and 9.2% had severe obesity. When the results were stratified by age, adults 40 to 59 saw the highest rates of obesity, with 45% of this age group with a BMI of 30 or higher. Middle-age men had the highest prevalence of obesity, at a rate of 46%.

Here's why conservatives and liberals differ on COVID-19: New Lehigh University College of Business study looks at getting everyone to agree on the pandemic threat -- ScienceDaily

According to the paper, "Getting Conservatives and Liberals to Agree on the COVID-19 Threat," published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research in September, conservatives tend to see free will as the primary driver of outcomes in life, whereas liberals are more accepting of the idea that randomness plays a role. Compared to liberals, conservatives tend to attribute outcomes to purposeful actions. So in the context of the pandemic, they're more likely to blame any negative outcomes in their lives on these more agentic policymakers or fellow Americans rather than the virus itself.

A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon | by Rabbit Rabbit | curiouserinstitute | Sep, 2020 | Medium

I’m not sure how much difference there already is between what believers in Q feel now and what people who belong to a religion feel. Already the gist of the mildly religious is present. “I’m a QAnon/Catholic/Jew and I like the community and I like the activities, but I’m not sure I really believe EVERYTHING is literal. I agree with the basic ideas though.”

A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon | by Rabbit Rabbit | curiouserinstitute | Sep, 2020 | Medium

It’s like a Darwinian fiction lab, where the best stories and the most engaging and satisfying misinterpretations rise to the top and are then elaborated upon for the next version.

The American University, the Politics of Professors and the Narrative of “Liberal Bias,” Charlie Tyson and Naomi Oreskes – Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective

This notion of conservatives as marginalized and therefore epistemically privileged borrows from feminist and Marxist standpoint theory while diluting it to mere perspectivalism. Marxist standpoint theory as developed by Georg Lukács held that workers, because of their social location, can correctly see whose interests are served by the capitalist system; feminist standpoint epistemology similarly claims that women’s social situations can help them see through sexist fantasies about women, or identify how patriarchy fails to meet everyone’s needs.[83] Conservative standpoint theory follows a different pattern. As the examples from Dunn and Shields suggest, conservative standpoint theory claims that conservatives, because of their situatedness, are able to see the truth about other groups: women, or black people, or homosexuals.

The American University, the Politics of Professors and the Narrative of “Liberal Bias,” Charlie Tyson and Naomi Oreskes – Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective

Professors, in other words, reflect the population from which they are drawn: highly educated people. People with PhDs tend to be more liberal than people without them. The general liberalizing effect of higher education, Gross suggests, is probably supplemented by a self-selection effect: because academia has a reputation for liberal politics, smart young liberals are more likely to consider a career in academia than are smart young conservatives.[40] Institutional factors matter as well, of course. In some quarters, conservative organizational efforts have been able to combat liberal self-selection effects, most notably in one influential area of graduate education: law school. Since the early 1980s, organizations such as the Federalist Society have succeeded in motivating young conservatives to attend law school by creating strong professional networks of conservative and libertarian legal professionals (“counter-networking,” to borrow Steven Teles’s term).[41] More recently, institutions attached to the conservative Christian legal movement, such as the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, have immersed law students from around the country in “the Christian foundations of the law”—and then helped to get them internships.[42]

Michigan College Will Digitally Track Students' Movements At All Times - Washington Free Beacon

"The school wants my daughter to sign a form consenting to specimen collection and lab testing," he told the Washington Free Beacon on condition of anonymity. "I have a ton of concern with that…. Why is the state of Michigan's contact tracing not enough?" Though students are required to remain on campus, professors and administrators are not. When asked about this potential loophole in its "COVID-bubble," the school declined to comment. Rising senior Andrew Arszulowicz said that he is upset with both the mandatory use of the app and the manner in which students are being treated. "I feel like I am being treated like a five-year-old that cannot be trusted to follow rules," Arszulowicz told the Free Beacon. "If the school believes masks work … why are we not allowed to leave if they work? It does not make sense to me."

Bill Moyers and Heather Cox Richardson on Her Daily Letters – BillMoyers.com

They were absolutely not trying to do anything other than create a narrative to be edited. They were looking for sound bites to edit into their own story. And that, the realization, I still remember I was driving my car and listening to it. And all of a sudden, I thought, they’re not even trying to participate in this system. You can sort of assume that politicians will skew things in their direction. That’s fine. That’s the way the system works. But you could tell they didn’t care. They didn’t care what the truth was. They didn’t care about getting to what had happened. All they cared about was getting sound bites so that they could cut them into a video that they could convince people of something that wasn’t true. And I found that the most chilling moment of this entire episode of the last four years. The realization that elected representatives weren’t even trying to spin things. They were simply trying to write their own reality.

Protesting Indians on sports program = Yale Taliban

The desire embraced by many in the university community to whitewash history to preserve the sensibilities of the present is as destructive to understanding the past as are efforts by radical Islamists to erase their own heritage. The West lamented the Taliban’s destruction of 1700-year-old Buddhas in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. What successive Islamic dynasties had for centuries ignored fell to the dynamite of those who demanded no artifact of the past offend their current sensitivity. Alas, when it comes to so many universities today, the desire to hide, ban, and break symbols have transformed them less into centers of learning and more into safe-spaces for a new Taliban.

The “Cancel Culture” Con | The New Republic

As far as comedy is concerned, “cancel culture” seems to be the name mediocrities and legends on their way to mediocrity have given their own waning relevance. They’ve set about scolding us about scolds, whining about whiners, and complaining about complaints because they would rather cling to material that was never going to stay fresh and funny forever than adapt to changing audiences, a new set of critical concerns, and a culture that might soon leave them behind. In desperation, they’ve become the tiresome cowards they accuse their critics of being—and that comics like Bruce, who built the contemporary comedy world, never were.

Bogus Racism Charge Melts Down Elite Progressive LISTSERV

When anybody defending the accused is automatically accused of the same crime, and any demand for evidence of the charge is seen as an extension of the original crime, you are following the logic of a witch hunt.

Police violence as a symptom

The problem is an economic and political system that has by design created a nation of serfs and obscenely rich masters. The problem is deindustrialization, offshoring of manufacturing, automation and austerity programs that allow families to be priced out of our for-profit healthcare system and see nearly one in five children 12 and younger without enough to eat. The problem is an electoral system that is legalized bribery designed to serve a tiny, unaccountable cabal of oligarchs that engage in legalized tax boycotts, deregulation, theft and financial fraud. The problem is that at least half of the working class and working poor, a figure growing exponentially as the pandemic swells the ranks of the unemployed, have been cast aside as human refuse and are being sacrificed on the altar of profit as the country reopens for business and the pandemic crashes in wave after wave on front line workers. The problem is the diversion of state resources, including over half all federal discretionary spending, to an unaccountable military machine that wages endless and futile wars overseas, the savage face of white supremacy beyond our border. This military machine perfects its brutal tactics and tools for control on people of color in the Middle East, as it did in other eras in Vietnam, Latin America and the Philippines. It passes on this knowledge, along with its surplus equipment, including sophisticated equipment for wholesale surveillance, drones, heavily armed SWAT teams, grenade launchers and armored vehicles, to police at home. Smashing down a door and terrorizing a family in a night police raid in Detroit looks no different from a night raid carried out against an Afghan family by Army Rangers in Kandahar. Empires eventually consume themselves. Thucydides wrote of the Athenian empire that the tyranny it imposed on others it finally imposed on itself.

Is Venture Capital Worth the Risk?  | The New Yorker

In 1958, Congress passed an act designed to encourage small-business investments and loans. If a small-business investment company could raise a hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the government would match those funds and lend more at a low rate, bringing the fund to at least four hundred and fifty thousand dollars (nearly four million in current dollars). These investors received tax advantages, too. The lure invited fraud, and the fund-matching program was brought to an end.

Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy Is Leading an Army of Day Traders

Scott Nazareth, a 29-year-old day trader from Toronto, said he’s a fan of Portnoy’s videos and believes older investors such as Buffett are missing opportunities in technology and airline stocks. “I kind of make fun of some of these investors,” Nazareth said of Buffett. “They just have a hard time understanding the new normal, the new business models.”

The Coming Collapse | Common Dreams Views

As a foreign correspondent I covered collapsed societies, including the former Yugoslavia. It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion. All the harbingers of collapse are visible: crumbling infrastructure; chronic underemployment and unemployment; the indiscriminate use of lethal force by police; political paralysis and stagnation; an economy built on the scaffolding of debt; nihilistic mass shootings in schools, universities, workplaces, malls, concert venues and movie theaters; opioid overdoses that kill some 64,000 people a year; an epidemic of suicides; unsustainable military expansion; gambling as a desperate tool of economic development and government revenue; the capture of power by a tiny, corrupt clique; censorship; the physical diminishing of public institutions ranging from schools and libraries to courts and medical facilities; the incessant bombardment by electronic hallucinations to divert us from the depressing sight that has become America and keep us trapped in illusions. We suffer the usual pathologies of impending death. I would be happy to be wrong. But I have seen this before. I know the warning signs. All I can say is get ready.

Strong Social Distancing Measures In The United States Reduced The COVID-19 Growth Rate | Health Affairs

State and local governments imposed social distancing measures in March and April of 2020 to contain the spread of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These included large event bans, school closures, closures of entertainment venues, gyms, bars, and restaurant dining areas, and shelter-in-place orders (SIPOs). We evaluated the impact of these measures on the growth rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases across US counties between March 1, 2020 and April 27, 2020. An event-study design allowed each policy’s impact on COVID-19 case growth to evolve over time. Adoption of government-imposed social distancing measures reduced the daily growth rate by 5.4 percentage points after 1–5 days, 6.8 after 6–10 days, 8.2 after 11–15 days, and 9.1 after 16–20 days. Holding the amount of voluntary social distancing constant, these results imply 10 times greater spread by April 27 without SIPOs (10 million cases) and more than 35 times greater spread without any of the four measures (35 million). Our paper illustrates the potential danger of exponential spread in the absence of interventions, providing relevant information to strategies for restarting economic activity.

Many Small Firms Expect to Fail If Crisis Lasts 6 Months

A National Bureau of Economic Research survey of small businesses finds that when firms are told to expect a one-month crisis, the expectation of remaining open by the end of the year hovers around 70% across all industries with the exception of Arts and Entertainment, and Personal Services. In those industries, the expectation of remaining open drops to 65% and 57% respectively. When firms are told to expect a six-month crisis, the average expectation of remaining open falls to 38%, and there is significant heterogeneity between sectors. The expected survival probability for firms in Arts and Entertainment drops precipitously to 35% if the crisis lasts 6 months. The expected probability of being open for Personal Services firms fall to 22% if the crisis lasts six months. The restaurant industry seems particularly vulnerable to a long crisis. Restaurateurs believe that they have a 72% chance of survival if the crisis lasts one month, but if the crisis lasts six months, then they expect to survive with only a 15% probability. Likewise, the chance of survival for firms in tourism and lodging drops to 27% by the 6-month mark.

Coronavirus Is High Risk to Aging Florida, Retirement Communities - Bloomberg

The county with the nation’s highest senior-citizen share is Sumter County, Florida, home of the fast-growing retirement community, The Villages. Its 65-and-older percentage was 55.6% from 2014-2018, a period I used in the above chart because single-year data for many smaller counties isn’t reliable, and 57.6% in 2018. That’s an estimated 74,162 people 65-and-older in a county with 277 acute-care hospital beds.

Pence Will Control All Coronavirus Messaging From Health Officials - The New York Times

The White House moved on Thursday to tighten control of coronavirus messaging by government health officials and scientists, directing them to clear all statements and public appearance with the office of Vice President Mike Pence, according to several officials familiar with the new approach.

Bloomberg to Pay Hundreds of People $2,500 a Month to Praise Him on Their Personal Social Media Feeds: Report

ichael Bloomberg's presidential campaign will reportedly pay hundreds of people $2,500 a month to promote the candidate via text message and their personal social media feeds. The billionaire's team is now hiring more than 500 "deputy digital organizers" to work up to 30 hours a week and promote his talking points to online friends and phone contact lists, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a staffer in California and internal documents.

You Think We’re Self-Obsessed Now? The 19th Century Would Like A Word | FiveThirtyEight

After 14 years, Kaplan and his colleagues finally had their “Bibliography of American Autobiographies.” They ended up identifying 6,377 autobiographies published in the U.S. between 1675 and the 1940s, and their data shows the genre’s notable growth. Between 1800 and 1809, Americans published a total of just 27 autobiographies. One century later, during the decade between 1900 and 1909, that number had exploded to 569, easily outpacing population growth.

James Baldwin, debating Buckley

The Mississippi, or the Alabama, sheriff, who really does believe when he's facing a Negro, a boy or a girl, that this woman, this man, this child, must be insane to attack the system to which he owes his entire identity. Of course, for such a person, the proposition of which, which we are trying to discuss here to night, does not exist. […] I am stating very seriously, and this is not an overstatement, that I picked the cotton, and I carried it to market, and I built the railroads, under someone else's whip, for nothing. For nothing.

West Point Prof Pens Blistering Takedown of U.S. Military Academies | The American Conservative

West Point boasted that it received 15,171 applicants for the class of 2016, but only accepted a fraction, suggesting an acceptance rate in the low double-digits, if not single digits, like Yale and Harvard. The reality is, the school was counting student requests for information as “applications.” It turns out that the school only received 2,394 “fully qualified and nominated” applications that year. Of that number, 1,358 were accepted for the class of 2016, resulting in an acceptance rate of 56.7 percent. […]Bakken notes that West Point and the equally lionized Naval Academy in Annapolis were ranked 111 and 112 in average SAT scores among American colleges and universities in a 2014 study. The myth is also punctured by the underperforming prep school and the athletic pipelines that bring otherwise unqualified students into the fold.