Researchers in Liberia find that offering a small amount of cash and eight weeks of behavioral therapy to folks at risk of committing crimes actually reduces crime, and now that experiment is coming to Chicago. Although the Chicago program offers job training in place of cash, this is still exactly the kind of thing right-wingers will easily lie about — as opposed to all the things they labor absurdly to lie about now, of course — because we can all imagine a lot of Americans saying well-where’s-mine, as well as what’s-next-giving-them-drugs? and of course so-we’re-giving-crooks-therapy-now? Here’s the thing, though: you can always respond "well, more cops and more guns sure ain’t doing the job, so how about we try something that works?"
When I hear that some 44% of Republicans think mass shootings are just the price of freedom in America, I find that maps pretty well onto my supposition that about a quarter of the American electorate is batshit crazy. These Republicans are just doing what their thought leaders tell them, but it’s still a sad statement, and dare I say an un-American one. I mean, what kind of can-do American just gives up at the thought of mass murders of children? Also, the 56% who don’t believe mass shootings are "just the price of freedom" will still almost certainly vote for insane Republicans just because they're not Democrats, and then guess what? Nothing will get done.
Ever wonder why you don’t remember your own birth or all the milestones (first words, learning to walk) your parents never shut up about? Vanessa LoBue at The Conversation explores the nature of infant memories. Long story short: babies do form memories from the start — they recognize their mother almost right away and remember more faces as the months go on — but they don’t form (or can’t retrieve) autobiographical memories, or stories about themselves, until they’re 2 or 3, possibly because they don’t use language until about that time, or possibly because the hippocampus isn’t fully developed yet.
Again we hear that Social Security will pay all of its planned benefits through 2035, and again our "liberal" media covers this as a catastrophic event, with no apparent memory of the time they said Social Security would be tapped out in 2016, for example. I say "apparent" memory because I actually doubt they really don’t remember; I think they just gin up hysteria about Social Security because it grabs eyeballs and makes them money. I’ll give our "liberal" media some credit for admitting that raising the payroll cap is a way of strengthening Social Security (though I’ll give liberal blogger Atrios more credit for that!), but all these sky-is-falling predictions about pension plans never take into account that the economy grows most of the time.
Starbucks closes an Ithaca, NY store that had unionized, leading the newly-unemployed workers to call for a boycott. I've wondered why Starbucks hadn’t done this already — remember how quickly Walmart closed the Quebec store that unionized in 2007? — but with over 100 stores unionizing, I think Starbucks actually might have acted too late. And anyway, the bigger story here is that the workers at this Ithaca Starbucks went on strike in April after discovering a clogged, maggot-ridden grease trap one morning that management wouldn’t do anything about when informed. Now management is "doing something" by closing the store! That’s not very can-do of them, though, is it? After all, maggots and grease aren’t forever.
Finally, Dan Pfeiffer confronts the question "Why Do Democrats Suck at Messaging?" If you’re like me, though, you already know the answer: as with the song "Why Hip Hop Sucks in ’96," it's the money — as in "big campaign donors pay people to suck at messaging and keep Republicans in office which keeps campaign donations coming, rinse, repeat." Thus the sight of Dan Pfeiffer talking to people with money about this question is truly absurd — I mean, he’s a smart dude, so I don’t get why he doesn’t get how he comes off there. He makes a few good points, but if you don’t start with how big campaign donors infect both parties, you’re not going to get anywhere.