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Executive orders

21 Nov

Every President’s Executive Orders In One Chart


President Obama is due to announce an executive action Thursday, one that will change the legal status of millions of immigrants and is likely to be remembered as a major effort to change the country’s immigration system. The action would reportedly allow up to 4 million undocumented immigrants legal work status, and an additional 1 million protection from deportation. It would be one of the most wide-reaching executive actions in history.

That has made Republicans furious. The New York Times has a good roundup of the reaction, including quotes from Sens. John Cornyn (“I believe his unilateral action, which is unconstitutional and illegal, will deeply harm our prospects for immigration reform”) and Tom Coburn (“The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation”). The spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner has called the president “Emperor Obama,” implying that the executive action is an unlawful decree, and Sen. Ted Cruz said on Fox News that “the president is behaving in an unprecedented way.”

If it’s unprecedented, it’s because of the scope of the executive action, not the executive action itself. For decades, executive orders have been a fairly common tool for U.S. presidents. We looked at data from the American Presidency Project and found that the use of executive orders peaked in the era of the New Deal (FDR set the record) and has been on the decline since. In the past 100 years, Democrats have used them more than Republicans. Here’s every president’s tally per year that he served in office.


Maternity leave in the US compared to other nations

19 Nov

The US is one of very few nations in the world that do not have paid maternity leave. The site below gives a great summary in three minutes.

10 things to do in college besides attend class

30 Jul

Good for freshmen!

10 Things to Do in College (Probably) More Important Than Going to Class

This month, a lot of tearful teenagers will bid adieu to high school (good news guys, you’ll still be Facebook friends with each other in 20 years) and begin looking forward to the next chapter, which, for the lucky among them, will be college. I loved it so much, I decided never to leave, and I’ve been at various universities for the past 18 years (whoa). At college, no one makes you go to class, and I thought I’d give our incoming freshmen some advice that no one else will. Don’t take this as invitation to skip that excruciating discussion of medieval history, but sometimes ditching is important, in the same way that learning to manage your time wisely is important, and the same way that, although painful, failing is important, too.

Laptops vs hand-written notes

19 May

Why students using laptops learn less in class even when they really are taking notes

Even when students paid attention and took copious notes on their laptops, they still didn’t learn as well. In fact, the copiousness of their notes may be part of the problem, the study found.

Laptop users are inclined to use long verbatim quotes, which they type somewhat mindlessly. The handwriters are more selective. They “wrote significantly fewer words than those who typed.”

Reaction to Coca Cola commercial during Super Bowl

7 Feb

Hop on Pop

Coca-Cola sparks a Super Bowl controversy with its unpatriotic ad featuring immigrants singing “America the Beautiful” while drinking Coca-Cola.  (05:17)

Features old ads from the US warning against various “dangerous” European immigrant groups.

White wealth reaches historic high of twenty times black wealth

9 Jan

The Great Recession in Black Wealth

White wealth reaches historic high of twenty times black wealth.


Stop thanking the troops for me: No, they don’t “protect our freedoms!”

12 Nov

MONDAY, NOV 11, 2013 11:34 AM EST

Stop thanking the troops for me: No, they don’t “protect our freedoms!”

Why is pro sports constantly jamming military fervor down our throats? Their claims are wrong in more ways than one

“The combination of unanimous, entirely uncritical appreciation for the military, and the irrational belief that we owe gratitude to the troops for virtually everything we cherish in life, up to and including freedom itself, is very dangerous for our intellectual culture.”