- Slate: More than half of Republican voters still doubt President Obama was born in the U.S.
34% of Republicans are convinced that the president was not born in the United States. I think this gives us a good baseline of the percentage of the Republican Party that is racist and/or mentally ill. Another 18% just aren't sure, a bloc that I think we can just chalk up as dumb and/or ignorant. The leading presidential candidate among this choice group? Sarah Palin.
- New York Times: Like Magic, Great Sports Nicknames Are Disappearing
The heyday of nicknames was the early twentieth century. Looking at my grandmother's high school yearbook last week, I was surprised to see that the majority of her classmates went by a nickname—boys and girls alike. Now they're pretty uncommon. Why? Probably because of the increasing diversity of given names. The Times points out that, in 1956, the ten most popular names for boys went to a third of all boys. The top ten names given in 2010 were bestowed to 8.4% of all newborn boys. Nicknames are necessary when a group of friends has three Davids, three Daniels, and four Michaels. Now that our name pool is less homogenous, we just don't need them.
- Daily Progress: New poll shows Obama approval hits 60 percent
Most Americans agree that President Obama should be reelected. Two thirds agree that he's a strong leader who keeps us safe. Most approve of his handling of the economy, most approve of how he's handling unemployment, and almost half agree that the country is headed in the right direction.
- Public Policy Polling: A deeper look at the birthers
A 2009 "birther" poll of North Carolina residents found that 6% believe that Hawaii is not part of the United States, while 4% just aren't sure. That's one in ten North Carolinians who are not aware of one of the most fundmental facts of our nation.
- St. Petersburg Times: Can a complete novice become a golf pro with 10,000 hours of practice?
Malcolm Gladwell wrote in "Outliers" that it takes 10,000 hours of experience to become great at something. This 31-year-old is giving it a whirl, intending to spend 10,000 hours playing golf—a game in which he has no interest or abilities—over the next six years, with the intention of becoming a professional golfer with a permanent spot on the PGA Tour. He's 1,400 hours and one year into this grand experiment.
- Willamette Week: 9 Things The Rich Don’t Want You To Know About Taxes
The effective tax rate on the 400 wealthiest Americans is 16.6%. The top 1%? They pay 23%. Remember John Paulson, the hedge-fund manager who made $9,000,000,000 by betting against the housing market? He paid exactly $0 in taxes on that. That's because hedge-fund managers don't have to pay any income taxes—congress exempts them. That must be nice for them.