This and That

It is Friday afternoon September 29, 2017 and HHS Secretary Tom Price’s resignation is announced. The following are the times that the announcements from various news organizations hit my inbox.

4:40 p.m. Sam Baker, Axios
4:42 p.m. Politico
4:43 p.m. Washington Post (1st time)
4:54 p.m. Public Policy
4:56 p.m. New York Times
4:57 p.m. CNN
5:01 p.m. Washington Post (2nd time)
5:04 p.m. NBC
5:12 p.m. Washington Post (3rd time)
5:14 p.m. Huffington Post
5:24 p.m. NPR
5:37 p.m. The Daily Beast
5:59 p.m. The Atlantic Politics

It was subsequently reported to me that the news broke at 4:39 p.m. on Bloomberg (for subscribers). [Courtesy of Linda Douglass]

There are growing partisan divides on the role of government, racial discrimination and the role of immigrants.

“Government should do more to help the needy”:

  Rep/lean Rep Dem/lean Dem
2017 24% 71%
2010 25% 54%
1994 38% 58%

“Racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead”:

  Rep/lean Rep Dem/lean Dem
2017 14% 64%
2010 9% 28%
1994 26% 39%

“Immigrants strengthen the country with their hard work and talents”:

  Rep/lean Rep Dem/lean Dem
2017 42% 84%
2010 33% 55%
1994 32% 30%


After 10 months in office, Vice President Pence has broken more ties in the U.S. Senate than any of the past five Vice Presidents in their first year in office.

The first tiebreaking vote was cast by Vice President John Adams. Since then, 36 different VPs have broken 260 ties. Since 1981 there have been 24 tiebreaking votes cast by Vice Presidents. [Quorum]

In 2016 there were $122 billion dollars in mobile payments. This is up from $8.3 billion in 2011. In China there were $9 trillion dollars in mobile payments in 2016, up from $15 billion in 2011. [WSJ, 9/23-24/17]

68% of the people in STEM master’s degree programs in the U.S. and Canada last year were international students. In 1994 that number was 40%.

The median net worth for Americans with college degrees is $292,100 compared to $67,100 for those with a high school diploma. [FiveThirtyEight Newsletter, 10/6/17 – original source Quartz]

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has removed key information from its website about the recovery from Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico. A FEMA spokesman declined to explain the removal.

86% of Americans would allow DACA arrivals to stay in the United States and 79% believe that employers should have to verify that the people they hire are in the country legally. [Washington Post, 9/26/17]

19% of apparel sales were made online in 2016, up 11 percent in the last five years. Amazon is poised to enter the sportswear business, according to sources in the industry. This news initially depressed the stock prices of some companies already in the athletic apparel business. [Bloomberg]

In just over one month, 6,663 inmates in Texas contributed a cumulative $53,863 towards Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. This is serious charity from the group, many of whom typically have less than $5 in their commissary accounts. [The New York Times]

85% of U.S. adults would favor (47% strongly favor) automation if machines were limited to doing dangerous or unhealthy jobs. 58% of Americans say there should be limits on the number of jobs that businesses can replace with machines, even if those machines are better and cheaper. [PEW, 10/10/17]

So far, in special elections in 2017 Democrats have flipped 8 GOP held seats while the GOP has flipped 1 Democrat held seat. [Quorum, 10/14/17]

The Justice Department is sending a federal hate crimes lawyer to Iowa to help prosecute a man charged with fatally shooting a transgender teenager last year.

LGBT advocates have long been skeptical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ pledge to prosecute acts of violence against transgender people. But the rare move, outlined in recently filed court papers, is a sign that he intends to do so even as the Trump administration has taken other steps to erode the rights of transgender people broadly. The New York Times first reported the decision. [Washington Post, 10/15/17]

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who showed up on horseback for one of his early days in office, has instituted an arcane military ritual that no one can remember ever being used in the federal government. He has required that a special secretarial flag be flown from a flag pole on the top of the building whenever he is there. [Washington Post, 10/14]

In 2017, Americans are projected to consume 2,072,342.8 pounds of butter. One third of that butter will be produced by Grassland Dairy Products, Inc. [Bloomberg]