Terrorism is not hate

by WCE

As media elites have become, in my view, more narrow in their viewpoints, it becomes harder to find well-written essays that contradict what “everyone knows”. I liked this essay arguing that violent incidents with roots in a political decision are different from violent incidents with roots in hate. What do you think?

TERRORISM IS NOT HATE

… The violence he will commit is properly called terrorism. It is motivated by a political judgment, and committed by reactionary non-state actors in an asymmetric warfare with military powers. It is fundamentally different from incidents in which the perpetrator is deranged by some strong emotion—“hate”—as were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. We don’t call the Columbine massacre “terrorism.” Nor do we call the Sandy Hook massacre, with its mentally ill shooter, “terrorism.” In both cases, violence had psychological roots and no political meaning.

Terrorism has political roots. One could say that the Italian anarchists who (most historians assume) bombed Wall Street in 1920, killing thirty and injuring hundreds, “hated” capitalism. But their feelings about capitalism were incidental. Their judgment of capitalism—that it was unjust, and that in the interest of humanity it should be destroyed—was decisive. The same could be said for Alger Hiss. He was a communist spy not because he “hated” America, but because he thought history was on the side of communism. He made a political judgment and acted on it. The same could be said for Timothy McVeigh. He saw the United States government as an enemy of the people. Having formed this political judgment, he acted on it.

The same should be said for Muslim terrorists, including Omar Mateen. So why do our leaders, when speaking of the Orlando shooting, have recourse to “hate”?

Because our leaders cannot imagine a rational anti-Americanism. This is due in part to the narrowing effect of multiculturalism. Paradoxically, instead of broadening our capacity to entertain ways of thinking not our own, multiculturalism has made us parochial. We compliment ourselves endlessly for our tolerance, inclusiveness, and diversity. Since we are so tolerant of others, we assume, there is no reason others shouldn’t tolerate us. Since we are never offended, we must be inoffensive.

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Brexit

Two Totebaggers have Brexit on their minds.

by Finn

Now that the voters in the UK have spoken on Brexit, how does it affect you?

Some of us have jobs with companies that are based in Europe. Anyone whose jobs are in the financial sector probably will be affected more than most others.

Did anyone make any financial moves, or does anyone plan to make any financial moves, based on Brexit? Anyone see the resulting dip in the stock market as a buying opportunity?

 

by WCE

My attention to politics is limited but the Brexit vote has caught it. This article draws attention to what economists have long identified as the primary hurdle to a strong social safety net, global immigration.

Why Britain Left
The June 23 vote represents a huge popular rebellion against a future in which British people feel increasingly crowded within—and even crowded out of—their own country.

Stock market shenanigans?

by MBT

I read the book Flash Boys and found myself so appalled at how sketchy and underhanded the market is, and how little I know of how it works, that a handful of other people in my life got the book because I kept talking about it. The SEC has approved a new stock exchange run by the men who were central to the book.

IEX Group, Critical of Wall St., Gains Approval for Stock Exchange

Many of you know much more about the markets than I do. Do you see this as a good thing? Something that will last? Are the warnings that it could hurt small investors accurate?

National Parks

by Honolulu Mother

We’ve talked about national park visits before, but it’s summer so why not take the chance to reminisce, plan, and share experiences again.

This FiveThirtyEight article, The National Parks Have Never Been More Popular, notes that the park system continues to get more and more visits over the years. Even though on a per person basis we’re visiting a bit less often than previously, population growth has driven visitor numbers upward. The article goes on to list parks from the most-visited to the least-visited, so if you want to avoid a crowd you can look to the bottom of the list.

Based on the list, the least-visited one I’ve been to recently was Mesa Verde, which was indeed vastly less crowded than the Grand Canyon (our next stop) and for that reason was beautiful and peaceful in a way that Grand Canyon village really couldn’t compare with. We were able to sit out on our porch having a drink and watching the cottontails scurry around in the scrub outside our room while the daylight slowly faded, feeling like we had the place to ourselves.

And I clearly should plan a visit to the North Cascades, which MooshiMooshi so highly recommended and which is in a state we often visit!

What park experiences have stood out for you? What is the least-visited park on the list that you’ve been to? And do you think visitor numbers are all that important in planning a trip, or do you go with the theory that even in the Great Smoky Mountains, you’re pretty much on your own once you get a little way down a trail?

How important is work?

by Grace aka costofcollege

Why Do Americans Work So Much?

Economist Benjamin M. Friedman studied why “increased productivity has not translated into increased leisure time”.  One reason may be that because of economic inequality, the gains of increasing productivity are not widely shared.  But that’s not the whole explanation, because rich people work very hard.

… he theorized that for many top earners, work is a labor of love. They are doing work they care about and are interested in, and doing more of it isn’t such a burden—it may even be a pleasure. They derive meaning from their jobs, and it is an important part of how they think of themselves. And, of course, they are compensated for it at a level that makes it worth their while.

Is there a danger in eliminating the need for work?

Mickey Kaus fears a future in which robots do all the work and we, consequently, have no basis for self-respect.
“Evolutionarily, we are designed for work. We are unhappy when we’re not working. We become a sociopathic bachelor herd…. What do we do with all these people who have no productive work?”

Even if robots don’t eliminate the pressing need to work for money, would a universal basic income cause more people to forego employment?  Earlier this month Switzerland overwhelmingly rejected a plan to give a guaranteed monthly income to all residents.

The Dream—Or Is It a Nightmare?—of No Work

Work gives people something welfare never can. It’s a sense of self-worth and mastery, the feeling that we are in control of our lives. This is a source of abiding joy…. Studies show that people who receive public support are twice as likely as those not receiving public support to report feeling worthless. “Very happy” people work more hours each week than those who are “pretty happy,” who in turn work more hours than those who are “not too happy.”

Some people find it hard to imagine a fulfilled life without doing paid work or playing a key role in raising children.  Others find fulfillment in volunteer work.  What do you think?  How important is work?  Is it vital for self-respect and dignity?  Do we “need” to work?

Changes in Society Reflected in Wedding Announcements

by Honolulu Mother

In this article, Todd Schneider took a look at the changes in American society through the lens of the New York Times wedding announcements:

How love and marriage are changing, according to 63,000 New York Times wedding announcements

You can search for the trends he didn’t mention at his site, Wedding Crunchers.

What’s the weirdest or most notable change you’ve seen in wedding announcements, ceremonies, receptions, or another part of the wedding-industrial complex? Are you going to any summer weddings?

Overinvestment in College Lending

by WCE

College Loan Glut Worries Policy Makers

I was intrigued by this article, because both of my babysitters hoped to “go to college to improve themselves” but in my opinion, would have been more suited for a vocational program or apprenticeship.

I think that government continues to loan money to people who are poor risks (housing followed by education) because government is unwilling or unable to discern who is a worthy borrower without appearing racist or classist. Lending laws affecting banks and private lenders may or may not have similar effects, depending on how they are written and enforced. Lending money requires judging people and that’s hard for both social and policy reasons. Repayment depends in part on family/cultural background and not just on individual, statistical creditworthiness, which makes judgement even more complicated in a society where credit decisions are based solely on individual (or possibly married couple) attributes.

Agree or disagree? What do you think about a European-style approach to higher education, where slots are more subsidized but limited to applicants with higher demonstrated academic aptitude?

Excerpt:

The U.S. government over the last 15 years made a trillion-dollar investment to improve the nation’s workforce, productivity and economy. A big portion of that investment has now turned toxic, with echoes of the housing crisis.

The investment was in “human capital,” or, more specifically, higher education. The government helped finance tens of millions of tuitions as enrollment in U.S. colleges and graduate schools soared 24% from 2002 to 2012, rivaling the higher-education boom of the 1970s. Millions of others attended trade schools that award career certificates.

The government financed a large share of these educations through grants, low-interest loans and loan guarantees. Total outstanding student debt—almost all guaranteed or made directly by the federal government—has quadrupled since 2000 to $1.2 trillion today. The government also spent tens of billions of dollars in grants and tax credits for students.

New research shows a significant chunk of that investment backfired, with millions of students worse off for having gone to school. Many never learned new skills because they dropped out—and now carry debt they are unwilling or unable to repay. Policy makers worry that without a bigger intervention, those borrowers will become trapped for years and will ultimately hurt, rather than help, the nation’s economy.

Treasury Deputy Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin compares the 7 million student-loan borrowers in default—and millions of others who appear on the same path—to homeowners who found themselves underwater and headed toward foreclosure after the housing crash.

“We needed individual households to stabilize property values and help revive communities,” she said. “We want to stabilize this generation of student borrowers and revive their prospects for the future. I think students are essential to our future economic growth and contributions to productivity.”…

The Obama administration faced criticism that it was too slow to help ailing homeowners during the foreclosure crisis, which impeded the economy from recovering more quickly from the recession. The administration is determined to avoid similar criticism with student-loan borrowers.

It has already put forth an array of programs to help borrowers, including slashing monthly bills by tying payments to incomes, and forgiving some of their debt. But this time they face a different challenge: How to get borrowers to pay anything—even a penny—for an asset they never received.

Bad eats

by Louise

Guacamole Lovers Say Low-Fat Florida Avocados Are the Pits

I read this article with a smile. It is about the Florida avocado that doesn’t quite measure up to the Hass Avocado.  I am glad that fat is no longer on the bad list because some purchases of low-fat and sugar-free items didn’t go well in my house.

Totebaggers, any examples of food that you dislike ? Have you successfully substituted ingredients in any recipes ? How about those following or cooking a certain diet ? Any tips for the rest of us ?

Financial Benefits of Primping

by Honolulu Mother

This Washington Post article reports that for women, having a groomed and coiffed appearance seems to bring higher pay, well beyond the halo effect of attractiveness in general. I guess that Ipsy subscription isn’t an indulgence, it’s an investment.

While men also get an attractiveness bonus, theirs doesn’t hinge so much on grooming per se:

They found that a substantial amount of attractiveness was the result of grooming, and here’s where they found gender differences, Wong says. “For women, most of the attractiveness advantage comes from being well groomed. For men, only about half of the effect of attractiveness is due to grooming.”

For women, on the other hand, it seems we look disheveled at our peril:

In fact, as the charts below show, less attractive but more well-groomed women earned significantly more, on average, than attractive or very attractive women who weren’t considered well-groomed.

When I picture a senior woman in my field, the look that comes to mind could certainly be described as well-coiffed. I wouldn’t say the men are not well-groomed, though; it may be simply that there’s a lower bar for men to clear there. Totebaggers, do you see this effect in your profession?

Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

What’s on your mind today?  Current events?

Here’s a distraction if you’d like it.

Psychologists Have Invented a Test to Measure Your Secret Need for Drama

Can you predict any totebaggers who might score high on the need for drama?  I think most totebaggers avoid drama.  Do you know any drama queens in real life?  Is it mainly tiresome or fun to be around them?  How did you score?

Totebaggy travel

by winemama

How totebaggy are your vacations? Do you pass on the Mousetrap?

To me, teaching moments and travel go hand in hand. So our family vacations are designed to incorporate elements of enrichment: exposure to foreign culture, a brush with history, interaction with nature, discovery of new foods, engaging in activities that make us step outside our comfort zones. Sure, Disney is fun. But school breaks are few and handled with extreme care.

5 Family Vacations That Don’t Involve Disney World

Unwilling to move for better jobs?

by laurafrombaltimore

This article discusses Americans’ apparent decreased willingness to move for better economic opportunities.

Fewer Americans Strike Out for New Jobs, Crimping the Recovery

I’m not sure I really follow some of the arguments here. E.g., they point out that workers are not moving out of entry-level and temporary jobs at the same rate, but they characterize those short-term employment opportunities as “road-testing” by young workers; thus, they seem to assume that the change represents an intentional decision by these workers to be less adventurous and more risk-averse, when it seems that the far likelier explanation is that those workers have just not been able to find better jobs to move on to.

They also, IMO, give short shrift to the increase in two-earner families, and most specifically on the economic reliance of so many families on earning two paychecks. Their note that “the addition of career-minded women into the work force” might make it harder to move is buried in a list of many possible explanations. I haven’t found a definitive study, one site suggests that two-income families have increased from about 40% of married couple families in 1980 to about 60% today.

Working Family Values Factoids

The Department of Labor points out that much of this increase is comes in the higher-income quintiles (which is logical, as poor women generally didn’t have the choice to “opt out” of work and so had higher historic labor force participation to begin with).  (Scroll down to II.)

futurework Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century

And, of course, those higher-income jobs are likely the ones that are more likely to be specialized and more difficult to replace. Meaning, in sum, that there are more families relying on two jobs, and more of those families have jobs where it will be more difficult to find two comparable jobs somewhere else in the country.

What do you think? Is decreased mobility a problem? If so, what do you think are the root causes?

Procrastination

by Risley

Which Of These Five Types Of Procrastinator Are You?

I found this article on procrastination in my Twitter feed, and thought this group might want to discuss it. For me, the first 2 categories do not apply, but the last 3 do, and sometimes all 3 at the same time. I find that keeping my work space tidy all of the time (so I don’t need to waste a 2-hour chunk of any day cleaning up), making daily to-do lists (to keep me on task and to allow me to break up huge projects) and creating, and then being strict about, self-imposed deadlines are the most effective ways of keeping myself from putting things off (for too long). What kind of procrastinator are you, and how have you overcome it?

Safety First

by Louise

The basic — but often ignored — rules of zoo safety

The Gorilla Incident that occurred on Memorial Day Weekend caught my eye. I am a safety first person and get uncomfortable when others put themselves in dangerous situations. Though I can swim, I will heed all warnings about currents, not swimming too close to fishing piers etc.

Have you observed any dangerous behaviors? Any safety tips?

Online Reviews of TV Shows

by Honolulu Mother

Walt Hickey, writing for Fivethirtyeight, argues that men are skewing online reviews of tv shows aimed at women downward, while women reviewing shows aimed at men are not returning the favor:

Men Are Sabotaging The Online Reviews Of TV Shows Aimed At Women

Should we be mentally adjusting the review numbers when trying to compare across genres? I probably do that anyway, at least in the sense that I’ll notice that certain types of shows or movies seem to be universally lower-rated so if the premise sounds appealing, I shouldn’t assume that a low rating means I won’t like it. On the other hand, that thinking led me to waste 10 minutes of my life watching Another Period.

Do you review movies or tv shows online (Amazon counts)? Do you ever think about whether a show (or for that matter a book or product) was really aimed at you before rating it as a stinker?

Office dress codes?

by L

The end of the office dress code? Totebaggers, your thoughts?

The End of the Office Dress Code

Casual Friday and the ‘End of the Office Dress Code’

 

[Note:  Great minds think alike!  Louise sent in the same article with this comment:]

… But we can discuss all sorts of dress codes. School uniforms, prom fashions, guest at a party or wedding, bridal fashions, casual wear/athleisure – what’s acceptable, what’s not….

Can you foster a growth mindset?

by Honolulu Mother

This Pacific Standard article discusses research suggesting it’s best to encourage kids to think of intelligence as something that can be developed rather than an inherent ability that you have or don’t: How to Get Kids Into a Growth Mindset. I assume the same thinking would apply for other abilities, such as athletic talent, artistic or musical ability, or people skills.

Do you agree with this approach? Is it something you try to foster with your own kids?