2016 Politics open thread, December 4-10

The transition plans continue.

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456 thoughts on “2016 Politics open thread, December 4-10

  1. States have long given tax incentives to attract and retain business. So that doesn’t bother me so much. What bothers me more is the way this all happened. Not much thought, little planning, no analysis as to whether this is a good deal for the tax payers or what companies should benefit from this type of thing, etc. So, typical Trump. Throw something together and see what sticks. No discipline. All that matters is a splashy headline. We should be prepared to see a lot more of this stuff.

  2. How much thought and planning went into tax incentives and government handouts to so-called “green” industries?

  3. How much thought and planning went into tax incentives and government handouts to so-called “green” industries?

    So you approve of the government micromanaging private industry via a top down Washington directed industrial policy, you just objected to some of the money going to so called green industries?

    It’s interesting to watch Salon and The New York Times warm to Trump while the WSJ and Reason go into full panic mode.

  4. Rhett,

    I don’t approve of the general approach in either case. I have more confidence in the free market than in the judgment of politicians. But it is beyond hypocritical for those who backed the government loans to Solyndra suddenly to object to the Carrier deal. From what I can tell without having done extensive research, Trump isn’t any more undisciplined than Obama or Clinton.

  5. On Trump’s call with the President of Taiwan. Is Pence wrong with this comment today?

    “Pence said, “We’ll deal with policy after January the 20. This was a courtesy call and plus I have to tell you, George, it’s a little mystifying to me that President Obama can reach out to a murdering dictator in Cuba in the last year and be hailed as a hero for doing it and President-elect Donald Trump takes a courtesy call from a democratically elected leader in Taiwan and it’s become something of a controversy. I think the American people appreciate the fact that our president-elect is taking calls from and reaching out to the world and preparing on day one to lead America on the world stage.” ”
    http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/12/04/pence-mystifying-obama-a-hero-for-talking-to-dictators-but-its-a-controversy-trump-talks-to-taiwan/

    I will admit to ignorance of this whole issue, so please chime in if you have been following it.

  6. Pence is right. The media is grasping at straws trying to find some way to criticize Trump.

  7. I think they are testing the waters with a potential shift in policy. He hinted to that while campaigning. And anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the situation had to know that this would set off alarm bells for everyone. Pence is a smart guy. He knows what this meant. Either that or they are the 2 dumbs people alive.

  8. Rhett, I am also fascinated by the coverage in the WSJ of Trump and his incoming administration. Such a stark contrast.

    Scarlett, the issue isn’t whether she is a better leader or person. The issue is that China has, in the past, indicated a clear willingness to go to war with anyone over the issue of Taiwanese sovereignty. That has not been a battle the US in the past has been willing to pick, no matter its views on the democratic process in Taiwan.

    The question is, were Trumps actions a signal in policy shift, a testing of the waters, or ignorance of the stakes involved?

    Is China going to retaliate in some way – cyber attack? Lack of cooperation re North Korea? Or will it take a wait and see approach?

  9. “The media is grasping at straws trying to find some way to criticize Trump.”

    Milo – please do tell us when you disagree with Trump’s actions. So far you seem OK with everything he’s done and claim media and/or Democrats are whining or grasping at straws when they disagree.

  10. But it is beyond hypocritical for those who backed the government loans to Solyndra suddenly to object to the Carrier deal.

    They aren’t though – Salon and the NYTimes are on board. Trump, Salon and the NYTimes all agree on the need for the government to manage private industry.

  11. On tax incentives to attract and retain businesses – I think it’s too hard to generalize. South Carolina hit home runs with BMW, Boeing, and Volvo. But the deal packages and their pros and cons are so geographically specific that you can’t necessarily say the same would be true across the board.

  12. “Milo – please do tell us when you disagree with Trump’s actions. So far you seem OK with everything he’s done and claim media and/or Democrats are whining or grasping at straws when they disagree.”

    You bet. I’ll let you know.

  13. “Is China going to retaliate in some way – cyber attack? Lack of cooperation re North Korea? Or will it take a wait and see approach?”

    Going out on a limb here, but with friends like this, who needs enemies? It was a phone call. Not an announcement of a resumption of diplomatic relations. Again, I know next to nothing on the issue, but this reaction seems sensible:

    “We may see a repeat of the China-Taiwan intramural fireworks set off by the first Reagan team, with the early starters at the NSC pushing hard on Taiwan before the State appointees try to assert broader foreign policy interests. Of course, that still depends on who becomes secretary of state. So, as with all things Trump these days, it is probably too soon to draw long-term conclusions from this first phone call. All one can say is: kudos for caring about Taiwan, Mr. President-elect, but history suggests it is probably better to have an overall Asia strategy in place before picking your first fights with Beijing.”
    http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/12/03/how-bad-was-trumps-taiwan-phone-call/

  14. “Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives. Even corporations that weren’t thinking of offshoring jobs will most probably be reevaluating their stance this morning. And who would pay for the high cost for tax cuts that go to the richest businessmen in America? The working class of America.”

    Sanders didn’t like this deal. (this is from his WaPo article, which won’t link for some reason). Obama’s guy scoffed at it.

  15. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/04/after-carrier-deal-trump-vows-tax-35-percent-for-us-business-going-overseas.html

    This seems to hint at a different tack for the same effect. 35% tax rate (isn’t that the current tax rate??) for offshore profits, but something less for domestic. So one way to look at it is an across-the-board tax cut for domestic manufacturing, and just leave offshore ones alone. Seems like it could be a lot of loopholes and interpretation to figure out, but his heart’s in the right place. You can’t accuse him of not thinking big. And in a country that was wondering if we needed a basic universal income, I’d rather go this route.

  16. Going out on a limb here, but with friends like this, who needs enemies?

    That’s not going out on a limb, that’s living in the treehouse. It’s exactly the point – China is a significant threat to our stability, and also a much needed ally. China also stakes out positions that Americans see as irrational, particularly with regards to Hong Kong and Taiwan, but the One China policy is a hill China has indicated it’s willing to die on and would be willing to engage in military conflict over. It’s a very challenging relationship.

  17. I’m no economic genius (although I can draw a nice supply and demand curve) but how does a 35% tariff work? Doesn’t that just drive up prices and lead to inflation? Will it apply to Ivanka’s company? How is this going to be helpful? Companies stay in the US and charge high prices because wages are high here, they go out of business because they can’t afford that and can’t afford the tariff, or a tariff gets applied and raises the cost of goods. What am I missing?

  18. Scarlett,

    As far as I can tell, Milo and I are in total agreement. The free market has failed and it’s the duty of a micromanaging Washington based federal bureaucracy to manage our industrial policy.

    Do you disagree?

  19. Rhett – I’ll bite, and say I somewhat disagree, as I believe that for the most part* this is a function better left to the individual states, not the federal government. At the state level, I’m all for government creating incentives and pro-business environment, I believe that’s fundamental function of government, and different from pure free-market.

    *With the caveat that the federal government drives tariffs and taxes, both of which should be structured to encourage exports. I am more free trade at the federal level and less so at the state level, to the extent those two things can be reconciled.

  20. Lark,

    As a constitutional conservative I feel that:

    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    Means that the federal government has supreme authority to micromanage corprate America when it comes to their offshoring decision as well as their decision to relocate “among the several states.”

  21. Watching 60 Minutes as Paul Ryan gargles Trump’s saggy old man ball sack is something to behold.

    He has no shame.

  22. Paul Ryan – “My mom is already enjoying Medicare.”

    She’s already “enjoying” single payer healthcare?

  23. We need a radical change in our policy about China. I will never understand our foreign policy- how myopic and reactionary it. Why did we meddlein the Middle East. Those people were not worth our attention. But maybe some paranoids in Washington thought that since Russia was there, we needed to be there. While we seem to have a foreign policy that revolves around Russia, we have fed and grown true threat to this world- china. History has shown that China has always had imperial aspirations. It’s One China policy is euphemistically its imperialistic policy. Even when it did not have monetary and military strength, China has always been “expanding” its territory by claiming land belonging to neighboring nations. Now, China has grown strength to strength on backs of our outsourced jobs and stolen intellectual property.

    China and Russia have found each other and will be friends just to oppose USA. And our president can’t even make a phone call to Taiwan without repercussions not only from China, but also from our own myopic establishment.

  24. But it is beyond hypocritical for those who backed the government loans to Solyndra suddenly to object to the Carrier deal.

    You misunderstand. Like Rhett, I agree that the government can and should micromanage commerce. The thing we’re rolling our eyes about is that it’s exactly what Trump said he wouldn’t do.

  25. The thing we’re rolling our eyes about is that it’s exactly what Trump said he wouldn’t do.

    No, he’s doing exactly what he said he’d do. “Only I can fix it.” “I” being the CEO of American big government micromagaing the internal affairs of America’s corporations for the benefit of the workers.

  26. RMS,

    What can we call this micromanagement? Nationalist socialism*? Much like CoC and Scarlett, I can’t see why Lauren and Meme are concerned.

    * This is a smart group, said am I totally off base?

  27. “I’m an economic nationalist. I am an America first guy,” Bannon said in the interview.

    Palin is arguing he’s a nationalist socialist…is she wrong?

  28. Everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds, Rhett. The Republicans are in charge of everything and we needn’t worry our pretty little heads about anything anymore.

  29. RMS,

    It’s fine, if they were real nationalist socialists they’d be proposing a trillion dollars in infrastructure spending to get Americans working to perfecting our network of high speed auto routes. Oh… wait…

  30. On the topic of local politics:

    People familiar with the space questioned why the police did not do anything to shut down the Ghost Ship.

    Oh PUHLEEZ. If they HAD shut the Ghost Ship down, the NY Times would have published tear-stained articles about how there is no affordable living space in Oakland and how these poor dear artists were only trying to live together in affordable harmony and how building code violations are all about THE MAN oppressing poor dear impoverished noble artists.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/04/us/warehouse-party-fire-oakland-search.html?_r=0

  31. Ada – did you see what happened to Comet Ping Pong in DC that was subjected to the crazy HRC fake story? (I think it was you who originally commented on the fake news story). https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2016/12/04/d-c-police-respond-to-report-of-a-man-with-a-gun-at-comet-ping-pong-restaurant/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.e652dedc880

    He walked in with an assault rifle to investigate the crazy claims. People really are nuts.

  32. This guy was nuts, but plenty of others who are ostensibly sane will also fall for fake news. Perhaps they have never heard of snopes.
    The WSJ recently ran a story about the alarmingly large percentage of digital natives who have no clue how to evaluate the veracity of what appears online. Evidently parents need to add this skill to their lengthening list of “what to teach.” I wonder how college DS would have scored on that test.

  33. The authority to regulate commerce does not have to mean micromanagement, which I oppose. You can make the argument that the free market has floundered because it has not been free enough, so I would not concede that it has failed.

    I’m in a wait and see mode with Trump, hoping that his long- term economic policies end up with less restraint on the economy. When he talks about 35% tariff, I can’t see that as viable. But he’s a showman with a style that has had some success in the business world, and the art of the deal involves starting with proposals that can be negotiated down.

  34. The commerce clause gives Congress whatever power is set forth in it. Not the President. This is important. Hopefully Trump understands what Article 1 does and does not do.

  35. You can make the argument that the free market has floundered because it has not been free enough

    You could but that’s not the argument they are making. Quite the opposite in fact.

  36. RMS – I saw pictures of the interior of the Godt Ship. It looked like living in a World Market store. I don’t think the residents thought of it as dangerous because from the pictures, the spaces looked cozy and decorated. They were also paying rent to the guy who ran the artist collective.

  37. Dell, China and Russia will never be allies. Their one attempt fell apart rather quickly, They have deep suspicion of each other.
    China is a country that is more like us than you can imagine. They are intensely patriotic and like us, exceptionalists. They have also felt downtrodden for a long time, and are now happy to assert their power. However, I think they are more of an economic threat than a military threat, to us at least.

    My nightmare scenario, which I have posted here several times, is that Trump allies us with Russia and picks fights with China, leading to a war over Taiwan or Korea. Russian would love the chance to grab back some land in Manchuria. That phone call is making me a little nervous.

  38. “that’s not the argument they are making.”

    I think the proposed lower business taxes are an argument for a freer free market.

    MM — What do you think of Huntsman for Secretary of State?

  39. But, back to Pence. Did he always think this way privately and his comments back in 2008 were just what his donors and handlers told him to say? He has a JD so I can imagine he’s comfortable arguing both sides of an issue.

  40. I like Jon Huntsman, and he certainly knows a lot about China. He has kids adopted from China, did you know that? Anyway, I cannot imagine he would get chosen – too moderate for most Republicans, and not part of Trumps Circle O’Trust

  41. Rhett, yep I knew that. I think you really have to if you want to understand China. That is why, even though I read a lot (and even have a subscription to China Daily), I can’t say I really have good knowledge. Sometimes I think that we would do better vis a vis Chinese deals if we just had more people in our businesses who could speak Mandarin.

  42. When he talks about 35% tariff, I can’t see that as viable

    Why not? The spike in prices?

  43. “Why not? The spike in prices?”

    I’m on that side of the fence currently. I can see CEO’s working very hard to keep costs low by moving offshore, and finding a way to raise the bottom line by passing some if not all of the tariff to the consumer. If the industry has no “made in the USA” competition, the calculus is easier.

  44. Historically, prices go up on the US goods when there is a tariff because companies see it as a pretty easy way to increase profits. I don’t understand how this helps out the guy who is worried about putting food on the table for his family.

    I like Huntsman. I see him around McLean with his family sometimes and he seems like a nice guy. Unlike Newt who I also see around McLean. He does not seem so nice.

  45. If the industry has no “made in the USA” competition, the calculus is easier.

    If there isn’t any domestic competition someone will open a factory to supply it. If the numbers work out.

  46. “If the numbers work out.”

    That’s a big if. And then it depends on which state can provide the best “deal” (taxes, incentives, whatever) to get that factory. Having 2 tiers of structure – federal and state – doesn’t make it easy to open up anything. I don’t know if the federal should control all or the state should control all, but I can imagine this new tariff as a way to get states to compete against each other harder than they already do.

    At the end of the day the taxpayer will pay something of this tariff – either as an increase in the price of the goods, or through taxes to support keeping (or establishing) a factory.

  47. Kate, that is pretty bad. Agree that Flynn, and Trump, and most politicians for that matter, should probably go cold turkey and quit Twitter. The word “tweet” detracts from the gravitas of whatever was tweeted.

  48. Kerri, if Carson’s performance as candidate is any indication, HUD is going to be a mellooooow place to work

  49. I looked at the comments section of the NYT article discussing Carson’s appointment. I specifically clicked on the tab that said “NYT picks”. 7/8 praise Carson’s appointment based on (1) he’s lived the life and (2) Trump did promise to “drain the swamp”. Seems to support Rhett’s thoughts that the NYT has now all but endorsed Trump as an awesome President…

    I can’t say for certain I agree or disagree with Carson’s appointment. All I can do is hope that Carson, with all his brains, knows enough to start reading up on all the legislation, and background info available from HUD. Not just his experience having lived the life and working with folks currently living the life, but even experience and information from those who worked and led HUD. I’m all for new blood, provided that the new blood prepares for the task at hand.

  50. “I don’t understand how this helps out the guy who is worried about putting food on the table for his family. ”

    This guy may have a job which could have been shipped overseas. I love the fact that Trump is bad mouthing companies that ship jobs overseas. We need more of that. Imagine if there were no bar exam or residency requirement in the US. Then lawyers and doctors would be exposed to the same competition that factory workers are. We elite have our protections, but we want to deny it to others.

  51. I, too, think Huntsman would make a great SOS choice. Is he being considered? If so, I missed it.

  52. When he talks about 35% tariff, I can’t see that as viable

    Why not? The spike in prices?

    Won’t this set up the situation for a trade war if retaliatory action is taken by other countries?  But generally speaking, I oppose government bureaucrats making business decisions.  It’s inefficient and increases the opportunity for graft.  I don’t want the most politically connected companies to be favored in government action.  While the exact effects of particular trade restrictions may be unknown, it seems wiser to promote free trade with only few restrictions.

  53. Kate, but that’s what everyone has said (Obama, Clinton, Bush, Clinton, Bush, etc.), and it resulted in destroying some portion of our heavy industries. Sure, we get cheaper cars, but on the backs of people who work in steel.

  54. Houston said “Then lawyers and doctors would be exposed to the same competition that factory workers are. We elite have our protections, but we want to deny it to others.”

    I worked in a field that famously did not have those protections, and in the late 90’s through mid 00’s, lots of jobs did head to India. But you know what happened? Most of them came back. It turns out that if knowledge is critical, companies end up wanting to keep it in house. And the story of the last 10 years has been that industry finally gets that a lot of their core business intelligence is wound up in the software.

    The problem for factory workers is that historically, they haven’t been seen as a core resource. But i have heard some people worry that as we offshore manufacturing, a lot of core knowledge is lost. How do we get companies to understand that?

  55. A big issue in the steel industry was technological advances. I guess we could refuse to allow advances so that we maintain more jobs in that industry, but that seems kind of crazy. And artificial propping up an industry also doesn’t seem to work. I think the best we can do is help people train for the jobs that are in growing industries and provide a broad safety net. But I am totally ok with some redistribution of wealth because it has become so concentrated in large part due to technological advances and who benefits from those. To me, it is crazy to think that a president or Congress can engineer this stuff so that we see a maximization of utility for everyone. And this is setting aside any issues there are as to whether a President or Congress has the Constitutional power to do that.

  56. Moooshi, i strongly disagree with you re China. I for one would love to see US align politically with Russia against China. Time to shake things up because what we have been doing so far has not been working. Frankly I am more scared of a strong China than a strong Russia. I have a feeling that in some years, people will be left wondering about why we ignored china’s hegemonic designs and actually provided it with weapons to and tools to fight us.

  57. Outsourcing of manufacturing to China and Mexico is the core reason behind the dissatisfaction and disenfranchisement felt by the working class. Sure some competition is good and people really need to retool etc, but lets not make it so difficult for people to even find a toehold and take it from there.
    One of the few things I agreed with Trump on was bringing our manufacturing jobs back, helping keep and grow those skill sets and preventing ope stealing of intellectual property by China/Korea.

    I am in the market for a new tv and how sad it is that none of them are made here.

  58. If we align with Russia against China, we will end up in a terrible war. I do not want that to happen.
    I do not like what is currently happening in China, which seems to be a resurgence of the same ethno-nationalism that is plaguing so many countries. I don’t care for the new President Xi, who isn’t so new anymore but I still think of him that way. He is definitely playing the nationalist card. But I still dislike the ultimate ethno-nationalist strongman, Vladimir Putin, far more. Back when they held the Olympics in Sochi, Putin was at the opening ceremonies and when the camera panned across his face, I told my kids “Look at this man. This man is evil. Do not forget his face”. A few weeks later, Russia marched into Ukraine and annexed Crimea.

  59. Yes, it is sad and terrible that TVs are not made in the US any more. But the fact that it is so much cheaper to make them in China (or these days, cheaper countries), is the reason that everyone can afford to have a TV set in every room in the house. It is the reason we can own so many clothes that we need huge closets, thus driving the construction industry. I am sadly old enough to kind of remember the world before cheap, globally made goods. We owned far fewer clothes, most people owned one TV, and many families still only had one car. People could live in smaller houses because they owned less crap. Now, we totebaggers may see that kind of downsizing as an ideal, but I guarantee you your average lower middle class person does not want to go back to that. They like being able to afford enough clothes at Walmart. They like owning two or more cars, and maybe a motorcycle too. They like having affordable game consoles and smartphones.

  60. The other thing we are all forgetting is that technology will increasingly cut the need for lots of factory workers. I don’t know how we put that genie back in the bottle. Ban all software? Kind of like the ban on magic in the BBC series Merlin? I think it is going to be a problem worldwide, because technology is cutting the need for so many workers not just in the US but also in China, and soon, places like Vietnam and Pakistan. It is already a huge problem in China. They used protectionism to advance their economy quickly through the coal-driven heavy manufacturing aspects of the Industrial Revolution, but now they are stuck there and need to move on. Protectionism no longer is helping them so much.

  61. I also think how we define “made in the USA” is part of the equation. Do we mean “assembled in the USA made from parts outside the US”, or a soup-to-nuts thing where every wire, circuit board, and screw is made in the USA, or some percentage of parts are made in the USA?

    I’m curious how many companies are “soup-to-nuts” made in the USA.

  62. China has been grappling with this very issue. They have increased wages a lot and passed worker protection laws. They aren’t up to our standards, but they are doing better. But there are those in the government who are critical because they say better worker protections mean that jobs go to Vietnam and Thailand. Sounds like a familiar debate, eh?
    http://www.scmp.com/news/china/economy/article/1923075/are-higher-wages-and-benefits-chinas-workers-harming-its-economy

  63. I like many of our employment laws and protections, too. But I think we are seriously kidding ourselves if we don’t think tariffs and requiring things to be manufactured in the US won’t cause a big price increase here. As as far as I can tell, we feel bad when something terrible happens to workers in countries with less safe working conditions but not bad enough to make us pick a higher priced good.

  64. No I don’t want to work under those conditions but that is the lament of the working class person. They didn’t lose their jobs because they’re obsolete but they were moved so that the rich can remain rich by increasing profit margins and other working professionals can have their cheap televisions. They want to the government to make it possible for their jobs to come back and to make a decent living. They way they view it is they alone are paying the price and worse they are being called deplorable because they don’t prescribe to “globalism”.

    So they question I would ask is why are we importing products from countries that don’t protect their workers?

  65. usuallylurks, it is the working class who most appreciate the cheap globally made goods. Those are the people who fill Walmart. The rich professionals can afford to worry about locally sourced food and artisinal products made in the US. Working class folks all have TVs because they can be made cheaply. I would argue that they are the people who will be most hurt by tariffs.

  66. “Hey look! Facts don’t matter to 2 branches of government.”

    This is hugely dangerous and my second-biggest concern with the new administration (after the civil rights stuff), but my concerns are not limited to the new administration (they’re just the ones doing this currently). The problem arises when the desire to defeat an individual candidate leads to casting aspersions on an entire system, because keeping/regaining power is worth whatever it takes to get there. But people don’t seem to care that when you constantly do that, you erode any sense of trust in government, period — it becomes not about whether bigger vs. smaller government is better, or to what extent the government should regulate trade or protect civil rights, or whether the electoral college remains the best way to elect a President, or any other specific political issue, but instead rather our government has any credibility and authority at all. And the message that scares me from the last campaign is the number of people who are fundamentally cynical about everything. I mean, when Republicans distrusted government, they at least trusted business; when Democrats distrusted business, they at least trusted government. Now we have a growing number of people who have lost faith in any institutions — government, business, science, education, etc. — who believe *everything* is rigged and there is nothing they can do about it except either opt out or literally fight back. Because if we, the electorate in general, lose faith in the validity of all of our institutions, what holds us together as a nation or a society any more?

    The fundamental problem is that it is very, very easy to get angry and frustrated and rail against something, to turn your back on something that you feel has turned its back on your. It is a lot harder to stand *for* something, to commit to a system and try to make it better. And that is what the people we elect are supposed to do — work within the system we have to fix its problems and plug the holes. Sure, you can be angry and rail against the problems, but you need to buy into the validity of the system itself — especially once you are elected. Our system is incredibly flawed, but it is still the one we’ve got, and I believe it’s the best one out there today. So it makes me very, very angry and scared when I hear the *winners* continuing to play up the sense that the whole system is rigged as a political ploy to rile up their base and solidify their position (and I’d be equally mad if it were my side doing it). Because it prioritizes short-term success over the long-term health of this country. At some point we’re all going to have to start talking to each other again and meet somewhere in the middle, or we’re just going to fly apart.

    So, yeah, Mr. Ryan, it does matter when our President-elect continues to undercut the validity of the very system he was elected to uphold and improve.

  67. “I think you really have to [speak Mandarin] if you want to understand China. ”

    This makes me wonder how many pockets still exist of Chinese people who don’t speak Mandarin.

    Back when I was living in SV, my understanding was that Mandarin wasn’t spoken much in SF Chinatown. The most commonly spoken languages were Cantonese and English.

    My understanding also is back in the 50 and into the 60s, perhaps even the 70s, spoken language in China was a bunch of dialects, and a big reason for high literacy there was that those dialects shared a common written language.

  68. “I love the fact that Trump is bad mouthing companies that ship jobs overseas. We need more of that. ”

    My guess is that Trump will be much better with the bully pulpit than Obama.

  69. Yes, in the past people spoke things other than Mandarin (and these were not just dialects). Cantonese and Wu (Shanghainese), as well as other smaller languages. But Mandarin was promoted as the standard language starting with Mao, and generations have learned it in school. So anyone who is educated can speak Mandarin, and read the simplified characters (Taiwanese still use traditional characters).

  70. “But Mandarin was promoted as the standard language starting with Mao”

    I’ve read that languages are dying out in China at a quite high rate.

  71. “Outsourcing of manufacturing to China and Mexico is the core reason behind the dissatisfaction and disenfranchisement felt by the working class.”

    And a common perception is that NAFTA facilitated the outsourcing of a lot of manufacturing to Mexico.

    I’m old enough to remember when there was concern about auto manufacturing being outsourced to Canada.

  72. Former US Ambassador to China and Governor Jon Huntsman , a contender for secretary of state in the Trump administration, says President-elect Donald J. Trump was “absolutely right” to take a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a breach of diplomatic protocol. — ABC News

  73. “President-elect Donald J. Trump was “absolutely right” to take a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen”

    Should he have let it go to voicemail instead?

  74. LFB and Kate- do you think the HuffPost would fairly report anything regarding Ryan and Trump? I don’t think Ryan would say what they are implying he is saying. If they were – I would agree with LFB, but I’m sure there is some selective quoting, omission of key context, etc.

  75. There is some evidence of illegal voting, if not 4 million votes worth:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/do-illegal-votes-decide-elections-1480551000

    But it’s a but hypocritical to now be wringing our hands about how “facts don’t matter to Trump!”

    How many times has Barack Obama commented on a storm/drought/tornado/fire and claimed it was caused by Global Warming, even though there’s no evidence of that and even the scientists who promote the global warming theory say it’s not linked?

    How many times has Obama or Hillary talked about the gender pay gap and implied that the entire .75:1 ratio (or whatever it is) was legitimate?

    Let’s not act as though Trump is the first politician to take some liberties with the facts.

  76. How many times has Barack Obama commented on a storm/drought/tornado/fire and claimed it was caused by Global Warming

    How many?

  77. Mafalda – I have the 60 Minutes episode recorded but haven’t watched it yet. I will report back when I do. Rhett – you watched it, right? Do you think he is being mischaracterized?

    We have seen instance after instance where Trump says that he didn’t say or tweet something and we have him on tape or a screen shot of his tweet saying that very thing. We have our future National Security Advisor who has tweeted crazy made-up things multiple times. No one cares. So, I would not been surprised at all to learn that Ryan said this and he isn’t being misinterpreted. He wants to keep his job and realize his goal of privatization no matter what he has to do to get there. He is really gross.

  78. Milo and crew – I will start taking you posts seriously when you are able to criticize Trump, Pence, Ryan, Priebus, Bannon and crew in any meaningful respect instead of constantly berating those who did not vote for Trump or Republicans and citing only the failings of politicians you don’t like as a counterargument. If your only defense is to complain about what Liberals and Democrats do, then I am done listening You are now a Charlie brown character to my ears.

  79. Kerri – that’s unfortunate, I suppose. But how else can one say “this is nothing new, stop acting like it is” without providing a counter example?

  80. “The other thing we are all forgetting is that technology will increasingly cut the need for lots of factory workers.”

    Not just factory workers. E.g., look at what the internet has done to travel agents and stock brokers.

    In my first job out of college, we had two department secretaries, who spent much of their time retyping and distributing memos. Within a few years, that had been largely replaced by an internal email system.

  81. Milo – you really don’t see the difference between that and what Trump does? Or Ryan saying that he doesn’t care if Trump says what he says?

  82. I don’t see much difference, no. In each instance, the politician is trying to draw attention to something by making exaggerated claims.

  83. I think that’s an embarrassment for him getting duped. Has it happened regularly?

    Then again, there’s a lot of “fake news” out there. It’s just a matter of degree.

  84. He has posted on more than one occasion fake stories. His son (who is his advisor and now appears to work for the govt in some capacity based on his .gov email address) is doubling down on pizzagate and saying it is true until proven otherwise. And what is weird is that it isn’t clear that Flynn’s original tweet was referencing Comet Ping Pong but more generally an HRC sex scandal because of Epstein (who strangely is also a friend of Trump’s). The whole thing is nuts and I have a hard time understanding how an old general gets caught up in it.

  85. Obama also finds the facts about black victims of police shootings to be inconvenient obstacles to his embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement.

    “Blacks made up a lower percentage of those police-shooting victims—26%—than would be predicted by the higher black involvement in violent crime. Whites made up 50% of police shooting victims, but you would never know it from media coverage. Note also that police officers face an 18.5 times greater chance of being killed by a black male than an unarmed black male has of being killed by a police officer.

    Indifferent to these facts, President Obama on Thursday, referring to the police killings in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, said: “[T]hese are not isolated incidents. They’re symptomatic of a broader set of racial disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.” He made another sweeping allegation of law-enforcement racism, saying that there “are problems across our criminal justice system, there are biases—some conscious and unconscious—that have to be rooted out.” And he claimed that higher rates of arrests and stops among blacks reflect police discrimination; naturally, Mr. Obama remained silent about blacks’ far higher rates of crime.”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/time-to-end-the-demonizing-of-police-1468363042

  86. “Not to mention environmental laws. ”

    Don’t worry about those Finn… Ebell will make sure those laws are stricken from the books to support our growing commerce. Because, paraphrasing Trump, the environment will be OK without regulation.

  87. “Let’s not act as though Trump is the first politician to take some liberties with the facts.”

    That is in no way my complaint. My concern is with “liberties” with facts that are intended to play on fears that our entire system of government is illegitimate. There’s a reason many rational people on both sides of the debate went through the roof when Trump started tweeting about massive voter fraud and respecting the results of the election only if it went his way.

  88. Milo and Scarlett – I think it really hurts a good discussion when someone raises a concern about Trump or a Trump policy and the response from one of you is “but Hillary did it!” “but Obama did it!”.

    You seem to believe that the person raising the concern cares when Trump does it but doesn’t care when someone else does it. You have no basis for that belief – we on this board didn’t have an election string to discuss this issues until recently. It’s like one of my kids getting caught for something and using the defense that his brother does it. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    It IS a fair question – if “your” party engaged in the same fact pattern, would it bother you, or are their circumstances under which you would agree with doing/saying XYZ. But that’s not what you’re doing.

    Trump is so outside the norm that this could be a really great place to discuss his policies/actions/etc. But the two of you are really reacting so emotionally without a discussion of the underlying policy, that I find it hard to engage. It’s uncharacteristic of both of you.

    This is going to come across as unkind and I don’t mean it that way. But you two represent such an interesting side of the conservative thought, that I would like to hear more of what you really think, and how you really philosophically approach things, which is why I am writing this.

  89. Lark,
    You’re not being unkind. Perhaps the abbreviated format and the tendency of many of us to post quickly in order to keep up with the discussion sometimes leaves the wrong impression. Can’t speak for Milo, but my intention in bringing up examples of Obama’s behavior is to counter the narrative that you and others have been repeating — that Trump is such an outlier and so different from his predecessors that we all need to be on high alert. Perhaps he is an outlier and different, but not with respect to most of the matters we have been discussing, such as ignoring inconvenient facts.
    Does that make sense?

  90. Rhett’s question regarding Obama’s comments on climate change sent me to Google. I had forgotten that the man who resists admitting that Islamic jihad is fueled by Islam nevertheless claims that global warming may be to blame.

    “What we know is that — as human beings are placed under strain, then bad things happen,” the president told co-host Norah O’Donnell, in a conversation taped Wednesday. “And, you know, if you look at world history, whenever people are desperate, when people start lacking food, when people — are not able to make a living or take care of their families — that’s when ideologies arise that are dangerous.” (From the WaPo 12/4/15). Pay no attention to the fact that, for some reason, these dangerous ideologies don’t arise in, say Australia, a country often plagued by drought.

    “Understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world,” the president said. “Yet, what we also know is that severe drought helped create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram.”

    “It’s now believed,” Obama added, “that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East.”

    http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/say-what-obama-links-global-warming-boko-haram-isis

    Sorry, Lark, but Trump doesn’t seem like such an outlier.

  91. “But you two represent such an interesting side of the conservative thought”

    My perception, based on postings here, is that Milo isn’t all that conservative. I see him as pretty moderate.

  92. “but my intention in bringing up examples of Obama’s behavior is to counter the narrative that you and others have been repeating — that Trump is such an outlier and so different from his predecessors”

    This, exactly. When your argument is that this is an unprecedented situation where facts don’t matter, we’re showing that it’s nothing new.

  93. When I saw outlier, I mean the unorthodox way he won the election and is overseeing the transition. I don’t necessarily mean on policy.

  94. *say outlier

    Unconventional is probably a better word than unorthodox. And again, I’m referring to process not policy. I don’t think we yet know enough about policy.

  95. @Scarlett: Per your 4:26 response, I do think there is a difference in the kinds of “facts” involved. The examples you and Milo cited are what I would call “interpretation of facts” — e.g., statistics. I think those examples are very much the classic political yelling — you pick your statistics, I pick mine, we argue about whose are “right” and what they mean, etc. That’s the sort of stuff we do every day here, and what politicians have been doing since time immemorial.

    I also think I get the frustration from your/Milo’s side, in that many of the “facts don’t matter” news stories seem to start from the assumption that the liberal view of the world qualifies as “fact,” and that therefore anyone who disagrees is either stupid or willfully blind. That approach is condescending and insulting and gets in the way of substantive discussion. You guys helped me learn to spot that better.

    But it does seem to me that we are in the middle of a big shift from that kind of business as usual to what looks like a total divorce between the facts and the arguments — e.g., doubling down on voter fraud claims with zero evidence; the “I never said that”/”I never did that” despite obvious overwhelming evidence to the contrary; all the “fake news” stuff, as exemplified by this ridiculous story about the pizza parlor and the apparent predominance of various conspiracy theories; etc.

    Again, I think this is a different issue than the concern I expressed above about undermining the legitimacy of our government. But it bothers me. It is so much easier to make stuff up and get it aired, and as those tweets show, once it’s out there, it basically never goes away. And I think it really makes it more difficult to engage in any meaningful discussion on the national level when facts seem to be optional.

  96. Name one other president who has made claims that there is widespread voting fraud. While also saying that we need to accept the election results.

    He is absolutely an outlier.

  97. I voted for Clinton and can’t believe we will soon have a President Trump, but he has the opportunity to move the needle in a bunch of positive ways. He may or may not take the opportunity, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

  98. Perhaps I am not recalling correctly but in recent Presidential transitions I haven’t seen this level of scrutiny for the Presidents picks.
    Also, the outgoing President was still in charge and the President elect was quietly transitioning but this time around things seem topsy turvy with all the attention, the President elect actively engaged in things like the factory/job situations etc.

  99. Politicians (usually Republican) make the argument of voter fraud all the time. I don’t think this view is particularly radical. However, it’s foolish for Trump to make a big deal of it, since he won the election.

  100. Perhaps I am not recalling correctly but in recent Presidential transitions I haven’t seen this level of scrutiny for the Presidents picks.

    Obama knew he was going to win in 2008 so a lot of these decisions had already been made when he won. Romney though he was going to win so he had dozens of people working on a meticlous transition plan. Trump thought transition planning was bad luck so the process is occurring out in the open.

  101. “Tu quoque” is a fallacy. So stop using it.”

    No. Not when the argument is “we’ve never seen this before.”

  102. Milo, what I’m saying is when someone says “what do you think of Trump doing XYZ”, I’m interested in what you think of it. I wish you would offer that, rather than saying “Obama did it!”

    Fair enough on calling out the pearl clutching, but I think the discussion in the past week has been much less of that, and much more an effort to actually discuss the policy.

    Again, I raise this only because I’m interested in your substantive thoughts as a conservative voter, not your emotional reaction.

  103. Louise said “Also, the outgoing President was still in charge and the President elect was quietly transitioning ”
    You may recall, we were in a global financial meltdown at that time. People mainly were paying attention to Paulson and tracking obscure daily financial indexes to see if the banks were going to crash. People were petrified.

  104. IMO, what is different about Trump is that he is a business person, not a lawyer or professional politician. As a lawyer married to an academic, I can relate far more easily to Obama or the Clintons, which may explain part of why those three people rub me the wrong way. They remind me of people I went to school with, or worked with, or deal with now in a university setting. Their strengths are familiar, but so are their weaknesses, all of which I share to some degree.

    I don’t get Trump. He is not a Totebagger, and for all of the arguments I raise with this group, you are definitely my kind of people, and he is not. I was absolutely horrified when he tossed his hat in the ring, and assumed, like most of you, that he would go down in flames because NO ONE I knew thought he had a chance. Some of Milo’s comments made me rethink my knee-jerk negative reaction to someone who isn’t as articulate and wonkish as I imagine a President should be. And Rhett has made me rethink the relative unimportance, in many business settings, of having the TSA reports all nicely filed. He wasn’t my candidate, but I held my nose and voted for him because I couldn’t vote for Clinton, and I wanted to “own” the results, not just watch what happened from the sidelines. But I was conflicted enough to refuse to tell anyone IRL.

    So now he is our President-elect, and I am resolved to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the best about his intentions. I am happy that so many serious people have been willing to serve in his Administration, despite their misgivings about his policies or personality or both.

  105. Lark – I groaned when I first heard it. But I think that’s just how he deals, it’s like an opening bid. Throw out the 4M figure, get everyone talking, let the liberal media scream “it’s a lie!,” let the WSJ write the article I linked above that says actually, there is a not-insignificant number of illegal aliens registered to vote (they show up for jury duty on a regular basis!).

    Even the Huff Post recently conceded that Trump knows exactly what he’s doing controlling the narrative.

    I don’t necessarily like the means, but what I think doesn’t matter.

  106. Scarlett, having been around NYC since the 80’s, and having watched Trump all that time (you couldn’t miss him in the NYC of the late 80’s), I do get what he is. He is a figure straight out of Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine. He is a person who mainly exists to be a celebrity. It is like he walked straight out of Bonfire of the Vanities. There is nothing more under the covers. That is why people like Gore are so eager to get to him, because he will spout whatever he last heard.

    His business in recent years has mainly been based on name licensing, which is where his Interview magazine cachet pays off. Why do you think Bloomberg hates him so much? Bloomberg knows him well, from being mayor but also from being a fellow New Yorker who built a very sucessful business. Bloomberg knows there is no there there.

  107. Mooshi – you don’t get elected President without there being something there. And he was no Harding pushed in by the Party. He did it with no support from either party, and his own party ganging up on him at times.

    Ignoring that you don’t like him; what he achieved makes him the biggest political genius of at least the past century of American history.

  108. what is there is an intense focus on his own fame and celebrity. And yeah, these days, I think it can get you elected president.

  109. The Kardashians are focused on fame and celebrity, but they’re not getting to the Oval Office. Trump did. He beat so many candidates who had been planning their runs for years, or even decades in Hillary’s case.

  110. “Ignoring that you don’t like him; what he achieved makes him the biggest political genius of at least the past century of American history.”

    Funny thing – I think you can say exactly the same of Obama. Except he hadn’t been a celeb for the 35 years preceding. But in terms of straight political genius, I think they were pretty similar. Both knew how to catch a wave.

  111. Trump essentially is a Kardashian. If not him, perhaps one of them would have done it.

  112. Obama is pretty smart, and defeating “likable enough” Hillary was impressive.

    But it’s nothing compared to what Trump pulled off.

  113. One difference though – Obama was astute enough to know he would win. Trump truly was suprised. That is why I don’t see the political genius. Instead, I see the Warhol-celeb who was as astounded as anyone else when he won. And seriously, beyond the instinctive knowledge of how to be famous, there is nothing else there. That is why, when he spouts nonsense, he doesn’t even care. It is all the same to him, truth, falsehood – all image. He can be a Democrat one day, a Republican the next because it doesn’t matter to him.

    And Melania, boy, not only did she not think he would win, but she wanted no part of it.

    Watching him these days, I have come to the conclusion that he has surrounded himself with people who flatter him, and will folllow whatever policy they tell him to follow, but will continue to use his flair for being famous to push those policies.

    What happens to poor Melania?

  114. “But it’s nothing compared to what Trump pulled off.”

    I totally disagree. He was The Other, with the Musliim middle name and the time spent in Indonesia, and the egghead persona. Americans don’t vote for eggheads, especially not dark ones who are not well known and who have a funny name. And yet he pulled it off. Twice. And won the popular vote both times too.

  115. “Trump truly was suprised.”

    That indicates some realism. He still pulled it off, and he did so in exactly the way he strategized.

    Contrast it with the other side having celebratory champagne toasts on the plane.

  116. “Americans don’t vote for eggheads, especially not dark ones who are not well known and who have a funny name. ”

    There’s the tired racism charge. They did vote for him, twice, and then a large number of those same people and same counties voted for Trump. Maybe it’s time we dropped the “average Americans are all racist” schtick. Its tiresome.

  117. I am not talking about overt racism here. Obama was just different. We had never had a president before who looked like him and who had his image of being vaguely foreign. I can remember when he was running, my relatives would send me all the stuff they were saying about him in KY, and I would show this to my NY friends as evidence that he was unelectable. I did really think he was unelectable at first. But he pulled it off, and twice. With the popular vote.

  118. Even if Trump thought he would lose, he went down fighting by campaigning in Rust Belt states with narrow margins. Given the margins with which Obama won some of those states, and a decline in African American voter turnout in Detroit, etc. that even I could predict, I don’t understand why HRC didn’t campaign more in Rust Belt states at the end.

  119. I was going to add what WCE said. The man has some serious stamina, and he didn’t give up, even when his own party was asking him to bow out.

    A different perspective on the “Trump is a buffoon for answering the Taiwan call; he has no idea what he’s doing!”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-taiwan-call-wasnt-a-blunder-it-was-brilliant/2016/12/05/d10169a2-bb00-11e6-ac85-094a21c44abc_story.html?utm_term=.a952edb29ddc

    At some point, people are going to have to acknowledge that he only acts like he’s shooting from the hip.

  120. I saw Trump’s interview with Oprah done a while ago. From that it appears, he wanted to be President for a long time. He saw his opening and took it.

  121. Mooshi, if you go back to 2004, when he made the keynote address at the DNC, a lot of people were talking about him as a future POTUS.

  122. “Americans don’t vote for eggheads, especially not dark ones who are not well known and who have a funny name.”

    Black Americans voted for him because he was black. Period.
    Young people voted for him because he was cool. And relatively young.
    Liberals voted for him because he was “progressive.” And cool.
    Women voted for him because they liked his wife.

    Obama had zero serious credentials to be President. He never really practiced law, and wasn’t a real academic. His supporters were drawn by the image. Not that much different than many of Trump’s supporters, who were attracted by his image as an non-politician unafraid to speak his mind.

  123. Scarlett, so I guess both are political geniuses of similar caliber. Except that Obama did it twice AND won the popular vote.

  124. “Obama did it twice AND won the popular vote.”

    With the support of his party and a fawning media. Trump did it with both parties against him. (The exception is that Obama had to prove his legitimacy against the Clinton Machine, but once he did, everyone in his party was on board.)

    The next political test for Trump will be the midterms. Obama’s party leadership over those proved that Obama’s genius is limited to getting Obama elected.

  125. People in the home country didn’t think Obama would get elected but I thought otherwise. People there thought that Hillary would be elected but they were less sure because the electorate here had elected Obama twice. It showed in a way, that candidates outside the traditional mould were not to be written off. Hillary as first woman President wasn’t seen as a big deal. Obama as the first black President was seen as a huge deal.

  126. MM, they are both men who have benefitted from the cult of personality.
    But, as Milo points out, Obama’s cult included both his party and the mainstream media.

    “I’ve been following politics since I was about 5,” said Mr. Matthews. “I’ve never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament. This is surprising.”

    There was a whole lot of messianic hope and change going on just 8 years ago, and virtually none of it was based on the candidate’s actual experience or qualifications.

  127. “Obama had zero serious credentials to be President. He never really practiced law, and wasn’t a real academic.”

    Wasn’t he a law prof, and editor of Harvard Law Review?

  128. He was a “lecturer.” Not even an adjunct. He did not have the CV for a tenure-track law professor job at a school like Chicago, where most profs are former Supreme Court clerks with previous federal court clerkship experience and, generally, a stint in private practice.

    And the President of the Law Review is a popularity contest, not a judgment on the merits by professors. The New York Times covered Obama’s selection because he was the first black president.

    “Mr. Obama was elected after a meeting of the review’s 80 editors that convened Sunday and lasted until early this morning, a participant said.

    Until the 1970’s the editors were picked on the basis of grades, and the president of the Law Review was the student with the highest academic rank. Among these were Elliot L. Richardson, the former Attorney General, and Irwin Griswold, a dean of the Harvard Law School and Solicitor General under Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.

    That system came under attack in the 1970’s and was replaced by a program in which about half the editors are chosen for their grades and the other half are chosen by fellow students after a special writing competition. The new system, disputed when it began, was meant to help insure that minority students became editors of The Law Review.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/06/us/first-black-elected-to-head-harvard-s-law-review.html

    Obama was elected President at about the same time that HLS was under pressure to appoint a black female faculty member. There were more than a dozen other candidates considered, and, as the NYT article notes, the election process was a lengthy one.

    It’s highly likely that Obama wrote on to the law review, because there is no indication that he distinguished himself on the basis of grades, which he has declined to reveal. He failed to graduate from Columbia with honors, and, unless he aced the LSAT (another score he has declined to reveal), it is likely that he was an affirmative action admit. He never published a note in the HLR during his tenure (unusual), or at any point thereafter, and, unlike nearly every other President of the HLR, he did not become a Supreme Court clerk.

    He’s a legal lightweight.

  129. Posner was also a senior lecturer at the same school. Just like Obama. Guess he was also a legal lightweight.

  130. Scarlett,

    Isn’t that the great flaw in the system? The TPS reports aren’t as important as you once thought they were?

    You seem to be criticizing Obama for failing to abide by the rules you admit are so deeply flawed.

  131. Rhett, it’s no secret that, apart from managing to get accepted to HLS and persuading his peers to score diversity points and make him President of the Law Review, Obama didn’t have much of a legal career. Perhaps his hopes of being a law professor were dashed by his grades, or perhaps he always had his eye on the White House. But that career, brief and undistinguished as it was, did not demonstrate his qualification to be elected. That was my point. Whether he was shrewd to take advantage of the system and get his ticket punched on the way to the WH is another matter.

  132. “Posner was also a senior lecturer at the same school. Just like Obama. Guess he was also a legal lightweight.”

    Well, let’s look at the U of Chicago website.

    “Following his graduation from Harvard Law School, Judge Posner clerked for Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. From 1963 to 1965, he was assistant to Commissioner Philip Elman of the Federal Trade Commission. For the next two years, he was assistant to the solicitor general of the United States. Prior to going to Stanford Law School in 1968 as Associate Professor, Judge Posner served as general counsel of the President’s Task Force on Communications Policy. He first came to the University of Chicago Law School in 1969, and was Lee and Brena Freeman Professor of Law prior to his appointment in 1981 as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He was the chief judge of the court from 1993 to 2000.”

    http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/posner-r

    He is a senior lecturer because, after a long and distinguished academic and judicial career, he is 77 and essentially retired. He did not begin his legal career as a senior lecturer, hired (after his application for a real teaching position was not even seriously considered) as a favor to someone in the administration.

  133. That NYT articles certainly makes a lot of assumptions about his grades, scores, law review and more. I am not sure how any of it is relevant to becoming President, though. Relevant to becoming a full tenured law professor, but it is unlikely that a full tenured law professor would make a good president anyway. Neither of the Bush Presidents went to law school and had any sort of legal career. I am just pleased that Obama seemed to have read the Constitution and didn’t need the Speaker of the House to explain separation of powers like Ryan is doing now.

  134. Whether he was shrewd to take advantage of the system and get his ticket punched on the way to the WH is another matter.

    In your mind that matter is up for debate?

  135. “Neither of the Bush Presidents went to law school and had any sort of legal career.”

    Yeah, but one was director of the CIA, among other things, before being VP for eight years, and the other was the governor of Florida.

  136. Sorry, Texas.

    Law school is not a requirement for office. It’s probably even a detractor at this point. It’s just that Finn was citing Obama’s law school qualifications as evidence, and Scarlett was pointing out the flaws in that.

  137. Obama was a state and US senator. But I am not sure what the point is. I think an intelligent person who is willing to synthesize information and take advice from experts could do it. A basic understanding of government and how it all works is necessary for good governance, but the tough questions get sent to the subject matter experts and counsel’s office before the President decides things. My issue with Trump isn’t that he couldn’t learn this stuff and that he doesn’t have legal training. It is that he seems to have spent no time getting the basics down before shooting from the hip on things. I actually think Trump has some good instincts, particularly about people. But he needs to take this stuff seriously. This is a big and hugely important job. He sometimes seems to be making a mockery of it.

  138. “Obama was a state and US senator.”

    Yeah, and I’m fine with that. I don’t think he was unqualified; I think we make way too much of this idea of “qualifications,” anyway.

    “But [Trump] needs to take this stuff seriously. This is a big and hugely important job. He sometimes seems to be making a mockery of it.”

    I think that’s an intentional illusion.

  139. This is one of the best things I’ve ever read in Slate:

    No matter how engaged with policy Trump turns out to be, his 12 years of presenting business acumen as a series of memorable stunts will have a deep impact on the way he governs us. He’ll serve up his own presidential prowess with similar élan. Trump’s whole campaign testified to his knack for making America’s troubles seem tangible for voters—vivid, simplistic challenges to which he offered vivid, simplistic solutions. The challenge is ISIS; the solution is bombs. The challenge is murderous, marauding immigrants; the solution is a wall. The challenge is a self-dealing Washington political elite; the solution is jail for Hillary. [LOL!] It’s almost as though he sees the problems facing the country in episodic narrative form.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/12/trump_plans_to_replace_governing_with_gimmickry_the_carrier_jobs_are_only.html

  140. I do think that getting to the Presidency involves an element of timing, luck, fate whatever you want to call it. If Obama hadn’t come along in 2008, Hillary would have been elected. Then, Obama did well enough to be reelected. By the time Hillary’s turn came again, she was very close but yet again thwarted by an outsider candidate.

  141. Netflix is showing The Untold History of the United States and a BBC documentary on the Tsars of Russia. I found both to be interesting.

  142. “But he needs to take this stuff seriously.”

    How do you know that he isn’t? His transition team certainly seems to have been taking seriously their job to name serious people to Cabinet positions.

  143. I saw an interesting discussion this morning where it was speculated that Trump’s Taiwan call may have been a brilliant tactical move in dealing with China.

    Obama told Trump N. Korea was the biggest problem that will make the new president lose sleep. Trade with China is one of Trump’s big issues.
    Trump arranges call that tweaks China about one of their a core issues – Taiwan.
    Trump tells China that he’ll back off on Taiwan but China’s gotta give on N. Korea and trade issues, two of US’s core issues.
    A win-win deal, with Trump giving up nothing in the exchange.

    Or it may all backfire terribly.

  144. His Twitter feed suggests he is off the rails. He is either doing it to distract or because be cannot control himself. Neither option is acceptable for the PEOTUS. And I cannot take him seriously when he picks people like Carson (who has said he isn’t qualified to run an agency) for HUD and DeVos for education secretary. It is embarrassing.

  145. I agree that someone should take his Twitter away, but the same applies to other politicians. Let celebrities tweet and serious people can stop paying attention.

    Not sure what to think about Carson, but DeVos is a serious person with serious credentials in helping states expand school voucher programs. Why don’t you take her seriously?

  146. How do you know that he isn’t?

    Remember when Marcro “The Marcobot” Rubio malfunctioned during the campaign?

    Macro had been polished and telepromptered and focus grouped to within an inch of his life by a team of experts. The same could be said of Jeb! The experts had developed a formula of what one needed to do to become president.

    Trump threw that all out the window and he won by doing it his way. Going forward, we’ll see if that style can be applied to other things. Economists say you can’t slap 35% tarrifs on foreign goods. Foreign policy experts would say you can’t just throw out the one China policy we’ve developed over the past 40 years. Trump doesn’t have a lot of faith in that conventional wisdom.

    I wouldn’t say he isn’t taking it seriously so much as he doesn’t have a lot of faith in precedent and the received wisdom of those who know more about certain issues than he does.

    Can it work out in the end? Sure. Can it end in disaster? Sure.

  147. Don’t know much about Flynn, but he is absolutely right to insist that we acknowledge the link between Islam and Islamic jihad.

  148. Let celebrities tweet and serious people can stop paying attention.

    First, why isn’t twitter serious? Second, he won using twitter to communicate directly with voters – why would he stop?

  149. “I wouldn’t say he isn’t taking it seriously so much as he doesn’t have a lot of faith in precedent and the received wisdom of those who know more about certain issues than he does.”

    Or, to put it another way, he is pointing out that because “precedent” — on immigration law, the Middle East, terrorism, China, North Korea, Russia, taxes and the economy — isn’t working all that well, he’s going to take a different approach. You’re right that we have no idea how well it will play out.

  150. Twitter is perfect for celebrities. It is a lousy format for addressing serious issues that cannot be reduced to 140 characters.

  151. I agree with everything Rhett said, except the implication here:

    “and the received wisdom of those who know more about certain issues than he does.”

    It’s now being reported that Bob Dole helped arrange the Taiwan call. He’s certainly not a lightweight in terms of wisdom and policy.

  152. “First, why isn’t twitter serious? Second, he won using twitter to communicate directly with voters – why would he stop?”

    I agree with this. The alternative is to send your press secretary to give a press conference and let 20 different journalists add their own spin, opinion, and fluff to whatever message you want to get out. This model is an artifact of a time when the press controlled the only practical means of disseminating information.

    I’d just as soon hear from Trump directly.

  153. It’s now being reported that Bob Dole helped arrange the Taiwan call

    Be serious Milo, how can Bob Dole still be alive?

  154. It is a lousy format for addressing serious issues that cannot be reduced to 140 characters.

    Trump’s electoral theory seems to be that most issues can be reduced to 140 characters.

  155. I saw a photo of Bob Dole this morning, and bless his heart he hardly looks alive. But apparently he’s still functional.

  156. DeVos – her (middling) success in Michigan getting vouchers through is because she is a rich heiress by marriage to an MLM business. Not because of any expertise. I am pretty sure she has never been in a public school. The sec of Ed has to do a whole lot more than just increase voucher usage.

  157. she is a rich heiress by marriage

    Her father was a billionaire as well. She both inherited and married money.

  158. Rhett – Agreed.

    I have to figure out how to program my phone to give me a text alert whenever Trump tweets (and only when Trump tweets).

  159. I agree with the concept of direct communications. Just don’t like the Twitter format. And doesn’t a series of tweets defeat the purpose of twitter? I’m not on twitter and only see tweets when the media reports on them.
    Perhaps I am missing something.

  160. I don’t think Trump needs to stop tweeting. But he needs to stop tweeting stupid stuff that make us look like a nation of fools.

  161. “And doesn’t a series of tweets defeat the purpose of twitter? I’m not on twitter and only see tweets when the media reports on them.”

    I resisted joining until this summer, then I could no longer ignore it as it became a central format for the campaigns, probably about the time when Elizabeth Warren was attacking Trump. And by the time I joined, Hillary was tweeting at least as often as Trump. But her Tweets averaged around 3,000 or 4,000 likes, while his got around 20,000.

  162. IDK, Kate, I am coming around to Milo’s view that to Trump, that is a feature not a bug. If the expectation is that he is direct and impulsive and a little unhinged, then people have to worry that he just might do it. Which, in foreign policy, makes your bully pulpit more effective.

    Makes me wonder if he is a Bull Durham fan — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euHfP6X_axY.

  163. So we find out that Bob Dole is on Trump’s transition team. The former Senate Majority Leader’s wife, Elizabeth, was Transportation Secretary. Now the current Senate Majority Leader’s wife, Elaine Chao, will be Transportation Secretary.

  164. Trump may seek a different type of diversity for the Supreme Court

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/06/politics/trump-diversity-supreme-court/index.html

    (They’re mainly speaking of geographic diversity, someone from outside the old Acela Corridor.)

    A candidate who would certainly bring a different type of experience to the court is Margaret Ryan.

    Ryan is a former active duty marine, including serving as an aide de camp to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Ryan has more conventional credentials as well, as a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and is serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. But how many nominees have served in both Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm?

  165. Perhaps I am missing something.

    I think you are. There is a lot of serious content on twitter. The Economist tweeting about the dramatic fall in ocean shipping rates. The USGS monitoring a volcano. JPL and the self driving tractors. The Hyatt, Marriott, AA concierges who you can tweet to resolve issues. The Voyager space prob tweeting that it’s 18.5 light hours from Earth and it’s still running and communicating with the Deep Space Network 40 years after it was launched.

  166. Be serious Milo, how can Bob Dole still be alive?

    LOL. Tying this to your Westworld comment…HMMM.

  167. Whether or not you are for vouchers, DeVos is a bad choice. She was behind the charter program in Detroit, which has not been very successful. There have been successful charter programs in other states – why not pick someone who worked on one of those efforts?

    “As one of the architects of Detroit’s charter school system, she is partly responsible for what even charter advocates acknowledge is the biggest school reform disaster in the country. At least some of the other candidates for education secretary, like Michelle Rhee, the former District of Columbia schools chancellor, led reforms that were accompanied by improved student results.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/25/opinion/betsy-devos-and-the-wrong-way-to-fix-schools.html

  168. My theory on Carson is that Trump figures it is a favor to a person he owes big time: a do-nothing post for a do-nothing person.

  169. “Let celebrities tweet and serious people can stop paying attention.”

    Trump is a celeb, first and foremost. He does what celebs do

  170. Milo,

    Am I right to assume that at least some of these military procurement cost overruns are due to Generals and Admirals being somewhat unwilling to press the contractors as they all hope to have lucrative consulting jobs after they retire?

  171. I don’t know. Perhaps that’s a part of it. I think it’s more a function of the fact that the primary purpose of any organization is to seek greater power, influence, and funding. So with things like JSF, and probably the new Air Force One, nobody has any incentive to say “You know, we really don’t need *that* capability.”

    The objective is always to say “Of course we need to be able to do that, that’s part of our plans to expand our mission.”

  172. So with things like JSF, and probably the new Air Force One, nobody has any incentive to say “You know, we really don’t need *that* capability.”

    Also risk aversion. You don’t want to be the one to say nah we don’t need that only to find out that oh yeh we do. Also path dependence and the sunk cost fallacy. With the JSF someone bet their career on the wisdom and huge cost savings of having one platform and modifying it to suit the needs of the Marines, Navy and Air Force. At some point, it must have been obvious they were on the wrong track but someone bet there career on it and so much money has already been spent, might as well plow ahead.

  173. The NYT doesn’t like DeVos, but the question whether Detroit’s charter schools are failures is apparently an open one. The research cited in that story is not particularly persuasive. From my phone I can’t give a link to critics of that research but I can post it later if you like.

  174. Donald Trump, Jr. is posting a lot on Twitter, mainly the type of stuff average people post on Facebook.

    “With 5 kids my ride is the one in front of the Lambo” with a link to an Instragram picture of a Sienna minivan parked in front of a Lamborghini under the portico to one of the Trump hotels.

    (He has five kids???)

    Thousands of likes, and tons of comments along the lines of:

    “Great dad!”

    “#priorities”

    “I love how you and your family can be so blessed but yet [sic] be so connected with the everyday man and women. We are proud of the Trump family!”

    “Also, so refreshing! We actually have real live human beings in the White House!”

    [I’ll just leave that last one to your own interpretation]

  175. Milo – you forgot “#blessed”…

    I’m thisclose to following them all on twitter because of how silly this all is.

  176. “I am pretty sure she has never been in a public school. ”

    Since she’s a charter school proponent I’m pretty sure she’s visited many of them, which of course are public schools.

    I’m not particularly crazy about Devos, but I think outsiders are usually better candidates for education reform. I would generally want to avoid any who are products of typical colleges of education.

  177. No, Donald Jr. has five kids. They have five children: daughters Kai Madison (born May 12, 2007) and Chloe Sophia (born June 16, 2014)[8] and sons[9] Donald John III (born February 18, 2009),[10] Tristan Milos (born October 2, 2011),[11][12] and Spencer Frederick (born October 21, 2012).[13]

  178. No, Donald Jr. has five kids:

    Kay, Donald III, Tristan, Spencer, and Chloe.

    Plus, Ivanka has three. That’s eight grandkids, and Eric will probably add some in the next few years. We haven’t had a President with grandkids since 1993 (or one with any sons, as it happens). I think that the level of security has increased quite a bit since then.

    Donald Jr. won’t be driving the family around in the minivan much longer.

  179. tcmama – our regular babysitter is in the same situation. Our state didn’t expand Medicaid so she doesn’t qualify for it. She couldn’t afford the premiums for Obamacare, even with the subsidy. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out if she qualified for anything, etc., and concluded that she did not. So, we ended up paying for her premiums for an Obamacare policy. At least there is Obamacare as an option because a non-exchange policy was very expensive.

  180. Donald Jr. won’t be driving the family around in the minivan much longer.

    Do adult children get SS protection? I never thought Jeb! and W had protection when H.W. was president. But, maybe they did?

  181. In any case, I am sure the Trump family has had private security accompanying them for years, so they must be used to it.

  182. “I never thought Jeb! and W had protection when H.W. was president. But, maybe they did?”

    It’s possible that they didn’t, but that was 23 years ago.

    Post 9/11, even the Vice President’s adult children get Secret Service protection. I know this because a book I read talked about how one Cheney daughter was bitching to her father that her sister’s armored Suburban was the newest model, and hers was older.

  183. The chief executive of Carrier’s parent company says many of those jobs at that plant in Indiana will now be lost to automation.

    Thoughts?

  184. “Post 9/11, even the Vice President’s adult children get Secret Service protection.”

    We lived near the private school that Cheney’s grandchildren attended, and the headmaster of the school told us that, in connection with a zoning application for an expansion, the Secret Service had to agree to limit their Starbucks runs during the school day. The neighborhood HOA apparently hired someone to count the cars coming in and out of the main road, and insisted that the number be reduced in order to get their buy-in. I didn’t think that the grandkids got SS protection, but maybe the daughter was a room mom.

  185. “The chief executive of Carrier’s parent company says many of those jobs at that plant in Indiana will now be lost to automation.”

    During this whole discussion, I was thinking about how a lot of the toys that some of us like and talk about are all manufactured domestically. RVs all seem to come from Indiana, or at least somewhere in the Midwest. Same thing for pontoon boats. The tiny yacht I want to buy has always been manufactured outside of Seattle. It would seem that the domestic advantage lies in big-ticket items that are very cumbersome to transport.

    So, in theory, we should be able to let Mexicans and robots build our air conditioners, and with those cost savings, more of us would be able to buy boats and campers that are manufactured in the U.S., and/or hire out frequent home renovations, pool installations, and so forth.

    One reason people might not be buying more boats and campers, which would employ the factory workers, is that we spend too much on healthcare and medicine. The obvious solution then would be for the factory workers to become hospital techs, but one article I read said that they don’t want to go into “pink collar” jobs. Fair enough.

    A reason that they’re not finding work renovating homes and digging pools is that they’re concentrated in the wrong geographic regions.

    So, off the top of my head, it seems that many who may be dissatisfied with their earning prospects are constrained by an unwillingness to train for different types of work, and/or an unwillingness to relocate.

    These factors are simultaneously alleviated and exacerbated when the men (usually men) have wives who are gainfully employed, removing the urgency to make a definitive change, but prolonging the frustration with their situation. Think of the guy in the NYT article whose DW was on the up and up from tech to nurse earning $60k in West Virginia, and he was at the factory struggling to bring in $30k, resisting her encouragement to become some kind of health care tech. Maybe 50 years ago, he would have been earning the equivalent of her $50k or $60k, she would earn zero, and everyone saw that as just fine. Now on paper, they’re doing a lot better bringing in $90k, but they’re both haggard and frustrated with each other. And then they vote for Trump in the primary, and when an exit pollster asks for their HHI and education, he says $90k and high school, and it drives the Nate Silver crowd mad because they think “you guys are doing great, I could live like a king in WV on $90k! That’s what I’m making at the think tank, and I’ve got $150k in student loan debt plus a $2,000 rent payment! You have no basis to complain, so you must be racist.”

  186. ” the Secret Service had to agree to limit their Starbucks runs during the school day. ”

    You would think that they could outfit the armored Suburban with a coffee maker… If Keurig can create an in-refrigerator-door model, surely they can come up with one for a car. Just need to keep a pack of bottled water in the back.

    Scarlett – your story is truly an “only in America” one…

  187. Milo,

    On 60 minutes on Sunday they had an area of MS that’s doing well. They opened a big steel mill that a few years ago would have employed 4000 people and now they make more steel with only 400 people. And the jobs are all inside air conditioned control rooms watching computer monitors.

    I don’t know that we can close that 3600 job gap with RVs and boats. If people started buying them in large quantities the line would be automated.

    I think you’re right about the men. The recent WSJ article detailed how much of a burden it is on small business that the number of immigrants has declined. The reality is more likely that the lack of hard working diligent immigrants means they have to try and make their businesses run employing MM’s neighbor’s idiot sons.

  188. “I don’t know that we can close that 3600 job gap with RVs and boats.”

    Well, there’s a lot of BLM land, campgrounds, and open water out there. :)

    But to your point, as a society we might be reliant on the affluent to be willing to pay for constant services. Massages, house painting every year just to keep things fresh, bathroom renovation with every trend update*. And MMM and the Frugalwoods better just shut the fu(k about it. Encourage people to piss away their money on anything and everything that gives Americans work.

    *When my parents were redoing their master bath along with the upstairs renovation, they asked my uncle for his opinion on their tile selections, commenting that they hoped it would be a good choice for a long time. He responded “Oh yeah, you guys picked a really classic design with those. Something like that, you’ll be fine for, God, like 10 years.”

  189. “The reality is more likely that the lack of hard working diligent immigrants means they have to try and make their businesses run employing MM’s neighbor’s idiot sons.”

    LOL

  190. Scarlett – I think we must be living in your old neighborhood or really close by. From what I have been told, that school has to pay the neighborhood some crazy fine if they exceed a certain amount of traffic over a period of time.

  191. “Oh yeah, you guys picked a really classic design with those. Something like that, you’ll be fine for, God, like 10 years.”

    It must occur in affluent suburbs as well. Around here, I’m stunned by the number of people who are spending several million on a place that looks perfectly fine only to gut the entire thing. It’s one of those things where we just go, “What are we doing wrong?”

  192. “It must occur in affluent suburbs as well.”

    It does. That’s where he does business. This is a different uncle, actually. I remember a conversation he and I had about 15 years ago when he was talking about his job and he chuckled “All my clients are rich, middle-aged married women who insist on having a gay man design their bathrooms.”

  193. Kate yes that is the one. I was on the board of the swim club on the other side of the stream. The school approached us for permission to use our property to evacuate the kids in case of an emergency (terrorist attack). The school built a little bridge over the stream and the plan was to walk the kids across and then bus them out thru our driveway. The CIA was just down 123 from the only road out of the campus. That’s when we learned about the effect of the Starbucks runs on the traffic situation.
    Nothing like that ever happens here.

  194. “Nothing like that ever happens here.”

    My aunt and uncle, who have been in N.Va. for the past 20 years, have never let go of their nostalgia for this one place in the deep Deep South where they spent about five years, never having lived there before or since. Recently, they’ve even scoped out a few retirement communities there, despite acknowledging that it’s nowhere near any of their four kids or their families, and the closest airport is 90 minutes away with all connections through Atlanta. But this wistful longing will not subside.

    My parents say it was their glory days, with the kids all at a self-sufficient age, but still in the house. Lots of community involvement, friends in and out constantly, etc. And they romanticize it so much, you wonder if it could ever live up to their expectations.

    I wonder if you have a little bit of the same. We all do, probably, for certain time periods, or places. And then in a few years, you’re going to realize that you’ve now lived where you are longer than you spent in McLean.

  195. I try not to think about the fact that we live so close to the CIA, especially after watching what happens to it on Homeland. Because it is such a convenient location to everything.

  196. Milo,
    College DS longs for the glory days of the woods between our house and that school. His plan was to move back as a grownup and buy our previous house. But, like Kate, I wasn’t wild about the proximity to the Agency, especially after I took a look at Google Satellite. On the ground, with woods all around, you don’t realize how close you are.

  197. “Did you know that he is 67?”

    I’ve been thinking about how all the people he affectionately sang about and glorified have turned into Trump voters, whom he loathes.

  198. “And then in a few years, you’re going to realize that you’ve now lived where you are longer than you spent in McLean.”

    Where we don’t have CIA drama, but today I did get to see 8 young Mennonite women, all wearing glasses, bonnets, and long skirts, unloading their Target purchases into the trailer attached to their 18-passenger van. I was dying to see what they bought but could only see a few rolls of wrapping paper and a bunch of storage bins. They seemed to be having a much better time than everyone else in the parking lot.

  199. I’ve been thinking about how all the people he affectionately sang about and glorified have turned into Trump voters, whom he loathes.

    I think he may be viewing Trump as a generic republican in the free trade/union busting Reagan of the 1980s sort of mold. I think as things shake out he may warm to Trumpism.

  200. “Where we don’t have CIA drama, but today I did get to see 8 young Mennonite women, all wearing glasses, bonnets, and long skirts, unloading their Target purchases into the trailer attached to their 18-passenger van. I was dying to see what they bought but could only see a few rolls of wrapping paper and a bunch of storage bins. They seemed to be having a much better time than everyone else in the parking lot.”

    That was pretty routine in many of the places I lived as a kid.

  201. Rhett – If this were still 1981, I’d agree. But lately Bruce has seemed more concerned about making sure boys can shower in the girls’ bathroom than worrying about the lives and families of Vietnam veterans whose steel mill jobs are evaporating.

  202. Bruce has seemed more concerned about making sure boys can shower in the girls’ bathroom

    Then he supports Trump’s suggestion that transgendered people should use the bathroom they feel is most appropriate.

  203. Milo,

    You said you frequent some conservative sites. Are they trying to make Trump out to be more socially conservative than he actually is?

  204. I didn’t get to read the whole NYT article on the health care gap posted today, but I’m wondering what our reaction to this piece is supposed to be. And it also made me think of this interesting piece from the weekend WSJ on the perils of empathy.

    “Empathy is activated when you think about a specific individual—the so-called “identifiable victim” effect—but it fails to take broader considerations into account….
    It’s also why we get so concerned when it comes to the immediate victims of policies—someone who is assaulted by a prisoner who was released on furlough, a child who gets sick due to a faulty vaccine, someone whose business goes under because of taxes and regulation—but we are relatively unmoved when it comes to the suffering that such policies might avert. A furlough program might lead to an overall drop in crime, for instance, but you can’t feel empathy when thinking about a statistical shift in the number of people who are not assaulted.”
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-perils-of-empathy-1480689513

  205. I am sorry Scarlett, but it has been LACK of empathy, lack of empathy for years and years and years, for the plight of people who have no insurance, that has been the problem. Back when this was all being debated the first time around, under Bill Clinton, I would hear people say “they should get a better job”, “they live unhealthily”, “It costs too much”, “there really aren’t that many of them”, “they can just go to a charity clinic”, “I’m sure there must be some kind of program for them”. And meanwhile, I was working a summer job at a major hospital that was the last resort for uninsured folks from the mountains. The families would come in when it was clearly too late in many cases because it was such a long drive on bad roads, but they had very limited access to free care near their homes. I learned some empathy then.

  206. Scarlett,

    I’m curious to understand your thinking on these issues.

    What do you think should happen to these people? Some on the right feel they shouldn’t face above 100% marginal rates where if you make 11,999 you get Medicaid but if you make 12,001 you get nothing.

  207. “more concerned about making sure boys can shower in the girls’ bathroom”

    What’s the rationale for the group showering facilities? Is it just the lower cost/shower?

  208. MM, the point of that WSJ article was to suggest that wise public policy decisions are not generally made on the basis of empathy for particular, identifiable victims. After all, the NYT could just as easily have run a moving story, with pictures, of children and families who received the benefits from state programs which were funded instead of the Medicaid expansion that we are apparently supposed to support. No matter how generous the government health care subsidy, advocates will always be able to point to people who are still suffering.

  209. Rhett,

    If I knew the answer to that question, I would have a much nicer house. Any cutoff is arbitrary, isn’t it? We can all agree that people without much money should still have access to health care, but the devil is in the details.

  210. Any cutoff is arbitrary, isn’t it?

    Not really, you can have a gradual cutoff like in the ACA vs. the previous system with a fixed dollar cutoff where coverage went from 100% to 0% as soon as you earned a dollar above the limit.

  211. Right, you don’t want a cutoff that provides an incentive to not work, especially when you’re down around the ACA cutoff level. You work an extra hour, make an extra dollar, you should have something positive to show for it.

  212. Without knowing more about the mechanics of and rationale behind the cutoffs, I don’t have an opinion whether a gradual vs. cliff system makes more sense. At some point, however, no matter how gradual it is, there will a line, and those who end up on the wrong side of the line will not be eligible. To the extent that people who do not work will still be provided with subsistence levels of food, shelter, and medical care, there will be an incentive for some people to decide not to work.

  213. Wise policy cannot be made without some empathy, and for many people, the way to develop empathy is to be confronted with the lives of particular individuals. It wasn’t until TV cameras and reporters headed down South in the early 60’s, and showed people the ugliness – not just the beatings and violence, but what it meant for particular identifiable black people to live under Jim Crow – that the public opinion turned strongly towards supporting the civil rights demonstrators.

  214. This observation by Brit Danniel Hannan regarding Brexit sounds very familiar:

    “Most of the people who voted to staying the EU — the vast majority, numerically, in Britain — have accepted the result with equanimity and have said, “Let’s get on with it.” But there is a small number of mainly students, who always saw it as being about them — they see everything as being about them. They didn’t sit down and do a cost-benefit analysis — could Britain do better if we do this or that? — it was entirely about “Am I a nice cosmopolitan, outward looking person or am I an evil, wicked bigot?” Well, they never heard, because they never wanted to hear, any of the economical, constitutional, or democratic arguments for leaving. Having built up in their minds the referendum purely as a Kulturkampf between decent internationalist people and nasty racists, can you imagine the shock they must have felt waking up on the 24th of June to think that 52 percent of their fellow countrymen were racists? That’s why they’re struggling to come to terms with it.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner

  215. Rhett – I tend to read whatever RealClearPolitics compiles, so I end up spending at least as much time at Salon/Huffington Post/Slate/NYT as I do at National Review/Federalist/FOX News.

  216. there will be an incentive for some people to decide not to work.

    Expand on that. What is your objection to people not working?

  217. My only concern about the guy in the psych ward is whether his stay was covered by the ACA.

  218. Rhett – there’s not much difference at all!! (Except it depends if the Huff Post was mocking or sympathetic by publishing that).

  219. If anyone does not work, let him not eat.

    Expand on that.

    You’ve mentioned that you’re a SAHM with a soon to be empty nest. Your husband loves his job and will work as long as he can. I love what I do and would gladly continue to do it as long as I can.

    That quote seems to apply to a pre industrial society, less well to a post industrial society and not at all to our likely future:

    https://www.google.com/amp/amp.usatoday.com/story/94991612/?client=safari

  220. Scarlett – in the full essay, he says that he is covered by Obamacare.

    Good use of our taxes.

  221. “That quote seems to apply to a pre industrial society, less well to a post industrial society”

    It applies as long as we’re $20 trillion in debt. If we get that paid off, I’ll be a little more open to indulging everyone who has a preference for leisure.

  222. It applies as long as we’re $20 trillion in debt.

    Why does it matter if the robots are paying it off vs. the humans paying it off?

  223. “Why does it matter if the robots are paying it off vs. the humans paying it off?”

    It will be paid off faster with an all hands on deck effort.

    I’m open to aid for people who need it–in the form of EITC, etc. But they should help out, as able. This is why I’d rather eliminate/reduce the minimum wage and make up difference for those who need it.

  224. “That quote seems to apply to a pre industrial society, less well to a post industrial society”

    I don’t think so. It seems applicable today.

  225. As long as anyone needs to work.

    But what if those who need to work can’t do anything that a robot can do cheaper and better?

  226. Rhett – I think people need a purpose, and actually want an incentive to do something productive. That may be rearing children, or volunteer work, but for those who need help from society — and let’s say they need a $20k per person basic income — in our robot future, I’d rather the lady in the NYT article earn $10k by doing nothing other than visiting old people in the nursing home for 30 or 40 hours a week, or caring for dogs at the shelter, and we make up the other half of the money, versus just telling a huge segment of society “We have no use for you; here’s your 20 grand and basic cable, stay out of trouble.”

  227. I agree that our society it better if most people feel like they have a purpose. I am not opposed to having people work some jobs that have societal benefit but don’t really pay enough to adequately support a person (like the nursing home greeter job) in exchange for basic needs getting met. But we are still going to argue about who falls in that category and who really cannot work. And what do we do with the population who really just does prefer leisure? Do we really have the stomach to let them starve?

  228. Milo,

    Then I think we’re in total agreement. I don’t know that Cordelia and Scarlett agree…

  229. “And what do we do with the population who really just does prefer leisure? Do we really have the stomach to let them starve?”

    If we’re in favor of doctor-assisted suicide, why not?

    Only half joking. For some, it’s a mental illness of some sort, and we do whatever to treat that. But for others, if it really comes down to something like walking dogs or clearing brush at the park, or literally starving, very very few will choose starving.

  230. It costs money to treat mental illness effectively. That is why we don’t do it now.

  231. I am trying to understand this: “and let’s say they need a $20k per person basic income — in our robot future, I’d rather the lady in the NYT article earn $10k by doing nothing other than visiting old people in the nursing home for 30 or 40 hours a week, or caring for dogs at the shelter, and we make up the other half of the money, ”

    So you are saying that this person will get paid 10K for walking dogs and then the government kicks in another 10K? Who is paying the first 10K? The underfunded animal shelters? They get people to do that for free now because they can’t pay. Same for visiting old folks. Who is going to pay for this? Nursing homes don’t pay people to visit the residents – they rely on volunteer school children to do it.

  232. So it turns out that Bob Dole, who is now a lobbyist, had been lobbying the Trump team for the past 6 months on behalf of Taiwan. And for that, his firm was paid $140,000 for his lobbying work by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States which is Taiwan’s unofficial embassy
    So basically Trump was convinced to do this by a lobbyist for Taiwan.

  233. “Who is paying the first 10K? The underfunded animal shelters?”

    If we have our debt paid off, we can have federal animal shelters, so the government pays $10k for that job.

    One lady may get an additional $10k to cover her needs. Another, doing the same job, might get an additional $30k if she is the guardian of a teenager.

    Now I have to go. The North Carolina Thank You Rally is beginning!

  234. Federal animal shelters? And will it be federal nursing homes too? Sounds like a big expansion of the federal government…

  235. That’s IT???

    No shit. I tend to think these things should cost hundreds of millions to billions not the price of a “nice” car.

  236. Give the guy a break. He is like a million years old and I don’t think he has been right since that fall in 96.

  237. ROI on lobbying seems quite high. I believe some local governments have also discovered that.

  238. Trump: “This is one of the great phenomenas of all time.”

    Totebaggers everywhere cringe. I’ve never seen someone who makes it so obvious when he’s reading the TelePrompTers, and when he’s just…talking.

  239. “Rhett – I think people need a purpose, and actually want an incentive to do something productive.”

    I agree.

  240. “It costs money to treat mental illness effectively. That is why we don’t do it now.”

    I’m not sure that’s correct. It costs money to treat cancer, and heart disease, and diabetes effectively, but we do it because society generally accepts that these conditions are treatable illnesses. Mental illness still carries a stigma, and is poorly understood, and can be hard to separate out from character flaws, and is often so resistant to even expensive treatment that it seems pointless even to try. It’s not simply a question of money, IMO.

    I just read an interesting article somewhere that I can’t recall (because I read it online and not in a real newspaper) about a controversial treatment for autism that uses mild electric shocks to deter children and adults from self- or other-harming behavior. Advocates want to ban such treatments; desperate parents plead to keep them because NOTHING else has worked for them. It doesn’t seem to be an issue of money, but rather a profound disagreement on appropriate therapies, where data evidently isn’t going to provide an answer, because so much about autism is still a mystery.

  241. WCE, same general issue but the article I read focused on other patients.
    Hard to know what to think about it. The desperate parents are pretty persuasive though.

  242. So this has been bugging me since yesterday, from Scarlett’s Brexit article: “But there is a small number of mainly students, who always saw it as being about them — they see everything as being about them. They didn’t sit down and do a cost-benefit analysis — could Britain do better if we do this or that? — it was entirely about “Am I a nice cosmopolitan, outward looking person or am I an evil, wicked bigot?”

    We have talked a lot on here about how PO’d Trump voters are at being characterized as uneducated racists, about how the so-called “liberal elite” can’t open their mouths without smugly condescending to anyone who disagrees with them. So why is it ok to treat Millennials and students that way? As though any concerns they have originate either in selfish entitlement (slightly spoiled, only care about how they appear to the outside world), or in clueless naivete (they’re so incapable of rational thought they didn’t even do a cost-benefit analysis!)?

    I actually know a fair number of teens who are very upset. And the one thing I can say is that they are *not* coming from a “selfish” place — to the contrary, their concerns are entirely about the fair treatment of others. They have grown up surrounded by the adults in their lives telling them that we are all equal, that different is ok and good. I grew up in an era when gays were shunned and imprisoned; my DD has had a friend with two moms since ES, has friends who are gay, has a trans friend, etc. The story of her life, since she was old enough to remember, was seeing her entire culture and country moving toward more inclusion, more equality, more acceptance. She thought — assumed — that we meant it. That the grownups around her believed what they taught her and what she saw on the news every day. And she took those values to heart. So it has been a tremendous shock to discover that so many people either disagree or just don’t care the same way she does.

    She is not selfish. She is not entitled, in the everyone-needs-a-trophy way we love to refer to Millennials and her generation. What she is, though, is economically privileged and geographically restricted. She is young and has not yet faced the insecurity of supporting herself. She hasn’t watched her parents struggle, or live with the fear of jobs going away — our struggles came before she was born, and even then were far less than many others deal with. And she lives in a part of the country that is doing well, and has been for her whole life. So she doesn’t have the context to understand what that kind of insecurity feels like, or to make the jump from that to the realization that the vast majority of those who voted for Brexit or Trump were not voting *for* racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc., but rather prioritized their own economic fears over the social issues that matter so much to my DD and her friends. That is the bigger picture that I have been trying to give her.

    But, frankly, smug pats on the head that dismiss her entire generation as selfish and focused only on what others think of them is just as offensive as portraying the other side as a bunch of stupid racists.

  243. LfB – I think a lot depends on the specifics of those values. I’m for gay marriage. I’m not for the federal government threatening to withdraw Title IX funding for any school that doesn’t embrace transgender bathrooms. Am I a progressive or a bigot? Lately, it seems that the Left would say a bigot.

    I’m for equal treatment and “inclusiveness,” whatever that means. But as Obama conceded in his post-election Rolling Stone interview, apparently borders mean something to a lot of Americans, and I don’t think it’s an unreasonable expectation that the government should enforce immigration and deportation laws.

    Your argument still seems to be based on the idea that Trump and the GOP are, if not fully in favor of “racism, sexism, and xenophobia,” at least willing to indulge it in order to achieve their better objectives. And I just don’t agree that the policy or legislative changes we’re looking at constitute racism, sexism, and xenophobia.

  244. But LFB, I would agree with you (Trumpsters issue, not millennials) to an extent where the vote was completely out of economic concern. The voters could have voted any of the republican candidates other than Trump. But they voted for that one candidate who made racism, sexism and xenophobia as his platform. So indeed why not call spade a spade?

  245. That’s a fair point LfB.

    But, honestly, I have not encountered — either IRL or in the media — many Trump critics who have managed to express their views without denigrating those who supported* him. For example,

    “So it has been a tremendous shock to discover that so many people either disagree or just don’t care the same way she does.”

    With respect to the issue of homosexuality, implying that people “just don’t care the same way she does” because they believe that homosexual acts are seriously sinful, or that marriage is a relationship between a woman and a man, or that children should not be deprived of their mother or father in order to meet the needs of adults, is evidence of exactly the sort of attitude that you didin’t like in the Brexit article. Perhaps she has never met such people, or perhaps those people are not willing to go public because they will be shunned and ridiculed for being homophobic, but there are milllions of them in this country.

    * or at least are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until he screws up royally

  246. “But they voted for that one candidate who made racism, sexism and xenophobia as his platform. So indeed why not call spade a spade?”

    Because many of the people who voted for him did *not* regard Trump’s platform as based on racism, sexism, and xenophobia. You can call a spade a spade, but not if it’s a club.

  247. DS is kind and intelligent, but he is also biased. I see this in different ways. He writes off entire states as being backwards and places that he wouldn’t want to go to college because he doesn’t want to live there–Alabama, Oklahoma, Nebraska, etc. He also wrote off an entire college because he saw a big Trump sign in the quad. I mentioned his prejudices to him, but don’t dwell on them because I felt this way as a youth and matured as I grew up. However, that POV still annoys me, even in my own kid.

    I still see this POV in adults, the condescension from friends and colleagues on the coasts about the type of state that I live in and the type of people that live here. The assumption that my children are getting a second class education is an easy example to point to.

  248. “But they voted for that one candidate who made racism, sexism and xenophobia as his platform.”

    No, they voted for the candidate who made border enforcement his platform. You just interpret that as racism, sexism, and xenophobia because that’s what the Left screams every time something is insufficiently liberal in their view.

  249. Correction: “The assumption that my children are getting a second class education *because they go to public school in Texas* is an easy example to point to.”

  250. He didn’t just make border enforcement his platform. He said lots of nasty things. So we really need to go through the list again? He didn’t just stick to the issues. He went after the people. Because he knew that it would resonate with people. And it did. He made the issues in the US about that other person. He said the problems were because of the Muslims. Or the Mexicans. Or whatever group he was targeting that day.

  251. The people who believe homosexuality is a sin etc etc, are free not to indulge in it. Want to stop gays adopting children? Well then, why don’t you go ahead and adopt at least one in their lieu? Otherwise you are just trying to regulate actions of others that you do not agree with even when they are not affecting you.

  252. “He went after the people.”

    Yes, he went after people who are here illegally, and he went after terrorists. And his remarks were inelegant and purposely outlandish, and no, there’s no reason to dissect every single utterance, but that doesn’t make the basic platform racist, sexist, and xenophobic.

  253. No Milo, that is incredibly myopic, reductive, and typical of republicans who like to pick and choose arguments to their convenience.
    He had my vote too for border/immigration enforcement part of his platform. But that was a small part of his platform. The rest of his campaign was about denigrating anyone and everyone who was not white male.

  254. “The rest of his campaign was about denigrating anyone and everyone who was not white male.”

    What rest of his campaign? All he ever talked about was border enforcement, much stricter vetting of refugees from terror-prone countries (“until we can figure out what’s going on?”) and jobs.

    If you’re with him on those things, like you said, what are you even talking about?

  255. Trump is Time person of the year! Still, not as bad as Obama getting the Nobel for peace no?

  256. @Milo: I will agree with you that the policies I have seen so far don’t tend to focus on racism or sexism. I think the concern is the tone of the campaign, which may or may not lead to policies — as we’ve been discussing, Trump is a showman, and what he says may be what you get, or it may be a show to distract you while something very different goes on behind the scenes; too early to say how that will play out.

    But, honestly, I do believe that Trump in particular was more than willing to indulge the nasty fringe of his supporters to achieve his objective (which, I think, to the GOP’s credit, was one of the major issues they had with him). I do not recall prior GOP candidates who were so, umm, slow to distance themselves from the support of the white supremacists, for example. And we’ve previously discussed the different interpretations of his “rapists and murderers” comment, but that to me invokes xenophobia in order to make a valid point about immigration. I think he intentionally danced on that line of acceptable commentary to demonstrate that he wasn’t afraid to say what people think but knew they couldn’t say in “polite company.”

    With respect to transgender bathrooms, I think it fundamentally comes down to whether you believe being transgender falls within the realm of other immutable characteristics that we’ve decided are protected under the Constitution, like race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. If it does, then the government doesn’t have much choice but to protect transgender people; if it doesn’t, then the feds are overreaching. From the “role of the federal government” standpoint, as a mental exercise replace “transgender” with “African-American.” If a school had a “whites only” bathroom, there would be no question that the feds had not just the right but the responsibility to step in and protect those kids from what is clearly unconstitutional discrimination. So the question with transgender kids is really whether being transgender is the same sort of immutable characteristic as race that merits Constitutional protection. If you don’t believe that it is, then you’re logically going to see the federal rule as a total overreach. OTOH, if you do believe it is, then it’s not only authorized but necessary.

    I actually think the more difficult scenario is the “should a bakery be forced to sell a wedding cake to gays” one. Businesses are run by private people, who have their own rights under the Constitution, and the federal government has only limited authority to regulate individuals and private businesses. OTOH, schools are by definition a government institution; they have no independent Constitutional rights of their own to consider (beyond the rights of the specific individuals they employ).

    But I’m not going to call anyone a “bigot,” and I don’t agree with that kind of namecalling or inference — the Left needs to learn that people can disagree without being a Neanderthal, just as the Right needs to learn that people can disagree without being an unthinking bleeding heart.

  257. Dell, I’m not sure I’m getting the racism/sexism part of his platform. I think some folks were attracted to him because they are racists* but I don’t think it’s necessarily wise to conflate the two.

    * Just as Scarlett said millions of Americans think homosexuality is seriously sinful, millions of Americans are offended by the idea of an African Americans being in a roll like that of POTUS.

  258. The interesting thing is that Trump doesn’t care about the gay issues. So it’s not clear why that issue keeps coming up in all of the “this is the end of the world” commentary since the election.

    And if Trump only cares about white males, why did he nominate women and minorities for administration positions?

  259. “So the question with transgender kids is really whether being transgender is the same sort of immutable characteristic as race that merits Constitutional protection.”

    I agree that that’s the correct question, but considering how fluid this characteristic seems to be, and how there’s no real definition for it, my view is absolutely not.

  260. “And we’ve previously discussed the different interpretations of his “rapists and murderers” comment, but that to me invokes xenophobia in order to make a valid point about immigration.”

    And yet some 30% of Hispanics voted for Trump.
    Did they miss those subtle xenophobic appeals?

  261. Gay issues – Pence and the Sup Ct nominee. Both are concerning for people who are concerned about gay marriage and other related issues.

  262. “Trump is Time person of the year!”

    There’s no other person it could possibly be. Remember, the criteria (as I read this morning in a refresher) is who had the biggest effect on the news, for better or worse.

    The only alternative I could entertain, and this would just be so that the choice would not seem quite so obvious, would be Kellyanne Conway.

  263. Gay issues – Pence and the Sup Ct nominee.

    It’s obvious now that Pence is an unprincipled whore and will do what ever Trumps tells him to do. If Trump doesn’t care neither does Pence.

  264. Trump should absolutely be the person of the year! It isn’t an endorsement. Just who had the biggest influence in the year. Hitler won in back in the day.

  265. “Pence and the Sup Ct nominee. Both are concerning for people who are concerned about gay marriage and other related issues.”

    Then by that standard, any Republican elected to the Presidency would be grounds for this utter horror and shock and “oh my God, I had no idea what country I was living in! Who are these fellow Americans?!” reaction. And if that’s the case, you’re really in a bubble.

  266. I am sorry, but I see huge amounts of condescension and even outright hatred of those of us who live on the coasts in more urban areas. It manifests itself in many ways, but one of the big ones is the assumption that people who live in urban areas and have typical urban values are not Real Americans(tm). The condescension goes both ways. And so does the bubble wrap. A few weeks ago, people here were discussing the use of names to refer to ethnic groups, and someone said that people who live in rural white areas may not have enough experience with people of other ethnicity to know what they should call them. That to me is the very picture of a person living in a bubble, the White Rural Bubble, just as surely as we live in the Coastal Elite Bubble.

    And I am sick and tired of being told that because I live in the NY metro area and have travelled overseas, and don’t do Nascar that I am not a Real American. I don’t go down to KY and tell people that because they live in a white enclave and own guns and don’t like sushi that they aren’t Real Americans, so don’t do it to me.

  267. “It’s obvious now that Pence is an unprincipled whore and will do what ever Trumps tells him to do. If Trump doesn’t care neither does Pence.’

    Don’t hold back. Tell us what you *really* think.

  268. @Scarlett, well, for starters, that was why I started with “disagree.” I was not implying that people like you “just don’t care”; clearly, you abide by a set of religious beliefs and principles that are very different from ours, and so we will be drawn to very different candidates on those issues. And with respect to the “millions of people” who have similar beliefs to yours, that was why I specifically mentioned that DD was geographically restricted. We do not live in an area where that belief set is prominent, nor do we belong to a community (faith or otherwise) that does so. She was not surprised that there are people who disagree as a matter of principle; she was surprised at the number, given the limits of her experience so far.

    The “just don’t care” referred to a number of people I know who saw a racist/misogynistic/xenophobic tone in the campaign but “held their nose” and voted for Trump anyway, because their economic concerns outweighed their social concerns. Honestly, I think that’s where the bigger surprise came from to her, because as I mentioned, she doesn’t have the personal experience or life experience with those kinds of economic issues to even realize how significant a concern that is when you’re living it.

  269. Scarlett,

    He is. If his “the free market has failed” comment doesn’t prove it, I don’t know what does.

  270. Mooshi – I think you make a fair point.

    “and own guns”

    Interesting factoid: In America, in just 24 hours on Black Friday alone, more than enough guns were privately sold to arm every active-duty member of the United States Marine Corps. That’s based entirely on FBI background checks processed, and does not necessarily include purchases of multiple guns or purchases by those who didn’t require an additional background check.

  271. Milo – agreed. Other than as LfB has explained regarding young people and not having lived in other places, I am not sure why people are shocked. Saddened and disappointed – yes. Surprised – no, sir.

    Re: 30% of Hispanics voting for Trump. They are not a monolith. That doesn’t mean Trump didn’t use xenophobic tactics to energize his base and garner support.

  272. LfB, I wish I were as articulate as you.

    DH is fond of saying that the transgender bathroom issue is entirely an architectural problem. We just need ways to allow for privacy in bathrooms and locker rooms.

    And now I’m going to go off on a tangent about how much I, and many other girls, totally hated locker rooms in junior high and high school. In 7th grade, we were required to shower after P.E., and the teacher (who was widely regarded as lesbian and probably actually was lesbian) would feel us as we came out of the shower to make sure we were wet, since most girls hated showering during the day. Eventually enough girls complained that they stopped forcing showers. But the Mean Girls had a field day in the locker rooms, mocking all the less-beautiful girls about their various flaws and generally making the place a misery. If there were a design that allowed for privacy, we all would have grabbed it. Maybe something like department store changing rooms? A long hallway with doors that close and lock? ANYTHING other than just aisles of lockers where you’re wedged up against Lindsay and Madison who will point at your cellulite and laugh.

    And don’t say it’s not feasible. It’s totally feasible. If we had slightly different cultural customs it would have been this way from the start. We just need the political will to do it. The idea that it’s perfectly fine to be naked around a bunch of members of the same sex is actually totally weird. That’s not how modesty works.

  273. Oh, I do not necessarily believe that Trump has views espoused in his campaign. But he did pander to those elements of our society in his campaign. I don’t think I even need to discuss his views, statements and behavior re women. Nominating a couple of women does not mitigate that. I am all for border closings, enforcement of immigration laws etc, but not calling certain people rapists. He took his campaign to an all time low in our history.
    He definitely pandered to the racists xenophobic among us. And people voted for that. The bright spot is, quirk of electoral college has made him prez elect, not popular vote by far.
    My hope is that Trump will crush the dreams of all who voted for him for racist, xenophobic and religious reasons.

  274. Milo, I did not get the significance of the gun purchase on Black Friday. Could you explain?

  275. I am not convinced we know enough about transgender identity from a scientific standpoint to answer the question LfB raised. I think gay rights and transgender rights are two entirely different subjects, and I’m confused as to why liberals believe they always go hand and hand. I also think the Democrats have made a mistake making transgender issues such a priority.

  276. I do not necessarily believe that Trump has views espoused in his campaign. But he did pander to those elements of our society in his campaign.

    This is back to the dog whistle argument that we’re just supposed to believe. “He didn’t say it, but only racists [and somehow, amazingly, liberals] can understand it.”

    I don’t think I even need to discuss his views, statements and behavior re women.

    You don’t, because we were talking about platform.

    I did not get the significance of the gun purchase on Black Friday. Could you explain?

    It’s nothing. Just one of those stats that makes me say “Holy shit, this country buys a lot of guns!”

  277. We do love our guns.

    Here’s a Real American test question (sorry MM!) – how many dead deer with smiling person posing next to it have you seen in your Facebook feed in the last 30 days?

  278. Kate, are there any bonus points if the smiling hunters were not yet in high school or teen girls?

  279. DH is fond of saying that the transgender bathroom issue is entirely an architectural problem. We just need ways to allow for privacy in bathrooms and locker rooms.

    YES!!!!

    This seems like a issue designed to convince people that everyone on the other side is heartless or stupid.

    I am willing to think that the transgender exists. I think having that condition makes life harder. I also feel that way about being gay. Because, if you are straight the person you fall in love with can make babies with you*. If you are gay and fall in love with someone, you have added complications to get a child. So people who have the added burden in life of being in the wrong body, now have to advertise that several times a day. Yeah, enforcing that is heartless.

    However, there are predators, and opportunitists who would love to have an opportunity to hang out in the bathroom with young girls. Ignoring that reality is stupid.

    So, how about not making people be naked with complete strangers? What a thought.

    * I understand about fertility issues, but in general, all the necessary equipment to produce a child is assumed to be in place

  280. Maybe a dozen deer pictures. I don’t really notice or think about them much. They don’t stand out. Kids are typical in them. I’m probably sexist, but the only one that stood out to me was a female college classmate (now a med student) who had taken her son hunting.

  281. Kate and Mooshi,

    Where do you see this Real American stuff? I’ve never heard it used in any other way than to indicate that rural people were ignorant. Generally spoken as “Real Merican”

  282. @LfB

    Mooshi and Kate bring it up, but this is the only place I see it. Of course, this is also the only place I see the “bubble” conversation.

  283. For a while, everyone and their brother was doing that quiz on Facebook and reporting their bubble score.

  284. Trump picked his third general: John Kelly for Homeland Security.

    That must be what he meant when he explained that he’s got his secret plan to defeat ISIS, but he’d also get a plan from the generals, and then he’d compare his plan with the generals’ plan to see which he liked better, and he may take some parts from his plan and some parts…

  285. “Generally spoken as “Real Merican””

    Reading through the comments quickly, I initially read this as “Real Mexican.”

  286. “But they voted for that one candidate who made racism, sexism and xenophobia as his platform. So indeed why not call spade a spade?”

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a lot of articles written by or about people complaining about the election results seem to be in total denial that many people did not vote for Trump as much as they voted against Hillary. Remember, the only thing keeping her from being the historically most unliked candidate, according to polls, was Trump.

    I think that had the Dems not tried to make the primaries into a coronation, or had a better candidate, they’d have won. The timing of Biden’s son’s death will turn out to be tremendously important, one way or another.

  287. “And yet some 30% of Hispanics voted for Trump.
    Did they miss those subtle xenophobic appeals?”

    One theory is that at least some of them prioritized sexism over xenophobia.

  288. Finn – maybe. But Trump beat out a lot of Republicans in the primaries. Some of whom were good candidates. So, at least a big portion actually supported Trump.

  289. “I think gay rights and transgender rights are two entirely different subjects, and I’m confused as to why liberals believe they always go hand and hand.”

    I don’t consider myself a liberal, but I see them as largely going hand in hand because they’re both about individual rights of people who don’t fit into socially preferred categories.

    But more specifically about these two groups (there are a lot of other groups that can fit under the umbrella of individual rights), I’ve speculated here before how there can be a lot of overlap/empathy between the two groups.

    One scenario: Someone categorized as male, and brought up as male, reaches puberty and realizes attraction to males, not females. Person first considers the possibility of being a gay male, but after some experimentation decides that’s not correct. Person next considers possibility of being a female who was brought up male, and experiments with transgenderism. Perhaps the order could be reversed, but in either case, this person would have some experience and empathy with both groups.

  290. DH and I (neither of whom voted for Trump) have started to category things as “This Why Trump Got Elected”

    My DD refereed for rec league basketball last weekend and was called a racist for calling a kid for travelling.

    Yesterday she brought home an application for a program that would provide SAT tutoring, college tours, advise on course selection and help with her college application. Sounds great? Oh wait, she’s not eligible.

    I suspect that a lot of people a) voted against Hillary and b) were really tired of paying for programs their kids can’t participate in and c) are really tired of constantly being called racists.

  291. “But Trump beat out a lot of Republicans in the primaries. Some of whom were good candidates.”

    Really? Which of the R candidates were good candidates?

    One of the circumstances that led to Trump winning was, IMO, that dearth of good candidates. On the R side, it was a lack of good candidates; on the D side, it was a general deference to HRC; and even on the L side, the lack of a good candidate prevented them from taking advantage of a great opportunity.

  292. On terrorism, Obama still doesn’t get it.

    ” “No foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland. (Applause.) And it’s not because they didn’t try. Plots have been disrupted.’

    Foreign terrorist organizations haven’t executed an attack on our homeland, but far too many terrorists have. I’m not sure Obama’s words will be so reassuring to the students at Ohio State University who were attacked late last month, the 29 people injured in the Chelsea bombing in September, the ten people stabbed in a shopping mall in Minnesota in September, the 50 killed and 53 injured in the attack on the Orlando nightclub, the 16 killed and 23 injured in San Bernardino, California, the 6 killed and 2 injured on the attacks on servicemen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the 3 killed and 264 injured at the Boston Marathon, the 13 killed and 44 injured at Fort Hood, Texas…
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner

    To his credit, Trump has named some serious individuals, who *do* appear to get it, for top administrative positions. Here’s hoping that our new President understands that the real threat to the West is ISIS-inspired attacks by the so-called lone wolves who are taking their cues from the ISIS playbook, all conveniently available online. If they can’t manage to get guns and bombs, all they need are knives and vehicles.

  293. Kasich, Jeb!, Rubio. I think any of those 3 could have easily beaten HRC.

    Anyone could have beaten HRC. Trump beat her, anyone would have beat her.

  294. Right. And they picked Trump because that is the candidate that the Republicans preferred. He is the choice of the Republicans.

  295. “Kasich, Jeb!, Rubio. I think any of those 3 could have easily beaten HRC.”

    Hallelujah, Kate and I agree. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, if Trump beat Hillary, any of the 17 would have beaten Hillary. Although Ted Cruz might be low on the list, just based on poor likability. And I don’t even think it’s entirely his fault. I may even concede that Hillary’s poor likability is not entirely her fault, either.

    Also, a lot of GOP primary voters voted for Trump, but not a majority. So if the Party had cleared the field for any of the three main ones (Kasich, Jeb, Rubio), then Trump wouldn’t have made it.

    The great question is, where would Sanders have ended up? I’ve read recently that the GOP (and Hillary, in fact) had some absolutely devastating research on him — recordings of him praising dictators as they were denigrating the U.S. But the GOP was more than happy to let him give HRC a hard time, and HRC didn’t want to unnecessarily turn off his supporters.

  296. God, with Pruitt as head of EPA, all the gains in environmental protection will be washed away. He is so ensconced with special interests, it is not funny. I guess now wce family will soon be able to get dirty and use ton of water to wash their clothes.

    Hillary still got the popular vote, not Trump remember that. Just like Bush, trump will be the president because of some outdated rule.

  297. “Kasich, Jeb!, Rubio. I think any of those 3 could have easily beaten HRC.”

    I’m skeptical. None of them seemed to have much appeal to voters.

    “Anyone could have beaten HRC. Trump beat her, anyone would have beat her.”

    Sanders not beating her suggests this is not true.

  298. Sanders not beating her suggests this is not true.

    The Democrat party rigged the primary.

  299. “You don’t, because we were talking about platform.”

    Yes, you keep believing what you need to.

  300. “Sanders not beating her suggests this is not true.”

    Hillary and the Democrats cheated their own system. They were so sure that they new best who should be their nominee that they cheated to get her there, and possibly gave Trump the Presidency as a result.

    “Yes, you keep believing what you need to.”

    I believe what I’ve logically argued.

  301. “I’m skeptical. None of them seemed to have much appeal to voters. ”

    I could see an argument that none would turn out the disaffected working class voters in PA, WI, and MI with the same success that Trump did. Trump got voters who stayed home in 2012, and he flipped voters who supported Obama in 2012. J/K/R might not have done that.

    But I think J/K/R would have still won OH and IA (from the Midwest), would have still won FL and NC, probably with some added margin, and likely would have won VA, NV, and CO, all of which Trump lost.

  302. “Hallelujah, Kate and I agree.”

    What fun would this be if we agreed? I find you to be a good opponent.

  303. Thanks. I read a Vanity Fair article during my insomnia last night that was republished from the 1990 archives.

    I really knew nothing about Trump before all this. I didn’t follow NY tabloids, I never watched the Apprentice. According to my Mom, my late grandfather always enjoyed following his stories in the press, somewhat admiringly (or at least amusedly) because he was a “big shot” (Grandpa used that term all the time) and an outsider who challenged the elites.

    The 1990 article was not flattering, and it portrayed him at what must have been the low point of his life. His business empire was crumbling, his marriage to Ivana was shattered (and he had not been a good husband to her), he had been blackmailed with pictures of his mistress. Still, it was very interesting, and fascinating to see the portrayal written a quarter century ago, and how it’s held up. I hope he’s reformed at least a little bit with age.

  304. “Hillary still got the popular vote, not Trump remember that. Just like Bush, trump will be the president because of some outdated rule.”

    Sigh, this again. If the rules had been different, Trump likely could have won the popular vote. There’s a lot more rural land in blue states than there are major cities in red ones. Winning the Electoral College requires a far more complex strategy, and Trump played it with absolute brilliance. He also had a far more advanced digital targeting strategy (pushed by Kushner) and he won with only about $700M compared to Hillary’s $1.3B. He also campaigned constantly, including into the wee hours of Election Day, while Hillary was napping. So to bitch and moan “Well, if only we could tweak the rules…” rings pretty hollow.

  305. Back to the trade questions, The Economist podcast had an interesting one from 11/29 that talked about trade/globalization and does the American working class had a right to be angry. The economist, Richard Baldwin, has a new book that explores that we’re approaching trade with a 20th century mindset like TV versus TV, when we need to understand that it has surpassed that and is now labor forces, intellectual property, knowledge etc. He goes on to say that the working class has a right to be angry but there have been benefits to the world as a whole. Moving their jobs has raised a significant middle class in other countries of the world. Furthermore, he points out that within American companies one department can flourish because of globalization but another department is decimated. But to the person whose job moved out of the country, hearing that others have benefited doesn’t help you feed your own family. I said this earlier in the week. These workers are not obsolete; they lost their jobs to workers in a country with less employment rights environmental regulations and who are paid lower. Baldwin thinks that governments have not done a good job in helping their working class citizen retain their standard of living and there could be more “populist” candidates winning.

    There have been other Economist and You Are Not So Smart podcasts since the election that I’ve found fascinating as well on Trump, Climate Change and Human Rights. One of the main themes being that America has the resources to “take its ball and go home” if we so desired and could survive. Yes it may have some difficulties and some standards of living may change but it would be devastating to other countries who have less resources. Other countries need America to stay trading more so then America needs cheap goods. Furthermore, other countries need America to stay in global politics to keep human rights and push policies/agreements to benefit humanity as a whole. It was subtle but there seemed to be an acknowledgement that yes some American citizens are paying a personal price for others in the world to benefit and these are the citizens who voted in this election. These are also the citizens in other countries who voted for Brexit, may usher in a change in either France of Germany. The tone of the podcasts changed from the pre-election of anyone who would do that is a racist, bigot or some other phobe to trying to understand other motives these voters had.

  306. From what I’ve gathered, it must have been after around 1990 when he realized that he could stop being the buyer/builder/developer of properties, with all the attendant risk of capital, and just lease out his name as a Business Mastermind/Purveyor of Ultimate Luxury. So the Apprentice was a big, steady paycheck, but the underlying purpose must have been the branding effect.

    Rhett will enjoy this article about the planes. According to Politico (big grain of salt), he doesn’t really even like planes — hey, I don’t either — so much as he likes the status. And he doesn’t want a small, great plane, but a 20-year-old enormous plane.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-jet-obsession-232272

    It’d be like me buying this:

    And getting MILO painted all over the side.

  307. Scalett,

    Has anyone ever known or cared who Reince Priebus is? Ellison would be a terrible presidential nominee but he isn’t in line for that. His role would be more about fundraising and grooming Newsom or Hassen or whoever is going to run in 2020. How good he’d be at that, I have no idea.

  308. “the transgender bathroom issue is entirely an architectural problem. We just need ways to allow for privacy in bathrooms and locker rooms.”

    Yes. We could go back to the 90s for a solution to this, “the unisex” in the law offices of Cage and Fish, where much of “Ally McBeal” took place. There was a story line with a transgender, and one thing that was absolutely not an issue was which restroom that person would use.

    “I, and many other girls, totally hated locker rooms in junior high and high school. ”

    It wasn’t just you.

    When I was in HS, the most popular PE class, for both boys and girls, was the one in the last period of the day, because there was no mandatory shower after that one. Swimming classes earlier in the day were OK, because you could shower with your swimwear on.

    I think it was particularly painful for kids who went through puberty either much earlier or much later than their classmates.

    As I mentioned yesterday, I wonder what the rationale is for those showers facilities with no privacy. Is it just the lower cost/shower, or just the “this is how we’ve always done it” mentality?

  309. I don’t know enough about Ellison to comment. I hope it isn’t Newsom. He is way too Patrick Bateman.

  310. He is way too Patrick Bateman.

    Say what you will but his hair could land the nomination all on its own.

    I can already see the hipster t-shirts – “I’m with hair.”

  311. He skeeves me out. I had a couple friends who worked for him during the Ruby Rippey fiasco. Slime ball!

  312. On the showers, the rationale is likely cost. You can fit 8 shower heads in a much smaller space than 8 separate shower stalls would require. It’s much easier to clean the big space. And it’s not just high school students who are subjected to these conditions. The Fairfax County rec centers I used all had communal showers. So the water aerobics ladies were right in there with the triathletes and the little staring boys from swim class.
    The new gym I just joined has 8 lovely separate shower stalls. But it’s a brand new facility in a town where land is flat and cheap.

  313. “It’s much easier to clean the big space.”

    Oh yeah, I didn’t think of that.

    My middle and high school locker rooms had open shower areas with, perhaps, three central poles, each with about six shower heads radiating outward, so extremely space-efficient.

    That said, I never remember a single person ever using them, neither after gym class in middle school, or even practice in high school. You simply didn’t get that sweaty in middle school gym (especially since so much of the class was taking attendance, making sure everyone had worn their gym uniforms, talking about the rules of whatever “unit” we were doing, dividing up into groups…). In high school, practice was after school, and there was not even the expectation that anyone would shower, because there was always a quick meeting in the classroom after practice, and then you’d just go home and shower there.

    PTM has talked about his childhood in the 1960s when he was sent to a swimming program at the Y and nobody saw any reason he would bother to wear a swimsuit at all. Given that apparently widespread mentality, when my middle and high schools were built in the following decade, it’s understandable that the common showers would make the most sense. Yet by the mid-1990s, I swear, nobody used them at all. My theory is that the 1980s explosion of fear about child predators and abductors, sparked by the gruesome murder of Adam Walsh, caused the parents of my immediate cohorts to make us a lot more modest and sensitive about public or semi-public exposure. So when you grow up like that from about 7 or 8 onward, by the time you hit 11 and 12, you’d be horrified to be showering after middle school gym. By 14, I wouldn’t have cared in high school, but like I said, it just wasn’t done at school, even though when a lot of us went to the private health club together, either after practice or on the weekends, nobody was particularly uncomfortable, even in the sauna or steam room.

    My brother has commented on the “rash guard” (such a ridiculous misnomer for a sunscreen shirt) phenomena that so many Totebag boys have now grown up wearing, that my brother, coaching a practice of my nephew’s soccer team, told the kids that they were going to scrimmage, and one side was to take off their shirts and turn them inside-out. A bunch of the nine-year-old boys were horrified by this simple task, they ran to their parents on the sidelines to do it shielded by towels.

  314. That is hysterical Rhett. What is weird is that I agree that they look very similar but I find Newsom to be way more attractive. Better bone structure and no Trump chin.

  315. A bunch of the nine-year-old boys were horrified by this simple task

    Good. Maybe they won’t grow up to mow their lawns with their shirts off, beer gut hanging out and back hair blowing gently in the breeze.

  316. And before you jump down my throat for being classist, my own dad did that.

  317. I don’t think that there were private showers at the aging YMCA facility where DS1 had most of his club practices (never thought to ask), but showers after a long swim practice are fairly common. Maybe they left on their itty bitty suits for the sake of modesty. But I know that a lot of hazing and other untoward activity takes place in unsupervised locker rooms, even though many now post signs forbidding the use of cameras or other recording devices.

    My kids would not have worn rash guards without a fight, but they seem to be a growing practice among younger parents because of sun exposure concerns. Oddly, the concerns about sun exposure seem to evaporate, at least with the girls, by the time they are old enough to wear two piece suits.

  318. “And before you jump down my throat for being classist”

    I wouldn’t. But I thought those days are long gone, unless I’m in a bubble.

  319. I am a mom to two rashguard boys. My middle kid had extensive radiation to the torso, so he is very high risk for skin cancer (has to do the head to toe scan every year at the dermatologist). He has to wear a rashguard when swimming outside, and to make it easier, we simply put one on the older kid too – we didn’t want whining about “how come he doesn’t have to wear it”. Plus the older kid is very pale and blonde so it wasn’t a bad idea. Anyway, they just got used to wearing them, and now even wear them to the indoor pool by preference. These days, I even see young adult men wearing them, and honestly, a decrease in skin cancer risk is not a bad thing.

    It is actually the bottom half of the swim outfit where you really see how modest men have gotten. Back when I was a teen, most boys and men wore swim trunks that hit upper to midde thigh, and were not baggy or skin tight. Now, most men wear these huge swaths of fabric that hang to their knees in enormous folds. I cannot imagine what it feels like to try to swim in those, or even to walk around wet.

    There may have been a time when kids ran around naked – it certainly was not my experience though. I think there were more single sex activities back then. As girls and boys mix more, you just aren’t going to see a lot of naked activities.

    However, we used to go barefoot all the time in the summer, and I never see that any more

  320. Just walked in the door from the dermatologist, who I Nelsey more frequently and some members of my family. I think rash guards are a great idea

  321. Rash guards may be easier than sunscreen, but they don’t eliminate the need for sunscreen on the face and ears and arms and other parts of the body not covered by the shirt. Our kids got used to the tedious exercise of applying sunscreen several times a day before pool visits. I told them that, surely, by the time *they* had kids, scientists would have invented a sunscreen pill but DS has two little ones and there is no pill. And that fact has been pointed out to me.

    Vitamin D is added to many foods, such as milk, and can easily be added as a supplement. You only need about 15-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure for Vitamin D purposes.

  322. “but they don’t eliminate the need for sunscreen on the face and ears and arms and other parts of the body not covered by the shirt.”

    Yeah, but they make it immensely faster to apply it and reapply it. And between swimming and boating, we’re going through a lot of sunscreen. I wear a shirt in the water until about 3:30 or 4. I just snicker at the term “rash guard” because it seems like such a Mommy appropriation in order to sell the idea. Your kid’s splashing in the pool and doing a cannonball; he’s not surfing on a long board at the North Shore. He’s not at risk of getting a “rash.”

  323. DS2 did get rashes when riding the waves at Nags Head, but he regarded it as some sort of trophy to manliness and didn’t want to wear a shirt. Maybe because I called it a shirt instead of a rashguard.
    The boys did wear shirts from time to time, but found that wearing a clammy wet shirt after getting out of the water made them colder, so they would take it off to try to warm up. In the sun. Maybe the real rashguards are made of superior fabrics.

  324. Milo, at the time my fair skinned, redheaded, blue-eyed son who was always outside needed one, the only places I could find them were at shops that catered to surfers. I ended up ordering them online from Australia because they take their sun protection seriously there. so they were a little thicker and more protective. As they became more mainstream, I think the name just stuck. I do agree it’s easier to sell as a cool surfer thing then a geeky overprotective mom thing.

  325. “the “rash guard” (such a ridiculous misnomer for a sunscreen shirt)”

    It’s not a misnomer when shirts originally intended to be used to prevent rash are used as sun protection.

    Around here they are ubiquitous, and are often referred to as swimming shirts.

    “I think rash guards are a great idea”

    Especially in light of a study suggesting that sunscreen may be toxic to coral.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/22/sunscreen-ingredient-may-be-killing-off-coral-reefs-study.html

    It’s also a lot easier to cover one’s own back with a shirt than with applied sunscreen.

  326. “My hope is that Trump will crush the dreams of all who voted for him for racist, xenophobic and religious reasons.”

    I agree. I’m not sure what of that he really believes or intends to do. I’m not sure how much is an act and how much is true. I certainly think his actual social opinions are more liberal than most of the stated Republican platform. Does he intend to go against that? I don’t know. I don’t think he gives a rat’s **s about the Republican party, so there’s a chance.

    I am coming around to giving Trump a chance, precisely because I don’t know what he is going to do. While that could result in disaster, it also could result in policies and judicial appointees that I like substantially more than I would have liked from the other choices (ugh, CRUZ), especially with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress. His appointments make me less optimistic that this is likely to happen though. Maybe I am closer to the “Acceptance” stage of grief about the reality of President Trump. Or still in denial. I don’t know.

    Newsom is a creep. We MUST have better people than him to put up in 2020.

    If I had to pick a Trump son to be living out American Psycho, I’d put my money on Eric.

    Rash guards are fantastic. Putting sunscreen on substantially fewer areas of my pale child is a good thing. He also wears it inside at the pool too out of habit. But as this does not keep him from wanting to hang out around the house in his underwear at all times, I’m not sure that it has really affected his overall modesty.

  327. ” I certainly think his actual social opinions are more liberal than most of the stated Republican platform. ”
    Do you really think that after his EPA and Education picks? They absolutely toe the Republican line.

  328. Okay, I haven’t paid the slightest attention to Gavin Newsom. Why is he a creep?

  329. On Newsom – there’s the fact that he had an affair with his subordinate’s wife, for starters.

  330. Newsom is expected to become governor of California in 2018 and use that as a springboard to run for the presidency.

  331. I heard Megyn Kelly interviewed the other day on Fresh Air. What happened to her was horrific. And Trump tried the same thing on that union guy in Ohio. I kind of feel like he has an army of online brownshirts who are just waiting for his signal to go terrorize his targets

  332. Not excusing any nastiness on Trump’s part, but this young woman entered the public forum and put herself and her opinions out there. Should she not be prepared to cope with those who disagree with those opinions? Not excusing any nastiness on anyone’s part but wondering to what degree Trump can be held responsible for it.

  333. Trump knows that when he issues a nasty tweet, this legion of his supporters will spring into action. Why else did he threaten Megyn Kelly with unleashing his “beautiful Twitter account” against her in the days before she moderated that debate? And when he did, she was hounded for months with death threats. He knew it would happen.

  334. Scarlett, she was a college student asking a question of a presidential candidate at a forum designed for people to ask questions. Do you really think that at 18 she should’ve known to be prepared for that? I’m well over 18, and that response stuns the hell out of me. I would’ve never expected that from a simple question to a presidential candidate

  335. On Vitamin D – 15-20 minutes is enough to prevent rickets, but may not be enough for “optimum level”. 10-15 years ago supplementing Vit D was going to save everyone. People with low Vit D had heart disease, depression, poor chance of recovering from surgery or any intensive care unit stay, autoimmune disease – the list goes on and on. Clearly having low Vit D is very bad for you. From what I have gathered, the supplementation of Vit D has not changed much. Take someone with low levels, supplement them, get their levels up to optimum, and the risk profile for heart disease is still the same. So, maybe Vit D level is marker of a lifestyle that makes you healthier? Maybe there is some Vitamin Q that is actually the thing that makes everything better, and its level is tied to Vitamin D?

    My kids wear shirts in the pool and I try to keep them covered or in shade during peak UV hours. However, we use very little sunscreen. Some of that is because we live in a place that doesn’t have a ton of sun, part of that is O-rings (the worst!), part of it is penance for the fact that my kids don’t always eat organic. I think a healthy dose of melanin is probably a good thing.

    Also, sunscreen not really providing evidence that it does anything other than prevent sunburns. It probably has no effect on melanomas (which can occur in areas that are never exposed, like the armpit). http://www.jabfm.org/content/24/6/735.full. Sunscreen and Melanoma: Is Our Prevention Message Correct?

  336. “From what I have gathered, the supplementation of Vit D has not changed much. ”

    I recall reading something like this, which confirms my long-standing skepticism about nutritional supplements.

    From Ada’s linked article:
    There currently is little evidence that sunscreens are protective against CMM. A number of studies suggest that the use of sunscreen does not significantly decrease the risk CMM, and may actually increase the risk of CMM and sunburns.

    Darn, it’s hard to believe in any conventional wisdom.

    It’s hard to see this going anywhere, but who knows these days:

    GOP introduces plan to massively cut Social Security
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/gop-introduces-plan-to-massively-cut-social-security-222200857.html

  337. Another look at Betsy DeVos and Michigan charter schools.

    Michigan’s charter model has also been criticized for its purported lack of accountability. Critics claim that schools aren’t held to high standards. But more than 100 charters have been closed in the last 20 years, both for academic and financial reasons. Not a single traditional public school in the state has ever closed because of poor performance.

    How Trump’s Schools Chief Helped Turn Around Detroit

  338. That writing was a bit sloppy. I wonder how many charter schools have closed for poor performance/academic reasons? Well, at least one.

  339. So WaPo and NYTimes are reporting that the CIA believes pretty strongly that Russian election meddling was intended to ensure Trump won. It seems that the CIA briefing is what led to Obama calling for an investigation. To me, this seems scary. Opinion?

  340. It is so crazy! I wonder if anyone regrets their decision to vote for him. There is just so much crap that is not defensible and is downright crazy. But I know emails! and Benghazi! Plus how Hillary sexually assaulted other women.

  341. And speaking of assaulting women, we are now up to 4 of Trump and friends who have been accused of assaulting women: Trump himself, Bannon, Lewandowski and Puzder. We should keep track of how many women get appointed by Trump v how many Trump men have been accused of assaulting women. I think we are dead even right now, unless you count Trump as 12 or whatever the number currently is for him specifically.

  342. The National Review has challenged the NYT assertion, based on a “well-regarded study”, that Detroit charter schools have been a “disaster.”

    “Or look at the study’s chart 7 (p. 44). It shows 47 percent of Detroit charter schools significantly outperforming traditional public schools on reading and 49 percent of charters significantly outperforming traditionals on math. One percent of charters are significantly underperforming on reading and 7 percent on math. For the rest, there’s no significant difference. That sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

    The study’s conclusion section opens this way:

    ‘Based on the findings presented here, the typical student in Michigan charter schools gains more learning in a year than his TPS counterparts, amounting to about two months of additional gains in reading and math. These positive patterns are even more pronounced in Detroit, where historically student academic performance has been poor. These outcomes are consistent with the result that charter schools have significantly better results than TPS for minority students who are in poverty.’

    Some disaster.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/442522/devos-and-detroits-charter-schools

  343. I looked up the Puzder abuse claim, and found that his ex-wife has recanted.

    “Now, the Riverfront Times report that Lisa Fierstein, Puzder’s ex-wife, is recanting the domestic-violence charges. In an e-mail to her former husband dating from the end of November, Fierstein wrote: You know how deeply I regret many of the rash decisions I made at that time and I sincerely hope that none of those decisions will become an issue for you at this time. I impulsively filed for a divorce without your knowledge and was counseled then to file an allegation of abuse. I regretted and still regret that decision and I withdrew those allegations over thirty years ago. You were not abusive. I will most definitely confirm to anyone who may ask that in no way was there abuse. We had a heated argument. We both said things to one another that we regret to this day. I have always been grateful that we have been able to forgive one another for the hurt we caused caused each other. CBS News’s Dean Reynolds reports Fierstein also provided the e-mail to his organization, wherein Fierstein says she “made the whole thing up.” ”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/442921/andrew-puzder-ex-wife-abuse-allegations-recanted-labor-secretary

  344. So WaPo and NYTimes are reporting that the CIA believes pretty strongly that Russian election meddling was intended to ensure Trump won

    That’s not what they are saying. The NYTimes is saying the Russians wanted to weaken President Hillary and they are as surprised as anyone that Trump one. It could work in our favor as the Russian know 100% what Hillary would do if they invaded the Baltics – sanctions, whining, sternly worded diplomatic protests, etc. They don’t have nearly the same confidence in what Trump would do.

    As with everthing with Trump, it could be amazing, it could end disastrously.

  345. I looked up the Puzder abuse claim, and found that his ex-wife has recanted.

    Phew, as we all know actual abused spouses never recant.

  346. Rhett, ““It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.””
    and
    “Agency briefers told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_russiahack-745p%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.cac566ad6ce3

    That doesn’t sound like they think the goal was to learn more about Hillary

  347. Scarlett, from the Detroit Free Press
    “According to the Free Press’ review, 38% of charter schools that received state academic rankings during the 2012-13 school year fell below the 25th percentile, meaning at least 75% of all schools in the state performed better. Only 23% of traditional public schools fell below the 25th percentile.”
    http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2014/06/22/michigan-spends-1b-on-charter-schools-but-fails-to-hold/77155074/

    Most of the article is about fraud and waste in the private charter sector.They do acknowledge that some charter schools in Michigan succeed, but that way too many do not, and are not closed down.

    I have a friend who worked for one of the Michigan for-profit charter chains. She did finances. She eventually left because she could not handle what she was seeing any more. She said it was all about profits and that they did not care that their chain schools were doing terribly.

  348. “The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.

    For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.

    Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has said in a television interview that the “Russian government is not the source.” ”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.4a7c276714c2

    We still don’t have the whole story, and perhaps we never will.

    But assuming that Russian government officials did help expose the emails released by WikiLeaks, what, exactly, are we supposed to do about that? At most, Russian actors, who may or may not have been government officials, helped expose materials in those emails that Clinton and her supporters would have preferred to conceal. There is no evidence that Russian hackers manipulated the election through tampering with computers that registered votes.

  349. I wonder if you’ll be more concerned, Scarlett, when an Islamic country interferes with the election to ensure that a soft-headed, dovish Democrat will win.

  350. What should we do about it? They should take the threat seriously even though their guy benefitted from it. Which includes McConnell and all of the stuff that he has said.

  351. “They should take the threat seriously”

    Couldn’t agree more. Email security is a big deal, despite what many people will tell you.

  352. So once again — only Hillary is corrupt. Everything else that happens is swell and the Donald is Just Being Smart. Got it.

  353. I think I may need a break from this thread. Eventually it will just be Milo and Scarlett gloating by themselves. Well, mazel tov, you two.

  354. Rocky – the question was what you want to be done about the Russians hacking emails. It’s no secret that unsecured emails are easily hacked. The way to get serious about that is to be a lot more careful and follow the rules. What else is there to say?

  355. Rocky – take a break from politics and watch the second half of the Army-Navy game. We’re getting killed.

    Trigger warning: Trump is there.

  356. They hacked the DNC and the RNC emails. Those weren’t on Hillary’s server.

  357. Well, it turns out the Harry Reid was right about Comey!

    And Tillerson and Bolton! McCain is concerned about Tillerson’s relationship with Putin.

  358. Rocky – the question was what you want to be done about the Russians hacking emails

    Destabilize Russia of course. You fuck with us we fuck with you.

  359. For example, I’m sure half of Putin’s inner circle has it out for the other half. One half is trying to screw the other half, etc. If we were tapping Angela Merkel’s phone, I’m sure we can come up with something that will reak havoc within the inner circle.

  360. We know that other countries care about the results of our Presidential elections. We also know that unsecured emails can be hacked. Why isn’t the real issue the content of those hacked emails? If they had been benign, disclosure wouldn’t have been an issue and the motive and identity of the hacker wouldn’t have mattered either.

  361. Why isn’t the real issue the content of those hacked emails?

    Because the RNC e-mails were hacked as well but weren’t released. I assume there are at least a few that the RNC would prefer remain secret.

  362. I suspect the RNC’s emails were pretty embarrassing too. That is what a party national committee does – scheme and try to control things, including the press and candidates.

  363. The real issue is not about the content of the emails. The real issue is that (1) Russia wants Trump to be president and (2) they have GOP emails.

    With respect to #1, we should all be wondering why. Russia doesn’t exactly like us. So, why do they want Trump to be president?

    With respect to #2 – when and under what conditions will they release the RNC emails? Certainly there is unflattering stuff in them.

    And then following all of this, our President elect is criticizing the CIA (basically saying they are not correct) and not speaking out against Russia. After he invited the hack.

    All in all a pretty crazy situation and something that rational people should find concerning, no matter the political side.

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