2017 Politics open thread, February 5-11

It seems that politics has infiltrated the Super Bowl.

I Don’t Care That My Sports Heroes Are Pro-Trump

 

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349 thoughts on “2017 Politics open thread, February 5-11

  1. I don’t really have any sports heroes although I might admire some in an abstract kind of way. But some sports stars do go out of their way to make political statements – Muhammed Ali comes to mind immediately – and then I tend to think of them as political activists rather than sports stars. Does that make sense? For example, I like Patrick Elias (who is probably retiring soon) as a hockey player, but I have no idea what his politics are nor do I care. But he started making speeches and coming to progressive political rallies, or made ads for Trump, I would think of him in terms of politics not hockey

  2. “Putin’s is a killer,” O’Reilly said in the interview.
    “There are a lot of killers,” Trump responded. “Got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”

    I can only imagine the latherous rage among the usual suspects if Barack or Michelle said the same thing.

  3. DH has had a man crush on Tom Brady for years. He’s sort of distraught that Brady apparently is a Trump guy.

  4. Rhett, I had the same thought. This has to be so difficult for more traditional Republicans. They have always held themselves out to be the party of patriotism while Democrats were branded as American apologists and occasionally traitors. I’m looking forward to John McCain’s response.

    I feel compassion for the writers on VEEP. It must be difficult to come up with material when reality has veered so far into left field.

    I’m seeing a lot of criticism of the Secret Service costs for the adult Trump children. When the first Bush was president, I’m assuming coverage was also provided to his kids? I can’t find anything on that.

  5. The statute refers to protection for the immediate family, which is not a defined term. From what I can see, adult children and their spouses and children are deemed eligible for protection, but have the right to decline it. Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Geo W Bush and Obama all had minor children while in the White House. Nixon, Reagan, Ford, Geo HW Bush did not. The world has changed a lot since 1990. International business owners and executives, even if US based, now often have private security for themselves and their family, travel by private air only, etc. It would be routine for the Trumps.

  6. Im not sure about the exact age of W’s children. Maybe they were college aged, not technically minors. I remember the stories about the secret service interfering in the social life of the Johnson girls, especially the high school younger one who was for the era a little wild and the older one who was dating an actor. The protection of the young adult kids began in his presidency as a response to the Kennedy assassination.

  7. “I can only imagine the latherous rage among the usual suspects if Barack or Michelle said the same thing.”

    Well, not exactly the same thing, but the underlying sentiment is similar.

    “Every challenge that we face is more easily met if we tend to our own democratic foundation. This work is never over. That’s why, in the United States, we recently ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. That’s why we prohibited–without exception or equivocation–the use of torture. All of us have to change. And sometimes change is hard. Another issue that confronts all democracies as they move to the future is how we deal with the past. The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history. Facing the Washington Monument that I spoke of is a memorial of Abraham Lincoln, the man who freed those who were enslaved even after Washington led our Revolution. Our country still struggles with the legacies of slavery and segregation, the past treatment of Native Americans. Human endeavor is by its nature imperfect. History is often tragic, but unresolved, it can be a heavy weight. Each country must work through its past. And reckoning with the past can help us seize a better future.”
    http://www.heritage.org/europe/report/barack-obamas-top-10-apologies-how-the-president-has-humiliated-superpower

    “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”
    http://www.newsweek.com/michelle-obamas-proud-remarks-83559

  8. I recall there was quite a bit of outrage on the Republican side over Michelle’s comment.

  9. I hope this link works for everyone:

    I’m sure Scarlett will explain how this is totally unrelated to Trump’s election and there still would have been swastika’s all over a subway car if Trump lost. For those who still don’t understand why people are scared, this is why. Trump has emboldened the bigots. Fortunately, good people are not staying silent.

  10. @DD – this is what Azis Ansari (formerly of the Daily Show) calls “the lowercase kkk.” It’s a great rant and make the same point. There are a lot of people who feel that things have suddenly changed in America and it is okay to say “Heil Hitler” in your yearbook photo, put swastika on something, tell a (American citizen) reporter to “go back to your country”, etc. These people have always been here, but now they are emboldened.

  11. Bush”s kids were in college, so I assume they had Secret Service protection. It was completely different from hauling Secret Service along for a grown man on a business trip.

  12. MBT said “This has to be so difficult for more traditional Republicans. ”
    You are being way too sympathetic. The abject hypocrisy is mind blowing and they know it. I am assuming Paul Ryan has cut some kind of deal with Trump, because his spine has turned into something like milkshake texture. WHat is happening on talk radio? Are they blasting him? I know RedState has blasted him, but they are not really Trumpites.
    http://www.redstate.com/patterico/2017/02/05/mitch-mcconnell-shows-slightly-cojones-donald-trump/

  13. Bush”s kids were in college, so I assume they had Secret Service protection. It was completely different from hauling Secret Service along for a grown man on a business trip.

    How is it different? I assume the Bush girls were adults for most or all of their college career. There are a lot of crazies* in the world so I don’t have a problem with giving the children of a POTUS Secret Service protection.

    * If Trump implodes and we end up with President Hassan in 2020 and Bannon and the alt-right is baying for blood would you begrudge her kids protection?

  14. “I’m sure Scarlett will explain how this is totally unrelated to Trump’s election and there still would have been swastika’s all over a subway car if Trump lost.”

    Well, here a list of swastika incidents, just on college campuses, since 2014.

    There are 185 reported incidents on this list, 135 of which took place BEFORE Trump was elected.

    http://www.amchainitiative.org/swastika-tracker/

    Here is another story reporting a swastika “epidemic” in the US in 2008. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/127567

    There are more hate crimes against Jews in this country than against all other religious groups put together. It didn’t start with Trump.

  15. “There are a lot of people who feel that things have suddenly changed in America and it is okay to say “Heil Hitler” in your yearbook photo, put swastika on something, tell a (American citizen) reporter to “go back to your country”, etc. These people have always been here, but now they are emboldened.”

    And there are a lot of people who appear to be ignorant of the extent to which this stuff was happening, on a daily basis, long before Trump was elected.

    “The ADL Audit recorded 377 cases of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2015, up slightly from 363 in 2014. Vandalism incidents are individually evaluated by ADL and are categorized as anti-Semitic based on the presence of anti-Semitic symbols or language; the identity of the perpetrator(s), if known; and the target of the vandalism and its proximity to Jewish homes, communities and institutions.

    The 2015 Audit includes in its totals swastikas and hate symbols that targeted Jewish property or communal institutions. Swastikas targeting other minorities or those used out of context simply for shock value were not counted.”

    http://www.adl.org/press-center/press-releases/anti-semitism-usa/2015-audit-anti-semitic-incidents.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/#.WJfTbGQrJz8

    The subway incident wouldn’t even have made the ADL list. So, no, a Facebook post reporting swastikas on the subway isn’t proof of anything at all with regard to Trump or his supporters.

  16. Rhett, it is just the optics are bad. We spend a lot of money on protection so that the son can go on an overseas business trip with the sole aim of making money for Daddy, who recall has not divested himself at all from his holdings and won’t even let us know how entangled he is. Far different from protecting Jenna Bush at a frat party. Most likely she was a dependent, which Eric Trump is not, and that would make a difference to, to me at least

  17. I have friends who have reported some horrific episodes in their kids schools, in places like PA and IL. They had never seen this before, Stuff like that doesn’t get reported into the statistics.

  18. Let’s not pretend there hasn’t been an uptick in this crap.

    We just heard from Scarlett. Everything is perfectly fine and absolutely nothing has changed. I know I can sleep easier now.

  19. I have friends who have reported some horrific episodes in their kids schools, in places like PA and IL. They had never seen this before, Stuff like that doesn’t get reported into the statistics.

    I have a friend who is a HS teacher in IL and he said there’s been a big increase in incidents at his school since the election. But it’s not in the official stats either, so it’s not actually happening.

  20. In Scarlett’s defense, Trump/Bannon’s winning message has been one where the Volk has been betrayed by a corrupt elite. Traditionaly, that elite has had at its center “the Jews.” I’m certain they don’t wish to implicate “the Jews.”

    That said, some of their followers are all to eager to pull “the Jews” into any conspiracy that involve a betrayal of the Volk.

    Personally, I think they won by doing a “find and replace” where “International Jewery” was replaced by Radical Islamic Terrorism and China/Mexico.

  21. “Let’s not pretend there hasn’t been an uptick in this crap.

    We just heard from Scarlett. Everything is perfectly fine and absolutely nothing has changed. I know I can sleep easier now.”

    The plural of anecdote is not data.
    Facebook feeds and friends who teach high school are anecdotes. Not data.

    Remember, just a few weeks ago we were told that a Jewish family fled the country to escape vicious harassment from other families at their school, who were emboldened by the Trump election. Except that they didn’t. http://www.adl.org/press-center/press-releases/miscellaneous/adl-calls-reports-of-family-lancaster.html#.WFyFW7YrIp8?referrer=http://www.mediaite.com/online/the-adl-says-the-story-about-the-jewish-family-fleeing-pennsylvania-because-of-fox-breitbart-isnt-true/

  22. MM – Elias is awesome!! And if that means your a Devils fan I like you even more.

    Sports players are people too. They have opinions. Whatever. I just don’t care! Ha!

  23. “ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, issued today, recorded a total of 941 incidents in the U.S. in 2015, an increase of about 3 percent from the 912 incidents recorded in 2014.

    Fifty-six incidents were assaults, the most violent anti-Semitic category – representing a more than 50 percent rise from the 36 assaults reported in 2014.

    Another troubling finding: anti-Semitic incidents at colleges and universities nearly doubled last year. A total of 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses in 2015, compared with 47 incidents on 43 campuses in 2014.”
    http://www.adl.org/press-center/press-releases/anti-semitism-usa/2015-audit-anti-semitic-incidents.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/#.WJfrImQrJz8

    If every one of those assaults — not to mention the hundreds of incidents of vandalism and threats — had been reported with the same breathless attention as the post-Trump incidents, perhaps “everyone” would be far less certain that it’s all Trump’s fault.

  24. Rhode, yes, in our house we are Devils fans. And reaching even farther back, DH and I were Hartford Whaler fans and went to many a game together when we were first dating.

  25. IMO, ad hominem attacks here cross the line of civility. I really hope we can restrain ourselves in the future; I really enjoy this forum, in no small part because of its past civility, and would hate to lose people who get turned off by a decline in our standards of civility.

    I realize the political threads were, in part, to allow a bit more candor in the discussions, but I think pushing the limits here can affect the perceptions of its participants by others, including those who just pop in out of curiosity, and discourage their continued participation in other threads.

    I also think that ad hominem attacks don’t further the discussion and tend to detract from any points the attacker is trying to make. I don’t such attacks will change the minds of those you are attacking, or others with some level of sympathy for their viewpoints.

  26. Totally agree with the HBR article. And the Democrats need to start playing dirty and do what Trump has done. Lie to the faces of the working class about what the Democrats will do for them and then screw them over once elected. Use their weaknesses to drive a wedge between reality and what can really help them. People don’t want real plans. They want short phrases they can latch on to and someone to blame for their problems. Make it someone else.

  27. Anon: what trump did only works once. It’s like game theory – playing once vs playing continuously calls for different strategies. What he did was a one shot game (unless people are so clueless that it would take them 8 years to of no steel jobs in pa to figure it out). Unfortunately, the fallout of this will be hard to deal with for both parties. (Again assuming checks and balances and all that jazz holds our democracy together).

  28. “We just heard from Scarlett. Everything is perfectly fine and absolutely nothing has changed. I know I can sleep easier now.”

    This is really unfair. Scarlett makes a good point backed up by data. If you want to provide additional data that’s fine, but don’t attack her.

  29. Scarlett makes a good point backed up by data. If you want to provide additional data that’s fine, but don’t attack her.

    I agree.

  30. Michèle Lamont, in The Dignity of Working Men, also found resentment of professionals — but not of the rich. “[I] can’t knock anyone for succeeding,” a laborer told her. “There’s a lot of people out there who are wealthy and I’m sure they worked darned hard for every cent they have,” chimed in a receiving clerk. Why the difference? For one thing, most blue-collar workers have little direct contact with the rich outside of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But professionals order them around every day. The dream is not to become upper-middle-class, with its different food, family, and friendship patterns; the dream is to live in your own class milieu, where you feel comfortable — just with more money. “The main thing is to be independent and give your own orders and not have to take them from anybody else,” a machine operator told Lamont. Owning one’s own business — that’s the goal. That’s another part of Trump’s appeal.

    We’ve spoken many times about this here – men who have such an issue with taking orders that it devastates their career prospects.

  31. I totally agree with the HBR article. DH’s parents are both highly educated, but culturally he is like the people in the article as his friends and mentors were all working class. His dream for retirement is to get a double wide on some pretty land that he owns, along with a truck, a dog, and a gun.

    His career prospects have been hampered because he hates taking orders. He actually got fired from a “safe” job because he caused too many waves (translation: acted like an ass to the wrong people). He’s now an entrepreneur and it suits him well. However, if he could conform with his class (Totebaggers), he would have a more classic career (upper-middle management, benefits, steady paycheck). He gets Trump and “his people” and was a Trump supporter until he fully learned about Trump’s misogyny.

  32. The comment anonymous made resonated with me- I was always thinking that’s what the conservatives needed to do- they were losing with their “personal responsibility. ” message. Better to tell everyone that their debt is the fault of predatory lenders, their obesity is the fault of greedy marketers, their college debt is the fault of greedy someone, inner city dysfunction is the fault of racist cops, etc, etc. We all deserve free college, free healthcare, free minimum living standards, and the “rich” will pay.
    Let’s not pretend politicians on both sides don’t pander and find convenient villains.

  33. “We’ve spoken many times about this here – men who have such an issue with taking orders that it devastates their career prospects.”

    OTOH, much of the military is made up of men drawn from the working class cohort. Perhaps the issue is not so much taking orders, per se, but taking orders from those whom you do not respect.

    On that point, Rhett might enjoy Rogue Heroes, about the founding of Britain’s SAS during WWII. I’ve just begun listening to it, but this passage near the beginning made me think of Rhett and his defense of square kids being forced to fit into round holes in conventional classrooms.

    “Recruits tended to be unusual to the point of eccentricity, people who did not fit easily into the ranks of the regular army, rogues and reprobates with an instinct for covert war and little time for convention, part soldiers and part spies; rogue warriors.” https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/books/review-rogue-heroes-ben-macintyre.html?_r=0

    A lot of these guys were chosen for the first special forces units because of, not despite, their aversion to taking orders.

  34. OTOH, much of the military is made up of men drawn from the working class cohort. Perhaps the issue is not so much taking orders, per se, but taking orders from those whom you do not respect.

    My understanding is that the point of basic training is to break down that aversion to taking orders.

  35. Scarlett said “OTOH, much of the military is made up of men drawn from the working class cohort. Perhaps the issue is not so much taking orders, per se, but taking orders from those whom you do not respect.”
    Remember several things: the military is volunteer so people are self selecting into it. Also, soldiers have to get through basic training, a process designed to break down people’s resistance to taking orders.

    I knew a number of people who fought in Vietnam, in the drafted army, and they said that discipline could be appalling. Lots of drugs, lots of fighting, going AWOL, etc. Even basic training couldn’t socialize some of those guys.

  36. I liked the HBR article, especially the distinction between the “working class” as termed by Progressives (bottom 30% who don’t work in any kind of steady way) and the “working class” of people who work and fall into the statistical middle (for example, my father, my stepmom’s deceased husband and my stepsiblings). As my Dad would say, “They’re not working class because they don’t work. You can start as a temp in my plant, pass a drug test in 3 months and be making $20/hr with benefits just for showing up regularly, passing a drug test and not being too much of a jerk.” To tie in with our college conversations, this is why there are so few college students from the bottom 20% of household income. To be in the bottom 20% of household income in your 40’s (when your children would likely be going to college) implies an inability to get and keep that $20/hr factory job.

    The two quotes in the HBR article that most resonated with me, “settled families keep to the straight and narrow, like my parents-in-law, who owned their home and sent both sons to college. To accomplish that, they lived a life of rigorous thrift and self-discipline. Vance’s book passes harsh judgment on his hard-living relatives, which is not uncommon among settled families who kept their nose clean through sheer force of will,” and “At a deeper level, both parties need an economic program that can deliver middle-class jobs. Republicans have one: Unleash American business. Democrats? They remain obsessed with cultural issues. I fully understand why transgender bathrooms are important, but I also understand why progressives’ obsession with prioritizing cultural issues infuriates many Americans whose chief concerns are economic.”

    My Dad doesn’t like Trump and hopes at best that the country won’t get worse under his tenure. My relatives supported Trump mostly because of their views about the overreach of the Supreme Court and fears it would worsen under Clinton. My Dad supports crackdowns on illegal immigration (would definitely support a robust e-verify system and deportations) but values skilled immigrants. My mom thought we should have a skills-based immigration system like Commonwealth countries.

  37. I do know guys IRL who came across in their workplaces as Mr. Know it Alls. They were smart but didn’t fit into workplaces that emphasized cooperation or teams.
    Their families have managed only because their wives have professional jobs.
    I would put my FIL in this category. However two things were different. He worked in a government job, so couldn’t be fired but wasn’t promoted either. Secondly, MIL didn’t work which meant DH’s family was stuck whereas their other relatives made a lot more economic progress.

  38. “At a deeper level, both parties need an economic program that can deliver middle-class jobs. Republicans have one: Unleash American business. Democrats? They remain obsessed with cultural issues. I fully understand why transgender bathrooms are important, but I also understand why progressives’ obsession with prioritizing cultural issues infuriates many Americans whose chief concerns are economic.”

    Several quotes resonated with me, including the one above. The dems obsession with cultural issues is mystifying and irritating. Every adult has most likely shared a bathroom with a transgender person, either knowingly or unknowingly. There are real problems involving security, both national and economic, and the focus on who is is which bathroom is bizarre. Shut the door and politely ignore what is going on in the next stall.

  39. “The dream is not to become upper-middle-class, with its different food, family, and friendship patterns; the dream is to live in your own class milieu, where you feel comfortable — just with more money. “The main thing is to be independent and give your own orders and not have to take them from anybody else,” a machine operator told Lamont. Owning one’s own business — that’s the goal. That’s another part of Trump’s appeal.”

    “We’ve spoken many times about this here – men who have such an issue with taking orders that it devastates their career prospects.”

    The funny thing is, owning your own business requires anticipating customers, employees, bankers, supplier and regulators needs so that you give yourself orders to make to provide those people what they want.

  40. I think the goal of working class men is to not be subject to orders that are clearly incorrect. My Dad liked most of his engineers, but there were a few who dealt in “alternate facts” to achieve required metrics and they annoyed him. I think one of the reasons I get along with my technicians so well is that from Day 1, I aspired not to be “the stupid engineer” who did not listen to the problems of the people doing the work.

  41. Cordellia,

    That’s a very good point. I wonder what sort of business they are envisioning. Do they just have the idea of ‘being their own boss” without any real concept of what that would involve in practice?

  42. “Well, here a list of swastika incidents, just on college campuses, since 2014.

    There are 185 reported incidents on this list, 135 of which took place BEFORE Trump was elected.

    http://www.amchainitiative.org/swastika-tracker/

    Don’t think this actually supports your point, as it seems to show that the rate is increasing.

    Per this chart, there were 135 incidents in the 43 months between 4/13 and 11/16 (ignoring partial pre-election Nov.). That is a rate of about 3 per month.

    Note that there is a big gap — one incident in April 2013 and Jan 2014. So assuming that is not accurate (e.g., perhaps early tracking wasn’t as reliable), and just taking the 134 incidents from 1/2014-10/2016, that still comes out to a rate of about 4 per month.

    OTOH, post-election, we now have 50 incidents in not quite 3 months, for a rate of 16-17 per month. That’s 4-5x the number, depending on which pre-election baseline figure you’re using.

  43. I think the goal of working class men is to not be subject to orders that are clearly incorrect.

    I think they feel the same as MMM. The primary objection is the control another has over them not the content of that control.

  44. The HBR article is correct, the working class want dignity, which a middle class job provides. Calling Trump supporters deplorables is lazy.

    “My father-in-law grew up eating blood soup. He hated it, whether because of the taste or the humiliation, I never knew. His alcoholic father regularly drank up the family wage, and the family was often short on food money.”

    So this is my dad’s upbringing to a tee and he and his siblings are Trump supporters. They all started their own blue collar businesses that have been successful and they’ve worked hard. They are pro-wall because they’ve seen the impact of illegal immigration on their own businesses. My dad can’t hire anyone because no one will work on the books and he gets undercut on price by those that do not pay taxes.

  45. I think the goal of working class men is to not be subject to orders that are clearly incorrect.

    Isn’t that the goal of most people? In my previous career, at one point, my team and I had put together a presentation based on standard industry definition X. The definitions that we all learned in first courses of the PhD program, Half an hour before the workshop, management came in and said, we’ve decided that the definition is Y (completely contradicting what had been agreed to and what industry standard). The consultant quickly made up something new. It was incorrect, but it was what management wanted.

  46. The dems obsession with cultural issues is mystifying and irritating. Every adult has most likely shared a bathroom with a transgender person, either knowingly or unknowingly. There are real problems involving security, both national and economic, and the focus on who is is which bathroom is bizarre.

    The republicans have the same obsession. They are the ones passing laws restricting transgendered bathroom access. They are the ones fighting to preserve the rights of bakers to refuse service to gay couples.

    And I’ll argue that individual rights and freedoms are just as important as the “real problems”. Was the civil rights movement just a “cultural issue” and not a “real problem”?

  47. “MBT said ‘This has to be so difficult for more traditional Republicans.’
    You are being way too sympathetic. The abject hypocrisy is mind blowing and they know it. I am assuming Paul Ryan has cut some kind of deal with Trump, because his spine has turned into something like milkshake texture.”

    I think this is a difficult time for moderate Republicans. For the rest, I think it is freaking awesome, because Trump is making more progress on the far-right platform than anyone has in decades — he flat-out doesn’t care about playing politics and just does what he wants. He’s great protective cover.

  48. I returned an item at Walmart on Saturday and a transgender man was returning a toy. wake up Republicans. LBQT live in every state and they vote. DT won because the other choice was HRC. This election was about change and taking a chance on Trump, but I believe that Biden would have won if he was the nominee. The same men that wouldn’t vote for HRC would have voted for Joe.

  49. DD You’re right, the Republicans do the same thing about bathrooms. I still maintain it is irritating and immature. Everyone should use the bathroom they are comfortable and watch out for children so they are safe.

  50. The college campus incidents are troubling but I don’t feel totally surprised. Some of the comments that were made to my friends made me wonder if there was ANY K-12 education going on about other parts of the world/language/culture/geography/history.
    Or was it coming from the home.

  51. “‘The dems obsession with cultural issues is mystifying and irritating. Every adult has most likely shared a bathroom with a transgender person, either knowingly or unknowingly. There are real problems involving security, both national and economic, and the focus on who is is which bathroom is bizarre.’

    The republicans have the same obsession. They are the ones passing laws restricting transgendered bathroom access. They are the ones fighting to preserve the rights of bakers to refuse service to gay couples.”

    Exactly right. It’s the chicken and the egg. You wouldn’t have heard anything about transgender bathrooms if the states weren’t passing laws requiring people to use specific ones. And, fundamentally, if there is a Constitutional issue involved,* then it is flat-out the job of the federal government to intervene and protect its citizens.

    The reality is that different wings of both parties push their social platforms, and other wings of both parties push their economic platforms. But the perception is that the Republicans are the party of rational economics, and the Democrats are the party of whiny social issues.

    *I understand that reasonable people can disagree on this.

  52. I am mystified by WCE comment about the abundant $20/hr jobs after 6 months of working. I have relatives who cannot get more than $12/hr with high school education. One of them is a hard working but not overly ambitions man, who was thrilled to have $15/hr job in a tree cutting union (in NJ of all places!) with possibility for overtime. He got laid off last year and now works in a ski repair shop for the season. He is thinking about becoming a truck driver despite the fact that his family will not see him for weeks on end.
    Where are those $20/hr jobs that require you to just show up on time?

  53. Teacher DH, weekend nights at a dog food plant, and you have to be willing to get a fork lift operator’s license.

  54. Exactly right. It’s the chicken and the egg. You wouldn’t have heard anything about transgender bathrooms if the states weren’t passing laws requiring people to use specific ones.

    This is actually not true for North Carolina. The City of Charlotte passed the ordinance first, prohibiting discrimination by businesses to LGBT people. Included in that was a provision that said businesses with gender differentiated bathrooms had to permit people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. A gross overreach, in my opinion, and purposefully drafted to goad the NC legislature into their response passing HB2.

    I find both sides on this issue in NC abhorrent.

  55. T-DH,

    WCE may be falling for what I’ll call the Milo fallacy.

    The report by The Education Trust found that 23 percent of recent high school graduates don’t get the minimum score needed on the enlistment test to join any branch of the military. Questions are often basic, such as: “If 2 plus x equals 4, what is the value of x?”

    I don’t think totebaggers have a firm grasp on what the median level of cognitive ability is in the world.

  56. Rhett, from my Dad’s observations, inability to pass a drug screen and unwillingness to work nights are the top factors keeping people from these higher-paid factory jobs after a few months of experience.

    Your point is well taken that standards are higher than they used to be, though. In the 1970’s/80’s, My Dad had a colleague for at least a decade who was illiterate (could not read or write) and the guys handled it by doing all the tasks that required reading/writing and assigning him to the tasks that didn’t (gathering grain samples, clearing snow from the parking lot) because he was a nice guy and had a family to feed. I remember an engineer at Deere observing that he received a note from a UAW guy where the word “orange” was spelled “orenj” and that UAW member (due to seniority) likely earned more per hour than he (the engineer) did. That has changed too.

  57. Your point is well taken that standards are higher than they used to be, though.

    It’s important to remember why that is. In the past you could be illiterate but still manage a job putting items in boxes and someone else could manage putting those boxes on a palate. Now they use robots:

  58. The $20/hour jobs are usually way more technical than the skill set of the barely high school graduate. Now if that same person had been in shop and welding classes since Junior High, there would be more opportunity. We have decent-paying jobs in distribution centers in Dallas and a population of very poor people nearby and there is very little overlap in terms of skills that would match available jobs. Also, little to no public transportation available, especially if it is the night shift.

  59. Rhett – this is why it annoys me that I have had to wait 30 minutes to one hour for a cab the last two times I flew into New York. Bring on the driverless cars and program them to look up arriving flights and average passenger load – it amazes me that no one who runs the airports or taxi service focuses on improving this process or connecting it with the train lines.

  60. I’m confused. It seems that there are two different hypotheses here, which seem to me to be contradictory. One is that what white men with no college degree really want is “the return of steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life.” But it seems to me that those jobs (be they in the steel mill, the car factory, the coal mine, or wherever) are provided by large companies, and they require the worker to do exactly what he is told. How does that jibe with the other hypothesis, which asserts that what white men with no college degree really want is to own their own business and be their own boss, without having to answer to anyone else? Am I missing something?

  61. Actual cab – poor planning on my part but my battery was nearly dead both of the last two times flying into LGA.

    I had really weird Uber and cab experiences in the city on my last two trips. One Uber guy tried to rip me off and give me off-app pricing that doubled while I was in the car (I made him pull over and sent photo of his license plate to Uber). Two different cab drivers claimed their meter wouldn’t work and tried to negotiated for cash fare and neither knew how to get around Manhattan without GPS. I declined the cash fare because I needed receipts for work.

  62. “One is that what white men with no college degree really want is “the return of steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life.” But it seems to me that those jobs (be they in the steel mill, the car factory, the coal mine, or wherever) are provided by large companies, and they require the worker to do exactly what he is told. ”

    I think the point is that these jobs don’t exist or if they do will rapidly be replaced with more productive robots in US factories. The coal mine may be the exception although from a saving lives perspective, robots would be safer. Just don’t know how much adaptability would need to be programmed in where the cost-benefit analysis is still in favor of humans.

  63. I have the app, Rhett. Just need to make sure I bring my battery backup next time. The time I had to wait an hour I would have been better off charging my phone for 10 minutes and the requesting Uber. Uber was charging triple pricing at the time.

  64. Actual cab – poor planning on my part but my battery was nearly dead both of the last two times flying into LGA.

    Was your laptop dead as well? If not, you can just steal power from your laptop.

  65. I was struck by this line in the piece about the white working class:

    Last week the New York Times published an article advising men with high-school educations to take pink-collar jobs. Talk about insensitivity.

    Thoughts?

  66. Mia,

    I think they want both. They want to have these factory,etc jobs available and paying a “living wage” while at the same time resenting all the professionals giving them orders. They want to have their own business as an option viable enough that they can talk about it as some distant possibility.

  67. I don’t doubt they want that but they are wishing for something that does not exist. The sooner they accept that reality and think about Plan B, the better. MAGA isn’t bringing back the jobs for lower skill, non-technical workers.

  68. “One little-known element of that gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” said Alfred Lubrano in Limbo. Barbara Ehrenreich recalled in 1990 that her blue-collar dad “could not say the word doctor without the virtual prefix quack. Lawyers were shysters…and professors were without exception phonies.” Annette Lareau found tremendous resentment against teachers, who were perceived as condescending and unhelpful.”

    OMG yes. There was a meme going around facebook a few months ago that said, “I have no idea how to do your job, but my book says you’re doing it wrong.”

    And, the reality is, that after a few decades navigating the world, everyone has dealt with a missed/mistaken medical diagnosis, an idiot teacher, a shyster, and arrogant twenty somethings who think they know much more than they do. How much of the “professional people are generally suspect” is because the working class don’t have the memory of BEING the arrogant twenty something, or someone who made a professional mistake? They see the arrogance without consequence.

  69. This is actually not true for North Carolina. The City of Charlotte passed the ordinance first, prohibiting discrimination by businesses to LGBT people. Included in that was a provision that said businesses with gender differentiated bathrooms had to permit people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. A gross overreach, in my opinion, and purposefully drafted to goad the NC legislature into their response passing HB2.

    I find both sides on this issue in NC abhorrent.

    One side passed an anti-discrimination law to protect the rights of LGBT people. The other side passed a law to restrict the rights of transgendered people. I only find on of these sides abhorrent.

  70. @CIty Mom – I noticed that too. I thought there was a subtle thread through the whole article about “boys being boys”. A little throwing up the hands and saying, “Tough guys don’t want to be nurses and we shouldn’t make them.” In the same way we try to show girls that they can be auto mechanics or plumbers (or we should be), we could have a little outreach to say that home health care can be provided by many different types of people.

  71. MAGA = make america great again. I think this branding plays off of the notion that it is feasible to have blue collar, living wage jobs come back to the U.S. It is a fallacy.

  72. Denver – Charlotte did it with the express purpose of provoking the legislature, and therefore arguably made things worse for the LGBT community. The city council played politics with other people’s rights – they knew ahead of time that’s the response the legislature would have. That’s what I find abhorent.

    Also, and I realize I may have to turn in my liberal card today on this point, but I’m not sure I agree that generally forbidding discrimination, which I agree with, and dictating bathroom use, which seems micromanagement and addressing a problem that doesn’t really exist, are one and the same.

  73. “I think this branding plays off of the notion that it is feasible to have blue collar, living wage jobs come back to the U.S. It is a fallacy.”

    I’m not sure this is a fallacy- I think it depends on your definition of “blue collar” and “living wage”. Are German apprenticeships for “blue collar” jobs?

  74. ““My father-in-law grew up eating blood soup. He hated it, whether because of the taste or the humiliation, I never knew. His alcoholic father regularly drank up the family wage, and the family was often short on food money.””

    This is totally the story of FIL, who always told stories about his father during the Depression, spending his days staring at the ceiling and waiting for the one person in the house with a job to give him some money once a week so he could go get plastered. He was from Canada and spoke no English. FIL was a factory worker all his life, except when he was in the service. Yet FIL, and all of DH’s family, were lifelong Democrats and abhor Trump. I mean, really abhor Trump. 80% of the anti-Trump memes that float by on my FB feed originate with my ILs.

  75. “In the same way we try to show girls that they can be auto mechanics or plumbers (or we should be), we could have a little outreach to say that home health care can be provided by many different types of people.”

    With an aging, obese population, we are going to need more home health care workers who have the physical strength to provide such care.
    I have been serving as an UBER driver for a dear faculty friend with stage 4 cancer who is determined to teach as long as possible but can’t walk to even the nearest disabled parking space nor safely drive his car. He is now using a wheelchair, which I managed by the grace of God to lift in and out of my van, but if I were a few years older or not quite as fit it would have been impossible. Almost any able-bodied man would have had no trouble.

  76. WCE – I think Trump identified all of the frustration noted in the article and capitalized on it. I do not believe he has a deeply held desire to actually make the average joe’s life better. Nor do I believe that most of the factory jobs come back that have left.

  77. There will be more males going into the health care giving profession. Matter of time.
    In the last few years, I have seen more young women in car service shops. Previously all those car shop employees were male. Same with the barber shop that used to be all guys. Now one female barber has joined.

  78. I thought for sure I would get flamed for my comment at 9:04- this political thread is nice.

  79. Mafalda, were you there the day I shared my friend’s three criteria for the “Unlike Minds” group? They are unlike, kind and thoughtful. Kind is the hardest for me…

  80. Mafalda, it’s hard to argue with the claim that both political parties pander.

  81. Mafalda, I agree with your 9:04, and I think a lot of voters do to. IMO, Trump got a lot of votes from people sick of both parties who voted for the non-establishment candidate.

  82. I was listening to a podcast on the topic of jobs, and the commentator mentioned that there are home health jobs going unfilled in the very communities with high male unemployment. People have tried programs to move these guys into the health jobs, but they won’t take them, because of the low pay first of all, and secondly because it isn’t how they see themselves. They weren’t brought up to be caregivers. So I have my doubts that healthcare is going to be a avenue of job growth for that population.

  83. What would it take to make caregiving (including home healthcare and childcare) well-paid? I like the part of gender equality that says women shouldn’t be stuck doing most/all unpaid/poorly paid caregiving work.

    I think this may tie into the quote I posted about Finland, and how services (education, childcare, healthcare) are available to everyone at a standard the community considers acceptable. This would be much harder to achieve in the U.S., because we’re a large, diverse country. The quote I remember was, “Everyone works, everyone pays taxes, everyone receives services.”

    Providing services to the poor but not at all/minimally to the working/middle class (depending on your preferred terminology) does not seem like a viable long-term plan.

  84. Rhett, that’s part of the solution but I’ve read that it’s also common for elderly Germans to be sent to eastern Europe for care, where costs are lower and there is a language barrier between the patient and caregiver.

  85. What would it take to make caregiving (including home healthcare and childcare) well-paid?

    More funding for it.

  86. Sybille Wiedmer, a Zurich native, is visiting her 91-year-old Alzheimer’s disease-stricken mother, Elisabeth, who has been living in a nursing home in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, for about four years with 12 other fellow elderly Germans and Swiss. “A lot of people were shocked in the beginning and said, ‘How can you do this? How dare you do this?'” Sybille Wiedmer told BBC. “And I said if I visited her here, half an hour later she didn’t know any more. She had forgotten.”

    It makes sense.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/go-east-old-man-germany-western-europe-rapidly-ages-soaring-health-care-costs-pushing-1527974

  87. I’ve heard about those homes in Thailand. I assume that elderly Germans have a stipend or voucher of some sort that they can use abroad? It seems like we could have similar homes in Mexico (I’ve seen some on the internet). Despite how poorly paid home health care workers are, there are people willing to do the work for even less in rural Mexico. It doesn’t seem like the worst possible final home to me. Heck, we might visit FIL more if he lived in Mexico, in a sunny locale.

  88. “Other Western medical professionals assert that sending dementia patients thousands of miles away only worsens their sense of displacement. The media in Germany has labeled this phenomenon as “gerontological colonialism,” AP noted. Sabine Jansen, head of Germany’s Alzheimer’s Society, told AP that people suffering from Alzheimer’s should stay near their homes and familiar surroundings. “People with dementia should stay in their familiar environment as long as possible. They are better oriented in their own living places and communities,” she said. “Friends, family members, neighbors can visit them. Also because of language and cultural reasons, it is best for most to stay in their home country.”

    MIL doesn’t remember who visited her an hour ago, but, with help, she functions remarkably well in the house she has lived in for half a century. When she was hospitalized and sent to rehab after a fall, the disorientation was significant. She would call her son in the middle of the night, crying, asking where she was and how she had gotten there, and she was only 5 miles away. Cannot imagine sending her 6000 miles away. But if it works for some people, great. Every situation and family is different.

  89. Ada – that is Plan B for my in-laws! They have long term care insurance and paid for homes where they can easily age in place but if their savings ran out, it will be a compound in Mexico or Costa Rica with round the clock help. Would think that it would be easier to allow more visas for home health care, similar to the migrant labor/temporary workers visa, than to actively ship off our old people but I could be wrong.

  90. All the visas in the world can’t make nursing home care cost $2000/month in the US. If you have a (legal) immigrant providing care services, paying FICA, renting a house in the community and buying groceries at local stores, they will need to make the prevailing wage.

    I’m all for Scarlett’s mother staying in her own home. However, my crazy (fictional) aunt who lives without family and isolated from any community, and is spending 10k a month for a depressing institution would be better off in Mexico. Those are the two choices – not living in community vs isolation.

  91. I’ve not seen widespread male resistance to health care jobs here. That’s probably due in part to the relatively large Filipino population, and could also be related to the relatively low white population here (e.g., as compared to much of flyover country).

    I’ve seen white male nurses in local hospitals.

  92. In my corner of health care (nursing homes and assisted livings) it’s definitely female dominated because it’s primarily nurses running the show. At the provider level it seems to be a pretty even split.

    One thing to consider with the geriatric population is that there are more women patients because they outlive men, and older women tend to prefer female caregivers. They don’t like having men bathe them, dress them, help them to the toilet, etc.

  93. Perhaps robots could eventually be part of the solution.

    “Ludwig’s ultimate purpose is to ease the burden on caregivers. When put into practice, the robot stands in front of a patient, displays a picture on a screen and asks the patient to describe what they see. From there, Ludwig logs his own interpretations about the patient’s condition: how engaged they are in conversation, whether they seem happy or anxious, how they’re acting compared to previous exchanges, and so on. “How people construct sentences, what words they choose to use, and even very microscopic fluctuations in their voice are very indicative of changes to their cognition,” Rudzicz said.”

    http://news.nationalpost.com/health/meet-ludwig-a-boyish-robot-that-can-detect-dementia-by-talking-with-patients?__lsa=e9e4-a66e

  94. For the 25% who are incapable of enlisting in any branch of the military, what would that percentage be with your ideal educational system? I’d say we could reduce it by 1/3 from 25% to 17.5%.

  95. Rhett, my mother had GED pass rates of ~80% from her military literacy class, compared to 40% on average for military literacy classes, and she had similar success for students who transferred to her class from the other one as for students who entered her class first, so selection bias was likely not the issue.

    Part of helping people become literate is motivation (they’d be eligible for promotions/raises) and part of it is having a teacher (or maybe a computer system, in part, now) who can quickly understand where someone is having trouble and help them focus on that particular area.

    Mind you, her work was focused on getting people to at least an 8th grade level, and I think at least 95% of the population is capable of that. Determining what different fractions of the population are capable of learning/doing in various academic areas is left as an exercise for the reader.

  96. My brother is the manager of a convenience store (major Midwestern chain in a small Midwestern city of around 100,000). FWIW, it took him 10 years to work up to $~20/hour. So I do believe in the Milo fallacy. That said, he says that he main barrier to hiring is that 50% of applicants fail the math test, which my 3rd grader aced. You have to know when the food needs to be thrown out (time) and how to count the money. It’s not calculus track. Math test comes before drug test.

    That said – of my working/middle class family members, most were HRC supporters. It was the UMC/highly educated relatives that seemed to be pro-Trump except one super racist cousin who I have hidden on Facebook due to his comments. This caused some serious strife in his family as his brother depends on some of the provisions in the ACA, and they are worried about the repeal.

    But that’s all anecdotal, I know.

  97. “Perhaps robots could eventually be part of the solution.”

    I certainly hope so.

    Perhaps more than robots, what I hope will be developed in the next 30 or so years, by which time I may need them, are robotic assists to help me with physical tasks I can no longer do on my own, e.g., a subset of what Tony Stark has to facilitate feeding and cleaning up.

  98. I believe it is this (but I could be mistaken):

    Totebaggers don’t have a firm grasp on what the median level of cognitive ability is in the world.

  99. “Totebaggers don’t have a firm grasp on what the median level of cognitive ability is in the world.”

    We tend to overestimate it.

  100. Someone please refresh my memory re: The Milo Fallacy

    Milo made some offhand comment about someone just joining the military with the thought that they will take anyone. Someone posted an article where an admiral was lamenting the fact that 25% of those who try to enlist can’t, due to their inability to pass a very rudimentary reading and math test.

    Now that I think about it more, perhapse we should call it the Totebag Fallacy which amounts to Totebaggers wildly overestimating the cognitive ability and executive function of the average person.

    Another example would be when MM complains about her poorly prepared students. I don’t know to what degree they are poorly prepared vs. just average kids.

  101. DD said “I’ve seen white male nurses in local hospitals.”

    Nursing is a high skill position. The interview I listened to was talking about the dilemna of finding jobs for large numbers of relatively low skilled, middle aged guys who used to work in factories or warehouses or the like. These were guys who didn’t have the skills to compete for the fewer numbers of modern factory jobs, so the idea was to place them into lowskilled healthcare jobs, which were expanding. Those are jobs traditionally taken, at least up here, by immigrant women, and they couldn’t get the guys to consider them.

  102. Rhett said “. I don’t know to what degree they are poorly prepared vs. just average kids.”

    Well, they are poorly prepared according to employers. Many of them, especially the C/D students, have real trouble finding jobs

  103. MM,

    I believe you’ve mentioned that many of
    those kids would be better off with an MIS degree rather than CS. Is it that they aren’t prepared or is that they are admitting 25th percentile students into a program that’s best suited to 5th percentile students?

  104. DD said “I’ve seen white male nurses in local hospitals.”

    Finn said that, not me.

  105. We don’t have MIS but we have IT which is similar and we have been aggressively moving the least competent into IT. But even with that major. the C/D students have alot of trouble finding jobs. It isn’t the grades per se (employers don’t usually look at transcripts) but the lack of knowledge that accompanies those grades. Employers seeking to hire tech people do care about skills and interview pretty aggressively.

    I received a desperate email from a guy who graduated last year with a healthcare IT degree. He can’t find a job and wants to know what to do. This particular guy got D’s in both classes he took with me, and his transcript is mainly C’s, D’s and enough B’s in easy classes to get his GPA to the point where he could graduate. He isn’t a good speaker, and is not very dynamic and he can’t write and he doesn’t know very much. That is why he isn’t getting hired.

    The point of this is, our perception that many students are not well prepared isn’t just a Totebag opinion. We have external standards: the employers. And the problem isn’t just us – I hear the same from my colleagues who teach at man non-elite-schools (and even some supposedly elite schools) in a wide range of tech related and business majors. We are back to that old problem: a skills mismatch between what employer want, and what the grads have to offer.

    On the plus side, it is internship season, and the students who did extra projects for me last semester are all getting lots of callbacks for their resumes.

  106. So I wonder if you believe that taxpayers should continue offering grants and loans to college students with no strings attached, effectively allowing them to study whatever they want in college? Most colleges seem to have low standards for admission, and will gladly admit students as long as they (or taxpayers) will pay the tuition.

  107. He isn’t a good speaker, and is not very dynamic and he can’t write and he doesn’t know very much. That is why he isn’t getting hired.

    While lack of preparation is an issue, the larger issue seems to be a general lack of ability.

  108. Well, loans actually do have strings attached – you have to repay them – and the enforcment is rather onerous.
    The other thing to consider is the article we discussed the other day – the fact that there are schools that are effective at moving kids into the middle class. As much as I complain, at number 75, we are not too bad at it. Maybe the metric for qualfiying for financial aid should be based partially on the success rate of your school at moving kids upwards.

    Many schools, including mine, are actually pretty interested in finding ways to better predict student success. There are many projects getting started that do data analytics to get a better picture.

  109. We don’t have MIS but we have IT which is similar and we have been aggressively moving the least competent into IT

    As someone who ran the IT department at my old job, let me just say: Stop that at once!! I had a hell of a time finding anyone who could keep the servers fed and watered and I don’t need your school’s dumbest rejects applying for those jobs too. Jesus.

  110. Sorry, RMS, but this is done at every school. As Rhett suggested, it is usually the MIS major that gets them.
    To be more charitable, there is a subset of kids who come in as CS majors who have no ability or interest in software development, or high performance systems, or machine intelligence (some of the standard CS areas) but who want to work with computers in business. They might want to be the person who makes purchasing decisions or who sets up software installs across an organization, or who gets business applications to churn out the right report formats. These students come in, do really badly in the CS intro sequence, and then have to figure out what to do. The IT major is perfect for them, and many of them go on to do well. The grades in that first year sequence are just not indicative of where their abilities lie.

  111. Not political but I have learnt a lot from Mooshi’s perspective as a professor and a parent. Considering one kid may end up in CS (hopefully he has cognitive ability and preparation :-)) I am taking notes.

  112. https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/9884096/whats-news

    Kind of a crappy-link, but it is to circumvent the paywall to a WSJ article about a Danish slaughterhouse worker. Her job was eliminated, and she had a subsidized four year education in learning how to do golf course maintenance – something the government had identified was a need in her community.

    I think one of the ways that Europe continues to provide “good” jobs for moderate to low ability workers is by making extensive training a requirement for many jobs. Child care workers, ski instructors, tour guides, and golf course worker (apparently) all complete higher education in order to have a career in these fields.

  113. “This particular guy got D’s in both classes he took with me, and his transcript is mainly C’s, D’s and enough B’s in easy classes to get his GPA to the point where he could graduate. He isn’t a good speaker, and is not very dynamic and he can’t write and he doesn’t know very much. That is why he isn’t getting hired.”

    If this student had known, before he enrolled, that he would not be able to get a job after graduation because of his poor performance, would he have saved four years and tens of thousands of dollars and chosen another path? Are universities doing a serious disservice to such students by admitting them, taking their tuition money, and passing them along to graduation with full knowledge that employers are going to reject them?

  114. passing them along to graduation with full knowledge that employers are going to reject them?

    There has to be a cutoff and whoever sneaks in above that cutoff is likely to be a somewhat marginal employee. That he’s a terrible interviewee is also subjective… These marginal cases are always going to be hard.

  115. Scarlett, the problem is that we don’t have the resources to interview applicants, and what would it tell us anyway? Now that I have a 17 year old boy, I know how mumbly he and all his friends are. And it is really hard to predict who is going to try hard and who is going to fade. One of the things you guys don’t realize is how tightly bunched our applicants are. They all have the same 3.2 GPA from high school, and they all either went to a Catholic school or a public (about 50-50 split) and they all took pretty much the same supposed academic track but not AP courses. Being non-Totebaggers, they didn’t take calculus in high school for the most part. The only real variation is in their SAT scores but now, like many schools, we have gone SAT optional because supposedly the SAT doesn’t predict college performance well. I think you guys have this idea that universities have the ability and resources to finely distinguish nuances of their applicants, but once you are out of the wealthy elites, it just t’aint so.

  116. “‘If this student had known, before he enrolled, that he would not be able to get a job after graduation because of his poor performance, would he have saved four years and tens of thousands of dollars and chosen another path? Are universities doing a serious disservice to such students by admitting them, taking their tuition money, and passing them along to graduation with full knowledge that employers are going to reject them?’

    There has to be a cutoff and whoever sneaks in above that cutoff is likely to be a somewhat marginal employee. That he’s a terrible interviewee is also subjective… These marginal cases are always going to be hard.”

    I agree with Rhett. As we are always fond of saying here, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data.” Just as swastikas on the subway does not by itself prove that anti-Semitism is on the rise, one guy who barely graduated and cannot find a job does not prove that attempting to provide access to a college education via subsidized loans is the wrong thing for our government to do.

    Employment and salary data overall suggest that most people are better off with a college degree than without one. The question is how to identify the line between the people who will be better off than the people who won’t. I don’t think we currently have the data to identify that cutoff even in retrospect, much less figure out who is on which side of the line in advance; indeed, the “top 1%” article suggested that poor kids (who typically are on the wrong end of the pay/employability curve) who manage to get into and graduate from elite colleges do very, very well.

    Historically, we have decided who is given the opportunity and who is not by directing the poor/minorities into the trades, and women into homemaking. I am not fond of returning to that particular version of the nanny state. So I am a fan of at least attempting to provide everyone a chance to land on the “right” side of the cost/benefit curve, unless and until we can identify a reliable mechanism to distinguish the “incurably incapable” from those who have potential. Rather than asking if we should stop/cut back on subsidized loans, I would argue that we should make loans less necessary via easier/less expensive access to community colleges and more state investment in affordable college educations, so that kids like this guy can figure out they are on the wrong side of the line before incurring massive debt.

  117. “Are universities doing a serious disservice to such students by admitting them, taking their tuition money, and passing them along to graduation with full knowledge that employers are going to reject them?”

    By and large, these are adults making decisions for which plentiful information is available. The universities are selling a product – they need to have paying students to survive. Why should we hold them to a higher standard than we hold car dealerships, for example? I would argue some of the for profit and online colleges are probably doing a disservice and upselling people on products they don’t need. However, if we are talking about adults not taking advantage of on-campus counseling and guidance regarding majors and career paths or even googling information about what they need to get a job in their preferred field after graduation, I think it is unfair to put that on the college.

  118. “By and large, these are adults making decisions for which plentiful information is available.”

    Not sure about the “plentiful information.” Does the university make clear to prospective students, or prospective majors, that students who barely graduate are unlikely to be hired for the sorts of positions for which they are ostensibly studying? If so, then those who think they have a decent shot, but fall short, are making informed decisions.

    This sort of thing happens a lot in PhD programs, where students emerge at the end of a 5-8 year slog only to discover, to their astonishment, that there aren’t enough tenure-track positions in their field and they have to find something else to do. But most of them were aware, or should have been aware, that the odds were not in their favor.

  119. This issue will soon be moot. Now with DeVos at the helm, we will all be homeschooling and teaching only bible/koran what have you.

  120. “I think you guys have this idea that universities have the ability and resources to finely distinguish nuances of their applicants, but once you are out of the wealthy elites, it just t’aint so.”

    I have a pretty good idea how difficult it is to make admissions decisions based on the common app. But after several semesters of D’s in a field, shouldn’t a student be steered into another program that is a better fit?

  121. That’s a fair point, Scarlett. My university did have a requirement to meet certain GPA criteria to register for higher level classes. It seems like most colleges could program in some sort of warnings or restrictions if a student is below minimum criteria or getting grades on assignments that are on a bad trend. My kids’ school has that now – I get a notice for incomplete work, for grades below a certain percentage and a notice if my son is tardy. No reason to think you couldn’t program in a notification to a counselor and a referral request being logged. If the college has a working student population, that might mean they keep their counseling office open after hours to accommodate schedules.

  122. Scarlett said “I have a pretty good idea how difficult it is to make admissions decisions based on the common app. But after several semesters of D’s in a field, shouldn’t a student be steered into another program that is a better fit?”
    Yep, as Rhett and I noted above, the traditional place to put them is MIS or IT. Now, RMS can wave her hands wildly in protest again :-)

  123. MiaMama said “It seems like most colleges could program in some sort of warnings or restrictions if a student is below minimum criteria or getting grades on assignments that are on a bad trend”

    Oh, we do, we do, we do. We have Earlly Alert, we have Late Alert, we have mandatory meetings with advising deans, we have an entire office that tracks this stuff. You have no idea of the capacity of a 19 year old to completely ignore warnings and put his or her head in the sand.

  124. Why should we hold them to a higher standard than we hold car dealerships, for example?

    We shouldn’t. If Toyota Motor Credit finances your car and you trash it and don’t repay the loan then they eat the loss. The same should be true of schools. If they accept a student who doesn’t end up making enough to pay back the loan then the school should take a cut of that loss.

  125. I have to note – this is not all the students. Many of them are perfectly successful, some even wildly successful. And thanks to the recent push to get AP CS into NY high schools, we are now seeing a good number of AP CS completers coming in – and it really makes a difference.

  126. Rhett – the difference is, we aren’t doing the financing. The lenders are separate from us. And it is much easier to default on a car loan than a student loan.

    I have heard that proposal before. It would have a lot of effects, but the biggest would be to totally put the for-profit sector out of business. By far, they are the biggest source of loan defaults.

  127. Rhett – the difference is, we aren’t doing the financing.

    It would be a change to the financial aid system. If you want to be able to accept students with federally backed loans then you need to agree to be on the hook for some of the losses.

  128. How many people who are poor students at 18 would be much better students at 25? Some sort of growing up period- the military or working a low wage job- would benefit lots of kids.

    My pipefitter BIL wasn’t ready to buckle down until he was in his mid or late 20’s. To become a pipefitter, he had to be willing to work at least 40 hr/week (overtime sometimes required), go to school one or two evenings/week and Saturday mornings. It was a significant commitment.

  129. Any sort of statistically-based loan eligibility program will disproportionately exclude the poor and minorities. I’m sure the NY Times would have a field day with any such proposal.

  130. Any sort of statistically-based loan eligibility program will disproportionately exclude the poor and minorities.

    You could build in adjustments to mitigate that.

  131. Now, RMS can wave her hands wildly in protest again :-)

    ::jumps up and down and screams::

    Actually, the very best sysadmin I ever hired hadn’t even gone to community college. He was from a non-totebaggy background. He finished high school, left home, and worked in a record store because he was/is obsessed with music. Eventually he took a systems administration class at the local vo-tech high school and, because he was/is bright, hardworking, and a good systematic thinker, became really good at managing servers, providing tech support, handling security issues, etc. I loved him; he was my all-time favorite employee. Much better than some D student with a four-year degree.

  132. I agree with you Rhett. I also think we should allow students to default on student loans.

  133. RMS, most of the frontline IT staff that I worked with in industry had CC degrees, not 4 year degrees. I don’t think you need a 4 year degree to do network setup, helpdesk, or IT support.

  134. I didn’t have a chance to weigh in more on that idea of penalizing universities for student loan defaults. The problem is, as I keep saying, is that we don’t have a lot of ability to predict how a student will perform compared to another, similar student. It is easy at elite colleges because everyone is going to end up well. But once you leave that world – even just going down to the typical state university – individual factors like drive, attentiveness, and simply caring come into play.
    So in a system like you describe, the effects would be 1) put all for-profits out of business and 2) universities would simply not admit anyone on federal loans. It would be too risky. Or maybe they would just admit students with safe majors – nursing, engineering, business, and not permit them to change majors and keep their loans. There just isn;t much else you can do.

  135. 2) universities would simply not admit anyone on federal loans.

    1. Like they have that option.

    2. They won’t be on the hook for the whole amount. In cases of default, the government would claw back 1/3 of the loan amount.

  136. 1/3 of the loan amount on what is essentially a random event would be a big deterrent. Especially if you make it easier for students to default. Back when I was in college, it was easy to default, and people did it all the time because there were no consequences to them. That is why they tightened it up so much.

  137. “So I wonder if you believe that taxpayers should continue offering grants and loans to college students with no strings attached, effectively allowing them to study whatever they want in college? ”

    A lot of merit-based aid, e.g., NMF scholarships, come with strings attached, typically in the form of GPA requirements for renewal.

    I don’t know if other aid comes with similar strings, but it is one way to attach strings to aid.

  138. I think the increasing costs for college are related to easy credit. There is less risk on issuing loans because students can’t default. If students were able to default, rates would go up, demand would go down for college, and college would cost less. It would also deter students who don’t know what they are doing from going to college and dropping out after a few years.

    Obviously there are negatives to consider, but college seems like a bubble similar to the housing bubble.

  139. “Many schools, including mine, are actually pretty interested in finding ways to better predict student success.”

    “we have gone SAT optional because supposedly the SAT doesn’t predict college performance well.”

    Do you have easy visibility of your students’ SAT/ACT scores and HS transcripts?

    If so, does your experience suggest either tends to predict college performance, or if one is a better predictor?

    I thought colleges going SAT optional was to increase the number of applications they get, to help with their US News rankings, as well as to increase URM applications.

  140. “As we are always fond of saying here, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data.””

    I thought we agreed to refer to multiple anecdotes as anecdata.

    A single anecdote is a datum; thus multiple anecdotes are data. While a few anecdotes are data, they are often not enough basis to draw conclusions, but that’s a problem with any data set that’s insufficiently large.

  141. “A lot of merit-based aid, e.g., NMF scholarships, come with strings attached, typically in the form of GPA requirements for renewal.

    I don’t know if other aid comes with similar strings, but it is one way to attach strings to aid.”

    Grade inflation is already a serious issue on many campuses, though not sure it is as prevalent at MM’s school as at more elite universities. But imagine the pressure on overworked tenure-track faculty — “If I don’t get a __ in this course, I’ll lose my student loans and have to drop out.”

  142. “”DD said “I’ve seen white male nurses in local hospitals.”
    Finn said that, not me.”

    But I’m guessing that DD has also seen white male nurses in local hospitals.

    That observation on my part was a bit of an exclamation point to my broader point that locally, a lot of males working in healthcare may be reflective of our population mix not being largely white.

  143. “How many people who are poor students at 18 would be much better students at 25?”

    Both of my brothers, for starters. . . .

  144. I see a summary report on all our CS admits – GPA, a terse listing of courses (but not the grade per course) and SAT. I usually peruse it at the beginning of the year, just to see what is coming. I have a sense that SAT matters, but have never done a formal study, and without that, you really can’t know for sure. The problem again, is the tight clustering. There are a lot of students with 550 math SATs and 3.2 GPAs, and of those students, some will abjectly fail and some will be fine. I don’t have a good way to know which ones will make it.

  145. The strings attached model has a problem. The student has already been admitted and already has a loan. Now, what do you think is going to happen when you yank the loan. Yep, you got it. The student drops out and defaults on the loan. Repeat on a large scale and you see the problem.

  146. Scarlett, grade inflation is a HUGE problem at the elites, perhaps more at those schools than any other. Duke (I think that was the school) tried to do somethng about it for a while, and got pilloried by their students. Most students at the elites really care about their GPAs because they are shooting for topnotch grad programs and/or companies that care about that stuff.

  147. “Scarlett, grade inflation is a HUGE problem at the elites”

    OTOH, given the pool of students from which they draw, isn’t it reasonable that in many classes, a large number of students actually deserve high grades, i.e., have demonstrated a sufficient mastery of the material to warrant the grades?

  148. MM,

    Ahhhhhh, I see what you mean. I’m looking at the set of all kids and you’re talking about the set of all kids who attend your university.

    There are a lot of students with 550 math SATs and 3.2 GPAs, and of those students, some will abjectly fail and some will be fine. I don’t have a good way to know which ones will make it.

    Not that it would be possible but would a general aptitude programming test help?

    https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/tests/computer-test.htm

    Then again it might give you the same narrow range of ability without measuring the grit it would take to succeed.

  149. demonstrated a sufficient mastery of the material

    That’s not what grades are supposed to mean. An A would mean you’re in the top say 5% of the class, then the next 20% B, 40% C etc. So, to have C at CS at Stanford would mean you’re one of the best in the world. Not that it works that way anymore.

  150. “You have no idea of the capacity of a 19 year old to completely ignore warnings and put his or her head in the sand.”

    Uhhh…yes I do!

  151. “OTOH, given the pool of students from which they draw, isn’t it reasonable that in many classes, a large number of students actually deserve high grades, i.e., have demonstrated a sufficient mastery of the material to warrant the grades?”
    But that implies the school has nothing to teach since there is no room for improvment. These schools promise that they are going to challenge the students to new, great heights. If all the students are capable of perfection right from the get-go, why bother with the school?

    I read recently that the most common grade given at Harvard is a A-

  152. “I think the increasing costs for college are related to easy credit.” Yes, I agree, the guaranteed student loan explosion has led to the nuclear arms race among colleges to all have world-class public-facing facilities and contributed greatly to the outsize inflation of college (list) prices over the past 2-3 decades.

  153. From observing my babysitters, the ability to borrow for living expenses while attending school is a too-significant factor in choosing to attend school at all. There is only so much potential upside for a 47 year old aspiring to a BS in human services.

  154. “I thought colleges going SAT optional was to increase the number of applications they get, to help with their US News rankings,”

    Certainly the latter, because only high scorers will submit, so the average freshman score will be higher than if all the ‘holistically admitted (but SAT-free) applicants” were included.

    There might be >URM applicants because of SAT optional, but I’m not sure.

  155. “But that implies the school has nothing to teach since there is no room for improvment. These schools promise that they are going to challenge the students to new, great heights. If all the students are capable of perfection right from the get-go, why bother with the school?”

    No, it does not imply that at all. It implies that at top schools, it is very possible, if not likely, that you can have classes filled with kids that will be extremely receptive to teaching and capable of great improvement over the course of a course.

    If you have a class full of really bright, hard-working students, isn’t it reasonable that a lot of those kids will meet the challenges of new, great heights, and come out of the class greatly improved in their subject area knowledge?

    At a school like Harvard, I’d guess that they’ve cherry-picked most, perhaps 75%, of their students for their demonstrated ability to assimilate new material.

  156. My 22yo is clearly more prepared (i.e. focused on actually doing the work) now than he was at 18. College is just not the right move for everyone at 18, as many of us have said here before.

    We talked about Seton Hall a while back. My kid’s free money offer comes with a “maintain an overall 3.0” string. Either they grade like Harvard and/or their classes are woefully easy, so almost all the kids get to keep the money after freshman year or they expect a significant # of kids will do fine, but just not =>3.0 fine, so they (students) have to pay more in year 2+ and the large free money grant for a freshman is just to get them in the door.

  157. Fred, another possibility is that they only give that kind of money to kids they think have a high likelihood of doing =>3.0 well.

  158. Well, I guess.

    To my kid, that requirement is in the ‘negative’ column as he assesses the 3 schools he’s deciding between.

  159. I know people who teach or have taught at Seton Hall. Woefully easy is the correct choice. My understanding is that it is a school for rich kids who like to party. One of my close friends left that school after she was physically threatened by some of her male students (she is a petite Asian lady). She is now at a CUNY and much happier.

  160. I personally believe that even at Harvard, some students will do better than others and the grades should reflect that. I also think that the material should be much harder than at other schools, given the students they have, and it really should be hard enough that some of their students will have trouble with it. If everyone is getting an A, they are applying grading standards more relevant to a lesser school

  161. “An A would mean you’re in the top say 5% of the class, then the next 20% B, 40% C etc.”

    Grading on a curve is one way to do it, but not the only way. In many courses, an A means that you got a 90 (or 93 or whatever the cutoff) average on all of the graded events.

  162. I know people who teach or have taught at Seton Hall. Woefully easy is the correct choice

    Totebag fallacy example #22,342.

  163. “demonstrated a sufficient mastery of the material

    That’s not what grades are supposed to mean. An A would mean you’re in the top say 5% of the class, then the next 20% B, 40% C etc. So, to have C at CS at Stanford would mean you’re one of the best in the world.”

    I don’t know that grading on a curve has ever been universally accepted. Grading on an absolute scale (e.g., >= 90/100 =A, >=80<90 = B, etc) is also common, and that system makes if possible for many people to get As.

    If the most common grade at Harvard is an A-, then that suggests that an A at Harvard means (besides that you were able to get in to Harvard) that you demonstrated a mastery of the skills for that class that was up to their standards.

    I guess it's a bit like an 800 on an SAT exam; it's a floor without granularity on the high end.

  164. I guess it’s a bit like an 800 on an SAT exam; it’s a floor without granularity on the high end.

    I’m surprised you have an issue with grading on a curve.

  165. If Harvard is as wonderful as they say, their definition of mastery should be much harder than mastery at Northeast State U. And the professors should be asking harder questions.

  166. And the professors should be asking harder questions.

    I’m imagining WCE’s husband at Holmes University. There are no books and no classes you just get an email – Test Tuesday. Where and on what is part of the challenge.

  167. ” their definition of mastery should be much harder than mastery at Northeast State U. And the professors should be asking harder questions.”

    It’s not Harvard, but my nephew recently transferred from a school with a 1290 SAT average (same ballpark as Stony Brook, UM-Amherst, and UC-Davis) to one with a 1450 average (same ballpark as Georgetown, UCB, and Northeastern).

    Not all of his credits transferred, and he had to repeat some classes. He told us the classes at his new school are significantly harder than at his old school, and it’s harder to get a B at the new school than the old school. For the classes he had to repeat, they covered a lot more material at the new school, at a greater depth, and he came out knowing a lot more.

  168. But a senior administration official says Trump supports Spicer “100%.”

    Which means he’s out by EOB Friday.

  169. “I’m surprised you have an issue with grading on a curve.”

    It’s a zero-sum game, and a good grade could mean your classmates did poorly just as much as you did well. It can also lead to a less than collegial, synergistic learning environment.

  170. Finn, I always found it strange that organic chemistry was graded on a curve at my university. Organic chemistry seemed like the sort of subject where one needed to know particular facts, independent of how well or poorly other people learned them.

    I am surprised by the difference in challenge between different universities. I remember my adviser (who had a son my age at Princeton) about how he would put his top 10 students against the top 10 students from Princeton or Stanford, but after that, there was a significant difference. I always assumed that what was covered in Calc, 1, 2 and 3 was fairly standard across schools.

  171. It’s a zero-sum game

    Generally, only 5% of kids can be in the 95th percentile or above. That’s just reality. So yes, it’s a zero-sum game.

  172. That observation on my part was a bit of an exclamation point to my broader point that locally, a lot of males working in healthcare may be reflective of our population mix not being largely white.

    My experience here is that there are a lot of immigrant Africans who work at nursing homes as LPNs, both male and female. I think they see it as an easy way to get a decent paying job. Some of them go on to get their RNs, but most seem happy with where they are.

  173. “Generally, only 5% of kids can be in the 95th percentile or above. ”

    But often classes graded on a 100-point scale, e.g. with >= 90 being an A, aren’t using a %ile scale. If everyone in the class gets 100, then everyone gets an A.

    As WCE mentioned, this gives more of an indication of the level of mastery, relative to a curved grade.

  174. DD, do you see a lot of Filipinos, whether immigrants or born and raised in the US, working in healthcare where you are?

  175. As WCE mentioned, this gives more of an indication of the level of mastery, relative to a curved grade.

    So NMSF should be based on mastery not relative rank?

  176. “’I’m surprised you have an issue with grading on a curve.’

    It’s a zero-sum game, and a good grade could mean your classmates did poorly just as much as you did well. It can also lead to a less than collegial, synergistic learning environment.”

    I tend to agree with Finn. The curve worked in my favor in calc, when it turned out an 80 was an A. But why should I have gotten an A in calc when I missed 20% of the answer(s), just because others did worse?

    The other problem with the curve is that outsiders don’t always know what that means, and so you either hew to the norm or risk disadvantaging your students. Harvard can do whatever it wants, because most people are just looking at the school name on the diploma. OTOH, when I was in law school, they graded on a strict C curve (8% As), and an A started at 80, with 85 being an A+ (I recall only one 90 ever being given while I was there — and it wasn’t mine). Now, the local firms knew about the curve, so folks who wanted to stay nearby did fine. But try interviewing out of state with an 81-82 average and persuading people that, no, you’re actually doing really well.

  177. Princeton was the elite school that reversed its grade deflation policy, which many students considered detrimental to their career and graduate school prospects.

    the policy, which, in an attempt to curb rising grades, mandated that no more than 35 percent of grades awarded by each department could fall in the A range,

    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2014/10/9/princeton-grade-deflation-reversal/

    I think it increases cynicism among employers and the public when colleges grade in a manner that students who lack mastery pass their courses. Combining this with the enrollment of students who fail to meet SAT college readiness benchmarks lowers the value of a college degree. This results in wasteful credential inflation that hurts everyone, especially those in lower income groups.

    https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/about/scores/benchmarks

  178. OK, here is the thing (and I am deep in the hell of developing our assessment plan so I am really in the weeds on this one) – no one knows what the f*k is meant by “mastery”. Professor 1 thinks it means a student can write a basic paragraph without making grammar mistakes whereas Professor 2 thinks it means a student can write a paragraph without making grammar mistakes AND that paragraph actually makes some kind of reasoned point. Students of course think mastery means they could copy paste something into the paragraph. And employers think it means the student can write a forceful paragraph that convinces a higher up manager to do something. This is the bane of assessment. So we are supposed to come up with goals, and map objectives to the goals, and map objectives to the courses and then develop rubrics that show how the objectives are being measured. And all of it is completely slippery and uses meaningless language so you can always show success when you do the assessment. Indeed, it is common to be told to write the objectives such that 85% (or whatever percentage the school mandates) of students show “mastery”. Oh, and professors who don’t make that goal are contacted and asked to develop a plan to make sure that next time, 85% achieve “mastery”. This is often called “using the data to close the loop”. And I will tell you, every school in the country is wasting time on this crap, because the big accreditors are all demanding these assessment plans.

  179. But why should I have gotten an A in calc when I missed 20% of the answer(s), just because others did worse?

    The pace and difficulty should be increased until only X% get an A. Again, at Holmes U they just send you an e-mail ,”Test Tuesday!” If you get into the honors program they don’t even send you the e-mail.

  180. LfB,

    In terms of law jobs I thought it was all about class rank. In that case only 5% are in the top 5%.

  181. Hey guys, could we get back to politics? What does everyone think of First Lady beauty products? Will she make a mint off of her brand?
    (FLOTUS had been off topic for me, until she filed that lawsuit)

  182. “And I will tell you, every school in the country is wasting time on this crap, because the big accreditors are all demanding these assessment plans.”

    I can tell you that DH and his colleagues are spending zero time on this crap. Perhaps because their courses are very empirical, and it’s obvious when students aren’t mastering the material, or because the students are drawn from the top of the SAT/GPA distribution. I hear about a lot of academic nonsense, but not this particular one.

  183. Scarlett, your husband may be insulated from it – perhaps he stays out of service commitments like this one. But SOMEONE is doing it, or else he is at an unaccredited school.

  184. MM – can you give a quick recap of her lawsuit? I know it was filed, but I haven’t read anything in detail about it.

  185. MM, nope he is a non-insulated endowed chair at a top university, heavily involved with administrative matters for his college, and also dragged into a bunch of university-wide committees because he speaks his mind and gets things done. There are many issues that devour his time, but coming up with assessment plans is not one of them.

  186. Back to politics.

    “House Republicans during a closed-door meeting Tuesday discussed how to protect themselves and their staffs from protesters storming town halls and offices in opposition to repealing Obamacare, sources in the room told Politico.

    House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers invited Rep. David Reichert, a former county sheriff, to present lawmakers with protective measures they should have in place. Among the suggestions: having a physical exit strategy at town halls, or a backdoor in congressional offices to slip out of, in case demonstrations turn violent; having local police monitor town halls; replacing any glass office-door entrances with heavy doors and deadbolts; and setting up intercoms to ensure those entering congressional offices are there for appointments, not to cause chaos.”
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/republicans-obamacare-protests-safety-234733

    Are they overreacting? Or is this a legitimate concern?

  187. Or is this a legitimate concern?

    The people shouldn’t fear the government. The government should fear the people.

  188. Are they overreacting? Or is this a legitimate concern?

    They are completely overreacting. They don’t like that people are actually showing up to voice their concerns and they don’t want to admit that lots of people like Obamacare and don’t want it repealed without knowing what the alternative is.

    Here’s one instance of why they are so scared:

    http://www.9news.com/news/congressman-coffman-leaves-frustrated-crowd/386167135

    I like how Coffman referred to his constituents as “partisan activists.” No, they are people with legitimate questions that he didn’t want to deal with.

  189. So, did anyone else catch the pretty subtle political statement in Lady Gaga’s Halftime Show? I thought including Born This Way was a way of working in (her) criticism of the current administration. It was a hit so a lot of people know the words and may not have picked up on it.

  190. I dunno, Fred. I guess you could interpret it that way, but as you say, that song was a hit, and it has the right kind of sound and beat to get a stadium full of people up and dancing. So I’m not sure that the #1 reason for including it was to make a Statement, as opposed to a desire to get the crowd on their feet singing.

    I loved the halftime show, BTW.

  191. Wasn’t Born This Way a statement back when she first released it? Not sure that it was any more of a statement this time just because of the last election.

  192. I liked the halftime show. It was good. I am puzzled by the “OMG it was the best halftime show EVAR in the entire history of the universe!!” reaction that I see all over the place. It was fine.

  193. “So, did anyone else catch the pretty subtle political statement in Lady Gaga’s Halftime Show?”

    Uhhh, yeah. The red/white/blue everywhere + “This Land is Your Land” + “Born This Way” seemed pretty obviously designed to make a specific political point in a Superbowl-acceptable way.

    In terms of lifetime Superbowl performances, though, I’d put U2 at the very top, because U2. Then maybe Beyoncé last year, although I had forgotten Prince did one, and, hello, Prince.. Bruno Mars was pretty awesome, too (the first one; I had forgotten he was on last year, too, until I looked it up). I’m not the world’s biggest fan, but that performance showed me why a lot of people are.

  194. “But eventually, Democrats will need to be able to make a case that their preferred immigration policies serve the national interest.”

    Eh. Maybe. Seems like the Republicans made a lot of headway over the last 8 years being anti-whatever-Obama-stood for. Seems like there’s at least an equivalent ability to make some hay being anti-whatever-Trump-says — especially when he makes it so damn easy with some of his behavior.

  195. “Seems like the Republicans made a lot of headway over the last 8 years being anti-whatever-Obama-stood for. Seems like there’s at least an equivalent ability to make some hay being anti-whatever-Trump-says — especially when he makes it so damn easy with some of his behavior.”

    But Trump is then likely to follow Obama’s precedent, and bypass Congress and issue XOs.

  196. OK, this is disgusting – Trump is blasting Nordstrom’s via tweet for dropping Ivanka’s line. The tweet went out not only on his personal account but evidently, also the POTUS account. Did he not say he was going to separate himself from involvment in the family businesses? That does not sound very separated to me. Separated me means NOT TRYING TO INTIMIDATE a company that made a business decision regarding one of the family businsesses.
    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-nordstrom-tweet-ivanka-234791

    Between this, and Melania sueing because she is being deprived of the chance ” to establish “multimillion dollar business relationships” during the years in which she would be “one of the most photographed women in the world.” (from Washington Post article on the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in NY)

    These people are so corrupt. Kleptocracy at its loveliest.

  197. “But Trump is then likely to follow Obama’s precedent, and bypass Congress and issue XOs.”

    And?

    You’re presuming the goal is to win on the issue. The goal is to convince voters to kick out the incumbents on their [insert adjective here] little asses and return other party to power. That is always the goal.

  198. If Trump is emboldening the alt-right to attack Jews and Muslims, what is the explanation for the racist tweets aimed at Senator Tim Scott for his support of Sessions?

    “I left out all the ones that use the N-word. Just felt like that would not be appropriate. You see what I’m surprised by, just a smidgen, is that the liberal left that speaks and desires the rest of us to be tolerant do not want to be tolerant of anyone that disagrees with where they are coming from. So the definition of tolerance isn’t that all Americans experience a high level of tolerance is that all Americans that agree with them experiences this so-called tolerance.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner

  199. what is the explanation for the racist tweets

    That there are some really hypocritical assholes in the world?

  200. There is no excuse for it. At the same time, the right is now trying to excuse their own behavior with the defense of “the other side is doing too.” When you keep provoking the other side, you can’t cry foul when they fight back.

  201. Denver, so you’re saying that Trump is responsible for swastika graffiti, but people calling Tim Scott a house nigger for being a conservative, well that just happens. There are hypocrites.

  202. So the definition of tolerance isn’t that all Americans experience a high level of tolerance is that all Americans that agree with them experiences this so-called tolerance.

    Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

    — Karl Popper

    That doesn’t apply here 100%, but I’m just putting you on notice, Scarlett, that every time you sneeringly say “Much-vaunted liberal tolerance”, I’m going to repost that quote.

  203. Like most other things, tolerance is a matter of judgment. When should we be more tolerant and when should we be less tolerant? Reasonable people disagree on the matter. My favorite quote is, “It’s good to be open-minded, but not so open-minded that your brains fall out.”

  204. Like my comment about meat packing–if an industry relies on breaking the law to keep afloat, they need to charge higher prices, pay higher wages, and obey the law.

  205. The New York Times article would be more credible if they understood where the Central Valley is.

  206. The New York Times article would be more credible if they understood where the Central Valley is.

    Doesn’t that just drive you nuts? Like when there’s an earthquake with the epicenter in Hollister, and they sound out “Hol lis ter” like it’s “Bayankhongor”.

  207. Geographical concerns aside, there is a central point here. Illegal immigration exists because it benefits employers. If people REALLY wanted to do something about illegal immigration, all it would take would be enforcement at the employer level. Yes, it would mean requiring an effective system to verify people’s status, and that would take money and work. But building a wall in some of the most inhospitable territory in the world also takes money and work, and wouldn’t be nearly as effective.

  208. From the NYT article:

    “Mr. Marchini, the radicchio farmer, said he felt similarly after seeing generations of workers on his family farm send their children to college and join the middle class. Mr. Marchini’s family has farmed in the valley for four generations and he grew up working side by side with Mexican immigrants.

    He said that no feasible increase in wages or change in conditions would be enough to draw native-born Americans back into the fields.”

    The native-born Americans presumably include the kids of his farm workers.

    Clearly his business model relies on a continuous flow of immigrants. Assuming he’s correct in that “no feasible increase in wages or change in conditions would be enough to draw native-born Americans back into the fields,” the only way around that would seem to be mechanization replacing human labor.

  209. I think agriculture will change in the Central Valley due to water concerns. If I were investing for generations, I’d be buying farmland in the Yakima Valley. Great climate and great water supply for irrigation.

    The law needs to be enforced and the industry (meatpacking or field agriculture) must adapt by a combination of more mechanization, higher wages (resulting in higher food prices), more imported food, a different, less labor intensive mix of foods grown (as a result of higher prices for the labor intensive food) and possibly new varieties/breeds better handled by automated equipment.

    It will be good for the HFCS market.

  210. Wondering what the liberals here think of Elizabeth Warren. Are you cheering her on, or wishing she would shut up? If you can’t get behind her for POTUS in 2020, whom would you support instead?

  211. She is way too far to the left for me, politically. Sometimes I admire her political instincts, and sometimes I think she hurts the cause she’s trying to advance.

    I do not believe derailing Sessions’ nomination is something the Democrats should have spent much time on.

  212. I think agriculture will change in the Central Valley due to water concerns. If I were investing for generations, I’d be buying farmland in the Yakima Valley. Great climate and great water supply for irrigation.

    We are having a somewhat usual wet winter this year. California typically has wet or dry winters. Mulityear droughts and damaging floods are both common. The issue has never really been not enough water. It is that the water comes in the wrong time of the year or decade and needs to be stored until the times when the rains don’t come. The water storage and conveyance system was designed and built in the 1930s-1960s and was appropriately sized for the time. More people came, and now the system is undersized. We also have an infestation of environmentalists who would like to remove a large portion of ground from production. They say they want to do this to protect fish populations, but there are many ways to increase fish populations that do not require retiring farm ground.

    Regarding the great ciimate in the Yakima Valley
    http://wine.wsu.edu/research-extension/weather/growing-degree-days/

    There is measurable precipitation 12 months per year in the Yakima Valley. That is not a great growing climate. One of the reasons the Central Valley (which stretches from Red Bluff to the Tehachapi mountains) is such a productive agricultural region is that we do NOT get precipitation for much of the year. Fungal growth is aided by moisture and inhibited by dry conditions. Providing moisture only when and where needed increases plant productivity and decreases the need for pesticides. (things that kill weeds and molds). This is one reason California is so much more productive than Florida or Texas. The state is both warm and dry.

    Although they can grow wine in the Yakima Valley, the low today is 22 degrees. That is tree killing weather for citrus and almonds.

  213. The New York Times article is the third time in the last two days that I have seen or read someone express dismay at ag support for Trump. The other article was from the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/07/california-donald-trump-jobs-immigration-lgbt-rights . I was at an event where a pre eminent ag economist indicated his lack of understanding for ag support given Trump’s positions on immigration and trade.

    I don’t know any farm owners who were full supporters of Trump. The ones I know who voted for Trump viewed him as an immoral/amoral person who would, they hoped, appoint someone to the Supreme Court who would protect second amendment rights and protect us again WOTUS, fix the Endangered Species Act, and rein in the EPA. It was clear that Hillary’s position in those areas was harmful.

    Both candidates opposed TPP, although the consensus was that Hillary was only doing that during the election season.

    I got the impression during the election season that voting for Trump was based on who would control the Supreme Court nominations. Trade and immigration could be dealt with later, but Hillary and the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democrat party would drive us out of business.

  214. Cordelia, I agree that the Yakima Valley will never grow citrus or almonds. Maybe I’m overly negative about the effect of environmental regulations/water rights/opposition to irrigation on agriculture in California. Here in Oregon, we have initiatives that I find problematic (ban mouse traps under the “live animal trap” ban was a particularly poor one) but that are supported by the urban folk in Portland who can outvote those of us with more practical agricultural views.

  215. Cordelia, I agree that the Yakima Valley will never grow citrus or almonds. Maybe I’m overly negative about the effect of environmental regulations/water rights/opposition to irrigation on agriculture in California. Here in Oregon, we have initiatives that I find problematic (ban mouse traps under the “live animal trap” ban was a particularly poor one) but that are supported by the urban folk in Portland who can outvote those of us with more practical agricultural views.

    WCE,

    You are probably right. Someone just emailed me a paper out of Stanford about water governance for the 21st century. I think the enviros have figured out that they can use water to get rid of developed country ag. We have looked at Oregon, but the environmental regulations/Portlandia atmosphere are not promising. One of our neighbors is actively looking at ranches in other states. I hope they don’t leave, but I can’t blame them. Perhaps they are smarter than we are.

    This gets back to why Trump won. His victory won’t help those of us in California, but we can still go to other states. If Hillary had won, there would be no place for us to go.

  216. I lost a lot of respect for Elizabeth Warren when she started being mean on Twitter, just like Trump.

    Speaking of Twitter, the President’s recent tweet re. Ivanka and Nordstrom sort of reminded me of an uber-helicopter parent who calls his special snowflake’s boss to complain about the snowflake’s poor performance review.

  217. Warren? She’s a little too much of an attention whore. Not that something like that renders one unelectable these days…apparently.

  218. Cordellia,

    I’m curious where fish would rank in terms of your ideal CA water policy.

    They are important. Part of the problem with the fish recovery is that it is not happening, despite the billions of dollars of lost economic activity. Several things that could help fish populations include:

    1. preventing the state capital from dumping lightly treated sewage into the Delta where smelt live and breed

    2. programs that increase the food supply in rivers during the times that juvenile salmon are migrating to the ocean.

    3. Dealing with the imported sport fish in the Delta that eat both smelt and juvenile salmon.

    These actions, which have indicates of success, are not occurring. They would be significantly less costly than shutting off water to ag.

  219. Rhett,

    Ideal water policy…..oh, if only I was queen.

    1. Clear rules that enable the transfer of water from one region to another,
    2. clarification (not confiscation) of water rights
    3. some way of making taking water rights more expensive than buying them. One of the problems right now is that the enviro community has figured out it is cheaper to buy politicians and take water rights than to negotiate with the rights holders and buy them.
    4. Acknowlegement that the environment is not first among equals in regard to water rights (requires Endangered Species Act reform). When the big droughts hit, but the enviro and the ag community need to deal with cutbacks, not only ag. Urbans use so little developed water that their conservation measures are not really relevant, although they have to be included because the population is there.

  220. ideal water policy….i really don’t know. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to move policy/figure out how not to be run over by it that I really haven’t thought about an ideal one. There are some fixes that will never happen, because, as the saying goes:
    Ag have the water rights,
    Urbans have the population
    Enviro has the politicians.

  221. If Warren were not an attention whore, would anyone pay attention to her?

    In any event, she seems unlikely to attract enough Trump voters to win.

  222. In any event, she seems unlikely to attract enough Trump voters to win.

    That’s not really the right metric when you’re a senator from MA.

  223. It’s currently under construction:

    http://www.regionalsan.com/photo-gallery/echowater-groundbreaking

    Dumping sewage has been a well known problems for years/decades. Irrigation districts and farms have had to spend/lost billions of dollars to install fish screens and from lost production because more flows were needed to dilute sewage from capital city. They should have to stop immediately, as a private entity would have to, and/or pay huge fines. But, since they are the government, they can do all manner of harm to people AND the environment without consequence.

  224. I am very fearful of the next election. It is clear that all norms and dignity and ethics are off the table. I think it will be demagogue vs demagogue. Who those people will be, I can’t guess yet. But anger in this country is overwhelming. Trump may speak for all of those people who fear their way of life is under siege, but he also woke up a lot of people in urban areas who realize they too have a culture worth defending. And I am not talking about stockbrokers or CEOs. I was chatting with our old babysitter, born here of Honduran immigrant parents, and she is ANGRY and is looking to organize. She is a conservative evangelical, in a Hispanic evangelical church, and she tells me they are all looking for ways to fight back. The local Chinese organization has come out strongly against Trump, as has the national organization. There is so much anger among the mosaic of people who make up urban areas. This could be ugly – American culture vs American culture.

  225. Soon we will have consignment sales in the whitehouse.
    Now that both Melanie and Ivanka are heavily involved in Whitehouse and profiting off of it, repubs cannot cry when they are discussed and criticized by people. They have opened the door.

  226. “But anger in this country is overwhelming.”

    I honestly don’t see this. Most people I interact with are far less interested in politics than in their jobs, families, kids, hobbies, health struggles, etc. They aren’t angry and looking to organize. The conversations I overhear at our parish, at the gym, in the grocery store, at Starbucks, and in airports are not about DeVos or Sessions or the EO. I spend a lot of time on campus, and the kids are talking about their classes and their boyfriends and what they are having for dinner, not about politics.

    There is a lot of anger on Facebook, and in the media. But I’m not seeing it IRL.

  227. You live in a conservative bubble. Your state, your community and your school are conservative so it isn’t a surprise that people aren’t discussing the issues because they got what they wanted from the election.

  228. I don’t see a lot of anger here, either. I live in a Democratic bubble in a Republican state.

  229. Sometimes I wish I lived in a bubble, but I don’t. Any college community is a predominantly liberal one. Most of my family were Clinton supporters. I’m not seeing any more anger than existed in my liberal DC suburb during the Bush administration, when some of my neighbors had bumper stickers saying “If you’re not appalled, you haven’t been paying attention.” Many of my conservative and orthodox Catholic friends were very unhappy with the Obama administration, but “angry?” Not really, and though they are relieved that Clinton was defeated, many of them are not exactly thrilled with Trump.

  230. I see a great deal of anger and fear around here — among friends, family members, acquaintances, neighbors, clients, and others. Trump, DeVos, Bannon, et.al. — they have all become very regular topics of conversation in these parts. Of course, I live in an extremely totebaggy town in what I think is the bluest state in the nation.

    Do any of us not live in a bubble of one sort or another?

  231. Many of my conservative and orthodox Catholic friends were very unhappy with the Obama administration,

    A thrice married sexual libertine on the other hand…

  232. The demographics of my community are pretty much the median of the country. Racial and educational and economic. Much less a bubble than northern Virginia. The college campus is a bubble surrounded by regular people.

  233. Warren is too far left for me to ever consider supporting her, absent Trump as her opponent. But I did order “nevertheless, she persisted” shirts for my daughter and niece. I think it accurately sums up life-to-date. I may have that inscribed on my tombstone.

  234. MBT – your comment fascinates me. I also think the “Nevertheless, she persisted” quote is genius. However, I think Warren is an evil, leftist, populist demagogue. I really resent the hijacking of the feminist cause by this cohort. It’s the kind of thing that made it really hard for me to vote Hillary ( I did anyway.) but the buying and wearing of these shirts will “normalize” Warren as the standard bearer for feminists. don’t let your daughter wear it!!!!

  235. Mafalda — What about Warren makes you label her as “evil?” That seems like an exceedingly strong word. I can’t stand anything about Trump, but I would never go so far as to call him evil.

  236. Even as a deplorable conservative, the “nevertheless, she persisted” meme is immensely appealing to me. Interesting that Warren’s lack of support here mirrors what I’ve read about elsewhere, yet she is one of the most prominent Dems now and apparently being viewed as a contender for the next presidential race.

    One thing I’m seeing is talk about how increased school choice is inevitable, particularly given that technology makes it a more viable option in many cases. And I read that smart Democrats should jump on that issue because if promoted by liberals it could help energize low-income urban voters and other groups. Of course Warren comes across as a typical hypocritical politician in having vigorously supported school choice before she was against. it, so she may switch her position back again.

  237. I’m not a huge Warren fan, and I’m not sure why. For me it’s more of a charisma thing. I have to say, though, [shallow, unfeminist mode = ON] she looks fabulous for 71. I can only hope to look that good at 71. Or even now. [OFF]

  238. Scarlett, the median is still a bubble. Really, what does “the median” even mean? We are a nation of tribes. That is what Trump’s election exposed.

  239. MM it means that we are very average here. But not angry. The people with the Clinton bumper stickers don’t appear to be organizing new grass roots movements.
    What you are experiencing among your acquaintances does not appear to be a universal reaction to Trump. If people are scared and angry here, they are hiding it well

  240. She’s only 67!

    I was doing the math about her the other day and wondering if she’s too old for 2020.

  241. AFAIK, Warren is 67, not 71. I think RMS, you might have been thinking of an article that projects her age at the next election. I see her as a necessary gadfly. There are relentless very conservative legislators who harp on certain issues and during the Obama administration never let up with their attacks/criticisms. I see her in the same mold. I do not see her as a viable candidate. First of all, she is too old. Both Trump and Clinton were too old in my opinion last time, so I hope all realistic candidates in 2020 come from the next generation or half generation. I could see her more as a progressive party fringe candidate, along with a nativist party candidate on the other end and that hoped for centrist party emerging from the chaos. I don’t find her quite as offensive as some, but I don’t view her as a feminist icon either. Mitch McConnell was a fool, rare for him. He should have just let her read the letter. No one would have paid a bit of attention.

    I think it is important on the school choice issue to realize that a huge core of opposition to vouchers is their applicability to religious schools. It is not right for the state to attempt to control the content of religious education. It should be separate and unfettered, and free to teach things that are at odds with secular cultural norms, such as limited options and no education for women after high school (I am referring to non-Christian schools here, primarily). But you can’t have money flowing in without control. Most people I know who have looked at the issues are very encouraged by the public charter school movement, and favor increased local control implementation that allows for experimentation and expansion. There are concerns about rapid expansion via for profit schools, perhaps not wholly justified, but understandable after the way in which for profit and even some shady non profits have fleeced lower social status college grads and burdened them with debt.

  242. we are very average here

    Scarlett, you are nowhere near “average” in your political views.

  243. I would like to see someone like Cory Booker run, but I think it will be demagogue vs demagogue. A doddering Trump vs a doddering Bernie. SIgh.

  244. My pick for 2020 is Senator Amy Klobuchar from MN. She works well across the aisle. But I don’t unknown a woman will become president for several years. Too much misogyny. People will overlook things a man says and does but will hold a woman to a higher standard. For example, none of the male senators who read the letter that Warren read were censored.

  245. I think RMS, you might have been thinking of an article that projects her age at the next election.

    You’re probably right.

  246. A number of commentators have wondered how it was that Democrats have been most successful organizing against DeVos. The stock answer seems to be teacher unions, and I am sure there is merit to that. But they also don’t understand another force – people with interests in special education. After her disastrous confirmation hearing, my pediatric cancer list lit up with moms expressing outrage – including some very conservative moms. I saw the same thing on a list for hearing imparied kids and on adoption lists. These are groups where kids are quite likely to be on IEPs. And again, all these moms started passing around the numbers to call, and the addresses to write to – and they did. Liberal, conservative – everyone was in on it. Why? Because DeVos made several statements that showed that she profoundly did not understand how special education works. I thnk the commentators and pundits entirely missed how conservative and liberal moms could unite on this issue.

  247. “I see her as a necessary gadfly. There are relentless very conservative legislators who harp on certain issues and during the Obama administration never let up with their attacks/criticisms. I see her in the same mold. I do not see her as a viable candidate.”

    I agree. I also agree with the person who said they liked her until she started insulting people on Twitter. If she was my senator, I would vote for her for Senate over most Republicans, but I would prefer a more Centrist, younger Democratic nominee in 2020. Someone more like Obama.

    I definitely feel the anger. People are actually talking about politics at work regularly. That is new. I live in a liberal, urban bubble, but no one talked politics during the W administration. No one even really talks about the mess of state politics. But Trump is a different animal.

  248. MM,
    The racial, education, income, and religious demographics of our county reflect the median demographics in the country as a whole.
    When we moved here the whiteness was amazing, but that is because Asians and Hispanics are over represented in the D.C. area, as are Jews, Muslims, and people with college degrees.

  249. “Scarlett, you are nowhere near “average” in your political views.”

    I agree with Scarlett more times than not.

  250. Some interesting data on the educational choices that public school advocates make for their own children. First there are the members of Congress.

    “A 2007 Heritage Foundation study found that 37 percent of representatives and 45 percent of senators with school-age children sent their own kids to private school. Of the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus with school-age children, 38 percent sent them to private school. Of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus with school-age children, 52 percent sent them to private school.”

    And then there are the public school teachers themselves.

    “About 11 percent of all parents — nationwide, rural and urban — send their children to private schools. The numbers are much higher in urban areas. One study found that in Philadelphia a staggering 44 percent of public school teachers send their own kids to private schools. In Cincinnati and Chicago, 41 and 39 percent of public school teachers, respectively, pay for a private school education for their children. In Rochester, New York, it’s 38 percent. In Baltimore it’s 35 percent, San Francisco is 34 percent and New York-Northeastern New Jersey is 33 percent. In Los Angeles nearly 25 percent of public school teachers send their kids to private school versus 16 percent of Angelenos who do so.”
    http://townhall.com/columnists/larryelder/2013/10/17/where-do-public-school-teachers-send-own-kids-n1725607

    A thoughtful essay by a committed public school teacher on his decision to send his child to a private school. This passage was particularly poignant.

    “Public schools have my tax money, my lifelong employment, and almost anything else they need of me; pulling my daughter—one student—out of the system is probably the least of its worries. And on a more abstract level, the above criticisms fail to acknowledge the cumbersome, almost fixed nature of the dominant culture I’ve seen at public schools—one that occasionally isolates students who love learning, are teased by the “cool” kids and even bullied into joining the masses. No matter how much she voluntarily recites Shakespeare, the student I envision my daughter becoming would never be able to single-handedly transform a public school into an environment that is cool to learning.”
    https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/03/why-im-a-public-school-teacher-but-a-private-school-parent/386797/

  251. OK, I am still digging on this. I get the idea of a median income (though I think that is meaningless, really, since someone who makes 45K in Kansas is likely to be a very different lkind of person from someone who makes 45K in California). But I don’t get what a median race or a median religion is. The median, which is related to average, is defined on numbers. Race and religion are not numbers.

  252. “lmost fixed nature of the dominant culture I’ve seen at public schools—one that occasionally isolates students who love learning, are teased by the “cool” kids and even bullied into joining the masses. ”

    Um, that sounds like American culture in general, and is simply reflected in the schools. You will find that in a lot of nonelite private schools too, especially religious ones. This teacher is looking for a Totebag school. More calculus! Less football!

  253. I think perhaps what you are trying to say is that your area has percentages of different races and religions that are similar to the national numbers. Is that correct?

  254. Cordelia,

    I thought you’d be pleased they are finally doing something about it.

    Rhett, I couldn’t answer yesterday, partly because I was busy and partly because I was reading a document that made me sick. I am pleased they are finally doing something about it, but it will be an extended period of time before the plant is online, and in the interim, fish will continue to die and the enviros will think up new reasons to pull ag lands out of production.

    As for ideal water policy…..been thinking a bit.

    1. The state needs more storage capacity and a better system for moving water around. Including, as it particularly relevant this week, extensive maintenance, and inspections by a third party incentivized to find structural defect/weak spots/spillways about to fail. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/09/oroville-emergency-spillway-may-be-used-for-first-time-in-dams-history/ The article downplays the seriousness of the emergency.

    2. People need to have some ability to believe that the state will abide by the terms of the contracts it negotiates with water rights holders. The past few years there has been increasing talk of renegotiating contracts or revoking water rights. This hampers efficiency improvements and poisons the atmosphere for groups working together to find workable solutions.

    3. Everyone needs to share the pain in drought years, both ag and the environment, urbans too so they don’t feel left out, but urbans only use 10% of developed water, so their contribution to the sharing the pain really doesn’t help much.

    4. Basically, take steps to acknowledge that California is a boom and bust state in precipitation amounts. Acknowledge that the state population has doubled since the water projects were built. Acknowledge that the environment needs water, but not to the exclusion/pain of the rural areas. The rule of law needs to be maintained. One group can’t simply take another groups property because they are more powerful.

  255. North of Boston- you are right, the word “evil” is very strong. I need to find examples, but the best way to explain myself is that she reminds me of the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Unlike other liberals who seem mostly to come from a place of wanting people to share, she really seems to be using propaganda tools to vilify capitalists and consolidate all the power amongst “correct thinking” bureaucrats.

  256. The article downplays the seriousness of the emergency.

    My friends in Chico were posting about this. It’s scary. And meanwhile in the Monterey Bay Area, Highways 9 and 17 have only been passable off and on for the last several weeks. Bear Creek Road and a bunch of other well-used roads have completely collapsed in places. I’m interested to read your reflections on water rights and ways to improve. Certainly more storage seems like a no-brainer.

  257. Mafalda – I agree with you on Warren, and although I do not consider her evil, I feel that she is somewhat manipulative. Maybe that’s not the right term, but I think she embodies a lot of the traits that people resent about the left, such as labeling people racist for disagreeing with certain movements, etc. I do not consider her the representative for feminism (and not Madonna, either). But my version of feminism includes discussing with my daughter the option of choosing SAHM for her career for at least part of her adult life, and to plan accordingly if that’s something that she wants. It’s interesting, because one of my siblings is a big fan, and I come off as the ultra-conservative in the family trying to explain why I am not. BUT – that meme still struck me surprisingly strongly and captured how I feel about being a female in the US. DD is graduating from college this May after a couple of changes of university, changes of major, break-up with long-term significant other, struggle with managing dyslexia in college, etc. The shirt fits.

  258. “Certainly more storage seems like a no-brainer.”

    One would think so, but dams generate intense opposition. One of the reasons I have long been skeptical about anthropogenic global warming* is that hydroelectric energy is only classed as green if the power generation capacity is below a certain amount.

    Groundwater storage has some potential, but understanding aquifers and movement within basins is still in its infancy. Also, it is difficult to determine ownership in a non adjudicated basin, and it can take up to 20 years to fully adjudicate a basin.

    * The earth’s climate is constantly changing, human activity likely contributes to the current warming trend. How great that contribution is is still unclear. Ending the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity has massive human costs, particularly in the developing world. Going back to pre 1990 GHG emissions will be hugely expensive and I have yet to see much study done comparing the costs of doing nothing (which of course entails the costs of adapting to increased global temperatures) with the costs of significantly reducing GHG emissions. In addition, the predictions of the effects on agriculture are so mistaken that I question the entire analysis.

  259. I know this is a stupid question, but is damming necessary? Could they build more reservoirs? I’m pretty sure I’m providing evidence of my huge ignorance in matters of water management.

  260. RMS, Generally, the way one builds a reservoir is to place a dam at the neck of a canyon or valley. The dam holds back the water in the reservoir.

  261. Usually, the canyon or valley has a river flowing through it. The dam holds back the water in the river, forming a reservoir, the water is released it in a controlled manner. Ideally providing power generation, flood control, and water for irrigation, urban and environmental uses.

    It is not necessary to have a river flowing through the valley to have reservoir. Sites Reservoir is an example of an off stream reservoir, which is thought to be more environmentally friendly because the river is not impeded. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sites_Reservoir

    It is however, necessary to have a dam to have a reservoir.

  262. Generally, the way one builds a reservoir is to place a dam at the neck of a canyon or valley. The dam holds back the water in the reservoir.

    I see. Thank you.

  263. RMS, Your question is illuminating. I wonder how many people do not understand that surface storage/reservoirs/dams go hand in hand.

    I have often noticed that one of the problems about getting different groups to communicate with one another is not only a lack of understanding of each other, but an inability to find a common starting point of agreement to go forward in some fashion of discussion.

  264. Back to the demographics thing… I am wondering if anyone knows, what percentage of counties in this country have demographics similar to the national average? I don’t really have time to research that one, but I think it is an interesting question. Is it really special and unique to be in a county that reflects the total national demographics, or is that more normal than we think?

  265. Mooshi, interesting map. It looks like the only northeast and eastern mid west is whiter than average.

  266. That map is a litt”le bit misleading in that the bar is just “higher than the average” for that minority. So some middle of the country areas that show green may have a higher-than-average percentage of Native Americans, but they are still overwhelmingly white.

  267. OK, this is interesting. This is by state, which I think skews the results a lot, but still interesting. Of note, NY is quite close to the national demographics on race. Of course, that is partially because of upstate. Nationally, 61% of the population is white, 12% black, 18% Hispanic, 6% Asian. NY is 58% white. I am sure, though, if we just looked at the NYC metro area, we would see fewer white people and more Hispanic and Asian.
    By contrast, Kentucky is much whiter than the national average at 85% white. There are only 7% black, 3% Hispanic, and not enough Asians to report.
    So who is more typical of America?

    http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/distribution-by-raceethnicity/?currentTimeframe=0
    A note: Kaiser appears to base its percentage of white people from a category in the yearly Census data labelled “White, not Hispanic/Latino”, which is people who checked off both White, and answered “No” to a question as to whether of Hispanic background. There is another category of people who just checked White, which is around 72%. So it is a little confusing. Using that statistic, both Kentucky and NY are quite different.

  268. In the first map. states that are higher than average in two or more races are colored differently. So a state with a high number of whites and native Americans would be blue.

    I just clicked on the map, so no idea how accurate it is.

  269. But my version of feminism includes discussing with my daughter the option of choosing SAHM for her career for at least part of her adult life, and to plan accordingly if that’s something that she wants.

    Do you also discuss the option of being a SAHD with your son? (I can’t recall the number and genders of your kids so maybe you don’t even have a son :) )

  270. “It is however, necessary to have a dam to have a reservoir.”

    I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but that might depend on how you define dam and reservoir.

    RMS and Cordelia, you probably both have familiarity with the water storage facilities in the SV area, which includes a bunch of lakes (e.g., Vasona, Cunningham) and percolation ponds, which serve the multiple functions of flood control, water storage, and recreation.

    I don’t think all of those lakes and ponds have dams, but I may be wrong.

    Cordelia, are you saying that the storage provided by those reservoirs and the underground aquifers they recharge is not enough? Or that more areas in CA need such storage systems?

  271. SV= Silicon Valley, Sacramento Valley, San Joaquin Valley???

    Manmade reservoirs almost always have some structure to hold back and release water, particularly if they are providing flood control.

    Cordelia, are you saying that the storage provided by those reservoirs and the underground aquifers they recharge is not enough? Or that more areas in CA need such storage systems?

    Both. The water storage areas in the Bay Area do not provide sufficient recharge or storage for the Bay Area, which is why they pull water from a variety of sources.

    I am more familiar with the State and Federal water projects, and Hetch Hetchy. According to wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasona_Park Vasona reservoir was created by damming the Los Gatos Creek.

    Much of the Bay Area’s water supply comes from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, created by the O’Shaughnessy Dam, which is in Yosemite.

  272. Most of the precipitation in California falls North of the Delta. Most of the water use in California occurs south of the Delta, which is where most of the people live.

    The Delta worked as a water conveyance, but there are huge environmental consequences.

  273. SV = Silicon Valley in this case.

    “I don’t think all of those lakes and ponds have dams, but I may be wrong.”

    I think I was wrong. Per http://www.valleywater.org/services/reservoirs.aspx, all the reservoirs have accompanying dams.

    I think one of the problems a lot of areas have is that as they get developed, watershed gets paved or built over, and they rain that falls there is no longer filters down to the aquifer below, and also increases flood risks. In places like here and the bay area, it also affects the ecosystems into which they drain, decreasing the salinity and washing pollutants into them.

    I believe that in SV, drainage systems have been built to capture much of this runoff and direct them to some of the lakes and percolation pods.

    A positive step I’ve seen becoming more common here is the use of permeable paving, which reduces this problem.

    Perhaps Rhode has some insight into this.

  274. Hetch Hetchy provides the water for Palo Alto, or at least it used to. I frequently drive past Lexington Reservoir, and I never thought to wonder where the dam is for it.

  275. Until today, I didn’t know that people didn’t understand that a dam is necessary for a manmade reservoir.

  276. Warren was one of my professors and I didn’t really like her for that. But, I *love* the “nevertheless, she persisted” slogan. McConnell really hit it out of the park with that.

  277. Yeah, I said I was being stupid, Pseudonym. And my dad was a civil engineer so I have no excuse at all. Thanks for pointing it out again.

  278. RMS, I didn’t mean to be mean. My comment came out a lot snarkier than I meant. I was just amazed that someone like you didn’t understand the connection. We all have topics we know like the back of our hands and others we’ve never bothered to think about.

    I have a different name, because this conversation was way to identifying.

  279. Regarding demographics – other than Hawaii- I really believe that the”melting pot” is being under reported. So many people are of mixed race/ mixed ethnicity but because of identity politics they have to “identify” one way or another. My roommate in college had a white mother and a black father and was really pressured to identify as black, period. She told me it made her feel disrespectful of her mother, especially since she raised her alone. My own 3 boys drove their school crazy- one would check Hispanic, one would check white and the other would check multi. (My husband is not Hispanic, so their surname is not Hispanic and you can’t really tell from appearance, one is fair and blue eyed.) is it really possible that the multi category is so tiny?

  280. I concur with Mafalda that the multiracial category is probably large, even here. I went on a field trip with ~85 third graders, and all but one of them I would classify as “should wear sun screen”. I know the child I would classify as “not required to wear sun screen” has Dad from Sri Lanka and Mom a light-skinned U.S.-born citizen.

    We camped next to a family that immigrated from Africa (Nigeria?) on the church camping trip and my boys were annoyed that THEY had to wait for sun screen to go to the beach and the kids next to us didn’t. The Mom had a half-hidden smile as she watched me explain that their family had different rules than our family, because their family wouldn’t get sunburned, because their ancestors were from Africa and they wouldn’t get sunburned without sunscreen.

  281. Cordelia, I didn’t get your email but I think your question may have been answered. Did you send it to gntotebag @ gmail.com because that usually gets to me.

  282. “Until today, I didn’t know that people didn’t understand that a dam is necessary for a manmade reservoir.”

    Couldn’t you make one by digging a hole?

  283. Agree that the mixed race numbers seem under reported.

    And though it might have been smarter to let Warren violate the rules, allowing her to become a martyr might also help build support for an unelectable candidate.

  284. “THEY had to wait for sun screen to go to the beach”

    The application time could be minimized with the use of long sleeved rash guards.

  285. “Agree that the mixed race numbers seem under reported.”

    Yeah, I’ve wondered how they are counted. E.g., would a kid with one Asian and one white parent be counted as half an Asian kid and half a white kid?

  286. Scarlett, I just read the article in The Atlantic to which you posted the link, and the first thing that jumped out at me was, why is there an article about schools in San Luis Obispo in The Atlantic?

    It does seem to provide confirmation for my view that one of parents’ biggest responsibilities is to place their kids in a good peer group.

  287. Re. Democrats who might be in the pipeline for future presidential runs: I think my district’s Congressional rep, Seth Moulton, is a face to watch. He’s really young (38), so I doubt he’d run in 2020, but I could see him running down the road. Yes, he’s a member of the northeast liberal elite (he’s from Massachusetts and has multiple degrees from Harvard), but he’s also a former Marine who served several tours in Iraq. I think his military experience might make him more palatable to some red-state voters than other Massachusetts liberals would be.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2017/01/30/seth-moulton-seizing-moment/pNPoYpilLgPEdRgVP2l5jP/story.html

  288. For political podcasts, I’ve been listening to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast. It’s excellent – heavy on analysis, low on rhetoric. Good interviews.

  289. Um, that family from Africa should have been using sunscreen. Black people do get melanoma. The head teacher in the baby room at my son’s daycare was a dark skinned black woman who was absolutely anal about getting the black families to send in sunscreen. It turned out her brother had died from melanoma.

  290. WCE,

    Thought you would like this article, which explores some of the points you’ve made about the limits of school choice programs for rural areas.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/where-school-choice-isnt-an-option-rural-public-schools-worry-theyll-be-left-behind/2017/02/10/03e7146a-ef23-11e6-9973-c5efb7ccfb0d_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_devosmaine-711am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.75b821533908

    It is easy to see how rural school systems fail to benefit from charter school and voucher programs, but harder to see how such programs would harm them.

  291. Scarlett, this is the concern:

    But they are concerned that Trump’s so-far singular focus on expanding access to vouchers and charter schools will do nothing meaningful to help.

    Trump and DeVos have not said anything (at least that I have heard about) about what they will do to help the regular public schools. Everything is about choice.

    There are also very real concerns that these programs, if implemented, will siphon money away from these already struggling school districts. But as long as we can provide funding for the families that can already afford private school, who cares about the rural schools districts.

  292. DD,

    From what I can tell, many of the serious, stubborn problems with public education involve inner-city districts, and increased funding has failed to solve those problems. It is not surprising that DeVos and others involved in school reform movements are focusing on the urban school systems. But rural systems have been struggling for years. It’s unclear why DeVos now poses an existential threat to rural schools simply because her professional emphasis has been on school choice programs. And, because of the practical obstacles to opening charter and private schools in rural communities, how would the school choice movement in urban areas “siphon” money away from the rural schools?

    In any event, the Obama administration earned mixed reviews from rural education advocates for its emphasis on competitive grants, such as Race to the Top, which disadvantage rural districts without expertise in grantwriting. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/rural-school-district-obama-fought-save/ So there seems to be plenty of blame to go around.

  293. @RMS

    The rivers are very high and very brown. This has potential to be an economic and environmental disaster.

    And why is it so hard for the LA times to get the details straight? The dam was built in the 1960s. The guy they quoted was not the public info officer.

  294. MM,

    You probably don’t read the National Review, but check out this observation on the “assessment” nonsense you put up with:

    “We in higher education are seeing the despotic impositions of educational bureaucrats floating up in our direction through the efforts of our administrative class to impose a “culture of assessment” through the increasingly intrusive and pointlessly homogenizing standards for accreditation. Much of what’s required for accreditation now is a huge waste of time and treasure in the eyes of faculty, and they comply with ironic resignation to degrading requests. The culture of assessment is a war against the moral and intellectual diversity that has been the saving grace of our system of higher education….

    Here’s my model process of accreditation: A team of evaluators swarms the campus unannounced, checking the books, syllabi, and faculty qualifications and visiting some classes and observing the facilities. All the books and records would have to be accurate and up to date, but the college wouldn’t have to do anything different from it would ordinarily do just to please the accreditors. If everything checks out as “good enough,” they split, leaving behind a certificate of approval. If not, the school is put on notice. You might say this isn’t much different from the process by which hotels and restaurants are certified as good enough to serve customers. Well, that’s the point. It isn’t.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner

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