2017 Politics open thread, June 4-10

What’s going on in politics this week?

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111 thoughts on “2017 Politics open thread, June 4-10

  1. I found this an interesting take:

    https://patrick.net/1305138/2017-04-18-how-the-bible-belt-lost-god-and-found-trump

    “No one I know of would argue that Donald Trump inculcates moral character,” Flynt says. “What has happened to American Christianity is there is this afterglow of what a candidate is supposed to represent. It’s no longer moral character. It’s policy positions on things that bother evangelicals.”

    Flynt says evangelical Christians are mainly mobilising against the sins they either do not want to commit (homosexual acts) or cannot commit (undergoing an abortion, in the case of men). They turn a blind eye toward temptations such as adultery and divorce that interest them. In 2010, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution calling the rising incidence of divorce among its members a “scandal”. A Pew Research Center study in 2015 found that evangelical Protestants in the US were more likely to be divorced or separated than Catholics, Jews, Muslims or atheists.

    “Jesus says four times in four different places: do not divorce,” Flynt says. “Does divorce bother evangelicals? No, absolutely not. Does adultery bother evangelicals? No, not really, because if so they wouldn’t have voted for Donald Trump. So what bothers them? Abortion and same-sex marriage. Beyond that, there’s no longer an agenda.”

  2. DD – that is an interesting article. I grew up in the Bible Belt where there were a number of evangelical bible colleges (the attendees of which were the ones begging me to let them save my soul when they found out I went to Catholic school). I agree with the comments from the author. My younger self was frequently outraged by some of the behavior I considered hypocritical, including multiple marriages after dating just months, and especially the leaders of some of those institutions driving to the banks I audited to pick up their bank statements personally, so no one working in the offices would know they were keeping millions from donations in their personal accounts. Later, I was absolutely stunned when the Archdiocese of Boston was able to quickly and easily drum up the cash for the considerable legal settlements resulting from priests’ behavior. It was quite a fall from my high horse. There is a Christian speaker named John Pavlovitz that speaks on this topic a lot, and whose writings I find thought-provoking.

  3. This is very California-specific, but it’s an interesting argument. There is a high-speed rail project that has been very controversial, to put it mildly. Ultimately it will go from L.A. to San Francisco. But the Sacramento Bee argues that the connections to the San Joaquin Valley (those unemployed, problematic rural people everyone’s suddenly worried about) makes the project worthwhile.

    http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article153955174.html

  4. “No, not really, because if so they wouldn’t have voted for Donald Trump.”

    They wouldn’t have chosen him for a pastor, no. But he wasn’t running for a pastor position.

    All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, after all. Many voters found themselves choosing between the lesser of two evils in this Presidential election.

  5. “Lost in the transition, he says, is the traditional evangelical standard for sizing up candidates — “personal moral character”, which includes such criteria as marital fidelity, church attendance and kindness.”

    Well, that set of criteria gave us Jimmy Carter. Perhaps it’s not actually a useful template for a Presidential candidate.

  6. Trump is melting down on Twitter today. We should be so lucky to get someone like Carter again.

  7. There are many people of Christian faith who do not share your opinion, Scarlett. I remember one of them asked the question “how could he vote for a man who he couldn’t hold of as any kind of role model for his kids?”. He, along with others I know, sat out the election. The question, though, that I have for conservative Christians, who hold themselves up as guardians of morality, was how they could have allowed such an immoral man to be nominated by their party? There were plenty of other conservatives who would have given them their Supreme Court nomination.

  8. MM, why are conservative Christians responsible for the political process that gave us the 2016 candidates? One could just as well ask how progressives while hold themselves out as guardians of women’s rights could nominate a woman who so denigrated the victims of her husband’s sexual assaults?

    There are plenty of good people on both sides who were appalled at the results of the nomination process

  9. Of course those who voted for Trump in the primaries and general are responsible. My side quite liked our candidate even though she wasn’t perfect.

  10. We and others avoided Portland this weekend out of concern for what the protests could involve.

    Prior to Trump’s election, I hoped that people could come together. Portland has long been a venue for numerous strip clubs and sex trafficking, because of the live-and-let-live ethos, but law enforcement, women’s rights activists and conservative religious groups have come together in recent years to fight sex trafficking and have had a fair amount of success, assuming such statistics have at least some reliability. The theory that women should be free to engage in prostitution and the reality that most women engaging in prostitution were not doing so freely collided.

  11. Used to Lurk – don’t you think we are already there? 6 people dead this morning in Orlando after being shot by a disgruntled fired employee. People who were otherwise just living their lives and going to work on a Monday morning. Dead.

  12. The violence is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

  13. Interesting observation about perceptions vs. reality on violent crime.

    “Opinion surveys regularly find that Americans believe crime is up, even when the data show it is down. In 21 Gallup surveys conducted since 1989, a majority of Americans said there was more crime in the U.S. compared with the year before, despite the generally downward trend in both violent and property crime rates during much of that period. In a Pew Research Center survey in late 2016, 57% of registered voters said crime had gotten worse since 2008, even though BJS and FBI data show that violent and property crime rates declined by double-digit percentages during that span.”
    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/21/5-facts-about-crime-in-the-u-s/

  14. BJS and FBI data show that violent and property crime rates declined by double-digit percentages during that span.”

    Maybe the Obama presidency actually wasn’t the worst thing ever to happen to the U.S.

  15. Freakonomics data suggested that violent crime is primarily affected by the size and socioeconomic distribution of the population of 18-25 year old males, not to which political party is in office. The opinion is/was controversial because it was generated in part by looking at abortion rates.

  16. I am surprised that crime is down given the fact that we need to send in the Feds in places like Chicago in order to stop the carnage.

  17. Back when I was in college, I remember learning about research that found that people who consumed most of their news via local TV news tended to overestimate violent crime, compared to people who got most of their news via newspaper. I would not be surprised if that effect is even more pronounced if you are getting your news via Facebook.

  18. Scarlett said “MM, why are conservative Christians responsible for the political process that gave us the 2016 candidates? ”

    Yes, because conservative Christians figure so prominently in the Republican primary system. Nobody can become the Republican nominee without their support. Conservative Christians have always held themselves up as the keepers of morality in our society – that is their claim to importance – so I am disgusted with their abandonment of that ideal. Imagine if Democrats, who have since the 60’s held themselves up as the defenders of people of color, nominated an open racist in 2016. In fact, imagine if they had nominated Trump – it could have happened since he was once a Democrat. If that had happened, I would have been very disgusted with any Democrat who might have voted for him, because it would be selling out the values that define liberals. For conservatives, morality is a defining value, and Trump is as immoral as he is racist.

  19. “Well, that set of criteria gave us Jimmy Carter.”

    Didn’t Obama also meet those criteria?

  20. “Many voters found themselves choosing between the lesser of two evils in this Presidential election.”

    And then there were those who voted for Johnson, or abstained.

  21. “Yes, because conservative Christians figure so prominently in the Republican primary system. Nobody can become the Republican nominee without their support.”

    Is that really true? Here’s what Pew says about evangelical Christians (assuming that’s who you mean by “conservative” Christians):

    “Those who identify themselves as “born-again or evangelical” Christians constitute a sizable share of the electorate – 36% of registered voters, compared with 37% who are non-evangelical Christians and 27% who identify with non-Christian faiths or with no religion at all. In addition, evangelicals are much more numerous within the Republican Party than among Democrats. Still, nearly three-in-ten Democrats consider themselves born-again or evangelical Christians.”

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/03/14/exit-polls-and-the-evangelical-vote-a-closer-look/

    Christians — evangelical or otherwise — do not vote as a bloc nearly as much as, say Jews or atheists do. There is a lot of diversity under the “conservative Christian” umbrella, a label that could also include many Catholics.

    If there had been a better Republican candidate, perhaps evangelicals would have lined up behind him or her. But there wasn’t.

    Here is an interesting graphic from the NYT showing just how few of us voted for either Trump or Clinton in the primaries. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/01/us/elections/nine-percent-of-america-selected-trump-and-clinton.html?_r=0

  22. If very few conservative Christians bothered to vote in the Republican primary, then they are at fault for not stopping Trump. From the point of view of morality and adherence to Christian values, there was nothing particularly wrong with the other candidates, and all were swearing up and down to nominate a conservative justice. If Trump or someone similarly racist, xenophobic, and anti-woman had run in the Democratic primary, I darn well would have been out there voting against him and I would have blamed any progressive who sat at home if he had prevailed

  23. I suspect the rise of independents has limited the influence of middle of the road voters. As an independent, I can’t vote in my state’s primaries.

  24. Teen culture these days is about passing around offensive memes. They go to 4chan and post anonymously, and are too stupid to realize that these things are a problem if their name ever gets attached. I showed this article to my kids.

  25. Becky, Lauren posted that link in last Friday’s thread, so I’d already seen it.

    There was mention of the affected students being told not to attend Visitas, so unless they’d already turned down all their other acceptances, they still had options.

    I don’t know exactly what was involved to get them to that point, but my inclination based on the Crimson article is to support the rescinding.

    The guy who heads up the local interview team told me that the main thing he asks his interviewers to ascertain is whether the interviewees are nice people, and that made a positive impression on me. OTOH, I don’t know whether interviewers elsewhere have the same priorities.

  26. The so called “dark” private group arose from an official Harvard Facebook site for incoming freshmen. I don’t know the exact mechanics of how it was set up, but when it came to the administration’s attention, they felt compelled to act, especially after the sports team “rankings” that came to light earlier this year. One of my acquaintances, now deceased, lost his high position more than ten years ago at the Div School after a university kid was assigned to transfer the files to a new computer and wondered why it was taking so long – there was a lot of mainstream porn. You can do what you want in private, just don’t link it to the university in any way.

  27. “If very few conservative Christians bothered to vote in the Republican primary, then they are at fault for not stopping Trump.”

    Perhaps the blame should be laid at the feet of Democrats; specifically, those Democrats who had voted for Obama but who chose not to vote for Clinton.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/omribenshahar/2016/11/17/the-non-voters-who-decided-the-election-trump-won-because-of-lower-democratic-turnout/#515dd38d53ab

    There is a whole lot of blame to go around. If someone else had run against Trump, or if the Democratic (and Republican) Obama enthusiasts had been able to hold their noses and vote for Hillary instead of staying home, she would have been elected.

  28. There is plenty of blame, but the fact that conservative Christians, who hold themselves up as morally superior to everyone else, felt they could vote for an immoral, unChristian man over people like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, or even sit home and let them lose, is especially awful.

  29. Furthermore, evangelicals continue to be his main supporters, even as everyone else is slipping away. I just don’t get it. I used to have more respect for conservative Christians, but I am losing it quickly,
    “In a recent analysis, the Pew Research Center found that more than three-fourths of white evangelical Christians approve of Trump’s job performance, most of them “strongly.” With these evangelicals comprising about a quarter of the electorate, their support is the life jacket preventing Trump from slipping into unrecoverable political depths.
    ……
    The cost? Evangelicals have become loyal to a leader of shockingly low character. They have associated their faith with exclusion and bias. They have become another Washington interest group, striving for advantage rather than seeking the common good. And a movement that should be known for grace is now known for its seething resentments.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-evangelicals-dream-president-heres-why/2017/05/15/77b1609a-3996-11e7-a058-ddbb23c75d82_story.html?utm_term=.fb60e176b78c

  30. The people responsible for electing Trump are the ones who voted for him. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? No one forced a Trump voter to make that choice. Maybe if some who felt that there were 2 bad candidates had stayed home, we would ‘t be in this situation. He has been terrible and seems to be melting down on the regular. I hope he schedules a trip somewhere and they give him a shiny medal or something to keep him occupied for a bit.

  31. MM, you may believe that conservative Christians hold themselves up as morally superior to everyone else, and surely some of them do just that, but plenty of secular liberals do the same. Just with different metrics.

    That so many millions of “progressives” who supported Bernie Sanders chose not to vote for Clinton, knowing that their decision allowed an “immoral unChristian, racist, xenophobic, and anti-woman” candidate to win the election is also sad, sad, sad. But there you go.

  32. There’s lots of blame to go around, including the D party for being so deferential to HRC. Stronger primary opponents likely would have led to an earlier revealing of her weaknesses, and a better alternative to Trump might have emerged.

  33. Definitely progressives hold themselves up as morally superior on some issues. That what the point of my example above. Voting for Sanders vs Clinton in the primary has nothing to do with this – both Sanders and Clinton were perfectly fine candidates from the point of view of basic liberal values. If the Democrats had nominated a candidate who completely violated the values that progressives believe exemplify them the most, someone completely racist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc, I would have blamed any progressive who failed to vote against that candidate in the primary assuming there were other choices. In the Republican primary, there were perfectly good choices who did not violate Christian values. Christians could have gotten off their butts and voted for them in the primary.
    In the general election, the honorable thing to have done as a true conservative Christian was to stay home, as a couple of good friends of mine did. If the Democrats had nominated someone who was completely against liberal values (and no, not talking about emaiiiiiiiils), someone nasty, cruel, homophobic, and racist, I hope I would have stayed home, even if that candidate was dangling some carrot like single payer or a very liberal Supreme Court justice.

  34. “In the general election, the honorable thing to have done as a true conservative Christian was to stay home, as a couple of good friends of mine did”

    Not sure it was “honorable” to stand aside while others did the difficult work of choosing between the lesser of two evils. Plenty of “true conservative Christians” stepped up to the plate and voted, notwithstanding the absence of a good choice; others could not in good conscience vote for either candidate and by so doing effectively gave up their privilege to complain about the results. In three years we’ll be doing it all again — maybe then we will candidates worthy of our votes.

  35. Trump is a fact of life. The lack of choice for voters is a consequence of our two party system and the current primary system undergirding it. I am not interested in assessing “blame.” More important today is for the party in power to figure a way to work with him to get a functioning government, since when you control all the levers of power you might not do what many of us like, but you should be able to do something or other outside of executive fiat.

    An interesting take from Vox today.

    Trump ran for office posing as a savvy corporate executive who would manage the government like a business. But since winning the presidency, he has proven alienated and confused by the government he runs. He criticizes it in public in ways that make clear he doesn’t understand how to manage it in private. Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk saying, “The buck stops here.” Trump isn’t sure where the buck stops, or how to find it, or even whom to ask about it. He doesn’t run the government so much as fight with it.

    “Trump sees ‘the Trump administration’ as himself, his Twitter account, Jared and Ivanka, and a few close staffers at the White House,” says Ron Klain, who served as chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore. “He will always think of everyone else as ‘the government’: some nameless force that does not answer to him, and that he does not manage in a conventional sense.”

    This was predictable. Trump was never the omnicompetent CEO he played on television. His core business was licensing his name out to other people who actually ran businesses. He’s a genius marketer, not a genius manager. The “Trump” brand appeared on steaks, on vodka, on eyeglasses, on lamps, and on fragrances, to name just a few. But he didn’t run those companies or manage the people who did. He didn’t take responsibility for those products or those teams.

  36. “Christians — evangelical or otherwise — do not vote as a bloc nearly as much as, say Jews or atheists do.”

    Why would you assume Jews would vote as a bloc? Or athiests?

  37. Jews in their entirety are about as unblocy as you could imagine. There are groups of ultra-Orthodox, in places like New Square, who do vote as a bloc. But those people are just one faction.

    Atheists of course range from hardcore libertarians to ultra-leftists, and everything in between. Not believing in God does not seem to have much impact on political choices, except perhaps being against government policies that bring religion into the state.

  38. Anyone planning to watch the Comey hearing Thursday? Do you expect anything big to come out of it or will it be a repeat of what is already known?

  39. Trump evidently had trouble finding a good law firm to represent him in the Russia mess. This article is from Red State (see, I read conservative stuff too) and quotes another article…


    Won’t pay.
    Sounds like somebody has been talking to Trump’s creditors.”

    http://www.redstate.com/sweetie15/2017/06/06/new-report-multiple-top-law-firms-rejected-requests-represent-trump-russia-investigation/

    Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. Won’t pay indeed….

  40. Above The Law was laughing about how Trump is the Worst Client Ever because his tweets directly contradict his attorneys’ arguments.

  41. A friend of mine, who is a NYC lawyer, just told me that she knows somone who did legal work for him, and ended up losing money on it because he wouldn’t pay.

  42. “I was just talking to some White House officials this morning and their view is that the president himself wants to be the messenger, his own warrior, his own lawyer, his own spokesman,” Costa explained.

    Wow. This should be interesting.

  43. I am excited for Thurs. Luckily, all kids will be at school when the festivities begin. The live tweeting aspect of it has made it even more exciting!

  44. Maybe we should use this thread for live color commentary.

  45. “My prediction is that it will be boring.”

    Do you think that he will be “handled” during it & not posting his usual word salad of crazy? I think Comey will be boring, honestly, but I feel like Trump will be all worked up & say ridiculous things.

  46. If Trump is in control of his Twitter handle, it will be fun. Otherwise, probably pretty boring. Either way I am watching.

  47. I have a thousand meetings Thursday so I will have to learn about the testimony later on

  48. Okay, I’m ignorant, let’s just agree on that, but why did we have a 40-year ban on oil exports? Headline in today’s WSJ is about the huge boom in U.S. oil exports since the ban was lifted in 2015.

  49. RMS – for years, we did not produce enough oil and imposed restrictions to maintain strategic reserves. With fracking and new technology, we’ve now become one of the biggest oil exporters and are largely self-sufficient.

  50. Thanks, Kerri — is that really the explanation? I thought fracking was mostly about natural gas. Also, apparently we exported refined oil products, but not crude. Well, anyway, I suppose it doesn’t matter. The point is that we are having an interesting geopolitical impact this week.

  51. RMS – I don’t really pay attention to this stuff but generally yes. The whole industry went through a re-sizing during the last 1-2 years because the price of oil plummeted due to increased supply.

  52. Meme,

    But Brownback still clings….He tried it, it failed. Just admit it and move on. It’s not really doing him any good personally or professional to keep beating the same dead horse.

  53. Three of the families at Thanksgiving last year are native Kansans with relatives still in the state. All of us are religiously conservative and Republican leaning, but it’s because of our conviction that the size of government should be limited to what we are willing to pay for now, not what can be funded by leaving obligations to future generations. From their comments, Brownback has been unrealistic and Kansas taxes need to be higher.

    The difference between the CBO estimate of student loan forgiveness budget costs and actual costs (because more people will take out high value loans to obtain low value degrees) and the costs of pension obligations for a state are areas of concern. Currently, 30% of payroll for the school district here in Oregon goes to PERS, the state pension system, to fund pensions that are currently being paid and that fraction of payroll continues to increase.

  54. Good article on H2-B visas. To me, it illustrates the conflict inherent between a global economy and a strong U.S. social safety net.

  55. The Comey testimony was so depressing. We have fallen so far. And nothing will come out of it because the Republicans don’t care. Ryan is already spinning it as Trump just being inexperienced. So sad. And McCain should step down. I don’t know if it is just old age or senility or another medical issue, but he wasn’t making sense.

  56. In Michigan BITD, college friends used to work the summers in the hotels. It was a great adventure. And there were a lot of baby boomer college students. One of my DD’s worked on Martha’s Vineyard as a short order cook one summer.

    The fact is, the wages we wish to pay for many kinds of work are not attractive to native born US residents. Refer back to the discussion about the marginal cost of working for the poor. Also, the multi generational underclass doesn’t clean up well enough for many customer facing jobs, and deems itself above the sort of hard labor jobs that have become the domain of immigrants.

    “Now the government wants to build
    A barrier like old Berlin 8 feet tall
    But if uncle Sam sends the illegals home
    Whos gonna build the wall?”

    Tom Russell – Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall

    Oh wait – we’ll just bring back the chain gang.

    In Maine, where unemployment is 3 percent, innkeepers and other employers have been hit hard by the dearth of H-2B visas. Last month, Gov. Paul R. LePage, a tough-on-crime conservative, conditionally commuted the prison sentences of some low-level offenders to help fill tourism jobs.

  57. Kate, what did you think of his admittance that he experienced similar interactions with AG Lynch?

    I don’t think this testimony will make either side change their opinions on the subject. If you believe Trump is guilty, then you think this bolsters the case against him – Comey feels Trump is a liar, he thought the conversations were awkward, he feels Trump can’t be trusted, he feels he shouldn’t have been fired, Trump asked for loyalty, thinks Flynn was a good guy etc. If you believe Trump’s version, Comey comes off as being disgruntled about being fired, has a memo he leaked that is his recollection of an event that only involved two people so why believe his, states clearly that Trump did not order him to do anything, he was pressured by the Democrats to direct that investigation.

    At this point, I don’t see a smoking gun to make me believe either side’s version. All I see is spin. That’s not to say that something more concrete won’t surface. And I agree that something is wrong with McCain and he should be sent for a medical evaluation. But Congress has a history of keeping people around well past their prime.

  58. UtL – Possible that I missed something, but only heard the part where LL asked for it to be called a matter not an investigation. Did she ask to make it go away?

  59. She didn’t ask for it to go away but the fact that she asked for him to use the exact language of the Hillary Campaign coupled with her meeting with Bill on the plane, highlights the fact that both sides try to manipulate the FBI director when they are in power and there is a political aspect to the job.

  60. She shouldn’t have done it but I don’t think it is the same thing as the President doing what Trump did and then firing Comey while thinking about Russia (his words).

  61. Perhaps Tom Russel forgot that East Germany built the wall to keep its citizens in, not to keep others out.

  62. Good article on H2-B visas. To me, it illustrates the conflict inherent between a global economy and a strong U.S. social safety net.

    The ski resorts here are having major concerns about staffing for this winter for similar reasons.

  63. I’m assuming that she had did what she did with Obama’s full knowledge who was the sitting President. So one if this was done with full Executive knowledge, then they were interfering with a federal investigation for their political party. If he didn’t have knowledge, then my next question is why again didn’t Comey inform anyone? This reinforces the idea that Comey is not the ethical paragon of goodness that people are trying to make him out. HIs actions of the last 9 months seem self-serving. He comes off as a political player who maybe deserved to be fired. I think an argument can be made that if Trump himself is innocent of these changes but he sees a political player who wants to waste time/money etc. that is a different animal.

    I don’t think the Republicans, Democrats or Comey himself come off well in this scenario. It is the exact reason that average American’s wanted to drain the swamp. Their perception that Washington insiders take the people’s tax money and waste it without improving peoples’ lives is a valid complaint. All we’ve had in the last 40 years is special prosecutors because all of them seem to unethical regardless of political affiliation.

  64. UtL – no clue if Obama knew. Allegedly Comey asked for a meeting with LL and others to discuss what he could/not say at his upcoming Congressional testimony. I.e., could an investigation even be confirmed since the long standing policy was neither to confirm nor deny ongoing investigations. LL advised that she used the term matter not investigation as not to signal whether there was one.

  65. DD,
    Our community swim club in Virginia switched to foreign workers to run the pool about ten years ago, because it was increasingly difficult to find local kids who were available to work from Memorial to Labor Day. It used to be staffed by the members’ high school kids, but those kids got sucked into intensive sports programs, summer school, and other college resume builders. The visa holders we hired to replace them (through a contractor that handled all of the paperwork) appeared to be mostly middle-class kids with pretty good English skills, though they were older than high school age. I noticed a ton of Russians or other Eastern Europeans staffing the tourist venues in the Outer Banks during our recent visits. What kind of foreign workers do the ski areas attract?

  66. I do hope DT gets back to tweeting soon. DTJr lacks the panache that his father has and just whines.

  67. When we were in the Netherlands, I noticed Polish workers in all the service style jobs. And my husband was telling me about an article he was reading that said that Estonia has simply emptied out – all of its young people have headed to work in Western European countries. I think we are seeing a kind of global migration.

  68. Lynch was basically trying to dial down awareness of the investigation, not squelch it altogether. She was clearly skirting the line of what is ethical. But Trump was a whole ‘nother matter. He was trying to kill the investigation, both by what he said and what he did (firing Comey). Lynch was behaving in a Washington-as-usual manner, but Trump was marching right towards illegality – violating even the low norms of Washington. He exemplifies how much worse Washington can get.

  69. Theresa May certainly miscalculated. I wonder what the deal is with so many politicians being completely out of touch with popular opinion.

  70. I watched the entire Comey hearing and found it fascinating. Surprisingly, the word I felt most was patriotic. I am very glad that there is a special counsel investigation. I thought the most interesting parts were in what was not said and in how carefully Comey worded his answers.

    I enjoyed reading all the responses and commentary about the hearing and how it compared to what I thought happened.

  71. Despite the tremendous media hype surrounding this hearing, it seems simply to have confirmed whatever biases people had going in.

    On the foreign worker issue, it’s still puzzling that relatively educated young people from overseas are quite willing to take jobs that our young people don’t want. And not picking strawberries, but the seasonal jobs at pools and ski resorts that used to be cool. There was a time when kids competed to get lifeguard jobs.

  72. Scarlett – I have wondered about that too, since my children did that type of summer work in the 90s, not really that long ago. Some college kids continue the pre professional or high academic track and do internships or other enriching activities. “Middle class” has moved – when we were middle class first generation college students, we had to earn our spending and clothes and book money, if not more, in the summers. The gradual shift to May 15 to Aug 15 as summer college vacation also created a disconnect for the hospitality jobs, which often wanted a firm commitment through Labor Day. Another factor – comfortable middle class and UMC families expect post high school children to be part of the summer vacation plans. BITD, even at 16 working summers they made other arrangements.

  73. There are a bunch of factors why foreign workers end up taking the resort jobs instead of college kids. One is that the resorts really prefer the foreign workers because the visas bind them to one employer. If a worker complains about bad conditions, he or she could get fired and deported. Amercian college kids won’t put up with that, and if they learn a different ice cream shop on the board walk will give them a better deal, they will split.

    Another factor is that summer jobs on the boardwalk don’t do anything for a college kid’s resume. And they know that. Even in high demand fields like computing, employers strongly prefer candidates who have worked at coop or internship positions.

    Finally, I think there is a racial/cultural element to all of this. While there are lots of black and Hispanic teens and college students who really need summer jobs, they don’t live near resorts, they are often not in a situation where they can go off and leave their family for the summer to resort, they may not feel comfortable in all-white resort areas, and they may look too “urban” for the resort employers. Most of the people coming in on J-1 (student work exchange) and H2-B visas to work in resorts are from Eastern Europe – nice white kids for the most part.

  74. The May 15 to Aug 15 summer vacation has always been the norm in much of the country. That was always the schedule back when I was in public school. I think it is mainly the Northeast that starts school after Labor Day.

  75. My high school friend who is a big shot in tech now worked in a car parts store over the summer. (It fit in with his interests, because he’s a car nut). But it was just retail work. His children, however, all spent their summers doing glamorous internships and special programs that were resume building. High school friend didn’t need that stuff to get into Stanford; he just needed his good grades and test scores. The world is different now. You can’t get into Stanford on the basis of grades and test scores and working retail for a couple of summers.

  76. Is the world really different overall, or is it just less acceptable for UMC kids to work for pay? Do truly MC kids still work in the summers? I would argue that they do – it is local HS/college kids who still man the ice cream and Italian ice stands around here. And post ads on my Next Door looking for summer nanny/tutoring work. And work as day camp counsellors and all those other “non educational” things. And not just minority kids either. But probably those aren’t the kids who are trying to get into Stanford. Or maybe they are, but they aren’t from New Trier, so maybe they have a “hook” even if they work for pay instead of “enrichment”.

    The MC kids weren’t ever the ones spending the summer in Mackinac or Nantucket scooping ice cream, were they?

  77. Our pool is mostly staffed with high school and college kids. No one I knew who was MC ever went to Mackinac for the summer for a job. We all stayed local and worked min wage jobs or babysat.

  78. In this area, HS kids often work as camp counselors if they are working in the summer for pay. And they still do lifeguarding. Summer tutors seem to be mostly teachers, Nannies mainly come from the West Indies, and super markets are manned by older black and Hispanic women. One supermarket hires a lot of developmentally delayed people.

    But it is the college kids who are most affected. Even our students, who are definitely not UMC. Either they are working at the same job they work at all year – which are quite varied – working in warehouses, working the counter at a auto parts store, working at a Best Buy (these are all things I know of right now), or they are working at internships. At least in CS, the internships are paid, but over in communications they have to just suck it up and take unpaid ones. And I definitely see that the students who have done great internships fare much better on the job market. I was helping out one graduating student just a couple of weeks ago – this guy was finance with a minor in CS, trying to move to strictly CS positions. He had great internships at top financial places every summer. He has been getting lots of interviews, including at Google. The internships make a huge difference.

  79. Most middle class kids, even most UMC kids, don’t have a shot at a highly competitive university. They don’t need the uberTotebag resume to get into the colleges that will be happy to accept them. And we are constantly told that families are being socked by high tuition bills, which is all the more reason for those kids to be signing up as lifeguards and other resort workers.

    OTOH, kids in many European countries, and Australia, pay little for college. They don’t seem — from my limited contact with those groups — to be crafting killer resumes to get into college or into a Goldman internship. They would seem to have even less “need” to sign on for these seasonal jobs, unless the chance to live and work in the US and polish their English skills is the attraction.

    During our Melbourne stay, I spent time with Totebag parents who expressed amazement at the fact that so few of our kids take gap years either before, during, or after college. Overall, they were much more relaxed about the whole process. Most kids go to “uni” in their hometown, and acceptance rates are very high. (They were stunned when I told them that DH’s university turns away more than 75% of its applicants.)

  80. And au pairs — there may have been a time when well-bred young ladies took on these jobs in Europe to master French or Italian and get some experience with children before their own marriages. And I know that some families in the DC area hired nice Mormon girls from Utah as au pairs. The forma au pair program here was supposedly started as a cultural exchange, but it’s really all about child care. There doesn’t seem to be a reason why American teenagers couldn’t take those jobs during a gap year, to see another part of the country and save some money for college, but they don’t. Why are European youngsters willing to do this work?

  81. Why are European youngsters willing to do this work?

    To hear Ada tell it, they’re not especially willing to work. That’s why she prefers the Latin American au pairs.

  82. Scalett, the kids coming on the J-1 visas are not Western European kids. They are mainly from Eastern Europe, where there are not many jobs tobe had. They go to Western Europe to work too, as I noted in a post above. They are not necessarilly college students in the way we understand because universities there are not comprehensive like ours. They may well be in schools more like our community colleges, and they are doing this for money mainly. They have to pay for their apartment and food while they are in school

  83. Western European kids are more likely to be au pairs, and they do it for the social scene. American kids also do au pair positions in European countries. And of course, American college students love those party abroad semesters. On the campus tours we have been taking, that is always the big thing the schools try to sell us.

  84. FT nannies here are not HS/college kids, but people who nanny just over summer breaks for school-aged kids definitely are sometimes.

    I have never worked anywhere that would take interns who weren’t at least finishing their junior year. Most of the kids I interview have done an internship between junior-senior year, and then maybe another one after senior year, especially if they are on the 4.5-5 year plan. Of course, I am not and have never been at Prestigious I-Bank, but it’s not like I’ve worked anywhere all that marginal or disconnected from standard Corporate America either.

  85. So the bottom line about the hospitality workers is that employers prefer the temporary foreign ones who are tied to the job, work long hours, live in employer provided dorms, and are probably exempt from payroll tax contributions (I could look it up). There simply aren’t enough available local workers with requisite skills to fill those seasonal jobs, and the cost of attracting US born workers, including wages, payroll tax (if applicable), and housing is prohibitive.

  86. In my experience, ski resort workers are often students from South America, Australia and New Zealand. They are on summer break when it is winter here. American high school and college students aren’t available to spend December through March working chair lifts and there aren’t enough local workers to fill the seasonal jobs. At least, this is the case for the New England ski resorts with which I am familiar.

  87. On another topic: could domeone please explain the British election to me? Not the mechanics – I get how the parliamentary system works. I mean, what were people voting FOR or AGAINST? I can’t find any articles that explain the actual policy positions of the parties, just explanations of the politics of forming coalitions and so on.

  88. “I think we are seeing a kind of global migration.”

    No kidding. Don’t forget the massive number of migrants trying to get into Europe from places like Syria.

    OTOH, history is full of massive global migrations.

  89. “if they learn a different ice cream shop on the board walk will give them a better deal, they will split.”

    Thanks Mooshi. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard/seen “split” used in this manner.

  90. “You can’t get into Stanford on the basis of grades and test scores and working retail for a couple of summers.”

    You can if you have a good enough hook.

  91. “comfortable middle class and UMC families expect post high school children to be part of the summer vacation plans”

    How true.

    DS3 just got hired by Taco Bell an hour ago after interviewing yesterday. $10.75/hr, more details to follow. He’s not looking at it as just a summer job, but wants to be a good employee so they’ll have him come back for work during Christmas break, so he told me that if it means having to shorten our 2nd family vacation at the beginning of August he’s willing to do that. If he wants to make that choice, I’m fine with that, but DW won’t be.

    DS2 wants to go to med school and to that end did a glamorous 5 week unpaid medical internship last summer. But he has high end tastes, so this summer is just working at a non-resume builder job for $11/hr. 40hrs/wk so after 11 weeks his warchest will be restocked.

  92. “You can’t get into Stanford on the basis of grades and test scores and working retail for a couple of summers.”

    You can if you have a good enough hook.

    That’s the point: the grades/tests/retail job aren’t enough, you need something more, such as “a good enough hook.”

  93. he told me that if it means having to shorten our 2nd family vacation at the beginning of August he’s willing to do that. If he wants to make that choice, I’m fine with that, but DW won’t be.

    Would he be able to come back on his own while the rest of you continue the vacation?

  94. DD – maybe. Truth is I’m planning to take a week only and everyone else, until today, would hang on for an additional 3-4 days. It may just turn out that he and I come back after a week and DW + DS2 stay the extra time.

  95. This discussion of jobs for HS/college kids belongs in the regular discussion; IMO it’s moved far enough away from politics for that. I’ll submit it as a topic.

  96. It is a lot of fun to travel with 30-something children, especially one on one. There is family life after the nest empties, and sometime in their 30s they give up rehashing your failings as parents.

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