Politics open thread, June 23-29

What’s up with politics this week?

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195 thoughts on “Politics open thread, June 23-29

  1. I assume the increase in men and decrease in Asians has to do with GPA*? But the more important question is about the 50% who would no longer have a place. Legacies, athletes, more kids from Newton, Scarsdale and Palo Alto and relatively fewer kids from Idaho and Alabama.

    * it would surely be a huge boon for smart slackers.

  2. The drop for Asians was only one percentage point. Probably explained by lower scores on the English part of the SATs, because some Asian students are immigrants who are at a disadvantage on that part.
    I thought wealthy kids also had advantages in holistic admissions because of better access to prestige extracurriculars, and higher GPAs because of GPA weighting and access to AP courses.

  3. MM,

    I’d also be curious to find out if the ratio of public to private school students changed.

  4. I’m skeptical of the projected drop in Asian enrollment.

    According to this article, average Asian SAT scores are about 100 points higher than average white scores, and Asians on average score higher than whites for both parts of the test.

    https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2018/10/29/sat-scores-are-gaps-remain-significant-among-racial-and-ethnic-groups.

    The projections were based on 2012 data, so while it may have been accurate then, using more recent data, considering that the average gap between Asian and white averages increased by 37 points from 2017 to 2018, might yield a different projection, e.g., an increase in Asian enrollment.

  5. But there are more white kids than Asian kids, so the group of white kids with 1600s might be fairly big, and thereby push out other groups.

  6. RMS, yeah, because it’s the top 200 schools they looked at, you may be right.

    If they just looked at the top, say, 20 schools, it might be a lot different.

    BTW, back in 2012 the SAT scores were based on a 2400 scale, and as best as I’ve been able to determine, the total number of 2400 scores were on the order of a few hundred per year.

  7. The SAT info in the links I just posted are apparently for Asian American test takers. The WSJ article did not differentiate between Asian and Asian American, so the drop could also be because of a large drop in the number of non-American Asian students, many of whom may have been admitted because they’re full-pay. And as Mooshi suggested, many of the non-American Asians may not have scored well on the English-related parts of the test (remember, back in 2012 there were three parts to the test, and only one of them was math).

    But I’m still wondering about their methodology. Did they just add up the total number of seats in the top 200 schools, then look at racial makeup of that number of students off the top of the SAT distribution?

  8. I’m also wondering how much of an advantage it is to go school #200 vs. flagship U (assuming it’s not in the top 200), or directional U.

    Depending on where you go to work, the local U may well have a stronger network than school #200.

  9. Finn, here’s a link to the original study. I am too lazy to read it.

    cew.georgetown.edu/SATOnly

  10. Finn, I think the likely increase in white kids is because white kids with high scores are currently less likely to go to a top 200 university than Asian kids with the same scores. White kids from low population states choose a field of study that is selective at a nonselective state university.

  11. The cover page to the study suggests they looked at the demographics of those scoring above 1250, which they project as the cutoff for the top 200 schools.

    The obvious question that raises is whether their projection also means in the student bodies of the schools below the top 200 are entirely composed of students scoring 1250 and below.

  12. RMS, thanks. I skimmed it, and it seems the appropriate response is, “duh.”

    Yes, it seems they did what I guessed– they looked at the demographics of the top scoring 300k kids and assumed they’d all go to the top 200 schools.

  13. “This is where things got interesting: we found that 53 percent of students in our data set who enrolled at selective colleges scored below 1250 on the SAT. ”

    Duh. Did they really think that everyone who scores above 1250 is going to go to a top 200 school, and that no one prefers to be a big fish in a small pond, stay close to home, or go somewhere that offers a great financial aid package?

    All this report does is provide some tidbits about the demographics of the top-scoring 300k kids, and that it takes about 300k kids to fill the seats at 200 top-rated schools. Anything beyond that is speculation.

  14. “You might as well just withdraw your name from the presidential race,” said a woman in the raucous crowd. “His presidential campaign is over… I believe that today ended his campaign.” https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-2020-pete-buttigieg-mayor-police-shooting-black-voters-20190624-story.html

    Yeah, he’s done.
    Perhaps if Mayor Pete had spent a bit more time actually doing his job, instead of dashing off to play soldier and then running for President, he would have more support among his constituents.

  15. Duh. Did they really think that everyone who scores above 1250 is going to go to a top 200 school, and that no one prefers to be a big fish in a small pond, stay close to home, or go somewhere that offers a great financial aid package?

    That’s where your inner Finn comes out. A significant number of them had appalling grades and went where they went because that’s the best school they could get into with a 1550 SAT and a 1.7 GPA.

  16. Rhett, the 1250 number is the cutoff between the top 300k scorers and the rest of the test takers, with 300k being the number of spaces in the top 200 schools, or at least it was for HS c/o 2013.

    While poor grades are, in reality, one reason for kids with SAT scores above 1250 to not attend top 200 schools, in the author’s hypothetical world, admission is based on SAT scores only, so that wouldn’t keep them out. I listed some reasons why kids whose SAT scores merited admission might choose to not attend top 200 schools, even in the author’s hypothetical world.

  17. Rhett,

    Indeed. But Mayor Pete was the great hope of many on the left — especially the media — and without the black vote he’s done. So three living wives is irrelevant. Trump could actually win again.

  18. “I thought wealthy kids also had advantages in holistic admissions because of better access to prestige extracurriculars, and higher GPAs because of GPA weighting and access to AP courses.”

    That’s true.

    The NYC elite exam schools, where entrance is predominantly determined by test scores, enrolls about 60% Asian students.
    https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2019-03-19/race-divides-elite-new-york-city-high-schools

    Caltech is a top school that for the most part does not use holistic admission. It does include grades and it has a tech orientation. But it’s interesting to see its demographics.
    http://www.registrar.caltech.edu/academics/enrollment

  19. “without the black vote he’s done”

    Hmm, can Biden get the black vote? I can see where he would not generate the enthusiasm even using Obama’s coattails. But if he wins the nomination and Obama campaigns heavily for him he has more of a chance. Also if he adds Harris to the ticket. Just thinking out loud. I keep hearing that Warren’s chances for snaring the nomination are growing. But it’s early and difficult to predict with any degree of certainty.

  20. This is kinda funny. Ingenious.

    Don’t Want Your School to Be Named for a Confederate General? Find Someone Else Named Lee
    Schools honor others with surname to avoid costs of repainting or new signs

    The North East Independent School District in Texas was facing pressure to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School, amid national protests over the legacy of the Confederate general.

    But officials were concerned about the estimated $1.3 million it would cost to remove and replace signs, redo a turf field, order new uniforms and make other changes large and small.

    So they decided to rebrand the school Legacy of Educational Excellence, and use LEE High School as its nickname, starting last school year. The move, which included keeping the school’s gray and red colors, saved about $1 million.

    “We only changed things that had Robert E., and that significantly cut down on costs,” spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor said. “Many things could stay as they were.”
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/dont-want-your-school-to-be-named-for-a-confederate-general-find-someone-else-named-lee-11561368603

  21. Scarlett, Mayor Pete never had the black vote. His support among black voters even a month or two ago was nil. Biden is the one who has the black vote.

  22. Remember, I am a foreigner from the distant land of California. I found this list of the exam high schools in NYC:

    Bronx High School of Science
    Brooklyn Latin School
    Brooklyn Technical High School
    High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College
    High School for American Studies at Lehman College
    Queens High School for Sciences at York College
    Staten Island Technical High School
    Stuyvesant High School

    I’ve only heard of a few of these. Is there really demand for something called the Brooklyn Latin School or the High School for American Studies? And what happened to DeWitt Clinton? Wasn’t that one of them?

  23. Biden/Harris wins it. Biden pulls off enough deplorables. The left reluctantly votes for him. Women are ok because of Harris.

  24. MM, He could have spun his lack of support among black constituents— there was a lot of inside baseball involved in their objections to him. But a white cop killing a black guy makes national news and is hard to spin. And he’s not covering himself with glory in responding to it.

  25. “without the black vote he’s done”

    So your theory is that black folks are far more principled than social conservatives, evangelicals,etc? Admittedly not a high bar of late.

  26. Is there really demand for something called the Brooklyn Latin School

    Boston’s best public school is Boston Latin and the best private school is Roxbury Latin. So I’d say yes.

  27. Interesting: “The Brooklyn Latin School is a specialized high school in New York City, founded in 2006. The ideals governing Brooklyn Latin are borrowed largely from the Boston Latin School, ”

  28. The four states I can think of where the African American primary vote is likely significant are Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Georgia. Arguably New Jersey and New York are significant because of their overall populations. South Carolina doesn’t seem populous enough to be significant.

  29. “So your theory is that black folks are far more principled than social conservatives, evangelicals,etc? Admittedly not a high bar of late.”

    No, my theory is that black voters are not going to flock to vote for a guy who has (so far) badly managed a police-involved shooting on his day job watch, and who lacks support among the black voters he is supposedly serving as mayor. Which second point has been highlighted by the media coverage of the first.

    I also disagree that Biden will be able to peel off many of the “deplorables,” who mostly actually like Trump. Whether he can peel off some of the reluctant Trump voters is the real question, isn’t it? He’s lost the pro-life voters with his flip flop on the Hyde Amendment, and many of those folks were reluctant Trump supporters.

  30. No, my theory is that black voters are not going to flock to vote for a guy who has (so far) badly managed a police-involved shooting on his day job watch,

    Maybe if he grabs them by the pussy? I kid, I kid. But truth be told Trump has caused me to rethink my view of politics at least at the presidential level. While a mayoral election might be about property taxes or snow removal, at the presidential level it’s about something far deeper and not really about issues at all.

  31. “While a mayoral election might be about property taxes or snow removal, at the presidential level it’s about something far deeper and not really about issues at all.”

    Not sure I would agree, but it probably depends upon what you mean by “issues.”

  32. A President can mess up the status quo in a way that a mayor or governor can’t. Trump has not been as bad as I feared so far from that respect. Biden and Booker seem fine. Warren and Sanders are scary because they ignore the laws of economics- what are the unintended consequences of dramatic change?

  33. “Perhaps if Mayor Pete had spent a bit more time actually doing his job, instead of dashing off to play soldier and then running for President, he would have more support among his constituents.”

    This seems harsh. Everyone who is campaigning is not doing their job. And “play soldier”?? Not how I would describe someone who’s served our country in the armed forces.

  34. “Trump has not been as bad as I feared so far from that respect. ”

    Then you are not paying attention.

  35. Yeah, DeBlasio certainly isn’t attending to his job…

    Not sure why you are so intent on Buttegieg. He is someone who has overperformed, unexpectedly, and clearly has a future. However, he has never done well with black voters. He has been polling at 0% among black voters in SC for months. Bernie has never done well with that group either, which is why Hillary beat him handilly in the SC primary last time around. Right now, Biden leads in that group, followed by Warren and Harris.

  36. instead of dashing off to play soldier

    Houston +1

    Why did you choose to phrase that so offensively? I sense this can only support my theory that your dislike goes beyond issues.

  37. “Trump has not been as bad as I feared so far from that respect. ”

    Nah, he has just trashed our reputation in the world, offended our allies, left a large opening to China as it consolidates its standing in Asia, increased divides and hatred among citizens, and trashed our democratic norms of transparency in government.

  38. WCE – and while I disagree on Trump, I do agree with you on Warren and Sanders. However, the chance that either would get elected is about nil, and even if that happened, they couldn’t get anything done. Remember how hard it was for Obama to get the ACA through? Socializing everything would be vastly harder. Either of them, if elected, would end up as a do-nothing president because of that reality. Or they would learn to propose much smaller legislation.

  39. And “play soldier”??

    Well, he is no Cadet Bone Spurs who faced his own venereal disease Vietnam. Gotta love the respect for the military.

  40. Mayor Pete has been carefully compiling his political resume since high school. He could have chosen to step down as mayor when he was deployed. But he didn’t (though he did name a deputy). And he could have stepped down when he decided to run for President. He has been away from his desk about as often as he has occupied it, because his day job is just a hook for his presidential campaign.

    So, yeah, not impressed though clearly many in the media were besotted with our first gay president.

  41. So, yeah, not impressed

    Am I correct to assume that has nothing to do with why you won’t vote for him?

  42. Do you feel the same way about Sanders, Klobuchar, Gillibrand, Booker, Warren, Harris taking time away from their Senate duties? DeBlasio being away from NYC? How about Jay Inslee taking time away from being governor? I think the governor of Montana is running too, as well as several Congresscritters.

  43. “Mayor Pete has been carefully compiling his political resume since high school. ”

    This is what I advise my kids to do–carefully build up experience with an eye towards a future career path. Do you advise differently?

    “And he could have stepped down when he decided to run for President. ”

    Nobody does this. Nobody. Trump could have resigned to run, but he didn’t. Neither did Bush, Clinton, Obama, McCain….

  44. Also, Mayor Pete was in the reserve. Do you expect everyone in the reserve to resign their job before being deployed. Is this what you’d advise your sons? I’d advise my sons to keep their jobs while they are deployed! It’s the law that you can keep your job when you deploy. Isn’t it?

  45. Scarlett, Mayor Pete is 1,000x better and more admirable than Trump. In every way possible. He’s more intelligent, more patriotic, has higher morals, is less profane….

  46. Mayor Pete is certainly highly intelligent. But he’s not humble. And he has an air of moral superiority that is hard to take.

    He has great gifts that could be put to better use in the diplomatic corps, law, academia than either as a small town mayor or the President. Heck, he should try Congress if he is set on elected office.

  47. Scarlett,

    Is that the real reason? Or is it more that you’re a big fan of tradition and Pete is a symbol of the twilight of certain traditions? Not that you’re entirely opposed to this change, you just feel like your tradition beliefs aren’t being respected.

  48. There are many voters in the country for whom abortion is our national sin and right to life for the unborn is the overriding if not the only issue. Anything otherwise undesirable that happens in pursuit of that goal is collateral damage. There is currently an active intellectual debate on the Right between social conservatives and free marketers, and some compassionate conservatives who are getting stomachaches think that the alliance they have made with uber capitalists is the unholy one, and not the one they have made with immoral or unqualified leaders and white supremacists.

  49. Mayor Pete is certainly highly intelligent. But he’s not humble.

    Holy Moses. Sometimes all you can do is shake your head.

  50. I’m not clinging to my guns and religion. Mayor Pete is just a particularly vivid example of the problem with identity politics. He wouldn’t be getting all of the fawning media attention if he weren’t gay. He would be just another white guy who failed to check his privilege.
    He’s always been the smartest kid in the class and even though he hasn’t been a very effective small town mayor, he thinks he’s ready to be President. It will be interesting to see where he goes next. I’m guessing a blue state.

  51. If being humble were important, Trump would have been last place in the Republican primaries.

  52. He wouldn’t be getting all of the fawning media attention if he weren’t gay.

    And Trump wouldn’t have gotten any attention if he hadn’t inherited half a billion from his daddy. George W. Bush wouldn’t have gotten anywhere if his daddy wasn’t George H. W. Bush. It seems odd for you to call out just Pete on his unearned media attention.

  53. And for that matter George H.W. Bush wouldn’t have gotten where he was if he wasn’t the son of US Senator and Brown Brothers Harriman partner Prescot Bush.

  54. I actually agree that Buttegieg is not really ready for the Presidency. But that did not stop our current President, whose utter lack of knowledge and experience shows every day. If somehow Buttegieg gets nominated, it will be difficult for Republicans to use lack of experience as an attack on him without sounding wildly hypocritical.

  55. “He wouldn’t be getting all of the fawning media attention if he weren’t gay.”

    I call BS on this. First of all, Mayor Pete has done fairly well in garnering press attention, but I don’t think he has gotten more coverage than any of the other top tier candidates. Biden and Bernie have gotten at least as much coverage and last time I checked they were both privileged straight white guys. By and large the white guys have been doing much better with the press than the female candidates or the candidates of color. Elizabeth Warren is finally starting to break through in the media, but only because she has been doggedly rolling out and campaigning on her policy ideas and is catching on with the grass roots. Her female-ness is more of a liability than an asset (you know, “shrill” not “likeable”, etc.)

    I also think it is inaccurate to say that Pete has been ineffective as a mayor. From what I’ve read, South Bend was very much on the decline when he took office, and is now a poster child for urban renewal. Yes, there have been some complaints from some constituencies, and yes, he needs to do better with black voters. But ineffective? No way.

    And +1 to everything Houston said comparing Mayor Pete to Trump. There is no comparison. Trump is not fit to shine Pete’s shoes.

    And also, Trump has been campaigning since his inauguration. Why should Pete be castigated for campaigning for the last few months?

  56. Following up on Meme’s post, did anyone read John Irving’s piece in the NY Times?

  57. sounding wildly hypocritical.

    I think Scarlett hit on a strategy they are going to use with swing voters. Compare the democratic nominee with some mythical perfect candidate and avoid at all costs acknowledging the actual republican nominee.

  58. “First of all, Mayor Pete has done fairly well in garnering press attention, but I don’t think he has gotten more coverage than any of the other top tier candidates. Biden and Bernie have gotten at least as much coverage and last time I checked they were both privileged straight white guys.”

    Biden was a Senator and Vice President. Sanders is a Senator. Both have been in public office for longer than Pete has been alive. So naturally they will draw media attention.

    “From what I’ve read, South Bend was very much on the decline when he took office, and is now a poster child for urban renewal.”

    The murder rate hasn’t changed during his tenure. (There was a highly-publicized mass shooting over the weekend.) The public schools are still as dreadful as they were when he didn’t attend them. The university community is thriving, but the largely black and Hispanic poor neighborhoods have been left behind (not that there is necessarily anything a mayor can do about that). https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/22/south-bend-poor-say-democrat-pete-buttigieg-left-them-behind.html?__source=twitter%7Cmain

  59. “I actually agree that Buttegieg is not really ready for the Presidency. But that did not stop our current President, whose utter lack of knowledge and experience shows every day.’

    So don’t nominate another person who isn’t actually ready for the Presidency. That seems like a better approach.

    What happened to Amy Klobuchar?

  60. The murder rate hasn’t changed during his tenure. (There was a highly-publicized mass shooting over the weekend.)

    Yes. When the Yahoos cling to their guns, this is what happens.

  61. So don’t nominate another person who isn’t actually ready for the Presidency. That seems like a better approach.

    Wait. What? The last nominee was uniquely qualified and was beat out by a reality tv star who molests women.

  62. I was listening to an interview with one of the campaign strategists working for the Republicans. He said that their strategy was to hope that the Democratic nominee would be one of the more leftwing candidates, and run as the party of stability. And quite honestly, if the nominee is Sanders or Warren, this strategy is likely to work.
    He also talked about focus group work with “persuadable voters”, which seems to be the current term for swing voters. When asked which names came to mind when they thought of the Democrats, the most commonly mentioned name was AOC. The name that elicited the highest unfavorable response was Bernie Sanders.

  63. What happened to Amy Klobuchar?

    Don’t know. Your post seems to imply that all senators “naturally” draw press attention. That hasn’t been the case with her. Or Gillibrand. Or any of the female senators except, very recently, Warren. Or either of the senators of color. That leaves the 2 old white guys. So much for your identity politics rant.

  64. John Irving is a writer of fiction, which is clearly reflected in the last sentence of his NYT article:

    “Whatever the anti-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born — and they’ve never cared about the mother.”

    Here is just one fact he overlooked. https://aleteia.org/2019/02/23/do-you-know-about-the-archdiocese-of-new-yorks-pledge-to-pregnant-moms/

    He spent a lot of words on the experiences of one of his fictional characters, but didn’t bother to mention that there are some 2000+ crisis pregnancy centers in the US.

  65. “What happened to Amy Klobuchar?”

    My interest in her died when I heard about her temper and abuse of staff.

  66. “That leaves the 2 old white guys.”

    In all fairness, Biden and Sanders, in addition to leading the polls, are, respectively, the party’s most recent vice president and the second place finisher for the nomination last time around.

    I don’t think Buttigieg would have garnered any interest if not for his sexual orientation. He’d as anonymous as Seth Moulton.

  67. Whatever the anti-abortion crusaders call themselves, they don’t care what happens to an unwanted child — not after the child is born

    Many don’t care about what happens to the unborn either. It’s about controlling a women’s reproduction. You’ll see proof if this in their failure to outlaw IVF. I believe the justification was, “If it’s not in a women what does it matter.” I’ll give the Catholic Church credit for having a more logically coherent position on the issue. But that position doesn’t include all of those who oppose abortion by any stretch of the imagination.

  68. People might take the Archdiocese’s pledge seriously if they had not harbored more than 100 priests who have molested children.

  69. I don’t think Buttigieg would have garnered any interest if not for his sexual orientation.

    And Trump is where he is thanks to his daddy’s money. What’s the issue?

  70. “Many don’t care about what happens to the unborn either. It’s about controlling a women’s reproduction. You’ll see proof if this in their failure to outlaw IVF. I believe the justification was, “If it’s not in a women what does it matter.” ”

    The thing is that prolifers regard the unborn child as a human being, not as a clump of cells. Just as abolitionists regarded blacks as human beings, not as property.

    Prolifers are well aware that many women find themselves in crisis pregnancy situations, but refuse to accept the pro-choice position that an acceptable (or even the best) solution to those situations is to kill the child.

    Women are even more likely to be prolife than are men, so not sure how you support the point about control.

    On IVF, I have never personally heard or read an argument such as you describe, but you’re right that it’s probably an inconsistent position to be fine with discarded embryos after IVF procedures, but opposed to abortion. Unless the position is that human life doesn’t begin until implantation. It’s likely that most people who haven’t had to use IVF don’t really know what it involves.

  71. “I actually agree that Buttegieg is not really ready for the Presidency. But that did not stop our current President, whose utter lack of knowledge and experience shows every day. If somehow Buttegieg gets nominated, it will be difficult for Republicans to use lack of experience as an attack on him without sounding wildly hypocritical.”

    Yep. Exactly. He is not my favorite by a long shot for this very reason. I mean really – Mayor of South Bend???? SOUTH BEND???!!! It’s ridiculous. But I don’t really think he had a shot to win anyway – so what if he got some media attention and polled in the single digits 18 months out. That’s not even close to being the nominee.

    YET…it is rich that people who voted for Trump would knock his experience level with a straight face.

  72. Amy Klobuchar is mean, which you can’t be as a woman. You have to be nice but not too nice and pretty but not too pretty and smart but not too smart or at least not act too smart.

    I could say the same for all the women running. Because a woman will not be elected in my lifetime. I am 40. I really hope that I’m wrong, but I can’t see it happening.

    And if the Democrats run a woman against Trump, she will lose.

    I can’t believe nobody talks about age but Trump, Biden, and Sanders all seem too old for me to run.

    And turns out you shouldn’t be elected for President if you spend your whole life building a resume to put you in a position to be elected, but if you don’t have the resume then you aren’t experienced and shouldn’t be elected.

    I’d like to vote for someone who doesn’t think it is okay for kids to sleep on concrete without blankets or for that matter to be separated from their parents. Maybe if the people who were anti-abortion were as appalled about those conditions as they were about fetuses, I’d be more willing to believe them when they say they are pro-life.

    Rant over. Back to meeting after meeting.

  73. The thing is that prolifers regard the unborn child as a human being, not as a clump of cells.

    Not all of them by any means. They are only concerned with controlling women’s sexuality and don’t care at all about the unborn. They claim to care about the unborn because it’s more appealing politically. This is hardly uniform on the pro-life side of course. But if you criticize the author for claiming “all” then you shouldn’t claim “all” either.

  74. “YET…it is rich that people who voted for Trump would knock his experience level with a straight face.”

    but this is always the case, every election. If a candidate has no experience, opponents criticize that. If he/she has too much, call him/her a corrupt/tired/out-of-touch insider. (The latter, I was just reading, is exactly what Joe Biden did against the incumbent DE senator in his first race in 197X.)

  75. “Women are even more likely to be prolife than are men, so not sure how you support the point about control.”

    In other cultures women hold their daughters down on the operating table while their genitals are surgically mutilated. Women have been controlling their daughters’ sexuality and reproduction forever. The rules are set by men, of course, but enforced by other women.

    Re: IVF, the Alabama legislature debated whether to outlaw destruction of embryos when they passed the heartbeat law, but decided against it. Here is an interesting take on the relationship between IVF and abortion. The author points out that pro-lifers treat birth as the finish line, while for most parents, birth is the starting line:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/what-ivf-taught-me-about-abortion-fight/591853/

    John Irving is 100% correct that the goal of the pro-life movement is and has always been to enforce traditional norms about women’s sexual behavior by punishing women who violate them. The “unborn child” is a political prop who ceases to be worth of advocacy once outside the mother’s body.

  76. This is hilarious. Scarlett is knocking Pete for not being humble and not having the experience needed to be president. Anyone who voted for Trump has no standing to criticize any candidate for inexperience, immorality, or lack of humility.

  77. “Women are even more likely to be prolife than are men, so not sure how you support the point about control.”

    Almost 1/4 of all women will have an abortion in her lifetime. And many of those women purport to be prolife. Many men who purport to be prolife encourage their daughters, wives, and girlfriends to have abortions. As they say, the only moral abortion is my abortion.

  78. I don’t think anonymous comments should be allowed on the politics page. Sometimes people go anonymous on the regular page in order to talk about something very personal. I don’t think it should be allowed to go anonymous just to attack others

  79. “Not all of them by any means. They are only concerned with controlling women’s sexuality and don’t care at all about the unborn.”

    For example, [insert citation here]

  80. “I don’t think it should be allowed to go anonymous just to attack others”

    I agree, but then July and Meme have more work to do. Much easier to ignore them.

  81. “Because a woman will not be elected in my lifetime. I am 40. I really hope that I’m wrong, but I can’t see it happening.”

    Nikki Haley?

  82. For example:

    1.Alabama legislature decided that embryos created by IVF are not worthy of protection, but embryos inside women are. With IVF, there is no sexual behavior to punish, so the embryos are unimportant.

    2.Embryos created by rape/incest are deemed unworthy of protection even by many pro-lifers (including the current president). However, embryos created by a woman’s voluntary sexual behavior must be protected. Because those women broke the rules and must be punished.

    3.Most prolife politicians oppose Medicaid expansion, increased funding for education, paid family leave, child care subsidies, and other programs that would actually help poor pregnant women and their children. Once the woman clears the finish line that is the child’s birth, she and the kid are on their own. As is right and proper. She must “pay the piper” as John Irving said.

  83. Because “Mafalda” is your true name, right?

    No, but it is associated with a specific person, one we know from many other conversations. We can assess the context of her comments better, and often understand her comments better because we know a bit about her. I think posters should pick a handle, stick to it, and use it. It’s more like normal human conversation. “Oh, so-and-so is off on her hobby-horse again”, or “Oh, so-and-so is really sensitive about X topic because of what happened to her kid”. That kind of thing.

    But I don’t think there’s any way to prevent anonymous comments, and as mentioned earlier, we can’t expect Mémé and July to spend their lives deleting anonymous comments.

  84. For example, [insert citation here]

    What City Mom said. But please note this doesn’t in any way imply that you think that way. The Church has a very sensible and consistent position on this. We’re just saying not everyone on the pro-life side shares the same motivation.

  85. “Embryos created by rape/incest are deemed unworthy of protection even by many pro-lifers (including the current president). However, embryos created by a woman’s voluntary sexual behavior must be protected.”

    On the contrary, many prolifers reluctantly accept rape/incest exceptions because such exceptions may be a necessary tradeoff for more abortion restrictions, not because they want to punish women who freely chose to have sex but didn’t want to get pregnant. This is a good example of the thinking behind these decisions. http://missourilife.org/policies/rapeincest.html

    “Once the woman clears the finish line that is the child’s birth, she and the kid are on their own.”

    Again, not true (at least, not with respect to all or even most prolifers). The crisis pregnancy centers in our community serve HALF of all expectant mothers who give birth each year. The support continues well past birth. https://supportwomenscarecenter.org/about/

  86. Rhett – if you were someone who listens to podcasts, you would enjoy NPRs recent Throughline on the history of evangelicals.

  87. “We’re just saying not everyone on the pro-life side shares the same motivation.”

    Well, if that’s what you’re saying, I agree.
    Just as everyone on the pro-choice side doesn’t share the same motivation. Some are motivated by profits or eugenics rather than compassion for women.

  88. My fondness for Mayor Pete is driven by his intellectual curiosity and his resume. I think he would be much more judicious about entangling us in a mess in, say, Iran than Trump is. Based on what I know from the media, he seems to be someone who would want to understand issues as best he could before making a decision, rather than shooting (tweeting) from the hip. He is, in my opinion, the anti-Trump. I’d like pendulum to swing there. I also think it would bother Trump to lose to a gay man.

    +1 to Ivy. I’m so deeply disturbed by the treatment of children in custody at the border at the hands of our government, in our name. I’m a little cynical about my pro-life Congressmen who remain silent on this. One even had the nerve to blame it on Democrats not approving funding, as if the $775 per child per day just can’t cover the cost of toothbrushes and soap. The cruelty is clearly the point, and it troubles me to the depths of my soul.

    I agree with Mafalda regarding anonymous posts and criticism of others. It’s better when people post on this page under their regular handles, and it cuts down on the gratuitous snark. If you’re ashamed to say it under your regular handle then don’t say it.

  89. Meme with admin hat here. I believe we can have a setting that requires input of some sort of name, but that would affect some regular posters (one from my childhood home state in particular) who are constantly coming up as Anonymous because of multiple devices etc. And this anon appears from electronic data visible to us to be a regular human who has not bothered to adopt a name (Skeeter seems appropriate, if I may be so bold) and not some sort of professional troll. We don’t require registration or a real email address.

    Under July’s leadership we are pretty laid back. My most frequent function currently is deleting or editing posts inadvertently made with a real name or employers email as handle, or that refer to a spouse or child by name. I get a note sometimes alerting me, but mostly I just do it when I notice without letting the poster know. I am sure July does the same. It happens a lot more often than you might expect.

  90. Skeeter. I like that. :)

    I don’t like anonymous comments like the ones here on the politics page, but it would be a chore to remove them all unless we changed the settings as Meme described . I ignore them and would encourage you all to do the same.

  91. “I’m so deeply disturbed by the treatment of children in custody at the border at the hands of our government, in our name.”

    It is disturbing.
    What is the solution?

  92. Scarlett, I don’t know the solution. Other, better, options in my mind would include not separating children from parents, releasing families into the community with a court date scheduled (this was prior policy? My understanding is there were very high compliance rates, and RAICES reports 97% appearance rates for the bonds they have funded), or releasing just the children to family members or foster care, or providing actual beds, blankets, sanitary conditions similar to a 24-hour day care center. For $775 per day per child, clean, safe, healthy and even enriching environment is not an unreasonable expectation at all. The perfect solution is not required, because there is miles of space between perfect and what we have today. Truly any half-assed attempt would be better than what they’re doing right now.

  93. At a minimum, the agents should not be rejecting donations from various groups and people who have provided useful items that are lacking at the detention facility. Additionally, if the government is not able to house these children in a humane way that does not violate laws, they should not be apprehending the children and the parents. This is unfortunate, but it is the only correct course of action.

  94. Becky, I don’t know the solution either, but if the vast majority of asylum claims are ultimately going to be rejected, does it make sense to release these people into the community? If they do appear for court dates and are rejected, are you ok with sending crying children and their adults back to Central America? And if they don’t show up for hearings, are you ok with tracking them down and deporting crying children and their parents?

  95. One interesting factoid – while we hear mostly about Central American asylum seekers, the largest number of asylum seekers in recent years have been Chinese.

  96. MM is right.

    “Where do asylees resettling in the U.S. come from?

    Mostly from China followed by the Northern Triangle countries. Nearly 22 percent of individuals who were granted asylum affirmatively or defensively in FY 2016 came from China, followed by El Salvador (10.5 percent), Guatemala (9.5 percent), Honduras (7.4 percent) and Mexico (4.5 percent). While most applicants seeking asylum through the defensive process were originally from China (37.9 percent) in FY 2016, the largest number of asylum seekers in the affirmative process came from El Salvador (11.9 percent), China (11.7 percent) and Guatemala (11.2 percent).” https://immigrationforum.org/article/fact-sheet-u-s-asylum-process/

    But on reflection, it’s not surprising. China is an enormous country with brutally repressive policies, especially against political and religious dissidents. These are the people for whom the asylum process was initially created.

  97. So now there are secret recordings and whistleblower reports of Google executives and employees discussing different ways that Google can, and should promote a political and social agenda. One person is recorded, or it’s written in an internal document, that algorithms should be tweaked so that search results are (artificially) more representative of the way things ought to be as opposed to reality. For example, from a search of “CEOs,” the results should be manipulated to show more female faces.

    And there are recordings of conversations of executives talking about what they can do to prevent a repeat of 2016.

    We’ll see how much truth there is to it. I suspect there’s probably some. I also think it’s more likely to backfire on them. They, with YouTube, are not the only source for information, or even for fake news. The more you try to suppress something, the more credence you lend to people’s fears that they have a reason to be suspicious.

  98. Google is a search engine, not a social media platform like YouTube or Facebook. So you can’t really call them a source for news- rather, they guide you to sources for news. My understanding is that the number one source for news for under 30’s is now YouTube. It is also hard to say what it means for search results to be representative of reality vs not-reality. How do you measure reality? All search algorithms have biases,usually biases not even recognized by the people who developed the algorithms. Training data, choice of proximity measures, choice of specific algorithm – all of it makes a difference.

    YouTube, for example, is famous for its algorithms that push people to the extreme. Start out watching nutrition videos, and soon enough you may be seeing recommendations for anorexia videos. Is that reality or not-reality? How do you measure it?

    And going back to the old days. I can remember when doing library research meant going to a huge stack of literature indexes. I remember there was one for computer science. Those indexes were compiled by somebody, probably some committee. Were there biases in those indexes? I would bet there were.

    BTW, I am current reading about Latent Dirichlet Allocation, which is a topic modeling algorithm, for drug clustering. Fun and joy

  99. Milo,

    Speaking of that I saw my first “No to 5G” yard sign the other day. What do you think should be done about that? If you’ll recall No to 5G is a bit of propaganda on the part of Russia to hurt the US economy.

  100. “What do you think should be done about that?”

    Why does something have to be done about it?

  101. According to the video I saw (and I tested the same search) Google deleted auto complete for “Hillary Clinton’s emails” search because they consider it a conspiracy theory under their fairness policy. It’s curious.

  102. evidently people have been complaining about Google and autocomplete for a while, from the left as well as the right
    https://www.wired.com/story/google-autocomplete-vile-suggestions/

    I tried “Trump collusion”, which could be seen as a leftist conspiracy theory similar to “Hilary’s emails”. I got weird results : “Trump collusion T-shirt” and “Trump collusion victory dance” were the only two suggestions, not “Trump collusion” itself. Did this phrase trigger Google’s alleged bias or did it factor in my own search history? Who knows. This stuff is very opaque

  103. Why does something have to be done about it?

    It’s an economic attack on the US specially designed to hurt us. And people are idiots.

  104. What would you suggest?

    A popup detailing the issue and who is sponsoring it and why. After you read it you can click through to the site.

  105. Seems reasonable in this case.

    But then what happens when people demand that the same warnings precede someone’s viewing of, say, the writings of Charles Murray? Or of someone with a different analysis of climate science?

  106. But then what happens when people demand that the same warnings precede someone’s viewing of, say, the writings of Charles Murray? Or of someone with a different analysis of climate science?

    Google is a private company so it can do as it likes on a case by case basis.

    They’ve done some great work with looking up health symptoms. Back in the day if you did a search for headache it would be tons of listing for tumors and all kinds of other horrors. Now the first bunch of links are some version of:

    A common question about severe or persistent headaches is whether they can be caused by a serious underlying health problem, such as a brain tumor. The fact of the matter is that headaches are more likely a component of primary headache disorders, such as migraine or tension headaches, rather than brain tumors.

  107. And going back to the old days. I can remember when doing library research meant going to a huge stack of literature indexes. I remember there was one for computer science. Those indexes were compiled by somebody, probably some committee. Were there biases in those indexes? I would bet there were.

    The individual index entries were written by librarians who couldn’t get decent library jobs. The publishers of the indexes were usually some professional organization — for example, the ATLA Religion Database is published by the American Theological Library Association. Rooms full of indexers sat there and read through the journals and assigned subject tags (usually using controlled vocabularies) to each article. Any problems with the database were far more likely due to incompetence than bias.

  108. Somebody chose which journals to index. I bet they did not include periodicals they considered to be promoters of weird hoaxes. Ack! Obvious bias!

  109. The job that those indexers were doing is EXACTLY what the machine learning algorithms do. They are called classification algorithms. Bias creeps in pretty much the same ways whether it is human or machine. In fact, one of the big sources of bias is in the training data, which is data or text tagged by human indexers, just as in the old days

  110. One more factoid – those controlled vocabularies you described are used heavily in text mining and natural language processing. In my own research, we work heavily with an automated annotator that tags with concepts from medical vocabularies. We feed that into a natural language processing pipeline and have fun

  111. Who is planning to watch the debates? I will pass this time–too early for me to start engaging in the upcoming presidential election.

  112. I plan to tune in when I get back from the swim meet. DW feels that my guilt-free viewing of debates and full election night coverage is a small price to pay in exchange for a husband who never* watches televised sports.

    *three Navy football games excepted annually, but even those can be missed if we have other plans

  113. Whole family is going to watch! We are all excited to finally figure out who the hell some of these people are

  114. I will likely watch. I expect a number of people to begin to drop out after these, and I want to have a sense of who is left. My kids are to the left of me (except for when they are more conservative than me..) and I want to better understand the candidates they currently like. I’m just praying for a moderate, but moderates don’t win primaries.

  115. Unlikely I’ll watch
    – a bit too early for me, but I understand they need to begin winnowing the field
    – unlikely I’ll vote D anyway, no matter who the nominee is (not that I’ll vote for Trump, probably Libertarian just like last time)
    – And, being NY unless I officially change my party affiliation via a new voter registration I can’t vote in the primary anyway

  116. *three Navy football games excepted annually, but even those can be missed if we have other plans

    I’m thinking Army and Air Force are two, what’s the third?

  117. Any observations from last night’s debate? I like Warren, and I heard that she did well.

  118. My concession-stand duties kept me late, so I missed it. The consensus seems to be that Senator Warren was the star of the night.

    My comment is that Warren has firmly planted her flag on the position of eliminating everyone’s private health insurance. Good luck with that in the general.

  119. I remain non impressed with Warren. When asked how she would get all her ambitious plans through a McConnell congress, she did her usual “The people will be calling for my plans” nonanswer. This is the single biggest problem she has – no clue how any of these great plans will actually translate into legislation.

    Most of the analysis has been that Castro did the best, followed by Booker, and that Warren didn’t hurt or help herself

  120. Milo, health care was quite contentious last night. Most of the candidates do not want to go down the rabbit hole of eliminating private health insurance. Only Warren and DiBlasio said they wanted to do it.

  121. “Only Warren and DiBlasio said they wanted to do it.”

    I know. Which is why I think she has all but eliminated any chance she had of winning the presidency, even as her chances of winning the primary are increasing.

    The other guy went on to criticize her and DiBlasio’s positions, saying that all these hospitals will shut down if they are to rely on Medicare reimbursements alone.

    This isn’t abstract like tariffs. “Oh Trump likes tariffs, but Jeb thinks it’s a horrible idea? And something about TPP and NAFTA?” This is her promising to take away something very tangible that, despite people’s complaints about the system, strong majorities are consistently satisfied with their own insurance coverage.

    She’s screwed.

    I saw some clips. People were eager to say that Castro “took down” Beto. And nobody is less a fan of Beto than me. But I didn’t think it was much of a takedown. Castro looks like a little weasel: “Oh, but you voted to support blah ba de blah Section Code 1835, Congressman. You should have done your homework.”

    Castro’s too short to be president. I’m 5’9.5″, so I’m allowed to say that.

  122. I don’t think Warren will win the primary because I don’t think that the majority of Democrats want to get rid of private health insurance. Over on the FiveThirtyEight podcast, they are of the opinion that as Warren gains, Bernie slips, so she is just poaching his voters, not gaining among other voters.

  123. I agree with Milo that Warren will lose if she stays on her current soapbox of healthcare, and don’t get me started about student debt.

    I liked Booker last night. Also, I noticed he never blinks when talking. I then started paying attention to who blinks excessively and who doesn’t.

  124. I don’t have a strong prediction because there are so many of the. I would hazard that Biden is most likely, and then maybe Harris. But it could be Klobuchar or Booker. It won’t be DiBlasio or Inslee or Gabbard.
    I could be wrong but I honestly think that as they look harder, typical Democrats will be turned off by Sanders and Warren’s plans because they are so disruptive.

    Interesting observation by my kid… Our town is kind of conservative and was one of only two districts in Westchester that voted for Trump in 2016. My kid hangs out with a number of kids who are pretty conservative. They all will be voting in the 2020 election. He tells me that his conservative friends are all saying they will not vote for Trump. He also told me that the school principal, who has always been openly conservative, said that he voted for Trump in 2016 but voted Democrat for the first time ever in 2018 and is likely to do so again in 2020. That fits in with the trends of Republican suburbanites moving towards Democrats.

  125. Mooshi – They say that now, but he doesn’t yet have an opponent with ideas to attack. And the way things are going, there could be quite a few of those ideas as prime targets. Every former reluctant Trump voter who says “I won’t vote for Trump” is imagining his or her own ideal opponent, and not necessarily one that has been forced to support or defend things like late-term abortion, repealing Hyde, any of the Green New Deal ideas, student loan forgiveness*, etc., etc., and that’s even before we get to the individual flaws and embarrassments. It’s also appropriate to note that the president’s approval ratings have not faltered.

    *I have a theory that even among affluent, inner-suburb Democrats, the student loan forgiveness idea is far less popular than politicians like Warren or Sanders would imagine. My gut tells me that these people who have been saving hundreds of dollars a month per child from birth onward secretly LIKE that inherent competitive advantage it bestows on their kids, and they enjoy their own sense of righteousness for having sacrificed to accumulate it.

  126. “My gut tells me that these people who have been saving hundreds of dollars a month per child from birth onward secretly LIKE that inherent competitive advantage it bestows on their kids, and they enjoy their own sense of righteousness for having sacrificed to accumulate it.”

    That, and people who struggled to pay off their own loans — or who chose a state university over the dream school into which they were admitted — will not appreciate paying off the debts of those who made different and less prudent choices. And my guess is that those prudent people are far more likely actually to vote than are slacker student loan deadbeats.

    And MM — young people just don’t like Trump. Even many young conservatives. And even if they actually anticipate voting for Trump, they won’t admit that to their peers.

  127. My gut tells me that these people who have been saving hundreds of dollars a month per child from birth onward secretly LIKE that inherent competitive advantage it bestows on their kids, and they enjoy their own sense of righteousness for having sacrificed to accumulate it.

    But it’s not just student loan forgiveness it’s moving to a European style system where college is government funded*. In that case they can now just spend the money on other things.

    Your theory would be like saying if we gave Naval officers the option of the current system (for the sake of argument both options would be portable) of X% of your highest three years of earnings after 20 years or the TSP equivalent people are going to opt for the TSP equivalent. You might but the vast majority of people will stick with the pension.

    * They certainly aren’t just going to make it a one time thing.

  128. Milo, it is possible that people like him will reconsider when faced with an actual Democrat. But the fact that he is even entertaining the idea is telling. That would not have happened under Bush. And evidently he did go Democrat in 2018, part of a NY blue wave that put the state legislature in control of Democrats for the first time in forever, and brought in a Democrat as county executive.

    I agree about student loan forgiveness. Even the mainstream papers like the NYTimes do not seem very keen on it.

  129. It is true that young people, including young Republicans, do not like Trump. And while some of them may end up voting for him and not admitting it, quite a few will cross over and vote Democrat – more than in an election with a different Republican candidate. I think Republicans are depending on the fact that young people do not vote, but I don’t think that will be the case this time around.

    I also think that for more educated Republican suburbanites, foreign policy is pretty important, and they tend to hold traditional Republican views. I think they are less than thrilled with the way Trump has been doing things.

  130. Rhett – The military has already transitioned to make that offer. I’m not familiar with the details, but the key point is that they offer something for those who are not necessarily interested in 20+ years and cliff vesting.

    Back to colleges and shifting to a “European style,” just ask the people on the Totebag who have chosen private K-12 school for their kids if they are interested in government funding for anyone in the community who wants to attend that school, possibly changing the peer group.

  131. “quite a few will cross over and vote Democrat – more than in an election with a different Republican candidate”

    His approval rating has not changed. His approval rating among Republicans is essentially as high, or higher than any other president’s (barring, presumably, an event like 9/11), and I would say definitely higher than Obama’s was among Democrats.

    Besides what you’ve heard from your son’s friends, what convinces you that former voters will abandon him?

  132. I don’t like the idea of student loan forgiveness. But do I remember correctly that student loan debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy? If that’s correct, I would support a change that would allow student loan debt to be treated like any other debt. Might make the lenders a little more judicious about the loans.

    And I do think, though don’t know how to operationalize, the colleges have got to get some skin in this game. Because student loans are such easy money, colleges have had no incentive to keep costs under control or otherwise make their costs worth it in the end.

    But total forgiveness? Hard pass. I’ve paid for my schooling, I’ll pay for my kids’ schooling – I don’t want to pay for other people’s schooling.

  133. Rhett – The military has already transitioned to make that offer. I’m not familiar with the details, but the key point is that they offer something for those who are not necessarily interested in 20+ years and cliff vesting.

    The key point is that it’s not a choice. Everyone who joins after 1/1/18 has to go with the blended system. If you were correct and people would choose it they would have offered a choice. But they didn’t. Because they know people wouldn’t choose it.

  134. “colleges have had no incentive to keep costs under control or otherwise make their costs worth it in the end”

    Another key point that gets ignored in the political debates.

  135. Rhett – it was a choice for about a decade as they made the transition

    And yet they pulled the choice. Was it because no one was choosing the traditional pension?

  136. I liked Klobuchar. I’m so sick of the current crazy that a calm, measured, intelligent individual who doesn’t shout and thinks incremental changes toward an end goal are the way to go is so appealing to me. That’s probably the same reason I like Buttigieg. Unfortunately, that doesn’t get you airtime and won’t win a primary.

    Like others, I’ll be disappointed if a ‘wipe out loans, free college, get rid of privatized health care’ candidate wins. That dramatically increases Trump’s chance of re-election.

    Milo, I saw similar statistics regarding the percentage of Republicans who are pleased with Trump and I was very surprised by it. I wonder if those people read his tweets or recognize that he routinely lies or misstates things (China paying for tariffs, how much wall is being built, claiming credit for things accomplished before he took office, etc)

  137. Becky – I liked Klobuchar last night too. Is “all foam no beer” really a saying? She came across as measured and relatable. I need to know more about Castro.

  138. “And yet they pulled the choice. Was it because no one was choosing the traditional pension?”

    Rhett – No, the opposite was true.

    https://www.militarytimes.com/pay-benefits/2018/10/22/not-many-troops-are-opting-into-the-new-retirement-system/

    But there are some caveats. The default choice was the traditional pension, so inertia.

    Also, I never looked at the numbers, but I suspect that the overall purpose of the new system was to save DoD money in the long run (based on the amount by which the traditional pension would be reduced for those who had taken TSP matching throughout).

    (This has been the most I’ve ever researched this program.)

  139. the overall purpose of the new system was to save DoD money in the long run

    Do you think the needle would move very much if the systems were actuarially equivalent in terms of cost?

  140. Becky, IME most people aren’t nearly as interested in politics as many of us seem to be. They’re not on Twitter and don’t really pay attention to what Trump says. They live their lives in a sensible manner, considering how very little most political tempests actually affect them.

  141. @Becky – ITA with your post.

    I thought Castro did a good job too. I don’t know much about him though.

  142. I have no idea. I think inertia/default is probably the most significant variable. Never forget that we’re talking primarily about 18 and 19 year olds here — younger than when most Totebag kids are confronted with 401(k)-style options.

    I remember when I was 18 they were coming around to get us to sign up for the standard $400k SGLI plan (Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance). I can not overstate how stressful and miserable the time was during which this particular administrative session occurred, but at least realize that we were sitting on a hard linoleum floor in an un-air conditioned dormitory in 90 degrees and humidity while some woman from the government was saying “you should just take this, it’s a good deal.”

    Now, from the perspective of the cost of insurance, it IS a reasonably good deal. But all that assumes an 18-year-old kid like me, with no spouse, no dependents, no financial obligations, and relatively affluent parents actually NEEDS life insurance. So I think I declined, iirc. Or I declined it at some point later. But that was rare.

    Three summers later, I was in charge of one of those same groups, and I gave that very brief spiel for them to consider before they signed on the dotted line by default. I remember saying “You should realize, you’re not going to ever actually *see* this money,” and that got a few laughs. I don’t think the SGLI woman was pleased with me.

  143. “All foam, no beer” must be regional. In Texas it is “all hat, no cattle”.

  144. I think inertia/default is probably the most significant variable.

    For ten years it’s been a choice. Was the pension the default option or were the boxes blank and you had to pick one.

  145. I believe pension was default. (There was still a potential pension either way. The difference was whether you wanted the new plan, which gives you some TSP matching now, presumably in exchange for a reduced pension if you stay for 20 years.)

    But Rhett, seriously, I have no more knowledge or familiarity with this than you do. I’ve been out of it.

  146. Milo,

    But back to the bigger picture isn’t inertia (and presumably vested interest) why we have the system we currently have. The creator of the 401k system always stresses that it was never designed to do what it’s doing. But even when it doesn’t work for so many people – it just sticks around.

  147. sure. and unintended consequences. a general sense among politicians and bureaucrats that you can tweak policy or incentives to fix something as it exists, but people won’t respond or adapt in kind.

  148. “all foam no beer”

    I have never heard this saying. It was a topic of conversation on the radio this morning as no one is familiar with this saying.

  149. I’m not sure if I’ve heard “all foam, no beer” before or where/when I’ve heard it, but it didn’t strike me as odd at all. I knew exactly what she meant. I must have heard it enough not to think anything of it, because I thought it was odd that people on Twitter kept harping on it.

  150. “My gut tells me that these people who have been saving hundreds of dollars a month per child from birth onward secretly LIKE that inherent competitive advantage it bestows on their kids, and they enjoy their own sense of righteousness for having sacrificed to accumulate it.”

    “That, and people who struggled to pay off their own loans — or who chose a state university over the dream school into which they were admitted — will not appreciate paying off the debts of those who made different and less prudent choices.”

    And then there’s me, and possibly others like me, who don’t like government programs that punish personal responsibility (delaying gratification is part of that), and reward irresponsibility, thus encouraging more irresponsible behavior.

  151. “Like others, I’ll be disappointed if a ‘wipe out loans, free college, get rid of privatized health care’ candidate wins. “

    I’m one of those others.

    I’m in the camp, at least for now, of basic medicare for all, with a private insurance option for more comprehensive coverage. But I’m open to a better solution.

    I’m also in the camp that both colleges and students should have skin in the game WRT student loans.

  152. Referring back to our discussion a week or so ago, this from Foxnews.com. No further comment.

    An Alabama grand jury on Tuesday decided to indict a woman Wednesday with manslaughter for allegedly initiating and continuing a fight with another woman that ultimately lead to the shooting death of her unborn baby, a report said.

    Marshae Jones, 27, of Birmingham, was five months pregnant when she was shot in the stomach by Ebony Jemison, 23, on Dec. 4, 2018, police said. Jones was rushed to a nearby hospital and recovered, but she lost her unborn baby girl, AL.com reported.

    A police investigation determined that Jones was at fault for the death of the unborn child because she allegedly initiated the fight over the baby’s father, the report said. Police said Jemison was acting in self-defense…

    The shooter was initially charged with manslaughter, but a grand jury failed to indict her, AL.com reported. A Jefferson County grand jury indicted Jones on a manslaughter charge. She was transferred to Jefferson County Jail where she is being held on a $50,000 bond.

    “When a 5-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child,’’ Reid also told AL.com leading up to the indictment hearing. “That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.”

  153. Watching tonight’s debate. What a shitshow compared to last night . Everyone is kind of yelling and not even slightly attempting to answer the questions. Marianne Williamson reminds me if that Republican ” I am not a witch lady “. Only people who even slightly did well were Mayor Pete who was like the oasis of calm and sanity, Kamala who seemed to get her zingers in appropriately, and Bernie who did his Trumpian bellow like he always does.

  154. They showed a few clips from the debate on the NZ news tonight. I always find it interesting how much more global the news is in other countries than the U.S. news.

    Meme, I saw that. Just sickening.

  155. So do you all think Biden’s out after last night’s debate? That seems to be what “experts” are saying. Harris ate his lunch and she’s deemed to be able to stand up to Trump in debates. Biden looked old and apparently showed he was too much of a states’ rights advocate in the school segregation exchange.

    The photo with all the candidates showing support for illegal immigrants could be problematic for them.

  156. So do you all think Biden’s out after last night’s debate?

    No way. Not after one debate performance. Not with his momentum.

  157. @RMS +1. So few people even watch the debates or are paying attention right now. I do think that Harris and Mayor Pete probably upped their standing with those who watched.

    Bernie was neutral if anything, but I am biased. (not a fan) Everyone else was pretty meh. Hickenlooper couldn’t get his words out, which wasn’t good. The yelling was ridiculous.

  158. I agree that Biden has plenty of fight left, although in our family Messenger conversation, I commented that he has aged 20 years since I last heard him speak.

  159. “she’s deemed to be able to stand up to Trump in debates.”

    Ehhhhh. I don’t see it. She’s very wooden and rehearsed, which is not how you go against this:

    “I am in Japan at the G-20, representing our Country well, but I heard it was not a good day for Sleepy Joe or Crazy Bernie. One is exhausted, the other is nuts – so what’s the big deal.”

  160. Y’all know that “illegals” already get “unlimited” free health care, right? They get drug-eluting stents!! A hip replacement within hours of breaking their hips!!! Some of them even get dialysis, which is a logistical nightmare. They don’t necessarily get: vaccines, colonoscopies, efficient and rational access to primary care services.

  161. If my 18 year old goes to a fancy expensive school without having to take out loans, it won’t be as a reward for her careful financial policies for the last two decades. She has not delayed any gratification, nor has she earned that money.

  162. My kid commented that it looked like Hickenlooper had cut his own hair.

    It always looks like that.

  163. I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s a rug. I’ve never heard that, anyway. If it were, wouldn’t it look better?

  164. @RMS – That’s what I told DH! He said it was the two-tone effect that made him think that.

  165. We all thought that Andrew Yang had a toupe on. And Bernie must have applied styling gel of some kind because his hair was actually smooth, not all frizzy with flyaways like it usually is

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