2017 Politics open thread, December 17-23

Welcome to our weekly political thread!

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2017 Politics open thread, December 3-9

What’s on your mind this week?

We have a post today:

Family Values

by MooshiMooshi

This appeared in the NYTimes recently, and is clearly Totebag fodder. Surprise, surprise, blue staters are better at practicing family values than red staters. This article goes along with many things we have discussed here. And the fact that families are more stable, have lower divorce rates, and less teenage pregnancy in the blue states has been a trend for many,many years. Two key points

The liberal impulse may be to gloat: Those conservatives thunder about “family values” but don’t practice them. But there’s also perhaps a measure of hypocrisy in the blue states. As Cahn and Carbone put it: “Blue family values bristle at restrictions on sexuality, insistence on marriage or the stigmatization of single parents. Their secret, however, is that they encourage their children to simultaneously combine public tolerance with private discipline, and their children then overwhelmingly choose to raise their own children within two-parent families.

and

More broadly, conservative values don’t directly lead to premarital sex or divorce. Rather, statistical analysis suggests that religious conservatives end up divorcing partly because they marry early, are less likely to go to college and are disproportionately poor.

So the deeper problem seems to be the political choices that conservatives make, underinvesting in public education and social services (including contraception). This underinvestment leaves red states poorer and less educated — and thus prone to a fraying of the social fabric.

So does better education and social services lead to a higher likelihood that children grow up in two parent families? Or are two parent families more likely to be willing to invest in education and social services? Or is there something else, completely unrelated, that leads to better family value outcomes in blue states?

Open thread

We have an open thread all day.

This is the time of year for deciding on a health insurance plan and other employee benefits.  It can be complicated.  Our plan includes the use of a health advocate at no extra cost.  Among the services offered are open enrollment assistance, care coordination, and assistance with complex medical conditions.

Have you completed your enrollment paperwork?  Any questions or advice to offer?

Open thread

Today we have an open thread all day.

Locally we celebrate Columbus Day in a big way, but I wonder if that will soon change.

Should the United States Celebrate Columbus Day?

Here’s the NYT’s opinion on how “symbols of hate” should be treated.

Robert E. Lee, Christopher Columbus … and Pétain?

Should I throw out my Dr. Seuss books?

Dr. Seuss museum to replace mural after complaints of racism

Labor Day open thread

by July

We have a Labor Day open thread all day.

Here’s something to try.

Find your True Cost of Living

There are many cost of living rankings out there, but most of them give cost of living averages for the “average American household.” Here’s the issue – the “average American household” doesn’t exist. Income and expenses vary widely between a single millennial to a household of two parents and three kids. Our cost tool explores the costs and expenses of living in a place based on your own, specific needs.

The True Cost of Living tool allows you to add details like household size, income, occupation, and even food preferences.

 

Open thread

We have an open thread all day today.

Are watching the solar eclipse today?  Are you tired of the hype?  Is anyone in the total eclipse zone?  In any case, you can watch live streaming of the event from wherever you are.

Check out NASA’s solar eclipse interactive map to get details on your location.

How To Stay Sane During a Solar Eclipse
The terrifying beauty of totality is best confronted in a crowd.

If you won’t see the total solar eclipse, here’s when your next chance will be

Seeing anything strange today?

Open thread

We have an open thread today all day.

Here’s a topic on my mind.

How to Pack a Suitcase

Many of you will be pleased that packing cubes are recommended.  Right now I’m looking for a more efficient toiletry bag, one that hangs on a hotel door hook..

In shopping for a rolling bag recently I noticed that four wheels (spinners) seem more popular than two wheels.  I prefer two wheels because it’s slightly more compact and I don’t notice the extra ease of a four-wheeler.

At what age did your children become mostly responsible for packing their own suitcases?

Open thread

We have an open thread all day today.

Last week I started a 30-day challenge to improve my balance.  I selected some daily exercises, including standing on one leg and  a One-Legged Squat Reach.  But the one-legged squat proved too challenging (especially for my left leg), so instead I bought a Wobble Balance Board and am trying out a few basic exercises with it.

Last year I was successful with my 30-day plank challenge so I have high hopes for this balance project.  If anyone wants to do a group 30-day challenge similar to the one we did last year let me know and I can set it up.  In the meantime I’ll post periodic updates on my progress.

2017 Politics open thread, July 9-15

What political comments do you have this week?

This video shows world leaders preparing for their group photo.  I like seeing their facial expressions, especially Putin’s.  Do you think Merkel wears bright colors on purpose so she’ll stand out?

Emmanuel Macron jostles his way to the front of G20 photo to stand by Donald Trump

If you want to read commentary on the “fake news” about this video you can check out Ann Althouse’s blog.

Fourth of July

Happy 4th of July!  Are you celebrating with fireworks or a parade?

This latest survey from U.S. News & World Report says that Switzerland is the best country in the world.  What’s your opinion?  Do you think the USA is the best?  Or another country?  Any plans to move?  We’re still the “most powerful” country in the world according to the survey, but we’re only ranked seventh overall.

The survey ‘polled more than 21,000 people described by organizers as “business leaders, informed elites and general citizens.”’

The Best Country in the World? Survey Says It’s Switzerland

Open thread

Today we have an open thread.  Discuss anything on your mind.

Travel planning has been on my mind.  Take this survey if you’re interested.

 

I used to enjoy planning trips but over the years I’ve grown to dislike it. The researching, coordinating, and selecting seem to aggravate my tendency toward analysis paralysis. Do you have any tips to make it easier?

Open thread

We have an open thread all day.  Here’s a topic to get you started if you’d like.

This test is strictly for fun, but if you had to pick only one of these as your strongest trait which would it be?  Wisdom, passion, courage, honesty, intuition, or kindness?  And how does that compare to your test results?

What Is Your Dominant Personality Trait?

The way you look at these images will reveal a lot about your strongest trait. Which of these do you think it will be: wisdom, passion, courage, honesty, intuition or kindness? Take this test to find out!

 

Open thread

Today we have an open thread all day.

Here’s one topic to get the conversation started.

Don’t Let Facebook Make You Miserable
Raw Google search data proves that we are not who we say we are on social media.

We typically share only the best aspects of our lives on social media and that can make other people feel miserable about their own lives.  For young people Instagram has been found to be the worst site for mental health, apparently “driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety”.

I’m as guilty as the the rest since most of my posts are about the happier moments of my life and I’m sometimes tempted to go too far in using photo filters.  The dull or dissatisfying aspects of life are less likely to be shared on social media.  What about you?  Do you see how kids are negatively affected by this?  Does it affect you?

Open thread

Today we have an open thread to discuss anything on your mind.

How was your weekend?  What are your plans for the coming week, including Memorial Day?

I was shocked, saddened, and angered by this story.  It made me wonder how many other similar situations have existed in the recent past or even today.

My Family’s Slave
She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.

Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Today we have an open thread to discuss any topic at any time of the day.

Since tomorrow is tax filing deadline, maybe this is on your mind.  What do your tax habits say about you?

Your Accountant Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself
As tax deadlines near, one preparer explains how reading her clients helps their bottom lines

What personal hangups affect the way people manage their taxes?

Some people walk in the door saying, “I hate paperwork. I hate taxes.” These people are avoiders. They don’t seem to care that much about money. Even if avoiding tax planning costs them money, they’d rather not deal with it. They don’t see themselves as able to get ahead financially. They don’t feel like they have any control, when in fact they do.

Others are procrastinators who have fallen years behind on filing returns, and the onset of the tax season triggers guilt or anxiety. These clients need more structure from us. Before they leave the office, I suggest they set another appointment in advance. Or I say, “Here’s one action to take: When you go back to the office I want you to adjust your W-4 and have an additional $50 taken out of your paycheck.”

Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Today we have an open thread for discussion on any topic.

Originally I had written today’s post about the SAT and college prep, but since we discussed that a bit in recent days it makes sense to open up today’s discussion to any topics you choose.  However, here’s the original post I wrote in case you’d still like to talk about it (and take the quiz):

Can You Answer 10 Hard-But-Not-That-Hard SAT Questions From 1926?

How did you do?  What do you think of how the SAT has changed over the years?

Let’s discuss the SAT, test prep, college prep, what we’re seeing among the kids we know, college search and selection, jobs after graduation, skipping college (gasp), myth vs. reality, anxiety or lack of it, brag, complain, etc.  Let’s ask questions and share our wisdom.

2017 Politics open thread, February 26 — March 4

Open for discussion.

This happened yesterday.

Perez wins DNC chairmanship

The behind-the-scenes calls underscored why the race was broadly seen as a proxy battle between the Sanders-aligned progressive wing of the party, which supported Ellison, and those more closely connected with Hillary Clinton and Obama, who largely backed Perez.

By selecting Perez — and again spurning Sanders supporters — Democrats risk the backlash that could come with leaving the left wing of the party disappointed a second time in the past year.

Open thread

Open for discussions on any topics of your choosing.

Here’s a new twist on a much discussed topic — juggling career and family.

A Strategy for Happy Dual-Career Couples
How some working parents make a counterintuitive approach work: Both take on new or challenging jobs at the same time

This article rubbed me the wrong way.  Maybe it was the suggestion that an au pair was the solution for families with two challenging careers that demanded long hours. Or maybe it was this declaration by one of the fathers featured in the story.

“There was no question that Michelle needed to be offering her talents and passions to a wider community” after caring for their children at home for several years, says Mr. Martin, 41. They met during college while both were studying in Spain, and he understands her desire to do international development work. “It’s kind of like, ‘You can’t stop the wind,’” he says.

What do you think?

Open thread Presidents’ Day

Are you off from work today?  Do your kids have this week off from school?  Any special plans?

What else is on your mind today?

I am still slowly going through the Washington Post Presidential podcast series.  Yesterday I listened to the Andrew Jackson episode again after reading about comparisons between him and Donald Trump.  My latest “favorite” president is James Garfield, who may have been great had his term not been tragically cut short by an assassin’s bullet (and the poor medical care he received).  Do you have a favorite president?

Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Open thread today so discuss whatever is on your mind.  Here’s one topic to consider:

What are your family traditions, either now or when you were growing up?  For instance, have you always celebrated birthdays in a certain way, maybe with a certain type of cake?  Do you have traditional yearly trips or events?  Family game nights?  Bedtime or dinner rituals?  Holiday celebrations?  Often religion is an important part of family tradition.  So is food.  What about traditional songs or games?

How important are traditions to your family?

2017 Politics open thread, January 29 — February 4

We’ve had some spirited discussions recently.  Too heated or appropriately provocative?  What’s your opinion?  Do you want to continue this weekly politics thread?

 

2016 Politics open thread, December 11-17

Scott Adam’s blog post about two separate reality paths made me think of our blog, which reflects what I observe among many other people I know in real life.

The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States has effectively forked reality into two versions that are running in parallel. Clinton’s supporters believe they are living in a world that is a repeat of 1930s Germany, with Trump playing the part of Adolf Hitler. See this reaction for a typical example.

Meanwhile, the other half of the country believes we elected a highly-capable populist who will “drain the swamp” and bring a business approach to government along with greater prosperity.

How can it simultaneously be true that Trump is OBVIOUSLY the next Hitler while it is also true that half the country didn’t notice? There are at least three ways to explain-away this dissonance. Maybe…

  • Half the country are sexist, racist monsters too, so they like Trump.
    or…
  • Half the country is stupid and can’t identify a Hitler that is right in front of them.
    or…
  • Clinton supporters have been duped into believing something ridiculous about Trump.

What do you think?

(Via Althouse)

Thanksgiving open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

We have an open thread for any discussion topics over the Thanksgiving weekend.  How are things going?

Related to previous conversations about the “bubble” in which we live, here’s a version called the Thanksgiving Bubble courtesy of CollegeConfidential.

Is Your Thanksgiving in an Elitist Bubble?

No green bean casserole: 0 points
From scratch using a recipe off epicurious and fresh green beans and mushrooms: 1 point
Canned soup base, canned green beans, French’s fried onions: 5 points

Heritage breed, free range, humanely raised, hormone free turkey sold by your local butcher or Whole Foods at price that could pay for a nice dinner out for a family of four: 0 points
Pre-cooked turkey dinner bought at Dean & DeLuca: 0 points
Fresh turkey, nothing special: 1 point
Frozen Butterball Turkey: 2 points
Store brand turkey that you saved up the store receipts for months to get for free: 3 points
Turkey you shot yourself in the woods, gutted and dressed yourself: 10 points, with bonus point given for deep frying it.

Homemade cranberry sauce with fancy ingredients like candied ginger, figs or kumquats: 0 points
Homemade cranberry sauce, nothing fancy: 1 point
Canned whole berry cranberry sauce: 2 points
Canned jelly cranberry sauce still bearing the ridge lines from the can (my favorite kind ): 5 points
No cranberry sauce because you’re from the deep south and they don’t do the cranberry thing there: 7 points

Fresh sweet potatoes with a brown sugar/rum glaze (family favorite): 0 points
Fresh sweet potatoes with store bought marshmallows: 2 points
Fresh sweet potatoes with homemade marshmallows: -2 points
Canned sweet potatoes with store bought marshmallows: 5 points

Fresh whipped cream for your pie: 0 points
Whipped Cream from a can: 1 point
Premium ice cream: 0 points
Store brand ice cream: 1 point
Cool Whip: 5 points

What’s your score, both from your childhood and from today?

 

Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Today we have an open thread.  Here’s a topic to get us started.

Opinion: Workers will simply try to survive, rather than prosper, as tech takes over the economy

Refute his argument, if you can.  The author touches on topics previously discussed here, like the possibility of a growing class of “unemployables”.  He focuses on the role of the technology sector.

A common assumption was that new jobs in new industries would take up displaced workers. Unfortunately, the reality has been different.

The number of people employed in technology has remained modest, around 5% to 6% of the workforce. By one estimate, only 0.5% of the U.S. labor force is employed in industries that did not exist in 2000. In Silicon Valley, only 1.8% of workers are employed in new industries.

One reason is that many new industries are not labor-intensive, and when they are, the tasks are outsourced to the cheapest supplier in the world. A leading technology company like Google GOOG, -0.02% has only around 60,000 employees worldwide.

 

Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

We have an open thread today, with a side conversation about tracking apps.

What do you all think of tracking apps?  I’ve seen kids and parents go to both extremes.  Some kids are nonchalant about the use of this technology, finding nothing offensive about having parents know every move they make.  Others are fiercely resistant about their privacy and want none of it.

TRACKING APPS: HOW TO GET BUY-IN FROM YOUR TEEN

One mother I know wanted to use a tracking app for the times when her 19-year old daughter was taking public transportation late at night after work. Her daughter was against it, and they compromised with agreeing to regular texting from the daughter.   On the other hand, another mother and her twenty-something daughter seem to know each other’s every move by using Find My Friends.  Young people I know use that app to keep track of each other.

Do you or will you use a tracking app with your high school or college kids? What about with younger kids?  Do you think it’s helicoptering, or just a common sense safety measure?

Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Today we have an open thread to discuss any subject of your choosing.

August marks the end of summer for many of us.  I am trying to enjoy every minute of the warm weather, and I’ve decided summer is my favorite season.  What’s your favorite time of year?

Here’s another thought.  Did you ever watch Wife Swap?

Wife Swap is an American reality television program that was first broadcast on the ABC network in 2004. In the program, two families, usually from different social classes and lifestyles, swap wives/mothers – and sometimes husbands – for two weeks. The program will usually deliberately swap wives with dramatically different lifestyles, such as a messy wife swapping with a fastidiously neat one, or a wife who only cooks vegan swapped with a non vegan wife, documenting the cultural and social differences that the two families discover with the new family member….

Which Totebagger would you switch with to make for an entertaining episode of Wife Swap because of your “dramatically different lifestyles”.  Or which other Totebag family is so similar to your own that you would blend in seamlessly?  Can you imagine swapping with a famous family, like the Kardashians, the Duggars, the Mr. Money Moustaches, or others?

Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

What’s on your mind today?  Current events?

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

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

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

Open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Today we have an open thread to talk about anything we’d like.

We can keep conversations going online here indefinitely.  But what about IRL, either in person or on the phone?

The best way to end a conversation, according to science

I sometimes have a hard time easing out of a long-winded conversation, particularly on the phone.

In other news, I’m excited about possibly having a chance to make a difference in the upcoming New York presidential primary.  I’m very curious to see how my neighbors will vote.

Friday open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Today we have an open thread to discuss anything on your mind.

The Totebag 30-Day Challenge is scheduled to begin on May 1.  My initial idea had been that each participant could pick a particular activity they want to do, not that we would all do the same thing. However, some Totebaggers would prefer that we all do the same activity.  A compromise would be to select one activity for the group, but leave open the option for individuals to select their own personalized challenge activity if they wish.

Let’s brainstorm.  You can suggest group challenge activities in the comments,  Or let us know if you have a particular activity you’re considering for yourself.

Monday open thread

by Grace aka costofcollege

Today we have an open thread for anything you’d like to discuss.  Maybe politics?  Here’s a question to ponder:

What event divided your life into “before” and “after”?

The survey so far shows that many of us are interested in doing a Totebag 30-day Challenge. — 19 yes, 10 maybe, 6 no.  I’ll get it organized.  Should we start right away on April 1 or wait until May 1?  You can express your preference in the comments.

P.S. — send posts.