Morning Ed: United States {2016.02.17.W}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I read a fantastic book on a Hmong family — and broader Hmong culture — called “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down”. Powerful, moving, but heavy.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Law School: I think this requirement is likely to backfire and schools are going to turn law school into three years of Bar Prep. That’s what happened to Golden Gate University Law School in San Francisco when they were put on warning about low passage rates around 2007.

    When the legal economy collapsed, many people predicted that a lot of lower-tier law schools would close their doors.* There were varying degrees of elitism and/or snobbery in these comments. People were saying anything from “Don’t go unless you get into one of the top 50 schools, top 20 schools, top 14 schools, top 10 schools.” What people did not account for is that the school’s would fight to stay open for a variety of reasons. The admin and professors count on their law schools remaining open for employment. Many (maybe most) law school professors would be just as a jobless as the recent graduating classes. Or if they got employment, the hours would be much longer.

    There were also sentimental(ish) reasons for many law schools to stay open. My alma mater, USF, was founded in 1912. For decades, it was a well-respected local law school in Northern California. California’s eminent historian, Kevin Starr, mentions that USF’s Law school provided the bar and bench of San Francisco for many years in his epic history of California. This changed somewhere in the early aughts.**

    What did many schools do to survive? They either offered free tuition and went from being cash cows to
    money losers and/or they radically slashed their admissions standards. The reason that so many people are failing the bar is that law schools are admitting people who would not have been admitted 5-10 years ago to any law school even ones like Cooley.

    *I don’t know why everyone expected a bunch of law schools to say something like “I guess we should close up shop. We had a good run.”

    **What happened seemed to be the collapse of the locally well-respected law school. This started happening long before the current legal market collapsed but the fiscal crisis acted as a catalyst. Schools like USF, Suffolk, etc were known for training your work-a-day lawyers and judges. Now grads from more elite schools are taking jobs at the small firms, medium firms, and government offices that used to employ grads from Suffolk, USF, etc.

    *I think the real thing that happened in the legal marketReport

    • Law schools that are attached to universities are especially unlikely to fold. It’s a point of pride for the schools, but also law schools are where state legislators come from. Southern Tech’s law school has been with it’s weight in gold.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I’m not sure your timing is right.

      When the Great Recession hit first year law school enrollment went up (PDF). (going back to school has been a common response to the last three recessions) Plus, two *more* law schools opened.

      The drop off in law employment *then* caused law school enrollment to crater starting in 2012. Because in the big picture, supply and demand does work.

      If the schools are trying to sustain themselves financially by reducing revenue from the existing students, well, that must be why they’re lawyers and not MBAs.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The idea that most of the second and third tier law schools would shut down willingly and without a fight is one of the dumbest parts of the law school crisis debate. My law school, New York Law School, existed since 1896. Its one of the oldest and few remaining independent law schools in the United States. Like USF, it has a long tradition of providing an education for the everyday lawyers and judges of the New York City metropolitan area. Senator Wagner of the Wagner Labor Relations Act and the younger Justice Harlan were educated at New York Law School. Even if New York Law School was no longer in the top law schools nationally, it wasn’t the sort of institution that would willingly close down because of changes in legal education and the legal market.Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    There is actually a very big need for lawyers willing to practice real person law. The problem is that a lot of people who need help from real person lawyers can not afford to pay even a fair market rate unless they are in a highly motivated position to do so because of the nature of their needs like immigration or criminal defense. Many people who really need legal help simply can’t afford it.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I’m almost never in need of legal services, so am asking what is a “fair market rate” these days?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain says:

        It depends on the nature of the service needed and the geographic location but I’d say most real person law should cost somewhere between 4000 and 6000 dollars at minimum from start to finish. Even for fairly successful people, this could be a lot of money. It also depends on whether a lawyer charges by the hour or not. For my area of law, immigration, charging by the hour doesn’t really work for a variety of reasons so you need to figure out what a typical service should cost and hope you don’t exceed it or have a provision about unforeseen expenses.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Most people who need legal services are ignorant of the fact.
        If you’re doing something that’s larger than about $1,000, you should probably consider a lawyer. Doubly so if you’re doing home improvements, or anything where you are creating a “relationship” rather than a simple business transaction of terse length.

        It’s a couple of thousand dollars for title insurance and to have a lawyer when you close on a house. Totally worth it, if only so the real estate agents can’t collude and lie to you (their incentive is to get a deal, any deal, and if you’ll roll, they’ll roll you if needed to get their money).Report

  4. Re: Presidential pensions, I’ve always been curious about how hard it is to adjust to no longer flying on a private jet, not having someone do the cooking and cleaning, etc. After eight years in particular, it must be quite a shock.Report

  5. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    re assimilation, CAP buries it’s findings. It’s unsurprising that Latino immigrants have fared well in Arizona. Assimilation rates are impacted by public education and density. California does relatively poorly at assimilation because fewer demands are made to learn English, and the schools (at least in L.A.) teach that Latinos are victims.

    Looking at the figure on page 27 of home-ownership rates of Latinos, one might conclude that red-states do better at assimilation than blue states. That is no doubt due to high cost of housing in blue states, but that is still a creation of policy — these states have higher preferences than affordable housing, and these preferences hinder assimilation.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to PD Shaw says:

      That sort of presupposes that home ownership is an inherent aspect of assimilation. But California’s native-born citizen population has a low rate of home ownership too. To say that immigrants in California aren’t assimilating because they’re not buying homes is circular reasoning.

      Specifically, the report cites that the CA trendline, though it reflects the high costs of housing in CA, fits the overall pattern. Ditto other states with high costs of housing, and conversely, other states with low cost of housing.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Alan Scott says:

        Home-ownership isn’t my preferred metric, it was one selected by the report to make their point. And if they wanted to adjust for variation in cost-of-living, they could have done that, but then their income metric would have cratered in California as well.Report

  6. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The divergence between the United States and other Western countries on matters of religion is one of the most interesting developments in Western society. The standard explanation is that the United States remained more religious than Europe because we had separation of religion and state and a religious market place from the get go while in Europe religion suffered from monopoly problems. I’ve never really put much stock in this explanation. European countries might have had state religions but many of them did allow for at least some freedom of religion by the 19th century. The other settler countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand also had freedom of religion from the start but quickly secularized during the mid-20th century. Quebec was a de jure Catholic theocracy until the Quiet Revolution and Ontario was a very Protestant place. Toronto used to be called Toronto the Good because of its strict adherence to Sabbath observance. Canada is just as secular as Europe these days.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      There are a lot of different flavors of secularism. The post-theistic universalism that seems ascendant is really interesting to watch in practice.

      But I say that as someone raised to be one of those weaponized Young Earth Creationists.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Separation of church and state is not a good reason by itself, particularly as many U.S. states had established churches and religious tests for a long time.

      I think an explanation starts with the English-speaking world having higher “tradition” values in the Inglehart–Welzel cultural map, and religion is an aspect of tradition. Many of the early immigrants came for religious reasons during years of religious tumult in Great Britain and Northern Europe, which had largely dissipated by the time the later colonies were really settled.

      Jeffersonian democracy is far less respecting of elite/establishment opinions on religion. Building democratic consensus in the States between heterogenous (Protestant) religious groups led to an armistice, not a hierarchical solution..

      One of the most religious groups in the United States are descendents of slaves, and the historically black churches have remained important. Latinos also identify religion as very important to them. The more people come from third-world countries to the West (and not just the secular elites), the more religious Western countries will become.Report

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Speciation through self-selection in migration patterns.

      Every generation, the most religious in Europe were statistically more likely to emigrate. This dampened the fire slowly over time, and while there are still a lot of believers, they don’t get quite as bent out of shape about e.g. atheist politicians or comedians. However, on the US side, this resulted in a concentrated stream of strong believers. Being from a lot of different places, they didn’t form one monolithic church – and largely supported separation of church and state in places there wasn’t a monoculture, preferring a theologically armed truce to one sect “winning”. But a de facto shift of emphasis from theological differences to social/political similarities has more and more guns pointed outward rather than inward, leading to more strongly defined battle lines in the eternal culture war.

      Now, I’m not married to this idea, and it probably has more wrong than right. I have heard variations of it from both sides of the Atlantic, so it’s not unique to me, and I think there’s a grain of truth there.Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Regarding Texas, today’s Conservatives inability to stick to their own narratives when a bright and shiny object flitters by them never ceases to amaze me.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Its their own fault for suffering for ADHD.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      I’m not really seeing a fluttering off the message here. The people taking away contraception options are the elected government, the people giving out contraception options are the permanent State.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Kolohe says:

        [Hold on one sec, let me just turn my snark up a bit… Okay, I think that’s high enough.]

        That is so 2016.

        I remember a time (either in the early 1800s or just a year or so ago, I can’t remember exactly) when subsidized birth control from the government was so against our firm and unshakable values that we all agreed we would do anything to oppose it. In fact, if memory serves, subsidized birth control was paying women to have sex, which meant that the government was turning girls into prostitutes. It didn’t matter that the initial cost of subsidized birth control was so negligible or that is saved public money over time, it was just that we were standing on a principal of a belief so bedrock that we could not budge.

        But of course, that was back when the ACA was the bright shiny object. Planned Parenthood is the bright shiny object now, so of course conservatives would pass laws giving out free birth control to try to put PP out of business. Because really, why would you expect a foundational bedrock principle from 2014 to mean squat in 2106? Thinking it would hold water in a different news cycle is just a gross misunderstanding of what a foundational bedrock principal is.

        [Okay, turing the snark down again now, before it makes my brain hurt.]Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          Setting aside the question of whether it is wise policy, the following seems to me to be not-inconsistent policy:

          “We want people to have access to contraception, but do not want to give public money to organizations that provide abortions in order to provide the contraception.”

          And that does not seem inconsistent with believing that employers should be able to opt-out of providing birth control coverage on their insurance plans.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

            I think the question is whether they previously really wanted people to have access to contraception or if they thought a lack of access to contraception would prevent the sort of problems that tend to arise when people have a lack of access to contraception.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

              Well, they want to insofar as they are actually working to provide it to people that can’t afford it.

              Not in direct response to you, I did want to link back to the fact that Republicans do not have a moral problem with birth control.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                Then, as @tod-kelly points out, why were there so many objections to government-subsidized access? Or, hell, even teaching about the damn stuff in public schools?

                I think it is clear that there is a sizable portion of the population — which skews right — that thinks (thought?) that if people didn’t have access to contraception or know about its use and effectiveness, they would not have sex. And because this portion of the population had all sorts of… misgivings… about people having sex outside of long-term committed heterosexual adult relationships, they pursued policies that limited education about and access to contraception.

                That they have now realized how wrong they are — and that people are going to have sex and that sex absent access to contraception is going to present real costs — doesn’t excuse or change this history.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                Well, in the case of Texas, have they realized that they were wrong? It seems to me that they’ve been subsidizing it throughout. (The article is more about changing the way they do it so that they can do it more effectively to plug in the gaps.)

                Also, to be clear, I’m not saying that they’re generally in favor of government-subsidizing of it. Some at least are almost certainly opposed to it. Merely that they don’t generally have a moral objection to it the same way they do with abortion.

                That being said, I’m not clear on the last major push for the government to stop subsidizing birth control generally. I remember Defund Planned Parenthood, but that was about the organization rather than birth control per se.

                Which isn’t to say that I missed a different row. And it’s almost certainly the case that some Republicans have said they don’t want it government-funded at all ever.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

                I don’t think we necessarily disagree, Will. I think it is possible that people don’t object morally to birth control but still take issue with it. OR that some Repulicans are okay with it and some are not.

                My sense is that much objection to birth control is less about moral objection and more about the “ickiness” of sex.Report

              • Avatar Zac in reply to Kazzy says:

                Kazzy: My sense is that much objection to birth control is less about moral objection and more about the “ickiness” of sex.

                I actually think the relationship between the two is tighter than that; as far as I can tell, the sort of people who turn out to be so-cons make their moral objections based on what strikes them as icky. Kinda like how their opposite numbers do so based on what strikes them as unfair.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

                To be clear, I do not think that Rs are anti-contraception people who got caught up in the PP hubbub and knee-jerk supported free birth control.

                I think Rs are people who are very pro-birth control, and by and large use it regularly, who knee jerked themselves being anti-contraception when the news cycle told them that would get them air time to pretend to be so.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

                I sorta agree, about the air-time and all. At the root, tho, in my view, is Cleek’s Law, and the irresistible allure of defining yourself exclusively in opposition to the thing which (so you’ve been told!) your political identity requires you to existentially hate.

                More seriously: the Rs – as GOP politicians – are anti-contracepttion because that’s where their own politics have taken them. (~liberal!!!)

                Conservative non-politicians are prolly in general perfectly OK with contraception. (Hence Trump.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                “I’d rather pay for depo shots than schools and prisons. More poor people means bigger government!”Report

              • Where I am coming from is this: It seems frequently that Republican stances that are not, on the first order about birth control, become framed that way. So Texas sort of looks like this to me:

                R: Planned Parenthood performs abortions and we shouldn’t fund them.
                D: They’re a primary access point for women getting birth control!
                R: There are other ways for women to get birth control. This is about abortion.
                {Law passes, other ways of getting birth control to women are beefed up}
                D: Look at the inconsistency! Yesterday they were against birth control and now they’re scrambling to support it!

                This is, again, not to support the wisdom of the law (I’m against it, but even if I weren’t I would not voice that opinion here). But the nature of the argument here presupposes that defunding Planned Parenthood was actually about birth control. And what might be considered evidence that it’s actually more complicated than that is instead recieved as evidence of… I don’t know, dishonesty or inconsistency or something.

                (Having said that, I do concede that there may be a case where birth control was targeted specifically because birth control. Our governments have lots of moving parts and a lot of Republicans are idiots. But in the case of Texas, I am largely seeing a consistency that is consistent with arguments I heard at the time PP defunding was debated at the national level and I assume, but do not know, in Texas as well.)Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

                Parental consent is required for birth control.

                From the article itself; contrasted to Medicaid which requires no consent.

                It is a different approach to the subject matter. Will is right.

                While I personally am in the tiny minority of 15% of Catholics who eschew birth control, the garden variety conservatives including almost all Evangelicals do not. What they have is a different framework for its appropriate application. About that the culture wars revolve.

                To borrow a term from Jaybird, what we’re seeing here is weaponized birth control.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Historically, contraception bans were about upholding a high moral standards against promiscuity, and were mostly only passed in the North and West. The only former Confederate states to have such bans were Arkansas and Mississippi.

                It may useful to use a class framework, rather than religious.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

            That would be a better argument if the cultural battle had stuck to just religious institutions subsidizing BC, and not the government doing it in general.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kolohe says:

        “I’m not really seeing a fluttering off the message here.”

        That’s because you aren’t super-smart like Tod Kelly. You know, he can hear dogwhistles even when people aren’t speaking, that’s how smart he is.Report

  8. Avatar notme says:

    Too bad the Feds have to force Apple to help unlock the terrorist’s iPhone.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2016/02/san-bernardino-apple-shooters-219357Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to notme says:

      Didn’t I hear that future/current apple products will encrypt such that even apple is not capable of getting access? If so, good on them.

      Give the phone to the nsa, i’m sure they have the crypto to break it…eventually. If not, maybe they should focus on that vs hoovering up all my email messages.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Damon says:

        I’ve seen one story that apple claims that the software doesn’t exist to do what the feds want and that they won’t create it.

        http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/02/apple-tim-cook-fbi-hack-san-bernardinoReport

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme says:

          Do they have an obligation to do so, legally, morally, or otherwise?Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy says:

            Morally: no.
            Legally: I’d guess no, especially if the sw doesn’t exist. Frankly, I’d find it hard to believe that the NSA doesn’t have this already.
            Otherwise: no

            Just my opinion.Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy says:

            legally, morally, or otherwise?

            If it exists then I would say yes to legally. I don’t think the feds can legally order them to create something that doesn’t exist, if true. I’d be surprised if Apple hadn’t done it already. The other two are no.Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to notme says:

          Even leaving aside the security risk of Apple creating software to bypass its own encryption (which, as they note, could then get out into the wild), I’d be troubled at the govt. telling any law-abiding person or entity that “you must make [thing that currently does not exist] so that we can use it for our purposes.”

          It wouldn’t be right if it was a physical widget, and it’s not right for software either. It’d be pretty clearly “forced labor”, right?Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Damon says:

        As I understand it, the heart of the iOS storage encryption is a 256-bit random key burned into the dedicated encryption hardware that Apple added to the system design, and accessible only to the encryption hardware. The encryption hardware is incapable of providing external access to the key. Apple says that they keep no record of which key is burned into which devices.

        Given sufficient time and resources, someone like the NSA is no doubt capable of taking the integrated circuit apart to the point where they can read the key off the burned fuses (or whatever non-volatile ROM tech Apple’s design uses — I’m guessing something simple and very robust, since losing a bit would brick the device). Heck, given Apple’s market share, I’d be surprised if the NSA folks haven’t already done it, in case they need it on short notice.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain says:

          I think Apple is being asked to provide a way to bypass the “10 wrong tries and we destroy all your data” bit, not break the encryption itself.Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Morat20 says:

            I believe you are correct, but the principle remains the same – both functions are there to prevent data from being misused, and Apple should not be forcibly tasked with circumventing them.Report

            • Avatar notme in reply to Glyph says:

              Why not force apple to open the phone? Its a legitimate law enforcement interest.Report

            • Avatar Francis in reply to Glyph says:

              yeah, there’s something really discomforting about the All Writs Act (from 1789!) being read to compel a company to task its employees to spend considerable time and money to create a piece of software. I’m not even sure how to approach the analysis — a seizure? a taking?

              Brother Burt, any thoughts on the scope of the compulsion powers of the federal government / judiciary, by the issuance of a writ? Does the writ issue and then Apple goes to the Court of Claims?

              I suppose I could read the briefing, but it is still work hours here in California, and while I’m sick and tired of my workload it still is piled up in front of me.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Francis says:

                I am definitely not a lawyer, but yeah, this seems categorically different from a warrant that simply compels you to provide evidence you already have in your possession (even if you must expend effort gathering it).

                This is like the government forcing a locksmith to invent a new type of lockpick, that as a bonus may eventually put him put of business if (when) the lockpick he was compelled by them to invent falls into the wrong hands.Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to Morat20 says:

            Yes, that’s want the fbi wants.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Michael Cain says:

          That level of effort seems about right. If it’s worth it to spend the money physically destroying the ROM and extracting the key for one person, then it’s worth doing. The problem arises when there’s basically no cost to doing it so they err on the side of reading everybody’s data because it’s free.

          I’m not against Apple having to develop a no-lockout version of the firmware to allow law enforcement to crack the phone assuming it would never get out into the wild or be abused, but that seems unlikely. The good news is that it will at least still require a brute force step after the firmware is loaded. If it’s sufficiently onerous (and not just software running through a 16 bit counter in a few milliseconds), hopefully it will be expensive enough to prevent fishing expeditions. If it requires a custom hardware bot to poke the soft keys on the screen, so much the better.Report

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