Linky Friday #187: Your Money Or Your Life


Will Truman

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

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243 Responses

  1. Avatar notme says:

    C1: Wow, solving crime without more gun laws. How novel.

    C5: The link is wrongReport

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to notme says:

      Now we can add “Use the tools you have” to the mantra of “enforce the laws already on the books”.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I’m a bit taken aback by this passage: “The theory underlying NIBIN — that every gun leaves its own fingerprint — has never been scientifically proven.”Report

        • Avatar notme in reply to PD Shaw says:

          Can’t the same same thing be be said about real human fingerprints and yet they are widely accepted?Report

          • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to notme says:

            Most fingerprint evidence is accepted by courts and inexpensive to collect, whereas the gist of the article is that law enforcement agencies don’t want to spend the money for the machines and processing. Its not helpful that they don’t know whether the product will be admissible evidence. It could lead to admissible evidence, so it may not be utterly valueless, but I think companies selling forensic tools have often financially supported using their products through court cases as a demonstration of how their product would get results.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to PD Shaw says:

              After the Natonal Academy of Sciences report from several years ago I think there are pretty serious questions about whether quite a few of the forensic identification techniques currently accepted by courts should continue to be. Maybe this particular tool is a good one and maybe not but I think skepticism is warranted for any seemingly magical means of identifying weapons used in crimes.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to notme says:

            Not really. We have a pretty good statistical handle on the uniqueness of fingerprints using various matching algorithms. What’s harder to quantify is how accurate we are at matching latent prints to high-quality prints captured at booking time. That’s much harder to get a handle on because the sample is much smaller, there’s no ground truth that you can go back to, and the final matching is adjudicated by people in courtrooms rather than by computers using the same algorithm every time.

            The gun “fingerprinting” problem should actually be much easier to get our hands around. The difference between lab quality fingerprints and latent prints in the field is usually enormous, so applying lab results to latent print examination isn’t easy. The difference between a casing kicked out in a lab environment and one kicked out in the field and left to rest on the ground is probably nonzero, but it’s a lot smaller than it is for fingerprints. There are also a lot of geometric problems that are present in fingerprints (they’re weirdly shaped and they deform when pressed against stuff) that aren’t present when you’re measuring scratches on a geometrically regular object. The theory seems sound and it should be possible to come up with good software that does the matching very accurately, provided they spend the time and money required to statistically characterize their results.

            I spent 10 years doing biometrics software and hardware for government contractors, and this one seems like a much easier kill than most of the others. Hopefully they can get it right. But they probably won’t bother to characterize it accurately even though in this case they actually can. It has been pretty easy to sell forensic tools that aren’t well characterized to the public (polygraphs, bite marks, etc.), so why go through the cost of it now?Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

              Even if it’s true that it’s less of a stretch to match a fingerprint than a casing I think your post underscores the problem with a lot of forensic science when used to obtain a conviction for criminal conduct. There’s a big difference between what humans and our technology are theoretically capable of doing in ideal circumstances and what tends to happen in big bureaucratic systems with limited resources and all kinds of incentives that are inconsistent with scientific rigor.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to InMD says:

                Right. The big failure is not, “How accurate is the metric?” and more, “Do the people using the metric understand how accurate it is and what that means for their application in a statistical sense?” As @oscar-gordon points out elsewhere, most people don’t even get what it means to do a 1:1 comparison versus a 1:many comparison. Juries are usually unequipped to evaluate those questions or understand the answers provided by experts.

                I can quote you a statistic like, “This match score would be produced randomly by roughly 1 in every 1,000 non-matching comparisons,” but without more information about what you’re trying to do with the match, it’s hard to tell whether that’s good news or bad news.

                But I do think that we could at least get to where a statistic like that would be a true statement rather than a WAG. Which is substantially more than we ever got out of, say, bite mark evidence. To my knowledge, nobody has any idea what the true baseline statistics are for it because it was always a tea-leaf reading art rather than a repeatable procedure that was ever statistically characterized. Or at least, as soon as anybody tried to start to characterize it, the whole thing fell apart like toilet paper under a fire hose.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

                High school math should be Geometry, Algebra, and stats. Or at least a good deal of basic stats as part of the Algebra curriculum.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                High school math should include lots of dice. And gambling.
                You do have to pay for math teachers somehow.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                So wait, are people entitled to a jury of their peers or not?Report

              • Avatar Pillsy in reply to PD Shaw says:

                In the US, people are entitled to an impartial jury, not a jury of “their peers”.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Couple different related points here:

        The cartridge ‘fingerprint’ shouldn’t be accepted as firm forensic evidence of identification. What I mean is that if police were to go to their local shooting range and start collecting the spent brass buckets to put into the system, that would generate massive false positives.

        However, if we operate under the 80/20 theory of shootings in an urban area (that 80% of the shootings are done by 20% of the violent persons in the area – or some other similar ratio), then using the ‘fingerprint’ is a valid investigatory tool. It would never, in my mind, be sufficient on it’s own as evidence of a shooting, but if it works to help police find other evidence that gets them to a conviction, then that’s a good thing and police should be using it, and we should be not only encouraging our local PDs to use it, but also telling the BATFE that it needs to find ways to make using the system less painful for LEAs.

        As for actual fingerprints, they should be falling out of favor as a key identifying bit of evidence. Not because they are insufficiently unique, but because the likelihood that police will lift a print of sufficient quality to match it to a recorded print is small at best, and when coupled with the degree of human error present in fingerprint matching (CSI lies, most police don’t have computers that can scan and match prints, they do it by eye, with a magnifying glass). So again, a fingerprint can serve to give police an investigatory lead, but by itself it is insufficient to positively link a person to a crime. Police detectives should not only know this, but they should also understand the probabilities at play, both in general, and with any specific print based upon it’s quality and the quality and time differential of a recorded print.

        Finally, that time differential I just mentioned is key. About the only evidence police can get that does not significantly change over time is DNA (and I’m not 100% on that). Fingertips get cut and damaged and scarred all the time, so while the shape of the print remains constant, the unique characteristics, the ridges and voids, etc., will necessarily change over time. Same with cartridge and other ballistic identifiers. Firearms wear, and get damaged, and have parts replaced, so any uniqueness that can be identified is fleeting, unless the weapon is, after it’s used, stored in oil and never fired again.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Unfortunately, it does not seem that a firm grounding in statistics is necessarily part of legal education, and certainly not part of qualification to sit on a jury.

          A “1 in 10,000 match” in a city of a million does not mean a 99.99% certainty that this is the person who left the print; it means that there are likely around 100 people in town who could have left a particular print – so, absent other compelling evidence, it means a 99% certainty you’ve got the wrong person. But it’s an easy mistake to make.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to dragonfrog says:

            Like I said, I wouldn’t call a fingerprint match definitive proof. It should be treated as part of a pool of evidence that can establish guilt.

            If judges had better understanding of the statistical realities of certain evidence, they’d be less inclined to allow such evidence to be represented as conclusive.Report

        • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          My understanding of biometrics in general — fingerprints, face and voice recognition, retina, iris, etc, excluding DNA — is that it’s akin to a box full of cotton balls. There’s a certain amount of noise in the measurements themselves and inevitable overlap between individuals. So trying to identify an individual from a biometric characteristic necessarily requires a certain looseness to the matching algorithm and, inevitably, a few false positives as well.

          The best use, in general, is in identity verification, where someone presents a badge or id, or otherwise claims to be a certain person and then the biometric characteristic is matched against the existing customer/employee/etc database and deemed 99+% likely to be who they claim to be. That would be a Mission Impossible sort of thing to fake (peel off fingerprints or contact lenses or whatever).

          I would suspect the cartridge scanning thing is very similar.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Road Scholar says:


            Exactly. A fingerprint is not proof of guilt. A matching fingerprint, plus a busted alibi, plus a motive, plus other evidence, is possibly proof.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Road Scholar says:

            That depends pretty heavily on the biometric. Fingerprinting has a pretty substantial overlap, even with fairly good images. It’s perfectly fine for locking your cell phone or front door, but you can’t use a single fingerprint as a badge in / out system for a large office campus (thousands of people) without getting a bunch of mismatches per day. But it’s also the only biometric that people leave smeared all over the place wherever they go, which gives it a particular practicality that most others won’t have until we have ubiquitous Big Brother style high res cameras.

            Retina scanning is pretty much dead because it’s not especially practical. Iris scanning is extraordinarily accurate (see pages 8 and 9 here and would produce false matches under only the most extreme conditions, but people don’t leave latent iris prints lying around, and you can’t easily capture iris images incidentally like you can with face images.

            I’m hearing good things about the state of the art in face recognition (when combined with skin texture analysis, for example), but I don’t have much in the way of practical experience and hard data. When I was deep in it, face recognition was more of a fun trick for flaky 1:1 comparisons rather than something practical. Computers couldn’t do 1:many with much reliability and humans were far better at 1:1 matching than computers were.

            I think that brass casing scans would have a lot of the good things that make iris scanning very accurate but with a much lower information density. Definitely useful for a 1:1 match and for lead generation. I’d be surprised to find it accurate enough to go on useful fishing expeditions at the local gun range, though.

            I did do some work in “spoofing” some of the systems and I’m fairly convinced that there’s nothing yet that can practically be used for high-security unattended matching. It’s trivial to make yourself unmatchable and not especially hard to create false matches if you know what equipment you’re going up against. Most countermeasures against those attacks are to have a human check you out to make sure you’re not trying anything funny.Report

  2. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    M2: This piece has been roundly–and properly–mocked. She published a novel, got some nice reviews, and thought she was the next J. K. Rowling and quit her day job. And then did… what? The book tour routine, apparently. Then wait for those giant royalty checks to roll in? It becomes less clear. There is no mention of starting on a second book.

    This is the equivalent of noting how large the mega-millions jackpot has grown, buying a ticket, and quitting your job expecting to live off your winnings. There’s a step missing in there.

    Note also that this is after getting an advance for her first book, and attracting the notice of the New York Friggin’ Times book review section. This is the publishing equivalent of starting at second, advancing to third, and standing there wondering what to do next.

    Reading between the lines only slightly, she got her advance and wrote that first book while still working her day job, i.e. was living off of two incomes. Upon publication, she quit her job, and the book never paid off its advance, i.e. she now was bringing in zero incomes. And yet she was surprised to find that she still had bills to pay.

    Talk to people whose primary source of income is writing and they will tell you that unless you are in fact J. K. Rowling (and your aren’t, and aren’t going to be) it is all about volume. (Or, if you prefer, volumes.) Keep cranking out the books in rapid succession and you have a shot at earning a living wage. Slow down, and you will have to go back to work.

    The thing is, if you aren’t doing that you aren’t a full-time professional writer: you are a hobbyist. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I currently am writing a book, for which I have a signed contract from a reputable publisher. I didn’t receive an advance, but this means I will earn royalties from the first sale on. I do not expect the total amount to be large. I am not including it in my household budget. Whatever it is will be pure gravy: it might pay for a nice dinner out, or perhaps a nice vacation or (more likely) a supplement to the kids’ college fund. If I hit a home run, I might be able to afford a fantastic week of hookers and blow. But I’m not quitting my day job, because I am not a full-time professional writer and I know it.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


      I’ve noticed a lot of my artist friends posted this cartoon a few years ago:

      On one level I am sympathetic because I don’t think people respect artists even if they listen, read, play or watch some form of art and entertainment nearly everyday.

      On another level, I find this cartoon deeply naive. The reason people go into business and eventually become CEOs is because they want to make money. The same is true for many lawyers and doctors (though there are also people who enter those professions for altruistic or political reasons.)

      There is something about the cartoon that strokes a inner-libertarian in me because of its denial of psychic benefits (which a career in arts do provide) and basic lessons from Adam Smith.

      So there is something in artists where they feel like it should be just like any other profession and job and they somehow ignore market realities (a lot of people don’t buy books sadly) and giving people what they want.

      Don’t get me started on someone I knew who wished there were “mandatory” (her words) art classes for adults because she really wanted to use crayons that day. I held my tongue but was really tempted to write. “You are an adult. You can draw with crayons all you want. You just need to find the time to do so and it might mean making a trade-off. Let me tell you about opportunity costs.”Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Other jobs do have the sort of dynamic that the cartoon talks about. In the blue collar world they’re called apprentices, in the white collar world they’re called interns.

        Now, yes, I happen to think that labor without getting paid cash money of any sort is bull hooey, even if you’re getting ‘paid’ in exposure, training, networking, or whatevs.

        But if you don’t want to engage in such a exchange, then simply don’t do it. Don’t whine about it.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kolohe says:

          Interns can be paid and in fancier businesses are often paid very well for something that can amount to summer camp for college or professional school students. Cushy, paid, and often not-too stressful internships seem to be part of the courting experience at the top of the pile based on anecdotal stories.

          That being said, I’ve argued for the same thing about not taking jobs that don’t pay and received pushback from artist friends about the need/compulsion to act, have plays produced, etc. Mainly on the acting front.

          Perhaps this means I was never a true artist? I saw the likelihood of getting paid, decided it was none, continued with my grad degree for a sense of closure, and moved on without much regret.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            artist friends about the need/compulsion to act, have plays produced, etc.

            This is why we have community theater. The problem here is not that there aren’t opportunities to act, or do whatever it is you find fulfilling. The problem is that some people persist in pretending that their hobby is how they are going to pay the bills.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

              I admit to being a bit snobby against community theatre because often the acting range is all over the map and that grates me. I’ve seen professional productions with performances I felt were bad but I see it more so in community theatre.

              There is also the type of work that gets done. Community Theatre tends to be about producing “You Can’t Take It With You” or “The Sound of Music” or some other chestnut for the one millionth time and I hate it. Or as the musical theatre guy said to me in grad school “you get (understand) Beckett.” He admitted that he did not get Beckett.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I admit to being a bit snobby against community theatre because often the acting range is all over the map and that grates me.

                Well, sure: whaddaya expect, if you don’t pay them?

                But seriously, if the situation is that you need actors who can commit to the play full time, but you don’t have them funding to pay them such that this can be their primary source of income, then you have a dilemma.

                That’s the nice thing about writing as a hobby. It calls for blocks of uninterrupted time to concentrate, but the blocks can be worked into the nooks and crannies of your schedule. Group projects such as theater or musical ensembles don’t have that flexibility.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                That’s because those are cheap. (Not “cheap to perform” but “cheap to license so you can perform”).

                God help you if you happen to be planning for next year or the year after and before you purchase the rights, you find a broadway revival underway. (The cost skyrockets). I

                I know our local high school and local theater company are very, very, very particular about acquiring the rights. I get the impression that’s not always the case.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Morat20 says:

                This part can’t be undersold as a factor in the choices small theaters make about the shows they put on. My former school was PK-9 with upper schoolers (7th/8th/9th) putting on an annual musical with middle schoolers (4th/5th/6th) in minor support roles. The audience was other students and family members… maybe a few community members. No tickets were sold. And we still had to secure rights which severely limited our options once price was factored in.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                You often criticize people for being hostile towards or indifferent to your preferred forms of entertainment. And then you criticize community theater… one of the most accessible forms of performing arts out there.

                Think about that…Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Nothing I can object to here. You can make a living as an actor but it could be more in the 40,000-60,000 USD range a year. Many do. Many also do not.

          If I were teaching acting, I would advise them to get a skill besides waiting tables or being a bartender. I know a few actors who also are licensed real estate brokers, or translators, or editors. This pays well and allows freelancing or changing schedules. I understand why actors don’t want to be chained to a 9-5 job but I don’t understand why so many seem to think that being a waiter or bar tender is the best they can do workwise for bill paying.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            See: Jeremy Renner (make-up artist)Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Which was a great choice because it gave him access and he eventually became one of the really well-paid actors.

              FWIW there are plenty of late bloomer stories in acting and art in general. Gene Hackman was a nobody until his late 30s or early 40s and was still a bit of an unknown when the French Connection came out. Dustin Hoffman also found success in his 30s and not his 20s. IIRC Hackman worked as a doorman for a fancy apartment building in NYC until he was about 38.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I think Jon Hamm was a set dresser on softcore movies. Said it was just depressing as all getout.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Aaron David says:

                One of my favorite Jon Hamm career retrospectives was when he did the Nerdist Celebrity Bowling YouTube show and every time he went up to bowl, people were heckling him with his older IMDB entries.

                “I loved you as Handsome Guy #2!”

                “You were great at Handsome Waiter!”

                “I’ll never forget you as Handsome Emergency Room Doctor!”Report

      • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        The cartoon’s inclusion of a lab scientist amuses me, given the experiences of my friends who have tried to go that direction professionally.Report

      • My attitude toward that cartoon is similar to Saul’s.

        There’s another angle, too. Some artists–not all, by any means and perhaps not the ones who link things like that cartoon–conceive of their art in opposition to the norms of current society. If they were paid as doctors, lawyers, and CEO’s were, they’d be more in conformity with those norms (or the norms would have conformed to their values), so they’d no longer be in opposition, but conservative defenders of the status quo.

        I ran into that sometimes back when I did a lot of open mic poetry. Many in my little community liked to say that poets should be paid better and be better valued by society. But some of those same people seemed to make an idol of being non-conformist, of resisting the strictures and structures that our society and perhaps any society exacts on the individual. They also seemed to assume that a society in which poets and poetry were more valued would be more humane and less cruel. I doubt that. I don’t wish to be too hard on them, though, and there was a time when I kind of agreed with them.Report

    • Keep cranking out the books in rapid succession and you have a shot at earning a living wage. Slow down, and you will have to go back to work.

      Which is a good part of the Heinlein rules in W2. Charlie Stross is a successful contemporary SFF author (successful in the sense of six-figure advances). If you read his blog regularly, one of the things that sticks out is just how hard he works at keeping the pipeline full.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain says:

        John Scalzi does not appear to let the grass grow under his feet either, and just got a multi-million dollar contract from (I think) Tor.

        It was for something like 10 books, in a specified time frame. Came out to be a very nice six-figures per book thing, but to keep it he’s got to, you know, produce.Report

  3. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    W1: This was a better piece than I anticipated. Yes, she clearly was insufferable, though I’m not sure for the reasons she thought. But I can relate. Here is my true confession:

    Many years ago, in the late 1980s, I was living in a small town without a whole lot to do. I knew a guy who was on the volunteer fire department and he suggested I check it out. So I ended up as a volunteer firefighter. It was a good experience, and I commend it to anyone with the time and suitably located. But the thing is, fire departments are very blue collar. So there I was, a college grad who was bookish even by college grad standards, trying desperately to fit in. I cringe in retrospect. Fortunately, they collectively figured me out and were OK with that. One of the senior guys took me aside and essentially told me to stop trying so hard, and that being a bookish college grad was OK with them. I ended up doing stuff like helping one of them through the math, studying for his engineer’s license. (It turns out you need to know stuff like back pressure from various lengths of hose of various diameters.)

    The author of this piece seems to have gone through something similar. Yes, she was insufferable, but so was I, when I was going through this.

    On a related note, the whole hipster start-up culture thing always struck me as awful. It is a variant of an older pattern where the employer uses the language of family. No, we aren’t a family. For one thing, you can’t fire your family. You can cut off ties with them, but they are still your family, and in any case the threshold to do that is a whole lot higher than for firing an employee. I see the whole “we are family” shtick as cynical manipulation of the employer/employee relationship for the employer’s advantage. The start-up version tends more toward a “we are your circle of cool friends” vibe, but the purpose is similar. Since we are your cool friends, why would you possibly want to spend time away from us?Report

    • Ah, but only so late in life, and after so many such misadventures, to so many of us learn how to be comfortable being ourselves, even around others who are different from us. It’s a difficult lesson to absorb, and difficult to stick to. Worse, there are people who will reject you for being different, which makes doing it a risk. But mostly, it’s a better recipe for happiness than trying to be someone you aren’t.

      Unless you’re an asshole. Then, yes, you should change.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      I never quite had anyone pull the “we are family” routine on me, and yeah, it would strike me as terrible.

      Of course, to 22-year-olds it might seem different. They are going to form groups with other office people because they are just getting started with all that stuff.

      I guess in a situation like that it’s more important to send the message “I like you” rather than “I am like you”.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:


      I said this below but I had jobs that demanded really long hours and did not come with any perks like beer, food, a gym, or game rooms.

      So if I had to work long hours, I can see why those perks can seem nice.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to me that beer and game rooms are inconsistent with those long hours. Unless the long hours are really just putting in face time to avoid the ignominy of leaving before your boss does. But if the point is that there is work that needs to be completed before I leave, chemically reduced mental faculties and temptations to do stuff other than finish the damn job seem counterproductive. Free food would be nice, though.Report

        • Sometimes, if you take a fifteen minute break, you can actually get it done faster than if you work straight through. Foosball gives you an opportunity to do so without going down the Internet rabbithole. (Errr, smoking is also good for this.)

          Beer is a weirder thing, but I’m not a beer person.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          You haven’t seen some of the creations that beer and coding make possible. Some people are significantly more creative with a beer or two in them. [That’s a BAD IDEA kinda gets squelched by “what if it works!”]

          Game rooms and beer are consistent with teambuilding… and when you’re spending 20 hours a day at the lab, you gotta love not just your work, but your team.Report

        • @richard-hershberger

          There’s an importance difference with any job that involves coding – downtime. Its common to have periods where your computer is working and it may not be possible to do any work for half an hour or even for a couple of hours.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      I love the ‘family’ bit from large corporations. You want me to be family, then don’t lay me off so you can make your quarterly targets. I’ve said it before, I have zero sympathy for employers who bemoan the lack of employee loyalty when they can’t be bothered to show any in return.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    C2: I wonder if they put the confiscated breast milk in their coffee.

    C3: I have to admit that police unions present a lot of problem for liberals. We like unions and how the stand up for the rights of the employed but we deplore the problems plaguing police departments in the United States. Police unions acted as unions should act tend to exasperate police problems and make reform difficult.

    C4: Zero tolerance is a bad policy because schools just punish indiscriminately without thinking through whether punishment is warranted for a particular student or situation,

    M1: This is what you get when you don’t have a proper welfare system and universal Pre-K because of a constant seeking of low taxes. You sometimes end up with even greater expenses for private individuals on essential services.

    M4: A shockingly high percentage of couples seem to keep a lot of basic information about their lives secret from the other person in the relationship apparently. I learned this from working as a lawyer.

    M6: Its tempting to make fun of this as the ultimate first world problem but it makes sense. Very intelligent people have similar problems. When your very different from everybody else because of having a lot of wealth or anything else that makes it difficult to relate to more ordinary people than you can feel very socially isolated.

    N5: Slate had a counter-argument that you shouldn’t really worry about this because all of the endangered bee species live on Hawaii and none of them are honeybees, the type needed for pollination.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

      C3: We represent a bunch of police officers in disability cases. One large jurisdiction around here is particularly notorious for screwing over its own people. Most of these cases are referrals from the union, since we are one of the few offices with experience with the peculiarities of the disability process. But yeah, what you said.

      M4: How do these people do their taxes? Are they all filing separately? I know exactly how much my wife makes, if only because I do our taxes. As it happens, we earn roughly the same amount. One will be slightly higher than the other, depending on who got the recent raise. Those years I earn more I tell her she has to be nice to me. So she knows how much I make, too.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        M4: The study was of households w/ income over $75,000 and at least $100,000 in investments. One out of ten were off by at least $25,000 in guessing their spouses earnings. Probably all top quintile households with less frequent W-2 income.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        I know within a few percentage points what my wife makes*, and I know the answer dead on every year when I do our taxes, but beyond that, we’re both pretty hands-off with money. We have a shared account, but we also each have our own accounts where we deposit our earnings. We handle a separate set of bills (just a division of attention/labor) and we’re each responsible for managing different credit cards (even though for every credit card account, we each have a card).

        The primary reason is that it makes for no surprises. You never find an account overdrawn because somebody paid a bill at a weird time or did some car repair or something like that. We each manage a local cache and then what’s left over goes into the big account in the sky as long-term savings. Pulling from that account requires discussion. As long as we’re both putting about the right amount of money into the shared account, details are generally ignored.

        This probably doesn’t work for everybody. We both make about the same amount of money, neither one of us is an impulsive spender who needs oversight, and our overall income is comfortably above our expenses. If any of that wasn’t true, our system might be a recipe for disaster. But it’s been working for 11 years, so we never evolved out of it.

        * I have to admit that this is ignoring stock grants. With the rolling vesting schedule and the ups and downs of the market on vesting, that number varies wildly and we tend to treat it as long term savings rather than actual cashflow.Report

        • We have a shared account, but we also each have our own accounts where we deposit our earnings. We handle a separate set of bills (just a division of attention/labor) and we’re each responsible for managing different credit cards (even though for every credit card account, we each have a card).

          That’s roughly the arrangement my wife and I have, except that we’re technically on each other’s bank accounts, in case we need to draw off it. It works for us.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

      As I’ve said before, police unions should be forced to stick to issues that are strictly employment related. Allowing unions to have any voice at all regarding actions or investigations beyond labor issues grants them too much power.Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to LeeEsq says:

      OK, on your C2 observation, that is just gross.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

      M4: I wonder to what extent is it a shockingly high percentage of people, vs just a shockingly high percentage of people who end up needing the services of a lawyer to settle matters in their personal lives.

      When we had to take kiddo to the NICU, a NICU nurse said something about how she only ever saw home births “gone wrong”, to which Fledermaus pointed out that she works in a NICU so by that standard she only ever sees hospital births “gone wrong”. This significant sampling bias had honestly not occurred to the nurse.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

      This is what you get when you don’t have a proper welfare system and universal Pre-K because of a constant seeking of low taxes.

      This is your regular reminder that total (federal+state+local) government spending as a percentage of GDP is higher than at any year prior to 2009, with military spending as a percentage of GDP nearly the lowest it’s been since before World War II, and with real GDP per-capita at an all-time high. As of 2011, social expenditures per capita in PPP terms are higher than in Iceland, Canada, and the UK, and only 7% less than in the Netherlands. If you’re not happy with the way the money is being spent, it’s a question of priorities, not total spending.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The article in M6 [problems of the obscenely wealthy] makes some missteps. Or rather, some of the people the article quotes do. The “I am not necessarily comparing it to what people of color have to go through, but…” is, well, necessarily comparing it to what people of color have to go through.

      That said, I agree with Lee’s take on the issue. It is easy to make fun of something like that without acknowledging that there are real problems these people face. And while few of us here are “obscenely” wealthy, I’d wager that a strong majority of us at OT are very wealthy compared to most people in the world. And, albeit less confidently, I’d wager that on average the people at OT are better off than most Americans. Our first world problems of alienation and being misunderstood seem just as urgent to us as such problems seem to the “obscenely rich.”

      There are more effective and less effective ways of talking about it, though, and that goes back to the missteps I mention above. I get VERY annoyed when affluent people don’t acknowledge where they are fortunate. (Just as some people get VERY annoyed when I don’t make such acknowledgements.) They (and I) have more choices than the average person does. At the same time, though, that goes to not having a good way to talk about the problems, which is what that article is ultimately pointing at.

      Full disclosure: I’m not part of the “obscenely” wealthy, but I’m pretty well-off, probably in the top 1/3. While my circumstances used to be much more modest than they are now, they were never poverty-levels of modest.Report

  5. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    M5: I feel this piece missed a very important part of the New Coke story: high-fructose corn syrup. The switch to New Coke was also a switch to corn syrup sweetener instead of sugar. They do not taste the same. When they introduced Coca-Cola Classic, it still used corn syrup. My wife, being a crazy Cokaholic, could tell the difference. This is why “Mexican Coke” is popular in boutique eateries around here – it uses sugar, not corn syrup.

    The marketing was a disaster, yes. But Vox left out a big motivator for what they were doing – switching to corn syrup because it’s considerably cheaper.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    W1: One of the things that strikes me about many tech companies (especially start-ups) is how young everyone is. Being in your early to mid-30s can really make you one of the oldest people in the company. This is very different from any law firm I have ever worked at. The tech scene is insufferable and all the cool toys are clearly ways to get you to stay late and work hard. Yet on the other hand, I’ve had jobs that demanded a lot of hours and didn’t come with any cool start-up perks so…..

    W6: I think Matt Y in his very Matt Y way is missing the point about why people like small and independent businesses over big chains like Wal-Mart (at least in certain circles.) Small and independent businesses are supposed to be more original and fitting into the needs of the community. Independent businesses provide variety and character. I suppose Matt Y (and many others) would tell people to just get over it and not care about these things but Matt Y has also written about how he is very anti-retail and just wants to tear it all down and make it something else. Matt Y doesn’t strike me as a guy who cares about aesthetics or local character very much.

    Even in neighborhoods with a lot of independent shops, there are strong debates and arguments about who a neighborhood is for. Hayes Valley is a neighborhood in SF. The commercial parts of the neighborhood are expensive boutiques for clothing, jewelry, and furniture, a framing store, and bars and restaurants. The restaurants tend to be on the expensive side. There are also some cultural options. There is one convenience store that falls short of a full grocery and some cafes for coffee. When one of the expensive boutiques closed down, I remember a community forum where people complained about wanting a store for people who lived in Hayes Valley instead of another expensive boutique. They did not get their wish.

    Contrast this to 24th Street in SF which seems like a classic High Street meant for residents and it does have clothing stores but it also has options for food shopping (possibly the world’s smallest Whole Foods) and other community-residential needs.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Hardware stores. If a neighborhood has a bunch of trendy boutiques, but no place to buy a washer for your kitchen faucet, then the businesses aren’t for the residents. At least this used to be my standard, back when small local hardware stores were a thing. The big box “home improvement” chains have largely taken over this space, so there is not much hope of buying that replacement washer without getting in the car and driving.Report

      • I grew up in an apartment building (yes, you can grow up in an apartment, we even had a dog). Within two a blocks walk we had bakeries (plural – three) , pharmacies (two), a very good bookstore, a toy store, a dry cleaner, a hardware store, a fairly big grocery store, a pizza parlor, a coffee shop, two women clothes boutiques, and a couple assorted little general stores of no particular descriptionReport

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        I live in walking distance of three hardware stores. Well the best one is a healthy walk but I like walking.

        Interestingly there are a few hardware stores in downtown SF in the business district. I guess people pick stuff up on the way home.

        FWIW I don’t use the hardstore very often as a renter. The last thing I got there was a bulb for my fridge when the old one needed replacing.

        But the big concerns for locals seems to be some everyday restaurants, decent grocery stores without being super pricey, and maybe a book store for the literary inclined.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I don’t know if it was a typo, but I like the term hardstore. I will start using that.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I went from being a renter to being a homeowner not long before I went from being a commuter to being a work-from-homer. The Big Brother tracking on an Android phone estimates your commute by watching your daily schedule. My phone decided that I worked at Home Depot and started to warn me that I should leave for work in the morning to beat traffic.

          Then again, that’s one of the more sensible conclusions the automatic profiling that Google does for me has come to.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        I love the small hardware store. From the Mom & Pops to the Ace, Do-It, & Tru Value kinds of stores, to larger regionals, like Menards or Mclendons. I hit Home Despot or Lowe’s because they are the closest, but any excuse I can find to head to a smaller shop, I’ll take.


        Because the smaller shops always have some strange and wonderful eclectic stock, as well as an almost guaranteed stock of a wide range of basic hardware. The big box places only carry the most common hardware selection, and if they happen to have stuff less common, it’s a very limited supply (like, less than 10 pcs limited supply). Things that are very uncommon or rare are just not there.Report

    • I think Matt Y in his very Matt Y way is missing the point about why people like small and independent businesses over big chains like Wal-Mart (at least in certain circles.) Small and independent businesses are supposed to be more original and fitting into the needs of the community. Independent businesses provide variety and character….Matt Y doesn’t strike me as a guy who cares about aesthetics or local character very much.

      That last sentence seems a little ad hominem-y to me. Maybe he’s aesthetically challenged or whatever, but that point–along with the point about the other merits of independence businesses over big chain stores–doesn’t address the point Yglesias was trying to make, which was about wages and opportunities for workers.

      While I don’t have a cite-and maybe this is therefore more anecdotal than I realize–at least some of the arguments made in favor of smaller employers over larger ones seem to claim that smaller are better for workers. And one of the arguments against some chains–I’m more confidant this is not merely anecdotal–is that they underpay their workers. Yglesias is pushing back against those arguments and is just not addressing the other ones you mention.

      Maybe “the point” really is neighborhood aesthetics and local community values. If that is the point, though, then I guess it’s less important or less relevant how the workers are treated or compensated or what opportunities smaller establishments provide for workers. Or if not less important and less relevant, then its importance and relevance competes with aesthetics, etc.

      I know from other things you have written that you care about workers, too, and you would probably incorporate a discussion of workers’ treatment and opportunities into your preferred notion of neighborhood/local values. I’d say anyone who insists on one thing–for example, neighborhood values and “aesthetics” on the one hand or workers’ wages on the other–is leaving some very important considerations to the wayside.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    M5: What struck me most about this story is that a Newspaper columnist was able to get away with what might be a not-so-veiled homophobic slur against Pepsi and pepsi-drinkers “sugar-plum fairy gag juice.” Especially in contrast to calling Coke “daddy juice”

    Today that kind of language would probably be a no-go.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      In 1985, the 90s hadn’t happened yet.

      That said, even assuming he meant it that way, there’s a hell of a lot of plausible deniability built in. It’s entirely possible that he just meant that it was too sweet.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Yes, I’m sure he was accusing Pepsi of being a beverage for homosexuals. (Yeesh.) Kids like sweet things and believe in fairies. “Sugar-plum fairy gag juice” is a brilliant turn of phrase. Contrasting it with “daddy juice” is even better. Remember that Pepsi was being sold as the choice of a new generation.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Pinky says:

        Wikipedia discusses what really went wrong with New Coke, a lesson that the company should have learned in the focus groups:

        “The results of the taste tests were strong – the sweeter cola overwhelmingly beat both regular Coke and Pepsi. Then tasters were asked if they would buy and drink it if it were Coca-Cola. Most said yes, they would, although it would take some getting used to. A small minority, about 10–12%, felt angry and alienated at the very thought, saying that they might stop drinking Coke altogether. Their presence in focus groups tended to skew results in a more negative direction as they exerted indirect peer pressure on other participants.”

        This played out in the real world. Some people liked New Coke, but a small group of people took it as an insult and got vocal about it.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Pinky says:

        I always thought “daddy juice” was a euphemism for booze. As someone who’s consumed probably less than a gallon or two of sweetened soda in my entire adult life, I’m having trouble seeing how any soda pop could be considered a drink specifically for grown men.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          My father drinks whiskey and Coke, which accounts for pretty much all of his cola purchasing.

          I’m not anti-Coke or against mixed drinks, but pouring it onto any sort of whiskey makes no more sense to me than squeezing a tube of toothpaste into your glass instead.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

            That might be a generational thing, as my father drank whiskey coke also, while I tend toward straight whiskey.Report

            • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Aaron David says:

              It definitely feels generational. Of the people my age I know who drink any sort of whiskey or whiskey-based cocktail, none of them ever drink it with cola.

              I’m curious about what causes a shift like that. Generational differences in US beer consumption make perfect sense. The list of beers my father’s generation had available are just a tiny fraction of what’s available now. But the popular American whiskey producers have largely been around for 100+ years making a pretty similar product, so tastes in whiskey and whiskey drinks are more cultural drift.

              It looks like rye is a big thing now (which I’m all for since good rye can be fabulous), evidenced by the fact that at the last couple of spirits events I’ve gone to, there’s a huge proliferation of brand new, horrible rye available to taste. Before that it was bourbon, then tequila, then vodka (going back in time by memory). Those trends seem to be moving way faster than by generation.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Aaron David says:

              What kind of whiskey was he mixing the coke with? Folks I knew who mixed whiskey with a sweet soft drink weren’t mixing it with top shelf whiskey. It was the cheap crap.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                My father’s preferred mixing whiskey is Kessler, which is extremely cheap but not unpalatable (and much better than most others at its price point). It’s not a complex whiskey, but it’s not unpleasant to sip and I don’t think that mixing it with cola improves it. I can see using it in any number of cocktails. I just don’t get the cola thing. It’s just a weird mix of flavors to me.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Dad was a Jim Beam kinda guy.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Perhaps it’s an acquired taste, then.

                I love a good scotch, but I also have an affinity for Scotch Old Fashioned Sweet, from my youth, when I was still learning to handle alcohol. Sometimes I still enjoy one.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I never liked scotch, but I love Irish. The wife loves good cognac, but I pretty much never touch anything wine based.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Aaron David says:

                I never liked scotch, but I love Irish.

                That is simply bizarre.Report

              • I never liked scotch, but I love Irish.

                Me too. Sometimes a friend will pour me a glass of expensive Scotch, and my completely honest reaction would be “Yes, that is somewhat less nasty than the cheap stuff.”Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                For me, it was the type of scotch. I’m a highland guy. Too much peat like in laphroig (sp) is too much. And I am a sucker for aging in various barrels-port pipes, sherry barrels, etc.

                I also love me some good irish. And bourbon too. Jefferson’s is good and so is their “ocean” variant.Report

              • Perhaps it’s an acquired taste, then.

                I don’t remember ever not liking bourbon (although I’m getting up there and old memories seem to be disappearing occasionally). The earliest exposure I can remember is when I was about 12, and Grandpa Cain was more than a little surprised that I liked it. My tastes are still simple: short tumbler, two fingers of bourbon. No ice, no water, no mixer.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Aaron David says:


              I always thought of whiskey and coke being a college-kid drink because they can’t quite take the taste of straight whiskey yet. I’ve noticed that you can now buy whiskey and coke already mixed.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I think a huge chunk of it is who taught you to drink and what you think of when you go to a bar. Most college kids have no idea what a Manhattan is, let alone a rusty nail and at the same time they tend to want to be seen as more sophisticated than their parents. Combine that with what is fashionable and being written about in style magazines and you get an explosion of bad rye, purple hooters and tiki bar kitch.

                (I don’t get the whiskey coke thing either, but I had a neighbor in college who loved 7 and 7’s)Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Also because it tastes terrible, so only college kids are willing to drink it.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Pinky says:

        Criticism of the phrase “sugar plum fairy” in this context is just niggardly.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky says:

        “Sugar-plum fairy gag juice”

        Hey, a two-pronged pun: Tschaikowsky was gay, and the drink is too suite..Report

  8. Avatar Kolohe says:

    H3: If you don’t sell your meat, how can you sell any pudding? How can you sell any pudding if you don’t sell your meat?

    Walmart’s including, but it looks like it they’re mostly aiming for one step apart in the supply chain, the big agribusinesses (but not the ones that are focused on the processing, distribution and wholesaling of meat as a primary business, as Nestle themselves more or less point out).

    Over a trillion in assets under management is nothing to sneeze at, but really, ‘Protein bubble’? :rolling eyes emoji:Report

  9. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    [C2] It’s not just the TSA – a friend of mine recently had her breast milk and breast pump confiscated by airport security in Toronto.

    [H6] I have this conflict about my friend’s mother / other friend’s mother in law. Husband has cancer and is going through chemo, wife’s mom has been helping out with childcare and cooking and whatnot on days when he’s too ill. Of all the people in their lives, mom is lending the most real material support.

    And yet. Mom is also an enthusiastic fan of every quack health theory going. Vaccines are the devil. Chemo is poison. Apple cider vinegar or peach pits or ketonic diet or god knows what this week is the suppressed cure for cancer (all forms).

    I’m less upset about it now that my friend is actually getting chemo, but they seemed on the fence for a while. Similarly I can live with the vaccines-are-evil business more easily now that her granddaughter is vaccinated regardless, but she had them on the fence about one too.Report

  10. Avatar Pinky says:

    N4 – I don’t want to live in a world where drunk sailors aren’t using raccoons to pass breathalyzers.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Pinky says:

      The reporting of the story leaves open the possibility for raccoon truthers. The type of incident report is not one that base police or any other police use. The report is of the type individual unit commanders use to report incidents to higher headquarters, but none of them were interviewed for the story.

      (that said, it’s still totes fake)Report

  11. Avatar Kazzy says:

    M1: No surprise there. The article cites child care costs of approximately $10K per year per child, with higher rates for younger children. It also discusses the pithy wages paid to childcare workers. “HOW CAN THIS BE?”

    Well, most states have regulations regarding child:teacher ratios. Depending on the state and the age of the child, this can range from as low as 2:1 for infants to 10:1 for PreK-ers. Do the math. Two infants by $12K per year = $24K. Ten four-year-olds by $10K per year = $100K. $124K to pay two teachers. But there are lots of other costs… you need a facility, you need insurance, you need administrators in most scenarios, you need materials, you need to pay overhead, you need to pay payroll expenses. That doesn’t leave much money left over. So you pay your teachers $28K/year with fingers crossed that you can get someone minimally competent.

    So what do we do?

    Though I do remember childcare workers going on strike and protesting for higher wages AND affordable childcare for themselves… seemingly completely unaware of the irony of such demands.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kazzy says:

      Mush like FSA/HSA accounts, the dependant care account limits are ridiculously small ($5K/family/yr). No one can get any kind of even remotely decent dependant care for $5K/yr. Congress needs to stop being so paranoid about people using such accounts as tax shelters and significantly raise the limits.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


        Agreed. And, as you note… that is PER FAMILY, not PER CHILD. So if you have two kids, you get no additional help in that area. (Though I do think the number is now $6K but don’t quote me on that.)Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Kazzy says:

      I’m way out of my depth on the child care thing, so I have to ask: Is there any good data on what a reasonable minimum ratio should be at various ages? If we’re talking about child care and not education, it seems like the ratios could be safely higher than they are at schools. I can understand having a rule requiring a minimum of two adults (so if there’s an emergency, one can take care of it and the other can still watch the kids), but beyond that a minimum ratio seems like a complicated question with a lot of potential answers.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Troublesome Frog says:


        That is a really good question and I’ll confess to not knowing the answer.

        In a way, one person could probably keep a dozen newborns alive and well on their own. Plop them in the crib, develop an eating and changing rotation, rinse-and-repeat. This would be much harder to do with 4-year-olds. And yet the ratios for the latter are higher than they are for the former. Many states lump all children under 2 into one bucket which feels a little silly given that an 18-month-old requires very different care than a 6-month-old yet they have the same ratio.

        If we wanted to say, “What is the maximum ratio before we can’t guarantee basic safety?” you could probably set it much higher. And maybe that is all the government should be involved in. It would still only move the needle so much. And you’d have a hard time hiring people. A weird feedback loop would emerge where care providers best equipped to manage larger groups would stay the fuck away because they know larger groups inhibit the opportunity to employ best practices.

        I’d also argue that there should be different standards for different types of settings. A homecare setting poses different (and I’d argue greater) risks than a child care facility. In an environment that is not specifically designed for children, you’d probably need lower ratios. And maybe some states do differentiate.

        FWIW, private accreditation or oversight groups have ratios in the same range so the regulations aren’t way off base. But, again, those groups are theoretically charged with a different role than the state.

        Speaking anecdotally, I think even expressing these dynamics in ratio is problematic. You say, “Oh… a 4:1 ratio means 8 kids and 2 teachers… that’s really reasonable.” But when a child needs a diaper changed, now you really have one setting with a 1:1 and one setting with a 7:1 (even if those are occurring in the same space; you can’t leave a child unattended on a changing table). Now imagine if that ratio was 6:1… doesn’t SEEM like a big difference but now you’ve got 1:1 and 11:1.

        There are other regulations as well… you need a certain amount of square footage per child. Again, I don’t know where these numbers are derived from or if they could be safely lowered if we limit the state’s charge to, “Just keep everyone alive.”

        I’m not saying it is an impossible nut to crack… only that the issue is a really complicated one.Report

  12. Avatar Pinky says:

    H2: Oh, Vox, have you ever printed anything that was correct? Google “St. Francis of Paola” for a 15th-century vegan movement. Vegetarianism has shown up repeatedly throughout history.Report

  13. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    How did we end up with so many police in schools?
    Unionized schools, of course.
    Well, also non-unionized schools.
    Those who support unions supported it.
    And those who oppose them supported it.
    Gun manufacturers supported it; makers of metal detectors supported it, security consulting companies, fence and alarm manufacturers…

    Come to think of it, did anybody anywhere, speak out against the growing militarization of schools?

    Well except for the soft on crime bleeding heart Mumia tee shirt wearing liberals, who were properly ridiculed even by their own political party, of course.Report

  14. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    W1: I came to New York at age 20, a Latina ready to conquer the city with a swipe of red lipstick and a collection of rhinestone sandals. I didn’t have many friends, and the ones I did make had their own “tribes” already—Crossfit groups, LGBT clubs, soup-swap gatherings. So, I wondered, which one’s going to be mine? The answer came quickly: A startup.


    But before long, clouds started to appear above my aggressively sunny head. First, the age difference: I was a good 10 years older than just about everyone else


  15. Avatar Pinky says:

    C6 – Now that’s a depressing article. I’m impressed by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott, but I could never bring myself to root for the Cowboys. I’m sure that there are a lot of ugly stories in the NFL, but the Cowboys organization does really feed on the bottom.

    “…wide receiver Michael Irvin couldn’t seem to avoid some scandal or another involving sex or drugs.” Hey, who hasn’t been there? Some days I can’t make it to my car without stumbling on a sex or drug scandal. The NFL has relied on the willful obliviousness of their fans. It’ll be interesting to see if the recent ratings drop foreshadows a real change in public attitude.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Pinky says:

      I can add this to my list of reasons to hate the Cowboys.

      That article is a big wet sloppy kiss on the lips of this Wells guy. He clearly is charismatic. I wonder what a similar article would be like, written by someone less susceptible to his charms.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        It’s odd. The article is respectful, but it’s also borderline defamation, depending on how you look at it. It’s like the writer was documenting the life of a scumbag without realizing it.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky says:

          One paragraph in, and already I’m rolling my eyes:

          He was lounging in a hotel bed in Cincinnati when his phone rang. The Dallas Cowboys always knew they could reach him. Even at 7 a.m. on a Saturday.

          Translation: he has a cell phone.Report

  16. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Politico has a story about how Trump brought back old-school anti-Semitism of a kind that largely left the United States:

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      What a weird article. The Jewish right has been silent about Trump and anti-Semitism? The author is apparently unfamiliar with Jonah Goldberg, Ben Shapiro, The Weekly Standard, David Horowitz – although he cites the last one. He says that older Jews have looked nervously at the anti-Israel left, and younger Jews at the alt-Right. Then he makes the unsupported claim that “It would be a mistake to blame BDS for this condition. More likely, efforts like Horowitz’s ‘Jew Haters’ have done much to raise the political price of speaking out.”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Pinky says:

        Agreed @pinky. Many young Jewish Americans are keenly aware of the growing out spoken anti-Semitism on the Far Left and Far Right. It isn’t that hard to find numerous stories of Jewish Americans experiencing Leftist Anti-Semitism on campus.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky says:

        Nitpick: Jonah Goldberg’s not Jewish.

        Not that that affects your point in any important way. I just remind people of it given any opportunity.Report

        • Avatar Pinky in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Didn’t know that.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Mike, I thought he was Jewish too. He apparently self-identifies as Jewish, given the quote below:

          When my parents got married, my father insisted the kids be raised Jewish. For the record, Mom’s Episcopalian. And, also for the record, you can spare the e-mails about how that means I’m not Jewish because Jewishness is matrilineal.

          Is he wrong about that? Generally speaking, I mean.Report

          • I am clearly 100% wrong. I thought I’d seen him write that he was a Christian with a Jewish father, but that’s obviously not the case.

            The religious definition is that Judaism is matrilineal, so he’d probably be denied Israeli citizenship, but if he was raised Jewish and practices Judaism, in my book he’s Jewish.Report

    • The notion that the Jewish right has been ignoring anti-semitism is beyond absurd. I’ve never seen Jewish conservatives so pissed off at a mainstream publication, and rightfully so. They were being taunted about their babies being thrown in ovens back when a lot of liberals thought the rise of Trump was hilarious.

      I mean seriously, this is “The next libertarian I hear talk about police abuse will be the first” level of cluelessness. Or worse than cluelessness.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Billy Bush is having a career fishin year.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I keep waiting for the cycle to turn again and make the apprehension stir in me but not this time. It just feels like he’s flailing. I hope that HRC is not taking anything for granted for Sunday though, I’d very much like a route. Some folks have surmised that the GOP will start heading for the lifeboats if he flubs another debate.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:


        Ryan disinvited Trump from Ohio!Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Pah….Ryan just capitulated to PC!!!

          Or in non RW bloggy talk, His Trumpness is circling the drain and Sunday is his only chance to just keep himself on life support. He needs to really deal with this hullabaloo with dignity, honest contrition and humility….lolReport

        • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Umm that feels like a holy shit big deal.Report

          • Avatar trizzlor in reply to North says:

            Media twitter is manic right now. Multiple GOPers un-endorsing. More women coming out. Baghdad Hugh Hewitt saying the party has to “consider it’s options”. Have no clue how Joe Average Voter is responding to this, but feels like that low rumble just before a building collapses in on itself.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to trizzlor says:


              What options does Baghdad Hugh thinks the party has?

              I think this will cause a lot of people to flee to HRC or to sit it out.

              Trump is trying to apologize but also write this off as “locker room” and boys will be boys banter and also go after Bill Clinton. So I don’t think this will work.

              BTW, I just saw The Avalanches video where your avatar is from. Interesting song.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to trizzlor says:

              Trump is allegedly trying to own up to it by saying: “I said it. I was wrong. I apologize.”

              Still sounds like a non-apology.Report

    • How is this only happening now? Does anyone doubt for a moment that:

      1. This is exactly how Trump thinks about women, or that
      2. He’s too unfiltered to have avoided saying so, repeatedly, or that
      3. As much time as he spends in front of cameras and microphones, there will be a comprehensive record of itReport

      • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        4. Billy Bush is cousins with Jeb BushReport

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Sometimes the most random things are the straws that break the camels back.

        I suspect it was the use of the word pussy and the sexual assault that is the bridge too far.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to Mike Schilling says:


        How is this only happening now?

        Jason has a theory that it has more to do with the polls & candidate behavior post-debate than it does what Trump said. That is, that up till this past week they had been looking to ride the fence just in case he really did pull it out and win. But that after the poor debate performance, his way of responding afterwards, and the polls that followed, they decided he can’t win and were simply waiting for an excuse to pull support. (And by “they” I assume jason meant either those with close races to win or national aspirations in the future.)Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to RTod says:

          I think the polling and prospects were a necessary but not sufficient condition.

          Notably, though, most of those that fit the “they” criteria didn’t actually undorse. Portman did (but he’s pretty safe right now) and Ayotte did, but most of the others didn’t. Those who did undorse are those who are reasonably safe (Utahns, for example) or not up for re-election. The same applies to most of those intending to run in 2020, except Kasich who has been stable.

          Which actually tells me that the political calculations actually run the other way: Those with aspirations are keeping their mouths shut. Those who are free to speak up with minimal consequences are doing so. That, in turn, gave others cover to do so. Remember, three weeks ago Priebus was talking about wrecking the future of anyone who didn’t support Trump. So a couple had to bite the bullet, and once they did the dam broke and a bunch did. (Still a minority, though…) Now Priebus is basically telling people to vote their conscience.

          Which is an extension of how things panned out right after Trump won the primary. Those who were done were far more likely to withhold their endorsement than those who had plans to run in 2020. Cruz and Kasich are big exceptions to that, though.Report

          • Both this and what Tod sad make sense. I was foolishly looking at logic rather than interest. To me, this latest just shows he’s a dirtbag, which we knew, and which wouldn’t make him unique. The 3 AM hate-tweeting of Macahdo, which showed him to be undisciplined, easily rattled, thin-skinned, and narcissistic to the exclusion of any sense of responsibility, is to me a much bigger deal: it demonstrates that he’d be a complete disaster.Report

            • I actually think his behavior last week was probably as big of a factor as current polling. Idealistically for the reason you cite, cynically because it relieved them of any hope of a game-changing pivot.

              All of that said, I think the comments themselves really did jar some folks. Out if delusions if nothing else. I don’t think it’s coincidental that female Republicans were significantly more likely to act. The last straw is not usually the biggest and all that.

              My own take on the whole thing is an interweaving of cynicism and “they just ran out of patience.”Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                I mean it was a guy bragging about how he could and had gotten away with sexual assault, and then smoothly transitioning into more subtle assault. “Let’s go in for the hug/maybe grope, but classy-like”.Report

  17. Avatar Autolukos says:

    I might have to vote for Clinton after all

    HRC to Wall St: "My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders."— Nick Riccardi (@NickRiccardi) October 7, 2016


    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Autolukos says:

      This makes me inclined to think more highly of her, but how can we tell what’s just pandering, and what she really means?

      Maybe it’s all pandering because she doesn’t care about policy at all and her only real goal is to get an intern to give her oral sex in the Oval Office. That’ll show the cheating bastard!Report

  18. Avatar notme says:

    Chicago police officer says she feared using gun while being beaten

    Liberals should be happy she didn’t use her gun.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to notme says:

      Not really. This sounds precisely like the sort of situation where the officer would be completely justified in using lethal force. I, at least, wouldn’t criticize it.

      If you want to blame anybody you should focus your attention on the asshole cops that murder people in cold blood. That’s why the police use of force is being scrutinized after all.

      There are a whole lot of numbers between 0 and 100 after all.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Road Scholar says:

        Look, I’m as bearish on law enforcement(*) as anyone here. I’m a strong advocate of Peelian principles and I’m on record that I’d take away the issue sidearm if I could, leaving the weapon back in the squad car.
        Even I freely admit that there are situations that lethal force is advised.
        Hell, I didn’t have a major problem with the remote control bomb that was used when the sniper dude holed up in Texas.
        Appropriate use of force is exactly why we have a state in the first place.
        What “liberals” is questioning in certain cases is not the “use of force” but the “appropriateness” of it.

        (*) I’ve met more of the people in those boots on the ground than most have – they’re people, and that’s exactly what it means in the “for better or worse” sense…Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to notme says:

      And once again, the complete LACK of police training becomes evident. If departments were actually putting their officers through shoot/no shoot scenario training, instead of basically saying, “If you feel a little anxious, shoot”, these kinds of problems wouldn’t happen.

      Likewise if departments all had body cameras recording whenever the officer was on patrol (bathroom breaks excepted), the questions surrounding use of force would be less problematic Not gone, mind you, but there would be at least more than just the officers word).

      Chicago is, lets be honest, a city with a very fished up PD.Report

  19. Avatar Kazzy says:

    C4: This is a false equivalence.

    Mohamed: “Mohamed had reassembled the parts of a scrapped digital clock in a pencil case, and brought it to school to show his teachers. His English teacher thought the clock resembled a bomb, and she confiscated it and reported him to the school’s principal. Local law enforcement was called and Mohamed was questioned by police for an hour and a half. After being handcuffed and taken into custody, and without being allowed to see his parents, he was transported to a juvenile detention facility where he was fingerprinted and his mug shot photograph was taken. He was then released to his parents. The reason for his arrest was allegedly for purposely trying to cause a bomb scare. The case was not pursued further by juvenile justice authorities; however, Mohamed was suspended from school.”

    Frunk: “In reality the device was a homemade charger he used to charge his phone. He took it to Sandy High School and left it out in a locker room to charge his phone during weight training.
    His coach saw it and called security. He started evacuating the area.
    Frunk quickly cleared up the confusion, but the damage was done. He was suspended for a day and a half.

    The school district said because students were asked to clear the area of the locker room, and because of what the device looked like, Frunk was suspended for disrupting school, which is a violation of the student handbook.”

    Even putting Frunk’s situation in “Crime”… when no crime was alleged… feels wrong.Report

  20. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Holy Cow! Both GOP AK Senators – Murkowski and Sullvan, Sasse Neb., Kirk Ill, Thune SD., Lee Utah, all calling for Trump to quite the race.

    Open rebellion? Eleven dimensional chess? Bump in the road? Bump for Trump in the polls?

    Craziest election I’ve ever seen.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

      …Corey Gardner CO, Mike Crapo ID…Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        McCain AZ – he was so close to calling for Trump to step down I have to score it as a .5.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

          I actually think “I won’t vote for him” has more weight than “He should step down.”

          The latter means that, in three weeks they can say “Well, I wanted him to step down, but of course he’s better than Hillary.”

          “I won’t vote for him and he should step down” is, of course, the strongest of the three options.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

            When did you become so cynical?

            {Have you been hanging out with Kolohe? 🙂 }Report

          • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Will Truman says:

            Right; “he should step down” is setting up an excuse for future support as partisanship. Actual opposition has to mean at least declaring the intention not to vote for him, preferably going on to endorse an alternative (I don’t think there have been any new Clinton/Johnson/McMullin endorsements today?).Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Autolukos says:

              Pence picked up at least two write-ins today.

              ETA: Paul Ryan just picked up one.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Autolukos says:

              Right; “he should step down” is setting up an excuse for future support as partisanship. Actual opposition has to mean at least declaring the intention not to vote for him,

              This is getting strange. Non-cynically speaking by asking for a candidate to step down I’m expressing the fact that I personally won’t vote for him or her. Less non-cynically, I’m expressing the view that this person isn’t deserving of ideologically-based partisan support (hence, you shouldn’t vote for them either). Purely cynically, by asking for that person to step down I’m implicitly repudiating the ideological commitments of the constituency who’s votes accorded that person the nomination and betting that my folks will view my declaration positively come my next re-election campaign.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Stillwater says:

                How many variations on “I support the nominee” have we heard this year? It’s a cynical position, no doubt, but cynicism about the GOP seems like the big winner of this election.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Autolukos says:

                For an example (not from an elected official, but still):

                To clarify: since Trump won't step aside for Pence, I'll still vote for him over Hillary, who is a threat to the republic @costareports— Bill Bennett (@WilliamJBennett) October 9, 2016


              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Autolukos says:

                I think there’s a big difference between me, Stillwater (R -CO) saying Trump should step down and Sen Sullivan or Murkowski (R – AK) saying the same.

                My advocacy comes at no price whatsoever. Theirs entails, necessarily, political consequences. They’re not only repudiating the man himself as a political candidate (his person, character, policies, whatever) but also repudiating the voters who elected him to the nomination. That strikes me as very politically risky. Way more risky than merely distancing themselves from a low-polling candidate.

                So the question is whether they’re saying that stuff outa pure electoral cynicism or not. And I can’t for the life of me figure out how calling for Trump to step down satisfies the very narrow conditions under which pure electorally motivated political cynicism applies. That is, they have way more to lose than to gain from a purely electoral calculus. (Not to mention the personal disaster awaiting them if Trump actually wins.)

                And at that point, seems to me, we’re entering new terrain to account for the repudiation: either serves broader institutional goals (which in turn further cynical self-interested goals) or expressed more objective, non-political considerations. And I say that because calling for Trump to step down expresses, cynically or not!, a repudiation of Trumpism: him and his base. A base those folks would otherwise rely on, or appeal to, or pander to, to get them re-elected.

                At least, that’s how it seems to me.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

                Incidentally, TVD pulled his support for Trump today and presently takes a “Step down” position.

                Assuming that doesn’t happen, there’s not much question how he’s going to vote.Report

              • I presume that would be Trump?Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Stillwater says:

      Thune and Sullivan are the interesting ones on that list. Sasse has always been the most high profile elected (Republican) politician that has always been against Trump, Kirk has also long run against Trump while trying to run for reelection. Lee has long been his own person (but also the only real ally of Cruz in the Senate, which is probably over now). Murkowski almost got kicked out of the Senate by the same political forces that have brought Trump to the forefront of the GOP.

      Though there also reports of a bunch of Republican congresspersons in red enough districts that are now defecting from Trump.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

        Our Will T has a good heuristic for determining if maybe things are hitting a critical mass – an increasing number of denouncements and abandonments from politicians that are 1) male 2) not LDS 3) pro-Trump or at least Trump curious during this election cycle.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

          Yeah, I noticed the LDS folks were the first off the boat. That’s not something they can countenance, not without real problems from their brethren.

          The problem for the GOP remains the same: Enough of their base LOVES Trump, and will continue to love him even through this, that they can’t replace him (even if we assume a lossless “Pence is the real candidate now” with an actual mechanism).

          I suspect they won’t pay a huge price for abandoning him after he lose for leaving a clear loser. However, if either the ‘stab in the back’ or ‘rigged elections’ mythos sticks, that’s another story. (And I do think Trump’s hardest core supporters are the most likely to believe that, but overall I think it unlikely. Trump will be declared “Not a real conservative” with plenty of clear reasons, and the fact that he won the primary and everyone was onboard the Trump Train until right at the end will be forgotten.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kolohe says:

        Yeah, good point. Some defections arose before HotMicGate. For example: Susan Collins.

        Nevertheless, one way or the other, we’re up to nine sitting GOP Sens who openly reject Trump.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Stillwater says:

          They don’t have a choice, especially any one of them up for re-election.

          Of course, that runs into the problem of dealing with core GOP supporters who now believe Trump’s being “stabbed in the back” by “the corrupt establishment”.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

            Incentives vary from candidate to candidate. Ayotte had to do what she did. Most of the ones who are up for re-election haven’t done anything (other than condemn the comments). McCain is seems safe enough to, at least right now. I think the bulk of vulnerable incumbents are *probably* better off politically by holding on tight.

            Those who are not up for re-election are not so incentivized, though.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Morat20 says:

            Whether these folks’ are cynically motivated or not, they’re expressing the view that Trump needs to step down. That’s a pretty big effing deal, seems to me, for sitting Senators (eight of em) to call for their party’s nominee to resign from the nomination and end his campaign. (For example, it’s an order of magnitude or two above merely saying “I won’t vote for him”.)

            Upthread I used a Caddyshack quote to express the view that Trump’s latest eff-up is a big deal. A very big deal. And I think we’re seeing that it actually is. We’re reaching an inflection point, or a point of no return, or an end point, in this election. I don’t see him getting outa this (politically) alive, myself.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

              Things that have happened before: The RNC/DNC decides to devote all of its energy to congressional races because the presidential race is lost. Allowing congressional candidates to assume the opposition is going to win the presidency. A stray senator or congressman or governor refusing to vote for the nominee.

              Things that have not happened before (in modern history): Just about everything else. Goldwater was not abandoned this way. Mondale was not abandoned this way. Dole was not abandoned this way. We’ll have to see what polling looks like for the next week, but up until now at least Dole consistently polled worse than Trump has except in the most extreme stretches.

              So yeah, this is uncharted territory. Which it actually already was, but now moreso.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                I get your point. This election cycle is breaking ALL the norms. Maybe even the norm that a Nominee openly rejected by the party he represents can’t win.

                Who knows? But who would you put your money on at this point? And at what odds?Report

              • Maybe even the norm that a Nominee openly rejected by the party he represents can’t win.

                Who are the other nominees openly rejected by their party from whom we can determine the norm for that?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:


              • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman says:

                I’m beginning to get to the point where I’m wondering which is better for the Dems*? Trump clinging on to the nomination but crippled or Trump forced from the nomination and replaced by Pence?
                I’m shakily saying that it depends on what Trump does. If he gives up and endorses Pence then that’d be a best case scenario for the GOP. So in order of desirability for the GOP it’d be: Trump voluntarily out, Trump hands on to the end, Trump forced out.

                *Obviously for the country Trump out in any form would be better.Report

              • Avatar joke in reply to North says:

                Speculation in the gray zone.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to North says:

                Suppose Trump does step down (or is forced out, doesn’t matter.) It’s going to be too late to get his name off the ballot. How hard a sell is “Yes, I know it says Trump. It means Pence. Trust us.” And how many electors vote for Trump anyway?Report

              • I don’t believe this was a planned insurrection so I’m not sure they planned it through.

                But not that the hat has been dropped…

                That said, the presidency is lost.if I’m advising them on this stuff I’m telling them not to worry about those details. If people go thinking that a vote for Trump is a vote for Pence or that a vote for Trump is actually a vote for Trump, let them. The important thing is to try to get them out to the polls for downballot.Report

              • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Will Truman says:

                Will Truman,

                I’ve been wondering about this, Will. In the primaries Trump liked to boast about turning out millions of people who don’t normally vote. These are sorta by definition anti-establishment types.

                So, how many Trump voters are going to show up, vote for Trump, and then skip the rest of the ballot because those candidates are establishment types and therefore part of the problem? And on the other side, how many Republicans are actually going to show up to vote for the down ballot races while skipping the top of the ticket? Sounds like a real problem for the GOP to me. The whole idea of coat-tails seems screwed up for them this time around.Report

              • Turnout is going to be a huge concern for the GOP assuming it’s a lopsided race, which I think is one of the reasons the GOP tried to accommodate. Just to keep it close enough that Portman/Rubio/etc can get across even if Trump can’t.

                I articulated some thoughts very similar to yours early on but I think they’re less likely. If Trump brings out new voters and they don’t vote downticket then still nothing lost if they weren’t going to vote GOP anyway. Headless voters… we’ll have to see. Demographically they’re the type to turn out no matter what, but this is not a typical election.

                This is where I think a Kasich (or any other credible) independent bid could have proven very valuable. A place for them to park their votes that’s better than Johnson (as well as, right now, someone for undorsers to endorse).Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                Problem with Trump bringing out new voters is twofold:

                First, people who don’t vote are really, you know, unlikely to vote.

                Second, and more pragmatic, you have to register those guys — and Trump had no organization to do that, so even if they wanted to vote, these long-time no-voters are unlikely not registered and can’t vote.

                In the end, banking on a ‘silent majority’ or ‘turning out people who don’t vote’ is a fool’s errand and a sign of desperation.

                This is different, of course, than the steady pattern of turnout changes between Presidential and non-Presidential years. Trying to change the latter is really unlikely to work, but at the very least you’re trying to get people who HAVE voted before to vote more often. Which means you only have to focus on turnout among people somewhat partial to voting, rather than identifying, registering, and somehow convincing to vote people who routinely don’t vote.

                And note Democrats still rather routinely fail to get these people to show up every two years instead of every four.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Morat20 says:

                But liberals keep saying that new voters is a good thing, felons, homeless, dead people. I guess it’s only as long as those new people vote democrat, right?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to notme says:

                I’m for mandatory voting for everybody over 18.

                Morat’s talking about the difficulty of getting new people to vote, of any stripe. Kinda weird how you took it, but I shouldn’t be surprised.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to notme says:

                Now you’re responding to comments you haven’t read.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I read it, maybe I misunderstood it but I read it. What’s your excuse?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to notme says:

                If you’d read it, you’d know that Morat is saying that attracting brand-new voters will be difficult, not evil.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to notme says:

                Did you hit your head or something? Is English your second language?

                Here, let me be clear: In practice, people who don’t vote….don’t vote. Switching them to become people who DO vote is very difficult. Because they don’t like to vote.

                Historically, attempts to fundamentally alter — by any significant amount — the electoral makeup of voters on election day by getting lots of “people who could vote, but don’t” to vote has been a fool’s errand.

                Because these people know they can vote, but don’t. They’re rarely registered, have no interest in voting, don’t want to vote. Making them want to vote has never really been successful.

                Therefor, if your plan for “winning the election” relies heavily on people who historically don’t vote, despite being able to if they wish to, you are not going to do well. Because, again, people who historically haven’t bothered voting are likely to do what they’ve always done: Not vote.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Morat20 says:

                Or, you work very hard at it — lots of publicity, registration drives, helping people get the the polls on election day. The kind of ground game Obama’s organization put together in 2008. Trump’s hasn’t made any effort in that direction, and now in most states it’s past the registration date.

                I don’t buy the narrative that candidates show their qualifications for the presidency by running a campaign well, but it can’t be a good sign that Trump’s has been lazy and disorganized.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Road Scholar says:

                @stillwater – That’s assuming Trump was correct. I can’t remember the actual articles, but from what I remember reading, there was no evidence that Trump was bringing out some new army of voters.

                At best, he was getting consistent GOP general election voters to show up for primaries. Which is good if you want to win a primary, but doesn’t really matter for the general.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Road Scholar says:

                Oddly it seems unlikely. Trump may excite people who normally don’t vote but whether he excited them or not he didn’t get them to produce any especially significant surge in voter registration and with very little GOTV operation it’d be very very hard for him to convert unregistered supporters into actual voters in the time he has left.Report

              • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to North says:

                I’m not thinking about Trump himself so much as the effect of all this on the Congressional races. I’m confident now that Trump is toast. The question now is whether this significantly improves the Dems chances of retaking the Senate.

                As Will noted above, turnout has been the real wildcard all along for the prognosticators. Gauging how many people like or dislike a candidate is only the first step. The real art is figuring out who is actually going to show up and this cycle seems destined to break those models, at least on the Red side. The pollsters simply have very little if any historical data to go on.

                That’s why I’ve been cautiously optimistic that the pollsters have been underestimating the Democrats’ prospects in the Congressional races. It seems like far from a foregone conclusion that someone who shows up to vote for Trump is also going to pull the lever for Mr Establishment in the Senate or House.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Road Scholar says:

                From your lips to God(ess?)’s ear. I would love to have a wipe out.Report

  21. Avatar Will Truman says:


    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

      Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Saturday told party officials to redirect funds away from nominee Donald Trump to down-ballot candidates,

      If true, that’s a bad sign for Trump’s prospects. And a bad sign for the GOP’s prospects, too, for that matter. Needles are notoriously hard to thread.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

        I’m kind of surprised it came from Priebus. 24 hours ago, he was imploring Paul Ryan not to disinvite Trump from that Wisconsin event for the sake of party unity.

        In normal circumstances, redirecting funds is just something that happens. Even from the presidential nominee. Obviously, those abandoned don’t like it, but not much they can do.

        In normal circumstances.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

          Maybe he saw the writing on the wall. Trump was already plummeting in the post-debate polls. Add in defections and calls to step down from CCers and others (Hugh Hewitt? really?), coupled with Ryan telling him to eff off, and maybe you find yourself facing a really tough decision pretty easy decision about resource allocation.

          I obviously don’t know. It just seems to me like things are achangin.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

        Jesus Agnostic Christ, the RNC is Trumps entire fishing ground operation. If they bail on the S.S. Trump we’re going to quite literally have a campaign with a ground game vs a campaign with no ground game. If some poli-sci type can figure out how to control for Trumps own unpopularity that should give us some solid numbers on what exactly a good ground game is worth.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North says:

          They’re still going to do GOTV. It’ll just be for the Senate and the House. Which actually may teach us something (but probably not). Compare the results for swing states with competitive senate races and swing states without them.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

            Well, that means HRC has a ground game and Trump has a ground game whose owners don’t care if they turn out HRC or Trump voters, no skin off their nose, as long as they vote reliably for other candidates.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

            To a large extent Republican voters always show up. It’s Democrats and independents that have wide variability in turnout

            For example – Mark Kirk in IL in 2010 got a little over 300k more votes than Alan Keyes did in 2004. In contrast, Kirk’s Democratic opponent received nearly 1.9 million fewer votes than Obama did in 2004.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

          Jesus Agnostic Christ, the RNC is Trumps entire fishing ground operation.

          Fixed to: “Trumps entire fishing ground is an RNC operation.” And he’s a smooth operator.Report

  22. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Random note:

    Ever since I started watching European soccer and in particular Premier League games I’ve become increasingly aware that British commentators a) don’t feel the need to talk incessantly during the action because they b) assume the audience actually understands the game they’re watching and enjoy IT more than hearing commentators blather on, and as a result c) don’t feel compelled to condescendingly describe in excruciating detail EXACTLY what we saw just as clearly as they did or d) fill up what would otherwise be silence with a recitation of absolutely irrelevant “facts” (or ridiculous opinions). (/bobcostasrant)Report

  23. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Not fully caught up but at this point I’m wondering if Trump is crashing/burning in such a way to discredit Trumpism or if the thing that caused Trump exists independently of how much dignity he goes out with.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

      Depends on how much Trumpism is actually about Trump, which is the million dollar question.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        We’d better hope that we know which is the cart because, if we’re wrong about it, this is gonna be like that scene in Friday the 13th. “Hey! Everything’s okay! We killed him! He stopped moving!”Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

        I think it depends on what you define as “Trumpism”. If you think it’s a bunch of antiestablishment, anti-status quo, anti-PC-policy folk, then a repudiation of that form of Trumpism is gonna boomerang back on the Dems just as wildly as it hit the GOP this cycle since Hillary (if she wins) is the ultimate establishmentarian (really, look up the word “establishmentarian” in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of her).

        On the other hand, if Trumpism is a bunch of racist, xenophobic white nationalists (whether the call themselves that or not) then it will boomerang – well not boomerang, actually, just rang – back on the GOP in the form of more sophsiticated Trump2 political candidates and operations.

        For my part, I think Trumpism is mostly regular old conservatives who would re-enter the GOP fold if the Pahtay would stop it with the pandering, ideological bullshit and actually promote policies that positively effect their lives.Report

        • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Stillwater says:

          I trained new drivers for a while. This amounts to picking up some guy you’ve never met before and living with him for about a month sharing a space the size of a walk-in closet. I had a rule of “no politics or religion” for what should be obvious reasons. Nevertheless, I was able to determine that my last two students — white guys about my age from Missouri — were Trump supporters.

          Totally non-scientific sample of course, but I think your first description is closer to the truth for these guys at least. I got along reasonably well with the first and very well with the second on a personal level FWIW. A sort of middling, casual sort of racism in there but nothing like the alt-right crowd. The kind of racism that assumes a white guy like me is OK but requires a black guy to demonstrate that okay-ness. Not really antipathy so much as an assumption of otherness. Kinda Archie Bunker types I guess.

          It seems to me that Trump tapped into some underlying sentiments that will continue to exist and that Sanders tapped into as well. This is something both parties would be well-advised to pay serious attention to going forward. This idea being promulgated by both major parties that globalization and automation are these unstoppable forces of nature and SS has to be slaughtered to be saved and, geez I guess it just sucks to be you… well, that just ain’t gonna fly no more.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Jaybird says:

      I predict this is going to make Trumpism stronger. I’m seeing a lot of GOPers being asked “so after what Trump said about Mexicans, Muslims, and blacks … the last straw is what he said about supermodels?” and this criticism can justifiably come from both the left AND the Trumpists. Everyone with eyes knew that this is what Trump was like. His detractors were sickened by it and his fans loved it. It’s the establishment types who had to pretend like this wasn’t there the whole time, and are now not fooling anyone with their self-serving condemnations.

      What’s playing out now fully confirms every paranoid theory the die-hard Trumpists had: the GOP establishment is fundamentally disgusted by you; they will hide this disgust if it means they can score your vote, because they have no principles; and, because they have no principles, they will also abandon you at the first sign of a political challenge. We’re in for a reckoning. And there is probably worse stuff yet to drop.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to trizzlor says:

        My main argument against Trumpism surviving is that for the most part, most of Trump’s free media came from being an already known celebrity saying crazy things, those crazy things being shown on the TV, and people who approve of those crazy things voting for Trump. That also meant that Trump needed less money to compete.

        And even then, he only got 40% of the primary vote.

        The question is, as I’ve asked before, is Fox, CNN, or MSNBC going to show rallies of some eight term Congressman or mildly successful Governor just because he says crazy things? After all, Tom Tacrendo ran for President and said lots of the same things about immigrants, only in slightly less abrasive ways, and he didn’t get very far.

        Now, I do think that immigration reform is dead within the GOP and the GOP will try some puff “family friendly” policies to look good to Trump voters. But, they aren’t going to stop back free trade deals, stop wanting to destroy the welfare state (ie. Social Security and Medicare), or stop wanting to keep women from having abortions.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:


          Do you think that the GOP can go back to being their old selves though when it comes to the policies they pitch?

          I agree with your statements on Trump. There was some anecdotal evidence from other primaries that Trumpism without Trump does not sell very well. I think someone tried to oust Paul Ryan from a GOP primary by running on a Trumpian platform.

          But Trump did expose that a lot of people in the GOP do not care about the traditional GOP message of “small-government”, tax cuts, privatization, and hawiskh foreign policy.

          It will be interesting to see how the GOP rebuilds their policy platform.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            @saul-degraw – Well, here’s the thing – for about 40 years or so, the GOP basically promised white people the best of both worlds – we’ll massively cut taxes and get rid of the services that go to people that don’t “deserve” it (ie. African Americans and later, Hispanics), but we won’t touch Social Security or Medicare or other “earned benefits” in any real ways.

            I mean, let’s remember – Ronald Reagan expanded the government (ie. the number of people employed by the government went up), George H.W. Bush raised taxes, George W. Bush passed a massive expansion to Medicare – sure, it had its issues, was a giveaway to private companies, etc., but it was a massive expansion of government by a GOP trifecta.

            The problem is, in the past decade or so, the people in charge are no longer the people who talk the BS, then go make a deal with Tip O’Neill or Bill Clinton or even Nancy Pelosi, it’s a bunch of people who were birthed in the right wing talk radio and think tank and now, Internet movements.

            They believe the BS that’s been sold to them for the past 30 years and really think that their opinions are majority opinions. That America actually wanted Sam Brownback style policies on a national scale. I mean, even Ross Douthat-style reform conservatism is just that baked over – “OK, we’ll give the middle class some tax credits to pay for child care and the poor some extra cash if they have some babies, but otherwise, conservative on social issues and continued massive cuts to the welfare state.”

            I think the base will fall in line if the current GOP moves just enough on immigration (goodbye Gang of 8), keeps on sabre rattling about the Middle East/Russia (remember, the GOP attack on Obama before Trump came around is that Obama’s been too weak and facile against real men like Trump), continues defending the right of the police to shoot anybody, and rails against various other social liberal things the white male base hates (ie. transgenders, political correctness, etc.), I think they’ll be able to get somebody acceptable through.

            I mean, Tom Cotton has already said the problem is we don’t jail enough people. I’m sure he could say some terrible things about immigrants too. Then, if they happen to win, they’ll just pass what they want to pass. After all, if it all goes bad, they can just blame the Clinton-Obama-Clinton Era for it all.

            The truth is, the GOP leadership has never had a problem with white nationalism provided it’s said correctly and it gives them to cover to make sure no rich person ever pays estate tax – hell, even now, nobody outside of McCain (which gives him some brownie points for mentioning the Central Park 5 and moves him to the 5th Circle of Hell from the 6th for me) has pointed to any of Trump’s incredibly racist things as a reason to drop their support.

            So, what the GOP will be is a party consisting of white nationalists of various stripes, social conservatives continually scared the world is changing, and upper middle class to rich people who only care about paying no taxes.

            The truly scary thing is that gets you close enough to winning is all you need is an affable media friendly candidate to win the Presidency.Report

        • Avatar trizzlor in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          After this I don’t see how the ~30% of the electorate that views Trump favorably gets folded back into the GOP tent. I also think it’s virtually guaranteed that Trump is starting his media platform – just look at the damage the campaign is doing to his brand – and will be amplified by Hannity and Limbaugh. If Ryan or Cruz had held out, they would be in a position to denounce Trump as liberal now and welcome Trumpists back into the GOP fold: “We feel your anger and we’re going to work with you, let’s put this all behind us”. Now it’s too late and the pro-Trump anger is going to crash even harder on the establishment. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump continues his campaign through the Clinton admin and runs again in 2020, possibly on a third party ticket, crippling the GOP yet again.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to trizzlor says:

            Whether Trump starts his media empire or not, and whether it’s bigly successful or not, will play a role in what happens next. Not sure on either count. Where Fox goes from here will also matter a great deal. All of these are hard to figure with present information.

            My own perspective has shifted as more and different information has become available. At one point, I thought that the Trump faction was simply going to hobble the GOP into elective oblivion. Later on, I feared that they might actually be able to build a majority. Now my views actually align somewhat with Jesse’s first comment. I do think Republicans who want things to go back to the way things were before are going to be disabused of that notion… but I also think Trumpers who believe it’s their party now are likely to experience the same.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

              Here’s the essential problem for the GOP in the near future – the Compassionate Conservative coalition is the only majority victory the GOP has had since 1988 on the Presidential level.

              But, you fundamentally can’t create that coalition in 2020 due to changing demographics, the rise of the Internet, and frankly, lots of bad decisions by the GOP itself for short term gain.

              Right now, there are plenty of suburban white women, Hispanic’s, and Asian’s who would vote for a even a fiscally _and_ socially conservative party, if the socially conservative was largely on abortion. Being against gay marriage in 2020 is like continuing to defend segregationists in the 1976 election. You can be for some nebulous ‘religious liberty’ that every person will see as their own version of it.

              I mean, American’s still don’t like taxes, still thing we should run the government like a household budget, and still largely think the government can’t do anything right. That’s why they can win even blue local and state offices fairly regularly.

              So yes, there are plenty of either non-voters or current Democratic voters who’d vote for a kindler gentler GOP who was more moderate on immigration, for criminal justice reform, and for some “reform conservative” family friendly policies, even if they were also for massive tax cuts, block granting Medicare, and other Ryan-type ideas.

              I mean, hell, I could even see a majority coalition for a party that was populist, vaguely fiscally moderate to liberal, with an anti-immigration chaser if that immigration policy was as non-racially charged as possible.

              But, the problem is the base would never let them do that in 2016 or the future. In 2000 and even 2004, you could get away with ignoring the base when it’s not primary time. Now, you have to appease the base all the time or they will destroy you.

              They want somebody mean and nasty who hates the same type of people they hate. I’m not saying there isn’t the same thing on the Left at all, but the base that is as crazy is much smaller and more importantly, the larger base is largely pragmatic African American and Hispanic women.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will Truman says:

              On a side note, I do agree the GOP could split completely if the Trump News Network does start up w/ Ailes, Hannity, and friends in tow and people like Limbaugh paint Trump as a martyr abandoned by the Establishment.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

              I do think Republicans who want things to go back to the way things were before are going to be disabused of that notion… but I also think Trumpers who believe it’s their party now are likely to experience the same.

              Agree. Just winning the nomination pretty much blew up the national level GOP platform and identity. But now you’ve got increasingly vocal GOP rebellion against Trump as a response to Trump’s successful rebellion against the Party. It’s really hard for me to see how this plays out going forward politically and policy-wise except a pretty deep, almost fundamental change in some pre-Trump GOP priorities.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:


              It should be noted that people calling on Trump to step down or deendorsing fall into these categories:

              1. They never liked him in the first place.

              2. They are in blue states and are facing tough reelection prospects.

              3. Are not party leaders (except Thune)

              I think most Republican voters want Trump to stay on the ballot. So the GOP needs to walk a very fine line here.Report

              • That goes back to the heuristic Kolohe mentions about, except #2 isn’t accurate (Utah, Alaska, and Alabama) and #3 is overly broad. But there is a general pattern towards being rather safe or in imminent danger, female, and/or LDSReport

          • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to trizzlor says:

            “After this I don’t see how the ~30% of the electorate that views Trump favorably gets folded back into the GOP tent. ”

            I’d say it’s an open question as to whether they were ever in the GOP tent to begin with.

            As we saw with Brexit, people will proudly vote to burn the house down if they think the house was built wrong. That they are currently living in the house doesn’t matter. That the ones holding the matches have no plan to build another house doesn’t matter. That the decisions about building were made to favor immigrants and the underprivileged doesn’t matter. If anything, that the house builders ignored most of the voters in favor of immigrants and the underprivileged is the whole point.Report

            • Avatar greginak in reply to DensityDuck says:

              One of the things pro-brexit people wanted was more NHS spending. They wanted money going to the EU to go to them. That isn’t burning down the house at all. They like their house just fine.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

              That the decisions about building were made to favor immigrants and the underprivileged doesn’t matter.

              Taking explicit appeals to pure racism outa the equation, I think this sentiment is directly linked to a few big economic indicators: real wages have been largely flat over the last thirty years, job loss in traditional working class/middle class sectors over the same time frame, ever-increasing gummint spending and rising debt, huge increases in income and wealth for a small segment of the population, etc. Add it all up and the perception is that one group of people keep taking it on the chin, and it isn’t the wealthy, immigrants or folks on public assistance. And those folks expressed that by rejecting both Democrats AND the GOP during the primary.Report

            • Avatar Brit in reply to DensityDuck says:

              Well, put it this way: without the support of thosecwho actively support Trump, the republicans can’t win anything – there just aren’t enough non-trump republicans to beat the democrats.

              And i think non-trump republicsns should think about what it implies about their policies that if you subtract the Trumpians there simply aren’t t that many who support thrm. Abd if you subtract also those who are willing to tolerate trump and all he stands for there’s a very tiny number. (In proportion – they clearly exist from Kasich to Dan Scotto and they clearly show its possible to be a republican and not support Trump’s attitude – but its a very small minority)Report