Morning Ed: Crime {2016.11.02.W}


Will Truman

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

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179 Responses

  1. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    If I may indulge a bit of a pet peeve: The first sentence of the piece about internet hacking was this.

    Last week, a massive chain of hacked computers simultaneously dropped what they were doing and blasted terabytes of junk data to a set of key servers, temporarily shutting down access to popular sites in the eastern U.S. and beyond.

    That sentence is so provincial it irritates the crap out of me. “eastern US and beyond”? So you’re relegating Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle and all of California to “and beyond”? The writer clearly has technical expertise. He’s seen the maps. But it’s “eastern US and beyond”.

    If he had said it targeted Dyn, which is headquartered in Manchester, NH. (But perhaps they have servers all over) that would be one thing. This is a case where either more specific, or less specific would work, but “eastern US and beyond” just displays the usual parochialism of easterners.

    Human beings are terrible.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      This is ordinarily the sort of thing that would get my dander up, but I live near the east coast so haha losers!!!


      My impression is that because the attack occurred in the east, the east was the hardest hit and with the most or longest disruption. So it’s not that it was most important, but it was the epicenter.

      Is this wrong?Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay says:

        I understand the thought process that leads to writing that. I still object. I’ve lived on the West Coast all my life save six years in Williamsburg, VA. This is a sore spot.

        Like I said, more specificity would have been fine. “attacks on Dyn’s servers in Ashburn, VA” would be fine. If that’s where they are, it isn’t stated specifically. Dyn’s HQ is in NH, but that’s probably not where their servers are. The article implies it was in Ashburn, but doesn’t say so specifically.

        Or less specificity, “most users of Facebook, Twitter and many other internet services (like Steam, and my wife’s ability to activate her new credit card!) across the US were affected”.

        To those of us who don’t live in the east, “eastern US and beyond” reads kind of like “white people and others”.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          He’s just exposing his “narrow view” of the country. The east coast is paramount (NYC and DC), then LA. Everything thing else is flyover land and is populated by rubes and Trump voters.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        Certainly that’s how it was reported. When I saw the story originally, my reaction was “Really? ‘Cause I haven’t noticed anything.” Maybe I frequent the wrong sort of sites.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        There’s also time zones to consider. Something that happens at 8:00AM ET and is over by 9:00 AM is something a lot of people on the east coast might notice — but most people in Houston slept through.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      My complaint about the opening sentence is the “dropped what they were doing” line. That’s not how big DDoS attacks work. More like, “In addition to the things they regularly do, a large number of computers used some of their spare cycles to send spurious requests…” The amount of processor resources needed to send a hundred DNS requests (via UDP packets) per second is trivial.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      What does it mean that I live on the East Coast (NYC!) and I had no idea about any of this happening aside from hearing others complain about the inconvenience? Are the few website I frequent not important enough to get hacked? Wamp wamp…Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      To be fair, the magazine is called The Atlantic.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC says:

        Yes. Perhaps the magazine writes with the perspective of the Atlantic Ocean. When they say the ‘eastern US’, they might mean the *beaches*.

        It is entirely possible that those sea-people do not even know what’s *beyond* the east coast.

        ‘The eastern U.S., and beyond!’ might be their version of talking about the space program with ‘the moon, and beyond!’.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Social media bans: Besides the First Amendment issues, a ban on social media by sex offenders or other criminals seems way too difficult and costly to enforce. Social media is also a necessary part of life for legitimate socializing and work so eliminating certain people from social media will actually work to prevent any potential reformation.

    Trying 25 years olds as juveniles: There might be some scientific truth to this but really, it goes to far. Sometimes you have to ignore science for a workable legal system.

    Florida man: These types of stories always struck me as cruel and not very entertaining. If I was run over by a truck, I’d hope for compassion and sympathy and not derision.

    Hackers seem outright immoral and amoral at times.Report

  3. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    The first link in the sixth item gets redirected to a top-level ABC News page that has dozens of stories.Report

  4. Avatar Damon says:

    25 Year olds. Everyone’s different. So either, that’s incorporated into law or you make an artificial line. (i have no idea how you’d be able to work that out) I think the line should be consistent: At X age, you can drive, drink, vote, sign contracts, etc. Frankly, I’m good with 18 or 21. Somethings can be/should be allowed with parent consent, say driving.

    I still see very little advantage in connecting my appliances to the intertubes. Do I really need a fridge that emails me a picture of the coffee creamer I used when I’m about to run out?


    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I, too, am confused by the obsession with connecting everything. Especially since I’m now seeing that the speed of technological growth means early-adopters are finding their whole homes to be outdated.

      We got one of the earliest Nests back when we had a house. It was convenient. I could lay in the backyard in the hammock and flick on the AC before heading inside. Or turn the heat on before driving home from work. That was nice. But, as I understand it, that device would be all but obsolete and incompatible with all the new devices. So, yea, fat lotta good it would do me now…Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        When we replaced our hot water tank a year or two ago all the higher end ones had wifi and connected to the internet because reasons. For me, that explicitly rules those devices out.

        I work in IT security, I know how hard it is for big established IT companies to get this stuff right – Maytag is not going to come along and show them how it’s done.

        If we ever buy a car, I know this is going to put me in internal conflict (and probably me and Fledermaus in conflict too) – all the nicer cars are full of networked everything, and their security is terrible.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

        I’m a cheap wench, and I would not shell out for a “wifi enabled whatever” (a water heater? really? what does a water heater need to share with the world? All I can imagine is some jerk hacking it to shut it down some week in the dead of winter when I have a cold and just want hot showers).

        I dunno, I figure these things are good for:
        1. Ordering stuff you might not want (web enabled refrigerator – “oh, you’re nearly out of eggs. Amazon Pantry will be by with a dozen in 2 hours”
        2. Nagging you: “You buy too much ice cream” says the web-enabled freezer. And maybe shames you on Facebook
        3. Letting other people know your daily routine and therefore lets hackers figure out how best to inconvenience you.

        Yes, I am a Luddite, thanks for asking.

        I had a programmable thermostat but a power outage and subsequent surge when it came back on blew its little mind. It was replaced with one that, while still electronic (and therefore, I figure, more prone to unexpectedly dying on me), at least isn’t programmable and requires me to reset everything every time we have a flicker in the power supply.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David says:

          Speaking of thermostats, the basic bi-metal with slider at the bottom to change the contact points is still the best at home for most situations. Tarting it up with additional geegaws such as a digital readout and timer only make any problems worse, for the reasons you mention. That basic, dead simple unit will probably last until SMOD shows up.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog says:

            I like my totally offline non-networked programmable thermostat. I figure it saves me enough money to pay for itself every single winter, by keeping the house cooler while we sleep – so it could theoretically die every second year and still be worth it.

            As far as the wifi water heaters go – I might have considered some of them, as they also had higher efficiency ratings and longer warranties and such. I think the alleged benefits of the wireless business was similar stuff – save money by scheduling it to let the tank cool down overnight or when you’re on vacation – but with an app (!) on your phone (!!!)Report

            • Avatar Aaron David says:

              Those items, thermostats and hot water tanks, are what are called closed loop systems in the industry. They are called that for the simple reason that you can truly set and forget them, outside a changing circumstance such as going on vacation. And at the home owner level, there really is no need for anything more advanced. The more complicated you make something, the more moving parts in other words, the more likely it is to fail.

              Not unlike software.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                For my particular needs, I found the ability to program/control the thermostat on the fly remotely very enticing. I am not the sorta guy who wants my AC to turn on every time the room is hotter than 74 degrees. I generally prefer fresh air. In my current building, I’m on a high floor so the windows only open so much. They’re pretty much open year round. Each room has an individual wall unit that can be “programmed” insofar as you can choose a temperature it aims for. I give the boys A/C at night in the summer and will turn my on on a particularly hot night or if I just finished a run or something. So being able to say, “I’m a mile from home and sweating bullets, let me fire up the otherwise-turned-off-AC now,” was a nice touch. I sort of miss it… but since my apartment is so small now and the units are pretty powerful, it only takes a few minutes anyway.

                But that was the extent of its usefulness.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC says:

              As far as the wifi water heaters go – I might have considered some of them, as they also had higher efficiency ratings and longer warranties and such.

              I don’t know why they’d need to be wifi to do that.

              I think the alleged benefits of the wireless business was similar stuff – save money by scheduling it to let the tank cool down overnight or when you’re on vacation – but with an app (!) on your phone (!!!)

              Letting the tank cool down overnight makes no sense. Water heaters have incredibly good insulation. I live in a house with city-provided water, and an electric water heater, and I’ve taken a hot shower a day and a half after the power went out, it kept the heat that long…and it’s two decades old. Modern ones keep the heat even longer.

              The only possible thing is ‘on vacation’…but, seriously, folks, that’s what throwing the breaker is for. While you don’t want to do without climate control in your house for that long, or walk in and have to deal with a house at the wrong temperature…you probably can deal without hot water for the first hour back just fine. Hell, you probably have clothes to wash, and you probably can’t take a shower during that anyway. So just do that first. By the time they’re done, you’ll have hot water.

              Instead of spending time and money to get an intelligent hot water heater, spent a tiny fraction of that time and money to get the hot water heater put on a *switch* so you can flip it on and off easily if you ever actually do want it off for vacation. (Circuit breakers should not be used as switches, although considering how often people go on vacations, it’s fine.)

              The only other tiny situation where a programmable water heater might save money is if you have some sort of smart electrical service that charges less during the night, but even then it’s hard to figure that one out. People won’t put up with the idea that they don’t have hot water because the water heater is waiting for off-hours.

              Perhaps the water heater could super-heat the water each night, and then let it dilute down during the day, but now you’ve got add some sort of complicated mixer to the output so the output is approximately at the same temperature always.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Dunno why someone’d do that. It’s not even amusing, for god’s sake (like hacking light switches to simulate ghosts).
          More likely they’d hack it to produce bitcoins, or something else with spare processor cycles.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      White men running amok- shooting of two cops in Urbandale.Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        When there is a credible link to BLM, conservative sites like NRO or the Federalist are awash in stories and updates. When it’s a white dude, like today? Crickets.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Da fuck did you expect from Astroturf?
          Race War is the name of the game, and the player is managing both sides.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          No, it’s more about what happens when you don’t secure your borders. Here is another example.

          • Avatar J_A says:

            For some strange reason, a lot of people talk as if the order of events was Angela Merkel issued an open ended invitation and migrants came, instead of one million people (not counting those that died in route), appeared in 2015 in the Greek Islands, the Italian coast, and the Serb/Hungary border.

            I agree that Angela Merkel probably took off the table too soon having the EU navies blow the refugee’s rafts to smitherins while still in the Mediterranean (probably machine gunning them into the Serbian side of the border might have had international repercussions), but it’s not as if the EU had many more options other than take them and resettle them somewhere, at least for the time being.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              From your article, that you didn’t read.

              “No suspect has yet been identified.”

              How do you know they are white or a Trump supporter? This is pathetic even for you.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I stand corrected.
                “Person of unknown race sets fire to black church, and spray paints “VOTE TRUMP” on the wall.”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Roving gangs of white thugs fan out across America intent on terrifying the citizenry.

                Be afraid, children. Be very afraid.
                These white people pose a mortal threat to America.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                You forgot to claim that they are Trump supporters, which I’m sure was just an oversight on your part.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Until Project Veritas releases the unedited video, I’m going to ignore all of their video. Too many were proven false or showed the opposite of reality.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                You should ignore this video as well from a Clinton donor about people of color.


              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                Well, you can do that, sure. Just like I can ignore any protestations about election rigging in the post Donna Brazile world. In fact, the public overwhelmingly believes that the media is in the tank for HRC. So, right now, in my eyes, Project Veritas has more integrity than most of the media combined.

                The deeply sad thing, for me as an ex-democrat at any rate, is watching my old party revert back to Tammany hall. In the words of Pogo, “we have met the enemy, and he is us.”Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

                Assuming you’re absolutely 100% correct on everything and Hillary is the most corrupt evil woman in the history of the universe, Tammany Hall is still better than a warmed over white supremacy.

                Also, it’s highly amusing that you think Hillary Clinton, who was so surprised by having to do a “surprise” one minute closing statement in the 3rd debate that she had an absolutely perfect closing statement was actually helped by knowing that there might be a question about the death penalty.Report

              • Of course the media overwhelmingly wants Clinton to win. They haven’t hidden that; even solidly Republican newspapers decline to endorse Trump. As they should: he’s a childish lunatic that thinks that being criticized is grounds for a lawsuit.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Yeah, this. It isn’t a “conspiracy” if the entirety of US media refuses to endorse Trump and supports (reluctantly or otherwise) Clinton. It’s like, oh, I dunno, the exact opposite of a conspiracy seems to me. More like rational people expressing their rationality.

                {{Unless, of course, the ENTIRE media-industrial complex has been leveraged to support the Radical Clintonian Agenda!! Then again, this is America, where all things are possible.}}Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Are Jews the scum of the earth?
                Or regular folks?
                Opinions vary!

                In another year, this would have been absurd parody.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Yes, Comrade Soros, my diabolical plan to make Trump supporters look like slavering white racists and Neo-Nazis is working. I request a promotion and extra ration of abortions.

                Well, OK, yes, I did have help from Trump himself.
                And his supporters.
                And the white racists themselves.
                And the Neo-Nazis.

                But really, I deserve some credit for not blocking them don’t I?Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Project Veritas has been proven, in a court of law, for making stuff up. The famous “pimps and hoes” case that got a guy fired from ACORN? In real life, they were dressed in a suit and the guy that got fired contacted law enforcement immediately after they left for sex trafficking. The NPR guy that was supposedly biased because he was bad-mouthing Republicans? He was quoting other Republicans and saying he disagreed. Until they release the full tape, PV has given me zero reason to trust that anything they release is within a country mile of factual.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I tend to be skeptical of media objectivity and neutrality, but…

                Mo is absolutely right here. The thing about burning your credibility is that once you’ve burned it, you have to earn it back. They can’t do that without releasing the videos, given that the thing they previously got in trouble with was creative editing of videos.

                Center for Medical Progress did. Project Veritas needs to.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                You would be correct, normally. Normally being the operative word there. What is said, in my opinion, is so damning even out of context, that I am of the opinion that a RICO investigation of Democratic operations is in order. YMMV of course.

                Even without that, with all of the revelations that have been coming from Podestas email, the media has so completely beshitted itself at this point that I will take Veritas over anything from the legacy media as far as truthiness. At least I know where they stand, warts and all.

                Though I guess I know where all the others stand at this point also.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Can we see a full dump of Trump’s campaign managers for the last few years? We need to know what Lewandowski, Manafort and Conway have written so we can find out if they need a RICO investigation.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Hard to say if O’Keefe won’t actually release the tapes. Which is the problem. Given the history, I need context. If there is something actually illegal, he should turn the unedited versions to the justice department. Has he?Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                The same character in the video (Black) was hired by Breitbart (read: Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon) to disrupt Cruz and Rubio rallies during the primary. Also, the Trump campaign has made payments to O’Keefe. Are you sure it’s the Ds that need the RICO investigation?Report

              • Avatar nevermoor says:

                Ooooo! This is a fun game.

                Name one thing in any of the leaked (i.e. hacked-by-Russia-to-support-Trump) emails that is worse than “Donna Brazile leaks a debate question.”Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                And one of those questions was about lead in the water supplies in a debate in Flint. Much like the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects it.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Here’s the thing: While it’s not high crimes and misdemeanors, debate questions should not be leaked to one participant. This is, in virtually every other context, uncontroversial.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                Real rocket scientist you got there:


              • Avatar nevermoor says:

                wrote to her using a pseudonym, cover-up happened (intent to destroy evidence)

                I see someone saying “Obama knew she wasn’t using a address, so he needs to correct his answer”

                Where does the quoted part come from?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                Sorry, the threading is screwed up a little here, but this is what I was looking at. Most of it is Conservative/Repub whining about Liberal/Dems and is as useless as that sounds. But there is enough there there.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor says:

                I guess I need you to walk me through it.

                I’m seeing one email saying Obama should correct an (arguably) incorrect statement. Them I’m seeing an FBI report that Huma Abedin didn’t know Obama’s email address, and was surprised she got to see it (or that the email wasn’t classified, or something; not clear at all to me that she’s saying the contents of the email should have been classified; is clear to me that the document wasn’t, in fact, marked as classified).

                And that’s #1 on this top 100 worst emails list.

                #2, of course, is absolutely no crime and, per HRC, is part of a discussion about energy trading.

                #3 is dumb (and also absolutely not illegal). Saudi Arabia is an ally so I’m not sure why it’s terrible to take money from them. Another is that she promised to go to Morocco. BFD.

                #4 is where I get off. If that’s the best top-4 this guy has, she’s stunningly clean for someone whose entire operation just got hacked.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                Doug Band boasting about how he uses the Clinton Global Initiative to pull in millions in kickbacks for Bill Clinton’s for-profit ventures was pretty awful. In large part because it shows how poor the Clinton’s instincts are for working with good people.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor says:

                Doug Band boasting about how he uses the Clinton Global Initiative to pull in millions in kickbacks for Bill Clinton’s for-profit ventures was pretty awful.

                First I’ve heard of it. Link?Report

              • Avatar nevermoor says:

                I was hoping it wasn’t that.

                Kickbacks? Seriously, you think? To Bill? For what?Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                The pay is obvious. But what is the “play” that is ominous or wrong. Having Bill give speeches or consult? That is pretty much the definition of what an ex-prez does unless you are Jimmy Carter.

                Rich people gave money to CGI which used it for good works. They got to meet bill and hill and they hired bill to do whatever he does. If it wasn’t bill it would be called networking. People use social and charity events to push their businesses all the time. Having worked at a charity and non-profits, it happens all the time. Not only that i’m not sure what problem is.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Or, you know, get a pardon.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Really lost now. So Mark Rich went forward in time to give money to the CGI so past Bill would pardon him back in the 90’s??? If we’re talking just about Rich well that is old news, sleazy as i remember and not about Hills.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The Clinton Library used to be a thing too, Greg.

                Though, I agree, That’s Bill and not Hillary and, anyway, it was a million years before.

                Do you know why Monica Lewinski was of so much interest? Because Paula Jones was suing for sexual harassment.

                The argument, at the time, was “we can establish a pattern!”Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Urmm Clinton Libary…nothing coming to mind. Is that where he kept his copies of Playboy? ( rimshot) Yeah bill did bad things. Agreed.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Can we establish a pattern?Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                A pattern of what, bill being a dog. Yeah. What pattern are you looking for here? You do know that people instinctively look for and find patterns in everything up to and including see Jesus in their toast. Just lay out what pattern you think you are seeing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                A pattern of pay for play when it comes to Clinton, Inc.

                It’s cool. You don’t see it yet.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Well i don’t remember his library. He was a sexual creep. They had a charity and made money. Not much a pattern and i’m not seeing some pattern of pay for play. All the play ends up being weak sauce or some vaguely defined ick that doesn’t add up to much.

                Maybe you need to go all Kevin Costner in Stone’s JFK movie and show my slide by slide. Actual slide show and bland acting optional.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                That’s cool. Other people do.

                Something you might like to consider: The people who do remember such things might have more data points with which to see a pattern.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Which is *NOT* to say that people who have more data points are, in fact, seeing a pattern. It could well be noise, as you point out. The human brain is really good at turning noise into a pattern.

                That said, sometimes there *ARE* patterns.

                Having more data points is a good thing, if there is a pattern.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                You got nothing but accusations an innuendo so you talk cryptically about patterns.

                We’ve had what, a couple hundred comments, and no one has come up with anything.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Actually, the Marc Rich thing was sort of confirmed a couple of days ago.

                You know what people were saying at the time?

                You got nothing but accusations an innuendo so you talk cryptically about patterns.

                This is part of the pattern some people are noticing.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Now compare Marc Rich with Dick Cheney dealings with Halliburton while in office.
                We have ironclad innuendo, reams of documented rumors, patterns of people saying “hmmm”.
                How can you deny this? Are you not convinced?Report

              • Avatar notmme says:

                This sounds like our last discussion of when stubble becomes a beard.Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                This has been said before in many ways. People see lots of patterns with the Clintons. They would be more believable if to many of them weren’t still screeching about shooting her over BENGHAZI or some such. To many false and rediculous exaggerated claims. Hillary is an ordinarily corrupt pol. She puts herself on thin ice with things like the private email server. But she is no worse then the general pol. That is no great compliment and a fair indictment. But i’m not great fan of hers. If her critics weren’t so intent on finding yet another smoking gun of the worse horror ever, well that would be more interesting.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Expect to hear “BENGHAZI” over the next couple of days.Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                Without a doubt and for the next four years. Some elected Repub yahoo said she should be put in front of firing squad over Benghazi just a couple days ago. There is a pattern there.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Benghazi was a CF, but it was a legit CF, and not Clinton’s fault, in the main.
                Pulling in Bin Laden? That was her doing — she identified the organizational problem and fixed it.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko says:

                What’s this? Actual praise (perhaps grudging) for Hillary Clinton? From @kim ? Mirabile dictu.

                (Just kidding with you a bit here, @kim.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                All the play ends up being weak sauce or some vaguely defined ick that doesn’t add up to much.

                That’s just about as precise as saying it’s a clearly defined ick that adds up to a lot, greg. I mean, one of the great virtues of legalism is that we can get down to the nitty gritty on semantics and so on and on, and on…

                What constitutes evidence of “legal” corruption? Legal findings. Like charges and such.

                What constitutes evidence of “political” corruption? Political findings. Like polls and such.

                Somewhere between the two is a functional principle to work with.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I hear from hackers that Clinton’s team hacked the voting machines during the primaries. I consider them decent sources.

                I’d say that’s corruption, wouldn’t you?Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                Okay, but in the end all this horrible corruption that people see in the Clinton seems to add up to a lot less the original claims. So what happened here was legal: that is a big first step. I completely agree that things can be legal and still be unethical. In this Band stuff we are seeing things that are very common in the world. Ok, it can still be unethical but very common. That does start to take us out of the world of the Clinton’s are the most corruptist corrupts that ever corrupted though. I’m not even sure how much the Band stuff moves my meter on being sleazy, maybe a 2 or 3 out of 10.

                So what are we left with. Billy makes money the was ex prez do and they got a lot of money for a good charity that helped people. And somehow this ends up with them being horrible again. The ending was a foregone conclusion it seems.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                I’ve heard about the Doug Band stuff and i’m not seeing how terrible it is. They solicited donations for a charity which all the reviews said was well run and used the money for its designated purposes. They also looked for business. Ummm so….it isn’t illegal. Is it unethical? Well was someone being cheated? No. Was charity money not going where they said it would? No. Was someone misrepresenting something? Not seeing it. Maybe i’m missing something but i’m not seeing the horror here. If i’m lost here i’d love to know.

                If it matters plenty of rich people find ways to benefit from well run charities. It’s not like most companies donate money or sponsor charities out of the good of their hearts. It’s a used for publicity among other things. And that is fine.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                >>If it matters plenty of rich people find ways to benefit from well run charities.

                Yeah, I get you. I think it’s pretty crazy that people freak out at Clinton exchanging access for charitable donations when one of the most common money-earners for charities is to *literally* auction off a dinner with a powerful board-member. The issue with Band is that he was selling passes to CGI conferences in exchange for *private contracts* to Bill Clinton himself. That’s not access for charity, it’s access for profit with the charity being used as a conduit. It misrepresents the purpose of CGI, diverts funds away from charity, and is in a gray area legally. Clinton could have been transparent and required all funds to go to CGI. Or he could have been transparent and done his business independently of CGI.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Okay but that’s still pretty thin in terms of badness. Like you say charities sell access to famous people. They are networking opportunities and PR. Bill is also not up for election and the CGI has appeared to do a lot of good work. Getting meet Bill would always be a reason people donate and teh reason none of us have a giant world wide charity.

                I worked for a large national charity for years. It was a catholic charity so when the head nun came around the big donors got to meet Sister Mary Rose. She met big pols. Some companies did work for us, they may have given us a deal but they also got work out of it. Connections mattered all around.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                I think there’s a big difference between saying “give money to our charity and you’ll get to hang out with Bill Clinton!” and saying “give money to Bill Clinton and you’ll get to hang out at our charity conference”.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Phrased that way there isn’t a difference. Big time donations to charity come with big rewards. The money they were bringing in and putting to good use in their charity were far more than tote bag and coffee mug territory. And again Bill is an ex-prez and only going to be First Bubba.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                >>Big time donations to charity come with big rewards.

                But the donations weren’t going to charity, they were going into Bill Clinton’s wallet. That’s the whole point.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                But the charity got plenty of money. Is there any evidence people gave to him INSTEAD of the charity? How would we know even know that? It seemed, as i remember, people gave to the CGI and hired bill. So how do we know they gave to billy instead of the CGI? It’s not like either of those things mandatory. People were free to do both things. Wouldn’t bill be free to make money and get donations?Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                >>So how do we know they gave to billy instead of the CGI?

                Because Band himself says that he was giving away free passes (which are worth $20k) to CGI gatherings to clients of Teneo (his lobbying firm) where he would then court those clients into for-profit business. All of this while Bill was an “adviser” for Teneo receiving millions of dollars from them. Beyond that, Band describes bringing in millions more dollars for Bill than for CGI even though he was working only at CGI and Teneo simultaneously and claimed not to have been compensated for the Bill contracts.Report

              • Avatar greginak says:

                Free passes to events so he could try to sell them stuff. No, that is beyond thin. That’s like car dealer giving you a free oil change if you buy a car. I can see what you are trying to argue but rattling the cup for charity while selling his business just isn’t’ much of a thing.

                If you really want to judge what he did then look at the entire CGI and how good of a charity it was. From what i’ve read it’s books are open and clean and they did Good Works. So this guy Band was always selling something. That doesn’t prove the money Band/Clinton got would have gone to charity. And if somehow it did lessen the charity money any money they got for the charity was still good. I’m guessing these givers wouldn’t give anything if they didn’t’ get to meet bill, so whatever CGI got was a solid good.

                I’ll add that one of the reasons i didn’t’ like the Clinton campaign in 08 was she had to many old sleazy and incompetent old Clinton hangers on so just saying there are D Bags around the Clintons is something i thought many years ago. This guy Band, he is salesman, they need to work to but i don’t trust any of them. Of course Trumpy is a salesman to.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Because Band himself says that he was giving away free passes (which are worth $20k) to CGI gatherings to clients of Teneo (his lobbying firm) where he would then court those clients into for-profit business.

                Erm, do we have any evidence that he *acquired* those passes for free? Because that seems rather important when trying to decide if this was inappropriate.

                Firms lobbying people by *purchasing* tickets to events and then *giving* people those tickets is perfectly normal. If that’s what he did, if he paid $20k so *someone else* could attend, it’s fine. It’s no different than buying season tickets to a basketball team and letting people use them.

                If he has some sort of position inside the CGI that allows him to just *give out* tickets, OTOH, that is inexcusable. If he had been granted that power, it would have been so he could ‘bribe’ people with tickets to get them to donate to the CGI, not so he could bribe them into hiring Bill.

                I am involved with marketing at a local community theatre, and I can give comp tickets to anyone who seems like they might be a donor, or who might be a ‘influencer’ in the community, or, hell, someone who sounds like they might be a future patron. Basically, I can give them out at my own discretion. But it would be completely inappropriate for me to give them to people to try to get them to consider doing business with my company, or as rewards for doing business with me.

                And there’s a sorta middle ground, where perhaps Band, or Bill Clinton, were given those tickets for free due to doing work *for* the CGI, but it was sorta assumed they’d be giving them to friends and family, not bribing people with them. (As someone on the board of directors, Bill Clinton is not supposed to be compensated.) I am not *sure* that’s illegal, but it’s pretty skeevy, it’s sorta like actors selling their comp tickets.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                Band wrote memo lauding/defending his services (so be aware of the intended spin) to which he attached the following footnote on comped passes:

                For example, I understand our policy on uncompensated (comped) passes to attend CGI is being
                reviewed. Historically, CGI has accommodated as many paying members as we can identify; the majority
                of members that attend are comped. In the absence of an established policy, there are a variety of methods
                used to determine who receives comped passes. We have comped individuals that fall primarily into the
                following categories: spouse of CGI employees, government employees, potential donors being cultivated
                including target Teneo clients, President Clinton’s family and friends, family and friends of Foundation
                employees, guest requests of foreign dignitaries, and celebrities. As the Foundation identified a formal
                policy for comped passes, we encourage the creation of a policy that will be commonly applied – as
                opposed to applied by exception. We are happy to help identify the range of instances where comped
                passes benefit the goals of the Foundation so the final policy operates in service of the Foundation’s goals.

                and on doing business at the meetings:

                An issue that was raised to my attention was Teneo’s use of space on the 5th floor of the Sheraton during
                CGI, a common occurrence, as I understand it for people to do at CGI. Teneo hosted 15 meetings in that
                room during the 4 days of CGI, primarily with the clients identified in this memo. I assumed CGI sent a bill
                for that room; when I recently learned we had not been billed, I directed that Teneo resources be used to
                pay any and all costs associated with the room they used during CGI. I believed, rightly or wrongly, that
                Teneo’s further development of its clients to be bigger donors to the Foundation and CGI was an important

                Now, if we squint really hard we can read Band’s first footnote as saying that he comps potential donors that *incidentally* happen to be target Teneo clients. And we can similarly read the second footnote as saying that Teneo takes advantage of this happy accident to host meetings with clients at CGI conferences but only to develop their relationship to the Foundation (oh and whoops we charged CGI for the hotel space but I’ll clear that right up). But this is an especially tortured interpretation given the context of these footnotes, which is all of the for-profit money Band has brought in for Clinton and family while *while not being “separately compensated” for this work*. Maybe Band can walk into a room and be a fundraiser for CGI, walk out and walk back in again and be an *uncompensated* agent for Bill Clinton. And maybe Band could do the similar mental gymnastics to objectively give out comped passes to donors that just happen to be Teneo clients. But if I ran a charity and someone wrote me this kind of letter *in their defense* they would be out on their ass.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Now, if we squint really hard we can read Band’s first footnote as saying that he comps potential donors that *incidentally* happen to be target Teneo clients.

                Erm, to have to squint really hard, you *first* have to read the ‘target’ in to mean ‘targetted to be Teneo clients’ as opposed to ‘[already existing] Teneo clients that we have targetted [to be donors]’.

                In fact I had to read it a few times to even figure out that you were reading it some other way, because it seems really clear to me.

                As I said, it would completely inapproriate for Band to give cmop tickets out to people *because* those people are clients of his. Where as it’s perfectly fine for him to give them to people who show an interest in donations *even if* they are his clients.

                And *that is why he put in that footnote*, because he’s worried that, without a formal comp policy, the IRS might think that’s what he’s doing, so he wants to make sure the formal policy has some actual rules about that, because the current comp policy is very vague.

                And we can similarly read the second footnote as saying that Teneo takes advantage of this happy accident to host meetings with clients at CGI conferences but only to develop their relationship to the Foundation (oh and whoops we charged CGI for the hotel space but I’ll clear that right up).

                Erm, no, it was ‘whoops, the CGI didn’t charge *them* for the hotel space’, not that they charged the CGI.

                And before you start trying to make anything about this, this was not ‘Oh, he gets caught, and has to explain himself’…it’s just, ‘Heads up, you guys didn’t bill us for that meeting room like you should have.’. The sort of business crap that gets overlooked all the time, and in fact wouldn’t be a big deal *even if* Band didn’t catch it…but, hell, he *did* catch it, so I have no idea why that’s important at all.

                ut this is an especially tortured interpretation given the context of these footnotes, which is all of the for-profit money Band has brought in for Clinton and family while *while not being “separately compensated” for this work*.

                And I think you’re misreading this also.

                It says, very specifically, that ‘neither Justin nor I are separately compensated for this work’.

                Note by that he means they don’t get a *cut* of that, not that they aren’t paid at all for it…and notice the word *separately*.

                And note that Justin Cooper, as far as I can tell, has *never* worked for Teneo. So who is he getting compensated from?

                What is actually going on is that Justin Cooper and Douglas Band are *paid staff* of the Clintons. When they wander around shilling Clinton’s speechs, *that* is who they are working for.

                And Douglas Band *additionally* operates a consulting firm/financial management firm named Teneo that has been hired to, basically, operate the CF.

                It is also worth pointing out that, at the time of this letter, that setup has existed *five months*, so everyone is still trying to figure everything out. Hence Band’s worries about ‘Wait, if I give comp tickets to my own clients to try to get them involved with the CF, do I look like I’m doing something wrong?’

                Or, in other words, this letter doesn’t prove wrongdoing…this letter actually proves that people at the CF are *worried* about making sure that every t is crossed and i is dotted when they have these possible conflicts of interest, so said to Band ‘Hey, explain everything that’s going on so we fully understand all this.’ And Band explained it, including areas he was concerned about.

                And also note that we have no idea if the CF was *happy* after they got this. It’s entirely possible they said ‘Nope, that doesn’t look very good, we’re going to make some changes. First, the formal comp policy says no giving out comps to Teneo clients at all…’Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                tl;dr – If a non-profit looking into possible concerns with their new management firm asks said firm to detail those concerns, and the firm’s response to that is stolen and used as *evidence of wrongdoing*…

                …I don’t know what the hell we’re doing as a species anymore.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Don’t be so sure none of us have a giant global charity.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                In large part because it shows how poor the Clinton’s instincts are…


              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                All joking aside, even the Times, let alone the FBI, think that is a joke. But the security standards set by the Dems at this point give me zero, as in none, confidence that they have the security of anything as a priority. But as for what is worse:
                Obama lied: he knew about Hillary’s secret server and wrote to her using a pseudonym, cover-up happened (intent to destroy evidence) “Jen you probably have more on this but it looks like POTUS just said he found out HRC was using her personal email when he saw it in the news… we need to clean this up – he has emails from her – they do not say”Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                And did you look at the context from the White House? Having multiple email aliases IS NOT FORBIDDEN if all of the emails are achieved in the government system. Obama, as the sender, cannot know if the emails are being archived or stored on the private server. He trusted Clinton to be archiving appropriately and he learned through the news that she was not. It makes perfect sense to have some aliases for VIPs like Obama instead of having to fish out Obama’s emails from everything that passes through This isn’t even an instance of “how the sausage is made”, it’s the kind of thing that the government explicitly allows for and encourages.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                The government encourages their folks to set up private servers and use them? Who gave Hillary permission to do so?Report

              • Avatar notmme says:

                This isn’t even an instance of “how the sausage is made”, it’s the kind of thing that the government explicitly allows for and encourages.

                BS. the gov’t doesn’t encourage folks to use their own servers and email. Obama lied about not knowing and she never asked for permission.Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                I encourage you to re-read my comment and pay particular attention to the second sentence and the sentence directly preceding the sentence you quoted, which the quoted sentence refers to.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                … you’re assuming russia hacked something, aintcha?Report

              • Avatar trizzlor says:

                >>What is said, in my opinion, is so damning even out of context, that I am of the opinion that a RICO investigation of Democratic operations is in order.

                Just to be clear, we’re not talking about subtle context. Previous PV videos were edited to make people appear to say the *complete opposite* of what they were actually saying. In the case of Shirley Sharrod, her story was (1) I didn’t like how this white guy treated me and though about screwing him over; (2) but I realized that was wrong and I fought my prejudices to help him; (3) and now we’re lifelong friends. This story was then presented on video as “I didn’t like this white guy and screwed him over”, and Sharrod was immediately terminated. That’s nuts. At this point it’s quite possible that O’Keefe is asking his victims “what’s the worst thing you can think of” and then presenting that as their intended behavior.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David says:

                “At this point it’s quite possible that O’Keefe is asking his victims “what’s the worst thing you can think of” and then presenting that as their intended behavior.”

                Absolutely. No doubt about that aspect of it, the firings of the speakers aside. And that would come out in an investigation, which should bring up what you were talking abut above. My point being that there are so many insinuations and so much insinuendo reguarding this whole institution that a real good, hard, deep look needs to be taken. A poll came out recently that on her. There is a problem there, and it isn’t with O’keefe. The D’s have made him, between their own dishonesty and the media collusion, the more honest operator.

                And that is bad.

                That is what is hurting democracyReport

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                My point being that there are so many insinuations and so much insinuendo reguarding this whole institution that a real good, hard, deep look needs to be taken.

                So let me get this straight.
                Whats hurting our democracy is the “insinuendo”.

                Not facts, not actual evidence, just…insinuendo.

                This is so effed up, I don’t know where to begin.

                It quite literally, is a real life example of telling a lie enough times that people begin to believe it.

                No one here has actually presented anything. But people remain unshakable in convictions that the Clintons are guilty, of something.
                They don’t know what,
                But something certainly.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                You want a high trust and high collaboration society?

                Or do you want to win?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck says:

                I think that he imagines that once he wins there won’t be a need for things like “trust” and “collaboration”, because the good kind smart morally-superior people will inherently possess those qualities, and the bad mean dumb moral inferiors won’t have the power to affect anything meaningful.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Heh. When I read this comment I thought you were talking about Trump!! Which is an intresting juckstaposishun.Report

              • By the very same logic, Obama really is a Kenyan Islamic terrorist and global warming really is a con job. Because in both cases, there’s so much data and such an obvious patten and so much insinuendo that you can’t simply dismiss those ideas. At least not if you want a high trust and collaboration society.Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                By the very same logic, Obama really is a Kenyan Islamic terrorist…

                Well, technically Obama is a Kenyan who terrorizes lots of Muslims. Does that count?

                Bush terrorized them first though, so maybe it doesn’t count.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Eh, I never really wanted The Nordic Model anyway.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Clinton’s team hacked the Democratic Primary.
                Dropped people from voting rolls (that’s not hard, the tricky part is dropping the Bernie voters and not the Hillary ones).
                Hacked the voting machines where applicable.

                Is that dastardly enough for you?

                More than 50% of sitting US Representatives and Senators are blackmailed. This is just DC life, folks.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                And yet they left you alive to spill the beans.


              • Avatar Kim says:

                *shrugs* The standard answer I’ll give is “don’t believe me, it’s safer that way.”

                I know a Clinton Operative — but, hell, I don’t have evidence myself, just what he’s managed to scratch together (he worked for Bernie as well, and Gingrich, and half a dozen other people. He does politics, ya know?)Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                They did none of those things outside your imagination, Kim.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                You can talk to me again when the Clintons stop talking about things purely in their imagination then.
                Like “Russia” hacking the DNC servers.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Hey, only every lettered agency (even the FBI, though they asked to be let off the list) and a handful of well-known internet security firms came to the same conclusion.

                I’m sure the Demon Hillary has her claws in all of them.

                She’s the most super-competent incompetent ever! She fools or blackmails or intimidates everyone important, entirely without trace — except Kimmie on the internet notices.

                That’s my favorite part of tin-foil stuff like this. It’s not about the conspiracy, it’s about feeling special. “Unlike the sheep, I know the truth. I wasn’t fooled. I figured it out“.

                It’s all ego gratification. It’s all about saying “I’m the wise man, I’m the smart girl, I’m the one that says “Hey, that emperor has no clothes!”. The hero of this piece!”.

                And of course, you get together with the other heroes, the other wise men and women who can “see the truth”, and you pass your theories back and forth, and you’re each others “trusted insiders who know” and wild speculation becomes bedrock fact.

                They’ve done studies on the dynamic. You’re pretty classic.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Will you help support securing our borders?
            I have some lovely slave produced kitchenware if you’d like to support child labor at the same time….
            (They did volunteer for the slavery, it is true. Out of America and cheaper for you!)Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          I think you can leave out the word “credible”Report

    • People beating each other with wooden clubs? That’s what happens when there’s no Second Amendment.Report

  5. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    25 Year old adults – Man, I feel like we should try to drag Chris into this one. This is an opinion that is pretty ignorant of neuroscience and mental development, but I have to wonder if part of the reason we seem to keep finding that people aren’t done cognitively forming is either A) because we are getting better at identifying cognitive development, or B) because as a society we keep structuring things such that the environmental pressures that spur cognitive development to adulthood are lessened, so it takes longer to get there.

    I.E. If we set the societal marker for adulthood to 25, how many generations before we suddenly find that cognitive adulthood doesn’t really start until 30?Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      We’re getting better at identifying cognitive development. (Look into the research for simple things — like how well various ages learn at different times, and their changing sleep and wakefullness cycles).

      Environmental pressures don’t have a lot to do with the actual mechanics of brain formation (and if they did, we’d find cognitive development happening faster — we have early and earlier puberty due to better nutrition, but the brain develops at it’s own pace.)

      The 25 cut off is, in a sense, rather arbitrary. (It’s more akin to the median of a bell curve, although it’s not one with a huge amount of deviation. It’s also, IIRC, the median for men not women), but it’s all arbitrary in biology. We’re not clones. The reason we’re not likely to see it jump to 30? It’s the same reason actuaries noticed the 25/23 numbers well before neuroscientistis did. It’s not a social construct, but a biological fact. It’s not going to move much.

      As to whether we should alter the laws on what counts as adult — that’s harder to answer. 18 versus 25 is mostly a matter of weighting and forecasting. Your 18 year old self will weight rewards more heavily while discounting risk more heavily, as well as being really bad at predicting chains of consequences. They’re very short-term thinkers, compared to 25, with a heavy emphasis on riskier behavior that grants short-term rewards.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        “we’re” getting better, sure. Psychologists in Academia aren’t terribly good though.
        Shitty samples, biased samples, and folks who don’t really want to be there.
        Worst of all, people scared starkers of telling the truth. People ain’t equal, and if you start parsing them each way to Sunday, you get really interesting conclusions. Men/Women, Races, Classes, take your pick. You find me ONE academic (who isn’t pushing the Melatonin theory — yes, they gave THAT one tenure)…

        Believe it or not, you get better data off cellphones.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Then the question becomes, is the whole risk/reward calculation literally a matter of time, or is it something whose development can be influenced through education/experience? I mean, is the difference between the uber responsible 16 year old and the reckless 30 year old simply a matter of the tails of the bell curve, or are there outside influences that shaped those tails. If so, how strong are those influences?

        And that is all before we even get to the legal question, which strikes me then as something that should less consider actual age, and be more based upon a neuro/psych eval.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          It’s literally a matter of time. MRIs and fMRI’s plus a lot of maturing neuroscience pretty much nailed that down. Then there’s a ton of educational data on this, because professional teachers are really keen on knowing how the brain develops and when forming minds can understand things (and how best to get them to).

          Again, we’re talking medians and bell curves, but really like….overlapping multiple bell curves. (This is easier if I could draw pictures, but I shall try).

          Take one bell curve (median 25 male, 23 female) with low deviation. Nice tall peak, really narrow. That’s neurology — actual physical formation of things like frontal lobes, pruning of grey matter, etc — that represents the hardware the teenager is running on. (Let’s not get into the chemical stew said teenager is also running on). Said hardware is a work in progress, not functionally complete until that 25/23 peak. That’s when all the bits and pieces are there, hooked up, fully functional. (Obviously, from the narrow peak and the bell curve, kids end up with everything working AROUND 25/23, but some will lead and some will lag).

          Those last bits have a lot to do with future planning, and assessing risk/reward. (Keep in mind I’m really over simplifying. Like they have frontal lobes and CAN assess risk/reward and plan for the future at, say, 15. They’re just crap at it. Running on sub-standard hardware, lots of mistakes and such. It’s not ‘experience’ — it’s defective or rather not fully functional hardware).

          Now you have ANOTHER bell curve, which is not centered on “age” but on “skill at this task” (where said task is risk/reward or future assessment). Again, you’ll have a distribution — probably much wider distribution. This isn’t experience (although experience can help) but skill.

          Then you overlap them. What you find is that a 17 year old with really good risk/reward assessment might be two deviations ahead his peers, but that might just place him as ‘average’ for a 25 year old. 8 years later he’s likely to be two-deviations ahead of everyone else again, as he’s out from under the handicap of poor hardware.

          So it’s a big blurry mess, but we can say that there are critical hardware bits that are still forming up until (median) age 25 male, 23 female. Like we have MRI’s and large studies and we also know that’s pretty much “Human brain complete, hardware” at that stage — all that’s left is using it.

          And sure, experience and skill helps, but there’s also a limited time window — because again, you have really primitive hardware and if you think it’s bad at 17 huge parts aren’t even there at 12.

          It’s like…geometric proofs. (Again, remember “bell curve of development”. I’m talking median kids, there are outliers on everything including neurological development and native talent). You can’t teach the average kid high-school level geometry (or algebra, for that matter) in sixth grade. His brain literally doesn’t have the cognitive development (the hardware isn’t there or is sub-par) to handle it. You can work on it ALL DAY and he’s not going to comprehend.

          He can memorize, he can recite, but he’s not going to grok it (for lack of a better term). Cognitively, he’s not there yet — and you can’t educate him there, you just have to wait. (You can teach him basics that he can learn and comprehend, but no matter how firm the foundation there’s a real actual block on that form of higher level thinking).

          Infants aren’t born with tiny, fully formed adult brains just lacking information. I mean it’s the right shape and size, at a glance, but lots of stuff inside there isn’t formed, connected, or properly pruned yet.

          Same is true of 8 year olds, 14 year olds, and even 19 year olds.

          Now your average 18 or 19 year old can, more or less, pass for an adult. The missing bits are more “judgement” based than “learning/participating in society” based. And even then it’s specific types of judgement and pretty contextual. (Like, they make pretty crappy drivers, for one. Even for their experience levels. An average 27 year old new driver is going to be a lot better than the average 18 year old new driver, despite identical levels of experience).Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Except that this whole kit and kaboodle is influenced by the age of psychologists.
            You notice that brains keep developing into your 60’s and 70’s.
            Well, one can say that “this is where your brain is Best Developed” — but if you ask particularly canny folks, they’ll say it’s not at 20, and definitely not at 25. The people who keep their cognitive flexibility (test out as being younger than you’d think) are the smart ones.
            Wisdom increases with age, but intelligence does not.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              No it’s not. We’ve been down this road, and you remain utterly wrong, unmoored from any research.

              In fact, IIRC, you spent a lot of time misusing the term ‘neural plasticity’ in such a way that your advice was akin to telling people the best way to avoid arthritis was to never stop puberty.

              As if that was possible, and also as if that would work.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            For a guy who writes software for structural engineering, you appear to have a good grasp of this. Hobby, or just long talks with the wife?Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              Long talks with the wife, who had internalized early on that her engineer husband needed background when it came to child-rearing.

              “Honey, I teach kids for a living, that approach doesn’t work in a 6 year old” — I’d believe her, but I’d want to know why. My kid’s 20 now, and her specialty might be English, but her Master’s degree and a great deal of her training (and now the training she gives others) revolves around cognitive development, assessing such, and tailoring lesson plans to such.

              The biological/brain development stuff — it’s important to them, at least if you want to do the best job you can. Everything from when to start classes, to how long classes should be, to when to teach certain subjects (or how to teach them).

              And since it was relevant to my kid, well…I followed up. Plus I like being able to at least follow her shop talk.

              Plus, come on. It’s our brains. It’s where we live. It’s how we think. 24/7/365. Who doesn’t want to learn more about how that bad boy works?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                What’s the wife do?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Senior AP English right now, as well as basically handling a ton of ELA training, and she has one or possibly two classes of the senior English problem cases (the ones who haven’t passed one or both of the state required English tests for graduation.). She’s qualified and certified to teach quite a bit (and has) — elementary level math, English (reading/writing) at all grade levels, HS science, and I’m sure I’m missing a few…

                But then she got trained to a specific method (for reading/writing) that she loved, got certed to train to it, moved onto a dual Master’s, and got deeper and deeper into learning methodologies and cognitive development (most specifically as applied to reading and writing).

                She has, sort of accidentally, ended up with the perfect CV to oversee district English Language Arts curriculum writing and assessment. (Which is why she’s going back to school, it’s been hinted none to gently that she needs a principle’s certification to move to admin, and that her district — which she loves — wishes to jump her straight into that curriculum slot when the current owner leaves in a few years.).

                To her, all that was just work to improve her teaching. (My favorite comment of hers, when a principle asked about the fact that her class had a reputation for being ‘easy’ was: “If it felt hard, it’d be because I’m not doing my job. They work hard, they just don’t really notice it.” followed by offering up the research behind her methods, and her classes AP scores.)Report

              • a principle asked

                And you’re married to an English teacher? 🙂Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I’ve always been really horrible about that sort of thing.

                I can spot your grammar and spelling flaws, but I skate right over mine because “I know what I meant”. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Badass! How do we get HER here?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                You couldn’t pry her out of that district with a crowbar.

                Or at least without doubling her salary. She loves teaching seniors. They’re old enough to hit what she calls “the good stuff” in literature, they are maturing as writers, and have a developing sense of humor.

                On the down side, they often try to mentally check-out in March (senioritis is real).

                I think they’re doing pop poetry this week — applying literary analysis to any piece of modern music (pop, rock, rap, whatever) they feel like. (Hint: Some musicians make lyrically great songs. Many do not. The “Oh god, this song is so much better when you don’t think about the words” cries are supposedly fun).

                You’d be surprised at how many don’t realize they’re analyzing poetry, which is clearly hard work and uninteresting to most, until near the end.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Plus, come on. It’s our brains. It’s where we live. It’s how we think. 24/7/365. Who doesn’t want to learn more about how that bad boy works?

                One of the reasons such things pique my interest.Report

              • The Human Brain by A. Zombie. It’s a cookbook.Report

        • Avatar Kim says:

          Risk taking is a function of adolescence. It’s actually a decent thing, in a number of ways.
          You need someone holding down the fort, after all (and let it be the elders, whose brains have gone dumb)Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:


      Google “Executive Functioning Skills”. They’re currently a bit of a buzz word in psych and ed circles, but appropriately so in terms of what we are learning about this part of brain development and how it impacts, well, everything.

      Zooming out more broadly, strict stage theory (i.e., humans move through distinct stages of development and fairly predictable times which cannot be impacted) has been pretty firmly debunked. We now understand that there are ways in which development can be sped up or slowed down, though this is grounded more in prolonged experiences than discrete lessons. So you can’t just sit down a young child and teach him that two identical balls of playdough maintain equal amounts even if you roll one of them into a long skinny snake (i.e., conservation)… but if you give a child multiple experiences to explore playdough and opportunities to explore how shape and volume/mass interact, they can develop this understanding earlier than other children (or what stage theory might have predicted).

      All of that is a way of saying there are ways in which we are failing to help our young people develop executive functioning skills and this is probably something in need of addressing. But even if we do a really good job (note: we will not do a really good job on any meaningful scale), the brain is still limited and we probably won’t get the age much lower than the late teens/early 20s before we can confidently say, “Yea, we can expect the vast majority of these people to have adult-like brains.”

      A major difficulty is that development is a process and does not lend itself to putting people into discrete boxes such as “juvenile” and “adult”.

      But it isn’t like people in their early 20s acting a fool is anything new. I’m pretty sure that age has always been marked by rampant stupidity.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        A major difficulty is that development is a process and does not lend itself to putting people into discrete boxes such as “juvenile” and “adult”.

        Yes, but the law works better with bright line rules. The current rule that if you are 18 you are an adult means we produce predictable and consistent results in its application.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          True, absent an objective method for determining development, bright line rules are needed.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Except we don’t really follow that rule since we often charge people under 18 as adults. And there is still tons of grey area around sentencing, which might be the better place to address this issue… accounting for age and/or brain development (to the extent the latter can be measured).

          And I recognize that very issue… hence starting the quoted section with, “A major difficulty…”

          Lastly, the crux of the conversation is where do we draw that bright line and there is strong data in support of it being somewhere other than 18.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        Playing the devil here a bit:

        We’ve all heard stories about how our grandparents or great grandparents were acting as functioning adults at like 14, or 16, for example, and that such was not uncommon at the time. Certainly when you such stories, you can kinda write some of it off as exaggeration, but it did happen. We hear such stories because those 14 & 16 year olds survived, and had kids, and lived to pass those stories down. The key part is that they lived and had kids. If I remember my history correctly, a lot of those kids died before they could become parents, or died shortly after (with kids going to other family or orphanages, or dying).

        So this is where I wonder if our sample size is not long enough, through time, to be able to decide that development is set into such concrete blocks of time? Were our previous generations better able to exercise executive functions, or did they suck just as hard as they do now, which is why a lot of them died (note this one is hard to weed out because things were quite grim back then)?

        If I was to design an experiment today to answer my question, I’d want to examine young adults in the third world, where young adults are forced by environment to shoulder adult responsibility early, and mortality rates are higher, and see how things shake out.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          You really don’t need all that higher level stuff to survive. If you did, puberty would be delayed until after it developed.

          You need it to handle being an adult with growing kids, planning for the future, and dealing with more complex situations

          To make a simple example: You can turn a kid into a soldier. 14 or 15 year olds in pike blocks or carrying rifles or whatnot. They’ll do a decent job. Because kids can be trained, they can think. They have minds. They can even be really, really good at — our military is filled with soldiers in the 18-25 range. But they WON’T be good generals (again, recall there are outliers — bell curves always) — because they’re just not fully up to adult speed, they won’t see choices, consequences, and issues the way someone older will.

          One key issue is simple enough — teenagers prioritize “now” over “tomorrow” more than adults.

          And like I said, this isn’t navel-gazing — they use fMRIs and stuff. You can actually see the neural development. And again, if anything, we’d see the opposite path if it wasn’t so heavily biological — improved nutrition, earlier puberty, and more thorough education? We’d see kids doing better earlier!

          Blame birth canals, if you want. 🙂 They’re the limiting factor here, and one reason we have such a ridiculously long developmental period.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


            Well, you’ve convinced me! We should absolutely raise the voting age to 25!


          • I know less about this than almost anyone else here, but I think Oscar’s point is one to consider. I imagine things change over time along some margin. Maybe the median 16 year old can never be a general (unless Alexander the Great was “median”), but maybe for whatever reason the median 16-year-old in 1916 had a different intellectual maturity from that of the median 16-year-old in 2016. Or not. But I find it hard to believe that the possibility these things might change over time has been definitively disproved.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:


          That is a fair challenge. And I’ll cop to not being an expert on the subject but to having read up/attended enough lectures to know something about some things.

          Morat makes a strong response which I won’t duplicate poorly (for once!) but will add that we also live in a far more complex society these days than did our grandparents.

          I will also say that we can go too far in applying this understanding. I’m certainly not arguing that 25-year-olds are children and should be treated as such. But maybe when a 22-year-old does something remarkably irresponsible, it isn’t just because they are a fuck up. Maybe their brain just isn’t wired to act as responsibly as we might like/hope.

          A school psychologist I worked with once asked me a really good question when I was stressing about a student’s struggles: “Is it that he won’t do it? Or that he can’t do it?”

          Often times we mistake can’ts for won’ts. Or, perhaps more accurately said, “Really hards” for “totally easys”. We see in so many ways that our society assumes individual struggles are solely the result of some sort of moral failing. Well, this research says maybe certain folks (especially in certain age cohorts) struggle because their brain wiring just makes it really, really hard to be successful.Report

          • Avatar j r says:

            I want to push back on two things.

            we also live in a far more complex society these days than did our grandparents.

            How true is that? At 15 my grandmother left North Carolina to move to New York, because she didn’t want to pick cotton for a living. At 15, I was in high school thinking about college applications. Each of those seems complex in a different set of ways. And I certainly don’t want to purposely expose 15 year olds to unnecessary hardship or injustice At the same time, we are on a path of perpetually extending adolescence and I can’t see how that ends well. The tricky part is figuring out the balance.

            We see in so many ways that our society assumes individual struggles are solely the result of some sort of moral failing.

            Also, the truth of this statement is mostly a function of how you choose to define society. If I look in one direction, I see a lot of people who only want to focus on individual moral failings. But, if I look in another direction, I see a lot of people who argue that all individual struggles are really the result of sociological issues. This is one of those cases where both sides are right to a degree, but both sides are wrong to the degree that they completely dismiss the other perspective.

            Again, it’s tricky. It’s almost impossible to decide a priori where the line between can’t and won’t lies for any given person. It’s a process. It’s development.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


              If I look in one direction, I see a lot of people who only want to focus on individual moral failings. But, if I look in another direction, I see a lot of people who argue that all individual struggles are really the result of sociological issues.

              I think @kazzy tries to say this here:

              I will also say that we can go too far in applying this understanding.

              I’d have a hard time pushing the legal definition of adult to 25 (maybe 20, but mostly because I like marking on the decade), but I could certainly see preventing anyone under 18 from being charged as an adult, and between 18 & 25 being very careful with penalties, especially for crimes where an intent to harm can not be demonstrated (think dumb kid driving reckless and causing an injury or fatality accident – or even more salient, the 18 year old sexting the 16 year old – nothing messes with the risk/reward calculation more than sex).Report

            • Avatar Kazzy says:


              Maybe complex was the wrong word. But I think about how much seems to be on people’s plates these days and how much seemed to be on people’s plates back in the olden days and the former seems much more than the latter.

              Of course, certain things are easier/more convenient.

              But we often hear yesterday referred to as a “simpler” time. And I guess I believe that. You got a job, worked there your whole life, retired with a pension and that was that. Now you’re a sucker if you work somewhere more than 7 years and you have to manage your own retirement savings, etc, etc, etc.

              And you are right on point #2. A very young me once said that conservatives place too much emphasis on personal responsibility and liberals place too much emphasis on circumstances. That was overly simplistic but there seems to be a bit of truth in it. But I think, for a very long time, we skewed more conservative in that regard.Report

  6. Avatar Aaron David says:

    My tooth brush has bluetooth. I mean, seriously? If it turns into a decepticon I am going to be very angry.Report

  7. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Because I’m tired of hearing about hacked emails…

    Criminal Ring Kidnaps Villagers to Harvest Kidneys

    Let’s talk about the pros & cons of not having some kind of regulated organ market?Report