Morning Ed: United States {2018.06.15.F}

Will Truman

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

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138 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    US8: I love how in the first paragraph, the author (an academic) includes a quote from famed climate researcher L. DiCaprio.


    One can ignore the nebulous spectre of climate change, but it’s much harder to ignore rivers that flood more often and coast lines that get higher storm surge or rapid erosion. Or to quote an actual scientist (if not a climate researcher):

    Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.

    Richard P. Feynman


  2. pillsy says:

    This one’s from Canada, because I’m a rebel. It’s… something:

    Except Abramovitz never got the email. Jennifer Lee, a fellow McGill music student and Abramovitz’s girlfriend at the time, did. They had started dating in September 2013, and within a month he was staying at her apartment almost full time. He trusted her. He let her use his laptop. He gave her his passwords.

    Scared he would move away and perhaps no longer be in a relationship with her, Lee deleted the email. She sent the Colburn Conservatory of Music an email, pretending to be Abramovitz, refusing the offer because he would “be elsewhere.”

    She sent Abramovitz an email pretending to be Yehuda Gilad, under a new address she apparently established herself,, saying Abramovitz had not been accepted for a scholarship at Colburn. Writing as Gilad, she told Abramovitz he was offered a position to study at the University of Southern California with a scholarship of $5,000 a year. Annual tuition at USC is $51,000, a cost she knew Abramovitz could not afford.


  3. Saul Degraw says:

    I don’t think you can sue a volcano to get it to stop errupting. Cease and desist orders have their limits. Who would you write the demand letter to?Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    The fraught racial politics of entrance exams at the elite NYC public high schools:

    • pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I have some sympathy for people who complain about affirmative action that explicitly accounts for race.

      I have basically zero for people who make similar complaints about racially neutral schemes like this to enhance diversity.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

        There is a legitimate concern that the elite schools will lessen their rigor in order to enable students from the poorer schools to succeed, rather than maintaining the rigor and providing additional resources to those students who need help.

        One of those options costs money, and a lot of it. Is DeBlasio going to be allocating additional budget to those schools to make sure those extra resources are on hand?Report

        • pillsy in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Maybe they will. Maybe they won’t. Probably (this is my cynicism speaking, but I’d say it’s earned cynicism) it won’t really matter much for the life outcomes of the students[1], whatever happens.

          And if they were making more appeals to academic rigor, and fewer to a contestable sense of fairness, I might be rolling my eyes less.

          [1] And if you read a lot of the complaints in the article, there seems to be a ton of focus on the way placement grants access to social status.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

            There’s a reason I didn’t address those complaints. I can appreciate the whole, “But this is how you told us we can get ahead and be accepted, and now you are changing the rules!” It’s a shitty thing. But not as shitty as never even standing a chance of gaining access to those schools.

            And it’s not like the system can no longer be gamed, it just requires a different approach.Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:


              I can’t remember if it was in the Vox article or the Atlantic article but a politico reporter tweeted that NYC’s new idea was tested and it is not going to alter test scores significantly.

              I think Lee raises an interesting point that entrance exams are the norm rather than the exception in many Asian countries. Perhaps it is easier to do city or country wide entrance exams in homogeneous places. Maybe not. But the politics of these decisions are fraught.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          No they won’t. They’ll merely start multiple tracks.

          “Welcome to the most elite school in NYC! We’ll have a Diamond reading group, a Platinum reading group, and the students in the Gold reading group will meet in a special room down in the basement.”Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to pillsy says:

        Come on.

        You don’t seriously think this is going to be racially neutral, do you? The mayor has explicitly stated a quota:

        By phasing out the test, de Blasio’s plan starts a process that would eventually make these schools about 45 percent black and Hispanic — much closer to citywide demographics.

        The only way you get numbers like this is having one standard for Asians, one for whites, one for Hispanics, and one for blacks. Of course, the problem with double standards for admission is that they leave behind unsightly evidence:

        The complaint, filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, alleges that for Asian-American students to gain admission, they have to have SAT scores 140 points higher than white students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students, and 450 points higher than African-American students.

        But if there’s no test, there’s no quantifiable double standard. Ta-da! Racial quotas with plausible technical deniability.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          I said that it’s a racially neutral standard, which it is. That isn’t a different standard for different races, since everybody is being judged the same way. You want to get in, you just need to be one of the top 7% of students in the school you attend.

          The fact that you can easily project how this will change the makeup of those schools proves nothing.

          If you simply selected the attendees for these schools by pure lottery from all students in the city, you’d also get a student body that was very close to the racial makeup of the public school student population of the city. Yet by your standard a system that could not possibly by more race-blind would by a racial quota system.

          That seems pretty silly.Report

        • My understanding is that for the NYC schools, they do have an objective plan. It’s one tailored around getting the racial outcomes that they want (the sort of thing that usually causes disparate impact suits) but is not really comparable to what Harvard is doing. It actually looks like the Texas Ten Percent plan, in essence, which was a compromise between affirmative action and not affirmative action (when affirmative action was banned by the courts).Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      One thing the Vox article doesn’t mention is that many of the Asian immigrant parents come from countries where entrance exams for schools are the norm. Anything else but a highly competitive racial exam might seem really strange to them. I also think its’ too dismissive of the concerns of Asian-Americans.

      Asians like Jews are in an in-between place in the American race system. They aren’t quite white but they do not get treated as full people of color like African-Americans and Hispanic Americans. How they are treated depends on the purpose of the debate.Report

  5. Marchmaine says:

    [US6] I think this will be more of a trend; I personally don’t have the conservative Veteran/Police/Firefighter fetish… but in my corner of Red VA we’re seeing more new niche businesses like Mission BBQ popping up… well and another Chik-fil-a. Sure, we have the normies like McDonalds, RedLobster and TGIF… but they are feeling more and more like legacy businesses. The future is with MissionBBQ… the time for choosing is upon us. I hope we get Chipotle and 5-guys… y’all can have ShakeShack and Panera. As an early adopter I’ll be a little sad to loose Whole Foods… but maybe we can write in some visitation rights?Report

    • pillsy in reply to Marchmaine says:

      I’ve been boycotting Chick-fil-A since 1995 because their food is nasty, so I’m cool with how the split is shaking out so far.

      I predict the most titanic battle of the Culture War will be making sure the other side is stuck with Subway.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to pillsy says:

        I never understood the vitriol against Chick-fil-A, but I’ve also never understood the loyalty toward the food. I wouldn’t call their food nasty, it’s perfectly serviceable fare. Mildly enjoyable even. But I’m not going out of my way to eat there. Not like Culvers.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          It’s the spicy chicken sandwich.

          Everything else is, eh. Okay. The fries are good, if you like waffle fries. They’ve got a frozen lemonade that is surprisingly awesome in summertime and, sometimes, they bust out an orange juice version that is even better. The breakfast is pretty good, I mean, if you like chicken for breakfast… but, yeah, perfectly serviceable.


          Dang! That one is amazing!

          They used to have a spicy chicken breakfast sandwich which was the best item on any fast food menu, hands down, but they got rid of it because it was too good and too many people ate too many of them.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          It’s as good as any fast food restaurant, and has service as good as a real restaurant. Also, the sauces.Report

          • Richard Hershberger in reply to Pinky says:

            I am very unsympathetic to the owner’s politics, but the food is distinctly above average for the fast food category. Also, the kids’ play area.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to Pinky says:

            Since @oscar-gordon brought up Culvers, same deal. Good as any of the fast food places, someone brings your food to your table, and a much more extensive menu than Chik-fil-A. There aren’t many places where you can get a pork tenderloin sandwich. OTOH, I’m no more a fan of crinkle-cut fries than waffle fries.

            One of the older retail areas in my suburban city is slowly redeveloping, and got a Five Guys. Never having been to one, but having heard people gush, I had lunch there a couple of weeks ago. What a disappointment. They don’t cook things until you order them, but the smallest burger, fries, and soft drink on the menu rang up at $12.50. The food was somewhat better than okay, but not $12.50 sort of better.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to pillsy says:

        Dibs on Potbelly… I mean it has Potbelly right in the name.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Marchmaine says:

      US6 and your link shows that identity politics is everywhere. All politics is identity politics.Report

      • pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I think this is true, but I’m not sure in what sense it is true.

        We seem to be moving in a direction where politics is increasingly becoming a proxy for, and even supplanting, some other elements of identity. I sometimes half-joke that partisan affiliation is a better proxy of religious beliefs than religion is.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to pillsy says:

          I think it is true but I am not sure in the sense or the extent either.

          Partisanship and negative partisanship is on the rise but we are still Internet weirdos who spend too much time thinking and talking about politics. Most people are not like this. Really, really not like this at all.Report

          • pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Yeah, but in some ways people are really, really not like this in the other direction. Like, can’t even really imagine the exotic folkways of people in Deep Red or Deep Blue parts of the country and instead draw their knowledge entirely from media sources and a swirling mass of unflattering stereotypes (but I repeat myself).Report

            • Saul Degraw in reply to pillsy says:

              I’ve generally noticed that people are trapped by their perceptions and it is nearly impossible to break these perceptions no matter how much evidence is out there.

              I’ve said this before and so has LeeEsq but there are still a lot of Americans who are seemingly very afraid of cities. If you talk to them, they see all cities like NYC circa 1977. Broke and broken, filled with graffiti and out of control crime.

              If you talk to younger Americans on the left, they will tell you about how cities are losing their souls because of high rents turning every independent shop into a luxury brand, bank branch, food chain, or luxury condos.

              I don’t think either is correct but the second is a lot more correct than the first. Cities in America are really safe now generally but still the 1977 NYC image remains a strong perception in the heads of many people. Nothing can seemingly change this.

              The same is true in politics. I was in OKC for a deposition. The Lyft driver who took me to my aloft hotel (which probably looks like the aloft hotel in Silicon Valley) was polite enough but told me that he was an “Iowa boy” and that we did some “weird things” in California that he didn’t approve of. He was politely trying to tell me we are liberal, weirdo, LBGT loving freaks without going into full rant.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

          Partisan political identity is replacing religion as a way to gage what people believe these days.Report

      • Pinky in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I’ve always considered the “identity” in identity politics to refer to unchangeable traits. I would distinguish it from the politics of interests and the politics of ideologies. I guess I’m thinking –
        identity: race, sex, orientation
        interests: class, region
        ideology: religion, philosophy, ethics

        However you want to break it down, I really wouldn’t consider it identity politics to support someone whose principles you agree with. I’d be interested to find out other peoples’ takes on this.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Pinky says:

          The way I see it, religion is the ur-identity, from which all other political recognition [1] of “identity” as something that must be addressed, flows. Ideas of disestablishment, religious toleration, and religious non-discrimination were starting to actually find their ways into law (not least in the US) long before ideas of equality between race and sex had any real traction, and, AIUI, long before people even had anything like a modern concept of sexual orientation.

          And this was all done in response to bloody persecution and warfare.

          I believe “identity” is ultimately socially constructed. That doesn’t mean it can’t be rooted in some objective, observable, physical reality, but which traits (objective or otherwise) become part of one’s identity seems to be very much a culturally determined thing.

          [1] In the liberal tradition, I mean.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Good point?

        It should go without saying that left-liberal identity politics and alt-right white nationalism are not comparable. The problem is that they are compatible.


        • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

          That’s the ugly truth.

          Here’s a site where you can check your zip code and see the demographics.

          For schools, the cutoff for whether a school is considered an apartheid school is 70% of one demographic. How many of those left-liberal identity politics folks live in 70% districts?Report

          • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

            @jaybird A lot of the ones I know live in 70 percent districts where they are part of the other 30 percent.

            I don’t see making common cause with those folks as … whatever you are implying it is.

            And when you complain about “left-liberal identity politics folks,” please bear in mind that you’re being sufficiently non-specific as to end up complaining in public about your wife.

            Never the best move, especially when paired with the word “ugly”.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

              Oh, sorry. That’s a nice truth. A good truth. It’s a happy fun truth.

              I wonder how many of those left-liberal identity politics folks live in 70% districts where they are part of the 70%.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird Less personally, zipcode is way too general a measurement to figure out schools, which work on a neighborhood basis, and way too imprecise to figure out districts, which don’t align with zipcodes.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

                Well, I suppose that there’s this tool.

                You can find the schools within 1, or 5, or 10, or 15, or 20, or 30, or 50 miles of a particular zip code. Then you can click on a particular school. Then you can click on the district information button. Then you can click on the census information button… but it just gives you raw numbers and not percentages. (And the census data seems to be from the year 2000 and not 2010.)

                If there were a better tool, I’d use that one. Trust me.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

                Assuming your question is somehow honestly in pursuit of insight, and isn’t just a sort of stealth nudge and a wink motte-and-bailey thing, I will say:

                Don’t ignore base rate fallacy. Instead of asking “How many members of X are members of Y% or greater ethnic majority groups in their county”, you ought to ask “How does the membership in Y% or greater county-wide ethnic majority groups compare among members of X, members of anti-X, and members of neither movement?”

                And even better:

                State up front what conclusion you will draw, or expect your audience to draw, if:
                – members of X are meaningfully more likely than anti-X to belong to Y% ethnic majorities
                – members of X are meaningfully less likely than anti-X to belong to Y% ethnic majorities
                – no statistically significant difference exists between X and anti-X membership in Y% ethnic majority groups exists, but members of both are meaningfully more or less likely to belong to such majorities than members of neither group
                – no statistically significant difference exists between members of X, anti-X, and neither, with respect to belonging to Y% majorities.

                Cause right now it kind of looks like you’re waggling your eyebrows and suggesting something about beams in liberals’ own eyes and specks in conservatives’ – but with so much vagueness that no matter what the actual statistics are, you can go “ah ha! See?” and then when challenged on what you think those figures really mean, you can always retreat to the motte of “It was just a politically neutral demographic curiosity” or something.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Well, if the argument is one of “identity politics”, it’s useful to see what that means *IN PRACTICE*.

                If people are calling for more diversity, what do their schools look like? What do their neighborhoods look like (and I admit: zip codes are bad proxies for individual neighborhoods but I don’t know that there are any good tools available that go down to the neighborhood level).

                To tie this into the whole affordable housing thing, it seems like something that everybody wants everybody else to have available… just, you know, not in *MY* neighborhood.

                And how does that play out in practice? Well, it allows people to get the goodboy points of crying out against injustice, begging for more housing to be built that is affordable… and, well, none of the attendant costs. (Not that there are any!)

                Perhaps it’s inappropriate to notice such things.

                I’ll go back to not noticing.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird As it stands, you are speculating and not noticing. As you lack any actual data or a clean method of analysis. Noticing would require establishing the truth of what you are noticing. Or being accurate about “it seems to me that” up front.

                I happen to think you’re broadly correct in your insinuation, despite also feeling personally insulted by it, but you are speculating, not noticing.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

                And I’d have guessed a similar thing but for an opposite reason – that people who are calling for more diversity, are those who experience a lack of it.

                If my kid’s school had an ethnic mix that was pretty close to that of the city or province as a whole, I would be less likely to rouse the energy to work for more ethnic diversity in schools on the whole. Sure it would benefit other kids to grow up with friends of different ethnicities and backgrounds – but my work wouldn’t help my kid much, as she’s already at the goal state. FYIGM, right?

                Which is kind of what I’m getting at with stating up front what conclusion do you expect the audience to draw from different experimental outcomes – before you do the experiment – so you can’t be accused of finding the data and then constructing the stories afterward so your preferred conclusion flows from the data you found, and its contradiction would have flowed from what you didn’t find.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Like, as it is, I’m really glad that the neighbourhood kids our daughter plays with are disproportionately non-white for the neighbourhood as a whole (the 5 black kids next door, the aboriginal girl across the alley, the white school friend two blocks away, and the white friend from preschool six blocks away, in a neighbourhood that is way way more white than those ratios).

                Her school, for all that I like lots about it, does skew white compared to the whole city. It would be nice if it didn’t – she and all the kids there could have a richer experience there if they knew and learned from and alongside more friends with different racial experiences than their own.

                My own childhood social circle was way lily-white. I think that’s limited my understanding of so many things in so many ways over the years, and if my daughter doesn’t get limited that way as much as I did, I’ll count it a success.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Well, I linked to a couple of stories above. Did you know that San Francisco schools are resegregating?

                It’s weird. If I wanted to call San Francisco one of the most liberal/progressive cities in the country, would you disagree with me?Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

                Furthest west I’ve ever been in the USA is Orlando, so I couldn’t say from experience about San Francisco.

                I note from the second link that they’re calling “60% or more of one race” equivalent to “racially isolated”. I live in a city that’s 65% white, so if by September everyone in the city moved to a new address chosen by throwing a dart at random at the map, utterly eliminating ethnically specific neighbourhoods by the start of next school year – all the schools would still be “racially isolated”.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Well, what cities would you say would be the most progressive in the country?

                Off the top of my head, I’ve got San Francisco and Portland. If you have cities that you’d rather I consider “progressive”, I’d love to hear them.

                I live in a city that’s 65% white, so if by September everyone in the city moved to a new address chosen by throwing a dart at random at the map, utterly eliminating ethnically specific neighbourhoods by the start of next school year – all the schools would still be “racially isolated”.

                Is that how it plays out in your city? Schools that are also 65% white? (Give or take 5%)Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jaybird: Is that how it plays out in your city? Schools that are also 65% white? (Give or take 5%)

                Not really. Folks mostly go to their neighbourhood school, and there is still a Chinatown, a Little Italy, a Caribbean neighbourhood, a North African neighbourhood, etc., so schools in those areas have corresponding demographic profiles.

                There are two schools (one in the public board and one in the Catholic board) that do Cree focused cultural and language education, so lots of kids bus to those from all around the city. Same probably goes for other language programs – I just know about the public Cree school because that one’s right next to our old house, so I saw all the school buses arriving there, while the kids at the local public school were largely coming from within walking distance.

                And here we are doing the same kind of thing like those parents in SF – we send our daughter to an alternative school that’s not the one for the neighbourhood. I understand the enrollment pressure there is low enough that basically nobody gets turned away – but you have to choose to enroll there. And then you have to have the resources of transportation to take your kid a further distance to school. And then you have to have the resources of time to fulfill your family volunteer hours. Privilege privilege privilege. Guess how white the school is…Report

              • Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

                Well, then. I’ll just go back to the essay that Marchmaine originally linked to.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

                Does it make a difference if you’re deliberately self-segregating because you want to keep your kid apart from all those dark-skinned kids, vs if you’re incidentally self-segregating because you want to take advantage of a particular program and it turns out most of the other people signing up for it are also white, and that fact is either neutral to you or at least not distasteful enough to turn you away from the whole thing?

                I dunno. Maybe in practice not a whole lot.Report

              • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

                Probably a lot of the white folks doing the flight-to-private-schools thing are also the ones who are pro-integration on a general level. But it’s hard to know, right – unless they illegally spied on the individual people’s voting history or something.

                One particularly striking stat from that same article – white people make up 33% of the school-age children in SF, but only 12% of the public school students. That’s a thing alright…Report

              • Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

                True enough. I suppose there’s no way to know.Report

          • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

            I grew up in the sapphire archipelago, a small coastal college town, and even though it was smack dab in the middle of CA, my high school was about 1% African American, with similar numbers of Hispanic kids. My wife, liberal to her core, grew up in the much more multicultural Norcal backcountry, was deeply offended by how white the town was.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Good piece, but not really a good point, I think.[1]

          White nationalism is irksomely resilient and compatible with more or less anything. A lot of the social justice activism isn’t terribly useful [2] and I think a lot of the contemporary conversation around cultural appropriation is dumb and badly thought out [3, 4], but I think these are bad things on their own merits, not on the attempts by the alt-right to coopt them (or at least try to coopt them).

          You can only do so much to avoid that. There’s a fundamental malicious dishonesty to the alt-right that I think you need to defend against socially, and solid reasoning and analysis is only vaguely useful for such tasks. It helps elsewhere, of course, like in conversations with people who aren’t acting in fundamentally bad faith, but here? Not so much.

          [1] Also, when Marxists start criticizing identity politics, I always get a little suspicious that they’re trying to sell me something, or at least distribute something to me according to my need.

          [2] Which is a fairly common aspect of a lot of activist movements.

          [3] I dunno, in my SJ-oriented circles it really never seemed to seriously catch on and even the limited interest in it seems to be fading. There have been some recent flareups and outrage mobs, but… I just didn’t see much intensity or investment from the people I sort of have pegged as “thought leaders” in that world.

          [4] Also, even this article was going to the Everyday Feminism well, which… is not necessarily a sign that something is going to take the Leftwards by storm.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

          This article traffics in the common confusion about multiculturalism, namely that awareness of our ethnic identity is reductive and essentialist.

          A proper multicultural society can be aware of such a thing as white identity without making it the reductive entirety of one’s place, or casting aside cooperation in favor of a Hobbesian scramble for tribal dominance.

          Somehow, we have had over a century of things like the Italian Catholic Federation and St. Patrick’s Day celebration without anyone fretting about their playing of “identity politics”. Yet these very same things, which as now so harmless and silly, were born out of very real ugly identity politics in the 19th century.

          Look at the gradual evolution of the identity of homosexuals since Stonewall. We are witnessing the evolution of Pride parades going from being a shocking outre transgression, to the sort of thing where the Rotary and Chamber of Commerce members ride in floats.

          We generally reserve the term “identity politics” for identities that are outside the mainstream.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Marchmaine says:

      In general “fast casual” or whatever it is called is where the real money in the food market is these days. These places are a step or two up from the legacy fast food places*. The food is often better in terms of quality and sometimes in terms of health. They might even have booze! These are still not full sit down and order from a server places though.

      We have a bunch of them in super-liberal Bay Area too. The whole connection with a particular industry is another twist though.

      *Or it can just be typical fast food but with better quality like Shake Shack.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Chipotle is at the low end of the fast casual chain and most of their franchises seem to get liquor licenses. The lack of booze at Mission BBQ seemed a bit surprising. To a large extent fast casual chains are fast food places people with a certain disposition don’t have to feel embarrassed to go in. The tone is a little less intense than TGIF or Applebees, so Gotts come across as fancier because they aren’t trying as hard. The average Chipotle seems to be neater and more welcoming than the average McDonalds.Report

  6. Richard Hershberger says:

    US6: I am trying to figure out if this is anything other than empty marketing. A self-consciously leftie coffee company will talk about organic farming and fair trade practices. That is to say, their identity politics lead to distinct business practices. This Utah place? They promised to hire 10,000 veterans, but in the very next sentence reveal that this promise is bullshit.

    In related news, there is a long tradition of small businesses owned by self-consciously “Christian” (meaning White American Evangelical Protestants) to use this as a marketing tool. Anecdotally, they are notorious for shady business practices. I don’t know if this is true or not, but my response to the marketing is revulsion at at the scandal they bring on Christianity through its use in the worship of Mammon.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      Related, I once was on a date with a young liberal Protestant woman, very Anglo, and explained to her why Jews view the entire money changer incident at the Temple a different way.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I would be interested in the explanation, though I do not wish to date you.

        Edit: On the other hand, are you paying?Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          The Torah gives a very specific instruction that the tithe needs to be delivered to the Temple in a particular monetary unit, the shekel. By the Time of the Second temple, the shekel ceased to be an actual coin that was minted and used in everyday life. To get around this, Jews would give money in whatever currency at the Temple and get a “shekel” in return. It was basically a religious Franklin mint coin. They would then give the “shekel” to the Temple. By throwing the money changers out of the Temple, Jesus was disrupting an essential party of the Passover sacrifice.Report

          • Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

            That’s actually pretty much what we liberal Protestants are taught about why those money changers were there. It makes the entire incident tricky to interpret.

            Now about that date. Where did you have in mind?Report

    • Perhaps it’s empty marketing, but as empty marketing goes, it’s pretty good empty marketing.

      Have you ever seen their commercial? (Warning: Crude and Insensitive language.)

      If you can imagine other people being offended by this commercial and then you laugh at these imaginary people in your head? This coffee is for you.Report

    • I am a Christian, but I have definitely seen businesses that slapped a Jesus fish on their business cards but then seemed not to think very much about the follow-through on that claim. The whole “loving your neighbors” thing is SUPER hard. (And is the part I most often fail at)

      I dunno. I live in the boonies and if I chose to only use businesses whose founder’s/owners’ beliefs were 100% (or even 75%) in line with mine, I’d have a really hard time. For one thing, getting groceries might be really tough.

      (I think that’s something that’s always conveniently forgotten in the “boycott” discussions – for some people, not shopping at, say, Wal-Mart, might mean a very long drive. I remember actually arguing with someone whether it was more acceptable for me to burn that much gas (and generate that much more pollution) as well as spending that much of my time JUST to avoid wal-mart in favor of, what, Krogers? Piggly Wiggly? I may have used the term “city dweller privilege” in the argument)Report

      • pillsy in reply to fillyjonk says:

        Generally, “You can trust me. Just ask me, I’ll tell you!” is not a great sign of trustworthiness, and when you get right down to it, the little Jesus fish is sort of like that but aimed at a specific subculture.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to fillyjonk says:

        Same thing with pharmacists who claim their religion prevents them from dispensing birth control pills. That’s not really a problem in urban, or even suburban settings — it’s a hassle, if you have to go through the crap to transfer your prescription (only a few went so far as to claim they couldn’t do that either).

        But out in rural areas? There isn’t a pharmacist ever few miles.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

          Single-pharmacy towns are a lot more rare than people think. I’m sure they exist as the US is a large country, but I’ve never actually found one. More commonly there are either zero pharmacies or more than one (and one of them likely to be a part of a chain). Setting aside pharmacy-by-mail.Report

          • pillsy in reply to Will Truman says:

            In the case of emergency contraception, even a modest delay is a huge problem.

            My knee jerk is that if you want the government not to be making you comply with a lot of rules (many of them extremely dumb and annoying), pharmaceuticals is just not the industry for you. If I have to spend a hundred hours a year watching mind-numbing videos about not giving people briefcases full of cash to approve your drugs and not shooting study participants out of a cannon without a consent form, pharmacists can fill prescriptions even if they don’t like them.

            They bought their tickets. They knew what they were getting into.Report

            • pillsy in reply to pillsy says:

              That was a bit tangential, but this is a subject I have Opinions[tm] on.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to pillsy says:

              I understand the broader argument, and am sympathetic to some of them, but not really the “only pharmacist for miles and miles” argument. It’s too much of an edge case to determine policy, in my opinion, among other reasons.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                My policy is pretty simple. While I cheerfully admit the job of pharmacist has a lot of facets, a core component is “Take box of pills off shelf, give customer that box of pills”.

                At no point in that job description is “Play doctor and decide whether I really need those pills” or “Play ethics counselor, and decide whether I should morally get those pills”.

                I’ve got no problem with individual pharmacies handling issues by simply letting another pharmacist handle that, since reasonable accommodations are reasonable.

                Right up until he moment when someone stands there, with a valid prescription, and can’t get it filled because a pharmacist decides he won’t do the core function of his job — which is to dispense medication, and a customer is left unable to get a prescription filled.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                My only disagreement with this is a quibble. The moment of truth is when the Pharmacist got a license to sell certain things that could not be sold otherwise.

                I get to go back to 2009 to repeat myself for this one:

                We’ve got a situation where the government has handed out a license to sell Product X.

                If I try to sell Product X without a license, I will be arrested and go to jail.
                If I try to buy Product X from someone who doesn’t have a license to sell it, I will be arrested and go to jail.
                If I try to sell Product X with a license to someone who does not have a prescription for Product X from his doctor, I will be arrested and go to jail.
                If I try to buy Product X without a prescription from my doctor, I will be arrested and go to jail.
                The licenses to sell Product X at all are kept artificially scarce by the government who is colluding with both the manufacturers and distributors of Product X.

                And the complaint is “but what about Liberty?” when it comes to the conscience of the people who actually have a license to distribute Product X to people?

                The moment the pharmacist accepts a license to sell this stuff, he has the obligation to do so.

                Don’t want to sell it?

                Don’t get the license.Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    Speaking of US6 and Richard’s comment, Huckabee and Sessions are in hot water over their “biblical” defenses of separating immigrant children from their families:

    Do Evangelicals not realize how much they are alienating young people with rhetoric like this? Atheists are still far from super-popular in the US according to polling (and this is bipartisan). But the reasons why so many younger Americans identify as religious nones is precisely because of this kind of rhetoric. Do conservative and right-wing Evangelicals not realize this or do they not care?Report

    • pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This sort of thing tends to confirm my long-standing suspicion that a lot of complaints from the Right about “creeping sharia” and the awfulness of Islamism are ultimately rooted in envy.

      “Why do they get to use their holy book to justify stomping all over human rights when we don’t get to do the same with our holy book?!”Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to pillsy says:

        As they say on LGM, every accusation is really a confession.Report

        • pillsy in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Also, I don’t know if this is fair or not, and I only sort of even care if it is fair, but the fact that this stuff is being echoed by some of the strongest public voices in favor of “religious freedom” exemptions from anti-discrimination laws makes me much less inclined to grant an inch on something like baking the cake.

          The most common challenge from the Left is, “Where will it stop?”

          Sessions, Huckabee Sanders, et al. have made it quite clear that it doesn’t stop anywhere.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Vox’s headlines was absurd. The statement was about whether it’s biblical to enforce the law, not about whether it’s biblical to separate children from their parents. I have to wonder, did you read the article? If so, do you really think that Vox’s headlines was a fair characterization? Do you think it was right to refer to the headlines, rather than the actual statements in question? I’m also wondering if Pillsy, Lee, and Rexknobus would stand by their takes in light of the actual statements and context.Report

      • pillsy in reply to Pinky says:

        I’m not playing this game with you.

        You want to step for the likes of Sessions and Huckabee Sanders because they’re part of your team, or you just hate our team, or despite your prior denials, you actually really do like what their doing at the border, well, I can’t stop you.

        But I’m not going to indulge you in a round of hairsplitting, parsing, and outright sophistry because I’m unwilling to pretend I have the longterm memory of a goldfish.Report

        • Pinky in reply to pillsy says:

          “Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

          “I’m not aware of the Attorney General’s comments or what he would be referencing. I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law.”Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

            “Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Gospel account of the lawful execution of the noted criminal, Jesus of Nazareth who refused to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”


            • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Fixed it for me? No need, thanks. I’ve got a sense of what the Bible says about authority. It doesn’t matter much to me what Sanders or Sessions says on the subject.

              What I find interesting is that Vox distorted the story. That’s why I brought it up. I don’t understand what it would take to make people drop a website from their favorites. I know I’ve ditched a bunch of sites on the left and right because they publish nonsense. I’d feel weird about it if I were Saul. If I were Pillsy, and I just wrote that “this sort of thing tends to confirm my long-standing suspicion…”, then I’d feel embarrassed. I mean, that’s pretty much the definition of confirmation bias, right? To read something wrong and use it to confirm a prior belief? If we’re serious around here, we should be trying to avoid confirmation bias. One of the main reasons I hang out here is that I want some disagreement in my internet life.

              Bottom line, Vox should be laughed off of everyone’s favorites list.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Pinky says:

                If I were you, I would be embarrassed to be pretending to be this dense on behalf of a couple grotesque frauds justifying vile abuse.

                So I guess we all are getting our vicarious sense of embarrassment fix today.Report

              • Maribou, Moderator in reply to pillsy says:

                @pillsy @pinky Settle down with the personal insults, please. It doesn’t make anything better. (and Pinky, I see what you were trying to say, but you could have done it without the insulting picking on specific people, so quit starting stuff. pillsy, you were throwing shade at Pinky earlier, so quit starting stuff while claiming to be not going to interact further on a topic. both of you, yes, I realize it isn’t totally logical to tell you both to quit starting stuff. nonetheless, I am on my way out the door to an appointment, try not to blow up while I’m gone.)Report

              • Pinky in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

                (grumble grumble)



              • Maribou in reply to Pinky says:

                @pinky I don’t think “Sanders, Sessions Hide Behind Non-Pertinent Bible Verses to Excuse Child Abuse” would really be *less* inflammatory, albeit far more accurate.

                (And I say that as someone who reads 1 vox article for about every 3000 non-vox articles she reads.)Report

              • Pinky in reply to Pinky says:

                For what it’s worth, I was really only trying to attack Vox. I may have written before about how I gave up on The Daily Caller. In principle, it always seemed like the kind of site I’d like. But way too often, I’d read the stories and find out that the headlines were deceptive, or the sources were really tenuously supported. I just had to swear it off. And I can’t watch Tucker Carlson any more, because I can’t trust him. A lot of sites circulate the “latest Tucker Carlson interview” videos, and he goes after some deserving (albeit weak) prey, but I just don’t want to watch him.Report

          • Maribou in reply to Pinky says:

            @pinky to obey and to enforce the law are actually two very different propositions. perhaps not for the attorney general, in particular (though he’s lying about how things were being enforced before), in certain circumstances at least (not ceding this IS one, even), but certainly for POTUS and POTUS’ spokesperson.

            Also anyone who can take the Bible to say they should enact child abuse as part of supposedly enforcing state policy is following a type of Christianity I don’t recognize. Or, actually, I *do* recognize it, it’s the same mindset that led priests to counsel women to stay with their violently abusive husbands because hey, until well into the twentieth century, women were their husband’s chattel and that was the law.


            • Saul Degraw in reply to Maribou says:

              Prosecutors and the Attorney Generals are always given a wide-amount of discretion in the laws that they enforce and choose to enforce. Was Obama harder on immigration than I would prefer? Yes. But Trump and Sessions are enforcing the law with maximum inhumanity.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                @saul-degraw On this, for once, you and I are in complete agreement. Or, well, near agreement.

                I’d put it at about 75 percent maximum inhumanity. (That’s a damn high bar.)

                Which is still way way way way way way too much, and far more than any other administration since I immigrated here in the late 90s.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Pinky says:

            So long as we’ve got both sides arguing that the Christian Bible is what we should be following, I’m sure that the Evangelicals will feel that Trump is delivering.Report

            • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

              @jaybird That has never been true. (Big picture wise, I mean.) Evangelicals are never just happy, en masse, to have everyone arguing about the Christian Bible. Not on any of the hundreds of issues where this has come up over the last 20 years.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

                Well, I was comparing to how they felt when the argument of choice was “we shouldn’t be using religion to legislate our country, you backwards bumpkins!”Report

              • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                When has that ever been the argument of a sitting president and when have the self-identified Moral Majority EVER felt like it was anything else if they weren’t at the president’s right hand, regardless of what was actually going on?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

                Oh, it’s never been the argument of a sitting president. Never once.Report

              • Maribou in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird Is that one answer per sentence, or one answer? Because I asked 2 questions and both are relevant.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Maribou says:

                That was both answers.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Jaybird says:

                Oh I suspect they’d prefer that. Seems like it would be an easier and clearer fight to have.

                I mean, I prefer it, but I’m an atheist and thus proper interpretation of scripture is interesting on an intellectual level, but not morally or ethically relevant to my life.

                Still, I couldn’t help but notice how obfuscatory they were being with this stuff.Report

  8. Kolohe says:

    U6 – I find it uninteresting, in that it’s not the first business that found a following by branding itself as the Official Whatever of the right wing mediasphere. And then sell overpriced underquality stuff to that audience. It might just be the first coffee to do so, though.Report

  9. Kolohe says:

    US3 – he yada yada’d over the Dukes of Hazzard which I think is kind of important to the historical narrative he wishes to convey. (or at least its timing)

    And while Duck Dynasty was on, so was Justified.

    Plus of course, which he mentions but doesn’t stick with, the Appalachia South, the Ozark South, the Mid South, the Deep South, the Piedmont, and the Lowcountry are all different Souths. (and Florida and Texas are different still)Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

        Trump also likes the way Kim Jung Un is treated.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          You mean like during the Olympics?Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

            D minus trolling Jaybird.Report

            • pillsy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              D minus

              Grade inflation is everywhere these days.Report

              • Maribou, Moderator in reply to pillsy says:

                You. Guys.

                (@saul-degraw @pillsy @jaybird this entire exchange was nearly free of actual content .(BTW, here’s a link that people who don’t pay for the WaPo can read, from the paper in question itself, but pretty damn obviously against the move:, and there were only about 80 non-paywall nearly identical equally or more left-favoring versions to choose from.).

                I almost just deleted the entire thread, and replaced it with another non-paywalled link to the same story and an invitation to SUBSTANTIVELY discuss the thing or leave it alone. Don’t bring in a link like that, Saul, if you aren’t open to what people have to say about it. Can you even imagine if people snarking about Will’s links got the kind of treatment from him that you regularly dish out to people who are unappreciative of yours?

                Jaybird, you’re past your expiration date on reposting that cartoon without commentary. I realize you mean it as sincerely as you did the other 5000 times, but enough. (probably not 5000 but dude, at least a dozen. the point has been more than made.)

                Saul and Pillsy, I have told people about 800 times (maybe a dozen but it damn well feels like 800, and suspensions have been threatened to both of you over this in the past) that it is NOT ok to just comment “trolling” comments on other people’s comments, let alone grade their comments as to how good of a troll it was. If you feel trolled, complain in private or flag the comment *and then walk away*. If you feel the “troll”‘s position is such that you won’t be heard fairly, email someone OTHER than me or if you think everyone will be so unfair…. .just get over it already.


                I cannot even take one evening off to deal with my own stuff and binge watch Queer Eye without people acting like they remember nothing they’ve ever been told about my expectations for behavior. It’s hot, Trump is awful, we all feel helpless, I GET it.

                But that’s not an excuse.

                Simmer down or be simmered, people.Report

              • pillsy in reply to Maribou, Moderator says:

                Oy sorry. Didn’t think anybody involved was taking that exchange seriously enough for it to be out of bounds.Report