Ordinary World: Monday 8 Oct 18


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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42 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Da3: I see that the Colorado Paradox — an actual thing in the literature — is still alive and well. We have a highly-educated adult population, but do a relatively poor job of graduating our kids from high school and getting them into college. There’s an old joke, “If you eat at a high-end restaurant in Aspen or Vail, chances are good your waitperson has a better degree than you do.” My daughter tells me that this is spreading to Fort Collins, in the form of “Your barista probably has a better degree than you do” because so many CSU students have decided to stay in town after they graduate.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      See also: Madison, WIReport

    • Avatar Aaron David says:

      This is basically the story of my hometown, SLO. It is often named one of the best towns to live in by magazines such as Sunset, but there really isn’t anything for the vast number of kids to do after schooling ends. Gumption trap is the term used in Zen and the Art… and I think it works well here too. So nice that you will excuse the lack of upward mobility. (They also limited growth for a couple decades, leading to insanely high housing prices.)Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        College towns can be really nice places to live but a lot of them have trouble developing economies beyond the colleges/universities in the area. The colleges/universities often become the largest employer and you have a new crop of people moving in and out every four years. Most of the faculty probably want their own kids to go away too.

        I think there are a lot of really charming college towns but very little to do unless you are tenured faculty at the local college or university (sometimes more than one).Report

        • Avatar Aaron David says:

          As an adult, with a small business and a wife who works for the university in a high-level position, I love living in a college town (different one but same coast.) As a kid, I couldn’t wait to get out. But if I go back to SLO, I will see a lot of people I grew up with sitting on the same bar stools at the local’s bar. My 30-year reunion is next year and I can already envision it.Report

    • Never heard it called that but makes sense. I had my cousin, a recent college graduate, live with us in for a time in Las Vegas to assist in caring for me and helping with children, etc and she worked part time at Starbucks, and joked she was the least credentialed employee they had with only a recent BS degree.Report

    • Avatar jason says:

      We tend to import college grads here (In CO, that is), and our abysmal ed funding doesn’t help.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Wo4: It still amazes me how badly Iran has regressed when it comes to civil and human rights.

    Wo5: I think the author doesn’t give enough credit to the fact that the leader is well regarded and has been awarded some key accolades. It’s like when that person you’ve known for years as a good and decent person gets accused of sexual assault, and your brain locks up, preventing you from doing something. It’s my “Deny Guilt” thing, for international relations.

    Also, is what they are doing really genocide or ethnic cleansing, seems more like just a strong desire to push them out?Report

    • Avatar Maribou says:


      did you see the part where there are 10,000 dead Rohingya at a minimum and 100,000 in concentration camps? You don’t put people in concentration camps if you are merely trying to chase them out. And the official death counts being way lower than what expert observers report is most likely the case, is also a typical genocide flag.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


        I see pogroms, I am not sure I see genocide. I am convinced that the government would gleefully engage in genocide at this point, and the warnings are all there*; but I am increasingly suspicious of journalists, and other person’s making a call to action, who use terms that inspire outrage.

        This is right up there with claims of a person being one of the various negative ‘-ists’. I am have grown jaded over all the cries of ‘wolf’, such that I want clearer evidence of the claim.

        *Ergo, we should be doing more to halt this before we are having another Kosovo.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog says:

          Genocide is the killing of a people in whole or in part. 10,000 dead, I’d qualify as killing in part. That’s not just a few deaths arising from what was intended to be a mere persecution.Report

        • I’m sympathetic to @oscar-gordon viewpoint and there is a multitude of “headline padding” with terms such as these. Still when we have a designated group of people singled out in this way it bears attention.Report

        • Avatar InMD says:

          What exactly can the US do to halt it though? Maybe regional actors could step in and try to force a peace, but there’s no guarantee that wouldn’t result in greater suffering, especially if it involved military intervention. To me the problem with pieces like Wo5 is that they assume there is some obvious, easy solution.Report

          • Yeah, and that brings us back to the endless debate of “America, World Police” which everyone hates until someone needs one.

            The short answer is no, there is no military answer. The more complicated answer is foreign policy only works with clear communication and consistency so when you do threaten someone they believe it. Both of those are lacking in this administration, and frankly the President doesnt seem interested in any FoPo that doesnt have a partisan slant back home. Report

            • Avatar InMD says:

              I’m going to be harsher than that. This administration would probably be less competent at managing a war than other possible ones but I don’t think that’s close to the biggest issue. Our media has learned nothing. Anything advocating intervention that doesn’t start off with a detailed explanation of why it doesn’t lead to Libya, or, God forbid, Iraq should be treated as toilet paper, written by (maybe) well meaning dolts with no credibility or perspective.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                I’d argue they learned quite well that they can report on atrocities elsewhere, encourage people to rattle sabers, and if armed intervention occurs, they get to enjoy embedded reporting and be critical of every misstep. And they bear no responsibility for any of it.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                Sadly you’re probably right.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq says:

              People of liberal-left leaning bent in the United States and other prosperous wealthy developed democracies want their country to be a global force of good but they don’t want them to be a world police that interferes in other countries. They have good reason to suspicious of the later because of the historical record. You can’t be a global force for good without being a world police though.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Thank you. I’ve been reading a lot of ‘we need to formulate a left wing foreign policy’ pieces lately, and they all seem to lack that insight.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                I think most liberals know this. They don’t want to articulate this because they do not like the implications of it.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          I tend to think the term “genocide” gets overused as well, but sounds like it here, though the article leaves out generations of communal violence (at least going back to the late 30s) that involved efforts to drive each other out that might also be called ethnic cleansing.

          (My grandfather was stationed in the Indo-Burma-Chinese theatre during WWII, so I’ve tried to read more about that area during that time period, which is usually undereported. Some of this isn’t new)Report

        • Avatar Maribou says:

          @oscar I’m not, right at this moment anyway (I’m woefully undereducated about this at present), making any claims about what we should do or not do.

          I’m just saying “those *official* from the government that did them mass murder numbers are awfully low to be genocide” and “those concentration camps with 100 000 people or more in them are part of efforts to chase out THOSE inferior, violent, untrustworthy peoples, not to cage them for later execution” are not either one of them necessarily indicative of a genocide vs a pogrom…

          But if you put them both together, the Final Solution echoes are damn hard to unhear. Or to be really specific, the echoes of the lies Germany sold to the US and large parts of Europe for a good long while are damn hard to unhear.Report

    • Avatar Jesse says:

      On Iran, it is terrible indeed, and the ruling leadership is basically 99% to blame, but it’s also true they went to a turbocharged version of their Culture War. The Ayatollah’s and such organized on a souped up version of the basically right wing populism – these degenerate elites in Tehran with their rock music and short skirts don’t care about all the economic problems (of which there were many) in Iran and we’re the only ones saying this.Report

    • I have a dear friend who is Iranian, it would blow peoples minds now how pre-Mullah Iran was a vibrant open society. Not perfect, nor was the Shaw some saint. But the regression is awful to watch for the Iranian people.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Yes, I’ve heard similar things about Afghanistan that in the pre-Taliban era it was much more westernized and cosmopolitan.

        Which is why I think political regression is real, and happy talk about the inevitable arc of history is dangerous.Report

        • I’ve been to the former not the later. Persia has a long and proud history. I’m not sure, and no disrespect to the people there, Afghanis ever had much at all. History is the story of man, and man unchecked is a wicked thing, and I believe history is the story of beating against that evil tendency, often losing, and the rare wins are often fleeting.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        From what I’ve read, pre-Mullah Iran was a vibrant and open place if you were from certain strata of Iranian society like if you were educated and member of the professions. The rural areas, provincial cities, and what we would call the petit bourgeois, i.e. shop owners and small time business men rather than professionals, financiers, and industrialists, were much more conservative.

        There are lots of places like this. People romanticize the Weimar Republic for its social liberalism, daring artistic scene, and exciting nightlife but that only covered a small part of Germany. Only Berlin was like what people imagine the Weimar Republic to be like. The rural areas and provincial cities tended to be more conservative, traditional, and less daring.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          The forces of repression arose from somewhere, after all.

          Sometimes we tend to imagine that everything was wonderful and peaceful until One Day, suddenly out of nowhere, the Dark Forces rolled in.

          Societal collapse is I think a lot like bankruptcy, where it happens gradually then all at once.

          I remember talking to a Venezuelan student back in the 80’s and he joked about how as a member of the upper class he would bribe cops to let him out of a ticket or drunken accident, then alternately make dark warnings about how awful it was that the Communists were gaining in power.

          He never seemed to connect those two things.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Most of the time, its a conservative/reactionary periphery going against liberal center than a liberal/leftist periphery going against a conservative/aristocratic center though.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              And yet the reactionary conservatives have a good track record of gaining power and rolling things back, especially if something bad happens.

              A lot of liberal support exists because things are good. It’s important to remember that it can shift rapidly.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Semi-OT: Does anyone like autoplay video? It seems one of those things that almost everyone I know says they hate but media types seem to love? Do they have secret market data?Report

  4. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    [Wo5] So, is what’s happening to the Rohingya people ethnic cleansing or a genocide? It seems pedantic now, but the distinction will be very important if these bastards are ever brought to the Hague.Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    W4: To put a Jewish spin on this, Jews who are skeptical about the Iranian nuclear deal are told that we shouldn’t take Iranian leaders seriously when they talk about waging global war against Israel/Jews. Yet, apparently they are supposed to be taken seriously when they commit misogynistic crimes.Report

  6. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    [Ec2] Oh, come on! Since when have downturns in the housing market ever caused trouble in the larger economy? Heck, I had a real estate agent tell me just last month that housing prices “never” go down!Report