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Sunday, March 31, 2013

OTP: April 2013: Daily Caller: Baseball and the GOP: To rebrand the party, think like a sports fan

This week’s GOP autopsy report, commissioned by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, is a great start in the much-needed task of rebranding the Republican Party. As the chairman acknowledged, “the way we communicate our principles isn’t resonating widely enough” and “we have to be more inclusive.” The report contains 219 recommendations to “connect people to our principles.” To achieve that goal, the party will need a strategic vision of how voters think about politics, which is something that the report lacks. For that, the GOP can learn a lot from another American passion: baseball.

This year, about 75 million Americans will go to the baseball stadium to watch a ballgame, about the same number as those who will vote in next year’s election. We rarely think about why someone becomes a baseball fan, or why they root for a certain team. Nor do we usually think about why someone chooses to vote for a certain political party. But it’s actually a very useful exercise.

When it comes to baseball, fan loyalty has almost nothing to do with the brain, and almost everything to do with the heart. In all of history, there’s never been a baseball fan who rooted for his team because it had the lowest ticket prices, or because it had the most taxpayer-friendly stadium deal, or because its players did the most community service. For the vast majority of Americans, rooting for a baseball team — not to mention, voting for a political party — isn’t really a rational choice; it’s more of a statement of personal identity — a statement telling the world, “This is who I am.” And for most people, defining “who I am” starts with family and community, before branching out into areas like race, age, gender, and class.

Family is pretty straightforward. If your mom and dad are Yankee fans, you’re almost certainly a Yankee fan. The same is true in politics. If your mom and dad are Republicans, you’re almost certainly a Republican.

Community is also pretty straightforward. If you grew up in, say, Philadelphia, chances are pretty great you’re a Phillies fan. Likewise, someone who grew up in Republican territory like, say, suburban Dallas or rural Indiana is much more likely to become a Republican than a nearly identical person from Seattle or Santa Fe.

Cities with more than one baseball team, like New York or Chicago, show revealing breakdowns by race and gender. The racial split in Chicago between Cubs fans on the North Side and White Sox fans on the South Side is well-documented. In New York, there’s an intriguing gender gap between Mets and Yankee fans, with women gravitating a lot more to the Yanks. While there’s a few theories out there trying to explain that, one obvious answer leaps out: Yankees heartthrob Derek Jeter.

In sports, as in politics, people’s convictions can’t be conveniently reduced to who their parents are or what they look like. But those things are an important foundation, upon which more rational sentiments come into being. Once you’re attached to your team on an emotional level — seeing them as a personal reflection of who you are and what you care about most — a rational exterior comes into being through phrases like “the Red Sox are the best team because they have the most heart” or “the Republicans are the best party because they know how to create jobs.”

Tripon Posted: March 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM | 6544 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   301. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4401874)

The leaders perhaps, but the foot soldiers are an absolutely required component to shed the blood and storm the Bastille...


Sure, but the foot soldiers of the ancien regime are from the poorer classes too.

Below the officer ranks, I doubt you could have noticed the difference between the Red Army, and the White armies opposing them.
   302. Ron J2 Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:06 AM (#4401875)
#164 There was a CBC article that compared the Ware injury to Clint Malarchuck getting his throat cut.

Thankfully the article contained a link to neither play.
   303. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4401876)
Ironically - I was having this same argument, but from nearly the opposite direction, with a much more reliably radical friend a few years back at the start of the OWS movement... Like most modern revolutionaries -- he wanted to skip straight ahead to arguing over the length of culottes and dispatching those not fully vested in the 'movement' -- we reached a point where he put it plainly: When the barricades go up, which side of them will you be on?

My answer is probably the same today as then -- I'd hope to be straddling it, or in a position to quickly jump to the side that lives... But - despite having a relatively stable income that exceeds the national median, even in a major metropolitan area, working in a private, non-union position... I will say that my heart and my long-term best interests just might lie with the rioters more than with those being looted. It's just that might head, at this point in time, would prevent me from being down in the street with them if I could avoid it.


The problem is not with the true elite getting their "comeuppance", it's with the collateral damage, and what comes after.

Very, very few revolutions have led to peaceful democratic societies. More typically you shed a lot of innocent blood, and end up with a totalitarian or authoritarian regime just as bad as the previous one. It's Animal Farm writ large.
   304. Ron J2 Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4401884)
Any good countries to move to that let you buy citizenship?


Canada has (or had, can't find current info) a program that allowed for immigration by anybody (specific exceptions for war criminals etc.) willing to commit a certain amount (memory says $200K, but I'm far from certain) to a business startup.
   305. Mefisto Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4401885)
There are a few cases of Revolutions coming from below. The most successful was that of Toussaint in Haiti. Most of the rest may have managed some temporary success, but were eventually repressed.
   306. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4401886)
The problem is not with the true elite getting their "comeuppance", it's with the collateral damage, and what comes after.

Very, very few revolutions have led to peaceful democratic societies. More typically you shed a lot of innocent blood, and end up with a totalitarian or authoritarian regime just as bad as the previous one. It's Animal Farm writ large.


All that's true, as any glance at 20th century history will verify, no matter how much totalitarian regimes' apologists might try to rationalize it away.

But the real question is how do societies best give everyone** a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort, and back it up with more than empty rhetoric. Because that's the only way for us to ensure real long range stability.

**Not just Horatio Alger, or some computer genius, or some kid who can hit a baseball 500 ft, but ordinary people within the broad range of "average" intelligence who weren't necessarily born in a stable family situation or with the sort of advantages that most of us here likely were.
   307. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4401889)
Odd old post.
   308. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4401896)

But the real question is how do societies best give everyone** a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort,


Actually, the real question is why you think American society doesn't offer that.
   309. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4401897)
But the real question is how do societies best give everyone** a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort, and back it up with more than empty rhetoric. Because that's the only way for us to ensure real long range stability.

**Not just Horatio Alger, or some computer genius, or some kid who can hit a baseball 500 ft, but ordinary people within the broad range of "average" intelligence who weren't necessarily born in a stable family situation or with the sort of advantages that most of us here likely were.


Exactly right, with the key words being "honest effort".

The liberal/leftist response to growing inequality has, so far, been to throw more money at welfare programs. Expanded food stamps, easier enrollment in SS Disability, expanded Medicaid.

This may ameiliorate economic suffering, but it does nothing to empower people as citizens who can improve their own lives. Rather, they just become a permanent lobby/voting block for more dole.

The key is to create opportunity for those willing to work, and lead productive lives. Show people a reward for diligence and good behavior, and you'll get a lot more of it.

Pay people for being lazy and irresponsible, you'll get more of that instead.
   310. zonk Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4401903)
Very, very few revolutions have led to peaceful democratic societies. More typically you shed a lot of innocent blood, and end up with a totalitarian or authoritarian regime just as bad as the previous one. It's Animal Farm writ large.


No argument there -- I'd say that makes the American revolution another anomaly, but then -- certain peoples might take issue with my admittedly Americanized definition of "peaceful democratic society".

Still, people keep trying and whether they explicitly admit it or not - sometimes the devil you think might be does end up being preferred to the devil you know when you have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

While I suppose I certain implied a level of qualitative judgment regarding the original idea of what the tax expenditures actually deliver - my main point was still more the inevitability of what comes from real or perceived broken social compacts....
   311. Answer Guy Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4401907)
One thing that annoys me about American politics (on both sides, really, but especially on the right) is that everything is sales, marketing, and branding. It's about convincing some key segment of the market that you're not as terrible as you are. That Republican policies themselves were concieved at the behest of a very narrow segment of society (and have proven an unmitigated disaster for literally everyone else) to appeal to another wider-but-still-narrow segment of society are of no relevance.

Also, the only thing huge segments of the news media cover is American horse-race electoral politics, and they're not even very good at that.
   312. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4401908)
Pay people for being lazy and irresponsible, you'll get more of that instead.


See also: Congress.
   313. Tripon Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4401914)

Canada has (or had, can't find current info) a program that allowed for immigration by anybody (specific exceptions for war criminals etc.) willing to commit a certain amount (memory says $200K, but I'm far from certain) to a business startup.


The U.S. has something similar, but all it gets you a business visa that's valid until you lose or sell the business. Puts you way ahead on the path to citizenship though if that's what you want to do.
   314. zonk Posted: April 02, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4401922)

Exactly right, with the key words being "honest effort".

The liberal/leftist response to growing inequality has, so far, been to throw more money at welfare programs. Expanded food stamps, easier enrollment in SS Disability, expanded Medicaid.

This may ameiliorate economic suffering, but it does nothing to empower people as citizens who can improve their own lives. Rather, they just become a permanent lobby/voting block for more dole.

The key is to create opportunity for those willing to work, and lead productive lives. Show people a reward for diligence and good behavior, and you'll get a lot more of it.

Pay people for being lazy and irresponsible, you'll get more of that instead.


Except, that's not really what's happened -- in fact, TANF assistance (from amounts to eligibility to duration) have been falling for recipients. Ditto the arguments over the Medicaid expansion in PPACA... The vast majority of Medicaid enrollees are children -- something on the order of 60%, with roughly 8-10% being elderly and other 10-15% being classified blind/disabled. I'm all for 'empowering the able' -- but the participation rates in Medicaid just don't bear out the idea it's largely the 'able' who are benefiting... it's mainly those too young or too old to 'be able'... I suppose we can slice and dice the 'blind/disabled' and quibble over how many of the disabled are appropriately qualified, but we're still ultimately talking about dissecting a minority slice of overall program participation. Frankly, it's a key data point against the idea of federal 'block grants' being the way to go -- because inevitably, the states find clever ways to reallocate the funds and patch holes elsewhere.

What's more -- there are plenty of other worrisome numbers in a program like TANF... For example - military family participation is double the rate of civilian participation.... going back to the idea of the social compact and the fragility of it, it ought to be a bit frightening that something like 1/4 or more of the people holding the weapons are being served by a welfare program that lots of folks seem to think is too generous.
   315. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4401926)
But the real question is how do societies best give everyone** a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort, and back it up with more than empty rhetoric....

**Not just Horatio Alger, or some computer genius, or some kid who can hit a baseball 500 ft, but ordinary people within the broad range of "average" intelligence who weren't necessarily born in a stable family situation or with the sort of advantages that most of us here likely were.


Actually, the real question is why you think American society doesn't offer that.


About the 10 billionth most interesting question is why you persist in believing that distorting the clear meaning of points like the above advances any sort of rational discussion. But I guess it's what you do.
   316. Mefisto Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4401954)
Actually, the real question is why you think American society doesn't offer that.


Because the US actually rates quite poorly on that.
   317. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4401970)
So, Andy, a direct question: do you think American society offers everyone (who is able-bodied and of sound mind) a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort?

   318. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4401973)

Because the US actually rates quite poorly on that.


Chicken and egg. Give people welfare and a minimum standard of living that is quite comfortable, all things considered, and it's not a shock that they'll decide to be content with their lot in life rather than trying to move up.

That in no way means that everyone doesn't have a good opportunity to move up.
   319. Poulanc Posted: April 02, 2013 at 11:58 AM (#4401976)
a minimum standard of living that is quite comfortable, all things considered,


Do you think folks who are collecting welfare would describe their living conditions as "quite comfortable"?
   320. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4401980)
Do you think folks who are collecting welfare would describe their living conditions as "quite comfortable"?


Quite comfortable, all things considered. The honest and rational ones will. They've gotten something for nothing, a reasonable minimum standard of living provided to them on the backs of others. They have no cause to complain.
   321. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4401987)
You've never been on welfare, have you Ray? "Quite comfortable" isn't even close.

It's worth noting that all of the countries with greater upward mobility have more generous social welfare systems than the U.S.
   322. Steve Treder Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4401994)
You've never been on welfare, have you Ray? "Quite comfortable" isn't even close.

He has a cousin somewhere who's been bilking the disability system, so therefore he concludes that welfare recipients everywhere are quite comfortable. The ignorance stings one's eyes.
   323. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4401995)
You've never been on welfare, have you Ray?


No, I haven't; I'm one of those crazy people who thought American society offered me a sense that my life could be improved with honest effort.

Keep telling people that they are victims, though, who are being screwed over by the rich, and keep handing them money taken from the rich. Even though according to you that hasn't worked out all that well for them.
   324. zonk Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4401998)
Quite comfortable, all things considered. The honest and rational ones will. They've gotten something for nothing, a reasonable minimum standard of living provided to them on the backs of others. They have no cause to complain.


Heh... I think we've found Mitt Romney's private event speechwriter!

The philosophical problem with resorting to such relative comparisons -- you could be a Chinese peasant in a sweatshop! you could be a starving orphan in a Dehli ghetto! you could be a dying subsistence farmer in Africa! -- is that it tends to rot the drive of a society as whole more so than the shiftless masses who fail to recognize the sheer logic and even inherent truth of such statements. It's a twin sibling of the same sort of sorry excuse making for things like Abu Ghraib -- "but Saddam had rape rooms!"

It's a bit ironic that someone who champions achievement and greatness on an individual level so quickly resorts to such low bars on a larger social level.
   325. Mefisto Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4402002)
Give people welfare and a minimum standard of living that is quite comfortable, all things considered, and it's not a shock that they'll decide to be content with their lot in life rather than trying to move up.


As SdeB has already noted, the US ranks worse than nations which have much more generous social welfare.
   326. BrianBrianson Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4402004)

Keep telling people that they are victims, though, who are being screwed over by the rich, and keep handing them money taken from the rich. Even though according to you that hasn't worked out all that well for them.


It worked out best when we were doing it the most (i.e., the 40s and 50s, with the 80+% top marginal tax rates).
   327. Gonfalon B. Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:22 PM (#4402005)
The US is now the only major economy in the world where the younger generation is not going to be better educated than the older... The annual OECD education statistics show that only about one in five young adults in the US reaches a higher level of education than their parents - among the lowest rates of upward mobility in the developed world... A study by the University of California, Berkeley, showed that school leavers in California in 1970 were more likely to stay on to higher education than their counterparts in 2000. In terms of international education, that's like finding out that athletes were running faster 40 years ago.

42 percent of American men raised in the bottom fifth of incomes stay there as adults... Meanwhile, just 8 percent of American men at the bottom rose to the top fifth... Despite frequent references to the United States as a classless society, about 62 percent of Americans (male and female) raised in the top fifth of incomes stay in the top two-fifths, according to research by the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Similarly, 65 percent born in the bottom fifth stay in the bottom two-fifths... While liberals often complain that the United States has unusually large income gaps, many conservatives have argued that the system is fair because mobility is especially high, too: everyone can climb the ladder. Now the evidence suggests that America is not only less equal, but also less mobile.

In testimony last week to the Senate Finance Committee, [the Tax Policy Center's] Gene Steuerle estimated that of the nearly $750 billion in mobility-enhancing tax and spending programs in 2006, $540 billion–or nearly three-quarters– went to higher income households. Those with low incomes received only about 2 percent of the benefit of subsidies for home ownership and almost none of the benefit of employer-related work subsidies or incentives for savings and investment. Some of these programs not only fail to help poor and lower middle-class households, they actively hurt them. For instance, if home ownership is a key to upward mobility (an arguable proposition, but one many believe), we need to acknowledge that subsidies such as the mortgage interest deduction inflate home prices and make it harder, not easier, for poor families to buy. Worse than that, Gene argues, once low-income households reach poverty level, government policy discourages work. True, social welfare programs provide a valuable safety net for the very poor. For instance, the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit are important income supports for low-income families. But because these safety net programs phase out as incomes rise, some people face marginal tax rates as high as 80 percent for getting a better job or even a raise.

It’s this optimism that lets Marco Rubio declare that “[America is] the only place in the world where it doesn’t matter who your parents were or where you came from. You can be anything you are willing to work hard to be.” or for Paul Ryan to argue “Telling Americans they are stuck in their current station in life, that they are victims of circumstances beyond their control, and that government’s role is to help them cope with it – well, that’s not who we are. That’s not what we do.” This isn’t just a Republican myth, its a fundamentally American myth, and one which does not hold up under close scrutiny... The instinct that ambition and hard work should be properly rewarded is the right one for Americans to have. Surely if Denmark can figure it out, so can the country which invented the American dream in the first place.
   328. Steve Treder Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4402008)
This one's pretty good.
   329. Steve Treder Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4402015)
And this comes from a guy might be considered something of an authority on the subject of the history of political coverage and commentary in the US.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Robert Caro criticized conservative media coverage of President Obama during an appearance in New York City, describing it as "something quite horrible" and venomous.

... Caro, who won Pulitzer Prizes for his third Johnson book, Master of the Senate, and his 1975 book about Robert Moses, has long used newspaper and media coverage in his research about U.S. political history.

Asked by Media Matters what he thought of today's conservative media coverage given his experience with historic news accounts, Caro said there had been strong conservative news coverage of past political figures, but stressed today's approach is worse.
   330. zonk Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4402016)
BTW -

I'd also note the irony of the inverse of the tax-and-spend argument regarding welfare... that if we tax "success", the job creators will no longer be driven to succeed and shower the rest of us with opportunities. It's a nifty philosophical sleight of hand when you consider that no one has ever proposed anything more than a few marginal points here and there.
   331. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4402019)
So, Andy, a direct question: do you think American society offers everyone (who is able-bodied and of sound mind) a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort?

-------------------------------------------------

Keep telling people that they are victims, though, who are being screwed over by the rich, and keep handing them money taken from the rich. Even though according to you that hasn't worked out all that well for them.

Those are two distinct questions, and they don't fall into one-size-fits-all answers.

One question is what to tell your children. The answer is that you tell them that if they work their butts off they'll be a lot better off than if they didn't, in terms of self-esteem and being able to look themselves in the eye. Nobody seriously disagrees with that, and nobody thinks that it's a smart strategy to tell children that their future holds no hope.

The second question is whether or not that answer is sufficient for any honest society to be able to look itself in the eye. And that answer is no, of course not. Not when children born in one set of circumstances are practically programmed from birth to a life of comfort and security, while others have virtually no realistic chance of such a life. Don't pretend that a child born to a single mother in a depressed area has remotely the same chance of acquiring the human resources necessary to be able to compete with a child born into a stable middle class family. You can blame the mother all you want, but the child didn't have any choice of parents, and that mother very well might have been a child like that herself at one point, faced with the same crummy school with the same overwhelmed family situation.

I could show you a bunch of statistics that clearly demonstrate that not only has our society become more economically stratified in recent decades, but that it's getting worse in that regard, and that other developed countries have far less of a problem. But anyone with open eyes and an open mind and access to the wealth of information that's readily available to anyone could have known facts like these long ago. It's only when you don't want to see what's right there in front of you that your mind begins to freeze up.

EDIT: cokes all around, though it's like shooting fish in a barrel, even if the fish keep slithering away
   332. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4402035)
Those are two distinct questions, and they don't fall into one-size-fits-all answers.

One question is what to tell your children. The answer is that you tell them that if they work their butts off they'll be a lot better off than if they didn't, in terms of self-esteem and being able to look themselves in the eye. Nobody seriously disagrees with that, and nobody thinks that it's a smart strategy to tell children that their future holds no hope.

The second question is whether or not that answer is sufficient for any honest society to be able to look itself in the eye. And that answer is no, of course not. Not when children born in one set of circumstances are practically programmed from birth to a life of comfort and security, while others have virtually no realistic chance of such a life. Don't pretend that a child born to a single mother in a depressed area has remotely the same chance of acquiring the human resources necessary to be able to compete with a child born into a stable middle class family. You can blame the mother all you want, but the child didn't have any choice of parents, and that mother very well might have been a child like that herself at one point, faced with the same crummy school with the same overwhelmed family situation.

I could show you a bunch of statistics that clearly demonstrate that not only has our society become more economically stratified in recent decades, but that it's getting worse in that regard, and that other developed countries have far less of a problem. But anyone with open eyes and an open mind and access to the wealth of information that's readily available to anyone could have known facts like these long ago. It's only when you don't want to see what's right there in front of you that your mind begins to freeze up.

EDIT: cokes all around, though it's like shooting fish in a barrel, even if the fish keep slithering away


You could have saved yourself a lot of keystrokes just by typing out your two-letter answer: "No." No, you don't think American society offers everyone (who is able-bodied and of sound mind) a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort. That is what my original conclusion was, and your answer bears it out, so I don't know why you waved your hands in post 315 about me "distorting" things.

(Your third paragraph in #331 washes away your second paragraph.)
   333. BrianBrianson Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4402050)
It's not a yes-no proposition. Yes, American society offers everyone (who is able-bodied and of sound mind) a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort. But it does so far less than Canadian society, or Icelandic society, or German society, and it doesn't need to. And it does so now less than it did fifty years ago, again, needlessly. "Well, it's better than being a slave in Mauritania and having no hope your life will improve" is not good enough (for America, or anyone).
   334. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4402058)
You could have saved yourself a lot of keystrokes just by typing out your two-letter answer: "No." No, you don't think American society offers everyone (who is able-bodied and of sound mind) a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort. That is what my original conclusion was, and your answer bears it out, so I don't know why you waved your hands in post 315 about me "distorting" things.

The reason for answering as I did was to distinguish the message that adults should be giving to children from the facts that adults should be addressing among themselves. Only someone with your narrowcast ideology would need such a distinction to be pointed out, but you're constantly pretending that the validity of the message on the individual level allows us to ignore the shameful facts that often make that message little more than a little white lie.
   335. Steve Treder Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4402081)
So, does this mean the NRA is officially joining up with the Axis of Evil?

The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to approve the first-ever treaty to regulate the enormous global trade in conventional weapons, for the first time linking sales to the human-rights records of the buyers.

The vote on the Arms Trade Treaty came after an effort to achieve a consensus on the treaty among all 193 member states of the United Nations failed last week, with Iran, North Korea and Syria blocking it. Those three countries, often ostracized as pariahs, contended the treaty was full of deficiencies and had been structured to be unfair to them.

...

Despite repeated assurances by Obama administration officials that the treaty would not affect American domestic use of firearms or the Second Amendment, the National Rifle Association has criticized the treaty and vowed to fight ratification in the Senate.
   336. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:50 PM (#4402091)
You could have saved yourself a lot of keystrokes just by typing out your two-letter answer: "No." No, you don't think American society offers everyone (who is able-bodied and of sound mind) a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort.

Ray, the issue is not that you can't improve your life, just that it's not nearly as easy as it was.

In the last 20 years ~100% of all real income gains have gone to the top-20% of the distribution. Globalization is crushing those that don't have significant human or financial capital. It's just like the economic models said would happen; open free trade and capital movement with much lower wage countries, and your return to labor will plummet, and returns on capital will soar.

50 years ago, you could walk out of high school, get a factory job, and live and raise a family comfortably. You did hard physical labor for 40 years, but you could afford to own a small house, a car, and send your kids to state colleges, even w/o your wife working. That's not even a possibility today.

   337. BDC Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4402092)
does this mean the NRA is officially joining up with the Axis of Evil?

At the very least I hope they start tweeting in support of Kim Jong-Un's right to bear nuclear arms :)
   338. Delorians Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4402093)
Illinois GOP Senator Mark Kirk announces support for gay marriage.
   339. Steve Treder Posted: April 02, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4402097)
50 years ago, you could walk out of high school, get a factory job, and live and raise a family comfortably. You did hard physical labor for 40 years, but you could afford to own a small house, a car, and send your kids to state colleges, even w/o your wife working. That's not even a possibility today.

Pretty much describes my father-in-law, and he didn't even finish high school. Worked a union trade (tool-and-dye maker) for long hours, and bought a house (in the SF Bay Area, no less) and raised 10, count 'em 10 kids, in middle-class fashion, and my mother-in-law never worked a day in her married life outside the home.

That's an utter impossibility today.
   340. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4402100)
The reason for answering as I did was to distinguish the message that adults should be giving to children from the facts that adults should be addressing among themselves. Only someone with your narrowcast ideology would need such a distinction to be pointed out, but you're constantly pretending that the validity of the message on the individual level allows us to ignore the shameful facts that often make that message little more than a little white lie.


So, no again.

But at least it only took you 500 key strokes to answer no this time. Keep trying. You'll get there.
   341. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4402104)
Pretty much describes my father-in-law, and he didn't even finish high school. Worked a union trade (tool-and-dye maker) for long hours, and bought a house (in the SF Bay Area, no less) and raised 10, count 'em 10 kids, in middle-class fashion, and my mother-in-law never worked a day in her married life outside the home.

That's an utter impossibility today.


I'll do you one better. My grandad dropped out of HS at ~15, got a job on Wall Street as a runner (they used to physically deliver stocks and bonds), one month before the 29 crash. He worked his way up through cleark, margin clerk, working in "the cage", etc., etc. all the way to Managing Partner of a mid-sized brokerage firm (~30-40 branches across the Northeast and South).
   342. Steve Treder Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4402110)
Illinois GOP Senator Mark Kirk announces support for gay marriage.

But not this GOP Congressman:

In an interview aired over the weekend, Rep. Matt J. Salmon (R-Ariz.) told a local news station that his son’s homosexuality has not led him to change his position on gay marriage.

“I don’t support the gay marriage,” the congressman said. But Salmon emphasized that he loved and respected his son and did not consider homosexuality a choice.

“My son is by far one of the most important people in my life. I love him more than I can say,” an emotional Salmon told 3TV. “It doesn’t mean that I don’t have respect, it doesn’t mean that I don’t sympathize with some of the issues. It just means I haven’t evolved to that stage.”


When Republican officeholders in red states start coming out in support of gay marriage, then we can talk about a narrowing distinction between the Democratic Party and the GOP. Until then it's a fantasy.
   343. Jay Z Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4402112)
I'll do you one better. My grandad dropped out of HS at ~15, got a job on Wall Street as a runner (they used to physically deliver stocks and bonds), one month before the 29 crash. He worked his way up through cleark, margin clerk, working in "the cage", etc., etc. all the way to Managing Partner of a mid-sized brokerage firm (~30-40 branches across the Northeast and South).


I agree with all of this. We can ask citizens to work, but goals need to be achievable by the average person. Get on a boat and immigrate, sure. Start a farm in another part of the country, sure. Or all of the people who migrated from the South for factory jobs post WWII. Those are achievable goals. And a lot of those people didn't necessarily know what they were doing. They just showed up and got a break after a while.

The examples of people becoming professional athletes, entertainers, billion dollar businessmen are a needle in a haystack. Not realistic for the average person.
   344. Lassus Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4402117)
"It just means I haven’t evolved to that stage.”

That's the money part of that quote. Interesting.
   345. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4402119)
I agree with all of this. We can ask citizens to work, but goals need to be achievable by the average person. Get on a boat and immigrate, sure. Start a farm in another part of the country, sure. Or all of the people who migrated from the South for factory jobs post WWII. Those are achievable goals. And a lot of those people didn't necessarily know what they were doing. They just showed up and got a break after a while.

The message needs to be: avoid self-destructive behavior (graduate HS, avoid addiction, work a 40 hour week, don't have a bunch of kids before you're married) and you will have a decent life. If you work hard, you'll be at least lower-middle class. Not maybe. Not, unless they shut the factory down and move it to China, for sure.

For people that do engage in self-destructive behavior, welfare should provide a subsistence, but not particularly comfortable living.

It has to be more promising to break your back 40 hours a week at a demanding job, than to sit home and collect the dole.
   346. Steve Treder Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4402129)
It isn't just low-skilled workers for whom upward mobility has significantly declined in recent decades:

Skilled workers with higher degrees are increasingly ending up in lower-skilled jobs that don't really require a degree--and in the process, they're pushing unskilled workers out of the labor force altogether.

... we're pushing more and more people into (more and more expensive) college programs, even as the number of jobs in which they can use those skills has declined. A growing number of students may be in a credentialling arms race to gain access to routine service jobs.
   347. The Fallen Reputation of Billy Jo Robidoux Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4402135)
The U.S. has something similar, but all it gets you a business visa that's valid until you lose or sell the business. Puts you way ahead on the path to citizenship though if that's what you want to do.


The EB-5 program essentially lets you buy a green card for permanent residence. At least one developer in Milwaukee has been using EB-5 developers to fund projects, which makes it seem like a passive process for the green card seeker.
   348. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4402139)
So, no again.

But at least it only took you 500 key strokes to answer no this time.
Nuance is for pussies.
   349. BDC Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4402142)
My grandfather had a fourth-grade education, took a job on the line at a factory, became a foreman and a supervisor and eventually production manager of the entire company, building a big home out on the prairie, trading in his new Cadillac every year, and putting my mom through Catholic high school and college.

Though he then crested the wave of working-class prosperity. In the mid-1960s, when he was in his late 50s, the company was bought out and retrenched, and moved my grandfather laterally to a do-nothing job, eventually pressing him to retire early. He got a job as a carpenter on a government-funded project, retired and was widowed soon thereafter, lost his home in a second marriage and divorce, and ended his days in a trailer. The company he ran no longer exists, and everything they used to make is produced in Mexico or China now.
   350. Canker Soriano Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4402154)
Skilled workers with higher degrees are increasingly ending up in lower-skilled jobs that don't really require a degree--and in the process, they're pushing unskilled workers out of the labor force altogether.

That doesn't surprise me at all. You make it seem expected that everyone goes to college, but at the same time changes to the economy aren't creating enough jobs (or keeping them on-shore) to stay up with the new workforce.

It's taboo to even talk about it in this country, but the bifurcated system of sending some kids to college and some kids into trade schools at the high school level that some countries in Europe has is not the worst idea around. Particularly given how expensive colleges have gotten, kids are coming out with the double whammy of a reduced job market and an assload of debt.

And I agree with the proposition that there should be a path forward to a middle class life for someone who comes out of high school and wants to get a job and raise a family without necessarily getting a graduate degree. My father was an accountant with a 2 year degree from a 4th tier university (and his parents were subsistence farmers in rural Illinois who had nothing their whole lives). He took a job at the bottom of the accounting heap at a branch of a mid-sized company, but it was enough to let him support 2 kids and a wife for 20+ years. We had to move 4 or 5 times when I was a kid, as he got transferred from branch to branch. There were times when money was tight - I've eaten the government cheese, and I remember my mother fretting whether we could pay an $11 electric bill to keep the lights on. But we owned a house (with a mortgage, of course) and lived what I always thought of as a lower middle class life. Maybe I was naive and we were really poor, but we seemed no better or worse off than any of the other kids in my class (excepting of course those whose parents were doctors or lawyers).

It's hard for me to picture him doing that now.
   351. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4402158)
Congratulations. You have all discovered that it is necessary to get a college education in order to have a good chance at making a middle class income.

I'm not sure that discovery will quite earn you Time Magazine's Men of the Year. I believe my 10 year old nephew has that one figured out. But good job.

You want a return to the good old days of low-skilled, manufacturing jobs making up a larger part of the work force? A combination of technology and government policies have made that unrealistic, even if it were desirable.
   352. Answer Guy Posted: April 02, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4402162)
You could have saved yourself a lot of keystrokes just by typing out your two-letter answer: "No." No, you don't think American society offers everyone (who is able-bodied and of sound mind) a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort.


Why the insistence on a one-word answer? Almost no question worth asking has an easy one-word answer.
   353. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4402166)
Congratulations. You have all discovered that it is necessary to get a college education in order to have a good chance at making a middle class income.

I'm not sure that discovery will quite earn you Time Magazine's Men of the Year. I believe my 10 year old nephew has that one figured out. But good job.

You want a return to the good old days of low-skilled, manufacturing jobs making up a larger part of the work force? A combination of technology and government policies have made that unrealistic, even if it were desirable.


Ray, half, or more, of the freakin population is completely unsuited to college. You can't consign 50% of the population to permanent lower class status.

If those jobs aren't economical, subsidize them. Through tariffs, tax credits, whatever.

It's much cheaper to subsidize a blue collar job than to support someone on welfare, especially when the social pathologies are considered.
   354. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4402167)
You could have saved yourself a lot of keystrokes just by typing out your two-letter answer: "No." No, you don't think American society offers everyone (who is able-bodied and of sound mind) a sense that their lives can improve with honest effort.


Why the insistence on a one-word answer? Almost no question worth asking has an easy one-word answer.

Whenever in doubt, Ray goes for the most simplistic answer every time, just so long as the answer will keep his taxes down to the lowest possible level. We all have our priorities.
   355. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4402169)
You want a return to the good old days of low-skilled, manufacturing jobs making up a larger part of the work force? A combination of technology and government policies have made that unrealistic, even if it were desirable.


Why would it not be desirable?
   356. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4402176)
To add to the list of how it was in the good old days during the apex of concessions for the common man, my grandfather grew up in BF nowhere on a dairy & potato farm, and quick school after Grade 8 to work on the farm. He took the farm over from his father, raised 5 kids, always drove a new vehicle and was even able to put in a swimming pool.
   357. Publius Publicola Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4402178)
You can't consign 50% of the population to permanent lower class status.


Who says Ray can't?
   358. Answer Guy Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:10 PM (#4402179)
Ray, half, or more, of the freakin population is completely unsuited to college. You can't consign 50% of the population to permanent lower class status.


Well, actually, you can, and indeed most societies in human history have done exactly that or worse.

Of course, there are consequences associated with doing that, which I can't believe so many of my fellow Americans would rather risk enduring than cough up any more tax money.
   359. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:11 PM (#4402180)
It's much cheaper to subsidize a blue collar job than to support someone on welfare, especially when the social pathologies are considered.

Snapper, there are so damn many times that your heart is hovering in the vicinity of the right place, but not much else. It'd also be cheaper to invest real money into early childhood education than it is to house and feed two and a half million prisoners at a cost of over $31,000 a prisoner. We've got less than 5% of the world's population and nearly 25% of the world's prisoners, and though most people realize that that's nuts, we don't seem to be able to do much about it.
   360. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:19 PM (#4402189)
Congratulations. You have all discovered that it is necessary to get a college education in order to have a good chance at making a middle class income.
... he says to a bunch of guys with college educations.
   361. Greg K Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:23 PM (#4402195)
Chicken and egg. Give people welfare and a minimum standard of living that is quite comfortable, all things considered, and it's not a shock that they'll decide to be content with their lot in life rather than trying to move up.

I don't get how this relates to America's social mobility relative to Canada, Norway, Finland and Denmark which was what the linked page argued.
   362. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4402197)
Forget it, he's rolling.
   363. Publius Publicola Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4402202)
Why would it not be desirable?


It might conspire against Ray's Malthusian principles.
   364. BDC Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4402210)
A combination of technology and government policies

Government policies I will absolutely grant, but why is "technology" part of the equation? The technology of the 1950s made the technology of a generation before look like the Stone Age, and yet it seemed to be possible for intelligent but modestly-educated people to earn good livings working with it. I assure you that my 8th-grade-educated grandmother – a bookkeeper who always emphasized the value of a sharp pencil to write between the ledger lines – would have been able to cope with an Excel spreadsheet.
   365. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4402212)
We've got less than 5% of the world's population and nearly 25% of the world's prisoners, and though most people realize that that's nuts, we don't seem to be able to do much about it.


It will only continue to grow as long as prisons are under corporate control. This is point is very simple.
   366. Delorians Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:42 PM (#4402222)
I assure you that my 8th-grade-educated grandmother – a bookkeeper who always emphasized the value of a sharp pencil to write between the ledger lines – would have been able to cope with an Excel spreadsheet.

YMMV. My mother-in-law, who is still working in elementary school education, doesn't want anything to do with computers.
   367. zonk Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4402226)

Snapper, there are so damn many times that your heart is hovering in the vicinity of the right place, but not much else. It'd also be cheaper to invest real money into early childhood education than it is to house and feed two and a half million prisoners at a cost of over $31,000 a prisoner. We've got less than 5% of the world's population and nearly 25% of the world's prisoners, and though most people realize that that's nuts, we don't seem to be able to do much about it.


Heh... you assume prison isn't a growth industry in and of itself!

For example, Indiana governor Mike Pence and IN House Speaker Brian Bosma are pushing legislation that would actually bump simple possession of as little as 1/3 ounce pot possession from a misdemeanor to a felony.

One of the biggest financial contributors to Pence and Bosma's political warchests is GEO Group -- a privatized prison administration system... and quelle surprise- GEO's contract with the DOC stipulates a 90% occupancy promise.

I'm telling you.... sometimes I think we liberals go about some things entirely the wrong way. Maybe what we ought to be doing in starting TANF and welfare LLCs, lobbying Heritage and the RNC to "privatize" welfare programs, and voila --- suddenly, you'd see standards for welfare eligibility actually go down because our new bought-and-paid for politicians would be looking out for our new contracts....
   368. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:52 PM (#4402236)
Snapper, there are so damn many times that your heart is hovering in the vicinity of the right place, but not much else. It'd also be cheaper to invest real money into early childhood education than it is to house and feed two and a half million prisoners at a cost of over $31,000 a prisoner. We've got less than 5% of the world's population and nearly 25% of the world's prisoners, and though most people realize that that's nuts, we don't seem to be able to do much about it.

It will only continue to grow as long as prisons are under corporate control. This is point is very simple.


Heh... you assume prison isn't a growth industry in and of itself!


I'm well aware of this sad phenomenon---I don't read the NY Times and the Washington Post every day for nothing**---and this knowledge directly contributed to the closing 12 words of my post.

**Though if it were the Washington Times and the NY Post on my morning table, I'd probably be composing love songs to this neo-Channel One concept.
   369. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4402237)
So, no again.

But at least it only took you 500 key strokes to answer no this time.

Nuance is for pussies.


That sounds like a French word. Sissy.
   370. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4402239)
I'm telling you.... sometimes I think we liberals go about some things entirely the wrong way. Maybe what we ought to be doing in starting TANF and welfare LLCs, lobbying Heritage and the RNC to "privatize" welfare programs, and voila --- suddenly, you'd see standards for welfare eligibility actually go down because our new bought-and-paid for politicians would be looking out for our new contracts....

That's too cynical for words, but unfortunately all too true.
   371. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4402240)
That sounds like a French word. Sissy

Yeah, "vive La France", indeed. They even admit they're a girly country!
   372. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4402241)
I don't get how this relates to America's social mobility relative to Canada, Norway, Finland and Denmark which was what the linked page argued.

Forget it, he's rolling.


I think you're missing a letter in there.
   373. Ron J2 Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4402250)
#365/367 The Economist has not infrequently pointed out the powerful advocacy of (in particular but not limited to) California's unionized prison guards.

EDIT: Fixed typo
   374. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4402267)
Snapper, there are so damn many times that your heart is hovering in the vicinity of the right place, but not much else. It'd also be cheaper to invest real money into early childhood education than it is to house and feed two and a half million prisoners at a cost of over $31,000 a prisoner. We've got less than 5% of the world's population and nearly 25% of the world's prisoners, and though most people realize that that's nuts, we don't seem to be able to do much about it.

Andy, there is zero evidence, zero, that early childhood education does any good. There is zero evidence that doubling the real per-student expenditure on K-12 education (as has happened in the past 30 years, has improved results one iota.

These kids aren't going to prison because their schools sucked. They go to prison b/c they grow up in disfunctional households with no fathers, and often no one in the legitimate workforce. They are never taught "middle class values".

There is no substitute for a stable, functional family. And you can't have stable functional families if the fathers are unable to earn a decent living.

Look back in time. Your parents and my grandparents had nothing. They lived in cold water flats with a coal stove as the only source of heat and hot water. They had one pair of shoes. They were hungry. Actual hunger, not I missed my afternoon cookies. They went to schools with fifty freakin kids in a class, and many didn't speak a word of English before entering 1st grade.

But they didn't end up in prison, b/c they had parents who worked hard, and taught them right from wrong.
   375. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:19 PM (#4402272)
YMMV. My mother-in-law, who is still working in elementary school education, doesn't want anything to do with computers.


Generally speaking every lawyer I've met younger than me is at least reasonably handy with computers, most my age or up to 5 years older are reasonably handy*...

older than that and you get all kinds, guys who as proficient as a 25 year old through every level of proficiency to guys who are terrified at the thought of the retirement of their 65+ year old dictation taking secretary...

About 12-13 years ago I worked with a guy my age, who had managed to go to law school the same time as me, without ever using a computer (which was really difficult then, but not impossible). He was literally horrified one day when he saw me typing away at a PC (2 of our 3 secretaries were out that week)- and then he began haranguing me about how typing was "beneath" a lawyer, etc etc... Of course several weeks later after one secretary had quit, and one went on sick leave HIS work began backing up, and he asked me to type some stuff up for him, I told him no, and hell no... later I saw the paralegal trying to coach this guy into how to write freaking letter on Word Perfect- it was scary, literally poking at the keyboard with 1 finger, and pushing the mouse with 2 (and when he tried to click on something, he'd take those two fingers off the mouse and stab at the button with one, which of course sent the mouse skittering off somewhere.) He wouldn't/couldn't use Westlaw, had heard of the internet and email, but really had no idea what they were. He thought I was joking when I told him that junior associates at my sister's firm were expected to do their own typing (I wasn't) .. He ended up leaving the firm to become a traffic court judge.

   376. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4402279)
There is zero evidence that doubling the real per-student expenditure on K-12 education (as has happened in the past 30 years, has improved results one iota.


Then to what do you attribute the steady improvement in performance over the past 30 years?


But they didn't end up in prison, b/c they had parents who worked hard, and taught them right from wrong.


So to what do you attribute the drastic fall in the crime rate?
   377. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4402281)
These kids aren't going to prison because their schools sucked. They go to prison b/c they grow up in disfunctional households with no fathers...


Because their fathers are in prison for possession of small amounts of personal use drugs, while similar criminals from suburban neighborhoods are slapped on the wrists. It's not like the "fatherless" dysfunctional homes appear by magic. Those households are fatherless because of power and politics have combined for the last 50 years to throw fathers from those homes into prison for no damned good reason at all.
   378. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4402282)
Snapper, there are so damn many times that your heart is hovering in the vicinity of the right place, but not much else. It'd also be cheaper to invest real money into early childhood education


Hmm. I see liberals are still insisting that "investing" more money in "early childhood education" was an actual solution to anything.

than it is to house and feed two and a half million prisoners at a cost of over $31,000 a prisoner. We've got less than 5% of the world's population and nearly 25% of the world's prisoners, and though most people realize that that's nuts, we don't seem to be able to do much about it.


I can think of a number of victimless crimes we can strike from the books, as well as a number of crimes for which prison terms can be reduced or eliminated, so to that extent I agree with you.
   379. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4402283)
Look back in time. Your parents and my grandparents had nothing. They lived in cold water flats with a coal stove as the only source of heat and hot water. They had one pair of shoes. They were hungry. Actual hunger, not I missed my afternoon cookies. They went to schools with fifty freakin kids in a class, and many didn't speak a word of English before entering 1st grade.

But they didn't end up in prison, b/c they had parents who worked hard, and taught them right from wrong.


Why are most people in prison now? I mean specifically, what crimes have caused them to be incarcerated?

[Edit: damn you #377]
   380. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4402287)
Because their fathers are in prison for possession of small amounts of personal use drugs, while similar criminals from suburban neighborhoods are slapped on the wrists. It's not like the "fatherless" dysfunctional homes appear by magic. Those households are fatherless because of power and politics have combined for the last 50 years to throw fathers from those homes into prison for no damned good reason at all.


Sam, I'll meet you halfway on this one. I agree with the thrust of your comments above, but that only explains half of the problem. The other half is a culture aided by government assistance programs that combine to make the father irrelevant. Not all of these fathers are in prison.
   381. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:28 PM (#4402288)
Then to what do you attribute the steady improvement in performance over the past 30 years?

Where do you get that? The average SAT score is lower than it was in 1972 (the farthest Wiki goes back), despite the various rejiggerings to make it look better.

Every college professor I talk to says the kids are getting less well prepared every year.
   382. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4402296)
Look back in time. Your parents and my grandparents had nothing. They lived in cold water flats with a coal stove as the only source of heat and hot water. They had one pair of shoes. They were hungry. Actual hunger, not I missed my afternoon cookies. They went to schools with fifty freakin kids in a class, and many didn't speak a word of English before entering 1st grade.

But they didn't end up in prison, b/c they had parents who worked hard, and taught them right from wrong.


And were white. Which really helped.
   383. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4402297)
Because their fathers are in prison for possession of small amounts of personal use drugs, while similar criminals from suburban neighborhoods are slapped on the wrists. It's not like the "fatherless" dysfunctional homes appear by magic. Those households are fatherless because of power and politics have combined for the last 50 years to throw fathers from those homes into prison for no damned good reason at all.

Your argument might hold some merit if those fathers were gainfully employed and supporting their wives and children. But, they're not.

Sam, you know very well that in the troubled neighborhoods the large majority of fathers are absentee, and not working long before they go to prison.

Most of them are low level drug dealers themselves, petty criminals or layabouts. Very, very few judges would sentence an employed family man to jail for mere possession.
   384. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4402300)
And were white. Which really helped.


Let's not get carried away, plenty of them were Irish or Italian.
   385. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4402302)
Sam, I'll meet you halfway on this one. I agree with the thrust of your comments above, but that only explains half of the problem. The other half is a culture aided by government assistance programs that combine to make the father irrelevant. Not all of these fathers are in prison.


The disengagement of the urban poor from society's general model of success has 4 or 5 times more to do with a long, sordid history of being shown over and over again that any attempt to engage the general model would be met with a boot heel in the best case, and a short rope from a tall tree in the worst case than it does with marginal incentives in the welfare state.
   386. Lassus Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4402303)
He ended up leaving the firm to become a traffic court judge.

Probably in nowhere Barneveld NY, where I sat one night for four hours on a ticket for not changing the address on my license. Not a computer anywhere.


Every college professor I talk to says the kids are getting less well prepared every year.

Older people speak derisively of younger people. That's new.
   387. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4402305)
And were white. Which really helped.

Not really, no. Blacks didn't have this level of incarceration or other problems when 80% of their kids were born in two parent families (pre-1960s).

Blacks had lots of problems with economic and political discrimination pre-Civil Rights era. They categorically did not have a problem with disfunctional families, and high crime rates, until the great liberals came to help them learn the wonderful world of welfare dependence.

Hell, in the 1920's and 30's and 40's whites flocked to Harlem for nighclubs and music. Black neighborhoods weren't dangerous.
   388. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4402306)
Sam, you know very well that in the troubled neighborhoods the large majority of fathers are absentee, and not working long before they go to prison.


A self fulfilling prophecy 400 years in the making.

Most of them are low level drug dealers themselves


Which if we didn't have insane, stupid drug laws that arbitrarily over target the urban poor for prosecution would be alternatively called "small business entrepreneurs."
   389. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4402307)

Older people speak derisively of younger people. That's new.


Most are in their 30's.
   390. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:40 PM (#4402309)
The disengagement of the urban poor from society's general model of success has 4 or 5 times more to do with a long, sordid history of being shown over and over again that any attempt to engage the general model would be met with a boot heel in the best case, and a short rope from a tall tree in the worst case than it does with marginal incentives in the welfare state.

########.

Through the worst of Jim Crow and state-sanctioned discrimination Black remained a family stability rate no worse than other poor groups. Black men were employed at higher rates than whites. Black neighborhoods were cohesive and safe.

It was only after the Great-Society that the "inner city" problems developed. It would be pretty funny that blacks picked the time right after the Civil Rights act and MLK to decide that following the middle class paradigm was hopeless.

You're so wrapped up in your ideology you can't see simple facts.

   391. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:42 PM (#4402312)
A self fulfilling prophecy 400 years in the making.

The problem didn't exist until 40 some years ago. The black family survived slavery, Jim Crow, and mass discrimination, but it crumbled in the 1960's because....?
   392. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:44 PM (#4402314)

So to what do you attribute the drastic fall in the crime rate?


Crime rates are not lower the 1950's or before. They only look good relative to the 1965-1995 period.
   393. zonk Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4402321)
Andy, there is zero evidence, zero, that early childhood education does any good. There is zero evidence that doubling the real per-student expenditure on K-12 education (as has happened in the past 30 years, has improved results one iota.


The studies I've seen tend to indicate that the impact of early childhood education is fleeting -- children who get it spend grades 1 to 3 ahead of peers who didn't, but performance tends to normalize at the point of grades 4 to 6.... Of course, what the studies I've seen that say that this fail to capture is that there really isn't a good control group -- i.e., the kids receiving and not receiving co-mingle in 1 - 6, and it seems to logical to that it isn't so much the non-recipients catching up as it is the recipients slowing down as the curriculum has to adjust to single path the students in general.
   394. zonk Posted: April 02, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4402325)
Every college professor I talk to says the kids are getting less well prepared every year.


Heh...

No doubt, it's the lack of walking 3 miles a day uphill -- in both directions -- in the snow to attend class....
   395. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:06 PM (#4402339)
Shorter Sam & Co.: "You're black. So you're screwed. Racism, racism, there's no hope for you. More racism. Racists everywhere. Here's some money which we got in part from the racists."

Shocking that this message hasn't helped lift the community.
   396. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:07 PM (#4402340)
50 years ago, you could walk out of high school, get a factory job, and live and raise a family comfortably. You did hard physical labor for 40 years, but you could afford to own a small house, a car, and send your kids to state colleges, even w/o your wife working. That's not even a possibility today.

Actually, you could afford more than that. You could afford a house bigger than "small," you could afford a replacement-level motorboat, and you could afford a summer cottage -- though maybe not own one, certainly for a week or two every summer.

I grew up around factory workers and middle-management types, with a few state and local political types sprinkled in, and that was their lives. Factory workers in mid-and Southeast Michigan spent their summer weekends driving "up north" with their boats hitched to the back of their cars. The highways were clogged with them. Those weren't rich people and people who'd worked to build their "human capital" and their "personal brand" -- they were people who went to work, got paid, and got on with life.

The only response to that reality, unavoidable to anyone with eyes, is that that state of affairs was not "sustainable." Well, yeah, if you set out to intentionally destroy it so you can line the pockets of CEOs and financial manipulators with money that used to go to the middle class then, no, it's not sustainable. If politics in the US would have set as its primary goal sustaining it, it would have been sustainable.
   397. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:12 PM (#4402346)
Heh...

No doubt, it's the lack of walking 3 miles a day uphill -- in both directions -- in the snow to attend class....


No, as far as I can tell, it's growing up with parents who do everything for them, and schools that grade inflate and stroke their egos, and tell them they're all special little snowflakes.

Parents today call college professors to complain about grades. It's off the hook.
   398. Lassus Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4402362)
Racism, racism, there's no hope for you. More racism. Racists everywhere.

Two days ago I heard a dance teacher refer to a couple of her adolescent black students derisively as "niglets". Last week at work, seven or eight people broke out laughing because some guy said the North Koreans were crazy due to the fact that their stretched faces were squashing their brains. But go on, you know more about the world outside the Upper West, Ray. Why shouldn't we defer to your judgment?

Maybe you have a problem with my labeling. You know, you never did answer when I asked earlier about your comment that made a point of saying that those against gay marriage are labeled bigots. I'll ask again - were those against interracial marriage just labelled bigots, or actually bigots?
   399. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4402368)
I'll ask again - were those against interracial marriage only labelled bigots, or actually bigots?


Sorry, I read your initial inquiry just before stepping onto the court for a tennis match.

Those against interracial marriage were actually bigots. How that applies to gay marriage you'll have to explain to me.
   400. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 02, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4402371)
Actually, you could afford more than that. You could afford a house bigger than "small," you could afford a replacement-level motorboat, and you could afford a summer cottage -- though maybe not own one, certainly for a week or two every summer.

I grew up around factory workers and middle-management types, with a few state and local political types sprinkled in, and that was their lives. Factory workers in mid-and Southeast Michigan spent their summer weekends driving "up north" with their boats hitched to the back of their cars. The highways were clogged with them. Those weren't rich people and people who'd worked to build their "human capital" and their "personal brand" -- they were people who went to work, got paid, and got on with life.

The only response to that reality, unavoidable to anyone with eyes, is that that state of affairs was not "sustainable." Well, yeah, if you set out to intentionally destroy it so you can line the pockets of CEOs and financial manipulators with money that used to go to the middle class then, no, it's not sustainable. If politics in the US would have set as its primary goal sustaining it, it would have been sustainable.


Tom Tomorrow does the honors.
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