Daily Clips: July 22nd, 2016

WHY DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS SPEAK DIFFERENTLY: Beautiful work from the Atlantic. They take an analytical look at the use of language of both parties over the past decades, noting how it has changed dramatically as partisanship has increased.

SOLAR ECLIPSE: Fantastic and detailed article on the state of US solar movement.

TRUMP SAYS “I ALONE CAN FIX” AMERICA:

The rest of the speech is best dealt with elsewhere, but this entire week was powered by the vigorous applause of people begging to be led, to be directed, to be ruled. A wise old friend once told me that the most basic paradox in American history can be summed up in the question, “Do you govern or are you governed?”

FLURRY OF ACTIVITY ON TIM KAINE’S WIKIPEDIA PAGE: Could this mean he’s the VP choice for Hillary? My gut says so.

DAVID BROOKS THINKS GOP HAS LOST ITS WAY: Well, obviously it has. But his memory of the pre-Trump GOP seems slightly different than mine:

The G.O.P. used to be a party that aspired to a biblical ethic of private charity, graciousness, humility and faithfulness. Mitt Romney’s convention was lifted by stories of his kindness and personal mentorship.

 

TWEET OF THE DAY:

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/why-democrats-and-republicans-literally-speak-different-languages/492539/

 

Democrats Need to Decide: Is College a Right or a Commodity?

The US economy isn’t exactly working for most Americans. Wages for most of us are stubbornly stagnant, while college (the “surest ticket” to the middle class, according to our sitting president) has increased twelvefold over the past thirty years. This is a reason why a majority of our citizens still think we are in an economic recession.

That’s a problem, especially when our president’s entire theory of economic growth relies on expenditure from a robust middle class. I can attest that I’d be doing much more for the American economy if I didn’t have to siphon off student loan payments each month. That money would be much better served going into local businesses or my savings account.

I hope we can all agree that, in a more perfect union, it is not in the US government’s best interest to suck so much money out of the economy -especially when transactions occurring between individuals in our economy are at 40-year lows.

WHY IS OBAMA DEFENDING STUDENT LOANS, THEN?

The Obama administration seems to disagree. Recently, they released a report which concluded that the “$1.3 trillion in student debt is helping, not hurting, the US economy.” Talk about putting lipstick on a pig.

The report states, “It is education, not student debt, that drives the persistent differences in homeownership.” Ok. So if indeed it is the case that education “drives the persistent differences in homeownership,” then why would the US government want to make higher education incrediblyfinancially burdensome for Americans to attain? Am I missing something here?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the report also claims that “dropouts” who accumulate student debt but didn’t graduate with a degree “would still be suffering financially even without student debt, suggesting other factors are holding them down.” Talk about washing your hands of any responsibility.

Look, even if we didn’t put a ten-pound anchor around their neck, they’d still have drowned.”

This reasoning is, at best, pathetic and, at worst, disturbingly flippant. Especially considering that since Obama took office student debt has doubled. Must be legacy-setting time.

WE NEED TO ESCAPE OUR POLITICAL CONTEXT

Ridiculous conclusions and premises aside, the White House report perpetuates the Democrats’ core conflict when it comes to higher education; that is, should higher education be considered a fundamental right or a market commodity?

The Obama administration quite clearly thinks it should be the latter. The report’s language is littered with references about how college is “an investment” and that these debts eventually will “pay off.” While that is undeniably true, can someone please tell ameliorative Democrats like Mr. Obama that this is not an either-or proposition?

Don’t believe me? I’m going to take snippets of the report and replace “higher education” with “high school” to show the absurdity of understanding higher education as a market good.

High school is one of the most important investments individuals can make for themselves and for our country.”

“At the same time too many Americans feel that high school may be financially out of reach and are concerned about rising high school loan debt.”

“To help expand high school opportunity, the President has doubled investments in grand and scholarship aid through Pell grants and tax credits.”

High school remains an excellent investment overall, and the majority of dollars in the high school loan market continue to fund investments with large returns to student borrowers and the economy.”

See how unnatural this all sounds? When you remove your attitudes on education from the current context, higher education as a right doesn’t sound so farcical. Like college, free high school was once thought of as unnecessary. But we collectively came to understand that “the whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it.”

Those words come from John Adams, and while he was referring to free elementary schools (ghastly, I know), the time has now come to update this interpretation.

OK, BUT HOW DO WE PAY FOR IT?

If your first response to my argument is to reply, “Well, how would we afford that?”, let me refer you to an incredible take-down of Thomas Friedman on this very subject:

Our policy choices are only limited by our political imaginations. As a society, we have no problem rationalizing spending trillions of dollars on terrible wars, but bristle at the thought of offering college to all of our people.

That’s not rational. Nor is it good for building a strong 21st century economy.

So instead of pumping out bogus reports that aim to justify student loans as “helpful”, Democratic leaders like Barack Obama should instead spend their time changing the story around higher education and its purpose: transforming it from a market commodity into a right.

Hillary Clinton’s recent college affordability plan is doing just that (albeit gradually). And if Obama wants to stay relevant in this space, he should get on board stat, lest he be left behind.

Daily Clips: July 21st, 2016

US JOBLESS CLAIMS HIT THREE-MONTH LOW: Claims are near a 43-year low – which is pretty incredible. Yet the US financial markets “were little moved by the data”.

THE RELUCTANT FEMINISM OF AMERICAN MEN: This was a really compelling article. Even as a young man, I understand that I carry sexist baggage, passed on from previous generations. It is necessary, therefore, to reflect on some of these outdated ideas that still live among us.

Here is the author’s most cogent line: “Men who want one thing for their wives and another for their children.” She builds on this idea:

This female empowerment narrative — of the daughter, not the wife — is one Americans are more ready to accept. A man who says he’s never changed a diaper and is on his third marriage to a former model may appeal to a resentful male minority, but will look unfamiliar and unappealing in much of the country. A successful child, though — that’s relatable and desirable. When men have daughters, their attitudes shift and they begin to adhere less stringently to traditional gender roles; no similar effect happens to mothers of girls. Fathers of daughters are also more likely to support reproductive rights than men who don’t have girls.

WA’s UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS ABOVE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. SEATTLE’S MINIMUM WAGE ISN’T TO BLAME: Great read.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

Daily Clips: July 20th, 2016

TRUMP ADVISER SAYS CLINTON SHOULD BE “PUT IN THE FIRING LINE AND SHOT FOR TREASON”: Beyond words. Republicans have lost the plot.

WHO CAN NOW SAY THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ISN’T A VEHICLE OF WHITE POWER: An excellent read which outlines the ethno-nationalism of GOP.

MOST MILLENNIALS ARE HAVING CHILDREN OUT OF WEDLOCK: 

A few years ago, researchers published an eye-opening statistic: 57 percent of parents ages 26 to 31 were having kids outside of marriage.

I must admit, that number is much higher than I anticipated.

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS NOT DEAD. STOP SAYING THAT: An excellent read on how the GOP could rebrand their messaging.

If Trump drives America’s college-educated upper-middle class to the Democrats, Republicans just might start calling for hiking taxes on the college-educated upper-middle class to finance child credits for growing Latino families.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

Self-Selecting Poll Blows Up in Restaurant Lobby’s Face

"Of course you realize, this means war..."

“Of course you realize, this means war…”

When reading about the results of surveys, you should always, always, always consider the source. Self-selecting surveys—most of which take the form of those online Survey Monkey-style polls you see sometimes on Facebook—are basically meaningless. What they tell us is this: an organization wanted to see a certain set of results, and so that organization pushed its polls out to users who were likely to give them the result they want.

With that in mind, our friends at Working Washington uncovered something very interesting in a survey led by the Seattle Restaurant Alliance. The survey is being used to argue against the secure scheduling legislation currently under consideration by the Seattle City Council, but Working Washington discovered that the poll actually made a pretty great case for secure scheduling. To wit: nearly a third of the poll’s anonymous respondents complained about not getting enough notice of their schedules. Nearly a quarter said they wanted more hours on the job, and nearly a quarter complained about a lack of flexibility in their schedules.

Of course, the Seattle Restaurant Alliance wants to paint this as a “glass-half-full” kind of situation, but if you look at it by letter grades, a 75 percent score is a borderline C in most schools, and 66 percent would be an D. And, as Working Washington points out, this is a survey which is expected to be about as positive as humanly possible. What would a truly independent polling outfit discover if they were allowed to survey Seattle restaurant workers?

But even so, none of these results are an argument against secure scheduling. The Seattle Restaurant Alliance wants us to believe that most employers are great at scheduling their employees. Okay. Then those restaurants should have no problem with new secure scheduling laws, then! If their employees receive their schedules two weeks in advance, and if the employers don’t employ inhumane on-call practices to keep their workers on the hook for hours they may never actually work, then the employers are doing everything right and the law won’t affect them.

Secure scheduling practices are intended to watch out for the dishonorable employers who monopolize their workers’ time—even the time they don’t spend at work—and make it impossible to experience ordinary events that you or I might take for granted: the opportunity to enjoy a hobby, or to volunteer for a nonprofit we support, or eat a meal with family, or even take on a second job. If the people who work for the businesses behind the Seattle Restaurant Alliance are already enjoying these basic human rights, surely the Seattle Restaurant Alliance won’t mind if we ensure that a few bad employers are forced to do the same?

Daily Clips: July 19th, 2016

FRANK LUNTZ THINKS COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ARE LEADING MILLENNIALS TOWARDS SOCIALISM:

We have lost, it’s not like we are losing, we have lost that generation. And I don’t care if you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, none of the above. The fact that 58 percent [of millennials] say socialism is the better form of economics, that is the damage of academia,” he said at a breakfast event in Cleveland.

It’s so weird how little agency Republicans give those that disagree with them. Socialist? Must be indoctrinated. Democrat? Must be on food stamps.

REP. STEVE KING WONDERS WHAT ‘SUB-GROUP’ BESIDES WHITES CONTRIBUTED MORE TO CIVILIZATION: So ahistorical and so racist. Does he not remember that Christianity set human progress back for hundreds of years?

THE REPUBLICANS’ DISASTROUS DAY ONE: A good recap of last night’s stupidity. I don’t know how you can be a thinking person and vote for this Republican ticket. These imbeciles offered zero policy prescriptions. They merely talked about the maliciousness of Hillary Clinton. “Lock Her Up” was actually chanted by the crowd. It cannot get much lower than this, people.

THE WORLD IS TAKING ITS REVENGE AGAINST THE ELITES. WHEN WILL AMERICA’S WAKE UP?

Everyone was down with the international entrepreneuriat in those sunny days. Less than a week after Obama’s salute to them at Stanford, Hillary Clinton paid avisit to an innovative co-working space in Denver and rolled out a plan for rewarding this very same cohort of clear-eyed, tech-respecting citizens. “Today’s dynamic and competitive global economy demands an ambitious national commitment to technology, innovation and entrepreneurship,” declared the “briefing” her campaign released on that occasion; to make that commitment, Clinton proposed deferring the student loans of young people who start businesses … because I guess the promise of tech riches isn’t incentive enough.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

 

Daily Clips: July 18th, 2016

THE PARTY OF SMALL GOVERNMENT IS NO MORE: A beautifully written piece by FiveThirtyEight. And it more or less confirms my beliefs (always a pleasurable experience).

The author argues that Trump has exposed the true motivations of Republican voters. For years, we’ve “assumed that adherence to a certain conservative purity was the engine of the GOP.” But Trump, quite clearly, shows this to be false. Rather, the GOP’s engine room, as it were, can be found “closer to the neighborhood of cultural conservatism and racial and economic grievance rather than a passion for small government.”

UBER REACHES 2 BILLION RIDES: Six months after hitting it’s first billion rides, Uber seems to be exponentially growing. Uber is now in 450 cities worldwide, “up from 311 a year a go.”

 THE REPUBLICANS WAGED A 3-DECADE WAR ON GOVERNMENT. THEY GOT TRUMP: Great read from two authors that penned, “Let’s Just Say it: The Republicans Are the Problem”…four years ago. I remember reading it at the time and thinking, “This is spot on.” Now today, they have another excellent take on the state of the party of Lincoln. Here’s the crux of their argument:

In the end, the exploitation of anti-government sentiment by Republican leaders, and the active efforts on their part to make all government look corrupt and illegitimate, reached its logical conclusion. The Republican political establishment looked no less corrupt, weak, and illegitimate than the Democratic one, and the appeal of a rank outsider became greater.

THE INVESTOR WHO BOUGHT TRUMPPENCE2016.COM IN APRIL FOR $10: A “political junkie” bought the domain in April of this year and now plans on selling it to Trump for a lot of money.

ALL ACROSS THE WORLD, TEACHERS ARE FIGHTING AGAINST AUSTERITY: For the love of god, invest in education. At all levels.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

Daily Clips: July 15th, 2016

HERE’S WHAT OBAMA LOVES ABOUT TRUMP’S PICK, MIKE PENCE: Interesting read via Vox. 

REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS SHARPLY DIVIDED OVER MUSLIMS IN AMERICA: This news is hardly surprising. According to Reuters, “78 percent of Trump supporters and 36 percent of Clinton supporters said that when compared to other religions, Islam was more likely to encourage acts of terrorism.”

MIKE PENCE WAS A PIONEER IN THE ASSAULT ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Woah. Here is some disturbing dirt on Pence:

He was one of the pioneers in the assault on Planned Parenthood. This past March, Pence signed a bill that would force women who undergo an abortion to…wait for it…pay for the funeral of the aborted fetus.

TWEET OF THE DAY: