Sunday Tabs

Some stories I didn't get around to blogging over the past week.

Taking a mini-vacation with the wife so no time for longform but a couple of links to recommend:

  • McKay Coppins, The Atlantic, “THE KYRSTEN SINEMA THEORY OF AMERICAN POLITICS.” While most of us perceive of her as infuriatingly self-absorbed, she thinks she’s getting things done while most others are merely posturing.
  • Pallavi Gogoi, NPR, “The weight bias against women in the workforce is real — and it’s only getting worse.” That women are judged more harshly than men on their physical appearance is not surprising. The degree to which is impacts their career earnings may be.
  • Yahoo Finance, “Here’s the annual income you need to fall in America’s lower, middle, and upper class — plus 3 simple tips to boost you up the ladder.” The annual silliness wherein class and income are conflated. So, for example, I live in an upper-income household—along with a third of my locality.
  • Mitchell Epner, Daily Beast, “Jury Has Likely Decided Trump’s Fate in Rape Case Already.” An experienced attorney argues that E. Jean Carroll’s opening testimony is essentially all that matters: the jurors will either believe her or not regardless of other evidence presented later.
FILED UNDER: Tab Clearing, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tony W says:

    These “how does your income stack up?” articles usually miss the entire point of ‘income’ – that is buying power, and wealth.

    Most years (not 2022, however) I have made as much, or more, money since I retired as I made while working – and that’s the case because my simple index-fund investments did so well.

    Working for wages is a sucker’s game.

    When I was working we had a 75% savings rate. By living on such a small fraction of my income, we learned to live frugally, and we were able to accelerate savings. This added up to retiring 14 years before the Social Security Administration wanted me to – age 53 instead of 67.

    That’s a big deal, these are the 14 youngest, healthiest years I have left.

    Of course, I recognize that this comment is dripping with privilege – making enough money to live on 25% of it, staying healthy enough to survive a few decades so that you can actually retire, having stocks do well in those early years when you’re most exposed, not being divorced or having any significant loss that would ruin all of this, etc.

    The point is – I think American culture, corporate programming, and conditioning from childhood encourage us to think there is no limit to the amount of money we need.

    I’m telling you that you can condition yourself to understand that there is a point where you have enough.

  2. James Joyner says:

    @Tony W: My problem is uncertainty. If I retire, I’ll likely have no way to get back to anything like my current income level if my retirement funds collapse.

  3. Kylopod says:

    While most of us perceive of [Sinema] as infuriatingly self-absorbed, she thinks she’s getting things done while most others are merely posturing.

    I think this is a self-serving delusion, one that I bet she’s hardly alone in believing—Joe Manchin would probably tell a similar story about himself, as would Joe Lieberman. And though the article doesn’t bring it up, she may suspect some misogyny at work in her being more hated than Manchin. There may even be more than a kernel of truth in that assumption. But the main reason is that her political rationale is much less obvious—she isn’t in a super-red state like WV, and already Mark Kelly has proven that it’s possible to win and maintain a Senate seat in the state without being the thorn in the Democratic Party’s side that she’s proven to be.

    The real problem with her explanation is that what she’s describing is just a byproduct of adopting this posture. Whenever a lawmaker is positioned as a swing vote, that automatically gives them more leverage in negotiations, and so they’re going to have outsize influence in whatever legislation gets passed. But that doesn’t mean they had to be that way in order for the legislation to pass. For instance, the changes she demanded—and successfully got added—to the Inflation Reduction Act aren’t the reason the Inflation Reduction Act got passed. She just took the opportunity to put her (corporate-friendly) stamp on the law.

    In some cases one could argue that she helped certain bills get support from Republicans (which would be harder to argue when it comes to Lieberman during Obama’s presidency, given how little bipartisan support Obama received for his key legislation), but that’s only an achievement to the extent that bipartisanship is valued as an end in itself. Dems had the majorities needed to pass these bills without Republican support. She wasn’t “getting things done,” she was getting them done the way she wanted them done.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tony W: Lot of people are so caught up in keeping up with the Joneses it never occurs to them to ask, “Is this what I want?”

  5. Tony W says:

    @James Joyner: That was the hardest part of retiring for me.

    Ultimately we determined that we have enough flexibility in our spending that we’d make it.

    It’s risky, but it’s also risky to have both a high-paying job and debt/obligations that require keeping that high-paying job.

  6. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: These days, at least where I live, a fair number of people have been run over by the Joneses and are simply trying to make ends wave at each other from across the chasm. Meeting of the ends? Doesn’t happen.

  7. mattbernius says:

    An experienced attorney argues that E. Jean Carroll’s opening testimony is essentially all that matters: the jurors will either believe her or not regardless of other evidence presented later.

    This strikes me as correct–especially given that this is a civil case, not a criminal one. The result of that is a far lower standard of proof (a preponderance of evidence vs. beyond a reasonable doubt).

  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    We are finally – at ages 68 and 66 respectively – beginning to think about retirement. (My father is in memory care at $8,500 a month, which sobered us both up.) The move to Vegas wipes away 1.2 million in mortgage debt, and increases our income by about 10% in tax savings. But my concern is less about our getting by and more about leaving enough to support our two lovely but economically underperforming children. Once that benchmark has been reached I can die with a clear conscience.

    But that has to be balanced against tapas in Barcelona, bouillabaise in Marseille, curry in London, etc. It’s the eternal battle between my duty as a father, and my endless appetite for self-indulgence.

  9. Michael Cain says:

    My father is in memory care at $8,500 a month, which sobered us both up.

    My wife in now in memory care. Not quite that much, but we’re not in California. Even with a good long-term care insurance policy, the pile of savings suddenly looks a lot smaller.

  10. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The combination of being highly responsibility towards others and having expensive tastes is a challenge, to be sure.

  11. Ken_L says:

    The profile of Sinema was fascinating. Two passages that stood out for me were these:

    I ask her if there’s any ideological through line at all that explains the various votes she’s taken in the Senate. She thinks about it before answering, “No.”


    “I am much happier showing a two-year record of incredible achievements that are literally making a difference in people’s lives than sharing my thoughts on Twitter.” She punctuates these last words with the sort of contempt that only someone who’s tweeted more than 17,000 times can feel.

    As the article also notes, it’s a challenge to find any of these “incredible achievements that are literally making a difference in people’s lives”. She seems quite extraordinarily deluded about what she’s been doing in the Senate.