Thursday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    It was the perfect encapsulation of the type of people that make up the modern Republican congess. When Biden mentioned that the child poverty rate had been cut in half, the Democrats applauded while Republicans sat stonily in their seats.

    5
  2. words don’t mean they have any value — a example of that is the amount of children crossing our borders without parents– being caged like the democrats denied was happening ( but is )–even as they deny entry into those facilities because of the living conditions there
    and that says nothing about our own children living in orphanages throughout the country living in conditions that no one wants to talk about at all
    American children being obese while billions are being spent on school lunches for millions of children– food that winds up[ in the garbage because of what they are taught to eat at home?
    but your talking about there being no response from republican when the hear the same lied that is being told all of the time? — then again when did any democr5at do anything but sit there while TRUMP made his speech telling the wold that the minority people had the greatest record of working increases in the history of the country– NOTHING even the increase in jobs for the poorest people in the country got any reaction from them
    .
    maybe they got what they deserved — biden speaks out of both sides of his face–
    I remember Joe Biden the bigot who thought all black criminals belonged in jail forever– until he flip flopped because of his political ambitions something he’s done on so many other things that would make your head spin
    tax the rich?– he means tax the corporations that will raise the cost of their products or services to the poorest people in the country, as well as everyone else
    but there is a truth– the poorest people in the country won’t see a tax increase
    they just won’t be able to afford the higher prices of everything the corporations charge

  3. MarkedMan says:

    I’m curious how these mindless Trumpers find this open thread from time to time. There was only one previous comment, posted 25 minutes before, so it’s not like anyone would link to it.

    6
  4. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Random chance and coincidence?

    1
  5. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: It really is a puzzle. And always with the same level of gibberish, mixed with all caps and lack of punctuation.

    Getting closer to May the Fourth, so perhaps it’s just a disturbance in the Force.

    4
  6. Kingdaddy says:

    Or the Russian trolls have more to worry about.

    4
  7. Mu Yixiao says:

    China launched the core of its new space station yesterday. It’s called TianHe (天和) which means Heavenly Harmony. This is the first of a dozen launches to get it functional, and they plan to expand it out and keep it running for at least 10 years.

    Russia is looking at creating their own space station, also–though that may just be bluster.

    1
  8. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @FRANK W. J. PAPCIN: You forgot about the pedophilia, false flag attacks, and secret marxism ideology…which you wouldn’t have if you were a real konservative.

    3
  9. Teve says:

    HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – A bill eliminating school vaccine religious exemptions in Connecticut has been signed into law.

    It makes Connecticut the sixth state in the country to end religions exemption from childhood immunization requirements for schools.

    “This is an issue that I have spent a lot of time researching and discussing with medical experts, and it is something that I take very seriously knowing the public health impact that it has on our children, families, and communities,” Lamont said. “When it comes to the safety of our children, we need to take an abundance of caution. This legislation is needed to protect our kids against serious illnesses that have been well-controlled for many decades, such as measles, tuberculosis, and whooping cough, but have reemerged. In recent years, the number of children in our state who have not received routine vaccinations has been steadily increasing, which has been mirrored by significant growth in preventable diseases across the nation. I want to make it clear, this law does not take away the choice of parents to make medical decisions for their children. But, if they do choose not to have their children vaccinated, this bill best ensures that other children and their families will not be exposed to these deadly diseases for hours each day in our schools.”

    Last year when Covid really got going in late spring I had a customer tell me, “I can’t get sick. I’m washed in the blood of the Lord.”

    5
  10. Teve says:

    Will we need Covid booster shots? Unclear. here’s what we know

  11. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    So if your child isn’t vaccinated, your child can’t go to school, is that correct? Not that I disapprove of that; I’m just trying to clarify the matter for myself.

  12. The Supreme Court appears likely to side with cheerleader who was disciplined by her school for a Snapchat post she made at home and not on school time. The question seems to how broad the ruling might end up being.

    https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-supreme-court-hear-peeved-cheerleaders-free-speech-case-2021-04-28/

    4
  13. Teve says:

    @CSK: Looks like it. Parents can still commit child abuse by denying them vaccines, but then the little disease vectors can’t ping-pong around public school classrooms.

  14. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    If a booster shot is necessary, it’ll help tremendously if they can be obtainable as easily as flu shots.

    2
  15. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Won’t that run up against the truancy laws? Well, maybe the anti-vax parents can start the FreePatriotRealAmericanChristianWethePeople School.

  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @FRANK W. J. PAPCIN: Are you the guy Kurtz was talking about a day or so ago? The one who writes 2500 words with no paragraphing (or punctuation)?

  17. Teve says:

    @CSK: pffft. Your loser kid can go there. Mine’s going to Jesus Eagle AR-15 NoCommonCore Reagan Academy.

    3
  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Does CT allow home schooling? The state may need to start. Either that or a program of home management of local curricular materials. Either one would be a workable fix to truancy. (Of course, not everyone is looking to fix truancy problems.)

  19. Teve says:
  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: In Washington State, he still needs to be vaccinated, if I recall, correctly. Then again, Washington is the other kind of “RED” state–if you get my drift.

  21. Jax says:

    @CSK: I read an article a couple weeks ago that Moderna (I think) is already at work designing a way to get the COVID booster combined with a flu shot. So I assume the intention is to have it easily available everywhere, much like the flu shot is.

  22. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    In Washington State, he still needs to be vaccinated, if I recall, correctly.

    huh?

  23. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Sez you. My kid won a scholarship to Trump University. Top that.
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Yep, you can home school in Connecticut.

  24. CSK says:

    @Jax:
    I love one-stop shopping.

    2
  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: @Teve: Sez you. My kid won a scholarship to Trump University. Top that.

    But the scholarship doesn’t cover class tuition, books, lab fees, and other incidentals, right?

    1
  26. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: Thank God. No way this guy could be a officer in the military and have any credibility with his troops. This picture would have spread like wildfire amongst the enlisted and NCOs calling into question if any hard decision that needed to be made regarding non-white soldiers was motivated by racism.

    The Nat’l Guard did him a favor. I am also not a fan of zero-defect culture so I hope the young man rehabilitates his life and channels his passion into something more productive–just not in my military.

    6
  27. Teve says:
  28. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Who cares? Trump University is the most prestigious institution of higher earning in the world, rivaled by none.

  29. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    What, learning to be fleeced for the benefit of trump is not the highest aspiration possible?

  30. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    What are you saying? Of course it is.

  31. Jen says:

    @Teve: Kirstie Alley certainly has found her post-employment from acting niche.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It really completes a resume.

  33. dazedandconfused says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    He enlisted, he only told people he was an OC.

    With that 4 year degree he could’ve been an OC if he wanted to, but when all you’re joining for is to learn how to kill people, maybe steal some gear, enlisted is the way to go.

    1
  34. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Right now, the possible need for boosters stands along the existence of life elsewhere in the universe: nobody knows.

    There’s also research going on for a universal coronavirus vaccine, one that would defeat any type of coronavirus. this is not easy, and the odds are if it’s even possible we’ll wind up with as many as a half dozen different vaccines (or two or three polyvalent vaccines). But it is worth doing.

    Aside from COVID and the common cold, coronaviruses were responsible for SARS and MERS. These viruses were deadlier than SARS-CoV-2, but far less contagious. Given we’ve seen three contagious and dangerous respiratory diseases, one of which caused a pandemic, arise from this family of viruses, it’s not a stretch to assume further dangerous diseases are only a matter of time.

  35. Jen says:

    Is anyone here fluent in Republican Loon? I’m trying to figure out what Sen. Ernst is getting at here with the abolishing lasagna and only gay people allowed in restaurants:

    https://twitter.com/KeatonPatti/status/1387535122971336705

    1
  36. Jen says:

    Is anyone here fluent in Republican Loon? I’m trying to figure out what Sen. Ernst is getting at here with the abolishing lasagna and only gay people allowed in restaurants:

    https://twitter.com/KeatonPatti/status/1387535122971336705

    HA. It’s been photoshopped and I didn’t realize it.

    That’s where we are now I guess. Poe’s Law.

  37. Teve says:
  38. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Well, you never know with someone who campaigned on the basis of her hog-castrating skills and experience.

    1
  39. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    To see it, I need to sign in to verify my account with Google Photos. I don’t have (as far as I know) an account with Google Photos.

    Let me guess: alligator in the parking lot?

  40. Jen says:

    @CSK: It sort of frightens me that I was able to logic out the lasagna one to the “Biden is taking away your beef” story from a few days ago, instead of immediately realizing it was fake.

    I’m going to blame the pandemic. Somehow.

    1
  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I’ve never seen a clearer argument for an “I’m an IDIOT” sticker. Also, I want some “Move to Russia if you don’t like Democracy” stickers.

  42. Teve says:
  43. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    To hell with the lasagna. I want know more about the sex blimps!

    1
  44. Forgiving student loan debt is a bad idea.

    It would create the expectation that future loans will also be forgiven. There are alternatives to racking up student loan debt when it comes to paying for college and students should look into them and factor that into their decisions. You don’t have to go to the most expensive school to get a good education

    https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/550339-biden-faces-mounting-pressure-on-forgiving-student-loan-debt

    3
  45. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Lovely. Reminds me of the Trumpkins who wore t-shirts saying “I’d Rather Be Russian than a Democrat.”

    2
  46. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: You know which part of that I found the most revealing? It was “Silly liberals, Trump won.”

    It’s not just that they claim Trump was the rightful winner and that the election was stolen. It’s that they think they’re “owning the libs” by saying it. It’s hard for me to imagine Dems making an equivalent comment toward Republicans after the 2000 debacle, for example. But they’ve got this pathological compulsion to deny they just got their ass whupped and to claim the other side are laughable, pathetic losers. It drives everything they do.

    1
  47. Teve says:

    I just don’t understand the TRUMP WON stickers. Are there Tampa Bay fans who have stickers like

    SILLY DODGERS
    RAYS WON

    ?

    1
  48. Mister Bluster says:

    Bumper Stickers…

    Save Gas
    Fart in a Jar

  49. Teve says:

    @fmanjoo

    one crazy factoid I learned

    You can now get more energy by collecting sun from the land occupied by the world’s largest oil field than you can from the oil beneath it. And the sun won’t run out — and it’s not limited to Saudi Arabia.

    fmanjoo in nyt

    1
  50. Sleeping Dog says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Bots

  51. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: My first thought after seeing the comment was that it was a bot, but then I realized a bot would have been more coherent.

    1
  52. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Kylopod:

    The last time someone showed up here babbling Trumpian incoherencies, the link embedded in his name led to a site selling women’s underwear.

  53. Kurtz says:

    @CSK:

    Used women’s underwear?

    2
  54. Kylopod says:

    In 1996, linguist Geoffrey Nunberg (RIP) took a software that would produce an automatic summary of large bodies of text, and he applied it to the first two nights of the Republican Convention. What it came out with was surprisingly coherent, maybe even a bit eloquent:

    We are the Republican Party–a big, broad, diverse, and inclusive party, with a commonsense agenda and a better man for a better America, Bob Dole. We need a leader we can trust. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for being part of this quest in working with us to restore the American dream. The commonsense Republican proposals are the first step in restoring the American dream because Republicans care about America. But there is no greater dream than the dream parents have for their children to be happy and to share God’s blessings.

    When he tried this with the Democratic Convention, it turned out pure word salad.

    You might think this has something to do with how much the GOP has changed in 25 years (I definitely agree that the above message has at least a very different tone from what we typically get from the GOP these days), but actually I think things are more similar than you might realize. It was in the ’90s when Frank Luntz and Newt Gingrich began developing techniques where they’d stick to a series of specific words and phrases and have everyone in the party repeat them at every opportunity. Dems, on the other hand, had what has been described as the bumper-sticker problem: they seem to have perpetual difficulty coming up with messages that would fit on a bumper sticker. I think that helps explain why a summarizer software would have an easier time with Republican rhetoric, and in that respect I think that’s something that still remains true today.

    2
  55. CSK says:

    @Kurtz:
    Nope. It looked like quite a legit operation. Just a standard retail site. I didn’t investigate it very closely, though.

    I suspect the link in Mr. Papcin’s (there appears to be no such individual) post goes somewhere similar.

    2
  56. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kurtz:

    Don’t go there Kurtz, don’t go there…

  57. Mister Bluster says:
  58. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I treated Kurtz’s query seriously. And literally. 😀

  59. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kylopod:

    I think that helps explain why a summarizer software would have an easier time with Republican rhetoric, and in that respect I think that’s something that still remains true today.

    Which lends credence to Carville’s contention that Dems continue to be perceived by voters as lecturing or talking down to them, rather than conversing.

    2
  60. Mikey says:

    @Jen: Keaton Patti can be pretty funny. He did a series of “I forced a bot to watch 1,000 hours of (x) commercials and then write its own” things that he’s turned into a book. One of the funniest was his send-up of Olive Garden.

    We see the unlimited stick. It is infinite. It is all.

    1
  61. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    That’s no fun.

  62. just nutha says:

    @Teve: Private schools are not exempt from vaccination requirements.

  63. Kurtz says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Oh, i beg to differ my friend. One can never have too many sources of used underwear.

    @CSK:

    Thank you.

  64. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    Then home schooling it will be.

  65. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: so “used-women’s underwear” or “used women’s-underwear”?

    And if the latter, was it used by women, or is it cheaper to put 20 pairs on a single goat for half an hour to meet the stringent guidelines on what qualifies as “used”?

  66. CSK says:

    @Kurtz:
    You’re welcome.

  67. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kurtz:
    @Gustopher:

    @CSK: so “used-women’s underwear” or “used women’s-underwear”?

    And if the latter, was it used by women, or is it cheaper to put 20 pairs on a single goat for half an hour to meet the stringent guidelines on what qualifies as “used”?

    @kurtz, see what you started 🙂

    1
  68. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    Well, it appears to have been brand-new women’s undies that the site was selling, so I’m not sure I can address your question. Perhaps you can direct it to Kurtz.

  69. Kurtz says:

    @CSK:

    It is funny. I did click on this dude’s name and was disappointed to find that it wasn’t a complete url. I was prepared for anything except nothing.

    I don’t recall the underwear poster. I do wonder how some people arrive here. Then again, I don’t remember how I got here. I must be dreaming.

  70. CSK says:

    @Kurtz:
    I got here in 2012 from a link provided on a now-defunct blog written by an acquaintance.

    The underwear commenter was a one-time only deal, as I suspect Mr. Papcin will be. I don’t know why Mr. Undies would provide a link to a lingerie site. He commented under an obvious pseudonym–something like “Supreme Trump Lover” (just kidding)–so it wasn’t to hide his identity. I get that jerks will, for the hell of it, link to sites that will load you with malware or viruses
    if you open them, but that was not the case here.

  71. Teve says:

    @just nutha: ah. Gotcha.

  72. Jen says:

    @Kurtz:

    I do wonder how some people arrive here.

    I remember exactly how I got here. Research for a client led to one of the posts on the site. I found the post interesting, and added it to my RSS reader (how’s THAT for ancient?). Started reading regularly, and then commenting occasionally. 😀

  73. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    my RSS reader (how’s THAT for ancient?)

    You mean everyone doesn’t have an RSS reader with a couple hundred feeds? Huh.

    1
  74. KM says:

    @Doug Mataconis :
    That helps future borrowers, sure – what about the current ones? You know, the ones who are so far in debt they can’t meaningfully contribute to the economy by buying things like houses and the associated shinies? We live in a service economy that requires a lot of spending by the upcoming generations to stay afloat. If you can’t afford a car or house or vacation, a lot of businesses will take a hit.

    Society screwed over at least 2 generations of children by telling them college (with it’s huge bill) was essential to a good life, then turned around and only gave them customer service jobs. Deception in lending means the loan-taker wasn’t fully aware of what they were doing; if you tell the kid that this will help them get the job to pay it back knowing it likely won’t, that’s just as predatory as payday lenders or subprime mortgages. At least a loan shark’s honest about what will happen if you take the money and can’t pay it back. Society is going to end up paying for it one way or the other. Why not do it the smart way and get entire swaths of taxpayers in their earning primes to a point where they can start putting money back into the economy?

    6
  75. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Some people seem to think that whenever you’re not selling, you’re losing sales. Thus, always link to your website.

  76. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    Selling underwear seems to be a fairly lucrative practice on Reddit. There was a blog post on Jezebel or something years ago.

    Yes, it would likely be cheaper to put them on goats. Also, it doesn’t stretch the imagination that there may be a market for GoatThongs.

    But the actual market on Reddit has some steps that promote confidence in the authenticity of the product. The mods verify sellers, the vendors post selfies in the garment, reviews, and scammer lists.

    I can’t attest to how well those checks work, but based on prices and traffic, it seems like a robust market.

  77. just nutha says:

    And I don’t even know what an RRS reader is or what it does. I came here because it was a suggested link back when I had a “My Yahoo” page that my computer opened to.

  78. just nutha says:

    @KM: Hey, it’s not society’s fault that a bunch of kids who don’t know their place got suckered into taking on a bunch of debt seeking a better life. If they had realized that the better life was only intended for the better people in the first place, they be in their normal God-ordained hole instead of this worse one.

    3
  79. Jen says:

    @KM: This is all correct, of course, but it’s going to be a tough sell to anyone who had loans and paid them off (and this is a lot of people). It doesn’t matter that those loans were smaller, because college was cheaper, or any other point to be made out there.

    I’ve gotten in so many arguments on FB over this, even with people who I would have thought would understand the broader economic implications, that I no longer even bother to read the posts.

    It’s not just that this isn’t a “winning issue” whatever that means these days. People–even some staunch Democrats–are too busy being appalled that debt that was voluntarily incurred would be discharged.

    If this proposal is going to have any chance at all there will have to be adjustments–the debt can’t simply be erased. Whether that means some public service, or the ability to refinance, or percentage write-downs rather than a full one, I don’t know.

    3
  80. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    Addendum:

    Here is an entertaining interview with a seller.

    By far, the most sales I’ve made have been to guys in Boston. I’m not sure if that’s merely a coincidence of my own experience or if there is a panty fetish epidemic on the East Coast, but I probably get four or five requests a week from eager Bostonians looking to score some female understains.

  81. Mu Yixiao says:

    @just nutha:

    RSS is “Real Simple Syndication“. It’s essentially “home delivery” for all your favorite websites.

    So… I have an RSS reader into which I’ve put a list of websites that I want to follow. Every 30 minutes (or whatever I set), the RSS reader goes out to each of those sites to see if there’s a new post. If there is, it grabs either the full article or the summary (each website chooses what they want to show).

    It’s worth checking out–especially if you like some sites that don’t update very often.

  82. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The guy who cuts my firewood just pulled down my drive and gave me a pound of morels. Guess what I’m having for dinner?

    2
  83. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: I’m so ancient I never bothered learning what an RSS reader is, because I really don’t care.

  84. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Pan-sauteed with garlic and shallots and butter?

  85. Mister Bluster says:

    Link fail

  86. mister bluster says:

    test

  87. Kathy says:

    I’ve been going through some old posts to see what I wrote about the trump pandemic a year ago. Overall I made sense even back then, though I was surprised to see I stuck with a cloth mask (albeit a rather good one) until June 2020.

    Here’s what jumped at tome. around mid-June last year worldwide COVID deaths were around 435,000, with a bit over 8 million cases, confirmed just now with the tools at the Johns Hopkins COVID tracker website.

    Today we’d think that’s pretty good, compared with 3.15 million deaths and 149.9 million cases. That’s how much of a hash the world has made of this pandemic. Humanity and in particular Western nations, earn a solid F.

    I also marvel that I remain uninfected, despite coming to work every day.

    2
  88. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Dawg forbid! The horror! Just lightly sauteed in butter. Morels need no seasonings. (tho I have to admit as mild as shallots are…) Nope nope, HERESY!!

    I know a lot of people who use them for this and that, prepare them this that and the other way. I knew one guy who even battered them in an egg wash and flour, but the truth is I’ve never had so many I could talk myself into experimenting with them. Sht, they’re already perfect, why bother?

  89. Teve says:
  90. My general opinion on vaccines is as follows;

    1. Everyone should be vaccinated. I’m not just talking about the Covid vaccine but also the vaccines against childhood diseases and, to a lesser extent, vaccines against the flu, shingles pneumonia, and other diseases.

    2. When it comes to childhood vaccines, I am fine with rules that bar unvaccinated children from public school unless there is a medical condition that makes it dangerous to vaccinate a particular child. This would require certification by a physician.

    3. With respect to any vaccine, businesses and certain government run installations like schools should generally be free to deny access to univaccinated persons

    4
  91. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Just make sure you cook ’em (I know you will). I read an article a few years ago about some high-end chef who had served them raw on a salad and ended up with a bunch of customers with gastric upset.

    Cooking changes the toxic compounds that are present in morels, so totally safe to eat when cooked, tummy aches if you eat them raw.

    When I lived in Missouri, deep-fried morels were the frequent preparation. I never understood that, they are perfect sauteed in butter with some salt, maybe a touch of cream if you’re serving them in a sauce.

    It’s still too cold for morels here, but I’m hoping with the rain we are getting we might actually have some pop up in May. It was too dry last year.

  92. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: but it’s going to be a tough sell to anyone who had loans and paid them off (and this is a lot of people).

    I love this argument. It’s the equivalent of saying, “Hey! I got fcked and now you have to get fcked too!”

    That’s why we shouldn’t let Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices now either. And parents shouldn’t get help with day care, or school lunches. Or…

    Ad nauseum.

    5
  93. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: When I lived in Missouri, deep-fried morels were the frequent preparation.

    That is just an absolute horror to me.

    I have very little time for mushroom hunting these days, only got out twice this year and once again I didn’t find any (I’ve lost the sight I think) and now they’re pretty well done in this neck of the woods. We are heading up to Wyoming in 2 weeks and I’d like to think I might find a few there but I doubt I’ll have the time.

    1
  94. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    I also marvel that I remain uninfected, despite coming to work every day.

    I listened to Joe Rogan’s remarks from the other day discouraging young people from getting vaccines, and in it he mentioned that his own kids got Covid and it was “nothing.” He was quick to add that he wasn’t trying to offend those whose kids died, but…. Actually, what was he saying? What did he have to offer the conversation by relating his personal experience with the disease, if he knew other people had other experiences? What in God’s name did it prove?

    One thing I’ve noticed about Covid skeptics is that they seem to have a strange inability to deal conceptually with the idea of looking at a problem from a population standpoint–really from any standpoint higher than their own individual lives. They see it as a risk assessment to be taken only at an individual level, and since the risk is generally low when viewed strictly at that level, it leads them to be nonchalant (at best) about the crisis.

    This was already happening pre-vaccine. Sure, there are the stories of people dying in hospitals while babbling (breathlessly) that Covid is a hoax–but let’s face it, the majority of people who flouted the restrictions are still alive and well today, and probably most of their family and friends are too. And that’s all that matters to them. They don’t consider how they’re contributing to the spread of the disease in the larger populace, because that entire way of looking at the problem is alien to their way of thinking.

    It’s part of the collective-action problem, of course. But it’s striking that they don’t seem to have trouble grasping this concept when it comes to, say, voting, where there’s virtually no individual consequence ever.

    6
  95. KM says:

    @Jen:
    I’m one of those – I paid off over $100K in 7 years busting my butt at multiple jobs. I would like something for my efforts, true. Perhaps a tax credit or voucher worth 1-5% of the total paid off? After all, I put in a lot of effort and sacrificed a lot so it’s not unreasonable to expect something. However I have family members still struggling to pay off their debts and won’t till their 50’s if they’re lucky. They’re not buying anything; in fact, a cousin just had to pass on a chance to buy her grandfather’s house since she’d never be able to get the mortgage. She could have moved her growing family into a home instead of the tiny apt for essentially the same amount she’s paying rent but the bank wasn’t willing to give her the money with everything that she owes. The town just lost out on a taxpayer that would have fixed up the property and invested in new appliances solely because of student debt.

    We’ll be seeing more and more of this in the coming years as Gen X and Millennials aren’t able to buy homes at the same rate their parents did. Eventually, that debt will start bumping up against medical debts as people get older so either the hospital gets the money or Nelnet does. What happens when people start dying with student loans still on the books? The youngest Gen Xer is in their 40’s and might still have decades worth of debt to pay off. As you said, the debt cannot be erased so somebody’s gonna end up eating the bill anyway.

    Society is going to end up paying for this, one way or the other. Moreover, the taxpayer is gonna end up with the bill, one way or the other. Mitigating the debts, if not forgiving them, is something that’s gonna have to happen the same way we have to deal with people not being able to pay hospital bills and passing the cost on. It’s actively hurting our economy to pretend otherwise.

    2
  96. Some thoughts on the recent passing of Apollo XI crewmember Michael Collins:

    MIchael Collins didn’t walk on the Moon, but he did drive the getaway car.

    He also played an important role in the reDocking of the full Apollo 11 vehicle. The biggest factor in getting Armstrong and Aldrin on the way back to Earth. Collins’s piloting was a cruel part of that

    There were two potential points of failure in the retrieval. The first was the departure from the Moon. The Lunar Module had used up all its fuel in the descent to the Moon so they had to hope that the explosive power they had left would be sufficient to get the LM into orbit.

    The second was the docking of the LM with Collins and the Command Module. That’s where Collins played a crucial role in his piloting of the CM.

    Had there been a failure at either point Armstrong and Aldrin would have perished and Collins would have made the journey back alone.

    3
  97. Mister Bluster says:
  98. Jen says:

    @KM: Yep, I know. We’re on the same side.

    My point is that many, many people in older demographics don’t agree. Young people by large margins want college loan debt forgiven, older people are less amenable. And substantial numbers think it should come with “something” (community service, or less loan debt forgiven if the person is making more than six figures, etc.)

    People aren’t always logical.

  99. Teve says:

    We’ll be seeing more and more of this in the coming years as Gen X and Millennials aren’t able to buy homes at the same rate their parents did. Eventually, that debt will start bumping up against medical debts as people get older so either the hospital gets the money or Nelnet does. What happens when people start dying with student loans still on the books? The youngest Gen Xer is in their 40’s and might still have decades worth of debt to pay off. As you said, the debt cannot be erased so somebody’s gonna end up eating the bill anyway.

    A terrible situation called Debt Overhang. I’m 44, most of my friends are in their 30s or early 40s. Nearly all of our parents had bought houses in their early to mid 20s, and very few of us own any property at all. I’m not atypical among my friends—paying an un-refinanceable 7% on my student loans, and was uninsured when a medical emergency happened and now I get bills for the amount of a starter home. I’ll simply never be able to buy a house, as far as I can see.

    1
  100. CSK says:
  101. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Horrible.

  102. Mu Yixiao says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    That’s why we shouldn’t let Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices now either. And parents shouldn’t get help with day care, or school lunches. Or…

    Nobody chooses to be on Medicare. Nobody chooses to need prescription drugs. Nobody chooses to not feed their children. Those are all valid reasons for the entire community to help out those who need it.

    People do choose to attend Berkley to study social sciences (the top major there) and take out loans for $150k to pay for it. I have a very difficult time feeling sorry for them.

    1
  103. Rudy Giuliani has a daily radio show on WABC talk radio in New York City from 3-4pm. I just listened to the last 15 minutes of the show.

    Rudy used to be a mostly moderate Republican. Now he’s an utterly insane Trump Cultist. It is quite a change from the Guliani who ran for President in 2008.

    5
  104. Stormy Dragon says:

    @CSK:

    If a booster shot is necessary, it’ll help tremendously if they can be obtainable as easily as flu shots.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if, much like MMR and TDaP being multiple vaccines, if the influenza and coronavirus vaccines end up getting combined into one annual FluCo vaccine.

    1
  105. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    The instate tuition at Berkeley is $12,443, as opposed to the truly astronomical sums some fifth-rate private liberal arts colleges charge. (The tuition at Curry College, which accepts anyone, is $41,230.) You get a much, much better bang for your buck at Berkeley–even if you’re paying out-of-state rates.

    4
  106. Kylopod says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Rudy used to be a mostly moderate Republican. Now he’s an utterly insane Trump Cultist. It is quite a change from the Guliani who ran for President in 2008.

    Has he changed on specific issues, though? He was “liberal” on abortion and gays, and for all I know he still is; I haven’t heard him talk about either in the past several years. And he was always a fascist when it came to criminal justice. His “extremism” now is based solely on whipping up conspiracy theories for Trump. It’s totally divorced from anything related to policy, it’s all about the personality cult–and the grift he thinks he can get from it.

    1
  107. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The Lunar Module had used up all its fuel in the descent to the Moon so they had to hope that the explosive power they had left would be sufficient to get the LM into orbit.

    Sorry, but I have a correction on that. The Apollo Lunar Module consisted of a descent stage and an ascent stage, each with their own engines and fuel. I do believe Armstrong depleted the descent stage fuel for the landing, because the programmed spot wasn’t suitable. But that leaves the ascent stage fuel untouched.

    2
  108. Kurtz says:

    @Jen:

    People–even some staunch Democrats–are too busy being appalled that debt that was voluntarily incurred would be discharged.

    Two points:

    People really like that word “voluntary.” This point was made in my most recent high-intensity discussion here. I was much more interested in blowing off steam at that point of the discussion.

    However, it was in the context of a low hourly wage. As if someone making $12/hr chose that job over one that paid $25/hr. In order for that to be a voluntary choice, one of two conditions would have to be met:

    They could meet basic needs without working or

    They would have had to decline the option to take a much higher wage to accept the lower paying position.

    This isn’t a perfect analogy to college choice. But there are other factors to consider in post-secondary education that don’t apply to wages but result in similar distortions of voluntary.

    Secondly, it’s not just present and future drags on economic activity. It’s also that the comparisons don’t make sense in the context of inflation rates in cost of living and college cost.

    As far as staunch Dems go. Though I made it in a disrespectful way, thus was the point I was trying to make when I was rude to you last year. This isn’t a knock on you or really anyone else. It’s about the ideological positioning of the GOP. Part of the Democratic coalition is composed of people who are much closer to a center-right party than a party on the left.

    This creates serious issues enacting effective policy when Dems control the levers of government. This isn’t an endorsement of a purity test–different perspectives are key to a functioning government. But at some point, a large enough gulf within a big tent party renders the label meaningless.

    I would also argue that part of it is the false distinction between social positions vs economic preferences. They overlap in ways we don’t fully understand, so it’s easier to create a bright-line to define preferences than it is to try to untangle something that we can’t see clearly.

    1
  109. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    Near the start of the pandemic, I heard a lot of people wondering what the big deal is. They pointed out people sick with COVID who were up and about and talking, for instance. Those who paid attention realized in time these were the mild cases, and the victim were up and about and talking only after they had almost recovered. Then the bodies started piling up, and that’s when many of these doubters came around.

    Alas, it’s not a universal phenomenon.

    1
  110. Kurtz says:

    @CSK:

    One thing I will say is that otherwise bright, hard-working kids do not function well in classes with 100s of other students.

    I think it also has an effect on the quality of education generally as well. Often, the intro courses in crowded departments are designed less to educate and more to weed out ‘inferior’ students. But that those weeded out would make worse engineers. It happens in med school as well. The potential physicians who would be the most dedicated lose their spot to a gunner who wants to run a boutique Brazilian Butt Lift clinic in Miami.

    The thing is, a bachelor’s degree is often used to limit applications or sort applications in the job market, even if the job itself doesn’t require a degree. It’s just a way to ease the burden on hiring managers. Because of that, the market incentives are toward paying for unnecessary education.

  111. Teve says:

    Just to add some general flavor to the discussion and not apropos of any particular comment or thread happening here, I’ll mention that one of the things that informed my recent philosophy is the Papa John’s situation. The guy who formed the company, John Schnatter, mega millionaire, spent millions of dollars opposing Obamacare. And he gave an interview where he said that they had estimated that if they gave all of their employees basic health insurance, they would have to raise the price of a large pizza by $0.14. So this guy spent millions of dollars opposing his workers having health insurance.

    You can make all the pseudoinformed Econ 101 arguments in the world, and I will still say, fuck that guy, and fuck the entire greed-derived world in which we live

    4
  112. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: There was a famous situation a decade ago of an advertisement that went around the Internet in what we would now call a meme, which said, “wanted, DC-area GAP manager, requirements: must have a bachelors degree and be able to lift 40 pounds”

    1
  113. @Kathy:

    My point remains the same the LM had enough fuel to hey it into a lunar orbit but it had to rely on momentum after that it was up to Collins to maneuver the CM Zto facilitate tedocking

    1
  114. Michael Reynolds says:

    @KM:
    Never fear, we Boomers are starting to die off, so there’ll be trusts and life insurance and property, all the accumulated wealth of our lucky generation will be passed on. Eventually.

    1
  115. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Yes, but that was true of all Apollo landing missions (and also of the LEM tests in Apollo IX and Apollo X).

    It’s not that Collins didn’t play an important role. he did. But so did all the other CM pilots in the program (and this includes the tests and demos for Apollo VII and Apollo VIII). It’s like the trope that Collins was the most isolated person in history. It’s true, yes, but it also applies to the others who piloted the command modules in Apollo XII, XIV, XV, XVI, and XVII.

    He was the first, but not the only one.

  116. @Kathy:

    But Collins was the first and part of acreecthat made history

    1
  117. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Considering that I visit about 3 or 4 sites total, I suspect that I’m not part of the market this system was envisioned for. Add that I’m a slow reader, and well…

  118. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I had to look them up. They were the type that my grandmother used to dry and crumble into spaghetti sauce. I don’t think I have the hand at sauteeing that it would take to cook them fresh anymore.

  119. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’m not sure that the issue is feeling sorry for anyone as much as it is doing what we can to improve the lot of the folks who for whatever reason are “seeking out the poorer quarters where the ragged people go” because it’s smarter than having the current status quo of some parts of the country where over 50% of all residential property is owned by REITs who are eventually going to outstrip their ability to use the property they hold effectively–assuming that they haven’t already done so–and tank the economy again in the process. YMMV.

    3
  120. dazedandconfused says:

    @Teve:

    The case of Libya might be apropos. Gaddafi got the idea in his head that the key to advancing Libya was education. They had lots of oil money and not many people so any Libyan who wanted to could attend any foreign university for free. Got a per diem stipend for living expenses to. One of the qualifiers: You had to come back to Libya.

    An economy is nowhere near that simple though. A net result: For a potential cab driver, surviving app-stack triage required an advanced degree.

  121. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz:

    One thing I will say is that otherwise bright, hard-working kids do not function well in classes with 100s of other students.

    Which, as I see it as a former 2-year instructor, is an argument for taking basic courses at a community college, not necessarily an argument for going to a private school and paying literally 20 or 30 times the cost of those intro courses. Really rich guys like you can send your kids wherever you and they want to go, of course. It’s a free country (but not a cheap one).

    4
  122. Kurtz says:

    @Teve:

    I think one of the issues that needs to be dealt with is the interaction between the portions of the Enlightenment and its later derivations that emphasize the individual. As our understanding of evolution and genetics has become more sophisticated, it has become clearer that many of these ideas need to be recontextualized.

    It should be just as easy to mock conceptions of human nature rooted in philosophy from the 17th to mid 20th centuries as it is to dismiss Biblical literalists.

    But RW secularists hold Enlightment theorists as sacred with a faitheist zeal comparable to a Southern Baptist’s fervent belief in the creation account of Genesis.

  123. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis: We’ve been steering kids into college for a generation, stressing the importance of a good college.

    We’ve also been using college degrees as a means of gatekeeping for a middle-class lifestyle. Lots of jobs require a college degree that don’t use any skills that you might learn in college; and lots of these jobs barely care what the degree is.

    We’ve also been funding less and less of the cost of college.

    There’s a lot in that system that should change, and should have changed earlier.
    But, we aren’t able to go back in time and change that, so we have to deal with the here and now. Do we want a generation crippled by debt?

    For the old people like me who got through college when tuition was cheaper… we basically had a large chunk of our debt cancelled in advance. So, I’m not opposed to cancelling college debt for people now. I got mine, they should get theirs.

    And we should be reshaping entry into the middle class, so college isn’t needed so often. But that’s a separate problem.

    Also, I would like a college dropout on the Supreme Court. Biden’s first pick should be a stoner who asks questions during oral arguments like “Is the blue I see the same blue that you see, man?”

    3
  124. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Collins’s piloting was a cruel part of that

    I love spell check. That and fat fingers. 😉

  125. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Sure. I wouldn’t dispute that. In fact, I would endorse that approach. If I had not received a debate scholarship, I likely would have taken that route. But…that is a separate issue from the overall runaway inflation of cost of living and education.

    And no, I am definitely not rich. Didn’t grow up wealthy and I am not wealthy now.

    In fact, I am quite fucking poor. I decided long ago that I would rather be poor and have a sophisticated worldview than be rich and myopic like a poster or two here. (Not directed at Reynolds.)

    It’s interesting we are having this discussion, because didn’t you post about a house your parents purchased in the Seattle area for 12k selling for 600k? Something like that? I actually had recounted that in my response to Jen and spiked it, because it didn’t need to be there.

    I asked you if you had plugged it into an inflation calculator. Your response struck me as strange. But now I realize that you may skip a lot of my posts if you’re a slow reader. I asked, because when I plugged it into the inflation tool, the comp in 2021 dollars was like 125k or something. I tend to agree with a lot of what you say, at least broadly.

  126. Kurtz says:

    Man, in the course of two weeks, I’ve had one poster call me rich and another tell me I should stop blaming others for my lot in life.

    SERENITY NOW!

  127. Kurtz says:

    @Kylopod: @Doug Mataconis:

    the grift he thinks he can get from it.

    I’ve often wondered how many politicians and media figures base their platforms and views on career considerations.

    In the case of pols, I suspect that some percentage of the ones with ambitions of high office never had solid political beliefs, but chose their party based on happenstance when they first run for office. So if their only opportunity is to run in a deep red or blue district, then they adopt that and go from there.

  128. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: People do choose to attend Berkley to study social sciences

    Give me an f’n break. Most people caught in the student loan trap never went to anything like Berkley. Or Princeton or Penn State or Yale. 98% of those folks are doing just fine, and you dawg damned well know it. Most of these debts are to state universities and FAR TOO DAWG DAMNED MANY ON THEM ARE TO ONLINE FOR PROFIT UNIVERSITIES THAT DON”T DELIVER ON THEIR PROMISES. And the loaners? They saw an easy mark. And they made damn sure that the mark couldn’t default on their loans for their bogus educations by declaring bankruptcy. And you know this too.

    There was a time when this country cared about the future. We invested in the education of our youth. My old man benefited from it. So did my mother. My sisters all benefited from it and I could have too but I was no longer suited for schooling by the time I reached that level. I could have gone to university. And graduated debt free. Could have done it on my old man’s income alone. Along with my 3 sisters and 2 brothers.

    You tell me: How many people, now, can put 6 children through college? On a single middle class income?

    Something changed in the late 70s early 80s. Not sure what it was, can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe you can.

    7
  129. Kurtz says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    83.4% of Berkeley students are California residents. And they don’t borrow anywhere near 150k for undergrad.

    And who cares if a majority of students major in social sciences? If their goal is to go to a T14 law school, Berkeley is likely a better choice than most other schools. For another, social sciences are pretty important, and Berkeley has some of the finest programs around.

    Maybe you didn’t intend it, but you seem a little dismissive about it. If I’m off-base, I apologize. 🙂

    3
  130. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Let me state this another way.

    Once upon a time, the people of this country believed in investing in the future. These days we seem to only believe in raping the future, whether it be education, endangered species, climate change, or whatever. We are no longer willing to invest in the future and we are the lesser for it.

    When my sons were born, I held them in my arms. And to each in their turn I promised I would leave them a better world than the one I grew up in. For a while there I kept that promise.

    Now, I am failing.

    3
  131. Kathy says:

    I like a good paradox, the kind that make sense. here’s the latest one I’ve come across:

    The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish, you
    can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once
    you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because
    of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words.
    Where can I find a man who has forgotten the words so that I can talk
    with him?

    —Chuang-Tzu (c. 200 B.C.E)

    1
  132. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I concur with every part of this, except I would strike out “we” and substitute Republicans. Something DID change in the 70’s/80’s/90’s and we, as a society, are the worse for it.

    1
  133. Mimai says:

    @Kathy:

    “Words exist because of meaning” may be stealing a few bases.
    Also: can != must

    ps, I like paradox too.

    3
  134. Thomm says:

    @Kurtz: don’tcha know that to the glibretarian adjacent the only degrees that matter are in the STEM fields and everyone else from international studies to education majors are just leeching off their productivity.

    3
  135. Mimai says:

    Link function makes my posts disappear. Trying something else. Both tinyurl links below are to forbes.com.

    Here’s one on student loan debt statistics. https://tinyurl.com/45zawu62

    Here’s one on the college earnings premium. https://tinyurl.com/2u4bubhc

    These data help contextualize the discussion.

  136. Stormy Dragon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Something changed in the late 70s early 80s. Not sure what it was, can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe you can.

    The generational locust swarm that is the boomers finished using college and thus no longer needed to keep funding it.

    2
  137. Kurtz says:

    @Mimai:

    Go to Gravatar to alleviate that. More than one link often triggers the spam filter around here.

    Just don’t expect to find a better avatar than the pimp chimp. It will only lead to disappointment.

    This may or may not interest you. I found the chimp drawing in an NBA 2K game a few years ago. It was in the user uploads section, and became my logo for teams in sports video games.

    But I didn’t know how to find it for use elsewhere. I first googled “chimp with a blunt” and only found shittiness. Then I tried “pimp chimp” and it popped up. I think it originated on Deviantart.

    May I suggest one of these for your avatar?

  138. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Rudy used to be a mostly moderate Republican. Now he’s an utterly insane Trump Cultist. It is quite a change from the Guliani who ran for President in 2008.

    Giuliani was always a freak and a clown. Roughly a third of New Yorkers recognized this at the time, and there was another chunk that thought of him as “colorful” but supported him anyway. From egging on racist police riots, to announcing his seeking divorce to the press before he told his wife, to marrying his cousin, to getting that annulled because she was his cousin, to the whole thing with the weasels… utter freak show.

    The question isn’t how did he go from great man, hero of 9/11 to freak show, but how this freak show had a good reputation ever.

    1
  139. Gustopher says:

    @Kurtz: An avatar is a very personal thing. But, @Mimai should get one because I am a moron who cannot tell people without gravitars apart.

    I wish Gravitar allowed me to override other people’s avatars for my own viewing pleasure. That would solve a lot of problems for me.

    2
  140. Kurtz says:

    @Gustopher:

    It was just a way of sliding that excellent link into a post I likely wouldn’t post otherwise. Actually I was going to make a bit of a meta joke with @Mimai: but I liked this idea better.

    If you didn’t click on the link, I recommend it.

  141. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: As someone with comparable experience, I wholeheartedly agree.

  142. Mimai says:

    @Kurtz:
    @Gustopher:

    Appreciate the suggestion re gravatar. It appears that my username is already taken?! Did someone misspell Miami? Any thoughts on a work-around?

    Regardless, thanks for the link (and backstory on pimp chimp). I like these a lot. Too bad the guy doesn’t look like me. A few of my favorites:

    Risperdal is very good. Too good, in fact. Reminds me of a few patients.
    Tramadol made me legit LOL.
    Zyprexa reminds me of this Loose Parts cartoon.
    If I had to go with one, it would probably be Soma.

    @Kurtz: Is it too late for the meta joke? I always enjoy a good one, though I recognize that timing is important.

    @Gustopher: You have some, er, unusual problems….and you haven’t even disclosed the specifics. Dare I ask?

  143. wr says:

    @Kurtz: “For another, social sciences are pretty important, and Berkeley has some of the finest programs around.”

    And yet there is a huge movement on the right to do away with any but STEM education, because all that faggy humanities shit just makes you a hippy or something. And it’s taking over the boards of many colleges and universities who have decided they have to “run like a business.”

    To the right today, and tragically to some on the left as well, the humanities, the pinnacle of what mankind has achieved over the centuries, and now just waste product to sweep out of the way so we can make sure we have a nation of drones with no soul and no imagination.