Thursday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. de stijl says:

    Not certain, but I think I have Covid. Again.

    Not tested. Could be garden variety flu. But the symptoms line up with my last go round in November 2020.

    Do not have the energy to get tested. Way too zapped for that. That would require showering and changing out of my jammies. Being awake for more than four hours in a row. Ain’t happening today.

    Self-isolation is not a problem. Got a stocked pantry.

    My big bones ache. Humerus, pelvis, scapula. I feel like I got run over by a truck.

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  2. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW Conner Friedersdorf over at the Atlantic makes the case that there is no point discussing “cancel culture” until you have defined what you mean by it.

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl: Good luck and hope you feel better soon

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  4. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    That does sound like flu…but who knows. Take care. Get well soon.

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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Get better soon. That’s an order.

    ETA: WTF? this posted before I was done. At least I got an edit function this time.

    Anyway, I wanted to add: On the serious side, take care of yourself. Hope it passes quickly.

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  6. @de stijl: Sorry to hear it, man. Hope you feel better soon!

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  7. @MarkedMan: What a concept! 🙂

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  8. KM says:

    Got into an argument with a bunch of “Biden better cancel all my student debt or I’m voting GOP” Twitts and finally am able to articulate what bothers me so much about the current student loan forgiveness argument.

    I pointed that realistically, you can’t just make that debt disappear overnight and someone has to foot the bill aka the American taxpayer. There are valid concerns from people do not feel they should have to assume debt they never occurred; that it’s unfair to expect the poor and folks who never attended to pay off the bills of the middle-class so they can then proceed to buy a house or other big expense they feel they are entitled to. There’s economic concerns regarding pulling the rug out from under so many loans and how it will affect those trying to get said loans now – people are still attending college and it will make it harder to go if no one trusts you to pay back the money, making college even more unattainable for working class folks.

    The best and most feasible approach is gradual and will never be 100% forgiveness. Compromise is how it will work but you’d think I’d suggested eating babies.

    What about trying to get the debt dischargeable via bankruptcy like it used to be?
    – Hell no, then they wouldn’t be able to buy thing for years! How unfair it is to prevent them from getting that house just because they can’t pay their bills now?

    What about trying to make it so they only owe the principal and the government assumes the interest debt? That way all payments go directly to the debt and you’ll be done faster!
    – What? Then they still have this huge debt to pay off they’ll never be able to!!! How can you ever expect people to pay off tens of thousands of dollars over decades?!?!

    What about 50% forgviness and working on fixing the problem for those still going through this mess?
    – Why are you pulling up the ladder behind you?! 50% isn’t enough – get rid of *my* problem first and then we can talk about Gen Z and Alpha getting screwed worse then I was!!

    After days of arguing, I finally realized why “forgiveness” is so misleading in the name. You can’t demand or insist on forgiveness – it’s unearned grace granted to you by someone else. They do not give it because it’s entitled but because it’s what the forgive wants. It’s on their terms and their pace and you may never get it. Screaming about how unfair it is no one will forgive you of your burden and how terrible people are for not wanting to assume your burden for you is NOT forgiveness. It’s erasure. They want a clean slate that’s not being offered to any else with ruinous debt and are becoming increasing militant in their acceptable solutions.

    If Biden offered for the government to pay off 20% of everyone’s loan, it wouldn’t be considered enough. If he reinstated the old ways of bankruptcy or forged ahead to assume all interest rates, it wouldn’t be enough. That’s not forgiveness – that’s a shakedown, especially if you’re threatening to withhold your vote or go GOP.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Judge orders man who defaced Pride mural to write essay on Pulse shooting

    During a hearing last Thursday, Jerich hung his head, cried and apologized for his actions but did not offer any real explanation for them, according to the Palm Beach Post. “I’ve had problems in the past with fitting in,” he said, adding: “I was just trying to fit in and be accepted.”

    Rand Hoch, the president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a local LGBTQ+ rights group, pushed for a year-long sentence for Jerich.

    But circuit judge Scott Suskauer appeared to be taken by surprise by Jerich’s personality, saying: “I was expecting someone who displays complete disrespect for their fellow citizens … A person some might call a thug or a redneck. “This is not the person I was expecting.” He said needed more time to decide on a punishment.

    In the meantime, he ordered Jerich to write a 25-page essay on the 2016 nightclub massacre in Orlando, asking him to research the backgrounds of the victims and their loved ones. “I want your own brief summary of why people are so hateful and why people lash out against the gay community,” Suskauer told Jerich, ordering him to return to court on 8 June for his sentencing.

    Suskauer also asked him to perform community services with LGBTQ+ organizations. However, according to Hoch, none of the groups he is affiliated with are interested in working with Jerich. “They don’t want the defendant anywhere near our organization or our missions,” he said.

    Suskauer said he may also order Jerich to visit the intersection every week alongside his father to keep it clean.

    I applaud Judge Suskauer’s thoughtful approach. The defendants claim to be “trying to fit in” raises more questions in my mind than it answers, but I think the judges comment about possibly ordering “Jerich to visit the intersection every week alongside his father to keep it clean” probably fills in those blanks.

    While I might wish an LGBTQ+ organization would work with him, I’m not gonna fault them for refusing to.

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  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: I pointed that realistically, you can’t just make that debt disappear overnight and someone has to foot the bill aka the American taxpayer.

    I feel the need to point out that it wasn’t all that long ago when it was possible for people to go to college for 4 years and graduate debt free. Who underwrote that system? The American taxpayer. Was it easy to do so? No, it took work, but it was possible. That changed in the past 40 years or so.

    Personally I favor making the debt dischargeable thru bankruptcy, for the simple reason that I see no reason whatsoever for student debt to be treated differently than any other. I would also like to see us as a country invest in higher education as the societal good it is, like we used to.

    And while we’re at it, where’s my magic pony?

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  11. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    It sounds as if Jerich, given his Trump flag and attendance at “a 30 car rally” to celebrate Trump’s birthday, thought he’d gain the respect and admiration of the MAGAs by defacing the mural. A pathetic–dare I say it–loser.

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  12. Mu Yixiao says:

    Yesterday was my 3-month review for cardio-pulmonary rehab. Not only did I pass with flying colors, but I no longer have to go anymore. I’m free! 🙂

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  13. @Mu Yixiao: Excellent news and congrats on your freedom!

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  14. Scott says:

    @de stijl: Let’s hope it is quickly over with. In the meantime, indulge yourself.

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  15. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    Get well soon.

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  16. KM says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    That’s where I think we’re going to lose a lot of people and cause the effort to fail. Bankruptcy makes the most sense and will likely have the most social cache to pass into law. Someone is going to have to suffer while we make the transition however- it sucks but that’s life. There’s always going to be the last person who gets the shaft. If we ever managed to create immortality, there will also be the last person who will die and just miss out.

    We need to fix the loan system first. Ideally, basic college should be free or close enough. Masters, PhD’s and other higher tiers are different since they are usually tied to jobs that can pay it off. It makes no sense however to get rid of student debt before we fix the system as we’ll just have to keep doing it similar to repeated amnesty efforts for immigration. It will be a constant fight as new generations expect the same grace given their forbears but it will be politically problematic (aka GOP in power = no forgiveness for you).

    SDF proponents, however, do not want to wait. They understandably want to get on with the life they saw their parents live but that’s not gonna happen. We can get them to a place where being debt-free is achievable but still requires hardship to endure. That’s going to have to be enough, along with the knowledge we’re working to make sure future generations don’t have so much debt.

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  17. Michael Cain says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I feel the need to point out that it wasn’t all that long ago when it was possible for people to go to college for 4 years and graduate debt free. Who underwrote that system? The American taxpayer. Was it easy to do so? No, it took work, but it was possible. That changed in the past 40 years or so.

    The heyday of state support for higher education was in the 1960s. If you look at state general fund spending, there is an enormous difference between then and now. Then, Medicaid and K-12 education spending were insignificant. Today, in almost all states, Medicaid plus K-12 spending is half or more of all GF spending. As there is a practical limit on state and local tax revenue in the range of 9-12% of state GDP, and most states reached that years ago, the other major spending categories have been steadily pared back. Speaking broadly, all major categories other than higher ed and roads have some sort of “protection”, so those two have been cut the most.

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  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: HOORAY!

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  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: Someone is going to have to suffer

    I know this isn’t who you are referring to but the biggest roadblock is banks because they will suffer. They might have to actually be responsible for the loans they make. The horror!

    @Michael Cain: Yep. Tax cut mania has made it all but impossible to fix.

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  20. KM says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Hah! As if banks would ever. No, they just make it harder for everyone else to get a loan, not just the educational kind either. If they feel they’ll never get their money back, they won’t give it out like they have….. meaning college will be denied to working and middle-class people who can’t pay tens of thousands on command.

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  21. CSK says:

    This is being reported all over. Is anyone surprised?

    http://www.defenseone.com/business/2022/04/ceo-boeing-should-have-rejected-trumps-air-force-one-deal/366186/

    Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.

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  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Here. Play around with it. At least several days worth of deep diving into musical genres. Many interesting toggles.

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  23. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I read about it yesterday. It seems Boeing agreed to a fixed price deal, rather than cost-plus (aka can’t lose), or other mechanism to charge for cost overruns, as seems to be more common practice.

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  24. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I hope you recover soon.

    I was going to suggest you head to Mar a Lago to spread the cheer, but decided against it. You may catch something much worse.

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  25. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I can’t say for sure, but it might have been cheaper for Boeing to build the two AF1 planes from scratch, rather than modifying existing hulls

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  26. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: Sure, but once we clarify that what most of us mean is “we don’t want to be criticized for what we say; we only want you to be criticized for what you said,” what will be the point of having conversations about it?

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  27. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl: Sorry to hear this. Hope you shake it soon.

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  28. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    RE: Boeing and AF1 replacement. I’m as happy to pile on Trump as anyone else, but he was right here. Cost plus is an abomination and a key driver behind runaway spending. It’s a manifestation of how the big business world acts in a heads I win, tails you lose manner, and how government more often than not enables that bad behavior.

    Boeing made a bid. If they cannot meet the requirements of that bid because they screwed up their cost estimates that badly, it’s on Boeing, not the government or taxpayers. I’m sure there is a mechanism for government requirement driven change orders and getting those costs back, but come on. Boeing bid 4 billion for the 2 jets, have already accrued 1.1 billion in EXTRA costs, and haven’t delivered either. That’s a ludicrously large miss by Boeing’s team. Good on Trump–in a vanishingly rare case of business experience being useful in government–putting a contract like that on fixed price.

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  29. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Here. Play around with it. At least several days worth of deep diving into musical genres. Many interesting toggles.

    Thank you!

    Over the years, I occasionally looked for a music genome project explorer. Maybe there is a free one somewhere. IIRC there is an open source one but it didn’t function all that well when I looked.

    You just made my day!

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  30. Mu Yixiao says:

    Opinion: Amend the Constitution to bar senators from the presidency

    To conserve the reverence it needs and deserves, the Constitution should be amended rarely and reluctantly. There is, however, an amendment that would instantly improve the legislative and executive branches. It would read: “No senator or former senator shall be eligible to be president.”

    I read the whole thing and it still doesn’t make sense. George Will seems to think that only senators grandstand in public–and that preventing them from being President would make them stop.

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  31. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: I tend to agree with you. Of course, the Boeing CEO that made that deal is long gone. Maybe the deal is part of the reason he’s gone.

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  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I agree. Even for Will that column was twaddle. Has he not heard of governors Abbott and DeSantis?

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  33. gVOR08 says:

    Retired Federal Appeals Court Judge J. Michael Luttig is a lifelong dedicated Republican who coached Clarence Thomas through his confirmation and was appointed by H. W. Bush. He has an opinion piece at CNN laying out the Republican plan for the 2024 prez election.

    January 6 was never about a stolen election or even about actual voting fraud. It was always and only about an election that Trump lost fair and square, under legislatively promulgated election rules in a handful of swing states that he and other Republicans contend were unlawfully changed by state election officials and state courts to expand the right and opportunity to vote, largely in response to the Covid pandemic.

    It was a serious, albeit badly planned coup and it was practice. The “cornerstone” was the “independent state legislature” theory. This theory says the state legislature has absolute power over elections, even reversing a vote. This theory is a creation of Originalist Calvinball, ignoring obvious intent, and so far is just theory. But the Barrett woman may be the fifth vote to make it doctrine.

    Trump and his allies and supporters in Congress and the states began readying their failed 2020 plan to overturn the 2024 presidential election later that very same day and they have been unabashedly readying that plan ever since, in plain view to the American public. Today, they are already a long way toward recapturing the White House in 2024, whether Trump or another Republican candidate wins the election or not.

    There’s nothing really new in Luttig’s column, but he lays it out chapter and verse, presumably seeing the Court as his audience. He also errs in seeing it as a Trump thing when it’s really a Republican thing. The Trumpist election officials and other levers they’re putting in place in the states will be there for any a Republican. And there are likely to be at least five GOPs on the Court for some time.

    The courts showed some integrity in trivial election cases from 2020. If they actually had a chance to overturn an election and install, say, Ted Cruz, as prez, I’d trust them as far as I could throw Thomas.

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  34. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    When I saw the headline in your post, I assumed it was from The Onion.

    I thought we’d moved past that.

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  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    Cost plus is an abomination

    I’m not defending Boeing but I will defend cost plus. If something has signicant unknowns, either engineering challenges or necessarily vague language (“The on board communications system will provide the most advanced encryption available”), you either have to no-bid or put in some huge buffer against those unknowns.

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  36. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    Washington Post, so… close. 🙂

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  37. Mu Yixiao says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Except most of the construction is completely known. “Best encryption” isn’t going to cost billions of dollars in overruns. Boeing knows what it costs to build an airplane. The contractors doing the interior know what that will cost. And all of that has standard buffers built in (when I was estimating construction jobs, I’d build in a minimum of 20%; 50% if it was a real custom job).

    Cost-plus for a new stealth bomber or a rocket? Sure. As of Feb 2020, there have been 1,569 747s built. If they haven’t completed, and already have over 27% cost overrun? Boeing screwed up. Big time.

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  38. Jen says:

    @KM: I’ve really come to despise the push for student loan forgiveness.

    The most irritating thing to me about this is if Biden cracks and does do something/anything along those lines, he’s going to LOSE votes among middle-age and independents. This is not a winning issue, it’s a whining issue.

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  39. Mister bluster says:

    From my post on yesterday’s thread
    Georgia Subpoenas Conservative Group Over Ballot Harvesting Allegations
    at 11:23.

    For years there was a HUGE sign at the Courthouse entrance warning that cellphones were not allowed in the building unless you were an attorney or an employee. Cell phone lockers were provided to store your phone till you exited the building. About a month ago the sign was noticeably gone. When I asked one of the deputies about this he said that the Supreme Court ruled that people had a right to their cellphones. Now phones must be turned off and it is a punishable offense if they are left on and ring inside the courthouse.
    I did not think to ask if it was the Illinois Supreme Court or the US Supreme Court and I have not taken the time to check it out.

    Today a search finds:

    Illinois Supreme Court Announces New Policy on Portable Electronic Devices in Courthouses
    “The courts must adapt with the times, and this is an important way to address the needs of court users,” Chief Justice Anne M. Burke said. “It is no longer realistic to ask people to leave cell phones and other electronics at home when they visit courthouses.”

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  40. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    That’s among variants starting 50 years ago.

    The current variant, the 747-8 is new and has a low number of exemplars built.

    Aside from that, AF1 is very highly customized, with stuff few other commercial planes get like infrared jammers, not to mention a whole array of military communications tech that uses most of the upper deck. that’s what eats up the money, not the bedroom and shower and conference room up front.

    BTW I hope the current pair of AF1s will be displayed in museums someday.

    Also, as Boeing has retired the 747 and Airbus the A380 and A340, there are no Western manufacturers of four engine jets left. The USAF has been very insistent on using only quad jets for the president (or Benito, as the case may be). I wonder what they’ll do thirty to forty years from now when they need to replace it.

    Boom is planning a three engine design…

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  41. Scott says:

    @Mu Yixiao: @MarkedMan: Don’t know what the specifications were but I would imagine the cost overruns was not the airframe, engines, or interior design. It would be all the non-standard, military spec communications systems, defensive systems and their software integration. Air Force One is not just an airplane to haul the President, it is basically a weapon system, a flying command post. Since there apparently weren’t change orders flying around with contract price renegotiations as a result, I imagine Boeing took the contract as a prestige vanity project to prevent Airbus from getting in on the action. It was incredibly stupid to take AF1 on as a fixed price contract.

    But, as I have mentioned before, Boeing has been going downhill since they moved their HQs to Chicago from Seattle, and handed control over to finance types instead of engineers.

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  42. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    that’s what eats up the money, not the bedroom and shower and conference room up front.

    I’m not saying that it’s too expensive. I’m saying that the cost of all of those components is known. Going over budget by 27% (so far!) is a major fail on the part of Boeing (who are the general contractor making the bid).

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  43. DAllenABQ says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Methinks that Mr. Will’s column is more than a bit tongue in cheek; her does not seriously think such an amendment can pass or is even a good idea. I take his column as a lambasting of silly senators who have abdicated their role as responsible legislators, especially Hawley and Cruz.

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  44. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Sure, but how many armored 747’s have been built? Two? And how does the weight and distribution of modern armor affect the flight system as compared to those two that were built, what, two decades ago? And what about the weapons systems that will be added? Look, I have no great love for Boeing – they’ve been screwing the pooch repeatedly in the last decade or more. What I think happened is that they agreed to fixed cost because they were verbally promised something else. And they then found out exactly what the word of a Trump is worth and now they are but-hurt over it.

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  45. Beth says:

    @de stijl:

    Feel better! Better weather is almost here.

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  46. Beth says:

    @KM:

    What about trying to get the debt dischargeable via bankruptcy like it used to be?
    – Hell no, then they wouldn’t be able to buy thing for years! How unfair it is to prevent them from getting that house just because they can’t pay their bills now?

    What about trying to make it so they only owe the principal and the government assumes the interest debt? That way all payments go directly to the debt and you’ll be done faster!
    – What? Then they still have this huge debt to pay off they’ll never be able to!!! How can you ever expect people to pay off tens of thousands of dollars over decades?!?!

    I would jump all over these like a chocolate pie. How about we do this:

    Make them eligible for bankruptcy for most borrowers. Empower bankruptcy judges with enough discretion so that high earners don’t unshackle themselves at everyone else’s expense. But allows the people who either made bad choices or didn’t understand get out of the crush.

    Make them simple interest with no recapitalization. Make them all straight 3% interest. What is killing us is not the principal, it’s the fact that we can never pay the principal. Interest rates were shockingly low and the best rate I could get on a NON-DISCHARGABLE loan was 8%. Screw that.

    Get all private banks out of it. Processing, servicing, everything. Make it a straight federal department that has nothing to do but write and collect educational loans. Make deferments and workouts reasonable. I went into default with one of my loans during covid. I finally called them up and asked them how do we get back on track. They told me that I can’t, nothing to do. Ok, sooooo.

    Take everyone who works at Navient and drop them in the Donbas with two sticks and a rock and tell them to have a nice day. Ok, that’s just my dream.

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  47. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The current AF1s are 747-200 type, which entered service in 1971.

    In contrast the ones under reconstruction are 747-8, designed in the late 2000s. The salient differences are a longer fuselage, and a glass cockpit which requires two pilots rather than 3.

    But just about all else is also different, from the engines to the avionics.

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  48. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Assuming they agreed to fixed cost with a wink-wink to something else is both a huge assumption AND immoral itself MarkedMan. And still their responsibility-anyone who takes Trump’s word is an idiot.

    I concede there are times where cost plus is appropriate. Perhaps (probably) my irritation at how they get over-used in influencing my opinion. But again, this is Boeing. They make lots of military and aerospace stuff, have plenty of experience with what armor, weapons, and military grade comm systems do to airframes, and spend billions on modeling software with decades of experience to test things out before something takes flight.

    As for some of the other stuff–maybe these do require new engines. Again, something Boeing has plenty of experience working with (and like Mu pointed out, almost certainly includes some built in overruns for cost protection). Military grade comm systems? It’s doubtful Boeing is building the actual system; that is hardly their expertise. The contract likely has a weight/volume spec for that gear, but it’s almost certainly another supplier doing the work and getting paid for it. And there is absolutely no way the contract includes anything as vague as “The on board communications system will provide the most advanced encryption available”. The specs in aerospace–especially military aerospace–for a damn screw are multiple pages long. The contract will have milspec callouts at minimum (and a full expectation that over the lifetime of the plane things like comm gear will get changed out more than once as technology changes). And remember, Boeing built the airframes for the AWACS planes-this sort of gear is NOT new for them.

    The closest thing to an unknown is probably the armoring of an aircraft that size, though again I suspect that between tankers and AWACS they aren’t on completely new ground there either. If there is any stealth technology being applied (as opposed to countermeasures) that would also probably be fairly new for an airframe of that size (B2 is closest, probably, and that’s a Northrup-Grumman build). Regardless, they missed big time. Probably (imho) because they (and everyone else) is so used to cost-plus where there is no penalty for underbidding that they didn’t take it seriously. And I’m not going to take their “woe is us” complaints about it seriously either. The whole ethos at the executive level is so damn toxic. Even if we were to agree that Boeing shouldn’t have signed the deal and did so for bad reasons, what do you bet their prior CEO and his team got golden parachute exits? And why not, when almost everything you do as a big business with the government is cost-plus, business can’t lose. That’s my root complaint.

    End rant 🙂 And you kids gets off my lawn!

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  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    My heart bleeds for the United States Oligarchy.

    These experiences, which economic research shows became more common after the Great Recession, appear to have united many young college-educated workers around two core beliefs: They have a sense that the economic grand bargain available to their parents — go to college, work hard, enjoy a comfortable lifestyle — has broken down. And they see unionizing as a way to resurrect it.

    Support for labor unions among college graduates has increased from 55% in the late 1990s to around 70% in the last few years, and is even higher among younger college graduates, according to data provided by Gallup.

    “I think a union was really kind of my only option to make this a viable choice for myself and other people,” said Mulholland, 32, who helped lead the campaign to unionize his New York City REI store in March. Shiflett and Alanna have also been active in the campaigns to unionize their workplaces.

    This is sort of a sea change. In my day, everyone I knew from college wondered why I was willing to work at a union job, and the prevailing attitude was that, because “we’re professional workers,” representation and organization is a waste of money and effort. Of course, pushing college education/diplomas as a vehicle to higher wages was really used more in the service of gutting blue collar/working class wages and developing a bunch of highly trained (but in fields where employment was sparce) graduates to join Marx’s reserve labor army.

    Glad to see the wheels starting to come off this particular wagon. A little surprised to see college educated people leading the way, tho. Weren’t these jobs just supposed to be “transition employment?”

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  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Beth:

    Get all private banks out of it. Processing, servicing, everything. Make it a straight federal department that has nothing to do but write and collect educational loans.

    There was a book about trying to pass such a bill in Congress. Teddy Kennedy was heavily involved, so it was from before he died. I was sure that the book was called simply, “The Bill” but I’m not finding it anywhere. In any case, TL:DR any time there are billions of dollars and gigantic egos at stake, changing the status quo is nigh impossible.

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  51. MarkedMan says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    is both a huge assumption AND immoral itself

    Agree totally. Still think it’s likely what happened. It just makes no sense to me that they would have agreed to a fixed cost on an immensely complicated project, one that will only result in a grand total of two airplanes.

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  52. Kurtz says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I started to read, but decided to first read the Haidt essay Will references early in the piece.

    I can’t promise I’ll ever get to comment on Will’s argument other than to say that if it relies on Haidt as much as it seems so far, it’s as silly as you think it is.

    The story of Babel is the best metaphor I have found for what happened to America in the 2010s, and for the fractured country we now inhabit. Something went terribly wrong, very suddenly. We are disoriented, unable to speak the same language or recognize the same truth. We are cut off from one another and from the past.

    First bold: No, Johnathan, it didn’t happen suddenly. Facts have not been shared for longer than the 2010s.

    Second bold: Oh, look, apparently Johnathan also seems to think that idealized view of America’s history is new, as well.

    He also seems to think that polarization and incivility is somehow unique to the social media age or at the very least worse now than it was before.

    Okay, I read the rest of Will’s op-ed. Both he and Haidt seem to be more focused on being critics rather than substantive critique and exploration of possible solutions.

    I’m done contemplating either of those articles. I’ve wasted enough energy on them.

    Ugh.

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  53. senyordave says:

    This is the head of the Republicans in Oklahoma:
    “And by the way, we should try Anthony Fauci and put him in front of a firing squad,” said Bennett, not really expanding on what crime he believes Fauci has committed.

    Then he added: “And for the Secret Service, if they’re listening, I’m not advocating we kill Anthony Fauci … until he’s convicted of his crimes through a court.”

    I hope he receives a very unpleasant visit from the Secret Service. But it is both sides because some blogger somewhere said bad things about Trump when he was president.

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  54. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I agree. Even for Will that column was twaddle. Has he not heard of governors Abbott and DeSantis?

    Right? It’s almost as if Will doesn’t bother to look at the shared behaviors among all politicians. Nor does he seem willing to acknowledge that triviality and pandering have been with us for far longer than all of our lifetimes.

    And Haidt just seems like he’s done trying to generate new ideas and decided that bitching about social media is a substitute for intellectual heft.

    @DAllenABQ:

    If it was intended to be tongue-in-cheek, it’s an even worse piece than if it was sincere. There are no rhetorical markers of that intent within the piece.

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  55. Kathy says:

    @Scott:

    Some analysts date it to the merger with McDonnell Douglas.

    The 21st century has been rather a nightmare for Boeing, leaving out delays in bringing new types into service: battery fires in the 787, engine problems in the 787, the MCAS facilitated deadly accidents of the 737 MAX, and something seems off with the 777-X program.

    So cost overruns on a high profile government program seems like not that much of a much.

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  56. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: That was three months ago? I have no sense of time. Congratulations!

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  57. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: Stop that! Hope it passes quickly and uneventfully.

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  58. de stijl says:

    I graduated in the mid 80s with less than 10k in debt. From a fairly well respected private school.

    I got a booklet in the mail from the servicer. Tear out a page every month and mail a check. I remember my monthly amount due was 52 dollars. Some months, that was a reach for me. Some months I was flush and would add an extra 10 or 20 bucks to pay it down quicker.

    I always did the extra payment as another check. I wrote one for $52 and another for $20 and wrote Extra Payment on the memo line.

    I found out later from work experience that debt servicers really hate it when you pay down faster than scheduled. All kinds of accounting wrinkles. You are throwing the schedule out the window every month and extra payments have to be accounted for differently. If I understand it correctly, an excess payment goes directly against the principle amount owed not the P&I and is accounted for differently.

    Nowadays, not a big deal. Point a few smart programmers at it. Back then, prepayments were a headache.

    Even accounting for inflation the amount I paid for college and what people pay today is way out of whack.

    People now often graduate with crushing debt. This is new. This is bad. I didn’t experience that, well a tiny bit. My parents’ generation did not experience that.

    The economic burden for higher education got shifted on to the student in a very harsh manner in the last few decades. Pretty abruptly.

    In the sixties and seventies you could get a no-brain service job in the summer that would pay for school and leave you a bit left over for beer money.

    Student debt is a new societal problem and applying old rules is folly. New cohorts are experiencing debt loads early in adult life that past generations did not have.

    Debt loads that impinge upon current financial choices and future ones. It effects savings rates, home ownership rates, property taxes, rent market value.

    For many people home ownership is a flat impossibility. Buying a car is a big stretch.

    Current day student loan burdens are a new problem. Bankruptcy court is not the solution.

    It is a system problem.
    .

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  59. Gustopher says:

    @KM:

    There’s economic concerns regarding pulling the rug out from under so many loans and how it will affect those trying to get said loans now – people are still attending college and it will make it harder to go if no one trusts you to pay back the money, making college even more unattainable for working class folks.

    Without legislation, Biden can only affect the government backed loans, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

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  60. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: It’s a problem where there aren’t going to be “fair” answers, and it’s going to require a few significant shocks to the system to get it changed effectively.

    An unfair shock that helps a lot of people, and creates a conversation about the right way to do it? Sure, why not?

    Can we figure out a way to do medical debt too? Way harder, as it isn’t loaned by the government, but I would be in favor of it too.

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  61. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Gustopher:

    That was three months ago? I have no sense of time. Congratulations!

    Thanks. And… yeah. 3 months as of 2 days ago. It seems like so long ago–and sometimes so recent. 🙂

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  62. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kathy:

    So cost overruns on a high profile government program seems like not that much of a much.

    They’re also involved with the Senate Space Launch System. 11 years and $23B to build a rocket based on existing design, and they haven’t been able to make it through a wet dress rehearsal yet. Add an estimated $4B per launch on top of that.

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  63. Gustopher says:

    @senyordave:

    This is the head of the Republicans in Oklahoma:
    “And by the way, we should try Anthony Fauci and put him in front of a firing squad,” said Bennett, not really expanding on what crime he believes Fauci has committed.

    I know it’s hard to figure out how to hold people accountable for their performative assholery, but if we don’t manage something this problem will only continue to get worse. Every time shit like this happens, the people they are targeting get death threats, and there’s bound to be one or two crazy people who are are actually dangerous.

    Where are the left wing crazies? If death threats are where Republicans want politics to be these days, we shouldn’t unilaterally disarm and discourage our lunatics. How do we get our unhinged left to stop complaining on twitter about micro-aggressions and on the phone leaving cryptic, vaguely threatening messages for these people?

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  64. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:
    and everybody else:

    I am fine. A bit under the weather as they say. I’ll be okay. Cranky and sleepy and achy, but okay. No worries, knock on wood.

    @Mu Yixiao had way bigger health news than me, and damn good news too.

    I did not mean to derail.

    When I feel poorly I crave ginger ale. Subconsciously that bubbles up into consciously. I blame my mother. It’s what I got when I was a kid when I was sick. She was a crappy mom, but she had the sick kid=ginger ale algorithm bit nailed.

    Last go round I was in a fairly strong relationship. She left goody bags on my front doorstep. Ginger ale in the little tiny cans, Cheetos, cute notes. We did not end up together, but she was a cool, super nice person. All the best to her.

    Now, if I’m feeling ill, I lay in bed and watch horror movies. Blumhouse if I’m feeling scraggly. A24 if I’m feeling perky. You need extra brainpower for A24 movies.

    I used to live in a house with an old school big claw foot bathtub – full immersion, it’s awesome. Soak up that heat. Now, I live in a house with a totally inadequate bath / shower combo tub. You can’t have a proper bathe in those. It’s insulting to even try.

    I wish I had ginger ale. I wish I had a deep big-ass bathtub.

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  65. Beth says:

    A friend just sent me this, timely and humorous;

    https://mobile.twitter.com/InkMasterbator/status/1519415704314945538

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  66. CSK says:
  67. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    The movie’s more dangerous than the fruit.

    I wonder how Benito’s lawyer thinks vegetables are planted.

    As to real danger, I’m willing to freeze two tomatoes and take my best shot at Benito. All waivers of liability to be observed.

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  68. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    Well, be sure they’re not good tomatoes. It would be a pity to waste such things.

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  69. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: In my day, everyone I knew from college wondered why I was willing to work at a union job, and the prevailing attitude was that, because “we’re professional workers,” representation and organization is a waste of money and effort.

    Ha! I was a professional worker, and a well paid one at that. You know why? Of course you do, I was union.

    Glad to see the wheels starting to come off this particular wagon. A little surprised to see college educated people leading the way, tho.

    I’m not. “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Or something like that.

    Seriously, eventually people figure out they are getting fcked and decide to fight back. Or at least check out.

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  70. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m not surprised, but I am glad to see it.

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  71. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:
    @CSK:

    There is video of a protestor in Minneapolis from the summer of 2020. You can see the police line in the background all girded up in riot gear.

    The interviewee casually pulls a can of beans out of his bag. Another. Then a can of tuna.

    This guy was either a brilliant satirical provocateur or somebody who wanted to fight back effectively once the tear gas and rubber bullets phase kicked in.

    He was so cleverly casual about it. “I’m going to cook up a family dinner of beans, more beans, and some tuna.”

    A can of pineapple is way cheaper than tuna.

    Now, I do not advocate for violent protest, but this guy was ballsy. Toeing the line on camera.

    Minneapolis cops are notoriously nasty. Thumpers or folks who did not have the chutzpah to stand up to the thumpers within the ranks. For decades. If you gave lip, you got your lip broke back if you were lucky, a few broken ribs if you were mouthy or dude was in a bad mood. Bully boys and sycophants.

    Extra-judicial punishment was expected. De rigeur. Odd if it didn’t happen.

    These goons would work off-hour gigs in downtown clubs as security. Where it went off the rails is that even in uniform, if you were working an off-hour gig, qualified immunity did not apply. Full liability applied. Some got caught double dipping.

    There was one jack-ass who was notorious. Not a thumper, but a bone breaker. A sadist. Well, most of them were sadist, but a particulary notable sadist amongst a sorry lot. He got into big-time legal trouble working off the books for a club while in full uniform.

    Different rules applied. Civil law. He got sued, MPD got sued, city got sued. They settled for a huge settlement, many millions.

    All because one guy who really, really liked knocking heads.

    He cost the city many millions in civil payouts. Took 5 years to get him fired. He sued to get reinstated.

    I like Minneapolis a lot, but the cops are fucking goons. An endemic culture of blatant outright thuggery. Decades and decades of undersupervised, unregulated asshole, sadist, predator thugs.

    St. Paul cops, in comparison, are, as a whole, drastically more professional.

    Violent protests backfire. It may feel like retribution, but it will harm the cause.

    But I knew where can of beans guy was coming from. Felt it. Understood it. Don’t condone it.

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  72. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    There was one jack-ass who was notorious. Not a thumper, but a bone breaker. A sadist. Well, most of them were sadist, but a particulary notable sadist amongst a sorry lot. He got into big-time legal trouble working off the books for a club while in full uniform.

    If we’re thinking of the same guy, a lieutenant in the 3rd precinct and ran the rent-a-cop operation on the side. We got into a shouting match at a community meeting after he again cost the city a couple of hundred grand to settle with one of his thumpies. My white privilege saved me from revenge, god forbid if I’d been black. Of course there were numerous Mpls cops that were sadists, so you maybe thinking of someone else.

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  73. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I’m pretty sure we’re talking about the same dude. 1988 is when it blew up in the Strib give or take a few years, if memory serves. That’s the the guy I was refencing.

    He was a lieutenant? I’d forgot that part. That’s even more damning. In my head, he was a sergeant.

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  74. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I grew up in South Minneapolis. That was 3rd Precinct iirc. You did not fuck with the cops; they would beat your ass for just crossing their sightline. And I was / am white. Getting beat on was expected. Guaranteed if you were black.

    I was well-behaved and generally law-abiding 99.9% of the time and Minneapolis cops fucking scared me hard. I think that was the point. To be feared. To be feared more than the gangs.

    The gangs in S Mpls were pretty low key. If you stayed outside of their business, it was near to zero concern. Some corners were sketchy at night you learned to avoid, but mostly get along / go along stuff that did not concern me or effect me.

    One guy tried to pay off a $40 loan with a visit to a cat house. I passed. I don’t do strange.

    Went to college and moved to St. Paul. 6, 7 miles away and an entirely different vibe. It was so comparatively wholesome. Mayberry, RFD to me complete with cops who were not immediately sadistic dick-hats at the slightest provocation.

    By 1987 I was living in downtown Minneapolis with 3 guys who farted too much and brought unnecessary drama into my life with their repeated romantic fuck-ups. I loved them anyway. Well, 2 out of 3.

    Downtown cops were way less aggressive, more professional. I assume it was due to a different precinct and a different culture. Plus way more likely to get caught on camera by the local news.

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  75. de stijl says:

    The cost of one full load semester at Harvard as of today is 72 grand. 50G for tuition alone.

    At the college I went to it goes for roughly a third of that. I could not find published hard numbers but an estimate. I stand by it. Probably a bit under, actually.

    That is fucking insane! I get inflation, but this is bonkers. It is unsustainable. If you do a four year degree and live on campus at Harvard you are going to owe almost $600,000 in principal not including interest. At 22 years old. Brand new in the job market.

    Unless you majored in certain areas and angled for a Wall Street job and got one you are basically fucked semi-permanently. You graduate with a 20 or 30 year loan for $710,000 roughly. At 22.

    God help you if you majored in library science or linguistics. Then, you are utterly and truly fucked. Your student debt payment would be greater than your income.

    This is bad. Really fucking bad. Inconceivable bad.

    The system is broken and unsustainable. A system problem.

    That is insane. It would be foolish and massively counterproductive to continue it. We are going to continue to do it. Guaranteed. We are that stupid. I hate us sometimes.

    One semester at Harvard costs more than most Americans get as net income for a year, pre-tax.

    It is unsustainable and extraordinarily favors the already rich.

    And this is going to continue until the system breaks in a way that hurts the very rich. I hate us.

    Let us not do that. Please.

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