Link Roundup, 3/18/2016

From The Walrus: A deep dive into the worsening for-profit university scam.

From the Washington Post: The economics of washing machines as a lens on inequality.

From Gizmodo: Dominos’ quirky pizza delivery robot.

From Quartz: Historical price comparisons of video game consoles.

From Quartz: The collapsing value of ships.

From The Big Picture: Charting the expansion of negative interest rates.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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163 comments on “Link Roundup, 3/18/2016
  1. flypusher says:

    This will sound very familiar:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-north-patterson/an-open-letter-to-my-repu_b_9497274.html

    But I don’t agree with his advice at the end, at least not yet. I’d rather see those honorable GOPers stay in the party and speak truth to batshit crazy from that position. I want them to have the guts to say “I’m a Republican, but I can’t in good conscience vote for Trump/Cruz, because they would lead this country in the wrong direction. Therefore I will be voting Dem/3rd party for President, but voting for the good GOP candidates down-ballot.” Chris has, and I respect that.

    Party loyalty should never demand that you march over a cliff.

    • 1mime says:

      Richard North Patterson encapsulates all of the best thoughtful criticism of the Republican Party in his second letter to the GOP base through Huffington Post.

      One wonders why he is publishing on a liberal site rather than a conservative one? Could it be that the conservative sites do not allow such scathing criticism of the Republican Party?

      Regardless why Patterson chose Huffpost, his deeply thoughtful, brutally honest, comprehensive analysis should be on the op-ed pages of every major newspaper and in the email of all Americans. I was struck by his awareness that even as Donald Trump is so incredibly lacking, the more critical threat is Ted Cruz – a view which has long been my concern and should be for all thinking, caring American citizens – regardless of party affiliation.

      Once more, Patterson is offering Americans an opportunity to listen and learn, and then, to act. Whether one chooses to leave the Republican Party for however long it takes it to reform itself or doesn’t vote, or votes for the Democratic alternative, is up to each person. At the very least, his message needs to be considered and shared. It’s that important.

  2. 1mime says:

    ON CNN tonight, 7-10, all 5 top candidates, repub and dem will participate in a forum together.
    Here’s the link. This will be different.

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/21/politics/cnn-final-five-western-tuesday/index.html

    • 1mime says:

      Correction – all 5 but in sequence. I misunderstood the format. Kasich went first; Cruz on now. Different moderators. Sorry Wolf Blitzer has Cruz…needed Atilla the Hun.

  3. Rob Ambrose says:

    Pretty interesting essay on Kansas and how damaging Conservative policies have been to the state.

    http://www.salon.com/2016/03/21/sam_brownback_americas_worst_governor_hes_gutted_kansas_with_an_ultraconservative_religious_agenda_and_its_getting_worse/

    Its important to remember that these results aren’t outliers, or the result of some fringe Conservative beliefs. The policies instituted in Kansas are lifted directly from mainstream Republican canon

    • 1mime says:

      “implemented block grant funding for public education”….

      The disaster you see happening in KA is exactly why I do not favor block grants in any form to the states. I have less trust in state government than I do in the federal process. When a state is governed by the likes of Sam Brownback, all sorts of strange things can happen to revenue pouring into the state coffers.

      As Fly intoned months ago when the voters of KA re-elected Brownback, it’s pretty hard to feel sorry for the people of the state – EXCEPT – for those who rarely ever benefit from ideologues running the show.

  4. tuttabellamia says:

    Lifer, since you’re originally from Beaumont . . . here’s a link to an article about a movie based on the Beaumont Race Riots of 1943:

    https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2016/03/21/141947/new-indie-film-shines-light-on-a-dark-period-in-texas-history/

  5. flypusher says:

    And now for something complete different and totally cool: eagle-cam!! The eaglets are being fed right now:

    http://www.eagles.org/dceaglecam/

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I know you will think this is silly, but I feel like this is an invasion of the eagles’ privacy. I clicked on the link and when I realized that it was live, I felt a tinge of embarrassment. I’d rather not look.

  6. When I was boy about half of the kids at school believed ‘Big Time Wrestling’ was real, and the results of the weekend’s chair throwing, eye gouging fights to near death dominated playground conversation. Is American politics so different?

    • Turtles Run says:

      No one is handing Ric Flair or Nick Bockwinkle the nuclear football if they win a world title.

      • 1mime says:

        Nuclear football AND, control of SCOTUS and probably Congress….

        Nope, not much at stake here…not much at all.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “President Flair, for the last time, we need to know if we have authorisation to answer this nuclear attack with one of our own…..and “WOOOOOO!!” is not an appropriate answer”

    • flypusher says:

      Trump playacted the pro-wrestling thing back in the day, so the metaphor is even more fitting. The fans of that “sport” don’t care that the outcome is predetermined; they just want to pick sides and cheer or boo. Now they’re approaching politics the same way. Trump’s their good guy and they don’t give a monkey’s backside how many times you document him outright lying. Likewise Romney and the rest of the GOPe are the bad guys, and they get booed even if they speak 100% truth. The lowest common denominator has arrived.

  7. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    And nary a mention of racism or of the white nationalist campaign that Trump is waging. Clinton will win in a landslide regardless, but this is one demon that’s going to have to be faced down sooner or later. Will what comes out of the ashes of the GOP this November be the one to lead that charge?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/here-comes-the-opposition-book-clinton-and-her-allies-prepare-for-trump/2016/03/20/0fc0fb04-ed51-11e5-b0fd-073d5930a7b7_story.html

  8. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Somehow I have the sneaking suspicion that McConnell effectively telling his members to go rogue and fend for themselves is not how he had hoped to spend his increasingly short time as Majority Leader, but that’s just me.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mcconnell-trump_us_56eea6c0e4b09bf44a9d804c

    In all seriousness though, this is ridiculous. Obviously this is tantamount to a spit in the proverbial face of leadership, but it’s ludicrous strategy too. You can’t run away from your own party’s presidential nominee. Democrats tried playing this bullshit game in 2014 and that’s one of the reasons they got slaughtered, and yet somehow Republicans think they can manage it better? Best of luck with that.

    • flypusher says:

      Any enjoyment of McConnell and his obstructionist ilk freaking out over Trump is tempered by the realization that the chance of Trump becoming President is still >0.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Tempered? That Trump has precisely zero chance of becoming president (did you see that poll that has Sanders and Clinton over Trump in flippin’ UTAH?) is precisely why we can take such enjoyment in this. Of course we shouldn’t let that distract us from what we need to do, but it’s a sort of righteous retribution that McConnell, as one who actively courted the Tea Party to suit his own short-term political goals is finding that coming back to bite him harder than he could’ve ever imagined.

      • flypusher says:

        After what happened in 2000, I take nothing for granted, election-wise.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        The electoral map has shifted considerably since 2000. Just sayin’

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        One good economic crisis, a terrorist attack or two, and the ever-lurking Clinton scandal, and the November election can easily turn.

        40% of the electorate will vote GOP regardless. Tack on another 5% that hate Clinton so much they would vote for anyone other than Clinton. Clinton is running into 45% headwinds already. Maybe she’ll win 55/45, but folks who like to count eggs as chickens make me nervous.

        Trump/Cruz may be racist asshats, but want to make a bet on the Black turnout for Hillary being as high as it was for Obama? I’ll take the under on that bet.

        Maybe Hispanics will turnout to vote against Trump, but I think we might actually want to see the Hispanic turnout be impressive in one election before we assume it is going to happen. Other than the “they are sending rapists” comment, Trump has said nothing about immigration that is not relatively standard GOP rhetoric, and even the rapists comment wasn’t the worse thing you would hear on FoxNews (and plenty of people defended Trumps comments as accurate when he made them). If Trump is all of the sudden the alarm clock for Hispanics, they’ve been hitting the snooze button for the past 12 years.

        If Cruz is the nominee, I would bet he pulls a higher percentage of Hispanics than did Romney.

        While the electoral map has changed greatly since 2000, I might suggest that the electoral maps of 2010 and 2014 still exist.

        The GOP has spent the better part of the last six months “misunderestimating” Trump…I suggest we learn from those lessons.

        Even still, I would take Trump over Cruz. Trump makes me sad for my country. Cruz scares me.

      • 1mime says:

        You haven’t even mentioned the loss of the Sanders millennials. Our son is a Sanders supporter and believe me, the internet exchange within this supporter class is in high gear. He is one who will support HRC if Sanders fails to get the nomination, but with great regret (and the treat of mama disinheriting him). The well has been so thoroughly poisoned that he is actually resentful of being placed in that position. He feels the DEMe has never given Sanders a fair chance to compete from the superdelegates all the way to the DNC. He is typical of so many millennials – well educated, financially successful, smart, and still somewhat idealistic. These young people don’t read the daily rags or watch much tv as most of their communication is via internet. And, we all know that it’s difficult to vet info on the net.

        Do the rest of the millennials turn out for H? I’m not sure of that. It will be interesting to see what Sanders does to help should H be the nominee….and, whether it even matters at that point to his fervent base of supporters. They may just stay home.

      • 1mime says:

        A quick point: in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle, Cruz announced his intention to transfer all federally owned property to the states…ALL. Of course this announcement queues just in time for his push for votes in the western states….He is diabolic.

      • flypusher says:

        What Homer said, x1000. We had a when-will-the-Trump-campaign-crash-and-burn betting pool started on this blog last summer. We’re piling up the failed predictions; mine was one of the first to bite the dust. I learned the lesson- do not underestimate Trump, and especially do not underestimate to volatile mixture of legit frustration and profound ignorance that motivates much of his base.

        If the GOPe pulls a fast one and someone other than Trump gets the nom, does that nullify any bets? His polls numbers likely go UP as his base freaks the hell out and probably does riot.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mime – other than Trump, all of the GOP candidates endorse transferring federal land to the states (once again, Trump is the voice of GOP reason).

        Cruz is just more vocal about it now (he said the same thing a year ago) because of the upcoming primaries.

        While many in the states are greatly in favor of it, some realize that the individual states are ill-equipped to manage all of that land, and they would either have to raise taxes (no), or fees (probably), or sell the land to private owners (ding, ding, ding, the winner here) to take care of the land. Even if states maintain the land, it is funny how lenient cash-strapped states can be to mining, logging, and drilling for short term gains.

        Welcome to Yellowstone Park, brought to you by BP.

      • 1mime says:

        I was unaware Cruz was making it part of his campaign pitch until I read the article, but, it fits his philosophy and political strategy quite well. Poor “Old Faithful”, may you spew in peace. Please read the Weekly Sift link I posted on Augustus. It spells out pretty clearly the direction this is all heading….the whole Grover Norquist, making government so small it will drown in a bathtub meme. Until “they” need it, right?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        HT: Hispanics are still fired up over Trump. Not only did he make the comment about rapists, he insulted and threw out Jorge Ramos, who is the Walter Cronkite of the Hispanic media, the the most trusted journalist. Thanks to social media, all Hispanic eyes are upon Trump, and every outrageous comment he makes, be it against women moderators, rival candidates, or rally protesters, is added to the list of grievances.

      • Creigh says:

        Absolutely right, Homer. A good campaign attack against Cruz – “He wants to give away Yellowstone Park.” That ought to get some attention.

        In fairness, though, there are some really great state parks out there. If you ever get to Big Bend, definitely plan a side trip to Big Bend Ranch State Park just tot he west. The drive from Lajitas to Presidio is amazing. Also, Adirondacks.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Houston:

        >] “Trump/Cruz may be racist asshats, but want to make a bet on the Black turnout for Hillary being as high as it was for Obama? I’ll take the under on that bet.”

        Keep in mind that President Obama is already making plans to hit the campaign trail in a way that no incumbent president has in many years. That can’t make up for him not being on the ballot of course, but I don’t believe his efforts will be lost on voters, particularly African-Americans. And they have a vested interest in seeing a Democrat win in November, so we’ll see how things turn out.

        >] “Maybe Hispanics will turnout to vote against Trump, but I think we might actually want to see the Hispanic turnout be impressive in one election before we assume it is going to happen.”

        I’d bet you my right arm that Trump is a turnout machine for Hispanics. The NYT has already reported that many, many more of them are applying for citizenship specifically to vote against Trump. Whether they’ll come out and vote their actual numbers is probably swinging for the fences, but turnout will be high.

        >] “While the electoral map has changed greatly since 2000, I might suggest that the electoral maps of 2010 and 2014 still exist. ”

        Yeah, in off-year elections. We’re not in one, so what’s your point?

        >] “The GOP has spent the better part of the last six months “misunderestimating” Trump…I suggest we learn from those lessons.”

        I’m not underestimated Trump at all. All I’m saying is that when it comes to numbers, The Donald ain’t got it. He would need seven out of ten whites to win the White House. That is a ridiculously high number, more than Ronald Reagan got in his 49-state sweep in 1984 or Mitt Romney got in 2012, when white turnout was actually even higher. This whole idea of whites not turning out is a Republican fantasy that never delivers.

        Trump’s at about 50% with whites right now. That’s it. If he goes into the general election with numbers even close to those, that’s a recipe for an electoral slaughter.

      • 1mime says:

        Is your view of Cruz’ electability improved given the GOPe move to support him?

      • flypusher says:

        “… a recipe for an electoral slaughter.”

        I sincerely hope that prediction comes true, followed by at least one of the major parties actually governing well.

    • Griffin says:

      I enjoyed and agreed with you review. However I can’t wait til right-wing bloggers take notice of Ladd and start writing about him, it will be much more… interesting. My dream is that one day Michelle Malkin will write about this blog just so I can see how insane and bitter the rambling is.

      • 1mime says:

        Don’t look for RW bloggers to acknowledge Lifer until the Republican Party is on its knees. Then, they might actually look outside their little bubble to see what sane Republicans are thinking and suggesting. Of course, that day may never come…..if the base continues to reward the GOP with election wins….why would they change a thing? It would be soooo hard….and, lots of work….and some of the party stalwarts would have to, uh, get real jobs….and elections would be fair, and instead of talking incessantly about tax cuts, we might have a real discussion in America about concrete proposals to make our country work more fairly and efficiently for all its people, not just a few…..don’t hold your breath on that one, either.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Frankly, If I were Chris, I’d be attempting to get the attention of a CNN or MSNBC producer and try to get some airtime as a talking head. It would give the blog exposure of course, but by seeing a sane and reasonable Republican out there, it would remind ppl that those kinds of Republicans out there, and let them know it’s OK to think that way again. Its not an apostasy to compromise, or accept science, or be realistic about policy outcomes.

        As of right now, every right wing talking head they have is a neocon, tea partier, or Trump supporter.

        The major networks all share part responsibility for the overall political discourse and partisanship. They aren’t the only factor, and maybe not even the most important, but the views and tones of their guests in some way set the tone and context for political discourse for the country at large.

        To that end, the networks should consider it their duty to the country to not bring on and legitinize extremist voices on either side.

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, the networks are complicit. Consider how much free coverage they’ve given Drumpf all the while talking about how bad he would be for America. Think about that. When you ignore a bully, it takes away some of the power; instead, the media has played him for network ratings. No passes….complicity comes in many forms – lock-step members of Congress, voters returning the sob’s that have been dissing them all along, “good” Republicans who have looked the other way when our President has been insulted, and our hard working citizens have been crushed by debt…..yeah, lots of blame to go around, and the media deserves theirs.

      • I’ve seen some people refer to Ladd as a RINO and a cuck. That said, those same people were busy salivating over what a tough guy Trump was and how he would be like Putin for America, so their judgement may not be one hundred percent gospel.

        Chris, where I come from we say that you’re known by the quality of your enemies. By that metric you come out looking extremely respectable.

      • Griffin says:

        I mean It’s well-known that Cuck Ladd supports cultural Marxism and white genocide. /s

        In all l seriousess though as weird as the Alt-right already was I didn’t think they’d get so weird as to bring back something like the word “cuck” as a go-to insult. It’s so bizarre as it’s either using some relatively rare fetish and/or 18th century word as a favorite insult. I know it has racist overtones in it as well but I still don’t know whether to act offended or just be confused.

        I’d be very curious to see the Alt-Right types tested for personality disorders and see what they are most prone to. I think narcissism and psychopathy would be the two most common.

      • The recent reappearance of the word “cuck” comes from interracial fetish pornography, of all places. This tells you a lot about where it came from, too.

      • flypusher says:

        “The recent reappearance of the word “cuck” comes from interracial fetish pornography, of all places. This tells you a lot about where it came from, too.”

        Yes, from the White men who are prone to view women as objects and possessions and spoils of conquest, and have some major insecurity issues concerning Black men. The people who throw this word at Chris and others like him are knuckle-dragging throwback troglodytes who civilized people have every right to shun. If they don’t like you, you’re probably doing something right.

  9. Rob Ambrose says:

    Man, this is getting crazy. Lewandowski manhandles someone else, gets caught red handed, and the campaign STILL releases demonstrably false statements. They don’t even care about the APPEARANCE of truth because they know their supporters don’t care.

    And the violence. Trump says his rallies are “love fests”? Listen to the crowd go nuts over another sucker punch incident. This one looks like the guy might actually have gotten hurt, he was really squared up.

    Of course, since the attacker was black (?) I’m sure we’ll hear Trump disavow it today sometime.

    Man, this guy needs to go.

    http://gawker.com/video-appears-to-show-trump-manager-corey-lewandowski-y-1766018666

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I read a good comment somewhere, that Trump supporters don’t love him because of what he can do for them. They love him because they think he can hurt those they hate.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      “It’s tough to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

      Or in Trump’s case…

      “It’s tough to get a man to put a stop to something when his success depends on his not giving a f*** about it.”

  10. flypusher says:

    Just saw McConnell on MTP. My jaw is still on the floor from this statement “It would be hard to find someone more liberal than Merrick Garland.”

    Whiskey
    Tango
    Foxtrot

    So either McConnell has lost all touch with reality, or he thinks we have. The segment also had an interview with Reid, and touched on the political jitterbug both parties have danced over judicial nominations throughout the years. Here’s the cure for all that crap, a new rule, via Constitutional Amendment if possible, that once a judicial or Cabinet nomination is made by the President the Senate has a set amount of time to review it and vote yea or nay. Failure to do so results in an automatic nomination. The reasonable amount of time is up for debate: 90 days? 120 days? Also you could consider expanding this to other appointments. I can’t blame to Founders for not anticipating all this childish obstruction, but we can correct this, in a manner that is fair and bipartisan.

    Do I expect this to happen any time soon? No, but it’s an idea whose time has come.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      I don’t agree with the part about automatic appointment if the Senate doesn’t act within the indicated time frame. This could just as easily lead to intentional obstruction if someone within the Senate likes the nominee and sees this as the only way to get their preferred nominee appointed — just sit on their hands, allow the clock to run out, and eventually their nominee will be appointed by default. I would rather see someone NOT appointed due to obstruction than appointed by default.

      • flypusher says:

        Then we disagree. I’d rather side with people getting the appointment so they could get on with doing the country’s business. If you killed the filibuster for appointments, a minority couldn’t get someone approved by default. A majority that approved wouldn’t likely go that route; they’d hold a vote.

        An interesting side note on this squabble, Grassley could be the weak link in the chain of obstruction. He’s up for reelection, and if enough Iowa voters express disapproval of the refusal to hold a hearing, he could flip. McConnell shouldn’t be asking his Senators to go on a political suicide mission. I’d love to be the fly on the wall during some of those private GOP Senate meetings. There’s got to be quite a few of them who can’t be happy with these marching orders.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I agree Tutta. I don’t think there’s a need to have an automatic appointment.

        Why not just set a date for the vote (say, 90 days from the nominatiin) and then just have it? If the candidate gets the 51 votes, they’re in. If not, they aren’t.

        Dint even give the Senate the option of not holding the vote.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I think Judge Garland will eventually be appointed. Just because it’s not happening now doesn’t mean it won’t happen, and I see no reason to rush matters. We need to remain calm and not allow this whole obstructionist thing to cloud our judgment. To push the Senate into taking a vote ASAP would probably just result in a formal rejection of Garland. Do we want that to happen? I suggest we be patient, and if the Democrats win the presidency, the Senate, as they have hinted, will probably move to approve Garland, whose appointment to them would be preferable to ending up with a true liberal on the Court. If the Republicans win the presidency in the form of Trump, or in the form of an establishment figure waiting in the wings to seize the nomination at the convention, I expect that person to nominate a centrist, maybe even Garland himself.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Actually, Rob, appointment requires approval by 2/3 of the Senate.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Actually, I meant to say Trump or a GOP establishment figure would nominate someone who is just right of center.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Ah, my mistake Tutta.

        To you other point though, I don’t see any reason to confirm Garland (from the Dem perspective) if a Dem wins the election.

        I’m more then happy to confirm him NOW as a compromise choice. Neither side will be totally happy, but it’s a decent risk/reward scenario BEFORE the election given the uncertainty. But why would the Dems play along with the GOP and let them play with house money? Why let them have it both ways and let them confirm the compromise candidate when there is no longer any reason to compromise?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Fly, if we demand a vote, just in the name of getting on with the country’s business, we could still end up with rejection after rejection of every judge nominated. You say you are willing to accept either a yea or nay outcome, but after a string of nay outcomes, you will call that obstructionist as well.

        I think the current situation is not a rejection of Judge Garland — it’s simply a postponement, a deferred approval. If McConnell and the Senate really wanted to do away with Garland, they would call a vote now and reject him. I think we should bide our time

      • 1mime says:

        The current action of McConnell and the rest of the GOPe, is a rejection alright – of Obama, not Garland. Be clear that the first reason for refusing to hold a hearing is because Repubs don’t want to “look bad” for voting down a sterling nominee. The second is that the GOPe is planning to win the 2016 election and place another Scalia on the bench. It’s all part of the continual plan of obstruction that McConnell and his core group of conservatives agreed upon in their meeting the night before Obama addressed Congress in his Inaugural address.

        This is one mean-spirited, power-focused, narrow-minded group of elected officials who revel in putting party before country.

      • 1mime says:

        What is unreasonable about expecting the country’s business to be taken care of in a timely, appropriate manner? Forcing the vote will tell the electorate lots of things about conservatives. Things they’d really rather avoid until “after” the election….don’t want to look any worse than they already do, right? I mean, a base can only take so much distortion then they might start demanding answers. The process is politically flawed. We have courts all over this nation as well as departments that are operating terribly short-handed due to the nomination process. A major area close to home are the judges who preside over immigration courts. People are held for years just to wait for a hearing. That, to me, is “cruel and unusual treatment under the law.” And, it’s deliberate. Nope, I have to go with Fly here. What we have has been politically hijacked. It’s time to change the rules so our system of justice can function for “ALL” the people. A nation that isn’t “allowed” to function is a nation whose democracy is endangered. Change it.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        That’s okay, Rob. I know you’re from Canada.

      • flypusher says:

        “Fly, if we demand a vote, just in the name of getting on with the country’s business, we could still end up with rejection after rejection of every judge nominated. You say you are willing to accept either a yea or nay outcome, but after a string of nay outcomes, you will call that obstructionist as well.”

        I can’t agree with that either, because doing nothing is the lazy way out. Holding hearings and voting is work. Someone who kept gumming up the works would eventually face political consequences. A President making too politically extreme picks would have to look at more moderate candidates if s/he wanted to get someone in the office, Senators who held things up too much could get political payback in the future from colleagues (sorry, that committee is filled). The problem that it’s too damn easy to obstruct-look at how they’ve watered down the filibuster rules. I think you should literally have to keep it going by standing there and speaking, no breaks, although you can tag-team if you can muster up allies. But for judicial appointments I’m all for a majority vote ending a filibuster.

      • flypusher says:

        “To you other point though, I don’t see any reason to confirm Garland (from the Dem perspective) if a Dem wins the election.”

        I do. The reason is doing the right thing. Garland is qualified, and he is making a sacrifice here. Obama owes him some loyalty. As disrespectful as the GOP obstructionists are being in denying a hearing and a vote (and they can say all they want that it’s not personal, but their actions, or rather, inactions, contradict them), but Obama withdrawing that nomination would be worse. Yes, it is an honor to be nominated, but Garland is also doing Obama a favor here too. Should HRC win, she could also take the high road with this. She’ll have a chance to make her own SCOTUS picks. Plus if she got a Dem Senate, this SCOTUS fight would be a contributing factor. She would owe him too.

        Granted, I might be getting suckered by an Oscar-worthy acting performance, but I was quite touched by Garland’s emotions during his press conference. He has served America well, and he deserves an honest shot at the SCOTUS. I fully understand all Obama’s political reasons for nominating him, but I really hope the President continues to stand by him, no matter how the politics play out. Because that is what an honorable person would do.

      • johngalt says:

        Tutt, I don’t think I agree with Fly’s suggestion, but the counter to your point that this is just a postponement is that this would be an unprecedented postponement. The longest time ever from nomination to confirmation is 120-odd days. To wait for the next president would be three times this, and that doesn’t even include the vetting and hearings for whomever the next president nominates. The SCOTUS will go the better part of two terms without a full bench. That seems like more than just a mere deferral.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Fly, I agree with you that constituents who want Garland at least vetted and perhaps even confirmed should write to their senators expressing their views, and that senators should suffer the political consequences of not following the wishes of their constituents. That is the way to go about it. I am still opposed to the idea of a constitutional amendment allowing for the automatic appointment of a nominee if the Senate does not act within the indicated time frame.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Fly, that comment from McCibnel shows me that he’s receiving a lot of pressure and push back from the Republican side and he’s getting increasingly desperate to try to justify his move.

      Turtles got himself into this predicament with an unforced error the day Scalia died. If he suffers a humiliating defeat (I.e. Grassley deciding to hold hearings) he has no one to blame but himself.

    • flypusher says:

      Here’s a very interesting aspect of this whole situation to me. Obama is trolling the GOP hard here, in a very politically astute and masterful way. Yet he is also nominating someone who is very qualified and deserving, and showing that he has a grip on reality, i.e., he’s not picking the libbiest Lib who ever libbed. Basically he’s trolling the GOP by doing the right thing. If you can be trolled by someone doing the right thing, you are long overdue for some major soul-searching and reexamination of your values.

      /yes, I’m making an assumption about souls here

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Its funny and shows the dysfunction of the current government when Obama is accused of being too political by nominating someone so moderate.

        Its like they’re like “hey, that’s unfair pal. You’re SUPPOSED to nominate bleedng heart liberal so our obstructionism doesn’t look so obvious.”

      • 1mime says:

        I never had any doubt and still don’t, that Obama would nominate anyone who wouldn’t be an outstanding jurist. It would have been real easy for him to nominate a far left jurist and appease his base, but, he has too much respect for the importance of the SC to play games. I really believe he has made his first choice nomination, not a politically driven one. That playing fair AND putting a nominee up who is beyond reproach is now being questioned by the right is just more of the same. Personally, as long as a SC nominee’s record is one of fairness and competence, I have no problem at all with a centrist like Garland. I trust O on this and lord knows Garland’s record is impeccable. That’s not good enough anymore?

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      I think a time limit for saying yes or no to a nominee, all nominees, is a good idea.

      120 days seems too long to me. Other (parliamentary) countries get a whole new government up and running in that amount of time.

      • 1mime says:

        While we’re at it, let’s re-visit term limits for the suckers. This has got to stop. I know, the voters should determine who holds office, but with gerrymandering in combination with C.U., the deck is stacked in the House and for state level offices. Maybe we need a whole-sale rework of the entire process. Want smaller government? I want fairer, smarter government. Get these yahoos outta there.

      • flypusher says:

        I’d be perfectly happy with 60-but my main point is let’s make these people earn their pay and our votes. I’m betting Madison et al didn’t factor in a bunch of petulant children holding a Senate majority, or they might have put such a rule in. Right now obstruction is a default state and too easy. I don’t want the other extreme, which would be a rubber stamp of every nomination. We need the middle ground- yes you can obstruct, but it’s going to require more effort and political capital on your part. You’ll have to adult-up and own your “no” votes. No more lazy ways out.

      • 1mime says:

        It would be interesting to have a non-partisan think tank explore a total revamp of rules pertaining to government operation. How many of the changes discussed here would be procedural vs require constitutional change? Frankly, if the changes were recommended by a trusted (?) group, clearly explained to the public at large, I think most people would support reasonable changes given the absolute total government dysfunction that exists under the current system.

        All these calls for simplifying the tax code? How about simplifying government? And, oh, by the way, making government by the people and for the people vs by the party and for the party.

      • 1mime says:

        Damn straight!

    • 1mime says:

      From the website, scotusblog.com, comes this “what if” scenario for all the various possibilities for Garland’s hearing and potential confirmation (or not) by a SC independent contract reporter and scholar, Lyle Denniston. It all depends upon…..who wins what….

      Denniston “has been covering the Supreme Court for fifty-eight years. In that time, he has covered one-quarter of all of the Justices ever to sit, and he has reported on the entire careers on the bench of ten of the Justices. He has been a journalist of the law for sixty-eight years, beginning that career at the Otoe County Courthouse in Nebraska City, Nebraska, in the fall of 1948. He is not an attorney. He also writes for his eponymous blog, Lyle Denniston Law News, and as the constitutional literacy adviser for the National Constitution Center’s blog, Constitution Daily.”

      http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/03/judge-garland-and-the-senate-if-not-now-maybe-later/#more-240057

    • WX Wall says:

      I read a suggestion somewhere that if Republicans think the “people” should have a chance to vote next year before Obama nominates another judge, the senators should be held to the same standard. ie Any senator up for reelection this year should not get a say. Given there are 24 Republicans and only 10 Democrats up for reelection this year, any nomination would sail through…

  11. tuttabellamia says:

    I was born in the mid 1960s, and my mom always had me in cloth diapers because she didn’t want me to grow up bow-legged. She was of an older generation, born in the early 1930s, and hailed from a small-town in Mexico that didn’t have all the amenities, so she was used to hand-washing clothes and hanging them to dry on the clothes lines, so it was no big deal for her. She even made her sanitary napkins out of cloth.

    I, of course, grew up in a different time and environment, and I have no kids, so when my mom was elderly and in diapers, I chose the disposable type for her. 🙂

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Speaking of being born in the mid 1960s . . . I will be turning 50 sometime in the near future. I’m curious to know how other people here have celebrated that milestone in their own lives.

      • 1mime says:

        Congratulations and Happy Birthday in advance, Tutta! My 50s and 60s were terrific, but I can’t remember “what” I did to celebrate my 50th birthday. Mid life is a great time to live – usually we are more settled in our lives and at peace with ourselves. Carpe Diem!

      • Stephen says:

        I ran five miles on my 50th bithday.

      • MassDem says:

        My family did a big party for me when I turned 40, so when I turned 50 I just quietly gave thanks for having made it through another year.

      • On my 40th birthday, I was shooting a scene for my first independent film. GREAT way to celebrate!

      • 1mime says:

        I enjoyed reading your well-written review of Lifer’s “Politics of Crazy”. It’s good to get his message out there beyond those who already follow him.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Thanks, everyone, for your input. On my 50th birthday I am considering drawing up a list of intellectual endeavors that I want to pursue — books to read, languages to master, courses to take — a sort of bucket list — while my mind is still sharp.

        Mime, you’re an inspiration in this respect. If your example is any indication, then my mind has over 20 good years still left.

      • 1mime says:

        Make that 22 good years left (I’m 72) ! Without knowing your exact date, there is a great downtown event you could backdrop your big day, the Houston Art Car Parade, so much fun! This year it is on April 9th.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, the list I plan to draw up will also involve crossing out things I’ve decided I will never do. It helps to narrow things down, to make the list more realistic and more manageable, especially knowing that I may have only a limited amount of time while my mind is still sharp.

      • 1mime says:

        Good luck with that, Tutta. While it is worthwhile to plan how to spend one’s life, “stuff” happens. But, it’s good that you are focused on what is the highest and best use of your time on earth. Children are usually the great “leveler” in a woman’s life….they can be an humbling counter force. Still, too many of us fail to prioritize how we invest the time we are given, so “kudos” to you for recognizing this and acting on it.

  12. Resident Alien says:

    Having taught at the university level in the US and Canada, I think that one problem more apparent in the US is that as universities receive less public funding, they raise tuition costs. As a result, students don’t see going to college as a privilege, but a product that they’ve paid for. I’ve had students contest a grade with the “I paid for that course” argument. This was at a public university. At a private college, where tuition costs are 2-3x higher, the pressure to keep you students/customers happy can have very negative consequences on fair grading. When I was a teaching assistant in the University of California system during the 1990s, the professors saw the large introductory courses as an opportunity to weed out students unable or unwilling to put in the work needed to pass the course. Today, you get questioned if too many of your students get a low grade in a course that you teach (My experience in the Cal State system as of 10 years ago).

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      One way we might turn that around is to have higher education being much more highly integrated with real world experience, having students spend more of their time experiencing precisely what it is they’re studying for rather than keeping them cooped up in a classroom. Frankly, I think this whole idea of grading a student’s performance on a scale is ridiculously outdated and needs to be scrapped in its entirety.

      • 1mime says:

        Basically, you’re right, but this exposure to real world occupations needs to start in middle school – even high school is late as curricula has to be planned in advance. Many middle schools are incorporation career days throughout the school year, inviting in business people from all walks of life to meet and speak with students directly. Once they get into high school, they would at least have a focus.

        Unions have recognized the value of apprenticeship decades ago. Real world training under experienced tradesmen. Internships are offered by businesses to college students but, in my opinion, exposure should be direct participation and credit should be accorded for the time. It’s done that way in teaching, and though that isn’t always a predictor of a good teacher, at least students get a real life experience.

        There will always be a need to “score” student performance. It will probably be more and more computer driven but it would be beneficial to have a human component as well. In real life, you either can “cut the job” or you’re out, though we all know that, too, is not always easy to do. It’s an imperfect system. Once robots perform many jobs for humans, we will have a fail-proof system for doing work, n’est pas? Let those pokey old humans make all the mistakes….we bots will do the job perfectly every time……

  13. 1mime says:

    And, now, for a little weekend Drumpf humor, from my gal, Gail Collins with the NYT:

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/03/17/opinion/take-the-trump-quiz.html?src=me

  14. johngalt says:

    A comment on the for-profit university link, which is a bit misleading because the author’s institution is a public university in Canada, albeit a low tier one. Being an academic (a very different sort than this writer), I’m interested in the overall health of higher education and some valid points are raised here about college costs (multiply everything he says about Canada several fold given the much lower state support for universities in the US). Tuition has risen dramatically and it is largely not because of a increase in the cost of instruction. It has been a massive increase in administration and ancillary services. There is little check on this. I’ve weaseled my way on to a couple of committees at my (health) university expressly for the purpose of asking why we need rule X or new compliance training y. It is a constant battle. Another legitimate concern is the temporary instructor, employed at-will to teach low level classes. This is not a way to inspire success on either side of the equation.

    Don’t get me started on university PR departments – they’re bear a lot of blame for public distrust in science today by over inflating and overinterpretting important if incremental studies from their faculty.

    But this academic is largely disaffected because he has exactly the same unrealistic expectations he thinks his students have. He is expecting self-motivated scholars at the University of Prince Edward Island. News flash: the motivated ones got off PEI and are in Toronto or Montreal. For the rest of them, it is your job to inspire them. That’s what a professor is supposed to do. You’re surprised they have a hard time relating to the ancient Greeks? Really? You’re so out of touch that (a) you’re teaching from 1984 in 2016 and are not aware that your students are savvy enough to realize that Amazon will sell it for half what the formerly monopolistic campus bookstore does? You’re illustrating significant concepts using interviews with a 90 year old geezer whose primary claim to fame (other than incestuous pedophilia) is making movies that 10% of the population find hysterical and the rest of us (who haven’t lived in Manhattan), don’t understand.

    Dude, if you want to know what’s wrong in your classroom, look in the mirror.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      JG,

      You use the term ‘lower tier’. UH has been claiming ‘tier one’ status as if it has had it for decades and now finally is recognized.

      Is there a scorecard somewhere? What are the criteria for different levels of tier-ness?

      Personally, I think academics have many competing pressures. Many deserve sympathy.

      Drawn perhaps to academia through a love of deep study, as professors they find themselves required to become marketers for their programs.

      • 1mime says:

        I think our states have a responsibility as well, Bobo. Too many states are cutting funding for universities other than “top tier” ones which already limit entrance. America has outstanding higher ed institutions, the problem is access and cost and for the poor student, lack of preparation and coordination for critical scholarship and grants. Until our country does more than pay lip service to the value of education, pre-K through higher ed or specialized skills training (which gets really short shrift), we can expect more mendacity and less quality except for the few institutions whose endowments or personal commitment set them apart.

        Fundamentally, quality learning in post high school graduation, begins at pre-k and up. It’s pretty hard for teachers to help a student who is woefully under or ill prepared to learn. Yet, we expect it of them and criticize them. Quality assessment is important but if we are going to do so, we need to do more to help our instructional staff AND parents and students need to assume personal responsibility as well. One without the other is guaranteed to fail.

      • johngalt says:

        Bobo, “Tier 1” is a flexible designation. It is used by the Carnegie Foundation to identify the most prominent research universities and its criteria are research expenditures (I think the threshold is $100 million annually) and the number and size of the doctoral programs. You can see this has little to do with undergraduate education, per se, but the scholarship of the university. Fortunately this often (but not always) goes hand in hand. UH has made the cut for the Carnegie Foundation. It’s not clear if it really consistently meets these goals.

        Another designation is membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU), which includes only 63 universities in the U.S. and Canada. In Texas, only UT-Austin, A&M, and Rice are members.

        Beyond this, my graduate admissions office gave me a tiered list of undergraduate schools as a way to help evaluate the credentials of applicants. I think this came from the Princeton Review (maybe??) and they were categorized as “most competitive”, “highly competitive”, and all the way down to some euphemism like “recognized.” This was based on admissions rates and standardized test scores of admitted students. An imperfect measure, but a decent approximation of the caliber of the student body on average.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        ^ Thanks!

      • 1mime says:

        Much of the discussion has centered upon higher ed, but it’s important to understand the link between elementary ed outcomes and how this impacts not only higher ed but our greater economy. The focus is generally on college bound kids, but what of the societal cost of those who either drop out or exit high school under-prepared to participate as productive citizens?

        http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/HoustonChronicle/LandingPage/LandingPage.aspx?href=SEhDLzIwMTYvMDMvMjA.&pageno=NzQ.&entity=QXIwNzQwMQ..&view=ZW50aXR5

    • MassDem says:

      The author of this piece was complaining about problems that have existed for time immemorial. Disengaged students? Grade inflation? The best and brightest faculty not teaching the undergrads?

      Are you kidding me?

      I can’t speak for the liberal arts, since most of my courses were in STEM subjects (formally called science & math). During my undergrad days at Big Red 30 years ago, I can still remember an early-morning lecture from my Microbiology professor on how much of our tuition money we were throwing away every time we didn’t show up for class (and this was back when college tuition was a mere $5200 for the year). As for grade inflation, the most deceptive assessment of learning is “grading on a curve”, which was pretty much the sine qua non of collegiate grading systems back in the day: if you gave an exam where the mean score was 40%, those were your C students (B with grade inflation); in other words, students passed their classes without having demonstrated learning of most of the course material. This explains how I managed to get through a year of P-Chem 😉 Finally, at the big research universities, undergraduate teaching has always been regarded as a second-tier activity, behind doing the research that brings in the grant $$$. In large lecture courses in my day, assistant and associate professors would do their star turn on the stage, leaving disgruntled (or non-English-speaking) graduate students to run the recitations and labs. Now universities have figured out that they can use and discard cheap adjunct faculty for the lecture part, which sucks for them, but is really no surprise since your top-tier faculty aren’t engaging with the undergrads anyway for the most part.

      To quote the Talking Heads, “Same as it ever was….same as it ever was…same as it ever was…same as it ever was….”

      I got news for the college professors among us–do you know the absolutely WORST way to teach someone anything? Direct instruction, aka lectures, aka the “sage on the stage”. You can be entertaining enough to keep your students in class and awake, but when it comes to long-term retention of knowledge (beyond passing a test), direct instruction yields minimum benefits if it isn’t coupled with other pedagogical methods. That’s why DI is only one of the many and varied K-12 teaching methods in use today. Hence innovations like the flipped classroom, which if done right is an improvement on traditional methods.
      Lecturing is easy; teaching is hard.

      http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/early-childhood-education/

      http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/09/the-post-lecture-classroom-how-will-students-fare/279663/

      • 1mime says:

        MassDem, thanks for that excellent link. Though I never taught in a traditional sense (I went in for special assignments), I was intensely interested and involved in public education (pre-k/grad). Way back then (the 70s-80s) the “best”, most creative teachers were already grouping kids and using some of the basics of engagement at the elementary level but few incorporated this method in the high school setting or in college. Lecture was “it”, and you either had a prof who interested you or you got it on your own.

        The concept of a “flipped” learning process (as opposed to “teaching method”) is marvelous. It gives a student responsibility for preparation and it allows the teacher to engage them specifically in class – setting up a continual evaluation of what the student is learning. Most people I know feel their formative years in school were wasted. Mine weren’tt but I was in a unique public elementary setting – a college “lab” school, where master teachers apprenticed/guided student teachers in the craft of teaching. This resulted in more innovation, smaller classes, and a higher instructional quality. Flipped classes were not on anyone’s radar then, but master teaching was prevalent and it made a difference – both instructionally and in student engagement and consequently, learning. My high school years were similarly fine because of the quality of the teachers and because doing well academically was desirable. It meant something to the students, their teachers and their families.

        Loved the article and will share it with some old public ed advocate buddies. Thanks!

      • johngalt says:

        Exactly, MassDem. His complaints about this are nothing new. I bet you could have found more than a few Yale profs in the 1950s and ’60s (or the 1850s) complaining about how these scions of wealthy families just needed a gentleman’s degree before joining the family’s finance house.

        I assume that you mean the Big Red in Ithaca. If so, you and my wife share an alma mater and possible a major if you spent a fair amount of time in micro classes, though perhaps just a couple of years apart.

      • MassDem says:

        High above Cayuga’s waters…those were the days.

        Biochem here, meaning that we made up the low end of the curve in all of the Chemistry classes we had to take. No kidding, our professors used to joke about it after every exam.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        MassDem – Let me derail this with a bit of a mini-rant for a pet-peeve about grading on the curve compared to pre-set standards (e.g., A = 90%).

        One of the most enjoyable parts of my job (yep, I’m a big ol’ geek) is that I get to spend time making, analyzing, and researching tests.

        Having pre-set standards for passing/failing or for grades only makes sense if the people making the tests are exceptionally good at making tests. You may not be shocked to learn that education majors at most institutions are woefully under-prepared to make good tests.

        One can make a test with items so hard that no one gets 90% correct, and one can make a test so easy that almost everyone gets 90% correct.

        For instance, it is a royal pain in the butt when a long-standing union contract in some city says that an 85% must be the passing score on whatever test is given for hiring or promotion. It means that folks have to agonize over writing test items that overall target a very specific point that is completely arbitrary and meaningless. If I have a whole bunch of hard items, the cutscore should be less than 85%. If I have a whole bunch of easy items, it should be higher than 85%. It is much better to write the test content to match the content and complexity of the material covered, evaluate those items carefully, and then set the cutscore based on those analyses building up from the item level.

        Performance standards on a tests should be based on the relative difficulty level of the items and the expectations of mastery of the subject matter. Ideally, the test items are evaluated and individual item difficulty levels are established based on the expectations of performance for that particular test item.

        Want to guess what percentage of educational test designers have ever looked at the item-level statistics of their tests?

        There is a little bit of research on this, and given the really poor design of most tests (from elementary school to graduate school to home-made employment tests), grading on the curve is probably a better representation of mastery of the material than are pre-set standards.

        Now, this also means that when the mean score on the test is an 88%, those folks scoring 88% are getting a C, and you can imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth that occur with that.

      • 1mime says:

        It’s interesting to think about how the design and quality of tests can be used to measure potential in the job arena as most of the emphasis is testing within educational institutions. Indeed, what has this college graduate “learned”, and, how can we measure it as a predictor of their success in a given job? A valid criticism in education today is that the process doesn’t encourage creative thinking – IOW, application of what one has “learned” to actual experience. The debate about basic skills assessment would change if the focus shifted from measuring minimal performance to a demonstration of what has been learned.

        Speaking of the latter, I will never forget a wicked smart accounting prof in university. She had the process, DOWN. Of course this was principally math-based testing but the way she gave the tests kept you working. Each test built upon presumed mastery of prior instruction. You either did well or terrible in this lady’s class, there was no in between. Since she was the Department head, there was also no appeal. The coup de gras was her grading scale. Everyone started the class with the same total number of total points. You could only “lose” points through the testing process. She did utilize a “curve” but it was high, and was predicated as much on her expectations than by class performance. I never worked so hard in my life for a grade, and, yes, I learned as well.

      • johngalt says:

        Ha, MassDem – I agree about the chem/biochem split (I was a biochem major). Chemistry is all about how reactions are so energetically disfavored that they can never happen. Biochemistry laughs and says, yes, that’s true, but this reaction happens millions of times every second in every living cell. It gives us a fluid sense of what is possible that annoys the heck out of the chemists.

        I’m sure you’ve heard of and probably read the biography of Barbara McClintock called “A Feeling for the Organism”. A fantastic title that expresses the intuition needed to be a great biologist, which she was most certainly one of the best ever. Biology is less about the rules of chemistry and physics than it is about the ways that living organisms have figured out how to flaunt them. That’s what I love about it.

        For others, McClintock was a giant of science, despite being constantly marginalized for her gender – a story in that book tells of her trying in Ithaca to have a pair of trousers made for her to work in the cornfields (she studied maize) and being refused as being improper, until she told a tailor they were for her husband, who was “slight of build” (she never married). And that was a minor league inconvenience compared to her professional challenges. Yet her genius was so profound that she was the first female president of the Genetics Society of America and the third woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She is the only woman to have been awarded an unshared Nobel Prize. A worthwhile read for anyone.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        …called “A Feeling for the Organism”.

        Man, my brain read that line a little too fast and excluded a couple letter in the last word…my version might have been a more interesting book

      • 1mime says:

        A funny story regarding undergrads teaching freshmen college students – our daughter said she knew from day one as a freshman newbie, that she was going to have trouble in one of her classes. First, the “teacher” looked younger than she did, and second, when he started writing the assignment on the board, he wrote from right to left. It went downhill from there.

      • johngalt says:

        Ha, Homer. Type your version of the title into Google and see what that comes up with.

      • MassDem says:

        JG–Having seen firsthand how women are still subject to unwelcome comments and belittling even now in science (usually by older tenured male professors), I am in awe of pioneers like Barbara McClintock, and greatly enjoyed reading “A Feeling for the Organism” many years ago. My mentor had been friendly with one of McClintock’s few graduate students–she had heard some some amusing stories of how things got somewhat heated around the lab, what with inkwells being thrown during arguments between student and advisor. I guess you had to be a strong personality to survive and flourish back then!

      • MassDem says:

        Homer, I completely and wholeheartedly agree that tests are incredibly hard to design. I had a whole course on designing assessments that I took for my M.Ed. I approach this problem from a K-12 perspective now, so the purpose of summative assessments are not to rank students but to see if the students can demonstrate mastery of whatever state standards you are teaching them. So if everyone gets a B, that is okay–everyone has met the standard. Summative assessments should be rigorous enough so that you can confirm that your students have met the standard, with a few more difficult questions on there to identify your advanced students. There is a nascent movement in K-12 education toward standards-based grading, where students are graded on progress toward meeting a standard. I favor this system personally, as it is a more meaningful reflection of a student’s academic progress than the old A, B, C, D, F system.

        http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/oct08/vol66/num02/Seven_Reasons_for_Standards-Based_Grading.aspx

        Speaking of tests, I’m taking my High School Math MTEL (teacher’s test) this Wednesday, and instead of brushing up on my calculus, I’ve been spending much enjoyable time here. Back to work!

        But at least I can console myself that if I don’t pass this time around, it was the fault of those poorly designed test items, and not that I was goofing off, yeah.

  15. duncancairncross says:

    Hi Guys
    Apparently “Swarm Troopers” is free today and tomorrow

    I thought it was a very interesting book – excellent in fact – but I had to buy my copy!

    http://us12.campaign-archive2.com/?u=ebed4915d53115db2b1ce525c&id=19bd0962aa&e=910bf92178

  16. flypusher says:

    Well, well, lookee here, the first crack in tne wall of GOP childish obstructionism. It’s happening faster than I thought it would:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mark-kirk-supreme-court-nominee_us_56ec29e8e4b084c672201134

    You are 100% correct Senator Kirk, the GOP should “man up” and have a hearing and an up or down vote. If you had said that right after that idiot McConnell declared no hearing, I’d consider that to be actual political courage. But doing the right thing late for some self-serving reasons? I’ll take what I can get. Others will follow.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Fly I think we can test assured that Sen Kirk did not suddenly have a change of heart after reading the Constitution himself.

      His office must be getting a lot of calls complaining about the GOP obstructionism. That’s great news

  17. Griffin says:

    While it looks like far more Republican pundits and even politicians are going to line-up behind Trump than those who will refuse David Brooks, to his credit, is drawing a line in the sand and saying he will never support Trump and Brooks admits that he misunderstood the GOP base.

    “Moreover, many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/18/opinion/no-not-trump-not-ever.html

    I also saw an Illinios Republican Congressman on CNN say he might leave the ballot blank if it’s Trump vs Hillary. That was before Super Tuesday though, that’s going to be a harder position to hold as Trump almost certainly takes the nomination and the Party will be trying to get Republican politicians to endorse him.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      This is fascinating to me, and you’re hearing aseveral of these uktra establishment GOP’ers appear to be genuinely surprised at the raw bigotry and anger of the base. This whole time, I thought they were being disingenuous in their denials that the GOP was the party of southern racists.

      Could they have really been this out of touch the whole time?

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, the GOPe has not cared about this class of their base. Their entire focus has been on their donor base. So, yes, they have been this out of touch the whole time, and, from what I am witnessing, still are. If you notice, the party continues to reach out to their donors to help them “manage” the Drumpf problem….whether it’s Romney, Rubio (that went well), or their billionaire list. If you examine the GOP budget, there has been no adjustment that speaks to reaching out to the working class GOP base. Rather, there are the never-ending proposals to cut taxes for the wealthy while stripping benefits for the lower income classes.

        Show me the money and I might have more confidence in their “genuine” interest in the working class. “Might” is operative here because we all know that addressing fundamental income issues is a long-range commitment, not a one election ploy.

        Color me Cynical.

    • flypusher says:

      “Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.

      Trump is perhaps the most dishonest person to run for high office in our lifetimes. All politicians stretch the truth, but Trump has a steady obliviousness to accuracy.”

      I have your solution. First, vote for the Dem candidate, even if you must hold your nose. It’s most likely HRC, who should be more palatable to you than Bernie. Second, recognize that you are making a strategic retreat. You’re conceding the Presidency for at least 4 years. You may also concede the Senate too. Consider it your payment for being saved from Trump. Third, start working on policies that actually do something to help these economically displaced people. Here’s a hint- more trickle down ain’t it!

      • 1mime says:

        We’ll have to watch Mr. Brooks columns closely to see how he relates to the rest of the campaign – if he truly is remorseful about not paying attention….At least he admitted he was wrong and that he needed to do a better job. Charles Krauthammer is still in denial. In his column on the violence ensuing from Drumpf’s rallys, he didn’t blame Drumpf, he attributed all blame to left liberal troublemakers! They go to conservative events and disrupt things. Talk about someone who is in la la land….

    • 1mime says:

      Mr. Romney has endorsed Ted Cruz. Ironic, isn’t it, that Cruz will be the new establishment figure? The GOPe needs someone they can count on….a real party man….one who can recite Seuss AND call the Republican Senate leader a liar all on the same Senate floor….talented person, that Cruz……He’s simply world’s better than Drumpf……….

  18. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Cook Political Report just came out with a report showing ten House districts being more favorable to Democrats heading into 2016. A sign of things to come?

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/house-races/273565-analysts-new-house-rankings-favor-dems-in-10-races

    • Griffin says:

      It was supposed to be nearly impossible for the Democrats to take back the House in 2016. Trump being the nominee is the only thing that could make it possible, but it will still be very difficult to do. I wouldn’t put money on it.

    • 1mime says:

      I would be happy if we picked up enough Dem seats to make the legislative process competitive. You can bet the GOPe is going to do everything it can to hold the House and protect the SEnate.

      If you want to watch a critically important race, it’s Dem. Patrick Murphy’s run for Rubio’s senate seat. THAT is one seat the GOP definitely do not want to lose. Target your efforts for the races that can truly make a difference. Duckworth is another seat worth watching and supporting. Dems have a real shot in the Senate but we have to help them make it happen.

  19. unarmedandunafraid says:

    The conservative movement turns cannibalistic. This knee-jerking, bleeding-heart feels sorry for those being left behind. Especially after giving up so much for the conservative movement whose elites are moving ..uhm.. on.

    Found this link under Salon’s very interesting article “This is why Donald Trump’s winning”.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/432876/donald-trump-white-working-class-dysfunction-real-opportunity-needed-not-trump

    • Creigh says:

      You don’t need Trump! Grab those bootstraps, slackers!

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “All you need is to cut taxes on us rich fellas a liiiiiiitle more, and I’m sure the jobs will just start flowin'”

    • WX Wall says:

      Holy cow! And I thought the democrats treated their base badly…

      He’s naive to think economics only satisfies wants, but doesn’t define them. Otherwise the field of marketing wouldn’t exist. Also, he’s naive in assuming economics had nothing to do with the breakdown of social structures. He just has to read the link about how the cost of diapers leads to social consequences in child rearing.

      I realize Karl Marx is a bogeyman in America, (and i agree communism was an utter disaster) but his fundamental premise that economics is politics by other means is absolutely spot on.

      The author is disingenuous when he neglects the economic changes and pressures that lead to the social ills he decries (e.g. levels of divorce decrease as household income rises). But of course that neglect is what allows him to continue with his favored economic policies even as they decimate his own supporters.

  20. flypusher says:

    The obstacles to doing a 3rd party/ Indy end run around you-know-who:

    http://www.vox.com/2016/3/18/11261778/donald-trump-third-party

    Would I sign any petition to allow someone like Romney to get on the ballot?? Damn straight I would!!! Just the lulz alone would be incentive enough. But I’m also down with giving the GOP-Lifer types their chance to rebuild from the political wreckage that would ensue.

    • Griffin says:

      Is Mitt Romney close enough to Lifer’s and other progressive Republican views though? I thought Lifer voted for Obama in 2012. I think the problem with Mitt Romney, John McCain, and all the other older-styled Republicans is that after they sold their soul to pander to the far-right and constantly flip-floped on their old positions there’s no way of knowing how close to or far from the center they really are anymore. How much is just an act that would go away if they weren’t being pressured from their right? Are they still pretty conservative even without that pressure, or would most of them be centrists?

      • 1mime says:

        I certainly don’t qualify as a progressive Republican, but I can say that it’s been hard enough for me to get my head around a Drumpf as nominee without considering Romney and Cruz. My feelings about Cruz are well known. Romney would make the GOPe do flips and it would gaul me to see him slide in the back door.

        The main thing, and Ryan and others have stated this, is that Drumpf will not go quietly. I just don’t see him being that generous. He’s in this thing to win and if the E. starts jimmying the process, he will know it and he will make sure his supporters know it. The only way I see a clean path for any other candidates is if Drumpf fails to reach his 1237 delegate minimum. He will be very close and that alone would allow the contested process to kick in but I can’t see that being anything but a mess. HOWEVER, the GOP is cunning about things like this and they could finesse the process and slide their candidate forward. Who knows at this point except those who are so deeply involved and they won’t be sharing their plans in advance.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I strongly believe that, in their hearts, a lot of congressional Republicans are a lot more progressive and pragmatic than recent years would otherwise say. For example, I think a lot want to get comprehensive immigration reform done and if given the chance to vote their conscience, a lot would’ve gone for the bipartisan bill that Boehner let rot after it passed the Senate. And yes, in spite of how they deem it the End of America, if given the chance, I think there’s a sizable chunk of Republicans that would want to work to help improve the ACA and further the cause of health care reform. Let’s remember that Romney was the one who set up its predecessor in Massachusetts before he had to turn his back on his own creation.

        So no, what we’re seeing right now is, IMO, definitely NOT what many Republicans honestly believe. They know it’s bullshit as much as any of us.

      • 1mime says:

        No, you are not correct that Romney set up health insurance in Mass. He was Governor when it was set up but the Democratic Legislature did all the work. They had a clear majority and basically he had to support it as they could and would have overridden his veto. Romney doesn’t get any credit from my research.

        MassDem, please correct me if I am wrong about this.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      B-B-B-But what about DEMOCRACY!?

  21. Stephen says:

    The shipping article backs up your claim lifer we got more stuff than we collectively know what to do with. Now if we can get the sharing and distribution down correctly.

  22. Rob Ambrose says:

    Excellent article. The title pretty much sums it up nicely what’s going on in America today:

    “When you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression”

  23. Rob Ambrose says:

    This may ease some anxiety here. To wit:

    http://www.vox.com/2016/3/18/11263362/trade-public-opinion

    “In the wake of nearly everyone underestimating Trump’s prospects in the GOP primary, pundits all across the land are hesitant to make confident claims about his prospects as a general election candidate. But basically everywhere you look, the available evidence suggests that he would be a really bad one”

    It actually makes sense when you keep things in perspective. Trump was definitely underestimated in the GOP campaign, and its definitely smart for Hillary to not take him lightly.

    With that said, its not like both parties are equal amounts of f’d up. Not even close. The GOP is a rotting corpse right now, and to use a legal metaphor, the “fruit of the poisoinius tree” concept applies here.

    The GoP was crowing about their “high quality bench” but they were never that. Quantity does not in any way mean quality, and when a party is sick and diseased, it cannot field candidates that are anything BUT sick and diseased. To that end, maybe we’re giving Trump too much credit for running the table on the GOP field.

    It doesn’t take that much skill or political talent to swoop in and usurp an Establishment that consistently lies and over promises to its base, and that doesn’t even hold the same political values as its base (the base could frankly care less about supply side economics, and the establishment could frankly care less about gay marriage and abortion). It was always a marriage of convenience , and the thing about those isnthat once it’s no longer convenient for one of the parties, it will inevitably collapse.

    Trump isnt some transcendent politician who used his Herculean strength to lift the base, separate it from the elites, and put them on his massive shoulders. Hes a guy who came upon a 10 storey tall wobbling jenga tower, and simply have it a tiny nudge.

    Its important for Hillary to take Trump seriously. But with that said, let’s not give him too much credit for coming along and kicking a corpse that was already basically dead.

    In a healthy functioning parrt, Trump would have quit after being humiliated in Iowa and NH. If Trump does anything other then lose by a landslide, I will be surprised.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I should add, the most unfortunate part of the Trump thing is that it will probably delay the GOP reckoning that I was sure was coming in 2016 after Cruz got his ass handed to him. When Trump does, the GoP will say “well, that was a weird aberration. But there’s no need to change much, we just need a sufficiently conservative candidate next time”.

      If it was Cruz that lost in a landslide, the GOP would finally have tonface some uncomfortable truths. Trump, in a way, allows them to ignore it. They will likely say his rise was due to him being tonthe right of the party on immigration, and act accordingly.

      • 1mime says:

        Let’s win the Presidency and majority control of the Senate, then we can deal with teaching a few lessons. First things first. For Republicans to learn a lesson, they’d have to admit they’ve been wrong all along. You really think that will ever happen?

      • antimule says:

        Which basically guarantees 2020 going for Democrats, too. How is that bad?

    • vikinghou says:

      I’m thinking more and more that, by hook or by crook, Cruz is going to weasel himself into the nomination. It’s laughable that Cruz is now being seen as the establishment choice (see Lindsay Graham), but it is what it is.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Words can scarcely describe the joy I would have at finally seeing that asshat given the thrashing he so richly deserves.

      • 1mime says:

        Lindsay Graham not long ago was frothing at the mouth about how bad their choices were for their presidential nominee….He had all sorts of unkind things to say about Mr. Cruz….guess he was under the weather, and now that his head cleared, he’s fine with Mr. Cruz, who, after all, is so much better than Donald Drumpf!

        Hypocrites!

  24. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    As an extension of the washing machine article, it is the third time in a couple of days that I’ve run into the stories about the cost of diapers.

    As someone who has had three kids in diapers at the same time, I am very familiar with them.
    We buy a ton of them, and they are expensive.

    Starting with the twins, we were buying big boxes of everything, which keeps the per diaper cost low. When you don’t buy in bulk, you are often paying up to $0.50 per diaper.

    If you do not have the money to drop $50 on a big box of diapers (at $0.11 to $0.20 per diaper), you are stuck paying a much higher per diaper price when you only have $10 to spend on diapers.

    Food stamps and WIC cover formula and food, neither cover the expense of diapers.

    Most day care facilities won’t accept cloth diapers, and they require you to bring a decent sized stash to be left for your child.

    So, our nanny-system government lead by the tyrant Obama did this:

    ************************************************************************************
    In an attempt to bridge the diaper cost gap, Obama outlined a public-private partnership that will essentially provide support to non-profits who are already engaged in providing much-needed baby supplies. He added: “We’ve actually set up a system whereby through social media and the Internet, non-for-profits are able to make bulk purchases of diapers, save 25 percent on those, so that they can distribute them to low-income moms and families. And it’s a convergence of diaper makers and logistics companies and Internet companies.”

    On top of calling on donations from diaper manufacturers (many have already responded with large donations), the program seeks to address the issue of bulk storage. Many of the non-profits already working simply need more space to store their diaper purchases; the greater the bulk order, the less the cost of the individual diaper. So, the President is calling on retailers to donate space for storage as well.
    *****************************************************************

    Sure, some folks are going to belly-ache about folks who shouldn’t have kids if they can’t afford diapers, but let me know the next time telling people not to have sex and not to get pregnant is effective at doing anything.

    Also, the next time you are in a donating spirit, snag a couple of big boxes of diapers and drop them for a nearby food bank or family shelter.

  25. moslerfan says:

    Central bankers keep trying to stimulate investment by cutting interest rates, but in the face of lack of demand investment doesn’t make sense regardless of low rates. As it happens, interest rates are the only hammer that central bankers have, so they keep flailing away.

    Negative interest rates are a tax on wealth, for whatever that’s worth.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Agreed. If people aren’t borrowing and spending at 0% interest, there’s prob a good reason other then the cost of finance for why not.

      Is there anyone sitting there thinking “love to buy a house, but with mortgage rates at 1.99%, I think it’s best to wait to see if it gets any lower”

      • 1mime says:

        Negative interest rates and reduced dividend yields on American stocks may hurt those who keep a chunk of their savings in cash…money markets, etc. On CNBC this morning, Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank fame, advocates switching those $$ into America large cap stocks through the European exchange. He stated that yields for the same company are much higher than if purchased on the NYSE. I’m not an investment expert but the discussion was fascinating in terms of looking at the negative affect of low to negative interest rates from an investment vantage.

      • moslerfan says:

        He wants us to buy stocks on European exchanges and he calls himself a shark? Loser! We gotta think yuuge!

        Here’s the plan, Mime. We’ll borrow like forty million bucks at negative rates, and live like kings and queens on the interest! Winning!

      • 1mime says:

        Believe me, Mosler, I have enough trouble trying to figure out investing in the u.s. No way am I going to play those games! It’s fine for people who know what they are doing and have capital to risk….I’m not a shark, I’m a minnow (-;

  26. flypusher says:

    Your post on washing machines reminds me of this astute observation by the late, great Terry Pratchett:

    http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/72745-the-reason-that-the-rich-were-so-rich-vimes-reasoned

    One of the most immediate luxuries of home ownership was when the laundry needed doing, and the weather was nasty, I could just walk into the next room, as opposed to hauling everything outside and across the condo complex to a small laundry room where machines might or might not be available, and might of might not be working. Time & $ saved.

    • 1mime says:

      Great story about boots, Fly. So true.

      I’ve shared this washing machine story before but since Lifer is into washing machines, it’s again relevant. In the late 80s, I was privileged to hear a Boeing executive describe a very creative project they sponsored in cooperation with area public schools. The goal was to entice poor parents to their children’s schools where they could receive basic English instruction and overcome fear of school as an institution. The means was through offering free washateria services on site (in a converted school space at Boeing’s expense) in exchange for the parents participation in a basic GED program while their clothes were cleaned. Up until this experiment, school officials never saw these parents. It was a win/win – clean clothing for free at a neighborhood school while learning English along with free, supervised child care. Turns out washing machines have been important for a very long time, and still are, just as good boots are to laborers. What is difficult to grasp is that something as simple as laundry pose major challenges for poor families, time as well as cost.

      That is when business cared about community involvement. We don’t see much of this anymore in poor areas, which is unfortunate.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      In that vein, how about a reliable car? If you need one to work and you can only afford the bare minimum as transportation. This is one way the poor are slightly better off today. At least they can buy a Japanese import with better reliability than what we had in the 60s and early 70s.

      What a relief when I could afford a car that would not let me down when I needed it most.

      • Creigh says:

        A person could go on for days about how being poor costs money and creates daily hassles over things that someone with an adequate income doesn’t think about.

      • 1mime says:

        You are correct, Creigh, and it is important that we are aware of that fact.

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