Morning Ed: US Politics {2016.02.08.W}

I don’t know how many good arguments for Sunday blue laws there are, but this one is one of the worst I have ever ever heard.

Peter Frase’s argument about deplatforming the likes of Milo and Richard Spencer makes sense… right up until we’re talking about state universities. No, not everyone has the right to speak on campus, but if there are invitation procedures they need to be observed and can’t be arbitrary.

Speaking of Milo, he was once a relatively staid and normal Tory once. And we should remember, while sometimes politics is about policy, politics usually isn’t.

Chidike Okeem argues that Black History Month has conservative roots.

John Robb explains how social networking, through Trump, changed governance.

If we want to Build a Wall, we’re going to have to Take Some Land.

There does appear to be an upshot to Trump’s cracking down on Sanctuary Cities: Deregulation.

I’ve posted links to political affiliations and occupations before, but this one has some interesting juxtapositions (Democratic florists vs Republican exterminators!).


Editor-in-Chief
Home Page Twitter Google+ Pinterest 

Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
TwitterFacebookRedditEmailPrintFriendlyMore options

118 thoughts on “Morning Ed: US Politics {2016.02.08.W}

  1. #1. Blue laws: As good of reason as any other. I am disinclined to project my own beliefs on other groups. In my worldview, valuing diversity means that it’s ok when other people think differently than I do. Were I to live in that area, I would probably have an opinion on the matter, and I would be altered in no way in doing so.

    #4. Politics/Policy: I remember a lecture about this in an Intro to the American Political System class. Applicable to party level politics. Reminds me why I loathe polisci majors.

    #6. Trump/social media: There are two massive paradigm shifts currently underway, and this notes some overlap. I remember going through this in an Intro to Mass Media class, in the lecture on the characteristics of media digitization. Though I understand how this might appear like grand revelations to non-Comm majors, this is all old hat, and readily foreseeable– inevitable, in fact. I would go on to say that the really big changes are yet to come.
    Abraham Lincoln was involved in the other massive paradigm shift. still ongoing. Little enlightening, but interesting.

    Report

  2. The black history month link goes to the trek article about no DS9 bluray (with a pic of Starfleet’s best Captain ever, so it took a bit to realize the link is wrong)

    Report

  3. Sunday Blue Laws: This guys statement was only missing “and have sex with your husband” to make it complete. Sheesh.

    Peter Frase’s: ” makes sense”? No it doesn’t. He starts his post with false information. ” the worst violence seen thus far has come from supporters of the right.” Wrong. It’s been well documented that there was a lot of “beat downs” of Trump supports, some racially motivated and the cops are looking into charges. The “shooter” Frase refers to was released because he was not charged with a crime. The link Frase provides states that. “No, not everyone has the right to speak on campus, but if there are invitation procedures they need to be observed and can’t be arbitrary.” Well said. But frankly, I’d much preferred the cops to have taken action and arrested a shit load of people than have the event cancelled.

    Wall: Oh it’s worse that that. Building a barrier along the Rio Grande, in parts would be very difficult as it snakes back and forth and winds back upon itself. But I’m not sure how many people actually believe that there will be a continuous wall from the pacific sea to the Atlantic.

    Report

    • Yeah, the Peter Frase article is disgusting, just about every which way. Frankly the idea state universities can disregard their own policies for campus speakers was the least offensive part of it. He’s looking to build a fairly literal speech police, and pretty much obliviously dismisses the reasons why that might be a bad idea.

      Report

      • It’ll be okay. We’ll make sure that the Death Laser operating instructions have a big bold “WARNING: DEATH LASER MUST ONLY BE USED FOR GOOD” on the top of each page.

        Report

  4. As someone with neither husband nor wife, I feel disrespected and offended by that blue laws issue (kidding, kidding, but yeah: it’s a terrible justification). I’m fine with individual businesses/chains deciding it’s their policy to not open on Sundays (or, I suppose, Saturdays or Fridays, depending on religious belief), but I don’t think government should have a say in it.

    Also, considering that we’ve made our bed of a 24/7 world, telling people, “No, maybe we won’t let you run errands on what might be your one day off” seems like a terrible thing.

    Report

    • The Supreme Court held that blue laws were not a violation of the Establishment cause because they had the secular goal of creating a universal day of rest. Now by the time this decision came out, society was distinctly more secular and rest included things like a game of golf or a movie. This required that at least some entertainment and leisure facilities be open to the public.

      Report

      • Baseball history is intimately tied with the history of blue laws. Before the rise in the late 1880s of Saturday as a half-day for work, Sunday was the only day working class men had free. Many of them wanted to spend part of the day either playing or watching baseball, thereby running afoul of blue laws. This was a running controversy for decades. Sabbatarianism was an important part of middle class WASP respectability. But not everyone was a middle class WASP, and not every locale was dominated by them. Areas with large German or Irish populations tended to allow Sunday baseball, shocking the sensibilities of those inclined to have their sensibilities shocked. Sunday baseball wasn’t legal in every major league city until the 1920s.

        Oddly enough, this also ties in with labor history and the development of the weekend. Part of the reasoning behind that Saturday half holiday was that it would allow the workers to go see a game, without breaking the Sabbath. I first came across this claim in a juvenile baseball novel by Zane Grey. He is known today for his Westerns, but he played minor league ball for a few years in the 1890s. (He was an Ohio dentist in his day job: the Western stuff is all bullshit.) In the story, the management of the Findlay, Ohio club determined that they had to play on Sundays to survive. The respectable townspeople recoiled in horror. So the factory owners got together and agreed to give their workers Saturday afternoons off if the club would stop playing on Sunday. When I read this I responded with a healthy “Bullshit!” but I have since seen contemporary newspaper articles where factory owners get together and agree to give their workers Saturday afternoons off, with part of the reasoning being to see baseball games without breaking the Sabbath. Of course there is more than just this going on, but it legitimately was part of the discussion. Go figure.

        Report

        • It might have also been a way to give in to union demands without formally admitting defeat to the unions on the owner’s part. A sort of save face. When the first museums opened, there were big debates on whether they should be allowed to open on the Sabbath. The people who ran the museums tended to be devote Sabbatarians but most people could only see them on a Sunday. The same sort of controversy existed over public parks being open on Sunday.

          America effectively enshrined a certain type of Protestantism as the state religion for most of our history despite the Establishment Clause. We had blue laws enforcing a particular Protestant interpretation of the Sabbath, prayers and non-denominational readings from the KJV of the Bible in public schools up until the early 1960s. Prohibition was another exercise of Protestant political might.

          Report

  5. Hundreds of immigrants convicted and not deported committed more crimes — even murder

    Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/immigration/article131227599.html#storylink=cpy

    At least 121 killings within a four-year span were carried out by convicted immigrants who were not deported, according to a 2015 U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee document recently reviewed by el Nuevo Herald.

    Every year, federal immigration authorities release foreign nationals convicted of crimes — including murder — both because the U.S. Supreme Court has prohibited indefinite detention or because their countries refuse to take them back even after immigration judges have ordered deportation.

    Maybe liberals can find a way to defend this or just complain about toddlers shooting folks.

    Report

  6. Blue laws: My county didn’t allow Sunday liquor sales until about ten years ago. When they were discussing allowing it, one group that came out against the change was owners of mom-and-pop liquor stores. Sunday was their only day off. If Sunday sales were allowed, they would be forced by competitive pressures to open that day, too. The owners of the larger operations, with more employees and assistant managers, pushed for the change.

    So here we have an actual argument for blue laws. If the local government makes a determination that it wants to favor small businesses, the mandating a day of no business gives the owners of those small businesses a day off without fear of losing market share. I’m not saying that this argument is especially strong, but it is an argument with a non-sectarian and plausible basis.

    Report

    • Sure, add to that guaranteed time off for 24×6 workers that have to deal with scramble scheduling – which is bad enough as it is. Most of the arguments are pro-Labor arguments, so its a little silly that it runs through the culture war grinder and ends up splattered.

      Talking with a business owner one time, he casually mentioned that the rent is for 7-days a week, the equipment leases and payments were for 7-days a week, and the building works on all 7 days, so he’s compelled to open 7-days. In one sense, its tough to argue with that… in another, he could use some help making an argument at all.

      Report

      • I had a car dealer explain to me that people preferred car dealerships to be closed on Sundays because this allowed potential customers to look at cars without being interfered with by salespeople.

        This raised more questions for me than it answered.

        Report

        • I think its more likely that they get better labor at a better price if they can give Sundays off as part of the compensation package. Studies supposedly show that car dealers don’t lose any sales from being closed on Sundays, which I assume is because cars are not frequent or impulse purchases, so transactions easily time-shift to other days of the week. If the law wasn’t in place, Sunday dealerships would gain market to the detriment of non-Sunday dealerships, so Sundays-off would become Tuesdays-off. Car dealers would have to pay more to attract employees.

          Report

        • What do you have in mind here?

          Other than some high-end restaurants that close on one or two days between Tues-Thurs, I’m having a tough time coming up with others. And even restaurants aren’t really colluding in that their competition doesn’t respect the same day(s) formally or informally.

          Report

        • The screwiest set of blue laws I ever saw were in Austin, TX 40 or so years ago. The mom-and-pop stores wanted everything closed on Sunday; the big-box chains wanted to be open seven days a week. The compromise was that for each item in inventory, there had to be one day per week when it wasn’t for sale. One of the big-box stores — I think it was K-Mart — put stanchions and velvet ropes down the middle of the store, and said “This side is closed on Tuesdays; the other side is closed on Wednesdays; the whole store is open on the weekends when people want to shop.”

          Report

            • No, you make the obvious adjustment — it’s Tuesday, and I don’t remember if K-Mart sells paper towels today or not, so for this one thing I’ll go to the mom-and-pop store. And for the big list of stuff, I’ll go to K-Mart on Saturday or Sunday, whichever is more convenient for me.

              Predictably, this lasted about three months (as I recall). It was a last-gasp effort to deny that the world had changed — too many two-worker households, too many (kid and other) activities pushed into Saturday, for lots of people Sunday was when shopping got done. Even more true today — eg, Sunday (including Sunday morning) is far and away the busiest day of the week at the big chain groceries here. Compared to, say, Tuesday mornings when it’s just me and the oldsters.

              Report

    • It was the same argument in Germany before they relaxed their blue laws. Indeed the german laws were more intense since the stores could only be open 8-6 m-t and 8 -1 3 saturdays out of 4 with 4 pm allowed the fourth saturday.
      On a related point it is interesting that during the downturn of the 1980s (1984) in Texas one store chain opened the first sunday after thanksgiving and by two weeks later every store was open 12-6 on sunday, making the blue law effectively repealed, although it was finally repealed 9 months later.
      However auto sales places must close sat or sun, and liquor stores are still closed on sun.

      Report

  7. As libertarians go I am really impressed with David Henderson, specifically his judiciousness and his desire to dial down conflict, with ideological adversaries especially. But that piece was a substantial disappointment.

    I read the transcript of his talk at West Virginia, and I would not at all characterize it as vile. Henderson really makes no attempt to support the characterization either except a parenthetical remark about f words and c words. It’s a bad rap: according to the transcript, the f word isn’t in his speech at all, and the c words is only there once. I wonder exactly how closely Henderson watched or read the event. I really wish Henderson had elaborated on this further, I think there’s at least a decent chance he would have changed his mind, or at the very least explained his beef a little better.

    Report

  8. Border wall

    Jeremy Barnard voted for Trump and says a wall makes sense in certain places—just not on his property, where building it would be “complicated.” Lost property value could exceed $1 million, the Barnards say. Mark hopes the president, who owns 17 golf courses, will empathize with him.

    (Barnard’s property in question is a golf course)

    That is gold. Gold I tell ya!

    I wonder what the legal proceedings for the Maginot line looked like…

    Report

  9. Key points in the Science Realm:
    Physicists and Chemists pulling hard Democratic (although Astrophysicist is strangely more democratic than normal physicists).

    Remember when Hard Science was the realm of the Republican?

    Report

    • Kim:
      (although Astrophysicist is strangely more democratic than normal physicists).

      I know at least one professional physicist who in turn knows a lot a astrophysicists, and from the physicist’s stories about the astrophysicists, I’m not at all surprised.

      Report

      • K,
        I don’t hear normal stories about physicists. I hear about the experiments that kept breaking other people’s experiments — and never really worked right in the first place.

        Report

    • It’s worth noting that the stats were derived from campaign contributions data. So it really says that the donations from people employed in the hard sciences skew Democrat.

      Report

    • Remember when Hard Science was the realm of the Republican?

      Not really. Engineering maybe, but the closer you get to pure math, the more they skewed D.

      After all, once you can accept a spherical cow with a radius of one meter, a lot more policy recommendations make sense.

      Report

  10. Blue Laws: Interestingly or not Blue Laws are very much a thing in some very blue states. Usually these states are older and in the Northeast. When I was in grad school in the mid-aughts, I was frequently stymied by grocery stores/supermarkets not being allowed to sell booze before noon on a Sunday. There is a bit of tension in NYC between the church goers and the boozy brunchers on Sunday in certain neighborhoods which seem to be half immigrant and half hipster.

    California’s laws in this regard are lovingly liberal. Supermarkets sell a wide-variety of booze (I don’t think NYC supermarkets were allowed to sell hard alcohol and possibly wine, just beer.) They can also sell them during all operating hours.

    Blue laws might not be unique to the U.S. though. My girlfriend (non-American) is somewhat appalled by how cheaply you can buy hard alcohol in the United States. She thinks it enables drunks. But she seems to support state paternalism in ways that make me look like a radical libertarian.

    Report

      • My girlfriend is not protestant or even American (though Singapore is one of the more Anglophone of all former British colonies). They do a huge amount of paternalism. I gave the example of how there are two Casinos in Singapore. Singaporean citizens and/or residents need to pay 100 dollar fee to gamble or buy an annual pass for 2000 dollars. Non-Singaporeans (who usually bus in from Malaysia and/or Thailand) can gamble for free.

        This is how you can get profit off of gambling without any of the downsides of gambling. My view is that you either don’t do this or you don’t have gambling. Singapore’s solution strikes me as having it both ways.

        Report

    • Actually, “They can also sell them during all operating hours.” isn’t true. Alcohol cannot be sold between 2am and 6am. If a grocery store (or anyone else who sells booze) is open during those hours, they can’t sell. In fact, many “at risk” businesses stop selling early due to the risk of fines. This also leads to bars closing during those hours, not too mention Bar Time, the practice of setting bar clocks ahead 15 minutes to help deal with this.

      Report

      • Many years ago, I managed a convenience store in a not-so-great neighborhood in California. There were people lined up at 6:00 a.m. sharp to buy their six packs, 40 ouncers, and for those wishing to class up the joint, bottles of fine fortified wine. Whatever gets you through the day. I never had any trouble with those guys.

        Report

  11. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/us/politics/andrew-puzder-labor-trump-undocumented.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

    This is something I might be a bit more libertarian on. A lot of people have someone clean their house once or twice a week. In most major metro areas, the people doing this are undocumented. While there are plenty of employers who pay under the table and hire documented workers to skirt labor laws, I think there should be a way to pay in cash when it is just an individual or family hiring someone for a few hours a week to clean their dwelling.

    Report

    • Agreed. Neither the individual doing the hiring or the domestic help is going to want to deal with the bureaucratic hassle of W-2s, withholding, and other paperwork. A lot of good-government types are going to be against this but the real alternative is that the undocumented aliens don’t get work rather than people follow the law.

      Report

      • “the real alternative is that the undocumented aliens don’t get work rather than people follow the law.”

        well…um….

        you’re saying that like it’s a bad thing…?

        Like, “it’s a hassle” is now a good reason for not following laws?

        Report

      • Doesn’t “independent contractor” already cover this? Effectively, I pay them the agreed-to fee in cash, it’s up to them to pay quarterly estimated taxes. When I was doing small contract jobs on a semi-regular basis, the people paying me filed a 1099 at the end of the year, and I filed an estimated tax form quarterly (took an hour or less on a Saturday morning). IIRC — and you would know this better than I — the IRS doesn’t ask about immigration status when they issue an ITIN suitable for such purposes, and is forbidden by law from sharing the data with the immigration authorities.

        Report

        • The IRS really just wants people to pay taxes and has all sorts of ways for people who not technically supposed to be hear to pay taxes. Your also right about the independent contractor stuff most likely but I’m guessing that very few people know about this or want to go through the hassle of the paperwork.

          Report

          • If you clean multiple houses that is an easier determination, Still the homeowner is supposed to send a 1099 over some amount. If they hire as an employee there is schedule H to contend with as well as state unemployment insurance. You don’t have to withhold however, but do need to pay the employeers 1/2 of social security and medicare.

            Report

        • You have to file a 1099 for someone/some entity if you pay them more than $600 in any given year. So, yeah, anyone who hires a housekeeper, essentially. And as someone who has to file 1099’s but enough to justify someone else filing them for me, it is indeed a pain the keister — you need to request the special form from the IRS, or buy a package/software that includes the transmittal form and the 1099’s, you have to send the 1099 to the recipient and transmit to the IRS.

          More potentially troublesome is “independent contractor”. There are federal rules and state rules…except they’re very fuzzy. On the one hand, the point is to protect, for example, people who work regularly for say, a landscaping company who calls them “contractors” in order to evade the responsibilities of insurance, taxes, etc., when they really are employees.

          But it makes it very difficult for those of us who hire say someone for a seasonal gig, such as a haunted house or renaissance faire, because as soon as you tell someone how and when to do their job, you’re most of the way to technically employee and not contractor. So, now we have to also write a contract with them that spells out specifically that they are an independent contractor. Which might or might not keep us from winding up in court.

          Or, we could file a form with the IRS asking them to determine whether someone is an employee or independent contractor.

          While I support the intent of the regulation…as usual, the scope needs some work.

          Report

      • And this is the problem I have with many of my fellow of liberals on immigration. We want to have our cake and eat it, too. We want taxes and regulations and workplace protections and employee rights and minimum wage and guaranteed paid time off… and then we want a whole groups of people to skirt the law.

        Democrats should end their tacit acceptance of illegal behavior. If e-Verify is lacking, it should be bolstered, then crack down on employers, and significantly increase work visas, if needed.

        Everything should be above board.

        Report

        • The way I see it is that conservatives want the free movement of goods and capital without the free movement of people and liberals want the free movement of people without the free movement of goods and capital. You really need all three at the same time.

          Report

    • “This is something I might be a bit more libertarian on.”

      Free speech? OMG U LIBERTARIANS ARE RACIST

      Exploiting people’s undocumented status to underpay them? SURE NO PROBLEM YAY LIBERTARIANS

      Report

    • This is one of those things that I’m sure sounded less horrible in your head.

      Unless, however, you decided to temporarily adopt the “I know exactly how horrible this will sound and that’s part of the point” tactic… if so, well done. You nailed it.

      Report

    • There was a story a few years back about a guy in Utah who chose the Firing Squad. (Ronnie Lee Gardner.)

      I can’t find the article now but it mentioned his quotation about how he didn’t want to die flopping on a table like a fish. It made a joke about how, apparently, he’d prefer to die like a deer.

      One of the things that struck me then and strikes me now about the lethal injection option is how clinical it makes the death penalty while, at the same time, being exceptionally cruel the way we do it.

      I’ve wondered why we don’t use heroin. We’ve got people who die every day from heroin overdoses. Surely it’d be possible to find enough heroin to kill someone rather than trying to buy a cocktail from someone in China that might not kill the prisoner painlessly.

      Back to the main point. A death penalty that uses the firing squad is more likely to be repealed on a national level (cruel/unusual) than a death penalty that uses the needle. Ironically enough.

      The firing squad doesn’t allow the people in the audience to lie to themselves.

      Report

      • ” It made a joke about how, apparently, he’d prefer to die like a deer.”

        Except that there are plenty of deer that aren’t quickly killed b/c of bad shot placement or other factors.

        Report

      • Lethal injection was created because it looked clean and clinical even though it is very painful. The quickest and least painful ways to carry out the death penalty happen to be the most gruesome looking with the exception of the chair, which is gruesome looking and extraordinarily painful. During the mid-20th century Americans began growing uneasy with the traditional methods of execution but unlike our European cousins we lacked the conviction to just get rid of the death penalty. That’s why we created this lethal injection crap.

        Report

      • I’ve wondered why we don’t use heroin. We’ve got people who die every day from heroin overdoses. Surely it’d be possible to find enough heroin to kill someone rather than trying to buy a cocktail from someone in China that might not kill the prisoner painlessly.

        Because the final dying part of the OD is off-putting to the spectators. That’s why a paralytic is given in the 3-drug cocktail.

        Obviously, if they wanted to be effective and painless, they could just grab some old Hemlock Society publications and rig an “exit hood.”

        But if you make something more sciency, then people are willing to excuse more cruelty.

        Report

  12. Agreed… executions must be public lest they become secret. His quip about burning heretics is chilling if we substitute perpetual solitary confinement.

    On that disastrous day when public executions were abolished, private executions were renewed and ratified, perhaps forever. Things grossly unsuited to the moral sentiment of a society cannot be safely done in broad daylight; but I see no reason why we should not still be roasting heretics alive, in a private room. It is very likely […] that if there were public executions there would be no executions.

    Report

Comments are closed.