Morning Ed: United States {2017.10.30.M}

[US1] Desperation in West Virginia.

[US2] The immigration crackdown is doing some damage to the border economy.

[US3] New Yorkers really, really hate slow walkers. I’m actually with them on this.

[US4] Well this is a real bummer.

[US5] This proposal to split California three ways avoids the alleged senate balance of the previous six-state plan and in my view creates more sustainable states. Just as four is a better number for Texas than five, three is probably a better number than six for California.

[US6] Spooky.

[US7] An interesting look at the cultural relationship between the US and Australia. Australia has the population of Texas, roughly, so it’s not surprising that the penetration would be unidirectional. The same would be true if Texas had its own scene, though at least like Canada they wouldn’t need to be redone the way an Australian television import would.

[US8] Keri Leigh Merritt explains how emancipation benefited poor whites by giving them someone lower than them in the “free persons” hierarchy.

[US9] WEB DuBois had some opinions on Robert E Lee and his legacy. And also, a former slave.

[US0]


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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 →

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66 thoughts on “Morning Ed: United States {2017.10.30.M}

  1. [US3] Meh, I walk slow, and even I would lap this guy, twice. My actress friend walks fast (10 years in Manhattan perhaps?) But hey, add that to what NY hates. They also hate waiting for people to clear a cross walk, preferring to plow into the peds as they cross in their SUVs.

    [US4] Regardless of the results, I’m still in favor. 1) they are public servants, 2) we know cops can be bad 3) Very few public / private encounters can go lethal like cop/civilian interactions so all of those interactions should be recorded.

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    • It could be that DC was doing things right. DC strikes me as being a bit unique, given that it’s a major international tourist destination and the seat of the federal government.

      The study should be replicated in a handful of other cities of varying sizes.

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    • I lived in NYC for 5 years and DC for 6 years and slow walking people still drive me nuts. Especially when they take over the whole sidewalk. What people don’t realize is its like driving 30 mph on the interstate. Sidewalks are used for transportation to and from work and other activities. Keep to the right if you are an ambler and for God/Goddess sake on escalators keep right single file so others can walk around your slow a**

      Sorry rant over

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      • Except I don’t really have a choice but to slow walk and there isn’t always a right to keep to? That makes it rather different than the interstate, I think.

        (Yeah, I know you would never cuss at a fat limping lady doing her best to stay right… but there are plenty of people who do.)

        The funny thing is that much of this isn’t really “slow walking is awful!!!” it’s “not keeping to your lane where there are OBVIOUS LANES is awful!!!!” (something I found frustrating in Montreal, as well).

        But complaining about slowness is just… pithier.

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        • Sorry this thread touched a nerve. (obviously) I absolutely did not mind people walking slow per se but more the ones oblivious to everyone around them. Slow and in the middle of the sidewalk or stairs. etc. Also groups taking up all available space disregarding everyone around them. Anyone walking slow and cognizant of others I had no problems with at all. Older people, people with small kids, people with infirmities I do not mind at all and would try to run interference on occasion to keep others from mowing them over.

          It got to where I would walk at the very edge of the sidewalk and keep walking towards a group sprawled across and either keep walking or stop and inevitably they would run into me. And be pissed at me for being in their way.

          There is also a special place in hell for people who stop to chat right at the top of stairs, outside doors, or any other place where 100s of others need to pass through.

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          • There is also a special place in hell for people who stop to chat right at the top of stairs

            It’s actually just outside of heaven, right near the top of a special set of stairs, where a big pair of seraphim are having an eternal and utterly pointless conversation at the top.

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  2. US2: Who would have thought that places near the border depend economically the most on the free flow of people and goods? (Sarcasm)

    US4: Body cams do create evidence to use against cops even if they don’t modify their behavior. There are still tens or hundreds of millions of Americans that either don’t really care about what cops are doing or actively support it as part of law and order ideology. The only way to change this is to have a big turn in public opinion against this behavior.

    US6: There are similar photos of old Catskill resorts. Increasing wealth and decreasing prices for plane tickets had the side effect of previous vocation destinations getting abandoned. The places pictured above were vacation destinations because people generally had to drive to their vacation spot and didn’t want to spend too much of their vacation time in transit. Affordable air travel placed Florida and California and other places within reach.

    US7: The United States has generally been more closed to non-American pop culture than other countries besides the ones making deliberate policy choices like Iran and other Islamic countries or maybe Japan for free countries. We were surprisingly culturally insular for a big part of our history for a variety of reasons. This started changing though with the growth of manga and anime fandom in the United States during there 1980s and continues with the Internet placing a lot of foreign pop culture at easy access for America. The thing is that these are all big in subcultures rather than mainstream mass culture.

    US9: Thats a pretty good take down.

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    • US6: Also, air conditioning. The old vacation spots typically were in the mountains or on the shore, because they were bearable in August. The whole basis of Atlantic City was giving Philadelphia working and middle classes a week or two’s respite. (The rich went to Cape May for the same reason, though for more than two weeks.) Once people have air conditioning this is no longer an imperative. I wonder if this didn’t lead to the idea of the winter vacation in Florida.

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      • Atlantic City was also a respite for lower middle class and middle class New Yorkers. People who could afford more than a day trip to Coney Island but not that much more.

        Florida was a wintering destination for the wealthy since the late 19th century and began to get a more mass market from the 1920s onward at least in the Eastern United States. The idea of no or little winter played a big part in Florida’s appeal to people. Los Angeles and southern California had a similar appeal but attracted their migrants from the Mid-West and Great Plains rather than the Eastern States. After World War II, Florida really seemed to take off as a vacation destination because it became popular with college students during the 1950s for Spring Break.

        Air conditioning probably did play a big part in the decline of the old resorts but I’m not sure how much. Florida is unbearable in August if your spending a large amount of time outside. I think lower travel costs and time combined increased discretionary spending money played a much bigger role. In Dirty Dancing there was a throw away line by an adult about how young Jewish teens and twenty some-things don’t want to go to the Catskills anymore but to Florida or Europe.

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        • The main factor (which is sideways alluded to in Dirty Dancing) was that the Borchst Belt was no longer economically viable when Jewish people were no longer excluded from ‘regular’ vacation destinations and clubs. Same with the African American beach resorts in the Jim Crow south.

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    • The United States has generally been more closed to non-American pop culture than other countries

      On the other hand, American pop culture was created by people (and copied from people) that came to the US from all over the world (at differing levels of willingness).

      Pop culture as a phenemon – and particularly one that could be delivered to and then absorbed by a different culture – only started with the development of recorded sound and pictures. Which the US had a head start on, and then unique geographic advantages to leverage the early tech adoption into a pop culture ‘industry’ that has exported its wares all over the world.

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      • I think that pop culture in the form of mass culture developed since the late 19th century but your right that recorded music and movies made it a real phenomenon. The United States had the advantages of early adaptation as you noted and went into an isolationist phase when things started to grow big during the 1920s.

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      • Perhaps but I think Lee is basically right. Americans have been a lot more unwilling to let non-American pop culture in except with some stuff from the Anglo sphere and even a lot of that stuff was relegated to nerd quarters or high culture quarters except music.

        Foreign movies are generally found in off beat places or the arthouse set in the United States. One of the biggest movies in China this year was a Bollywood picture. Japanese movie theatres (mainsteam ones) will show movies from all over the world.

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  3. Unless the weather sucks like it does today, I like to walk to work – to/from Penn Station to the mid 50’s and Park Avenue. The morning is nice because I’ll walk up Sixth and there isn’t a whole lot of foot traffic. Going back during the evening rush hour, I’ll take Madison Avenue to between 34th and 32nd and cut over from there, as there are too many tourists out and about.

    You’d think people would walk faster than me since I’m 5’5″ and have short legs, but I guess not.

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      • For fun, note that the news of Papadopolous’ deal dropped right after Trump surrogates had spoken about how this was all old news, unrelated to the campaign.

        I can’t help but feel that was deliberate.

        Also, given the lengthy list of charges against Manafort — including that Mueller is aware he convinced his child and daughter-in-law to join him in money laundering — I think this is further incentive for Manafort to make a deal.

        “we’ve got you cold. Decades in prison. You’ll die there. We’ve also got your kid and his wife — you got them into this mess with you. But work with us, like George did, and maybe you can salvage something…”

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        • What are the current federal sentencing guidelines for white-collar crimes? At one point there was a money-to-years formula such that $75M would be a lot of years. And one that said that if your sentence was more than ten years, you went into the general prison population no matter what kind of crime.

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          • I read he’s looking at 40 years max, if convicted on all charges. (So that’d be consecutive sentences).

            I don’t see, even best case, him avoiding at least a few years in jail, if found guilty.

            Interesting thing, though — Manafort’s not the only one with some really squirrely deals involving Russian money. Trump (both senior and Jr) have some rather interesting real estate deals involving a great deal of Russian money, including some outright sales at well above market value.

            And there have been very long standing rumors of Trump and dirty Russian money, going back well past 2006.

            So I think the ten million dollar question would be: Do you think Manafort introduced Trump to some lucrative Russian “markets”, or do you think Trump introduced Manafort?

            I betcha Mueller’s been thinking long and hard on that question. And digging deep to find out.

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  4. [Us9] A couple of notes. First, as far as “going against his clan” goes, that’s what Lee did, in the main, all his siblings and his wife were Unionists. However, his two sons had already joined the Confederate Army, and I think that weighed heavily on Lee, who is universally described as a doting father.

    And second, the lack of moral courage which DuBois decries is correct in some extent, but also reminds me of the stories we are hearing now about Harvey Weinstein. I think the Slave Power occupied a similar place in the consciousness of many as did Weinstein. Still, that’s no reason to build monuments to Lee.

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    • I think my most shameful though regarding General Lee was reading a biography of him for a Civil War class during my senior year of college and thinking that his daughters were certainly very attractive if the photographs were anything to go by.

      The clan could mean the extended Virginia gentry class rather than his immediate family.

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  5. [Us5] I’m highly unenthusiastic about any plan to split California. It seems motivated by representation issues, which means it would never be approved by a Republican-controlled Congress, nor would it be brought forward while they were Democratically held, since none of the parts would have the clout of the whole.

    Also it seems odd to have LA in one state, and Orange County in another.

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    • People who do these things don’t think it through very well. In most cases, for example, they assume that new states will be formed by partitioning the existing set of counties. Which is silly on multiple levels. It makes much more sense to start from more-or-less scratch, dividing along mountain ranges, river drainages, cultural boundaries, etc. Any plan that would split the LA basin is going to have nearly insurmountable problems in practice.

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  6. US5: I am bemused about how really rich people develop all these weird pet projects like thinking California should be divided up into multiple states. Despite what many say, California doesn’t seem ungovernable to me. We seem to be doing quite nicely. State splitting won’t do anything to get rid of the unmanageable aspects of California, which in my opinion happen because we give counties too much autonomy and control. If anything, there are counties that need to be broken up for being too big like Los Angeles County.*

    *This is mainly an issue in the court system

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    • My perception is that there’s only two groups that run around saying the California is being governed badly these days: (1) East Coast conservative pundits, for whom it’s a matter of faith, and (2) folks in the most rural parts of California who think they’re tired of being bossed around by the massive urban/suburban majority (California is, at this time, using the current Census Bureau definition, the least-rural-by-population state in the country).

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    • Los Angeles County may be a peculiar case, though. Which isn’t to say that it wouldn’t benefit from some reformation. It has more population than 40 states, and a substantial portion of its government is semi-autonomous from Sacramento, under the oversight and direction of five nearly totally anonymous Supervisors.

      San Francisco, combining city and county governments into a single entity, is also a bit of a peculiar governmental animal.

      Most of the other county governments seem to be at an appropriate level of local-versus-statewide balance of power.

      What is more peculiar are special districts. School, power, water, air, and a host of other governmental functions are not handled by county governments but by specialty districts, some of which have taxing authority, and nearly all of which are even more anonymous than the already-obscure county supervisors (school districts perhaps less so because reasons). On the one hand, this increases the level of subject matter expertise in government; on the other hand, it decreases the ability of higher level government officials (like, say, the Governor) to craft and implement broad policy objectives.

      And then there’s the citizen initiative thing, which is great in principle and awkward in practice for purposes of representative democracy, for different reasons but similar results as the pervasiveness of our special districts.

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      • Los Angeles County is about the size of Connecticut but has a population of around ten million people. It could probably do with a big reorganization of government. The County Board of Supervisors should be turned into a legislative body and increased in size to the dozens or even or a hundred legislators to make it more representative. A separate county executive should be created. The powers of the county, special districts, and cities should be consolidated into executive departments.

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      • What about Santa Clara County? They have a court back-up of over a year for homicides and other serious crimes, last time I checked (about 4 years ago), and a population of nearly 2 million. That doesn’t seem like a good situation to be in.

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        • A dearth of judges have been problem for centuries. Its one of those jobs that you only want highly qualified people to do because of the stakes involved but those highly qualified people can get better money in the private market than most governments can offer. There are plenty of issues people still try to become a judge. Its prestigious, if appointed its next to impossible to fire you, federal and government benefits, etc.

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        • I don’t know if that is unique to Santa Clara though. That just might be courts in general across the United States. Courtroom budgets seem to be the easiest thing for legislatures to cut in any state. There is always someone willing to make an argument that the courts can and should rely fees to support themselves.

          This is bad in civil and criminal arenas for overlapping but different reasons.

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  7. US3: As someone who walks slowly due to disability, I was already well aware of the hatred people have for slow walkers. This being a driving town, I get it more from drivers (even though I still have a walk light) than from pedestrians though. With pedestrians I can at least be aware, make room, etc., and that mitigates the hostility. Drivers just yell at me out their windows, or occasionally bump into me on purpose with their cars (low speed, it’s frightening but not especially harmful).

    US0: We called my brother Bobson for a few years because of that game. Not exclusively, but repeatedly. I remember we all thought it was freaking hilarious when we were kids.

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      • Yeah, I do my best to be aware and I’ve been stuck behind unaware people and it is frustrating.

        That said, sometimes when I’m walking, 80 percent of my attention has been on “get where you’re going, don’t fall down, do I need to find a place I can sit for a second, don’t bob and weave TOO much, my god everything hurts today” and I’m kind of obviously limping, and someone will dart past me with a tossed out “Walk FASTER, (expletive deleted),” and I’m like “Wow, sidewalk rage is a bit much.”

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      • people on their freaking cell phones in the freaking supermarket. They should designate most hours as “cell phone free” hours for those of us who just want to get our food and scram. They can say “3-5 pm, you can dink on your cell phone all you want” because most of the rest of us try to avoid the groceries during that time period anyway.

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        • I’m pretty bad for that I guess.

          For one thing, my grocery list is a text file on my phone. For another, I regularly look up recipes on my phone – if there’s cases of mangoes on for cheap and steelhead trout in the seafood aisle, I’ll look up recipes that use those ingredients, and update my shopping list accordingly.

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          • I’ve had to jump out of the way of people who were walking and texting and pushing a cart.

            I’m a non-smartphone Luddite and I think a lot of my grocery-store rage is that I don’t have the anesthetic of a cell phone to be looking at: I have to hear all the noise and see all the ugliness. And our groceries (the only one of any size here is a wal-mart) are pretty ugly.

            But it does feel like a bit much to have to play bumper-cars with grocery carts of people who don’t look where they are going.

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            • Hell, my shopping list is on my phone (my wife & I both use Google Keep and share notes, like a grocery list). What I don’t get is why people can’t just look up every few seconds to check their surroundings? Or, if you really need to stop and focus on the information on your phone, park the cart in an out of the way spot and focus, don’t just stop in the middle of the aisle, or plod along down the center with your eyes glued to the screen.

              And for the love of $(RANDOM DEITY), keep your ears open enough that you can hear someone say “excuse me”, in case you happened to park right in front of the thing they need to grab. It’s really embarrassing when I have to deploy my shipboard voice and call out, “Make a Hole!”

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    • Because it was scheduled to happen anyway. The interesting thing here is that Trump held back releasing some stuff instead of releasing it all (as he would have had us believe). An enthusiastic conspiracy theorist himself (when it suits him), you’d think he wouldn’t have wanted to have implicated himself in holding information back from the public.

      But then again, he may lack the ability to perceive himself as acting in the same ways he so vigorously condemns in others.

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