Piled higher and deeper.

I don’t know why I let these things bother me. There are so, so many things to be bothered by in the world, why choose today’s? Perhaps because higher education is the era the Nall/Derringer Co-Prosperity Sphere is in. Perhaps because my former employer did a lot of reporting around it, for very good reasons. And maybe because ignorant goobers get on my nerves, and it’s hard to find one more ignorant than this guy:

“Why does a kid go to a major university these days?” said Frank Antenori, 51, a former Green Beret who served in the Arizona state legislature. “A lot of Republicans would say they go there to get brainwashed and learn how to become activists and basically go out in the world and cause trouble.”

Antenori is part of an increasingly vocal campaign to transform higher education in America. Though U.S. universities are envied around the world, he and other conservatives want to reduce the flow of government cash to what they see as elitist, politically correct institutions that often fail to provide practical skills for the job market.

This is a long WashPost piece, part of their occasional series about the cultural divides in American life. Higher ed is emerging as one of them, and how’s that for depressing news? As the world’s economy moves into another era, as some form of post-secondary education becomes essential to gaining a foothold in the middle class, of course these folks start a war on it.

Or rather, not a war on all higher ed; note the sneer is directed at “a major university,” not, for instance, Grand Canyon University, a “for-profit Christian school in Phoenix” where Antenori earned an MBA. That’s the good kind of higher ed, whereas major universities exist only to teach nice American kids to hate their country and decide they’re really transgender and want to be called by a new set of pronouns.

Virtually every assertion about the value of a college education made by Antenori is false, but I think I know now what really needled me about this piece, and it’s that once again, the casual racism that is at the heart of American life is displayed but not called by its name:

Antenori views former president Barack Obama, a Harvard-educated lawyer who taught at the University of Chicago Law School, as the embodiment of the liberal establishment. Antenori said liberal elites with fancy degrees who have been running Washington for so long have forgotten those who think differently.

“If you don’t do everything that their definition of society is, you’re somehow a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal cave man,” Antenori said.

Antenori was drawn to Trump, he said, because he was the “reverse of Obama,” an “anti-politically correct guy” whose attitude toward the status quo is “change it, fix it, get rid of it, crush it, slash it.”

Even though Trump boasts of his Ivy League degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Antenori said he “had a different air about him.” Unlike Obama, Trump has not emphasized the importance of Americans going to college.

Hmm, what else makes those men different? Also, note this:

Antenori said many young people would be better off attending more affordable two-year community colleges that teach useful skills and turn out firefighters, electricians and others. Obama promoted that same idea, launching new efforts to boost community college and workplace training. But Antenori said he believes Obama pushed young people too hard toward four-year degrees.

It’s the Johnstown story all over again: I like Trump because he doesn’t do X, like Obama did. But Obama didn’t do that, and Trump does, and here are the facts that prove it. Oh. Well, I still like Trump better, because Obama? Such a snob. And so the New York City libertine, raised in wealth and buoyed throughout his life by inherited wealth, is accepted as the self-made man, while the middle-class boy from the broken home, who struggled and rose on the merits of his intellect, taking on significant student loans along the way, is an elitist, because he speaks in complete sentences. But these people, they don’t have a racist bone in their bodies, right?

These things are facts and will remain facts: A college education, as expensive as it is, is still the e-ticket to prosperity for anyone who gets one. College isn’t, never was, and shouldn’t ever be a trade school. (Antenori believes state support of higher ed should be limited to “degrees, such as those in engineering, medicine or law, that lead directly to jobs,” because of course he does, and I guess he knows no out-of-work lawyers.) It’s a place where a person should learn to think, to analyze, to problem-solve and, in a best-case scenario, to expand their horizons. This may include meeting transgender people who want to be called ze or they, and then doing so. This is not a bad thing. It prepares you for life.

And now I’m done with that guy. Although I’ll say one more thing: The people who claim college students are goofing off with puffball classes on diversity and veganism and gender studies have no idea what they’re talking about. I generally leave Kate out of this blog, but I’ll use her as a case in point. She’s studying sound engineering, in a fine-arts sequence, and at an elite university, which should make her one of these softies that toughies like Antenori are sneering at. And she works harder in school than I or her father ever did. She takes math and science classes, computer coding, taught herself 3-D printing design and a million other things I doubt Frank Antenori, Grand Canyon University alum (Go Antelopes!), could do with one of his beloved guns pointed at his head. And yes, that includes jazz improv, but the hell with you, Frank, she earned her scholarship fair and square. Yes, she has a friend who claims non-binary gender status. Who cares? It’s a big school. There’s room for everyone.

And one more thing: I’ll believe they’re serious in this jihad when they start sending their kids to the many conservative higher-ed options out there. (Other than Antenori, that is, whose own sons are in the Army and “helping at home” on the family ranch.) Hillsdale is open for business, as is Brigham Young, Baylor and many more, but the Trump-level scions of that world are still enrolled at Dartmouth, Princeton, et al. But they’re not elitists, because they have a different air about them.

I see a few of you were discussing affordable housing in the previous thread. I’m reminded of a story I did for Bridge a while back — the link is dead, alas — about how Aspen and Jackson Hole solve their housing-affordability problem, a solution right out of the progressive playbook: They subsidize it. Heavily. More so in Aspen, but in both cities, if you want to live in town and aren’t a Silicon Valley zillionaire, you get subsidized housing. The funding mechanism is a tax on real-estate transactions, and when I talked to people there, they said it’s overwhelmingly popular, because without it, the town wouldn’t have a single teacher, bartender or even many doctors who didn’t have to live 40 miles away.

What else? Not much. Thanks for all the birthday greetings, which were very kind. We stayed in. Alan made spaghetti and meatballs. I got a nice cashmere sweater. And now I am 60. How the hell did that happen?

Posted at 1:59 pm in Current events |

85 responses to “Piled higher and deeper.”

  1. jcburns said on November 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Here’s the Jackson Hole housing story, Nance.

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  2. Charlotte said on November 26, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    I have to say, my Montana State students are just about the only thing keeping me from abject despair about the nation. They’re smart and willing and all-around good kids, who are all working incredibly hard at school, many of them while working serious jobs on the side.

    Telluride, Jackson, Aspen all figured out decades ago that you have to subsidize housing when you’re in a market like those — Livingston is struggling with that now.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    “Car washer,” eh? https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/08/upshot/what-is-your-opposite-job.html (I entered “clergy,” minister & pastor didn’t register.)

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  4. coozledad said on November 26, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Preston Crouch. MBA, CPA and CPB, in concert with the Bob Jones University school of law and taxidermy, shows us the secrets of a sustained sales pitch, and how to get that potential customer to GIVE IT UP.

    “ This boy almost had ME handing over my retirement savings. I was THAT close”
    Franklin Graham

    “If ideas are products that compete on an increasingly global playing field, it’s important to know who has the ball, who wants the ball, and if the ball is properly inflated. Give It Up! shows us we can get the ball, have the ball, eat the ball and have a ball while increasing market share and avoiding the fumbles and sacks that relegate many businesses to the minors.

    Thomas Friedman, author, The Cab Driver In My Fucking Mind.


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  5. brian stouder said on November 26, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Our IU freshman just rolled off with her friends, back to Bloomington, as the long Thanksgiving weekend ends. She’s smart and tough, and as a matter of fact I laughed out loud reading that same article from white-flake-guy (who failed in college because he liked to drink too much) in this morning’s paper – and gabbed with Shelby about it.

    The term “snow-flake” is quite loaded; an odd mix of contempt, envy, and racism (snow flakes generally being white, I think it’s a bit of a “race-traitor” epithet-thing)

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  6. Suzanne said on November 26, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    I guess someone needs to tell Mr Antenori that as sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, also sometimes a “knuckle-dragging Neanderthal cave man” IS a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal cave man and that is why he is named as such.

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  7. Colleen said on November 26, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    “It’s a place where a person should learn to think, to analyze, to problem-solve and, in a best-case scenario, to expand their horizons. This may include meeting transgender people who want to be called ze or they, and then doing so. This is not a bad thing. It prepares you for life.”

    And this is pretty much the essence of the speech they gave incoming freshmen and their parents at my liberal arts college. I am so frustrated by the acceptance and glorification of ignorance in the US now. I just…I can’t even any more. Add to that the NYT article that normalizes Nazis, and I am in more despair than normal.

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  8. Suzanne said on November 26, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    Agree, Colleen. Celebration of ignorance is now the standard among so many. No need to better yourself; no need to learn anything. Nope. Wallow in your ignorance because those pointy headed intellectuals don’t know anything.

    I would think they would be glad for educated professionals the next time they visit a doctor or dentist or optometrist, but silly me! That’s why there are colon cleanses and supplements and caffeine enemas and bone broths and heaven knows what to cure what your well educated doctor can’t accomplish with science.

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  9. nancy said on November 26, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    “The mind-set now is that everybody is going to be a doctor,” he said. “Instead of telling a kid whose art sucks, ‘You’re a crappy artist,’ they say, ‘Go follow your dream.’ ”

    I’d bet he’s also one of those guys who complains that his doctors all have accents or wear turbans, too. “Where are the goddamn American doctors,” etc.

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  10. devtob said on November 26, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    He served as an Army medic, and did four years of college (pre-med, he says) while on active duty, but was evidently not smart enough to continue medical studies.

    So he well knows that not “everybody is going to be a doctor.” He stayed in the Army for 20, then got a job with a defense contractor (and a BS online MBA).

    For a guy who spent his entire adult life employed, directly or indirectly, by the government (which paid for his college education) to begrudge an affordable public higher education for today’s students is like the old guys yelling that government should not provide health care — selfish hypocrites who feign to be followers of Christ.

    AKA, a substantial part of the Trump base.

    Somewhat on this topic, Politico had a deeply reported piece earlier this month about the University of Michigan, and how and why it has become less diverse economically. Short story — persistent state funding cuts led to much higher in-state tuition (from $600 to $15K over 40 years), a substantial increase in out-of-staters able to pay $50K a year in tuition, and fewer working-class students.


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  11. Dave said on November 27, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Jeff (TMMO), I entered my former occupation and it came up physicist. I wasn’t expecting that.

    I think I’m hating the Republican party and all it represents more and more and more and how long can a run-on sentence be?

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  12. Deni Menken said on November 27, 2017 at 1:15 am

    My family is the social experiment that backs Nancy’s premise. My three stepdaughters did not pursue the college track (prior to my meeting their father). My three kids, armed with scholarships and conviction, were lucky enough to go to DePaul and U of I. The difference in the stability and quality of their daily lives is clearly attributable to the paths taken. It just could not be more clear how valuable a degree from a good college has proven to be for the three with them.

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  13. adrianne said on November 27, 2017 at 5:25 am

    The resentment of the goobers toward the pointy-headed intellectuals is a longstanding tradition in America, alas. It didn’t start with Trump, but it’s reached a crescendo with his ignorant followers.

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  14. ROGirl said on November 27, 2017 at 5:40 am

    When plutocrats send their spawn to Ivies that’s OK because it’s the natural course of events, but when blacks and other minorities get the opportunity that would take places from deserving members of the ruling class, that’s beyond the pale.

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  15. David C. said on November 27, 2017 at 6:11 am

    My truck drivin’ brother called me elitist. I have a BS in Engineering Technology from Ferris State U. You don’t have to fly too high to get tagged with the label and when convenient even one of those good job-gettin’ majors is too much for them, if you’re a liberal.

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  16. coozledad said on November 27, 2017 at 8:08 am

    White locusts.


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  17. coozledad said on November 27, 2017 at 8:15 am

    One of the last actual journalists standing.

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  18. Kim said on November 27, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Did I recently read this here? Likely so.

    “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge’.”
    -Isaac Asmiov

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  19. coozledad said on November 27, 2017 at 8:38 am


    This is how you confront the limpdicks who call themselves journalists these days. Bothsider shitmuffins have no fucking place in a society commencing its slide down the greased tracks toward fascism.

    I want to see her destroy that ass crawler Chuck Todd, for one.

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  20. Connie said on November 27, 2017 at 8:55 am

    My daughter had an amazing experience at Butler, whereas I was just a small town girl lost in the crowd at MSU. But her IU SPEA MPA and MSES seem to have brought her nothing but debt. Her Grad school statistics classes and grad organic chem would have been barely doable for me, the liberal arts grad. She is an assistant manager at the big box store where she took a Christmas job a couple of years ago.

    No librarians on that other job link.

    I am trying to work my prosthetic footed shelf past the part where my 96 year old mother-in-law was telling pegleg jokes yesterday. I don’t think it connected for her, but it sure did for me.

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  21. Connie said on November 27, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Did the Kochs buy Time magazine?

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  22. Deborah said on November 27, 2017 at 9:45 am

    My husband usually has a class full of students from all over the world and only one or two from the US. But this year there are fewer foreign students, word is getting out fast about this country now. Enrollment is down about 25% and is expected to get worse, they’ll probably have to let adjuncts go.

    I’m in Abiquiu with LB, my husband went back to Chicago yesterday.

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  23. coozledad said on November 27, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Seriously, who wants to get caught in this shithole of an authoritarian dystopia when you have
    1) a paramilitary whose sole function is to carry out the orders of a fatass realtor
    2) a police force that is also aligned solely with the political right and enjoys complete immunity from the law
    3) A media that celebrates the arrival of fascism as a welcome novelty
    4) An armed population constantly on the edge of violence
    5) A daily mass shooting.

    Count me in the camp that says the best thing European nations can do now is implement a trade/travel embargo against the US, and hasten the inevitable economic meltdown we always, always get under Republican administrations.

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  24. Peter said on November 27, 2017 at 10:05 am

    David C, my wife can top that – my father called her elitist due to her college education – she has an associates degree in court reporting.

    Her response wasn’t very elitist, but it cleared the air.

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  25. Dave said on November 27, 2017 at 10:06 am

    The story says the Koch have no influence on editorial content but that’s surely a lie.

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  26. adrianne said on November 27, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I’m not too worried about the private equity fund of the Kochs buying Time magazine. It’s a good investment.

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  27. Jakash said on November 27, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Excellent links today, as usual, Cooz. I loved the pinned tweet of the guy that that linked to Sarah Kendzior’s blistering retort @ 17. Though I supported Hillary throughout and was happy to vote for her, I gotta say my clear second choice in 2016 was Giant Meteor…


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  28. Bruce Fields said on November 27, 2017 at 10:44 am

    “I’m reminded of a story I did for Bridge a while back — the link is dead, alas — about how Aspen and Jackson Hole solve their housing-affordability problem, a solution right out of the progressive playbook: They subsidize it. Heavily. More so in Aspen, but in both cities, if you want to live in town and aren’t a Silicon Valley zillionaire, you get subsidized housing.”

    I’m curious what it is that makes that feasible for these tourist towns. I suppose it’s that there’s a huge pot of tourist money to spread over a very small number of year-round residents.

    In most cities the solution has to involve ordinary developers building lots of market-rate housing. There’s just no revenue stream that could build the quantity of housing needed otherwise. Subsidized housing will cover only a tiny percentage of the need–tinier and tinier the more we allow inadequate supply to drive up market rates.

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    • nancy said on November 27, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      J.C. found the link here, Bruce. Today, the program is financed by a 1 percent transfer tax on all real-estate transactions, and I believe developers also are required to build an affordable portion of new construction. The Jackson Hole example the woman there cites is jaw-dropping: In one recent year, 12 percent of the summer-seasonal workers was camping.

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  29. Jeff Borden said on November 27, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    My students are the only thing keeping me sane. At Loyola, which as a Jesuit university stands for social justice, they are concerned not only about the America they’ll inherit, but the world beyond. Additionally, I have six exchange students from Spain, one from China, one from Brazil and one from Dubai. The interactions between the students are a blast.

    At Oakton Community College, my small class of 16 is more than half first-generation Americans, most from the Phillipines this semester, but also Jamaica, Haiti, Iraq and Pakistan. Two of my students are Dreamers, so their speeches have been about the dread they feel about what might happen to them and their parents.

    I would rather have any of my students as neighbors than an asshole ex-Green Beret with a for-profit degree from a Christian diploma mill. Fuck, I’d rather have Mexican immigrants on one side and Syrian refugees on the other than live next door to a Trumpista.

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  30. Scout said on November 27, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Another depressingly dumb Trumpflake from Arizona. How embarrassing. I’ll never understand them and frankly, I don’t care to. They’ve proven themselves unworthy of the two shits I might have once given about them and I’m done.

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  31. Sherri said on November 27, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    There are affordable housing requirements here, but it’s not enough. Ten percent of new development has to be affordable to people making 80% of the area median income, which is pretty high, so it’s still unaffordable to lots of people. And there’s just not enough market rate housing for the demand.

    We recently put in some tax incentives for property owners to develop below market rate housing at 30% and 50% of the AMI in a part of Redmond, and we’ll see in anything comes of that. Most of the Eastside suburbs work together in a coalition called ARCH to help address affordable housing especially at the lower end of affordability: http://www.archhousing.org

    I get frustrated with my neighbors in the more affluent parts of town complaining about all the apartments being built in downtown, who seem to believe simultaneously that all those apartments are sitting empty and that they are driving up housing prices.

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    • nancy said on November 27, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      In the hot areas of Detroit, “affordable” turns out to be tied to the metro area’s median income, which is quite a bit higher than the city’s itself. They always figure out a way to work it to the developer’s advantage. Has the hell known as micro-apartments reached Seattle yet?

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  32. Bruce Fields said on November 27, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    “Today, the program is financed by a 1 percent transfer tax on all real-estate transactions”

    I’m trying to figure out how to get a handle on how much that is.

    Say 5% of the housing in our is sold in a year. The transfer tax gets 1% of that 5%. So, our affordable housing fund accumulates .05% of the total value of our housing each year. Assume we use that to build new affordable housing each year, and assume we can build it at roughly the same cost as the stuff that’s sold each year. Then we could use the fund to increase our housing stock by .05% a year? In cities with growing demand that doesn’t seem significant.

    That’s a drastic oversimplification, and maybe it’s the wrong way to think about it. I’m ignoring commercial real estate. I don’t know how to fit rentals into this. I’m pulling 5% out of nowhere. In practice we’d partially subsidize more units instead of 100% subsidize a few.

    I’m still really skeptical that it would make a significant difference to affordability in a normal market that isn’t just a large number of wealthy vacationers subsidizing a few locals. In Michigan, I assume it’d require a constitutional amendment? But, I mean, I’m all for trying anything that might work.

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  33. Bitter Scribe said on November 27, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    There’s a reason Trump loves the poorly educated.

    Maybe somewhere in this great nation there is someone who describes himself as an “anti-politically correct guy” but who isn’t a racist/homophobe/anti-Semite/all-purpose bigot. I have fond hopes of hearing about this person some day.

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  34. jcburns said on November 27, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Apparently the New York Times will devote as many resources as it takes to bring you a heartwarming profile of that guy, if ever found.

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  35. Peter said on November 27, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Micro-apartments reach Seattle – Nancy, I think that’s one of the places where they started….

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  36. Sherri said on November 27, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Microapartments did start (in the US) in Seattle, but NIMBYism has killed further development of them there: http://www.sightline.org/2016/09/06/how-seattle-killed-micro-housing/

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  37. Jolene said on November 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Roy Moore’s supporters are working overtime—and underhandedly—to discredit his accusers. Here, the Washington Post reports on a scheme to entrap them into reporting a false story, a scheme apparently launched by Project Veritas, the right-wing group that has sought to discredit CNN, Planned Parenthood, and others.

    Great work by the Post in exposing and reporting on these a-holes.

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  38. Heather said on November 27, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Not only are those Project Veritas folks awful people, they’re laughably terrible at doing what they do.

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  39. nancy said on November 27, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    This WashPost story is like eating whipped cream on the best cake EVER.

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  40. adrianne said on November 27, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Luckily, the opposition is pretty f-ing stupid.

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  41. Bitter Scribe said on November 27, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Hey, if they’re so all about “veritas,” how come they have to lie about who they are and what they’re doing every single fucking time?

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  42. Deborah said on November 27, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Santa Fe has affordable housing problems too, jobs are few and far between except for service jobs at the hotels and restaurants. But they’re building an apartment complex next to the fantastic railyard park that nobody uses because it’s where the homeless hang out. The apartments will bring much needed density to that area and hopefully will rejuvenate the park. Of course there were a lot of disgruntled NIMBYs opposed to it, but the city did the right thing.

    A couple of days ago I went to the medical marijuana dispensary with LB. it was very interesting, very professional, super helpful and friendly people working there. Lots better than going to a CVS. There is also a CBD store next to it, I need to do some research about CBD, the info I read in the store make it sound amazing, do any of you have any experience with it?

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  43. susan said on November 27, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Here’s a short history of apodments in Seattle, from ≈2009 to 2016. If you duckduckgo/google “apodments Seattle” you’ll get a lot of articles on them. They are kind of depressing, but then, what has happened to Seattle over the last 20 years is depressing.

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  44. alex said on November 27, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I didn’t think there was anything Trump would do that could shock me, and then I saw the news video of Trump’s most tasteless gratuitous attack yet on Elizabeth Warren.

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  45. David C. said on November 27, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    I was looking at the local Daily Disappointment online and ran across this about someone telling a Hmong woman who was talking to her mother in Hmong to speak “the language”. Then I read the comments. Why did I do that? Why does anyone care what language someone speaks to another person in? How can anyone live in Wisconsin with our sizeable Hmong community and not know the circumstances that caused them come to the United States? White people, I just don’t know anymore.


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  46. coozledad said on November 27, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Alex: He hasn’t reached down into his diaper, scooped a tiny handful of shit and smeared it in his wig. Yet.

    When he does, the NYT style section will conduct a series of interviews with Nazis who like shit in their hair.

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  47. Bitter Scribe said on November 27, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    David @45: This reminds me of Nigel Farage saying that he gets nervous and upset whenever he hears a foreign language being spoken in public.

    As a comic wrote in (I think) the Guardian: That’s not a political platform. It’s a mental disease.

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  48. diane said on November 27, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Part of what makes the transfer tax idea work in resort areas is the frequent transfers of bazillion dollar second (or 3rd or 4th) homes and the fact that the owners are only here using services a few weeks a year-they certainly arent’ sending their kids to the schools here. I still don’t think it is worth it – that same demand is what drives up the prices beyond the reach of anyone who isn’t in the 1%.

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  49. Peter said on November 27, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Alex, the fake news media is not reporting on the real story – Trump said he wrote a wonderful speech but he put it in a binder and gave to the code talkers for a memento of the occasion because they like him so much.

    And what was in the binder? Here’s my guess: “Ugh. Me Big Chief Paleface. Me smoke peace pipe with you. Me build Trump Casino on your reservation. Me make a lot of money. You comp me squaws with full bladders.”

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  50. Gretchen said on November 28, 2017 at 12:04 am

    When I was a science grad student I got free tuition and a stipend because government policy was to train more scientists. Now government policy is to cut aid to education, treat scholarships as income to tax it, tax stipends, and make student loan interest and the money teachers spend on supplies non-deductible. I graduated with no debt. My daughter has over $100,000 in debt for state college and a Masters in public health. I know a young doctor owing $250,000 (yes, a quater-million) at age 26.

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  51. Jolene said on November 28, 2017 at 5:36 am

    The Post is beginning its series of profiles of the Kennedy Center honorees. Here is Hank Stuever’s excellent piece on Norman Lear.

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  52. coozledad said on November 28, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Melania’s Christmas table centerpiece could be seen as a mild rebuke to her stepdaughter, who favors a neutral “Bed Bath and Beyond” approach in natural bone, beiges, weeds and kindling. Per Melania “Ivanka is Jew and theenk Christmas is L.L.Bean backdrop for sell raincoat. Christmas is holy blood of martyrs falling in beeg red splashy drops of gems. Many scarlets and royal purples. I keep bones idea, though. Bones is good idea.”


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  53. Judybusy said on November 28, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Popping in to say the time with my family went well–little brother kept lip zipped. Loved seeing my nieces. Cooked some great recipes for one niece and her BF on Sunday night–unrelated to the holiday. We’d gone to a nice wine tasting in September and we wanted to have them over featuring some of the wine we tasted.

    The phobia about foreign languages is a real head-scratcher for me. I love walking around and hearing Somali, Spanish and English (our big three in Minneapolis–lots of Russian and Hmong in other neighborhoods.) I’ve re-started my French studies with the Pimsleur CDs. It’s fun for me, and for some reason French is just hard, so I like the challenge.

    I also got to meet the Smitten Kitchen author, Deb Perelman last night when she did a reading. Got the new cookbook and am looking forward to cooking our way through it!

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  54. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 28, 2017 at 10:28 am

    For what it’s worth, after five days in New York City, that has got to be the friendliest city I have ever spent time in as a visitor, without qualification. From the Newark airport and the coach that took us into Manhattan, from check-in at the hotel (Grand Hyatt next to Grand Central Station) to NBC production staff on Macy’s sidewalk to the wafel guys to the New York Public Library librarians to the Pierpont Morgan (Dickens’ original manuscript of “A Christmas Carol”!) to cops on Sixth Avenue to Angelo’s up behind the Ed Sullivan Theatre marquee to the Sondheim Theatre ushers to did I mention Macy’s clerks and elves? EVERYone we met was “are you having a good time? what can I help you with? isn’t this just crazy?”

    judybusy’s comment made me want to say that, as prelude to noticing also how often in our trip I’d be on line behind someone clearly not with English as their first language, working with a clerk or cashier who wasn’t Anglophone either, watching the mix of gesture and sign language and lingua franca-esque communication that almost always worked out with a little patience. And aside from street crossings, you see a lot of patience at work in Manhattan. I hope I brought some back with me.

    Oh, and the kids in the Ohio U. Marching 110 had a great time — our Thanksgiving dinner was eaten on a boat in NY harbor, literally cruising right up to the Statue of Liberty around dessert time after swinging around the Battery and crossing under the Brooklyn Bridge upriver and out again. Not to be repeated, but never to be forgotten. Especially the friendliness of everyone along the way!

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  55. Mark P said on November 28, 2017 at 10:58 am

    gretchen @50 — When I was a grad student at Ga. Tech in the early 1980’s, research assistantships were not taxable. A year or so after I got my degree, in around 1986, the IRS started trying to get back taxes from students in from period. When I was a grad student, those assistantships were definitely not taxable. The IRS changed the regulations, I guess, and decided to collect taxes from former grad students, even though the new regulations didn’t apply retroactively. I eventually had to file an appeal with the tax court (and pay a filing charge) before the IRS agreed to drop it. A lot of graduate students, especially foreign students, were afraid to fight it. At the time I thought, “The government needs money so who do they go after to get it? Graduate students? Yeah, that’s where the big money is!”

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  56. Sherri said on November 28, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Reagan’s 1986 tax changes started taxing grad school stipends. I was in grad school before and after, but what Carnegie Mellon did was only report the change in stipend after 86 as taxable income. So the bulk of my stipend was not taxed, though new grad students were fully taxed. Who knows if that was legal, but as far as I know, the IRS never came after any of us.

    This new tax bill would tax tuition waivers, which is money the student never has. Back in the 80s, my stipend was around $9K, but my tuition waiver was around $36K. Under the proposed tax bill, I would have owed taxes on $45K. Plus, state and local income taxes are usually calculated based on Federal income, and Pittsburgh had a 4% income tax back then, while Pennsylvania had a 2% income tax.

    Now add in the fact that about 80% of the budget for the CS department back then came from taxpayer money, and that ain’t on the table, and you’ve got the recipe to utterly destroy higher education in this country. Oh well, Peter Thiel doesn’t think it’s necessary anyway, despite his Stanford degree.

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  57. Heather said on November 28, 2017 at 11:59 am

    JTMMO, that’s been my experience when I got to NYC as well. My friend who’s lived there for 20 years says it’s like a small town. And in fact when I’m with her and her husband in their neighborhood, they’re always waving at restaurant waiters and so on. People aren’t necessarily big on chit-chat but they’re very helpful and friendly in general.

    And I loved the Morgan Library. When I went, they had some manuscripts of Charlotte Bronte’s as well as some of her clothes (she was very tiny!) and other ephemera.

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  58. susan said on November 28, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    JeffTMMO, I see that you have taken up the NYCism waiting “on line.” You must have really been smitten!

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  59. Julie Robinson said on November 28, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    My new pals in NYC wanted no-repayment “loans”. Happened twice in the train station within 10 minutes. Said my daughter, Mom–you have to stop being so midwestern friendly and smiley. After that I avoided eye contact.

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  60. adrianne said on November 28, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    We New Yorkers may be brusque, but we’ll always be friendly! And BTW, a friend’s sister works at the Morgan Library. I need to get over there for a special tour.

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  61. Scout said on November 28, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    My local Costco is a giant melting pot of languages. Besides the ever present Spanish, there are always a lot of Asian and Middle Eastern people shopping there. I love that.

    The Project Veritas dipshits ended up making the women who spoke out to the WaPo even more credible. Btw, what does everyone here think will happen in AL on the 12th? TPM is reporting that Moore is back up and ahead of Jones in the polls. If they elect that disgusting pedophile, so-called evangelicals need to stfu forever.

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  62. Jeff Borden said on November 28, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    The myth that large cities are cold and unfriendly is just that. . .a myth. You will get back what you put out. If you go to NYC expecting a bad time, you’ll probably have one. Ditto for other cities. Everyone told Johanna and me about the horrible, mean, rude Parisians. Nope. We were guided to a Metro stop by an elderly couple that spoke no English,but aided us in getting back to our hotel because we spoke a few broken words of French and pantomined our situation. We had one rude waiter during our trip. Period.

    In Chicago, I once stopped on the LaSalle Street bridge to offer help to a couple with a map. The guy was an Aussie and said he was almost annoyed at how many Chicagoans had stopped to help. He wanted to find his own way.

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  63. Connie said on November 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    My daughter had two and a half years of full tuition waivers when attending grad school at IU. I have no clue what the total value of that was, but man, I would hate to have to pay taxes on it.

    How do you get that tuition waiver? Well because she is the dependent of a veteran with a purple heart she is entitled to up to four years tuition waiver at any Indiana state university or college. Veteran has to have lived in Indiana for at least three years at some point in hiw/her life.

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  64. MarkH said on November 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Some updates, clarifications, corrections to your affordable housing posts, Nancy –

    All things housing in Teton County start with this: 97% of the land here is government-owned; two national forests, one national park, one national wildlife refuge and scattered BLM and state parcels. Unlike other locales discussed here, this is extreme in the supply-demand equation. Add to that the fact that not all of that remaining 3% is develop-able. Due to large private parcels, zoning density restrictions of those parcels and conservation easement protections to a lot of the private land, supply becomes more restricted. New county-wide land development restrictions (LDRs) are now in place after the requisite fighting, increasing density in the only logical place, the town of Jackson. But it will never be enough for truly affordable housing.

    Camping – if you count the people living in cars during the summer season, and the newly designated town camping site near an elementary school, that 12% number you quoted is going to hit well above 20% in 2018. It’s that bad.

    Transfer Tax: Maybe you mis-heard, but nowhere in Wyoming is there a real estate transfer tax. Aspen has one and Colorado has a small one. Funds for affordable housing in Teton County come from Specific Purpose Excise (1% sales) Taxes. These are put up to a public vote, and contrary to your statement of overwhelming popularity, last May’s special vote to contribute new taxes to subsidized housing went down to a fairly resounding defeat. This was almost exclusively due to irregularities that came to light on the affordable housing board, mainly lack of progress on land-banked property. That board has been replaced by a new town-county regulatory body and an advisory board.

    Also, not everyone in the lower income categories gets subsidized housing. When new properties come on the market, the authority holds a lottery for each unit. Upwards of 60 people/families apply for each single property and they go through each applicant until a bank approval comes through. There is also a privately subsidized housing trust here that uses the waiting list system and it is always long.

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    • nancy said on November 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      Hey, I only said the transfer-tax program was popular in Aspen. (And that it only exists there, not in WY.) Jackson Hole is where the Cheneys live, after all.

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  65. coozledad said on November 28, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    not opposed to different outcomes


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  66. Dexter said on November 28, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Jeff Borden: Once 35 years ago I took my neighbor to Chicago on the South Shore Line & el trains for a goof-off day of shopping at Rose Records and a trip to Merchandise Mart. We were standing by the river looking at some literature about the MM when a well dressed older gent assumed we were totally lost tourists and he began pointing out the immediate visible landmarks. I had been coming to the city forever, but my friend was impressed at the friendliness, as was I. Ah, four years later on a packed Dan Ryan train at 35 St., I had my wallet lifted by some kids…the yin and the yang…zenith and nadir….high tide and green grass, we abide.

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  67. Dexter said on November 28, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    O.T> any Lena Dunham fans here? Just curious what any reasonable person sees of value in this creep: https://nypost.com/2017/11/27/good-riddance-to-lena-dunham/

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  68. MarkH said on November 28, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Sorry, it wasn’t clear you singled out Aspen there, but thanks for clarifying, Nancy. As for the Cheneys, don’t take their residency here as anything more than that. As of the 2014 midterm elections this county has now turned a solid blue. They’re able to afford it here and that’s it; they couldn’t get elected dogcatcher locally.

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  69. Sherri said on November 28, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Transferring surplus land at no or low-cost is another way of helping out affordable housing and putting it in good locations, near transit. Of course, if conservatives get their way, things like this won’t happen in the future, because they want to reduce the car tab fees that fund Sound Transit and they want to make Sound Transit’s board elected.


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  70. Sherri said on November 28, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    I believe we talked about this essay when it came out last year: https://medium.com/@kristicoulter/https-medium-com-kristicoulter-the-24-hour-woman-3425ca5be19f

    The author has a book coming out next year: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/writer-navigates-techs-male-culture-in-seattle-with-acerbic-wit/

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  71. Icarus said on November 28, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    The whole taxing on something of value that you just received seems cruel. Like when Oprah gave away all those cars to people and they had to come up with the taxes because the IRS considers it income.

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  72. Sherri said on November 28, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    In the good news category, today is my 30th wedding anniversary! The milestone is less important to me than the fact that my husband and I have grown ever closer over that time.

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  73. David C. said on November 28, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Our nephew is doing his post-doc in chemistry at Tulane working on chemotherapies. Why would we want to encourage that sort of thing. You can just give the money to Joel Osteen and he’ll pray the cancer away.

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  74. Deborah said on November 28, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    I love, love, love the Morgan Library.

    What a crazy, crazy day this has turned out to be, I found out this morning that we’re going to be making an unexpected trip to London next week with uncle J. So I had planned to spend the next 3 or 4 days in Abiquiu, but now I’m headed down to Albuquerque to spend the night in an airport hotel, then a early morning flight to Chicago where I need to update my passport. It’s good until Jan 17 of 2018 but you have to have 6 months left before you can travel for some reason (depends on the country apparently). I had to make an appointment at the place where you can get an instant renew (I certainly hope so anyway). I spent the day rushing around taking care of all this stuff and I leave in a half hour for the shuttle to the airport hotel.

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  75. Sherri said on November 28, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    The University of Tennessee, whose football team has been terrible since unceremoniously dumping Phil Fulmer a while back for not being Nick Saban, thought they were going to hire Greg Schiano as their new football coach. The fan base, alumni, and a number of legislators made their displeasure known, very loudly. UT backed off.

    That’s unusual enough. Greg Schiano is a jerk of a football coach, and not even that successful. He’s also tainted by association with Jerry Sandusky; Mike McQueary testified that another coach told him that Schiano had witnessed Sandusky doing something with a boy in the shower. There are plenty of reasons not to like the hire, but usually, athletic directors are smart enough to never consider a hire that will be that disliked.

    But what I found really odd is the way so many sportswriters came to Schiano’s defense. It’s not a secret that Schiano is a jerk to his players; when he coached in the professional ranks, his players hated him, and he wasn’t successful. He managed a few winning seasons with Rutgers when they were in the Big East, which wasn’t a football power. But here come Peter King and friends, lamenting how awful it was Schiano was being denied the job based on hearsay. Love of authoritarianism runs wide, I guess.


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  76. Dexter said on November 29, 2017 at 3:57 am

    Oldtimers will remember FW mayor Bob Armstrong, 1975-1979 in office. I posted in that Fort Wayne popular FB page of what a corrupt wide-open town it was during his administration: whore house “photo studios” and massage parlors all over town, live sex acts on stage at creepy nightclubs, just a wild place. And damned if I didn’t get lit-up like a goddam Christmas tree. The old folks there loved old Bob Armstrong…I never knew. All I remembered was he was ridiculed at times for running a loose ship, pissing off cops so badly they went on strike, and guys coming to work telling of the clap they caught at the whore-parlors of Fort Wayne. Geez! Anyway, I took my post down. Apparently the old basketball star of Central Tigers (1943 State Champs) and Indiana University basketball, and later a WWII war hero was really Jack Armstrong,All American Boy!

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  77. basset said on November 29, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Sherri, I could give a shit about football but the U of Tennessee situation is obviously pretty hard to avoid here… looks like that job os going to be even more difficult to fill than previously expected. Got a text from one of our local news outlets last night saying that someone currently at Oklahoma State had turned UT down, no telling who else might get an offer.

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  78. alex said on November 29, 2017 at 7:43 am

    And now Matt Lauer: http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/29/media/matt-lauer/index.html

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  79. Suzanne said on November 29, 2017 at 7:46 am

    So now Matt Lauer has been dumped from the Today Show for…you guessed it! Inappropriate sexual stuff in the workplace.

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  80. coozledad said on November 29, 2017 at 8:17 am

    I don’t know why so many people believe they’re watching faithful arbiters of information when so many white male journos are just hairless monkeys bathed in failure.

    Watch Chuck Todd interview a Republican male, then watch him interview a female.

    Boy got serious suckup issues, and he’s contemptuous of women. The whole culture of the newsroom is bullshit across the board, and they fucking failed us. Goddamn heads ought to be chopped off.


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  81. coozledad said on November 29, 2017 at 8:24 am

    The whole Bernie thing, too, was more insufferable white males cupping their hands over their precious little dicks. I’m beginning to think the Russians spotted that old grifter some change, too. I’ve gotta say I’ve never seen gulls worked so successfully. Most Naderites admitted shortly after 2000 they’d been played hard, bur Bernie’s people are still eating that shit like ice cream, and they’re fully behind that racist sabotaging the Democratic party again.

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  82. coozledad said on November 29, 2017 at 8:41 am

    Hey, any of you targets of the Trump/Russia investigation should watch and learn. This is a lot cheaper than hiring the only shitstick ambulance chaser who’ll take your case. Drink up!

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