Link Farm and Open Thread, (accidental) TBA Edition

  1. We asked Texas Republicans banning books to define pornography. Here’s what they told us.
  2. Sex Isn’t Binary And Immutable, But It Wouldn’t Matter (For Trans Rights) If It Was | by Katy Montgomerie | Mar, 2022 | Medium
  3. Cancel Culture in 1832 Sounded Pretty Fierce – Jamelle Bouie
    What Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about cancel culture and democracy.
  4. The Legacy of ‘90s Teen Girl Murder Films | Features | Roger Ebert
  5. Analysis: Rejecting 23,000 Texas mail ballots is vote suppression | The Texas Tribune
  6. Absentee ballot envelope design, the Texas debacle, and the one coming to Georgia | Election Law Blog
  7. In Defense of Debate – Jill Filipovic
    “…whether I like it or not, abortion rights are up for debate. My choice is not whether I live in this world or my ideal one; it is whether I show up in the world I live in to defend abortion rights or not.”
  8. The Look of Gentrification – by Darrell Owens
    “If you think of gentrification as coffee shops and bike lanes then you don’t understand gentrification at all. It’s about what’s inside, not outside.”
  9. The promise — and problem — of restorative justice – Vox
    “If we’re going to think about forgiveness in terms of restorative justice, the only morally and politically careful way to do that is to recognize the legitimacy of the unforgiving victim.”
  10. His software sang the words of God. Then it went silent.
    A really interesting article about a widely-used program used to train people to sing Torah – but after the creator died, the software wasn’t updated and it seemingly died as well. Good news that came up after the article was finished: People are developing emulators.
  11. An Afternoon at the Roxy, for the Last Time – Eater Portland
    I’m still in shock about this. I haven’t eaten at the Roxy in years, but I used to eat there all the time: Decent diner food and sensational atmosphere.
  12. Opinion | The Senate approved Daylight Saving Time year-round accidentally. Blame Putin. – The Washington PostI had no idea that the year-round Daylight Saving Time amendment was sneaked through the Senate this way. It’s appalling behavior (and maybe unlikely to get through the House?), but also, I’m amused.
  13. The SAT Isn’t What’s Unfair – The Atlantic
    Maybe I missed it, but I don’t think the author compared “top tenth” style programs to SATs, in terms of increasing admissions for low-income students. Nonetheless, an interesting article.
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62 Responses to Link Farm and Open Thread, (accidental) TBA Edition

  1. 1
    Joe in Australia says:

    This is a great collection of links! Funnily enough I read the article “ His software sang the words of God” literally just before opening this. I actually “own” TropeTrainer myself and I wondered why it went black. Its significance can’t be exaggerated: it can’t be recovered it will be a tragedy. Emulators won’t be sufficient without the underlying data files because it wasn’t just a musical text-to-speech program: it was an archive of musical styles developed with community input.

  2. 2
    Ten Bears says:

    Sucks about the Roxy. Best Biscuits and Gravy in Oregon.

    Couple years ago, before I left, the wife and I were still doing the long-distance “airplane love” thing and she had just flown into PDX for the first time. I took her to the Roxy for breakfast. We sat where I always sit (next to Janis) and she was so excited she promptly spilled a pot of coffee in her lap. She’ll be sadder to hear about this than I.

    I’ve come down from more than a few shows there.

  3. 3
    RonF says:

    The Florida Legislature has passed, and Gov. DeSantis has signed, the “Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees” act. Given the subject matter the acronym is clearly deliberate. According to the link here are some provisions:

    the bill makes it unlawful to “subject a person, as a condition of employment … to training, instruction, or any other required activity” that compels such individual to believe:

    Members of one race, color, sex, or national origin are morally superior to members of another

    That an individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously

    Than an individual’s moral character or status as either privileged or oppressed is necessarily determined by his or her race, color, sex, or national origin

    That an individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears responsibility for … actions committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin

    An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment to achieve diversity, equity, or inclusion.

    An individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin, bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt … because of actions … committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex, or national origin.

    Some labor and employment lawyers who represents private sector employers believe the training programs have little or no future in the state. “Diversity, equity and inclusion training will be a thing of the past in the State of Florida,” said Leonard K. Samuels, a labor and employment and business litigation lawyer for the Berger Singerman firm in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s risky to do it; it’s a hornet’s nest,” Samuels said. He added that the programs “are at great risk of no longer being part of corporate America or in the state of Florida.” Since the legislation is “hot off the press,” Samuels said, “companies are all going to do their own analysis of this.” The key questions: whether the training programs will need to be drastically modified, or scrapped altogether.

    And then there’s a whole section in the link about the concepts of unconscious bias being included in DEI training over the last few years and how that might specifically run afoul of this legislation.

    It’s one thing to say that companies cannot talk about such things – that would be a First Amendment violation, I should think. But to make attending such training a condition of employment becomes an issue of labor law. My company has been doing DEI seminars but they are not mandatory.

    I imagine there will be lawsuits, so this will get interesting. If you’re interested I found the actual text of the bill here. The links in the Boston Herald story that I checked all link to the Sacramento Sun and are subscriber-only.

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    When 1 in 8 Texas mail ballots gets trashed, that’s vote suppression

    Or, that 1 in 8 Texas mail ballots were corruptly cast and that the new law was desperately needed. We need an analysis of why those ballots were trashed to tell which of these statements are true.

    It appears from the subsequent link that the main reason they were rejected was because people neglected to put identification information (last few digits of their SSN or their Texas drivers license) where it was requested. A couple of people who were eligible voters but neglected to put that information on their ballot were cited in the article, and it is proposed that the vast majority of the people who had their ballots rejected were the same. We’ll see how this shakes out in the general election now that this has become a statewide story and people are aware of the issue.

    Apparently you need to provide the ID information to get the ballot sent to you in the first place – blind mailing of mail-in ballots to people whether they’ve requested it or not appears to have been stopped by the new law. I’ll be interested to see what the number of mail-in ballots are in the 2022 election compared to the 2020 and the 2018 elections.

  5. 5
    RonF says:

    Re: the Atlantic article at the end of the list:

    MIT’s announcement on Monday that it is reinstating a testing requirement for fall 2023 admissions was a major departure from these recent trends. Just as striking, amid the widespread perception of standardized testing as an engine of inequality, was MIT’s rationale: “Not having SATs/ACT scores to consider,” MIT’s dean of admissions, Stu Schmill, wrote, “tends to raise socioeconomic barriers to demonstrating readiness for our education.”

    This is in fact NOT all that surprising – it’s what critics were saying when MIT dropped the SAT requirement in the first place. People didn’t want to listen. But oddly enough, MIT tends to look at actual data after changes are made and go where the data leads them. So: why did critics say this?

    The test measures differences in academic preparedness, including the ability to write a clear sentence, to understand a complex passage, and to solve a mathematical problem. The SAT doesn’t create inequalities in these academic skills. It reveals them. Throwing the measurement away doesn’t remedy underlying injustices in children’s academic opportunities, any more than throwing a thermometer away changes the weather.

    Putting someone who doesn’t have the skills already developed into a situation where you need highly developed skills to succeed sets them up for failure. It’s very difficult to overcome that gap. Every freshman takes two semesters of calculus as well as two semesters of physics that depend heavily on calculus to understand and pass. The vast majority of the incoming freshmen at MIT have already taken Calculus AP B and C; if you haven’t – if, say, your high school does not offer AP Calculus – it’s going to be a rough ride for you if you get admitted, which you probably won’t. I know – my HS didn’t offer calculus (it was a lot less common then) so I never took it. Back then there was no such thing as AP courses, but I got a 789 on my SAT Math level II and a 787 on my SAT Mathematics Achievement Test (which didn’t have calculus on it) so I got in. And it was a rough ride for me, it took me a whole semester to get up to speed.

    Me, visiting my old HS at semester break, talking to my old math teacher about this: “How come you don’t teach calculus here?” Teacher: “None of us know how!”

  6. 6
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    Or, that 1 in 8 Texas mail ballots were corruptly cast and that the new law was desperately needed. We need an analysis of why those ballots were trashed to tell which of these statements are true.

    Or one could, you know, look at the history of fraudulent ballot prosecutions in Texas. One might even read actual reporting from reliable news sources to find analysis of the reasons those ballots were trashed. One could also, I suppose, make general comments of ignorance on an easily researched subject in order to avoid learning an uncomfortable truth in a spuriously non-partisan “just asking questions” manner. Only one of those three possible courses of action is disingenuous and worthy of opprobrium.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    Which is why I brought up the information in the second article, which I presume fits your definition of a reliable news source. Since you bring it up – what do you consider a reliable news source? I’d be interested in specific examples as well as their general characteristics.

    What is the history of fraudulent ballot prosecutions in Texas, and what is their relevance to this situation?

    Any time you make changes to a system there are going to be issues the first time the changed system is actually run. That doesn’t necessarily invalidate the changes; it often simply means that people need training on them. Happens all the time in my profession. Access to the ballot is essential for democracy but so is ensuring the integrity of the balloting system. Degradation of either reduces trust in the results; a balance must be struck.

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    I didn’t mean to post this post yet! I guess I hit “post” by accident. That’s why the title is “TBA,” and there are no illustrations, and the list wasn’t numbered. (I’ll go in and add the numbered list formatting now.)

  9. 9
    Corso says:

    On the mail in balloting: These discussions are almost a uniquely American thing.

    This is similar to the voter ID law issue: Most healthy democracies have voter ID laws, but American Democrats lobby against them for various reasons. Most healthy democracies do not allow mail in voting to even to the extent that America does now, never mind the Democrat propositions. I’m not saying that the reasons aren’t legitimate, I’m not saying the proposals have malicious intent, but perhaps we should abandon the narrative that the 2020 election was the most fair and open election in the history of the world, and really talk about what that means.

    I’m not saying Trump won. I’m not saying Trump carried a single state more than the results say. I’m not even saying that if we could go back in time and clean every bit of fraud out of the election Trump would have done better. Trump is a polarizing figure. You either loved him or hated him, and some of the people who hated him were energized to vote for the first time in their lives in a top only ballot. Your average national election had 10,000 or so top-only ballots. 2020 had 300,000. That actually makes sense, despite being such an anomaly: People really did just hate Trump that much, and I don’t blame them.

    But the narrative that there was no election fraud is unsupportable. “None” only needs a single example to be untrue, and we have so much more than that. “Not enough to change the election” is, I think, obviously true, but I’m not sure you should be patting yourselves to hard on the back for it. “enough to possibly change the election if everything lined up the same way” is probably closer to true. Again: I don’t think the election, even absent fraud, would have gone any other way. But in Arizona, for instance, the margin of victory was 10,500 votes. They audited the election results in Maricopa and while they ultimately determined that while the election was legitimate, they found that there were:

    -23,334 mail in ballots voted from a prior address.
    -10,342 potential voters that voted in multiple counties.
    -9,041 more ballots returned by voters than recieved.
    -2,382 in-person voters who had moved out of Maricopa county. And
    -2,081 voters who had moved out of the state in the 29 days period proceeding the election.

    There were other lines too, by all means read the report. Again…. Not all of those ballots would have gone to Joe Biden. They probably would have been close to a wash against themselves. People might have been confused on the rules, I’m not saying these were all malicious. But I have a hard time reconciling the idea that there wasn’t fraud when they literally found thousands of people who voted in the wrong state, the wrong county or in multiple counties. That last one in particular… What else do you call that?

    And once you move past the recognition that there was actual voter fraud in not-insignificant numbers, then why not make it harder to commit fraud? We care about democracy, right? Republicans want voter ID? This makes sense. you’re concerned that they’re trying to Disenfrachise certain classes of voters? That’s fair. Lobby so that it’s easy to get the ID needed. Republicans want to curtail mail in voting? This makes sense. You think Republicans are trying to make it harder for minorities to vote? Let’s increase funding for polling stations.

    I think that on the American Democrat side of this equation, they’ve lost sight of what voting really is…. Voting is a civic duty. It’s also a right, so while it’s better and good to make the duty of voting as easy as possible, there is a certain amount of effort that voters have to expend… I don’t think showing up to a poll is a significant call to action for most Americans.

    And it would have stopped thing like the Texas spoilage rates, which I am not a good enough person not to point out that I explicitly warned you about, and you discounted.

  10. 10
    Görkem says:

    “But the narrative that there was no election fraud is unsupportable. “None” only needs a single example to be untrue, and we have so much more than that. ”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

  11. 11
    Corso says:

    Gorkem @ 10

    Two things:

    First, It’s not a strawman if people actually said it; From the New York Times: “The Times Called Officials in Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud”

    But more importantly, Second, It seems like you’re incapable of digesting an entire and complete argument and responding to it. I wrote more words than that and they matter.

    My point was that America’s elections are loose, particularly when compared to the rest of the world. And that a lot of Democrat pet issues work against that.

    In fact, three years ago, I was making the case that Democrats should probably encourage people to forgo mail in balloting and show up because mail in balloting tended to have significantly worse spoilage rates, and that could bias the process in favor of Republicans because Democrats were more likely to mail in vote. I believe I might have made that argument here, although I cannot find the exchange.

  12. 12
    JaneDoh says:

    You do realize that 16/51 voting jurisdictions require some form of ID? Most of those states require considerably more formal ID than Canada does (to name a country you often compare the US to). There is no federal requirement for ID, but in the US the states run the elections. FWIW you can also vote by mail in most of Canada. Vote by mail is also common in Germany. The US isn’t particularly weird about the things it allows. People just fight about it a lot there.

  13. 13
    Kate says:

    Corso @9 – said:

    -23,334 mail in ballots voted from a prior address.
    -10,342 potential voters that voted in multiple counties.
    -9,041 more ballots returned by voters than recieved.
    -2,382 in-person voters who had moved out of Maricopa county. And
    -2,081 voters who had moved out of the state in the 29 days period proceeding the election.

    I can’t find the numbers you cite in the report you link.
    If you can’t cite a source for your numbers, I think you need to retract them.

  14. 14
    RonF says:

    I took a look around, Kate, and found this link. An excerpt:

    Many issues were also seen with voters who were registered as having moved. 23,344 voters voted via a mail-in ballot where nobody else of the same name was at the address, eliminating students and other people in similar family situations from the potential mix. Mail-in ballots cannot be forwarded, meaning the only legal way for these Maricopa voters to have received their ballot was to have picked it up in person, something the audit team considered unlikely. 2,081 voters even moved out of state and received a full ballot, not a “federal only” ballot.

    Logan claimed that potentially up to 5,047 individuals voted in more than one county, with voters having the same names and same birth year – 393 voters also had an incomplete name. 198 voters registered after the October 18th cutoff and still voted. Issues were also seen with the voter roll, where there were 2,681 unique AFSEQ numbers, which are supposed to be applied to voters for a singular transaction, being shared between voters. The Maricopa audit team said this suggested an election integrity issue with the ballot data itself. Other claims included 282 potentially dead voters and 186 people with potential duplicate IDs.

  15. 15
    Kate says:

    So, the source of those numbers was not the non-partisan state audit that Corso linked to, it was the Cyber Ninjas “audit”.

  16. 16
    Görkem says:

    ” I wrote more words than that and they matter.”

    It’s not up to you to decide whether or not your words matter.

  17. 17
    JaneDoh says:

    Oops it is the other way around – 16/51 have no voter ID and 35/51 require some kind of ID to vote (that is the 50 states DC which run elections in the US). Submitted without reviewing what I wrote. :-)

  18. 18
    Corso says:

    Kate @ 13 and 15

    Embarrassing. Sorry. Yes, I have a couple of files with links to information I might want to share eventually, and the state audit was directly above the Cyber Ninjas audit, I grabbed the wrong link.

    I’m not sure why you put the word audit in scare quotes though, they were hired by the state to conduct it, and I don’t think there are many people seriously questioning the validity of their findings. It was definitely an audit, that’s what they found.

    Jane @12 and 17

    That’s true, but I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make.

    Democrats seem… Not divided, necessarily, on the issue, but eclectic. Definitely inconsistent. Georgia’s “Election Integrity Act” of 2021 was generally less restrictive in voting rules that the rules in New York State, and yet Democratic leadership called the rules in Georgia “voter suppression” while turning a blind eye to New York.

    Your point kind of works against you here. 35 states in the union have voter ID laws. Most democracies have voter ID laws. And yet, it seems facially obvious that Democrats oppose new Voter ID laws, if only when it’s their opponents setting them up. If Voter ID laws are good, why the all the knee-jerk opposition to them?

  19. 19
    Kate says:

    I’m not sure why you put the word audit in scare quotes though, they were hired by the state to conduct it, and I don’t think there are many people seriously questioning the validity of their findings.

    Yes, people are “seriously questioning the validity of their findings” – and for good reasons.

    …the audit was never merited; it was driven by and paid for by partisan interests; it was conducted by individuals with deep biases and no qualifications; and it has only served to undermine public confidence in our election processes.

    Since the above article was published, Cyber Ninja’s claims have now been thoroughly debunked:

    Election officials combed through those records and found Logan’s claims to be almost entirely inaccurate. Of the 53,304 ballots that Cyber Ninjas deemed questionable, the county found 37 instances in which someone might have illegally voted twice — 0.069% of the so-called “questionable” ballots. The county referred those cases to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which is investigating the audit team’s findings at Fann’s request. The county also found 50 ballots that might have accidentally been double counted, the only one of the audit’s 75 claims that Jarrett said may not be false.
    “This is the very definition of exceptionally rare,” the county’s report said of the finding that fewer than 100 ballots out of about 2.1 million cast were potentially suspicious.
    The 53,000-plus instances, election officials explained to the Board of Supervisors, were the result of various errors by the Cyber Ninjas.

    More details, including a link to the full report here.

    Edited to add…the report debunking the Cyber Ninja’s findings quoted by Corso came out in January, so this has been out for months now.

  20. 20
    Kate says:

    A few details from the report itself:
    On voters who moved shortly before the election…this is legal:

    The Federal Government passed the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which allows voters to move between jurisdictions and states during an election cycle. It affords those voters the right to cast a ballot for president from their prior residence if they missed the registration deadline in their new residence. 

    Some people voting from out of state were also memebers of the military. This is also legal. Cyber Ninjas ought to have known these things.

    Cyber Ninjas was identifying duplicate voters based only on last name, first initial and year of birth:

    Cyber Ninjas’ soft matches used three data points: last name, first initial and year of birth. In a County with more than 4 million people, this is clearly not sufficient. In one case for example they identified twins as the same voter. In the County’s review of Cyber Ninjas’ dataset, we used matching criteria that included: full name (first, middle, last), full date of birth, Social Security number (4 digits), Arizona Driver License or state issued ID, residential history, signature and in some cases we had the voter’s occupation and the father’s last name or the mother’s maiden name.

    Again, that thier matching criteria was laughably inadequeate should have been obvious to an absolute novice, never mind a professional auditor.
    My conclusion is that Cyber Ninjas was never looking for actual fraud. They were trying to create the appearance of fraud. The Republican Party has been falsely claiming large scale election fraud for decades. But,decades of investigations have established that election fraud is not actaully a problem in the U.S.. It is vanishingly rare.

    If Voter ID laws are good, why the all the knee-jerk opposition to them?

    Any support of election legislation to “solve” this non-problem supports the false narrative that our elections are not secure. Additional hoops to jump through do not make our elections more secure, they make them less equal, because it is the most marginalized in our society who will find themselves unable to jump through those hoops.
    I will say that, the organization of groups to help people get ID’s in the aftermath of the introduction of voter ID laws has had the unintended positive effect of helping thousands of people obtain legal ID’s which will help them navigate other things in life, like getting bank accounts which free them from the depradations of for-profit check-cashing operations.

  21. 21
    JaneDoh says:

    @Corso

    Well, you did say that American elections are loose when compared to the rest of the world. My point is that they may be loose when compared to some countries, but not all. This obsession with election fraud seems to be a Republican thing. Also a huge waste of time and money considering how few cases are found even when people look really, really hard to find some.

  22. 22
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/04/09/1091689867/opioid-prescribing-guidelines-pain

    Restrictions are somewhat loosened, possibly vaguely and not enough.

  23. 23
    RonF says:

    Amp, regarding link #13:

    Maybe I missed it, but I don’t think the author compared “top tenth” style programs to SATs, in terms of increasing admissions for low-income students. Nonetheless, an interesting article.

    I don’t get what point you’re trying to make with this comment.

  24. 24
    Celeste says:

    Re: voter ID, voter fraud, & etc.

    If Voter ID laws are good, why the all the knee-jerk opposition to them?

    My basic principle is that new laws ought to solve or address problems, so when there doesn’t seem to be evidence of an actual problem, I get suspicious and wonder if the proposed law is being proposed for some other reason.

    Look at how hard the American Right fights against gun regulations. Right. Now imagine if we’d never had a mass shooting?

    Okay, that’s how I feel about Voter ID laws.

  25. 25
    Ampersand says:

    Maybe I missed it, but I don’t think the author compared “top tenth” style programs to SATs, in terms of increasing admissions for low-income students. Nonetheless, an interesting article.

    I don’t get what point you’re trying to make with this comment.

    Just that the article compared a lot of programs to the SATs, and found that the SATs did a better job than other methods at increasing admissions for low-income students. I was only wondering how “top tenth” style programs, in which the top X percent of any school’s graduating class is admitted, would compare to the SATs.

  26. 26
    RonF says:

    I was only wondering how “top tenth” style programs, in which the top X percent of any school’s graduating class is admitted, would compare to the SATs.

    Probably a lot worse. There are schools, especially in our larger cities, where even their top graduates have abysmal reading and math skills. How much of that is the fault of the school and how much of that is the fault of the rest of the students’ home and social environment is debatable, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter to the point of “is student ‘x’ prepared to do well in college or not?”

  27. 27
    RonF says:

    So how about that Elon Musk, eh? He owns 9.7% of Twitter, so if people owning 40.3% of the stock decided to accept his tender offer he can dump the Board of Directors even if they DON’T agree to sell him the company – and he’s offering a good price.

    In fact, the price is good enough that the Board would be open to lawsuits on the basis that they have not met their fiduciary responsibilities to the stockholders if they don’t sell to him. I can’t predict how that would go, but Mr. Musk can certainly afford to hire a bunch of very good lawyers.

  28. 28
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Ron @26 – That’s a different metric, though. The question Amp asked was how good would “top tenth” style programs be at increasing college attendence by low-income students. That’s a seperate question than whether that would be a good idea for either the program or the students (I suspect the answer to that is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”).

  29. 29
    Lauren says:

    A different look at the debate on free speach on college campuses in the US – specifically which universities are considered in these discussions and how economic factors are one of the elements limiting an actual free exchange of ideas by limiting access. Interesting to me, as an a non US-based reader who depends only on what is being written to get any idea of what is going on, but I am getting the impression that there are a lot of others who, though there are certainly “normal”, non-elite campuses around them, still don’t get into contact with these realities.

  30. Lauren,

    Thank you for linking to the Slate article. As someone who’s been a community college professor for more than thirty years now, a great deal of what Lucas Mann had to say resonated with me:

    My courses are all built around discussion. What I find most foreign in accounts of “free speech” on campuses is the depiction of militancy among students, a monolith of kids who, in these representations, apparently show up at age 18 secure in their views and voice and the power of that voice in an academic setting. Instead, what I observe to be the biggest hurdle for my students is the challenge of allowing themselves to speak, which means feeling at home, engaged, and empowered enough to validate their own perspective as worthy of the discussion. At the beginning of each semester, there is reticence to get into debates in class, but it isn’t coming from some sense of political fear and self-silencing. It’s an act of negotiation, the students coaxing themselves toward a feeling of agency, security, investment, and hopefully community. In my experience, students work really hard to make others feel welcome because they’re going through the same process. They are, by and large, far gentler with one another’s ideas than their own.

    ***

    To think that these students might be there in bad faith, or are just looking to pile on someone who doesn’t get the same things they do, borders on disrespect, especially when they are often so unsure of their own ability to get it, even as they’re thriving. That takes real intellectual and emotional work, and many are undertaking this challenge while working full time, or caregiving full time, or both; on a number of occasions over the years, students have parked their kids in the back with some headphones because they couldn’t find child care. During pandemic learning, students were Zooming into our discussions from ROTC training barracks, or their car while dropping their mother off for treatment, or a patient’s bedside during a long hospice shift.

    ***

    And especially this:

    When more than half of college classes in America are taught by underpaid, temporary adjunct professors, the idea that mean students are really what threatens the future of college and academic discourse is laughable.

    There’s just so much to cover in thinking about the challenges facing higher education in America. It’s an industry at an inflection point: The future feels entirely, terrifyingly uncertain. Which is why devoting so much space to coverage of the freedom that certain wildly ambitious people on wildly prestigious (and rich) campuses do or don’t feel is so misguided. It continues this fantasy that academia’s concerns are elite, a semantic playground for those who have the time and luxury to play.

  31. 31
    Kate says:

    Former Justice, J. Michael Luttig, a leading conservative legal mind, said:

    “At the moment, there is no other way to say it: This is the clearest and most present danger to our democracy,” Luttig said. “Trump and his supporters in Congress and in the states are preparing now to lay the groundwork to overturn the election in 2024 were Trump, or his designee, to lose the vote for the presidency.”

    The propaganda posted by Corso @9, supported by RonF @14 is feeding this anti-democratic effort. I linked to a non-partisan state investgation debunking these claims @20 weeks ago, and have seen no acknowledment of the fact that, once again, people are posting easily debunked lies about the 2020 election.

  32. 32
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    The propaganda posted by Corso @9, supported by RonF @14 is feeding this anti-democratic effort.

    There’s an awful lot of momentum for fascism around the world these days, so it’s no surprise that folks on the right just keep repeating the propaganda that’s been debunked to their faces. Truth is inimical to authoritarianism and so we see these kinds of refusals to acknowledge truth wherever we look.

  33. 33
    Ampersand says:

    Corso:

    First, It’s not a strawman if people actually said it; From the New York Times: “The Times Called Officials in Every State: No Evidence of Voter Fraud”

    You wouldn’t even have to have read as far as the story to know that the Times was not claiming that zero voter fraud occurred. You would only have had to have read as far as the subheadline, which says (emphasis added):

    The president and his allies have baselessly claimed that rampant voter fraud stole victory from him. Officials contacted by The Times said that there were no irregularities that affected the outcome.

    And that’s a good summary of the view consistently taken throughout the article.

    Out of many quotes in the article, there is only one that could be read as supporting your claim:

    Steve Simon, a Democrat who is Minnesota’s secretary of state, said: “I don’t know of a single case where someone argued that a vote counted when it shouldn’t have or didn’t count when it should. There was no fraud.”

    But that was almost certainly a small part of a longer statement Simon told the Times. In a letter to a legislative committee, Simon wrote:

    Similarly, previous elections have seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would justify the changes this bill proposes.

    So even he doesn’t seem to actually believe that no vote fraud has ever happened.

    But even if you don’t buy that, the fact is, you’d be ignoring the primary argument – one made clear many times over in the article you cited – so that you could instead cherry-pick a much weaker and rarer argument as if it were a significant part of the debate.

    Simon’s letter, by the way, also answers the question “why object to voter ID”?

    Minnesotans voted against Voter ID in 2012 because they know it puts the votes of students, seniors, and other eligible Minnesotans in danger. Despite the surface appeal of Photo ID, this is a case of “the more you look, the less you like.”

    Not everyone has current government issued photo identification. Many seniors in nursing homes or assisted living settings who have stopped driving no longer have government issued identification. They have no need for one, and it would be a burden for them to obtain one – even if free of cost. These are eligible voters who would be disenfranchised because of this bill, which is only part of the reason why I urge members to vote no today.

    In addition to requiring a current photo ID to vote, this bill would create new bureaucracy with provisional balloting. For the first time in Minnesota, it would create a “maybe” pile of ballots – which may or may not be counted.

    As Celeste said, we should be suspicious of solutions to basically non-existent problems. All policy solutions have potential downsides, but often it’s worth it because of the problems they solve. But how can the potential downsides be worth it if there is no significant problem that’s being solved?

  34. 34
    Ampersand says:

    Kate, thank you for comment #20 in particular; very useful comment.

  35. 35
    Saurs says:

    Most healthy democracies have voter ID laws, but American Democrats lobby against them for various reasons.

    Most healthy democracies actively enfranchise the eligible electorate, sometimes a compulsory manner, and this includes making the process of acquiring the necessary documents for exercising their right to vote free, easy, automatic, and equitable, not arduous and not subject to partisan whims by a minority-elected government whose party is openly, brazenly hostile to to fully funding and making available the very services empowered to promptly issue ids and actively assist eligible voters in acquiring them. Weird how the former is castigated as bureaucratic, Big Government, and wasteful public spending while throwing out your ballot and making it difficult and drawn out to challenge a contest to its legitimacy is synonymous with freedom and fiscal responsibility. Which costs us more?

    Anyway, if the threshold for whether we honor or not free and unfettered use of constitutionally guaranteed activities hinges on a few outliers, we need to start regulating the acquisition, availability, and use of guns accordingly. Every mass shooting, irrespective of circumstance and intent, should be followed by ever stricter legislation in accordance with this guidance, where every instance constitutes a crisis requiring nothing short of unyielding, escalating, and universal Big Government Intimidation.

    After all, a a suspicious ballot can be uncounted or set aside for further verification. A corpse can’t be re-animated. The narrative that gun violence doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter is untenable and besides the point, right?

    Why not make it harder to acquire lethal weapons? We are pro-life in this country, after all. Why not make it harder for potentially irresponsible gun owners to demonstrate their knowledge of, commitment to, and training in the safe storage and usage of deadly weapons? Lobby and tax so the state can subsidize world-class training in the responsible use of firearms and provide licensed owners with a credit to store their weapons offsite with a safe and well-insured third-party. Force aspirational armed Americans to prove their stewardship.

    Still not clear why voters are subject to means-testing because a handful of Republicans committed voter fraud in 2016 and 2020 but a guy wanting a gun should be trusted to act responsibly, no questions asked, when spree killers exist. Also, why do we have no comprehensive gun owners database that can be subject to regular purging every three-ish years when they fail to complete annual testing for fitness and don’t register their new place of residence?

    Any bright ideas, Corso? Other countries do it, so why shouldn’t we?

  36. 36
    Görkem says:

    ” Other countries do it”

    Corso has always argued that America is a unique country that cannot be meaningfully compared to any other countries, and that things that other countries can do with minimal conflict or cost will never be workable in America.

  37. 37
    nobody.really says:

    Amp:

    Hey, I’m slow to wake up after naps! According to Colin Wright’s bizarre version of English, the American Kennel Club is therefore suggesting that I might be an elderly dog.

    This explains SO much….

  38. 38
    Lauren says:

    As a citizen of one of those countries with mandatory voter ID, I actually did struggle to understand the issue at first. But it took only about a minute to grasp that the conditions are just so different. So, for those who are interested, a look at how ID an voting works in Germany
    1. Every person over the age of 16 is required by law to have a valid form of government issued id. For every citizen, this means a “Personalausweis” which these days is a credit-card-sized thing with your picture, name, date of birth, some identifiers (hight, eye-color) and your current address on it. There are different IDs for non-citizens, depending on their status (ID issued by their coutry of origin, an form of ID for people seeking asylum etc.). But everybody needs to have one. (Passports are a choice, most only get one when traveling to countries that require them)
    2. Yes, your address is on it. Because you have to tell the government when you are moving and where. Not doing so in a timely manner can get you fined (most homeless people have an “official” address at a shelter where their mail gets send. No, nobody comes to check if you are constantly staying at your address, but you are supposed to bring a copy of your rental agreement of proof of purchase when changing your official address. (I can see this idea going over sooooo well in the US. And yes, there are issues. Not advocating for or against it here, just describing our reality)
    3. That address being registered means that your city knows which polling place is yours. About 6 to 8 weeks before any election, you get a card in the mail telling you about the date and time when you can go vote. This is always a Sunday.
    4. No, you do not need to register to vote. If you are eligible (a citizen for national and state elections, a resident for communal elections, a EU-Citizen for EU-elections), you can vote and you will get the notification.
    5. On election day, you go to your assigned polling place, show your notification and ID and vote. If you lost your notification, just ID is usually enough. They have a list of everybody who is eligible to vote. You get scratched out, so no double votes. The lists are destroyed after polling ends.
    6. If you can not (or do not want to ) vote on election day/ at your polling station, you can apply for mail-in ballots. No conditions, as far as I know, but I have never done the actual mail-in balloting. You can, however, vote at the city hall building up to 6 weeks (i think, maybe 4) before election day, I have done this a couple of times. If you do, your name gets taken of the list of eligible voters for your polling place on election day.

    Again, I am not saying our system is definitely better or worse. I know plenty of people break out in hives at the thought of the government always knowing your current (official, at least) address, some for very good reasons. I just think that if people throw around general “other countries have voter -ID” arguements, not looking at the specifics of how that actually works muddies the waters and distorts the arguement when nobody looks at all the surrounding circumstances that determine how easy or hard such a requirement is on different people.

  39. 39
    Görkem says:

    @Lauren: One of the interesting things about the wealthy, mostly-white, English speaking world (USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, UK) is that none of these countries have a mandatory personal ID card, and instead rely on driving licenses/passports/various ersatz documents to prove identity. It seems to be some kind of cultural phenomenon that intersects with a sort of low-grade background libertarianism (not to be confused with Libertarianism as a specific political allegiance) that pervades Anglo-Saxon political culture. The only country of this group that has made an attempt to introduce a card on the German model was the UK, in the 00s, and not only was it unsuccessful, the attempt to introduce it attracted controversy from across the political spectrum, including the centre. (The book ‘The Blunders of Our Governments’ has a very good chapter on the attempted ID card introduction if anyone wants to read deeper).

    So in theory all these countries should have the same difficulties the USA does, but in practice none of them do. Or rather, they all have the same very-low-to-negligible levels of voter fraud actually recorded, but only in the USA is it a political issue – nobody in Canada or Australia is pushing to tighten ID requirements at voting booths.

    I’ll note again, though, that the political demographics in the USA that are most interested in this kind of issue (amply represented by Corso and Ron here) are also those who are the most resistant to international comparisons and will argue vociferously against the proposition that “If [European Country] can do it, the USA can too”

  40. 40
    Lauren says:

    Just to be clear, I was not making an argument for establishing a similar system in the US. I think following the discussion, the facts about almost non-existent but defninitely not-relevant-for-results voter fraud and the projected effects of tightening ID-requirements for voting in the US makes it very clear that voter suppression, not election security is the goal, and which parts of the electorate are being targeted. (See also: who gets charged with voter fraud (three guesses as to skin color))

    I just wanted to point out that “Other countries have voter-ID laws and nobody calls them anti-democratic or racist” doesn’t really work as an argument when the people making the argument would probably very strongly oppose the other rules in place that make our voting-ID-laws not a big deal, mandatory id and automatic voter registration being at the top of the list.

  41. 41
    Kate says:

    Lauren, I think your contribution would be fine if we were having an honest conversation about the best way to administer free and fair elections. But, that is not what’s going on.
    Republicans have lodged dozens of false accusations of large scale voter fraud which have been thrown out by both courts and independent audits. Their response has been to repeat the lies, restrict voting, prosecute a few POC who clearly made honest mistakes while letting conservative white men who intentionally voted twice off with slaps on the wrist and to hire partisan hacks to redo non-partisan audits which didn’t yeild the results they wanted.
    The Republican party is trying to establish themselves as an autocracy and make democrats, at best, into a permanent minority party against the will of the people and, at worst, criminals.

  42. 42
    RonF says:

    Eytan @ 28:

    That’s a different metric, though. The question Amp asked was how good would “top tenth” style programs be at increasing college attendence by low-income students.

    Ah. True. Hm. Well, then, it probably would increase college admission for lower -income students. But since that would be independent of any measurement of how ready those students were for college I would expect that the end result would be to increase the number of students who would end up leaving college without graduating but with student debt.

    Kate @ 31:

    supported by RonF @14

    That would be “found in the link RonF found and provided @14”. In Kate @13 you asked where the numbers that Corso cited @9 came from. I dug them up and supplied the link. I never said I supported the concept that this proved that the election results were therefore invalid.

  43. 43
    JaneDoh says:

    Texas has a top tenth rule, and of course most of the effort to look at effects went to the flagship schools, where it apparently hasn’t done much to increase diversity. Given that lower income students are more likely to want/need to stay local to save money on housing and or/help their families, I am not sure how relevant that is if the goal is to increase attendance at university.

  44. 44
    RonF says:

    So, open threads are the place to pose questions not on topic with any other thread, I figure. On that basis – what exactly has Elon Musk done that is causing Twitter employees and others to accuse him of what seems like every “-ism” and “-phobia” under the sun and figure that his ownership of Twitter is some kind of crisis?

  45. 45
    Ampersand says:

    Ron – It might be helpful if you posted a link to an example of what you meant.

  46. 46
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    … what exactly has Elon Musk done that is causing Twitter employees and others to accuse him of what seems like every “-ism” and “-phobia” under the sun and figure that his ownership of Twitter is some kind of crisis?

    Well… He turned me into a newt!

  47. 47
    Kate says:

    I never said I supported the concept that this proved that the election results were therefore invalid.

    You don’t have to say you support it…you acted in support of it, by repeatedly, and uncritically providing links to already dubunked baseless propaganda about the 2020 election, both here and in previous threads. Those actions materailly support the false narrative that Trump and his followers are working to establish.

  48. 48
    Görkem says:

    @Kate: Ron is “just asking questions”

  49. 49
    RonF says:

    Then let me be clear. I don’t support any statement that says there’s proof that the 2020 election was stolen. I have seen (and provided links to) statements where people suspect electoral irregularities and in some cases have investigated them. Personally, I’d like to see as much time, money, people and effort put into investigating the 2020 election as there was put into investigating the 2016 election. But for ex-Pres. Trump or anyone else to say that there is presently proof that the 2020 election was stolen is to my mind a lie.

    In the particular case in this thread, I had read – and dismissed, without bringing it up anywhere here – a link that had the numbers that Corso had cited. So when you asked about them I knew where they were and provided the link, without further commentary.

  50. 50
    Kate says:

    Personally, I’d like to see as much time, money, people and effort put into investigating the 2020 election as there was put into investigating the 2016 election.

    Investigate what about the 2020 elections? Literally dozens of court cases and audits have found no evidence of any systemic wrongdoing to investigate. Even Bill Barr said there was nothing to investigate! That’s why he was forced to resign.

    But for ex-Pres. Trump or anyone else to say that there is presently proof that the 2020 election was stolen is to my mind a lie.

    That lie is the position of most of the Republican Party. Even most Republians who don’t support the lie outright, still support the liar Trump.
    And, make no mistake, if Trump comes to power again, he will rule as an authoritarian. None of the systems which held him in check last time can sustain another blow.

  51. 51
    Kate says:

    Investigate what about the 2020 elections?

    Actually, maybe Trump putting pressure on the Georgia AG to change the results, or efforts to appoint “alternate electors”, the Jan 6 insurrectoin… but I have the feeling that thoese aren’t the sorts of things you’re thinking of.

  52. 52
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Personally, I’d like to see as much time, money, people and effort put into investigating the 2020 election as there was put into investigating the 2016 election.

    “We wasted lots of public money so I think we should waste more” is a strange position for a conservative to take, but ok.

  53. 53
    RonF says:

    Investigate what about the 2020 elections? Literally dozens of court cases and audits have found no evidence of any systemic wrongdoing to investigate.

    I believe you’ll find that many of those cases were tossed on procedural grounds (e.g., lack of standing of the complainants) rather than evidentiary ones. And in any case I’m really not confident that there was a sufficient amount of time, resources and effort put into (or available to) those investigations – certainly not the kind of depth of investigation done that a Mueller-style one would give us. Apparently anywhere from 25% to 40% of the electorate thinks that the 2020 election was crooked. That’s a lot of people! More than just a few radicals. It seems to me that we should welcome an investigation to look into this to try to convince them otherwise. It would at least give us a picture of what irregularities may have occurred, especially given how many States put brand new voting procedures in due to the COVID pandemic.

    Actually, maybe Trump putting pressure on the Georgia AG to change the results, or efforts to appoint “alternate electors”, the Jan 6 insurrection… but I have the feeling that those aren’t the sorts of things you’re thinking of.

    No, Kate, I’m completely open to that – in fact, a grand jury has been empaneled in Georgia to do so. I’m all for turning over rocks to see what’s underneath. I’d just like to see all the rocks turned over.

    I didn’t vote for Mr. Trump in either 2016 or 2020. I have no particular problem not voting for him again, especially if he is actually found to have committed a criminal act.

  54. 54
    Görkem says:

    “Apparently anywhere from 25% to 40% of the electorate thinks that the 2020 election was crooked”

    At the risk of repeating myself, “many Americans think” isn’t as good an argument as you seem to believe it is.

    ” I’d just like to see all the rocks turned over.”

    Would it be fair to say you’re just asking questions?

  55. 55
    Ampersand says:

    I believe you’ll find that many of those cases were tossed on procedural grounds (e.g., lack of standing of the complainants)

    But many were not. Furthermore, in some of the cases dismissed on procedural grounds, that was one of multiple reasons to dismiss the suit, and other reasons were things like lack of any evidence of fraud. For example, Bowyer v. Ducey in Arizona.

    It seems to me that we should welcome an investigation to look into this to try to convince them otherwise.

    I think anyone who still thinks that Trump won the election will not be convinced by any evidence. They don’t trust “experts” or mainstream journalists; they trust people like Dan Bongino and Donald Trump himself, neither of whom will budge from their “stolen election” narrative because of evidence.

    You yourself, while not being as extreme as Trump, would never accept any evidence as dispositive. This election has been investigated again and again and again, by the press, by Republican election officials, and by courts. There is no credible evidence that it’s even possible that there were enough reasonably disputed votes to change anything.

    Because you refuse to accept evidence, you just keep on bringing up vague non-arguments – like implying, without naming any specific mechanism for or evidence of widespread fraud, that the mere fact that Covid-19 led some states to alter election procedures is reason enough for yet another investigation.

    I’m not dead set against a new investigation; I just don’t see any good reason for it. The reason you give – that yet another investigation might convince the “stolen elections” diehards to change their minds – is not credible at all.

  56. 56
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    I believe you’ll find that many of those cases were tossed on procedural grounds (e.g., lack of standing of the complainants) rather than evidentiary ones. And in any case I’m really not confident that there was a sufficient amount of time, resources and effort put into (or available to) those investigations…

    That is what is known as “pushing the Big Lie”. It’s also called “propaganda.” I know, I know. You’re “just asking questions”. It’s a total coincidence that you’re doing it in a way that affirms the Big Lie, I’m sure.

    If you’re not confident that there was a sufficient amount of time, etc., etc., put into those investigations you should ask the Trumpists why they haven’t spent more time and resources. They’ll tell you that they have, btw.

    If you’re not confident by now that there was sufficient etc, etc, etc, put into the investigations, you’ll never be confident that enough was done and suspect that the Big Lie is true/you’ll always push the Big Lie with your “just asking questions” bit. The problem, of course, is that conspiracy theory nonsense like that doesn’t convince any but those who want to be convinced. There are precious few of them here.

  57. 57
    Görkem says:

    “There are precious few of them here”

    Come now, don’t ruin Ron’s dream of converting us all to being good Republicans.

  58. 58
    nobody.really says:

    Regarding Amp’s “Why not pay higher wages?” cartoon: The real question is, Why doesn’t Amp work for the Fed?

    MarketWatch: “Fed official says he doesn’t buy the ‘Great Resignation’ — and says employers ‘always say’ there’s a labor shortage to avoid paying higher wages.”

  59. 59
    nobody.really says:

    Sure, How Mirka Got Her Sword is a pretty good title. But how ’bout this?

  60. 60
    Ampersand says:

    That is quite a title – although I’m not sure that Scholastic or Abrams would let me use it on a kid’s book. :-p

  61. 61
    Ampersand says:

    (More accurately, I’m absolutely sure they wouldn’t let me.)

  62. 62
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    That was a really nicely done article. I can say that Jens Berli does amazing breast implant work (he couldn’t work on me because I needed reconstruction and that’s not his specialty) and is one of the kindest, most compassionate doctors I’ve ever met.

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