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Parental Income vs College Enrollment vs College Prestige Level [Policy Tensor]

The article linked here is essentially 5 graphs, lining up parental income vs college enrollment. Not surprisingly, the higher level the college, the more it tilts toward high income. The smoothness of the pattern in this data is remarkable.

For simplicity, it’d be nice to have a median, or balance point on each x-axis, where the the mass under the curve to each side of the median is in balance. For the Ivy+ category, the median parental income it looks like roughly the 90th %ile of parental income. For your generic 4-year uni, I’m eyeballing the median parental income at about 70th %ile of parental income. (Taking into account that graph’s vertical axis doesn’t start at zero).

For assessing possible relationship to intergenerational economic mobility, I’m curious how this data compares to that of other OECD countries.


Dismantling the social-democratic welfare state : common ground between (neo-)liberals and social conservatives

I linked to this previously, but want to re-emphasize it.

Jacobin’s Book review of Family Values: Between Neoliberalism and the New Social Conservatism, by Melinda Cooper.


A lot to chew on here.

The article works hard to emphasize an aspect of the contradictions of modern Democratic party ideology, one that was most obviously visible during the Bill Clinton presidency (though the article doesn’t look at that specifically).

On the one hand, mainstream Democratic ideology celebrates diversity and empowerment of disadvantaged groups. On the other hand, it must consistently defend the now 30-40 year old neoliberal movement, which systematically strips the nation-state of the ability to actually empower. In doing so, Democrats consistently find common ground with social conservative Republicans on issues of the governments’s role in economic matters.

This should be relevant to supporters of leftist third parties, or reformist Democratic candidates like Sanders.

I am not sure to what degree the dimension of “defending-vs-reforming attitudes toward family values” is a clear-cut fit here. For example, African Americans and Latinos tend to poll pretty conservative on these issues today, and I think so did the various champions of social-democratic redistributive policies, back when the US government was committed to such policies.

Nobody says it’s simple, but I guess that’s the point of reading stuff like this — Line up some more pieces of the puzzle. Build awareness of the balancing acts and sometimes-conflicting needs of different support groups (such as, belief in traditional family, vs neoliberal economics, vs aspects of social justice that may to some people be in opposition to one or the other). Save time for extra thought and care when trying to build a movement and articulate policy objectives in the next political cycle.

Is it wrong to tune out Trump news / politics? [Kyle Kimberlin, blog]

Being obsessed with the nightly news minutia of the daily clusterf***ery of the so called president is not a sign of good citizenship, it’s a sign of obsession.


Silicon Valley Sexparty! [Emily Chang / Vanity Fair]

Tabloid stuff, but most relevant to current interest in gender-relations-in-the-workplace.



I kindof don’t like the touch of prudish attitude in the initial description of the parties (Come on, where’s the poet in the poor writer? Even the most tragic tale needs to celebrate the high before the fall). Anyway it’s interesting tho, ain’t it?

On the one hand, a lot of what is described, would be a pretty historically-standard behavior, a standard expression of the optimism in any youthful and ascendant scene such as the money-center of the tech world. People inventing the future and all. And besides that, SF was once the original epicenter of hippies & free love.

It would be all right, except for the blatant power-relationships which come with the extreme wealth. Every generation has the abusers of that as well. And as thru all time, the two circles meet (otherwise, what would be the point of all the cash?)

This time around the track, we’re coming at it with more awareness and the intention of creating a more gender-power-balanced world. So far so good.

Now I do sympathize a bit with the story of the socially awkward techy who made it big. ( Other than the part where you make it big :-] ) … Revenge of the Nerds, it may not be, but if you got the chance, why shouldn’t you make use of it? You can totally see such a person picking up some nasty social habits, but would focusing on those cases be throwing the good out with the bad? In general, I’m very hesitant to criticize another person’s lifestyle.

And moreover, what did you really expect? You think the high-school-jock turned millionaire would be any more saintly? Or the bro-dudes from Jersey and Long Island who ended up as stock traders in the early 2000’s? Or the “traditional-media” TV/film crowd, who we can and should compare to their social media counterparts? In that sense, part of this story is what was not long ago called “playa-hating”.

Buuut, we get to the the current realization that … er… if one writes 6 figure checks by day, one has the opportunity to take advantage of the opposite sex by night. And in Silicon Valley, like Wall Street, the gender imbalance in those cases is distinctly lopsided.

What does it add up to? It adds up to: that *I* want my own raunchy party, free of responsibility, with all the accouterments… ya know. And when it goes to s**t, I want a better writer to make it sound a little more sexy. And also, I don’t want everyone in the smallish town in which I live knowing every damn thing that happens.

In other words: Burn’em at the stake!!

Are stories such as this going to be a set-up for a conservaive backlash? You bet. I’m sure that isn’t the intention. You need to get some female executives getting down and dirty, balance it out properly.

It is the final part of the article that I thought was the most powerful and convincing one — the equivalent behaviors being viewed as virtuous or at least “whatever” for men, but stigmatized for women.

Much food for thought.

[via — also interesting, but a tougher slog of a read. Talks about the history of “family values” as an ideological element in politics, esp. as relating to the liberal/neoliberal/conservative worldviews, from the 70’s thru today. That’s your “gateway drug” link for the day… ]

Sanders 2020 [Niko House / Medium]

An opinion piece entitled No, Bernie 2020 Will Not Be The Same As 2016touches on a lot of important points.

link   [via NakedCapitalism]

Thoughts/reactions here:

  1. House is correct to anticipate, from the DNC, a cynical reception of a Sanders run.
  2. It would be ideal to impress upon the DNC that they actually do need the votes of more left leaning Democrats to win a general election. Even though those voters can be pushed aside during the primaries (a contest in which there are no Republicans and in some states, no independents).
  3. In order to make the above point stick, there must be a reasonably well known third-party “protest” vote option for left wing voters to escape to. Only then will the DNC grudgingly integrate the positions of candidates such as Sanders into the Democratic party. Without the simultaneous possibility of voters escaping to a Jill Stein or Ralph Nader, you can be sure that the Democrats will run John Kerry’s or Joe Biden’s indefinitely. They may have success on occasion, but it is a losing strategy for the Democratic party and an even more losing strategy for the country as a whole.
  4. As of what we know now, I think the 2020 Democratic primary will look different from the 2016, due to California (and therefore maybe other states) advancing their primary to Super Tuesday in March. (see map below).



5. After 4 years of Republicans running the federal government, we’ll be looking at a more conservative baseline for the political environment. Candidates like Biden or like Romney (in the event Trump doesn’t clean up his image), will start to look more attractive in that light, even though they have little to offer to real voters, who will continue to be motivated by economic inequality. (Don’t expect the Trump Administration to fix that).


Soros WEF speech

George Soros’s remarks from an event at Davos. Text linked below.

Besides the usual items – calling for European Unity, praising the work of his foundations and the somewhat malleable concept of Open Society – there are some fascinating new/noteworthy elements.

First is the way he phrases his hopes for US politics — “to re-establish a functioning two-party system”. This immediately stood out to me, as something I’d rather NOT see. One of my core beliefs is that it is the lock-in of the two-party system, in itself, which is a primary enabler of a lot of dysfunctional and un-representative aspects of US politics. A multi-party system would be more democratic, more responsive, and more responsible. Related to that, one of the key stories of the 2016 election was that BOTH the Democratic and Republican party “establishments” were repudiated by an enormous part of their own base – the centrist-corporate Democrats had to use all their pull with superdelegates and media pre-judging the outcome to overcome the egalitarianist challenge from Sanders, and Republican kingmakers had the unpalatable choice of Trump vs Cruz. Ironically Trump managed to restore some semblance of Republican party unity among the rank and file. In any case, beyond trying to counter Trump’s nationalism, I consider any effort to restore the two-party status quo counterproductive, especially on the Democratic side.

Second is the focus on social media monopolies (FB and Goggle, as my phone likes to auto-correctly spell it) as a deep and significant trouble spot. I agree with that part very much.




gearhead dude spends 40 minutes disassembling a Juicero, talks s*** the whole time. Kindof awesome.

[warnings: foul language, poor attitude towards juicer and IoT in general]