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April 08, 2016

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Deciding a top marginal tax rate is putting the cart before the horse.

What we normally think that is is the rate applied to the marginal earned dollar. But that's not the actual marginal rate at all. Once you get to a certain level of income it's dividends, capital gains, etc.

So the real top marginal rate is the rate applied to that income.

But rates on lower incomes matter a lot. The vast majority of taxpayers don't pay the top marginal rate, and some who do pay it on only a small portion of their income. For example if you are single, you are in the 28% bracket until your taxable income hits $189,000. You don't get to the very top - 39.6% - until you hit $413,000.

We've had this discussion before, and I've always found that whatever bickering goes on when discussing it in the abstract, McKinney and I are largely in agreement on the rates, where they would kick in, and on what kinds of income.

Since we're guesstimating anyway, to the extent that we do disagree, we're likely still well within each other's margin of error.

I'm even open to the idea of reducing corporate taxes, if some of the loopholes C-level executives enjoy are closed, and if we have a more reasonable treatment of investment income. (For example, is buying a stock and selling it a year later really a capital investment? Should any gains be treated differently than income from one's salary?)

if some of the loopholes C-level executives enjoy are closed

Like what? Just curious what you're thinking here.

For instance, this sort of thing, which you might say corporations enjoy, but which benefit executives, if somewhat less directly, and perks that go untaxed.

The way stock options are treated seems a little sketchy to me, but I'm open to a good argument on how they might promote good corporate stewardship, while also doubtful that one that is persuasive exists.

It mostly seems like a vehicle to attract "the best talent." But, if every publicly traded company has that vehicle, what's the difference? It's like Homer Simpson designing the car that comes standard with a tennis ball on top of it's antenna so that everyone will be able to find their lost car in a crowded parking lot by looking for the tennis ball.

I've always wanted to know why it is that the huge compensation packages taken down by corporate CEO's would not attract more competition that would have a countervailing effect on the remuneration.

Isn't that how markets are supposed to work?

And why can't Ricky Fowler win one of the big ones?

We've got North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, and my home state apparently all engaged in a dead heat to see which governor will be the first to declare the place a religious theocracy so a certain sect of good ol' boys can just declare open season on the gays already.

Seriously: what the literal fnck is going on in these places, and why are so many of them obsessed with my mating habits and whether or not I'm making babies? :)

I'm well aware Gov. Pence here in Indiana feels its his civic and moral duty to inject his religious beliefs into the political office, but can anybody else on the ground in the other states offer up some clarity on how long this has been a problem further south?

*huggles*
Areala

Areala: If only they'd limit it to your mating habits! I'm disappointed with the new round's focus on bathroom panic scenarios.

anybody else on the ground in the other states offer up some clarity on how long this has been a problem further south?

This sort of posturing only emerges when the power base feels truly threatened. It's really a sad sort of thing, because you see things that seem like progress is being made, but then wham! someone or some group at some point feels they are threatened by change and has to do something about it. At this point, those who want to take advantage of the system pop up and claim the cause as their own. (which is what I think of Pence, he probably couldn't care less about this, he's just doing this because he thinks that's where the votes are, or at least the votes that he can most easily mobilize are)

So it doesn't come up as much in the South because the power base of the religious right hasn't been threatened as much, imo. As long as 'people know their place' as they say, you won't see this so much.

The way stock options are treated seems a little sketchy to me, but I'm open to a good argument on how they might promote good corporate stewardship, while also doubtful that one that is persuasive exists.

Stock options have both a theoretical and a practical defect.

The theoretical problem is that they have a "one-way" payoff. That is, if you have an option to buy the stock at $20/share, say, it makes a difference to you whether the stock is worth $25 or $30. But it makes absolutely no difference if it's worth $15 or $10. Your option is worthless either way. So some risks are worth taking from the optionholder's point of view, but not from the shareholders'.

The practical problem, or one of them, derives from the above. Boards have a bad habit of issuing new options with lower strike prices when last year's become worthless, or of "repricing" the old options. There are usually a lot of excuses given, like not wanting to punish the CEO because the market went south. But notice that when the market runs up and takes the stock price with it no one suggests withholding some compensation because, after all, the CEO didn't cause the bull market singlehandedly.

Much of executive compensation, at least at the upper end, seems to me to have more to do with a small class of individuals looking out for each other than with economic rationality.

North Carolina is a historically red state trending blue, much like Virginia, with a similar coalition of liberal-ish educated professionals and black and other minority voters. (Both NC and Indiana voted for Obama in 2008.) The Republicans in NC have been engaged in this massive backlash designed to lock in as many radical changes to state government (and as much creative districting) as they can before they lose power.

It is amazing how many well off say, "It's not about the money," until in fact it gets down to the money.

Looks like Speith has opened the door to enable a wide open competitive weekend. Rory and Jordan get all the headlines, Willet takes the jacket.

North Carolina is a historically red state trending blue,

It seems as if it's been "trending blue" forever, and never quite gets there. Yes, it voted for Obama, but look at the winners of statewide elections - Tillis, Burr, McCrory.

The same things happened in Virginia. It's just a little further along.

"Bathroom panic scenarios"

Im old. Ok. But for my whole life having a man walk into a woman's bathroom has been a big deal. Lots of get outs and, if inadvertant, lots of embarrassment. Several years back there was a lot of talk about unisex bathrooms that didn't turn out to be popular, mostly with women(purely my anecdotally based recollection). Now we want anyone to be able to go into any bathroom they want. Unless we think there's a field test for gender identification. So, while it may be an overreaction, the reaction isn't surprising or all that terrible to provide some clarification. Or go lobby for unisex bathrooms.

The Colorado Rockies' rookie shortstop Trevor Story is, through his first four games, on pace to have 240 home runs.

Not exactly on point, but one thing I could never figure out was gender-specific one-person bathrooms, especially with locking doors. I've been to countless businesses with two bathrooms fitting this description, one for men and one for women, with one toilet and no urinal (at least in the men's room - guessing confidently there's no urinal in the women's room).

I'm sure it's a compliance thing, but it's idiotic. I wouldn't go into the women's room in such a case, only because I would be more apparently threatening, but I've told my wife, "Just use the men's room, what's the difference?" I might stand guard outside, but only because the gender specificity sets up expectations that otherwise wouldn't exist.

I've worked at places, and eaten at restaurants, that had non-specific one-person bathrooms. As long as there is a lock on the inside it's not clear why this would ever be a problem.

I'm even open to the idea of reducing corporate taxes, if some of the loopholes C-level executives enjoy are closed, and if we have a more reasonable treatment of investment income. (For example, is buying a stock and selling it a year later really a capital investment? Should any gains be treated differently than income from one's salary?)

This is one of the things that I have never understood. Assuming that we are going to levy a tax on individual income (whether or not we should is a different discussion), it seems to me that for the individual income is income. Which is to say, there is no rational reason for taxing income from wages and interest and dividends at a different rate than capital gains. It's all income.

Yes, I am aware of the argument that lower capital gains taxes for individuals will encourage investment. I just can't see it. Will you turn aside from investments, and choose to work more instead, if they are taxed the same? Sorry, but it just doesn't make sense to me.

Of course, there may be some effect. But we have bounced the capital gains rates around, relative to the earned income rate. So if there is an effect, we should have seen it visibly in the performance of the economy. Did we? I sure haven't seen any studies which support the idea that we did using actual data. But then, I don't keep close watch on academic research in the field. If someone knows of such a study, by all means share.

I'm disappointed with the new round's focus on bathroom panic scenarios.

What I find slightly startling is that the concern here is (or at least appears to be) about the prospect of heterosexual sex. Which, considering the right's hysteria about homosexuality, seems like an odd thing for them to be focused on. Why wouldn't they be demanding that all bathrooms be one-person rooms? That way, nobody's virtue would be at risk....

I've worked at places, and eaten at restaurants, that had non-specific one-person bathrooms. As long as there is a lock on the inside it's not clear why this would ever be a problem.

Oh, I've been to places like that, too. They just don't perplex me, so I didn't bring them up. They seem to be far more common in the city than in the 'burbs. (And if there's only one bathroom, it must be unisex.)

I'm well aware Gov. Pence here in Indiana feels its his civic and moral duty to inject his religious beliefs into the political office

Areala, I was under the impression that Governor Pence had found himself forced to back off significantly. (However reluctantly.) Which, so far, the Governor of North Carolina has not -- although it appears that the pressure on him to do so is rising fast.

But that kind of back-tracking at least gives some room to hope that what we are seeing is the final shudder of what is really a lost rampart in the culture wars. Not that there won't be other battles. But it looks like this one (homosexuality) is just having it's last gasp.

If I may use an image from my rural childhood, it's like a chicken flopping around after its head has been cut off. It definitely looks impressive -- especially if you don't realize what has happened. But nothing is actually going to come of it, even in just the medium term.

They seem to be far more common in the city than in the 'burbs.

And they are especially common in private homes. Also trains and airplanes.

They are probably more common in cities because they use space more efficiently. Two unisex bathrooms can accommodate any two people simultaneously.

They are probably more common in cities because they use space more efficiently. Two unisex bathrooms can accommodate any two people simultaneously.

Sure. But I'm guessing two unisex bathrooms would work the same way in the 'burbs, if they had them.

Yes. But space is cheaper.

The Warrior's run leads me to wonder. Here is a team set to win nearly 90% of its games in the regular season (also achieved by the Chicago Bulls' '96 season). In football, we have seen a a couple of teams go undefeated thru the regular season.

But in the past half century, only two baseball teams have even managed 70%. Even the '27 Yankees, usually considered the best team ever, only managed 71%. Only once in history has a team (the 1906 Cubs) managed to reach 75%. So is baseball somehow inherently more balanced? If not, why the difference in how dominant the very best teams are?

McTx asks what marginal tax rates I would set.

Just spitballing, but why not develop other revenue sources besides taxing productive effort?

What do we get for mineral rights and other natural resource leases, for example?

Yes. But space is cheaper.

To belabor a really minor point, I was originally talking about places that only have two single-person bathrooms with locks, anyway, but that are still dedicated one each to male and female users, respectively.

That's what's stupid (and more prevalent in the 'burbs). It's physically the same set-up you would find elsewhere, but the intended usage is less effficient than having two unisex bathrooms.

I can think of two reasons:

1. The outcome of a baseball game depends heavily on the performance of the pitchers and even most great teams will not have aces starting every game.The 1927 Yankees had a strong rotation, but George Pipgras, ERA 4.11, still started 21 games. And even aces have bad days. In basketball and football, the starting lineups are set, and there is nothing like the variance introduced by the need to give pitchers four or five days off between starts. Babe Ruth can play every day. Sandy Koufax can't.

2. In football, at least, an outstanding day by a normally mediocre player on the other team won't beat you. In baseball it will. Some days a .240 hitter blasts two home runs, or just gets a double at a critical moment and there you are.

In summary, chance has a more significant role in baseball than in football. Thus making it much more difficult for even a very good team to win a very high percentage of their games.

This is a really interesting page. http://www.footballgeography.com/%ef%bb%bflast-undefeated-nfl-teams-in-each-season/

open thread: R.I.P. jazz saxophonist Sam Rivers.

a very undersung cat, he was a generation ahead of all of his peers. a very advanced player, he could play way outside and it would still be something you'd enjoy listening to.

listening to rivers is like listening to your unassuming good friend, the genius, talk about his day. conversational, accessible, brilliant.

here in the US, the country that gave it birth, jazz occupies an increasingly marginal slice of the public consciousness. which is, really, kind of a tragedy. it's hard to overstate the genius, the originality, the sheer musical achievement, of jazz in the US in the 20th C.

one by one, the folks who made that music are leaving us.

there is still, against all odds, a reasonably robust jazz scene here, but it kind of operates under the radar. in a lot of ways, i think the baton has been passed to other folks, i.e., folks outside the US. which is fine, those folks are making some great music, it's just too bad we don't value our own culture more.

in any case, here's the marvelous Sam Rivers. the tune is "Beatrice", written for his wife, from his first recording, "Fuchsia Swing Song". it's from '64, and features the fantastic rhythm section of Tony Williams and Ron Carter, playing together just before Miles stole them away for this second quintet.

hope you dig it. thank you, Sam.

Beatrice

Even putting aside the role of chance, simply playing so fewer games is going to lead to greater variation in winning percentages. I suppose you could look just at 16-game stretches in baseball to get a lot closer to a perfect winning percentage. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's the law of very large numbers at work, but maybe its little brother.

CharlesWT,

In summary, chance has a more significant role in baseball than in football. Thus making it much more difficult for even a very good team to win a very high percentage of their games.

That's certainly true for the second reason I gave. But it is only part, the lesser part, of the first. What I am saying is that the importance of pitching is such that teams essentially are not able to use their best lineups in most games. Imagine if an NFL team could only use any given QB for four regular season games, and at most twice in the playoffs. What would happen to those undefeated and near-undefeated seasons?

Another issue is just plain season length. When you play every day you are going to sit out some days for rest, or to deal with a minor injury, no matter who are (Gehrig and Ripken aside). The length of the season also increases the chances of bizarre or unlikely events.

Baseball requires more people to perform better individually to make the team successful over a much greater number of games. Football has more people but there is more opportunity for one player to cover for the mistakes of another, especially over a vastly shorter season. In large part basketball is just different. 8 very good players can be very successful against the very best players, the functioning and coordination of the team matter more once you reach a certain level of competence. All of the things that get discussed about quarterbacks, (field vision, quick release, anticipating the defense) are required of everyone on a basketball team to a greater and lesser extent. The key is that pure physical capability can't win over an 82 game season in basketball. 72 or maybe 73 wins in basketball is impressive, more impressive that 17-0, but 75% in baseball would be an astonishingly good level of performance by such a large group of people, especially now the National League.

Keeping in mind that in decades past four and even three person pitching rotations made the need for 5 deep aces not as necessary. So the likelihood today is really small.

Thanks for Beatrice russell.

So what we are saying is that, regardless of how dominant a team is, they will still be playing average players (specifically pitchers) a significant part of the time. Which is, I think, another way to say that baseball teams are inherently more balanced.

Maybe someday a team will manage to assemble the pitching equivalent of Murderers Row. But until then, parity -- at least rough parity -- will continue to rule.

Some mathematics that, in passing, highlight some of the differences among baseball, football and basketball. Has some comments on the role of chance in the games.

Pythagorean expectation

Football teams seem to be more balanced than baseball teams financially(a bit dated).

N.F.L. vs. M.L.B. as a Labor Market

Yes, why/how did jazz lose its place in popular culture so dramatically ?

Marginal rate ? First define your terms.
Tax codes are often too complex to make that easy - and thus mean that the really wealthy, with some notable exceptions, seldom pay the top marginal rate anyway. Certainly the case in the UK.

Meanwhile, what the ****
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/cavity-searches/477264/

That's a truly barf-worthy article, Nigel. WTF? indeed.

2. In football, at least, an outstanding day by a normally mediocre player on the other team won't beat you. In baseball it will. Some days a .240 hitter blasts two home runs, or just gets a double at a critical moment and there you are.

Yes, Al Weis, Mark Lemke, Maz in the World Series.

Willie Mays couldn't hit the broad side of a barn post-season.

Tony Cloninger, 1960s starting pitcher for the Braves, hit two grand slam home runs in the same inning.

Nobody knows nuttin in baseball, as Yogi might say, and probably did.

Baseball is like jazz. There is no play on like the other sports. Here it comes. Hit it, catch it, throw it.

By the way, Russell's comment above on the jazz guy is WRS and near the top of the heap of his comment history.

I' m in Florida. Just saying. Beaches.

Willie Mays couldn't hit the broad side of a barn post-season.

I'd still put him in the lineup.

"Im old. Ok. But for my whole life having a man walk into a woman's bathroom has been a big deal."

Maybe someone has already explained this and, if so, I apologize for being repetitive.

The problem with the laws about bathrooms is that the result will be that people who look male will be required to use the women's room and people who look female will be required to us the men's thus causing confusion, possibly fights, phone calls to the police and so on. Trans people look like the opposite gender. NO one would get upset if people used bathrooms based on their appearance because no one would see inside the stall to observe how the peeing was actually happening. But people will be upset if they see a man dressed as a woman using the men's room, especially if the individual really appears to be female.

I' m in Florida. Just saying. Beaches.

I've lived in high semi-arid territory for too long. Florida's got twice as much air, and three times as much humidity, as anyone actually needs.

Florida, where 99 degrees and 99% humidity constitutes a "cold snap". Shudder!

so wonkie, the law should say as long as you look like the right sex its ok? And my experience with transgender folks is that on a day to dat basis they can dress for the occasion.

Let's start from square one. What's the problem with people of different assigned birth genders being in the same bathroom?

What's the problem with people of different assigned birth genders being in the same bathroom?

That is a pretty irrelevant question. Other than the fact that most people don't want to go to the bathroom in front of people of the opposite sex, I don't like standing at the urinal in between two other guys, so sue me. I personally, wouldn't care who was in the bathroom if I had a stall. But really, if the standard is that men who sit spread legged on the T are perverts then I cant imagine a calm transition to unisex bathrooms.

But we could talk about the fact that there are about 1 million self idenitied transgender people in the US. From what I can tell that includes all stages of transition, including fully transitioned. Wild ass guessing from the information I found that leaves something significantly less than 1M people that need to be accommodated/protected.

The most impacted ones people are those that are living successfully as their self idenitified gender to the point that those around them are not aware they are transgender. Using the bathroom that matches their physical gender would out them, creating a possibly dangerous situation.

Let me just say that the fact that an untransitioned person may feel "uncomfortable" using a stall in the other bathroom doesn't justify making some significant portion of the other 360M people in the country "uncomfortable". If it did I would always have a empty urinal on each side of me. But there is some level of real risk in outing them, there is also some amount of real risk allowing pedophiles and perverts an excuse to go into the bathroom of their choice. Or shower in the gym dressing room of their choice.

So, if we want to talk policy, I'm ok with solutions being discussed, But the dismissive tone of "bathroom panic scenarios" doesn't move it forward.

That is a pretty irrelevant question.

How so? That's what the entire issue is about, as was the rest of your response. If that question is irrelevant, what is a relevant question as regards transgendered people using the bathroom most aligned with their self-identified gender?

I'm not proposing that you have to answer in any particular way. I just think it's the fundamental question.

Another question might be, why don't you like other men standing next to you while you use the urinal?

I'd also ask, which bathroom should a given transgendered person use to cause the least discomfort in other people, supposing that is the goal?

Going backwards:

From the reaction I have seen, it seems using the bathroom that matches your physical gender makes less people uncomfortable. My own anecdotal observation.

"Another question might be, why don't you like other men standing next to you while you use the urinal?"

I feel a little vulnerable while standing at a urinal. I was molested a few times when I was quite young and this seems to be the lasting effect. I don't get too hinky, its just a little uncomfortable. Let me know when we get to TMI.

As far as the core question, I actually felt I went on to answer it but, the act of unclothing yourself to whatever extent is necessary makes people feel more vulnerable and a same sex environment feels safer. I am not sure it is or isn't, but it seems to be a clear preference for a great many people. Almost all of the discussion I've seen focuses on the additional access of pedophiles to younger people of the opposite sex.

But, that's not what the whole issue is about. We have had single sex bathrooms in public places for my entire life at least. The issue is about a subset of people wanting to force everyone else to have unisex bathrooms and locker rooms.

What the problem is with..." is irrelevant. That isn't what we are even discussing. They want to get to use the other one.

Do you have an opinion either way? I don't want to assume from your questions what your opinion is.

Well, I don't know that we're necessarily talking about universal unisex restrooms. What we are talking about is which of the two gender-assigned bathrooms a given transgendered person should use. The assumption seems to be that it should be the one that is consistent with a given transgendered person's birth-assigned sex. I'm just not sure that's the best answer, not only for the transgendered, but even for everyone else.

Is it a matter of sexual attraction? Would you rather be in the same bathroom with a birth-assigned female who identifies male or with a gay man? Should homosexuals have to use separate bathrooms (not that such bathrooms exist)?

That all aside, telling everyone you were molested as a child is very brave, IMO. It's not TMI for me if it's not TMI for you. I'm not sure I'd have such courage.

IMO part of the problem in the USA is the unnecessary and weird huge gaps between the doors and dividers in stalls, which means that there really isn't any privacy on the toilet at all. I've traveled a lot and not seen this lack of bathroom privacy anywhere else in the world. In fact I remember using the public toilets down on Long Beach LA, where there were no doors at all and the dividers came up to maybe waist height if you were standing. What's with that, seriously?

On sporting victory rates, the English Premier League (you know, where men kick a ball with their foot instead of cuddling an egg with their hands) is currently being led by a team who have won 20, drawn 9 and lost 3. The idea of a team winning the 38 game season unbeaten (never mind securing 100% victories) is unheard of.

In the UK this week it's all been about whether (yes) and how much (a lot, for most people, peanuts for him) David Cameron benefited from good his father's Panama fund. The left is making out longer this is a major scandal but I think most people over here just assumed that everyone at the top of the Tory party was on the take one way or another.

Distressingly for me, dislike of Cameron is likely to fuel the "leave EU" campaign. It's looking like it's going to be a knife edge referendum anyway. Just the right time for me to be starting a new contract job in Amsterdam, amirite...?

I have one small question about these state laws which refer to the "gender on the birth certificate." How the devil do the folks who came up with the laws envision them being enforced? Are we now to be required to carry a copy of our birth certificates with the us? Or is this (as seems likely) just a shot at an additional charge to use when arresting someone for something else?

Actually, I suspect that those involved saw it as pure posturing -- just a little something to pander to their constituents. With actual enforcement neither expected nor even contemplated.

But perhaps I am misreading them. I suppose there is no reason why legislators couldn't indulge in the same kind of primal scream behavior that we are seeing from some voters. ..

It's the temperate season at the moment in Florida. 75 degrees, humidity not oppressive. Breeze.

Back to Denver this week.

Maybe bathrooms should be designated by political affiliation with the conservative facilities requiring birth certificates and photo ID.

I feel uncomfortable in those flimsy voting booths pulling the lever while standing between two obviously wide-stances conservative persons muttering to themselves while trying to look within the soul of those adjacent.

Smile.

I don't mind folks transitioning in the bathroom while I'm present.

It's the sudden, noisy species morphing in the stall from human to reptile that freaks me out.

I have one small question about these state laws which refer to the "gender on the birth certificate." How the devil do the folks who came up with the laws envision them being enforced?

That's easy. If you're likely to arouse suspicion (as with insufficient skin albedo in other cases), you'd do well to carry documentation. At least until mandatory colour-coded triangles (enhanced with embedded microchips) can be cleared with the courts or the tenthers win final victory, so the robed ones can be simply ignored.
[/sarcasm]

"I have one small question about these state laws which refer to the "gender on the birth certificate." How the devil do the folks who came up with the laws envision them being enforced?"

Like most laws they would expect people to follow it. Then have other people point our when someone is obviously breaking it. You know, help the police. I suspect no one much cared until someone decided to codify the right and make it a hate crime to refuse to let someone in the opposite sex bathroom. Then people had to think about the potential issues. I mean, how many times is someone in NC going to be faced with a transgender in the public bathroom with them each week? The reaction is all about the unintended consequence, which is unisex bathrooms by law.

How did the whole issue of "birth-gendered" bathrooms even come up? Is this something that actually needs a law?

If a trans-gendered person shares a bathroom with you, even though it's not the appropriate bathroom for their "birth gender", would you even know?

I can understand why the *idea* of someone of a different birth gender being in the bathroom with you might make some folks uncomfortable, but in actual practice, is this really a problem?

With actual enforcement neither expected nor even contemplated.

This is another aspect of the issue I've been wondering about. And what was the de facto state of affairs before this law was passed? How many of the people who support this law were at all affected by its previous non-existence?

To a point I made earlier, why do the people who support this law presume that a given transgendered person using the bathroom consistent with their birth-assigned gender will result in everyone else being so much happier than they would be had that transgendered person used the bathroom of their choice?

My guess is that in the vast majority of cases, a transgendered person will be more comfortable using the bathroom that creates the least discomfort in other people sharing the bathroom with them. It's one thing to discuss, in the abstract, what you as an individual would be more comfortable with, but what has everyone been doing all along that led to the need to pass legislation forcing (nominally, at least) transgendered people to use a particular bathroom?

Was there rampant abuse, by non-transgendered people pretending to be transgendered, of lax bathroom-assignment laws such that men/women were walking freely into the women's/men's room, falsely claiming female/male self-identification? Is that what the real problem was, rather than someone who, aside from having a penis/vagina and testicles/ovaries, presenting as female/male going into the women's/men's room?

I really don't get what's being accomplished here, so, though I haven't personally used the phrase "bathroom panic" (or whatever it was), I can understand the basis for the mockery.

IMO part of the problem in the USA is the unnecessary and weird huge gaps between the doors and dividers in stalls, which means that there really isn't any privacy on the toilet at all.

The transgenic limbo dancers are a pain...

The reaction is all about the unintended consequence, which is unisex bathrooms by law.

I posted my last comment without seeing the 3 previous ones. So this appears to be a big thing. I think the unintended consequence is actually an unlikely hypothetical. Is it somehow impossible to challenge a false claim of transgender when someone is clearly abusing a transgender accommodation? If you were the kind of cisgendered person who would be comfortable walking into the bathroom assigned to the opposite sex, was it the lack of this new law that prompted you to do just that? If you were doing that before, are you now going to stop? (Or is the truth that a very small number of people would ever have done that, and that the vast majority of those very few people won't knock it off, regardless of this new law?)

Ally McBeal and The Unisex Bathroom(YouTube)

It's like I'm hearing: "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

"Is it somehow impossible to challenge a false claim of transgender when someone is clearly abusing a transgender accommodation?"

Yes, we are making a law based on someone's self perception. That is not challengable.

hsh, it is helpful, perhaps, to note that the law is in response to a ordnance passed in Charlotte specifically allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their self identification.

And?

Yes, we are making a law based on someone's self perception. That is not challengable.

Really? Because people don't have lives and circumstances that are observable? But let's assume you're right for the sake of argument. Do you think this is going to lead to significant abuse by non-transgendered people? We're going to have, in effect, universal unisex bathrooms because of transgender-accommodation laws?

yes, yes

sorry, longer me. There is no measurable criteria that for whether someone self identifies as transgender. The process of transition is often off and on, there are significant numbers of transgender people who don't transition, a large percentage of trans men don't complete reassignment surgery, how do you propose that we evaluate a person walking into a restroom as being transgender. It doesn't work by looks, and the first person challenged that is transgender gets to file a huge lawsuit and claim the cops are homophobic.

And then yes and yes to the last two questions.

So what happens when someone with a penis/vagina, but who otherwise looks like a woman/man, walks into the men's/women's room? Is that going to be wonderful for all the bathroom-obsessed people out there?

...how do you propose that we evaluate a person walking into a restroom as being transgender.

I don't. I'm not particularly worried about it either way. But I imagine that someone who looks like Larry the Cable Guy, who serially uses the women's room and bothers people in the process, who does nothing that would indicated female self-identification, could be challenged. I also think such people will be vanishingly rare, especially if the thing that suddenly emboldens them is presumed to be transgender accommodation.

"Vanishingly rare"

Well that would be the heart of the difference of opinion.

I guess your hypothetical problems are more important than the real ones transgendered people face. Okay.

Perhaps it comes down to this. Solving hypothetical to non-existant problems is apparently much easier for some of our politicians than actually doing their jobs and addressing real problems.

I can sort of see their point. If you try to solve a real problem, you are going to have to deal with making compromises to deal with reality. And with the fact that there will be real people, possibly lots of them, who aren't happy with whatever solution you come up with. Whereas if you are posturing over something that really isn't a problem, the negative (political/electoral) impacts will be small.

The downside is, occasionally you will blunder into something where the political downside turns out to be much bigger than you expected. And, since it wasn't a real problem to begin with, you can't justify your actions as a "necessary compromise."

That's pretty much where Indiana, and now North Carolina, find themselves. Much bigger impacts, and on stuff like jobs which people really care about. And nowhere to hide. Some (e.g. Gov Pence) will backtrack, leaving everybody unhappy with them. Others (the governor of North Carolina, perhaps?) will try to tough it out. And probably go down in electoral flames as a result.

How much do you want to bet that the non-trans people most likey to abuse transgendered accommodations are "conservatives" doing it solely for the sake of proving themselves right?

I disagree wj, first rule of problem solving is to avoid creating a different problem with your solution. The "hypothetical" problem of sexual predators is a valid consideration, not really so hypothetical. The preconception of anyone objecting to the Charlotte law as posturing is incorrect. Imo

It's not a matter of sexual predators being hypothetical. It's a matter of transgender accommodations suddenly enabling predatory behavior. Predators are already law-breakers. They don't care if they aren't supposed to be in the bathroom, just like they don't care that they aren't supposed to assault people.

But let the pre-restroom-use genital inspections begin! Or something...

The 'bathroom' law is both gratuitous and disturbing.

A brief perusal of the link I posted upthread makes it extremely difficult to imagine that it won't be abused - and how it goes any way to solving any real problem which exists, rather than just sending out a message of intolerance, is quite beyond me.

This is not law making; it is unpleasant identity politics.

Marty, I don't think anybody here is denying that sexual preditors exist. And are a real problem.

But the question is, does this nonsense around transgender individuals (or those pretending to be) actually do anything useful to address that problem. I submit that, even if it does have some utility at the margins, it is not even close to being a significant step forward.

You could probably do more by enacting a law to shut down the Catholic Church. Not because most Catholic priests are pedophiles -- they are not. But because the absolute numbers of them who are part of the problem is substantially larger than the numbers being talked about here.

So yeah, I think it is posturing. Unless you are in possession of data that I don't have about how big a problem there actually is with transgender people (more accurately, those claiming to be transgender, but who are not) molesting others in public bathrooms....

P.S. Let me point out that the "solution" being put forward here is, in fact, producing other problems. They may not be in the same area. But having major companies decide to not do business in you state still constitutes an unintended, negative, consequence.

"But having major companies decide to not do business in you state still constitutes an unintended, negative, consequence"

Sure, and its corporations imposing their values on government. I thought people here were against that, oh wait, only when they are on the other side

Is it "imposing their values on government" if they merely say that they will take their business elsewhere?

It's not like they are forcing the government to change it's position. They aren't even announcing well-funded PACs to oppose these politicians' future election runs. They are just saying "Actions have consequences. In this case, the consequences are that we leave. If you choose the action, that's your call. But be aware that you are choosing the consequences as well."

And don't forget Springsteen...

Is he "imposing his values on government" by boycotting NC ?

When facing a thorny problem of politics, I always look first for a "technological" solution

So, for the NC WC problems: install a scanner at the doorway to distinguish XY hormones from XX hormones.

Wired to death-lasers to fry anyone who attempts to violate the sanctity of the N-holer accommodation with the wrong set of DNA.

People with "XXY" (if we can even call them 'people', at least in NC) are just sh1t outta luck.

I'm sure that Marty will feel ever-so-comfortable not having to share the urinals with vagina-Americans, assuming he makes it past the door, that is.

its corporations imposing their values on government

I don't think so. First, nothing is being imposed. If I refuse to patronize a certain business because the owner publicly and loudly expresses bigotry then I am not "imposing my values" on the owner.

Further, suppose I run a business and am planning an event like a conference, or am considering opening a new location. It seems to me I am free to consider the laws in potential sites. If I have employees who are transgender, or gay, or black, and I think they will be unwelcome in certain places why shouldn't I look elsewhere?

Indeed, even if I just fear the PR consequences and its effect on my customers, or employee morale, I would be justified in thinking that my business interests suggest going somewhere else.

it doesn't seem like it would be that hard to distinguish sexual predation from simply using the bathroom.

it's also not clear to me why the entire state of NC needs to respond to a law passed in Charlotte.

Byomtov, so the best interests of the business are a legitimate reason to use the power of the purse to impact laws? I couldn't agree more.

I see a difference between not spending money for and actively spending against.
And both are different from direct bribes.

it's also not clear to me why the entire state of NC needs to respond to a law passed in Charlotte.

Rural political resentment rises and falls on an ~35 year cycle. We're running up to another peak these days. So we're seeing partial-state secession movements (California, Colorado, Maryland); federal land policy nullification laws (Arizona, Utah); marriage-license resistance (Kentucky, Alabama). Now efforts at the state level to impose restrictions on the urban areas -- in much the way rural areas feel they have been imposed on.

A couple of friends in Texas tell me that the origins of the Evenwel case decided by the Supreme Court this week was aimed by rural Republicans at both urban Democrats and suburban Republicans, as a result of the creation of a fund to finance big water projects to move water from rural eastern Texas to the big city/suburban complexes.

If the NC GOP wants businesses based in other states not to base their decisions on NC laws, they should go ahead and pass a law to that effect.

I'm sure that such a law will get all the respect that it deserves.

Byomtov, so the best interests of the business are a legitimate reason to use the power of the purse to impact laws?

Hey, I'll take the bait!

I have no problem with a company saying they don't want to do business in a particular state because of the legal or other environment there.

When people object to businesses using the "power of the purse" to "impact laws", what they more commonly object to is direct contributions from businesses to legislators, whether in the form of campaign contributions or other lobbying efforts. Or, for that matter, explicit quid-pro-quo corruption, e.g. bribes.

I don't think it's very hard to distinguish between those two things.

the origins of the Evenwel case decided by the Supreme Court this week was aimed by rural Republicans at both urban Democrats and suburban Republicans, as a result of the creation of a fund to finance big water projects to move water from rural eastern Texas to the big city/suburban complexes.

I can see folks in rural areas not wanting water in their area re-purposed for the benefit of other folks, e.g. cities. which is to say, I can see how the interests of the rural parties are at stake in that case.

I'm having a harder time seeing how the interests of NC residents who don't live in Charlotte are affected by laws specific to that city about who can use what public bathroom.

How is that their problem? Why do they care?

How is this anything other than socially conservative people being freaked out by the behavior of those crazy urban weirdos?

Marty,

I think Russell's answer covers my point of view pretty well, though I'd add some further things.

If you are going to build a new factory you have to put it somewhere. Considering the legal and social climate of a place is a legitimate part of the decision.

Contributing to candidates is different. You don't actually have to do it. You can just stay out of the race altogether.

Another issue is that locating a factory is inherently a corporate decision. It has to be made by management, and you can only choose one place. Contributing to candidates is different. Shareholders are perfectly free to contribute as individuals if they think a certain candidate represents their interests well. They don't need corporate management to make that decision for them.

I'm having a harder time seeing how the interests of NC residents who don't live in Charlotte are affected by laws specific to that city about who can use what public bathroom.

How is that their problem? Why do they care?

I'd say that they care because, in their view, the Charlotte law is an example of the sort of moral depravity which is destroying the country. So they have to do whatever they can to stop the rot. Even if it isn't directly impacting them personally in this specific case.

Personally I think American society will survive this latest change in what we see as acceptable behavior. Just as we've survived (indeed, florished as a result of) other changes in the past. Even though those changes were also characterized, by those opposed to them, as existenetial threats to the nation. But that doesn't mean I can't following the reasoning of those who are upset, and understand why they care.

Wired to death-lasers to fry anyone who attempts to violate the sanctity of the N-holer accommodation with the wrong set of DNA.

People with "XXY" (if we can even call them 'people', at least in NC) are just sh1t outta luck.

Klinefelter syndrome is one of the most common chromosomal disorders. So it'd be an added bonus: those citizens too poor to get tested and know if they can safely use public accommodations will have to deal with a bit of a crapshoot, and we'll be able to cull a good 1/1000th of genetically androgynous "people" in the country - well, the poor ones, anyway, but those are really the worst ones, amirite?

"How did the whole issue of "birth-gendered" bathrooms even come up? Is this something that actually needs a law?"

"it's also not clear to me why the entire state of NC needs to respond to a law passed in Charlotte."

both of these go back to the fact that the republican party has, over the past 30 years or so, become the party of cruelty. what better way to punish and harm one of the most abused minorities currently, the transgendered? let me relate to y'all some information about a couple i know here in texas. the husband was born female, outed himself as misgendered at 15 or 16, began transitioning at 18, and by 25 had completed surgical transition with the creation of a penis using implants. he has a full beard and is very athletic. he lives as a man, he is accepted as a man by all who know him, and according to his wife looks like a man in clothes or naked unless one were to make a very close and intrusive examination of his genitalia. he is now approaching 40 and has been married for 12 years. despite all of that, north carolina demands he use the womens restroom.

in my opinion the north carolina law serves two main purposes--1. to punish, humiliate, and out the transgendered in the state. 2. to prevent any locality from having the gall to be humane and sympathetic to any class the republican party chooses to hate.

(Okay, yes, I confess: I pretty much posted all of that so I could make the crapshoot pun.)

How is that their problem? Why do they care?

Analogies are always tricky, but rural NC may feel the same way about prayer at high-school football games, or issuing same-sex marriage licenses. How is that Charlotte's problem? Why do they care?

I've watched urban/rural animosity for a long time, and don't think it's ever been quite as pronounced as it has become over the last decade.

To me this entire question is rather idiotic.

Makes me think of a dinner my late wife and I had at Supper Club in Amsterdam where the two bathrooms were Homo and Heterosexual.

We chose the Homosexual just because we thought it might be cleaner.

Just remember, these bills have a lot of things going way beyond who pee's where. That portion of them is just dressing to get the voters behind them and push through the "meat" of them that really was the objective all along.

"Looks like Speith has opened the door to enable a wide open competitive weekend. Rory and Jordan get all the headlines, Willet takes the jacket."

Good call.

Good call.

I'm going to agree, even though I have no idea what those quoted words mean. (Well, not really no idea. I could guess they have something to do with golf.)

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