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May 15, 2021

Comments

It's funny, in this thread someone mocked the fear that the UN would act at almost the same time someone was citing the UN as the authority. You really can't have it both ways.

And for particulars, not allowing your kid to choose their own religion is simy not the UN's business, for example. It's just ridiculous.

You really can't have it both ways.

one thread, but many commenters, therefore many points of view.

You really can't have it both ways.

Why not? It is a traditional hallmark of conservative thought and action.

Which is why I say "we, the US." Because every other country in the world sees the UNCRC as a public affirmation of the belief that children should be protected, where the US only sees this as an assault on sovereignty and screw any public affirmation of anything since the US is better than everyone else in the world with how we do everything including how we treat our children how dare you.

We want to insist that we believe things, but not put ourselves in a position where we are committed to actually doing any of those things (not that any of these things are particularly enforceable in the first place). And the very idea that we actually be held responsible for what we claim to believe is enough to get Marty and the rest of the squishy middle to nope out on the public commitment.

So no, the majority of us believe no such thing. Gamed out just means that we actually don't have a commitment, but want to appear sympathetic.

where the US only sees this...

i'm really not sure why you keep insisting "the US" is united in the way it sees the issue. it's clearly not. there's a wide range of opinions about the issues among the little sample we have here, for example. no, there hasn't been any governmental action on it, and it's not something that gets a lot of discussion in the US. that could be changed. make noise.

and, well, i don't think i remember the issue ever being discussed here before - googling "site:obsidianwings.blogs.com UNCRC" shows zero hits. Google could be mistaken, of course.

but, if it's such a big deal ...

Appear sympathetic to who? Children? We have pretty good laws protecting children, in some places so strict as to likely be detrimental to the child.

Be held responsible by who? Just had to add, sorry.

Well, I could say "the US government," but since we are a representative republic, that would be the US government acting on our behalf. As a nation state, we do not support ratification of the UNCRC.

And Marty's questions apply to every other civilized country in the world as well. I guess none of them care about freedom or sovereignty or whatever since they are willing to ratify.

If we all agree that the US is not going to ratify, then I don't see why anyone balks at my assertion that we collectively don't have the political will to stand behind the principles outlined in the convention. The public record is right there. We are the *only* UN state to balk.

I'm so confused, and I don't think I'm that drunk!

wj @02.52: doesn't that put Marty squarely (on this subject at least) with the GOP base, given his intervention @02.29?

Marty @03.21 above: who has suggested anything that could lead you to say "not allowing your kid to choose their own religion is simy [I assume "simply"] not the UN's business, for example."?

Am I going mad? Any clarification, from anyone, no matter how personally insulting, would be welcome!

Do we not think that part of our allies' mistrust of the US when it comes to foreign policy and multilateral negotiations comes down to crap like not being willing to commit to any shared principles if it means limiting our own unilateral action?

We are not trustworthy allies.

Personally insulting *about me*, I should have said. Not inviting any insults for anybody else...

and, well, i don't think i remember the issue ever being discussed here before - googling "site:obsidianwings.blogs.com UNCRC" shows zero hits.

I found two:

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

UNCRC

Opponents to ratification argue against it because they do not want the UN to be able to rule against sentencing laws that allow children to be tried as adults, or to support a child's right to demand that they be allowed to practice a different religion

Ah, I see. But Marty, it seems to me you have misunderstood. This means, I think, that "they do not want the UN to be able to rule.....to support a child's right to demand that they be allowed to practice a different religion". Or do you actually think that children should not be allowed to choose which religion they should be able to follow?

Am I going mad? Any clarification, from anyone, no matter how personally insulting, would be welcome!

I'd go with the excess (or enough? ;-) wine theory.

What I was saying was that Marty is NOT like much of the GOP base. That is, while he does object to the UN treaty speaking to how children are treated, he doesn't (as I understand it; feel free to correct me) categorically reject the idea of the US entering into a treaty, even a multilateral treaty, which would constrain our actions. Which, of course, pretty much any treaty does.

Marty also seems to believe that the UN might somehow file suit against individual parents in the US to force them to allow their children to convert to another religion (or no religion).

I don't remember ever seeing any parent from any of those other countries up on charges at the Hague for having smacked a child or for forcing them to go to temple.

I found two:

a) how'd you do that?!
b) twice in the last 12 years!
c) on that second one, i actually wrote "yeah, gotta agree with Marty on this." lol.

I'd go with the excess (or enough? ;-) wine theory.

What I was saying was that Marty is NOT like much of the GOP base.

Absolutely fair enough, wj, but I understood you to be saying just that. However, I was under the impression that Marty does reject the idea of the US entering into an international or multilateral treaty which would constrain its actions, and that his objection to this was just an example of that. I could easily be wrong, however.

a) how'd you do that?!

I never succeed in searching for old comments!

a) how'd you do that?!

Don't know. Your search should have found one. My search appears to be the same as yours with an additional term.

site:obsidianwings.blogs.com "United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child" OR UNCRC

A broader search under "rights of the child" turned up one more in which jesurgislac argued a lot of the same points we are going over here:

https://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/06/kennedy-v-louis.html

ok. three in 13 years.

point is: even here, it's not a big topic. does that mean all of us here are squishy and uncommitted and trying to avoid responsibility on this?

i'll admit i haven't given it much thought. i don't have kids so their rights don't cross my mind much. doesn't mean i don't care when the topic does come up.

Do we not think that part of our allies' mistrust of the US when it comes to foreign policy and multilateral negotiations comes down to crap like not being willing to commit to any shared principles if it means limiting our own unilateral action?

we're big enough that we haven't had to care? with great power comes great disdain for responsibility. that'll change, i suspect.

does that mean all of us here are squishy and uncommitted and trying to avoid responsibility on this?

No, just that enough people who claim to support human rights are squishy enough on it to prevent us collectively doing anything meaningful about it on a policy level. (And I suspect that may be true at the party level for Democrats as well as soon as the people in competitive districts start to hedge.)

We have pretty good laws protecting children, in some places so strict as to likely be detrimental to the child.

State and local governments have a less than exemplary record of harassing, vilifying, arresting, and jailing good parents while managing to overlook egregious cases of abuse.

"meaningful about it on a policy level"

Meaningful about what? Signing the treaty? I'm trying to understand a need to be met.

Upthread you said that one might argue with the wording, or you could just not ratify it. Since everyone else liked it why argue about it. The presumption that not supporting ratification equates to not supporting human rights is a completely false equivalence.

The presumption that not supporting ratification equates to not supporting human rights is a completely false equivalence.

Not a false equivalence at all. It's about wanting to be able to throw the US's military and economic might around in the name of human rights while categorically refusing to let the US be pinned down on anything just in case we might disagree with everyone else.

That's not false equivalence, that's just exceptionalism. Again.

And yet, the Convention Against Torture WAS ratified; the one that requires signatories to hold torturers accountable by "judicial, administrative, or other means"

By my not-an-international-lawyer reading, that means that we are all fully justified in scragging Dubya and his whole torturing crew.

By my not-an-international-lawyer reading, that means that we are all fully justified in scragging Dubya and his whole torturing crew.

Only if you, personally, are a signatory. Which I'm betting you aren't.

Although it could be read as the US agreeing that othet *countries* would be justified in doing so.

I always thought that the UNCRC less aimed at stopping spanked bottoms and more at things like this

https://foodispower.org/human-labor-slavery/slavery-chocolate/

this
https://www.tdh.ch/en/news/child-labour-automotive-and-electronic-industry

and this
https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/06/malaysia-forced-labor-electronics/563873/

And the opposition to the US signing it is a case of Americans with conservative tendencies getting played. Again.

"Or do you actually think that children should not be allowed to choose which religion they should be able to follow?"

How old is the child, what religion are they trying to choose, what is the local group of that religion like, is Jim Jones in charge, who defines what is a religion and what is a cult, how mature is the child, does the child have the emotional and mental capacity to weigh all those questions?

So, no I don't think children get to choose without parental approval.

And if it is the parent who is in a cult and the child is in their teens and trying to opt out?

The UN doesn't get to decide in either case.

But we do have laws that allow the teen to petition the court in that case.

The question is, again, what problem for the child are we trying to solve? The state already oversteps its bounds regularly, while facing in other cases. WTF, does the UN have to add?

Failing in other cases

We have federal civil rights laws that provide a backstop/additional venue for people who believe their rights have been violated, and the (US) state has failed in their duty to pursue justice. This kind of treaty would seem to provide an additional legal protection if a nation-state fails to live up to its’ obligations. That is a crude description, but I think it bears a more accurate description than “the UN telling people what to do “. A multi-national Civil Rights Act. Any action would be unnecessary if the subsidiary jurisdiction was doing what it should to protect individuals.

I suppose you could go spend a few hours on the UNICEF page looking at what they have been doing and trying to understand how the UNCRC actually functions and what purpose it serves. That might actually answer your questions better than I'm going to be able to do in my spare time, going to those pages to do the research for you just so that you have someone to argue with as you bounce between disdain and paranoia where the UN is concerned.

Or I'll just let Priest take the baton here while I find another windmill to tilt at.

What would that legal protection be? Upthread someone noted that no one has yet to be charged at the Hague. So is it just virtue signing on a problem we don't have?

Sure nous I will go do the research, but didn't you say you teach this?

I would use contempt and leave out the paranoia. Engaging with other countries makes tons of sense, engaging in a world governing body is ludicrous and dangerous. That's not paranoia, that's simple common sense.

200 years ago, and with every state added since, the rights of states and limitations on federal authority were made clear in the US. But that sovereignty is eroded away every year, in fact most Democrats would like to do away with it entirely.

The UN is just another step in that slippery slope. Once the mechanism is in place to wield power, the escalating exercise of it is inevitable and something to be fought at every opportunity.

And no one has yet come up with a problem the US needs the treaty to solve, it just codes authority with no purpose.

Cedes

Sorry about my autocorrect typos.

Sure nous I will go do the research, but didn't you say you teach this?

Sure, but you've missed your tuition deadline by a few decades ;)

I teach a research class about children in armed conflict. What you are worried about is a bit far afield of what I usually look at.

At least until some yahoo starts a civil war.

perhaps another autotype error, but just in case
So is it just virtue signing
virtue signaling

Marty, I believe nous teaches composition and rhetoric at the university level. As such, he could probably teach you how to craft your arguments better, but a student needs to take suggestions on board, and you've not really given any indication that you are willing to take advice on this. I'd also point out, if you get your facts wrong, sarcasm doesn't really work so well. You might as well confuse Alabama and Atlanta.

I'm not sure why you didn't click the links I gave, not that you have to, but I do believe those problems are ones that need to be addressed not bilaterally, but thru a large coalition of nations. (I'm thinking that a Republican president argued the need for coalitions, but to paraphrase Marlowe, that was in another country; and besides, that party is dead.) That the US signs on to a treaty does not mean that it cedes authority, it accepts that there needs to be a more international approach to dealing with the problem.

I don't want to claim that you don't give a shit about kids if they aren't the right color, but I hope you can see that failing to acknowledge that what those links describe leaves you open to that line of attack.

If I were Marty, I would ask LJ and Nous what value, based on LJ's links, the UN is to anyone as a practical matter?

When the UN deals effectively with the PRC and its use of ethnic slave labor, maybe arguments by proponents of UN jurisdiction will have more force.

Surely the irony of the PRC, Russian Federation and Cuba being on the UN Human Rights Council is not lost on everyone.

Summary of the UNCRC.

There are things in there which would probably be problematic to enforce. And there are things in there which seem, at best, aspirational.

All of that said, I'm not sure why an aspirational statement of rights for kids is a bad thing. I continue to be puzzled by why 'virtue signaling' in pretty much any form is a bad thing.

Hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue. Right? At least somebody, somewhere, has articulated what 'good' means, even if pretty much everybody everywhere falls short.

As a practical matter, IMO the UN helps to keep us all from killing each other. It does so through the inevitably hypocritical and kabuki-esque process of diplomatic conversation. I'm sure it all seems ridiculous at times, even to the folks engaged in it. It's less ridiculous than blowing sh*t up. IMVHO.

Jaw-jaw is better than war-war, as they say.

On the 'children choose their own religion' thing, the UNCRC summary has this, in Article 14:

Every child has the right to think and believe what they choose and also to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights. Governments must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents to guide their child as they grow up.

There are a number of similar articles where the interests and rights of the family structure are specifically called out for protection.

Mostly the document appears to outline the responsibility of governments towards children and their families. No doubt there are cases where enforcement of the treaty could result in government intervening in family business, but as far as I can see that would only be in cases where the child's own safety and health were at risk.

Whether and when a government - any government - should do that is a question that is pretty much always on the table. As McK points out, the actual enforcement power of the UN is not particularly great. By which I mean, minimal to non-existent. So as a practical matter, it's highly unlikely that agents of the UN are going to be coming to anybody's house and preventing families from requiring their kids to go to Sunday school, or whatever.

It seems to me that the point of stuff like this is to articulate a standard - an aspirational bar. It's a moral lever, and has no more or less force than any other moral lever. Folks who can be motivated by things like that, may be. Folks who can't, won't be.

The UN is limited in what it can do. That's probably a good thing. But that's different than saying it has no value.

I continue to be puzzled by why 'virtue signaling' in pretty much any form is a bad thing.

in "conservative" mythology, no liberals actually believe in any of the things they want to 'impose' on society - it's all virtue signalling to make themselves look pious in order to keep "conservatives" down.

Damn, I forgot the tuition, again.

Every other country in the world has ratified the UNCRC, so US Republicans are the only people left not signalling virtue.

So far as I know, there's no enforcement mechanism for the UNCRC, just a Committee which tells governments to do better. The law in England (but not in Scotland or Wales) retains a "reasonable punishment" exemption which allows parents to hit their children so long as there's no visible damage, and there's no sign that the UN proposes to do anything about it.

However, the US couldn't meaningfully ratify the Convention unless it's willing to abandon imprisonment without parole for offences committed under the age of 18.

I don't really have much more to add, but I believe that there are some US Democrats not interested in ratifying it.

in Not Surprising News, McConnell is going to kill the Jan 6 investigation.

thanks, "conservatives", you're the fucking best.

2024 is gonna be a mess. Just a heads up.

2022 will be a prelim...

and Mark McCloskey is running for Senate.

the GOP is a sham.

Surely the irony of the PRC, Russian Federation and Cuba being on the UN Human Rights Council is not lost on everyone.

And they aren't even, IIRC, the worst actors who have been on it at one point or another. Nonetheless, the fact that the institution is imperfect, even massively imperfect at times, doesn't mean it has no value.

I would also note this. The US regularly exhorts other countries to improve their behavior, on a variety of issues. I'm not sure how generally effective it is. But our government, under both parties, has long taken the position that it is worth doing.

But then we have a situation like this. On one hand, we have a treaty which is widely honored in the breach. On the other, we have hysteria here about giving the UN some kind of power over us -- how that could work is not clear, but oh well. So we don't ratify it.

What we actually have, in us being the only nation to refuse to ratify the treaty, is lack of virtue signaling. If we can't even bring ourselves to ratify a dead letter, why should anybody pay any attention to our calls for virtuous behavior on anything?

On the lack of virtue signaling bright side, had we ratified the convention, we'd probably have had to suffer through Tyrannosaurus Rump publicly withdrawing from it the same way he did the Paris Accord. Virtue disdaining is somewhat less dickish behavior than virtue ass waving.

I don't really have much more to add, but I believe that there are some US Democrats not interested in ratifying it.

I have no doubts that this statement is true (even if we limit it to elected officials). I also assume that there are some elected Republicans that would have no personal objection (although they might be reluctant to be open about it).

There is of course nuance in 'not interested'. It can be understood as 'it does not matter to me, so I will not do anything unless forced to' or 'I am strongly interested in the opposite'. But imo it would not matter as to the validity of the cited statement (although the numbers would look a bit different).

thanks, "conservatives", you're the fucking best.

1. Just a reminder: under the last GOP POTUS before Trump, we had the GOP being fine with torture as long as you called it something else.

2. Then we had Trump. And in his aftermath, we have the vast majority of GOP supporters (and their elected reps) at least tolerant of sedition, and certainly believing in the subversion of American democracy.

wj's excellent formulation "lack of virtue" signalling relating to the UNCRC, while highly regrettable (but unsurprising), seems small beer compared.

As far as the PRC's actions against Hong Kong, and against the Uyghurs, are concerned, while horrifying this is hardly surprising in the case of an authoritarian dictatorship: it's what you would expect.

1 and 2 above, however, are not what you expect of a nation which has portrayed itself (for decades) as an exemplar of a modern democracy and upholder of human rights. I leave it to everybody else to make their own judgement about which of the two major parties has been loudest in this self-portrayal

the entire GOP is a virtue signal. they think they're telling us what great honorable patriots they are.

well said, wj 1:46 abv

open thread, eh. OK. Read this.

A group of United States Capitol Police officers signaled their “profound disappointment” that Republican congressional leadership has refused to support the proposed bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot in an open letter published Wednesday.

...

A spokesperson from the office of Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said the letter ― which is written on USCP letterhead but left unsigned ― represents about 40 to 50 officers. It was sent to House chiefs Wednesday afternoon.

“Unfortunately this letter comes to you anonymously, because as U.S. Capitol Police Officers, we are expected to remain neutral and do our jobs with honor and integrity,” it reads. “It’s unfortunate that our ‘bosses’ (Congress) are not held to the same standard that we, the USCP, are.”

The Jan. 6 rioting followed a rally held by President Donald Trump to contest the results of the 2020 election. On that day, the officers wrote, they “were subjected to hours and hours of physical trauma which has led to months of mental anguish.” The attack left five people dead; two officers died by suicide in the days afterward.

“If you look around the Capitol building, you still have doors that are broken, windows still smashed and in some cases missing,” it continues. “Officers are forced to go to work with the daily reminder of what happened that dreadful day.”

The USCP said in a statement that the letter does not represent the agency’s official position, nor would the agency comment on who had written it.

The party of law and order.

Surely the irony of the PRC, Russian Federation and Cuba being on the UN Human Rights Council is not lost on everyone.

Yep, gotta get Cuba in there.

The idea that every country has things they can do better in regards to human rights really offends the exceptionalists in the group.

USCP is probably code for US Communist Party. Ha, take that libz!!!

Ah, ha!!!
Since this is an open thread, here is the history behind WHY we got such muddled guidance on masks vs hand washing as preventative measures for covid.
https://www.wired.com/story/the-teeny-tiny-scientific-screwup-that-helped-covid-kill/

Turns out that, half a century ago, somebody conflated two studies of airborne particles. And we've been getting it wrong ever since. Until, during the covid efforts, somebody noticed that the conventional wisdom's physics were wrong.

And one more contrarian log on the fire from Teen Vogue:

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/campus-cancel-culture-university-boards

nous, I note that the article goes on at length about how critical union organizing is to fixing the problems of the university.

But what the history that the article includes actually shows is that the root cause of the problems was (in state colleges and universities) slashing of state financial support. Every problem laid out in the article stems, directly or indirectly, from that.

Which means that the solution will have to start with rebuilding public support. Until the legislatures are willing to increase funding, nothing will change because nothing can change. Any proposal to fix the problems has to start, like it or not, with asking "Will this action, this tactic, help build broad public support for more funding? Not should it, but will it do so in the real world?" Too much of the article's preferred solutions simply ignore the question.

But what the history that the article includes actually shows is that the root cause of the problems was (in state colleges and universities) slashing of state financial support. Every problem laid out in the article stems, directly or indirectly, from that.

For public universities, yes, but not for private institutions. And even the big public university systems like the University of California are sitting on huge reserves that the Office of the President and the Regents are using to prop up the bond ratings to fund capital projects that advance the prestige of the institution and keep it competitive with the elite privates, but that really offer little added value to the majority of undergrads beyond the value of a high ranking in US News. The elite privates and the big R1 publics could charge less in tuition and could pay their faculty more and could offer more job security, but the disaster capitalism model allows the regents and the professional administration to burnish their own reputations and secure their own power. They really have no loyalty to the educational quality of the institution, only to the perception of elite status. And that, at the private elites, has nothing to do with state financial support at all.

Any proposal to fix the problems has to start, like it or not, with asking "Will this action, this tactic, help build broad public support for more funding? Not should it, but will it do so in the real world?" Too much of the article's preferred solutions simply ignore the question.

Adding funding is not going to right the ship. It will help some things, and it might temporarily reduce the pressure on tuition, but it won't change the fundamental problems with institutional priorities.

I will admit that my view on this is colored by the fact that my faculty union is currently out-of-contract and fighting for some very basic job security against university (read regents and administrative) resistance. But the university keeps insisting that they are trying to serve the academic departments by giving them more hiring flexibility when what the departments really want is reliable, excellent teachers for their courses. And what the students want are excellent teachers who can pay attention to their students, who can mentor them in their projects, and who will still be there when they graduate to write an actual, personal letter of recommendation.

You can't have that, even with more money in the budget, when the people making the staffing decisions have no experience in, or regard for, the teaching mission of the university - especially at the undergraduate level at which most of the teaching takes place.

Non-tenure faculty like me are no different from other workers who are being pressured by the gig-worker model. The only power we have is in collective action. Without that, the institutions keep the current model and just sock away more for capital projects.

The focus needs to be on undergraduate education. Funding can make that path smoother, but fixing the funding problem won't fix the priority problem.

here is the history behind WHY we got such muddled guidance on masks vs hand washing as preventative measures for covid...

Thing is, it was pretty obvious from quite early on in the pandemic that a quite large proportion of transmission was airborne. And that masks would have a degree of efficacy.

Medical/scientific dogma coupled with credentialism is nowhere near as bad as outright science denial, but it does have considerable negative consequences.

in Not Surprising News, McConnell is going to kill the Jan 6 investigation.

Another example of the general case.

When Republicans refuse to take 'yes' for an answer
https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/when-republicans-refuse-take-yes-answer-n1267901

"Turns out that, half a century ago, somebody conflated two studies of airborne particles. And we've been getting it wrong ever since."

Aerodynamics is hard.
The Wright brothers made a mistake measuring the drag of "wires", which resulted in several decades of slow aircraft festooned with wire bracing (think WWI 'biplane').

When Republicans refuse to take 'yes' for an answer

must be noted that several (35!) House Republicans did vote for the bill, despite McCarthy's predictable flip-flop. that probably says something about McCarthy's leadership.

it won't get through the Senate, though.

Nunes' family chose a really terrible lawyer. tee hee.

Open thread, so I thought you might like to see this picture, captioned Meanwhile...in West Texas, storm chaser Laura Rowe captured the picture of a lifetime May 17, 2021.

https://twitter.com/LarsJohanL/status/1394886497321603073/photo/1

Well what did you expect Nunes' family to do? Trump already had Giuliani tied up.

And, after all, nuisance suits have been working for the Dear Leader for decades. So why not follow in his Glorious footsteps?

thought you might like to see this picture

that's amazing.

the photographer posted a video of that, too. while it's not as dramatic, it shows that the colors in the photo were all there in real life.

I saw that photo on fb last night. I assumed it was at least fake-ish.

Laura Rowe has copyrighted it, and is selling prints etc. Good luck to her.

She also tweeted:

@ all the people that think it’s photoshopped or something, don’t you think i would’ve photoshopped the electricity poles and stuff out? lol

(although personally, I think they add).

I don't think the photo is faked in PS (like 80% of the pics of aurora borealis), but I do think that she has likely done a lot in processing to enhance and accentuate the drama.

The internet seems to have an endless appetite for highly accentuated drama and little patience for well composed naturalism.

It's a striking photo, whatever the case.

At least the photo is not an obvious composite of multiple photos like so many of the nighttime photos with an improbably huge moon or a vivid milky way and a perfectly exposed foreground like I see passed around so much on the web.

One of the better-known landscape photoshoppings.

The French alps look straight out of Lord of the Rings

here's the video she took. https://twitter.com/lauralouu30/status/1394436141047111682?fbclid=IwAR3thrFKpb7foPeh0f1fSIJjNbwMs2oStNFt8VFj7w-8ry-Evc1qgKig0BM

but i'd bet a modern HDR-capable smart phone and some light post-exposure contrast tweaking could get that finished shot.

One of the better-known landscape photoshoppings.

that's hilarious, if the creator was trying to pass it off as anything but a Frankenstein.

but i'd bet a modern HDR-capable smart phone and some light post-exposure contrast tweaking could get that finished shot.

The modern camera phone has a lot of that extensive post processing built into its image processing algorithms such that further tweaking seems minimal. Most people never see what their phone actually saw before it made a lot of the processing decisions for them. The software bakes the processing trends right into the automated flow.

I'm one of those who prefers shooting in RAW and making conscious choices in the processing.

YMMV.

i don't think about it much, but when i do, i think of something like : the phone's camera and app take the pictures they were designed to take.

if i want to get detailed about things, i've got an SLR that lets me get into it. but of course i can't carry that (and all the lenses, and a laptop with Photoshop) with me everywhere i go. so it doesn't get much use these days.

i do miss the days of waiting for slides to get back from the processing lab.

life goes on.

Yeah. Cameras are a pain, but they are an engaging pain.

My proper camera is a m4/3 mirrorless and I like to shoot with either manual focus or adapted old manual lenses. I like the feel of the old stuff and being able to see what I'm getting as I adjust things. I shoot in RAW format and process in DXO Photo Lab.

Carrying a m4/3 is still a hassle, but everything being 2/3 weight and size makes it less of a logistical challenge.

The elite privates and the big R1 publics could charge less in tuition and could pay their faculty more and could offer more job security, but the disaster capitalism model allows the regents and the professional administration to burnish their own reputations and secure their own power. They really have no loyalty to the educational quality of the institution, only to the perception of elite status.

Note, however, who appoints them. For example, a majority of the UC Regents get appointed by the governor. (And another 4 are elected state officials, i.e. politicians.) So if you get public demand for change (voting public, not employee union members), it will happen. Not instantly, given they serve 12 year terms, but it will. That's where you need to focus efforts for change.

Note, however, who appoints them. For example, a majority of the UC Regents get appointed by the governor.

But that only affects the public universities and has no effect on the privates and their boards of trustees. And it is clear that the driving force in all of this has been the Ivies and Stanford and MIT and the like.

Which is not to say that we don't need to push for a public demand for change. We do. But the voices that make that case must come from within higher education because, frankly, the public really has no idea how universities actually function. Most voters are on this the way that most voters are on politics. They have a vague idea of principles, but no understanding of policy.

While most university faculty are gig workers the voice that speaks for higher education is the voice of the administration. Give the faculty back a meaningful voice in the conversation and the public will hear a very different articulation of what matters, and one that is much less tied to the US News model of elite institutions competing for our best and brightest and needing flexibility.

Screw that BS. Colleges and universities are catalysts for economic mobility when they facilitate in all graduates an ability to respond to change in more productive ways through versatile and resilient habits of mind. It should not be top-down, but bottom-up.

If you want that, then you need to empower your non-tenured faculty, because they are the ones that, more often than not, actually fulfill that mission in higher education.

No slight to tenured faculty. I'm just looking at the people who most often touch the lives of the students not in the running for grad school, and who teach the people who don't make it to a degree.

But that only affects the public universities and has no effect on the privates and their boards of trustees. And it is clear that the driving force in all of this has been the Ivies and Stanford and MIT and the like.

I'm not so sure. The Ivies, etc. were always expensive. Their faculty structure may have changed, but they never were "affordable" in any meaningful sense. You had rich parents, or a acholarship, or took out loans (if you could). Or you went elsewhere. If you want to change their faculty structure, you may, indeed, have to try something like labor strikes.

But, back when I was attending UC, it was entirely possible to work your way thru school on 15-20 hours a week at minimum wage (washing dishes, typing and filing, etc.) I know because I did it. No chance of that now. The same changes which will be required to get back to something like that are the ones which will be needed to address the faculty problems you suffer under: You need different people, different kinds of people, on the Board of Regents. And for that, the last thing you want is the parents of students (voters) seeing their children's education disrupted by a strike -- and screaming at their political leaders about it. Doesn't matter how virtuous your justification is, if you go down that road you lose.

The good news is, the universities are, to some degree, competing for the same limited pool of talent for teachers. If you break the "gig economy" approach at one group, the other probably can't stand alone.

I'm not so sure. The Ivies, etc. were always expensive. Their faculty structure may have changed, but they never were "affordable" in any meaningful sense. You had rich parents, or a acholarship, or took out loans (if you could). Or you went elsewhere. If you want to change their faculty structure, you may, indeed, have to try something like labor strikes.

This underestimates the degree to which the race for rankings and status as an elite university has shaped institutional management over the last 30 years. As university funding has tightened, the competition for students has increased, and the biggest way to build a brand as an elite institution worth all that increased tuition has been to try to offer amenities like the elite privates. Same with administrative positions. Presidents and senior administrators are all oriented towards maximizing fundraising for the purpose of increasing recruitment and alumni giving.

If you are not an elite, you have to compete with the for-profits who offer low-overhead credentialing. The for-profits are a crap shoot and many have horrible completion and retention rates, but they stay afloat on predatory lending practices and a steady stream of students. Small colleges and universities are folding up like lawn chairs from this competition.

So the elite privates at the top and the for-profits at the bottom really are driving the conversation and pushing the big public systems to have to compete with amenities while the small schools and community colleges are facing a race to the bottom.

As for the union thing, I don't think Teen Vogue is saying that non-tenure faculty should strike. Most of them cannot because their positions are not unionized. I think Teen Vogue is saying that non-tenured faculty need to organize. I'm one of the fortunate few who has the right to collectively bargain, and even with that, it's a very contingent situation. Most non-tenure faculty haven't a hope in hell of a living wage.

You want to understand higher-ed finances? Start with basic economics: supply and demand.

Demand is large and inelastic: no college degree = bad life outcomes.

Supply is limited*, so the only thing that constrains 'price' (tuition) is what that other college down the road is charging. Competition is slowing down price increases (otherwise some colleges would ratchet up tuition on a near-daily basis). (*not so much overall, but in 'degree-equivalent' institutions; so 'Ivies'+Stanford, MIT/CMU/etc, Enormous State University...)

The "public option" of state-funded colleges has been kneecapped by generations of GOP legislatures, plus the infestation of upper-admin with professional management and their MBA culture, so that the publics *act* like privates.

That sets the price; as for where the money goes, just look at the rate of increase of tuition (price), with the rate of increase in faculty salaries (cost), over DECADES. It's clear that the money is going somewhere other than 'instruction', and no it isn't fancy dorms, because (a) room & board is on top of tuition, and (b) it's a small percentage overall.

Higher-ed is non-profit, otherwise that extra money would be going into dividends and stock options; so instead it goes into admin empire-building and bloat to reward upper-admin.

Reinvigorating state-support will help with more price competition, but since all the higher-eds are non-profit by grace of the tax laws, a change in the tax law could do a lot: 70%+ of "tuition+fees income MUST be spent on 'instruction', otherwise loss of non-profit status retroactive 10 years, with punitive taxes levied on C-level admin"

The whining will be heard in nearby galaxies.

I offer this anecdote for commentary from those of you with more background than I on current trends in higher education.

This fall my son will be attending what was our typical, local, 2-year, community/county college, but that affiliated with a nearby public university several years ago. The nearby university used to be a small, local, 4-year college that the teachers at my high school would joke about being 13th grade, even though a number of them got their degrees there (it started as a teachers college), partly because so many kids from our high school would go there, and partly because it was so small and easy to get into.

The 4-year school got a large donation nearly 30 years ago, was named after the donor, and became a university several years later. It has been growing rapidly ever since, both in size and reputation. In turn, the 2-year college has been doing the same since affiliating, and now also bears the name of the donor who started the university's transformation.

My son will be attending tuition free under a merit-based program offered by the state. If he gets good enough grades at the 2-year college, he can qualify for reduced-tuition attendance at the affiliated university (or any other participating 4-year public college or university) for his last 2 years to receive his bachelor's.

One advantage of attending the affiliated university is that every credit is guaranteed to transfer. Another is that, should they want to, students at the 2-year college can live on campus at the university. There's also the possibility of doing the first 3 years tuition free at the college, depending on the program of study, and only having to attend the affiliated university for the final year of undergrad. That would couple the merit-based scholarship with the "3-plus-1" option that is also available separately from the scholarship, but that also offers significant savings with 3 of the 4 years of undergrad at community college costs.

Is this a model that anyone else has seen elsewhere? Is it model anyone else would like to see elsewhere?

Thing is, it was pretty obvious from quite early on in the pandemic that a quite large proportion of transmission was airborne. And that masks would have a degree of efficacy.

Even if the experts knew masks were a good thing from the beginning, should they have said anything? At least in hindsight, the mask crisis/shortage would have been much worse: the civilians would have bought everything in sight, the supply chain runs through countries that abruptly stopped exporting, and the front line medical providers would have been in even worse shape than actually happened.

At least in hindsight, the mask crisis/shortage would have been much worse: the civilians would have bought everything in sight, the supply chain runs through countries that abruptly stopped exporting, and the front line medical providers would have been in even worse shape than actually happened.

I recall Fauci saying almost exactly this a few months into the pandemic when questioned about the change in mask recommendations. Maybe the push for cloth/homemade masks, as opposed to N95 masks and the like, could have happened earlier. But even that could have pushed people to seek out something they considered to be more effective.

It's difficult to convey the right message to the public because you have consider not only the best science available but how people will receive it and react to it. For instance, you try to tell people to be cautious, but they then panic, making things worse. It's not always predictable.

right, the CDC initially didn't want to tell people to go get N95s because those were needed by health care workers, and it wasn't clear what lesser grades would do.

i'm sure it's a coincidence that much of this "there was message confusion!!" stuff comes from people who don't want to wear masks or get vaccinated or not go to bars. it can't be nothing more than flailing around to find post-hoc justifications for selfishness.

It's better to tell people the truth as best as it's known rather than lie to them. And let the chips fall where they may. Supposedly that was one of the guidelines at the CDC when dealing with a health emergency like a pandemic. That quickly went by the wayside.

in a mass medical emergency, you protect the people who can save lives.

This article reads like something from The Onion.

https://www.npr.org/2021/05/21/999020140/its-now-legal-to-practice-yoga-in-alabamas-public-schools

To consider a somewhat analogous situation to messaging during a public-health emergency, how many gas stations would have run dry if no one knew that the Colonial Pipeline had been shut down?

won't anyone think of The Market?

who will grease the palm of the invisible hand if we don't let irrational hoarding run amok?

shortly after the pandemic started, I paid $70 for two 8-oz bottles of Purell. that's what was available.

so maybe not telling everyone to run out and buy N95 masks was a good call, at least at that time.

I like free markets as much as anybody else. Probably as much as Charles. I think they're great.

There's a difference between favoring and supporting free markets, and blindly submitting to whatever outcomes they create.

This article reads like something from The Onion.

"Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited," the bill states. It also requires English names be used for all poses and exercises. And before any students try a tree pose, they'll need a parent's permission slip.

First they came for the downward facing dog....

Haven't read the article yet, but I knew somebody who years ago was dating an American Christian (I don't know what kind) who was very worried indeed when he found out she was going to a yoga retreat and spa in the Caribbean. If I recall correctly, he said yoga was demonic! Nobody to whom she told this story had ever heard of anything like it - we all thought he was certifiable.

we all thought he was certifiable.

Fear of yoga is not uncommon in American evangelical circles.

Fear of a great many things is not uncommon in American evangelical circles.

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