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November 06, 2021

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So, how is the weather in your area today?

unseasonably cold.

we went from 70s to 50s without stopping in the 60s.

That's too bad. The 60's were pretty good.

Maybe it is just me, but I feel like Japanese have always paid more attention to the weather. So this year has folks freaked out, or possibly me freaked out and imagining everyone around me feels the same way.

My last day of swimming was Sept 31. Water was cold, but two days before, it was like summer.

Two weeks after Hokkaido’s Wakkanai peaked at 32.7 ° C on July 29, mercury fell to just 2.6 ° C at dawn on Thursday ̵

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/extreme-weather-in-japan-from-cold-snap-in-hokkaido-to-deluge-in-kyushu

Japanese do gaman better than anyone, having invented the term, but I feel like there is a palpable sense of unease.

For about the past week here in north-central Texas the temperatures have been about ten or more degrees below the average of about 51-71 degrees.

The last few years here spring and summer temperatures have generally been at or below average while the fall and winter have been at or above average. So flatting the curve on the seasons...

It’s cold. Early November is usually pleasant and fall- like and late November is early winter-like, but at the moment it’s cold. That’s my weather report.

So one predictable way to spin the BBB is that the progressives have lost ( which is arguably true) and they should have surrendered to Presidents Manchin and Sinema right from the start and it is their fault the Republicans won in Virginia. The NYT editorial board seems to feel that way, as does this jackass—

https://www.yahoo.com/news/joe-manchin-won-progressives-folded-040702521.html

I actually wish political pundits ( no matter what their ideological predilections) would talk about the horse race aspects objectively and would also treat the substance of the bills as though it mattered. But the job seems to attract trolls.


Reading this, I see alleged promises from House “ moderates” that they will pass the BBB after assurances and nothing from Manchin or Sinema,

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/05/us/politics/house-infrastructure-reconciliation.html

And the moderate promise seems weird. Why hold back now if they plan to support it later — it only makes sense if they still want to make further cuts or do more posturing once the cost estimates come in.

And none of it means anything if Manchin and Sinema balk.

Though if that happens it will be harder to blame the progressives. But in that case I suspect all the centrist power worshippers will praise Manchin and Sinema for not backing down.

is it moderates and liberals vs progressives? Or are liberals the new cover term?

My sense is that the terms "liberal" and "progressive" are largely interchangeable. With the possible caveat that liberal might encompass folks a bit closer to the center. Maybe.

one predictable way to spin the BBB is that the progressives have lost ( which is arguably true) and they should have surrendered to Presidents Manchin and Sinema right from the start

When you need votes from Manchin and Sinema, it may be worth announcing that they "won." Even if it's not accurate. Politics is like that sometimes: you have to give cover to someone who doesn't deserve it in order to get stuff done. Plenty of time, after the bill is signed, to take credit where it's due.

Alternatively, of course, you can demand credit up front, and lose the vote. Think of it as ideological "purity" in another form.

Fall in California. A bit over a week ago, a storm gave us the heaviest rainfall in years: 7 inches in 12 hours. Last week, skies were clear and temperatures were back pushing 80. Another big storm due Monday.

And now I find this:

in the end it wasn’t really those progressives who provided the key votes, but rather the 13 Republicans. The final vote count was 228 to 206, meaning if no Republicans had voted for the bill, it wouldn’t have passed
Bipartisanship may be mostly dead. But there seems to be a critical sliver left to warrant life support rather than euthanasia.

We're having a few days of sun with highs in the 70s. Average that with the days earlier in the week when it was overcast and barely got out of the 30s, and the week has been "seasonal".

"there seems to be a critical sliver left to warrant life support rather than euthanasia."

Now you're just doing a Terry Schiavo on them: "oh look, a *twitch*".

Hard to argue they're braindead when some actually, visibly, used their brains to decide to do what's right for their constituents. Rather than going with a knee-jerk No. That would have qualified as a twitch.

“Purity” is a strange term.. For the most part it’s been the “ moderates” who have been willing to risk everything to get their way, but in the peculiar terminology of centrist political nomenclature it is always the left in the Democratic side which is being pure even when it has been the left which has compromised at every step.

What about the nearly 200 Republicans who voted No?

How shall we judge their "purity"? Shall we tsk, tsk at their rigid observance of Cleek's Law?

If McConnell did not have the filibuster, so that a BBB reconciliation bill could get voted on in the Senate, is it possible that Schumer would not need Manchin or Sinema because a couple of GOP Senators might "twitch" enough to vote for it? I don't think so, and I bet that despite his perpetual optimism neither does wj.

But their rigid adherence to Cleek's Law still would not be "purity", because everybody knows they're just cynics.

--TP

The Republican Party is almost totally in the grip of its rich donor base, though they also have to throw bones to their hysterical culture warrior twits like Rod Dreher, who sees diversity training and trans people in bathrooms as the central threat to civilization. But yeah, they only get called out on their fanaticism because they are afraid to break with Trump. It comes as a shock when any of them do any normal political thing, like vote for an infrastructure bill. And they get away with it.

But yeah, the focus on the alleged purism of progressives in Congress is bizarre, when they are probably the most pragmatic and transactional people in that dump, If you want the super pure fanatics that wj talks about so much, I can point to a few on Twitter or some comment sections of far left blogs I read.

It’s not actually bizarre, of course. It is part of defining the Overton Window so that someone like AOC is seen as being as fanatical as a true nutcase like Marjory Taylor Greene ( or whatever her name is). Senator Sasse, that supposed sensible Republican, made that comparison several weeks ago. But Sasse in practice is not much better than Greene.

“But yeah” is a verbal tic of mine.

Here is Sasse. Imagine Sasse thinking he is a serious adult.

https://twitter.com/TheAtlantic/status/1443286860541878272?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

“Purity” is a strange term.. For the most part it’s been the “ moderates” who have been willing to risk everything to get their way, but in the peculiar terminology of centrist political nomenclature it is always the left in the Democratic side which is being pure even when it has been the left which has compromised at every step.

Donald sparing me the need to come in and say the same thing so that I can get through my 250 pages of student papers in need of grading this weekend.

I also wonder if The Squad's holdout on this gave cover for the GOP moderates to cross and vote - undermine the Trumpers without looking like they were supporting a win for the Socialists?

in the peculiar terminology of centrist political nomenclature it is always the left in the Democratic side which is being pure even when it has been the left which has compromised at every step.

The left has, in the past, had its fits of demanding ideological purity. But you are correct that currently the left in Congress is being seriously pragmatic in order to get things done.** (To the apparent outrage of some progressives here and in the broader commentariate.)

You are also correct that the Trumpists (can't call it a wing, when it seems to be all but one wing tip of the GOP these days) are vigorously demanding purity of Republicans. Hampered not at all by the detail that Trump can turn on a dime, and require them to follow slavishly and instantly.

** I actually don't see AOC as fanatical. Way more liberal than me, and passionate about some issues, but not fanatical.

even when it has been the left which has compromised at every step.

if the left was in the majority, it wouldn't have to compromise as much.

but it's not.

democracy is hard for the minority.

Democracy, yes. But which "minority" do you have in mind, cleek?

I say MAGAts are a minority in the country, but with the acquiescence of "moderates" they get to outnumber the majority in Congressional representation.

Is keeping the filibuster alive a "moderate" position, or isn't it?

--TP

Is keeping the filibuster alive a "moderate" position, or isn't it?

Neither.** Merely stupid.

** To state the obvious, if it was a moderate position, McConnell wouldn't want any part of it.

This report strikes me as accurate. With the recent elections, and Dems stampeding in panic, the progressive caucus was under huge pressure. I would wager they were left to "vote their conscience" as they all most likely knew the Leader had the votes.

Those 13 Republicans are going to face an angry base in the upcoming election.

We shall see if the so-called 'moderates' who looked Jayapal in the eye and made their promise will keep their word. Who knows? They just might, but they know the Senate has their back and will cover their asses.

Their victory may be a pyrrhic one. If the big GOP wave comes about as they fear, they are the ones who will get slaughtered despite the nice signs that will be up in '22 promising a big infrastructure project "soon", because those kinds of projects take a good deal of time in design before the dirt starts moving.

The weather here is off and on stormy with interludes of beautiful sunlight. Temps in the mid 40's to low 50's. Not bad for this time of year.

I am sure we will get an earful of all the good things in this bill. And good they are, but a lot of it strikes me as small potatoes. Funny how a negative CBO score meant nothing to the so-called moderates when it came to pork.

But negotiated drug prices, or an expanded child care credit....nah. Those things are simply a bridge too far.

Those 13 Republicans are going to face an angry base in the upcoming election.

A number of them have announced they are retiring. The one from NE-2 -- Omaha and some of its suburbs, which will likely shift left somewhat during redistricting -- responded to Taylor Greene and Trump's threat to have him primaried by pointing out that Taylor Greene would lose an Omaha-based district badly, and he wasn't scared.

Funny how a negative CBO score meant nothing to the so-called moderates when it came to pork.

They come from states where the constitutions allow borrowing for capital investment, but not for operating expenses. I grew up in such states, and worked on the legislative staff in one. It's hard to change their minds just because they're in Congress now. Most of them are terrified of any proposal from the Squad, who wrote the original Green New Deal resolution, and spent a lot of the space explaining that you didn't need to raise taxes to pay for all that, or even to borrow, you could simply print money.

Whoever did the BIF/BBB split clearly had that difference in mind.

Though I think The Hill is the bottom of a miserable barrel, wj may want to take note of this by a notorious member of the Squad:

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/580243-jayapal-its-worth-passing-spending-plan-even-if-dems-lose-house

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said on Friday that it’s worth Democrats passing the party’s sweeping social spending and climate change package even if they lose the House in next year’s midterm elections.

Jayapal was asked early Friday ahead of an expected vote on the legislation if it's worth the party passing the legislation if it could help the GOP take back the House next year, just as Republicans did in 2010 following passage of the Affordable Care Act.

“Of course it's worth it if we're making people's lives better,” Jayapal said.

“What's the alternative? To do nothing. I mean, that's not gonna that's not gonna get us anywhere … part of what we have to do is really understand the economic frustration that people have right now. And I think that is really important for us.”

I’lm happy to take $1.2T in infrastructure money and 13 (R) votes and call it a good day.

Rebecca Solnit in the Guardian saying things that the Guardian might want to pay attention to themselves:

Eric Levitz at New York Magazine has noted that, according to polls, “only a quarter of the public thinks the Build Back Better agenda is going to help ‘people like them’”, and he links to an ABC report that also says “Democrats are failing to sell the legislation to the public, who are broadly unaware of what is in the spending packages.” Though if the public is broadly unaware of what’s in the biggest and most transformative legislation in decades, that’s a huge failure by the media as well as the party. Reporting that people don’t see what’s in it for them instead of reporting on what is in it for them might be the problem in a nutshell.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/nov/06/democrats-election-victory-loss-media-republicans

Sixteen more papers still to grade...

Sixteen more papers still to grade...

Sincere sympathy :^)

wrs

Reporting that people don’t see what’s in it for them instead of reporting on what is in it for them might be the problem in a nutshell.

ding ding

Reporting that people don’t see what’s in it for them instead of reporting on what is in it for them might be the problem in a nutshell.

Explaining what's in it would be too hard. Might involve arithmetic.

Reporting that people don’t see what’s in it for them instead of reporting on what is in it for them might be the problem in a nutshell.

Solnit is always spot on. The above came at the end of the piece. Read the whole thing.

speaking of moderation....are we there yet?

Opinions, as always, vary.

@byomtov: Might involve arithmetic.

Read this and see if the writer understands arithmetic. Or even words.

“And Freeport may turn out to be a hotspot, with a study predicting it will see one of the largest influxes of travelers in the world.”

“No. 7 on a list of 'fastest-growing destinations for Americans' this winter.”

The article linked in my link even makes the distinction clear, with two separate lists.

But no............

*****

Great point from Solnit, too bad the pundits think their job is to write an endless series of "I'm smarter than everyone else, especially Democrats" gotchas.

Thanks for the lrb link, bobbyp.

I am fundamentally a conservative in that I am deeply skeptical of violent revolutions and see the Bolsheviks as a cautionary tale of well- intentioned ( in many cases) people setting up a monstrous system. At the same time we comfortable Westerners benefited enormously from past episodes of violence, much of it unjust. And what passes for moderation is also fundamentally an excuse for letting rich people continue to run the world for their own benefit, no matter what the cost for others.

Since I’m not a revolutionary, that means compromise even in the face of climate catastrophe is necessary. But it’s not good and it isn’t a victory, or rather, it is only a victory if it very quickly wins support for policies that would make far more of a difference. So I am tentatively okay if people want to call the infrastructure bill a victory because in some ways it is. But if it isn’t followed up in the next few years by something far better, it will be seen as part of our prolonged inability to do anything useful.

The last paragraphs of that piece really sum it up. A lot of people still talk as though we have time left for slow progress. Even some far lefties talk that way. But we don’t and when we act like we do we we are what I have seen called soft climate denialists. I am one myself if I am honest about it.

Btw, the same applies to much of our foreign policy— it is evil and murderous and no decent society would do such things, but we still regularly get outraged by the crimes of our enemies. Pure denialism.

Explaining what's in it would be too hard. Might involve arithmetic.

Not so much arithmetic as having to write about multiple topics. More than a single bumper sticker worth per article could be challenging.

The for-profit, ad-driven corporate media is doing to the media consumer's attention span what Grover Norquist wanted to do to government.

We're drowning in the shallow end.

Since TPTB said talk about anything...

Back in 1994, I wrote a bunch of software that was used to demonstrate audio, video, and other media shared by multiple people over the emerging internet. Recorded lectures, conferences, classes, office hours, video phone calls. In the last few weeks I dug into the backup media I took with me when that company vanished in a series of acquisitions and mergers. Over that time, I got playback of all the recordings I had working, and the ability to encode new video.

This afternoon I took granddaughter #1 out bicycling (Nov 7, Front Range Colorado, 70s and sunny). Afterwards I mentioned to her mother that I was fooling with the old software. TTBOMK, the only time my daughter saw this was when she helped me set up a demo on a Take Your Daughter to Work Day. "Is MikeVision making a comeback?" she asked. "I was thinking about it just last week after a really sucky Zoom session."

Back in 1994, I wrote a bunch of software ...

Sometimes, you're just so far ahead of the curve that the world simple isn't ready.

Zoom, it must be said, had (lucked into?) amazing timing -- they were rising past the competition (GoToMeeting, etc.) at precisely the moment that demand took off thanks to covid.

Does anyone here sympathy? Even a tiny bit?
McConnell spent decades chasing power. Now he heeds Trump, who mocks him and wants him gone.

Nah, me neither.

Sometimes, you're just so far ahead of the curve that the world simple isn't ready.

There were other people doing interesting things in the problem space. Most of them, though, were people starting from, "We'll use existing standards, and throw enough expensive hardware at that problem." I recall a conversation with a researcher that my company was helping fund who argued that his video was so much better than mine -- it was -- but took offense when I pointed out that his only ran on a $10K workstation with $50K of custom hardware added. I was the only one I knew of who was starting from the point of "Here's the hardware commonly in use, now let's do something interesting on that."

Might have got farther too if I hadn't been working inside a giant telecom company where legal said the draft papers I showed them conflicted with the company's official technology positions. The flip side of that was that I made enough right choices during the merger and acquisition frenzy that followed to retire early, comfortably.

This much farther on, though, no one should be having a "sucky Zoom experience."

Far too soon to write off the turtlenecked snake.

Far too soon to write off the turtlenecked snake.

True. But just watching Trump trash him early and often is amusing.

speaking of pundits...

Really? Jennifer Rubin?

I see the NYT has given their valuable editorial space to the always execrable Mark Penn. I'll take a hard pass.

From bobbyp's link:

President Biden is on the verge of accomplishing more in his first year than any president in recent memory despite unremitting obstruction from an unhinged opposition.
See, I'm not the only (at least nominal) conservative who can see reality on this.

Rubin's years-long streak of being correct continues.

no one should be having a "sucky Zoom experience."

we're on a DSL line at home: 8Mbpsdownu, 0.75 up. surprisingly, that's fine for streaming video and two people running remote desktop all day.

but my wife's job mostly involves sitting on Zoom and Teams video meetings. when she's on a call, my remote desktop can get pretty laggy. it's still useable, but right on the edge.

a couple of months ago, she was issued a new laptop with a better camera on it. as soon as she started using that for calls, i couldn't even get remote desktop to connect. the video data the new laptop's camera was generating completely saturated our upstream bandwidth.

turns out, both Teams and Zoom use the full camera resolution and provide no way at all to throttle it.

so, she had to get her old laptop back.

country life.

See, I'm not the only (at least nominal) conservative who can see reality on this.

She also says this

The stubborn and self-absorbed resistance to the White House’s reconciliation bill from two Democratic senators has taken a toll. In dragging out negotiations for months, often providing contradictory or incoherent objections and attacking policy agreements forged among Democratic lawmakers, Sens. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) have done real damage to their party and fed the perception of dysfunction/inaction. (Progressives, by contrast, have demonstrated remarkable flexibility.)

Weren't you telling us something a bit different about these damned progressives?

Weren't you telling us something a bit different about these damned progressives?

I don't believe so. But if I did, I was wrong.

10 people are ordering pizza. 6 of them want pepperoni and mushroooms. 2 want pepperoni, mushrooms and olives. 2 want pepperoni only.

no pizza is ordered until the decision is unanimous.

who here thinks there will be olives on the pizza?

who here thinks there will be olives on the pizza?

(Raises hand)
After all, it's not that hard to pick off the olives.... ;-)

But I do take your point.

Well, at least you can be damned sure it will have pepperoni! Yum!

turns out, both Teams and Zoom use the full camera resolution and provide no way at all to throttle it.

Right. Assume that it's the only application running and behave accordingly. And if my granddaughter's school is any indication, always use full color and full frame size no matter what it does to frame rate or coding quality.

I had a chance to work briefly with a couple of Stanford profs, because I seemed to be the only one that had a video codec that didn't work that way. Not properly controlled experiments, but the evidence at least suggested if the receiving party had control, they sacrificed everything -- color, frame size, whatever -- in order to get the frame rate up to a consistent 15 fps. That's basically the rate at which you can reliably tell if the voice and the lips are synchronized. I have always asserted that if you don't have that, it's just a glorified slideshow, not video :^)

When I started, the only graphic display capability that you could be sure people had on their desktop computer was black-and-white (or black-and-something, but only two levels). I did a video codec that was literally black and white: black dots on a white background. I billed it as The World's Ugliest Video™. It was perfectly capable of sending facial expressions and body language, at least for people you already knew.

Just finished up a long and fruitless back-and-forth on FB with a Clintonian who was attacking Tlaib for having voted against the infrastructure bill, saying that if she couldn't vote yes for things that help her district that she should give all that money back. Which of course completely mischaracterizes the nature of the "no" vote. Meanwhile, said person also gave a weak "not a supporter of Manchin" defense while offering explanations that normalized right wing talking points in an attempt to placate the swing voters in their head. To them, an inconsequential no vote at the end of steady support for the president's agenda was a worse crime than the months of opposition from the obstructionists.

Pro tip: Demand "little fishies" on your pizza, and you get a whole pizza to yourself.

I think it works for "anthrax and tire rims" also, too.

Pro tip: Demand "little fishies" on your pizza, and you get a whole pizza to yourself.

Anchovies are great. But somehow nobody else seems to appreciate them.

Fortunately, it is possible to order pizzas (here, anyway) with half having one set of toppings and the other half a different set.

I just want to know how big of a pizza 10 people are ordering. I don't even think a Sicilian can handle that.

The Turkish pizza equivalent that I once encountered was not circular but a long ribbon (and I mean several tables long). Either they had a continuous oven with a conveyor or it must be suitable to bake constrictors in strechted form.

In other news: GOPster unmasks Big Bird as a commie, demands consequences.

I just want to know how big of a pizza 10 people are ordering.

It will only be as big as the two morons who want pepperoni only on it agree to.

In other news: GOPster unmasks Big Bird as a commie, demands consequences.

Well, Big Bird isn't white. So that's not an amazing reveal.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/08/us/politics/isis-military.html

Virtually everything the Pentagon said about the drone strike was false. It seems unlikely that in the one case that the press was able to investigate thoroughly the Pentagon made a rare series of blunderr. It seems more likely that this is the norm.

My bet: if you suddenly had a magic way to know the truth about drone strikes, you'd find that >50% of them were "wrong target, shouldn't have been struck".

Much like the available of DNA tests applied to death-penalty convictions.

That's why the system fights DNA tests tooth and nail in that context.

This is interesting for a number of reasons. Read it, says me.

https://www.npr.org/2021/11/09/1049054141/a-secret-tape-made-after-columbine-shows-the-nras-evolution-on-school-shootings

Interesting, but not particularly surprising. I mean, sure the NRA leaders have nothing but contempt for their members. But why would we expect any different than the way GOP politicians view their party rank and file? Both sets are conning the marks in order to get rich. Or, at least, get their donors rich. Largely the same group of marks, when you thing about it.

Just to be clear, I think there are some Democratic politicians who are basically shills for their donors, too. But of GOP members of Congress, appears to be maybe a dozen at the most who are not.

I mean, sure the NRA leaders have nothing but contempt for their members.

Interesting for a number of reasons - the PR machinations, the secret requests from legislators for talking points, the revelation that the NRA lost a half a million members after the Oklahoma City bombing, the nature of the relationship with the firearms industry.

The contempt for their members was limited. They saw a difference between their "normal" members and the "fruitcakes." Maybe that's surprising.

They saw a difference between their "normal" members and the "fruitcakes." Maybe that's surprising.

Perhaps I missed it. But did the NRA execs happen to reveal whether they see the "hillbillys and fruitcakes" as 5% or 75%?

On a different note, I'm seeing some comments on Sen Cruz' garbage proclamation the "Big Bird is a communist!"

I just don't get why anyone is surprised. Surely there are others here who can remember the early days of Sesame Street. Then, too, it got denounced for having liberal values. (Although, as I recall, it was mostly because it had a racially integrated cast.)

We got used to characters from kids shows* being mainly accused of pushing the gay agenda not communism.

*to name but a few: Barney the Dinosaur, the Teletubbies, Buster the Rabbit, Dora the Explorer (she's also an illegal immigrant)

the GOP is a theater troupe dedicated to performing Scenes From The Culture wars for its spongebrained base.

the writers pull storylines from any source they can. the base dosen't care. it's just happy for the content.

Well, of course Big Bird is a commie.

Because, you know, there's photographic proof of Bert hanging out with Osama bin Laden.

"birds of a feather" also, too.

Cruz is related to a bunch of Cubans, so he should know.

Democrats Republicans in disarray:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/republicans-infrastructure-biden/2021/11/09/cc0c4c9e-4167-11ec-9ea7-3eb2406a2e24_story.html

Back to Democrats in disarray--

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/10/opinion/republicans-democrats-crt.html

More comments later, maybe, if I have time.

One quick comment. This is a quote from the NYT piece I linked--

"The survey also reported strong opposition to proposals to eliminate school programs that reveal or display achievement gaps:

“By an overwhelming margin (72-17), voters in these two key suburban counties oppose eliminating advanced math courses in Virginia public schools until the 11th grade”


So I don't want to jump to conclusions, but will do so anyway. It sounds like someone proposed eliminating advanced math classes because of achievement gaps. If so, that is completely 100 percent insane. I could rant more, but won't, because I don't know if the implication I am reading into that quote is true.

By an overwhelming margin (72-17), voters in these two key suburban counties oppose eliminating advanced math courses in Virginia public schools until the 11th grade

So far as I can gather, the actual proposal was to add math options to the usual path that runs through beginning calculus. That usual "advanced" path would still be available, but so would statistics and modeling.

My usual complaint seems to apply: I know what beginning calculus is going to teach; I have no idea what they mean when they say statistics and modeling. But then I'm old enough, and have enough college applied math classes under my belt, that I tend to say, "But if they don't have calculus and linear algebra, all they can learn is cookbook statistics without any of the underlying theory."

I have no idea what they mean when they say statistics and modeling.

No pun intended.

"I have no idea what they mean when they say statistics and modeling"

It's clearly one of those gendered things, where they push the boys into statistics, and the girls into modeling.

"wait, is that math?"
"there's numbers, up to 10".

common core dot com says this about stats and modelling:

Modeling links classroom mathematics and statistics to everyday life, work, and decision-making. Modeling is the process of choosing and using appropriate mathematics and statistics to analyze empirical situations, to understand them better, and to improve decisions. Quantities and their relationships in physical, economic, public policy, social, and everyday situations can be modeled using mathematical and statistical methods. When making mathematical models, technology is valuable for varying assumptions, exploring consequences, and comparing predictions with data.

A model can be very simple, such as writing total cost as a product of unit price and number bought, or using a geometric shape to describe a physical object like a coin. Even such simple models involve making choices. It is up to us whether to model a coin as a three-dimensional cylinder, or whether a two-dimensional disk works well enough for our purposes. Other situations—modeling a delivery route, a production schedule, or a comparison of loan amortizations—need more elaborate models that use other tools from the mathematical sciences. Real-world situations are not organized and labeled for analysis; formulating tractable models, representing such models, and analyzing them is appropriately a creative process.

sounds kindof fun, actually.

Modeling is the process of choosing and using appropriate mathematics and statistics to analyze empirical situations, to understand them better, and to improve decisions.

More people actually understanding statistics and how they really work has to be a Good Thing. No matter how inconvenient to demagogues everywhere.

sounds kindof fun, actually.

Sounds like a (presumably enormously simplified) version of my two-years Masters degree, so I'll reserve judgement until I can see a syllabus and/or textbook. I spent 36 credit hours, a thesis, and a couple of half-time jobs for seasoning. Not to mention that getting the most of out of some of the classes required a couple of other 400/800 level math classes that I'd already done.

Just for reference, most of the concerns that educators raise around advanced courses and the education gap have to do with the sorts of lowered expectations baked into the idea of tracking students and giving separate paths to those who succeed early on and those who start off with lower demonstrated aptitude. There are deep concerns that our assessment methods may be perpetuating and increasing the achievement gap. No teachers want to limit the things their students learn or withhold material from people for the sake of holding back achievement and eliminating gaps that way. What they want is to make sure that more students on the wrong side of the gap are given the opportunity to understand and work up to advanced subjects, and are given the necessary institutional resources to support this learning in their studies.

One place where this is especially visible is in student access to AP courses. Those courses require extra resources and infrastructure and give measurable advantages to students who can take them that are not related to their educational attainment. The student at the school that cannot offer AP courses will be disadvantaged in their application process relative to the student who does have access even though the first is performing at the same or higher level than the second.

And these sorts of programmatic decisions with structural implications often conflict with the desires of individual parents who are seeking to secure as many competitive advantages for their own children as then can.

The student at the school that cannot offer AP courses will be disadvantaged in their application process relative to the student who does have access even though the first is performing at the same or higher level than the second.

I believe that it's Texas (and possibly another state) that has established a rule that if you are in the top 10% of your high school graduating class at a Texas high school, UT-Austin must accept you. I know there are guidance counselors there who have told students, "If you want to go to Austin, perhaps you should transfer to that high school across town where you'll easily be in the top 10% for your senior year, rather than spend your time in this elite school and finish at the 16th percentile."

There are downsides to that sort of arrangement. Long ago, when I went to UT-Austin for graduate school, there was a law that said if you graduated from a Texas state undergraduate school with a degree in <X> then UT-Austin had to accept you into the graduate program in <X>. As a result, the incoming graduate classes were overcrowded with people who had no business being there. So, (at least in the math department) one mandatory graduate class each year was taught as a fail-out course. The professor was told to make it as difficult to pass as possible without being subject to reversal by the dean (the department chair was in on it). They didn't fail me out, but they did chase me out of the program.

(I had to go through an interview with the dean of the graduate college in order to transfer to a different department that wanted me. I told him exactly why I was moving, and he gave a big sigh, and nodded his head. "We lose too many good people who won't put up with that shit," he said.)

Happens a lot with different popular programs and majors, Michael Cain. The Bio Sci majors here go through a huge winnowing between lower and upper division undergraduate courses because they only keep so many tenured research professors in the department and hire contract lecturers to teach to the much larger number of admissions. I've steered a lot of good students into other adjacent majors and disciplines that don't have the same admissions catalog sizzle.

It's what happens when the state treats the university as a benefit for their constituents and the administrators treat the university as a tuition seeking business. Makes it hard for those of us who treat it as an engine of civic empowerment.

Lots of things have changed, and this may be one. However, when I was in school it was not super uncommon for someone to change majors between undergraduate and graduate school.

In fact, there seemed to be some preference in graduate admissions for students who would bring "a different perspective" from a different undergrad major. If faced with an overcrowded undergrad major, someone who knew the system could take a different major (while taking all the major required classes), and then shift for grad school.

How open to undergrads outside of the major depends a lot these days on the school (in the "within the university" sense) and how chauvinistic the admissions committee is. Business schools think that they are top dog and all other majors are inferior, but they are not averse to taking anyone's money if they have room. Hard sciences mostly want people with a continuous focus. Med schools are increasingly looking for people with diverse backgrounds and not just a focus on Bio Sci.

Humanities are looking for students who can make it through quickly and who are good safe fits for a brutal academic job market, but will take anyone interested and qualified who has the resources to do it with no money from the department.

The rest are looking for people that fit their research interests, whatever the background.

And in all cases, the emphasis is going to be on research, professional, or alternative academic placement after graduation. No one should count on becoming a professor after they finish. That's not how anything works anymore.

Lots of things have changed, and this may be one. However, when I was in school it was not super uncommon for someone to change majors between undergraduate and graduate school.

Why that was (and I believe continues to be) is an interesting question. The argument about bringing in different perspectives is one oft stated reason, but another was that grad schools are constantly fighting for students, so for them to say 'we only take people who graduated from X' is basically economically shackling the school. This is true even with majors where the supply of undergrads is quite high, getting a bigger intake to fight it out makes economic sense. This also protects schools from claims of discrimination, by tokenizing the outliers, thereby immunizing the department but also allowing them to basically keep the process for admissions evaluation unchanged. Cynic that I am, I think the order of things is probably 2>1>3

Also related to this is the news of the University of Austin
https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2021/11/americas-going-fascist-because-our-universities-are-totalitarian-hellholes

I post the LGM link, but if you have the stomach for it, click on the substack link in the post.

This is good--

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/11/opinion/reagan-social-welfare.html

It wasn't just Reagan--there was a whole movement back then, Milton Friedman being one of the leading intellectual supporters of it, arguing that government was bad. And Democrats in the Clinton era bought into part of it.

"It wasn't just Reagan--there was a whole movement back then, Milton Friedman being one of the leading intellectual supporters of it, arguing that government was bad. And Democrats in the Clinton era bought into part of it."

It was bitterly too late in the day, except for locking and loading, in 1859 to review the mortal subhuman threat of the Confederacy to America as well and say, "Wowza, did ya know that vermin cracker conservative John Calhoun was up to his ears in the coming savage Civil War?"

And Democrats are still triangulating the ransom payments and paying out the rope to hang themselves and us to sooth the subhuman fascist conservative movement.

lj's link is instructional at least for reiterating how the crypto- fascist so called "Christian right" is going to murder all of its enemies, with mealy-mouthed simp Rod Dreher looking on with precious disapproval when the killers are prosecuted.

Kinda like a member of the ground crew at Hickam Field, adjacent to Pearl Harbor, pausing as he places the chocks under the landing gear of a reconnaissance plane, and looking up into the sky darkened by enemy death merchants and asking, "Golly, lookitat, Mac .. whaddya s'pose?"

It's too late.

There will never be another free election in America.

The pig vermin conservative Supreme Court will validate Kyle Rittenhouse's practice of carrying weaponry in public to fucking murder us on the way to the polls.

More on the moron who unseated the NJ Senate President. Also the sad state of local news coverage.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/how-the-media-missed-a-new-jersey-senate-candidates-racist-social-media-posts-until-hed-already-won/?amp=1

The moron is not a truck driver.

He is a racist conservative movement truckbomb driver.

Sprichst du Deutsch?

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/11/10/2063627/-Why-Violence-is-the-Language-of-the-Evangelical

Hallowed be thy bullet wounds.

I'm for both sides doing it.

The pig vermin conservative Supreme Court will validate Kyle Rittenhouse's practice of carrying weaponry in public to fucking murder us on the way to the polls.

To say that Rittenhouse made a practice of carrying in public is to buy in to his defense. In fact, he didn't routinely carry a rifle in public. On the occasion in question he picked up his AR-15, drove across state lines, looking for an excuse to shoot somebody. Whole different deal.

How quickly things become routine. Going through my usual news sources this morning, one would never know that SpaceX successfully launched another crew headed to the ISS last night. I believe this was the 24th Falcon 9 launch of the year. Meanwhile, Boeing has indefinitely delayed the next uncrewed launch of their capsule, saying only that they hope to be ready by mid-2022.

On the occasion in question he picked up his AR-15, drove across state lines

just a nit... the story is that Rittenhouse didn't bring it across state lines. his friend, who bought it for him (since Rittenhouse was underage at the time), kept the gun at his house in Kenosha. Rittenhouse and his friend grabbed their guns from his friend's house and went hippy hunting.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/10/us/rittenhouse-trial-semiautomatic-rifle.html

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