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  1. Maybe, maybe not. But that constellation of brands KJP posted is not real proof of oligpoly because that presumes a gatekeeping function to something large numbers of consumers cannot conceivably function without. Most of those brands have both other brand and off-brand competitors. When Kellogg's starts forcing stores to stop carrying store-brand frosted flakes that they stock right next to the name brand Frosted Flakes, then you'll have an antitrust issue from that chart. As it stands, that chart fails the test of mistaking clutter for substance. Is the author really suggesting it's evidence of nefarious price-gouging that Cheerios, Chex, Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and fibre1 are all made by the same company? I don't even think that was the intent of the author of the chart. If the chart were really about potentially dangerous oligopolies, the exclusion of cable ISPs/TV providers would be a dramatic omission, for example. Some of the largest social networking sites, perhaps likewise. (Within the food staples category, sugar production and distribution is surprisingly concentrated behind the scenes, too.) The fact that one consumer foods or toiletries company might actually have multiple products, though, is not exactly worthy of antitrust scaremongering.
  2. The problem with this is logrolling omnibus bills. Every bill is so huge now that it's almost guaranteed--practically engineered--to contain something "onerous to the minority party." That's because the legislative calendar is so bogged down that basically the entire business of Congress is wrapped into a few large bills that get real attention from leadership to get shepherded through. Everything else is (at most) just sponsoring bills that never actually make it into committee hearings, let alone out of them. If they could somehow redo the rules to make it easier to get bills to the floor, and to separate them into separable components, it would be easier to forcefully defend the rule that you should save the filibuster for the bills you object to the most. But when only a tiny handful of enormous bills come for full votes, in part because they're giant package deals that could easily be 2, 5, or 20 smaller bills, you're going to get filibusters of all bills because there's no mechanism for Senators to single out just the parts they find onerous enough to warrant a filibuster.
  3. Gramarye

    Peak Education

    And this compounds enormously over time. If a mother and her daughter each have their first child at age 35, then the grandmother is 70, and probably 72-73 by the time the daughter is old enough to really form a relationship with her. If a mother and daughter each have their first child at 21, the grandmother is still 42. If the younger generation were to continue, the younger grandmother could even be a great-grandmother at 63. This is a form of human capital that has largely been replaced by financial capital among the professional classes--people establish themselves in careers and build up savings and investments before having children. (The child born to an age-35 mother is obviously likely to come home to a wealthier household than the child born to an age-21 mother, even if the age-35 mother isn't in any kind of elite profession.) And, as you noted, it also affects total population growth even if the overwhelming majority of women don't have more than 3 kids. Of course, there has also been a significant rise in the number of people having zero children, too. That obviously will be felt by colleges over time (and, of course, by the retirement system and other elements of our society that are outside the scope of this thread).
  4. In addition to having very mixed feelings about that and confessing that I can't give a straightforward answer, I think that would indeed take this thread too far off-topic from the primary. I gave that counterexample only as an example of reasons a Democratic primary contender wouldn't get much support for his Democratic primary proposal.
  5. Only if you assume long-lasting relative parity between both major parties and the non-rise of any third parties. Also, make no mistake: One of the most animating and unifying goals of the conservative movement is the appointment of a unanimous conservative majority on the Supreme Court, not a 5-4 one. A constitutional guarantee of relative parity would be a materially negative development for Republican GOTV efforts for both the presidency and the Senate, because one of the things that drives Republicans to the polls (and makes them tolerate flaws in their co-factionalists in service of a higher goal) are the appointment and confirmation powers. In other words, this idea will never get Republican buy-in. Not unless Republicans become convinced that they will never again control the White House and Senate together, or that Democrats will have unified control too often to allow for a long-term shift in the tide of appointments (in which case I imagine Democratic enthusiasm for a parity-based proposal of this kind would likely wane). There is not a chance in the world that Republicans would agree to it if they still controlled the Senate in 2020, even if Buttigieg won the presidency. They'd let Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Thomas retire between 2020 and 2024 without naming replacements, and use that as an electoral GOTV motivator in 2024 to try and both hold the Senate, retake the White House, and fill all three seats as promptly as possible.
  6. Gramarye

    Peak Education

    In 10 years, I'm sure that multiple Ohio colleges will no longer be around. Either that or they'll have to be dramatically different. But it's far too late for any of them to be first movers into things like online learning. I've lived in Akron for 10 years and still do not understand the case for the existences of colleges in the greater area like Hiram, Wooster, Malone, Walsh, and Mount Union. What do they do (other than football in the case of Mount Union) better than others? Even giving the soft stuff proper credit (experiences, culture, etc.), what experiences do they offer that cannot be replicated at a state school? Some of them have at least a nominally religious character that could theoretically be distinctive and attractive to members of that denomination, but few of them appear to take that seriously as a distinguishing characteristic--and in these increasingly secular times, I'd be surprised to learn that many of their students and alumni do, either. I don't know which ones of those, or others, are most likely to close. But there's no way that the market can actually bear all of them through the inevitable disruptions to come.
  7. Tlaib to offer impeachment articles against Trump by end of month (Warning: Autoplaying Video) https://thehill.com/homenews/house/432861-tlaib-to-offer-impeachment-articles-against-trump-by-end-of-month House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Trump 'not worth' the 'divisive' costs of impeachment https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/03/12/nancy-pelosi-trump-not-worth-trump-impeachment/3137736002/ If Pelosi Believed Her Claims About Trump And Russia, She Would Impeach http://thefederalist.com/2019/03/12/pelosi-believed-claims-trump-russia-impeach/ ============================================= The Federalist is probably overstating the case, but I don't think by much. Pelosi cited the concern about a potentially losing impeachment, but that simply means that she knows she'd lose the vote. But she's lost votes before and is well aware of the political strategy of forcing a vote you know you'll lose just to pin down your opponents into going on the record with a vote you believe you'll be able to attack them for later.
  8. Tesla is partially backing off the plan to close stores, saying that only about half of the stores previously planned to close will close now. They're going to try to raise prices of their higher-end models by about 3% instead. Not sure how high up in the chain this goes (e.g., would this encompass the Performance Model 3? Non-Performance but Long Range AWD Model 3?). It will definitely affect the S and the X, though. https://www.fidelity.com/news/article/company-news/201903110933RTRSNEWSCOMBINED_KBN1QS0JF-OUSBS_1
  9. Several different threads this could go in, but since she's a primary candidate and likely making this proposal as part of a case for the nomination (since she would have vastly more power over antitrust enforcement as president than as one Senator on the relevant committee), I'm putting this here: https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/08/politics/elizabeth-warren-amazon-google-facebook/index.html?no-st=1552058603 Elizabeth Warren's new plan: Break up Amazon, Google and Facebook ======================================================== Will be interesting to see how this is received in generally hyper-liberal Silicon Valley. (And of course in the rest of the country as well.) Personally, I think that size alone isn't indicative of monopoly or monopolistic behavior and that the real prime targets of antitrust enforcement that have been ignored under Republican and Democratic administrations are Comcast, Spectrum, AT&T, and Verizon (especially the first two). Those companies actually have government-enforced barriers to entry in many places, a much stronger hallmark of monopoly and one that the federal government's commerce power could legitimately override notwithstanding constitutionalist conservative impulses to narrow the Commerce Clause.
  10. I think their operating hypotheses are either that (a) any Democrat will win a general election because Trump will have nothing near the support necessary to credibly threaten victory in 2020, so they might as well go all-in on their wish list, or (b) the American public is secretly much further left than elite or "sober" opinion thinks, and therefore Sanders or someone further left is actually a stronger general election candidate, not a weaker one. You can see the intuitive appeal of both arguments. Trump really is going to be a vulnerable incumbent in 2020. And Clinton was among the most milquetoast, moderate Democrats and she lost to him, so if the Democrats run moderates against him twice and lose, the "I told you so" thunder from the party's left wing to its leadership is going to register on the Richter scale. If they ever wanted to try getting a Sanders into the White House, they'll likely never have a better shot. Of course, if they run a Sanders (or a nonwhite/nonmale version of him to satisfy the demands of the identity politics base within the party) and lose, then the "I told you so" thunder from the centrists in the party is going to be off the charts, and the party could even suffer down-ballot effects in Midwestern, Mountain West, and Great Plains states, giving up some of the gains they made in 2018 and possibly losing control of the House again in addition to failing to flip the Senate.
  11. Gramarye


    You really don't want me to start fact-checking argumentative assertions like this. I'd end up removing half or more of the hotter Current Events threads. From my perspective, what Brutus said is far less of a lie than many of the things that are shotgun-posted on the Trump Presidency, Political Correctness, Democratic/Republican Party, and other threads. Moderators are not editors-in-chief.
  12. Gramarye


    There are many things we do to reduce the amount of thefts or murders, but that doesn't mean we legalize the thefts or murders that do occur. When we talk about reducing the number and width of paths that lead to the moment when people may be tempted to "choose" abortion, there is more room for making common cause on both sides of the legalization issue. I understand the argument for avert the decision before it needs to be made, intervening "upstream" in the decision tree, so to speak. But I would make common cause with those seeking to reduce the circumstances while still outlawing the act itself, just as I would try to help people avoid being robbed but still not just ignore the robberies that do occur. In that case, my responses are already in my earlier post, since the separation ("out") and dependence arguments are fairly familiar. Wild swings in morality (e.g., the difference between "it is my absolute right to do this with no influence on the decision from any other person or authority" and "it is my obligation not to do this and the state can justly punish me for it if I even try") ought to be flow from very fundamental changes. The difference between 30 weeks and 34 weeks and 38 weeks and born (if not already born by 38 weeks) hardly has any obvious line in it to support such a dramatic shift in moral weight. Even the difference in dependence isn't that dramatic because a 1-day-old baby is still completely dependent for survival on adult assistance. Some lesser animals have young that are born at a developmental stage much closer to adulthood--often those animals whose evolutionary strategy is sheer quantity of offspring. We're about as far from that as you can get (and of course many other mammals get increasingly close to us as they get more complex, too). The most you can say about when a baby is "out" is that the range of possible caregivers has expanded. It could now be fed formula by the father or a nurse or whomever if the mother was unwilling or unable to breastfeed, for example. But is that really the fundamental criterion for the line between what's human and not?
  13. Gramarye


    How do you arrive at the conclusion that the fetus is not a child, and how do you separately arrive at the conclusion that a fetus has no rights? There are two pathways to the pro-life position. (1) A fetus is a child. (2) A fetus is a human and therefore entitled to human rights, including against execution for the convenience of others, regardless of whether it is a child. You have to reject both of those before you get to the pro-choice position. To do so, you basically have to ascribe some kind of moral magic to the umbilical cord, to the fact that the baby gets his nutrients directly from the mother via the umbilical cord rather than, well, fairly directly from the mother via breastfeeding, or via medical intervention. A human life at 38 weeks' development could be inside or outside its mother's womb. (In theory, it could also be grown completely in a lab, in an artificial womb--such things are more advanced already than people may appreciate.) Why its its moral worth so different than in one instance it is utterly disposable and in another harming it is murder of the most innocent and vulnerable life possible? My son was born at 41 weeks. My daughter was born at 35. What kind of logically sustainable basis can be offered for the argument that my son became a person later than my daughter did? That my own responsibilities as a father began sooner with my daughter than with my son, rather than that in both cases they began the moment a new being half-composed of my genetic material formed in my wife's womb? I get that the pro-choice position is that the fetus is not a person and/or not a human. All pro-lifers who consider any debate with the other side remotely worthwhile understand that that's the critical premise at which the two lines of moral reasoning diverge. But I still struggle with why people believe that. Dependence? The baby is still completely dependent on others for survival even well after birth. Yes, those caregivers could be people other than the mother, but how does that map onto the determination that the baby is not human before then, that it is nothing deserving of independent rights before then? "Because you can now be cared for by others, you are now accorded the status of human?" I can't follow that train of logical thought. If not dependence, then what is the critical metric? Mere physical proximity (i.e., a physical distance of zero or negative when the child is still inside the mother)? That likewise doesn't seem to map well onto a causal determination of personhood. "The umbilical cord has been cut. You have now been physically removed from the mother. Congratulations, you are now a person." I can't follow that train of logical thought, either. Or is it just a purely consequentialist argument? "Admitting the personhood of the fetus would mean admitting that abortion is wrong, therefore the fetus must not be a person because abortion is right." Even some consequentialist arguments fail unless you extend them to their most evil possible conclusions. E.g., "admitting the personhood of the fetus would compromise the mother's independence too much, so the fetus must not be a person." But even most pro-choice people will admit that at some point, the responsibilities of parenthood attach, and do so automatically, by duty, not by "choice." So even most of the people screaming at us that we're "forced-birthers" or some such recognize that at some point, duties arise organically from parenthood and are only codified in law, not established by it. They just think that we make that point too early. It does no good to tell me what you believe. I know what you believe. The more interesting question is why you believe it. What is about the fetus--its dependence, its invisibility, some other characteristic--that has such powerful moral gravitas that you would deny the humanity of a genetically new, whole, and growing member of our species?
  14. I was not even aware this was happening. Ugh.
  15. Gramarye


    Context matters. Exceptions to rules almost always arise from particular contexts of those rules. Also, this is not exactly a critical value. One can criticize any billionaire spending to influence politics without bastardizing their name, just like you can criticize Republicans without saying RepubliKKKans or President Bush without saying Bu$Hitler just to demonstrate the depth and eloquence of your feelings on the matter.
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