Monday assorted links

Comments

2) Soon the bookstore will only sell 2 little red books with quotes from Mao and Xi. President Bush was correct: China is our strategic competitor, not partner.

Although the great thing is that the more the Chinese concentrate on reading Mao's little red book and whatever Xi comes up with, the smaller the chance of China emerging as a competitor to anyone. Reading Mao's little red book did not help China's space program.

Why not restrict franchise to married, never-divorced adults with at least two children?

Because that would leave a large portion of the population without representation.

Voting on behalf of children is more representative. Currently people in families with young children are only something like 50% represented on average.

No it would not. They'd still have representatives.

You mean without franchise. So what? Voting has never been universal and never will be.

Not really. Franchise is all relative and I’d rather balance in favor of stable people with families than people with 9 children.

And anyway, so what? Felons, infants, and green card holders can’t vote either.

"Currently people in families with young children are only something like 50% represented on average."

Do children pay taxes? Can they be drafted to fight in wars?

"Do children pay taxes? Can they be drafted to fight in wars?"

Do Democrats pay taxes?

https://books.google.com/books?dq=democrats+vs+republicans+who+pays+more+taxes&hl=en&id=wGtJ66o3EyIC&lpg=PA164&ots=nJL1ygz5DQ&pg=PA164&sa=X&sig=w7ik6KZO2KxuT_H42FIlWrHouq4&source=bl&ved=0ahUKEwix85y9lt7RAhXI5oMKHVFtCq04ChDoAQhIMAg#v=onepage&q=democrats%20vs%20republicans%20who%20pays%20more%20taxes&f=false

Can Democrats be drafted to fight in wars?

"the Democratic Party holds a large advantage among women."

http://www.people-press.org/2016/09/13/2-party-affiliation-among-voters-1992-2016/

Ouch. Spot on, and well done!

Yes, everybody who has any economic participation pays something in taxes-- and that means older children do since they do spend and earn money (a reason why maybe teenagers old enough to work should be able to vote).

We do not draft anyone these days and haven't since the 70s.

Children are already counted in apportionment, so areas with lots of children have more representation in Congress and the electoral college. I could probably be convinced to allow kids as young as 16 (or even 15) to vote, but never to allow any individual to have more than one vote.

Because that would omit the wise "and over thirty-five" requirement.

They keep passing bloated public school budgets without it.

Why I don't read the NYT.

Why not restrict the franchise to citizens that pay taxes?

A similar voter device existed in the ante-bellum US Constitution when slaves were counted (in the census and for Congressional representation) as three-fifth of a person. Later, when those freedmen were granted the franchise, those 3/5's became whole persons.

That's one way to incentivize fertility.

No, if anything encourage healthy, stable, and bourgeois attitudes that you presumably want featured among electorates that have the power to award someone with a nuclear football.

But in reality I don’t think anyone is really ‘encouraged’ by voting. The people who’d loose the right to vote under this scheme (not Ross’) apparently can’t be bothered to go to the DMV and acquire proper identification — so I’m somehow skeptical this would encourage them to undertake longer-term bourgeois projects....

Raise the voting age to 21. Id required to register to vote and to actually vote on election day. EVERYONE pay taxes; If you make a dollar you pay 10%, if you make $100 you pay 10% Regardless of where your money/income comes from. No one should vote who does not pay taxes.

>No one should vote who does not pay taxes.

How are you going to regulate that? If a small business owner has a bad year and shows a net loss, do they lose their right to vote in that election? If I keep all my wealth in municipal bonds and have no taxable income am I excluded from the franchise?

Am I obligated to show my tax returns to the poll worker? Is the IRS going to release all tax returns? Does Trump lose the right to vote because he hasn't revealed any of his tax returns?

You need to actually think through an idea rather than just vomiting it onto a keyboard.

It is a philosophy not a mandate. But the way I would "regulate" is make everyone pay taxes. If you earn even a dollar in the entire year you pay taxes. Everyone pays. If you are 10 years old and get 20 bucks for your birthday you pay 10% to uncle Sam. No deductions, no exemptions, not credits, no tax havens, no nothing. If you get $200 a month in food stamps you owe Uncle Sam $20 a month. If you get money from any source you pay 10%.

The point is half the people who vote pay zero federal income taxes. They have no skin in the game. They would vote differently if they though that higher spending would mean they actually pay higher taxes.

These all seem better:

Only landholders

Proportional to net worth

Only those with more than 10 million in assets

Or we could stick with 1 person one vote.

Right... and children are people

At too young of age children are non compos mentis, which is why we do not allow them to vote.

OK, but only if people who cannot vote also do not have to pay taxes-- or obey any laws they don't like.

Re. The Chinese men in the Chinese women's train compartment problem.

Was I the only one who laughed at this defense by the men who were in the women's compartment?
"Many of the men on the cars said they supported the idea and wound up in one for women by accident."

... stressed that the cars were labeled for women but not “only for women.” He said that there was no legal basis to segregate passengers by force.

Maybe they are too embarrassed to admit they identify as women?

I guess...

#1) It's hard to tell whether Douthat meant this column sarcastically or whether he really is that self-unaware. He starts out describing why he believed, when he was 16, that 16-yr-olds should vote and, more importantly, also why his reasons were totally centered around being a 16-yr-old and so faded over time. Now that he's a father, he thinks that fathers like him should get more votes than non-fathers. So, one could read this article as making fun of those who seek to enfranchise groups for their own political gain, e.g., progressives seeking to enfranchise minors that progressives believe will vote for progressive candidates and causes. However, Douthat seems to make serious arguments for his proposal, including denying that it will help one party over another.

In practice, I'm not sure whether there is much distinction between allowing kids to vote vs. allowing parents to vote on kids' behalf. I thought it was pretty well established that, at least before kids become adults, kids' political views generally mirror their parents' (except maybe on things like drinking age, cell phone and social media use, and the like). The kids we see in Florida protesting for gun control likely have parents that also support gun control. Similarly, NRA members' children likely support gun rights.

His suggestion that parental voting will somehow alleviate gerontocracy, other than by increasing the voting power of the middle-aged, seems way off. Retirees' children are middle aged so, if parents really voted to protect the generational interests of their children, we wouldn't have any fears of gerontocracy even without parental voting. Middle-aged parents know that their children will become adults by the time those parents reach retirement age so why whould middle-aged parents voting on their childrens' behalf be any more future-oriented than seniors of today are?

Last thought: I remember when conservatives were against giving more welfare benefits to parents for having more children --- so-called "welfare babies". Then, why should we be giving those parents more votes so that they can vote themselves more benefits? Related, Douthat's assertion is that there is some sort of "political...weakness of the family" is laughable. I've never heard of anyone use the phrase "single values" the way "family values" is thrown around. We have childcare tax credits for families, not selfcare tax credits for singles. Politicians declare that we need to "strengthen families" not "strengthen single life", that we need to "make it easier to raise families" not "make it easier to live kid free". The strongest special interest group in the country is suburban married couples with children.

Politicians say they like families but I notice that pretty much all policy runs the other way. The welfare state is set up to take money from functioning families and give it to dysfunctional singles. Especially single mothers. Obamacare would have done a lot more of that too.

Policy is designed to make it easy for families to break up. The media constantly sells divorce as cool, empowering and the solution to all ills - and don't worry there will be a secret millionaire hunky handyman to shack up with afterwards. Schools denigrate family life.

An impartial observer from outer space might tell us to ignore what people say and look at what they do. Which leads to the obvious question - if the family does break up, who gets the votes?

The goal of the nation/state is to eliminate all genuine competitors for its allegiance. In the US its been remarkably successful in this due to a number of factors. Tribes, clans and moieties have been eliminated as meaningful opposition groups for the most part. The family itself is the last relationship standing between the state and the individual and it too is being regulated into invisibility. If totalitarians like the creepy Jeff Sessions and his successors have their way wives will be required to testify in court cases against their husbands, children against their parents, and vice versa.

I think a single mother with children counts as a family, even if it's not your ideal family.

Where I think he's mistaken is in seeing welfare policy as anything but a weak vector in influencing people's choices about how to order their domestic life. Also, the volume of income re-distribution in this country is dominated by that flowing from the able-bodied to the elderly and the adjudicated disabled. There are sketchy disability claims, but they might account for perhaps 15% of the income stream flowing to the sum of elderly and adjudicated disabled. As for programs for the working-aged and able bodied, by far the largest is Medicaid. About 30% of Medicaid expenditure finances nursing home care for...the elderly and disabled. As for the remainder, being single is not a screening criterion, nor is being unemployed; having an income stream which qualifies one for Medicaid may be correlated with being dysfunctional, but it is not identified with it. The same observation applies re SNAP. Unemployment compensation is a temporary benefit distributed to people non-dysfunctional enough to be employed most of the time. TANF and housing subsidies do corral dysfunctional singles, but less than 1% of the total personal income stream in this economy is diverted to financing TANF, Section 8 & c., so there isn't much redistribution going on doing noticeable injury to the non-dysfunctional married couple.

+1.

There is a good graphic waiting to be made on the broad-strokes of US redistribution.

Welfare does not have to be very extensive to have a strong impact on particular groups. It is commonplace that welfare has had a big impact on specific parts of the African American community - even if the sums are not large. So you might be right that HUD does not spend that much. But to a 15 year old inner city girl, the idea of a place of her own is very appealing.

The flow of money from the able-bodied to the elderly is, of course, mostly a flow of money from men to women. Women living longer and being under-represented in high income earners.

Adam March 5, 2018 at 5:56 am

I think a single mother with children counts as a family, even if it’s not your ideal family.

What did Patrick Monahan say about defining deviancy down? That is not what people mean by family values - nor what was meant by pro-family policies.

Yep. A reasonably reliable way to see what politicians aren't doing is to look at what they say is important. Eg. Republicans talk about debt control while running it up. What politicians say is often an attempt to make up for what they are doing.

Talk of family values is an attempt to make up via PR for a weakness of policy.

Re: Obamacare would have done a lot more of that too.

Not sure why the conditional mode there-- the ACA is still very much a reality. But the ACA is funded mainly by taxes on high income individuals-- not on middle class people, and certainly not on families qua families.

Singles don't create the children necessary to pay for old age benefits, so why should they receive them.

You could tighten that up even more by noting that its primarily the children of stable two parent households that become the next generation of net taxpayers. That cuts out the welfare babies.

So much wrong with that comment.

If you didn't "can't even" over this comment you could have responded with an argument. You should start by providing some evidence that the children of unwed mothers become net taxpayers on average.

We are all net tax consumers on average. We always have a deficit.......

The net tax payer population is yet to be born. And into perpetuity. As long as people buy our bonds.

>Singles don’t create the children necessary to pay for old age benefits, so why should they receive them.

So if someone is infertile, they shouldn't qualify for Medicare? That's your argument?

People who pay taxes that fund these programs should absolutely be eligible whether they have a passle of brats or not. Ever hear of the concept of paying it forward? It;s usually regarded as a more ethical approach than pay-back.

"Last thought: I remember when conservatives were against giving more welfare benefits to parents for having more children — so-called “welfare babies”. Then, why should we be giving those parents more votes so that they can vote themselves more benefits?"

Leftists fundamentally lack the mental capacity to differentiate between force and lack of force. That's why Democrats think voting to have less of your paycheck taken in taxes is the same as voting to receive a bigger check from the treasury.

I've never cared too much for Douthat but this article is brilliant. It tears to shreds the emerging meme that the left wants minors to have the franchise based on some principle, rather than political expedience.

#5) "Ms. Xiao called the concept of women-only subway cars 'really stupid.' 'On the surface, it looks like the women-only subway cars are meant to protect women,' she said, 'but the effect is that women are told that they have to stay in one place in order to avoid getting sexually harassed.'

Brown v. Board of Education lives.

#5 - Yawn, another "China is rude to strangers" story. Making the rounds today in the Philippines is a video showing how a Chinese waitress slapped by patrons since she was late in delivering food, she had to go to hospital for minor injuries. This is not news, it's like a "dog bites man" story. - RL

PS--at BC: Brown v Bd of Ed. was the opposite of what you think it stands for.

GUANGZHOU JOURNAL China’s Women-Only Subway Cars, Where Men Rush In
In a bid to curb sexual harassment, one city is reserving seats and space for female passengers. The problem: Men are claiming them...

I think Brown vs. Board is about separate facilities being inherently unequal, mainly because that's what it is about. That's also what Ms. Xiao says about separate subway cars.

Yes but Brown v Board overruled Plessy v Ferguson, so the holding is the opposite, meaning separate facilities would be banned after Brown.

The women are also allowed to use the other cars

+1

Obviously.

#6 - hypersonic weapons - didn't the USA cancel a naval hypersonic weapon a few years ago? The linked article is gated (Adblock) but I think hypersonic weapons are undetectable and therefore not easily stoppable, but the problem remains in shooting down an ICBM past the 10 minute or so launch window at takeoff. Hypersonic weapons won't help there.

Its possible to detect a hypersonic missile. They're not immune to radar and will presumably produce a lot of noise and heat. The problem is that they significantly reduce the time available for a state to react once it has detected them. They mainly pose a command and control problem. The lack of time means that it'll be difficult to verify that a missile has been detected; and difficult to respond before the hypersonic missiles strike their targets. For example, if the President needs to authorize a counter-strike, it may not be possible to get that authorization before the missile hits the president. Authority can of course be delegated, but the consequence is a lack of control (what happens if a Colonel orders a counter-strike based upon a false alarm).

'They mainly pose a command and control problem.'

Kind of - a sub launched nuclear tipped cruise missile also takes a minute or two to reach its target, assuming the sub is close enough. And these days, think something more along the lines of the 'sub' being an unmanned undersea platform - note what the Russians have been up to in this area - https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/putin-claims-russia-has-nuclear-tipped-underwater-drones-1.5866092

And the U.S. and China (the Russians have always considered China more worrying than the U.S.) are considerably more vulnerable to this threat than Russia in terms of command and control involving short flight times.

The Cold War and MAD may be somewhat receding into the past as an all consuming framework between two ideological opponents, but no one has yet developed a way to solve the basic quandary of nuclear weapons - first use brings massive advantages, unless your opponent can respond with an equally devastating response. MAD remains necessary, and any attempt to prevent an opponent from being able to rely on it leads to greater problems in the long run. Or more profits for those who can sell the necessary systems in the short run. We all know how that works out, right? Peace dividends are for losers, obviously.

Good points, and of course I meant to say hypersonic weapons are 'undetectable' in the layperson terms, not that they work faster than light (radar). I occasionally watch a gun channel (though I'm anti-gun) called ASP on Youtube and one constant in those videos is the first person who puts a shot on target usually wins an armed encounter; shooting back when you have a bullet hole in you is typically just a John Wick movie scene. That's all the more reason to take out North Korea with a nuclear first strike. The other day, in the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, former Bush UN ambassador John Bolton advocated, on rather flimsy legal grounds (he cited the cannonball and 3 mile coastline territory rule expanded later to 200 na. miles), a nuclear first strike on North Korea.

Once you get to a secure second strike capability, things calm down a lot. Especially if the second-strike capabilities are numerous and have good CEP's.

Yes, but then you're back to nuclear deterrence. Deterrence is based on Mutual Assured Destruction, that is, the assumption that defense is futile.

ICBMs with hypersonic re-entry vehicles would still be vulnerable during the boost phase, but you'd have to determine that what was launched was a weapon and not a routine satellite launch. And you'd have so little time to make that decision that it might have to be done by an automated AI.

Hypersonic cruise missiles might be vulnerable to laser weapons, as even the most maneuverable couldn't possibly be fast enough to evade a beam of high-energy electromagnetic energy.

Then again, there isn't much that can be done to defend against a nuke (or biological weapon) hidden in an ordinary shipping container.

What "massive advantage" does first use bring? Nuclear Winter and a disabled trading partner?

Don't worry; the colonel would just hide behind a car until the deaths had occurred.

I don't understand the fuss. I'm pretty sure I had a hypersonic pistol when I was six.

There's nothing magical about hypersonics. Long-range ballistic missiles have almost identical speeds-over-equivalent-distance and have been with us for decades. Hypersonics give you more control over where things go, however, and a shorter radar horizon and hence warning time than an equivalent ballistic threat. It's perhaps this last aspect that the article didn't emphasise properly.

Huh? Hypersonics in their various proposed forms are slower than ballistic missiles, not faster.

If you look at the hypersonic glide vehicle illustration in the article, you see an ICBM launching what's effectively a long-range MARV. So it's an ICBM with an RV that spends some time operating more slowly in the atmosphere. Faster than an aircraft, but slower than a traditional RV which makes every effort to not slow down until impact.

Depends entirely on the arc of the ballistic missile. You're thinking ICBMs and the long-range stuff, yes.

For any given range, pure ballistic is faster than pushing through the atmosphere. Compare like with like. If you're thinking of a shorter range hypersonic device, you need to compare it to something like a Pershing II or a Trident.

Hypersonics have maneuverability, which means last minute retargeting or misdirection is possible; evading an interceptor is in principal possible with pre-progammed jinking; guided reentry is possible and might lead to better accuracy; range or payload is potentially higher if lift is used to extend the flight. Traded against that, there's a lot to go wrong so reliability may suffer; the necessary heat shield, lifting body, and control surfaces all weigh something; it's going to glow like a star and be visible at huge range; it moves relatively slowly compared to a traditional RV; it operates in a regime where decoys basically don't work; it's going to be flying through a big plasma cloud, so sensors will be severely handicapped while in the atmosphere (i.e., no GPS or GLONASS, no stellar-intertial guidance, no Pershing II style target radar); any pre-reentry guidance update will be occurring much longer before reentry; and the reentry contribution to the guidance error budget is likely to be much larger.

Overall, I'd say they're a solution to a very short term problem "the Americans built an exo-atmospheric interceptor and haven't yet built an endo-atmospheric interceptor or any mid-range or boost-phase defenses." They're also an aerospace engineer's wet dream, so they get funded.

"I think hypersonic weapons are undetectable and therefore not easily stoppable"

Quite the opposite; there's little less stealthy in existence than a sizable object travelling at hypersonic speed through an atmosphere. The issue is that they have some maneuverability and operate in a regime existing ABMs are not designed to operate in.

There's nothing particularly hard to stop about them given an effort directed at stopping them. Particularly because they operate in a regime in which it's difficult to get decoys to work. And because they remain equally vulnerable to boost phase defenses, which any serious BMD program would lean on heavily.

#6) Isn't missile defense already useless against the types of large-scale ICBM attacks that US, Russia, and China can launch? I was already wondering about that when Putin recently made a big point of announcing that Russia's new nukes could evade any missile defense. Don't we still rely on MAD (mutually assured destruction) when it comes to Russia and China?

Yes, its not currently possible to defend the US or anywhere else from a salvo of Russian ICMBs (all replete with multiple warheads and decoys). Missile defence may at some point work against one or a handful of missiles fired by North Korea, but I wouldn't bet my life on it.

Hypersonic missiles do though have the potential make it easier to assassinate leadership of another state (or other highly protected targets) without risking nuclear war. Previously the leader could be warned of an attack in time to get them to a place of safety. But a hypersonic missile might be able to hit the leader's location before it was possible for the enemy state to react.

Yeah, that is an interesting point. Accurate hypersonic missiles could make developed nations as vulnerable to "drone justice" as failed states.

Much, much easier to just conduct a terror attack or assassination.

Developed nations are not vulnerable to these missile attacks because there is a credible threat of massive retaliation.

Failed states? I suppose you mean Pakistan, which is not a failed state. They are not “immune” to drone attacks because the ISI allows drone attacks whilst protesting too much. Drones are trivially easy to shoot down by any functional state. The reason they allow them is because they can rage in public as theater while supporting the affected Mujaheddin with cash, weapons, and protection and at the same time collect American tax payer money for allowing drones. Win, win, win for the ISI.

Sweet gig if you can get it.

You can slide the scale of what is a developed nation, and what is an unforgivable attack.

'Don’t we still rely on MAD (mutually assured destruction) when it comes to Russia and China?'

Though the Russians remain fairly confident they can still destroy the U.S., the fact remains the U.S. continues to pursue policies to escape living in a MAD world. And no responsible leader of a nuclear power can afford to let any potential nuclear opponent to escape from that MAD world.

And China is a much more interesting case - they maintain about enough of a nuclear deterrent to ensure that they could destroy a sufficient number of an opponent's cities (or conventional invading forces) - the Chinese have never wasted many resources on first strike capability, or targetting an opponent's nuclear war capabilities. 'China was believed to possess around 270 nuclear warheads, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, placing it behind Russia, the U.S., France and the U.K. in terms of stockpile size. China has a powerful arsenal of tactical, cruise, medium-range, long-range and ICBMs launched by air, land and sea, including the mobile-launched Dongfeng ("East Wind") or DF-41, believed to be the world's longest ranged missile at a projected 7,500 miles.' http://www.newsweek.com/china-wants-new-nuclear-weapons-keep-us-russia-military-power-795401

>> And no responsible leader of a nuclear power can afford to let any potential nuclear opponent to escape from that MAD world.

True, obviously they don't want to let them escape, but if the options are "blow up the world before their defences are ready" and "let them escape and hope for the best", then the money is that they will get out...

Fortunately (?) the current advantages of offense over defence means that Russia can maintain a credible threat with a fraction of the US budget. Which isn't to say missile defence is useless against Russia; in a limited war it would severely complicate Russian weapon allocation and inflict some through higher risks. But the US is mostly focused on adversaries like NK and Iran which it might conceivably defend "sufficiently" against, and to an extent doesn't care that Russia will remain a MAD partner for the foreseeable future.

Hypersonic weapons only make sense for theater-level defences. If you can stand outside the range of THAAD and blow something up that may be worth doing. Suppose you took out Washington with your twisty fast little cruise missile. Then what? The US would still be there. So would all those submarines with their missiles. Manned by some very bad tempered people.

I assume the Chinese are thinking of America's Carrier fleets. The SM-3 missile used to have a range of something like 700 km. They have just about doubled that. A normal airplane firing a normal missile would have problems getting close enough and living long enough to shoot. But if they fired their missile from a small ICBM, it might be able to close before the system had time to do anything.

+100. Very good. These are weapons for enhanced conventional operations at theatre depths, not global nuclear exchange.

#1: Went through divorce and lost child custody? Congrats, you become a 2nd class citizen. Are you not traumatized enough after losing a child after accident/illness? Great, you become a 2nd class citizen. Can't have children? Enjoy the ride, you're 2nd class citizen.

Douthat did not read Amoris Laetitia from Pope Francis. Even the Church is opening the door to divorcees while Douthat wants to reduce citizenship rights for them. Not sure if he's either human or Catholic.

I forgot the most important one: delaying children a few years after high-school graduation because you're a bit busy going to college, serving in the army or launching a new busines? Congrats, you're second class citizen.

People who live in families with young kids currently have about half the votes per person (averaged across the family members) as everyone else. The second class citizens exist already and they aren't single people.

The rules wouldn't work as you suggest they would. Eg. if fathers could vote on behalf of their under age sons and mothers on behalf of underage daughters, then divorce wouldn't factor into it. As each child becomes voting age, then that vote transfers from parent to newly adult child.

This is moving closer to one person one vote, rather than what we have now, which is some people are represented while others aren't.

Every valid adult voter has the same vote as every other adult voter. Children ARE second class citizens by reason their being judged non compos mentis, and I think we can all agree that below a certain age a child is not competent to make mature decisions. However their parents are not deprived of anything. Note however that children are still counted for apportionment.

Most single mothers were not married when they had kids.

Divorce is a problem, but not on the scale of women having children without a husband who is committed to help raise them.

#4 Sarkozy lead the Lybia military campaign to depose one of the guys that he describes as "greatest leaders".

If you think he's an idiot, remember that he's only a speaker pandering to the local audience instead. He's not worse than any motivational speaker around the world. It would be a problem if Sarkozy were the commander of the French armed forces.

From Slate's Rebecca Onion: "Without Fox’s obits, I don’t think I would have known about Shana Alexander (2005; age 79), a journalist whose “famously heated” and “exquisitely literate” political arguments with James J. Kilpatrick on 60 Minutes inspired regular parodies on SNL’s “Weekend Update” in the mid-’70s."

Rebecca, you ignorant slut:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c91XUyg9iWM

Alexander's life and work have been instructive, just not in ways she intended.

Obituaries have gotten better during my lifetime. Here's the first one I remember:

LAZARE KAPLAN, DIAMOND DEALER, DIES AT 102
By MURRAY SCHUMACH
Published: February 14, 1986

http://www.nytimes.com/1986/02/14/obituaries/lazare-kaplan-diamond-dealer-dies-at-102.html

For all his monetary success, Mr. Kaplan was probably proudest of his supreme achievement as a craftsman - his cleaving of the Jonker diamond, one of the most famous in history, for Harry Winston in 1936.

This diamond, which weighed 726 carats when found on a farm near Pretoria, South Africa, by Jacobus Jonker, was on display at the American Museum of Natural History before Mr. Kaplan was chosen by Mr. Winston to cleave it. The fee, enormous for Depression years, was said to be $30,000.

Recalling the task in an interview in 1979, Mr. Kaplan said the main reason he had agreed to do the job for Mr. Winston - who, after all, was a competitor - was not so much for the money as for the fact that he wanted his older son, Leo, to gain the experience of participating in the cleaving of a huge diamond.

''I did not think it would be a very difficult job,'' he said, ''because when it came to this country it had already been studied for Mr. Winston by foreign diamond experts, and they had told him how it should be cleaved.''

As Mr. Kaplan studied the diamond, however, he became convinced that the European experts were mistaken and that if he followed their suggestions the stone would be shattered. Although the diamond had been insured for $1 million, the policy did not cover the cleaving operation. No one, not even Lloyd's, would insure that.

He told Mr. Winston of his fears, and the latter, famous even among the daring diamond dealers for his nerve, told him to use his own judgment.

For more than a year, with his son beside him a good deal of the time, Mr. Kaplan studied the diamond, making models and marking them with India ink as he discussed the progress with his son.

At one point he had scratched the wedged incision into the stone with diamonds, placed the knife into the wedge and was about to bring down the mallet on the knife, when he thought he saw a bend in the surface. He restudied the stone, made a different line and cleaved it perfectly.

What about that one?

My vague impression is that British newspapers started the trend toward upgrading obituaries as the World War II generation started to die off. Famous WWII veterans tended to have tremendously dramatically highlights to their lives that cried out for obituaries written by skillful journalists who could describe heroic action with cinematic verve.

Tehran Metro also has Women's only cars, and it works. Just have the train stop and the men get off at a random spot in the wild and cut off everyone's left arm as punishment, et voila.

The Dubai Metro has women and children cars also. It works well and is respected by the men.

Weren't "separate but equal" facilities a bone of contention at one time in the US?

As far as the Dubai Metro is concerned, women are not required to use the Womens Car, its simply there if they want it. Many women use the normal cars.

Japan has (or at least it did within the past 10 years) women only cars. Not that crazy an idea.

The difference is this is China. My impression is that mainland Chinese resemble New Yorkers more than any other people on Earth. If you don't stop men from using the women's car, they'll use it. Especially if the other cars are full and there's space in the women's car.

1. Douthat favors large families, families with more children who, as adults, will provide care and support for their parents in old age rather than the welfare state. Thus, Douthat has supported increased tax breaks for each child and voting rights for children (age 15 or 16 and up), and now supports parental voting rights on behalf of their children. All of which are intended to increase the voting power of youth at the expense of the voting power of seniors, and to reduce support for such things as social security and Medicare. One might describe Douthat's policy as an example of public choice, whereby public benefits are taken from seniors and shifted to youth, although Douthat would likely argue that his policy is reverse public choice, whereby public benefits are eliminated and not shifted to anybody.

Wouldn't parents support social security, since it takes them off the hook for mom's health & assisted living expenses?

Social Security does not finance assisted living. It just provides a modest income stream. About the only way to finance assisted living is to liquidate family assets. If you have an ordinary income stream from private pensions and Social Security, financing assisted living without liquidating capital requires a private income of roughly $50,000, which implies assets of $1.5 million or more. Few people have that. What's called 'independent living' is cheaper, 'enhanced assisted living', memory care units, &c are more expensive.

Medicaid will finance a stay in a nursing home if you qualify for nursing home care, but all attachable assets have to be liquidated before Medicaid will so finance and nursing homes commonly require you post bond if you can 'ere you're admitted. In New York some year's back, nursing homes wanted the cost of a 1 year stay.

An overwhelming majority of Americans (more than 80%) pay more in payroll tax than income tax, a result attributable to the social security reform adopted during the Reagan administration (which greatly increased payroll taxes). It's been a very good arrangement for the minority who pay more in income tax than payroll tax because the amount of payroll tax collected since reform far exceeds social security benefits paid out (almost $3 trillion in excess). But that will soon come to an end, as retiring baby boomers will soon mean that payroll taxes being collected will not cover social security benefits being paid. Well, it's a good thing we collected all those excess payroll taxes. Where is the excess? It was spent on everything from farm subsidies to wars, partially offsetting the income tax cuts adopted during the Reagan and GWB administrations. Uh oh! So how will the approaching shortfall be funded? Uh oh! One approach would be to once again increase payroll taxes on working Americans in order to support retired baby boomers. Uh oh! Douthat has a few ideas about how to reduce or eliminate the shortfall without increasing payroll taxes. You think Douthat's ideas might be more popular with working Americans than increasing their payroll taxes? You betcha!

Re: families with more children who, as adults, will provide care and support for their parents in old age rather than the welfare state.

Most families do what they can for their aged relatives. The only cases I've known where elders are dumped in nursing homes involve either situations which exceed the family's skill in care giving (most of us are not medical professionals and we do need to maintain our own employment for our own support) or where the elderly person was such a rotter/witch in previous years that the children want nothing to do with him or her.
It's a total myth, and a fairly slanderous one, that most people do not do all they can for their parents.

5. Guangzhou isn't the only place to implement women-only carriages; indeed, there's even a Wikipedia page on the subject: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women-only_passenger_car Here's an article on Shenzhen's women-only carriage rule: http://shanghaiist.com/2017/06/27/women-only-metro.php Here's a small irony: while Saudi Arabia and similar Muslim countries are often ridiculed for prohibiting the mixing of the sexes, the rest of the world is implementing rules that prohibit the mixing of the sexes.

Not exactly

#4
"How could we have great leaders like me if I can't get re-elected or even nominated anymore in this shitty system?"

#1- Ross Douthat has finally learned that to push things in your direction, one must do more than complain about things going against you.

The current environment is structured against creating and raising children like no time in history. Demeny voting makes sense.

1) No. How about weighting votes based on taxes paid?

To be fair, payroll taxes should be included.

Why? There's a benefit tied directly to it that exceeds the cost at the low-middle end.

A formula for oligarchy -- the worst form of government known to history.

Was Sarkozy showing great leadership when he was pushing for the ill-considered Libya intervention? He was one of the biggest proponents of an action that destabilized multiple countries in Northern Africa, as well as destroyed Libya as a functioning state. The moral rot of the Western political class still manages to shock me.

1. How would it work if a 16 year old has a kid? The 16 year old can't vote, so would HER patents get another vote until she turns 18?

I could see this as a good idea in a country like Hungary or Japan, in which the goal would be national preservation and eugenics. You'd want it to only apply to children in first marriages and require a certain income level to children ratio. In modern Weimerica, it would just be another subsidy for the stupid, immoral, and irresponsible.

#1: Should states get more congressmen and electors for their illegal populations?

(they already do)

Douthat is not a bright guy, but he has it right on one point --- all this DNC astro-turfing of the Parkland teenagers is intended to get the voting age lowered.

Douthat is not a bright guy,

He's a Harvard graduate, has been able to build a career for himself in the realm of topical commentary, and earns well enough to afford to live in an exurban town where the median home price is around $700,000. His general intelligence is likely adequate.

Wouldn't Douthat's proposal tend to disincentivize marriage in favor of single-motherhood, for women with strong political views and enough income to maintain themselves and their offspring? If I'm an unmarried mother, I get all the votes for my offspring; if I'm married, then presumably my husband and I split them.

This plan would also tend to further incentivize assortative mating by political orientation, since it'd be another source of tension between spouses whose orientations differed; and this in turn would further the divsion of Americans into warring camps, each of whose members see the others as nothing more than scoundrels or dupes.

I will concede, from my recent experience clerking in the primary early-voting here, wedged in a triangle made by the frozen food, the bling store, and money-transfer outfit, that people so, so love to vote that I imagine you could figure out a way to weight their vote down to almost nothing, and they wouldn't notice, as long as they could proudly announce their team ("the good guys, of course!" was a variant I heard often, this in a state where witlessly voting for "the good guys" means having no effect on the outcome) and get their "Yo voté " stickers.

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