Washington Post’s Editorial on Trump

Did you read the Washington Post editorial on Trump

DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew.

UPDATE: I’m in a long car trip reading all the fantastic editorials on Trump. I’ll keep adding them to this post. 

There’s no actual agenda being put in its place, just nostalgic spasms that, as David Frum has put it, are part George Wallace and part Henry Wallace. Trump’s policy agenda, such as it is, is mostly a series of vague and defensive recoils: build a wall, ban Muslims, withdraw from the world.

David Brooks:

This is less a party than a personality cult. Law and order is a strange theme for a candidate who radiates conflict and disorder. Some rich children are careless that way; they break things and other people have to clean up the mess.

Check out the Weekly Standand. Wow. If conservatives hate him, what’s going to happen? 

Why Do People Hate Hillary?

I asked a family member if he watched Trump’s speech. He’s a die hard conservative, who unsubscribed from the New York Times because of its “left wing bias.” But this guy is also educated and well read. He’s not a fan of Trump. So, I was curious about his opinions. It’s guys like him who could decide the next election. 

He said he watched it. He complained about its length, briefly called Trump a circus barker, and then launched into a diatribe about Hillary. I think he called her a crime boss or something. So, he said when given a choice between PT Barnum and a crime boss, he was going with Barnum. 

Why do people hate Hillary so much? Is it because she’s a Tracy Flick? 

There’s a great article in this topic in The New Yorker from 1996 — an oldie that holds up well. 

Detained and Derailed

I’ve been away from the computer for nearly a week. My cousin got married over the weekend. The week before, I was hunting down a black dress for myself, because evening weddings in New York City require black dresses, and a new jacket for Jonah. I borrowed a niece for a girlie day at a nail salon.

The wedding was lovely. Although the four of us are pale and pasty, the extended family isn’t. So, the wedding was a multi-ethnic affair. Indians in swirling saris. Brazilians somehow communicating in Portuguese with Puerto Ricans. It was super fun. The festivities continued for two days with a barbecue at our house for 17 people.

We’re all a bit tired now. I need to catch up on the laundry, so we can pack for our college tours. We leave first thing Saturday morning. But before I do that, I have to recover. I plan to sit very still for the next few hours, before I have to pick up Ian from camp, and just blog.

Let’s talk about the Republican Convention. (Give me a few minutes to write something.)

Before and After

These two pictures are currently on my Facebook page. The first one is from seven years ago, and Facebook uses their “You’reFuckingOld” app to show you pictures from when you were ten pounds skinnier. The second one is on Steve’s page with a tag to me. The boys went on a bike trip this weekend.



I have about 15 minutes before I have to drive Ian to his film camp – an hour round trip at 8:15. Then I’ll get him at 2:15 – another hour round trip. I had been driving Steve to the train station at 6:45, so Jonah could use the beater car during the day, but I stopped. If Jonah wants the car, he has to get up and do the morning drop off. He failed to respond to his alarm clock this morning (how can he let it buzz for 30 minutes straight?), so he’ll be biking it to his college application class at the high school.

Maybe he can catch some Pokemon on the way to school.

OK. Who downloaded that app? Fess up.

Alright, what did I read so far this morning?

Does reading make you happier? 

I spend a few hours playing with College Abacus yesterday. Semi-useful.

RBG needs to shut up.

The Consumer Report Survey on College Debt

I’m reading through Consumer Report‘s “College Financing Survey” this morning. There’s good data in this report that I plan to use in articles in the fall. As I’m plugging the numbers into my notes, I thought I would put some of their findings on this blog. See what y’all think.

They surveyed 1,550 people, aged 21-40, with college debt. Looks like pretty sound methodology.

Level of debt. Respondents reported an overall student loan debt median of $20,851 and the median cost for one year of college of $14,359. Given the cost of college, that 20 grand is pretty modest. Yesterday, I was checking out the costs for the University of Vermont. Out-of-state tuition/room and board for one year at this public costs is $55,000. I imagine that it would be quite easy to get into six figure debt.

Even though 20K seems like a reasonable amount of debt, it still has a huge impact on students. Half of the students who graduated said that they had trouble making a payment at least once. Three quarters of students who never graduated said that they had a problem making a payment. 44 percent of all respondents said that this debt meant that they had to cut back on day to day expenses.

It impacts on their dating lives. 44 percent said that they would want to know how much debt a person had before entering into a serious relationship.

Their most stunning finding is that 45 percent of respondants said that college was not worth the cost. That bitter college attendees didn’t have more debt than satisfied college attendees. The bitter-types had lower salaries than the college enthusiasts.  Most of the bitter ones had attended two year collges. Still, a third of college bitter types were at public, 4-year schools and private, 4-year schools. I would like to know the majors of the bitter-types.

Respondents said that they recieved very little information about college finances from their high schools or colleges.

Debt levels were higher at four-year public colleges ($28,750) than at four-year private colleges ($26,000).  (That might be because private colleges offer more merit scholarships or because the parents had saved more for those students.)

But the colleges that the respondants attended don’t seem to match up with the colleges that my kid has on his short list. The report says that the median price tage on the total costs of an out-of-state public college is about $16K – not the $55K that we’re seeing. I wonder if all the debt and stress is higher at the more selective colleges.