How We Are Ruining America

I rarely agree with David Brooks but this column is right on.

From The New York Times:

David Brooks
July 11, 2017

Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks.

How they’ve managed to do the first task — giving their own children a leg up — is pretty obvious. It’s the pediacracy, stupid. Over the past few decades, upper-middle-class Americans have embraced behavior codes that put cultivating successful children at the center of life. As soon as they get money, they turn it into investments in their kids.

Upper-middle-class moms have the means and the maternity leaves to breast-feed their babies at much higher rates than high school-educated moms, and for much longer periods.

Upper-middle-class parents have the means to spend two to three times more time with their preschool children than less affluent parents. Since 1996, education expenditures among the affluent have increased by almost 300 percent, while education spending among every other group is basically flat.

As life has gotten worse for the rest in the middle class, upper-middle-class parents have become fanatical about making sure their children never sink back to those levels, and of course there’s nothing wrong in devoting yourself to your own progeny.

It’s when we turn to the next task — excluding other people’s children from the same opportunities — that things become morally dicey. Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution recently published a book called “Dream Hoarders” detailing some of the structural ways the well educated rig the system.

The most important is residential zoning restrictions. Well-educated people tend to live in places like Portland, New York and San Francisco that have housing and construction rules that keep the poor and less educated away from places with good schools and good job opportunities.

These rules have a devastating effect on economic growth nationwide. Research by economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti suggests that zoning restrictions in the nation’s 220 top metro areas lowered aggregate U.S. growth by more than 50 percent from 1964 to 2009. The restrictions also have a crucial role in widening inequality. An analysis by Jonathan Rothwell finds that if the most restrictive cities became like the least restrictive, the inequality between different neighborhoods would be cut in half.

Reeves’s second structural barrier is the college admissions game. Educated parents live in neighborhoods with the best teachers, they top off their local public school budgets and they benefit from legacy admissions rules, from admissions criteria that reward kids who grow up with lots of enriching travel and from unpaid internships that lead to jobs.

It’s no wonder that 70 percent of the students in the nation’s 200 most competitive schools come from the top quarter of the income distribution. With their admissions criteria, America’s elite colleges sit atop gigantic mountains of privilege, and then with their scholarship policies they salve their consciences by offering teeny step ladders for everybody else.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on How We Are Ruining America

I’m a Lesbian But The Chicago Dyke March Doesn’t Speak For Me

Back in the 1970s neither the Feminist Movement nor The Lesbian Movement saw fit to include women who were transsexual.

Seems like both have a bad history of excluding women who don’t meet their ever shifting but very specific sets of rules.

From Kveller:

By Joanne Strasser Edwards
Jun 27, 2017

It feels strange to be angry at people marching for human rights, especially when their cause is so near and dear to my wife, son and me. But last Saturday, three Jewish individuals were banned from participating in the Dyke March Chicago. Their crime? Carrying rainbow pride flags with the star of David.

When I learned that the organizers’ decision to ask them to leave was based on the participants’ apparent affiliation with the State of Israel, I felt uneasy. Because as a Zionist, gay woman, I can easily recognize good old anti-Semitism masked by the cloak of anti-Zionism. Never mind hijacking an important cause to promote a one-sided political agenda.

Making matters worse, the parade edited its Facebook post to “make clear that anti-Zionist Jewish volunteers and supporters are welcome at Dyke March.”

Thank you very much, but what gives the parade organizers the right to decide which Jews are and are not welcome, and to incorrectly define Zionism while they’re at it? This stance is offensive, ignorant and a misuse of a platform. Furthermore, in an event that pleads for recognition and inclusion, the only message I got was that someone like me would have had to sit out. And that doesn’t feel right.

The activist group Jewish Voice for Peace is publicly defending the Dyke March, and has pointed out that other Jews at the march, wearing Jewish symbols, including Stars of David, t-shirts with Hebrew, kippot, and sashes with Yiddish script, were not asked to leave. But I say, bullshit.

By definition, Zionism is the belief that Jews should have a homeland in the historic Land of Israel. Being a Zionist doesn’t make one pro-settlement, pro-wall, anti-Palestinian or a racist. But being against Zionism means you oppose Israel’s right to exist. Period.

To me, being an anti-Zionist is at odds with being a human rights activist because it calls to ignore and invalidate one side’s narrative—it hinders peace, coexistence and merely feeds extremism on both sides. So here’s where it gets tricky: If you’re against Zionism, you’re also against Palestinians. Period.

When people, like the Dyke March Chicago organizers, casually toss around terms and implement nonsensical bans, it hurts everyone. Zionism is not a dirty word, and being a Zionist in 2017 means promoting the future of a secure Jewish state. Without this, there will never be peace or a Palestine.

Sounds weird, but if you’re pro-Palestinian, you sure as hell better be pro-Israel; and the other way around. The future of these populations is dependent solely upon on their ability to coexist. In fact, I’d go as far to say that the future of any population depends on its ability to coexist.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on I’m a Lesbian But The Chicago Dyke March Doesn’t Speak For Me