Over the weekend, Janell Ross interviewed a couple of experts in gender and politics to get their take on whether Hillary Clinton is held to a different standard than male candidates. Julie Dolan, a professor of political science at Macalester College in Minnesota, had this to say:

Clinton is the most experienced candidate in the field, but campaign rivals Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are leveling attacks against her that she’s not qualified for the job. In doing so, they're playing into a long-standing narrative that women lack what it takes to succeed in the male-dominated world of politics. The fact that two less-experienced male candidates are leveling this attack against her is telling. Neither Trump nor Sanders feels compelled to shore up their own credentials or justify their own relative lack of experience because they don’t need to; they benefit from a gendered double standard where men are automatically presumed qualified for public office and women are not.

This illustrates the problem of viewing politics through too narrow a lens. For starters, Hillary Clinton isn't the most experienced candidate in the field. Bernie Sanders has served in Congress since 1991. That's more experience than Hillary even if you count her years as First Lady. And while Trump has no political experience, he's running on his business background—just as lots of other candidates have. This year alone Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson joined Trump in the Republican primary as candidates with no political experience at all.

Nor is it true that Hillary's opponents have been slamming her for being unqualified—aside from the usual sense in which political candidates always claim to be better qualified than their opponents. There was a single incident in April where Hillary tiptoed a bit around the question of whether Bernie was qualified, which led to a misleading Washington Post headline ("Clinton questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president"), which in turn led to Bernie losing his temper and kinda sorta saying she's not qualified if she's taking lots of money from Wall Street. But even there, Bernie was pretty obviously using "unqualified" in the sense of "bad policies," not in the sense of having too little experience.

As for Trump, again, there was a single incident a couple of weeks ago in which Hillary called him unqualified, and he naturally hit back in his usual nanner-nanner way: calling her judgment bad and saying she's the one not qualified to be president. Just the usual Trump bluster.

Hillary Clinton simply isn't the target of an unusual number of attacks on her experience and qualification. She's rather famously running on the fact that she has more of those qualities than anyone else in the race, and no one has really disputed that. Quite the contrary: this year, having a lot of experience is something of a problem, one that both Sanders and Trump have capitalized on. If Hillary Clinton is being slammed for anything, it's for being too qualified, not the opposite.

A few days ago Pew Research analyzed the latest census data and announced that we are now in record-setting territory: More adult children live at home with their parents than anytime in American history. This prompted a fresh barrage of hand-wringing about (a) the lousy economy and (b) the problems this is causing for millennials.

I'll get to millennials and the economy in a bit, but first, here's a chart that provides a longer-term look at young adults living at home:

That's pretty odd, isn't it? If the economy were the driving force behind kids moving into their parents' basements, you'd expect to see these numbers go down during economic expansions and up during recessions. But that's decidedly what we don't see. The numbers went steadily up during both the Reagan and Clinton booms, with no trend change at all during the 1991 recession. Then the numbers fell from 1999 through 2005, which spans two expansions and one recession. Then they started up again, and kept going up even when the Obama expansion started to pick up some steam.

If the economy plays a role in this, it's sure hard to see. So what's really going on? Over at 538, Ben Casselman points us to Jed Kolko, who crunched a few numbers and concluded that it's mainly about marriage and kids:

Alongside recent swings in the housing and job markets, there have been profound long-term demographic shifts that are related to young adults’ living arrangements....An especially important trend is that people are waiting longer today than in the past to get married and have kids — so the share of 18-34 year-olds who are married with kids has plummeted from 49% in 1970 to 36% in 1980, 32% in 1990, 27% in 2000, 22% in 2010, and just 20% in 2015. Unsurprisingly, married young adults and those with children are far less likely to live with their parents than single or childless young adults.

So what happens when you control for this, along with other demographic changes over the past few decades? Kolko: "Adjusted for demographic shifts, the share of young adults living in their parents’ home was actually lower in 2015 than in the pre-bubble years of the late 1990s. In other words, young people today are less likely to live with their parents than young people with the same demographics twenty years ago were."

Kolko wisely recommends not trying to explain everything away with demographics: some of these demographic effects can interact with each other, while the causality of others might run in the opposite direction (maybe living at home makes you less marriageable material). Still, the declining marriage trend has been steady for nearly half a century and is obviously not the result of the Great Recession. Ditto for the other long-term demographic changes.

None of this is to say that the economy has nothing to do with living arrangements. Even adjusted for demographics, Kolko's chart still shows a small increase in adult children living at home starting around 2010. This is likely due to a triple whammy affecting millennials: (1) their incomes dropped during the Great Recession and still haven't fully recovered, (2) college grads are saddled with more debt than previous generations, and (3) the real cost of housing has increased nearly 10 percent over the past decade. Put all this together, and the average millennial today has less disposable income but faces higher rent than previous generations. This is a real problem, and it would be surprising indeed if it literally had no effect at all on the likelihood of 20-ish millennials living at home longer than they used to.

That said, the effect appears to be fairly small. The big driver of living at home in your 20s appears to be primarily demographic. The economy plays only a small role.

IMF: Greece Is Totally Screwed

Jordan Weissmann reads the latest IMF report on Greece and calls this one of the saddest passages you’ll ever read about a developed country:

Greece will continue to struggle with high unemployment rates for decades to come. Its current unemployment rate is around 25 percent, the highest in the OECD, and, after seven years of recession, its structural component is estimated at around 20 percent. Consequently, it will take significant time for unemployment to come down. Staff expects it to reach 18 percent by 2022, 12 percent by 2040, and 6 percent only by 2060.

IMF staff projects this astronomical unemployment rate despite the fact that Greece's working-age population is expected to decline by 10 percentage points over the next few decades. The IMF also projects that by 2060 Greece's government debt will increase to 250 percent of GDP; financing needs will increase to 70 percent of GDP; and real GDP growth will be stuck at 1-2 percent.

That's 45 years of projected misery. And only if nothing else goes south during that time.

The most remarkable part of all this is how quickly the IMF has changed its official mind. Last year, during Greece's most recent funding crisis, the IMF projected that everything would soon be hunky dory. Now, a mere 11 months later, they're projecting decades of catastrophe. Despite their claims that much has changed over the past year, one might well be suspicious that the 2015 projections were massaged no small amount to make them politically palatable.

Over at the Washington Monthly, D.R. Tucker is pretty fed up with Bernie Sanders. He agrees with me that Sanders seems too bitter these days, and he also thinks that Bernie should dial back the attacks on Hillary now that she's the almost certain winner of the primary. But he also says this:

As the old joke goes, even Stevie Wonder can see that Sanders is going to have an epic meltdown at the convention if superdelegates reject his request for the nomination. The behavior of Sanders, his campaign staff, and some of his supporters is profoundly disappointing to those who wanted Sanders to play a constructive and healthy role in defining the post-Obama Democratic Party. During the 2008 Democratic primary, Clinton may have said a few undiplomatic words about Obama in the final days of her campaign, but it never seemed as though Clinton personally loathed the future president. Things are much different this time around.

....Clinton and the Democratic Party should be quite concerned about the prospect of a disastrous convention, disrupted by Sanders supporters upset over their hero not getting what they believe he was entitled to.

I don't believe this for a second. Take a look at what Bernie has been doing lately. He's demanded more representation on the platform committee. He's objected to a couple of committee chairs. He's remarked that he hopes Hillary chooses a vice president who's not in thrall to Wall Street.

This is exactly what Sanders should be doing. Teeing off on Hillary is a bad idea for Sanders, for the Democratic Party, and—given who the Republican nominee is—bad for the country and the world. Sanders may, as Tucker says, loathe Clinton, but he needs to put that aside.

But there's no reason for him to put aside the enormous leverage he possesses to move the party in a more progressive direction. He won a lot of votes. He has a lot of delegates. He has a substantial following that's willing to take cues from him. There's no intelligent politician in the country who wouldn't use that to push the country in a direction he deeply believes in. Hillary would do the same thing in his position.

So go ahead Bernie: press for a more progressive platform. Press for a progressive vice president. Press for primary rule changes that you think would give progressive candidates a better shot at winning. Press for the policies you believe in, and don't hold back. In the end, the threat of Donald Trump will prevent Bernie and his followers from hating Hillary too long, but in the meantime there's no reason not to use every weapon in his arsenal to browbeat both Hillary and the Democratic Party into moving in the direction he wants them to go.

Just keep the personal attacks, both real and implied, out of the picture. They do you no good.

Hillary Clinton Has a Shouting Problem

A friend of mine sends me an email about Hillary Clinton:

I have two daughters, 28 and 25, who live in NYC and a son, 23, just out of college and soon to move to Washington DC. Last weekend we were with all three in Charlottesville. I brought up the subject of the election and they all three basically said the same thing: Trump is a jackass and they are going to vote for Hillary, but for god's sake why does she scream and shout at her rallies, etc.

They say that virtually all of their friends are driven crazy by it and they basically prefer her to Trump except for the shouting and screaming shtick. My oldest says it is now considered a sexist term but, frankly, Hillary comes across as too "shrill."

Listen, I like Hillary a lot but she has got to stop this shouting bullshit. It comes across as insincere and phony and—as Joe Klein puts it—it's not necessary in the era of microphones. Hillary is at her most impressive when she just talks like a normal human—remember how she came across in the Benghazi hearings? I am confident that plenty of Hillary's people read your blog, so please beg them to lean heavily on her to stop the shouting and just talk to people like they aren't a bunch of deaf morons standing a half-mile away. Obviously Trump has picked up on the resonating significance of this shouting thing and if there is one thing we can agree on it's that he has a intuitive ear for what gets people riled-up.

I could take the coward's way out and say that I'm just passing along the observations of another person here, but the truth is that I find Hillary hard to listen to as well. The shouting is one part of it, but the other part (in victory speeches and ordinary stump speeches) is that she never has anything even remotely interesting to say. I know that these kinds of speeches are usually pretty canned affairs, but there's no reason Hillary can't mix things up a little bit. Stuff happens in the world all the time, and you can use this stuff as a hook to make your speeches more likely to drive ratings and get better TV coverage.

A lot of people will take this criticism as pure sexism. Maybe some of it is. It's not as if Bernie Sanders has a carefully modulated tone of voice, and young people seem to like him just fine. Still, fair or not, sexist or not, this is a common observation about Hillary. And it's hardly impossible to learn how to speak better in public. It just takes a little time and practice. In marketing—and that's largely what politics is—you don't complain about lousy customers if they turn out not to like your product or your advertising. The customer is always right, by definition. This is a weak spot for Hillary, and she ought to work on it.

And while we're on the subject, Team Hillary really, really needs to get over its idiotic obsession with trying to hang a disparaging nickname on Donald Trump. All it does is validate his nicknames and put Hillary in the same gutter he works out of. In the end, that's not what a majority of the public is likely to want. They want a president, not a game show host.

A couple of days ago Donald Trump unloaded an extraordinarily blistering public attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing the class-action lawsuit against Trump University:

"The judge was appointed by Barack Obama, federal judge. Frankly, he should recuse himself because he’s given us ruling after ruling after ruling, negative, negative, negative.” Mr. Trump also told the audience, which had previously chanted the Republican standard-bearer’s signature “build that wall” mantra in reference to Mr. Trump’s proposed wall along the Mexican border, that Judge Curiel is “Mexican.”

What happens is the judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great. I think that’s fine,” Mr. Trump said.

....“I think Judge Curiel should be ashamed of himself,” Mr. Trump said. “I’m telling you, this court system, judges in this court system, federal court, they ought to look into Judge Curiel. Because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace, OK? But we’ll come back in November. Wouldn’t that be wild if I’m president and I come back to do a civil case? Where everybody likes it. OK. This is called life, folks.”

As it happens, Curiel was born in East Chicago, Indiana, but hey, what's a little race-baiting between Trump and a few thousand close friends and a few million TV viewers?

More broadly, though, what the hell was this all about? Well, it turns out that Trump probably had forewarning about what was coming down the pike. The Washington Post had filed a motion to unseal some documents in the trial, and one of their arguments was that since Trump was now the presumptive Republican nominee for president, that increased the public interest in these documents. The judge agreed:

As an initial matter, the court must strongly presume the public interest in access. But “the interest in access to court proceedings in general may be asserted more forcefully when the litigation involves matters of significant public concern.” As the Post points out, the Ninth Circuit found that [Trump University] was a public figure for purposes of defamation.

....Subsequently, Defendant became the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and has placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue. The Ninth Circuit has directed courts considering the public disclosure of litigation materials to take into account “whether a party benefitting from the order of confidentiality is a public entity or official; and...whether the case involves issues important to the public.”

So Trump is now more than just a public figure: he's a legitimate contender for high public office. And that means his actions justifiably invite stronger scrutiny.

So what was Trump's ploy here? Does he not realize that publicly bashing a judge is a bad idea? Federal judges don't have to worry about Trump's mob and they don't have to worry about being re-elected. Or did he think that ranting against the judge before the ruling was handed down would help him on appeal? I criticized him, and he took it personally and ruled against us. Maybe. Or does Trump simply have no self control and couldn't help himself?

Generally speaking, I think Trump still doesn't realize that running for president is different from anything else he's ever experienced. The bullying just doesn't work the way it used to. The press scrutiny is beyond even Trump's imagining. Money and organization matter. You have to appeal to more than just a half of a half of the electorate. And in this case, the fact that he's the presumptive nominee of a major political party means that his actions are presumptively of legitimate public interest.

Live by earned media, die by earned media. In the meantime, let us all break out the crocodile tears for Trump. It's schadenfreude time.

SFMOMA Is Great, But it Could Be Better

Michael O'Hare is delighted with the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, but he does have a couple of complaints:

What’s not so great, so far: while it’s free for anyone under 19, standard admission is $25. This is very bad, and a big deal: if you spend that much to get in, you are under pressure to try to see too much and stay too long.

....There is only one open evening a week, otherwise it’s 10-5, which is as silly as a theater programming nothing but matinees. Museums have a disagreeable tradition of being for tourists and the unemployed wives of wealthy businessmen. A museum is the ideal place for a first date, and even to meet new people (no pressure, and lots of stuff to talk about); why make it so difficult to go there after work?

On the second point, this is a good example of my habit of being wary of obvious complaints. I'm certain that every art museum executive in the country is aware of this issue, so it's pretty unlikely it's happening out of ignorance or malice. There's probably a very good reason for it. We'd just have to ask. At a guess, that reason is that it's been tried by lots of museums before and it's a steady money loser because nobody comes. I'll also guess that oldsters like Mike and me might be wrong about kids thinking that SFMOMA would make a dandy first date. Just saying.

The first point is a little different. Sure, high admission prices are also an obvious problem, but I'm surprised museums don't try a theme park solution that was pioneered by, of all companies, Blockbuster. (Well, that's the first place I encountered it, anyway.) Keep the price at $25, but make every ticket automatically good for three days. My guess is that this would have a minimal effect on revenue, but for those few who'd like to wander back in a day or two instead of conducting a one-day death march, it would be great. There might be issues with people giving away or selling their tickets after visiting for a day, but I'll bet there's a tech solution for that. Silicon Valley is only a few miles away, guys. Maybe every ticket includes a photo. If you don't want your photo taken, then it reverts to a one-day ticket. This might well be worth giving some more thought to.

And if you've made it this far, here's your reward: San Jose Teen's Glasses Prank at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Goes Viral. Really, you need to click on this. It's hilarious. A Sokal hoax for the modern art biz.

Word of the Day: A•poph•a•sis

I have to say that these OED folks are remarkably up to date. Very impressive.

Four Pictures and a Video

Picture #1: On the Verizon website, the number of "agents" who are eagerly waiting for you to call is...a random number between 1 and 15. The wait time is also a random number.

Picture #2: Congratulations, particle physicists! You have finally isolated the rare glutino and packaged it for the masses. Who says basic science is useless?

Picture #3: Rejection letter to George Orwell for Animal Farm: "What was needed, (someone might argue), was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs." So I've heard.

Picture #4: It could have been worse. They could have supplied him with Viagra.

And a video: I'm not sure Hopper ever noticed what was going on.

Quote of the Day: "Suck It Up, Cupcake"

Oh FFS:

Really? Sarah Palin is still front-page news? Seriously? On the other hand, I have to admit that she's hard to resist:

Palin said Obama’s visit suggested that the president believes that “the greatest generation was perpetuating the evil of World War II.”...[The] tea party heroine said Trump would be a president “who knows how to win.”

“You mess with our freedom,” she said, “we’ll put a boot in your ass. It’s the American way.” At that, the crowd chanted, “USA! USA! USA!”

Palin was the warm-up act at Trump’s large rally, speaking on stage before the candidate arrived in San Diego. She took issue with Obama’s statement overseas this week that other world leaders have been “rattled” by the rise of Trump. “Rattled, are they now?” Palin said....She pointed out that the yellow Gadsden flag flown at tea party rallies depicts a rattlesnake “coiled, prepared, ready to strike.”

“So, yeah, rattlin’ – it’s a good thing,” she said.

....Turning to look at the television cameras and journalists on the press riser, Palin lambasted the “sheep in the media.” “Their head is still a-spinnin’,” she said. “Do you know how thoroughly distrusted you are, mainstream media? ... He is now we the people’s nominee, so suck it up, cupcake!

Oh well. At least it's Saturday. Maybe no one will notice that I caved in and wrote about this.