Thursday, June 07, 2018

Kate Spade found dead by hanging at her Upper East Side home after telling her daughter it's not her fault in suicide note

For some reason this news really upset me. I had never heard of her before and what I know about fashion could be written on the head of a pin, but the thought this news brought to me was:  "What does it take to be happy?"  By most criteria she was a good woman who had it all but she had been depressed for a long time.  How come she couldn't find a way out of her problems?  How fragile many of us are and how  little we understand about ourselves and about human relationships.  Given that she had a 13 year old daughter, how much pain she must have felt to take that way out

Putting my psychologoist's hat on, however, I think I can venture an explanation of what she did.  For a start, she apparently had endogenous depression -- depression that came from within her rather than being a response to external stresses.  Her friends  tried for years to get her to seek help with it.  But she refused treatment in case news of the treatment leaked out and damaged the cheerful image of her brand.  She herself described herself as a worrier. So she had  anxious depression.  Although depression and anxiety are traditionally conceptualized as two independent disorders, they are highly co-morbid.

But she had a good marriage and a young daughter she loved.  So that kept her going.  But there is some hint that strains had developed in her marriage and the daughter had just turned 13.  And a 13 year old daughter can be a problem. I took two step-daughters through that age so I know a little about it.  It is the time of daughters finding their individuality, the time when they separate theselves from their parents.  So a little darling can suddenly become a little critic.

And that is exactly what happened to Kate in a rather big way.  She recently commented about her dauighter saying that whatever she wanted and valued, her daughter would want the opposite.  She who could least bear it encountered a strong case of daughterly rejection.  And that pushed her over the edge.  Hence it was to her daughter that she left her suicide note, which was loving to the end. I feel so sorry for her

UPDATE:  Since I wrote the above ,more information has come to light.  It has been confirmed that Kate was having difficulties with her marriage.  I took account of that but considered it only a contributing factor, though undoubtedly an important one  But one claim that I don't credit is that she was manic depressive.  There is NO record of manic behavior on her part but plenty of evidence of chronic anxiety.  So I stick with my diagnosis of anxious depression, aggravated by her daughter's transition to a teenager,

Iconic designer Kate Spade hanged herself with a scarf in the bedroom of her Upper East Side home — and left a note telling her daughter it wasn’t her fault, sources said.

A housekeeper found the body of the 55-year-old fashion maven inside her Park Avenue apartment about 10:10 a.m. Tuesday, police said.

Spade’s husband Andy, the brother of comedian David Spade, was home at the time. But the couple’s 13-year-old daughter Frances was at school, sources said.

The note left by Kate Spade, in addition to absolving her daughter of responsibility, instructed the teen to seek answers from her father.

Spade was upset over “problems at home,” said a source. The source did not elaborate.

Spade was a 30-year-old former magazine editor in 1993 when she launched a line of sleek handbags that grew into a $2.4 billion global empire.



Patrick Buchanan: Boehner's Right – It's Trump's Party Now,/b>

"There is no Republican Party. There's a Trump party," John Boehner told a Mackinac, Michigan, gathering of the GOP faithful last week. "The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere."

Ex-Speaker Boehner should probably re-check the old party's pulse, for the Bush-Boehner GOP may not just be napping. It could be comatose.

Consider. That GOP was dedicated to free trade, open borders, amnesty and using U.S. power to punish aggressors and "end tyranny in our world." That GOP set out to create a new world order where dictatorships were threatened with "regime change," and democratic capitalism was the new order of the ages.

Yet, Donald Trump captured the Republican nomination and won the presidency — by saying goodbye to all that.

How probable is it that a future GOP presidential candidate will revive the Bush-Boehner agenda the party rejected in 2016, run on it, win, and impose it on the party and nation?

Bush-Boehner Republicanism appears to be as dead today as was Harding-Coolidge Republicanism after 1933. And if Trumpism is not the future of the GOP, it is hard to see what a promising GOP agenda might look like.

A brief history: In seven elections starting in 1992, Republicans won the presidency three times, but the popular vote only once, in 2004, when George W. was still basking in his "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq.

What fractured and overwhelmed the Bush-Boehner Republican Party?

First, demography. The mass immigration of Third World peoples that began with the 1965 immigration act, and the decline in the birth rate of native-born Americans, began to swamp the Nixon-Reagan New Majority.

Second, the collapse of the Soviet Empire and USSR removed the party's great unifying cause from Eisenhower to Bush I — the Cold War. After the Red Army went home, "America First" had a new appeal!

Third, faithful to the free trade cult in which they were raised, Republicans championed NAFTA, the WTO, and MFN for China.

Historians will look back in amazement at how America's free trade zealots gave away the greatest manufacturing base the world had ever seen, as they quoted approvingly 18th- and 19th-century scribblers whose ideas had done so much to bring down their own country, Great Britain.

Between 1997 and 2017, the EU ran up, at America's expense, trade surpluses in goods in excess of $2 trillion, while we also picked up the bill for Europe's defense.

Between 1992 and 2016, China was allowed to run $4 trillion in trade surpluses at our expense, converting herself into the world's first manufacturing power and denuding America of tens of thousands of factories and millions of manufacturing jobs.

In Trump's first year, China's trade surplus with the United States hit $375 billion. From January to March of this year, our trade deficit with China was running at close to the same astronomical rate.

"Trade deficits do not matter," we hear from the economists.

They might explain that to Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

And perhaps someone can explain the wisdom of handing 4 percent of our GDP each year to an adversary nation, as U.S. admirals talk tough about confronting that adversary nation over islets and reefs in the South China Sea.

Why are we enriching and empowering so exorbitantly those whom we are told we may have to fight?

Fourth, under Bush II and Obama, the U.S. intervened massively in the Near and Middle East — in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen. And the forces that pushed up into those conflicts, and so disillusioned the nation that it elected Barack Obama, are back, pushing for a new war, on Iran. They may get this war, too.

Yet, given the anti-interventionist and anti-war stance of Trump's winning campaign, and of the Bernie Sanders campaign, U.S. involvement in Middle East wars seems less America's future than it does her past.

After his 16 months in office, it appears as though the Trump presidency, no matter how brief, is going to be a watershed moment in U.S. and world history, and in the future of the GOP.

The world is changing. NATO and the EU are showing their age. Nationalism, populism and tribalism are pervasive on the Old Continent. And America's willingness to bear the burden of Europe's defense, as they ride virtually free, is visibly waning.

It is hard to see why or how Republicans are ever again going to be the Bush-Boehner party that preceded the rise of Trump. What would be the argument for returning to a repudiated platform?

Trump not only defeated 16 Bush Republicans, he presented an agenda on immigration, border security, amnesty, intervention abroad, the Middle East, NAFTA, free trade, Putin and Russia that was a rejection of what the Bush-Boehner Party had stood for and what its presidential candidates in 2008 and 2012, John McCain and Mitt Romney, had run on.

If the Republican Party is "napping," let it slumber on, undisturbed, for its time has come and gone. We are in a new world now.



Cut the Red Tape to Get More Affordable Housing

“I’d love to live in San Francisco, but I don’t want to pay $750,000 to live in a closet.” That’s what I tell my introductory economics students when I discuss housing prices. I probably need to update it to $2 million or something like that.

Why? Why is housing so expensive in cities like San Francisco, Boston, New York? It’s expensive because demand is high and rising. It’s insanely expensive to live in San Francisco because practically everyone wants to live in San Francisco.

But that’s only half the story. Housing is also insanely expensive because supply isn’t rising very quickly.

When you have demand rising quickly and supply changing slowly, you get rising prices. So how do we fix it?

First, we need to take a very hard look at the rules making it very hard to supply new housing. As Thomas Sowell points out in a Hoover Institution interview, land-use restrictions make it “prohibitively expensive” to build new housing in a lot of places.

In a 2008 paper in the Southern Economic Journal, the economists Edward Glaeser and Kristina Tobio argue that since 1970, the ease of increasing the housing supply explains the explosive growth of “Sunbelt” cities like Houston, Atlanta, and Dallas (their published paper is here, an ungated policy brief explaining their finding is here).

Second, we need to take a very hard look at how our moral intuitions might cloud our judgment. Trade-offs are everywhere, and by forcing housing to be safer and more comfortable we necessarily make it more expensive. Just as people are willing to live in a mediocre school district or high-crime area to get cheaper housing, they might be willing to accept the risks associated with less-safe housing if it means cheaper housing. This is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s important to respect that choice.

Consider the “lodger evil” of the Progressive Era. According to the historians David T. and Linda Royster Beito, the term “referred to the practice of many urban double up through subletting” so that they could “save on rent and earn extra income.” As the Beitos put it, “(t)he lodger evil was very much the trial-and-error creation of ordinary people and clashed head-on with the top-down approach of Progressive Era political elites.”

A tragic reality? Of course, but paraphrasing something I once heard from the economist David Henderson, we don’t make people better off by eliminating the choices they actually make.

Third, we need to look at the “rules about the rules,” or the constitutional political economy for which James M. Buchanan won the 1986 Nobel Prize, that makes it possible for people to enrich themselves at others’ expense—in this case, by making it easy for homeowners to increase the value of their own property in desirable areas by making it prohibitively expensive for others to build or move in. This is the NIMBY phenomenon—“not in my backyard”—that leads people to oppose new residential and commercial development.

But if property rights mean anything, they mean that my backyard is not your backyard—nor is your backyard mine.

A literal example illustrates. There’s an empty lot just across the alley from my backyard, situated between two houses the next street over. It’s entirely possible that the owner of that lot might build something I don’t like—a brutalist house painted hot pink, for example, or a halfway house for recovering drug addicts. But My Backyard ends at the property line. If I want a say in what ends up on that lot, I should buy the lot.

One might object that something like a halfway house or a hot pink brutalist monstrosity would generate negative externalities. I’m sympathetic to the argument (believe me: I’m looking at the trees on the lot as I type this). That risk, however, was reflected in the price of the house when we bought it. In that sense, we’ve already been “compensated” for negative spillovers that might emerge. If we’d wanted a lot of control over what our neighbors can do with their property, we could’ve bought a home in a gated community with a powerful Homeowners’ Association and lots of strict rules. We didn’t.

Housing is expensive for two basic reasons: high demand and low supply. There’s a solution, though: get rid of some of the rules making it so hard for people to supply new housing.



Golden Deep State

 The surging national economy has given California a budget surplus by some accounts of more than $5 billion, with tax collections up about $3.8 billion above what Governor Jerry Brown anticipated in January. California taxpayers should not expect Brown to return any money to the taxpayers, in the style of governor George Deukmejian, who passed away on May 8. As he said back in 1987, “I think we can be very pleased that we were able to protect this money for the taxpayers and that we have honored the spending limit enacted by the voters through the initiative process.” Outgoing governor Brown has other plans.

He wants to give state prison guards their biggest raise since the recession, a 9.3 percent hike over three years that will cost $114.6 million in the budget year that begins July 1 and $331 million over the next two years. The pact also allows the guards to cash out up to 80 hours of accrued vacation time. Other sweetheart deals are surely set in store, and taxpayers might recall the back story.

On his first watch as governor, Brown made it a priority to expand collective bargaining for government employees. These unions implement government policy and function as a kind of “deep state” that remains in place, whatever the administration. So politicians tend to give the government employee unions what they want.

On Brown’s second watch, the Service Employees International Union demonstrates outside the capitol chanting “this is our house!” That is in fact the case, and the governor has sweetened the deal. He backs measures to boost funding for low-income students and English learners, then under his principle of “subsidiarity,” lets the various districts spend the money on bureaucracy. For example, in 2014 the massive Los Angeles Unified School District gave principals and administrators a pay raise of 6.64 percent, adding a lump-sum bonus equal to 2 percent of salary. And all this comes apart from any hike in student achievement or accountability.

Whatever happens with the Delta tunnels or the bullet-train, Jerry Brown’s legacy is a state where deep-state drones are number one.



Trump Clips Eagles' Wings
No pandering there!  Trump withdraws respect from those who disrespect their country

Donald Trump was elected in large part because normal Americans grew tired of rabid leftists calling them jingoist racists. And even if it means canceling traditional meet-and-greets with sports champions at the White House, Trump is going to stand with the American people — in this case, against the NFL’s kneeling social justice warriors.

With less than 24 hours’ notice, Trump scrapped the planned ceremony to recognize the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, citing the long-running dispute over the national anthem and the small contingent of Eagles players (fewer than 10) even willing to attend.

“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump said in a White House statement. “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better. These fans are still invited to the White House to be part of a different type of ceremony — one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.”

For the record, the Eagles released the only player who kneeled during a preseason game. Others stood with power fists during the season. In any case, Trump is making this is a victory lap of sorts after the NFL’s recent policy announcement threatening to fine teams with players who kneel for the anthem.

But Trump isn’t taking guff from any professional sports team. He uninvited the NBA champion Golden State Warriors last year (look for the same thing to happen after they win again this year). In Trump’s estimation, if millionaire celebrity sports stars are going to snub him and the country, why not return the favor? As the Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams put it, “Donald Trump truly is the culture war president.”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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Anonymous said...

Re - Kate Spade

My ex wife is a psychiatrist. I know from her that there are excellent meds for dealing with Ms. Spade’s condition, which is relatively mild compared to some things people suffer from, and can also get help for.

A real shame she didn’t seek the help that almost certainly would have saved her.

If anything good comes of this it will include that those afraid to seek help are now persuaded to do so.


Karen said...

Re: Kate Spade

The note to her daughter won't make the daughter feel better. It could be read as, "I don't care about the rest of your life. I won't be around for your graduation, wedding, or grandkids. They'll learn that their grandmother committed suicide rather than meet them." She killed herself in their apartment which will surely haunt the kid. The daughter's friends, teachers, etc., know that her mom offed herself. The entire world has read the suicide note and the daughter can assume they will judge the entire family.