Re: Big guy

1

The airlines do provide a reasonable number of larger seats. They usually charge much more than double for them and that is how they make enough money to pay the government to pay the guy who makes sure you don't have more than 4 ounces of shampoo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:21 PM
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Yeah, I think the question is whether they should be mandated to sell two seats in an exit row for the price of one to passengers who need it. I'm really not sure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:23 PM
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I'm embarrassed to realize that your no-brainer solution had never occurred to me. I had always stopped at the thought that, as unfair as it is, they should have to pay for two seats, as it's not really fair to their fellow passengers. Although, the process of deciding who requires the extra space might be a little fraught.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:25 PM
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I'm guessing that guy shouldn't be in the exit row as he's not getting out the window exit very quickly (or at all).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:25 PM
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Point of view one: He needs more seats; he should buy them.

Point of view two: This is a disability that can be reasonably accommodated, and the airline could do so, either by moving him to first class or by giving him two adjacent seats. Of course, they really need to know that in advance. Would having to say "Hi, yes, I'm really large" deter people from trying to abuse it? Or could the airline just un-abuse it by treating the abuse situation as a slight underbooking and letting some standby person into the not-really-needed seat?


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:26 PM
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Point of view one for the win!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:29 PM
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5.1 is my view.

5.2 is only popular among disability rights advocates, very large people, and Uruguayan Rugby players.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:30 PM
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Would having to say "Hi, yes, I'm really large" deter people from trying to abuse it?

I'm going to need adjacent seats for me and my enormous penis. No, it isn't hand-stretched. I have a disability, dammit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:31 PM
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This is a disability that can be reasonably accommodated

This logic would of course extend to seats at sporting events, etc.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:34 PM
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Also, I'm going to need the seat immediately behind me to remain empty, because I have a disability that causes me to be very uncomfortable when I can't recline my seat (in good conscience) over the course of a multi-hour flight.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:37 PM
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9: I'm near-sighted with poor peripheral vision, so I'm going to need to be in the first row on the 50 yard line.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:37 PM
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Would having to say "Hi, yes, I'm really large" deter people from trying to abuse it?

Given an accommodation for people of size x, I would expect that the number of people willing to disrupt the entire air transportation system by claiming to qualify would vastly exceed the number of people who actually qualified.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:39 PM
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I have horrible flatulence, so for the sake of humanity, I should be given my own private plane.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:39 PM
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I think this photo captures exactly how everyone already feels on a booked flight. I really can't imagine how it must feel to fly for someone north of 6'4".


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:41 PM
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13: Go Greyhound and no one will notice.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:42 PM
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Although geez are the comments to that picture unpleasant.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:43 PM
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14: Hemispherist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:43 PM
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I am divided against myself: I do not wish to make more difficult the lives of people who fail the second- or third-* most-important test in American life so obviously, but I do not want airlines to cede their responsibilities for the safety of other passengers (obstructed aisles, rows, etc.) to the "/fail" blogworld.

* After "be white" and/or "be a man."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:43 PM
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I really can't imagine how it must feel to fly for someone north of 6'4".

Calvary.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:44 PM
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I'm trying not to agree with 5.1, but I'm having difficulty not putting myself in the shoes of a small, struggling airline forced to comply with heebie's proposed new regs.

What percent of the population do you imagine would even qualify for XL seats?


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:48 PM
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I am considerably south of 6'4", and I too find airplane seats to be acutely uncomfortable. I just assume that the designers figured that since they couldn't design for just one body type, the only fair thing would be to devise a seat that sucks for everyone. (First-class seats are proof, of course, that they could do better if they fucking well tried.)


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:50 PM
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Is 19 the voice of experience, Flip?


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:50 PM
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21: Or, if you really valued being more comfortable, you could fucking well book a first class seat...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:54 PM
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20- No one else in the plane seems to be in the same situation, and since this photo is notable (you don't see this every time you fly,) I'd say


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:54 PM
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I'd say that html tags suck.
I'd say <<1%.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:55 PM
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Obesity is a choice, with very few exceptions. When did choices become disabilities? Buy two seats or close your mouth once in a while. You can't escape thermodynamics.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:55 PM
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22: The Flippanlightened One is 6'4" and has attended many a Good Friday service.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:56 PM
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26 appears to be written by an asshole. Take it to the linked thread.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:56 PM
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I was reading about that picture someplace where they were describing the airline's various policies, which I believe were all some version of "if you can't get the armrests all the way down when you're in the seat, you may be required to buy a second seat", but I also think all of them would give you the second seat free if the flight wasn't full.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:57 PM
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23: Instead, I exercise my power as a consumer by choosing almost never to fly. Nice try, Capitalism, but I've outwitted you again!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:57 PM
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Assholeness is a disability, he should have a whole row to himself so that no one has to listen to him.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 12:59 PM
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26: Neuroscience has elided the meaning of "choice" near unto vacancy but, setting that aside, I think it is possible to draw a useful distinction between thinking of obesity as a positive "choice" among equally-available options and believing that obese persons have the potential to improve their health and appearance.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:00 PM
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30: I spent hours trying to talk myself into taking Amtrack for my last big trip. There was just no way.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:00 PM
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31: Damn straight. I'm flying on the weekend.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:01 PM
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33: Likewise, which is why I had to use "almost."


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:03 PM
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35: If they'd put a "Thomas" face on the front of the engine and dressed the conductor like Sir Topham Hatt, I'd have to choice but to take the train.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:05 PM
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36 is also my plan to get them to re-install the trolley on Forbes in Pittsburgh. What's a couple of billion against wowing a whole bunch of whiny 2-5 year-old boys.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:08 PM
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A musical explanation of the problem.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:08 PM
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Is anyone else wondering if the photo is staged or photoshopped just so people could make fun of it? It looks implausible that the airlines would let him on the plane if he was going to block the aisle like that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:15 PM
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26 appears to be written by an asshole. Take it to the linked thread.

Seems to be a chronic condition in the patient.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:19 PM
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I have a chronic problem of not signing my posts. 40 was me.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:19 PM
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39: I notice the seats behind the guy are empty and several other seat backs don't have a head above them. I wouldn't be surprised if, even if unstaged, the photo wasn't taken while boarding was still occuring and that he wasn't blocking the aisle when the plane took-off. It might take a while to find an empty seat for the guy next to him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:20 PM
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- The airlines should make the bulkhead seats dissabiltiy seating
- You should have to check a box requesting dissablity seating when you buy your ticket
- Let fat people sit in dissability seating, which also allows the rest of us can be comfortable in our seats
- If the dissabled seats aren't taken for a flight, some skinny person gets a nice upgrade
- If some skinny person cheats and checks the disabled box to score the sweet bulkhead seat, then their luggage gets redirected to Kabul


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:22 PM
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43: What about skinny people whose knees seize up whe they can't stretch them out in a regular seat? Should they get bulkhead too?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:27 PM
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40, 41: That's why we gave you adjacent comments, gimp.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:31 PM
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44: They chose not to get their legs amputated. Fuck 'em.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:32 PM
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"Shanna, they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:36 PM
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43: No. As a short person, I have no sympathy for tall people who claim to be oppressed.

Being tall is a choice, and if tall people have a problem with legroom, they should have chosen to be shorter. Like they could have started smoking at an age when it would have stunted their growth, for example...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:38 PM
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47 was me, quoting "Airplane!"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:39 PM
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Comment 47 really hasn't aged well.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:40 PM
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50: You just don't get art films.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:42 PM
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48: I too am a short person. This does not make airplane seats appreciably more comfortable, and it does lead others to think they can cop half your seat. Not cool, seat poachers!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:47 PM
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53

I've lately come to hate air travel more every time I do it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:49 PM
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53: If you're thinking about air travel when you do it, no wonder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:50 PM
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I hate flying so much. I'd really like to drive to Michigan for the holiday. Except I don't want to die in a snowdrift somewhere outside Buffalo.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:52 PM
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54: Ah, so that's the problem. Thanks!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:53 PM
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56: Baseball is standard, if you need a distraction.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:54 PM
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@44

They should suck it up. Or at least that's what I had to do in that circumstance. I briefly considered putting them in my neighbor's lap, but my sense of entitlement was somewhat substandard that day.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 1:59 PM
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Apo put up a post. FL got tenure. Dsquared showed back up. All kinds of crazy things are happening. Perhaps baa will now reappear and defend the comfort and convenience of air travel.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:00 PM
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It's a shame, because I actually like flying and I don't much mind the waiting around -- it's just more time to read and knit as far as I'm concerned -- but the schlep and hassle factor, especially now with the baggage fees, plus the seats make it such a drag.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:00 PM
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I have never flown commercially.

I was in the air once at age 20, a pilot charged us 25 dollars to do loops and stuff. It was ok.

I must make a list for the tombstone that I will never have:Never flown, never voted Republican. Never had children, but there a lots of guys like that. Never seen Pickpocket or Marienbad


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:00 PM
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58 to 8.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:00 PM
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61.2: They guy at U.S. Air wanted $20 per passenger to do a barrel roll.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:03 PM
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61: + "never had a tombstone".

Or maybe "never died".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:03 PM
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61.2: When a friend was getting her license, she took me up and did some loops and free falls and barrel rolls. I'm a little nauseous still even thinking about it.


Posted by: DK | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:04 PM
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Never seen Pickpocket or Marienbad

No, bob, you did see Marienbad, last year, you just forgot it. Remember, we were standing by the statue, overlooking the garden, discussing how much it sucked?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:05 PM
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Never seen Pickpocket AND Marienbad would still work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:07 PM
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64:Gonna inflict my rotting corpse on the poor medical students, of course. No service or memorial either. Family tradition.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:17 PM
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I, bob mcmanus, being of sound mind and body and in possession of a working trebuchet, do hereby....


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:25 PM
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60 is pretty much true for me as well. I don't mind flying itself, but all the constantly increasing hassle around it has made it less and less pleasant.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:25 PM
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Moby, I've only taken Amtrak from NC to DC, so not exactly a huge trip, but for the most part I loved it. Vastly superior experience to flying, including an unbelievably more comfortable seat with much more legroom.

I fucking hate flying, though, and would probably be happier in a boxcar with Stanley's consultant friend than on a plane. I'm going to be flying to Connecticut for a conference in a few weeks and chose the flight that is both direct and on one of the smaller jets with a row of single seats down one side because if everything else is going to suck that day - well, except for the chance to drink alone at 7am - then I am at least going to sit with no one to either side of me, my huge ass touching theirs.

I am 6'3" and convinced that 21 is true.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:28 PM
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59: I agree with baa about the view. Flight attendants and fellow passengers, don't ask me to close the blind so that someone can sleep or watch the movie. I bought a window seat so I can look out the fucking window.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:32 PM
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Amtrak is just an unambiguously better experience than flying in every possible way, provided there is a train that makes the trip you want in under 6 hours. Which is limiting.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:43 PM
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71, 73: We're talking 24 hours. IIRC, arrival and departure both happened in the middle of the night.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:47 PM
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73: I am rather fond of first class on the Acela. They feed you! And the lentil/couscous salad thingy they always have for vegetarians is good! And free booze! And you're always seated next to some weird PBS demi-celebrity.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:49 PM
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Along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak service is frequent, reliable, and expensive. Away from the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak service is infrequent, unreliable, and expensive.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:50 PM
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76: On the bright side, Amtrak is the only legal way to take a piss on a railroad track.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:52 PM
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We are in way too much of a hurry. An office worker I know spends most of her time overseas. Taiwan, Hong Kong. Singapore. London. Rome. In hotel rooms, because of the workload. 6 figure income, for what. Looks like hell to me.

There is a whole culture of flight that I long ago refused to share. If I can't get a week for the funeral 1500 miles away, I quit my job. Part of the process involves long travel time to reflect about distances.

Still thinking. Never been with a hooker. Never seen Paris. Never gambled, not even one lottery ticket. Never ran a marathon or danced a Charleston. Ahh, but like Piaf says.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:54 PM
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The weird thing about the perpetual debate over Amtrak is the way a lot of people seem to take the view that providing good passenger rail service in the US is somehow just impossible. Amtrak does suck in a lot of ways, but from roughly 1850 to 1970 rail was the standard way to get from one US city to another and it worked fine. There were a bunch of railroads competing with each other and laying track across the country, so service was both pretty reliable and pretty cheap. Slow, of course, by today's standards, but there are faster trains now. And almost all of that track is still there.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:55 PM
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Amtrak between Seattle and Portland isn't bad, IMLE.

I have stubby legs and don't mind airplane legroom especially, but my shoulders are wider than economy-class seats and hunching them forward for 5-10 hours gets painful.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:55 PM
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almost all of that track is still there

I don't think that's true. There are a lot of abandoned railroad rights-of-way.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:57 PM
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81: They turned them into bike paths. Also, I think saying that trains were still standard in 1970 is pushing it by ten years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 2:58 PM
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I don't think that's true. There are a lot of abandoned railroad rights-of-way.

You'd be surprised. There are a lot of rights-of-way that aren't currently being used, but the physical tracks are still there and there's nothing preventing them from being used again. There are also cases where the rights-of-way have been bought up and used for other purposes, but fewer than you might think. I went to a talk on this exact subject at the NJAPA conference that was really interesting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:00 PM
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77: Out west, there are plenty of places where we can pee on the tracks without worrying about getting busted.

80: I have the same thing with the shoulders, but traveling with two little kids helps, and also keeps me from having to sit next to strangers.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:03 PM
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83: I was reacting to the "almost all". I don't doubt that there are a lot of rights-of-way out there that could be put into railroad use, but "almost all" isn't consistent with my experience (which may be so incomplete as to be meaningless; I dunno).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:03 PM
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And you're always seated next to some weird PBS demi-celebrity.

I sat next to John Burn/ett (NPR, same difference) once on a Southwest flight. He tried to talk me into switching seats with him because I had snagged the one that doesn't have another seat in front of it. (He's somewhere north of 6'4".) But I told him that I'd gotten to the airport super early for just that purpose on account of my freakishly long legs so he could SUCK IT. No, actually, he was quite nice and I was quite nice and we had an interesting chat. I did offer to switch seats with him halfway through, though he declined.

I believe I've told this fascinating story before.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:04 PM
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I think somebody should try inter-city river boats. Pittsburgh to St. Louis or something. If that's too exciting, Omaha to Sioux City. You could put the Sioux City port right at the confluence of the Missouri and Floyd Rivers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:04 PM
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Away from the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak service is infrequent, unreliable, and expensive.

I've also used it in SoCal and it was fairly convenient. A bit crowded, though; more like taking NJ Transit than Amtrak in the NEC.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:05 PM
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84.2: I've been using the kid thing too, but the kid in question went to school in a pair of my hand-me-down shoes today, so that isn't going to work a lot longer. And it doesn't help at all with work trips (the occasional HNL-DCA is a particular treat).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:06 PM
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Somebody wants to use the freight rail lines to for intra-city passenger rail in Pittsburgh. You could go from the part of Hazelwood where nobody lives to the part of Oakland that is 3/4 of a mile (and a 500 below) the actual places of people need to get to.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:08 PM
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I was reacting to the "almost all". I don't doubt that there are a lot of rights-of-way out there that could be put into railroad use, but "almost all" isn't consistent with my experience (which may be so incomplete as to be meaningless; I dunno).

I don't have any exact numbers, obviously, but what I took away from the conference presentation is that at least in the northeast, the vast majority of the rights-of-way really are just sitting there unused. This is important because the northeast is so developed at this point that buying up new rights-of-way would be prohibitively expensive, so new rail projects would be impossible unless there were a whole bunch of rights-of-way lying around. Which, conveniently, there are.

Outside the northeast this may not be the case, but outside the northeast it doesn't matter as much either. In my own experience in the interior west, it seems like most of the rights-of-way are still in active use, but exclusively for freight rather than passenger service.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:09 PM
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Is Heebie going to be mad that we are no long discussing ass-size and have shifted to transit policy?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:10 PM
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When NM put in the RailRunner, for example, they initially just used the existing freight tracks through Albuquerque, so all the state had to do was negotiate with BNSF for the use of the tracks, then buy some trains and hire people to run them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:12 PM
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92: Maybe, but she could hardly be surprised.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:12 PM
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Fat people on airplanes as a topic suffers from the fact that a lot more of us have had the experience of sitting next to a fat person on an airplane than have had the experience of being a fat person on an airplane.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:13 PM
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As I understand it, every railroad line in Pennsylvania had its tracks removed over the past 20 years to be turned into a bike trail, except the ones currently used for freight.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:14 PM
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93: Isn't there an issue with a lot of freight tracks being in pretty crappy shape?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:15 PM
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79

The weird thing about the perpetual debate over Amtrak is the way a lot of people seem to take the view that providing good passenger rail service in the US is somehow just impossible. Amtrak does suck in a lot of ways, but from roughly 1850 to 1970 rail was the standard way to get from one US city to another and it worked fine. There were a bunch of railroads competing with each other and laying track across the country, so service was both pretty reliable and pretty cheap. Slow, of course, by today's standards, but there are faster trains now. And almost all of that track is still there.

Film cameras worked fine too but they couldn't compete with digital. And trains mostly aren't competitive with planes and cars.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:15 PM
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96: That may well be true in PA, but it's definitely not in NJ.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:16 PM
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When a friend was getting her license, she took me up and did some loops and free falls and barrel rolls. I'm a little nauseous still even thinking about it.

I went up in a tandem paraglider with a sponsored aerobatic pilot a couple of times. I learned that I am unexpectedly habituated to knowing which direction the ground is in, as a sort of groundwork for any use of my senses whatsoever.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:17 PM
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Isn't there an issue with a lot of freight tracks being in pretty crappy shape?

Not really, at least for freight tracks currently being used. Freight tracks actually have to meet more stringent standards than passenger tracks, at least for weight. Freight is heavy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:17 PM
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And trains mostly aren't competitive with planes and cars.

Mostly because right now carbon emissions are free.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:18 PM
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I want to ride that RailRunner thingie next time I'm in town.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:18 PM
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103: Me too. Somehow I never got around to it, even when I was living in NM. Part of the problem is that public transportation within Albuquerque sucks so much that it's ridiculously hard to get to the RailRunner stations from most parts of town, unless you just drive.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:20 PM
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102

Mostly because right now carbon emissions are free.

Not really. Trains emit carbon also. If I remember correctly Amtrak is only marginally better (if at all) than cars or planes per passenger mile.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:21 PM
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Not really, at least for freight tracks currently being used. Freight tracks actually have to meet more stringent standards than passenger tracks, at least for weight. Freight is heavy.

But freight doesn't care about ride quality and doesn't have to move fast.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:22 PM
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Along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak service is frequent, reliable, and expensive. Away from the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak service is infrequent, unreliable, and expensive.

Teo, it pains me to disagree with you, but this is all wrong. Along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak service is frequent, totally unreliable, and expensive. In southern California, I am delighted to discover, Amtrak service is frequent enough, reliable, and cheap. I would be writing love letters to the Amtrak brass if only the train actually ran to LAX. Abbreviating the (miles-distant) LA Union Station as "LAX" is a poor approximation.

I'll concede that SoCal Amtrak does a bad job of connecting to the rest of the world, e.g., NM; I looked into taking the train home for Thanksgiving, but it only runs the right way three days a week. Inadequate.

On preview, pwned by essear by a mile and a half.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:24 PM
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If I remember correctly Amtrak is only marginally better (if at all) than cars or planes per passenger mile.

This may be true for Amtrak specifically, but in general trains emit way less carbon than any other method of transportation, and planes emit way more.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:24 PM
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105: I don't know whether or not that's accurate, but I wonder what happens when you factor in fuel consumption and air quality.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:28 PM
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But freight doesn't care about ride quality and doesn't have to move fast.

True, but in most cases the differences are pretty minor, I think. I'll admit that I don't have detailed information about this.

Teo, it pains me to disagree with you, but this is all wrong. Along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak service is frequent, totally unreliable, and expensive.

Yeah, that was actually a very glib statement, and I don't stand by it at all.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:28 PM
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LA Union Station is in a much more useful part of town than LAX, and it has a rad bar.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:28 PM
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108: And US train technology is way, way behind Europe and Japan.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:29 PM
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110.1: I think I'm relying on vaguely-remembered Atrios and Sausagely posts, so we're pretty much even on that. Speed may be a bigger factor than ride quality because it affects what grades and curve radii will work.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:31 PM
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109: IIRC, this ends up being very dependent on assumptions about how full each is. Comparing 'trains' to 'planes' in the abstract doesn't work, you need to figure out how many seats are filled on each to do the math in passenger-miles.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:34 PM
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On preview, pwned by essear by a mile and a half.

But you added value.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:40 PM
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If (big person) gets two seats, do they also get duplicate meals and sodas as they eat/drink 'for two' ?


Posted by: Useless Eater | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:41 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:47 PM
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Page 11 of this GAO report has a good chart of energy use per passenger-mile by mode. Air used to be the highest by a lot, but it's recently improved a lot and is now actually less than cars. Rail is still the lowest, but by less than it used to be, and buses are the highest. This is energy use, not emissions, and emissions will be slightly different because different modes use different fuels, but the overall effect should be similar since they're all fossil fuels.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:47 PM
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Not really. Trains emit carbon also. If I remember correctly Amtrak is only marginally better (if at all) than cars or planes per passenger mile.

Planes are generally the worst; fuel-efficient cars packed as full as they get might beat trains, I think, but it all comes down to differences at the factor of two level, not orders of magnitude. Driving a Prius versus an SUV or filling your car with 4 people instead of 1, then, can make car travel as efficient as trains. But I'm pretty sure that if I take, for instance, a train from NY to DC, and I'm traveling alone, I'm using less carbon than I if I drive my fuel-efficient but non-Prius car by myself, and much less carbon than taking a plane. (Longer flights do a bit better than shorter ones, in terms of carbon impact per mile, but are still pretty bad.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:50 PM
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Ah, reading further into the pdf I see that a chart on page 17 has global carbon dioxide emissions by sector. Transportation accounts for 20%, of which 74% is from road and 13% each from air and rail.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:50 PM
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||

Goddam pro se plaintiffs. One of my agencies got sued by this mentally ill dude over some fines that he incurred back in 1990-91 and didn't challenge at the time. I, after about a year and a half of his not showing up for things and then moving to vacate his default, get the stupid thing dismissed. Now he's written to Governor Paterson about (a) how mean the agency was and (b) how I, by name, took unfair advantage of him. In the paragraph about me, he puts the words "verifiably mentally challenged misfit" in quotes as if I'd ever said anything of the sort to or about him.

And you know, this wouldn't bother me from one of the pro ses that start out with the yelling and the unpleasantness, but this guy I'd never had an unpleasant interaction with. He was wrong, but not difficult, and I put a lot of effort into treating him respectfully and making sure he knew the implications of everything I was doing. Feh.

On the other hand, he's not making phone calls shouting at me and hasn't sued the state for a million dollars because I got his case dismissed, so I suppose he's not my worst pro se.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:52 PM
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Pwned by teo with his actual "facts" and "data".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:53 PM
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||

Not that this is any practical problem for me in either case. Just annoying.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:54 PM
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118: Do you see any clear statement of their assumptions of how full these cars/planes/etc are? Is this supposed to be average occupancy of the average vehicle?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:57 PM
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I remember a few years back, an very plus size on a flight going nutes. He actually had bought two seats to accomoodate his extra size, but the dipshits at the airline counter kept telling him that because the plane was full, they couldn't give him two adjacent seats. True story.


Posted by: Middle Aged Man | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:57 PM
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Dipshits indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 3:58 PM
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125: That's tremendously awful. I've certainly seen the airline make announcements (and throw in sweeteners) asking for folks to switch seats to let two people (usually a mom and kid) sit together. They can certainly do the same for one dude who tried to do the right thing.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 4:10 PM
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David MacKay has a chart showing energy requirements per passenger-kilometre for various forms of transport. Number of passengers is important: a (European-size) car full of passengers does pretty well (only 10 times the energy requirement of bicycles) but a car with only a driver sucks: it uses more energy per passenger-kilometre than an averagely-full Boeing 747.


Posted by: Gareth Rees | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 4:13 PM
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Ah, here we go. This pdf has detailed tables and charts showing energy intensity per passenger-mile for all modes. (Data sources are listed in this one.) Planes are better than cars, but worse than rail. Motorcycles are the best.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 4:46 PM
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The radiative forcing of carbon emissions high in the atmosphere is much worse than on the ground, so it may be that planes are only unambiguously the worst once that is factored in.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 4:55 PM
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129: I've seen another table somewhere that had more data than this, which showed intercity buses as the most energy efficient widely-available mode of long-distance transportation.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 4:56 PM
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131: Which the table in 128 does seem to bear out, although the legibility is a bit off.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 4:57 PM
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Well, I'm off. It's shank's mare for me tonight.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 4:58 PM
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Basically it all depends on what you measure and how. As per 128, number of passengers makes a huge difference. Some of the charts in the link in 130 compare different light rail systems in the US, and the variation is huge.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 4:59 PM
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101: Freight is heavy.

So are passengers at times. See original post.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:15 PM
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130

The radiative forcing of carbon emissions high in the atmosphere is much worse than on the ground, so it may be that planes are only unambiguously the worst once that is factored in.

It is my understanding that the atmosphere is well-mixed so it doesn't matter where you introduce CO2.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:21 PM
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the variation is huge

Geez, you aren't kidding. Are Galveston's rail cars made of lumps of burning coal?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:26 PM
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What surprises me a little bit is how bad buses look. I knew all the empty ones on less-used routes and at odd hours had to be pulling the average down, but worse than SUVs is surprising.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:29 PM
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112

And US train technology is way, way behind Europe and Japan.

Don't know about Japan but the US rail system is optimized for freight while Europe's is optimized for passengers. Rail accounts for a much higher fraction of freight ton-miles in the US than in Europe.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:29 PM
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139: Would be interesting to see what those numbers look like if you take out coal trains.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:32 PM
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It is my understanding that the atmosphere is well-mixed so it doesn't matter where you introduce CO2.

Some gases in the atmosphere are well-mixed, including CO2, so, yes, what I said was stupid.

Other gases like ozone have differing impact depending on where they're emitted. Google turns up claims that the radiative forcing impact of air travel is ~ 2 to 3 times the effect of CO2 alone, but some of the sources say this includes the effect of contrails, and contrails are short-lived, so I'm not convinced this number makes sense.

So maybe the CO2 number is the thing to go by, and planes aren't worse than cars after all, on average.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:33 PM
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Teo, are you going to graduate in school in something like urban planning? Because the last thing this blog needs is more people with actual knowledge. I'm already afraid to explain that both e and π are basically the same since they round to 3. And all of the lawyers keep me from explaining how the 3rd Amendment can be read to prohibit Amway. If I had to stop spouting urban planning nonsense based on my vast experience of living in a city of barely 300,000, I might run out of things to say.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:40 PM
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And my sympathies to LB on 121. Some people have way too much time on their hands and way too little clue in their heads.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:42 PM
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142: Just talk about actuarial work and water policy and you'll be fine.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:44 PM
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140: Pretty different, I'd think. Coal accounts for 44% of US freight rail tonnage.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:44 PM
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Teo, are you going to graduate in school in something like urban planning?

Yes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:45 PM
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144: Actually, I've been wondering about water policy. Why do they keep telling me to turn-off the water when I brush my teeth, but apparently it's O.K. to run the water while I shave? Maybe I should stop getting my water saving tips from books for children.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:46 PM
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146: Then good luck. Come to Pittsburgh when you're done. I have a plan to re-build a trolley system.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:48 PM
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I have a plan to re-build a trolley system.

Does it involve fat men?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:56 PM
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If I had to stop spouting urban planning nonsense based on my vast experience of living in a city of barely 300,000, I might run out of things to say.

There are lots of niches that no one here covers, right? You could rattle on about archaeology or chemistry or beekeeping or...


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:58 PM
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Don't let life or death stand in the way of that sublime and funky trolley system that you crave!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:58 PM
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151: racist.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 5:59 PM
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149: No. Step one is clearing out all of the cars that park where I want to run the trolley. I'm going to need a sling-shot, six thousand ball bearings, a police scanner and a look-out. I'm thinking after a couple of weeks, nobody will use those spaces.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 6:00 PM
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As someone who used to travel Amtrak in the NEC quite often, I'm happy to rise to its defense. Sure you can have train delays. Have you ever been on a plane? Driven the NJ Turnpike? All travel in the NEC sucks. At distances of DC-NYC and less, Amtrak sucks less than the alternatives.

(From DC to Manhattan, Amtrak is pretty good, especially in the summer, when afternoon flights get canceled out of LGA. I'd still fly, though, if going from DC to the EDNY, for example.)

Amtrak never lost my luggage. The quiet car is a great idea (less important now that noise canceling headphones are pretty good -- but whoever the idiot is that insists that they be switched off while you sit on the tarmac, or during take-off and landing, must be a paid agent for Amtrak. Or Big Crying Baby.)

Amtrak is good for solo travel at short distances. Any more than one person, though, and the car just kills it on costs.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:02 PM
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Amtrak is good for travel between big cities, though it's still super-expensive. For shorter distances than, say, NYC-Philadelphia, though, it's worthless because the trains run so infrequently. (These two things are not unconnected.) New Brunswick, for example, gets two Amtrak trains a day, on in each direction.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:06 PM
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one in each direction


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:07 PM
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But NJ Transit trains are frequent and can connect with Amtrak at Trenton or Newark.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:08 PM
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though it's still super-expensive

It's ~$100. This doesn't seem to me to rise to the level of "super-expensive". It's cheaper than planes.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:11 PM
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155: That's what Pittsburgh gets.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:12 PM
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But NJ Transit trains are frequent and can connect with Amtrak at Trenton or Newark.

Yep. That's why Amtrak's lack of service doesn't actually matter. They're also much cheaper.

It's ~$100. This doesn't seem to me to rise to the level of "super-expensive". It's cheaper than planes.

"Cheaper than planes" is a pretty low bar, though, especially if you're only traveling like 100 miles. But preferences differ, of course.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:14 PM
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Lots of trains from Philly to NYC. Full of people who don't want to waste time stopping in New Brunswick.

Amtrak has been studying re-opening the line across southern Montana. It'd run at a loss, but not such much that it isn't worth having.

The other thing I was going to point out in Amtrak's favor, for solo business travel, is that you can plug in your laptop, and you have Verizon coverage pretty much all the way. It's true that you could do this in a car, if you have someone else to drive, but, then, that's not solo travel. Work on the train sucks so much less than work on a plane -- other than in first class, the latter is so awful that most corporations ought to just have a presumption of disallowing lawyers' billed hours for work on the flight out. (And, of course, work on the flight back from the deposition is an even weaker claim).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:14 PM
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This seems the appropriate place to remind anyone who's in the NYC area and interested in this sort of stuff to visit the MTA Transit Museum.

Five bucks buys you several interesting hours in a now-out-of-use subway station that's been converted to a wonderfully detailed museum dedicated to the history of the
city's subway, bridges, and various rail companies. I could've nerded out there for several more hours, but they were closing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:16 PM
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I'm not sure who Charley is trying to convince of what, but I certainly agree that Amtrak is a much better choice for traveling from DC of Philly to NYC than flying, and that the fact that the trains don't stop in places like New Brunswick is part of the reason.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:17 PM
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Work on the train sucks so much less than work on a plane -- other than in first class, the latter is so awful that most corporations ought to just have a presumption of disallowing lawyers' billed hours for work on the flight out. (And, of course, work on the flight back from the deposition is an even weaker claim).

Then lawyers will want to talk to the regular people on the plane. Flying will become unbearable.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:18 PM
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Flying's already unbearable.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:19 PM
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I mean, that's the whole point of this thread, isn't it?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:19 PM
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It would be nice if the SEPTA / NJ Transit connections in Trenton were more efficient.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:19 PM
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I'm just hating on flying, teo.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:20 PM
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167: That it would.

168: Comity!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:20 PM
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It's 10 and a half hours by train from Pittsburgh to NYC. Its like 6 by car. The train stops at every town on the line.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:28 PM
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There's a never-to-be-built stimulus budget for planning high speed rail when they could improve things by 50% just be not stopping so often.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:29 PM
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162 is intriguing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:32 PM
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I blame the well-maintained socialized roadways for all or most of our transit woes, what with their crazy left-turn czars and lack of hobo consultants.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:34 PM
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173: I have a cousin whose a railroad bull.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:43 PM
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"whose" s/b "who is"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:55 PM
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presumption of disallowing lawyers' billed hours for work on the flight out. (And, of course, work on the flight back from the deposition is an even weaker claim)

Since the travel time itself is generally (always?) billable, that would be an odd policy. (Unless lawyers are billing the time worked during travel to other clients, which seems like a bad idea, for the reason you mention.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:55 PM
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176: "But-For" billing? As in, "But for me traveling on business, I wouldn't have needed to go to the strip club."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 7:57 PM
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It's ~$100. This doesn't seem to me to rise to the level of "super-expensive". It's cheaper than planes.

But you can get a bus for less than $20.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 9:07 PM
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Really? I live right by the transit museum. I'll have to check that out.


Posted by: Lambent Cactus | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:03 PM
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179: To be fair, we saw lots of people breezing through, but eekbeat and I wanted to read everything and greatly enjoyed it. It's an interesting place for the transit-policy nerd or transit-nerd wannabe (Cf. me).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:07 PM
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180: When are you going to graduate school? (I've lost teo and eb, so I might as well turn my attention to you.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:08 PM
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181: I have a personal deadline set for June, upon which time I plan to assess whether playing in bands (the only reason I'm not in grad school) is still worth it. Fall semester 2010 would be my earliest possible entry, but I may take a U.Va. class Spring semester, just for kicks.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:12 PM
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182: What field? I hear that urban history is fun.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:15 PM
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Urban history is fun. I just wrote a paper on the history of Albuquerque. The paper wasn't great but doing the research for it was interesting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:19 PM
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184: You're such a tease.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:22 PM
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183: That's sort of the rub. I like some of the options at SAIS and GMU on something like a MPP. I also wonder if I'd be better off at something like the Annenberg school at Penn or even a straight-up history thing in Latin American History (I'd focus most on the experiences of Latinos in the US right now, but still, something like the Braceros program is, to me, fascinating.)

I've haved trouble figuring out a discipline.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:24 PM
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I'll post it to the blog at some point.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:24 PM
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I've haved troubled typing English, two.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:25 PM
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You could rattle on about archaeology or chemistry or beekeeping or...

I seem to recall that there is actually a California cohort involved with beekeeping. But archaeology does seem to still be to open.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:27 PM
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My school has an MPP program.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:27 PM
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OT: Garry Wills is down on Brother Obama.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:29 PM
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189: So what's Chaco Canyon, chopped liver?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:30 PM
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186: Latin American history is actually something of a growth industry. Beyond that, there's very good reason to avoid history as a discipline -- if you want to get a job, I mean.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:31 PM
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191: No surprise. Dsquared told Garry he was going to be disappointed.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:32 PM
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190: I'll almost certainly be applying to that one among other NY-ish ones, given eekbeat's locale.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:34 PM
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Heh. (That means I think what you wrote is funny, right? I'm not so hip to the internet traditions thing and want to make sure my "heh" isn't read as sarcastic. I'm very vulnerable right now, but don't worry about it.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:35 PM
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196 to 194.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:36 PM
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195: Cool. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions about it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:37 PM
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191: The NYRoB has blogs now? What is the world coming to?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:38 PM
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Also, fuck a bunch of Garry Wills. (Not about the linked post; I didn't read it. Just on general principle.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:39 PM
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200: Why? I'm not arguing, mind you, just curious.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:41 PM
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But now that I've read it, fuck a bunch of Garry Wills for that post in particular too.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:41 PM
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The thought of "a bunch of Garry Wills" is kind of freaking me out.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:42 PM
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You may need to work your way up to it by only fucking one or two Garry Wills.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:52 PM
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201: Honestly, I gave up on him so long ago I don't really remember specific reasons at this point. (Bear in mind, I only know his work in the NYRoB; I've never read any of his books.) Mostly my reaction to him was "meh", although I do recall an exchange he had with one of my college professors in the letters column that made me realize that flamewars predated the Internet.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:55 PM
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But as for the linked post, fuck him for suggesting that it would have been better to elect McCain than to be betrayed by Obama. I would have thought that 8 years of Bush would have discredited that particular line of thinking (and fuck you too, Ralph Nader), but what do I know.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 10:58 PM
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given eekbeat's locale

I've been meaning to ask you, Stanley, what's she doing in NYC? You may have mentioned it elsewhere, but I was dropping in and out for a spell.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:06 PM
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207: NYCTF if you want an acronym to google. She's co-teaching sixth graders with some sort of learning disability who have been mainstreamed with other kids, all in a bilingual school.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:13 PM
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Sounds like a tough job, especially in a school system like NYC. I hope it's going well for her.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12- 4-09 11:22 PM
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140 145

Lots more (pdf file) about rail freight share in the United States and Europe.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:04 AM
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Amtrak does suck in a lot of ways, but from roughly 1850 to 1970 rail was the standard way to get from one US city to another and it worked fine. There were a bunch of railroads competing with each other and laying track across the country, so service was both pretty reliable and pretty cheap.

This is oddly positive, given the problems of overcapacity, rate wars, railroads controlling territories during periods when they kept competitors out, etc. On the other hand, lots of that did work out well for passengers, until the railroads managed to dump passenger service altogether by the 1970s, at which point passenger rail had been in trouble for a while. Nowadays, I read somewhere that the freights are doing so well, that one of them actually laid new track somewhere in the past couple of years.

The Saunders Main Lines and Merging Lines are supposed to be pretty good overviews of 20th century rail.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:05 AM
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Also, back when I read the California high speed rail blog, it appeared that Amtrak California was doing pretty well, as Amtraks go. But that was before the recession got really bad.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:08 AM
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176 -- Frequently not billable, ime. But you probably don't work in rate conscious fields.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:08 AM
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the NYRoB

An acquaintance I have who works there abbreviates it without the o. Everyone there refers to it as 'nerb' (NYRB).


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:34 AM
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Unless lawyers are billing the time worked during travel to other clients, which seems like a bad idea, for the reason you mention.

Huh? Obviously you can't bill a single client 4 hours for time spent preparing for a dep an 4 hours for travel to the dep when both are the same 4 hours. But if you finish the dep and spend the 4 hours flying back working on a second client's case, are you saying it's inappropriate to bill the second client for the time? Inappropriate to bill the first?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:48 AM
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On Unitedd you use to be able to request an aisle seat at the gate, and they'd give you one of you wanted it, but now they charge more for extra leg room. My BF isn't fat, but his legs can get a bit tight.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:49 AM
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...laydeez.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:51 AM
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Nowadays, I read somewhere that the freights are doing so well, that one of them actually laid new track somewhere in the past couple of years.

Warren Buffet bought some big rail business, because he sees it as a growth industry as long as the U.S. economy grows.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:15 AM
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74: Utter comity, as I am flying to Connecticut rather than taking the train. I would rather be fisted by a federal employee, get drunk, strap myself to a metal tube for an hour and a half and be there than spend 13 hours getting there in the best train scenario available. I also chose driving to DC the last time I went because it was both of us and one gas tank was much cheaper than two train tickets. So, my endorsement of my one Amtrak experience - which is remembered fondly - does come with some caveats. However, were there ever a high-speed line between NC and DC I would be an instant lifelong customer.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:45 AM
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Re; 215

I do not think it is viewed as unethical to bill for travel time (but of course one should not bil two clients for the same time). It is more a matter of many clients, particularly large corporate clients with formal billing policies, refusing to pay for travel, just as they refuse to pay for various disbursements for which one could ethically charge, but under the terms of your engagement you can't bill. Legal services is a buyer's market.

Full disclosure--I bill for travel whenever the client will pay. If the only reason I am on a plane is the client's business, I think they should pay.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:58 AM
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I do not think it is viewed as unethical to bill for travel time

It is, however, unethical to bill for time travel. That should pay for itself.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:15 AM
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We can't even mandate that airlines aren't allowed to hold you prisoner on the tarmac for more than three hours. The whole debate about the Passengers Bill of Rights is totally surreal.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:19 AM
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It is, however, unethical to bill for time travel. That should pay for itself.

I think it's fair to charge for the initial cost of one copy of Grays Sports Almanac.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:14 AM
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There's no ethical problem with billing for timetravel -- the only problem is the practical/financial difficulty of billing for negative hours worked. That gets expensive remarkably quickly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:27 AM
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I wouldn't think that would be an issue outside of Primer style time-travel where you actually have to sit in the thing for the amount of time you wish to travel backwards. In a more standard time travel scenario it seems like you could just keep going back to the same moment and triple or even quadruple billing for the same time period, as long as you didn't cc yourself on any e-mails and cause a paradox.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:31 AM
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An acquaintance I have who works there abbreviates it without the o. Everyone there refers to it as 'nerb' (NYRB).

I can't be held responsible for their fallen standards. They probably spell "coƶperate" without the diaeresis, too.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:37 AM
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255: Depends on how you look at it. If I start work on Dec. 4, and finish on Nov. 30, I think I have to bill for negative five days of work.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:44 AM
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It seems like the whole concept of opportunity cost becomes irrelevant with time travel, but you've still taken that time away from your lifespan.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:46 AM
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220 -- Exactly. It's common to bill clients who won't pay for travel time for 'work on the plane.' If it ain't first class, it probably wasn't worth the hourly rate either.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:52 AM
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I know that there's been extensive -- yes insane but still extensive -- work done on the economics of Tolkien's Middle Earth; in like spirit I demand that libertarians, marxists and those guys who are neither but mcmanus hates em all the more bend their diverse intellects to the political economy of Gallifrey and etc. I had a friend -- sadly he died earlier this year -- who when we were both young and argumentative would noisily insist that all science fiction was flawed, because workable space travel is only achievable under socialism, and yet it never featured. Also: these guys, who believe that "UFOs come from a socialist future or alien socialist planet" -- you stll see their stall on the larger marches or demos here in London.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:00 AM
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workable space travel is only achievable under socialism, and yet it never featured

Wasn't that sort of the premise of Star Trek?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:01 AM
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oops: i mean, these guys -- http://www.forteantimes.com/features/articles/182/posadism_for_beginners.html


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:01 AM
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oh ffs: google "posadism for beginners"


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:02 AM
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231: well my friend would not have said so, but he was quite er rigorous about what counted as socialism. Also what he meant I think was that its achievement be referenced and discussed in the fiction, rather than quietly assumed.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:04 AM
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227: but you're going to work a specific amount of forward-time hours, right? You're not going to be working in negative time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:09 AM
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In terms of clock-time, if I finish before I began, that's negative time. See Young Lady v. Bright at 5.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:17 AM
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Just bill according to the integrated proper time along your worldline, which should always be positive.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:18 AM
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226: Garry Wills? I'm on tenterhooks here.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:18 AM
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They probably spell "coƶperate" without the diaeresis, too.

No, they use the diæresis, but they pronounce the word with only three syllables.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:19 AM
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Just bill according to the integrated proper time along your worldline, which should always be positive.

This, of course, is what is done in practice (see, e.g., billing 27 hours in a day where you had to fly from NY to LA on business).


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:19 AM
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My hypothesis states that because travelling east to west enhances billing hours, while travelling west to east decreases billing hours, lawyers will tend to favor westerly business trips. Preliminary data suggests that the prevailing motion of lawyers is westerly at a rate of 1.11 time zones/lawyer-year. This motion could be considered as a renewable source of energy, and should be factored in to models of geologic changes in the earth's rotation and climate.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:25 AM
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tierce, I sent you an email at the address linked to your name.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:25 AM
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220

Full disclosure--I bill for travel whenever the client will pay. If the only reason I am on a plane is the client's business, I think they should pay.

Do you bill your full rate? It seems to me that if you are billing full rate the client deserves your full attention and sitting on a plane reading the newspaper doesn't qualify.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:26 AM
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Do you bill your full rate?.

I do. And your point is a good one from the point of view of clients who refuse to pay for travel (or who pay at a reduced rate.) On the other hand, if I were sitting in my office instead of on the plane, I might be able to bill my full rate for someone else.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:30 AM
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Lincoln at Gettysburg is one of my favorite books. So, fuck a bunch of Garry Wills, but in a greasy all night long sort of way.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:37 AM
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It seems to me that if you are billing full rate the client deserves your full attention

Nah. What the client deserves is that you be performing a necessary task for the client that can't be efficiently performed by someone else more cheaply and that you couldn't do faster by devoting more attention to it. Usually, that's going to mean devoting your full attention (or at least as close as you can manage) to the task.

Travel, on the other hand, is a necessary task for the client if the client needs you in the place you're traveling to. You can't offload it onto a paralegal. And you're not going to get there any faster by focusing on it, unless you can speed a plane up with the power of your mind.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 11:02 AM
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charleycarp i responded!


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 11:04 AM
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245: Also -- classicist! Who wrote a hilarious takedown of that Who Killed Homer? joke of a book. I like him plenty.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 11:16 AM
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246

Travel, on the other hand, is a necessary task for the client if the client needs you in the place you're traveling to. You can't offload it onto a paralegal. And you're not going to get there any faster by focusing on it, unless you can speed a plane up with the power of your mind.

But you generally could be doing something else for the client while sitting in the plane. Like preparing for a deposition. Or reviewing the results of a deposition. Or proof reading motions. Etc.

Or you could be doing something for another client. Which is why it might make sense to bill travel at a reduced rate and work done while traveling at a reduced rate so that the sum is your full rate.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 11:18 AM
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245: That really is a great, great book.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 11:34 AM
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248: Was that in NYRB?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 11:35 AM
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But you generally could be doing something else for the client while sitting in the plane. Like preparing for a deposition. Or reviewing the results of a deposition. Or proof reading motions. Etc.

True, but only in a limited sense. Lots of kinds of work you really can't do on a plane; the kinds that you probably could do in some sense, as Charley says you're very unlikely to be able to do and actually get anything usefully productive done.

I'd agree that where there's productive work you really could successfully do while traveling, you're ethically obliged to do that, and bill it to whatever client it's for rather than billing that time as travel time. If you wouldn't be able to get anything useful done, though, there's no ethical obligation to punish yourself by cutting your rates or struggling with something that isn't going to turn into real output.

(All this is separate, of course, from what you can negotiate with the client. If the client won't pay for travel, then that's the agreement.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 11:35 AM
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I mostly agree with 252.

One problem is that client billing rules that are designed to save them money can make it harder to do this. I can't bill for Business Class travel. However, if I flew Business Class, I would have room to work. I am a large land mammal, me and my laptop, much less, me, my laptop and files, do not fit in a coach seat.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 11:44 AM
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251: I am thinking no, because it was pretty sarcastic and casual (an extended rumination on what it would mean to take VDH's advice and "live like the Greeks"). It was also like 10 years ago, so it was probably in Suck or Salon.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 11:51 AM
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And you're not going to get there any faster by focusing on it, unless you can speed a plane up with the power of your mind.

Who says I can't?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 12:41 PM
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I've arguably billed more than 24 hours in a single day two or three times because of the following travel scenario: leave LA on a red-eye to NYC at 11pm PCT, arrive in NY at 7 am EST, shower and change in the airport lounge, go to a deposition or an all day meeting that starts at 9:30, leave the deposition at 6, get on an 8 pm plane back to LA that lands in LA at 11: 30 pm.

But to avoid the confusion of marking down a number over 24 hrs for a single day on a client bill, I just shfted the first hour to the previous day and kept everything on west coast time. Also, those trips really sucked.

I agree with the basic principles of 252. It's not been at all unusual to me to work on something urgent for one client's case while on a plane during a trip for a second client. Since you can only bill one client for any chunk of time, this actually saves the trip-paying client some money that they'd have had to pay if I'd just sat in my seat watching the movie. It is clearly unethical to double-bill in that situation, so of course I don't do it, but it's always felt weird.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 12:59 PM
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256: I would be physically incapable of doing that without assistance from crystal meth.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 1:02 PM
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|| Pitt-Cincy turning into a classic. On ABC! || >


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 1:05 PM
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I agree with the basic principles of 255.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 1:11 PM
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shit...


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 1:12 PM
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If you speed up the plane with your mind, you're just going to sit on the tarmac at your destination while they get the gate ready. With a headache.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 1:13 PM
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256

... Since you can only bill one client for any chunk of time, ...

You can't allocate time between clients? Client A gets your being on a plane rate and client B gets your working on a plane rate. As long as these sum to your basic rate (or less) I don't see a problem.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 1:40 PM
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There's no currently existing principle that would distinguish that from double billing, which is forbidden. (It would, in fact, be double-billing. Just at a cut-rate for each client.)

While there is an argument that double-billing in that manner and under those circumstances wouldn't violate the spirit of the ethical rules, it would violate the hell out of the letter of them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 1:49 PM
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Have I mentioned how much I don't miss timesheets?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:02 PM
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Oh, god, yes. Being in a world where the only thing that matters is whether the work I need to do gets done in a timely fashion, and I don't need to sweat every unproductive day as a blemish on my permanent record, let alone the sheer horror of actually having to do the record keeping, is something I wake up in the mornings and feel thankful for every day.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:05 PM
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I hate you all.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:09 PM
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So if you can't bill someone for time spent working on h/h shit while in transit for someone else, why would you work on it?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:10 PM
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Come to the dark side, text.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:10 PM
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I think that's actually the light side, LB.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:11 PM
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Everything is dark here already.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:11 PM
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I hate you too, teo.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:12 PM
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267: No, you can bill the person you're doing work for while you're on the plane, you just have to trim those hours off what you charge the other client for travel time. A six hour flight to a deposition for Client A is billed as six hours to Client A if you sleep on the plane. OTOH, if you spend an hour and a half on the plane reading docs for client B, you charge Client B for that hour and a half, and only charge Client A for four and a half hours of the plane ride.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:13 PM
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(and if it makes you feel any better, text, I've been commenting all day because I'm writing a brief. Government work, while largely beer and skittles, isn't quite all beer and skittles.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:15 PM
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Dear old Posadas. He made left wing activism in the 1970s survivable (together with the tiny group of Maoist crooks in London who insisted that the PLA would liberate Britain before the end of 1978 (I think) and then in 1979 insisted that it had (virtually) happened.)


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:19 PM
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I don't feel better. But I hate you less for trying.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:24 PM
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272: But that really doesn't answer nosflow's underlying question. That is, if you can bill four hours to client A for travel while reading the inflight magazine, why would you choose to instead spend four hours doing actual work for client B when at the end of the day you still bank the same four hours.

Two possible answers: (1) perhaps the work for client B can be billed out at a higher rate -- not all clients pay the same rate; or (2) the work for client B has a looming due date and you just plain need to get it done.

Reading through this thread, I'm awfully glad I almost never need to travel on business.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:25 PM
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or (3) you'd rather have the leisure you can reclaim by getting your work done faster than the extra hours of billing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:31 PM
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It's always been (2), in my case. And, these issues have been going away as I'm increasingly moving into a practice somewhat more like Di's.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:35 PM
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I'm supposed to be working today too but it hasn't happened so far.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:45 PM
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I haven't got much done. It's a reply brief, and the opposition brief is off-the-wall enough that I'm getting myself all flummoxed. ("Plaintiff's argument that their claims are not barred by the statute of limitations is compelling. Not that we ever said they were.")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:47 PM
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274: tiny group of Maoist crooks in London
That's not a very nice way to refer to Arsenal supporters.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:52 PM
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I'm supposed to be working today too but it hasn't happened so far.

I am in scenic Mexico City. But in a conference room in the hotel with two colleagues editing a PowerPoint presentation.

Ah, the glamorous life of a New York lawyer.

Tomorrow, however, I am supposed to go to a bullfight with our client's General Counsel.

[No, I am not billing for the bullfight, even though we may discuss business]


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:53 PM
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Inflight magazines suck.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:56 PM
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In-flight magazines are something.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 2:58 PM
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so, unfortunately for our friends from Texas, does the Stephen F. Austin defense. Game just ended: 51-0.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:00 PM
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That's not a very nice way to refer to Arsenal supporters.

They were called, I kid you not, the Workers' Institute for Marxism, Leninism, Mao Tsetung thought. I think they all lived in one big house in south London.

Once, when I'd got busted on some demo and was sitting waiting for my case to come up, one of them was on before me, and delayed proceedings considerably by refusing to recognise the court. I mean, refusing to recognise Bow Street Magistrates' Court, once presided over by Henry Fielding!

Soon after that they all got caught stealing lead from a church roof, and that was the end of that. (I'm not making any of this up.)


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:00 PM
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I am on an Amtrak train to Sacramento. It arrived 20 minutes late. See, this is what happens when you put the government in control of things. Why, in the airline industry, where private companies run things, you'd never see delays like th--oh, wait.

3 young Aussie gents are across me. So far they haven't been too annoying, but they show signs of potential for dudish obnoxiousness.

Am enjoying the copious legroom and generous reclinability of these seats.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:22 PM
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My grasp of Aussie dialect is weak, but surely that's 'laddish' obnoxiousness?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:24 PM
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258: Almost a classic. The ending sucked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:24 PM
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What did 60s-70s British Maoists think about the Beatles, after "Revolution"? I've always wondered about that.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:26 PM
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That if you played the "Number 9" bit backward, you could hear John saying "Turn me on, dead man," thus proving that Paul was dead?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:29 PM
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288: I considered writing that, but was worried that was British, and didn't want to take the risk of conflating the two dialects.

Also, since Halford is here: I am reclining, but there is no one in the seat behind me.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:32 PM
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Well, you had the nation's premiere hippies telling the Maoists that they "weren't going to make it, anyhow" so I pictured some earnest burning of the white album while wearing funny green Mao hats. But my knowledge of the British radical left of the period comes from Life of Brian and (a later period I guess) that one weird guy on the Young Ones.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:36 PM
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292 -- trains are different, recline away!


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:39 PM
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294: Inter-city buses are even more relaxed. You're allowed to put your head in your seatmate's lap.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:41 PM
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You're allowed to put your head in your seatmate's lap.

Just watch out for those Canadian buses, where your crazy seatmate might decide to put your head in your lap.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:48 PM
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296: Canadian yoga instructors can be very insistent.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 3:51 PM
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44: I had to fly a couple of weeks ago, before my new knee had completely recovered its ability to bend. My original flight was cancelled and the next flight had bulkhead=exit row, so they wouldn't seat me there. I couldn't bend my knee well enough to sit in the regular seating. Just as the spectre of yet another delay was looming [and I'd already sat in the damned airport for six hours], the flight attendant bumped me to first class. And fed me a gin & tonic.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 4:09 PM
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296 Saw that a lot when living in DC with a gf in NYC, but I didn't know that that's what the kids were calling it now.

On trains vs planes. Trains are much more comfortable and assuming similar total travel times and costs, they win. With decent quality standard rail that means anything under 200 miles, with high speed it goes up to 500.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 5:07 PM
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Trains are much more comfortable and assuming similar total travel times and costs, they win. With decent quality standard rail that means anything under 200 miles, with high speed it goes up to 500.

Which, unfortunately, still doesn't get you even close to halfway across the US. So it looks like air travel will always be with us.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 5:09 PM
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Yes, though the comfort advantage means that people will often choose to have a slightly longer trip. Also price: back before the mid nineties air travel within Europe was horribly expensive, and with subsidized rail that meant that people routinely chose long rail trips over planes. These days you often get the reverse dynamic operating when flights cost significantly less than a high speed rail ticket. Then there's overnight - it can be quite pleasant to hop into a train in the evening and arrive in the center of town the next morning after breakfast, though again, price matters. It used to be a lot cheaper than the equivalent flight, nowadays not so much. Yet another factor is whether you want to be in the city center and whether you're going to need a car.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 5:30 PM
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I want a car I can fit in the overhead compartment.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 5:46 PM
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301: flights cost significantly less than a high speed rail ticket
It's only an extra $80 to fly (in an hour) from the Twin Cities to Chicago (with Saturday stay) versus taking Amtrak, a month in advance. I can't honestly say that $80 is "lunch" for me right now, but a year ago it would have been. And flying saves you about 5 hours. Of course, on the one occasion on which I flew from MSP to O'Hare for business, the ticket was about $900, coach.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 5:48 PM
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on the one occasion on which I flew from MSP to O'Hare for business

There are MSP to Midway flights on Southwest, aren't there?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 5:54 PM
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304: This was before Southwest entered the Twin Cities market. And with only 4 or 5 days notice. And it's all politics.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 5:59 PM
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Southwest only started flying to MSP pretty recently.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:03 PM
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306 That's some awfully specific knowledge for a place you don't live. Anyone else sometimes wonder if teo's really a wizard?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:29 PM
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A place I've never even been to, actually.

I fly Southwest a lot. When they start flying to a new airport they make a big deal out of it. I remember seeing on a flight I took relatively recently that they'd started flying to MSP.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:33 PM
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I am a wizard, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:34 PM
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...laydeez.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:34 PM
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But if you finish the dep and spend the 4 hours flying back working on a second client's case, are you saying it's inappropriate to bill the second client for the time? Inappropriate to bill the first?

To answer this, and to simultaneously put a giant bold "Huh?" next to 263, which I don't understand at all, I'd bill the second client for the 4 hours of time if I thought I'd worked as effectively as I would have sitting in my office. If I felt I was operating at, say, 75% efficiency, I'd bill 3 hours to client 2 and 1 hour (travel) to client 1. If I could only work at 25% efficiency, it would be reversed--1 hour of work billed to client 2, and 3 hours of travel billed to client 1. I've never been in a situation where a client paid a different rate for travel vs. other work, but I guess it makes sense that some would negotiate for that.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:35 PM
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||
Liam Clancy, last survivor of The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem, has died.

I don't suppose any of the current or former Chicago people around here are old enough to remember Ray Nordstrand and Norm Pelligrini on WFMT. They played a lot of that music. They're probably dead, too.
|>


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 6:50 PM
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312: That's sad. More of my past vanishes. I saw TCB&TM in New York in the Sixties. The spotlights on their faces & the white sweaters, with everything else in darkness, created a weird almost hypnotic state for me without any chemical enhancement needed. It must have had an impact, I can visualize it clearly now.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:24 PM
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312: My Grammy used to listen to that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:25 PM
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311: Shearer was proposing, on a four hour plane ride, to charge two clients for four hours of work each -- the client on whose behalf you were travelling would pay your 'travel rate' for four hours, and the client whose work you were doing on the plane would pay your 'working inefficiently on a plane' rate for the same four hours. Even if you're charging cutrates, if you're charging two different clients for four hours of work between 2 and 6 in the afternoon, that's double billing.

What you describe (splitting the fullprice time between the clients, but adjusting the hours worked for inefficiency) sounds kosher to me, otoh.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:25 PM
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312: I grew up listening to the Clancy Brothers -- the combination of Irish and the late 50s/early 60s folk music scene meant my parents were very fond of them. In fact, I actually have a Clancy Brothers album on my iPod.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:27 PM
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Fare thee well, Enniskillen. Always liked that one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:32 PM
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... my parents were very fond of them. ... My Grammy used to listen to that

Me 'n you, Biohazard, on the count of three we wave our canes in the air and say "the goddam kids these days ... "


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:34 PM
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Never heard of them. Must have been before my grandparents' time.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:36 PM
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Hey, I like them myself, lots.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:37 PM
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315: got it, I'd missed that on first reading. Of course, there's no real difference between the two.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:38 PM
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Hey, I like them myself, lots.

But apparently you've read everything I've read (including Gaudy Night) and all the music I've heard and you have the audacity to remember it all - I feat that's far, far beyond the abilities of this mortal man, Kal-El-Bee.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:42 PM
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312: Hey! I remember Norm Pellegrini! It turns out that he just died this past July.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:44 PM
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321: Well, there's something a little sketchy even about what you're doing. The conversation you'd have to have with the client to pull it all out into the open is one that I'd think a lot of clients would be unhappy with: "I'm going to be getting your work done under circumstances where I'm uncomfortable enough that I can't focus or think straight. But I think I can accurately gauge how inefficient I'm being due to the discomfort and distraction, and I'lll write the time down proportionately." That seems like a deal that most clients wouldn't be cheerful about -- they agreed to hire you, focusing, full price, not you, distracted, half price.

I wouldn't feel terrible about doing what you're doing, but I'd think best practices would be to work on the plane only where (a) it was something that you really thought you could do properly, and so charge full price, or where (b) it was enough of an emergency that it had to be done on the plane regardless of distraction, and so charge full price.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:46 PM
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all the music I've heard

Almost certainly untrue. I'm not a music person at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:48 PM
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Hey, yo, Californians in this thread! Can any of you explain to me about your Prop. 11? I hadn't heard of it until this e-mail just now:

WeDrawTheLines.ca.gov
Last year, California voters passed Proposition 11, creating California's first-ever citizens redistricting commission. Since passage of Proposition 11, we have been working diligently with the state to ensure that the implementing regulations emphasize the importance of the Voting Rights Act and the creation of a commission that represents all of the communities that make up our state.
Now, we need your help. With a state as big and diverse as California, who draws the lines - and how those lines are drawn - will truly shape the future of our state. We need you to apply to serve on the commission that will draw California's senate, assembly and board of equalization districts.

Is this genius or insanity? Both? I know we've talked about redistricting plans before, but I don't remember a citizen component like this one.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:52 PM
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I am also quite fond of the Clancy brothers, and I'm younger than LB.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:52 PM
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But you're an old soul, Nick.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:53 PM
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I remember Norm Pellegrini! It turns out that he just died this past July.

Thank you. That prompted me to do a google, and it turns out that The Midnight Special is still running on WFMT. I had assumed that it ended when I last heard it, which would have been perhaps 1974. Maybe there's something to this idea that parts of the world continue even when I'm not watching.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:55 PM
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317: Ah. That did my heart good. I really need to tune into my Irish music more often.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:55 PM
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I am also quite fond of the Clancy brothers, and I'm younger than LB.

I've never let a fact stand in the way of my opinions, and I'm certainly not going to start now. Goddam kids and their facts. mutter mutter mutter millenium hand and shrimp. Bugrit.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:58 PM
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And the songs are so satisfying to sing along with. Most rock/pop I end up with long patches in the middle where the vocalist is doing something I can't imitate effectively at all. The Clancy Brothers and the like, while I sound like hell because it's still me singing, I can get through the whole song.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:58 PM
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Another vote for the Clancy Brothers. I spent a good portion my childhood weekends working the Midwest's Irish craft-fair circuit with my grandma, who sold her crafts there. I was exposed to a lot of Irish music as a result.

Also, I had a standing advanced pardon from my grandma to sing loud the full lyrics of the The Wolfe Tones' "Rock on Rockall", including the curse words (which is a big deal when you're eight).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 7:59 PM
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329: And BEZ still seems to air Word Jazz with Ken Nordine (, Daddy-O).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:01 PM
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This (great) song clearly owes a large debt to "Fare thee well, Enniskillen".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:04 PM
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I disagree fairly strongly with 324. I mean, this is something of a corner case, because (a) almost anytime I'm working on a plane, it's for the same client for whom I've traveling, (b) when I'm not, I'm generally able to review a printed document or otherwise do something for which I'm working at close enough to full efficiency that I feel comfortable billing all the time to that client. But before you use a word like "sketchy", could you explain to me how this is different than any run-of-the-mill working late? I mean, at least a giant chunk of what I do in any month during which I bill over about 250 hours or so is going to be done under circumstances in which, "to pull it all out in the open", as you say, I'd have to say to the client, "I'm going to be getting your work done under circumstances where I'm [replace "uncomfortable" with "tired"] enough that I can't focus or think straight." But generally the client gets no discount for that (because I'm sure as hell going to bill it, if I'm stuck there all night working). And I don't think there's anything unethical about that (though please, correct me if you disagree), even though there have certainly been times when I'd been embarrassed at my own inefficiency, because of exhaustion. The only difference in the travel scenario is that I don't *have* to bill the client for the entire period in order to capture all my time, because there's another client who can be on the hook for the difference. And that fact makes it seem, ethically, more questionable to you?

I mean, yes, if I talked to them about it, I'm sure every client would prefer me fresh and well-rested and totally focused on their problems (and theirs alone), without distraction, for as long as needed. But that's not always, or even generally, realistic.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:08 PM
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I spent a good portion my childhood weekends working the Midwest's Irish craft-fair circuit with my grandma, who sold her crafts there.

We do the Gaelic Park Irish Fest every memorial Day weekend, and the Irish american Heritage Center St. Paddy's Day fest every St. Paddy's. Indeed, the latter is specifically written into my custody agreement. Rory love to watch the Irish dancing. Mom and I love to sing along to the standards.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:10 PM
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335 is also great and downstairs on my iTunes I think.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:12 PM
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And BEZ still seems to air Word Jazz with Ken Nordine (, Daddy-O).

And he's available through the miracle of the intertubes! I had no idea. I remember him from the Midnight Special, where they played his album Twink.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:13 PM
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336: The thing is, when you work late, you're doing it because the volume of work makes it necessary, so you charge full price. And if the volume of work means that you really have to work on a plane, then it's necessary, and I'd charge full price for the same reason I charge full price for hours worked between three and four in the morning.

What I was reacting to was writing down your time -- if working on the plane is necessary, then writing down your time seems to me to be unfair to you. If it's not necessary -- you could get the work done under more favorable circumstances later -- AND being on a plane is distracting you enough that you feel as if you should write the time down, I'd leave the work for later. I don't think most clients would want the half-price distracted work if given the option explicitly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:15 PM
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We do the Gaelic Park Irish Fest every memorial Day weekend, and the Irish american Heritage Center St. Paddy's Day fest every St. Paddy's.

Then you've almost undoubtedly walked past my grandma's booth at both. Small world!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:16 PM
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326: Not good. (And on the off chance this isn't already well know, calitics is the place to go for CA politics.)


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:18 PM
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if working on the plane is necessary, then writing down your time seems to me to be unfair to you

Why is it unfair to me? Four hours is four hours. I'm billing four hours regardless.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:18 PM
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340 con't: Mostly, as you describe your practice, I think you're cheating yourself, not your clients.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:19 PM
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I knew Ken Nordine was old, but I didn't realize he was already 47 when he released the "Colors" album, 42 years ago. Or that his most recent recorded appearance was a collaboration with Strongbad on a song on the most recent Shellac album. Or that there was a recent Shellac album. Thanks, internet!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:19 PM
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Pretty coldhearted of you, Di, to walk right past Stanley's grandma's booth like that.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:19 PM
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335: Yeah, I've seen time cut for work done that was full efficiency and fully necessary because it was a particularly difficult case but the partner felt the straight up description along the lines of "rereading particularly damning case for the 12th time" would seem redundant to the client. I'm constantly being reminded that clients don't like to spend money for things like reading, thinking, discussing, meeting and so, ostensibly, I ought not be billing for such things. Fuck it. That's what I'm doing and it's valuable and so I'm billing for it. The worst was a client who I was told (after the fact) would not pay for time spent conducting legal research without prior authorization. What now?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:20 PM
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Further to 342: "Prop. 11 was designed to break the stranglehold Democrats have held on redistricting in California, where the Legislature's majority, i.e., the Democrats, draws the lines for every legislative and congressional district, protecting incumbents of both parties and keeping the Dems in control."


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:21 PM
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343: Well, what if you were traveling for a client who didn't pay for travel? Four hour plane ride, three hours of work at what feels like 50% efficiency for another client? If you'd write it down under those circumstances, that's cheating yourself. If you wouldn't, then you're billing one client more or less depending on your billing arrangement with another client, which seems sketchy to me.

You're right that this is a corner case -- to make it actually a problem, you need a very specific setup, which is why I wouldn't call it an ethical problem. But writing down your time as you describe seems like a rule that works badly if you try to generalize why you're doing it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:23 PM
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341: What does she sell, Stanley? Chances are we've at least perused her wares, if not purchased.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:24 PM
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338: Singing out "And fifteen minutes later we had our first taste of whiskey" is super double secret code between me and my best friend for "good god it's time to get a drink".

Or was, really. We haven't lived in the same city since about 2000, so it only ever gets used at get-togethers. We were both in, um, China together at the same time, and it sure got used a lot then.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:25 PM
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347: Oh, man, clients with fussy rules about what categories of legal work they will and will not pay for are just begging to be, um, gently evaded. We had one who wouldn't pay for meetings, which meant billing for what happened in meetings without mentioning that there were other lawyers in the room at the time. "Analyzed securities-law claims."

I love not billing my time so much.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:26 PM
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I billed Stanley's Grandma for the time spent walking by her booth.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:26 PM
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I'll bill anyone. I'm crazy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:27 PM
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LIKE DRIVING, IT IS AS UNETHICAL TO BILL FULL RATE FOR WORK DONE WHILE DROWSY AS IT IS TO BILL FULL RATE FOR WORK DONE WHILE DRUNK.


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:27 PM
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I'll bill your pants off. I'll bill circles around you.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:29 PM
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350: She paints wooden plaques with Irish quotations and that sort of thing. (She does non-Irish stuff, too, but for these fairs is mostly Irish stuff.) I guess you could call it Irish-American kitsch art.

More recently, she's moved into doing oils again (where she started, but that's a tough market). I can happily lead you to her website but would rather do so via e-mail.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:30 PM
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I billed a man in Reno, just because he wore a tie.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:30 PM
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I billed a Slinky, just to watch it slide.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:32 PM
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I billed this city on rock and roll.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:32 PM
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May those who love us, love us. And for those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts. And if He doesn't turn their hearts, may He turn their ankles so we'll know them by the limping.

That sort of thing?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:33 PM
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Peter billed the church on the rock of our faith.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:34 PM
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Well, what if you were traveling for a client who didn't pay for travel? Four hour plane ride, three hours of work at what feels like 50% efficiency for another client? If you'd write it down under those circumstances, that's cheating yourself. If you wouldn't, then you're billing one client more or less depending on your billing arrangement with another client, which seems sketchy to me.

I'd bill the full amount under those circumstances. It still strikes me as very odd that you call this "sketchy", since you're on board with the idea that the entire amount should be billed. My agreement with the client would allow me to bill them for this work and they should expect to be billed for it. It strikes you as sketchy that there could be circumstances under which I'd decide not to bill a client for the entire amount of time I was entitled to bill them?

Further, on the very narrow issue of "billing one client more or less depending on your billing arrangement with another client," I'd also bill one client less for legal research if I had a memo on the same topic I'd just written for another client the prior week. What's the difference?

But writing down your time as you describe seems like a rule that works badly if you try to generalize why you're doing it.

It sounds almost like you think any voluntary write-down of time is dangerous/"sketchy"? I know that can't be the case, so I must be missing some of the distinctions you're trying to draw here.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:34 PM
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361: And fifteen minutes later we had our first taste of whiskey.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:34 PM
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361: Exactly that sort of thing. As in, that's a quite popular one she sells a ton of.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:35 PM
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342, 348: Huh. It's not immediately obvious to me that this is a bad thing (in general I think Common Cause and the League of Women Voters are on the right track), but since you live there and I don't, I'm going to assume you know a lot better what you're talking about.

Seems like a shame. In general I do think having incumbent state legislators in charge of redistricting is begging for self-dealing.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:36 PM
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If you billed it, they will come.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:36 PM
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Happy birthday, ari, by the way.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:37 PM
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Come January 1, I'm going to be billing my time again. Thank you very much, A-133 auditor.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:37 PM
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I bill children! And make their mamas cry!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:37 PM
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357: Please do! I always look at that stuff (love the one in 361, along with the classic about how the gift of an Irishman is his ability to tell you to go to hell such that you look forward to the journey). Next time, I'll maybe buy something 'cause it's your Grandma


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:37 PM
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Thank god I'm not paid by the hour. I have no idea if I was working for the last two hours or not, for instance.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:38 PM
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370: Heh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:39 PM
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I've billed fire and I've billed rain. I've billed sunny days that I thought would never end. I've billed lonely days when I could not find a friend. But I always thought that I'd bill you again.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:39 PM
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If you billed it, they will come.

If they came, you should bill them.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:39 PM
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...you dirty whore!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:40 PM
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372 made me laugh out loud.

Like many graduate students, I work about 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, at about 30% of the productivity that I could theoretically achieve if anyone was supervising me or even noticing whether I'm doing anything or not.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:40 PM
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Excuse me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:40 PM
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If Stanley's Grandma could make me a plaque based on 374, it would make me very happy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:40 PM
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363: Well, the initial thing that struck me as sketchy was working on the plane when it wasn't necessary and it was messing you up enough that you felt as if you should write the time down. It sounds like you agree with me on that -- plane work should either be full-efficiency or mandated by time pressure. So that was my primary sketchiness issue.

On the write-down front, it seems sketchy to me because I can't imagine explaining it to both clients simultaneously. "Bob, I'm going to charge you for three hours of this four hour plane ride, and I'm going to charge Phil here for one. I actually spent three hours doing work for Phil, but I thought I was being really inefficient about it, so I charged you for it instead." "Phil, I only charged you one hour for three hours worth of work, because trust me, when I'm on a plane, I'm not worth full price. Next week, though, I'm going to be flying to a deposition for Alice, who doesn't pay for travel. On that trip, you're paying full price for any work I do for you on the plane, whether or not I'm worth it, because I won't have the option of making Alice pay for the time."

That seems like a conversation I really wouldn't want to have explicitly. Which sets off my 'sketchy' radar.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:41 PM
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In general I do think having incumbent state legislators in charge of redistricting is begging for self-dealing.

I strongly agree in principal, but until Republican redoubts (like, e.g., Texas) agree to make redistricting nonpartisan, I really think unilateral disarmament, especially in a huge state like California, is a terrible idea.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:43 PM
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All I want to know is: which one of youse killed Emerson?

(Oh, and Happy Birthday, Ari).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:43 PM
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And who's Bill, anyway?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:44 PM
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We billed you a golden bridge.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:46 PM
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368: Thanks.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:46 PM
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382: MC? Really? Is that you? This is like the best present evah!


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:47 PM
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OT: Nebraska's defense is close to perfect. The offense makes me want to tell people I'm from Iowa.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:48 PM
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380: it would be awkward to explain it to both of them if we were all sitting in the same room at once, yes. Does that prove anything? It would also be awkward to explain to Bob and Alice simultaneously why her bill was four hours less than his for identical work, since he pays for my time during travel and she doesn't. Is any variation in billing practice across clients sketchy?

On the other hand, it would be very easy to explain Bob's bill to Bob and Phil's bill to Phil. That seems like it should be good enough.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:48 PM
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382: Emerson isn't dead, he's just pining for the fjords.

383: gswift is the bill.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:48 PM
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381: To be clear, it wasn't unilateral. It was the Republicans' idea; it was pushed through with Republican money; and it will serve Republicans' interests.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:49 PM
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Yes, Ari, it's me. And I've got a box of Timbits with your name on it.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:50 PM
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392

More Clancy Brothers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:50 PM
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It's ari's birthday? Happy birthday, ari! (We should have a cake to link, like the fruit basket.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:50 PM
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390: Right. I just meant in terms of whether someone like Witt should support it on principal.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:50 PM
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Happy birthday, Ari! Hiya, Mary Catherine!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:51 PM
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Republicans are always self-serving assholes. It's uncanny.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:52 PM
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whether someone like Witt should support it on principal.

No, she should just support the interest.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:52 PM
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Also I'm tired and buzzed, because I've had 2 drinks and it's past 9 pm. Because that's how I roll. Ok, 2+. But a conservative number.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:54 PM
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388: Come on. Phil and Alice negotiated different deals with you, which is perfectly kosher -- talking about Alice's deal in front of Phil might make him want to renegotiate, but he wouldn't have a gripe about it.

As between Bob and Phil, though, you're telling Bob "I did work for you that was bad enough that I don't really think it's worth full price. So I'll cut the price, so long as it comes out of Phil's pocket. When I can't cut the price without taking it out of my own, personal, pocket, though, you're paying the whole thing."

You can't see that as legitimately disturbing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:55 PM
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I've got a box of Timbits with your name on it

God love you and yours. Though, truth be told, my wife and kids made me a pony cake. Because, whenever one of the kids says that he wants this or that absurd thing (another video game, more allowance, a later bedtime), I say that I want a pony. So they got me a pony for my birthday. Still, I'll take the donuts, thanks, on the principle that one can never have too many baked/fried sweets.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:55 PM
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No, she should just support the interest.

But according to 390 the interest is Republican!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:55 PM
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a box of Timbits

Some call them Timbits? Or just the regular kind?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:56 PM
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400: Where did they get the pony meat?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:57 PM
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Tiercely heebie is funny.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:58 PM
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366: To be clear, I have no idea what the unintended consequences will be. But I know that the intended consequences included hamstringing the Democrats in this state. And given the nature of California's Republicans, that's a very scary thought.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 8:59 PM
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Put up a new thread, heebs. A sports thread!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:00 PM
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Bob's bill to Bob

I think this would still be a problem with full disclosure. "What's this one hour here?"
"That's three hours of work on a plane. I wrote it down because I'm inefficient on planes, and I could charge any leftover time on the plane to a different client."
"Okay, what's this three hours?"
"That's three hours of work on a different plane."
"You were more efficient that time?"
"No."
"Then why didn't you write it down?"
"Because the client I was flying for doesn't pay for travel, so if I wrote it down for you, I couldn't have billed it to anyone."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:00 PM
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The Gators lost. That's kind of a bummer.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:01 PM
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Discussing Alice's billing arrangement with Phil would, of course, violate a client confidence and itself be unethical. Just sayin'.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:01 PM
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Now Alice doesn't live at her billing arrangement. She lives around the corner.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:02 PM
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We should have a cake to link, like the fruit basket.

A fruit cake?

I've had 2 drinks and it's past 9 pm. Because that's how I roll. Ok, 2+. But a conservative number.

You call those drinks?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:03 PM
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Discussing Alice's billing arrangement with Phil would... itself be unethical

Without her consent, here implied by the fact that everyone's in the same room.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:03 PM
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408: Why? Seriously, I'm not a Nick Saban fan, and the perfect outcome, from my perspective, would have been a series of non-life-threatening injuries that led to cancellation of the game, but I'm curious what would make anyone support Tim Tebow. And now, all I want for my birthday -- other than having MC show up -- is for the Huskers to beat the dreaded Longhorns.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:04 PM
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You can bill anything you want, when Alice is your client.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:04 PM
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412: In which case, it's just stupid business. "Hey, Phil. Just wanted you to know Alice is paying $150 less per hour than you. *And* she doesn't pay for travel time. Sucka!!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:05 PM
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413: Because I grew up in Gainesville?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:07 PM
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And I'm really not trying to be holier than thou at Brock -- this is the sort of thing where you probably don't actually run into the sort of situation that would be hard to explain often at all, and any issues like the one's I'm pointing to would be very de minimus. It just seems as if applying Brock's practices could possibly get you into an uncomfortably inconsistent position.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:07 PM
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416: I thought you grew up in Kansas or Nebraska or Missouri or somewhere like that. Anyway, all this should go in the new sports thread.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:08 PM
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"One's"? Jesus Christ. I'm quitting this brief for the night.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:08 PM
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416: Ah. In that case, I'm sorry God didn't love Tebow enough to deliver victory unto him and the Gators.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:08 PM
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OT: Go Huskers. That was an ugly offense, but a great game to win.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:10 PM
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This has not been my best birthday ever, I'll have you all know.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:10 PM
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I have scriptures painted under my eyes at this very moment. 33:16.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:10 PM
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399: so, in your view, am I being unfair to Bob, or to Phil, or--as you suggested before--to myself?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:10 PM
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I'm billing God for these losses.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:11 PM
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Woo! Hook 'em! (Holy hell that was close).


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:11 PM
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I'm philling Bob for these Alices.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:11 PM
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Jesus Christ. I'm quitting this brief for the night.

Nah. Just keep at it, but only bill 50%.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:12 PM
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||

I have sort of fucked-up news (to me) about the prison e-mail thing I related recently but am reluctant to share it (let alone post about it) because talking about prison policies gets me worked up in an unusual way. I should just tell you and then vow not to comment right? That's a fair deal to myself, right?

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:13 PM
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nd now, all I want for my birthday -- other than having MC show up -- is for the Huskers to beat the dreaded Longhorns.

So sorry.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:13 PM
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I don't even know what a new sports thread would be about.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:13 PM
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I can't understand why teams don't just kick off normally at the end of games. Is there some strategic reason to hand the other team 40 yards? Kickoff returns for touchdowns don't happen that often.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:13 PM
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I can't just think up a new sport like that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:13 PM
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The Wikipedia link on the redistricting proposition is less helpful than usual. The unintended consequences seem likely to be significant, and also to be unusually un-knowable. For now I guess I'll go with the heuristic that if it came out of CA's proposition system, it's awful.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:14 PM
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420: Heh. I read the Agassi autobiography over Thanskgiving and he has some great snark directed at some other tennis player who always praised God for the victory. Though, really, I'm only mentioning that because I've been dying to tell you all how much I loved reading that autobiography.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:15 PM
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429: If you spill it, we will com(m)e(nt).


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:15 PM
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if it came out of CA's proposition system, it's awful

Safest bet ever.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:15 PM
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429: The commentariat works in strange and wonderful ways. But usually contrarian. But I'm curious, so you should share, but never expect the response you'd love.


["Oh Heebie what a great and wonderful way to streamline traffic flow!"]


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:16 PM
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429: Aw, Stanley, that's horrible. I'm sorry.

Food is generally good consolation for crappy, humanity-destroying policies. ::sending a virtual cornmeal/apricot muffin with orange glaze::


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:16 PM
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The Petros And Money Show suggested that although Tebow-related hype is awful, it could be a lot worse. Petros advised that we look back at the last quarterback to receive such hype, Matt Leinart, and recognize that Tebow is certainly a more admirable person than that guy was, and is famous for better reasons, and his adulation is less annoying because his talents are more varied.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:17 PM
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There's a lewd joke in 436, but I'm too lame to find it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:17 PM
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435: I've heard it's great. I think Agassi, late in his career and in retirement, was/has been an unusually compelling figure among athletes.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:17 PM
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422: I'm sorry to hear that, Ari. But a pony cake! I mean, that's not nothing either.

So the Clancy Brothers is now retro-chic or something?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:18 PM
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439: So you're admitting you're a troll?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:18 PM
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443: They is something.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:20 PM
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Growing up in Gainesville is no excuse, Heebie. Tim Tebow is the most despicable student-athlete of our generation.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:20 PM
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442: Color me compelled, anyway. Not a tennis fan and actually had bought it as a gift for someone else who is, but started flipping through it and got totally sucked in. You should all read it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:21 PM
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430: The Huskers just won. With four field goals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:21 PM
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Further to 447: ... and then talk to me about it.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:21 PM
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Is he despicable? I thought he had a sunny disposition. Plays games, all sorts.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:22 PM
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The transfer of baked goods does not necessarily signify trollhood, M/tch. I would have thought an ex-baker would know that.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:22 PM
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443: No worries, I was just being mopey because the dreaded Longhorns lived to fight another day.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:22 PM
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I bill trolls like Witt for breakfast.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:23 PM
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448: Wait, what? ESPN sez Texas won.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:23 PM
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454: WTF, I just watched the end. It was 12-11 Huskers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:25 PM
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MH didn't wait for the outcome of the video review.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:25 PM
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447: No, wait, I said he was compelling, albeit in a particularly un-compelling context: professional athletes. Regardless, I'd love to read it and likely will after I finish working on this thing I have to finish working on.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:26 PM
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436: Yeah, I'll just run with it, it's so enraging.

So I have a relative I correspond with in federal prison. He recently got a sort of e-mail access. Once you approve the given inmate, you can log into this website and send and receive messages through this secure portal. (Sort of like a prison facebook, except just messages, and you can't go finding inmates; inmates identify you by name and e-mail address, and you then accept them or block them. Once accepted you can exchange messages in an e-mail sort of format).

So I've been in touch with my relative this way all week, and it's been rather nice. Out of the blue he mentioned he was at the computer lab without his glasses, so he had to use some credits to print my e-mail, so he could read it later.

Sidebar: as you may now, federal prisoners can receive money orders in prison for buying smokes, magazines, etc.

I gathered that he could use ten or twenty cents from that money to print an e-mail, which, hey, that seems fair. Same as any university library, for instance.

After inquiring about it, I've learned that he has to use a credit for every single message sent or received, not to mention the printed ones (which again, printing costs money; I'm cool with that).

I should add that I'd be okay if there were some flat monthly fee for using the privilege of e-mail. After all, computers and the software cost money.

But charging per fucking e-mail? And learning that the company that administers the program is a for-profit contractor? Maddening.

Probably useless letter to my congressman to be fired off tomorrow. Gah.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:26 PM
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454: On further review, fuck the officials.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:26 PM
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And my attention span, apparently.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:26 PM
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TX kicked a field goal after the bought-and-paid-for review team put a second on the clock following the final play.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:26 PM
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455: I think you mean 12-11, and that was just before the end.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:28 PM
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That is totally fucking infuriating, Stanster. It sounds like they're just shaking down relatives of inmates because they've got a position of power.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:29 PM
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I knew the score of the game before it even began.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:29 PM
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458 is enraging, agreed.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:31 PM
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462: Go eat some moldy cheese.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:31 PM
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459, 461: B.S.

458: Man, that is f#cking maddening.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:31 PM
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458: I know you said so, but I want to make sure of something: this is a federal prison? If so, put a post on the front page -- here or at your blog, and disable comments if you want -- and ask everyone to write their representatives. For-profit prison ventures are among the most disgusting things* happening in this country today. And that's saying something. Regardless, I wouldn't be surprised if you got some links and generated a reasonable amount of mail to some legislators. Will it change anything? Almost certainly not. Is it worth a try? Sure.

* Other than Tim Tebow, I mean.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:31 PM
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I haven't caught up with the thread because I keep falling asleep when I get to the billing, but I was never quite convinced that Calitics was right about prop 11. Or that the proponents of prop 11 are right about prop 11. The effects of this kind of diffuse process reform are pretty hard to predict and it's not like the Democrats redistricting power has brought them many new seats in the last few years (although I could be wrong about that).

Calitics is more right when they say that redistricting is not actually a big problem and prop 11 isn't necessary on its proponents terms (as a response to the perceived issue), but that's not the same thing as knowing just what prop 11 will do. I got the impression that no one really understood it, much less the effects it will have.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:32 PM
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467.1: I know it was the right call. But like McManus, I have to rail against villainy -- the Longhorns, in this case -- wherever villainy can be found.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:34 PM
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I heard that ari and Tim Tebow were mouseketeers together and ari never quite got over Justin Timberlake picking Tim Tebow over him.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:34 PM
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I don't like to spread rumors, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:34 PM
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Look at all these rumors! Surrounding me every day!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:35 PM
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469 meet 405.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:35 PM
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468: I may dig a bit a post a generic not-related-to-my-story thing about it, but I'm awfully careful not to rock the boat for this relative. And I'll just have to ask you to trust my comfort level on that one, given past experience.

On the other hand, 500-comments-in, it's happily buried a bit, so I don't mind talking about it. (This is possibly not rational as a reaction, but there it is.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:36 PM
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You just called Tim Tebow gay, didn't you? Prepare to be smited, Jewess.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:36 PM
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469 is still meeting the 390s. They're not visiting for long.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:37 PM
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476: Aw, I'm already smitten. But thanks.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:38 PM
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468: Sorry, didn't answer your question: yes, federal.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:38 PM
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Happy birthday, ari!

And I was wondering if Mary Catherine was still around.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:39 PM
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And learning that the company that administers the program is a for-profit contractor?

This is maddening, yes, and also rather creepy. When I see "prison" and "for-profit" in the same sentence, I truly shudder with revulsion.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:41 PM
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475: Your call, of course. And as I think about it, your story probably doesn't even make the Top 100 list of abuses visited upon prisoners by the for-profit prison industry complex. But that doesn't mean it doesn't totally suck. Sometimes I wish I believed in a wrathful Old-Testament-style deity. See? It all comes back to the Tebow family in the end.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:42 PM
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482 sounds much more callous to my ears than I intended it to. Sorry about that. What you've described is a horrible thing. Where it fits on the long list of other horrible things happening in prisons doesn't really matter.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:44 PM
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I don't like to spread rumors, though.

I do! I have a really great one right now. But the last time I mentioned a big rumor in a blog comment, it led to a stupid article in Slate and a slightly less stupid one in the New York Times.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:44 PM
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484: Really? Do I know about this?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:46 PM
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Also, of course I love gossip and rumors. It comes with the being judgemental territory.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:47 PM
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475: dig a bit a post a generic
Digable Planets!
5% Nation!
Belly!
Gummo!
Chloe Sevigny!
...and that's why fire engines are red!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:47 PM
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Those bots were no rumor.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:48 PM
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Is 487 some new translation party?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:48 PM
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||
Really irritating British prat is clogging up my stairwell with his ridiculous prattle. No one can understand why she's dating him. No one can even bring themselves to refer to him as her "boyfriend".
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:49 PM
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Also, fuck for-profit prison contractors.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:50 PM
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492

I'm swearing a lot more in comments lately. Twice in the last two days.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:50 PM
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403 A good friend of mine spent half a summer working in a Genevan office before he found out that the 'poulain' cutlet was not some particularly flavourful form of chicken.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:50 PM
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340

The thing is, when you work late, you're doing it because the volume of work makes it necessary, so you charge full price. ...

Suppose you are working late because of all the time you spent goofing off earlier?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:51 PM
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Who around here goofs off? Please, Shearer, stop setting up these strawmen.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:52 PM
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I am going to goof off to bed now. Night all.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:53 PM
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Night, heebie!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:54 PM
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Good night heebie/ Good night heebie/ Good night heebie/ It's time to say 'good night'!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:55 PM
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336

...I mean, at least a giant chunk of what I do in any month during which I bill over about 250 hours or so is going to be done under circumstances in which, "to pull it all out in the open", as you say, I'd have to say to the client, "I'm going to be getting your work done under circumstances where I'm [replace "uncomfortable" with "tired"] enough that I can't focus or think straight." But generally the client gets no discount for that (because I'm sure as hell going to bill it, if I'm stuck there all night working). And I don't think there's anything unethical about that (though please, correct me if you disagree), even though there have certainly been times when I'd been embarrassed at my own inefficiency, because of exhaustion. ...

I think there is a problem with billing full rate when you are too tired to think straight. And I doubt it is necessary except in rare circumstances.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:56 PM
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Also, of course I love gossip and rumors. It comes with the being judgemental territory.

I don't have that kind of rumor. Just the "I hear such-and-such an experiment thinks they've discovered something-or-other" type that only scientists (and, apparently, Slate and the New York Times) care about.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 9:59 PM
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483

482 sounds much more callous to my ears than I intended it to. Sorry about that. What you've described is a horrible thing. Where it fits on the long list of other horrible things happening in prisons doesn't really matter.

Doesn't sound that horrible to me although it depends of course on how big the charge is. But if you are ok about a flat rate what is so bad about a variable charge that averages to the same amount?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:02 PM
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Does everyone here know about the super-max communication facilities that are being implemented? Basically they've segregated out a chunk of the federal prison population (virtually all Muslim, except for a few token white guys) into this special unit where you're not allowed more than a couple letters a month out, and of course everything is heavily censored.

It's pretty fucked up. Everyone should read Alexander Berkman's "Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist" -- it's all coming back again.

Bonnot was right.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:07 PM
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I'm going off-blog for now but will likely post something tomorrow about it, after I dig a bit. Shearer can troll me then. I'm not up for it at the moment.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:10 PM
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It's the "for-profit" bit that seems most offensive to me, though charging per email is pretty ridiculous.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:16 PM
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Now that prisons serve only to turn prisoners into traumatized second-class citizens rather than filling any sort of rehabilitative role, there's no reason they can't be privatized just like every other government monopoly is being privatized nowadays.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:21 PM
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"inmates" s/b "profit-centers"


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:23 PM
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What are the charges for paper mail, anyway?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:24 PM
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I'd also bill one client less for legal research if I had a memo on the same topic I'd just written for another client the prior week. What's the difference?

The difference is that in this scenario, you didn't spend the time. Client 1 pays for 5 hours for the memo. Client 2 pays for the half hour of reviewing the memo and applying it to their unique facts.

As for billing for work on planes, it seems to me that your time on a plane isn't that much different than your time in the office -- it's just that the distractions of having to switch off your electronics (and listen to crying babies) getting up so the person next to you can go to the bathroom, waiting out turbulence so you can stand up and grab a different doc out of your bag are less optional than the ordinary distractions of Unfogged, the ice cream shop, and if you've been living right, long lunch w spouse. You can't bill for any of it.

On the subject of telling one client about billing arrangement with another, I don't think you have any problem. 'My usual rate is $500 per hour, but for clients of a particular type (you, for example) I charge $400' is unquestionably OK. So is 'I don't charge for time that I'm not working, and I might write down time that turns out not to have been useful.'


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:24 PM
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(Actually, don't answer that, if you've stopped thinking about this.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:24 PM
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I want to know the backstory behind Stanley's 458 so bad. I bet I'd get along with his relative.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:26 PM
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It's the "for-profit" bit that seems most offensive to me

I'm going to bed, but before I do: To tag on to whaat Natilo was saying, one of the (unintended?) consequences of for-profit prisons is that there are huge incentives for the guards to err on the side of punishing inmates. Granting "credits" for early release is counterproductive in a system that profits from as many warm bodies in beds as possible.

Enforcing arbitrary and petty punishments escalating to huge and life-altering punishments (e.g. solitary confinement) to control and extend prison terms is an *incentivized* practice in our current prison system, both federal and state.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:26 PM
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The worst was a client who I was told (after the fact) would not pay for time spent conducting legal research without prior authorization. What now?

Shit's expensive. I'd want prior authorization too. Client has to have some way of mitigating your firm's incentive to throw as much manpower at a matter as they can. Trust? Well, that got used up about 15 years ago. Now they want to see the condom before they bend over.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 10:33 PM
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I spent a little time about 5 years ago looking into a potential antitrust case against a phone company that had contracted with some state prison systems to be the exclusive outgoing long-distance service for inmates. The prices the phone company was charging were insane -- 15-20X ordinary long distance rates. There was no way to bring the case ( at least, not one I could figure out). But what was going on incredibly despicable -- it was state-sponsored price gouging of the ultimate captive market in the most obvious possible way. Sounds from Stanley like something similar is happening with email in the federal system.

I voted for Prop 11, as did some of the hyper-politically active Democrats I know. Calitics is good, but they were wrong on that issue -- the measure wasn't a Republican trick. In California, because of our screwed up Constitution, you need a 2/3 majority of both the assembly and the senate to get anything done. The Democrats, as dominant as they are, can't possibly redistrict the state in such a way that they'd have safe control 2/3 of the seats. The current system is designed to create safe districts for both parties, and as a result there is a state legislature with basically no moderates on any side, and a batshit insane Republican minority that has the power to block everything. So you're better off with some more contested, less gerrymandered districts that might elect some moderates who could get something done, even if that makes a few democratic seats less than 100% safe. I'm still skeptical that any redistricting scheme is all that important in the long run, but Prop 11 wasn't just a Republican scam and a redistricting commission isn't necessarily a bad thing. Actually, I think we discussed it here around the time of the election.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 12- 5-09 11:08 PM
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Robert, do you happen to know what percentage of the money behind the Prop. 11 campaign came from Democrats? My understanding, based on hearsay, is that it was significantly less than 10%.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 12:55 AM
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You can look at some numbers here. It's a good reminder of the lack of contribution limits at the state level and when measures, rather than people, are on the ballot. There are people giving over $100,000 for just one ballot measure - including Bloomberg.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 1:21 AM
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512: Yeah, see, it just seems like authorization to conduct legal research must be implicit in authorization to perform legal work. I sure as hell know that there is almost nothing in my practice that can be done without reviewing and verifying the law.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 2:55 AM
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What, you don't already know the law?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 3:27 AM
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516, you might not have been in the profession in the late 80s or 90s, when trust of institutional clients, including carriers, was used up. Sorry.

Let me give you an example: when but a lad (professionally -- I was chronologically older than a number of commenters -- I was assigned to read every single case in the ICC reporter that cited a specific section of the 1920 statute. That reporter was not online at the time. One day, I was in the library reading volume 300 or so, and a slightly more senior associate came up and asked what I was doing. In the friendliest possible way. Turns out she had performed the exact assignment eight months (or so) earlier.

After completion, I reported my results, and the next day did so again to a conference room with 9 lawyers in the room. For 3 hours (including my 20 minutes).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 3:50 AM
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That same year, I recall, I was assigned to read every single opinion from the Fourth Circuit that had resulted in a reversal, looking for some particular thing -- which I don't recall -- but could occur in too many way to be usefully found by computer. It was fun, and I learned a lot of law, and read some great stories.

(My classmates who had gone to other big firms spent equivalent periods in warehouses in ugly parts of distant towns reviewing documents. Easy to feel pretty lucky in that context.)

This sort of thing, though, is so far out of fashion now that firm librarians don't even want to have reporters on hand.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 3:56 AM
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Every Fourth Circuit opinion for the past five years. Not back to 1920 like the ICC project.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 3:57 AM
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I never quite had an assignment like that at a firm, but I did spend my first summer of law school summarizing every case in a tax reporter referring to "inurement" in a 501c3 context ( working for a professor.) A thrilling time was had by all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 6:43 AM
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Seriously, though, what could possibly be more interesting than inurement? Before that I bet you thought charities were all charitable and shit.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 11:26 AM
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...every case in a tax reporter referring to "inurement" in a 501c3 context

I got into an argument with the board of a 501c3 of which I was a member. They thought they could spend the principal of a fund to which donations had been made based upon the understanding and agreement that it was a "endowment fund".

I was able to trace the term 'endowment' back through Blackstone all the way to the Magna Carta and show that it had had the same meaning - something from which the income or increase was alienable but not the thing itself - for better than 800 years. I think there were glebes involved, too, and I referred to the Declaration of Independence for an example of more comtemporary usage of the term.. I loved it. Really, that's the sort of thing I actually like about law.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 11:42 AM
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Come to think of it, working where you do, I bet inurement comes up occasionally. I have to admit that I haven't dealt with an inurement issue since that summer.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 11:42 AM
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524: Not so much here, but I did some nonprofit work from time to time in my previous life. Here the "can we spend money like that?" stuff tends to be driven by state law.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 11:59 AM
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Section 407 of the Transportation Act of 1920 trumps inurement whenever they might come in conflict. The possibility that a law school exam question can be constructed to present this conflict is reason enough to keep me out of the academy.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 12:44 PM
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The reason I pushed on this as much as I did, both in reaction to the "sketchy" claim and also just generally to understand your thinking (which I'm not yet sure I really do), is because in reality I do this probably daily. At least weekly. Not in the plane travel context--just in my office. E.g., it's not at all infrequently that I'll need to,say, sit on a four hour conference call on which I have no role to play and no need to listen closely. I'm basically listening to see if topic x is discussed, and if it is, I'll pay close attention for 20 minutes. Otherwise, the call is background noise.

Now, I could just bill the client who wants me to do this for the whole four hours I'm doing it. But often I'll do some other work, with one ear on the call. The problem is (and this is where we get a close parallel to the airplane context), I'm usually not as efficient with one ear on an unrelated call, so my work will slow down. So it might take me three hours to do what it usually takes me (I know from doing it dozens of times) two hours to do. And I'm not doing a half-assed job on the other project--it's just that my thinking is constantly being interrupted by the call--I'm listening in for a minute here, a minute there, etc. So I'll only bill two hours to the second client, and bill two hours of call to the first. (And if they ask why I'm billing only two hours for a four hour call--which they've done, wondering if I skipped part of it or something--I'd say I worked on another matter for part of the time with the call on in the background.)

I really don't see how this is different from the airplane scenario, nor do I see what's wrong with it. And what's more, this is really just an exaggerated form what occurs in literally nearly every hour of my work day. I'm always setting out to do one task, and having it take three or four times as long as it should because I'm being interrupted with calls and urgent emails and coworkers stopping by my office on other matters. And at the end of the day I do my best to allocate the time fairly across the various clients I've worked for. But I generally spend a lot of time simultaneously doing things for two (or three) clients--editing a document while I'm on the phone, etc., and having to allocate that time across those clients in a way that makes sense.

As I'm thinking about it, I'm honestly not sure I've ever done what I described upthread as my billing practice for working for multiple clients on a plane. I might have; I just don't really remember. But there's no question it's what I would do in that situation, without thinking twice, since that's essentially a variation of what I do on a daily basis. And I can only repeat what I said earlier: I'm sure every client would prefer me fresh and well-rested and totally focused on their problems (and theirs alone), without distraction, for as long as needed. But that's not always, or even generally, realistic.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 12- 6-09 5:02 PM
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