Re: That sea anemone is really too much.

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Some of those don't look very accidental.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 10:27 AM
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I refuse to believe those shoes are accidental. If they hadn't wanted the effect, they'd have caught them before the design went into production. It's like the proposal to create the Central University of Newcastle upon Tyne, which went forward for quite a bit, and then didn't.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 10:35 AM
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which went forward for quite a bit, and then didn't

Then backed up and then went forward just a bit more?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 10:39 AM
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What was the proposed mascot of the proposed university? A bearded clam, or a shaved beaver?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 10:42 AM
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Someone's doing a Fringe play here this year called See You Next Tuesday, which is surely intentional, but, I think, in poor taste for the Fringe Festival.

I'm especially confused about how the bachelorette party penis tiara is supposed to be "accidental".


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 11:05 AM
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4. Dunno. After they settled on a different name, they ended up with a logo that's boring typography.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 11:15 AM
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6. Is that the St. Louis Arch ?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 11:34 AM
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Someone's doing a Fringe play here this year called See You Next Tuesday, which is surely intentional, but, I think, in poor taste for the Fringe Festival.

Urban Dictionary clued me in on what you mean, but it seems at a couple levels removed from being strictly in poor taste.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 11:38 AM
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Unless "synt" is now a four-letter word in its own right, I guess.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 11:38 AM
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That sea anemone is really too much.

Heebie likes 'em tiny.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 11:42 AM
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This thread is languishing.

Is it me, or is this ridiculous NYT column an embarrassment to both its author and the readership?

Selecting:

others also have been wondering aloud if a new age of femininity is dawning.
We men want our wives and daughters to encounter opportunity in the workplace, not sexual harassment; women want their husbands and sons to be in the executive suite, not jail. Nearly all of us root for fairness, not for our own sex.

Huh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 1:25 PM
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This thread is languishing.

It can still be a politics thread.

http://accidentalpenis.com/post/708221085/autograph-penis


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 1:29 PM
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So that's what geoducks look like.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 1:31 PM
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Some of those don't look very accidental.

The sea anemone and the geoduck are both looking that way on purpose. That's the kind of perverted organisms that they are.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 1:38 PM
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||
Foot-long cheeseburger!
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 2:55 PM
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Cheesy-Blasters. (From that same blog, which probably should not be read by anybody with a stomach.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 2:58 PM
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11: "What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men?" Ms. Rosin asked.

It might have been, but since we're about to enter a McManus Mad Max era (with or without Mel) it doesn't matter. Once the ammo runs out upper body strength will be all-important again. Luckily, I'll be dead of old age before I run out of ammo.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:15 PM
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17: I prefer to think that evolution will shrink men down until we are tiny little symbionts as is the way with those horrific looking deep sea fish that are all mouth. Women will carry their man around in a little bag slung jauntily over the shoulder.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:36 PM
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we're about to enter a McManus Mad Max era

Women will carry their man around in a little bag slung jauntily over the shoulder.

I seem to remember a movie with John Savage where these two elements were the plot. The amazonian feminazis maintained Civilization and kept a few drones around for reproductive purposes, while the rest of the men were outside the walls in Mad Max land.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 3:41 PM
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19:And I seem to remember a gentler sadder story from 65-75 where the time-dilated spacedudes return to an earth of only women and are compassionately put to permanent sleep. Tiptree or Russ or maybe Varley or somebody. Not necessarily a horror story.

I guess the political paranoia of The Screwfly Solution is necessary to effect the transition.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:08 PM
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Tiptree. Houston, Do You Read? was the story -- I'm not sure that you've summarized it quite right, but close.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:11 PM
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Someone's doing a Fringe play here this year called See You Next Tuesday, which is surely intentional, but, I think, in poor taste for the Fringe Festival.

"See You Next Tuesday" is pretty mild for a fringe festival show, surely. I mean, Brendon Burns's show at Edinburgh last year was called "comedy good yeah silly side cunt".


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:20 PM
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Close Enough ...spoilers, but already spoiled

Tiptree is even a little darker than I am. I was going to say men were as useful as peacock feathers and coxcombs.

From link:

Technology, and science and culture in general, seems to be relatively unadvanced considering the long period of time that has elapsed. Even while playing chess with the Gloria's senior member, it is noted that only one new opening has been developed in 300 years...

The resulting almost communal maleless society has settled into a peaceful, yet strangely moribund pattern -- without major conflict, seemingly happy, yet more or less marching in place, with very little advancement.

I am not sure I believe this or not. I believe Sheldon may have believed it, and she was a whole lot smarter than me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:24 PM
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I was going to make a joke about a dimly rememberd movie I saw on Cinemax with rollerblading bikini post apocalyptic nuns, and then I found out that this is a whole genre

I hope I can put these in my netflix que.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:28 PM
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22: Well, I'm sure I don't know what they do in Edinburgh, but we're running a family fringe festival here, mister!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:33 PM
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From a review of the collection Her Smoke Rose Up Forever I googled because I thought it was Keats ("And I awoke, and found me..." moved me deeply), but it's from Revelations.

The misogyny of male characters in Tiptree's work is ferocious and horrible, but it is seldom simply a bad personality trait. Rather, Tiptree's men are biologically fated to love women in ways that hurt them, and to love them for the wrong reasons, and to hate them because they love them.

Fucking anhedonia


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:40 PM
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I don't know why 17 made me as depressed as it seems to have made me, but somehow, combined with the first and third links here, it did. I think I've realized that I'm actually refusing to believe any polling data that suggests Republicans might gain even a single seat this November. Anything less than a catastrophic loss for them is just not something I'm psychologically capable of handling right now, because of what that result would imply about my fellow citizens. I'm actually serious about that, to the point that I'm a little worried about myself. I just re-read all the November 2004 threads. Ugh. I think I may need to start smoking pot again, to stay sane.

This is all irrelevant to anything, I know.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:42 PM
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I guess I've become parsimon.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:46 PM
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Destroyer of Worlds?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:57 PM
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27: From what I've been reading, there's no hope that they won't win a bunch of seats. Big wins, like the Dems in '08, get rolled back; bad economic times hurt incumbents; incumbent Presidents' parties lose seats in midyear elections. Save the real depression for if we lose the House.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 4:59 PM
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30: But what about the slightly hopeful reading of this that all who lose are Blue Dogs and we are done with them after this election? Still too optimistic, but not entirely without truth.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:04 PM
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30: I know, I've been reading all that as well. But even though it's predictable, it's not automatic; someone's actually going to be walking into the voting booths and pulling the levers for these clowns. And by "someone" I'm mean very nearly half of all voters (at a minimum). That's just too depressing for me to accept right now.

(I realize this is all painfully sophomoric and inane.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:07 PM
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28: What's that? It's true that I was extremely freaked out and a bit ranty a few nights ago about the Republicans and what they'll likely do to the country, but I don't think I mentioned it here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:10 PM
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31: I remember thinking something similar about the southern Democrats in 1994.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:10 PM
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It's the climate bill that's got me down, really. I'm realizing that we're really not going to do anything meaningful at all about the issue, ever. It's been my position for years (see: the archives) that non-action was the most probable outcome, but then we had 60 votes... and people were talking about it... and I guess I irrationally let myself think that we might actually try to do something to try and keep the earth habitable for our grandchildren (actually, no, that was the line of the last generation; s/b our children), but no, we're not going to.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:12 PM
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19. John Saxon not Savage. We regret the error.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:14 PM
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The single most depressing bit for me is that Rand Paul is going to get elected. Kentuckians are actually going to go out and elect someone who publicly said he doesn't think the Civil Rights Act should have been passed. Gah.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:15 PM
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34: THANKS, EGGPLANT. AAARGH.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:17 PM
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27: ...not something I'm psychologically capable of handling...

You've got company. A friend of mine decided Josiah Bartlet was the president in preference to thinking about GWB and the real world.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:19 PM
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Oh, fucking cheer up, everybody.

There's Always Art

Her first big success was The Last Flight of Dr Ain and I fell in love on the spot. At like 16. I also knew she was a woman* long before the SF community did. I mean you read Russ, and LeGuin, etc and Tiptree, and you read them seriously, and her darkness was feminine.

or Alice Sheldon's husband when he realized, as Phillips suggests, that his wife was going to kill him: pure fear. In the end, Alice Sheldon really was the woman nobody saw.

*Lesbian, transgendered, a total mess?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:25 PM
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I do think the idea that the time has come for organized mass civil disobedience to fight climate change is 100% correct. I'm not totally sure what exactly the right thing to do is (there aren't laws against the non-consumption of carbon, after all), but it's time for something more than idle complaints.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:28 PM
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Some of the commenters there made the point that in the civil rights era, the manner of civil disobedience was clear: there were racist laws you could go break. As you say, it's hard to figure out what would be anti-climate-change civil disobedience. The best I can come up with is breaking stuff that uses energy, and that seems really counterproductive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:37 PM
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If the Democrats can keep a slim majority of the Senate (a big if) there should be the following decision made: No filibuster for the planet. An express rule change to eliminate the filibuster rule for provisions relating to climate change, done in the name of preventing environmental catastrophe.

Of course, this won't happen, but it's not that implausible, right? Maybe? Currently, the difference between us and a reasonable energy bill is about 8 Senators; unless the Republicans get the Senate back, that won't change much between now and the next Congress. The important thing is just to maintain Dem control.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:37 PM
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organized mass civil disobedience to fight climate change

They have those walk to work and bike to work days. Enough people on the freeway will shut it down.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:43 PM
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42: Yes, because somebody would use more energy to fix the stuff that was broken. What you need is to use less energy in a very visible way. You could ride a bike to work, for example.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:44 PM
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Back when I was worried about Bush declaring martial law and cancelling elections I thought a lot about where to demonstrate that would really be inconvenient. Plazas and city halls are bullshit, because no one needs them to do anything else. Ports, on the other hand, cost big people money with even an hour's delay. Same as big freeway exchanges. Of course, the major canals. I wondered whether there were big server farms that could be inconvenienced. (Then I got to wondering whether big internet firms could bring the country to a standstill all by themselves.)

But protest for the purpose of disabling the country to oust a president isn't the same as civil disobedience to protest climate change.

What could you do to make a direct link to climate change? Refuse to pay the electricity bill for the incremental increased costs of air conditioning that you shouldn't have to pay because the planet shouldn't be warmer? Turn out the lights for an hour? It is a difficult problem.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:46 PM
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45: Great. Just by commuting, I'm saving the planet. I've never been so impressed with myself.

Seriously, if that's the best we've got, we're all doomed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:47 PM
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A line of pedestrians holding hands across the width of an interstate isn't a bad idea, actually. Or clogging up an important vehicle-bridge.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:49 PM
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Dude. I had it all planned out.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:51 PM
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C opened a tub of butter-substitute the other day and was surprised by this accidental penis.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:54 PM
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Seriously, if that's the best we've got, we're all doomed

Well, what were you looking for? Cars are the biggest source of CO2 pollution. Get Americans out of their cars and you will go along way to solving your (our) problem. But we all can't live in Manhattan, so good luck with that.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:54 PM
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Some of the commenters there made the point that in the civil rights era, the manner of civil disobedience was clear: there were racist laws you could go break. As you say, it's hard to figure out what would be anti-climate-change civil disobedience. The best I can come up with is breaking stuff that uses energy, and that seems really counterproductive.

Blocking the construction of new coal plants has drawn some attention in Britain. Likewise, the construction of new runways at Heathrow. And now the new government is going to not build that new runway, I think.

I almost started crying out of jealousy when reading about what the new UK government is doing. The legislature is actually putting into place policies, instead of doing nothing but accept bribes and endlessly negotiate. And the policies are actually considered good policies, maybe not by the intellectuals I agree with, but by some smart people somewhere. And the policies don't obviously contradict each other. It's hard for me even to imagine living in a place where any of those three things are true.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:55 PM
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Seriously, if that's the best we've got, we're all doomed.

We *are* all doomed, especially regarding climate change.

I don't have the language skills to express how pessimistic I am about American politics over the next couple of decades.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:56 PM
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Just making a personal decision to start using less energy is not very visible, not, in the long run, very useful, and kind of a pain. (I'm using less energy than usual right now because my air conditioner picked today of all todays to stop working, and wow, is it ever miserable.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:58 PM
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s/b "today of all days"


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:58 PM
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I don't have the language skills to express how pessimistic I am about American politics over the next couple of decades.

Why? It's never been easier to reach a large group of people with a small investment.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 5:59 PM
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Don't be so pessimistic. Why, anything could happen. Republicans could be raptured. We could develop the mental capacity to transcend space-time. Scandinavia could engineer a coup-d'état and rule us with a very sensible iron fist.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:00 PM
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Why? It's never been easier to reach a large group of people with a small investment.

What does that have to do with politics?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:00 PM
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Just making a personal decision to start using less energy is not very visible, not, in the long run, very useful, and kind of a pain.

That's what I keep telling everyone, but they don't listen.


Posted by: Dick Cheney | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:00 PM
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I am made less pessimistic on climate change by the existence of the Honda FCX Element.

But I'm still fairly pessimistic.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:02 PM
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What does that have to do with politics?

Last time I checked, this was still a democratic republic. Run for office yourself.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:03 PM
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Element s/b "Clarity."

I hate the Honda Element.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:03 PM
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It sounds kind of silly to respond to something like 61 by saying "That never works", but as far as I can tell, in all seriousness, that never works.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:04 PM
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A line of pedestrians holding hands across the width of an interstate isn't a bad idea, actually.

Have them wearing orange vests and you've got PennDot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:06 PM
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63. Ok, Rosa Parks. We won't do anything because it has never worked before.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:06 PM
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I am made less pessimistic on climate change by the existence of the Honda FCX Element.

Yes, now all we have to do is exchange every car on the road for one of them and reinvent our electric grid to run on wind and solar. I mean, yay for steps in the right direction, but I the only thing that could possibly ameliorate my pessimism is large-scale government action.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:06 PM
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I

I blame the typos on the fact that it's 90 fucking degrees in my apartment and I'm somewhat sick.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:07 PM
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Yeah, I agree that we need large scale government action. But at least there's a real possiblity of a zero emissions car that doesn't have a range of like 50 miles. Replacing gas stations with hydrogen refueling stations is a lot easier than preventing folks from owning or driving cars.

Your point is still basically correct, of course, since the only thing that's going to force people into things like fuel cell cars is massive government action.

If the Dems were smarter, they'd be using the threat of climate change to create a climate of fear and seize power, and just run on that idea for a while. See my Senate rule change idea above. But they're not that smart.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:13 PM
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Scandinavia could engineer a coup-d'état and rule us with a very sensible iron fist.

God, if only.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:14 PM
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68.3: That's the kind of thinking that Mao used.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:14 PM
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Not to mention Michael Crichton.


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:16 PM
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Halford why must you "seize power"? If you want to get people to switch cars, pay them. Cash for clunkers was small potatoes. Go all in. There's a stimulus for you.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:18 PM
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We need to seize power to start paying people to switch cars. Instead, of course, we're paying oil companies.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:19 PM
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I refuse to think of myself as paying an oil company, Halford. Personally, I am buying prisons with my California tax dollars.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:22 PM
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Well, get yourself elected to city council and start doing that, Robert Halford. As Rosa Parks did so many years ago.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:22 PM
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Personally, I am buying prisons with my California tax dollars.


I had a call today from a guy wanting to rent space for a medical marijuana store. If Prop 19 passes, he may have made the right career move, and the prison guards sol.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:25 PM
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TLL, my pessimism stems from the belief that our government has been completely captured by big business, pretty much everything is broken including all of our systems for repairing stuff, and so nothing of substance is going to get fixed. I don't see the jobs situation getting back to what we have been accustomed to for at least a decade and possibly longer and we're right now teetering on the edge of unemployment levels that start producing serious social unrest. And even that level is being kept artificially low through multiple wars and maintaining the largest per capita prison population on earth.

I expect political violence is about to become disturbingly common and the government that is likely to get elected in response to that is not going to be pleasant. Nearly half the country thinks torture isn't just acceptable, but virtuous. If I had the funds and job skills to emigrate, I would be giving it very serious consideration.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:25 PM
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the only thing that could possibly ameliorate my pessimism is large-scale government action.

Of course. I hate to be all technocratic about it, but Senate Republicans are the problem. Pedestrian blockage of a freeway will convince them to do what, exactly? Our best efforts are probably put toward exactly where some parties have been putting them: in promoting Republican primary challengers (yeah, I know), though the time is pretty much past by this point, and by campaigning hard for the Dem alternative in upcoming Senate races. The effort may not actually oust any given Republican, but puts him or her on notice that there will be consequences in future for failing to be, shall we say, moderate.

That last sounds lame, I understand.

Smaller pieces of this: just what people have been saying. Democrats' lack of enthusiasm for even getting out to vote in November is fucking pathetic and has to be turned around. Target contested states and put special effort into exhortation of Dems.

My fury and, frankly, bewilderment, at John Boehner et al. remains.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:25 PM
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74: Follow Robert, and you'll get to benefit directly from those dollars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:25 PM
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Don't be so pessimistic. Anything is possible, just look at the Tea Party.

However, trying to block an interstate seems like it'll just piss people off.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:26 PM
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My City Councilman -- literally -- drove an ice cream truck down my street last weekend and gave out free ice cream to anyone who wanted it. I think I'm going to have a hard time winning that election. He's pretty good on the environment, anyway.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:26 PM
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I mean, aside from the harmful emissions from that ice cream truck. It wasn't a hybrid or anything.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:28 PM
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Hybrid ice cream truck?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:28 PM
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77 gets it right. I wonder when people around me are going to stop being surprised that my response to "are you going to have kids?" is "Oh, I would feel too guilty bringing a person into the world of the future. Maybe adoption."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:29 PM
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Shit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:29 PM
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Hybrid shit?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:29 PM
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Does that count as pwnage or not? Is there a special term for pwnage by preemption?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:30 PM
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My city councilman has stupid glasses.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:30 PM
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the belief that our government has been completely captured by big business, pretty much everything is broken including all of our systems for repairing stuff

No one said it would be easy. Neither was getting attacked by police dogs. You, by yourself, can leave, an individual choice. But Apathy and Pessimism are what "they" are counting on.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:31 PM
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Someone said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." And I was going to, but then I realized how mom would react if she saw me with DDs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:33 PM
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77: I see similar problems as most of the conflict over the distribution and redistribution of resources has been held at bay by the promise of economic growth. If growth doesn't start again, there will be trouble. However, I see this as potentially promising since I see the current party system as part of the problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:36 PM
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Jeebus, didn't you guys see A Bug's Life ?

One guy, by himself, squished. A whole bunch, not so squished. How many 5 years olds can you beat up at one time?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:37 PM
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84 77 gets it right. I wonder when people around me are going to stop being surprised that my response to "are you going to have kids?" is "Oh, I would feel too guilty bringing a person into the world of the future. Maybe adoption."

Seriously. I don't know if I'll ever have a kid or not, but that's a definite concern. I seem to be at an age where suddenly everyone I know is having babies, and none of them seem to be even remotely concerned about what sort of future world those kids will inherit.

Everyone is blasé. "It can't get that bad." But it can.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:38 PM
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Yes, their two weapons are Apathy and Pessimism ... and Compliant Media. Their three weapons are Apathy, Pessimism, Compliant Media, and Regulatory Capture. Etc.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:38 PM
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Personally, I kinda wish government had been captured by big business. It would be slightly better run. Instead, it's been captured by a crappy supermajority rule in the Senate and a bunch of know-nothing yahoos.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:38 PM
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I can't believe you people! Muttali Muralitharan has taken 800 Test wickets and you're all nattering on about politics and ice cream trucks. For shame!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:39 PM
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96: I'm sure the police can find the wickets or the owner can replace them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:40 PM
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800 is a lot of wickets, I guess? Is this like Wicket the little Ewok I had a toy of when I was a kid?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:42 PM
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Personally, I kinda wish government had been captured by big business. It would be slightly better run.
Assumes facts not in evidence.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:42 PM
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How many 5 years olds can you beat up at one time?

My niece, three nephews, and two first-cousins-once-removed had at me last week and they totally had me mewling for mercy within fifteen minutes. True panic set in after twenty minutes.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:42 PM
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Or rather, Muttiah. Or Murali, as he is often known. That just shows how degraded our discourse has become.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:43 PM
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Personally, I kinda wish government had been captured by big business. It would be slightly better run. Instead, it's been captured by a crappy supermajority rule in the Senate and a bunch of know-nothing yahoos.

You'll have to specify what things the government has done recently that big business didn't want it to do, because it's hard to think of any.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:46 PM
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Yes, but Return of the Jedi was far better than the next three.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:46 PM
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I'm reading 95 charitably as: at least if it were run by big business, there could be rulings by fiat, which, at least in theory, could be smart rulings.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:48 PM
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103 to 101 by way of reference to 98.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:48 PM
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However, trying to block an interstate seems like it'll just piss people off.
As pessimistic as I am, this is the wrong way to think about civil disobedience. Sure, blocking one intersection will do nothing but piss people off. You block intersections in every state for a month, you get invited to the bargaining table. Who cares if you piss people off? (Besides liberals, I mean.)


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:51 PM
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104: If big business ran things, and did so without much fear of being countered, big business could seek long term gains instead of short term advantage. Things could get better in the long run if this were so. Like when that one guy ran China.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:52 PM
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You block intersections in every state for a month, you get invited to the bargaining table.

Do not underestimate this country's capacity for prison-building or its willingness to fill them.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:56 PM
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108: Plus, you'd need somebody who can't be sued (i.e. has no assets) to coordinate. Because sooner or later the blockade will keep somebody from a very necessary hospital visit or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 6:59 PM
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It does seem odd to me that the civil disobedience associated with the Civil Rights movement didn't just lead to tens of thousands of people being thrown in jail for decades. It's not like there was less respect for the moral authority of police back then, was there?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:00 PM
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110: It's because a large majority of (northern, white) people, while not willing to do anything actively to help, were also unwilling to do actively to hinder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:02 PM
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108: Civil disobedience does require large numbers of upstanding people willing to spend tine in jail.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:04 PM
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Yeah, intersections only inconvenience other citizens. If you're making your body an obstacle, you should block better stuff. There're what, four major container ports on the west coast? I bet switching yards for trains are similarly consolidated. Isn't there substantial goods movement on the Mississippi and the Great Lakes? Bet that has a bottleneck somewhere. If you can only put small stuff in front of big stuff, you should look for leverage.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:05 PM
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And why didn't the national press and political establishment spend all its time worrying about catering to the 30% of the population who fervently believed Martin Luther King Jr. was a communist rapist, like they do now?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:06 PM
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113: If you can only put small stuff in front of big stuff, you should look for leverage.

Meganarchimedes!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:07 PM
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110: I'm not a dedicated student of the Civil Rights movement, but we do certainly seem to be a more authoritarian state than we were then. Which sounds odd, but: these days we have, say, designated free speech zones, cordoned off. Police forces have widely adopted military approaches to crowd control, as a matter of course: they're no longer flying by the seat of their pants, this is just standard procedure. We used Blackwater mercenaries, for heaven's sake, after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:08 PM
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Anyway, to do civil disobedience by blocking a major road, I would recommend:

1. Pick a major road, but not a freeway. Nobody ever has less patience than when they are on the freeway.

2. No Al Gore unless he's already had his happy time.

3. Block a road somewhere with plausible mass transit alternatives and figure some way to let the buses through.

4. All coordinators must be poor, strongly committed, and living extremely low carbon lives. Same for as many of the blockers as possible.

This is because I don't see any way to win by brute force. In the long term, you wouldn't really be trying to cut emissions by blocking traffic. You'd be trying to make yourself an example to inspire/guilt others.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:10 PM
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Well, you aren't going to be squashed any flatter by a container ship than you are by a car.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:11 PM
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Of course, civil disobedience relies on the middle overruling the right-wing and not letting thousands of people rot in jail. It's also not clear how well it will work when crowd dispersal innovations like microwaves are deployed.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:12 PM
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Yes, 117 was before I'd read 113. Also, block container ships and you'll make friends in manufacturing. At least, you will if you keep quiet about what you want.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:13 PM
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You'd be trying to make yourself an example to inspire/guilt others.
No. You'd be trying to force them to choose between locking you up or acceding to your demands.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:14 PM
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121: Yes. That is a clearer way to put it. But, it will only work if they feel guilty about locking you up.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:16 PM
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Or, you know, you could find out when and where the oligarchs are meeting to plan out their strategies, and then form a coalition with lots of other people who share your concerns vis-a-vis how the people in power are treating everyone else, and you could use the internet to make sure that everyone from all over who shared your concerns could find out about these meetings, and then you could try to blockade the meetings, and it would work once or twice, but then the plutocrats and bureaucrats would get annoyed with you, and since a couple of windows got broken, and some words got spraypainted on some buildings, suddenly they would figure out ways to spend tens, and even hundreds of millions of dollars to have their meeting in peace, even if that meant cracking down on civil liberties and walling off big sections of major cities, and because of the broken windows and spraypainted words, all the people who claimed that they agreed with you would suddenly condemn you for being "violent", and then you would become cynical and instead of doing anything about it you would go on the internet and allow it to become a method of social control instead of a tool for organizing.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:16 PM
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Like when that one guy ran China.

Singapore is a good example of this.

Who cares if you piss people off?

Well, on some level, you also need the sympathy of the general public. Like in my case, if you have to inconvenience me in order to send a message, I'd rather you do it some other way than by putting me in a traffic jam. Maybe if you cut off the electricity between 8 and 9pm?


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:20 PM
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123: You're making me cry, Natilo.

and instead of doing anything about it you would go on the internet and allow it to become a method of social control instead of a tool for organizing.

This last part I didn't completely follow: just that you've by then become effectively controlled, I guess. Or are you referring to the Alas A Blog thread (and related ones) in which 'teh awful anarchists' are blamed for everything, and we must control 'them', and we can't protest because 'they' always ruin things.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:25 PM
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instead of doing anything about it you would go on the internet and allow it to become a method of social control instead of a tool for organizing.

This was occurring to me as I was thinking over the problem a little while ago. One of the major issues with global warming is that there are giant megaphones in the hands of the deniers, and even when there are moderately sane people in the press, they still value the "let's look at both sides evenly!" angle more than value truth. So how can you possibly get the right message out to enough people? I had hoped that electing a president who understands the scope of the problem would work, but clearly not, since he doesn't seem to care enough to make it a top priority beyond lip service (and appointing some good people to head agencies, which is nice, but again, the problem is public awareness and motivation). Of course, individuals can always try to get the message out by talking to people, or blogging, but the audiences are small. (RealClimate does a fantastic job of presenting the science, thereby reaching... science geeks. Not good enough.)

Then it occurred to me that Mark Zuckerberg has a freaking ginormous megaphone if he wants to use it. Facebook, Google, the sites everyone in all parts of the political spectrum use -- these are some of the biggest billboards in the world. If only there were a way to reach the people in charge of them and convince them to somehow try to use them for messaging. I mean, in general I don't expect large corporations to be on the right side of any political question. But the new internet-era companies that are generally run by smart young people? Are they, too, beyond hope?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:33 PM
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110, 116

Here (audio) is Ralph Abernathy talking about the civil rights marchers overwhelming the capacity of the jails.

And, from the same meeting, an amazing recording of Martin Luther King talking about the Birmingham Children's Crusade.

Both of them are very much worth listening to.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:37 PM
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126: A bigger billboard won't do it. Eventually, any big change requires a bunch of little people to deal with some huge pains in their metaphorical asses. Or metaphorical pains in their huge asses. Something like that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:40 PM
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126: It seems that there is no hope. As we learn from a representative incredibly pompous pundit, the failure of the "organized green movement" in its attempt to publicize its cause discredits it in the eyes of every reasonable person, no matter the facts.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:41 PM
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126.last: If only there were a way to reach the people in charge of them and convince them to somehow try to use them for messaging.

Careful, now, essear. You wouldn't want to sound like Journolist.

(/sick joke)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:43 PM
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128: Sure. But: our current elected officials, relatively predisposed toward climate legislation as they at first appeared to be, are clearly just going to sit on their asses and do nothing. So I think a necessary prerequisite to the sort of government action that can force people to deal with pains in their asses is for there to be enough collective will to do something about the problem. Or at least collective acknowledgment that the problem is important.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:46 PM
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125: I am still grumpy about the Alas thread. And also the stuff at my job has made me extremely cynical about the way the liberal establishment deals with radicals (or, in fact, with anyone who is not in a position of power.) I should probably do some laundry and listen to CRASS.

126: Well, I hate to break it to you, but I don't think Zuckerberg in particular is altruistic enough to go that far out on a limb. In fact, there's been a recent FB purge of left-leaning groups and people, which hasn't gotten a lot of press, because, hey, those people aren't on FB anymore, so they don't really even exist, right?

Even Gates and Buffet, sure, they're a little more cuddly than Carnegie and Frick, but it's the same deal: it's the process of industrial capitalism that's the problem here, not what you do with the skim off the take. It's nice that Bill Gates wants to build hospitals in Africa and it's nice that Ted Turner supports the bison, but the damage done by their interests is 1,000 times what they could ever fix through good works.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:48 PM
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129: After only reading a small part of that, I want to vomit.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:48 PM
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Okay, so I personally have a pretty carbon footprint and have mostly been surrounded by thrifty, ecologically minded people, so maybe I'm not seeing all the vast waste that's surely out there on the consumer-level.

Still: at this point a lot of the work to combat climate change seems to me to be questions of engineering, regulation, zoning, even trade policy. Some of this is stuff that must be done on a federal (and international) level, some of it is going to take a long time, and it's going to involve reversing trends in housing, transportation, and manufacturing that frankly are going to put a bunch of people out of work.

I desperately want mitigating climate change to be a higher priority with the government, but I really am not sure what kind of civil disobedience would even begin to target the people who control the levers of power here.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:48 PM
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I have an idea! I bet if we blow out an oilwell in the Gulf of Mexico, then people will take climate change seriously. What do you guys think?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:50 PM
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Not even Edward Abbey would have dared to dream that big, Stanley.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:51 PM
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132.2: Well, sure, Zuckerberg is an ass. But he's not the only 20-something geek who almost accidentally finds himself with a huge amount of wealth and power. Is there not a single one of them with an impulse to do something important with it?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:52 PM
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but I really am not sure what kind of civil disobedience would even begin to target the people who control the levers of power here.

Guillotines.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:52 PM
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Unfortunately, the old adage about how everyone in their 20s is a socialist and everyone in their 40s is a conservative is no longer accurate. Because now, especially among geeks, people in their 20s can be......libertarians.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:53 PM
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131: I'm not saying that it isn't a process that government has to eventually set rules, but I don't think that the government can drive public opinion. It can push a bit, but mostly just codify something that was relatively strong support. For many people, seeing somebody doing something, is going to be the only convincing evidence. And for other things, somebody has to move first and pay the extra costs to be an early adaptor. This wouldn't just mean being first to buy new, efficient technology, but also pushing social conventions. For example, car pooling could take many cars from the road, but the first person doing it is likely to get killed by a hitchhiker or laughed at by their boss when they say they can't stay late because they need to give somebody a ride home. But, if the idea spreads, car pooling will soon be safe and as respectable of an excuse for leaving work on time as a kiddie soccer game.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:56 PM
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Ha. I believe Ned is right.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 7:57 PM
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138 gets it right.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:02 PM
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140: Ah, I see what you mean. I actually disagree pretty strongly with this. I think that first public opinion has to push the government to do something, and then government policy has to drive changes. Individual choices are useless; you're never going to get enough people to change their behavior to make a difference. What has to be done is to change the incentives: stop subsidizing fossil fuels, start arranging subsidies and incentives to force our electric grid to transition to renewables. Provide incentives to encourage large-scale manufacture of plug-in hybrids and to encourage consumers to buy them. These are the sorts of things that need to happen on a large scale, and bottom-up efforts to convince your friends to carpool in a Prius are never going to have enough impact on their own.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:04 PM
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143: I'll certainly agree that it is a recursive process. Stopping subsidies for fossil fuels will push more people to use less of them, but it is far easier to stop subsidies for fossil fuels when fewer people are nearly totally dependent on them. In my opinion, you have to work both sides.

For example, look at smoking and how little success there was at cutting back on public smoking in any but the least ventilated spaces (air planes) until after most adults of the socio-economic classes that usually vote had quit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:10 PM
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I wish prominent global warming deniers and obstructionists could be baited into, say, moving their houses into projected future flood zones, or otherwise heavily investing assets in high climate-change-risk sectors -- making a big public show of it, pledging that they won't turn and run if it looks like the bet isn't paying off for them. This is mostly because I want to see as many of them as possible drowning in sewage and/or dying of dehydration if it comes to that. But it might yield some PR benefit along the way, if done properly. How to do it properly? I'm not sure. Comforting revenge fantasies are hard to put into practice.

The Mother Jones article about overpopulation a month back or so caused a hasty (permanent? dunno) retreat from thoughts of childbearing. Perhaps it was discussed here already.


Posted by: delurking | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:12 PM
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block container ships and you'll make friends in manufacturing.
Block the whole border and you could make friends you weren't planning on making.

Of all the activities that could earn you carbon credits, could you just do them legally or would it be better to
add disobedience, like planting trees and then watering them after curfew ?


Posted by: Econolicious, arborist | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:16 PM
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Planting trees isn't an unambiguous good, climate-wise, unless you do it in the tropics.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:20 PM
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147: Ah hell, essear.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:25 PM
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Jesus, what kind of Americans are you? There must be a way to personally profit from the decline and fall of our particular Empire. I'd buy yuan if they'd sell em.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:29 PM
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138 is correct, and another big reason why I am so pessimistic. The biggest protests in history preceded the Iraq invasion and look how effective any of that was.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:31 PM
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145: Adoption is huge and complex and murkily probkematic too, though that's mostly me being peevish when it's the path I've chosen. I think I'd better go look at some sea anemones to take my mind off it, or sleep abd hope that will purge all anemone thoughtsl


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:41 PM
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147: Why? I hadn't heard that one before. I assumed that if there was sufficient, renewable water, it was good to plant a tree.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:43 PM
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We turned a penis thread into a serious thread. Isn't it supposed to work the other way?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:46 PM
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This seems very appropriate for an Accidental Penis thread.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:48 PM
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Re: 143, individual choices are useless.

That's true, but there are some things an individual can do. For instance, if it's some relatively obscure issue, like zoning regulations, or planning for public transit, a few people can make a big impact. You have to do your homework, go to all the boring meetings, and use all the tools at your disposal -- argue at the meetings, write letters, file official complaints that stop work, and generally be a huge pain in the ass. Frankly, I hate activists. But, I think it's possible to have a big impact that way, even overriding public opinion to some extent.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:49 PM
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It wouldn't be a bad idea to try to stop hating activists.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:53 PM
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152: It's complicated, but for instance see this paper [PDF]. The upshot is that forests are dark, likely darker than whatever they would be replacing, and the increasing absorption of sunlight due to lowering the Earth's albedo causes enough warming to offset the cooling due to their carbon-sequestration properties. (You might argue that sequestering carbon is still an unambiguously good thing and we can always just paint a bunch of stuff white, and I might agree.) Also, their paper was mostly about forests, not about e.g. a tree planted in someone's lawn, and there might be differences. I'm no expert. But at any rate the lesson is that you have to think about more than just the tree's intake of carbon.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:58 PM
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I actually don't think the guillotines will do it, unless followed by a popular dictator like Louis Napoleon.

This guy would bulldoze the suburbs like Haussmann bulldozed Paris, build light and highspeed rail. Fed Government for infrastructure, damn the deficits.

The other alternative is a massive tax increase, like 10% of GDP spent on outrageous subsidies and payoffs. 20%.

Light rail = free. Multifamily mixed use buildings = free rent. We buy electricity at twice any market rate, and we will fucking give you the windmill and solar roof. Free electric cars.

Carrot or stick? Stick, like energy tax, will fucking fail, as we are seeing. Gotta be yumm yumm carrots.

Stick will fucking fail. When gas gets expensive, Venezuela here we come. This is America.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 8:59 PM
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I mean, gas tax? And what do I get for it? End my mortgage exemption? You are just gonna make me poorer and fuck my lifestyle in return?

Ain't gonna happen. Give me 1000 sq ft free for life facing a park with pond and you can have my suburban house and cars.

Somebody do some math.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 9:04 PM
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Oh, I guess I could dial it down to just disliking activists. But I am a negative person by nature.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 9:15 PM
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||

Pillars of the Earth is well done, but feels crowded and busy, I am sorry to say. Too many characters plotlines in too many locations. Shoulda left Stephen and Maud to the distant periphery.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 9:25 PM
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Parsimon: Our best efforts are probably put toward exactly where some parties have been putting them: in promoting Republican primary challengers (yeah, I know), though the time is pretty much past by this point, and by campaigning hard for the Dem alternative in upcoming Senate races.

Probably the best efforts at this point would be campaigning for an end to the filibuster in the next session of Congress.

143:Provide incentives to encourage large-scale manufacture of plug-in hybrids and to encourage consumers to buy them.

I've been arguing for that for three years but the Obama administration got it into its head that 'we don't want topick winners' in technology. And I'm all like, 'we do that all the time'. But nope, no cash for hybrids in the stimulus even though that was the time to do it.

I've been thinking about what kind of civil disobedience would work with energy/global warming all day, since Yggles posted about it and I can't think of a single thing that would work. Too many people are invested in the situation as is for it to work. It's not the South of the 1960's - that was a backwater part of the US at the time, that had a relatively small population. Trying to do the same with global warming would look like the protests during the Vietnam war which didn't work out so hot.

max
['Argh.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 9:55 PM
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the best efforts at this point would be campaigning for an end to the filibuster

And aside from that, your best efforts are probably directed at local government.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 10:23 PM
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I'm torn about my local government. On the one hand they put in free Wi-Fi in the downtown commercial district. Yay! On the other hand, someone thought a big ass hotel was a good idea, so they say, yeah, build that. And then the builders kinda did. Sorta. Maybe halfway.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 10:31 PM
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51

Well, what were you looking for? Cars are the biggest source of CO2 pollution. Get Americans out of their cars and you will go along way to solving your (our) problem. But we all can't live in Manhattan, so good luck with that.

Actually electric power generation is a bigger source. See Table ES-2 in this EPA report. And China passed the US as a source of carbon emissions a few years ago.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 10:50 PM
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As you say, it's hard to figure out what would be anti-climate-change civil disobedience.

You could build a high density development, involving both residential units and ground-level retail, using green building principles, in an area where zoning regulations require you to provide a certain amount of parking spaces - and then (get this!) you could fail to build the required amount of parking! Take that, city zoning board!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-22-10 11:30 PM
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116: I'm not a dedicated student of the Civil Rights movement, but we do certainly seem to be a more authoritarian state than we were then. Which sounds odd, but: these days we have, say, designated free speech zones, cordoned off.

In the olden days the police just beat the shit out of you if you tried to protest segregation in their town, carted you off to jail and if you're Black or northern, at night the KKK would come. It didn't used to be the police using military tactics to deal with protest, it used to be the actual military: the National Guard used as strikebreakers, the Peterloo massacre, the Gordon riots undsoweiter.

What has changed is that social control is much greater to the point where we worry more about a few broken windows then we do about whether the G20 cook up for awfulness, as Natilo showed in #123. Obviously the establishment has always been against anti-establishment violence of course, but what's new is that the anti-establishment has internalised this attitude as well.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:02 AM
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As you say, it's hard to figure out what would be anti-climate-change civil disobedience.

Like they used to do in England in the nineties, block the building of new highways -- but then building new infrastructure is not on the cards in the US anyway, is it...

One thing that worries me is if/when we do switch from gasoline based cars to either electric or hydrogen, how the power needed to charge these cars is going to be generated: hydrogen isn't clean if made possible by huge new coal fired powerstations.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:06 AM
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I can't find the vote count toward anything but minor filibuster reform in the next Senate. 53-47 or 54-46 with 2-5 Blue Dogs and assholes and Republican discipline.

I am not crazy about the reform anyway. It is liberal process wonk politics, tightening the rules to take the politics out of politics. And it just can't be done, because the 49-51 Senators will be Nelsons and Lincolns, and they will leverage that power. 6 years and incumbency makes some pretty safe.

LBJ and Rayburn and MacCormack understood how it is done. There is a reason Dirksen and Bob Byrd were legendary for the pork they brought home. There is no Senator who can't be bought. Might have to make Vermont the richest state in the Union.

Tough dirty work, and Reid just hasn't been up to it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:19 AM
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I desperately want mitigating climate change to be a higher priority with the government, but I really am not sure what kind of civil disobedience would even begin to target the people who control the levers of power here.

The people who rule our countries don't give a flying fuck about civil disobedience any more. It's also very difficult to employ public disapproval against politicians who are, quite literally, shameless.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:50 AM
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Martin@167: This may be the point you were making said another way, but there really wasn't a police force available at Peterloo or the Gordon Riots. The Bow Street Runners did exist, but they were pretty tiny, and more like a detective agency anyway -- they pursued known criminals on the lam, they didn't do crowd control. Local parish security would be in the charge of watchmen and Beadles, paid for by the parish: the former were usually old men eking out their lack of a pension or savings; the latter role was largely ceremonial.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 2:27 AM
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You could show up at an oil refinery/coal mine/etc. and demand that they hand over a greenhouse-gas tax. I guess that'd be more "carbon social banditry" than civil disobedience.


Posted by: v | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:28 AM
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I'm not sure how my name became "v" on that last post.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:29 AM
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My City Councilman -- literally -- drove an ice cream truck down my street last weekend and gave out free ice cream to anyone who wanted it. I think I'm going to have a hard time winning that election.

That actually sounds like something from the declining days of the Roman Republic. (And I rather think it would be illegal in other countries.) Caesar and Crassus didn't do it because they didn't have ice cream.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:42 AM
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I'm not sure how my name became "v" on that last post.

Cosma Shalizi is more than a man; Cosma Shalizi is an idea. And ideas are bulletproof.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:43 AM
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174. I'm damn sure it would be illegal in this country, if it could be proved that it was an electoral bribe. The councilman's defence would presumably be, "Look it was 100 degrees out there, I was just looking after my peeps." I bet you'd find a jury somewhere that would believe him.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:52 AM
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don't give a flying fuck about civil disobedience

Yep, this. The only thing that's going to get a serious reaction from them is if they actually fear for their physical safety going to and from work. Except I'm pretty sure the serious reaction would be having the Army and police fire on crowds and prosecuting protesters under terrorism laws rather than addressing anybody's concerns.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:02 AM
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175: if ideas can get promoted to assistant professor, I can live with that.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:20 AM
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Caesar and Crassus didn't do it because they didn't have ice cream.

Pompey didn't do it because he was kind of a dick. Octavian didn't do it because ice cream corrupts traditional virtue.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:21 AM
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170

The people who rule our countries don't give a flying fuck about civil disobedience any more. It's also very difficult to employ public disapproval against politicians who are, quite literally, shameless.

Politicians do care about public opinion. This whole discussion has been ignoring the fact that any serious measures (it is unclear what exactly you all want to do) to limit carbon emissions would likely be extremely unpopular.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:27 AM
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179, etc.: Catiline would have licked that ice cream off one's chest. Clodius, too. Nom nom.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:31 AM
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I thought that the Romans (the emperor-type Romans) would sent some guy up to the mountains for snow and make a dessert with that. I can't remember what it was called, but it couldn't be much like ice cream because they couldn't whip air into it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:38 AM
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181: So, has everyone else been reading Robert Harris' Cicero books too then? (If you haven't: "Imperium", and the sequel, "Lustrum". Third one on the way.)

And Catiline would have driven around the Esquiline and Capitoline districts distributing poisoned ice cream.
Lucius Verginius would have taken his daughter's ice cream cone away from her and dumped it in the gutter.


178: V.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:39 AM
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183: I read the first one. It was OK, but whenever I read (or watch: e.g., HBO's Rome) that stuff, I find myself sympathizing with Caesar because he seems so much smarter than everybody else.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:45 AM
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182. Probably. Dionysius of Syracuse is recorded as doing so at an earlier date. I think they mainly used it to chill wine - these guys tended to cut to the chase.

Bollocks to Cicero, pretentious arse-licker.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:46 AM
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182: They'd heap up ice in caves and make something like granita.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:46 AM
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186 to 177.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:47 AM
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187: The people who rule our countries don't give a flying fuck about granita anymore.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:50 AM
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184: Yeah, see, I think sexxxy thoughts about louche, arrogrant, rabble-rousing aristocrats (like Catiline and Clodius, sigh).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:50 AM
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186: Didn't Saladin send the Lionheart something similar when the latter had a fever?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:50 AM
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-r


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:50 AM
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189, 191: Aristocats?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:51 AM
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182: They'd heap up ice in caves and make something like granita.

Which of course people carried on doing until the invention of the refridgerator, really - not always making granita, but something like. The Stately Homes of England (how beautiful they stand/To prove the upper classes/Have still the upper hand.) usually had sunken ice houses built in a shady location somewhere on the estate. People with cellars kept ice blocks in them. Everybody else was shit out of luck, as usual.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:52 AM
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189: I defer to the experts, but wasn't Julius the C. sort of (i) aristocratic and (ii) a rabble-rouser?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:53 AM
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194: I heard he roused like thirty goddamn rabbles.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:55 AM
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194: Does claiming your family is descended from a god count as aristocratic?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:55 AM
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194: Yes! Also NOM. I quite like him. The republic was bullshit at that point. (He was also rather more brilliant than Catiline or Clodius, but lacks their air of menace.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:59 AM
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Or delusional. I don't think Julius ever claimed that, though; Augustus had him deified, so he could claim to have been adopted by one.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:00 AM
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but lacks their air of menace

SEZ YOU!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GAUL | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:01 AM
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198: Didn't the Julii claim to be descendants of Venus (via Aeneas)?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:02 AM
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200 is what I was talking about, not 198.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:04 AM
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but lacks their air of menace.

Tell that to Vercingetorix! But, yes, he was a brilliant cynic who did what he could to hold an untenable state together (he couldn't have done what Augustus did). What do you think to the theory that he knew he was going to be assassinated, but also knew he was terminally ill, so he went ahead because he calculated that his political heirs would be stronger if he was killed by his enemies while he was still in charge than if he faded away?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:04 AM
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193

... Everybody else was shit out of luck, as usual

Actually there was a commercial trade in ice making it unneccessary to store your own.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:05 AM
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199: Also, didn't J. the Caesar occasionally make mutinous soldiers human sacrifices to Mars? I have lived a sheltered life, but that menaces the daylights out of me.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:05 AM
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200. Yes, I suppose they did. But I think the important bit for their image was the descent from Aeneas; Venus only featured because she was Aeneas' mum.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:06 AM
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200: Are we sure the claim wasn't of the "Hey, baby, I'm descended from Venus, if you know what I mean" sort? BOW CHICKA CHICKA WOW WOW.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:07 AM
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203. Not much before the 19th century.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:07 AM
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Venus only featured because she was Aeneas' mum.

Sexist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:08 AM
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202: I have no idea! He's certainly clever enough. And I -- based perhaps on romantic notions -- truly believe that he would rather be killed by those people than kill them, and smartypants as he was, knew that one of those things was going to have to happen.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:11 AM
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205: Still, that's pretty much an aristocrat.

"What I got you've got to get it put it in you" = Red Hot Chili Peppers.

"What I got you've got to get it put it in you because the guy who put it into great, great, great, great, great, great grandma was teh shit" = aristocrat.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:11 AM
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204: That's only menacing if you're the mutinying type. You're not the mutinying type, are you Flippanter?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:13 AM
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204: I'm being a goof! And have read way too many Steven Saylor books (read them! so good! read them in order!*), where Catiline and Clodius each sort of slink around like dangerous and entitled hotties.

*They're Rome-based mystery novels, but not twee and cutesy at all. And the first several of them are based directly on speeches given by Cicero (Pro Caelio, Pro Milone, the Catilinarians, etc.).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:14 AM
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211: Flippanter is not what an ESPN analyst or elementary- to middle-school administrator would describe as a "team player." No further comment. No pictures, please.


Posted by: Flippanter's Counsel | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:16 AM
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158 strikes me as basically right. (Maybe not in all the particulars, but int he general thrust.) If we can't get there with taxes, we need to get there with subsidies, budgets be damned. I'd much prefer fiscal crisis to climate crisis.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:19 AM
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183.3: That'll teach me to comment without enough coffee.

212: I agree, Saylor's books are quite nice historical mysteries. I like that the protagonist is quite matter-of-fact about practices and attitudes which we'd all find revolting.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:22 AM
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177 is basically right, and 180 basically delusional.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:23 AM
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212. I like Saylor, but I got pissed off by his main character being all wimpy and anachronistic about the institution of slavery. I find Falco's attitude much more convincing - you have to have slaves, but they're a pain in the arse to manage.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:25 AM
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I find Falco's attitude much more convincing - you have to have slaves, but they're a pain in the arse to manage.

Right. You have to act like a Kommisar towards them.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:26 AM
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The people who rule our countries don't give a flying fuck about granita anymore.

So true.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Granita_pact

I think Harris gets Cicero quite well in the sense of a man who gets out of his depth and is confident - perhaps over confident - that a combination of inherent righteousness and good public speaking will get him out of trouble. Which it does, until it doesn't.

Which analysis takes us back to Granita, and Harris' previous book "The Ghost". Doesn't it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:34 AM
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Don't turn around.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:34 AM
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Der Kommisar's in town.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:35 AM
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Now that's going to go through my head for at least the next hour.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:36 AM
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I think I'd become hopeful about a climate bill mostly because of the threat of EPA action in the background, which everyone left and right seemed to agree would be a worse result than cap-and-trade. It doesn't seem impossible to me that the EPA could still come out with tough regs that generate enough industry opposition to force a Republican/convserative-Dem rethink of their blanket-"no" strategy on cap-and-trade, even after November's elections. If I have any glimmer of hope left, it's that this is still the ace in the administration's hand, and what they're ultimately counting on. (It's clear they were counting on this last year, and therefore decided to use post-election momentum to push on other legislative initiatives.) But it seems increasingly likely that Congress' reaction to tough EPA carbon regs wouldn't be a climate bill of their own, but would instead just be to defang the EPA. They might well do this before the EPA ever acts in the first place. I think that would sink me, completely.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:39 AM
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222: Could be worse. You could have "Rock Me Amadeus" stuck in there.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:48 AM
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"Oh, I would feel too guilty bringing a person into the world of the future. Maybe adoption."

Whenever I hear someone say this, I'm reminded of the All in the Family episode in which Gloria and Mike argue about the ethics of bringing a child into this doomed world. And Alice the Cook. Does anybody else know what I'm talking about?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:49 AM
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225: I remember the AITF episode. Gloria and Mike go to the beach and she forgets her birth control pills (but remembers her bikini). Hilarity ensues, and it all ends with a valuable lesson for Meathead at the end, via sappy poem. IIRC.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:53 AM
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Also, my study of history indicates to me that the future is likely to be quite awful, but that we are almost certainly wrong about the exact ways it will suck.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:53 AM
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226: But do you remember who Alice the Cook is?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:54 AM
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228: No.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:57 AM
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Oh wait, you mean Alistair Cook via Edith?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:59 AM
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And let me make sure I understand this correctly: the Bush adminstration quite likely committed war crimes, authorized torture, engaged in illegal domestic surveillance, and quite possibly election fraud, and almost everyone in the MSM agrees that absolutely none of that should be investigated, and no one should be held accountable for any of it, because it would all be too much of a distraction from real governance, and now the GOP is openly admitting that it's only intention if it retakes the House is to launch and endless series of baseless investigations into the Obama administration (alleging what, exactly? It doesn't even matter...), and everyone just sort of shrugs? I'm sure if they actually do it there will be a disapproving op-ed or two, likely expressing sympathy with their general aim of seeing that any potential wrongdoing is brought to light, but chastisting their "perceived" zealotry.

Do I understand the situation correctly?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:01 AM
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227 is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:01 AM
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228. A journalist whose bones were stolen?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:01 AM
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"In the best of times, our days are numbered anyway, and so it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly that it put off enjoying those things for which we were presumably designed in the first place. . . I mean the opportunity to do good work, to fall in love, to enjoy friends, to sit under a tree, to hit a ball and bounce a baby."
--Alistair Cooke

"Alice the Cook" was was Edith Bunker's misinterpretation of "Alistair Cooke".


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:02 AM
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234 crossed with 230. You win the prize, M/M!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:05 AM
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235: But I misremembered it as being a sappy poem, and I misspelled his name. No prize for me!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:10 AM
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What if we want to do good love, fall in trees, sit under friends, hit a baby, and bounce a ball?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:10 AM
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231: That's about right. I'm not making fun of you for being horrified. You should be horrified, and the fact that I'm kind of dulled to that sort of thing after the last twenty years of it is bad. But it's pretty much business as usual, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:11 AM
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237: Those are also crimes against nature.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:11 AM
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237: Damn contrarian!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:13 AM
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231 is exactly right. Early morning sobriety's a real bitch, isn't it?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:13 AM
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239: Ouch. I didn't even mention enjoying work.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:13 AM
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to sit under a tree, to hit a ball and bounce a baby

All at the same time. He was a talented man, Alistair Cooke.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:14 AM
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Are you allowed to bounce the ball off the baby?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:18 AM
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Whatever happened to those threads where JRoth would get all despondent about our political system and then ari and everyone would explain that it wasn't that bad?
I miss those threads.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:19 AM
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I also enjoy "Monsterpiece Theater" with Alistair Cookie.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:19 AM
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245: JRoth has apparently sworn off Unfogged, so Brock is stepping in.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:23 AM
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Actually, I'm quite happy having brought children into the world. By and large the trends in human history have been positive. Life spans have doubled. Literacy is widespread, and near universal in the industrialized countries. I also believe that societies have been becoming more egalitarian and deaths by violence are down if you look at the scale of hundreds of years, but I'm not completely confident in that.

Worries about the state of the world mostly revolve around whether the current prosperity is sustainable (which is reasonable.) Also people's expectations have been rising even faster than people's well being. During the 19th and 20th centuries, we acquired the idea that slavery and genocide are crimes against humanity, rather than just the normal business of humanity. We feel like it is wrong to bring children into a world with those things, but to even expect that the world should lack these things is a sign of progress.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:24 AM
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They're Rome-based mystery novels, but not twee and cutesy at all.

Read Falco (?author) and Saylor, at least the first few in each. Even beyond the slavery, I found the Saylor series to be consistently depressing. The class difference might be important. Falco was more of a lark, but eventually I grew tired of an unseriousness. I respected Saylor more, but I just can't shake the image of the lead huddled in front of a tripod in an empty atrium.

The detective/hard-boiled genre does have a challenge with walking the line between a suitable world-weariness and boring anhedonia.

HBO's Rome I think worked in part by balancing depressed leads with amoral joydivers.
Many hardboileds do the same with the detective's cheerily violent sidekick. Cheadle in Devil in Blue Dress.

Ahh, these tricks and tropes are why I can't read anymore.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:25 AM
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243: if you can get the right angle on the baby's carom off the tree you can hit the ball without even standing up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:25 AM
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248:I don't think I posted i last night, but if people had stopped having babies because said baby would be likely as not to suffer and die horribly, we would still be back on the veldt.

Unreasonable hope followed by crushing disappointment is the human condition. Don't get the order confused.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:29 AM
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The Falco books are Lindsey Davis (maybe Davies?); I thought the first three or four were great, but ran out of gas a bit after that. I haven't read the Saylor, and clearly should.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:29 AM
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I gotta go, but let me lend you my wisdom gained from age and experience.

This will all end badly.

You're welcome.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:30 AM
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and clearly should

Alles klar.


Posted by: Herr Kommissar | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:31 AM
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Read Falco (?author) Lindsey Davis. Actually they're both about the same in class origins, because you couldn't really be a delator if you were rich enough to be respectable, but you had to be presentable as well. Davis has her character marry a Senator's daughter, which is completely unreal - he would have disappeared very quickly if he'd tried. But Saylor has his lead make an honest woman out of the slave he's been boffing (consent? slave? hello?) for years, which is cute but almost as implausible.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:33 AM
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Stop depressing me, Brock.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:35 AM
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Would looking at penis-shaped things that are not actually penises provide some cheer? If so, I'll look for the link.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:41 AM
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Would looking at penis-shaped things that are not actually penises provide some cheer? If so, I'll look for the link.

I think it's going to take actual penises to cheer me up today.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:00 AM
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Here's an instance of "accidental vulva".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:02 AM
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258: Good news!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:05 AM
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Is the link in 260 work-safe? The url worries me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:08 AM
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It depends on who you get!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:10 AM
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But probably no, NSFW.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:11 AM
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149: I'd buy yuan if they'd sell em.

They sell yuan! Go to any full-service bank with a foreign currency teller or to the airport exchange and you can get lots of renminbi. I'm not saying you'll get a really good price on them, but if the dollar collapsed, at least you'd have something.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:17 AM
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Dissappointing, but work safe.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:22 AM
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264: They also sell dong.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:23 AM
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You are a bunch of morose motherfuckers. I think the unifying characteristic of liberals is the fear of ever having been too optimistic.

We will win. Not everything will go our way. Some days it will look like we're moving backwards. But this is temporary. In the end, we will win.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:29 AM
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Hopefully the win will happen before the mass extinction event.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:31 AM
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267: So, you're not a liberal?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:31 AM
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Some daysdecades it will look like we're moving backwards.

Fixed. And historically, you've been exactly right. The problem on climate change is that we may not have any decades left to spare.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:35 AM
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Pwned while goofing around with the damn html.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:36 AM
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269: I am a liberal, but liberals have characteristic pathologies, and this is one of them. I suffer from it like everyone else, and this thread was making me mope fatalistically earlier.

Maybe we don't have a decade to spare, and maybe we won't win before the mass extinction event. If we go down, then we go down. But motherfucker, I don't know about you, but I'm going down swinging.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:38 AM
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272: Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:41 AM
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But motherfucker, I don't know about you, but I'm going down swinging.

Well, that's exactly how I feel, and what I was discussing upthread. But what exactly do you mean by "swinging"? Typing menacing comments on the internet? Voting for the moderately-less-corrupt political party? Writing letters to your local newspaper? Blocking interstate traffic with your body? Manning the guillotines? Swapping sex partners?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:41 AM
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I'm going down swinging.

Have we figured out what, practically, swinging means in this context? Biking to work is great, but I've been doing it for months now and we still don't have climate change legislation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:42 AM
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It'll be alright, Brock. I'm sure your favored stall will become unoccupied at some point this morning.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:43 AM
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I'm going down swinging.

Walt is one wild and crazy someguy!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:44 AM
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I'm sure your favored stall will become unoccupied at some point this morning.

I'VE CHANGED JOBS AND NONE OF THE STALLS HERE ARE SUITABLE.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:44 AM
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278: Well I hope you've learned a valuable lesson then.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:45 AM
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Maybe there's something in the fridge past its sell-by date that you could eat to feel better?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:48 AM
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270: we may not have any decades left to spare

Exactly what large numbers of people thought in the Fifties as we waited for the flashes and radioactive mushroom clouds. Had I offed myself then I would have missed lots of interesting developments. Had I decided the world was too horrible to bring children into it I would have missed two great people and experiences.

I'm not optimistic about the species preventing lots of climate related damage. However, we will adapt. Look at the bright side; if there's a mass extinction there will be more parking spaces.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:49 AM
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I just ate a whole pizza and I'm once again optimistic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:52 AM
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I alternate between thinking that the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice and that history is just one damn thing after another.

Also, I sometimes thing that Dr. King's talk of long curving arcs is vaguely phallic.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:55 AM
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The dead don't park.


Posted by: bave | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:56 AM
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Think. I think that the phrase is phallic.

I also think things like "oh, an attractive woman just walked by" and "I like beer."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:56 AM
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I don't think there's any doubt that the last couple of decades have seen a pretty concerted roll-back of many of the gains won over the past century -- in terms of civil liberties, democracy, and social and economic equality.* It doesn't have to be irreversible, and longer term it may pan out for the good, but I don't think this is a particularly optimistic time if you even fairly centrist political views and are halfway aware of what is and has been going on.

That said, none of that would stop me going ahead and having kids.

* with some gains, as well, of course; it's not been all bad.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:57 AM
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this thread was making me mope fatalistically earlier.

Okay, I'll use this as an excuse to suggest again that people listen to the links I posted in 127. I know that it's mildly rude to repeat the same information, but I'm just sorry to see them get buried.

I don't want to say too much about those recordings or I worry that I'll start to sound like Bob talking about movies but I find the entire CD* those were taken from alternately exhilarating and depressing. In so many of the tracks you can hear people balanced on the edge between fear and excitement, and they are motivated to keep pushing forward not only by a belief that their cause is just but by the belief that they are, in fact, involved in changing the world.

There's less of the fear in those two tracks since Abernathy and King are, of course, veterans at that point, but they're amazing. When Abernathy says (from memory), "And you know what happened last Sunday? They had the same dogs, and the same water hoses, and they didn't use 'em." it's such a powerful moment.

He's telling the group that things are changing, not just in the grand arc of history, but from one week to the next, and what could be more exciting than that?


* #5 on my list of most significant life albums.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:57 AM
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I don't what we should do, and I doubt we're going to figure it out just today. Really, I doubt we'll figure it out at all. We'll try one thing, and then we'll try another thing, and then viola! one of them will work.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:57 AM
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viola!

New favorite interjection.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 9:59 AM
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The spell-checker didn't put the little red line under it, so it must be right.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:00 AM
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re: 289

Made just a fraction late, and out of tune?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:00 AM
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Made just a fraction late, and out of tune?

Wait for it.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:02 AM
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I know that it's mildly rude to repeat the same information

Pshaw.

and then viola! one of them will work.

We could try making an instrument very like a violin, except a bit larger and tuned a fifth lower . . . .


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:03 AM
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Let's try running away to join the orchestra.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:04 AM
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293 was perhaps made just a fraction late.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:04 AM
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294: PROTIP: The bass players are the easiest to catch.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:05 AM
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Labs has actually been quite elusive lately.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:06 AM
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Made just a fraction late, and out of tune?

I'M TUNED JUST FINE THANK YOU VERY MUCH.


Posted by: OPINIONATED VIOLA | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:07 AM
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297: You know what everyone should eat more of? Sprouts, that's what.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:07 AM
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Also? People who owe e-mails to Sifu Tweety are terrible dressers.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:08 AM
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45: What you need is to use less energy in a very visible way. You could ride a bike to work, for example.

I realize this is probably just a joke, but I ride a bike all over town and boy, do I feel invisible most of the time. I'm certain that absolutely no one gives a shit; the most common reaction I get is, "Wow! You're really sweaty." Most people probably just think I'm crazy. But it's (often) fun, it's quasi-exercise, and it suits my miserly tendencies. So, whatever.


Posted by: toops | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:09 AM
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Also also? The Gayatollah's fellatio powers? Not actually all that Superkoranic.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:10 AM
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302: You must have been very disappointed, M/M.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:17 AM
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When the going gets tough, the tough go swimming ... in Singapore.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:18 AM
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304: I may shudder all day. That made my heart feel cold.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:22 AM
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Mine also. I would not get into that pool.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:25 AM
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If we knew anybody who lived in Singapore, we could ask them whether they're taking bets on how long before the unspeakable happens. Gaaaahhhh!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:30 AM
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how long before the unspeakable happens

Someone pees in it?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:32 AM
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I would bet the pool is perfectly safe. Whatever is past that ledge has to catch the water and probably goes out far enough to catch anybody jumping. I still wouldn't want to get in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:33 AM
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I can't tell from looking at that whether I'd be terrified, or whether I'd think it was great.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:33 AM
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308: Singapore might not be the best place to try to get away with a urine-related crime.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:36 AM
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When I first looked at the third photograph on that page, for a second I thought they were also planning to install a lake on top of a building, with the swimming pool higher still, looking down on all the boat traffic.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:38 AM
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312 was me.

311: Presumably envisioning the punishment is what induced chris y's "Gaaaahhhh!".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:39 AM
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I also don't understand how anybody goes on those glass-bottomed viewing stands that they now have at the Grand Canyon and the Sears Tower. Especially the one at the Grand Canyon where, to judge from the TV special I saw, you'd look down and see a view that I associate with trying way too hard to catch a road runner and failing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:41 AM
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309: Perfectly safe, but I still think chicken fights near the outer edge would be hardcore.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:46 AM
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There's a hotel planned in Abu Dhabi with a glass-bottomed pool, quite a long way up...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:48 AM
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those glass-bottomed viewing stands that they now have at the Grand Canyon

The SkyWalk! It totally made my stomach drop out. I found it impossible to walk casually. Other people were totally unaffected.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:51 AM
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Actually, the Grand Canyon itself terrified me. There's not really anything to keep you from going over the edge.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:53 AM
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318: Yeah, whoever designed that thing needs to be sued.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:57 AM
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It took me about a half dozen trips across before I stopped getting queasy on the bridges I cross on my way home. And those have concrete beneath you, a fence keeping you from going over the edge, and a concrete barrier between you and the traffic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:04 AM
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What I'm trying to say is "Liberals! Don't be discouraged! Be more like your heroes!" Did Lenin get discouraged when he was exiled in Germany? Did the Ayatollah Khomeinei get discouraged when he was exiled in France? We shouldn't get discouraged when we all get exiled to Manhattan.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:10 AM
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OT: No more masturbating to Dan Schorr.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:14 AM
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321: You left out -- did Hitler get discouraged when he was thrown into jail after the failure of the Beer Hall Putsch?

Thank you very much, Jonah Goldberg!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:28 AM
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Good point. How could I forget Hitler?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:30 AM
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322Despite decades of experience in the latest broadcast technology, Mr. Schorr never learned to use computers or word processors, sticking with electric typewriters into his 90s

The last of his kind?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:35 AM
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325: Electric typewriters? Get the manual kind or get out.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:37 AM
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326: I think you're getting a little too zealous in your carbon footprint monitoring, Moby.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:39 AM
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I don't even own a computer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:42 AM
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287:Lack of female musicians?

Mavis Staples is all you need.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:42 AM
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I wish someone would exile me to Manhattan. I can only dream....


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:45 AM
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322: Like all good Americans I stopped masturbating to him after Nixon's enemies list came out.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:46 AM
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330: What's the matter with appeal of Kansas?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:47 AM
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331: That's funny. "Nixon's Enemy" is my penis's nickname.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:49 AM
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I have a tattoo on it that reads "This Machine Kills Fascists".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:49 AM
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334: It was an accidental penis tattoo, however.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:51 AM
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334: Most of the time it just reads TMKF.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:53 AM
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287:Lack of female musicians?

Not really. In addition to the obvious names Cordell Reagon is female, and also many of "the Freedom Singers".

Most of the people speaking are male but that is not surprising, and Fannie Lou Hamer is a pretty big name.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:56 AM
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Cordell Reagon is female

Eep! My brain is failing me. That is incorrect.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:57 AM
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Did Lenin get discouraged when he was exiled in Germany?

Germany? Zurich, dude. Not a penny to his name, but terrific walks.

Ain't no revolution before it's time, but always gotta think revolution. Bush took advantage of 9/11. Obama is an example of a forced false hope, self-constrained and ineffectual. Conditions must be ripe for the opportunistic.

I once explained Tim Leary to Katherine. "Tune in, turn on, drop out"

Be aware. Be prepared. Be willing.

GWB was a revolutionary and does have much to teach us. He was going to Iraq, and didn't need no stinking authorization. Being willing intimidated his opposition.

Does this mean we stare our enemies in the eye and make them cry by will alone? (I set my ass in motion)

No it means we will burn it all fucking down. Is this a negotiating tactic? No, actually, we will burn shit down.
We will compromise to spare the innocent? Not really.

I take it back. Politics is not discourse on the edge of violence. Politics dances on the edge of apocalypse.

Apocalypse = the lifting of the veil


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:05 PM
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316: There's a hotel planned in Abu Dhabi with a glass-bottomed pool, quite a long way up...

What Joe Hill's lyrics would sound like if he were alive and writing today.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:14 PM
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336: 334: Most of the time it just reads TMKF.

Fixed!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:16 PM
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Because I'm feeling both more optimistic this morning and am always in favor of local boosterism, let me point out that California already has a climate change program that's better than whatever Congress might do.

Other states are doing similar things. At the national level, we're only a few Senators away. At the international level, the infrastructure that the great Chairman Mao imposed on China may make it possible for them to authoritarian-ally impose a better climate regime on that country, thus saving the world.

The problem is just cheap oil. Which is why the solution is to nuke Texas.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:19 PM
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I wish I had your optimism, mcmanus.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:20 PM
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Oh, and cheap coal, too. But I can't really get behind nuking West Virginia.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:21 PM
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339: The heads. You're looking at the heads. Sometimes he goes too far. He's the first one to admit it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:21 PM
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344: Those of us in the coal regions appreciate your not calling for our deaths.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 12:25 PM
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The problem is just cheap oil

What if Emperor Halford had a dream before the big battle that he subsequently won, and declared that the Empire would now all be Amish.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 1:03 PM
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When I was at the zoo the other weekend, the Amish were all over the place. There were a couple of buses in the parking lot and I suppose they must have chartered them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 1:05 PM
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Sometimes I make myself Cry

But here's your slow boring hard boards motherfucker when it counted.
When it was the poor against the bosses, Weber counseled patience. Fucking liberals.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 1:06 PM
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349 to 345


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 2:05 PM
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The post title keeps cycling this song through my head.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 2:14 PM
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Try to teach it to the barista.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 2:38 PM
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352: Funny! I'm in fact at the local café chain that employs the limerick barista, but she works at a different location. You know who is here, though? This girl who looks like a 16-year-old version of AWB. It's uncanny.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 2:42 PM
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A White Cub?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 2:55 PM
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Racist.

Oh. "Cub." Sorry.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 3:51 PM
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... I see my hopes that the lack of any return phone call from my apartment's maintenance staff meant they had quietly fixed my air conditioner while I was at work were misplaced.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 4:20 PM
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356: Ouch, does that mean you'll have to suffer all weekend now? Regardless, sympathies.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 4:26 PM
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356, 357: Road trip!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 4:27 PM
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I'm not sure, they might work limited hours on Saturdays. I'll try them first thing in the morning, I guess. Looks like tomorrow will be one of the hottest days of the summer, so this would be my luck.

If only I had a sofa in my office...


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 4:39 PM
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353: You found my lost youth!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 4:46 PM
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360: Road trip!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 4:50 PM
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Eh. I wouldn't want to road-trip with 16yo me. I wasn't very fun at that age.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 4:52 PM
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But wouldn't you have advice for her?


Posted by: persistently visible | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 4:54 PM
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Didn't we just have that thread?


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 4:56 PM
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Essear, I *just* installed my AC because I am a truly lazy, horrible person. There are ways of surviving this.

The most important thing is to keep your core heat down. The longer you swelter, the worse you'll feel. So even though all you'll want to do is lay down and die, you need to get somewhere cool. Public libraries are cool. Movie theaters. Public pools---hell, even the beach will be cooler than the city. Indoor shopping malls.

Right before you attempt to sleep in the heat, take a very cool bath. Stay there for a while, read a book, sip on some iced beverages! If you are the kind of person who sleeps well when camping, consider the roof (if you have access). Also consider sleeping on the floor: your mattress is made to retain heat.

Ice cubes.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:03 PM
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Essear, don't listen to Jackmormon. What you need to do is get yourself some ice cubes and a real doll.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:07 PM
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360 to 366


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:17 PM
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I did make it through one and a half sweltering summers in Chicago and four partial summers in Ithaca without AC, but I've grown soft. Plus, I don't even own a fan anymore.

Annoyingly, some maintenance guy just came by my apartment, to try to figure out why water is leaking in my downstairs neighbor's place, but he didn't know anything about my AC problem or how to fix it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:18 PM
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I'm unclear on how one would use a real doll to cool off.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:20 PM
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||
Reference Librarians do endearingly dorky Lady Gaga parody
|>


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:25 PM
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368.2: Aha! Betcha your AC has a busted something-or-other which is leaking water down into your downstairs neighbor's place. This happened at the bookshop a couple of years ago: upstairs neighbor's AC was leaking through our ceiling onto the books.

I'd call the maintenance guys, if at all possible, if they're available, and ask if this could be the explanation for both problems.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:30 PM
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371.1: Unfortunately not; he said the water's coming down from someplace in the vicinity of my kitchen, but no leaks are apparent anywhere in my kitchen. Also, apparently no maintenance people here are capable of fixing air conditioners and they contract it out to other people. But at least he said he would remind his boss about my call.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:36 PM
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Public libraries are cool.

This had me all inspired to go hang out in the campus library tonight and read something random, but it closes at 8 PM in the summer. Sigh.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:39 PM
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369: Well, that's what the ice cubes are for.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 5:40 PM
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372: Drat.

Well, JM's advice is worth taking. DaggerAleph (?) I think had some radical advice recently about going to bed in a wet t-shirt after a cold shower -- this strikes me as effective only if you have a fan, otherwise one must obviously sleep nekkid -- and about putting your sheets in the freezer for a while before bed. Egad. Sleeping on the floor can be wise -- my housemate has been sleeping on a futon on the dining room floor for the last month, which is a tad inconvenient for all, but hey.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:04 PM
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radical advice recently about going to bed the library in a wet t-shirt after a cold shower


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:07 PM
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I have no objection to viewing erect man-nipples. At the library. A person has to do what a person has to do. It's pretty damned hot, and you'd have to be a fool to deny it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:32 PM
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I think had some radical advice recently about going to bed in a wet t-shirt after a cold shower -- this strikes me as effective only if you have a fan, otherwise one must obviously sleep nekkid

Mais non! Wet cotton makes you colder than you would be if stark naked, fan or no fan. The wet t-shirt advice is solid. Also try running cold water over your inner wrists, where you would take a pulse.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:38 PM
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Honestly, however. People in this town have a habit of walking around with wet cloths draped on their heads, something I'd never seen before I moved here. It's so hot that it's kind of a bonding moment: I hear you, dude, and you don't look remotely silly, just sensible. Shall we discuss financial reform? How about the state of the housing market? Also the upcoming midterm elections are confounding. Yes, you have a wet orange cloth draped on your head, and are for understandable reasons clutching a water bottle, but whatever.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:41 PM
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The heat index here today was 110. Its freaking awful.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:41 PM
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Yep, sleeping wrapped in wet cloth is good advice. But if you want to go Parsimon's nekkid route, you can always go with wet sheets instead of the wet t-shirt.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:44 PM
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Wet cotton makes you colder than you would be if stark naked, fan or no fan.

I disagree. Wet t-shirt, in a bed, when it's 90-something degrees indoors at 11 pm, just means, in the absence of air circulation: clammy. The t-shirt might work okay for the first 20 minutes, and after that, it's the same temperature as your body and the surrounding air, and it's absolutely coming off.

It's like a freaking swamp here. Without air circulation, you want as little fabric touching your body as possible.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:47 PM
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after that it's the same temperature as your body and the surrounding air

Evaporation is an endothermic reaction.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:53 PM
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As long as the air temperature is less than 98.6F, the wet fabric is going to bring your body temperature down. Based on one very miserable night in a hostel with a 2-year old, I confirm based on empirical testing that wet fabric is better than nekkid.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:53 PM
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It's so humid here that my glasses fog up every time I leave an air-conditioned interior.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 6:56 PM
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More than anything, if you haven't got A/C, you need a fan. I had one when the A/C went out here and I slept on the floor in front of the fan and it actually got pretty chilled late at night, so essear should go buy one. The wet t-shit thing combined with a fan is called evaporative cooling and will chill you down very fast as long as the cloth is damp.

max
['But you gotta have a fan.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:00 PM
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my glasses fog up every time I leave an air-conditioned interior

Yeah, that's kind of amusing in its way, I always think.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:24 PM
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Speaking of the heat, you know what I did outside today that was insane? Went running. And I broke my personal best for distance, topping out at just over three miles (which is not that impressive to an established runner, but I'm new at this and only too happy to celebrate. Way to go, self!)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:27 PM
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Woohoo! The best bit about that is, if you keep it up through August, suddenly when it cools off in September you're going to discover that you're in much better shape than you thought you were.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:30 PM
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342

... At the international level, the infrastructure that the great Chairman Mao imposed on China may make it possible for them to authoritarian-ally impose a better climate regime on that country, thus saving the world.

Back in the real world China's carbon emissions are projected to increase over the next 20 years by more than current US carbon emissions.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:35 PM
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Congrats, Stanley! Wow, that must have taken some doing.

max
['I mowed the lawn.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 7:36 PM
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Thanks, guys.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:10 PM
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I don't know why, but pretty much the whole run of comments from 267-275 is cracking me up. Unaccountably amusing, the whole morose lot of you.

Though rob at 248 and ttaM at 286 seem quite obviously right.

I don't want to say too much about those recordings or I worry that I'll start to sound like Bob talking about movies

Some of us like to hear bob talk about movies, and you talk about music. And thanks for the links; I hadn't heard those clips before. I liked the Abernathy especially.

It's always magical to hear the moment when the activists are realizing that the people upholding the status quo are truly at a loss for how to respond to them. Most movements never get that far, of course, and so both spend a lot of time playing out well-established "protest" scripts.

I suspect that each major issue needs its own solution: sit-ins for civil rights, okay, but weddings for gay marriage. Remember all those happy celebrating teary dressed-up people in the very first round of legal gay marriages? THAT was unpredictable. THAT created temporary bewilderment and paralysis among the strong opponents, and jarred the vast middle out of its complacent/oblivious willingness to let the hatred hold sway.

304: Train of thought: "Wow....what a strange idea....looks kind of cool...what message were they trying to send by putting the male model in that necklace?"

370: Train of thought: "Yes, endearing...wonder if this would mean more if I had any idea of the song it was based on."

But you gotta have a fan.

Oh, do I love my ceiling fans.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:12 PM
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386 More than anything, if you haven't got A/C, you need a fan. I had one when the A/C went out here and I slept on the floor in front of the fan and it actually got pretty chilled late at night, so essear should go buy one.

Thanks, max. I realized the wisdom of your words and rushed out to buy a fan at the only place open late enough, Wal-Mart. Now I'm stuck pondering how much of my strong distaste for the place is legitimate objection to the evils of a megacorporation, how much semi-justifiable aesthetic distaste, and how much class bias that I should be ashamed of. But at least I'm somewhat less hot while pondering these things.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:25 PM
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We just had some rain here in Dallas, so our temps are high 70s with HI mid 80s.

I looked up current and forecast heat indices for the nation at weather channel com. Wow. Dallas is one of the cooler places at 99 tomorrow. Y'all are fucking hot up there.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:39 PM
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Yahoo Forecast National Heat Index for Saturday

I don't know if the above will work or last. Spooky scary.

97 Reno, 95 Frisco, is that Eugene at 99? 98 Detroit 97 Bangor 104 DC 107 Richmond? Are you fucking kidding me? I may have some of the cities wrong, but doesn't matter, it's all too damn hot.

I was not aware. I'm sorry.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:47 PM
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Y'all are fucking hot up there.

Normal year: 24 days over 90 degrees.

This year: 35 days and counting (assuming tomorrow and Sunday are as hot as predicted -- tomorrow is supposed to be 97). It's 90 right now, at nearly 11 p.m. Bah.

Distraction! Hurricane tracker now includes bonus economic data so you can calculate the real-time fallout for U.S. jobs.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 8:50 PM
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Some of us like to hear bob talk about movies, and you talk about music. And thanks for the links; I hadn't heard those clips before. I liked the Abernathy especially.

Thank you. And, honestly, I always like it when Bob talks about movies as well.

I agree that the Abernathy is more direct, and that was the track that I was thinking of when I pulled out the CD.

On the other hand, I think that the King recording gets at a bit of the uncertainty that I was talking about as well. Look at this photograph of the children being arrested and think about that when listening to his speech. He projects confidence, of course, but I really get the feeling that he doesn't know how this is going to turn out, and he doesn't know what's going to happen next.

I do think they're optimistic, and with good reason, but how can you look at that photograph and not have your heart leap into your throat a little bit?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 10:59 PM
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Get AC. I spent a couple partial summers with just a fan in NYC (my first half dozen years I spent most of my summers in Europe), but it just wears on you. This is the type of thing I disagree with the hard core greens on: AC is a wonderful thing, we need to emphasize efficiency, both of the machines themselves and temperature settings (I routinely carry around a sweatshirt or sweater in the summer for the inevitable deep freeze AC temps) but eliminating it completely, you're insane, or maybe you live in Poland or Sweden or Maine. (Same for cars, even though I don't even have a license).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-23-10 11:46 PM
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397: I'm just going to keep pointing out that it's unusually cold here. Something like 3 degrees colder than average, and I heard it's the fifth coldest summer in the last 40 or 50 years (so far).

95 Frisco

I don't know how the heat index is compiled, but the forecast is for highs in the low 60s. In San Francisco, at least. Frisco may be somewhere else. The temperature has been above 80 in the city exactly once this summer. About six weeks ago. Not sure it's hit even 70 since. I'm sick of it.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 12:36 AM
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The little tiny map is at 400. My geography is not terrible, but whatever is up there in Northern California is hot and unremembered.

I shall not cheat, but do my mnemonic best. Redding?

The three places in Oregon are Eugene, Bend, and Portland. The one in Eastern Washington and the two on the NE edge of Nevada are challenging.

Spokane? Silver City?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 1:30 AM
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Hell Map is at 396. Sorry.

Housemate & I spent some time tonight playing "Name that City"

Can't name the 96 on the central border of Texas and Mexico. Brownsville, Matamoros, Midland, Abilene, Amarillo, etc but I can't name that one. It is not El Paso.

Isn't this fun?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 1:36 AM
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AC is a wonderful thing

There are ways to build houses that really reduce the need for it, though.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:01 AM
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For example, you could build them in Poland, Sweden, or Maine.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:12 AM
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402: Either Laredo, Eagle Pass or Del Rio. Laredo is the biggest by far (although like the others it is still smaller than its maquiladora counterpart across the river), but from the location on the map it looks like Eagle Pass.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 7:02 AM
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401: The place in SW Oregon is most likely Medford. And yes, the coast to interior temperature gradients are impressive along much of the Califronia coast--forecast high today in Eureka, 68; Redding less than 100 miles inland as the crow flies, 106


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 7:11 AM
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The album including the linked song in 351 is amazingly good for something I'd never heard before, and led me via youtube noodling to this vintage expression of Pynchonian raketenlust.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 12:23 PM
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407.1: w00t. It's my favorite Jets to Brazil album.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 12:48 PM
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394: Thanks, max. I realized the wisdom of your words and rushed out to buy a fan at the only place open late enough, Wal-Mart.

You're welcome. How did it go with the sleeping last night? That's the important part. If you can't sleep you'll really wornnnnnnn dooowwwnnnnnnn, sllllooooowwwww and cranky and you'll still be hot.

Now I'm stuck pondering how much of my strong distaste for the place [Walmart] is legitimate objection to the evils of a megacorporation, how much semi-justifiable aesthetic distaste, and how much class bias that I should be ashamed of.

In order: do you object to Costco or Target the same way? Walmart is basically a warehouse, not a department store, so the aesthetic is... warehouse, and can be justifiably objected to. It's just ugly in one. And finally, how many fat people did you see? When I go to the Walmart here in the afternoons I see lots of skinny people with deep tans. When I go in the evening I see lots of very chunky people; last time I got stuck behind two very heavy ladies with food stamps. Those people don't bother me so much as the skinny people with the tans that are kind of slumming and know it bother me. At any rate: Walmart is unattractive, that's for sure.

397: This year: 35 days and counting (assuming tomorrow and Sunday are as hot as predicted -- tomorrow is supposed to be 97). It's 90 right now, at nearly 11 p.m. Bah.

Well, Dallas terms would have a hot year as 46 days of 100 degrees or above. That's WITH A/C being standard all over though, so I don't doubt that people in the NE without central A/C are suffering during our lovely heat wave.

max
['I need to finish the lawn, unfortunately, and it's a 105 on the heat index.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 12:55 PM
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I need to finish the lawn, unfortunately, and it's a 105 on the heat index

Yech. Any chance it can wait until verrrrry early tomorrow? I'm fantasizing that I'm going to get some weeding done before the heat comes out in force.

Unrelatedly, does anyone else think that Ygelsias's latest post misses the point in a rather major way?

I mean, I get that he's being attacked by bad-faith actors, and I certainly agree that this whole JournoList scandal has gotten way too much airtime.

But on the larger topic of informal jouranlistic connections, he says:

if you want to know if a given blogger is shilling for the Obama administration the best way to figure it out is to read his blog and see what he says.

And that's really not enough. Sure, it's useful to see if there's a one-to-one correspondence between access to officials and fawning reports on said officials (or their favorite policies). Some journalists even make it easy by writing breathless reports about how they were invited to a beach party where they got to squirt a water gun at the vice president.

But as a reader and a citizen, I'm a lot more concerned about the insidious and invisible courtesies and blind spots that arise over time when people are writing about people they know and interact with.

It's not that there's some utopia of objectivity that people should be striving for, but for any opinion writer to think that he or she is immune to universal human tendencies is pretty wild. It's human nature to selectively hear, reframe, and reinterpret information about people we know. It's all part of the big filtering system of the human brain. But you don't have to wake up in the morning thinking "I'm friends with the Obama administration so I'm not going to write about whether I think Kagan is a good nominee" for it to be a problem. It's also about things like what doesn't occur to you to write about in the first place.

Am I missing something, or does he not get that?

Maybe it's hard, when you're constantly getting attacked by people who don't have any interest in legitimate criticism, to imagine that good-faith actors might have the same criticisms.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 1:34 PM
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Central NC is supposed to have a high of 103 tomorrow, with the heat index at 115. Humidity is close to 60%. It's godawful. We took the kids swimming this afternoon, and even when neck-deep in water, your head is still miserable.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 1:38 PM
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410: What you're talking about is a problem. But the idea that it's a problem isn't particularly new, and it hasn't got anything at all to do with Journolist -- the unfortunately chummy relationships happen just as well by phone or one-to-one email or whatever. I'm willing to cut Yglesias slack on the post to the extent that he's saying that the mailing list was neither unusual nor more pernicious than the rest of a typical journalist's social interaction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 1:42 PM
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I'm willing to cut Yglesias slack on the post to the extent that he's saying that the mailing list was neither unusual nor more pernicious than the rest of a typical journalist's social interaction.

Yes, I'm not aruging that it was unusual. I'm arguing that his claim about "the best way to know if someone is shilling is to read his blog" is dumb and simplistic, and fails to take into account other ways that a writer who has social connections to his subjects could mis-serve his readers.

And the fact that the listserv wasn't any more pernicious than journalism generally is an embarrassingly low bar.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 1:53 PM
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IMO, the biggest problem with journalists isn't that they have all kinds of undisclosed interests, but that they are varying combinations of (a) lazy (b) stupid and (c) ignorant. Every time I've been close to a major story where I had more knowledge than the general public, the journalists have gotten things only about 50% right -- not explicit factual errors, but missing things of pretty big significance.

Sometimes a cozy relationship can be helpful for that sort of thing. I'm thinking of old-school beat reporters who really knew, say, the inner workings of the City transit commission, or whatever. This could be false nostalgia, though -- I'm not sure that beat reporters like that ever really existed.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:02 PM
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I'm calling the main liberal blogosphere "Petit Trianon."

I hope it catches on.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:06 PM
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And I found this Matthew Yglesias post to be far stupider than the Journolist one. He really should have spent some time actually working in some real job for someone somewhere before opining on stuff like this.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:14 PM
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414: IME, those factors are on a different axis from the social ties. A reporter may or may be closely tied to his sources. She may or may not be lazy, stupid or ignorant. There is no particular correlation (except maybe slightly on the laziness end, because having a circle of people you can call for a quick quote is both social and lazy).

I've known curious, thoughtful beat reporters whose ties to their sources definitely made for better stories (although even then, it was more likely to be "ties" as in "repeated conversations" rather than "attending social events together").

And I've known those whose connections totally hampered their ability to do their jobs. That includes "job" defined as "write stories that put eyeballs in front of our advertisers," not just "write important stories that citizens need to know about."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:14 PM
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After all, it seems like either this credit check business is a sound business practice (in which case allowing it is making the economy more efficient and ultimately building a more prosperous tomorrow) or else it's an unsound business practice (in which case competition should drive it out).

Deep thinking from Yggles.

This really is idiocy.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:17 PM
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||

Emerson showed up at CT today on the Gellner thread using This interesting choice of a pseudonym. Didn't fool anyone long.

But that reminds me to get back to Postmodernism, Reason, & Religion. Pretty good, except that it makes me want to read Ibn Khaldun.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:32 PM
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C'mon people isn't Yggles still in Vegas with the rest of the besotted blogosphere? Cut him some slack, or even encourage the blogging Btock-style.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:34 PM
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414 is too sensible to argue with. Witt, be less sensible!

The passage excerpted in 418 just keeps getting more dumb the longer I look at it. It's like a koan, which we can all use to reflect on the nature of dumb.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:38 PM
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414 s/b 417, of course. I'm not claiming that I'm sensible -- I'm saying Witt is.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:42 PM
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After all, it seems like either this credit check business excluding blacks from your place of business is a sound business practice (in which case allowing it is making the economy more efficient and ultimately building a more prosperous tomorrow) or else it's an unsound business practice (in which case competition should drive it out).


Posted by: Rand Paul | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:45 PM
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422: Are you sure? Maybe you just have a blind spot from knowing and interacting with yourself too much.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:47 PM
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Yeah, what the hell? In the preceding sentence he admitted the existence of externalities, but with no argument he assumes there is none here? Didn't he read the Slacktivist post he's linking?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:50 PM
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The passage excerpted in 418 just keeps getting more dumb the longer I look at it. It's like a koan, which we can all use to reflect on the nature of dumb.

I know, it is really bad.

The one and only person I know who *knows* he lost a job offer due to his credit check was applying for a government job in which bribery was a signfiicant risk. I don't actually think it was a misuse of the idea to run one on applicants for that position.

But in general, I think the credit-check process is a win for select corporations and a major loss for people and society. It's also an excellent example of the "If we standardize risk, we can eliminate it" phenomenon, which is so dumb I can't believe people keep falling for it.

There has to be a name for this -- not a collective action problem per se, but something where a stupid HR practice with glibly plausible reasons behind it goes from rare to typical in about five years.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:50 PM
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where a stupid HR practice with glibly plausible reasons behind it goes from rare to typical in about five years.

"The inevitable march of progress?"

How do they assess credit-worthiness in other developed economies? I have a hard time believing the American approach would be legal in the EU.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:55 PM
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I'm still annoyed over the credit check I failed when I was looking for an apartment a couple of years ago, never having had a credit card at the time. I had proof of income, I had no debt, yet I could not rent an apartment. The only way I found to get around the problem was having my dad sign on to my lease.

(Now I have a credit card, which I still don't see a need for, but use occasionally in order to have a hope of finding places to live in the future.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 2:55 PM
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On the other hand, the leasing agency apparently has a special policy for the many recent immigrants who live here, who obviously will fail a standard credit check. I wonder if the same is true of the HR departments in question.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 3:03 PM
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428: Not to doubt the benefits of not having a credit card, but how on earth would you travel? To pay cash for an airline ticket is a huge pain in the ass, even more so now that it gets you extra screening. Renting a car or hotel room is also a pain.

I know you can use a debit card, but that keeps you as part of the same system still paying money to the same banks. Plus you have to worry about how much of a block businesses are putting on your account. You can find yourself over-drawn because somebody you rented a car from is an asshole or something. This is not fun if it happens when you are 5 miles from home, but can be close to a disaster if it happened 800 miles from home.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 3:16 PM
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Yeah, I always used a debit card. Still do, for almost everything. The only thing a credit card seems to be absolutely necessary for is renting a car, which I had never done until sometime in the last year.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 3:24 PM
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Wow, Yglesias also isn't doing himself any favors with this post. (n.b. -- book in question not actually by Gellner).

The charitable, and most likely accurate, explanation is to blame it on Vegas.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 4:15 PM
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Which post, Robert?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 4:17 PM
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This one, I take it. One hopes it's a joke.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 4:17 PM
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If only someone had picked up on how all the typos were actually a sign of a terrible brain-wasting illness. Now it's too late.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 4:22 PM
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Yes I took that to be a slightly insidery joke also. If not, he has more chance of plausibly claiming it's a typo than, well, anyone really.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 4:32 PM
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418: Maybe he's gunning for a host slot on NPR's Marketplace.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 4:41 PM
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He's drunk. That settles it.

This is exactly what alcohol does to bright young journalists, in as short a period as a decade. Next step, the gutter the Washington Post.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 4:47 PM
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On the other hand, he had a cock post earlier today, so at least he could always have a future as a highly-paid Unfogged blogger.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 4:48 PM
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413

Yes, I'm not aruging that it was unusual. I'm arguing that his claim about "the best way to know if someone is shilling is to read his blog" is dumb and simplistic, and fails to take into account other ways that a writer who has social connections to his subjects could mis-serve his readers.

Yglesias's advice seems seems sensible to me.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 4:57 PM
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440: Because it's dumb and simplistic?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:02 PM
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426

There has to be a name for this -- not a collective action problem per se, but something where a stupid HR practice with glibly plausible reasons behind it goes from rare to typical in about five years.

What's stupid about it? It seems likely to me that people with good credit do make better employees on average.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:02 PM
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431

Yeah, I always used a debit card. Still do, for almost everything. The only thing a credit card seems to be absolutely necessary for is renting a car, which I had never done until sometime in the last year.

Credit cards may not be absolutely necessary but as long as you pay them off every month they are a better deal than debit cards.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:05 PM
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443: Why? Because of the paltry interest I could make on the limited amounts of money I spend over the course of a few weeks before I pay off the credit card?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:07 PM
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440

Because it's dumb and simplistic?

What obviously superior alternative are you all thinking of?

People have biases and agendas and most are not smart and subtle enough to keep them undetectable in their blogs.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:09 PM
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442: "Seems likely to James B. Shearer" is pretty weak tea to base HR policies on. And credit scores are both quite prone to error and, as a way of finding out something meaningful about a candidate, blunt to the point of stupid.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:12 PM
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444

Why? Because of the paltry interest I could make on the limited amounts of money I spend over the course of a few weeks before I pay off the credit card?

Better consumer protection for one thing. If you buy an airplane ticket with a credit card and the airline goes bust before your flight the credit card company eats the loss which I don't believe is the case if you paid with a debit card.

I also get 1% cash back on everything I buy with my credit card, do debit cards offer the same deal?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:15 PM
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440: I don't think Witt's argument is that reading someone's blog offer no evidence of shillness, just that relying primarily on that is a very simplistic, to the point of glib, method for Yggles to recommend.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:16 PM
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446

Seems likely to James B. Shearer" is pretty weak tea to base HR policies on. And credit scores are both quite prone to error and, as a way of finding out something meaningful about a candidate, blunt to the point of stupid.

On average doesn't mean infallible.

On a related topic do you also doubt that people with bad credit are bad auto insurance risks on average?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:19 PM
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No, I don't get 1% cash back with either my debit or credit cards. I suppose I could get a better credit card.

Generally I don't pay attention to money beyond leading-order terms, so 1% effects don't motivate me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:22 PM
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On average doesn't mean infallible.

Quite. In fact there's a wide gulf between the two!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:22 PM
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The major debit/credit difference that I'm aware of is that credit card companies are liable for all but the first $50 of the any fraudulent charges if your card is stolen. With debit, once the money's gone, it's gone.

I would say "but of course nobody is silly enough to make their debit PIN that obvious or keep it written on a Post-It in their wallet" but that is, in fact, not true.

447: Wow, I am agreeing with Shearer! I think this is the third or fourth occasion. Almost a trend.

It seems likely to me that people with good credit do make better employees on average.

Aaaaaand the streak's over.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:29 PM
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Better consumer protection for one thing. If you buy an airplane ticket with a credit card and the airline goes bust before your flight the credit card company eats the loss which I don't believe is the case if you paid with a debit card.

This fact has what to do with how good an employee one is likely to be?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:30 PM
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453: I don't think he said that. He's arguing that credit cards are better than debit cards, and, independently, that having a good credit rating signals being a good employee. The first argument is a distraction from the main point, which is my fault for bringing up not having had a credit card until pretty recently.

452: The major debit/credit difference that I'm aware of is that credit card companies are liable for all but the first $50 of the any fraudulent charges if your card is stolen. With debit, once the money's gone, it's gone.

When I was an undergrad someone stole all the money from my checking account using my debit # and PIN (but not my card, which I still had; I'm a little unclear on exactly what happened, although it might have involved someone hacking some of the bank's computers). I called the bank and they reimbursed me all the money. Of course, I think they knew what happened, since it apparently involved a security breach on their end, so maybe that's the only reason I got the money back.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:35 PM
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Apparently the $50 limit applies to debit cards but only if loss or theft is reported within two days. Within 60 days, the limit is $500. Beyond 60 days, it's unlimited.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 5:41 PM
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450

Generally I don't pay attention to money beyond leading-order terms, so 1% effects don't motivate me.

Didn't say they were a lot better. But if something has advantages and no disadvantages it seems like a good idea. I guess there might be circumstances (like traveling) where paying off the credit card before the grace period expired might be a little inconvenient.

I only had debit cards for a long time and finally got a credit card so I could buy stuff on Ebay (through Paypal) without worrying too much about being ripped off. I more or less immediately stopped using my debit cards for anything.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:15 PM
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452

Aaaaaand the streak's over.

Why do people doubt the association between bad credit risk and bad risk generally? Do you also doubt the link to bad auto insurance risk? I think the insurance companies even have data demonstrating a link.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:19 PM
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455: Apparently, they improved the debit card deal, but I switched to using credit cards except at local places where I care enough to not want the business changed the extra fee. Why would I worry that Holiday Inn gets 2% less because of a Visa fee as long as I don't have to worry about some tool in reservations forgetting to remove a $300 hold on my account?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:29 PM
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Why do people doubt the association between bad credit risk and bad risk generally?

The causes of bad credit are so multifarious that it's hard to imagine why there should be any link between it and whatever the HR departments are attempting to filter out (poor attendance? unreliability? embezzlement risk?).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:35 PM
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Now that I think about it, this may be one of those generational things. I had a credit card well before I had a debit card*. I used to have to remember to grab my check book if I was going to the grocery store, because they didn't take credit cards. Also, the grocery stores had Jello Pudding Pops, which were pretty good.

*I had an ATM card for my first card of all, but back then that only worked in the ATM.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:37 PM
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459

The causes of bad credit are so multifarious that it's hard to imagine why there should be any link between it and whatever the HR departments are attempting to filter out (poor attendance? unreliability? embezzlement risk?).

Your imagination seems rather deficient. You just need some of the causes of bad credit to also be associated with being a bad employee for a statistical link. For example some people have bad credit because of an inability to think long term which would also be a problem in many jobs.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:46 PM
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I've been thinking about getting one of those credit cards that gives airline miles as a reward, which might actually be enough of an incentive for me to start using it for most purchases. They seem to all have annual fees, but they also waive baggage fees, so it would probably pay for itself.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:46 PM
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461: After all, who cares if we automatically reject a harmless 90% of the people with low credit ratings in order to get rid of the 10% who are actual problems? It's not as if they're real people or anything.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:47 PM
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462: I have one of those that rewards me with iTunes gift cards. I pretty much use it only for iTunes purchases, though, so the earning of free stuff happens very, very slowly.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:49 PM
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459: The causes of bad credit are multifarious, but that doesn't mean the link wouldn't be clear. If being unreliable (or whatever) is going to leave more likely to have bad credit, you will have good sensitivity. If lots of factors unrelated to being unreliable can also make a bad credit score, you will have poor specificity. This is obviously unfair to many, but not the same thing as "no link."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:49 PM
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463: Just as long as we don't confuse Type I and Type II error.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:50 PM
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459: The causes of bad credit are so multifarious that it's hard to imagine why there should be any link between it and whatever the HR departments are attempting to filter out (poor attendance? unreliability? embezzlement risk?).

Unreliability, I expect. The theory would be that if you HAVE credit (which raises your score) and it's good credit (higher score still) then you pay your bills on time, which means you show up to work on time. That might even be a true correlation but it says nothing about people with low credit scores (who may suck at life or have no credit because they don't use it or be bad at paying bills and good at working).

I can't believe Matthew broke out with the 'market will take care of it' issue. I think he reads too much Tyler Cowen.

410: Yech. Any chance it can wait until verrrrry early tomorrow? I'm fantasizing that I'm going to get some weeding done before the heat comes out in force.

I just had to finish up the backyard. It was hot out there! Anyways, Forget the weeding; you're going to be hot no matter what if you go outside.

max
['But it's cooled off now. Sorta.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:51 PM
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463 nails it.

God, you're an ass, Shearer. (And yes, it's very hot here and I do not speak in a moderate voice.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 6:51 PM
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Why do people doubt the association between bad credit risk and bad risk generally?

What everyone else said.

And also, different jobs require different skills. I've hired people for positions that badly needed to have extremely difficult-to-find interpersonal, language and cultural skills. That they were also endearing flakes who never met a deadline they didn't forget says to me that they quite possibly had bad credit.

I wouldn't hire anybody like that to be an auditor or a cataloguing librarian, but again, different types of jobs need different skills. I shudder to think what kind of rating I'd get if I interviewed for a finance or sales job that involved tolerance for certain kinds of risk.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 7:06 PM
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That they were also endearing flakes who never met a deadline they didn't forget

So wait, did they meet the deadlines or didn't they?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 7:44 PM
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According to my mom, you need some librarians who can enforce the "no sleeping" rule or the hobos will take the good seats.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 7:45 PM
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470: They didn't meet the deadlines they remembered. Hard to say what they did with the deadlines they forgot.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 7:53 PM
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Oh wait. Translating who never met a deadline they didn't forget:

They never encountered a deadline they didn't forget.

Perfectly clear.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 7:57 PM
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It was joke, parsimon.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:01 PM
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Have you considered putting an emoticon after your jokes?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:03 PM
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I just knew you were going to say that, neb. Well, okay.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:05 PM
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Was there any point at all to 472 and 473? Is it like a compulsion?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:07 PM
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She's on deadline, neb.

max
['Had to hurry.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:09 PM
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Since when are we supposed to have a point before we say something?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:10 PM
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You can have the point afterwards, if you like.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:12 PM
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Never encountered, neb, you little pedant.

On preview: Pwnd by everybody.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:20 PM
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463

After all, who cares if we automatically reject a harmless 90% of the people with low credit ratings in order to get rid of the 10% who are actual problems? It's not as if they're real people or anything.

So what percentage of actual problems eliminated would be acceptable? 20%, 50% 99%?

In any case 10% actual problems is probably sufficient to make this a non-stupid HR practice from a cold-blooded accounting point of view.

You can make a case that this sort of thing is bad for society as a whole but pretending that it is obviously irrational for an individual business just guarantees that people like me will discount anything you have to say on the subject.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:22 PM
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Never encountered a point that didn't...nevermind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:23 PM
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469

I wouldn't hire anybody like that to be an auditor or a cataloguing librarian, but again, different types of jobs need different skills. I shudder to think what kind of rating I'd get if I interviewed for a finance or sales job that involved tolerance for certain kinds of risk.

The assumption being that businesses are too stupid to use credit scores rationally?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:26 PM
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The assumption being that businesses are too stupid to use credit scores rationally?

Given how stupid banks were at using credit scores to extend credit, that seems like a reasonable assumption.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:28 PM
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477: Was there any point at all to 472 and 473? Is it like a compulsion?

What? I was genuinely puzzled by Witt's construction. Then I figured it out. You can call it impulsive commenting, I guess.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:31 PM
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484: Dude, you are too smart to not grasp this, so I'm wavering between willfully obtuse and willfully obstreperous as explanations. Two quick examples for the lurkers:

1. It's not a matter of stupidity, it's competing incentives. If the corporate home office imposes a policy of "Run a credit check on applicants for every type of job," where's the upside for an HR person in pushing back against the blanket requirement?

2. It's about expectations and institutionalization. Someone upthread mentioned drug tests. The public library system where I work requires them for all new hires. Should being a weekend pot user really be an automatic disqualifier for working in a library? But the municipality has other employees who operate heavy equipment (and has had notorious issues with alcohol and drug use in the past), so the solicitor and the insurance company combined to make sure that every single municipal new hire now has to take a drug test. Because our library system does it, that now puts pressure on neighboring systems. Talk about irrational.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:40 PM
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You can make a case that this sort of thing is bad for society as a whole but pretending that it is obviously irrational for an individual business just guarantees that people like me will discount anything you have to say on the subject.

It's not obviously irrational for a business, though it's also not obviously a useful way to find the best applicant for the job. But anyway, I thought this was the premise of the whole discussion, starting with Slacktivist: this is one of those things that the free market will do, left to its own devices, for the "cold-blooded accounting" reasons you mention. But it's a nasty thing to do from the social point of view of managing chronic unemployment humanely, which is why it's a useful thing to have a law prohibiting. Externalities, again.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 8:55 PM
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488

It's not obviously irrational for a business, though it's also not obviously a useful way to find the best applicant for the job. But anyway, I thought this was the premise of the whole discussion, starting with Slacktivist: this is one of those things that the free market will do, left to its own devices, for the "cold-blooded accounting" reasons you mention. But it's a nasty thing to do from the social point of view of managing chronic unemployment humanely, which is why it's a useful thing to have a law prohibiting. Externalities, again.

You aren't using it to try to find the best applicant, you are using it to try to cheaply filter out disastrous applicants.

Yglesias didn't seem to think the premise was that this was rational. And Witt appeared to claim above that it was "stupid".

In any case it is not clear to me that allowing this is in fact bad for society overall.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 10:02 PM
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The paranoid among us understand that at least the penultimate effect of the housing bubble and subprime balloon and innovative mortgages will be at least one generation of previously upwardly-mobile black lowermiddle+ class families having bad credit ratings. And so miserable job prospects for themselves, and derivatively, their children. Many hispanics are similarly marginalized.

This will have a large effect on redistricting in the next few years.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 10:22 PM
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There has to be a name for this -- not a collective action problem per se, but something where a stupid HR practice with glibly plausible reasons behind it goes from rare to typical in about five years.

I thought there was a phrase involving the word "cascade" or "cascading effect" but I might be confusing that with "information cascade" and I don't even know what that means in any technical sense.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-24-10 11:32 PM
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The name is "herding".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:06 AM
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... something where a stupid HR practice with glibly plausible reasons behind it goes from rare to typical in about five years.

Dilbert effect.

I have one of those that rewards me with iTunes gift cards

Bonus fact: gift card balances are now FDIC insured.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:14 AM
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491, 492: "Information Cascades and Rational Herding".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 5:34 AM
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I don't know whether Shearer just reflectively defends credit checks of job applications because that's what he does, defend any decision made by big business without ever actually understanding the issue, or whether he genuinely likes the effects such practises have to keep "those people" out.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 5:40 AM
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I could probably find it if I looked hard enough, but I believe I've read Shearer say that he enjoys arguing for argument's sake, which would likely lead to some amount of devil's advocacy on topics about which one doesn't have particularly strong feelings.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 6:20 AM
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495

I don't know whether Shearer just reflectively defends credit checks of job applications because that's what he does, defend any decision made by big business without ever actually understanding the issue, or whether he genuinely likes the effects such practises have to keep "those people" out.

I don't defend big business on everything. I think top executives are generally overpaid. I think the credit rating agencies have gotten off lightly for their irresponsible ratings of mortgage backed securities. I am willing to restrict business practices (like overdraft protection) that mainly take advantage of stupid people.

One of the many annoying traits of liberals is they think disagreement reflects failure to understand the issue.

It is true that I don't have lot of empathy for people with bad credit which I believe often reflects undesirable personal traits.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 6:48 AM
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It is true that I don't have lot of empathy for people with bad credit which I believe often reflects undesirable personal traits.

True enough, if you parse it right.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 8:15 AM
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I certainly know people with bad credit who have bad credit for reasons entirely reflective of their own poor judgment and refusal to live within their means. And I can definitely see how the traits that led to bad credit for those folks might often makes them poor candidates for certain jobs. I also, however, know people who still have bad credit despite having long since recognized and addressed the issues that got them there in the first place.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:35 AM
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Of course credit history might give some information regarding future job performance, but widespread adoption of this practice would make it easier to fall out of the rapidly disappearing middle class, and harder to climb back in.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:45 AM
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Further pretending I am adding anything of value to this discussion... The problem with using the credit checks to weed through job candidates isn't simply that, in successfully weeding out undesirable candidates this risks also weeding out desirable candidates. In theory, business could be expected to rationally balance that cost/benefit equation. In reality, business is run by human beings who, by virtue of being human, lack perfect rationality. So when this (or any number of similar measures) disproportionately impacts certain demographics, it's awfully easy to trigger even unconscious confirmation bias, leading employers to undervalue how many desirable candidates are being weeded out and overvalue how effectively undesirables are being filtered.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:53 AM
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Credit rating is being used as a proxy for the having of good judgment in general?

The link in 494 is interesting - thanks, JP.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:56 AM
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502.1 -- Yes, that appears to be the basic argument.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:02 AM
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I was just looking again at the Slacktivist post, and this articulates what I find most appalling:

So why, then, is something cruel, self-defeating and broadly destructive becoming more widespread?
A big reason, I suspect, is the foolishness I was mocking in the previous post that leads many to prefer the misplaced concreteness of quantitative measures -- evenly patently absurd and arbitrary ones -- over qualitative judgments.

I find it incredibly depressing that we appear to be becoming so collectively dumb that we find ourselves unable to make reasoned judgments in the absence of quantitative measures (that don't even accurately measure the desired qualities). We've been doing this increasingly, of course, in a myriad of other ways, but we at least had (I thought) a corrective narrative in place cautioning the limited utility and moral hazard involved.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:20 AM
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The previous Slacktivist post is good.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:27 AM
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Just checking in after a weekend w/o internet. Staycation!

So here's the thing that no one seems to be mentioning, unless it's in the Slacktivist piece which I didn't bother reading: One big cause of bad credit (approaching 50% according to my anecdata) is unpaid medical bills. I was just talking about this with a friend with Type 2 diabetes who happened to get sick at the worst possible time from a financial perspective a few years ago. Wound up in the hospital for awhile and couldn't pay his bills. He's trying to get into some subsidized artist housing, and one of the hoops to jump is a credit check ('cause of course, only people with good credit deserve subsidized housing). He was tracking down all of these issues caused by his illness, and found out that the 'lectric company had written off one of his debts (even though his then-roommate had eventually paid it). So there was basically nothing he could do about it. The power company wouldn't take his money. And in fact, if he owed anyone money, it was the former roommate.
It sure seems to me that, if you figured you wanted to keep healthcare costs as low as possible, cracking down on credit (which you can ask about) vs. chronic illnesses like diabetes (which you can't ask about) would be a pretty clever business practice indeed.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:34 AM
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It sure seems to me that, if you figured you wanted to keep healthcare costs as low as possible, cracking down on credit (which you can ask about) vs. chronic illnesses like diabetes (which you can't ask about) would be a pretty clever business practice indeed.

Wow. I know this is equivalently evil to tons of stuff out there, but if this is done, it's a novel evil that I'd never thought of.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:38 AM
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Huh. I was led to believe that medical debt was factored out of credit scores. (Of course, I have reason to believe the person who led me to believe this has terrible credit, so.) Quantitative factors allow us to feel like we can avoid (accusations of) bias. But, of course, bias still affects what quantifiable factors we choose to consider.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:48 AM
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506: Yeah, I was thinking about that with respect to some of the arguments upthread that a low credit score correlates to poor judgment: o rly? (So if my husband gets cancer and we go bankrupt and lose our home, I am an employment risk? Well, insofar as I have the stink of misfortune about me, I suppose so.)

The Slacktivist posts really are pretty good.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:52 AM
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Correlates =/= Proves

People who've never smoked get lung cancer, but that doesn't mean there's no correlation btw smoking and lung cancer.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:56 AM
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I know quite a few of both types of people described in 499, and have in fact been both types at different points in my life.

I think part of the problem is the need for HR managers to distinguish themselves by doing something new and plausibly presentable to their own managers as a positive innovation. Credit checks fit the bill nicely, as they have the feel of quantitative rigor. As long as they aren't clearly destructive of the corporation's interests this sort of policy is advantageous to the people who initiate it, so we'll see more and more of this kind of intrusion unless there is significant pushback. There are companies that want access to employee facebook accounts, for example.

Prediction: Within a decade, probably less, there will be companies offering an 'employability score' or 'trustworthiness score' based on some algorithm that folds together all the information available from social networking sites, media sites, credit monitoring companies, and so forth. We are pissing away our privacy completely by just giving away personal information for free, as if establishing the corporate panopticon is without cost to ourselves and our fellow citizens.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:02 AM
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511.last before reading the post in 505, which proposes something similar. It's coming, and we did it to ourselves.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:07 AM
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Yes, of course. In any case, there's too much risk of error in using credit rating to weed out undesirables in the workplace. Given the vagaries of the ways in which credit scores are calculated (and we don't know exactly how they're calculated), they're a piss-poor proxy for judging reliability or employability.

So much has been said already -- no need to rehearse it again, though I just did. Shearer is cautiously in favor (unless he's just playing devil's advocate) because he's risk-averse altogether, I suspect.

As far as I can tell, Yglesias is ambivalent because he has, or had, his libertarian-ish hat on.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:11 AM
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513 to 510.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:12 AM
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I was led to believe that medical debt was factored out of credit scores. (Of course, I have reason to believe the person who led me to believe this has terrible credit, so.)

FWIW, I was told that medical debt did not get reported to the credit agencies by an ER nurse after I got into a motorcycle accident. It took several months before I got a settlement which allowed me to pay off the various medical bills that came out of the accident, and none of them ever showed up on my credit report. In fact, none of the medical bills I've had go to collections ever showed up.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:14 AM
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There are companies that want access to employee facebook accounts, for example.

Seriously? Are there employees who do anything other than laugh and say "no, and you also can't read my mail and tap my phones"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:17 AM
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512: It's coming, and we did it to ourselves.

Pardon my language, but fuck that shit. I will join any and every effort to put a stop to that. The original Slacktivist post mentions a languishing House bill proposal; agreed that it should be dusted off and brought to the foreground.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:18 AM
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Along the general lines of "employers feeling that they own an employee", I always wondered what would happen in grad school if I refused to sign the "any patentable inventions I create while a student here belong to the university" forms. I don't remember having to sign any such thing in my current job, but maybe I did and forgot about it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:19 AM
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It's even weirder since I wasn't an employee in grad school, except on occasion where I took very limited-hours grading jobs.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:20 AM
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508: I was led to believe that medical debt was factored out of credit scores.

I did not make my point effectively enough. The point about the electric bill was that, even though my friend wound up getting his medical bills covered through the state health plan for indigent people (semi-canceled now by Pawlenty), being sick and in the hospital put him out of work and thus led to non-medical bad debt.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:26 AM
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You know, the post in 505 was all well and good -- until they started in with the lawn care business. As Parsimon said, fuck that shit.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:26 AM
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Dammit. That was me.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:26 AM
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506

... One big cause of bad credit (approaching 50% according to my anecdata) is unpaid medical bills. ...

This is similar to claims in papers by Elizabeth Warren. Megan McArdle has made a pretty good case (in my opinion at least) that the number is greatly exaggerrated. Basically any bankruptcy including unpaid medical bills (or loss of income from inability to work) was called a medical bankruptcy even if that was not the sole or even main problem. And drug addiction and compulsive gambling are considered medical problems.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:29 AM
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520: Ah. That makes sense.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:29 AM
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520: Ah. That makes sense.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:30 AM
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You know, the post in 505 was all well and good -- until they started in with the lawn care business.

Can you elaborate? I don't think Clark is actually claiming that a well-kept lawn is a sign of worth, if that's what's bothering you. I think it's being used more as a satirical example of how credit scores are being used to select people who fit a sort of standardized picture of middle-class-ness. Sorry if I'm misunderstanding your objection.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:33 AM
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506: Well sure. And debt arising from treatment would reasonably be treated as medical debt. What you owe your dealer, probably not.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:34 AM
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526: I was trying to be funny. I have lawn care... Issues.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:35 AM
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Some men don't mind that, you know.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:37 AM
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"Hello, Equifax? This is Prop Joe. I'm calling to alert you that Marlo Stanfield is months behind on paying for his re-ups, and his credit score doesn't reflect it. Yes. Thanks."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:37 AM
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Grrr. 527 to 523, not 506. Also, 520 makes sense.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:38 AM
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508

Huh. I was led to believe that medical debt was factored out of credit scores. ...

Not as far as I know. And of course it would be hard to do as you may fail to pay some other bill because you used the money to pay your medical bills.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:41 AM
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519

It's even weirder since I wasn't an employee in grad school, except on occasion where I took very limited-hours grading jobs.

Students have no rights. I was surprised to see material from a homework assignment of mine end up in a book by the professor. Apparently any such work becomes the property of the professor.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:51 AM
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518

... I don't remember having to sign any such thing in my current job, but maybe I did and forgot about it

It may be automatic. My former employer claimed all inventions even if done off hours. The off hours part is not allowed in some states but I expect any invention done on company time would generally be company owned.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:54 AM
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532: Which goes toward the notion (suggested in the post linked in 505) that in order to properly maintain one's credit score, one must prioritize bill-paying in a deeply counterintuitive way. And this is a measure of whether you're a reliable person? Only if you're owned and controlled by the appropriate authorities, in this case the ones who can affect your credit rating. Medical bills should be last in the bill-paying queue according to this reasoning, though of course your doctor may discontinue providing you healthcare if you fail to pay him or her.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:56 AM
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Right, the "even in off hours" bit is what surprised me about the form in grad school -- I wasn't even their employee, but because they pay overhead costs in a building where I work, they claim to own what I do in my spare time? It seemed like its legality should be a stretch. But I signed it anyway, because I'm not going to be inventing anything.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:56 AM
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Togolosh's 511 is completely plausible, and is the kind of reason why the more you know about business the more you know (or should know) that "the market fixes everything" version of libertarianism is bullshit.

That said, I guess Shearer works in business somewhere (I imagine him working at IBM in 1966, pocket protector and suit on, but unless he's a time traveler that's not possible).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:58 AM
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I'm somewhat sympathetic to university patent ownership agreements, because they act as a (very mild) disincentive to faculty or grad students spending all their time on things that will male them personally rich. At least the U gets a cut.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:03 PM
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537

That said, I guess Shearer works in business somewhere (I imagine him working at IBM in 1966, pocket protector and suit on, but unless he's a time traveler that's not possible).

When I was hired at IBM they told us they had stopped doing credit checks. This struck me as strange especially since they were doing drug checks.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:12 PM
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From this recent NYT article (link lifted from the comments thread to the post in 505):

In the nearer future, Internet searches for images are likely to be combined with social-network aggregator search engines, like today's Spokeo and Pipl, which combine data from online sources -- including political contributions, blog posts, YouTube videos, Web comments, real estate listings and photo albums. Increasingly these aggregator sites will rank people's public and private reputations, like the new Web site Unvarnished, a reputation marketplace where people can write anonymous reviews about anyone. In the Web 3.0 world, Fertik predicts, people will be rated, assessed and scored based not on their creditworthiness but on their trustworthiness as good parents, good dates, good employees, good baby sitters or good insurance risks.

I'd seen this article earlier in the week but ignored it at the time. Sounds like maybe togolosh did read it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:21 PM
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This struck me as strange especially since they were doing drug checks.

If you tested positive they'd hire you since they assumed you were paying your dealer. Job done.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:30 PM
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fuck that shit

I endorse this sentiment, but I know that I am in a very small minority in taking active steps to avoid giving out any personal information, and when forced to do so ensuring that I waste as much of the corporation's resources as possible before caving.

516: A quick google doesn't turn up the story, but I'll look again when I have a bit more time. There was a brief kerfuffle recently over a company demanding username and password for employee's facebook accounts so they could monitor potential leaks of privileged information. There are also stories of routine monitoring of facebook pages, sometimes just the public pages, and sometimes by requiring the HR manager to be added as a friend.

Here is a story I found, not the original one I was thinking of, but it's in the same general vein.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:33 PM
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If you're bothered by sweeping, routine violations of personal privacy, I recommend you give money to our good friends at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, fighting the good fight since 1994.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:37 PM
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535

Which goes toward the notion (suggested in the post linked in 505) that in order to properly maintain one's credit score, one must prioritize bill-paying in a deeply counterintuitive way. And this is a measure of whether you're a reliable person? Only if you're owned and controlled by the appropriate authorities, in this case the ones who can affect your credit rating. Medical bills should be last in the bill-paying queue according to this reasoning, though of course your doctor may discontinue providing you healthcare if you fail to pay him or her.

According to this and this unpaid medical bills can affect your credit rating if reported to the credit bureaus. Of course if your medical provider doesn't report them, they probably won't affect your rating but this would be true of any creditor.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:45 PM
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513

So much has been said already -- no need to rehearse it again, though I just did. Shearer is cautiously in favor (unless he's just playing devil's advocate) because he's risk-averse altogether, I suspect.

Actually I am generally risk averse. Something wrong with that?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:49 PM
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542. Bozeman!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 12:50 PM
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539 -- I knew it! Did you have the suit, white shirt thing going on?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 1:00 PM
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Kevin Drum, of all people, expresses my sentiments on the issue fairly well.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 1:14 PM
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The links don't seem to be working for me in that Bozeman Facebook story, but this was a [stupid] response to a police officer who put stuff on his FB page relating to a search/arrest, that eventually led to the city paying out some non-trivial dough.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 1:31 PM
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Many years ago, I represented an inventor in one of those employee disputes -- a Navy doctor who invented a medical device in his spare time. IIRC, the hearing officer didn't buy the government's 'uniformed officers are always on duty' argument.

I successfully entertained him with analogies to Gen. Wallace's authorship of Ben Hur, and Capt. Clark's original navigational notes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 1:44 PM
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Kevin Drum, of all people, expresses my sentiments on the issue fairly well.

That is a very good post.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 2:34 PM
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541

If you tested positive they'd hire you since they assumed you were paying your dealer. Job done.

Probably not. It was suggested to me that the drug testing was a reaction to this incident in which a former employee shot up an IBM facility killing three people. It is unclear to me why they thought drug testing would have prevented it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 2:35 PM
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547

I knew it! Did you have the suit, white shirt thing going on?

Nah, I am a sneakers and jeans type. Fortunately I was in the research division where this was ok.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 2:38 PM
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Unclear to me too. I don't see why drug testing was even in the frame unless the guy had been fired for shooting up in the company washrooms.

It seems to me that this is an early example of the now pervasive idea that we'd all be perfectly safe if we could only discover the magic formula that would reveal the evil doers before they do evil. More recent manifestations include the explosion of Islamophobia - who gave a shit about a few Muslims before 2001? - and the idea that you can test for largely imaginary genetic proclivities to this, that and the next thing.

All bollox of course - we live in the real world, which is a lot safer than it used to be but will never be perfectly safe. But we're reverting to the age of magic and witchcraft because we've forgotten how to live with risk.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 2:50 PM
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In the Web 3.0 world, Fertik predicts, people will be rated, assessed and scored based not on their creditworthiness but on their trustworthiness as good parents

I don't see why this would happen. I know people love to criticize other people's parenting, but this is always just catty gossip, either about someone you know or someone who has written an Ayelet Waldman style memoir on their parenting. I don't see why anyone would try to organize this gossip into a set of ratings. Who would use it? People selecting someone to be their parents?

I can see doing this stuff for babysitters, the same way you would for any employee. But that sort of stuff is already done a lot on a field by field basis. I don't see why anyone would start listing other, more personal, ratings.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 2:50 PM
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Also, are we just going to keep upping the value of x in Web x.0 beyond all reason or sense, as if we were adding blades to a razor?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 2:52 PM
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555: rob, did you read the whole page of the article I linked in 540? (It's page 3 of 8 -- long article.) This kind of thing is already happening on a smaller scale.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 3:05 PM
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No, I didn't read. I just opined.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 3:40 PM
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The Kevin Drum piece linked in 548, on the lamentable ascendancy of the homo economicus model, is quite good. He ends by apologizing that he's rambling: dude, you are not rambling. Don't apologize.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 4:10 PM
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That was a good piece.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 4:19 PM
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Even on the left, I feel like we've allowed ourselves to buy far too heavily into the homo economicus model of human interaction. But if I can be allowed to put on my old school lefty hat for a moment, that model just doesn't work when the power relations are too far out of whack. And to a large extent, businesses simply have the whip hand on too many things today.
...Drum

This is the American "left", who believe the economic model is useless when Capital has the "whip hand", who apparently believe that countervailing forces is the natural equilibrium condition. The "left"

God help us.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 4:34 PM
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This Michael Kalecki piece, "Political Aspects of Full Employment" has been floating around recently. pdf

Shorter:When Capital is ascendant, politics is impossible.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 4:40 PM
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I really wanted to agree with 555. But then I thought about how easy it is to google that guy your friend told you about, etc. I can totally see the temptation of personal ratings.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 4:49 PM
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Drum is center-left, bob. You know this perfectly well. That's where the window has us. There is nonetheless a conversation being had between a Drum-like position and the weirdly libertarian-sounding thing Yglesias is writing: I'd like to see Yglesias' position smashed, and a Drum-like position prevail. There is actually something at stake.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 4:59 PM
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Drum isn't left, except to people who only see the world in terms of binary systems. He's a centrist Democrat.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 5:17 PM
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except to people who only see the world in terms of binary systems.

Me 10.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 6:00 PM
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except to people who only see the world in terms of binary systems

I've always said: keep your friends close and your anemones closer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 6:06 PM
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That's where the window has us.

That may be where the window has you. I myself am too claustrophobic (and too fat) to fit comfortably into the ice crevice between Drum and Yglesias.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 6:34 PM
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564

... There is actually something at stake.

What? Whether you should be allowed to judge people based on their past behavior?

This is being presented as an employers vrs workers issue when of course it is mainly a people with good credit vrs people with bad credit issue.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 7:24 PM
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563, etc.: I can see this going on in situations where people are actually making a decision, like dating or employment. I'm just not sure if there is motivation to begin to include other random personal judgments.

(Also, I have now read two pages of the article. So I am marginally closer to being informed.)

I'd really hate to be dating, though, in an era where reviews of your date are shared online. I can immediately see this conversation coming up. "Look, I don't think it is working between us. I don't want to go on a date. But can you post a good customer review of me on nervematchcupid.com?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 7:44 PM
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A+++. WOULD DATE AGAIN. EXCEPT THAT I WONT.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 7:59 PM
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568 A bit of thread merging

And can I just say, the price?! I got a pair of those back when they were new, and they weren't cheap, but we're talking a bit under 100SFR, not hundreds of dollars.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 8:00 PM
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Drum isn't left, except to people who only see the world in terms of binary systems. He's a centrist Democrat.

You're defining 'centrist democrat' as someone who comfortably falls within the leftmost quintile of the US population and the leftmost decile of the Dem congressional caucus?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 8:03 PM
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Of course, the other side is that people have always been reviewing you. Online, at least, you can find out what they are saying?


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 8:08 PM
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in an era where reviews of your date are shared online

"Don Draper was charming, but a little grabby in the car."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 8:43 PM
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575: Smack!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 8:55 PM
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You're defining 'centrist democrat' as someone who comfortably falls within the leftmost quintile of the US population and the leftmost decile of the Dem congressional caucus?

Sounds about right.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 8:59 PM
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Sausagely has quietly deleted his Gellner post.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:16 PM
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Speaking of disappointments with the internet, I just noticed that "Accidental Penis" hasn't been updated nearly a month. They can't be trying very hard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:24 PM
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It is true that I don't have lot of empathy for people with bad credit which I believe often reflects undesirable personal traits.

I have bad credit, which accurately reflects my undesirable personal trait of not always paying my bills, especially when I'm pissed about some dispute involving the bill. (I'm also very thrifty so I have enough money saved so my credit rating doesn't really affect me that much). If we go snooping in peoples' personal lives for undesirable traits, where will it end?


Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:26 PM
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575:Is that a cue? Terrific opener tonight. Just deadon Weiner style. Something lie small gestures and seemingly trivial events revealing character and precipitating catastrophes. From beginning interview to end interview and then you ask "How did that happen before my very eyes" and you have to watch it again.
Mean to Peggy again? Rough world cookie, and she fucked up. Or not. Arguments over that relationship for three years at

Basket of Kisses.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:30 PM
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If we go snooping in peoples' personal lives for undesirable traits, where will it end?

Dental hygiene?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:31 PM
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581: fuck you man. NO SPOILERS. Some of us wait till the whole thing is out on DVD.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:33 PM
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Personally, I find it hard to believe that anyone's credit score has any errors on it. Notwithstanding the negative $3000 error that happened to be on mine. In fucking Wisconsin Delaware of all places. What kind of businesses are even in Delaware?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:35 PM
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If we go snooping in peoples' personal lives for undesirable traits, where will it end?

It doesn't end, ever.

max
['"The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:40 PM
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For a more affordable option, Residence Hilda (Via dei Servi, 40; 39-055-288-021; www.residencehilda.com), behind the Duomo, has 12 recently refurbished suites, all with kitchens. Rates start at 230 euros.

Gotta love the NYT's definition of 'affordable' in Florence.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:48 PM
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580

I have bad credit, which accurately reflects my undesirable personal trait of not always paying my bills, especially when I'm pissed about some dispute involving the bill. (I'm also very thrifty so I have enough money saved so my credit rating doesn't really affect me that much). If we go snooping in peoples' personal lives for undesirable traits, where will it end?

I don't see any compelling reason that stiffing your creditors should be considered a private act.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 9:50 PM
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I don't see any compelling reason that stiffing your creditors should be considered a private act.

Well, I don't see any compelling reason why it shouldn't be. The logic of checking your credit score would probably apply to vetting your sex life as well. It's possible to come up with a theoretical justification for society to compel everyone to live a completely transparent life, but do you want to live in that society?



Posted by: George Washington | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:00 PM
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586: Christ, what an assholish article.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:05 PM
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Who are these "36 Hours" articles targeted at, anyway? Wealthy people who already know a place well enough to have seen and done the obvious things, it seems. And yet, you would think a wealthy, seasoned traveler wouldn't need to rely on the NYTimes for recommendations.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:07 PM
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Though the "don't miss the Baptistery doors!" bit would seem to belie that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:10 PM
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590, 1 It's actually aimed at the secret confraternity of wealthy Baudrillardians who seek out replicas rather than originals when they do their Renaissance touristing.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:20 PM
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What kind of businesses are even in Delaware?

Credit card companies.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:24 PM
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588

Well, I don't see any compelling reason why it shouldn't be. The logic of checking your credit score would probably apply to vetting your sex life as well. It's possible to come up with a theoretical justification for society to compel everyone to live a completely transparent life, but do you want to live in that society?

If you mistreat the women you date, I don't see why they should be prohibited from telling people about it. Why do you think people should be allowed mistreat others without consequences?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 10:39 PM
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>>What kind of businesses are even in Delaware?

Credit card companies.

Yeah, I guess I didn't do a good job of cross-posting that one to Standpipe's jam.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:12 PM
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Also, screen door factories.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:26 PM
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I'm late for about half of my appointments, but I ALWAYS pay my bills on time.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:28 PM
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And, looking at my parents, you could say that good credit is a sign of sensible discipline, but you could also attribute it to pure stinginess. The credit card companies aren't making a cent off them, and they know better than to try to charge them an annual fee.


Posted by: YK | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:39 PM
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The image conjured by 592 is very funny.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:40 PM
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This is being presented as an employers vrs workers issue when of course it is mainly a people with good credit vrs people with bad credit issue.

Shearer's position in this is the rightwing in a nutshell, where any mistake other people make is enough reason to deny them the same priviledges you enjoy and the authorities are always right to do so. It's presented as tough but fair, but in reality makes a moral issue of something which is not to further not even Shearer's own interests -- as credit checks might fuck over even him, no matter how careful he might be -- but those of his bosses.

It's pointless to argue whether or not being a credit risk makes you a bad employee, as Shearer would just as likely have defended the idea that all employees should've been tested on whether or not they'd ever been in contact with social services or whatever.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:41 PM
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I'm not sure I ever would have thought that of all the liberal bloggers I no longer read, which is basically all of them except my Atrios, Drum would be the one I'd think still worth checking in on.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:42 PM
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uh, that "my" was supposed to be maybe


Posted by: fake | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:42 PM
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That may be the most Freudian of all typos.

I should probably go back to previewing, now that I can't even sign my name correctly to a correction.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:43 PM
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If 596 inspires you to do a search for "delaware" and "screen door", you're just a click away from learning that fa was referring to a joke from a Simpsons episode and just two clicks away from the most disturbing Simpsons-related tattoo I've ever seen.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-25-10 11:47 PM
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I think that Drum is someone like Krugman - some of his formative years were spent in an era when traditional left wing liberalism seemed to have led to serious economic problems, some of them actually real, and neoliberalism seemed to offer a better working alternative in the late Clinton era. Then the next decade proceeded to shift them to the left, both substantively and temperamentally. Their neoliberalism was, I think, less ideological and more pragmatic than that of those who continue to cling to it.

I remember an interview with Jeff Sachs in Poland's most important left/neoliberal newspaper with its very doctrinaire neoiberal econ editor and former mid level shock therapy implementer. He expressed his incredulity and dismay over Sachs' recent heretical turn, and Sachs basically responded that the results are in, straight up neoliberalism does not deliver broad based improvements in incomes and living standards, you need a robust safety net, regulation, and redistribution.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 12:14 AM
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523: Not even wrong. McArdle is full of shit, literally making things up, on this specific issue - click through for quantitative refutation. Frankly, at this level of direct dishonesty, not only everything she says should be ignored, but so should everything said by anyone who continues to refer to her.

What is it with libertarians and bare-faced lying?

Also, I think it should be brought into this discussion that credit-scoring is predictive and forward-looking. It's not a statement that "this person has defaulted in the past", it's a statement that "according to our patented HandWave algorithm..."


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 4:12 AM
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||

Is there any reason why this is not a really, really bad idea?

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 4:51 AM
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600

Shearer's position in this is the rightwing in a nutshell, where any mistake other people make is enough reason to deny them the same priviledges you enjoy and the authorities are always right to do so. It's presented as tough but fair, but in reality makes a moral issue of something which is not to further not even Shearer's own interests -- as credit checks might fuck over even him, no matter how careful he might be -- but those of his bosses.

This doesn't make any sense. The issue is whether someone with good credit would benefit on average. For everyone who is not hired because of bad credit someone else (presumably with better credit) is hired. Credit checks benefit people with good credit on average. Random mistakes reduce but do not eliminate the benefit. It is in the interest of bosses to to be allowed to hire better qualified employees, it is also in the interest of the better qualified employees.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 5:44 AM
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606

Not even wrong. McArdle is full of shit, literally making things up, on this specific issue - click through for quantitative refutation. Frankly, at this level of direct dishonesty, not only everything she says should be ignored, but so should everything said by anyone who continues to refer to her.

What is it with libertarians and bare-faced lying?

I didn't read the entire thing but your link didn't appear to be generally accusing her of barefaced lying but rather of saying things that were true but misleading. And I didn't find the examples particularly convincing. Of course McArdle has an agenda but so does Warren. The claim that Warren (in her broad definition) includes addiction and compulsive gambling as medical problems was not made up, it is right there in Warren's paper as your link acknowledges and as I verified before posting.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:02 AM
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To do the reading you didn't:

**She cites as her first reason to disbelieve the most recent study in which Warren was one of four co-authors that the response rate to the study questionnair was, at 20%, too low to rule out sample bias. In fact, as the authors report on the first page of the paper to which McArdle linked in an earlier post that their response rate was 46.5%.

***E. g. McArdle rights writes that Warren and her colleagues "defined anyone with $1000 worth of medical bills as having a medical bankruptcy..." This is how Himmelstein, Thorne, Warren, and Woolhandler actually described their criteria: "We developed two summary measures of medical bankruptcy. Under the rubric "Major Medical Bankruptcy" we included debtors who either (1) cited illness or injury as a specific reason for bankruptcy, or (2) reported uncovered medical bills exceeding $1,000 in the past years, or (3) lost at least two weeks of work-related income because of illness/injury, or (4) mortgaged a home to pay medical bills. Our more inclusive category, "Any Medical Bankruptcy," included debtors who cited any of the above, or addiction, or uncontrolled gambling, or birth, or the death of a family member."

Is "true but misleading" like "fake but accurate"?

Also, "has an agenda" is mealy-mouthed and cowardly. If you have a substantive criticism that isn't based on making stuff up, let's hear it. You have an agenda - "more callous is always better". Not only does everyone have an agenda, some of them are right and some are wrong.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:10 AM
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607: It's an awesome idea. (See Mystery; Little Girl; America; Steffi Graf etc)


Posted by: Gareth Rees | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:19 AM
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610

Regarding *** it struck me as tendentious quibbling. Is the objection the omission of the word "uncovered" which most people (in my opinion) would think went without saying? Or is it that she didn't give the complete definition but only the part she was objecting to? Which seems like pointless nitpicking to me?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:47 AM
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610: I am having a hard time seeing where the second example qualifies as a bare-faced lie. The failure to include the qualifier "uncovered" before "medical bills"?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:52 AM
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The problem with *** is it takes a sentence of the form, 'X is A, B, C, or D', and transforms it into X is B. No?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 6:54 AM
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614: How is that inaccurate? If X is A, B, C, *or* D, then it is true to say "X is A" or "X is B" or "X is C" or "X is D".


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:00 AM
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Mind you, I agree it isn't the most carefully written sentence. But outright dishonesty is a higher bar.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:02 AM
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re: 615

Er, no it isn't. It implies that it's an identity claim, when it's not.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:03 AM
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It makes it sound like Warren et al set an absurdly low bar for medical bankrupcty, and as if the cases they discuss are all instances of that absurdly low bar being met, which is downright dishonest.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:05 AM
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I think 615 is basically correct. McArdle has a history of making statements that are factually correct but incomplete in the picture they paint, and this is just such a case. To meet the standard for intentional deception she'd need to also believe that people would read her statement as (in the terms of 614) "X is only B and nothing else." I didn't read it that way. Perhaps enough people would that she's failing her readers by not making it clearer, but even then it's not intentional deception, just lousy writing and general sloppiness.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:17 AM
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I think you all setting way too high a bar for what counts as 'intentional deception', and being way too charitable, especially given who we are talking about.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:30 AM
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Really? I read McArdle's statement as literally meaning that people had incurred $1,000 of medical bills over some time period (I'd assumed a year). Apparently I don't have the Secret McMegan Decoder Ring that you all have.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:32 AM
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It is deceptive, but if it's true that Warren's definition is unreasonably inclusive then it isn't a very good defense to point out that it is e enmore inclusive.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:34 AM
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620: Quite possibly true. I am judging the sentence entirely in isolation. It may well be more obviously misleading in context.

Also, "lousy writing" is only slightly more venial a sin than dishonesty in my belief system.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:36 AM
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Oh yeah, that "uncovered" part is important, although since it was in the context of bankruptcy I assumed it.


Posted by: Egglant | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:37 AM
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Oh, ffs. You can argue over whether one or more of Warren's definitions is too inclusive, but McArdle cherry picking arguably the most inclusive and implying that this is the source of the numbers involved is fucking dishonest. 622 isn't any kind of defense.

Do I really have to violate the analogy ban to make this clear?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:39 AM
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In a coincidence, our spiritual father Emerson has linked to this reminder of who, exactly, we're dealing with.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:42 AM
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625: That's disgusting. Shouldn't you first try to get the analogy ban's consent before you violate it?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:45 AM
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620: I believe stupidity, sloppiness, and tunnel vision explain most of what seems like deliberate bad acts, and I'm willing to extend that belief to cover McArdle's piece.

This effect is why I'm willing to give benefit of the doubt. The video is well worth sitting through.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:48 AM
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627: Ttam needs the ban's consent like Hitler needed Poland's!


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:49 AM
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re: 628.1

Are you serious? I don't mean to be unnecessarily aggressive about this, but what the actual fuck?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:50 AM
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625: I would agree with that, and I don't think my comment contradicts that (giving a generous allowance for my usual shitty writing).
And, FTR, I don't give a damn if she was too inclusive (and I don't know that she was). Given the extreme scarcity of public figures willing to argue against the financial industry I would still want her to have more power if she made up every number in her article.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 7:55 AM
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630: I don't want to invest too much energy in arguing that someone is merely bad rather than actually evil, but yes, I'm serious. McArdle is wrong about a slew of things but she's no Jonah Goldberg or Andrew Breitbart. I do think it's worth making those distinctions.

If the piece was a journal article rather than a blog post I'd adopt the higher standard than you (I think) are applying. I've seen plenty of similar things done by liberal bloggers who I believe to be essentially honest, so I feel obligated to cut her a little slack even though I strongly disagree with the overwhelming majority of what she posts.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:09 AM
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Of come on, there's overwhelming evidence going back years that she's intellectually lazy, dishonest, and shilling for an immoral fucked up venal worldview; not only that, she's unresponsive to well-meaning criticism, and scornful of those she thinks she's 'better' than, especially when those people are pointing out her own egregious mistakes. If you want to cut her some slack, fine, but I think it's dumb and counterproductive to do so.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:13 AM
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If you mistreat the women you date, I don't see why they should be prohibited from telling people about it. Why do you think people should be allowed mistreat others without consequences?

Presumably if someone mistreats the women they date, then there are consequences like not being able to date such women any more, messing up one's personal life, incurring karmic debt, etc. And of course such women can tell anyone they like about it, just like an unpaid creditor could call your employer if they wanted to. The problem is that like all libertarians you believe that anything and everything private entities falls under the same liberty interest as chatting with your neighbor over the back fence, even if such private entities are giant data networks maintaining big-brother-esque files on every American. The terms of our employment are fundamental to how we structure our society and are able to live in it. It's pretty clear that if you look at liberty as an outcome rather than an abstraction the interest in maximizing liberty in the Internet age is better served by not letting your employers cross-reference every available piece of data about you before hiring you.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:18 AM
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whoops, should have been "anything and everything private entities DO falls under..."

that was the key sentence too


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:19 AM
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633: Sort-of comity, then. I'll pay closer attention to her and perhaps I'll come around to your view.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:27 AM
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633 gets is exactly right.

636: It's your life, but really, there are much better things to do with your time than pay any attention to McMegan at this point.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:31 AM
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Also, I really, really cannot stand Megan McArdle and she does lie and misrepresent all the time (including here). However, I do also think that the "over half of all bankruptcies are due to medical bills" line was way oversimplified and needs to be put in the kind of context it is in the paper McArdle links to. Bankruptcies are just not always a unicausal event. It is true that people did try to switch the talking point to the more accurate "over half of all bankruptcies are linked to medical bills", but it was still overdone.

One nice thing is that all of Obama's short list for the CFPA are pretty good -- Michael Barr and Gene Kimmelman are good choices as well and in some aspects even stronger than Warren.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:31 AM
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This is being presented as an employers vrs workers issue when of course it is mainly a people with good credit vrs people with bad credit issue.

The issue is whether someone with good credit would benefit on average.

Actually, I think the issue is whether benefitting in this way is fair. Of course, you seem to be a proud member of the "I've got mine, sucks to be you" camp.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:36 AM
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Hmm. Megan is clearly in attack mode and grabbing at anything she can to tear down Warren's paper, without giving it a fair reading. So on that point I agree with Alex and ttaM.

But the specific criticisms on the site Alex linked don't seem very fair. Start with the response rate: McArdle says it's only 20%. Levenson says it's 46.5%. In reality, 46.5% responded to the survey, and 20% further agreed to a phone interview and were reachable. So they're both right, in a sense; you have to read the paper pretty carefully to figure out which numbers came from the survey sample and which from the phone interview sample.

The real counter to McArdle's argument is that they did the best they could to check that they were getting a representative sample: they had access to court records from non-respondents, and checked that distributions of various quantities were similar among respondents and nonrespondents.

On the matter of definition, I don't think it's fair to accuse McArdle of being disingenuous. If your definition is an "OR" of a number of quantities, and you want to attack it as being overly inclusive, then it's sufficient to attack it on the most inclusive. She doesn't actually say "bankruptcy is defined as having more than $1000 in medical debt", she says "medical debt over $1000 is defined as having medical bankruptcy", which seems fair to me. She even goes on to note that they used a more conservative definition in the newer paper.

On this point, I think the real criticism is that the further details in the paper don't support the idea that most of the sample is only included because the criterion is so inclusive. Of all the families defined as "medically bankrupt" in Warren's paper, the average out-of-pocket costs are around $18000. That's probably inconsistent with a large fraction of the sample coming from people who only owed a couple thousand dollars in medical debt.

McArdle's criticism that a lot more work seems to go into finding people who go bankrupt for medical reasons than for people who report that they did but lie seems to miss the point that the definition is for bankruptcies to which illness or medical bills contribute, not bankruptcies solely caused by medical expenses.

In short, I think McArdle is being disingenuous by setting out to attack the paper rather than to assess it critically, but I think Levenson's post is overstating things by calling her an outright liar. And there are a lot of unsatisfying things about the paper -- it would be nice to see the whole distribution of amount of medical debt in the sample, rather than just being told the average, for instance.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:44 AM
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638 - Part of the appeal of Warren is that when she talks she looks like she wants to punch some motherfucking bankers in the head. To set the tone for the bureau, the Obama administration needs to nominate someone that pugilistic. Do Barr and Kimmelman come across the same way?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:46 AM
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Seriously? Are there employees who do anything other than laugh and say "no, and you also can't read my mail and tap my phones"?

Is that a serious question? There are employees who "accept" far worse things in order to try to scratch out a living.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:49 AM
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641: no, they don't. Warren is the more effective "outside" candidate from a public perception standpoint. But Barr and I think Kimmelman (don't know him as well) have been highly effective "insiders" in sticking to their principles under bureaucratic pressure and getting the Administration to push tough stances on things. Barr gets a significant share of the credit for the Administration never wavering on the CFPA during the reg reform negotiations.

And I agree with Essear in 640. The underlying research is just a little too tendentious.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:51 AM
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Of all the families defined as "medically bankrupt" in Warren's paper, the average out-of-pocket costs are around $18000. That's probably inconsistent with a large fraction of the sample coming from people who only owed a couple thousand dollars in medical debt.

Not necessarily. 80/20, average vs. median.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:54 AM
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The underlying research is just a little too tendentious.

A little too tendentious for what? Your delicate sensibilities?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:56 AM
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644: Yeah, that's why I said "probably" and noted that I'd like to see the whole distribution.

Were they under a strict page limit on this paper? Anyone know if more of the data is visible anywhere?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:59 AM
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447: I can just see Shearer in an alternate universe where credit-card-theft liability wasn't limited to $50 decades ago. He's observing dispassionately how losing your credit card is irresponsible behavior which ought to be disincentivized.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:04 AM
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This seems to be the paper.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:05 AM
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648: That's the older paper; this is the new one. Neither one has the sort of more detailed data I would like to see.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:45 AM
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649: She's written at least a couple of books on the subject of consumer bankruptcy. It's been a long time since I've read them, but they were pretty data heavy, IIRC.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:47 AM
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647

I can just see Shearer in an alternate universe where credit-card-theft liability wasn't limited to $50 decades ago. He's observing dispassionately how losing your credit card is irresponsible behavior which ought to be disincentivized.

I have no problem with the $50 limit. Incidentally one of the reasons for the bill was banks were sending out unsolicted credit cards, they were being stolen in the mail and used fraudulently and the banks were trying to collect from the consumer. Obviously allowing this does not align incentives properly.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:22 PM
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639

Actually, I think the issue is whether benefitting in this way is fair. Of course, you seem to be a proud member of the "I've got mine, sucks to be you" camp.

What's unfair about it? Do you think it is unfair to be able to provide good references? Or to have a prestigious degree?

And my personal credit rating may not be all that great since I have little credit history.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:30 PM
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Do you think it is unfair to be able to provide good references? Or to have a prestigious degree?

No on one, yes on two?

And my personal credit rating may not be all that great since I have little credit history.

I'll totally vouch for you.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:32 PM
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634

... like all libertarians ...

For the record, I am not a libertarian.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:33 PM
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640 - Given that Megan wrote an entire post the other day predicated on the belief that $75 billion distributed evenly over a 300 million person country was $25 (and then blamed her calculator for the error), you can always replace "liar" with "breathtakingly lazy".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:43 PM
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Do you think it is unfair to be able to provide good references?

No, but what's that got to do with the topic at hand?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:50 PM
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655: SHE'S A PIKER, YOU UNDERSTAND? A RANK AMATEUR. WHY I COULD... CRAP, SORRY, SANDWICH TIME.


Posted by: OPINIONATED JONAH GOLDBERG | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:52 PM
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Incidentally one of the reasons for the bill was banks were sending out unsolicted credit cards, they were being stolen in the mail and used fraudulently and the banks were trying to collect from the consumer. Obviously allowing this does not align incentives properly.

Thus necessitating the invention of "identity theft", which apparently does.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 8:57 PM
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656

No, but what's that got to do with the topic at hand?

A good credit report is basically just a bunch of good references.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:00 PM
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I had a dream about McMegan once (n.b., unlike some of you, I've never met her in real life). It was one of those dreams where a bunch of folks from random parts of one's life show up at a party. There was this incredibly annoyingly loud woman in the middle of the room arguing about tax cuts, who I quickly figured out was McMegan. Everyone agreed that she was unbelievably annoying.

Then, things got good. It turned out that the point of the party was to witness a kind of gladitorial ritual in which McMegan had to battle a polar bear in a Thunderdome-style ring.

I woke up before actually seeing the bear maul McMegan, but, still, that was a pretty good dream.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:01 PM
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660: she's reasonably charming in person; only makes her more reprehensible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:07 PM
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590 Who are these "36 Hours" articles targeted at, anyway?

At people other than or including CBS's lawyers.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:26 PM
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660: I've never before known anyone to actually dream of gladiatorial combat, ancient Roman style. That's kind of weird, Halford, but, you know, not that there's anything wrong with that.

In general, I'd say that the energy expended in defending an interest in the latest outpourings from Ms. McA. vastly outweighs any reasonable expectation of an intellectually interesting or politically valuable payoff. Hello? can we say "vulgar pamphleteer"? That's her role, and she plays it very well indeed. Your best bet is to ignore her, no matter how "charming" (which is to say, tall and good-looking) she might seem.

My 11th-grade history textbook didn't even pretend to impartiality, to taking a neutral and longer-term view. "The depths of depravity were reached," is a line I remember with reference to the gladiators, but I cannot for the life of me recall what came next.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:39 PM
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I haven't remembered a dream in months. This is probably for the best.

As for "providing references", I'm trying to imagine what life would be like if anyone was free to write letters of anti-recommendation to people applying for jobs, and some of those letters actually belong to other people with similar names.

I guess anyone being free to write letters of anti-recommendation is sort of what the tenure approval process is like, at least at some places.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:50 PM
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I haven't remembered a dream in months. This is probably for the best.

I dreamed I found a boson in my Maidenform bra.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 9:59 PM
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How it got in there, I'll never know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:01 PM
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653

No on one, yes on two?

So I can't mention I have a degree from a prestigious university but I can provide a letter of recommendation from my thesis advisor?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:13 PM
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621

Really? I read McArdle's statement as literally meaning that people had incurred $1,000 of medical bills over some time period (I'd assumed a year). Apparently I don't have the Secret McMegan Decoder Ring that you all have.

So you thought bills paid by insurance were being included?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:16 PM
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my thesis advisor

Huh. We are distant academic cousins, both tracing back to Schwinger, if the internet is to be believed. (Though several more generations removed in my case.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:19 PM
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some of those letters actually belong to other people with similar names

That's why everyone's name should be subjected to AUTHORITY CONTROL. Nothing ominous about that, really.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-26-10 10:39 PM
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In re.McArdle, DeLong has found this. Moderately entertaining.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 2:00 AM
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re: 671

That is excellent.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 2:58 AM
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A good credit report is basically just a bunch of good references.

Um no, no it's not.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 5:00 AM
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672 gets it exactly right.

Also good (from the comments):

Could it be that an graphic editor at The Atlantic has also had enough of Megan's act? Only two letters separate the recent headline on the print cover (The Economic Tool That Gets Everything Wrong: By Megan McArdle) from perfection. Could TETTGEW become the Doughy Pantload of 2009?

Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 5:12 AM
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Your best bet is to ignore her, no matter how "charming" (which is to say, tall and good-looking) she might seem.

Actually I think a better bet is to point and laugh, all the more so because of her charm.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 5:20 AM
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673

Um no, no it's not.

How so?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 5:31 AM
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So are we agreed that the attack on McArdle linked in 606 is at least as unfair and misleading as McArdle's attacks on Warren?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 6:09 AM
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676: You're the one who made the analogy. Perhaps you'd like to explain it?

677: No.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 6:22 AM
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678

You're the one who made the analogy. Perhaps you'd like to explain it?

When I got my free credit report as I recall it mostly consisted of good references of the general form "this guy pays his bills on time".


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 6:59 AM
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no matter how "charming" (which is to say, tall and good-looking) she might seem

I just noticed this. The hell? No, really, she was quite friendly and seemingly genuinely pleased to meet an ideological opponent and all that bullshit, in person. Then she tried to justify (to me) her horrible political activities on the internet, and it made no fucking sense at all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 7:24 AM
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Who hasn't done something horrible on the internet?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 7:29 AM
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667: whatever works for you. Really, I was being glib. They're both basically unfair, but I'm not sure what can be done.

Credit reports are a whole different animal though. If you were to make a (banned for a reason!) analogy, it would perhaps be somewhat more apt to talk about a reporter or private eye getting in touch with anybody who has ever dealt with you (or thinks they have) -- pro or con -- and taking what they have to say at face value.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 7:29 AM
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680: I was going to say something about that too, but then figured it was your fight to pick.

Anyway, I'm unclear on who MC was trying to give advice to, and can't remember if she's ever met McMegan in person.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 8:14 AM
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Regarding credit checks and job applications, here's the director for state government relations for TransUnion:


"At this point we don't have any research to show any statistical correlation between what's in somebody's credit report and their job performance or their likelihood to commit fraud," he said in separate testimony to Oregon legislators in January.

from this article.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 9:48 AM
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Essear in 640: In short, I think McArdle is being disingenuous by setting out to attack the paper rather than to assess it critically, but I think Levenson's post is overstating things by calling her an outright liar.

I agree.

Shearer: So are we agreed that the attack on McArdle linked in 606 is at least as unfair and misleading as McArdle's attacks on Warren?

Yeah, I think that's right. I've been bad recently about linking to things that are intellectually dishonest but take positions I agree with. I'm trying to cut down on that. Also, my beer intake. The three week moving average for beer intake is now 3.86/night. I'm still looking at 2 as a target.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 10:17 AM
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"The Economic Tool That Gets Everything Wrong" is a great nickname for McMegan. From now on, she's officially McMegan (TETTGEW).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 10:46 AM
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686: How about "McMegan-Tettgew".

As in "the McMegan-Tettgews come from a long line of realtors and glibertarians."


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 11:49 AM
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How about MMIAJ?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 11:51 AM
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688: No, too mean.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 11:56 AM
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Although "McMegan-Tettgew (née Mmiaj)" does have a certain ring to it.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 11:57 AM
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Jerk? Jackass? Joke? Junker?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 11:58 AM
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If the insinuation was that Sifu was being affected by feminine wiles, I had the same reaction to McMegan in person: really very pleasant and charming, in a way that was surprisingly hard to connect with her blogging.

At this point, I just remember that if there's anything in a blog post of hers that I don't know from other sources, or that I'm not prepared to fully investigate in depth, what she says about it isn't information. Sometimes it's factually incorrect, more often the evaluation makes no sense (that is, for example, on the Elizabeth Warren post -- not everything she said was false in detail, but the implication that if people knew the truth about Warren's work they'd have contempt for it and think of her as ineligible for public office is nonsense. Nothing McMegan said about Warren's work was both true and discrediting). And sometimes what she says is true, or at least I don't identify any important falsehoods or false implications. It's just that the last doesn't happen enough that I can treat her blogging as providing any reliable information that I didn't have beforehand.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 11:59 AM
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691: b.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:00 PM
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It's just that the last doesn't happen enough that I can treat her blogging as providing any reliable information that I didn't have beforehand.

What gets me about her is that she's pretty much only clever at trying to misinform people. When she writes things that are legitimately informative, they're basically banal. It's only when she reaches the creative heights of lying with an agenda that she shows any real cleverness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:02 PM
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693: "b" s/b "RTFA!"

694: Yep.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:06 PM
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696

Not quite lying is even better, in terms of being clever. The Warren post was a string of out-of-context and mostly not quite squarely false fact claims, and then an assertion that they added up to Warren's academic work being the sort of thing that should embarrass an undergraduate. The last claim is the bad bit, but it's not the sort of thing you can call a lie -- it might just reflect very poor judgment. The way the fact claims weren't any sort of decent support for the evaluation is dishonest, but it's judgment-call dishonest, not the sort of thing that's going to convince anyone across political lines.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:21 PM
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697

696: well, right. You could call everything she does "not quite lying", and then you're being fair, and her schtick is working. It would be unfair to say that she is deliberately misprepresenting facts and maliciously using ignorance in order to make assertions that she knows to be false -- you can't prove it, on a case-by-case basis it's almost impossible to say that's occurring, to be able to say that requires a knowledge of her internal state which is impossible to fairly claim to hold -- except that's exactly what she's doing. It's pernicious and shitty and utterly, utterly reprehensible.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:35 PM
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698

694 and 696 get it exactly right. But don't forget the defensive stubborness and refusal to admit error! Also, the pomposity and dismissiveness!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:36 PM
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699

You could call everything she does "not quite lying", and then you're being fair, and her schtick is working.

I don't manage to live up to this myself, but the thing about combining rigorous fairness with an evaluation of the possibility of learning any useful new information from her posts, is that it keeps tologosh and rob and similar fairminded liberal-types from discounting the criticisms. (Not them particularly, but their ilk).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:41 PM
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700

It would be unfair to say that she is deliberately misprepresenting facts and maliciously using ignorance in order to make assertions that she knows to be false

I don't think she knows her conclusions to be false. I think she's deeply intellectually lazy and doesn't think things through, including her own prejudices. Then when those prejudices take her for a ride and warp the filter through which she processes information she doesn't make the effort to notice that's what's going on.

That's true of a lot of people, it's to some degree part of the human condition. But it's especially infuriating when combined with A) smug and selfish glibertarian prejudices, and B) snotty self-assurance.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:49 PM
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701

700 is exactly her magic; it's impossible to say whether she's simply glib and lazy or whether she is actually intentionally pushing a malicious agenda. She's the quantum superposition of knuckleheaded and ill-intentioned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:51 PM
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Well, it's like the comment on George W. Bush, "I'm not saying he's stupid, and I'm not saying he's a liar. But it's got to be one or the other."

McMegan makes an awful lot of fact errors. And she really doesn't seem dim at all to me. But there's no way to draw a rigorous conclusion.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:53 PM
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703

I'm tired of hating on McMegan. Can we go back to hating on that rich lady who kept saying she just had an ordinary family but her child was a violin prodigy and they were traveling the world on the mere 25K they could make without working? She really bugged me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:56 PM
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704

Look at Rortybomb, doing the McMegan critique right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 12:59 PM
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705
Like the hypothetical case there's no pause, no reflection, so as a reader I just want to assume bad faith and move along.
But I won't. Let's continue.

Why, it's bad faith all the way down, my dear boy!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:15 PM
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706

She's the quantum superposition of knuckleheaded and ill-intentioned

Genius. But things are starting to get a bit unwieldy:

McMegan-Tettgew-Qsokaii (née Mmiaj)

Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:26 PM
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707

703: I actually thing McMegan-Tettgew-Qsokaii (née Mmiaj) does a lot more real damage in the world than N. P. R. Stagemother.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:28 PM
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708

Qsokaiï, so people will pronounce it right.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:33 PM
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709

707: Yeah. I flip back and forth between "She's interpersonally nice, and picking at her stuff is like shooting fish in a barrel, what really is the point?" and "Jesus Christ, she's a senior editor at The Atlantic. What is wrong with the world, and how can this state of affairs possibly be allowed to continue?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:35 PM
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710

Interpersonal niceness is irrelevant; it shouldn't enter one way or another into one's thoughts regarding her except insofar as one is considering whether to invite her to one's party, dinner, tea, shower, or other social gathering, and even there I'd hope that in view of her general vileness in other respects one would come down on the side of exclusion.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:37 PM
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711

I think one could eliminate some redundancies and just use Tet.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:38 PM
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712

Then most of these conversations could be summed up as, "Tet: offensive?"


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:39 PM
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713

711: I find that offensive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:39 PM
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714

s/?/./ to actually sum up the conversations.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:39 PM
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715

I actually thing McMegan-Tettgew-Qsokaii (née Mmiaj) does a lot more real damage in the world than N. P. R. Stagemother.

If that's what you thing, then buddy, you've got another thing coming.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:40 PM
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716

712: Setting up your own jokes is totally uncool. That doesn't even count as pwnage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:40 PM
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714: What if there was no consensus? Oh, right, we're talking McMegan, where the only disagreement is the manner in which she offends.
716: The pwnage trap requires a great deal of luck and timing to pull off.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:47 PM
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718

Is this the gossipy thread? I found out something new about the $250,000-earning limerick barista today. She plays the bassoon but added, "I can also play the contrabassoon." I mean, wow, that's endearingly dorky.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 1:54 PM
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719

GET ME HER NUMBER


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 2:04 PM
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719: I should post a personal ad on your behalf and point it out to her.

"Be-afro'd Internet pedant seeks limerick-ignorant, independent-wealthy contrabassoonist for repartee and ristretto; ability to make latte art a plus."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 2:19 PM
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721

Careful, neb. Contrabassoonists are good holders, but they kiss you funny.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 07-27-10 2:34 PM
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