Re: More Conservatism I Can't Believe In

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A licensing agency, on the other hand, can take in consumer complaints without requiring them to hire a lawyer and make a case in court. It can investigate those complaints from a position of expertise in the relevant law, regulation, and commercial environment. And it can make a determination that a practitioner isn't reliable enough to be trusted with consumers' money or valuables without having to meet the standard of proof applicable before a prosecutor could put them in jail. This sort of regulation, when done sensibly (again, I'm with him on thinking that you really shouldn't need a license to be a barber), is what government is for.

Sure a licensing agency could in theory do all this nice stuff but do you have any evidence at all that they do so in practice? My guess would be there is no easily discernable difference in quality in general and honesty in particular between practitioners in regulated and unregulated states.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 6:43 AM
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Stras comments there but not here? Jesus.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 6:46 AM
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Sure a licensing agency could in theory do all this nice stuff but do you have any evidence at all that they do so in practice?

Not statistical, but anecdotal -- this is, at a slight procedural distance, what I do for a living. I see people lose licenses for conduct that clearly makes them unreliable custodians of other people's money under circumstances that wouldn't support a fraud conviction all the time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 6:49 AM
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Your tender throat--let me approach it with this straight razor...


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 6:49 AM
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2: He stopped commenting here under personally tense circumstances, not out of ideological disapproval, if you remember. I wish he hadn't left like that, but I don't think it says anything that he comments someplace else but not here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 6:51 AM
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It's not the someplace else so much as that someplace is like the worst godamn comment section on the internet. Okay, it's not Youtube, but still. Oh well.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 6:56 AM
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There is an implicit judgment in every act of commenting that is not commenting at Unfogged.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 6:56 AM
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I basically skip over any of Yglesias' licensing posts, or any of his Econ 101 type posts, which makes his blog easier to take. Stras gets it exactly right -- whether or not licensing is a good idea depends on the industry, and he doesn't anything about any of the industries, so his commentary is totally worthless.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:00 AM
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But yes, this kick of MY's annoys me in its expansiveness. Unregulated hair braiding really shouldn't be lumped in with letting interior designers (not the same as decorators FFS) just do whatever without knowledge of things like fire codes.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:01 AM
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interior designers (not the same as decorators FFS)

10-to-1 odds that sausagely is completely unaware of this.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:04 AM
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Your tender throat--let me approach it with this straight razor

I likes me an old school barber shop but going to my regular place isn't without sacrifice. Unfortunately no amount of licensing can save me from discussions of the awesomeness of a Ron Paul/Jesse Ventura presidential ticket.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:13 AM
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Locally, the music and restaurant scene flipped a lid when City Council realized the city code technically forbid any playing of amplified music at restaurants, which meant a number of places who hosted bands in the evening were in violation. While a bunch of people were freaking the fuck out about the city meddling with CREATIVE EXPRESSION!, I predicted that City Council would fix the code to be more sensible, which is exactly what they did.

Which is all to say libertarian musicians are at least as annoying as regular libertarians, and of course the city should be aloud to regulate noise at night. And it helps if you live in a procedural liberal's paradise.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:21 AM
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the city should be aloud to regulate noise at night

The punning has become involuntary.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:27 AM
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Shearer's point is crucial: how do you create institutions that in fact serve the stated purposes, rather than merely serving as restrictions on supply? Where's the comparative evidence on efficacy of various licensing regimes? I vaguely recall reading research that supported my preexisting ideological commitments (higher prices, no change in other outcomes) for some industry, but I'm not going to pretend I actually read it carefully or critically, or even that I remember anything beyond "preexisting beliefs validated! woo!"

Ygles' thinking is probably shaped by his experience living in DC & NYC; I think the former, in particular, could benefit from letting people make a living legally with skills they already have.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:31 AM
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13: Oh, oops? I need coffee.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:33 AM
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I got a shave with a straight razor at a barber exactly once. It was one of the most terrifying experiences in my life. I was once mugged at knife-point, and that was only slightly scarier (it was over quicker).


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:36 AM
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OP: [I]t can make a determination that a practitioner isn't reliable enough to be trusted with consumers' money or valuables without having to meet the standard of proof applicable before a prosecutor could put them in jail.

This. The real point of a licensing system from the government's perspective isn't that it's hard to get one or that having a license implies an acceptable degree of professional quality. There are plenty of licensed but incompetent professionals out there. The point is that the regulator can take the license away if someone misbehaves.

The other side of the coin can be a significant due process problem from the license-holder's perspective. There are more guaranteed rights to protect a defendant from a month's imprisonment on a misdemeanor charge than from an administrative proceeding that can have a much more serious and long-term effect on someone's life. But that criticism, which I think has some force in some circumstances, is completely different from Yglesias's position that the costs of licensing are categorically unjustified by the benefit of insuring professional qualifications at the front (i.e., the license-dispensing) end.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:37 AM
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Some of the hair straightening products are toxic and caustic, require high heat very close to the head, and can cause serious injury if applied improperly. These products are disproportionately used by African-American women. Licensing is reasonable (although not for braiding).


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:41 AM
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re: 16

I've never had the full shave, but I used to go to a place that used to neaten up the sideburns with one. It is an interesting feeling.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:41 AM
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14: But what makes his commentary so stupid is that the answer clearly depends on the industry. Would we be better off with absolutely no licensing for doctors and lawyers?

Anyway, someone in comments claims that the bill includes provisions like abolishing the requirement for auto repair places to provide written estimates. The actual provisions of the bill are what's important, not airy theorizing from economic first principles.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:43 AM
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19: I got the full shave, and I found it hard to avoid the feeling that at any moment I was going to jerk suddenly, and accidentally kill myself. The idea that it would be my own fault made it worse, somehow...


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:45 AM
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I thought barber licensing was historically less about the potential to slit your throat than the fact that if you don't properly disinfect all that shit your shop is going to be a cesspool of disease and you're going to give people nasty infections. Being shaved with a dirty razor. Hot, moist towels! Fungal growth and pestilence. And (traditional asymmetry of information justification for government intervention following) that it might be hard for consumers to know in advance that your shop was dirtyfuck. I don't know if the same considerations apply w/o shaving. Although even just with a simple haircut: lice?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:51 AM
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22: The key point is that these are SMALL BUSINESSES and the magic of the free market will actually work with them. After a single rash of fatalities a small subset of people will no longer patronize such an establishment, and bam goes its competitibilityness, on a geologic timescale.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:57 AM
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I read the first paragraph and realized I can't possibly comment on this without becoming angry and irrational. Suffice it to say, the licensure situation in my field, in my state, benefits current license holders and for everyone else seems arbitrary and infuriating. I'm not saying there shouldn't be a licensure system, I guess, but.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:06 AM
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11: Unfortunately no amount of licensing can save me from discussions of the awesomeness of a Ron Paul/Jesse Ventura presidential ticket.

This is one of the main reasons I still go to the same barber that I've patronized since I was 4 years old: He appears to be the last traditional barber who is not a fascist/schmibertarian. Just a couple of weeks ago I got my hair cut and we marveled at the silliness of a barber he knew who had never paid taxes, and thus was about to get his license revoked (plus likely other bad things were going to happen) who then keeled over from a heart attack. And no blaming the liberals!

The tiny libertarian who lives inside me and who I haven't quite gotten around to killing yet, was pretty incensed last year in dealing with the city on licensing issues for a performance theater. Why the hell should you have to have a license for theater?! It's not like people are going to show up for a play and then find that you are actually a barbershop that sells chicken-salad sandwiches or something. And even if they did, it might arguably constitute a type of theater.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:08 AM
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Locally, the music and restaurant scene flipped a lid when City Council realized the city code technically forbid any playing of amplified music at restaurants, which meant a number of places who hosted bands in the evening were in violation. While a bunch of people were freaking the fuck out about the city meddling with CREATIVE EXPRESSION!, I predicted that City Council would fix the code to be more sensible, which is exactly what they did.

Whereas in the UK, when the government "liberalised" alcohol licensing laws in general (opening hours in particular) they deliberately made it necessary for pubs to get a separate licence for live music.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:09 AM
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25.3: Why would characterize that as your inner libertarian? A stupid licensing scheme is a stupid licensing scheme -- it's not an ideological question at all. Good government regulation is good, and bad government regulation is bad. It's only libertarian if the impulse is that by its nature regulation is bad. Honestly, this is part of the Republican strategy. They govern badly, and then announce that it proves that government doesn't work. Government can work, as long as you don't elect Republicans to it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:12 AM
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I've stayed off this topic in the past because in a bunch of contexts, I'm not dead sure if licenses are a net plus or a net minus (like the barbering thing. I see the health argument, but I don't really know what the risks are from an unsterile razor, or if our licensing regime really has a usefully protective effect.) What got me off the dime was the mention of fraud: that sort of thing I know something about professionally, and I know that a licensing regime can and does address it in a way that generic law enforcement isn't realistically going to be able to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:12 AM
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(And I've mentioned this before, but Buck loves the straight-razor shave. On him, of course, it covers about three square inches of cheek, because everything else is facial hair. But he really likes the barber/chit-chat/close shave/hot towels experience, and does it every few weeks.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:15 AM
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Presumably the barber licensing process involves some training on how to dispose of the various caustic chemicals they deal with for perming and whatnot? I'd prefer to keep that regulated, rather than just having that stuff get poured down the drain.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:17 AM
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(like the barbering thing. I see the health argument, but I don't really know what the risks are from an unsterile razor, or if our licensing regime really has a usefully protective effect.)

I'm basically with you, in that I don't know whether it's a net positive or a net negative. It probably varies by jurisdiction. But I don't see how that gets you all the way to saying in the post: "I'm with him on thinking that you really shouldn't need a license to be a barber". It only gets me as far as saying "maybe; I'd need more evidence to make a decision."


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:20 AM
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27:Over forms of government let fools contest
Whatever is best administered is best


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:21 AM
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(I'm probably inclined to think it's a net positive, at least in the places I've lived, because while I don't know a ton about exactly how burdensome the licensing requirements are, I've never lived anywhere that seemed to be suffering from a shortage of competition among barbers, so I don't think it's creating a problematic barrier to entry.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:22 AM
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Well, I've got an opinion, which is that it's probably a net negative -- I think that ordinary cleanliness, which is pretty easy to assess as you walk into a place, is probably enough on the health risks. But it's not a strong enough opinion that I would have posted on it independently.

(Disposal of caustic chemicals? I think you could manage that without much of a licensing regime -- if you required that someone setting up shop as a hairdresser register as such, in a fill-out-a-simple-form kind of way, that could trigger mailing them a pamphlet on the disposal regulations and how to comply with them.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:24 AM
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33: What gets brought up a lot as the negative is the effect on hair-braiders; to braid hair you need the full-scale license, which is months of classes that mostly have nothing to do with braiding and cost a lot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:30 AM
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This tells you a lot about our Matt. He's sort of aware he writes about things he don't have much background in and goes out on limbs, but thinks it makes him a typical bloggers, when in reality the extent to which he does is is pretty unique among people who aren't cranks.

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2011/03/blogging-and-overconfidence/

He likened himself to a sort of social science reporter, but he'll happily make up his own theories in all kinds of niche subjects that requires a fair amount of background knowledge.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:31 AM
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I think that ordinary cleanliness, which is pretty easy to assess as you walk into a place, is probably enough on the health risks

I assume you feel the same way about manicurists?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:32 AM
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37: I don't get manicures, so I don't have much personal experience there. But there is a difference in that a hairdresser is mostly not supposed to be breaking your skin, while a manicurist is doing all the cuticle stuff, which I can see posing a much bigger risk of infection. This gets me from having a weak opinion on barbers, and not much of an opinion at all on manicurists.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:36 AM
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38: I agree that the requirements make much less sense when you move from traditional barbers to modern hairdressers. But barbers traditionally shaved people.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:38 AM
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||
Got a job! 25-40% more money than last job, so, still a pittance, but only half to 2/3rds time, walking distance from my house and aesthetically and politically convivial. Feeling much better about this week.
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:41 AM
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This would be an easier conversation to have if you said something like: "Because barbers traditionally shaved people, which poses a risk of breaking the skin, and thus of infection if a non-sterile razor is used, I think licensing them is a net positive and I'm surprised you disagree." Which is what I'm figuring you mean.

In response to what I figure you meant, I don't think getting a scrape from a non-sterile razor is a terribly significant health risk, and I'm not sure that licensing affects the chances that a barber will use an unclear razor all that much. But as I said before, I don't have a terribly strong opinion about this. Someone with convincing looking statistics could change my mind pretty easily.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:45 AM
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40: Woohoo! How is it on the oppressive licensing regime front?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:45 AM
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I might go get a straight razor shave for the first time ever. I have an ugly laziness beard right now, and there's something I find weirdly nurturing in the experience of having my hair cut that I assume would extend to getting a shave (unless, as in Walt's experience, it instead turns into a phobic nightmare!)

There's this barber shop in Austin on the first floor of a dorm staffed by what seem to be retired military men. They're gruff and unfriendly and prophylactically masculine, but at the end of your haircut they do this weird neck rub with a vibrating thingy strapped to their hand and in the squickiest recesses of my brain, I always felt like it was a tiny concession to aforementioned nurturing and liked it despite/because of the closeted quality.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:46 AM
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I find weirdly nurturing in the experience of having my hair cut that I assume would extend to getting a shave

That's totally what Buck's in it for. It's a pleasant 20 minutes or so with a man putting hot towels on your face and giving you a neck rub.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:47 AM
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I don't think getting a scrape from a non-sterile razor is a terribly significant health

How old are these regulations? Do any of these licensing regimes predate antibiotics? Barbershops in general certainly do.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:49 AM
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On the other hand, I think he's far more leftwing than people often realize. He goes on and on about these "neoliberal" pet peeves while being fairly strongly leftwing on the major issues. You could see it as a deliberate strategy, though I strongly doubt that, or something his self conception requires, or just a happy circumstance.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:50 AM
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41: no, really, I have no idea if licensing them is a net positive or not. Especially today. Since they're licensed just about everywhere, my guess is at one time it did in fact make a lot of sense, since these sort of regulations tend not just to spring up for no reason. (Although of course they can stick around for no reason.) My instinct is that if there's a net harm being done here, though, it's not even on the top 1,000 list of bad public policies in the United States. Probably not even the top 10,000. It seems like something with an arguable benefit and certainly arguable downsides but not IME a lot of evident downsides in actual practice.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:51 AM
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42: Should be pretty low-key on the licensing front. Place has been around for almost three decades.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:53 AM
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40: Congrats, Natilo! That sounds great!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:53 AM
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I regulated my bowels one time. BOOM-BOOM.


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:55 AM
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The thing is, I think that the argument that licensing regimes can easily get captured by incumbents to deliberately create barriers to entry is a good, serious argument. It's not an argument that gets you all the way to "So tear all the regulations down", which is what Yglesias is doing, but it's a reason to squint suspiciously at any actual licensing regime.

And it's the sort of thing that's a big deal (not bigger than a million other things, but on the other hand cheaper to fix than a million other things) because harmful regulations destroy the goodwill necessary to maintain a constituency for useful regulations.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:56 AM
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What the hell is "the thing is" for at the beginning of a sentence? I do that all the time, and on rereading it makes me want to stick a pencil in my eye.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:57 AM
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I've seen examples where as far as I could tell licensing was basically functioning as barrier to entry far more than any guarantee of professionalism*, but generally I prefer some level of legally enforced planning and preparation for the people I am about to entrust my money/health/life to.

There's a lot of things that you think ought to be common sense, but are really specialized knowledge. Many people learn poorly from books, have limited literacy and/or limited English skills, and are otherwise better positioned to learn things like "Don't cross-contaminate between chicken and beef" from someone who's standing next to them in the kitchen than from some list of instructions.

*And do NOT get me started on how enraged I've been by lawyers who will not police their own.

But I can't even bring myself to read MY on this, because I think he's so out of touch with the wider considerations. I tried at one point to explain that in PA we have a 1200-hour training course for cosmetologists and a 300-hour one for hair braiders, in deference to exactly the complaint that braiders didn't need to learn how to do beehive hairdos. (Which, credit where due, a libertarian lawyer was one of the ones involved in coming up with the compromise.)

Bah. Shorter me: What Walt said. About everything.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:01 AM
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52: The thing is that you shouldn't be so hard on yourself.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:02 AM
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51: I think that the argument that licensing regimes can easily get captured by incumbents to deliberately create barriers to entry is a good, serious argument

Me too. But again, I haven't seen any evidence of a shortage of competition among barbers anywhere I've ever lived, so I don't think it's creating a problematic barrier to entry. There are tons of them, and they're mostly independantly owned, not giant chains. Maybe there is a shortage of hair-braiders; I honestly have no idea. I certainly agree that any regulation that is in fact creating a real-world problem without at least commensurate real-world benefit should be reformed or done away with. Maybe the licensing of hair-braiders falls into that category.

Also, I think your "cheaper to fix" might be overlooking political costs, which IMO isn't the right analysis.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:05 AM
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I don't think getting a scrape from a non-sterile razor is a terribly significant health risk

Uh, really? Blood contamination is one of the few things I'm fastidious about.

One thing I'll say for the cosmetology course in New York State is that it means that every licensed haircutter or stylist has had to learn how to do those awesome 1930s finger curls à la Josephine Baker. My impression is that it was a deeply traumatic experience for many of them, but they get kind of excited to try it out every once in a while.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:07 AM
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What the hell is "the thing is" for at the beginning of a sentence?

I know someone who starts a lot of sentences with "the thing is is..."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:14 AM
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mailing them a pamphlet on the disposal regulations and how to comply with them.)

And that's going to work, because people are basically good, and wouldn't ever do things like pour paint thinner in the pond on Boston Common and kill all the fish therein because it's a hassle to dispose of the stuff properly, even if they didn't have a license that could be taken away.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:18 AM
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I mean the Public Garden, and I can't find a link, because it happened quite a long time ago.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:24 AM
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This is a seems-to-me issue, and I could be wrong here. But that seems like a different enforcement problem from financial fraud. Someone with or without a license is in about the same position in terms of getting caught doing it, and you can fine someone pretty heavily for dumping whether or not they have a license. Doesn't make enforcement easy, but I don't see the license solving problems in the same way.

Come to think, you're an artist. I don't know that you personally use nasty chemicals, but lots of artists do or might. I can't see licensing as a reasonable response to the possibility of dumping there either.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:25 AM
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1.) stras hangs over at Yglesias's place because the style of commentary there strongly resembles his own style.
2.) The unfogged critique of Yglesias is based more on high expectations than low performance. (Yglesias did set a standard that's hard to maintain.)
3.)Ezra Klein is a bigger disappointment than Yglesias.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:28 AM
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Registry for someone who buys commercial quantities of nasty chemicals, maybe, with required reporting of what you did about disposal, and fines for false or non-reporting? That'd make tracking easier. I'm all for regulation, generally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:29 AM
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61.3: Yeah, he really fell off a cliff interestingness-wise a while back. Anyone have an idea what happened there?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:29 AM
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Ezra Klein is a bigger disappointment than Yglesias.

Maybe I'm overly cynical, but I saw that one coming years and years away.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:30 AM
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I once did a stint of substitute teaching at a high-school vocational center. The cosmetology course was one of the toughest and most well-respected programs they had. They also had a tendency to flood the school with caustic chemical fumes from time to time.

I don't imagine that Yglesias spends much time socializing with hair dressers. Maybe if he did, he would have a higher opinion of the degree of technical skills required for the job.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:31 AM
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62: Is a good start for the disposal issue. What it doesn't cover is the training required for the process of applying caustic chemicals to other people's scalps.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:33 AM
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He's sort of aware he writes about things he don't have much background in and goes out on limbs, but thinks it makes him a typical bloggers

Even if he were right that it was typical of bloggers, there would be a separate question as to whether it was good for bloggers, and him in particular, to do it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:34 AM
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I used to use nasty chemicals, but people in the art supply store started saying things like "I hope you're using a respirator with that paint" so I switched. I like the idea of licensed artists though; it would be a great selling point. "This work was produced by an artist licensed ├ępater la bourgeoisie".


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:34 AM
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because people are basically good

I'm reminded of the TAL clip I was listening to this morning about the otherwise well-intentioned volunteers taking from the till of Kennedy Center gift shop. People kind of suck.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:36 AM
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69: the otherwise well-intentioned volunteers taking from the till of Kennedy Center gift shop

Is that like the otherwise well-intentioned Southern sheriffs who prevented black people from voting?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:42 AM
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61, 64: Klein is constrained by (1) the Washington Post style and editors, and (2) by a job that involves interviewing people who he can't piss off. Yglesias is less constrained becasue he doesn't need a well-paying job, and doesn't interviewpeople much.

The three boy geniuses of the early political blogosphere have followed precisely the career paths their socioeconomic status required. Yglesias has money, so he didn't have ot earn a living while he built pu a track record bligging, and now he blogs for a non-profit that gives him lots of freedom. Klein's roots are UMC, so he could afford to take non-payng interneships, then work for cheap for a few years, and was able to build up the credentials and connections to land a decent job at a large company, at the cost of some contraints. The best of the group, Jesse Taylor (the original Pandagon), couldn't afford to blog fulltime, so he gave up blogging for a few years, and is now in law school where he can't blog with much frequency.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:50 AM
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I hadn't known what happened to Taylor.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:52 AM
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Why can't he piss the people he interviews off?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:16 AM
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Too much German, neb.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:19 AM
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Fine, whatever.

Why can't he piss off the people he interviews?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:24 AM
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Presumably because his job security depends on having them continue to call him back?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:26 AM
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How good are Doritos? They are very good.


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:27 AM
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Anyone else find Nate Silver's piece unconvincing? When compared to an election in which Republicans were excited (2010) this Republican county underperformed this cycle (when Democrats are excited). When compared to others, it's more in line with expectations. This should be taken as evidence against fraud?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:27 AM
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It's fine to say, as he does, that there isn't statistical evidence that votes were created fraudulently, but he seems to go further.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:30 AM
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I never could stand the comment threads there, but several of the first commenters, including stras, got it right. That kind of ill-informed, ill-considered, provocative post is basically why I stopped reading Yglesias.

I got a shave with a straight razor at a barber exactly once

Having seen Sweeney Todd at an impressionable age, I would not be able to do that except under general anaesthesia.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:32 AM
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But really, my mom.


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:32 AM
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The thing that I find odd about reading Ezra is that it all makes sense if you think that he's writing about issues from a purely abstract, intellectual position, rather than writing about live, controversial questions.

He has some posts about the underlying structure of the debate, some about what he would consider to be the most desirable outcome, and some about what he thinks the most likely outcome is (which is, inevitably, a long ways from his preferred outcome). All of those have their place but, for somebody who seems to care about politics, he comes across as remarkably sanguine about that gap between the likely and desired.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:33 AM
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79: All he's saying, AFAIC tell, is that turnout would have been a little low without the 'missing' votes, but looks normal with them. While I'm agnostic on whether there was skulduggery somewhere else, this looks pretty innocent to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:35 AM
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he comes across as remarkably sanguine about that gap between the likely and desired.

This makes it easier for me to read EK than others, because my blood pressure doesn't skyrocket quite as much.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:41 AM
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I get bored with his writing now, probably due to the coldblooded tone, and when I get bored I stop paying enough attention to follow the details and get confused.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:44 AM
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The moment when I realized Ezra Klein was turning into Michael Kinsley without the humor was the headline "Paul Ryan does not have an easy job". What are you talking about? What do you think his job is? What do you think he's trying to accomplish? Hint: it's not what he said in an interview with Wolf Blitzer.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:45 AM
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I agree that the requirements make much less sense when you move from traditional barbers to modern hairdressers. But barbers traditionally shaved people

Really traditionally, they were surgeons.


Posted by: ging | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:47 AM
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I haven't read Ezra Klein in years, but at least back when I was reading, he'd probably actually have looked into the details of a bill about occupational licensing before posting about it.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:48 AM
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83: But he's comparing the 2010 election with this one, and the levels of enthusiasm in the two parties were very different. I would think in a Republican county the turnout would be lower than normal this year, and 2008 would be a better comparison.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:48 AM
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87 was me.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:52 AM
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But, yeah, I have no idea if there was actual fraud, and maybe my concerns would be allayed with a better explanation of the "kitchen sink" regression (but it looks like he just runs this on 2010).


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:56 AM
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91: No, he checks it on 2008 as well, if I'm reading it right, and says that 2010 does a better job of predicting turnout in other counties than 2008. (And that based on 2008 turnout, the relevant county goes from looking a little low to a little high, when the 'missing' votes get added in.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:02 AM
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I like Klein. He often takes a coldblooded tone, and generally respects the conventions of objective journalism, bending over backwards (often more than backwards) to present things fairly and give both sides a hearing, in such a way that it would be very difficult to characterize his reporting as partisan or ideologically-biased.* And yet he still presents the facts clearly enough that it's impossible to read his writing and not realize who's at least sometimes attempting to get things right and who's unequivocally on the side of wrong. In my mind, he's a good model of what mainstream political reporting should look like. In some ways it's more "boring" than other more polemic stuff, and in some ways less insightful as well, but it's valuable nonetheless.

* It still often gets characterized that way, of course, but that's inevitable in the current media environment, and I don't think those characterizations can withstand even a casual reading of his reporting.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:06 AM
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I prefer Yglesias to Klein, because Yqlesias' pieces are usually shorter, and I'm lazy like that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:14 AM
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The moment when I realized Ezra Klein was turning into Michael Kinsley without the humor was the headline "Paul Ryan does not have an easy job". What are you talking about?

Meh, it's a dumb headline but, going along with urple's comment, the content of the post is that it's impossible for Paul Ryan to have written a budget which would match the claims that he's made for his budget without cooking the numbers in some way.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:21 AM
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But, you know, cooking the numbers is his job. And it's an easy job.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:23 AM
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I thought that was the job of the Heritage Foundation.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:28 AM
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But, you know, cooking the numbers is his job. And it's an easy job.

Well, no, it's not officially his job. And a reader of Klein's is quite likely to realize that it is in fact unofficially his job, even if Klein doesn't quite come out and say that.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:30 AM
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72 - He worked for Ted Strickland's campaign in 2006, and then in the governor's communications office for a while. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he returns to political operative-ness-ing once he's out of law school.

I think y'all are underestimating Ezra Klein -- of course he's not interesting, because he's not really a blogger any more; he's doing original journalism (and not advocacy journalism) in a blog format. I was complaining on Facebook about how deadly stupid Andrew Sullivan is; it would be churlish of me to complain that Klein isn't producing verbal pyrotechnics given that he understands the numbers he is reporting on, and further does a decent job of communicating them. In a world where the Post's editorial page wasn't pitching itself as representing the tough compromises between Jennifer Rubin on the right and George F. Will on the left, they might be willing to let him have a little more space to personally express himself, but that's not the paper that the Post is.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:32 AM
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98 was me. I'm sorry.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:34 AM
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Yeah, I don't get the dislike for Klein. Maybe it's because people are judging him by the standards of blogging, rather than as a writer for a major US newspaper. In my opinion, he's pretty much the best policy wonk on any national. And US papers are desperately in need of good policy wonks. The vast majority of the US press's output on policy is in fact about politics and either gets the policy horribly wrong, leaving the reader less informed than before they read the article, or is full of unstated premises that may not actually hold for the reader. Ezra states his premises and 99% of the time accurately conveys the policy, which seems to me a good thing for a WaPo blogger to be doing.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:42 AM
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92: He does the simple linear regression for several elections, but the "kitchen sink" regression, where he tries to factor in race and party affiliation, is only done for 2010 vs April.
I guess the 2010 regression is a better fit than 2008, but it's a pretty crude model. It looks like the effect he finds is because in 2010 this county had an unusually high turnout, which may or may not say anything about this election.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:47 AM
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Presumably because his job security depends on having them continue to call him back?

Then what's the point of having the interviews?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 12:09 PM
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99, 101: I used to find him much more informative and interesting -- I haven't pinned down what's underlying my reaction, but I'm now making an effort to check his blog because I feel as if I should, rather than actually being interested in its contents. I think it comes down to a less polemic tone since he moved to the Post.

But I'm not comparing him to other journalists, I'm comparing him to his own blogging circa, maybe, 2008.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 12:16 PM
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103: If you keeping on asking questions like that you could wind up sabotaging your career in journalism, neb.

Oh, yeah...you don't have a career in journalism. For better or for worse, Ezra Klein does.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 12:25 PM
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What Snarkout said. EK has an assigned beat, he covers it well, and he asks tough questions in the inverviews that frequently expose the targets as idiots. He doesn't cover electoral politics much because that's not his job. He doesn't go off on rants for the same reason.

103: Pissing off the interviewee is not the purpose of the interview. The purpose is to get them to answer questions.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 12:30 PM
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Yes, I think the Paul Ryan thing was actually an illustration of Klein's being "what mainstream journalism should [realistically speaking] be". It comes off to me as Strachey-esque, tongue buried very far in cheek for propriety's sake - poor Republicans, they have so many sacred cows, it can be hard to sacrifice to them all at once!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 12:37 PM
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Glad we have this post. Scrolling through the comments, I see that most people have already made the key points about Yglesias's infuriating Econ 101/schmo-libertatian anti-licensing crusade: the two main ones, in my view, are (a) Walt's point that talking about this requires obtaining some actual knowledge that Yglesias willfully refuses to obtain, and (b) Widget's point that the key advantage of licensing does is it allows the government to quickly revoke the license, a remedy that you simply can't get through other tort, administrative, or criminal remedies.

I'd just add that licensing regimes were one of the key innovations of the early administrative state, and one of the reasons that they've largely worked relatively well through the years is precisely because the (relatively minor) cartelization of the industry creates a buy-in for safe and ethical practices. If being a barber subjects you to a licensing scheme, and you're a licensed barber, you actually have a strong incentive to make sure that all barbers dip their combs in the formaldahyde or whatever. Obviously these schemes can be subject to abuse and capture (as can anything in government!), and there are lots of opportunities for targeted, industry specific good government reform. But the particular case of barbering -- in which (a) the purported barriers to entry haven't at all limited the flourishing of barber shops and barbers as small businesses, and (b) the cost of a haircut has remained consistently cheap to the consumer, the case against licensing is remarkably weak; you have regulations that prevent against real health problems that are enforced by the barbershop owners at low costs to the state, competitors, and consumers.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 12:39 PM
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This particular line from that post* bothered me, and especially bothers me in retrospect: "If his deficit reduction doesn't kick in for decades, as is true in his Roadmap, then his budget will look worse than the administration's and his reputation as a fiscal hawk will be trashed."

Oh, his reputation as a fiscal hawk will be trashed, will it? By what mechanism will that occur? Certainly not any obvious one when every mainstream journalist including you is mostly focused on his political courage. Klein's been very good on explaining why Ryan's budget is unworkable, illogical, flawed and unjust, but he's been as bad as anyone about treating it as a serious proposal from a fiscally-responsible brave truth-teller. Reputations don't trash themselves; they have to be trashed by someone else.

* Might as well link, since it's been discussed so much.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 12:50 PM
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109 is a good point. I'd like to think once he builds a solider mainstream reputation he can start to do that, but I also would have liked to think Obama was well-meaning and constrained by political circumstances.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 12:53 PM
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. I think it comes down to a less polemic tone since he moved to the Post.

But I'm not comparing him to other journalists, I'm comparing him to his own blogging circa, maybe, 2008.

Yeah, that's kind of my point. Maybe it's because I'm a journo myself, but I'd rather have him writing solid policy analysis for the WaPo than polemical blogging for himself, even though I really liked his polemical blogging. There are loads of great polemical bloggers, but not many good policy analysts at the WaPo. And even fewer on TV news, where he now gets to appear on a semi-frequent basis.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:04 PM
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109 - OTOH, the very top post on Klein's blog today is entitled "The Democrats have a plan for controlling health-care costs. Paul Ryan doesn't." I agree that Klein has been too willing to treat Ryan as a responsible participant in adult discourse, and I can't tell how much of that is Klein bending over backwards to be fair to people who disagree with his stated policy preferences and show that their arguments fall apart even when taken on their own dubious merits vs. institutional factors (be nice to Republicans or we take away your blog/you can't get interviews), buying into High Broderism, or being swept up in Ryan's baby blues. I feel like he was appropriately dismissive of Republican lies about the Affordable Care Act.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:13 PM
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he's been as bad as anyone about treating it as a serious proposal from a fiscally-responsible brave truth-teller

Oh, come on. This is a post title of his from earlier today: "The Democrats have a plan for controlling health-care costs. Paul Ryan doesn't.". Nobody has done a better or more persistent job of explaining why Ryan's assumptions are crazy, why his plan has no chance of getting anywhere, or why his plan wouldn't cut healthcare costs. I get the sense that some people object to Klein (and others) even addressing the detail of the plan at all - it should just be ignored or dismissed out of hand without even considering it on its merits. In a world where Ryan was a lone kook, sure. But in a world where he's the House Republican's annointed representative on budget issues and where other journalists/pundits do consider him serious, that's not a sensible approach. Democratic senators can just say no, a la social security privatisation, but a policy wonk can't.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:14 PM
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pwned


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:15 PM
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I suppose it depends on whether his audience has gotten bigger. If the choice is between a small readership of true believers getting polemics (although that's not quite the word for what's changed. Political-agenda-driven policy blogging?) and a larger readership getting sane, honest reporting on the same issues, that's a net gain even if I lose some entertainment. But I don't know if that's the tradeoff he's made -- if he hasn't got a bigger readership now, then I don't see the profit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:15 PM
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85 gets it exactly right. I feel embarrassed about what's happened to Ezra, because I argued a couple years back that he had a strong enough liberal/populist* core that he wouldn't become a middle of the road bore, which is precisely what Jackmormon and others predicted.

He lost me during the health care debate, not because I disagreed with him, but because he was relentlessly dull and, frankly, relentlessly defensive on behalf of the admin. Actually, not defensive, but Panglossian - whatever POS got crapped out by the process would be, by definition, the best possible health care bill in the best of all possible worlds.

Goodness knows he never has an interesting take on anything anymore. Insightful, sometimes, but never anything the least bit out of the mainstream of Dem wonkery.

* not quite the right word, but intending unabashed liberalism, not self-loathing DLCism


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:27 PM
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On a related note, this from James Fallows really surprised me.

3) A plan that exempts from future Medicare cuts anyone born before 1957--about a quarter of the population, which includes me--is neither brave nor serious. See "canny or cynical: take your pick" above.

I had no idea he was that old. I kind of assumed he was in his 30s.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:27 PM
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(And I think that particular post is entirely correct. I understand why, say, Apo doesn't like the ACA, but it's just remarkable to me that the ACA, which is the biggest deficit reduction move of the last twenty years, has been totally ignored because it doesn't cause let the Pain Caucus chuckle at the thought of retired construction workers not being able to afford to go see their grandkids or pay for their Lipitor.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:28 PM
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Also, I feel bad because I comment at MY's and not here anymore. But I try not to interact with the other commenters - it's a fruitless attempt to inform MY.

To wit:
interior designers (not the same as decorators FFS)

10-to-1 odds that sausagely is completely unaware of this.

He's been told countless times. Most infuriatingly, he will even talk about interior designers picking out curtains. Where he learned to troll his own blog I'll never know.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:30 PM
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Also, hi everybody.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:30 PM
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I'm really surprised by how casual everyone is about standard hairdressing licensing. I'm bascially reiterating Halford, but still. . .I can see that the braiding should be a separate or exempt thing, if that's all one is doing. In California you can get an all inclusive cosmetology license or a less inclusive but more specialized esthetician's license. But cutting and styling hair involves the use of sharp and/or hot implements and nasty chemicals near people's faces and on sensitive scalp skin. Waxing involves hot liquids on the skin that can cause burns if heated too much. When I was writing about Hep C I was told by several doctors that nicking people with an unsterilized razor or cutting blades is a good way to transmit it and similar viruses, which is why Hep C patients are told to make sure no one shares their razors. When you disinfect them, you want to make sure you use a viricide. I think anyone who has taught a lab class knows that most people (especially young people, and a lot of people decide to go into cosmetology when they're ~18 or so) learn safety better in practical experience, with someone standing their and correcting their technique, not from a manual. Same for the disposal issue.

I don't get my hair done in India because I don't trust that people are licensed in a non-corrupt way, or licensed at all, depending on the state. I'm a geeky person and tend to chit-chat about things like safety and process with my cosmetologists, and every one has made reference to their training, the rules, and the right way to do things in a way that I find reassuring. As far as I know, corruption is not a widespread problem among licensing boards. It's really amazing to me how little most Americans appreciate the things that work in this country.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:33 PM
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Reading Ezra is a quick way to catch up on the facts -- more useful than most political writers.

To the original poster: licencing is an efficient manner to combine a passing a credit check, paying a fee, and enforcing turpitude clauses, too.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:33 PM
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This is a post title of his from earlier today: "The Democrats have a plan for controlling health-care costs. Paul Ryan doesn't.".

Honestly I was more impressed with his post, "What Planned Parenthood actually does" because that's exactly the sort of, "let me go over something which is very basic, important, true, and not news"* that is lacking in a lot of the political discourse.

*I don't remember who it was that I read who argued that newspapers should have a daily feature of, "things that are still true" but that made an impression on me. I think it can be vitally important to point out things that are still true.

The recent EK post that annoyed me was the, "Paul Ryan is the sort of politician that I like" post, but I do think he is still providing value.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:36 PM
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I don't think Klein writes for us anymore, but for the Beltway.

Klein is amazing, and is doing what I predicted long ago, writing about policy from within the fetid swamp of the Beltway without losing his dignity or I think his idealism (though he does keep that under a basket.) I, of course, can't imagine Boehner and Rivlin and Baucus actually answering my calls, or getting on Chris Matthews and getting invited back. The other guy that comes to mind is Steve Clemons, and I doubt he has as good an access as Klein. They are professionally careful. Klein has been fucking brilliant at doing Washington DC.

Klein has also very much narrowed his subject matter, no longer writing about foreign affairs, defense, personal matters, cooking.

I expected him to actually move to a gov't job or working for a politician. Both Klein and Yglesias are actually short on education to go in certain directions.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:43 PM
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108 is very helpful. For the first time I feel like I understand the issue.

109 captures what I dislike about Klein's development. He lends too much credibility to pure bullshitters.

110 has it backwards (as I think its author acknowledges with the Obama parralel). In a corrupt organization, one way to get ahead is by tolerating bullshit. Klein and Obama are careerists, and more power to 'em, but I don't find them very inspiring any more.

113 misses the point: It is precisely because he's so important that he should be treated as someone with no credibility. If he was just a lone bullshitter, you could find pieces of his plan that were intriguing or made sense, maybe.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:46 PM
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Yglesias reads like a pro, tons of very good books, and the kinds of books I approve of. I have no objections to generalist spouting off on subjects, since I don't trust some specialists worth a damn. See, for instance, Klein on healthcare. By the time you become an expert, you become biased and corrupt in so very many ways.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:49 PM
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Expected I would have been p0wned for late mention of Ezra and Yggles in the Style section, but here goes:

The featured "new brat pack" is comprised of four relatively short white liberal guys in their 20s: WaPo's Ezra Klein (pictured at left) Slate's Dave Weigel (pictured below), TPM's Brian Beutler and Center for American Progress's Matt Yglesias. But there's nothing "new" about them and they're not really older or seasoned like the story suggests even if Klein does dine at Potenza, which he did recently with the story's author and with Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson last summer.

Posted by: Econolicious of the village | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:53 PM
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113 misses the point: It is precisely because he's so important that he should be treated as someone with no credibility. If he was just a lone bullshitter, you could find pieces of his plan that were intriguing or made sense, maybe.

I didn't say he has credibility, and neither does Klein. I'm saying that it's important to address the substance of the plan and explain precisely why its bad and wrong. And that's what Klein does.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:53 PM
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Licensing barbers and hairdressers seems like a stuffy, nineteenth-c. approach, but is probably more useful now than then because people move around so much. If I expected to live in the same neighborhood my whole life, I probably would know which shops gave their clients fleas. As it is, I can trust licensing or Yelp, and Yelp may be crooked already.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:54 PM
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Actual link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/fashion/27YOUNGPUNDITS.html?pagewanted=2


Posted by: Econolicious house of style | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 3:54 PM
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Another things I've mentioned at MY is that the alternative to state licensing is not a freer market, but private cartels, like the old guilds. And seldom do guild members meet but....

So, since professional/vocational groups are a given, better to have them in the tent where they are tractable to good government goals.

129: MY relies very heavily on the notion that Yelp will save us all from unscrupulous businesses.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:08 PM
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Ile is right on in 121. Also, JRoth! Also, I don't get my hair cut in India either, but then I've become fanatical about doing it myself, unlicensed.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:10 PM
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If Ezra is really bringing wonky goodness with a gooey liberal center to the masses, then I'm totally fine with him having left me behind as a reader. But I think that his conciliatory instincts may be too strong, and I doubt that the amount he's moved to the center in the last 2 years is the most he'll ever move.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:11 PM
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Hmm:

Mr. Yglesias, 29, wistfully recalled his days as a student in Cambridge, Mass., where he developed his own blog with the help of his college roommate, who knew something about this new thing called HTML.

So either saiselgy went to college at the age of, I don't know, 9 or so, or someone is confused about what HTML is.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:13 PM
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I'm so unwilling to get my hair cut in India that I've never even been there.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:13 PM
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and I doubt that the amount he's moved to the center in the last 2 years is the most he'll ever move.

All four have accepted too much that the limits of what can be discussed in Washington, among those one notch above them (staffers, think-tankers) and higher are the limits of what is politically possible. They are wrong. This is why the Ryan budget comes as a shock, and they can't see the drift to right, which just looks incremental and practical to them. They follow the CR shutdown negotiations (or the ACA tragedy), and can't quite see where it all went wrong, and am offended by any DFH outrage.

Sociality is nothing but intellectually corrupting.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:28 PM
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I've been much more disappointed by MY than Ezra. Ezra was always more cautious and obviously careerist than Yglesias, and he has taken that further at the WaPo while also becoming better at the pure policy wonk stuff that he always and maintained a straight liberal perspective. Yes it's a bit boring, but I find it very valuable stuff. MY on the other hand has moved sharply to the right. Anyone remember the spats he had with his bosses a couple years ago over slamming the Third Way types? Now he is closer to them than he is to his old self. He has mostly stopped blogging on the one issue where he tried to develop expertise and has almost entirely abandoned any willingness to write stuff that goes outside the bounds of the spectrum of Washington establishment acceptable opinion, replacing it with a taste for pissing off liberals from the right. He has become 'even the TNR' on issues relating to class, regulation and the welfare state. Strangely enough, Jonathan Chait, one of his old sparring partners, has taken the exact opposite path with an emphasis on full throated economic liberalism, rather than his establishment friendly foreign policy views. A couple years ago I would never have imagined finding Chait far more appealing than Yggy.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:35 PM
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137: Confluence!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:39 PM
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Ezra was always more cautious and obviously careerist than Yglesias....

Cough Set your high bar in the troposphere, why don't you? cough.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:52 PM
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Actually, I'm perfectly willing to get my haircut in India, b/c all that ever entails is a trim across the bottom, which is a good 1.5' from my scalp. I'm sure an aunt has trimmed it for me there in the past. Getting it done, however, entails dyeing the white spot and straightening with a flat iron, and I don't think I could afford to pay at a salon where I'd feel totally safe. I'm not saying they don't exist, I'm saying that as a traveller who doesn't know where the good places are I'm not confident in the protection of the local licenses, which makes me grateful for my location-independent confidence here in California.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:52 PM
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I suppose it's my own fault for being the first girl in the family to have white hair before the age of 60 (not to mention 20), b/c if that wasn't the case my aunts would know where to get one's hair dyed. Perhaps the very appearance of white hair is somehow tied to America's burdensome regulatory apparatus, and if it had been lifted, I would never be in need of coloring services.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 4:55 PM
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Oh, his reputation as a fiscal hawk will be trashed, will it? By what mechanism will that occur?

Deficit spenders are kicked off the Republican island and shunned forever. You know, like Reagan.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 5:39 PM
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||

All the bland stories about hypothetical gov't
shutdowns are about schoolkids not getting their
complete tour of the Washington mall monuments
or somebody not handing off their TPS reports in
the usual manner.

Given all the carping about horrid and ghastly federal policies, scientifically derived or not, isn't
there a pleasant listing of loathsome activities a shutdown would give us a few days abstinence
(Zwischenspiel) from ?

* No torture, executions, or 'doubling Guantanomo' ?
* No checks to disburse to a no-bid contract winning campaign supporter ?
* No bogus 'news' releases
* Not starting a fourth war ...


Posted by: Econolicious, at T minus 3 hours | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:14 PM
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Is this the politics thread?

OT: I realize this is premature, but if Congress pulls out its ass an 11th-hour deal of this nature, I'll be greatly relieved. I had a grim several moments this morning in listening to radio discussion of budget negotiation issues: if Republicans really, really insist upon inclusion of either the EPA riders or the abortion riders, and one felt forced, as a Democratic negotiator, to choose between them, what should be thrown under the bus? Women's health or the environment? The environment or women's health? A paralyzing choice.

The prospect that Republicans might give up both sets of riders is, well, an extraordinary relief.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:20 PM
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I was talking to someone today who was trying to convince me that a government shutdown would ultimately be a good thing because it would reflect badly on the Republicans. I hope that it would, and I hope that their forcing this to the brink of a shutdown could reflect badly on them without actually needing the shutdown. Because I'm really not convinced that the consequences of a shutdown are a price worth paying just to score more political victories down the road.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:27 PM
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144:The riders are items the Republicans would sacrifice for even larger cuts. Boehner has said $33 billion. Let me go check. No my caucus still wants to kill Planned Parenthood. $39 billion? I'll see if that's enough.

The prospect that Republicans might give up both sets of riders is, well, an extraordinary relief.

Not really. Some people not connected to the riders will simply suffer instead.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:42 PM
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146:The prospect that Republicans might give up both sets of riders is, well, an extraordinary relief.

And is this the way Obama will get to declare victory, even though caving to Repub budget cuts, to have saved the nation from big bad Republicans? Will this work for you?

Some of us think it is all teamwork. Good cop, bad cop.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:46 PM
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I was briefly taken by the notion -- pressed by some political commentators -- that Tea Party Republicans really just needed a symbolic shutdown (say, over the weekend) in order to show that they're serious, dammit. That would suggest that they'd be willing to fold once that had been achieved.

The idea, of course, would be that this is in some significant part a battle for public opinion. And if you read chiefly liberal-leaning news sources, you'll get the idea that Democrats have been winning that, that the public at large has begun to view Republicans as the chief obstacle to agreement.

However. Today I heard via a friend's son, who's in the military, that said son's acquaintances in the military are convinced, pretty much to a man (occasional woman), that this is all the Democrats' -- and Obama's -- fault. So the battle for public opinion? Not so much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:46 PM
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Compare anything Ezra Klein has ever written about Paul Ryan's budget to Sullivan's latest nonsense. I'm not exaggerating here: Andrew Sullivan is too dumb to do simple addition even when his readers patiently explain it to him, but he thinks he's clever enough to understand that Paul Ryan is bold and courageous for wanting to beggar Grandma in order to fund tax cuts. That's the ocean in which Klein swims, and even if that makes him the tallest midget, I appreciate someone on the Post's staff patiently breaking down the numbers again and again.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:51 PM
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Absolutely right about Sullivan. He's moving to Tina Brown's new joint Daily Beast-Newsweek venture! That'll be awesome! Good work, Tina.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 7:54 PM
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JRoth!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:16 PM
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Here's Digby who watches television so I don't have to, quoting Gloria Borger

The Democrats are saying, "we're ok on the spending[cuts]" but it's about the social issues. I was talking to a Democratic pollster who said to me, "look, these social issues work for us." They were just out in the field with a poll and he said to me, "on these social issues like Planned Parenthood, for example, we win with young voters, we win with suburban women and by a 2-1 margin independent voters do not want to defund Planned Parenthood. That is why you are hearing so much about the social issues, because that's their political sweet spot.

I don't know where the cuts are going to fall, they are keeping as quiet about those as they are loud about PP and the EPA.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 8:20 PM
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149: That's the ocean in which Klein swims, and even if that makes him the tallest midget

We're gonna need a smaller boat.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:22 PM
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As an uninsured-American, I went to Planned Parenthood just this last week for an annual, an STI-check, and a birth-control prescription. Everyone was absolutely wonderful to me--and much kinder, warmer, and practical than the one private ob-gyn I paid for out-of-pocket once.

Yes, the wait for an appointment was annoying, and the waiting room was already filling up by 9 am. That's just a sign of how many people are relying on PP for stop-gap health services in this fucked-up system.

If governmental aid really cuts into PP's ability to help people (all services are on a sliding scale), then what is the next rung down for basic reproductive healthcare? Who will write the prescriptions for birth control for poor women?


Posted by: Ethel Rosenberg | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:27 PM
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117: I had no idea he [James Fallows] was that old. I kind of assumed he was in his 30s.

I, on the other hand, am surprised at how young he is (61). I knew that he had been Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter, but not that he was only 27 at the time (or likely I knew once and had forgotten).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:40 PM
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So, Hertzberg worked for Fallows in that writing shop? That's a lot of smart people in one room. Also: no government shutdown! Speaking of smart people, we owe it all to Michele Bachmann.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:42 PM
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Also: no government shutdown!

My FB feed is lit up with one (retired) military person railing about Obama threatening to stop paying the troops. I thought uniformed military personnel continued to get paid in a hypothetical shutdown. Maybe only those in warzones or something?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:48 PM
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156: Apparently so. Fom Wikipedia, After the election, he was recruited to join Carter's speech writing team by James Fallows. After Fallows departed in 1979, Hertzberg became Carter's chief speechwriter.

I'm finding myself extraordinarily depressed about the shutdown negotiations etc.. Only 18 more months of being held hostage by sociopaths. Yee-ha!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:50 PM
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Only 18 more months

I hate to break it to you, but you may not be quite depressed enough.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:56 PM
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Was me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 9:57 PM
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Yeah. I forgot the "and then it gets worse" part.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:01 PM
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Only 18 more months of being held hostage by sociopaths. Yee-ha!

Maybe by that point we'll all have Stockholm syndrome and we'll want to turn our skin bright orange to show loyalty.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:12 PM
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Obama hailed the deal as "the biggest annual spending cut in history." House Speaker John Boehner said that over the next decade it would cut government spending by $500 billion, and won an ovation from his rank and file _tea party adherents among them.

There is no snark enough.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:14 PM
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I'm finding myself extraordinarily depressed about the shutdown negotiations etc..

For the last couple of weeks I've been finding myself extraordinarily depressed about so many things that I'm starting to wonder if I'm just, you know, depressed. But there are so many things to be depressed about, completely rationally. How does one tell if it's the sort of thing one might want to see a doctor about, versus a normal and functional response to a fucked-up world?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:17 PM
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Counterpoint: I got some vaguely good news today about something I can't really talk about publicly! Huzzah!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:18 PM
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Yay, Stanley! But we're not, like, the public public.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:20 PM
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You're all free to speculate wildly.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:22 PM
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For the last couple of weeks I've been finding myself extraordinarily depressed about so many things that I'm starting to wonder if I'm just, you know, depressed. But there are so many things to be depressed about, completely rationally.

My brother.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:23 PM
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I have to say, I haven't been this depressed about politics in a while. I can't say I would have guessed that the most common response to Great Depression II would be an austerity movement implemented, more in sorrow than in anger, by America's great black hope. Oh well.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:30 PM
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For the last couple of weeks I've been finding myself extraordinarily depressed about so many things that I'm starting to wonder if I'm just, you know, depressed. But there are so many things to be depressed about, completely rationally.

And me, also.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:30 PM
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169 captures my sentiments perfectly. Worse still: Obama's going to be so much better than the alternative that we're all (well, most of us, anyway) going to have to work for him and send him money. It is to puke.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:39 PM
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Puking is actually not covered as a preëxisting condition under ACA. Sorry.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:43 PM
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Road trip!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:43 PM
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You know what helps with the depression (if not The Depression)? Blazing Saddles. Tee-hee!

Taggart: "I know how we can drive everyone out of Rockridge. We'll kill the first born male child of everyone in town."

Hedley Lamarr: "Too Jewish."

That's comedy gold.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:45 PM
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167: You're all free to speculate wildly.

One of your band's songs is going to be the feature anthem in Avatar 2? Good job!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 10:48 PM
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175: Dang. Good guess. We all got blue jobs, it's true.

(Also, I emailed you today, 'Crow.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:03 PM
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||

Depression-related: my department chair emailed me today; subject line "next year", body text requesting that I meet with the department chair to talk about what I'll be doing next year. Come on, department chair! It's obviously bad news (I applied for a postdoc at my institution; the department would be involved in the selection) or you'd have been more specific in the email; why not just come out with it?

|>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:08 PM
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I bet we get some great music out of this deal, though.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:09 PM
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I feel I should keep counterpointing with good news: tonight I met Thundersnow's parents, who had flown in from California. I'm pretty sure I passed muster! Despite managing to spill her mom's water right at the dinner's outset and being a big nervous wreck about the forthcoming meeting all day long! Go team.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:23 PM
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Whatever good news may obtain in your personal life doesn't diminish the significance of the bad news pertaining to the country and world as a whole, Stanley.

Though I guess it might diminish the significance of the bad news in my personal life.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:25 PM
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Go Stanley! I met my paramour's parents via Skype, of all things, which was actually not nearly as awkward as it sounds, and I think I'm in love with them. And they like me!

(And I've experienced that extremely weird phenomenon of being incredibly personally happy while looking at the news and feeling that I should be horrendously depressed. Strange juxtaposition.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:26 PM
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I have a theory regarding the identity of Paren's param.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:28 PM
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You do?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:29 PM
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I do.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:29 PM
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Tell us more, nosflow.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:30 PM
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As PopCanon might put it, "I've got a theory and I think it's not a bad one—I couldn't sleep until I had one."


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:30 PM
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I couldn't possibly. It would be indiscreet if I'm right and make me appear foolish if I'm wrong.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:31 PM
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I'm intrigued. But I also can't imagine how you could know anything about them, either...


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:32 PM
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As though being indiscreet has ever stopped you!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:32 PM
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I would be more surprised to be right than to be wrong. My theory is primarily a means for me to amuse myself occasionally.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:35 PM
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I am the soul of discretion, as everyone knows. The so-called "w-lfs-n indiscretion error" was named on the lucus a non lucendo principle.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:36 PM
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You have committed your very own w-lfs-n indiscretion error with my own identity!

I'm not actually hiding said paramour's identity. He's English, ginger, and not affiliated with the blog.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:38 PM
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Someone commented last night that gingers are on the way out, genetically, unless they start mating with each other. Is this true? I was a redhead as a wee lad but lost it. Laydeez?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:40 PM
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Yeah, but, you know, that was an accident.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:40 PM
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Commented at a dinner thing I was at, I mean.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:40 PM
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194->193


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:41 PM
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Of course it was an accident.

And yes, I believe gingers are an outmoded evolutionary model.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:42 PM
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From the information in 192 I infer that Parenthetical's paramour is zixia, late of alt.religion.kibology.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:44 PM
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Hm. Good guess, but no cigar.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:46 PM
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You know, that post really wasn't as funny as I remembered it being.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04- 8-11 11:52 PM
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I found out today that I did not get offered a job I interviewed for weeks ago, that I didn't really want,* on a day in which other people were offered a job there.

I'd probably have taken it had I been offered it today. Rumor has it that there will be another round of offers Monday, in case some people turn them down. Having now had time to reflect, and having felt a sense of relief in knowing that that will not be my job next year, I don't think I'm going to be anxiously waiting to hear from them.

It's still nice not to get rejected for something, though.

*I went through the process mostly for practice, and did benefit from that and even almost managed to convince myself I wanted to do the job.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04- 9-11 12:39 AM
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Ginger, British and not affiliated with the blog . . . .

OH SHIT DSQUARED. He's married and likes war owls, though, so look out!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 9-11 2:26 AM
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John Kyl's office comes up with a classic for the ages in response to his If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that's well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does. lie on the floor of the senate.

His remark was not intended to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, a organization that receives millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, does subsidize abortions.
I see a new meme.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 9-11 8:23 AM
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Ezra Klein

linked in the spirit of "even" Ezra Klein


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04- 9-11 8:58 AM
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26: One of my first political memories is seeing the "Licensed for Public Music and Dancing" sign over the doors of the civic hall in my hometown and thinking - you need a licence to dance? Wow. It must be almost as cool as driving!

25 or so years on and I don't have a licence for either...

Also, if you're a hairdresser you have an excuse to own wholesale quantities of over 18% purity* hydrogen peroxide. Not that being licensed or not will stop you if you're determined to sell it on to Dave McJihad from the gaff where all the plants have died around the windowsills. But it's a very minor infringement on your freedom not to sell dangerous chemicals to any fool with a few quid. I'm not so keen on unsterilised blades, either.

*important - IIRC that's a couple of % more than the highest you can achieve by freeze-distilling. Ask D^2 for further information.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04- 9-11 12:26 PM
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I'm not so keen on unsterilised blades, either.

Estoy ofendido.


Posted by: Rubén Blades | Link to this comment | 04- 9-11 1:07 PM
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those criticizing yggles for failing to note the differences between interior designers and their remit, and interior decorators are themselves sliding the crucial point: interior design regulatory cartels claim ownership of the interior decor domain. they want people who haven't ever pretended to know whether they can knock walls down to be legally prohibited from offering their services as furniture arrangers or color choice analysts. this is an actual, pointlessly immiserating problem for would-be interior decorators who neither want nor need architectural knowledge. the "patient explainers" in comments are being obtuse.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 1:33 AM
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I'm pretty sure that 207 is mostly bullshit. AFAIK, the statutes are primarily naming statutes about who gets to call themselves an "interior designer" vs. a decorator, and there's at least a semi-plausible argument that it's useful to have some licensed folks in commercial settings who are designing interiors and know something about building codes.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 1:59 AM
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Well i hate anyone who hires someone to have taste on their behalf so

...

which side am i on?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 6:30 AM
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193: There is one more ginger in the world. I'm not ginger, but CA and I have 4 ginger grandparents between us.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 7:56 AM
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197.2: CA would say that gingers are more efficient at processing vitamin D, and that, as global warming worsens and we all have to move further north, they will survive and the rest of us won't. He's pretty much becoming Cartman, post-dye-job.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 8:01 AM
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My only offspring who got my red hair is the one I had with my Greek-American ex, whose hair is jet black. With the auburn-haired current wife, two brown-haired kids. Go figure.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 8:06 AM
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Go figure.

Hmmm...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 10:45 AM
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On the depression thing: my cousin is sort of a mild depressive who spent the last couple of years prosecuting war crimes in Cambodia. He definitely had a therapist--which the UN encourages--but he found listening to humorists helpful when he needed a break from reading the grim stuff.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 3:48 PM
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207, 208: I don't actually know anything for real about this, but my one professional contact with the issue was getting pulled in at the last minute to cover for another lawyer on an administrative hearing disciplining a guy for interior decorating without a license, and I'm pretty sure he was doing curtains, not moving walls.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 3:50 PM
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Depression-related: my department chair emailed me today; subject line "next year", body text requesting that I meet with the department chair to talk about what I'll be doing next year.

This is pretty awful, though I must say that it sounds better than what I take to be the alternative: when the department just ignores your existence in the hopes you'll go away and they won't have to think about you anymore.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 3:56 PM
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Ack, that was badly put--I don't mean that's the alternative in your case, of course. I just mean that being squirrelly about email notifications w.r.t. bad news is still, in some sense, personal attention! want to make everything about me.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 3:59 PM
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210: I was wondering, given the flickr pool picture.

211: I was sort of thinking the opposite; that with global warming we'll be more likely to evolve towards darker and darker skin ... but I didn't know the Vitamin A detail!


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 4:05 PM
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177: That blows. God, I fucking hate grad school. You'll do more than fine in the end, I've no doubt, but what a drag.

I've been talking with folks in the dec. arts community around the region, all of whom have been warning me off the position I mentioned here. Which has meant putting my fantasies of exactly how I'd break the news to my current employer of my upcoming departure on ice. I did get a sweet brown suit for the interview, though. I've always wanted a brown suit. Well, maybe not always, but for a while. And it will be fun for once to interview for a job when I'm not absolutely desperate to get it. Only motivated, not desperate.


Posted by: JL | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 4:25 PM
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God, I fucking hate grad school.

I've often thought the Milton plot in Office Space would fit an academic setting far better than a corporate one; the whole getting rid of someone through passive-aggressively worsening working conditions, and finally cutting off pay, but never by actually confronting them, seems pitch-perfect.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-10-11 5:16 PM
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On the depression thing: my cousin is sort of a mild depressive who spent the last couple of years prosecuting war crimes in Cambodia

Jesus. Is that some hardcore kind of aversion therapy?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-11-11 5:42 AM
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221: He's really passionate about war crimes prosecution. And I think that when I used the word depressive, I was probably using too strong a word, but he's introverted and thoughtful. He occasionally gets periods of frantic anxiety for which he takes Xanax (not regularly).

He had a therapist in Cambodia, as do many of the people working there, because they need help dealing with the emotions raised by the horrific testimony they see.

My point was only that he found listening to humorists a helpful way to get his mind off of his work.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-11-11 5:50 AM
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