Re: Guest Post - Nick S.

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Link 1 is really excellent


Posted by: Lambent Cactus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 10:21 AM
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1) Yes, about Japan. I am not studying the place because I like, admire, or want to copy it. (Although, OTOH, there are aspects having to do with sustainability and stability under resource limitations that are interesting.)

Re:This post, both parts 1 and 2, the post below on private charity, and the post over at CT titled "James Poulos Illogic"

I was struck a week or so ago by a passage in Harvey's book on 2nd Empire Paris saying a private, unmarketed, domestic, unpaid or underpaid sphere is a structural and ideological necessity for liberal capitalism to accumulate and circulate. I suppose this idea is not new (Engel's Origin of the Family, biopower) but I need to work on it.

Point being I suppose, that any movements toward or including private/small group action/liberation/power, withdrawal, etc serves to reproduce capitalist oppression. Contra anarchists. There are comments at CT's current symposium dissing Graeber.

Theorie Communiste's communization is an attempt to highlight, confront, and destroy existing social relations rather than reform them or provide an alternative as a "model"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 10:34 AM
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I'm glad people are reading the links. Obviously I didn't have anything particularly smart to say about either of them, but I both really interesting.

And, yeah, the post about gender is the more immediately compelling of the two.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 10:44 AM
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There are a lot of ways to say #2

Another is that the reproduction of labour-power must be separate, private and structured by an oppositional ideology in order for the public ideology of capital accumulation and circulation to dominate in the economic sphere. So for instance, religion would structure private life while science structures public policy. This is not a historically contingent accident but a structural necessity.

So we could change the "private" ideology (in some groups and sectors, like the UMC elite) into one lacking sexism, racism, homophobia,etc but it will be replaced by a new private ideology within a replacement subaltern and an adjusted ruling ideology.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 10:46 AM
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||

An editor of the Harv/rd Law Review just said "hone in on".

|>


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 10:49 AM
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Have him killed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 10:57 AM
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I'd say it was the sewing-machine, and then mechanized washing, & then the bicycle, but since the washing machine is the one we still use it's a more practical rhetorical example.

Second quibble, some steampunk has given a good sense of gadgetizing Mayhew rather than brass-plating 1990. _The Iron Duke_, maybe? It isn't the modal approach.

Combining the two links ... Work with no efficiency of scale is scorned by capitalism, and left in or sent back to the home; scorned work is female in a sexist society.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 10:59 AM
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Comment 14 of link #1 rings true to me: I recall one study saying that the home labor saving devices invented in the 20th century didn't reduce the time spent cleaning but they raised the standard and reduced the effort.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:00 AM
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Have him killed.

With a well-homed blade.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:01 AM
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8, etc.: The *devices* could not raise social standards. Sexism & classism did that.

19th c feminists did stout intelligent work simplifying standards of dress and decoration, and making kitchens and laundries efficient places to get the needed work done. Prefigured what became normal once servants weren't, mostly.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:08 AM
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Prefigured what became normal once servants weren't, mostly.

Note that it took the disappearance of servants, for not directly connected reasons, for the gizmos to become widespread in middle class homes, although they had been invented some time before (mechanical carpet beater is another important one). And it took the long boom for them to become universal in working class households.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:14 AM
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didn't reduce the time spent cleaning but they raised the standard and reduced the effort.

The picture is more complicated than that. For middle class households, it meant getting rid of servants, which actually meant more work for mother, because she went from losely supervising a couple servants to actively running a bunch of machines.

For more working class people it may have meant that it was easier to move out of a rooming house situation--where housework was centralized--to an individual residence where you were responsible for your own housework.

Certainly there were some situations where standards were raised to keep women busy. And of course Clew is right to note that it is the patriarchy that did this, not the technology.

I get the impression that the real high point for this was the post WWII era, where you had a big economic boom, and pressure on women to leave the workfoce. Thus the image of June Cleaver making an elaborate meal while wearing pearls.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:18 AM
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Note that it took the disappearance of servants, for not directly connected reasons, for the gizmos to become widespread in middle class homes

Say more. I just got done saying the causation did go the other way, but I'm not that knowledgable.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:19 AM
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9:With a well-homed blade.

After explaining the error to them in a menacing Peter Lorre whisper.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:24 AM
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13. Growth of heavy industries, paying better so that two earners were less essential; militarisation during the world wars; opening of "feminine" careers as office clerks, typists, sales personnel etc.

In Europe at least there's a whole literature of upper middle class people bemoaning the servant problem in the early 20th century. In the upper classes a few enlightened early adopters went out and equipped their houses with closed ranges, washing machines, vacuum cleaners etc. specifically to persuade the servants to stay.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:26 AM
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||

Santorum blasts Obama during Cumming rally

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:27 AM
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There's a big gap between US, UK, & German mechanization, IIRC, because the labor markets weren't in step. Singer & Remington were replacing *rare* workers.

Baking soda! Very Irish/New World/lazy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:28 AM
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I left all my books on this in storage. Hmph. In the States, which I know best, as I recall:

the mid-19th-c feminists identified the parts of labor-reproduction labor necessary to health and dignity; some of this was above current standards, some below. Then they argued that that work was important and deserved trained labor. They tied this to nascent industrialization and medical knowledge, and developed Home Ec as a science. For daily purposes, their arguments ran 'households need good cleanliness, food, and nursing, so the women who do that should have aptitude and training; therefore they should also be paid as skilled workers; we will be able to afford that because mechanization is making it cheaper and because the women whose gifts lie elsewhere will get different educations and different paid work. Also, mechanization!"

A lot of what they argued for came true, though it's mediated by chain capitalism now; fast-casual restaurants, kindergartens and daycare and Sesame Street, flowers and eggs bought rather than grown, drycleaners (and clothes so cheap and bad we don't mend them).

It would have gone even better if racism hadn't poisoned us, so that domestic labor is unprotected, underpaid, and therefore undermechanized and overused, like ag labor.

Rumford, the Loyalist Ben Franklin, took a totally different intellectual path and arrived at excellent l-r-l automation in Prussia.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:58 AM
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After some lawn work, and thought, I decided to just hate on link #1, that goes: No dryers? Sexism! This is a tad underdetermined.

I read it again just now, and she simply appears to not even ask her Japanese neighbors about it.

Answers she might get, understanding that wives make most of these decisions (yes, they do) "Why a dryer?" "We can't afford it." "Yes, yes, we must buy a dryer."

Then she might find out that her neighbours have a million yen in the bank, and go WTF?

Answers that might be a little more private:"Well, the kids education, our retirement, emergencies and catastrophes. We must save a lot of money." and then start learning a little bit about Japanese society and its political economy.

B) Before you start thinking dryers are cheap, one must account for the massive capital outlays and social infrastructure required for a dryer in every home. Yes, there is an inadequate electrical and inefficient infrastructure. These are choices, conditioned in part by patriarchy, but in part by a nation with preferences not identical with those of this vicious cannibalistic hellhole that is America.

IOW, you need to explore a ton of fucking context to understand a fact.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 12:05 PM
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It would have gone even better if racism hadn't poisoned us, so that domestic labor is unprotected, underpaid, and therefore undermechanized and overused, like ag labor.

Domestic labour is unprotected, underpaid, and therefore undermechanized and overused, in countries where the state of the market is not overdetermined by race considerations too; likewise ag labour. I don't think this holds water without qualification.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 12:14 PM
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20: the decision to not protect ag & domestic labor was specific, supported by a lot of racist rhetoric & norms, and followed in ways that seemed causative at the time by the collapse of Normal schools that had been routes to better work. Everywhere has the doesn't-scale and sexism problems. The US rejected one partial solution for a particular reason.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 12:33 PM
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I'm a bit confused by offhand reference in linked text #1 to the idea that childbirth should be different in the future. What is supposed to happen?!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 12:40 PM
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I was at AAAS last week, and they showed a clip of the Hans Rosling TED talk where he talks about how great the washing machine is, but just the funny part, not the part where he explains it. And the moderator, Frank Sesno, a science journalism professor was like, "well, you could have picked anything to explain technology, you just picked a washing machine." And Rosling was very indignant about the idea that no, the washing machine truly was the most awesome thing. Now the whole exchange could have been rehearsed and Sesno might have been purposefully trying to give Rosling an entree, but it seemed to me this is an idea that just doesn't stick with a lot of people, especially men, who don't do their laundry AND/OR never had to do without a washing machine/servant.


Posted by: Saheli | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 12:41 PM
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22: You haven't been reading Shulamith Firestone like bob told you to.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 12:41 PM
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24: Even as a college student I boggled at those parts.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 12:55 PM
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Totally off-topic, but this ridiculous thing is delighting me today.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 12:56 PM
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By this standard, the most feminist science fiction work of the post-war period was The Jetsons, which focused heavily on labor-saving innovatoins within the woman's sphere, although in the most offensive way possible.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 12:58 PM
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22: only a dom-sub fetish culture would risk mother & child instead of using uterine replicators. Try _Ethan of Athos_.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 12:59 PM
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26: QEII really is shameless.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:11 PM
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29: I've never been more disappointed by a link. I really thought I was about to get a comparison of Brandy to Quantitative Easing #2.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:16 PM
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Interesting-looking articles, thanks for linking.

Following up on 18, hygiene and getting out of rooming houses aren't just status affectations, they have real public health consequences, especially before antibiotics.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/how-to-win-a-fight-against-twenty-children/


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:29 PM
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23: How many people who were raised in the United States have never had to do without a washing machine? When I lived in an apartment that didn't have a washing machine, I didn't wash things in the tub and hang them on a clothesline; I went to the laundromat.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:29 PM
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This is a safe space, it's OK to admit to showering while dressed in order to do two things at once.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:32 PM
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The apartment didn't have a shower, so I bathed at the laundromat.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:33 PM
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I did my laundry by hand in the Peace Corps. I never really believed that my clothes were actually clean, but I did get very impressed by the capacity of the tropical sun to act as bleach.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:34 PM
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(32 is mostly a serious question -- my assumption is that paying the excess to use a laundromat was one of the hidden taxes on the poor in America, but that use of washing machines is pretty much universal. But maybe I'm wrong!)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:36 PM
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Why?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:40 PM
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37 to the universe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:42 PM
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Damn html. 37 to I never really believed that my clothes were actually clean


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:43 PM
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I actually am fond of laundromats-- I'd get the chance to play chess with the old guys out front, and like bus rides or airport time, it's a naturally contemplative setting. Plus there's the chance to eavesdrop on your neighborhood.

36. I think it depends on whether handwashing seems natural. Immigrant grandmothers will handwash. I can't imagine raising kids with only handwashing.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:45 PM
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Because I was just sloshing them around in a sink with soap. I didn't notice them smelling particularly foul, but it just didn't seem like a process that would get things reliably clean.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:45 PM
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I have always had access to either a washing machine or a laundromat.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:46 PM
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I did laundry in sinks and bidets for three months while traveling around Italy on my foreign study program. I lacked the tropical sun, so my whites got very, very gray.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:47 PM
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40: I have a great idea for a sitcom set in a laundromat. The working title is Saturday Night Laundry Club.

Maybe I've mentioned it here before.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:48 PM
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At the risk of sounding overly harsh, urple should probably be disqualified from this discussion, at least until he's confirmed that his dryer is no longer connected to his toilet.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:48 PM
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Cambridge is pretty old, but according to table 10.11 on pg 515 97.7% of non- farming households had washing machines in 1975. Cars were at 37.4% diffusion (remember that old argument), air conditioners at 21.4%

I got the OECD 2011 economic survey, but haven't opened it yet.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:49 PM
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44: More of a siltcom, really.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:49 PM
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I ask mostly because I'm the opposite with dishwashers: I don't really trust a machine to get them clean. Hand washing, I can feel them getting clean. And I can wash them one at a time, giving each the care it deserves, unlike a machine which just indiscriminately sprays water everywhere. Hand washing allows more of an artisanal approach, when you think about it.

I've only washed laundry by hand a few times (and only a few articles at a time, not a whole "load"), but it didn't seem difficult to get things clean.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:51 PM
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Because I was just sloshing them around in a sink with soap.

What do you think the machine does?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:52 PM
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The machine sloshes with mechanical vigor.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:55 PM
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unlike a machine which just indiscriminately sprays water everywhere

No no, that's a toilet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 1:56 PM
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You're a toilet.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:01 PM
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Going thru the OECD 2011, Japan is dead last in the OECD on public expenditures for educational institutions (I suppose this would mean physical plant and staff) as a share of GDP, and spends twice as much private money on education as public money.

I won't risk my life on it, but the amount of tertiary education paid with scholarships, grants, etc, and student loans in Japan approaches fucking zilch. Massive amounts of money are spent before college (tutors).

I wonder how many American households would have dryers under those conditions.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:05 PM
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I agree with you about dishwashers, because they suck. But the difference between washing dishes and washing clothes is that you can see and feel dirt on a wet dish -- a wet piece of cloth, it's hard to tell how clean it is. I wasn't washing things until I could tell they were clean, I was washing them for a while, until it seemed reasonable that they were probably clean. And then I'd hang them out in the backyard where they could be mocked by my students. (I don't actually remember what exactly was funny about my laundry, but trust me, it was hysterical.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:06 PM
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I wasn't washing things until I could tell they were clean, I was washing them for a while, until it seemed reasonable that they were probably clean.

What do you think the machine does?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:09 PM
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On the 2nd link, while I reluctantly agree the informal sector may have generated economic growth in many parts of the world in ways the formal sector hasn't, I don't like the drift of the article at all. Informal sectors are part and parcel of weak governance - bribes and other barriers make it impractical to go legal, and the profits flow everywhere but to needed public investments, and so a vicious cycle forms.

How wonderful it would be for everyone to be a part-time or year-term worker, with no benefits but the government minimum, moving from one thing to the next in accordance with the inexorable flux of the Market! Negotiating power and personal lives are so 20th century.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:12 PM
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I assume clothes are clean iff the rinse water is clear.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:12 PM
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Washes them for a time that has been determined by experts to produce clean clothes. Or, putting it another way, I have always treated clothes that have emerged from a working washing machine as clean in the absence of convincing evidence to the contrary, and this has never been challenged by anyone else, so whatever a washing machine does, I trust that it produces clothes that are clean enough for any reasonable purpose.

When I was handwashing my clothes, I did not have long experience of clothes handwashed by me for what seemed to be a reasonable amount of time being treated by society at large as acceptably clean. No experience to the contrary, but no supporting experience either. So it made me nervous.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:14 PM
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57: ? I would expect fairly nasty, sweaty clothes not to produce cloudy rinse water if just swished around without soap. They wouldn't be clean, but the water would be clear.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:15 PM
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OECD:

Students are allocated to high schools (upper secondary schools) based on their scores on entrance exams.

Nearly one-third of high school students attend independent private schools in Japan, well above the OECD average of 5.5% in 2007. In April 2010, tuition payments by households for public high schools were eliminated and replaced by transfers from the central government to prefectures.

The woman in link #1 does not have a fucking clue.

Bored now.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:15 PM
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Now I'm confused. Are you saying the problem is that you didn't really know how to hand wash your clothes, and you didn't have anyone to teach you? It sounds like your worry wasn't about handwashed clothes generally, just clothes "handwashed by [you]".


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:17 PM
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I know I'm looking forward to the Handwashed by LB fashion line for Fall 2012!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:18 PM
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The woman in link #1 does not have a fucking clue.

This was also my impression of the article, but I've never even been to Japan, so I wasn't going to say anything.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:18 PM
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Based on my anecdotal experience with a topical allergy to a laundry detergent, in general it is the water and agitating action that clean the clothes in a washer. In general, the detergent adds a scent, softens the water, and does help remove grease or oil. If you have soft water and little grease or oil or stains you need very little detergent.

That's why those bogus s/c/i/e/n/t/o/l/o/g/y ion balls seemed to work to replace detergents.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:19 PM
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OTOH, just glancing at the charts, Japan does have 25000 licensed day care centers and kindergartens, umm, serving a little over 2 million children.

2% of that daycare is for-profit, only legal in year 2000.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:22 PM
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61: Kind of. It seems like a techniquey kind of thing. Not that I developed any technique doing it for a year, but there are probably useful things to know.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:23 PM
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Two years, that is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:24 PM
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How wonderful it would be for everyone to be a part-time or year-term worker, with no benefits but the government minimum, moving from one thing to the next in accordance with the inexorable flux of the Market! Negotiating power and personal lives are so 20th century.

He's definitely presenting things in a positive light. I don't think he's unaware of the limitations of that life*, rather I think it's an explicitly revisionist description pushing back against associations of the phrase, "the informal economy" with crime and of the general sense of System D as chaotic and disorganized. In the introduction to the book, for example, he introduces a long description of a Rio street market by quoting Claudia Urias (described as, "general secretary of Univinco, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting and improving the market") as saying, "it's total confusion." He then spends a lot of time explaining why he thinks that description is misleading.

* I haven't read his first book (and I'm only partway through this one) but his description, "I lived in squatter communities across four continents to write Shadow Cities, a book that attempts to humanize these vibrant, energetic, and horribly misunderstood communities." makes me suspect that both he has a strong opinion on the subject and that he's well acquainted with what economically marginal lives look like.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:25 PM
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I assume clothes are clean iff the rinse water is clear.

You can ensure this outcome by briefly immersing your laundry in cold water and then pouring it away.

All those who claim never to have washed clothes by hand have never been camping, or staying in cheap hostels on holiday?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:27 PM
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Huh. I've done both, but I've never camped for long enough to do laundry -- I just got dirty. And staying in hostels, I found local laundromats.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:28 PM
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I guess I should explain that the charts say Japanese "kindergarten" is for children ages 3,4, and 5 to distinguish it from the American kind. No, I don't quite know the difference between kindergarten, public daycare, private daycare.

Parents apply at the municipality for licensed care, which is subsidised by the government. The municipality decides which children to admit and assigns them to a public or private centre, which charge the same fee set by the municipality. Overall, parents pay 40% of the cost (to the municipality), although the actual amount depends on their ability to pay, based on income and number of children. The remainder is paid by the government.

Sexist? Not so sexist? Complicated?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:33 PM
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I am probably more reliant on my bicycle than my washing machine.

Obviously this has no historic significance. Still.

(Also, isn't the ritual of handwashing clothes part of the fun of holidays? Especially when staying in places which are slightly too upmarket for it to be the done thing. Like making sandwiches when the hotel clearly expects you to be eating out all the time, right? Perhaps this is a Fifer's view of holidays.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:34 PM
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When I spent the summer on a dig in Turkey, I could wash our clothes in the sink, hang them on the balcony, hop in the shower, and they'd be dry by the time I got out. It was wonderful!

Living in an apartment with no car far from the laundromat was not wonderful, though it was worse when the toilet didn't work and I'd have to go to the apartment across the way that had no electricity but a working toilet until the landlord got around to fixing it. Gawd. I routinely see people with overloaded strollers and other carts trying to get all their kids' clothes to the laundromat and it looks awful to me. Google Maps is telling me that there are no laundromats on the poorer side of our town. I can think of one there and three on our side of the dividing street though close to the division, which is probably kind of weird.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:39 PM
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One time when I was on tour with a band for three weeks, I played drums in the same T-shirt every night, removing said shirt after playing and hanging it up to dry for the next night. After about a week, you could clearly make out the different lines where the sweat had stopped on various nights, kind of like dry, salty stripes. Which is, of course, totally gross.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:40 PM
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By the end of the tour, the shirt was able to fill in for you when you took a night off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:41 PM
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The woman in link #1 does not have a fucking clue.

I started a response and then decided that it would be more succinct to just say this:

I don't know enough about Japan to judge the accuracy of her description. But if you think she overstates her case I would suggest that, considering the blog that she is posting at, that's probably for the best.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:46 PM
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"Laundry"?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:47 PM
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Also, isn't the ritual of handwashing clothes part of the fun of holidays? Especially when staying in places which are slightly too upmarket for it to be the done thing.

So you'd think. I have fond memories of hanging my wet shirts from the rail of a four poster bed in a country house Pousada in central Portugal. I hadn't thought of it as particularly a Fifer thing, though certainly all the Fifers I've known would be up for it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:47 PM
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I did my laundry by hand, using Soviet laundry soap, for many months. It sucked. Later, we were able to get Tide from Germany, and I moved into an apartment with a primitive washing machine. The wash water was really horrifyingly gray.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:50 PM
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This is a safe space, it's OK to admit to showering while dressed in order to do two things at once.

A week ago, I drank my coffee while showering in order to do two things at once. It worked fine, but introduced a bit more stress into the situation than I'd really like.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:50 PM
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I drank my coffee while showering in order to do two things at once.

Main problem I can see with that is you'd end up with piss weak coffee.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:52 PM
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One of my facebook friends just posted a link to a video about Easy World, where everything is easy. There will never be any obstacles to clean laundry ever again!

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Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:54 PM
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Okay, continuing the OECD, Japan does have cheap student loans, at about 1/3 the participation rate of the US, Australia, etc and very much restricted to top performers from the best high schools (see tutoring, and testing/sorting all thru education) who continue to be in the top third at college.

Private tutoring appears to cost approximate 5% of gross family income for those who pay it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:55 PM
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80: I drink coffee in the shower because I like the feeling of drinking a warm, invigorating beverage while hot water massages my neck and back.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:56 PM
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Because I hate dry cleaners and have an insane aversion to the part of doing laundry that involves leaving my house with the laundry bag (the laundrymat is not so bad), I do a fair amount of handwashing.

As soon as you're washing more than an unmentionable or two, then you're suddenly doing real exercise.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 2:59 PM
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OT: Certain people who aren't paying me seem to have an unusually aggressive view of the amount of vaguely-defined research that they can direct me to do.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 3:05 PM
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He's definitely presenting things in a positive light. I don't think he's unaware of the limitations of that life*, rather I think it's an explicitly revisionist description pushing back against associations of the phrase, "the informal economy" with crime and of the general sense of System D as chaotic and disorganized.

It does sound interesting, though I'm sort of terminally allergic to excited books about The Next Big Thing. Thanks.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 3:06 PM
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How would it simplify the burdens of the American housekeeper to have washing and ironing day expunged from her calendar! How much more neatly and compactly could the whole domestic system be arranged! If all the money that each separate family spends on the outfit and accommodations for washing and ironing, on fuel, soap, starch, and the other requirements, were united in a fund to create a laundry for every dozen families, one or two good women could do in first rate style what now is very indifferently done by the disturbance and disarrangement of all other domestic processes in these families. Whoever sets neighborhood laundries on foot will do much to solve the American housekeeper's hardest problem.


Posted by: catherine beecher | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 3:25 PM
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a private, unmarketed, domestic, unpaid or underpaid sphere is a structural and ideological necessity for liberal capitalism to accumulate and circulate.

this seems weird given that the latest stage of liberal capitalism has been marked by pressures toward the dissolution of even the nuclear family and the movement of a ton of formerly household work into the market sphere.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 3:52 PM
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He's definitely presenting things in a positive light. I don't think he's unaware of the limitations of that life*, rather I think it's an explicitly revisionist description pushing back against associations of the phrase, "the informal economy" with crime and of the general sense of System D as chaotic and disorganized.

That seems reasonable. However, the linked piece also has a strong element of "this is the way of the future for every country in the world," and that's solidly in-bed-with-plutocracy territory as far as I'm concerned.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 4:18 PM
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the movement of a ton of formerly household work into the market sphere

This guy I know (not me) has moved the sex part of his marriage to computer-enabled mutual exchange done on the understanding that both partners are too busy to spend any time on the getting to know you part of "relationships". It seems very efficient and modern. He wishes he'd done it years ago. No cash exchange yet. Maybe when he loses his good looks.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 4:30 PM
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That seems reasonable. However, the linked piece also has a strong element of "this is the way of the future for every country in the world," and that's solidly in-bed-with-plutocracy territory as far as I'm concerned.

I kind of agree with that. It definitely has a vibe of, "these people don't need help, just let them do what they're doing."

But definitely an interesting topic and one worth writing about and my inclination is still to say that I don't begrudge him trying to write something about the lives of poor people that people will actually read and pay attention to and not get caught in the filters of, "nothing changes, the poor are always miserable" -- which I assume is what he's doing.

I don't know that much about his politics but judging from a few posts on his blog I don't think he's actually in bed with the plutocracy.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 4:52 PM
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I haven't read past Clew's 18:

I left all my books on this in storage

Which books? Do tell if you recall: I'm fascinated by this sort of thing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 5:21 PM
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The Japanese economy produces, and the Japanese infrastructure supports, lit, powered, heated, cooled, market-segmented, serviced-daily conveniences and indulgences up to the very *doorstep* of individual homes. The infrastructure and willingness to spend are there-- but only for `outside' expenses, which are not intrinsically male, but which Japanese culture, and bob, automatically think of as being not-female.

Japanese women have noticed that this is not a pleasant division of expenditure, which was thought to be reducing rates of marriage and childbearing even before their depression. Depression not helping, and accusing underemployed men of 'grass-eating' is a good old PHMT.

John: does he have another part to his marriage? Is that online too?

The System D economy makes me worry a lot about externalities, although big industry in corrupt economies has no better a track record, so. I like it for pointing out that the poor are neither stupid nor lazy.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 5:22 PM
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but only for `outside' expenses, which are not intrinsically male, but which Japanese culture, and bob, automatically think of as being not-female.

Say what? Are you saying I think the home is gendered, and everything outside the home is not-gendered? Do you think I think this is how it is ( in Japan), or that I think that is the way it should be?

I read, but didn't discuss here OECD 2011 section five, on the Japanese workforce. Dual system, very gendered between regular and non-regular labor. Female labor participation rates about 71%, about 68% for college graduated women, pretty harsh "M" but growing shallower. Lousy prospects for a college grad who doesn't get "regular" instantly on graduation.
Not that regular employment is a prize, overtime and a geo-transfer every decade is guaranteed.

It is a system deeply fucked up in its own snowflake way, and my highest priority is not clothes dryers and central heating. Neither are these the priorities of the Japanese polity, who are trying to lighten up the educational meat-grinder and make the "M" shallower and less destructive of career earnings.

Whatever. I don't listen to Americans or Europeans on this shit, the culture is diseased.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 5:54 PM
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It's worth remembering that handwashing wasn't/isn't just a matter of tending to your own clothing: there are also sheets and towels and blankets and dishtowels, and coats and mittens/gloves and socks and long underwear, which become a veritable mountain when tending to a nuclear family. Then it's a washboard, and lye, and a constant rotating cycle of soaking, scrubbing, rinsing and hanging out to dry. Every account I've read seems to make clear that prior to the advent of the washing machine, a woman could scarcely pause in the midst of all this.

But I haven't read the link.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 6:13 PM
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And diapers!


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 7:07 PM
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I used to hand wash sweaters more, and I still hand wash stockings.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 7:14 PM
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Holy crap, yes, diapers. Cripe, also curtains and tablecloths and napkins (if you go in for those at all, and frankly I think you might let them get pretty dingy in the event).


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 7:22 PM
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And handkerchiefs and dishcloths and women's clouts. And when someone gets sick, the laundry about triples but you have half as much time. During her father's final illness, my mother and I counted off things we were grateful for: "Washer/dryers, morphine, hospice, ... , three-milks ice cream, Jason Statham movies on DVD, the pause button on DVDs, ... "

LizardBreath, I have found that the water off a sweaty Tshirt is distinctly grey. There's oil and skin-flakes in it, for instance.

parsimon, tell me more about what you'd like -- the Beecher linked above is great, and you could compare it to the Beeton she was partly rationalizing. The skilled-trade/New Deal/sellout story is probably in _How Women Saved the City_, or possibly _Never Done_. Fun but less reliable stuff, _Mechanization Takes Control_...

bob, the particularly ill-supported bit was your argument that Japan couldn't have built the infrastructure for dryers in most households. They built the infrastructure, they just deployed it for vending machines and pachinko parlors.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:29 PM
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Yes, bob, but how do the Japanese squirrels do their laundry? We're all dying to know!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:30 PM
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curtains and tablecloths and napkins (if you go in for those at all, and frankly I think you might let them get pretty dingy in the event)

Curtains yes - I think shaking would do more good than washing with water - but we wash cloth napkins quite often around here. Am I using them wrong, that they get so dirty?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:33 PM
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Depends. Describe the dirt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:35 PM
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No poop on 'em.

Very little poop on 'em.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:37 PM
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Those Japanese flying squirrels are pretty cute. Can we trade bob for a few of them?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:37 PM
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Those squirrels are inscrutable, I think, and plotting.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:45 PM
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Not in a way we would understand, certainly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:46 PM
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100.3: What you point out is a great start. Thanks. I haven't clicked through to the full Beecher upthread, but the excerpt is compelling. These are generally under-remarked narratives, even if they're plainly there in women's magazines (depending on the era) and so on.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:46 PM
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107: maybe if they were manga squirrels? With lots of cleavage?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:48 PM
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bob, the particularly ill-supported bit was your argument that Japan couldn't have built the infrastructure for dryers in most households. They built the infrastructure, they just deployed it for vending machines and pachinko parlors.

Nah, I specifically said they made choices, partly based on patriarchy, perhaps partly based on other factors. The Kotatsu promotes family togetherness!

To be honest, at least in the movies that take place since the 70s, many Japanese are living in multi-story apartment buildings, and I see neither kotatsu not a space heater. The houses use space heaters, except for the far north, or resorts and other older buildings they don't want to remodel, or newer homes that are traditionally designed for esthetic reasons.

My impression is that they actually prefer air/sun drying their clothes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:50 PM
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110.last: While singing spirituals.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:51 PM
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And as in most places, the apartment buildings/complexes have basement washer/dryer rooms (where the meetcutes happen) or neighborhood laundromats.

Where the hell was this woman living anyway?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 8:55 PM
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Drying Clothes

We don't have a clothes dryer. The vast majority of people living in Japan don't. Electricity is expensive and there just isn't room in most apartments and houses for the dryer, so everyone hangs their clothes out to dry.

Before I came to Japan I would have assumed that hanging clothes to dry would be a real pain compared to simply throwing them into a dryer. I've found that hanging clothes is therapeutic in a relaxing kind of way and actually enjoy it.

I don't have any idea how much silk is left in a Japanese wardrobe. I assume not very much. This did not use to be the case, and I assume you do not throw silk into a gas dryer. But what do I know, I don't know that I have ever even seen silk.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 9:15 PM
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113 1 & 2 were supposed to be blockquoted.

Aw, what the hell, Japanese women have no agency or preferences, nor are there other contributing factors, but are just buffeted by the whims of the Patriarchy! In everything.

Whatever. Back to my Clair Denis movie.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 9:18 PM
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Another thing that changed women's lives permanently (and for the better): Disposable menstrual products. Tampons. Kotex. I cannot imagine literally being on the rag.

Also decreasing the laundry load!


Posted by: Annie | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 9:33 PM
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Japan uses more electricity per capita than France or Germany (picking other rich cold countries; well below the Anglos & Norse).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 9:33 PM
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Purely on the issue of drying, I prefer clotheslines to dryers. The clothes smell fresher, and it isn't arduous if you do small loads frequently.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:36 PM
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BTW I also had a somewhat negative reaction to the P&G story in the post. Americans have collectively decided (by making it illegal) that it isn't good for American companies to encourage third world corruption by paying bribes and it isn't clear to me why encouraging third world tax evasion is any better.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02-22-12 11:53 PM
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I had forgotten that Catharine Beecher has commented here before. On the early republic/antebellum era, Jeanne Boydston's Home and Work is really good. I like Mary Ryan's Cradle of the Middle Class, though I guess others find it kind of a slow read. IIRC, both Boydston and Ryan, and I'm sure others, make the point that without the economy of women's household labor, a lot of economic advances families made during the period would not have been possible.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 12:04 AM
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This dryer thing is still true in Italy. Our apartment renters acted very magnanimous that they included a combo washer dryer unit. But it takes 6 hours to do a load and blows the circuits if you turn any other appliance on at the same time. So we my wife ends up hanging everything.

Notwithstanding Bob's bullshit zen, this is hugely time consuming for a family with three kids in an apartment. It is difficult and slow and wastes a huge amount of our time. I do think Cat Valente is right on, and the gender-specific effects of technology is a realy interesting and neglected topic. Especially in my house where my wife does all the hanging to dry and I do all the complaining.


Posted by: simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 6:32 AM
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I have no idea what "the dryer" thing is, but we have no dryer and it's simultaneously perfectly fine and sort of annoying. I bet it'd be rather annoying if we had laundry-producing children about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 6:38 AM
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Especially in my house where my wife does all the hanging to dry and I do all the complaining.

I would respond, but I have to fold the sheets out of the dryer and put another load in the washer. Then walk the dogs.

Scott Ritter. I guess I was wrong about the frame. I was and remain right about tragically misplaced priorities.

Maybe the Japanese women should trade their abortion on request for socioeconomic reasons for clothes dryers so they could be more like Americans.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 6:51 AM
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"My impression is that they actually prefer air/sun drying their clothes."

I would, if I had the option. Airdried clothes feel and smell better and are a lot easier to iron.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:08 AM
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Off topic, politician gets drunk, headbutts conservative, restrained by party whip, headbutts same Tory again, destroys glass door, hauled off by guards.

Killer detail 1: he's the MP for Ttam's home town.

Killer detail 2: note that he kicked off and assaulted the guy, then calmed down and everyone relaxed...and then he went for him again. that's the mark of a genuine thug right there.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:19 AM
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What happened with Scott Ritter?
Even if he's a shitty human being I'll always be grateful for him explaining clearly and convincingly that the case for Iraq having WMDs, under any definition, was empty.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:38 AM
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1. sun-dried sheets, shirts, dresses, etc. smell and feel wonderful. there is nothing better and sunlight's disinfecting powers have not been oversold, no.
2. the sun best be hot for some time though. that shirt mildews once and it is lost for all of ever. it will seem clean, but you will sweat in it the tiniest bit, or it will get damp in the rain, and the horror of mildew-stench vileness will reƫmerge. that goes triple for jeans. just the seam could "turn on you" as they say, and that would be it.
3. if the air is sufficiently dry, your clothes will dry indoors on that accordion-folding whatnot italian people have. if it ain't, they won't.
4. if god had meant for using a towel to be like drying yourself off with a paper bag of disposable emery boards, He wouldn't have invented america. but He did, and lo, fabric softener also: thus it came to pass that I regularly spend $200 more a month than my neighbors on electricity. you know what there is at my house? a basket of giant, faded beach towels that have been washed a thousand times and dried in the dryer. they are so fluffy that the japanese cat memebon is as naught.
5. people expressing nostalgia for the laundromat should be taken out behind the chemical sheds and shot because the laundromat is the worst thing ever. well, compared to doing all the family's laundry yourself it would be great, but what with the world being what it is and all it is a mis-understood 7 3/4 level of hell inhabited by "crazy junkie coin thief" demons and "you stole my dryer" demons and "we're all sold out of detergent" arch-demons.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:45 AM
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125:Tristero at Digby's

Flirted dirty on the Interwebs with cops posing as 15-yr-olds.

18 months to 6 years in prison, registered as a violent sex offender


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:12 AM
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127: check out what our police forces spend their time doing. Pathetic all around. Five years in jail for internet chat and film with a middle aged cop who says he's a 15 year old girl. I'm trying to imagine explaining the layers of both law enforcement and private perversity in this to visitors from a hypothetical sane civilization and failing.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:39 AM
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I know our sex offender laws are perverse and insane, but I'm having a very hard time wrapping my mind around how exactly what Ritter did could be a crime.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:49 AM
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126: I hate laundromats, but some blogger (steve, the one who died) did a post about one which had some super-sized washing machines. I'd love to have access to one of those for washing my comforter/duvet.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:59 AM
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I guess it's a basic mistake of fact case, and maybe the NYTimes article presents his side in a more favorable light than is warranted (NB: I only read the first page), but jesus.

I fail to see any difference between his situation and one in which someone goes to buy tobacco at a tobacco shop, having the shopkeeper joke halfway through the process, "you know, you're really buying marijuana", the 'criminal' laughing and saying "I guess I shouldn't buy it then... I don't want any trouble", then a few minutes later saying "I guess I'll take it anyway", being told the shopkeeper is an undercover cop and that he's under arrest, and then saying "wtf? I thought you were joking?! This is clearly tobacco!" (And being right about that fact--it was tobacco.) And then going to jail for FIVE YEARS.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:07 AM
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Isn't spending your time talking to teenagers over the internet punishment enough?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:11 AM
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129: especially given that his defence was "I thought she was lying about her age" - and he was right! She was!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:16 AM
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BTW I also had a somewhat negative reaction to the P&G story in the post. ... it isn't clear to me why encouraging third world tax evasion is any better.

That's a fair question. The line from x trapnel's comment that I was thinking of, when I saw that paragraph, was this

the profit-maximizing strategy for exclusive rightsholders appears to be 'price for the rich, and generally tolerate the massive black market for unlicensed goods that serves the non-rich

I wanted to point out that, as the paragraph about P & G demonstrated, that was true for tangible goods as well as IP (which isn't a surprise) and that, personally, I think that strengthens x trapnel's case that it is moral for people to patronize such black markets (though I'm still waffling on that one).

At the same time Robert Neuwirth argues, convincingly, that there is good reason why governments tolerate those black markets.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:22 AM
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super-sized washing machines

Ooh, yes. Especially because I think separating dark- and light-colored clothing is bunk once the dark garments have had four or five washes to bleed out. I could do all my laundry for two weeks in one load! (Okay, maybe one week.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:23 AM
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Huh, the thread linked in 119 is pretty good. I had no particular memory of it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:26 AM
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134: The P&G example is illustrative of a broad phenomenon. I hate to refer to the book trade all the time, but Amazon's entry into the used book market was a case of the same sort of thing: there are many, many people out there buying and selling used books, and many of them operate outside sanctioned channels! I know! Let us, Amazon, offer an advertising forum for these buyers and sellers to meet up and exchange goods, for which we will take roughly 20% of the monies thereby exchanged. It's a pretty straightforward case of identifying a [grey] market in which one doesn't yet have a hand, and putting a hand in.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:04 AM
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OT: This is fascinating, and if true, I'm sort of boggled that it hasn't previously been more widely known.

Changes in debt-income ratios can be attributed to primary borrowing, interest rates, growth, and inflation.... It's a well-known fact that household debt has exploded in recent decades, rising from 50 percent of GDP in 1980 to over 100 percent on the eve of the Great Recession.... What we find is that the entire increase in household leverage after 1980 can be attributed to the non-borrowing components of the equation above -- what we call Fisher dynamics. If interest rates, growth and inflation over 1981-2011 had remained at their average levels of the previous 30 years, then the exact same spending decisions by households would have resulted in a debt-to-income ratio in 2010 below that of 1980, as shown in Figure 2.... In other words, there is no reason to think that aggregate household borrowing behavior changed after 1980; indeed households rescued [sic] their borrowing in the face of higher interest rates just as one would expect rational agents to. The problem is that they didn't, or couldn't, reduce borrowing fast enough to make up for the fact that after the Volcker disinflation, leverage was no longer being eroded by rising prices... Neither the 1980s nor the 1990s saw an increase in new household borrowing -- on the contrary, the household sector in the aggregate showed a primary surplus in these decades, in contrast with the primary deficits of the postwar decades. So both the conservative theory explaining increased household borrowing in terms of shorter time horizons and a general lack of self-control, and the liberal theory explaining it in terms of efforts by those further down the income ladder to maintain consumption standards in the face of a falling share of income, need some rethinking.... As a practical matter, it seems clear that, just as the rise in leverage was not the result of more borrowing, any reduction in leverage will not come about through less borrowing.

Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 12:00 PM
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When will society quit persecuting poor individuals who want nothing more than to live quiet lives of showing up to meetups with juveniles carrying a teddy bear and a bottle of lube?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 12:15 PM
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The full article is a bit weird, it seems that a large part of his conviction was because of earlier more serious charges that had been dropped. It's a bit weird that the old charges weren't prosecuted and then the new less serious one was prosecuted fully, but it makes him less sympathetic.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 12:29 PM
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And yet the plongeurs, low as they are, also have a kind of pride. It is the pride of the drudge--the man who is equal to no matter what quantity of work. At that level, the mere power to go on working like an ox is about the only virtue attainable. Débrouillard is what every plongeur wants to be called. A débrouillard is a man who, even when he is told to do the impossible, will se débrouiller--get it done somehow. One of the kitchen plongeurs at the Hotel X, a German, was well known as a débrouillard. One night an English lord came to the hotel, and the waiters were in despair, for the lord had asked for peaches, and there were none in stock; it was late at night, and the shops would be shut. 'Leave it to me,' said the German. He went out, and in ten minutes he was back with four peaches. He had gone into a neighbouring restaurant and stolen them. That is what is meant by a débrouillard. The English lord paid for the peaches at twenty francs each.

---Down and Out in Paris and London


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 3:47 PM
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18 Pa. C.S. 6318:

A person commits an offense if he is intentionally in contact with a minor, or a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties who has assumed the identity of a minor, for the purpose of... [sexual offenses, lewdness, etc.]

Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 3:51 PM
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139:poor individuals who want nothing more

I suppose the key word here is "want", and the issue about how comfortable we are in measures taken to prevent (damage) and control desire rather than punish socially destructive behavior.

Would I prefer Ritter be detained before he actually made contact with a 14-yr-old? Yeah.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 4:04 PM
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Down and Out in Paris and London

Huh. We've been sitting on a couple of copies of that at the bookshop for some time now: surely someone will want this somewhere along the line!

Neither here nor there. Just a stray thought.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 5:55 PM
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There were many odd things about the Ritter case. The charges were illegally released to the press by a Republican judge or ex-judge with a history of corruption and abuse. They appeared in the middle of the Iraq War debate and were dropped as soon as Ritter went silent. The highest charge was a misdemeanor, IIRC.

Ritter was a weird guy whose self-presentation was off-putting even without the charges. Nonetheless, he was right on the politics, like Weiner (often)and Spitzer (often).

Keep it in your pants, guys. Use your aspirin, ladies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 6:11 PM
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is there going to be an operation or we're all getting a new tattoo, and we'll need better clotting properties in our blood? or is it just that we have a headache from dealing with men and now need relief? I favor BC powders myself.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 6:45 PM
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144: sell it w/Anthony Bourdain? Or Midnight in Paris?

Three loads on the line today, including jeans. Problem is, tlis is my fieldwork year studying evanescent wetlands. They aren't wet this year. Nuts to my fieldwork, but go long on nuts, as the ag reports are beginning to talk about losing orchards rather than harvests.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 6:49 PM
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Between your knees, Ala, except when procreation is desired. You haven't been reading the fine US papers, obvs.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 6:52 PM
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go long on nuts, as the ag reports are beginning to talk about losing orchards rather than harvests

Apart from bat shitnuts, which are doing gangbusters harvestwise.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 6:54 PM
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We've been sitting on a couple of copies of that at the bookshop for some time now: surely someone will want this somewhere along the line!

I guess that particular Orwell title doesn't appeal as much to the neocon contingent as some of the others might.


Posted by: One of Many | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 6:59 PM
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144: sell it w/Anthony Bourdain? Or Midnight in Paris?

Right, I actually catalogued Midnight in Paris at the same time. We have some Bourdain. Sigh. It's all about the advertising, I suppose.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:06 PM
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147: as the ag reports are beginning to talk about losing orchards rather than harvests.

Oh. My. You're on the west coast?

Word is that the warm and not-wet winter season this year is wreaking havoc with the maple syrup harvest up in New England. But that's (just) harvest, and is hardly on the same order as losing entire orchards.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:11 PM
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It's been great for biking, though.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:31 PM
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Huh. Would a dry season be good for California wines? I mean, it's already a pretty good place to grow grapes, and I'm assuming that there's a level of rainfall below which it becomes detrimental to the grapes. But if the silver lining of climate change is a few good years of excellent wine, well—yeah, okay, nevermind. Still bad.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:48 PM
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California was already too warm to make good wine.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:50 PM
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We don't know that clew is talking just about vineyards. There are also apple orchards and whatnot.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:54 PM
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155: Well, double crap. Maybe Antarctica will produce something good. Possibly using the water from Lake Vostok.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:55 PM
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I should perhaps note that my opinion is not universally shared.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 7:57 PM
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Best wines in the world, you mean.

People should schedule trips to Tuscan Columbia (eg Penticton) now, before it gets overheated too.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:08 PM
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155: Oh, it's ON now.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:09 PM
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We're having The Girl again; it's snowed every day for the last 2 weeks. And forecast for 7 of the next 10 days.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:14 PM
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158, cont'd: ...which doesn't make it any less correct.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:18 PM
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Would you like some California wine? Something to put you in the mood?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:21 PM
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I've been in the mood since the late 1700s.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:24 PM
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164 -- Five o'clock somewhere, I guess.

163 -- I think that's a wonderful idea. Make the damn cough go away, I'm hoping. (I had a Stella in lieu of dinner. That helped already).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:27 PM
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Well done. Thought it might be too generic.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:28 PM
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163.2(.1): Carp.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:32 PM
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3 s/b 5


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:33 PM
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Three-fifths? Racist.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:38 PM
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We had some left over from the birthday party. I could have stopped at the brewery on the way home for some bongwater, but it was snowing like a son of a bitch, and I just drove on home.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:43 PM
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169: I don't understand. Are you saying that since there is a '/' (but please not as part of 's/b') between the '3' and '5' in my comment that I have come close to saying '3/5' and that indicates I am racist because of how that fraction was used in the US Constitution? I just want to be sure. But if that's it, I don't think it is really a fair or accurate characterization. There any numbers of ways in which three-fifths can come up in contexts which are completely non-racist (like this one! and it didn't really even come up!) so I think your response is inappropriate. If I have misunderstood please enlighten me.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:48 PM
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Whilst I get myself pretty pleasantly drunk on Sirah (nothing special, I'll grant you, but perfectly serviceable) maybe someone can explain the upcoming Australian political thing. Are there lurkers who can explain Julia v. Kevin?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:49 PM
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I wouldn't have associated 3/5 with black people, stanley, because I don't know anything about US history don't see race. so you're the real racist here, stanster.
seriously, though, will someone explain to me about the aspirin? I'm holding one between my knees all the time...so I don't get pregnant? because...? I am 1000% sure I could get pregnant with an aspirin between my knees. well, at a more fertile period in my life.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:49 PM
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173 -- Santorum's money guy made a joke -- said back in his day, aspirin was the best bc, held between the knees.

He's not allowed to make public appearances any more.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:51 PM
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The real reason Fifth Third Bank chose not to be Third Fifth.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:54 PM
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do people not know about non-missionary positions or something? could we buy them a copy of "the joy of sex" for $1 at parsi's?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:55 PM
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If I have misunderstood please enlighten me.

Nope, that was it. It was a *really* crappy joke.

173: You're right! I am so shamed.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:55 PM
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174: headdesk. god, let them nominate santorum, oh please oh please oh please.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:56 PM
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seriously, though, will someone explain to me about the aspirin?

As in, if you're using the pressure of your knees to keep the aspirin in place, that means your legs are tightly pressed together, which means you couldn't fit a penis in there, which means you couldn't get pregnant. Get it? I doubt the guy is aware of all the weird positions kids have sex in these days.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:56 PM
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176: yeah, exactly.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:57 PM
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Ignorance is widely considered bliss, among whackjob fundies.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:57 PM
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and by "these days" I meant "across all human history, everywhere."


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:57 PM
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The joy of bliss.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 8:58 PM
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177.1: Do tell.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:02 PM
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What I've enjoyed about the otherwise truly depressing spat of recent news stories in this vein, is how truly, hilariously terrible the Republicans are at getting even the optics correct. Like Bob McDonnell convening a seekrit midnight meeting composed of all or mostly men who aren't doctors to decide how to walk back the wording on the "transvaginal ultrasound" bill. And Issa holding that recent committee hearing with all the religious leaders—again, all men and not doctors—to explain what's best for women's reproductive health.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:03 PM
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It was nut orchards, mostly almonds, that I found eeyoring a while ago. They have political reason not to be silently Stoic; the water allocations are being planned now.

Professional CA orchards seem to replant surprisingly often, with dwarfing rootstocks, so this isn't as traumatic as it might sound. Not good, though.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:04 PM
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are there actually a lot of people out there in america who have never had sex in which the gentleman is behind and the lady before him on her hands and knees--in short, never done it doggy style? never? never ever ever? I think that's probably the second paragraph of page one on the kama sutra, it's not like this is some esoteric shit. now I'm feeling sad about everyone's unsatisfactory sex lives. well, I guess it's the punishment they deserve for being big sluts for the GOP. they give up those votes for a candy bar, like a little bitch. if they're going to be huge sluts like that and vote promiscuously, they've got to be prepared for the consequences.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:06 PM
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I'm finding your imagery a little disturbing, Alameida.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:19 PM
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I'm finding your imagery a little HAWT here, Alameida.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:39 PM
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I'm finding your reaction a little disturbing, Chopper.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:53 PM
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Blogs are all about finding things. How nice.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 9:54 PM
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I'M FINDING YOUR LACK OF FAITH A LITTLE DISTURBING, TEO.


Posted by: OPINIONATED DARTH VADER | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:02 PM
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Okay, I just read the Scott Ritter NYTM piece, and now I'm finally that disturbing, too. I know this is really old news these days, but I still find it shocking that we have on-duty cops pretending to be underage girls, and then arresting people as violent sex offenders for hot-chatting with and masturbating to those on-duty cops. I know it's really awful when people sexually abuse children, but this seems like a truly stupid way to address the problem.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:05 PM
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they give up those votes for a candy bar, like a little bitch.

Don't trust James Cromwell!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:17 PM
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if I had the energy, I'd start a "people who were sexually abused as children but think these laws are extraordinarily idiotic" advocacy group. I'll admit that it's hard to find people who are trying to meet with real children on the internet otherwise, but is this a significant problem that actually happens frequently, or a good use of our resources? almost everyone who is sexually abused is abused by a relative or trusted family friend, not a guy in a van or a creepy clown, or a guy saying creepy stuff on the internet. people make shit up on the internet to feel sexxxay. this is creepy in the way a guy who watches "barely legal" porn is creepy; I'd be inclined to think the dude is creepy. I wouldn't leave my daughters around him, but I damn sure wouldn't throw him in jail and brand him a violent sex offender for the rest of his life.

if people really care about wanting to stop sexual abuse of children they need to educate children on their rights, and give them the confidence that if the come to a trusted authority they will be believed. they need to teach parents about what the actual profile of a typical abuser is (hint: it's not a lonely guy with no friends jerking off to made-up live porn on the internet.) they don't need to start witch hunts, I'm just saying they should look at the actual cases in which children are sexually abused, and figure out who most of the perpetrators are, and focus on that somehow. I hate to say it, but the cops on that detail are jerking off. when they busted pee wee herman at a porno it was at a double-feature, after the whole first movie. why the cops waited so long is a mystery we may never solve.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:24 PM
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194: but he seems so decent and irish!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:25 PM
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and I think he can really help my career in law enforcement!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:27 PM
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195: preach it, sister.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:29 PM
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Shit, that's sounds racist, doesn't it? Damnit.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:30 PM
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No. It doesn't.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:33 PM
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it doesn't even sound sexist either. I think he's totally in the clear. this may have been the first time that's ever happened.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:40 PM
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Whew!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 10:50 PM
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202: You're probably still racist in other ways. That particular comment just didn't sound racist to me, but I'm a white guy from a relatively privileged background.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:01 PM
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this is creepy in the way a guy who watches "barely legal" porn is creepy

IMO there's a difference between jerking off to a movie a la Pee Wee and actually seeking out underage girls in real life. The operations are akin to putting out bait bikes or cars. If you steal or troll for kids on the internet you takes your chances that the Man will chuck you in jail for that shit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:07 PM
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But what they got Ritter for, this time, really was just jerking off while hot-chatting with the cop. His previous crimes were more questionable, yes:

In both cases, Ritter agreed to meet the fictional teenagers in the parking lots of fast-food joints, with the intent of masturbating in front of them, only to be confronted by cops when he got there.

But even here, I'm just dubious that "willing to meet with someone claiming to be underage who has encouraged him to meet, in order to masturbate in front of her" really tracks "would otherwise actually abuse a minor."


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:16 PM
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The operations are akin to putting out bait bikes or cars. If you steal or troll for kids on the internet you takes your chances that the Man will chuck you in jail for that shit.

True enough, but I think alameida's point is to question whether setting up these stings is actually a wise use of police resources. I think the same question applies to all those counterterrorism operations where the FBI "infiltrates" a "terrorist organization" that turns out to have been a couple of guys talking shit on the internet.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:19 PM
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The thing is, typically these guys aren't just talking shit, they get busted because they show up to the meetup. And come on, is anyone really buying that Mr. Principles is really going to be all "no, I'm just going to jack off in front of you because fucking you would be Crossing The Line".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:23 PM
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Well, but would there have even been a meetup if the cops hadn't gotten involved? Obviously cops play along with these guys all the time, but do actual kids? Are there any stats on the prevalence of this sort of crime?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:33 PM
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Basically the whole thing makes it seem like the emphasis is on catching bad guys rather than on preventing crime. There's obviously a lot of overlap between those two, but they're not the same thing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:34 PM
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this is creepy in the way a guy who watches "barely legal" porn is creepy; I'd be inclined to think the dude is creepy. I wouldn't leave my daughters around him, but I damn sure wouldn't throw him in jail and brand him a violent sex offender for the rest of his life.

But this is creepy in another way, too: he's not just watching/consuming "barely legal" porn, he's looking for ways to enact a "barely legal" porn scenario: most recently over the internet, via a webcam; but also, apparently, in person in two earlier incidents (the following from the NYTimes article):

In fact, the police in Colonie, N.Y., encountered Ritter twice in 2001 -- and quietly arrested him once -- after he contacted cops posing as under-age girls in chat rooms. (Ritter was caught using the unsubtle screen name OnExhibit.) In both cases, Ritter agreed to meet the fictional teenagers in the parking lots of fast-food joints, with the intent of masturbating in front of them, only to be confronted by cops when he got there. For reasons that still aren't entirely clear, the prosecutor dismissed the charges, on the condition that Ritter enter intensive counseling, and a local judge sealed the records.

I get what people are saying about moral panics and witch hunts and etc.; I'm mindful of the scandal of the satanic child abuse daycare hysteria (some people went to prison, their lives and livelihoods absolutely ruined, devastated, on the basis of false allegations that now strike us as absolutely incredible and truly insane). America has a long and ignoble history of sex-based panics (I believe our own Emerson has a female ancestor who was tried for "lewd and lascivious behaviour" and who was then harassed and harangued by no less a figure than Cotton Mather?).

And yet. And yet. You wouldn't leave your daughters with him not only because of a creepy vibe, surely, but also because you'd have a reasonable fear that, yes, he really was that creepy (unable to stop himself from trying something real and not just representational or symbolic, is what I mean). And isn't it possible that the internet offers new possibilities for would-be sexual predators? you wouldn't let that scumbag darken your doorstop, and he wouldn't even attempt to ring the front bell, he's a pragmatist that way, but what about the online chatrooms, where he's trolling for prey under the moniker of "luvulots" or whatever?

And I don't think it's fair to say "the cops on that detail are jerking off." If we're going to have an age of consent (which we don't have to have, after all, though I do think we should), there will always be some murky, borderline cases: 15 versus 16, or 17 versus 18, well what's the difference? one 12-year old might have more maturity than another 21-year old and etc. But if we're going to take these laws seriously, we must ask for some practical legal enforcement, surely?

Teaching kids to respect themselves doesn't mean much in a world where adults have all the power. Attempts to redress this imbalance will almost always and inevitably come across as nanny-state meddling or as heavy-handed paternalism, I'm afraid.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:37 PM
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... after giving it a bit more thought, here's why I think there's an important difference between this sort of entrapment and putting out bait bikes or cars: I think that, empirically speaking, the person who steals a bait bike or car is much, much more likely to be a habitual or professional thief than the person caught in the Ritter-ish situation is likely to be someone otherwise engaging in abuse of real children. But this is largely armchair criminology--I recall hearing once, a long time ago, that most car theft was done by habitual car thieves, or at least involved them, at the chop-shop stage. But gswift knows more about this--is that right?

... anyway, the question, I suppose, is why I don't think most people who get caught in the net-chatting stings are similarly likely to be offenders. I'm basing this on the fact that when I do read about real sexual abuse, it always seems to be someone who knows the person in real life, and because of this relationship, is able to get away with it--it's much harder for a stranger to exert authority over someone old enough to use the internet, I'd imagine. I feel like if "internet predators" were a real thing, and not just the latest moral panic, you'd read a lot more about actual victimizations; but all I ever hear about are these entrapments. Again, though, if someone has info that I'm totally wrong, I'm all ears.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:39 PM
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Boy, Teo pwned me with admirable brevity in 208.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:40 PM
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yeah, if it's a cop rather than a minor who shows up in the mickey D's parking lot more than 50% of the time then I really have to say it's a waste of money. those terrorist stings where the find some morons and pretend to be al qaida guys willing to set them up with a bomb are the same way. I'd like the FBI to focus on finding people who already have the fucking bombs, not setting up some hopeless mooks and then beating their chests about fighting terrorism.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:44 PM
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I think that, empirically speaking, the person who steals a bait bike or car is much, much more likely to be a habitual or professional thief than the person caught in the Ritter-ish situation is likely to be someone otherwise engaging in abuse of real children. But this is largely armchair criminology--I recall hearing once, a long time ago, that most car theft was done by habitual car thieves, or at least involved them, at the chop-shop stage.

It's very true on property crimes and we also see a lot of repeat customers with guys picking up street hookers and such. I'm assuming the kiddie trollers are the same but I don't have any numbers. Data can be difficult on that kind of thing. A kid who is willing to meet a Ritter is usually from a fucked up situation where they're not going to be calling the cops.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:52 PM
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ideally you'd want a nation-wide statistical breakdown of cases of serious child sexual abuse, and see what percentage fall into the category of "blood relative," what into "step-relation/mom's new boyfriend," what into "trusted family friend," what into "teacher/coach etc." and finally what into "stranger the child met in a chatroom and then agreed to meet IRL." I'd be willing to put serious money on the bet that the last category is less than 1%. we're talking actual children actually molested here, so dudes who show up to a sting obviously don't count. if you're putting more than 1% of your resources into the last problem then you're probably fucking up.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:53 PM
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but what about the online chatrooms, where he's trolling for prey under the moniker of "luvulots" or whatever?

But what does it really mean to be "trolling for prey" in online chatrooms? The dominant narrative is apparently that someone these hotchatting masters will lure our nubile young teens out into fastfood parking lots--but as someone who spent more time than he ought to have on BBSes as a young lad, I have a hard time believing this happens at anything more than a rounding error when compared to the rates of typical abuse, which is to say, the bootstrapping from an already existing and socially validated relationship. My fairly strong belief is that any adult who tries to chat up a 15 year old is viewed as not just creepy but pathetic. I seem to recall some study finding that, yes, obviously, the average teen has been "propositioned" online, but typically sees it as more like (but even less threatening than) street harassment than like sexual assault.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:53 PM
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"someone" s/b "somehow". Sigh.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-23-12 11:54 PM
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we also see a lot of repeat customers with guys picking up street hookers and such. I'm assuming the kiddie trollers are the same but I don't have any numbers. Data can be difficult on that kind of thing. A kid who is willing to meet a Ritter is usually from a fucked up situation where they're not going to be calling the cops.

I find this very puzzling. I guess the idea is that the internet-trollers actually succeed, bizarre as it seems to me, and they do meet teens, but the teens have a good enough time, or are for other reasons not disposed to go to the cops--and this happens over and over? I guess I can imagine that this sometimes happens, but ... is this really the sort of child abuse we should be investing real resources into fighting, as opposed to "bad sex that's probably epiphenominal to the other bad shit going on in that kid's life"? Isn't this sort of hypothetical, consensual sex with a stranger, the category of underage sex that's least likely to have the sort of power and relationship dynamics that keep kids silent when they're really being abused? ("You can't send Uncle Tony to prison, sweetie"; "nobody will believe that of Coach Z"; that sort of thing?)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 12:04 AM
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215 gets it exactly right. If you want to focus law-enforcement resources on sexual predators, start with family or otherwise close (teacher/coach-type) connections, and that's really, really hard for law enforcement folks to do.

Also: "mooks" has been been surging among my friends as a replacement for "douchebags", and I tentatively endorse this usage.

Best practice for deployment is "[shakes head incredulously] Fucking mooks, man."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 12:07 AM
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Which is to say: I don't disagree that A kid who is willing to meet a Ritter is usually from a fucked up situation where they're not going to be calling the cops. I just don't see how entrapping and jailing Ritters actually helps those kids very much; anyone who'd actually encourage a 40-year old to come to a fast food joint and masturbate in front of them is probably plenty able to find partners for hir bad decision-making; and in any case, whatever comes of hir parking-lot adventures will probably be small change compared with whatever's happening in hir life that's making this seem like a good idea.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 12:08 AM
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a minor's unwillingness to go to the cops is unfortunately (?) not something you can take into account in statutory rape cases. a lot of girls might say at 14 "we're in luuuurrrve" and say at 22 "god that skeezy fucking bastard."
on the whole I agree with trapnel, though; this panic about how "teh interwebs will steel ours precious teenz1!!1" is seriously overblown, and frankly kind of 90s. the cops should get over it. what is this, fucking 21 jump street?

sure, it's hard to go after the real molesters when those people are part of the family, or are well-trusted. but the cops trolling for internet child abusers seem like the drunk guy looking for his keys under the streetlight, even though he dropped them in the back yard, because "the light is better." either just stop doing it, or get creative on some shit. if less than 1% of cases of serious child sexual abuse start from a cold meeting online that progresses to actual sex (and I just made that up, but I'd be mighty surprised if it were much higher) then put 1% of your child sexual abuse resources on that and spend the rest of the money doing something useful. it's only because they're having trouble figuring out what that might be that they're flirting online as classof2016h0tnessz.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 12:17 AM
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what is this, fucking 21 jump street?

Not for a few more weeks.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 12:25 AM
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AFAICT it's not a huge amount of resources going into the online predator thing because it's a small fraction of the sex cases and it's not really a manpower intensive kind of operation. Sure there's better ways to help fucked up teens but not for the cops. It's not like we can run around and magically drop the child poverty rate. Locking up shitheads is what we do.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 12:28 AM
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Whilst I get myself pretty pleasantly drunk on Sirah (nothing special, I'll grant you, but perfectly serviceable) maybe someone can explain the upcoming Australian political thing. Are there lurkers who can explain Julia v. Kevin?

I am not Australian, but on the other hand half of my facebook feed consists of ALP tragics discussing this, so.

So: the ALP. It's very factionalised, between the Labor Left and Labour Right. These factions are very entrenched -- they caucus together, they extend all the way from the Federal Parliament to individual branches. Rank-and-file members of the Party will identify as Left or Right, and will keep factional lines at pre-selections*, conferences**, and so-on. The Right is dominant. Factions are ideological, but also patronage based. The relationship between the Left and Right is pretty much a power sharing agreement. The Leader of the ALP is always Right; the Deputy Left. This means that much of the power in the ALP is in the hands of faction leaders.

Rudd was from the Right. He was popular with the electorate, and defeated long term Liberal*** PM John Howard in 07. However, fuck ups over global warming & a tax on mining profits lead to a drop in popularity. Also, it turned out he was a shitty boss, and the MPs didn't rate him. So his deputy Gilliard rolled him in a particularly brutal bit of factional knife fighting. Despite her being Left, major Right leaders backed her, and that killed Kevin off.

Gilliard won a subsequent election, but only because of the support of various independent MPs, who are flaky as anything. In between times, the Liberals elected a hard-right nutter (Abbot) leader, and are the favourites to win the next election.

So the ALP is flustered, and Rudd (who served as FM under Gilliard) felt he would make a better PM & started doing the numbers & briefing. Gilliard hit back particularly hard, briefing against Rudd and leaking an embarrassing video of Rudd, basically daring Rudd to put up or shut up. Rudd retaliated by resigning as FM, and Gilliard's responded by saying they'll have a leadership spill, and if she loses she'll go to the backbench and keep mum.

Queensland (Rudd's home state) has a state election soon, where Labor Premier Bligh (left) is running behind the Coalition (libs & nats). This drama is generally understood to have worsened her chances of winning.

I think Gilliard has the numbers. Rudd's unpopular with the MPs who elect the leader, he's fucked off too many of the Right who would otherwise back him, and looks particularly petulant at the moment. However, it's all pretty brutal.

* Pre-selections: choice of candidates to contest elections.
** Conference is way more important than in America, because the ALP federal conference forms policy. Obviously, the leadership has room to manoeuvre, but.
*** The Australian Liberals are arguably the furtherest right major Commonwealth political party.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 12:29 AM
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Roughly speaking, the choice is between a popular but incompetent politician, or an unpopular but competent politician. My money's on the competent one, for obvious reasons.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 12:33 AM
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Anecdote, not data, but when I was clerking, if I'm recalling the details right, we had cases in which FBI internet sting operations discovered:

(a) a sex ring in which monsters were raping kids as young as 3 years old (the sting lead to uncovering the group);
(b) a dude who was trolling for teens online while raping his 12 year old orphan cousin whom he had basically enslaved;
(c) a guy exchanging super horrendous child porn with other evil bastards.

Not saying that these are representative cases (what do I know) but it sure didn't look like efforts made towards tracking child sex abusers on the internet were a big waste of time or resources, especially as the stings seemed fairly cheap to pull off.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 12:51 AM
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well, OK, fuck a bunch of those guys. if trolling the internet was the only way to get these guys, and not, say, the school noticing, or the neighbors, or social services or whoever, then troll away, pretending-to-be-underaged-and-pervy-FBI people. I just feel that if the only crime has been virtual it's stupid to treat people as if they'd been violent sex offenders, and one certainly does read a lot about that. people who produce child porn are pure evil, and people who look at it should be treated as criminals because they are contributing to a criminal organization that rests on victimizing children. people who chat online where each person thinks the other is pretending to be who they claim but doesn't care just seems an order of magnitude away from that kind of wrongdoing. I'm wearing a cheerleader uniform with high tube socks right now, by the way.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 1:26 AM
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I'm wearing a cheerleader uniform with high tube socks

How long would it take you to get to the Arby's down by Hwy 54/55?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 4:59 AM
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You're safe, apo. We all know al turned 19 last month.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 5:19 AM
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I don't know if I could date an arby's man. is there a krystal's around?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 5:28 AM
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if people really care about wanting to stop sexual abuse of children they need to educate children on their rights, and give them the confidence that if the come to a trusted authority they will be believed.

And stop ignoring, shielding, protecting, passing the buck about, refusing to credit disturbing stories regarding, celebrating the life's work of people who enable, etc., people who abuse children.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 5:48 AM
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Well, if you're *that* kind of fancy, the Arby's is right beside a Cap'n D's.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 5:49 AM
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Note that 231 does not mean that I would urinate in the vicinity of Scott Ritter if he happened to suffer a bout of being engulfed in flames. People who dine out on self-righteous stories about having been "right" about one or another of George W. Bush's follies are not in short supply.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 5:55 AM
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OT: Most Slate headlines and articles make the writers seem pretty unpleasant, but whoever writes the tags for Far/had Man/joo's pieces must really want to see the little twerp get punched in the face.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 6:02 AM
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233: True, but then again, most of them weren't actual UN weapons inspectors that went public to try to stop the invasion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 6:07 AM
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Bah. Liberals just thought having a crewcut blusterer with what imbeciles call "macho bona fides" like Ritter on their side would help them in debate with stupid white trash peckerwoods, so they inflated him into a persecuted warrior poet.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 6:13 AM
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Speaking of meeting people based on mere online information, how many ways could this go wrong?

This month, the Dutch carrier KLM began testing a program it calls Meet and Seat, allowing ticket-holders to upload details from their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles and use the data to choose seatmates.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 6:21 AM
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236: Yes, that's exactly how it went down. How great it is that we have someone of your stature to explain the world to us.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 6:24 AM
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219: Also: "mooks" has been been surging among my friends as a replacement for "douchebags", and I tentatively endorse this usage.

This is why* I endorse blanket recording of all conversations everywhere and running it through speech-to-text --we can do n-grams on what the cool kids are saying.

*Better control of non-approved behaviors would be a side benefit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 6:30 AM
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238: Don't thank me. Thank the Moon's gravitational pull!

239: I've heard/read "mooks" since the late '90s, but I find it uncomfortable because it looks/sounds like an ethnic/racial slur. (I don't think it is one, to be fair, but I could be wrong.)


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 6:45 AM
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You'd be surprised, looking back, how many people would literally say that Scott Ritter is a paedophile and therefore THE WMDS ARE THERE.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 6:46 AM
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241: Heavens, I wouldn't go that far. Spelling it "paedo-" would be an Anglophile affectation too far.

OT: Paula Deen doesn't seem that bright.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 6:53 AM
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Huh. I thought "mook" was a synonym for "goombah", but urbandictionary does not concur.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 7:02 AM
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BTW I also had a somewhat negative reaction to the P&G story in the post

I just got to the description of P & G in the book*, and it is more interesting than I would have thought. For example:

For instance, Martin said, P&G's staffers in Mexico alerted him to a fact that he hadn't previously understood: that water is a scarce commodity in many communities.This prompted a new look at one of the company's signature products -- Downy fabric softener. Market research told P&G that people in squatter communities and other areas where water is scarce wanted to use Downy. The biggest barrier to their buying it was not the cost of the fabric softener itself but rather the fact that [...] Downy required several rinses to fully wash out of clothes.

Now, the company is developing a new softener specifically formulated for the developing world. It hopes that what it calls "Downy Single Rinse" [...] will wind up being a successful addition and could attract substantual interest in other countries as well.

One one hand that sounds a lot like corporate PR. On the other hand, good for them. It's not curing cancer but if it's something people want then it is good that they're paying more attention to that market.

*The book has to go back to the library today, but I will definitely check it out again and finish it at some point.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 9:28 AM
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Ritter knew what he was talking about re: WMDs and he did the right thing at great personal cost by going public. People like that are not a dime a dozen. There were lots of people who hemmed and hawed, or spoke quietly to friends, and so on, but not many Ritters. He was also a low-ranking guy without many connections and an unappealing persona (even without the sex crimes), so he basically destroyed his future.

At the time I thought he was framed based on the way the case suddenly appeared and then just as suddenly disappeared. Apparently he wasn't, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 10:51 AM
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there's an important difference between this sort of entrapment and putting out bait bikes or cars:

I think the most basic difference is that to steal a bait bike you have to be willing to *actually steal a bike*. Here apparently you can just send a dirty picture over the internet.

A giveaway on all this stuff is how often the cops are pretending to be 15-16 year old girls as opposed to 11-12 years olds or whatever. Skating close to the age of consent. They are using exactly the population that skeevy but not pedophilic / child-molester dudes would go for, rather than the group that even a skeevy non-child molester would probably reject as too young. Good way to boost your arrest rates, lousy way to catch actual hard core child molesters.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 11:00 AM
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Here apparently you can just send a dirty picture over the internet.

And show up in person on two other occasions. Yeah they only charged with the one online thing but that might have been part of a plea deal. Around here, and my impression is that it's a widespread practice, they're going after guys who actually show up because it's an easy way to know you've got a guy who's not just talk and IDing a guy by pulling his wallet out of his pocket is a hell of a lot easier than jumping through a bunch of hoops with subpoena's and warrants for IP and ISP records.

I think that "often the cops are pretending to be 15-16 year old girls" is not often at all. From what I've seen 15 is pretty much the upper limit. In this state I've never heard of a case where they were posing as older than 14.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 12:11 PM
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gswift: actually knowing stuff.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 8:11 PM
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Huh. I thought "mook" was a synonym for "goombah", but urbandictionary does not concur.

Speaking of mooks and goombahs, I was shocked to hear the word "douchebag" used as a male-directed insult in Mean Streets (1973), when some guys are telling some other guys to get the hell out of their bar. Its current meaning can't date back much farther than that.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-24-12 8:19 PM
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249: Funny* that you mention Mean Streets Since I just saw this clip from it (part of a sequence of clips from films shot/set in New York City).

Joey 'Clams' Scala: [Joey interupts] We're not payin', because this guy, this guy's a fuckin' mook.
Jimmy: But I didn't say nothin'.
Joey 'Clams' Scala: And we don't pay mooks.
Jimmy: Mook? I'm a mook?
Joey 'Clams' Scala: Yeah
Jimmy: What's a mook?
Johnny Boy: A mook, what's a mook?
Tony DeVienazo: I don't know...
Johnny Boy: What's a mook?
Jimmy: You can't call me a mook!
Joey 'Clams' Scala: I can't?
Jimmy: No...
Joey 'Clams' Scala: [pause] I'll give you mook!
[punches him in the mouth]

*Or maybe you did so with purpose.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-25-12 12:58 AM
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236: I saw him speak once. Didn't even have a fucking crew cut. "Hey, who the fuck is this mook?" said I: "I was told I was going to see a warrior poet!" And then I punched him right in the mmglayven until he vomited up skeevy pictures of fourteen year old girls.

True story.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 02-25-12 9:32 AM
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