Re: Various

1

Given Conor Friedersdorf's sad-sack reporting on the John McAdams/Marquette academic freedom, I'm just going to assume that this is basically made up to make us think that libertarians don't need a good punching.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 7:40 AM
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Now I'm grouchy and I feel like a sucker.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 7:45 AM
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Huh, that ahole lives here. Time to load up the car with some staves, a heat lamp and my commissar's uniform and just fuck the fuck out of freedom.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 7:46 AM
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I did see a "Little Free Library" box in front of a house with a Gadsen flag. At first I thought it was incongruous, but obviously not! Who needs public libraries when you can pick up a shitty Tom Clancy paperback from a little particleboard box!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 7:55 AM
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Hey, I was in an 100 kids in a room experiment in second grade. This iwas a brand new school building, just opened for the 1970 school year, with amazing state-of-the-art high tech stuff like film strip machines and overhead projectors. They basically had four classes of second graders in one very large room, with partitions that had some gaps and didn't reach the ceiling separating the space into four rooms most of the time. This was not intended to save money; the kid/teacher ratio was normal. I think the theory was that it was easier to switch to different groups for reading, math, etc. without going out to a hall.

It sucked, and within a year or two they put up walls between the four rooms.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 8:07 AM
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1: Correct. My reaction was "this is obvious glibertarian bait" even before seeing the author's name.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 8:14 AM
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5: Ha! I had nearly the same experience. My kindergarten through 6th grade school was this groovy late 60s style "open" building, and by the time I was in the fourth grade, they had brought in bunch of cheap sheetrockish things to make actual separate rooms.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 8:17 AM
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Why are you linking to an article by Conor Friedersdorf?

As a rule of thumb, if something is worth writing about, someone who is not a right-wing hack will have written about it, and what they write will be better than what the right-wing hacks write. So there's really no reason ever to link to the right-wing hacks.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 8:28 AM
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I was in a groovy sixties or seventies open wing of my elementary school kindergarten through I think maybe second grade? It worked pretty well, in my memory. Lots of fun floating platforms to hang out and play on, low partitions, performance pits, etc. It might be different now, but my memory is that it was still that way when I left the school as an eighth grader.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 8:30 AM
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I don't have writing styles and ideologies attached to 85% of the journalists that you all do. Honestly, I wouldn't have recognized the name before reading this comment thread.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 8:31 AM
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Conor goes to the outrage well, comes up dry. Honestly, even the case as stated doesn't seem crazy to me. There are municipal codes because people like municipal codes. Municipal codes aren't big government, they're your neighbors--the ones you're so keen to meet. You want your town to allow libraries in front yards, then draw up the proposal, get signatures from those neighbors, and take it to the city council. And look, there's an example of that happening right in the story.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 8:39 AM
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How can you forget a name like Conor Friedersdorf?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 8:47 AM
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There was a high school in my hometown built during the 60s, I think, with a strange circular architecture and few to no windows. I think it may also not have had many walls.

Still in use, but with modifications. Also, I didn't go there, I got bussed to a place housed in a building from the 1850s - big windows, red brick. Much nicer.


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 8:51 AM
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I apparently did because in my mind it's always been Connor Friedsdorf, this is the first time I noticed how it's actually spelled and that I lost a syllable.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 8:54 AM
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The big trend I see for kindergarten and early grades is having a lot of stations, so small-group or individual work going on in different areas of the room, with less full-class instruction. The kids hold each other accountable on some of this, some is monitored by technology or assessed with worksheets, and only a few children at a time work with the teacher. We've interviewed someone who'd taught in a setup like the one described and it was really hard to imagine how it would work well for our population, which is similar to the one described in the article, but people probably said that about the "station" approach rather than lecturing.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:11 AM
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Everyone knows that kindergarten classes should be replaced by MOOCS. It's the future! Only a luddite would disagree!


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:16 AM
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Funny, stations like that is how I remember kindergarten and first grade back in the seventies. I wonder if there was a swing away from that kind of thing to more lecturing that's now swinging back, or whether I went to odd schools.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:16 AM
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Wait, no one lectures to kindergartners or first graders - it's always stations and so on. Or that was my impression. But usually the classes aren't 80-100 these days. I think there's 16 in Hawaii's class, after a few transferred out because this teacher is losing students.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:20 AM
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Or what Thorn said.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:20 AM
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When I was in 1st and 2nd grade I went to a school that had started out of a brownstone and was affiliated very loosely with a parish church. It was not as liberal as the other school I looked at : The Learning Project.

We didn't have math class as far as I remember. We had math worksheets, and we were supposed to go at our own pace through a sequence and then we would review them individually with the teacher. You could definitely see approximately how far along people had gotten. There was one girl who was way ahead of the rest, and a pack of us behind. I was always trying to catch up to her.

I remember that we had these individual blocks and then sticks which had markings in units of 10, and then there were little cubes (presumably of 100).

I hated that method. Third and 4th grade in a suburban public school, they were still doing new learning or whatever and didn't want us to memorize the multiplication tables.

Then I got to a more traditional classroom in 5th grade, and it was much easier.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:20 AM
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I haven't only the most vague memories of kindergarten and first grade. Mostly I remember running into my kindergarten teacher about thirty five years after I finished kindergarten and being really surprised to see her because I was in a town three hours away from where I went to Kindergarten and because I thought she was 104 when she taught me in 1976.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:22 AM
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- n't


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:22 AM
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Conor goes to the outrage well, comes up dry.

Conor Friedersdorf is one of those writers who has an uncanny ability to make me questions my own beliefs. Specifically, if I'm reading something by him that corresponds to a pre-existing belief of mine, I can't help questioning that belief.

By the time he got through with his multi-part series arguing that Obama's drone policies were so deplorable we should all vote for Romney, I was beginning to think we ought to grant Obama a carte blanche to murder anyone for any reason.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:35 AM
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I used to have an open plan grade school in the 1970s. I though they were a things of the past until I moved and now my kid has an open plan grade school. Way more dividers than when I was a kid but still.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:39 AM
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Somehow crazy innovative educational experiments, like having 100 kids to a room, are always directed toward poor students in inner cities. Why doesn't somebody run an experiment where kids in Detroit get put into small classrooms with highly experienced, well-paid teachers?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 10:10 AM
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25: Yes, and $3,000.00 more per pupil as a bonus than the most affluent suburb. I figure that they need some extra, because they have other psychosocial needs they need to meet that aren't as important in UMC neighborhoods.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 10:31 AM
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|| I hadn't understood from that Reihan Salam (?) piece we all read the other day that the NC tooth whitening thing was a then-pending Supreme Court case. Or that the Obama admin was on the same side as RS -- that the state dental board can't engage in the anti-competitive practice of shutting down whiteners. I hope RS is enjoying having the result.

Use of undersized groupers is not recommended to whiten teeth. Other tangible objects may suffice.|>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 10:43 AM
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individual blocks and then sticks which had markings in units of 10, and then there were little cubes (presumably of 100).
I assume you mean squares of 100 since the cube is 1000. We have a set of these at home.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 10:45 AM
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Undersized groupers, obvioulsy not. But properly sized whitebait?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:07 AM
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30

As an actual planning person, I don't think Friedersdorf (?) is off base at all, because this tricky-tacky bullshit is what helps make libertarians seem right. And don't fool yourself that this sort of issue is invented: people love to abuse the various codes in order to be asshole neighbors.

Building, Zoning, and Preservation codes can't* be written so as to make it impossible for assholes to manipulate them, so the only thing that can stop the assholes is A. civil servants empowered to tell busybody assholes to go pound sand (good luck with that) or B. a strong cultural norm that anybody who'd complain to Zoning about a Little Library is an asshole who should be shunned.

Having to rewrite the Zoning Code to allow people to do something that only an asshole would object to, and that has no deleterious effect on public safety, is not "how the system should work", unless you want lemonade stands to be licensed by the Health Department, or to file for an exemption (which would be exactly as legit).

*why not? because cities are complex systems, and one-size-fits-all is disastrous, which means that you need to build flexibility and ambiguity into building-related codes. HOAs are a living example of what happens when codes are written to be air-tight, and the result is lifeless neighborhoods where the assholes reign anyway. Criminal code deals with the same situation differently, with pretty rigidly enforced criminal offenses and summary offenses that are not intended for rigid enforcement because it would be impractical and the goal is not to have a city where no one ever crosses a street mid-block, but one where pedestrians don't cross in front of traffic wily-nily. There's no equivalent in building-related codes because you can't e.g. throw someone in jail for demolishing a historic building without a permit** while only slapping a $150 fine on someone who replaces non historic windows with inappropriate new windows.

**under my benevolent rule, you sure as fuck could


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:11 AM
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while only slapping a $150 fine on someone who replaces non historic windows with inappropriate new windows

That's ok (if a little light) for the innocent homeowner who didn't know better but the professional re-developer who is a repeat offender also deserves jail time.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:16 AM
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In the case of the Little Libraries what seems to be called for is for the city to haul one of the little librarians in front of a judge who will pronounce "De minimis non curat lex" and dismiss the case.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:21 AM
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My 12 year old has all her humanities lessons (6 hours a week) in a big open plan classroom with 60 students, two or three teachers. Her school was almost entirely rebuilt 3-4 years ago, and since then a lot of walls and doors have been added to it!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:29 AM
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31: Make it $50 per window: a (hard) slap on the wrist for a homeowner, a significant chunk for a developer.

That said, I struggled a bit to come up with a jaywalking-grade offense in the context of historic districts. I was going to say wrong paint color, but it's a pernicious myth that districts dictate paint (which is reversible, and therefore generally outside the scope, as would be lawn ornaments), although some do.

32 seems sensible, but the trouble is that just getting to a judge would be a multi-step process, and thus intimidating (and it's not as if you'd know in advance what the ruling is).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:32 AM
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If you add enough doors, you get more villagers and than an iron golem will generate.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:32 AM
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About little lending libraries, T. (I should probably come up with a pseudonym for my wife one of these days) has wanted to set one up and probably would have already if she or I was more of a handyman, so they aren't necessarily a substitute for actual libraries and having and using them isn't just a glibertarian thing. I agree the article is stupid, though.

30: Libertarians sound right when they talk about things like this, but when they actually have an ounce of power or put a sustained effort into anything, it's defunding public schools and gutting the EPA and maybe decriminalizing pot when we're really lucky. Tons of people would describe themselves as some kind of libertarian and the only one who has any interest in things like the Chicago police "black site" is Radley Balko. Them being right about little free libraries in addition to pot is insufficient reason to take them seriously in general.

About the 100-student classroom, ugh, that's scary. My wife and I are expecting (oh, by the way), and we'd like to send out kids to public school, partly out of general liberal principles and partly to save money, but we live in DC. I assume conditions overall aren't too much better than in Detroit.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:36 AM
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That's probably their aim. So far, they've been mostly visited by Prince Andrew and Teresa May, so any kind of golem would be an improvement.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:38 AM
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37 to 35, obvs.

Congratulations to 36!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:39 AM
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Go babies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 11:40 AM
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Congrats, indeed, to Cyrus and T.! (Since she wants to put up a Little Lending Library, I'm happy to call her Trueheart, but that's up to Cyrus.)

Agreed that it's been annoying to see the Friedersdorf piece linked all over the place, amongst and between people who otherwise have no particular idea who he is. It will take me a good long while before I decide that he's one of the tolerable libertarians like Balko -- who is a champion only in his one specific area of activism.*

* I've mentioned here before that Balko has supported Rand Paul's statement that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 might could be unconstitutional, and considers Paul's view on this a reason to vote for him.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 12:11 PM
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But that's not why I came over here. Rather, since this is the Various thread, what does one make of this disquisition on charitable, um, disgorgement:

Another response for the beneficiaries of discrimination [i.e. beneficiaries of white privilege] is to go ahead and take the discriminatory gift but disgorge part of the benefits to the victim class. Jennifer Brown and I in the book, {book title edited out}, showed how a system of proportional disgorgement could leave the victims and beneficiaries equally well off.

This strikes me as rather pathetic and disgusting, and I'm going to guess that the writer is a libertarian, but I'm not seeing ... oh, wait. He's written some stuff for Cato.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 12:26 PM
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30: I can completely believe that there's a story here about assholes using zoning laws to attack the libraries, but that's not the story that CF wrote. His article is an attack on zoning laws in general, with the libraries as a convenient angle.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 2:42 PM
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41: Christ. Racism offsets.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 4:09 PM
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42: That may be; I didn't read his piece because I've already read at least 2 preceding articles about the phenomenon.

The fact that actually existing libertarians are assholes is hardly justification for turning a blind eye to manipulation of the regulatory state that makes libertarians look sensible.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 4:57 PM
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36: Belated congratulations.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 5:26 PM
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Congrats, Cyrus! What's the due date?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 5:31 PM
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43: Whatever the daily patron-to-client gift was called in ancient Rome.

JRoth, are there any US land-use regulations defined in terms of limiting externalities? Like London protecting daylight to "ancient lights" and limiting building noise (which the Economist whines about, so it's probably a good system)?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 5:37 PM
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If libertarians think "proportional disgorgement" is a catchier name than "generosity" I guess they can go with that.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 5:40 PM
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Libertarian philosophy: little free libraries for all, health care only for the rich.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 5:46 PM
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If libertarians think "proportional disgorgement" is a catchier name than "generosity" "progressive taxation" I guess they can go with that.


Posted by: Knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 5:54 PM
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Thanks, everyone!

46: late June.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 7:30 PM
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JRoth, are there any US land-use regulations defined in terms of limiting externalities?

Preservation codes are usually defined in terms of what's visible from public rights of way, if that's what you mean. IOW, if there's no alley between 2 streets of rowhouses, you can pretty much do whatever you like on the backside of your house. But I'm not sure it applies to anything outside of specific districts. Sometimes they make view corridors, but those are rare and specific.

That said, a lot of that sort of thing is implicit, as with setbacks - if your neighbors are at the sidewalk line, ten you can be too, but if they're set back, you need to match them. It's not exactly to preserve their rights, but it is to do with "they can't complain if their house is doing the same."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 7:36 PM
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Speaking of disruptive education, I know I've whined plenty about what I do for the school, but today I was there and the burly teddy bear of a principal had four little boys following him like a matryoshka duckling line. It turns out the older two are students and the grandma who had been raising them died this week, so he went to court today to get kinship custody rather than let them go into a foster home in the rural suburbs while the state finds an appropriate family placement. I don't think I get to complain anymore!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:39 PM
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(Congratulation, Cyrus!)

In other schmibertarian news, the cable companies are attempting a last gasp attempt to turn people against net neutrality by running ads promoting it as, guffaw, the Department of Internet! Because the gummint will run the Internet and they'll do it as well as the post office! Haw haw haw! Assholes. You know who Americans don't like any better than the post office? You fuckos at Comcast! At least my mail carrier shows up every day and mailing a letter costs me less than fifty cents.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:41 PM
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Sorry, yay, Cyrus and T! Nia would tell you that the best thing about a June birthday is that you can choose to celebrate it any time in the school year, unless you have a mean mom who won't buy cupcakes on short notice and wants to talk to the teacher first.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 9:46 PM
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Congrats! My daughter has a late June birthday, and her parties were always so much fun.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-25-15 10:32 PM
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and the burly teddy bear of a principal had four little boys following him like a matryoshka duckling line.

This may be the best thing written in the 21st century.

Congratulations, T and Cyrus! (If you're looking for a pseud for T, may I suggest Cassandane.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 3:25 AM
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54: HHey, the post office is generally awesome.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 6:52 AM
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54: The "You want your [service] to be run like the Post Office?" trope is another example of the conservative hive mind being stuck in the 1970s. It's not quite as bad as complaining about prisoners being pampered with color TV in their jail cells, but close. The Post Office actually scores OK-ish on measures of consumer sentiment - better than Facebook or McDonalds, and a damn sight better than Comcast, as snarkout suggests.

A slightly better rhetorical move for schmibertarians is to invoke the DMV, but even that has lost some of its edge as DMV service has improved most places since the advent of the Internet (Guess what? The DMV doesn't want you waiting in line at the DMV either! That would mean they need personnel to serve you!)


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 7:09 AM
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I'm still mad at the DMV because when I came here in 2003 I waited in line for over an hour only to be told they didn't take cash or credit cards. Assholes didn't even have anything about that on the web page.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 7:11 AM
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Heh. I've called her "Tigger" here sometimes. I'll try to remember that though.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 1:45 PM
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59 - AISHMHB my grandfather was a postman in western Colorado, and it infuriates me to watch the two-step process of (mostly Republicans) defunding the post office then chortling at the post office's woes as a sign of government inability to do anything right. It's a goddamn shame that we killed the postal bank in the '60s.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-26-15 6:11 PM
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