Re: Stuck

1

Did you scribble that on a sticky note? Deep, man.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
2

Infinitely recursive sticky note posts? I'm freakin' out, man!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
3

Wait, you wrote "Write sticky note post" on a sticky note? Or you wrote a note on a sticky that you can't read at all now?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
4

3

Posted by:


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
5

Sticky icky?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
6

A juror's perspective on Stop Snitchin, set in Baltimore , though no extras from The Wire actually figure in the story, nicely written, interesting detail and some insight. Possibly of wider interest?

Link from www.aldaily.com


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
7

4

3

Posted by:

Posted by:


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
8

Here's something for y'all to sink your teeth into:

http://pajamasmedia.com/2007/11/daddy_nobucks.php


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
9

I emailed "write sticky note post" to myself. I've been using email as my to-do list lately.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:53 PM
horizontal rule
10

This seems like as good a time as any to say that I've just left a question about hotels in the DCon comments thread.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
11

Guys, stay on topic. Christ.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
12

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:50 PM

Text of sticky note: "All sticky notes are liars."


Posted by: Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
13

trolling, TLL?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
14

9 pwned by something I wrote on myself earlier


Posted by: Sticky Note | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
15

"Until further notice, all blog posts shall address Animal Planet's 'Awesome Pawsome' special about the four tiger cubs in Australia. Fear this and tremblingly obey!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
16

13. Trolling, moi? After the 1st vs. 2nd vs. 3rd wave feminism brouhaha I figured a postmodern, pro choice take on parental responsibilities would be of interest. I'm sure that was on Beck's sticky note.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
17

"While the law allows women to turn casual sex into cash flow sex" != "postmodern, pro choice take on parental responsibilities"


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
18

8: I think we've covered that topic already, actually, and at tedious length. Short answer: the kid needs to be taken care of, and the money has to come from somewhere.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
19

Becks was going to link to McMegan's latest musing on the Democratic primaries, and the rest of us were going to spend several hundred comments reminiscing about the stupid shit that chick used to say as "Jane Galt." I'm pretty sure that was on the sticky note.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
20

17. potato, potahto


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
21

Ah, I've finally figured it out! I thought that you were saying you wrote an idea for a post on a sticky note, and then sent yourself an email to remind yourself to write the post that was written about on the sticky note.

But no, the email was instead a reminder to write a post that had something to do with sticky notes.

That took me way too long.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
22

I think we've covered that topic already, actually, and at tedious length.

What Matt F said.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
23

I wrote the following on my calendar on December 3:

"december 3, 1:00 p.m., $12.00".

I think it's been there for weeks. Even odds that I fugure out where this reasonably priced event is before I miss it.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
24

But if you're really stuck for something, you can always do a "which country has the craziest ads?" post, featuring Japan, France, Australia and Canada in a four-way deathmatch.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
25

19: "Used" to write?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
26

Well, the Japanese win hands down in the "racist" category, but OTOH MANDOM!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
27

25: Well, exactly. So, how the old stupid compares to the new stupid, and is there a difference (no). Hours of fun!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
28

I bet McMegan's gonna beat us all up at Unfoggidycon: Golden Receiver.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
29

28: Nah, she'll just sulk loudly until Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein feel compelled to beat you all up on her behalf.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
30

she'll just sulk loudly until Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein feel compelled to beat you all up


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
31

I've actually been wondering what you guys are going to do when you have to meet an actual person at a party and realize that you have been mean jackasses about her for months. She likely won't force you to acknowledge that, but I hope it gives you pause.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
32

31: I've often wondered what would happen if McMegan were ever to meet, say, a poor person in real life, and realize that her moral and political philosophy condemns them to hardship, squalor and misery. But at least she wouldn't be posting mean things about them on the internet!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
33

what? who was being a mean jackass, and to whom?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
34

31: I plan to be sheepishly embarrassed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
35

I hope it gives you pause.

Not really, no. Been there before, pretty much doesn't bother me. Every other time it's happened, in fact (even with this butthead) we got along fine.

I don't think it should give me pause, either, by the way. Her political opinions are awful, and hurt our country. Even excluding that, they're (at best) poorly reasoned. I should somehow avoid trying to make the previous points (as best I can) because she's nice in person? Nah.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
36

Given that we are opening our house up to the lot of you, it might be polite not to insult our friends, especially completely unprompted by a post.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
37

I plan to be sheepishly embarrassed

I sort of figured we would all be taking a moment to be sheepishly embarrassed. An agenda item, if you will.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
38

36: I'm sorry you're friends with shitty people.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
39

32 - That's on Ms. McArdle, and she'll get straight with it however she does. You (or whomever has been an asshole about her. I missed those threads and honestly do not know who wrote what. But I have the sense that they were nasty.) need only account to yourself about your behavior.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
40

26: Japan probably wins in every category, but it'd be an interesting contest for second place.

31: when you have to meet an actual person at a party and realize that you have been mean jackasses about her for months

If they deserved it: ask them face-to-face what the in the name of Hell they were thinking. It's probably a good idea that I don't go to meetups.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
41

Was it about olives?


Posted by: Zippy | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
42

36: Isn't that pretty much the opposite of what's being discussed?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
43

You should blog about using stuck-states to model errors in a structured operational semantics.


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
44

Becks, I'm sorry to re-open old stuff (especially since I don't know what it was like the first time). I'm happy to end the topic here.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
45

I'd rather skip unfoggeDCon that skip pointing out how wrong McMegan is, on balance.

I'm sure she's very nice in person. I'll be nice, too!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
46

39: I must have missed those threads too, maybe there was nastiness. As for anyone saying stupid things publicly (something the Ms. McArdle has been known to do), there is nothing inherently mean about pointing this out, of course.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
47

"than skip," Sifu you jackass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
48

friends with shitty people.
Really rude.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
49

A friendly, light-hearted duel would probably help to break the ice.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
50

Unfogged: Pistols at High Tea.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
51

strasmangelo jones is totally not getting a gift basket.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
52

Really rude.

But true.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
53

I'm sure whatever "write sticky note post" was would have been brilliant

You were going to write a post about B's sticky notes thing mentioned way back in Heebie's mineshaft request about her book class/club, that was brought up again by you-vous in the Hey, Lurkers thread posted by LB.

max
['I'm not sure where you were going with it, I expect because you don't quite know either.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
54

I should probably note that in 46 I meant `pointing this out in the same/similar public forum' not to bring it up without care in a social setting.

I assume 38 is wrongly (and rudely) conflating public persona with person.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
55

What Sifu said!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
56

54: Ann Coulter is apparently a gas to hang out with.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
57

53: That actually makes perfect sense; I bet that was the post.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:35 PM
horizontal rule
58

(In fairness to McMegan, I have plenty of IRL friends with weirder political views who are otherwise delightful people. What we do is Avoid Politics. Following this dictum, I would probably not be rude to McMegan in the unlikely event of actually meeting her.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:35 PM
horizontal rule
59

56: hydrogen sulfide? chlorine? zyklon?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:35 PM
horizontal rule
60

OMG! Max gets a cookie! I think I was thinking about B's sticky note thing and...I already wrote that post. I must have put that on my to-do list earlier than last night and my list was just out of order. Yay! I get to cross something off. Brilliance will have to wait for another day.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
61

58: oh, yeah, absolutely. I know lots of people with ridiculous/horrible ideas about politics. It's uncomfortable, but hey, can't let the machinations of some loons in Washington DC affect us any more than we have to.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
62

56 really? I wouldn't know. And I wouldn't hang out with her. On the other hand, if we were both happened to be in the same place, I certainly wouldn't corner her to tell her what I thought of her ideas.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:36 PM
horizontal rule
63

62: no, that would be rude.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
64

DC Unfogged isnt going to be an insult-free zone, is it?

Does everyone have to play nice?

No gossiping about people who are not there?

No outing people as assholes to their SOs?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
65

I honestly don't care how lovely and well-mannered Megan McArdle is in person. The fact is her political philosophy is absolutely disgusting and her presence in the American mediascape makes the world a slightly worse place.

If Matt Yglesias had decided to whimsically befriend a clutch of social right-wingers instead of a clutch of economic right-wingers, and we were having this discussion about, say, Steve Sailer, would anyone really be saying, "look, he might be a giant flaming bigot and all, but he's so nice in person, can't you just lay off and talk nice about this particular racist"?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
66

Eh, I'd weigh in, but you guys already have me pegged as the pro-civility loser.

Can we all at least agree that Nine Inch Noels is hilarious? I literally LOL'd at the third song in the medley.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
67

I'm sure you wrote 'do something to the blog software so that it doesn't hang up on www.collegehumor.com and leave DE time to play two games of spider solitaire before she can read anything'.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
68

Becks' post was obviously about the role of sticky wages and prices in New Keynesian models of the economy. Brilliant stuff!


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
69

And reciprocally, no matter how much I agree with stras's politics, it does not make him a lovely and well-mannered houseguest.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
70

I bet stras pees on the mountain laurel.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:42 PM
horizontal rule
71

If Matt Yglesias had decided to whimsically befriend a clutch of social right-wingers instead of a clutch of economic right-wingers, and we were having this discussion about, say, Steve Sailer

Yglesias and Sailer do read each other's blogs (probably not very regularly, but some), and Sailer shows up in Yglesias's comments from time to time. Yglesias has even linked approvingly to Sailer a couple of times.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:42 PM
horizontal rule
72

And reciprocally, no matter how much I agree with stras's politics, it does not make him a lovely and well-mannered houseguest.

Isn't stras a "her"? Am I misremembering?


Posted by: NickFranklin | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:42 PM
horizontal rule
73

70: Bad example. Urine is good for mountain laurels.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
74

65: Who said anything about saying anything nice about/to her? If you run into someone socially whose political philosophy you find disgusting, you needn't say anything at all. Even if you feel strongly about counteracting what they say, it really isn't a productive place for that.

If that person is busily prosletysing those ideas at the time, by all means reasonably shoot them down, I'm not saying you should bite your tongue then.

But really, there is no need to say anything at all to them. Or to feel badly about anything you may have said in other contexts (unless you have behaved poorly and feel badly about that).


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
75

69: And no matter how much I may have my disagreements with stras's politics, he's still the sort of person that good to have out there. There are times that I wish I had such commitment to principles.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
76

Four Blade Razors As A Response To Oedipus Complex.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
77

Isn't stras a "her"? Am I misremembering?

Strassie? Are you an innie or an outie?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
78

Yeah, while there's a good shot that I've said at least some snippy things about McArdle while disagreeing with her (I must have -- I've disagreed with her enough, and I do get snippy), being moderately polite in disagreements with someone who's a real life friend of a friend shouldn't break anyone's heart, should it? Like, I read this thread and clicked over to her site to figure out what the post about the primaries was that was drawing sneers, and there isn't one -- at that point, you're just being a jerk.

I'd be all for a lay-off-the-generic-scorning-McArdle policy; while disagreeing with particular things she writes is one thing, this sort of thing just makes us look bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:46 PM
horizontal rule
79

66: Agreed.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
80

Also, we should address Jonah Goldberg's arguments individually on their merits. Just mocking him for being a huge tool doesn't help anybody.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
81

Also, we should address Jonah Goldberg's arguments individually on their merits. Just mocking him for being a huge tool doesn't help anybody.

Ok, but after twenty or thirty, mockings based on individual scorn for his arguments, can we just go back to calling him a tool? Why waste the time?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
82

But y'all agree it's OK to hate George Bush, right?
http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110010861


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
83

78: being moderately polite in disagreements with someone who's a real life friend of a friend shouldn't break anyone's heart, should it?

Well, okay, for most of us, she's a real-life friend of a pretend Internet acquaintance. Not quite the same thing. And vociferously denouncing her views as poorly-reasoned is completely within bounds; it would be different if people made a habit of speculating about her sex life or something.

But I didn't actually mean to start a whole new round of McMeganescence, and I hope I haven't created a monster. As it happens, I didn't check to see if she has a post about the primaries, it was just a generic example (it actually turns out she does, oddly enough) of the sort of thing that sets off these crazy threads. And I do have some mockery left over for the extent of some of our anti-McMegan obsessions, mine included, which was part of the original point. Perhaps, like Chris Rock, I was trying to be too clever for my own good.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
84

Look, will, Jonah Goldberg is a human being, with feelings. You think he likes people pointing out that he's a doughy moron who coasted to prominent ineptitude only through the machinations of his blood-thirtsy hyena of a mother? No he does not.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:55 PM
horizontal rule
85

80: Eh, if you ignore the real-life friend of Becks' aspect to it, sure. If we were talking about anything that I thought had potential to change anyone's mind about anything, I'd feel differently, but the sort of nonsense about McArdle that happens in the comments here isn' t political theater for a broader audience, it's just interpersonally unpleasant.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:56 PM
horizontal rule
86

82: Are we worried here that the next time we randomly find ourselves at a social event with George we'll feel sheepish about calling him an asshole on the interwebs?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
87

(it actually turns out she does, oddly enough) of

Huh. Whoops, I scanned her site and missed it. Sorry about that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
88

Well, okay, for most of us, she's a real-life friend of a pretend Internet acquaintance.

*bzzzt* Once someone says, "Hey, stop acting like a dick about my friend," if you continue to act like a dick, you're pretty much an asshole, right? This newfangled internet thing shouldn't enter into it.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
89

Personal insults, banned!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 2:59 PM
horizontal rule
90

89: Fucking hip-snappers, always trying to shut down vivid and engaging discourse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:00 PM
horizontal rule
91

85: this is different than something somebody posts on a low-to-medium readership blog, somehow? This is an invite only forum unreadable by outsiders?

Honestly, even excluding that point, I hadn't gathered that everybody here was comfortably aware that McMegan was vastly wrong on her fundamental premesis. Nor is it totally clear that everyone here's aware that her professional life is oriented around sewing doubt and distrust of the Democratic party, such that that party's electoral fortunes are negatively impacted. Maybe everybody here does know those things, but it can't hurt to reinforce the point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
92

No doubt I should keep my mouth shut, because I like Becks better than I like all of you savages, but there's a real issue here in that Becks' (and Yglesias' and Klein's) friendship with McArdle is just the thing that upsets people, because it makes them think that McArdle is getting more attention, and more sympathetic attention, than she would otherwise. So when someone like Becks (who I like better than all you savages) says "don't be mean to our friend" the honest response is "we're being mean because she's your friend." That said, Becks didn't link to her, so it's a bit gratuitous to go on about her, and it seems fair enough to say that we won't make it personal when she is linked to, although obviously her written perfidy is fair game.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
93

Like LB said above, I find all of the Althouse/Goldberg/Sailor stuff just fucking pointless. The comments about McArdle add another layer of annoyance because she's a friend but, really, it's all tiresome. It's one thing to point out a flaw in someone's argument but to just go on and on about how much you don't like someone in general? What's the point? Who are you convincing? It's just boring and tiresome.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
94

88: There are circumstances in which I don't mind being seen as an asshole, like when people try to define "disagreeing with my friend" as "acting like a dick." But as I said, no, really not trying to resurrect the whole thing out of gratuitous meanness.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
95

And did you all click on the link in 66? I'm telling you, I LOL'd. LOL'd!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:04 PM
horizontal rule
96

I've thought of this, to the point of being doubtful about coming at all. My intention is to keep interaction with McM. to a polite minimum, the way I did with my bigot brother-in-law-in-law for five years until I finally slipped and had to quit going to the annual party. The theory will be, "We're here to have fun, not to argue fundamental disagreements which are impossible to rationally resolve and which frequently lead to wars". Hopefully that will also be her theory.

I'm actually much nicer face-to-face than I am on the internet, but on the internet I'm the worst of the worst McM-wise, and I won't change my mind on the substance of the case (though perhaps I might someday decide to be less personally abusive, and not just temporarily during the party.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
97

Are we really expected to be "convincing" or not "boring and tiresome"? Because that is really a lot more pressure than I want.

(Not that I care to insulting McArdle or anyone else.)


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
98

Sailer is a racist! I mean, really. He puts a huge amount of effort into disseminating bullshit theories that black people are genetically inferior, and should (by implication) be treated as such. I can't imagine there being a limit to how often or how forcefully I should express that I don't like people like that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
99

I do want to see Emerson insult people though. That is one of the main attractions of DC Unfogged.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
100

And also with the rudeness thing -- I intentionally don't link to her, despite the fact that she sometimes says things I think could be interesting topics of discussion, because you all have proven that we can't have a productive discussion about anything she says. For people to bring her up just to insult her (as has happened in threads other than this one) when I'm going out of my way not to inflict her upon you is a bit of an insult to me.

Either stop bringing her up when I'm not linking to her or be prepared for McMegan Link Week At Unfogged.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
101

I'm actually much nicer face-to-face than I am on the internet

This is true of pretty much everybody.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
102

I'm totally down for a week of pointing out just how poorly thought out she is on the vast majority of topics. I can cross-post to the Poor Man! God knows our last remaining readers need some red meat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
103

sewing doubt and distrust

Very crafty of her.

(And a fair point about this being a public forum -- I was thinking more that the sort of generalized hostility McArdle gets here doesn't look calculated to reduce her public credibility. If you or The Editors wanted to do some giant silly thing about her, while it might still be mean, I wouldn't be complaining on the same grounds.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
104

This is true of pretty much everybody.

In war, divorce, or any conversation, it is a lot harder to shank someone face-to-face than it is to lob bombs and insults from far away.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
105

There are circumstances in which I don't mind being seen as an asshole, like when people try to define "disagreeing with my friend" as "acting like a dick."

Hey, wow, look at that! Moving the goalposts twice in one sentence. Whatever. I don't have anything at stake in this argument, except an aversion to what I see as pointless rudeness.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
106

I assumed you all have manners when meeting a real person in a social setting. I didn't doubt that that any real exchange would be minimal and civil at the least.

I wasn't wondering about that part.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:10 PM
horizontal rule
107

I cannot wait to tell Megan to her face that Ultimate isn't even a sport.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
108

103: look, I'm not going to be disingenuous: being mean to people on the internet is something I'm good at, and I only hope I can turn it to worthwhile ends. Still and all, I'd be happy with reducing her credibility among the regular readers of this forum.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:11 PM
horizontal rule
109

I hereby resolve to stop treating the McMegan thing as a running joke, however funny I may find it.

New target, 102, I've been meaning to ask: what the hell is it with all the sportsblogging, seriously?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
110

106: In turn, I was just wondering what part you were wondering about ... but clearly I missed some threads about this.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
111

109: (a) the Pats are undefeated, (b) yeah I dunno The Editors has a contrary streak.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:12 PM
horizontal rule
112

I'm actually much nicer face-to-face than I am on the internet
This is true of pretty much everybody.

I happen to look like a troll, which throws people off when I meet them. But I'm still very nice.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
113

Okay, I will do as 109.1 resolves to do. No sense reigniting the civility bonfire.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
114

105 is pointless rudeness. I'm very disappointed in you.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
115

Which is more consistent with a liberal philosophy, saying bitchy things about McMegan on pointless threads, or showing up in DC with a two by four?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:13 PM
horizontal rule
116

Sifu, your pitiful site is dying because you guys don't run enough Randy Moss posts. I've been trying to tell you!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
117

115 is genuinely shitty, even if it is a reference.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
118

114: Awesome.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
119

it is a lot harder to shank someone face-to-face

Think of the upside. You get to see them cry.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
120

116: we're trying, we're trying! We'd get a lot more sympathy if people realized both of us have to type with our foreheads.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
121

Oh come on, I don't even dislike McMegan. It's only a reference.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
122

reducing her credibility among the regular readers of this forum.

Yeah, I don't think there's much work that needs to be done there. That is, pretty much anyone for whom she has credibility either is contrarian by the standards of the forum (oh, someone like TLL, not that I know of his position on McArdle particularly), so social pressure to disagree with her is going to be counterproductive, or is a real life friend, in which case social pressure is just going to make them mad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
123

Think of the upside. You get to see them cry.

Having done this professionally, it is rarely as satisfying as I've hoped.

Confusion and bewilderment = very satisfying.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
124

Making people cry on the internet can be pretty satisfying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
125

if people realized both of us have to type with our foreheads.

Your brains are located in your fingertips. Smoker's gloves are like turtlenecks to you, and mittens are sleeping bags. I think you are the hamburger helper.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
126

112: .... but with an ass that launched a thousand threads, iirc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
127

Fear not, folks. I'm not a cloistered bicoastal elite gay Jewish liberal. I've been dealing with neo-Nazis, sociopaths, professional criminals, Armageddon Christians, libertarians, etc. all my life. Many of them are very nice, face-to-face.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
128

125: indiscretion error?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
129

Does Jammies know that we will all be evaluating heebie's ass?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
130

Like 109, I find the whole Megan thing endlessly entertaining. Someone mentions her name, and shitty comments blossom. Apparently this Megan situation is exactly like finding out that ogged goes bowling with John Yoo.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
131

but with an ass that launched a thousand threads, iirc.

Bright pink threads. Troll hair.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
132

122 crossed with enough stuff that it's pointless.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:20 PM
horizontal rule
133

not that I know of his position on McArdle particularly

I used to read her blog, but didn't follow her when she took the Boeing. I thought Mindles Drek had more substanative posts.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:21 PM
horizontal rule
134

I actually deleted the Poor Man from my RSS feed because of all of the fucking Patriots posts.

I thought we had achieved an obvious but unwritten truce here: Becks has stopped linking to Little Miss 2-by-4, and the rest of us have stopped bitching about her. Apparently not.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:21 PM
horizontal rule
135

I cannot wait to tell Megan to her face that Ultimate isn't even a sport.

Maybe you can tell me that when you catch up to me at the end of the lane. I'll be resting.

I was just wondering what part you were wondering about

I was wondering whether the experience of meeting the actual person would make the people who've been personally rude about McArdle (Nnot pointing out flaws in her arguments, not pointing out the consequences of arguments) and who don't like to think of themselves as assholes, experience a moment of guilt or dissonance.

I can't imagine there being a limit to how often or how forcefully I should express that I don't like people like that.

Dude, there are shunning mechanisms, if that's what you need to do. I think they are appropriate sometimes. But they're a lot harder than being an asshole about people on the internet.

(Also, and this is a pissy time to bring this up, but... I was wondering if you are going to do a series on why people shouldn't move back into fire areas in SD, to parallel the ones on why people shouldn't move back to NO.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:21 PM
horizontal rule
136

Does Jammies know that we will all be evaluating heebie's ass?

He took the infamous photos that all the Unfogged Women recieved!

indiscretion error?

Did I?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:21 PM
horizontal rule
137

Isn't their a song about this issue?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
138

127: Yeah, even the professional criminals and the sociopaths. Especially them, because, more than anyone else, they need to conceal what they really are.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
139

Also, I am illiterate.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
140

135: Yeah, I got that, now. Apparently I missed out on personal rudeness comments while on hiatus or something. I remeber a couple of ridiculing stupid ideas posts, but not personal rudeness. Maybe my memory is being selective, I dunno.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
141

(Also, and this is a pissy time to bring this up, but... I was wondering if you are going to do a series on why people shouldn't move back into fire areas in SD, to parallel the ones on why people shouldn't move back to NO.)

I've been thinking about it. It would obviously disingenuous of me not to point that it's just as stupid a place for people to live, but I've been weighing "being seen as obviously disingenuous" against "being way too lazy to write substantive posts for my own blog, yet somehow not too lazy to post endless unfogged comments," and, well, I bet you can figure out how that comparison's been working out.

But yeah, I think I do owe it to (especially) the New Orleans bloggers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
142

Maybe you can tell me that when you catch up to me at the end of the lane. I'll be resting.

Good to know. You are on my team anyway.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
143

135: pissy is the correct word.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
144

134: The truce is now written. Today is Asymmetrical Armistice Day.

(The answer to 135.2, however, is "no." Largely because most of the people involved do not think of what happened in the various McMegan threads as being "personally rude.")


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
145

143: doesn't bother me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
146

I was wondering if you are going to do a series on why people shouldn't move back into fire areas in SD, to parallel the ones on why people shouldn't move back to NO

I would be interested in this. A guy who works for Buck got evacuated, and was three blocks away from having his house burned down -- talking about it, Buck mentioned that the same neighborhood got burnt pretty recently (less than ten years, maybe?), whenever the last big round of SD wildfires was. And you know, live where you like, but this seems like a questionable housing decision.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:25 PM
horizontal rule
147

People definitely shouldn't move back to the fire areas. Is that controversial? I also think that the Mississippi floodplain should be rezoned.

As far as I know, Grand Forks has already evacuated it's threatened areas, as well as taking other steps.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
148

way too lazy to write substantive posts for my own blog

I hear you. Trying to bore out a troll was a good motivator for me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
149

exactly like finding out that ogged goes bowling with John Yoo

Nah, I'd figure that ogged was poisoning his beer with crafty Lur potions that Emerson will no doubt apprise us of.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
150

Aw, man. And everyone had been doing so well in the kinder, gentler Unfogged. Kumbaya, friends.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:26 PM
horizontal rule
151

"its"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
152

shhhhh stop talking about Di.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
153

I once met McArdle in person, and I felt guilty for being mean on the Internet, but honestly, I think that's something of a character flaw.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
154

148: Inefficient. You've got a bowling ball in hand, and he's in bad shoes for running.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
155

135: pissy is the correct word.

Posted by: foolishmortal

Yeah, I'd meant to email him about it for a while, but then we were talking about the content of his blog, and I thought he'd take it like I meant it, with no snark. The question was sincere, and better than the timing.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:28 PM
horizontal rule
156

150: Standpipe said it best.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
157

For reasons unknown to me, this thread is reminding me of RL Burnside's great response when he was asked about having killed a man. "It was between him and the Lord, him dying. I just shot him in the head."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
158

It would obviously disingenuous of me not to point that it's just as stupid a place for people to live

Is it though? Pretty much everywhere has some kind of risk of natural disasters. Some seem obviously worse than others.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
159

155: brief, not-very-substantive post is up.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
160

I stopped following "2Blowhards" because they kept linking to the blogs of racists, but I haven't stopped following various other blogs for linking to the blogs of libertarians.

And yet, which aspect of reactionary Republicanism is more dangerous right now?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
161

158: and a few are so obviously ridiculously inappropriate for standard American development patterns that people who live there are fools who should be called out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
162

You can't always avoid natural disasters, but that's a red herring. Some areas are pretty much guaranteed to get time, repeatedly.

Of course, you follow that argument far enough and you'll have to depopulate lots of california before an earthquake does. Still, that's on a different scale from things that are pretty much expected to happen every decade or two.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
163

162.2.2 is correct. The problem with both wildfires and hurricanes is that there's no particular reason they coudn't happen over and over again, year after year.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:32 PM
horizontal rule
164

I would recommend living more than 10,000 miles away from Yellowstone National Park. Back when that blew the last time, hoo-ee, lots of insurance companies went KABLAMMO.


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
165

Seriously, what was the decision on kinder and gentler? I didn't agree to anything. I think that we're far too moderate, and it's not like we need more people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
166

Sifu, your pitiful site is dying because you guys don't run enough Randy Moss posts.

I was thinking the other day that the Boston sports set needs to come up with some statistic to capture the Moss plays that are really special, as distinct from his general good work. Something like "number of excess babies born as a function of Moss-motivated intimacy" or "percentage of little kids who run into the kitchen and start point and shouting 'You' at their bewildered mothers."

Not looking forward to the cold-weather, ground-game Pats of December.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
167

Megan, I thought your post on how it was all developers fault, way back when, pointed to a possible solution to development problems like that in SD. IIRC, you felt that developers were morally liable for building in these stupid places; what if we take the next step and make them financially liable? Developers must provide disaster insurance for flooding, wildfires, etc. when they develop a new property. They would then have an incentive not to build someplace stupid.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
168

155: I gave Sifu shit about this a few months back when he was still living in the land of the fire/ drought/ earthquake/ tsunami. I seem to recall that he pointed out something about the '77 blizzard, and then went on to defend the relative quality of MA weed.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:34 PM
horizontal rule
169

This is not necessarily an endorsement for development practices. But high fire risk areas is a lot of So Cal, and I wonder if maybe mitigation of fire danger is easier than the hurricane thing.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
170

166: His one-handed catch in the Colts game didn't win the game, but it was something to watch. Even Dungy couldn't help smiling a little.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
171

Developers must provide disaster insurance for flooding, wildfires, etc. when they develop a new property.

This sounds like a very good idea.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
172

Who is Randy Moss? (he asks, knowing nothing good will come of it)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
173

Not looking forward to the cold-weather, ground-game Pats of December.

They may not have one now that Sammy Morris is on IR. Although there was talk about bringing Cory Dillon back.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:37 PM
horizontal rule
174

Seriously, what was the decision on kinder and gentler?

Nothing definite, just an agreement to be less interpersonally nasty/inflammatory, and more careful in responding to what's written, rather than uncharitable interpretations. And some other ancillary stuff.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
175

Developers must provide disaster insurance for flooding, wildfires, etc. when they develop a new property.

I'd much rather see proper zoning laws.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
176

92 and 100 are exactly right. Christ, people.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
177

170: It's the second of the two end zone catches against Miami that I can't get over. It really, really should have led to an increase in the amount of sex happening.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
178

Randy Moss is a McMegan damper.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:39 PM
horizontal rule
179

mitigation of fire danger is easier than the hurricane thing

There are a lot of things that can be done to mitigate against fire, but people like trees and brush. And we do have firefighters. Hurricane fighters, not so much.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:40 PM
horizontal rule
180

169: I'm theorizing ignorantly, but I think the fire danger has a lot to do with what makes it valuable real estate. The people whose houses burned down sought out locations to live in where they were close to or surrounded by scrubby backcountry vegetation that burns: you could clear it all, but the esthetics of the burny stuff was a part of the property value. Once you've mitigated the fire risk, might as well live someplace else entirely.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
181

I saw Moss's first big game, against Green Bay as a rookie. He caught the ball with two guys within arm's lenth, and then ran in for the touchdown. They were pretty good defenders, too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
182

I'd much rather see proper zoning laws

And people wonder why real estate is expensive in So Cal.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:42 PM
horizontal rule
183

And people wonder why real estate is expensive in So Cal.

Clear all the trees and brush and watch it cheapen.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
184

There's also no way to get a port off of a coast, which makes me a little more sympathetic to NO's plight. Also, isn't deteriorating infrastructure the sign of a declining empire?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:43 PM
horizontal rule
185

And some other ancillary stuff.

We agreed that Emerson is going to be McArdle's Best Friend Forever, and he is going to defend all of her opinions and her character with everything he's got. Ancillary.

Developers must provide disaster insurance for flooding, wildfires, etc. when they develop a new property.

Radical people 'round here are talking about the state leaving the Federal Flood Insurance Program. Says that it makes us seem insurable when we really aren't. If we couldn't get federal flood insurance, private insurance would be prohibitively expensive (to account for the fact that in some places the risk of fire and flood equals ONE.) or it wouldn't be available at all.

There are strategies for 'not insured'. Like, building cheap houses ($15-$20K, shacks really)that you don't mind losing every four years. And having really good evacuation plans.

My personal preference is to make developers live closest to the risk.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
186

Clear all the trees and brush and watch it cheapen

That is known as "Palmdale"


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
187

Deteriorating infrastructure is a deliberate policy choice. We could fix up all kinds of infrastructure with the amount of money we've wasted on Iraq.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
188

And we do have firefighters. Hurricane fighters, not so much.

Yeah, but that factors in. We have firefighters, and expect wildfires each and every year. You expect big, uncontrollable ones, too ... just less often. You expect Hurricanes every year too, just not every year wherever you live.

Unless you live in Puerto Rico, then you build a concrete house.

As far as the fire mitigation stuff goes, yes, some of it is in direct conflict with other factors people value. Which makes a bad fire worse.

One thing I don't understand about the so-cal fires, is anyone insured for this sort of thing? If so, why?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
189

I can't believe y'all are letting Emerson lay the ground for his "Moss is better than Rice" argument. Don't be naive!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
190

185 is a really, really good idea. Transitioning is a bit tricky.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
191

Don't we need fire to drive the economy? Fire is nature filing for divorce, making you buy all new stuff.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
192

Deteriorating infrastructure is a deliberate policy choice

...generally made by declining empires.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
193

Also, isn't deteriorating infrastructure the sign of a declining empire?

Perhaps, but who says we have deteriorating infrastructure in the US? We have enormous amounts of brand-spanking new infrastructure, it's just all in the so-called "exurbs" being built an hour and a half to two hours outside cities with halfway decent weather.

If people cared more about techno than they do about mediocre blues and a bunch of white kids getting drunk at Mardi Gras, they'd at least use Detroit as the canonical example of infrastructure deterioration, as it should be.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:48 PM
horizontal rule
194

isn't deteriorating infrastructure the sign of a declining empire

Sienna started building a huge extension to their cathedral, with existing cathedral serving as one wing, not the nave. The single wall built before the plague came still stands; a city in decline by resource-churning or population metrics. Yet lodging in old Sienna costs about twice as much as lodging in the capital of the free world, restaurants there are very nice indeed, and there is a crayon named after the city. America can still do good science, ghost towns of Utah notwithstanding.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
195

is anyone insured for this sort of thing

Can't get a loan without the insurance. CA has a program where the state is the insurer of last resort, but it is available. Some that lost their homes had no loan (paid off) and had decided against insurance. Oh well.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
196

If people cared more about techno than they do about mediocre blues and a bunch of white kids getting drunk at Mardi Gras, they'd at least use Detroit as the canonical example of infrastructure deterioration, as it should be.

What on earth are you talking about?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
197

Which is to say, fuck techno -- Detroit Rock City! Also the true birthplace of punk via the MC5.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
198

That is known as "Palmdale"

Palmdale, armpit of So. Cal? Chatsworth is a contender. Discuss.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
199

Fire is nature filing for divorce, making you buy all new stuff.

And flooding is nature being a bad houseguest: covering all your stuff with dirt, making the place smell awful, and carrying away your dog.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
200

There are a lot of things that can be done to mitigate against fire, but people like trees and brush.

Actually, I've heard that development built to San Diego's new fire-resistant building codes didn't burn at all. But if that increases the cost of housing, it further stratifies our society into 'people who can afford nice suburban lives' and 'the rest of us'. Which may be accurate, but sucks to reflect on.

(Also, because I know you were wondering, that paper, the North County Times, is freaking excellent on water issues. If the rest of it is as good, that is a great paper.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
201

America can still do good science, ghost towns of Utah notwithstanding.

This is a crack about cold fusion, right?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
202

193 makes a good point; I may not like the edge cities in Downers Grove or Warrenville, to use my local Chicago examples, but they sure don't look like decline to me.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
203

But if that increases the cost of housing, it further stratifies our society into 'people who can afford nice suburban lives' and 'the rest of us'.

But come on, these are already pretty tony areas. It's not like there's reams of poor people in the foothills.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
204

195: Well that's what I thought. But fire insurance really shouldn't be available for this case (like earthquake/mudslide, some places). And mortgage rates/availability should balance that.

Otherwise you are basically subsidizing bad development decisions, resulting in, well ... some of california today.

It's a real bitch to get out of once it's started, But doable.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
205

But if that increases the cost of housing, it further stratifies our society into 'people who can afford nice suburban lives' and 'the rest of us'.

If it increased the cost of housing in poorly chosen locations a whole lot, this wouldn't bother me. Rich people will always be able to pay to do stupid stuff, and if there are going to be rich people at all, eh, that's not a problem. What strikes me as a problem is when living in a wasteful, unsustainable way is enough of a norm that everyone wants a 'nice suburban life' and feels deprived if they can't have it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
206

202: We've got both declining infrastructure and spanking new. Which is interesting.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
207

Bmore, not Detroit for techno. Also for decay.

Allowing shoddy housing is so clearly beneficial for a number of social problems, but will never happen. HOAs that won't allow subletting, minimum lot sizes-- the whole point of local government in most suburban places is to keep those people away.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:56 PM
horizontal rule
208

North County Times, is freaking excellent on water issues

IME, San Diego in general is more water aware than LA. Comes from not having a Mulholland as a city father.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Mulholland


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:57 PM
horizontal rule
209

these are already pretty tony areas.

Yeah. I just want us to be aware that this will amplify that. All I ever talk about is making decisions explicit.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:58 PM
horizontal rule
210

209: But amplifying it is good, not bad. Amplify it enough and some areas will start to choke themselves off, which is good if they aren't really rationally sustainable anyway.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
211

What strikes me as a problem is when living in a wasteful, unsustainable way is enough of a norm that everyone wants a 'nice suburban life' and feels deprived if they can't have it.

Absolutely.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
212

196: Yeah, that area's exactly what I was talking about. Also their enormous central station (equivalent of Grand Central or Union Stations) whose name evades me at the moment, which has been abandoned and turned over to the homeless and gangs. Crazy place, surrounded by a chainlink fence with numerous holes and indifferent cops.

Had an interesting conversation just a couple weeks ago with an NPR host here whose family home used to be in that neighborhood of Detroit, talking about the oddness of going back and seeing just his mom's old house standing there, the rest of the block demolished and turning into open fields only a couple blocks away from the main drag.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 3:59 PM
horizontal rule
213

Allowing shoddy housing is so clearly beneficial for a number of social problems

http://www.yale.edu/amstud/inforev/riis/title.html

How the other half lives?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:01 PM
horizontal rule
214

211's Absolutely

There is really no way to get out of this insanity without pain. The pain will fall disproportionately on the economically weak, because it always does. The only question is, can we manage the pain and minimize it. Or just wait for it to blow up.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
215

I'm pretty damn sure this country is wealthy enough that we can do much better policywise than "allowing shoddy housing".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
216

And flooding is nature being a bad houseguest: covering all your stuff with dirt, making the place smell awful, and carrying away your dog.

flooding s/b DC Unfogged


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
217

215: I'm certain that's true. Right now, some of that wealth is being used to subsidize bad development policies. I'm also certain a better job can be done than that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
218

I was thinking of SRO's, which used to house people now homeless, and using single-family homes as rental properties. What happens now is that people cannot afford to live where the good work is, because housing supply is limited. Consequently, in the worst case, they eat dirt out of sight of the rich people, which is preferable for the rich people.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
219

215: Also, `shoddy' and `cheap and temporary' aren't neccessarily the same thing. As I understand it, traditional Japanese home building in many areas assumed that it would be knocked down or burned periodically, so was relatively easy to rebuild. One answer to a similar (but more extreme) fire/flood/earthquake issue.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:09 PM
horizontal rule
220

Didn't we already agree that Moss is better than Rice?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
221

ssumed that it would be knocked down or burned periodically, so was relatively easy to rebuild.

Buildings that fall down tend to kill lots of people. Earthquakes that kill like 5 people in CA end up killing 20,000 in many other countries.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
222

218: But `the good work' isn't always fixed in place, either. If I recall correctly, Aspen (the ski resort) nearly killed itself economically by pricing everything high to the point that there was no accomidation for labour. Too far down this road and it doesn't matter any more how many rich people have condos there, they'll will fix the problem or die. If there are sufficient humanitarian constraints on `fix the problem', this is a perfectly good way of letting markets sort this out.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:13 PM
horizontal rule
223

we can do much better policywise
Starting from scratch, ditching the mortgage interest deduction is obviously beneficial. That won't happen, so look for adjustments to current incentives. Allowing higher density through relaxed zoning laws/ HOA restrictions is an improvement. Given that current incentives and laws have produced McMansions, does increasing or decreasing $/m^2 make sense?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
224

Bmore, not Detroit for techno. Also for decay.

Oh, I was talking about techno's origins with the Belleville Three. No doubt B'more Club is a better scene these days, though I'm not sure if it counts as techno (damn genre proliferation and crossover).

As for decay, I wouldn't know. I've only seen the areas around Johns Hopkins and the trains between the airport and downtown. Nothing looked too Mad Maxish, though the crime statistics are terrifying for sure.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
225

221: This was part of the design issue in Japan as well. Hence paper walls. I'm not saying it's necessarily a solution, just that from a design problem building a house that's only expected to last 10-15 years is a different challenge. Doesn't mean it's cost effective. But doesn't mean `shanty' either, necessarily.

Fundamentally though, if you take the distortions from teh state covering your ass out, it may be that some areas of california just aren't feasable. Too bad.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
226

Detroit has some pretty impressive decay.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
227

traditional Japanese home building in many areas assumed that it would be knocked down or burned periodically

Good luck getting that past plan check. Seriously, quite a bit of expense in building houses is the need to comply with the building safety codes. Plumbling and electric cost more than the two by fours and gypsum.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
228

Buildings that fall down tend to kill lots of people. Earthquakes that kill like 5 people in CA end up killing 20,000 in many other countries.

There's got to be a sweet spot. Wood framed houses designed to sway, but aren't so expensive that you protect them against fires every eight or nine years. Houses on stilts in flood areas.

The solution can't always be armoring, because that costs money and the catastrophes are going to be more frequent. It is time to look for solutions that yield to the physical characteristics of the region.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
229

Actual decay is passe. Go for virtual decay, with a television drama.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:18 PM
horizontal rule
230

228: trailers?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:19 PM
horizontal rule
231

Trailers? And lure tornadoes into my state? We have enough disasters already.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
232

It is time to look for solutions that yield to the physical characteristics of the region.

You're not going Earth Mother on us, are you? If we're willing to stand up to the land--invade it if necessary--we can nip this Naturefascism problem in the bud. But your appeasement solution is simply cutting and running under a different label.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
233

222: The problem gets very bad before the market fixes it. Look at Los Angeles: while there are still central enclaves where the immigrant working class can squeeze in, those are gentrifying at a good clip, slowed only slightly by rent stabilization. But the middle class has long since moved out the sub- and ex-urbs. Traffic, which was a minor bitch in the late nineties, has gotten considerably worse, and is a more universal complaint than the schools. But inclusionary zoning and real transit investment are far, far off.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:22 PM
horizontal rule
234

227:

Oh ffs. not just tll.

yes, this is obvious. My point wasn't that we should resort to feudal Japanese building codes. It was that building in an area or to a code with faulty assumptions is part of the problem. Maybe this can be engineered around. Maybe it can't. If it can't, maybe people just shouldn't live there.

Note engineering here is meant in a pretty broad sense to allow for changes in how housing is viewed.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:22 PM
horizontal rule
235

231: Trailers that join together into a tornado-fighting robot, then.

It's my state too. My part's just more paved is all.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:23 PM
horizontal rule
236

The solution can't always be armoring, because that costs money

Seriously, why not? Sure it wasn't cheap to keep the water out of Holland, but it seems like that's a better solution than having everyone live on rafts.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:24 PM
horizontal rule
237

233: Yeah, hence the pain part.

Look it would be great if better planning was evident (it has not been) and if government intervention helped more than it hurt (so far, mixed bag). However, maintaining a system where the basic assumptions are wrong, everyone knows they are wrong, and this is papered over doesn't help anyone. It actively makes things worse over time, even, because lots of people invest (in all senses) in these fictions.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
238

236: I think she meant can't always be the solution because it isn't economically feasable. The `always' being the important part.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:27 PM
horizontal rule
239

traditional Japanese home building in many areas assumed that it would be knocked down or burned periodically

This doesn't sound right. Traditional all-wood construction was ideal for those hazards &mdash wood framing is flexible in quakes, and solid wood joints hold together in fires longer than joints with nails and joist hangers &mdash but I don't think it was ever meant to be temporary. The same principles that went into traditional houses went in the oldest surviving wood buildings in the world (in Nara).

Also: UnfoggeDConII can only be judged an absolute success if Emerson ends up in bed with McMegan.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:30 PM
horizontal rule
240

Detroit has some pretty impressive decay.

No kidding. Here's the building I was think of in 212: Michigan Central Depot. Amazingly huge building, completely abandoned and just left to collapse.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:31 PM
horizontal rule
241

Emerson ends up in bed with McMegan

I'll see if I can find my video camera


Posted by: Paris Hilton | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
242

I am sure Becks had a truly marvelous post in mind which would have led to discussions of Megan McArdle, Randy Moss and natural disasters, but her sticky note was too small to contain it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:34 PM
horizontal rule
243

I think she meant can't always be the solution because it isn't economically feasable. The `always' being the important part.

Yeah, I tend to think about these things simultaneously thinking about a return to Clinton era levels of taxation and spending "only" 100 billion a year on the military.

Ponies for everyone!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:39 PM
horizontal rule
244

A modest proposal for Detroit.

The ongoing debate over Detroit's abandoned buildings took a strange turn five years ago when New York photographer Camilo Jos├ę Vergara made the modest proposal that the 12 square blocks surrounding Grand Circus Park be turned into an urban ruins theme park.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:39 PM
horizontal rule
245

Trailers that join together into a tornado-fighting robot

How awesome would that be.

GSwift, this is stuff that I wonder about all the time, and I would love to hear that I plain do not understand the scale of the California economy or I've got it wrong. My fear is that there isn't enough money in the state for us to live like we do in the coming climate regime. The disaster scenario is a decade with two big fires and a major flood. And gas prices going up everywhere. And water getting more expensive, because local supplies are drying up. And county taxes getting more expensive, to cover creeping costs, like replacing culverts because rising sea levels backwater them or increased firefighting capacity. And the state needs major, major infrastructure fixes, for the Delta and the highways in particular.

I don't think we can afford to build suburbs that are so expensive that we are committed to protecting them. The first two fires, maybe. But what if it is three times in twenty-five years? While the South is in year four of the latest drought and Florida got two more Hurricane Andrews and New York has to rebuild its entire subway? The feds can't bail us out. I worry at night.


****
On preview, what you said in 243. We really cannot afford that war we're in.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:44 PM
horizontal rule
246

My fear is that there isn't enough money in the state for us to live like we do in the coming climate regime.

My 'everything's going to be all right' fantasy is that while we'll need huge changes in lifestyle, they won't be nearly as unpleasant as they are huge -- that we can cut an immense amount of unsustainability out of our way of life without taking too much pain.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
247

there isn't enough money in the state

Maybr true in some states, less so in CA. But let's stop giving so much money to the prison guards, frinstance m'kay


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
248

91

"... Nor is it totally clear that everyone here's aware that her professional life is oriented around sewing doubt and distrust of the Democratic party, such that that party's electoral fortunes are negatively impacted. ..."

Whereas you all have total faith and trust in the Democratic party and never say anything bad about it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:56 PM
horizontal rule
249

We are bitter, but loyal. Eh, probably not even that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:58 PM
horizontal rule
250

See, the funny thing is that they won't matter so much to me. I live close to work, don't have a car, don't like things, eat locally, dry my clothes on the clothesline and generally radiate smug self-righteousness. So I think that people won't mind so much if they have to give up air-conditioning and some of their meat consumption and live in triplexes.

But I have been made aware that my life-style isn't universal, and that other people mind very much if gas is expensive. I can't tease apart how much people value their lifestyles because it is what they are used to and because they constantly appreciate their lawns.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 4:59 PM
horizontal rule
251

91: Don't be silly, Shearer. I've explained several times that I hate Democrats and especially the Democratic leaders, and that I am a "Democrat" because in a winner-take-all system you almost never have more than two real choices. (Before the Civil War; during the Populist era, almost; can't think of a third time).

And I'd guess that a third or a fourth of Democrats are pretty much like me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:02 PM
horizontal rule
252

92

"No doubt I should keep my mouth shut, because I like Becks better than I like all of you savages, but there's a real issue here in that Becks' (and Yglesias' and Klein's) friendship with McArdle is just the thing that upsets people, because it makes them think that McArdle is getting more attention, and more sympathetic attention, than she would otherwise. ..."

Actually I think it upsets people because they are jerks. Same as with the Yglesias envy you sometimes see.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
253

251: 91 --> 248


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
254

... live in triplexes.

... because they constantly appreciate their lawns.

I also don't live a car, live close to work, etc. . . but I can tell you that I am aware every day whether or not I can hear my neighbors from inside my living space.

OTOH, I don't object to the idea that my preference to not be able to hear my neighbors should be an expensive one.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:03 PM
horizontal rule
255

252: No comment as per an agreement here to drop the subject.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
256

I can't tease apart how much people value their lifestyles because it is what they are used to and because they constantly appreciate their lawns.

I mean:
I can't tease apart how much people value their lifestyles because it is what they are used to and how much they value their lifestyles because they constantly appreciate their lawns.

See, TLL, I think it is time to be making explicit decisions about what we want to suport and what we don't. I'd like to go into the Agrarian Utopia with good communications capacity, a good health system, good universities, good transportation and some threshold of housing and food for everyone. I'd jettison a lot of the other stuff (like large single-family homes and the prison industry and basically everything Ezra put on the affluence side of a href="http://ezraklein.typepad.com/blog/2007/11/affluence-vs-se.html">this divide.) There are ways to keep quality of life high (if people agree with me on what quality of life is), but we won't get there by accident.

Why am I putting all of my posts into the Unfogged comments? Sorry, y'all. Sorry, Ogged.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:09 PM
horizontal rule
257

One difference between New Orleans and San Diego is that in New Orleans the problems are getting progressively worse. The land is sinking, the sea level is rising and the land between New Orleans and the open ocean which partially shelters the city is disappearing.

Also the destruction in New Orleans was much greater, in San Diego almost all of the people evacuated have intact houses to return to. It is easier to abandon a house which has been destroyed


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:10 PM
horizontal rule
258

{wanders back in}

OMG! Max gets a cookie!

C IS FOR COOKIE! COOKIE IS FOR MEEEEEEEE!

I think I was thinking about B's sticky note thing and

You really really really like the idea.

...I already wrote that post.

As in this: I don't think we need to actually follow this but I think the general point is a good one

I must have put that on my to-do list earlier than last night and my list was just out of order. Yay! I get to cross something off. Brilliance will have to wait for another day.

{considers shutting up} Aw, what the hell. You didn't have enough time to think about it before when you wrote the previous post, other than to sorta outline the preliminary thoughts, and nobody really followed up on it, and you think it's a great idea, so you had this brainstorm, which has apparently returned to the aether, but if you could just figure out a way to implement it then ... And that's the part when I'm waiting for the brilliant idea that's floating around your subconscious somewhere to make its appearance. ('2 * 2 = ... 2 * 2 = ... 2 * 2 =... THAT'S IT! FOUR!')

I know it's there; I keep waiting for it to appear.

max
['Prolly gonna be waitin' forever now.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
259

New Orleans the problems are getting progressively worse. The land is sinking, the sea level is rising and the land between New Orleans and the open ocean which partially shelters the city is disappearing.

Otoh, this is mostly a problem `we' caused, and could be remedied for a few billion, iirc. It's a choice to do this or not. Some of the issues in (parts of) California are probably more fundamental, actually.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
260

The land between New Orleans and the open ocean which partially shelters the city is disappearing.

Don't know if it's too late or not, but bad choices made this problem much worse than it had to be.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
261

180

"169: I'm theorizing ignorantly, but I think the fire danger has a lot to do with what makes it valuable real estate. The people whose houses burned down sought out locations to live in where they were close to or surrounded by scrubby backcountry vegetation that burns: you could clear it all, but the esthetics of the burny stuff was a part of the property value. Once you've mitigated the fire risk, might as well live someplace else entirely."

If you just clear the vegetation you are likely to get mudslides (which often follow fires anyway). But there is a lot you can do to reduce the risk. It is unclear to me that the risk is so great that it is actually irrational to build in these areas. If the risk of destruction is .001 per year this is affordable even if it means thousands of home burned in a bad year, .01 might not be.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:18 PM
horizontal rule
262

256: In this sense bailout plans for flood/fire insurance that is not actuarially sensible is much like water, oil, and food subsidies. It's not like we don't all pay for this stuff anyway, it's just that it disconnects where the costs are incurred and where they are paid, it distorts the economy in a way that makes irrational or dangerous choices seem rational, etc.

So I'm completely behind the idea that we should make these implicit choices explicit. One problem with that is that while theoretically some of these changes could be made without a net cost, politics doesn't work that way. It's pretty rational to assume that a politician working these sorts of changes into law will screw you both ways if they possibly can.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:19 PM
horizontal rule
263

261: As I understand, the big question here isn't whether people should take the risk, but whether taxpayers should indemnify them against the risk.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
264

180: Yeah, it's not clear exactly where it is or isn't rational, and how that might be changing. What is clear is that if the state will bail you out anyway and everybody knows it, there is no real incentive for the insurance companies (and thereby mortgage companies) to figure it out.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
265

263: exactly.

and of course my 264 was to 261.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
266

In the case of New Orleans, there's good reason to have a port city somewhere around there, and NOLA is an old, pretty indispensable part of American culture. In case of California brushfires, none of those factors operate. By and large it's just a recent high-end consumer choice.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
267

259

""New Orleans the problems are getting progressively worse. The land is sinking, the sea level is rising and the land between New Orleans and the open ocean which partially shelters the city is disappearing."

Otoh, this is mostly a problem `we' caused, and could be remedied for a few billion, iirc. It's a choice to do this or not. Some of the issues in (parts of) California are probably more fundamental, actually."

The sinking land was caused by building New Orleans in a marsh and can solved by letting it revert to marsh. The disappearing land is caused by the Mississippi levees which are needed if you want New Orleans to be a port. The rising sea level is caused (in part) by global warming which is going to take more than a few billion to fix.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
268

I don't think that the levees caused the disappearing land.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:26 PM
horizontal rule
269

Houston is an example of a major port city not right on the coast. But it developed much later than NOLA, and partly in response to the non-viability of Galveston.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
270

I don't know this stuff, but it's not implausible on its face. Pretty much anything you do to stabilize a beach makes the beach go away eventually.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
271

267: The sinking in NO and the disappearing land is caused by fixing the rivers mouth and taking silt out of the system. It's accelerated by erosion due to cross cutting the bayous for natural gas and oil.

There is a reasonable plan to redirect some silt that models say will sort out the bayou and inslands for 4-5billion iirc.

The sea level is a different problem, and like you say won't be fixed by that. In that sense, if the silt deposition issue is sorted out lousiana will be in the same boat as all other coastal areas (but not worse)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:30 PM
horizontal rule
272

268. The levees contribute by not allowing silt-laden flood deposits to spread beyond the channel. They are a part of the issue - there are some fundamental conflicts with wanting to develop right on the river while letting the river "be a river".

THe Atchafalaya (sp?) cut-off is an obviosu example of this.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
273

268

"I don't think that the levees caused the disappearing land."

As I understand it naturally the Mississippi is constantly silting up and changing course thereby replenishing the entire delt region with soil. By confining it to one channel with levees the silt gets dumped in one spot (maybe off the continental shelf) and the rest of the delta is steadily eroding. There are other factors as well (like the rising sea level and damage from oil and gas development) but the levees are the main cause.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
274

This USGS page has some relevant maps. Part of the way down the page is a map of some of the shifting deltas from the past per 268.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 5:40 PM
horizontal rule
275

273: Right, it's being dumped right off the shelf right now. But there is a good engineering plan for silt diversion that should pretty much sort this out. The models look good, anyway. It's the levees that constrain the river (since the 40's, iirc), but that can be worked around. If it were implemented.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 6:42 PM
horizontal rule
276

275: there's a huge amount of political resistance to implementing that plan, because it would involve sacrificing some downstream neighborhoods -- as well as some farmlands upstream, if I recall, and to call the levee boards corrupt and parochial is a vast understatement. Anyhow it would be at best a band aid: you're never going to get the Mississippi flowing through New Orleans in a natural way because it should really be flowing through the Atchafalaya.

The other problem with re├źngineering the Mississippi so it deposits more silt is that the way it deposits silt is by flooding, and people are resistant to being regularly flooded.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
277

No, the point it isn't a band aid, with the right partial flow, anyway. At least that's what I've read. You divert silt almost all of it past land, but you get back the wetlands and bayou. Something like 40% of US fisheries by value is out of that area, and it's doing great right now as the barrier islands and bayou fall apart and provide lots of nutrient + protection. Once the protection goes, those fisheries fall off a cliff though.

Corrupt levee boards, lack of funds (although more has been spend in NO so far), inertia... these are problems. The projections I read about had models showing complete recovery though, no band aid at all. You lose a little land, but trivial amounts compared to what has already gone underwater since the 70s.

The main problem seems to be that the people who are getting most hit so far are indigenous, immigrant, cajun -- nobody cares. Industry is fine so far and fisheries have been changed, but some are producing better in the short run. There is a good argument about hurrican reduction but it's abstract and hard to prove.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 6:55 PM
horizontal rule
278

277: well, but it's not like there's this massive, unpopulated area downstream. You're necessarily going to be sacrificing some of those downstream, cajun and agricultural towns. You also would be doing nothing to prevent New Orleans itself from sinking; you'd essentially be inceasing the size of the bowl the city is in, but doing nothing to raise that bowl's floor. If a storm surge breaks through (e.g. on MRGO) the bowl will still fill up. So the city will keep getting lower, and the ocean will keep getting higher. Band-aid.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
279

278: band aid for NO, maybe. For the coast though? no. They're already losing agricultural & fishing towns & villages to the ocean. They're going to lose their livelihood too. Also, the increased barrier islands and bayou would at least modulate the storm surge a lot.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 7:15 PM
horizontal rule
280

279: I agree it's vitally important to change things if you're not going to have total ecosystem collapse on the gulf coast, and I agree that would be devastating to local industry down there. I just don't agree that there's an easy way to save towns without actually flooding them with mud, which obviously carries its own risks, and I think NOLA as a major city is pretty much a lost cause. I don't disagree that it's probably worth doing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-14-07 7:32 PM
horizontal rule
281

New Orleans' flooding problems can be solved for some value of solved, if y'all are willing to cough up the tall Yanqui dollars needed to let the real experts come and do their work, and it needed cost more than a couple of months of Iraq either.

The flooding problems will never disappear completely, but things like Katrina need never have happened, if the flood defence infrastructure had not been deliberately neglected.

But then again the problem was never the flooding, it was that there were too many poor poeple of the wrong skincolour living there, and now they have been nicely dissappeared, their land can be appropriated and Disneyland NO is up and running again without having to worry about the real city behind it.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 11-15-07 3:26 AM
horizontal rule