Re: Two unrelated thoughts

1

I agree with the second thought.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:08 PM
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I agree with the second thought as well.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:09 PM
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I disagree entirely! Your comity is denied!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:11 PM
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In NY, single-occupancy restrooms are usually unlabeled, even if there are two of them. Even if they are labeled, I feel pretty comfortable ignoring it and using the one that's free. When I do this in Kansas, it freaks people the fuck out. Like they're about to call the police or something.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:11 PM
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That's just because y'all are used to seeing pee on the seat.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:12 PM
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Stras I will PEE YOUR SHIT DOWN if you do not agree with me.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:13 PM
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I think labeled single-occupancy restrooms are a vestige of building codes.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:16 PM
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When I was in college, there was in the library stacks a single-occupancy gender-restricted restroom that had a sliding bolt lock on the inside of the door.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:16 PM
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I find them pointless, but comprehensible. Not walking into the wrong-gender public restroom is a pretty strong taboo, and catering to people who'd be disturbed by apparent violations (that is, entering a restroom as someone of the other gender left it) is the sort of thing that happens.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:18 PM
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entering a restroom as someone of the other gender left it

Yeah, it's totally disconcerting when this happens at your house, at parties, etc.

I don't use the single-occupancy women's room because I'm afraid of looking like a pervert as I exit. Then i'd try to explain, and look like more of a pervert.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:20 PM
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On the ADA stuff: the sweeping finding that the ADA reduces disabled employment comes from one of those broad natural-experiment type papers that I think often doesn't pay enough attention to institutional factors. Here's some more recent evidence casting a good amount of doubt on the finding:

http://www.nber.org/papers/w10740

With that said, unintended consequences do exist and I think the ADA was an over-broad law that probably imposed more costs than it created benefits. I find the "Freakonomics" stuff on "economics of everyday life that you never thought about!" to be more toolish than looking at actual economic incentives in laws designed to affect economic behavior. Actually, even the word "Freakonomics" is very toolish.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:20 PM
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No one cares about ADA's revenge effects? Sigh.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:20 PM
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Wow, I spoke too soon.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:21 PM
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When I was in college, there was in the library stacks a single-occupancy gender-restricted restroom that had a sliding bolt lock on the inside of the door.

I remember that restroom!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:21 PM
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Slol, your tearoom exploits are renowned throughout the academy, but what's weird about that arrangement?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:22 PM
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No one cares about ADA's revenge effects? Sigh.

We're waiting for the Althouse summary.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:22 PM
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Oh, that reminds me, when I was at Slol's undergrad institution, I once walked in on a woman on the can because she didn't lock the goddamned door. I remember being pretty mad that I was the one apologizing when really the awkwardness was all her fault.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:24 PM
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I do, but I'll note that it's not limited to the ADA or woodpeckers, but seems to generalize to any intervention meant to prevent people from being bastards. Free college education if you serve in the Guard for two years? Let you go on day 719. Fully vested after 25 years? Let go at 24. (Move the limit down, average length of employment drops.) Health care mandatory for all fulltime workers? Lots of people stuck at 37.5 hour weeks.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:24 PM
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Not only is the second correct, it probably doesn't go far enough. Modulo design issues, I find gender-restricting them to be a bit odd.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:24 PM
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I don't know many environmental policy wonks that really like the ESA as written. Plenty of folks support it tactically - it was a great first attempt, it's politically hard to improve on as opening it up to change would likely result in it's getting gutted, etc. But it's too easy to game (as they note) and too inflexible (ie, no cost-benefit analysis).


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:25 PM
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10: I'm not defending the taboo, just saying that it exists for a lot of people in relation to public bathrooms as opposed to bathrooms in a private home.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:26 PM
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Why do the Freakonomics guys have any cred at all? They do ridiculously stupid videos for the NYT about trends in male six-pack abs, in which they argue that there were no abs before Michaelangelo's David, and then no abs again until James Dean or whatever. It's false in every sense, and completely meaningless, as far as I can tell. And why the fuck are they doing art history?

A friend told me she read some argument by them about how violent action pictures are proven to reduce violence because the areas near movie theaters where violent films are shown are not proven to have higher crime rates, and also none of the people in that movie theater are committing violent crimes for two hours because they've been given something to do.

Freakonomics stuff always reads to me like a bad expository essay written by a dumb 18-year-old.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:29 PM
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That NYT column reads like something written by a dumb 18 year old? Your students are better than mine.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:34 PM
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but seems to generalize to any intervention meant to prevent people from being bastards. Free college education if you serve in the Guard for two years? Let you go on day 719. Fully vested after 25 years? Let go at 24. (Move the limit down, average length of employment drops.) Health care mandatory for all fulltime workers? Lots of people stuck at 37.5 hour weeks.

Organizational sociologists call this "how floors become ceilings." But no-one listens to us because we are not freakonomic. Actually, this is not true. Occasionally economists listen, when they need ideas.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:38 PM
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Yeah, the Freakonomics guys have really hoodwinked people into somehow thinking they're savvy practitioners of arcane economic noodling. Their book was especially heinous.


Posted by: The Critic | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:38 PM
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Their writing isn't bad. But people seem to confuse a good prose style with sensible thinking.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:39 PM
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I pretty much agree with AWB in 22.

That said, anybody trying to talk about employment of people with disabilities has to take into account the fact that the Social Security Disability system is massively incentived to punish people for working. The only systematic attempt I know of to mitigate that (the Ticket to Work program) has been implemented at the kind of grossly lumbering pace that makes a tired snail look speedy.

Bah. Get rid of SSDI, get read of TANF, get rid of all the hoop-jumping and morals testing and everything else. Massively expanded EITC/negative tax for everyone. Let's use all this bureaucratic energy for fixing real problems.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:40 PM
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18: the frequent problem when economists point out those problems is that they always make a huge deal about even small unintended consequences while totally ignoring the positive benefits of the law, even when those are enormous (example: minimum wage). It's good for people who *actually agree with the purpose of the law* to think about unintended consequences, but much of the time unintended consequences arguments are just an excuse to trash stuff.

22: the Freakonomics guys are indeed a leading cast of doltish, know-nothing economism running rampant. See D-Squareds excellent analysis of the book.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:40 PM
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(Gah, I hate the word incentivized so much that I spelled it wrong. Let's just say "SSDI creates disincentives for people to work.")


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:41 PM
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I feel that these thoughts could be related and tied to the discussion about handicapped bathrooms: single-occupancy restrooms are gender-restricted because WHAT IF A WOMAN HAS TO PEE RIGHT NOW. It is wrong to make her wait for a man.

and vice versa.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:42 PM
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31

28.1 seconded.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:42 PM
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Also, Nathan has it right in 7. Building codes predate the ADA, and talk about inertia when it comes to changing them--!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:43 PM
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But people seem to confuse a good prose style with sensible thinking.

Often at both ends of the process.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:43 PM
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34

And why the fuck are they doing art history?

Because, just as economists know social science better than social scientists, they know humanities better than the humanists. How could they not? Look at the breathtaking lack of equations in Wölfflin's work.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:44 PM
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28 was me.

Bah. Get rid of SSDI, get read of TANF, get rid of all the hoop-jumping and morals testing and everything else. Massively expanded EITC/negative tax for everyone. Let's use all this bureaucratic energy for fixing real problems.

I pretty much agree in theory. Redistribute income broadly and forget about trying to manipulate behavior is the economic theory answer to this stuff. It is held by economists across the political spectrum -- Milton Friedman consistently made exactly this argument, and Charles Murray advanced it again in a recent book (not that Murray is an economist exactly, but whatever).

But political systems may rely on a sense of social solidarity that calls for attaching some strings to money. There's a reason why the Scandanavian countries attach so many of their social benefits to work. Not sure what the right answer is, except that we're too far in the direction of bureaucratized moralism with our social benefits.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:46 PM
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36
So does this mean that every law designed to help endangered animals, poor people and the disabled is bound to fail? Of course not.

Because that's what 95% of people are going to use his anecdotes to argue...

But linking to 27.3, I think all his examples have in common that they're unfunded obligations, enforced by lawsuit. If we have the balls to actually pay money for these things - pay partial salary for people to hire the disabled, subsidize interpretation, etc. - the law of unintended consequences will get less dangerous.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:48 PM
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35: Well, the EITC is tied to work. I'm okay with continuing to encourage people to engage in paid work. It's just not the whole story.

Also, the abstract linked in 11 sounds interesting, but the paper is subscribers-only.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:48 PM
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24: My dad used to call it "why working in benefits is a bitch." There is an obvious toolish use for studies like this, but the data's interesting because those little problems that are part of the overall greater good can drive someone crazy when they try to navigate the bureaucracy.

In material ways, too; Witt's SSDI example is great. A friend of mine couldn't work due to the aftereffects of having a friggin' brain tumor. Or, at least, she could not work consistently enough to secure a living for herself. She'd have good months and bad months. But having any kind of work history at all would have been enough to disqualify her from the medical benefit, meaning her options were between a) try to get a job and get hit with a $14000 medical bill, or b) wait around, even though she was relatively healthy, so the bill could be paid.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:50 PM
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I think all his examples have in common that they're unfunded obligations, enforced by lawsuit.

Great point. Our reliance on the legal system to handle social policy is a big social deformation. As in the replacement of union representation by plaintiff labor law.

Of course, since the ability to bring lawsuits is pretty much all we've got now, this makes the Republican crusade against "trial lawyers" even more pernicious.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:50 PM
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37: here's the paper on Jolls' website:

http://www.law.yale.edu/documents/pdf/Faculty/Jolls_and_Prescott_2_11_052.pdf


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:53 PM
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single-occupancy restrooms are gender-restricted because WHAT IF A WOMAN HAS TO PEE RIGHT NOW. It is wrong to make her wait for a man.

Whereas if there are two gender-restricted single-occupancy restrooms, and a woman has to pee RIGHT NOW, and the female restroom is occupied and the male restroom is not, then the woman is waiting for a woman, while the vacant male-only restroom silently mocks her bladder trauma. Much more fair.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 12:59 PM
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What do a deaf woman in Los Angeles, a first-century Jewish sandal maker and a red-cockaded woodpecker have in common?

He pretty much lost me there. Way too cute.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:05 PM
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41: Exactly. The only efficient system of bathroom-waiting is gender-blind.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:07 PM
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Whereas if there are two gender-restricted single-occupancy restrooms, and a woman has to pee RIGHT NOW, and the female restroom is occupied and the male restroom is not, then the woman is waiting for a woman, while the vacant male-only restroom silently mocks her bladder trauma. Much more fair.

And, indeed, much more common.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:08 PM
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The claim that that the ADA has more costs than benefits is irrelevant to whether it's a good law. The point of the ADA was to benefit the disabled, even if that created expenses to corporate interests (such as the doctor who had to pay for an interpreter). The theory is that a deaf woman needs an interpreter, and a "top ranked orthopedist" can afford one by passing on the costs in his overhead.

Did I mention that my firm brings ADA class actions from time to time? And that we can't meet our wheelchair-bound clients in our own office (built more than a century before the ADA passed)?


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:09 PM
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Single-occupancy restrooms should not be designated male or female. Instead, they should be marked "Schrödinger." While the restroom door is closed, the gender of the occupant is in a state of quantum superposition. Which is kinda hott.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:09 PM
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I don't get that, man. If the men's bathroom is available and is single-occupancy, I will fucking go in there. Actually I once went into a men's bathroom that was multiple-occupancy because the entire women's bathroom was "out of order." I checked to see if there was anyone in there first, though.

I saw other women being like "well, I guess I'll just have to hold it until Chicago, then." (This was at a train station in Milwaukee.)

I blame the patriarchy that men can't similarly use women's single-occupancy restrooms without being perceived as pervs and/or potentially getting the stink-eye.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:10 PM
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Come on people. Cooties. No further information needed.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:12 PM
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A bar I used to go to had two single-occupancy bathrooms, labeled `A' and `B'. It was but one of the many excellent things about that place.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:14 PM
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I find single-occupancy restrooms that are gender-restricted to be really dull when cruising?


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:16 PM
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41, 44- I didn't say it wasn't fair, I said it was wrong.

My crazy college dorm had only mixed multiple-occupancy facilities and coed floors. Showers and everything. Sometimes we moved the common room furniture in there to hang out, cause of beer spills being easier to clean up.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:17 PM
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The only efficient system of bathroom-waiting is gender-blind.

From my extensive study of the wildly differing lengths of men's and women's bathroom lines at stadiums and state fairs, I have concluded that women would have a much better go of it if they would just nut up and pee shoulder-to-shoulder in a trough like the boys do.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:17 PM
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You really get a moving target in these arguments. For example, economists will argue for just passing out money to people who need it for some specific reason (e.g. bad health) instead of mandating or subsidizing specific things.

But many of the same people will start talking about "free riders" and "desert" or "dependency" or "entitlement" if actual handouts are put in place.

Same for Pigovian environmental taxes and credits -- economists prefer these to most other forms of environmental protection, but they don't necessarily actually support Pigovian taxes.

And so on.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:17 PM
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The claim that that the ADA has more costs than benefits is irrelevant to whether it's a good law.

Let's rephrase that as 'the fact that the doctor bears extra costs is irrelevant to our judgment about the ADA except to the extent that it means he refuses to treat the disabled. It's a bad law if it doesn't actually result in having disabled people helped.

I mean, is there a reason that interpretation services aren't covered by insurance, or billable as part of the cost of treating the patient?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:18 PM
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labeled `A' and `B'

Good thing they didn't use '1' and '2', as that would have led to a whole new level of confusion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:18 PM
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And on the other topic, our eccentric building also has several single occupancy bathrooms. In that section there are no more than 20 employees and virtually no visitors. Even though/because everyone knows everyone, the female staff adamantly refuse to share. The issue pops up again every few years (especially when Ally McBeal was popular), and every time the male senior lawyers decide this is one the secretaries can win.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:19 PM
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aren't covered by insurance

As always, the problem is the insurance companies and our ass-backwards system for funding health care.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:20 PM
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the female staff adamantly refuse to share

Sounds like it's time for a sit-in.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:22 PM
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54- doctors are supposed to write it off as a cost of business, similar to hiring receptionists and buying chairs for the waiting room. Also, it is illegal for them to refuse to accept a patient just because they don't want to get an interpreter. But, the article was wrong (and so were the people in question) about the woman getting to choose her form of interpreter. The law is pretty clear about the fact that "reasonable accomodations" is NOT just whatever the patient wants, but is what is most reasonable given the individual circumstances. For the situation described, having an interpreter for one session and notes for follow-ups would be a pretty standard practice.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:23 PM
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57: Yup. This is why nobody is going to fix it properly unless/until catastrophic collapse.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:24 PM
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The Crash of 2008

...expect markets to get locked down tomorrow after a 500 point Dow drop. Depression likely.
....
I have deleted all my political & foreign policy blogs.
Stras was right, it was just cowardice & self-indulgence kept me around. Gonna read myself blind in economics better to enjoy the trainwreck. You may find me at econblogs if I ever have a thought. And, of course try to survive after the probable layoff.

All you lemmings huddle in the warm glow of Obama-love, he'll sell you out, but make you enjoy it. The bitch-Clinton will do her best to protect you, all good liberal Presidents are nasty ugly bastards.
The crash is coming fast enough that Edwards may still have a chance. Pray.

There will be war. Never quit the hating, the bastards deserve more hate than you got. But be good to each other.

God help us all, and good luck.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:24 PM
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really dull when cruising?

Really USEFUL when cruising, because the doors lock, so you can take your new friend somewhere secure and classy. They tell me.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:25 PM
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um. "it" = "the cost of accommodations", in the first sentence, and "interpreter" = "accommodation", in what the woman (doesn't) get to choose the form of


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:26 PM
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Sounds like it's time for a sit-in.

Sitzpinkler.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:27 PM
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65

Bah. Get rid of SSDI, get read of TANF, get rid of all the hoop-jumping and morals testing and everything else. Massively expanded EITC/negative tax for everyone.

The EITC is great, but you only qualify if you're already working, and yes, there are plenty of people who can't find work. We need programs that will help people transition from unemployment to a decent job, and also act as a safety net for everyone else - universal health care and day care, job training, and a living wage.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:33 PM
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I work in a small company that, for quite a while, had only male employees. (About 6-8 of them.) We moved into a new office that had two single-occupancy restrooms. Obviously, they were not labeled. Around that time, we hired our first and second female employees. It was about two months before the signs went up. I found this quite funny, and vowed to ignore them. I think one of the women professed to find the idea of sharing gross, and our lawsuit-skiddish manager was easy to convince. Actually, I think the women were just plotting to get a less-used and thus cleaner bathroom.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:34 PM
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67

65 is unnaaaaaaamerkin


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:34 PM
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66: Swap the signs every morning.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:36 PM
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"help people transition from unemployment to a decent job"

Part of that is turning the tens of thousands of shitty jobs into more decent jobs.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:36 PM
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You wouldn't believe some of the things women do in bathrooms that are entirely under their control. Just saying.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:36 PM
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The EITC is great, but you only qualify if you're already working

I thought you could get it if you were under the income requirements. I don't think you have to be working.

Funnily enough, since I only worked the last couple months of the year, I actually get the EITC this year. And a big refund 'cause I was taxed as if I were working all year. Woot!


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:37 PM
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I went into a women's bathroom once when the building was nearly empty. It had a sofa in it! I was amazed!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:38 PM
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Well, it is the Earned Income Tax Credit. But I think they count "earnings" as more than just wages.*

*I am talking out of my hat here.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:38 PM
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The Freakanomics guys constistently overstate the costs of doing anything to relieve people's distress and impairments, make erroneous claims about the burdens placed on others of providing any of that relief, and then get shocked and surprised when someone comments that this all adds up to serving the interests of those with the power and money who'd prefer to leave others worse off. This is just more of the same. They remind me of twits I used to know in my BBSing day who got off on seeing who could be most callous in the name of objectivity. For them, someone daring to say that they need help of some kind is always "them", and someone who must provide any accommodation is always "us".

Even if the very worst of the allegations in this case were true...how many patients did the doctor see last year who didn't require any unusual expenses? Are we to believe that a flood new patients like the one deaf woman will make his practice unprofitable now? That he could do nothing to, perhaps, pool costs with other doctors in the vicinity to jointly fund translation services? Anything? This is just whining.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:39 PM
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I initially read 67 as calling 65 a merkin, which perplexed me.

Now I see that soup was saying that 65 is not a merkin. Ah.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:40 PM
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I can't remember which movie it was where it occurred to me that when the bad guys were dragging the good guy's unconscious body into the office bathroom to hide it, I wondered why they didn't use the women's room. Seems like it would buy a little extra time due to the social conditioning being discussed here.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:40 PM
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74 is exactly right. The point of all Freakonomics shit is "The experts don't know anything because we've found an exception" masquerading as a clever way of undermining common liberal notions of economic and social justice.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:42 PM
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57: I agree. I'm not saying 'poor poor orthopedist' but 'designing a system such that basic patient care is supposed to be written off as an overhead expense is a pretty dumb way to organize things.'

61: You must be so excited! You'll have so much to comment about!

65: And means-tested programs end up spending most of their time testing means rather than directing money where it's useful.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:42 PM
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WHAt Bruce said in 74.

They always put cute little qualifiers in at some point to deflect criticism -- "this is not to say". Freakonomics had a long section about the KKK whereby the authors were able to get liberal cred.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:44 PM
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The bitch-Clinton

Seriously, bob?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:46 PM
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Seriously, bob?

Do you really have to ask?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:47 PM
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Seriously, bob?

Haven't we already established that this is an unanswerable question?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:47 PM
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And the anecdote those guys chose to intro their argument was a worst-case story, probably from some advocacy group.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:47 PM
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75: 67 is a reference to the Unamerkin, an eccentric fugitive from justice who mails packages containing, um, shall we say, "toupées" to people who work at universities and airports.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:53 PM
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Slol, your tearoom exploits are renowned throughout the academy, but what's weird about that arrangement?

The sliding door-bolt is in itself weird. It means you can lock yourself in there and not even the janitorial staff, nor a locksmith, can get in, shy of taking the door off its hinges or something. I mean, it was on the door - not the stall door, but the door. Evidently, per teo, it's still there.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:55 PM
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79, 83, you know what else I don't like? Their conclusion:

it might be worth encouraging the winning candidate to think twice (or even 8 or 10 times) before rushing off to do good. Because if there is any law more powerful than the ones constructed in a place like Washington, it is the law of unintended consequences.

The ADA was, what, a decade in the making? More? I'm as willing as anyone to believe that the end result is a stew of imperfect and in some cases self-contradictory legislation. But what's offensive about the bit above is that it implies that the law's creators didn't stop to think about this. It's patronizing.

It doesn't claim that the ADA's costs and benefits were calculated incorrectly, it claims that "candidates" who are "rushing off to do good" aren't thinking about unintended consequences. That's just insulting.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:56 PM
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and not even the janitorial staff

Sure; If they took the bolt off they wouldn't have a safe place to jack off at work, would they?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:58 PM
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taking the door off its hinges or something

Every janitor worth his salt keeps a battering ram in the cleaning closet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 1:59 PM
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On top of everything else, by the time a regulation has passed it's already been sabotaged with 8 amendments. So the opponents can say "This bill is too weak to accomplish anything, but still is a terrible imposition" until a strong bill is passed, and then they'll start talking about how the new bill is too strong.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:00 PM
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Part 2: Because you men never put the frigging seat down, that's why.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:17 PM
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I always thought it was punishment on the part of the patriarchy for women taking so damn long in the bathroom: if you're going to take 10 goddamn minutes to pee, you can right well stand in the very long line for the segregated women's bathroom.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:25 PM
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Women have full length mirrors in their restrooms. That's so gay.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:25 PM
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90: To be fair, though, you ladies never lift it back up when you're done. So pretty much a wash there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:30 PM
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No one will be surprised to learn that I sit down when I pee.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:35 PM
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Everyone should put the seat and the lid down after using the toilet. Oh, and I want full-length doors like in European public toilets.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:36 PM
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64 to 94.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:36 PM
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and I want full-length doors like in European public toilets.

Oh, hell no.


Posted by: Larry Craig | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:40 PM
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92: Aha. This "gotcha" argument is as annoying as Freakonomics, since it ignores the fact that men *do* sit down sometimes, to take a crap; so even on "even steven" grounds the seat should be down.

That plus it's just the default, proper position for a seat. Much as the default, proper position for cupboard doors is closed, even though practically speaking they're only useful when they're open.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:53 PM
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Y'all think Labs is joking, but it's true: he really does sit down to pee.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 2:53 PM
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98 is correct. Also, nobody wants to see the filth that lies beneath the toilet seat, although it has to be up sometimes, so in default situations it should be down.

I keep the lid closed too. This has been made easier by the fact that my bathroom is about 86 degrees Fahrenheit and the water in the bowl tends to evaporate if uncovered.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:00 PM
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and the water in the bowl tends to evaporate if uncovered.

For real?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:01 PM
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My cat will perch on the edge of the seat and lap at the water unless the lid is closed.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:04 PM
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It gets lower and lower and lower if uncovered. Maybe that's for another reason, though.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:05 PM
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102: That would be a good reason to leave the lid open.

I usually pee in the sink anyway.


Posted by: Nicolas Sarkozy | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:05 PM
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A friend's cat drops its cat toys in the toilet unless the lid is closed.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:09 PM
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I'm going to go on record and say I don't give a flying fuck about toilet seats being left up. What's the problem? That I have to put it down to take a piss? Which takes all of a second and a half?

I especially don't understand the outrage when it's with respect to bathrooms mostly used by men. It's like, what did you expect?

The notion that men are doing some horrible deed by leaving the toilet seat up, especially when they put it up so as not to pee on the seat, mind you, is sexist.

That said, I don't see why all men don't pee sitting down, at least when at home. Take a moment to rest, you know? Plus, there's none of that pesky aiming necessary.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:11 PM
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I suspect they enjoy the aiming part. But I wouldn't want to put words in anyone's mouth.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:14 PM
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The problem with toilet seats up is that if I go in to piss in the middle of the night and leave the light off, I sit on the cold, pee-spattered rim.

That said, I agree with you that getting all wrapped around the axle about the subject is sexist. In my personal life, though, it annoys the crap out of me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:14 PM
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That said, I don't see why all men don't pee sitting down, at least when at home. Take a moment to rest, you know? Plus, there's none of that pesky aiming necessary.

Aiming really isn't that difficult, and it's much quicker and easier to unzip a zipper than to pull down one's pants.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:15 PM
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I usually sit to pee because I'm lazy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 3:17 PM
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That said, I don't see why all men don't pee sitting down, at least when at home. Take a moment to rest, you know? Plus, there's none of that pesky aiming necessary.

I do this. And I'm not afraid to admit it on the Internet.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 4:57 PM
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I'm with md - why do North American toilet cubicles have huge gaps everywhere? You can practically see people's knees underneath, and I do not like being able to look through the half inch gaps round the door and see people washing their hands whilst I'm having a piss. It unnerves me.

Ankle-height gaps under doors and dividers at most, and doors that shut out the outside world, is what you need.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 4:59 PM
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108 - B, you're outnumbered, I guess you're going to have to get used to checking first. Sorry.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:00 PM
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You just don't get the whole "open society" thing, do you, asilon?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:01 PM
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I'm English; what do you think?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:05 PM
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61
Bob Mcmanus, are you alright?
hope you are not going to do harakiri like thing:)
it's not you or current politico-economics
it's a full moon
besides, today at 5pm it was not dark anymore, so
one more reason to survive


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:10 PM
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I suspect that a lot of that stuff about the Jubilee (not sabbatical) may be crap too. Certainly, the Sage Hillel would stand in a direct line of succession to Levitt himself in the intellectual industry of gaining a reputation for Ye Verie Greatest Sagacity by telling rich men that it was urgently necessary to the general good that they be allowed to hang on to their money.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:12 PM
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why the fuck did I type "jubilee" above rather than "Shmita"? presumably I was thinking about Jubilee 2000 or something.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:13 PM
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Read, Bob's been like that for years. Me too. Nothing special to worry about, except the collapse of civilization maybe.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:15 PM
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People have no problem with port-a-potties being single-occupancy non-gendered. Maybe they shouldn't have bathrooms in office buildings, just port-a-potties in the hallways.
My college dorm was co-ed bathrooms. Two stalls, two sinks, two showers, just knock if the outer door is closed. 17 did happen to me though, I too was pissed that I had to apologize when someone didn't lock their damn stall. Acutally, same thing happened on Friday in a co-ed dressing room- lock your door, people.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:16 PM
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really? good, i mean that he'll be ok
i hope i will get you music mix CD, John Emerson please? i should have included a note inside the post


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:20 PM
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People have no problem with port-a-potties being single-occupancy non-gendered. Maybe they shouldn't have bathrooms in office buildings, just port-a-potties in the hallways.

We hosted a wedding this summer, and in the interest of preserving the septic system at [ bucolic-ish locale ] got port-a-potties for guests to use so we would have 100-some-odd people all using the bathrooms in the house. When the groom's father learned of this arrangement, he was livid, and said "no way are the women using port-a-potties."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:27 PM
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Yes, it will be on its way tommorrow Read!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:29 PM
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People have no problem with port-a-potties being single-occupancy non-gendered.

Which is because port-a-potties are always-already revolting, no matter who of what gender has previously used them, and that pre-empts any concern about gender propriety.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:30 PM
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slol is too urbane for his own good.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:37 PM
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122: I refuse to use porta-potties, so I'd be kind of grateful for the groom's father's sexism.

In college the bathrooms in the hallway were separated by geneder in my dorm. Some of the suites on the corners had bathrooms in them, and in my upper-class House all of the suites had bathrooms, but that was basically like using a bathroom in a private home.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:40 PM
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port-a-potties are always-already revolting
Hmm, I wonder if they're manufactured in that state.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:44 PM
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I went to a wedding party in my friend's garden and they'd got a portaloo for the weekend and it was very clean. So there. And handy for me overnight - I parked my campervan in their drive and it was much better than knocking on their door at the crack of dawn or pissing on their mountain laurel.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 5:47 PM
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When Magpie and I had our (only) bathroom remodeled a few years ago, we had a port-a-potty while our toilet was out of commission.

When you only have two people using them, and they get cleaned every week, they're not so bad. Going outside in the middle of the night when it was in the low 30s sucked, though.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:13 PM
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Yeah when they're cleaned regularly port-a-potties are fine.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:17 PM
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I refuse to use porta-potties

This must be limiting in a variety of ways.

You wouldn't be able to go to political demonstrations, for one thing. Or an outdoor arts festival. Huh.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:27 PM
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is anyone watching the debate?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:29 PM
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Magpie's got it on and I'm watching it with half an eye.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:31 PM
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Barack and Hillary just both pissed me off with all that squabbling.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:32 PM
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131: I went to the March for Women's Lives, and I've been to a couple of things on Boston Common. There's always a bathroom nearby somewhere or you just hold it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:33 PM
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One wedding I went to this summer had a very swank porta-potty trailer - one trailer, with split male and female sides, with something like three stalls/two stalls and two urinals on each side, nice sinks, paper towels, etc. Definitely a step up from Don's Johns.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:38 PM
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134: I think we were watching it on TiVO-delay. Certainly we just got to a squabbling match between Hillary and Obama, which prompted us to turn off the debate.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:40 PM
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There are some nice trailer bathroom things that I'm not sure even qualify as port-a-potties at all, just mobile bathrooms. There are also some that use propane to burn the turds as they're produced. Very fancy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:42 PM
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The general state of cleanliness in public bathrooms, including port-a-potties deployed for public events, fills me with despair for humanity and its future.

Going outside in the middle of the night when it was in the low 30s sucked, though.

Taking a crap in an outhouse when it's 40 below and you're wearing a union suit is also not recommended.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:46 PM
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I'm watching the debate, and Edwards is the clear winner so far, just because he's staying out of the nastiness.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:53 PM
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The general state of cleanliness in public bathrooms, including port-a-potties deployed for public events, fills me with despair for humanity and its future.

You are Robert A. Heinlein and I claim my five redheaded pansexual clones.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:55 PM
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I'm watching the debate, and Edwards is the clear winner so far, just because he's staying out of the nastiness.

I'm giving the debates a pass. I don't particularly want to see the nastiness. I don't think Obama can win the nomination, so, if it can be done without harming the party or resulting in in narratives that irritate the living fuck out of me, I'd just as soon see HRC win in SC.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:57 PM
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There are also some that use propane to burn the turds as they're produced.

As they're produced? Does the flame go licking right up to your asshole?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 6:59 PM
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I'm watching the debate, and Edwards is the clear winner so far, just because he's staying out of the nastiness.

Oh, let this be true.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:01 PM
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143: take that, frigid evening!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:04 PM
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Does the flame go licking right up to your asshole?

Bidet flambé!


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:07 PM
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ASS ON FIRE!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:08 PM
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Predictably, Wikipedia is on the case.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:10 PM
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"licking" in 143 was happy.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:17 PM
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I'm all for gender-segregated bathrooms because when there's a designation, the women's is usually cleaner.

That said, we also had coed bathrooms in college, and both genders deserve credit for the state of uncleanliness since the women were keeping up with the men in the messy puking department.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:27 PM
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Edwards is sort of staying out of the nastiness, but mostly because he hasn't gotten the chance, I think. The other two are swinging too loudly. Is it just me, also, or does it seem like Edwards is piling on Obama agressively, but not nearly as much on Clinton, comparatively?


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:32 PM
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149: Thanks, I thought so! I am also very much in favor of the substitution of "happy" for "felicitous".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:36 PM
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Obama just busted out with "the reason ... is that ..." which ought to net him the coveted w-lfs-n vote.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:43 PM
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w-lfs-n told me "the reason... is that..." wasn't as bad! Gooooobama!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:45 PM
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Did Hillary just argue that she can beat McCain because she's the most hawkish? Fuck a bunch of that.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 7:53 PM
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IMO, that was the best, most substantive debate so far, even with the punching.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 8:13 PM
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More importantly, Kwame will shortly get a shot at some sort of redemption. On MLK Day, especially, we must remember to keep hope alive!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 8:19 PM
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My favorite moment was when they asked Obama whether Bill Clinton was America's first black president. "I'd have to examine Bill's dancing ability before I can say whether he's actually a brother." [may not be a verbatim quote, but best I recall]


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 8:20 PM
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I do like me some Obama. "Check with Monica," probably would have been the wrong way to go.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 8:22 PM
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Wow. Tim for the win.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 8:25 PM
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Kwame will shortly get a shot at some sort of redemption.

How did Dr. Appiah fall from grace?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 8:32 PM
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152: thanks, so am I!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 8:33 PM
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I thought Blitzer was horrible with the BS race-gender questions. I only watched a brief segment and it may not have been a good sample. If it actually was a good sample, I want to see that asshole's head on a stick.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 8:51 PM
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Eh, Wolf was bad, but compared to the other debates, not that bad.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 9:08 PM
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159 gets a LOL and an Awesome! and a ROTFL!


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 9:52 PM
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Yes, I should clarify that 156 says more about the generally dismal state of this year's debates than the high-minded nature of this one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-21-08 10:25 PM
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How did Dr. Appiah fall from grace?

He's a sheep-farmer.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 2:25 AM
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whether Bill Clinton was America's first black president

Mitt Romney has a related question.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 7:40 AM
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I'd like to see a lot of their heads on sticks, lined up in front of my house as a sort of fence.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 7:42 AM
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169: Instead of a fence, you could make a kick-ass nativity scene.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 7:44 AM
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Too many heads.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 8:23 AM
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Some can be wise men, some can be angels, some can be lowing asses.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 8:33 AM
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This Believer article about Stephen Glass, Jayson Blair, and the 1994 health plan debacle has a good history of "perversity" and "futility" as reactionary tropes. (See also the chapter "Nothing Succeeds as Planned" in Joseph Heller's Good as Gold.)


Posted by: BrianZ | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 3:24 PM
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22 Bah. Get rid of SSDI, get read of TANF, get rid of all the hoop-jumping and morals testing and everything else. Massively expanded EITC/negative tax for everyone. Let's use all this bureaucratic energy for fixing real problems.

So many people I deal with who are trying to get SSI are basically just desperate to get health insurance, and they can't get medicaid unless they're found disabled. Even if they want to work, they're just too damn sick to get by without the medical care they can't get unless they prove they can't possibly work.

There may be social benefits that should be contingent on employment, but health insurance is not one of them.


Posted by: BrianZ | Link to this comment | 01-22-08 4:05 PM
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