Re: Transparency

1

IIRC, in the early days of the U.S. income tax they did this every year.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:52 PM
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Or, at least those who had to file returns.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:52 PM
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It's always great to see "outrageous breach of privacy" and "hugely popular" go together.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:55 PM
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So great!


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:57 PM
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What on earth is the Deputy Economic Minister's response--"This already exists all around the world, you just have to watch any American soap to see that"--supposed to mean?


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 1:59 PM
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What on earth is the Deputy Economic Minister's response--"This already exists all around the world, you just have to watch any American soap to see that"--supposed to mean?

I believe the standard translation of phrases of this sort is, "I am high as a kite."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:00 PM
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It's been a while since I watched General Hospital. I thought maybe class warfare had broken out in Port Charles.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:11 PM
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8

Italian politics have a bad name, but this post is a non sequitur.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:15 PM
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Italian politics have a bad name, and that's why I don't like Barack Obama.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:18 PM
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Ever since 9/11, I'm outraged by Romano Prodi.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:19 PM
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11

Would not it be awesome if every country did this?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:28 PM
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Doesn't this violate every privacy directive that Brussels has written?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:32 PM
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Would not it be awesome if every country did this?

Did you not read the article!? This already exists all around the world, you just have to watch any American soap to see that!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:38 PM
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In Days of Our Lives, all the major plotlines revolved around the government posting Stefano's income.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:39 PM
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How could this be legal? I'd expect someone to be going to jail. But the article doesn't mention anything about illegality, so maybe things are different in Italy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:43 PM
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16

Wait, who posted the data--the government or the credit card agency?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:44 PM
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Brock makes $147,000/yr.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:44 PM
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18

Nevermind. I didn't read closely enough the first time.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:45 PM
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I don't think I fully understand income discussion taboos. I understand that it's rude for me to ask how much someone else makes, but is it also taboo for me to reveal how much I make? Is it still rude if I don't make very much? What if, as is the case, my salary is posted in such a place that anyone with an ounce of internet mojo could go find it whenever he or she wanted?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:52 PM
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Some salaries in the U.S. are publicly reported (though not necessarily easily accessed on the web), chiefly public employees and union staff. Unions are required to file compensation for every single employee.

You'll be shocked to know that corporations don't. Public corps. have to report only the top 5 execs. Private corps, nada.

I don't have any problem with mine being published. The members who pay me have the right to know. (No, I'm not planning to tell you lot. Go do your own research.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:54 PM
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Further, with the existence of salary.com, can't everyone figure out already roughly what everyone else makes? It just seems like this info is effectively already not really private anymore.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:55 PM
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22

I earn one galaxy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:56 PM
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23

There was a recent NYT article about this taboo fading among the Kids Today (meaning, of course, a dozen white hipsters in the city).


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 2:58 PM
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22: I didn't realize Tea Elle Ewe was that well-endowed.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:02 PM
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24: It doesn't fit in their pants.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:03 PM
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with the existence of salary.com, can't everyone figure out already roughly what everyone else makes?

Uh, hypothetically, if at an old job you were to "discover" that a VP in accounting didn't know how to properly secure his folder on the network, you might (hypothetically!) discover that spreadsheets with everyone's salary are full of surprises.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:04 PM
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27

The Times article.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:04 PM
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Italy has tax collection problems. Along with income, deductions claimed were published. Many people have earnings outside of their salaries.

This sort of information is often most interesting to someone in a strongly adversarial situations, most often divorces. Many settlements include gag orders about the settlement's terms. I wonder if the kids today will continue to be so blase about privacy when they begin suing each other.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:05 PM
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No, people don't know what other people make. Hence the travesty of Congress refusing to pass the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Come on, people.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:07 PM
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Earlier today I was walking down Orchard Street (on the Lower East Side) and there was a group of people quite deliberately assembled on a corner with Soviet flags and a table covered in plastic solo-type cups each containing one giant pickle.
I have little clue as to their endeavor (uh, the LES, commies, pickles . . . Jews!), but I salute them in it.
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Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:09 PM
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31

maybe things are different in Italy

Man, is this ever an understatement.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:10 PM
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32

That law from 29 is beyond infuriating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:10 PM
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33

As is well known, one's earnings are a much more intimate topic of discussion than, say, one's sex life, or medical history, or what have you. Amongst other things, this gives the lie to the simple economic story that earnings are directly linked to marginal productivity, and that the relationship between desert and market rewards is morally unproblematic.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:11 PM
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32: You mean the failure to pass the law, yes?

I vote we have a thread in which everyone says what they make.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:13 PM
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I vote we have a thread in which everyone says what they make.

Like I say, people are more likely to be comfortable telling you how many people they've slept with, or what STDs they have had, or indeed providing pictures of their colon, than saying how much they make. (Although this did come up a few weeks ago, no?)


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:14 PM
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36

It's come up a few times, and very few people take the bait (wisely, I think).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:16 PM
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37

I make little tchotchkes that I sell at local craft fairs.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:16 PM
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35: The amount of money I make sleeping with people is enough to cover the cost of the STD treatments. And that's as much as I'm willing to reveal. I'll be happy to link to a picture of Labs' colon, though.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:17 PM
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It also broke down last time over whether we were discussing gross or net.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:20 PM
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I hear Labs' colon is making a good living on the Commencement Speech circuit. It might even get the honorary degree that Northwestern are now not giving to Jeremiah Wright.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:21 PM
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It's come up a few times, and very few people take the bait (wisely, I think).

I'd be tempted to suggest some sort of anonymous posting followed by voluntary de-anonymizing, but that sounds a lot like the "everyone choose a new handle" day. Which I thought was interesting, but I have unusual ideas about what should be an acceptable means of social interaction.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:21 PM
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In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. It's pretty funny to have pseudonyms going on about the virtue of openness.

Haven't some here gotten snagged by public use of ostensibly private data? Possibly relevant, there's an emerging trend towards signing referee reports, a large body of formerly anonymized and sometimes very sensitive communication.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:21 PM
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The Norwegians do this, for about three days every year; Swedsih newspapers used to publish tax records. But the NOrwegians put their on the internet, which was a lot of fun, at leasst if you speak Norwegian, or have ever wanted to know what any given Norwegian earns declares.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:22 PM
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44

I'd be tempted to suggest some sort of anonymous posting followed by voluntary de-anonymizing, but that sounds a lot like the "everyone choose a new handle" day.

Yeah, except then there's the site admins, who still know all the IPs.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:23 PM
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Public employees salaries are public information, but the added incentives for education, seniority, etc. can make for large disparities in income. That was one of the reasons that the payroll consultant fucked up the LAUSD payroll for about a year.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:24 PM
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Yeah, except then there's the site admins, who still know all the IPs.

Everyone post using a wireless connection to a network they've never used before. Preferably in a city they don't live in.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:25 PM
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Yeah, except then there's the site admins, who still know all the IPs.

Everyone installs xB and then posts what they make!

I still don't think it's a good idea.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:27 PM
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Or everyone just post the numbers through a Bay Area server. Then it'll definitely be impossible to sort out.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:27 PM
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49

Everyone installs xB

A boxy car?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:30 PM
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I vote we have a thread in which everyone says what they make.

We had one. Did you miss it?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:30 PM
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xB is the latest name of the browser that used to be called TorPark, and has access to the Tor "onion routing" network built in.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:31 PM
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Yeah, except then there's the site admins, who still know all the IPs.

The site admins are pretty discreet folks.

But mainly I don't think people actually want to know.

People who know my name, care, and know how to use the Internet, could probably make a reasonable guess. But still.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:32 PM
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Actually, now that I think of it, the public SNP assay companies are also relevant. Your genome in the US is worth a lot more to your insurance company than it is to you (you knew you had a pre-existing condition?); the anonymity of say 23andme data with respect to subpeona has not yet been tested.

The relevant circumstance is not casual browsing of data to firm up the suspicion that management might possibly be overpaid but rather first, the creation of databases where the data will be aggregated and used by whoever has the muscle and second, its use by adversaries.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:33 PM
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I still don't think it's a good idea.

Why? Most of us don't use our real names, so there's no employer problems. I'm sincerely curious why this sort of thing bothers people.

(It bothers me too, talking about money, but that's more in person-to-person discussions. And I don't think it *should* bother people. So.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:33 PM
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Yeah, I gotta say that I don't care too much what you all make even though it would be pretty awesome if I could see what the other people at my work and in my position make.

HR says you don't want to know, and I've even been told that by the one or two people here who used to have access to salary information, but that is kind of bullshit.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:35 PM
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I have said it before. Household is around 75.

Had about half a million in old medical debt, very slowly payin or writin it off.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:36 PM
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57

The site admins are pretty discreet folks.

That's what they're known for, alright.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:37 PM
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58

Why?

Because for the most part there's a sense of community and equality here, with merit and attention dependent mostly on what one thinks and writes. We have some vague sense that some people make more than others, but hard numbers make the disparity pretty stark and I think it would be upsetting and might lead to resentment. And it's not as if we're organizing a union or all work together, so there's very little benefit.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:38 PM
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59

¦¦
Fuck this noise. I'm going to bed to sulk.
¦>


Posted by: OneFatEngishman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:38 PM
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60

For regular faculty, this place prints a yearly list, which you can check out of the library (if you're faculty). I don't know how common that is.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:38 PM
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My salary is probably public record somewhere in the sense that my day job has a fixed and publicly posted pay scale and anyone who knows my job title/description can probably guess within one point on the scale. I'd be surprised if any of my workmates didn't have a pretty good idea.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:38 PM
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52

"But mainly I don't think people actually want to know."

I think it is more accurate that people don't want other people to know what they make. I am certainly curious about what other people make and don't see much of a downside to knowing particularly for random people on the internet.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:42 PM
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63

My AGI for 2007 was about $1,650,000.


Posted by: Richard Nixon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:43 PM
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For regular faculty, this place prints a yearly list,

Slightly relatedly, my undergraduate institution -- like many in Ireland & the U.K. -- posts (or at least, it used to post) two lists of summer exam results every year, with Student ID and full name provided, for everyone in the various faculties (Arts, Science, Law, etc). One list was alphabetical, the other, ranked by performance in the exams. Does anywhere in the U.S. do this? I imagine not.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:43 PM
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58: Do you think it holds any real surprises? Knowing the jobs people have & rough area is enough to make a pretty good guess.

It doesn't have to get in the way, either. When I occasionally hang out with physicians I'm not spending my time thinking, damn ... you make 400k/yr more than I do, you bastard.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:43 PM
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I think it is more accurate that people don't want other people to know what they make. I am certainly curious about what other people make and don't see much of a downside to knowing particularly for random people on the internet.

I think that Ogged's explanation in 58 is exactly right.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:44 PM
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My AGI for 2007 was about $1,650,000.

Yeah, but you have no living expenses.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:44 PM
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64: I know of individual programs that do this in Canada, but not university-wide.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:45 PM
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What Ogged said. Take a gander at Saiselgy's comment section sometime. People can have a hard time getting past that kind of thing.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:46 PM
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54

"Why? Most of us don't use our real names, so there's no employer problems. I'm sincerely curious why this sort of thing bothers people."

The general fear is that the information will be used against people. Same as for everyone posting their IQ or their lifetime number of sexual partners.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:47 PM
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re: 64

All of the results for the 'masters' that I did were publicly posted. All of the undergraduate results also. On big noticeboards. That was how everyone found out how they'd done.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:48 PM
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My AGI for 2007 was about $1,650,000

Not bad for a dead man, but that hippie John Lennon did better.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:48 PM
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People can have a hard time getting past that kind of thing.

People here? I don't know that I've ever really cared if people know. That might because for me it's been pretty variable, and salary level is a pretty obvious trade off with other things. I've cut my income by a factor of 4 before to do something that was more fun, and I could easily double it now by changing tack. So I don't really have any reason to think the number I sent to IRS a few weeks ago says much of anything about me. Perhaps that's unusual.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:50 PM
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All of the results for the 'masters' that I did were publicly posted. All of the undergraduate results also. On big noticeboards. That was how everyone found out how they'd done.

But this was in the UK, right?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:51 PM
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75

As a white guy who's sort of a hipster and would like to live in a city, I'm tempted to say I'm all in favor of income disclosure -- around $24,000 a year; I'll keep a shred of privacy and not say whether that's gross or net.

But as usually gets pointed out in threads like this, income is only one relevant factor, along with wealth, debt and cost of living wherever you are. Once you imaginary people on the Internet start talking about all that, you really are getting pretty personal. So maybe this is a bad idea after all.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:52 PM
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Tested three times over 155

I am not intimidated by income or achievement. I sneer at Nobelists.

I hate that shit in Sausegly's comment section. Really fucking hate it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:53 PM
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It's a bad idea. If I found out that someone here made less money than I do, I would assume that he or she is stupid and would no lnoger be interested in that person's opinions. And I would fawn over anyone who I learned made more money than me, both because it would mean he or she was smarter than me and also because it's advantageous to have rich people like you.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:54 PM
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78

My IQ, lifetime sexual partners tally, and weekly income are all exactly the same.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:55 PM
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re: 74

Yeah. In Scotland and in England.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:55 PM
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I had a few classes at Berkeley where they posted either the final exam results or the final semester grades (or both) next to student ID numbers. But it wasn't a standard thing.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:56 PM
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81

I can reveal that my midichlorian count and my neurokinetics are both well above normal.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:57 PM
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82

I don't mind having other people know what my earned income is right now: $0, but I won't say what I get in unemployment.

I used to ask people at work which we weren't supposed to do, but how else are you supposed to know what kind of raise to ask for?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:57 PM
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So, I give a draft of a brief to the partner whose case it is 10 days before it is due. He starts looking at it the day before it's due, asks me to be on call for working through his revisions, doesn't get a draft to me until 10 that night, I stay up until three working on the damn thing, get up again at 6 for two more hours of back and forth on revisions, and today someone tells me, "I overheard [partner] telling [my department head] that 'Di wrote it, but I had to add like 17 pages.'" Jerk.
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Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:57 PM
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80: I had that for a chemistry exam, but the names weren't posted.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:58 PM
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85

5'4", and a little under six inches, and not thick. But a classic circumsized shape.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:59 PM
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Di, I'd be so tempted to destroy my career by pointing these facts out to the partner.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:59 PM
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58 makes sense. Id like to think that we wouldnt let it be a deal, but since most of us are human, Im probably wrong.

Id also like to think that firefox would stop having issues with my apostrophe key, but Im clearly wrong about that.

My income last year was somewhere in the $2-4k range, myself.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 3:59 PM
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I had a few classes at Berkeley where they posted either the final exam results or the final semester grades (or both) next to student ID numbers.

All of my undergrad classes were like this, but done separately for each class. So if someone wanted to do the legwork, they could figure out class standing for everyone I guess. There were only 3 people in my degree program though, so I guess we always knew.

In contrast, a friend did an engineering degree where the end of semester results were posted on a big board sorted by class standing.

I think the latter is more like what ttaM was talking about, but I only know of places that do this by faculty, not university wide.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:00 PM
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83: ouch. Bastard.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:00 PM
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My current income is also $0.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:01 PM
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I can't be the only one who has historically had wildly different incomes year to year, can I? That makes any single years less informative.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:03 PM
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Di, I'd be so tempted to destroy my career by pointing these facts out to the partner.

Yeah, me too...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:03 PM
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93

I've cut my income by a factor of 4 before to do something that was more fun, and I could easily double it now by changing tack.

Stop! Only a few iterations and you're in real trouble.

Imagine a chessboard with an a billion dollars stacked on one of the corner squares. You're down to a measly few million by the time you reach the third row. You're approaching the poverty line in the middle of the board.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:04 PM
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I have earned $500 since February. $540 if you count selling my fiancee's old stereo.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:05 PM
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If I found out that someone here made less money than I do, I would assume that he or she is stupid and would no lnoger be interested in that person's opinions. And I would fawn over anyone who I learned made more money than me, both because it would mean he or she was smarter than me

Holy crap, I know who Brock is.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:05 PM
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I just got a raise: $8/hr. --> $8.50.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:05 PM
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There are now student privacy laws in the US that significantly restrict how public you can be with any information about grades and so on, if your college or university receives federal funds. Gone thus are the days of leaving final papers in a box for students to rummage through and find their own, and I think posting exam results even by student ID is not allowed.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:06 PM
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93: Sure, but I'm only a sign change away from complete financial domination too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:06 PM
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"Is this a voluntary war protest or a strike aimed at leveraging labor negotiations--we're not sure," said Steve Getzug.

Why not both? Happy May Day from your shut-down West Coast ports. I love the ILWU.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:07 PM
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I think you can post grades only if you use one-off anonymous identifiers, because it's too easy to find out another student's ID number. This is all part of FERPA.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:07 PM
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There are now student privacy laws in the US that significantly restrict how public you can be with any information about grades and so on

This is very true. If you are especially lucky, it will come with a requirement to take an inane web-course about it, too.

We don't post anything.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:07 PM
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My income is 100,000 / a year in some currency or another. Neither the euro nor the yen.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:08 PM
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This is all part of FERPA.

Yeah, we all had FERPA training. FERPA sounds like a disease.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:08 PM
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use one-off anonymous identifiers

Yeah, but you can get in trouble calling your students names, too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:08 PM
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I can't be the only one who has historically had wildly different incomes year to year, can I?

No. I honestly don't know how mine would average out over, say, the last ten years. I'm pretty sure I've never made enough to get any respect from Brock.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:09 PM
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Gone thus are the days of leaving final papers in a box for students to rummage through and find their own,

This was a pain for awhile, but our department just got a scanning photocopier that will email your file anywhere. All feedback via email!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:09 PM
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I offered up my income in the last thread, because my life is pretty much an open book. But I realize I'm atypical.

77: I'm pretty sure Brock no longer values my opinion.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:10 PM
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103: The best part is how you aren't allowed to give results to a parent, no matter how much they rant about how they are paying for it all.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:10 PM
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Btw have people seen this explanation of the financial markets in terms adapted to the meanest understanding? Funny.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:10 PM
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but our department just got a scanning photocopier that will email your file anywhere.

We've got a couple of these. I have no idea what I did before them.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:11 PM
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103: The best part is how you aren't allowed to give results to a parent, no matter how much they rant about how they are paying for it all.

This is actually totally the best part. I love telling parents this.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:11 PM
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111: I know! It makes the whole thing worthwhile, probably.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:12 PM
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I can't be the only one who has historically had wildly different incomes year to year, can I?

I'm pretty certain my income has risen every year since graduating college.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:12 PM
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106: OMG, I love our scanning copier so very much. Everything is easily put on Blackboard and I can violate copyright super efficiently.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:12 PM
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107: "I'm pretty sure"
113: "I'm pretty certain"

Let's face it. I'm just pretty.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:13 PM
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114: violating copyright at 40pp/min.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:14 PM
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One off anonymous identifiers:
Piano legs: A-. Stinky: B. Skank: B-. Dickless: C.....


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:14 PM
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I know what most of my friends' household incomes are. The ones who are better off than we are (looking at income only - they all have far larger mortgages than we do), we poke fun at all the time for being loaded. With the poorer ones, we politely ignore the issue, and are generous when out.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:14 PM
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102: I recommend the Vietnamese Dong. It's really helpful for income- and wealth-related discussions. Needless to say, you don't see too many 20-Dong notes around anymore.

(This earnings call is really dragging on, can you tell?)


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:14 PM
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104 to 117


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:14 PM
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our scanning copier

We finally got one of those things as well. They're the kind of mundane yet extremely effective device that I entertain inconsistent counterfactuals about (e.g., How much faster would the Manhattan Project have gone if they'd had one of these, plus my desktop computer?)


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:15 PM
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111: I have never had a parent bug me. CA has had them show up in his office (one a very recent immigrant who kept trying to assume a variety of her culture's positions of supplication -- seriously, hem grabbing and the like).*

*Yes, yes. Low hanging, indeed.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:16 PM
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||
Ooh, my regalia just arrived! Snark tells me that it makes me look like Polonius. My tam does not suit me, alas. Also, what's the best way to store the tam? Should I just toss it in the bottom of the garment bag, or what? It should come with a tam pocket. God knows I paid enough to get a special regalia-optimized sack.
|>


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:16 PM
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I can't be the only one who has historically had wildly different incomes year to year, can I?

Nope. Transaction based incomes can be very nerve wracking, especially to the significant other.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:16 PM
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Hems do hang low, often.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:17 PM
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I can't be the only one who has historically had wildly different incomes year to year, can I?

No... unemployment, self-employment, gainfully employed, "wow this is unexpected but nice" within the span of four or five years.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:17 PM
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RFTS: STEP AWAY FROM THE ARRAS!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:18 PM
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How much faster would the Manhattan Project have gone if they'd had one of these, plus my desktop computer?

How about a nice game of chess?


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:18 PM
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Do we count whatever massive, massive debt we may have, and the interest and fees that debt may accrue? Because if we do, then my income is negative. If not, my income still puts me down in the "dirt poor" tax bracket. As in, "poor enough to not pay any taxes, and to get a nice refund in theory, until the government takes it away because of my massive, massive debt."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:20 PM
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And I've earnt about the same as B this last year, I think, maybe even more. First year since about 1913 that I've earnt anything.

This results thing has surprised me. I'm clearly an idiot (well, obviously, look at my crappy income!), but I hadn't really thought about any other way of doing it than Oxford's - i.e. everything is on the boards outside the Exam Schools, right there on the High Street for all the passersby to see.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:20 PM
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124: Oh, right, I forgot what you did. That must make things interesting sometimes....

Mine variations tended to be of the leave something lucrative for student penury kind, or vice versa, With a double helping of feast-or-famine in scholarships/grants land. As I student, I had one year-to-year nearly quadruple my income (no, the following year wasn't the factor of 4 drop, either), for bizarre reasons of scholarship eligibility etc.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:20 PM
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Ooh, my regalia just arrived! Snark tells me that it makes me look like Polonius. My tam does not suit me, alas. Also, what's the best way to store the tam? Should I just toss it in the bottom of the garment bag, or what? It should come with a tam pocket. God knows I paid enough to get a special regalia-optimized sack.

Tams don't suit anyone, really, so don't worry about it. What color is the regalia? Hot Pink? Regal Blue?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:21 PM
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Do we count whatever massive, massive debt we may have, and the interest and fees that debt may accrue?

This is what makes person-to-person comparisons pretty meaningless without lots of detailed information. Job-to-job, more intersting. Or city-to-city or whatever.

It's not just debt. Number of dependents, stage of career, etc. all play in a lot. Cost of health insurance, too, I guess.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:22 PM
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Off topic: Do you people have a #1 blog you recommend when discussing blogs with peoples? Assume someone who reads blogs very little to none, or read the wrong blogs. I always recommend the Washington Monthly, because it's the only blog I read consistently other than The Amazing Out-Of-This-World Adventures of Fontana Labs's Cock! (Wednesdays post was especially hilarious, btw. I'll never think of fruit loops or 9-penny nails the same way again.). Anywho. Other suggestions?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:23 PM
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Cherry red!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:24 PM
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Perhaps more telling: how many of us are debt free? Above/below a certain ratio to earnings (2:1? 10:1?)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:24 PM
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134: Waste.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:24 PM
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My advisor got her PhD in Germany many decades ago, so her regaila is made of gabradine and ermine. It is beautiful, though often a bit warm for our June commencement.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:24 PM
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Cherry red!

Sweet!


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:24 PM
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130: It was somewhat handy, since everyone was going to find out your results anyway. And this way you found out right away since you'd get a text message either saying "Congratulations, you got a ____!" (first two years) or "Exam results are posted. Come on over and we'll drink" (third year).


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:25 PM
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you don't see too many 20-Dong notes around anymore

Vietnamese currency should be pegged at 30 dong to the dollar, don't you think?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:25 PM
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140: There is that. I doubt that there are many huge surprises anyway.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:26 PM
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Our only debt is the mortgage. Which is currently about twice our income. 4 bloody kids though, parasites.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:26 PM
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Do you people have a #1 blog you recommend when discussing blogs with peoples?

Strasblog.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:27 PM
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135: I am envious of this. I could totally rock cherry red. Maroons are maroon. Feh.

There was a tutor at my undergrad inst. who looked good in his tam. He was 4'11", portly and bald and elderly, and had the most amazing regalia from like Louvain or somewhere. It was fur-trimmed with a little fur cap.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:28 PM
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143: That makes a huge difference. I've never really carried any debt, but I don't have kids or a house, so that's not so hard to pull off.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:28 PM
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Aaaaand, income be damned. The insurance company, who refused to give me the promised 2 weeks worth of medication only two days ago! is now telling me that they can't give me any *more* medication (since I'm out again now, b/c after all they only gave me few days' worth two days ago) because as of today I no longer have coverage with them! (Mr. B. changed jobs, and we don't have coverage from the new folks kicking in yet.)

Fa-bu-lous. And the doc doesn't have any samples on hand, either.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:29 PM
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145 etc. Many younger universities got the short end of the regalia stick. Just saying.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:29 PM
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Now let's hear from the non-narcissists.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:29 PM
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147: Shit. Sorry to hear that B. This health care system really can suck.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:30 PM
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147: cobra?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:30 PM
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readblog,
but you have to find it first


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:31 PM
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Yeah, debt probably is the most telling thing. I've managed to avoid having any due to my family being overly generous and then my current employer paying for grad school. It really does open the options for a lot more low-paying jobs while keeping a nice lifestyle.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:32 PM
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blog you recommend

Depends on what they're likely to read. Yglesias. Maybe Dooce.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:32 PM
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Many younger universities got the short end of the regalia stick. Just saying.

Well, there are also the older universities whose regalia is now much more cheaply made, and whose color has tended recently more toward the pink end of the spectrum. The difference was made apparent a few years ago when a friend of mine bought a 30-year-old set of regalia from a retiring professor. That was crimson. What we've got now is definitely hot pink.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:33 PM
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I am envious of this. I could totally rock cherry red. Maroons are maroon.

Whereas I look quite nice in the maroon (I tried on my friend's gown) and the cherry is really not so good on me. Oh well!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:33 PM
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Well, there are also the older universities whose regalia is now much more cheaply made,

So true.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:34 PM
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I can't believe nobody has suggested Fafblog yet.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:35 PM
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They haven't? Well, zombie Fafblog is even less funny than original Fafblog.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:37 PM
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Yglesias.

I should've known better than to ask people from the bay area.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:38 PM
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159. How does that compare to a modern unfogged comment thread? Normalize by putting a modern thread at 5 on a 10-point scale.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:40 PM
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150: Thank you. I suppose I'm "lucky" that I'm only in for several days' worth of severe headaches, dizziness, and lassitude (and me supposed to drive for a school field trip tomorrow, oh joy), rather than having an actual life-threatening condition. Or maybe I'll just put another week's worth of drugs on my credit card, full price. I wonder how much they'll cost. I'm going to wait for my husband to get home and tell me what to do.

In the meantime, I think I will go to bed and cry.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:44 PM
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Well, zombie Fafblog is even less funny than original Fafblog.

Says the guy whose idea of funny is fifty earnest posts about swimming followed by a post about how chicks these days are hussies with their make-up and their fancy high-heels.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:44 PM
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I have to deal with orange, which doesn't look good on anyone.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:46 PM
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151: You can't sign up for cobra after the fact, and we'll be without coverage for what, two to three weeks while I wade through the dozen plus options we have at his new job to figure out who to sign up for. It'll probably be cheaper for me just to buy the goddamn drugs out of pocket than to Cobra it.

That said, I'd like to put a cobra in the mail to Aetna. They had the balls to tell me that luckily! they filled the mail order scrip I submitted THREE WEEKS AGO just yesterday, so I *would* be getting that. By early next week!

Joy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:46 PM
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Search your feelings, Stras. You know it to be true.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:46 PM
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Sorry about your insurance hassles, B. That really sucks.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:48 PM
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You can't sign up for cobra after the fact

Unless there's something very peculiar going on, that shouldn't be true. You should have at least 60 days from when you lose the prior coverage.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:51 PM
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166: Your disapproval of Fafblog, combined with your unbroken streak of bad judgment and poor taste, comfortably reconfirms my opinion of its merit.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:53 PM
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The whole point of cobra is that you can sign up after the fact. But if it's sure to be only a few weeks, maybe not worth it. Your call.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:55 PM
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I think that you can cobra after the fact, up to 60 days after. You just have to pay the premiums retroactively.

Are you saying that you're going to get some stuff in the mail in a week or two, so you only need to buy one week's worth of meds?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:55 PM
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Can you just buy your pills on the street? (Or buy something comparable?)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:57 PM
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I don't think I'd recommend a humor blog to someone with no knowledge of blogs. I did recommend fafblog to a friend, though, after he mentioned he'd been reading liberal blogs. I actually stopped reading it myself, though. Too many feeds, not enough time.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 4:59 PM
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Do you people have a #1 blog you recommend when discussing blogs with peoples?

I usually recommend not reading blogs and instead going out to play in the sunshine.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:00 PM
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You can't sign up for cobra after the fact

Yes, you can! And the coverage is retroactive.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:01 PM
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Participate by downloading these projects...

(Rotten to hear it, B.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:01 PM
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Hello, call me Pwned-hD.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:02 PM
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What blog I would recommend would vary a LOT depending on the person I was referring.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:02 PM
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B, that's awful. The American health care system really is crazy.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:02 PM
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Sorry to hear that, B. You could just smoke pot. That always makes me feel better, no matter the problem.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:04 PM
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How many days' worth does B need? While I am certain we could hold an extremely successful Wellbutrin drive, I don't think we could get it to her any faster than the new scrip.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:05 PM
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176: Thanks, Wrongshore, those are great. For you: the Internationale, Chinese metal version.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:07 PM
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DS! I had a great time driving around the city middle listening to Sister in the City Middle today. That's a good mix.

B, one thing about cobra is you have to pay for the retroactive months when you sign up.

Also, there's HIPAA, which may give you more time. My COBRA clock started the day I left my job, but my HIPAA clock didn't start until more than 30 days later because of various inefficiencies.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:10 PM
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179: It's ghoulish for a foreigner to use B's suffering to make a cheap political point. And just because B is a Canada-hater.

An American would never do something like that. Americans are fair-minded and decent.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:13 PM
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I can't believe Italy fucking re-elected fucking Berlusconi. It's like as if Obama won, and everything was kinda hard and boring and gridlocked, and everyone's all "fuck it, let's get Dick Cheney back up in there; at least stuff happened."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:16 PM
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183: Cheers... that's Po-Mo's mix, I think, and yeah it's fab!

180 is good advice.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:20 PM
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185 doesn't sound unrealistic at all to me. (It would never be Cheney, of course, but someone more or less just like him.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:24 PM
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I'm not sure which university it is whose colors are these horribly clashing purple and yellow, but there's always one in a crowd of somber blacks and blues and reds, making them look like a little lost tropical bird.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:26 PM
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Purple and yellow clash?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:27 PM
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These ones do.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:28 PM
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Just to look at the income vs. wealth thing last year our household income was $170k and we are basically food insecure. This past week we had to "bounce" a check at Costco to feed the kids and buy gas this week, I just deposited my paycheck this evening so hopefully things well be better in the short term.

Our tale of woe is crippling debt resulting from trying to do the right thing, and not knowing what we were really doing. The house has a fixed rate mortgage so we avoided that whole mess. But we had kids in grad school and started to use credit cards to make ends meet -- it is okey we told ourselves because once we graduate we will pay them off in a year. Yeah right.

So, last summer we gave up and went into credit counseling, that rescued us from the devil that is universal default. At which point we were carrying about $65k(*) in consumer debt and $55k in student loans. We also owe my family about $35k. The sucky thing is that they basically figure out how much you can budget for everything and then send everything else to the debt people-- for the next four years. Nothing extra, no discretionary spending.

Then gas and food prices rise. There is no give in the budget and we are up shit creek.

At this point I am looking for a different job so any advice on negotiating salaries?

(*) We only had about $30k when we got out of school but then had one tight time where I decided to skip a payment on one card. The interest rate on that card would go up but we could just shift it to another card with one of those magic balance transfer checks. Here, I learned about universal default. The balance basically doubled in the next few years as we tried to pay the down and shuffle things around to fix things ourselves.


Posted by: James K. Polk | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:28 PM
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Oh right, I guess you can retroactively sign up for Cobra. Wever. I'll just fucking pay for my medical care for a few weeks (these meds, plus a follow-up visit with the doctor next week to find out if I *really* have high cholesterol or if I can just go on eating bacon blueburgers to my heart's delight). I'm just bitching and moaning because if those fuckers had just *filled the prescription* two days ago--or shit, two and a half weeks ago when I first took it to the pharmacy--I'd be fine. But of course by stalling they've managed to get out of it and I no longer have any leverage with them.

I take Effexor, not Wellbutrin. Effexor has funner withdrawal symptoms. Luckily I seem not to get the worst ones.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:29 PM
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Northwestern is purple. Are they purple and gold? NYU must be purple, too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:29 PM
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Ugh, Polk, that's sucky.

This seems to be turning into a depressing Mayday thread, no?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:32 PM
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I'm not sure which university it is whose colors are these horribly clashing purple and yellow, but there's always one in a crowd of somber blacks and blues and reds, making them look like a little lost tropical bird.

Northwestern?
University of Washington?
East Carolina?

Probably the one closest to "purple and yellow" rather than the less-clashing "purple and gold" would be Louisiana State.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:33 PM
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Jesus, Polk. My sympathies.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:35 PM
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Let's see what I got here....hmm, some pink shield-shaped, white round ones and some white capsuled shaped ones. Just let me know if any of those work, B.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:38 PM
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Heh. Med exchange program!

I like the way that Apo assumes I know where to buy pot. Probably PK's teacher does, but asking him seems like it would be somewhat indiscreet.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:39 PM
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Then gas and food prices rise. There is no give in the budget and we are up shit creek.

Holy crap, Polk. Given the rise in prices, can you renegotiate your payment plan with the credit counselling outfit? Or are you locked into whatever agreement you signed up for?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:40 PM
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B, you thought about a day trip to TJ? They're not exactly sticklers on checking prescriptions down there.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:46 PM
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I used to ask people at work which we weren't supposed to do, but how else are you supposed to know what kind of raise to ask for?

As we discussed on the other income thread, it's illegal to ban employees from talking about their compensation.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:47 PM
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Minnesota is Maroon and Gold.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:47 PM
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This must be the place to note that the richest man in India is building a two billion dollar home.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:48 PM
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Polk's story is indeed shitty, and I'm sorry to hear it, and I don't doubt its truth. But I'm nevertheless having a little trouble understanding how debt payments that shouldn't be more than roughly $40k ((65+55+35)/4) on income of $170k could leave a family starving.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:49 PM
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203: and it's a skyscraper. Lame.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:50 PM
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200: I confess that had never occurred to me. Would that I'd thought of it last weekend.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:55 PM
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Who would want to live in a 27-story home?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:55 PM
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204: Take out taxes. Take out $40K. Then start paying mortgage, cars, health care, food, gas. Seems to me like knocking $40k (if not more, depending on how the thing is structured) out of almost anyone's salary would fuck them over.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 5:59 PM
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201: Since it is May Day, let me offer a Huzzah! and Thank You! to Sir Kraab for her good work.

I owe my very existence to organized labor. Indirectly, because my coal mining grandfather was far better off for it. Directly, because my parents were introduced by the head of their local.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:00 PM
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208: umm... okay, take out $40k for taxes. We're left with $90k. Let's assume $3000 (reasonably generous) for mortgage--now we're at $54k. That's $4500/month to live on after taxes, debts and housing.

Obviously I'm sure my numbers are wrong--as I said, I wasn't accusing Polk of dishonesty. I'm just saying I'm not sure how the numbers add up.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:08 PM
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in perpetu-OT, I say happy May Day from the University of Chicago.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:12 PM
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Brock, They owe 65K in consumer debt. Unless they want to spend the next 10-15 years in indentured servitude to Citibank (which they don't, of course), they need to pay that off as quickly as possible. As Polk explains it, everything but what's necessary goes toward the debt.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:16 PM
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Sir Kraab,

Why isn't there more publicity about all of the shitty things Whole Foods does? They require a social security card AND they ban employees from discussing compensation, but there are a ton of liberals who think that they're just wonderful and that it's an enlightened place to work, because there are health benefits.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:16 PM
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Apo assumes I know where to buy pot

That's the entire point of living in California, isn't it?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:16 PM
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Right, I think the idea is that they say: you get x for food and other necessities, and there's no way to renegotiate if that turns out to x+y


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:17 PM
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198: I think you can figure out where to buy pot.

Also, a friend who was in the routine of going to TJ for pills said that it was a nightmare the last time he was there. Used to be you could walk up and buy it, now the pharmacist puts you in a shuttle to a doctor's office who sells you a script and returns you to the pharmacy, all in these shady black-SUV trips across town. One anecdote, but still, I'd research before making the trip.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:20 PM
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210: 40K for taxes? I don't know what state Polk lives in, but in California, I think that you pay more than 24% in federal and state taxes if you make 170K per year.

Also, you're not factoring in the interest on the student loans and consumer debt. The consumer debt loan interest rate is presumably high.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:22 PM
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the shitty things Whole Foods does


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:22 PM
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On COBRA, folks should know that when you're asked if you want COBRA. If you don't, just defer the decision. If you actually say you don't want it, you can't do the retroactive thing.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:23 PM
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Pretend 219 made sense.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:24 PM
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more on the shitty

campaign hasn't been too lively of late, though.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:24 PM
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Brock,

That is what I tell myself every month. We used to live fine on my $18k RA stipend when we were married. One of the big nasty ones we just hit was this past tax year when we had the first full year of my wife's income. It seems like none of the good old deductions worked anymore - the child care was the hardest one to lose.

I am somewhat incredulous myself that we can make so much and be so tight, but that is kind of how the system works. The credit counselors will look at your expenses and cut it down to a minimum, then they take everything left and and send it to your creditors. It is tight by design. I would have loved to say pay it off in 7 years with reasonable payments, but that is not a choice.

To be honest, I think that the system is really designed to extract as much cash from you as fast as possible. You are not exactly a good credit risk in this condition.

One thing I wondered about is if bankruptcy would be a better option. It is funny but at first brush we would be money ahead if I just quit my job quit paying bills and filed for chapter 7 after 6 months. I am sure that there is a reason that won't work but he figures look good.


Posted by: James K. Polk | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:25 PM
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Is your credit blown either way, or does what you're doing now preserve your credit? If not, you might want to take a hard look at bankruptcy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:28 PM
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209: Thanks oudemia!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:30 PM
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Even if declaring bankruptcy blows your credit, what difference does it make if you already own a house and dont intend to move soon? You get to keep the house, yes? What else does good credit matter for other than getting a mortgage (or credit cards, which I assume you dont really want.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:36 PM
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Bankruptcy would require a job change, since they would pull my clearance.

Also back of the envelope calculations has us paying about 38% in state and federal taxes. Dontchknow.


Posted by: James K. Polk | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:38 PM
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Why isn't there more publicity about all of the shitty things Whole Foods does? They require a social security card AND they ban employees from discussing compensation, but there are a ton of liberals who think that they're just wonderful and that it's an enlightened place to work, because there are health benefits.

Well, providing health benefits is a good thing to do.

What's evil about requiring a social security card?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:38 PM
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226: Ah, gotcha. Yeah, the clearance thing is a bitch.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:39 PM
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One problem is that after the Bankruptcy reforms we are only eligible for chapter 13, which makes us pay everything back under equally tight arrangements if I understand things correctly, and IANAL so salt liberally.


Posted by: James K. Polk | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:41 PM
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They require a social security card

Every legit employer requires a social security card. Pretty sure that's federal law, right?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:42 PM
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Actually a job change would not be bad right now. That is really what I most wanted to ask about, if one is interviewing for a job advertised as paying $80k-$120k how can I talk the up to $150.


Posted by: James K. Polk | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:43 PM
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I am watching Deadwood on this May Day, and it's ep 1 of season 3 -- the first time union organizers are mentioned, with Swearingen saying OK if you kill 'em just not in my joint.

It's interesting: Deadwood is very much about the formation of social institutions out of the primordial Old West soup, but organizers have only just made it into the miners. I wonder if they'll make more of that beyond an arena for violence. Even that minimum is more than anyone else says about it. Makes me want to read Big Trouble again.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:43 PM
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What else does good credit matter for other than getting a mortgage (or credit cards, which I assume you dont really want.)

Car loan, or financing on something like a mattress. And while I think that none of the various background checks I've had to go through for jobs included a credit check, I'm pretty sure a bankruptcy would prevent you from getting a job at a financial institution. (When I was contracting for a company that was doing some work for a Large Financial Institution, I had to sign a contract stating that bouncing a check was a firing offense.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:44 PM
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230: No, most of them will let you show them a passport as proof of citizenship and then give them your SS number.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:46 PM
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Although obviously the car loan falls under the same heading as credit cards.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:46 PM
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Every legit employer requires a social security card. Pretty sure that's federal law, right?

Every legit employer requires a social security number, plus forms of ID, but plenty don't require that you present your actual social security card.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:46 PM
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back of the envelope

Didn't you just file? Wouldn't think you'd need back of the envelope.

38% average tax rate is extremely high. Even with just standard deductions and no credits of any sort. And you have a mortgage you can deduct. Where the hell do you live? NYC has a giant city tax but I don't know why else you'd be paying so much.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:47 PM
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SS card not required, but typically is easiest to come up with for citizens. 1 from list A, or one B and one C.(list at bottom of page)


http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-9.pdf


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:49 PM
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how can I talk the up to $150.

From watching Mr. B. negotiate his last two jobs, I'd say you need to make the case that you are the perfect person for the position: you have a rare combination of skills, including maybe some that aren't part of the job but that would come in damn handy once you point it out to them. Or you have connections in the industry they work with/sell to. Or you've worked on both sides of whatever it is: consuming the product and designing it, say. That sort of thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:50 PM
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Is there a reason that requiring an actual ss card is evil?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:50 PM
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I think that's about what we paid, with federal, state, and local taxes, including payroll taxes. We have some doubled-up local taxes, though, as I pay tax to the city of Cleveland on my salary because I work there, but then we also pay to Cleveland Heights, because we live there, and neither municipality gives you credit for paying the other. Also, we have neither children nor a mortgage.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:51 PM
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Because it's above and beyond the requirements for the I-9, for no particular reason. (It's a bit of a bitch if you're an immigrant, or have a name change, etc.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:51 PM
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Well, providing health benefits is a good thing to do.

It is, except that it's structured in such a way that people who are never sick and have been there for a long time get a lot of money to put into a personal wellness account to go towards deductibles and co pays. The medical benefit deductible is $1200, and the drug deductible is $550 after which point your coinsurance is 20%. They give you $300 in an account the first year. This can roll over, and if you've been with the company for a long time, they give you more per year, but for people at the bottom end who make less than $20K, it's not generous coverage. Plus, it doesn't provide any mental health coverage. In Massachusetts a lot of employees were taking advantage of hospital-based free care, because they were underinsured.

Whole Foods in Massachusetts is also pretty bad about reporting things that are clearly covered by workman's comp.

But a lot of limousine liberal PBS types don't care about how anti-union they are.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:52 PM
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ANTI-DISCRIMINATION NOTICE: It is illegal to discriminate against work eligible individuals. Employers CANNOT
specify which document(s) they will accept from an employee.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:53 PM
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204

"Polk's story is indeed shitty, and I'm sorry to hear it, and I don't doubt its truth. But I'm nevertheless having a little trouble understanding how debt payments that shouldn't be more than roughly $40k ((65+55+35)/4) on income of $170k could leave a family starving."

Seems simple enough, they can't manage money. If you can manage money it is easy to look down on people who can't but there is probably something you are lousy at too.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:54 PM
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I'm pretty sure a bankruptcy would prevent you from getting a job at a financial institution.

Also law enforcement, among others. Here at The Internet Auction Company Who Must Not Be Named, I had to pass a credit check to gain access to administrative Pa/Pal functions.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:55 PM
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240: Yeah, it's more than the law requires and it's a hassle if, oh, say, you've lost yours or whatever.

I also have to say that the whole "personal wellness account, copays, deductibles blah blah" stuff is such a fucking hassle. Suddenly you're spending time Managing Your Health Care Funds and trying to guess in advance what you'll spend in a given year and hanging onto receipts (god fucking forbid you lose any) and all sorts of other crap. Much like the "mail order prescription service" nonsense, it's just a burden and a hassle.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:55 PM
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Just so we are comparing apples to apples my back of the envelope calculation was based on last year's total income divided by 12 compared to last month's take-home pay. So, there is more in there than just income tax, there is SS and all those yummy payroll taxes. And on reflection I am off a couple of hundred for insurance that comes out of my wife's check.


Posted by: James K. Polk | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:55 PM
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240: per se, no it's not evil. It's just not what the law requires. It's an added burden that the company's put on. Sir Kraab said it was an illegal requirement.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:57 PM
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Oh, so they don't provide health benefits, outside of those that libertarians would endorse.

Sometimes I wonder how similar to insurance my health "insurance" really is. I mean, if I need health care, how much of it will I have to pay for? What percentage? What absolute amount? There's no way of knowing until I have no choice but to pay for it.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:57 PM
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248: Oh, that makes more sense.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 6:59 PM
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So why is no one suing Whole Foods? Class action fees!


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:00 PM
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244

"ANTI-DISCRIMINATION NOTICE: It is illegal to discriminate against work eligible individuals. Employers CANNOT
specify which document(s) they will accept from an employee."

Which is why the immigration laws are a farce, employers are required to accept easily forged documents as proof of legal work status.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:01 PM
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It is a huge hassle, but the personal wellness account is not teh same as an FSA and can roll over. And they do give you a credit card with direct access to the funds. If you don't use that, it can be set up to automatically deposit the money in your account. That was a pain when a fee was getting waived, and I didn't want the $235 taken out.

The new health plans in MA are really trying to get people to sign up for mail order prescriptions, because their costs are so much lower, and you get to pay a lower copay, but it takes a while for people to be comfortable with the service. I think that it can work for some things, but I don't trust Medco.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:02 PM
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if I need health care, how much of it will I have to pay for? What percentage? What absolute amount? There's no way of knowing until I have no choice but to pay for it.

Or, you could read your policy.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:03 PM
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252: Their turnover is so high; it might be hard to track down the members of the class. Even with all those requirements they still manage to hire a number of illegal Brazilians whom they had to fire. Some of them were legal when they fired them, but their paperwork had been fake when they were hired, so they got canned for the fraud.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:05 PM
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Why isn't there more publicity about all of the shitty things Whole Foods does . . . there are a ton of liberals who think that they're just wonderful and that it's an enlightened place to work

There are many, many liberals who couldn't give a damn about labor. They may care about workers to the extent that they're happy to hear they have health care but they wouldn't be too bothered by the rest of it. And of course there are people who do know and figure out their own balance of concerns on personal health, the environment, fancy mushrooms, and workers. (I'm not being snide; we all make compromises.)

As for publicity, unions have been doing our best, but -- gasp! -- it's not a story the media has been interested in pursuing.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:06 PM
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Their turnover is so high; it might be hard to track down the members of the class

Evil though they may be, I'm willing to bet they haven't destroyed their payroll records.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:06 PM
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Do you work for a union, SK?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:07 PM
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Or, you could read your policy.

Oh come on. I read those policies with a fucking microscope every time, but you're supposed to memorize all the piddly details? And given that they're going to lie to you--"we'll give you two weeks of medication if the mail order stuff doesn't get there in time, oh no we won't!"--you really have no idea. If you start having real health problems, you *know* there's going to be dicking around with what they do and don't cover for months and months while you pay out of pocket for stuff that you need.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:09 PM
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Sir Kraab said it was an illegal requirement.

I was talking about the rule that employees discuss compensation, but redfoxtailshrub seems to have provided definitive SSN info.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:09 PM
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^can't


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:09 PM
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Oh, so they don't provide health benefits, outside of those that libertarians would endorse.

Pretty much, Fatman. Their CEO John Mackey is an avowed libertarian who basically believes that if you eat right, you won't get sick. The thing is that they have a reputation for providing health benefits. After 6 months you don't have to contribute to the premium, so everybody is insured, and they can tout this. So, a certain kind of liberal gets to feel that by paying really high prices she's being virtuous by shopping with a company that takes care of its workers.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:10 PM
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Not a microscope. One of those hand-held things. A magnifying glass.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:10 PM
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The laws aren't nearly as much of a farce as you think. The documents aren't hard to fake, but most of the illegal work is done by just hiring illegally, too.

The alternative is requiring every Tom, Dick and Walmart to be in the business of verifying government issued-ID, which to me doesn't sound appealing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:10 PM
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Oh come on. I read those policies with a fucking microscope every time, but you're supposed to memorize all the piddly details?

Well yeah, some are worse than others. The plans I've had with big corporations were pretty straightforward. Seems like the ones I've read for individuals were more loaded with small print.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:12 PM
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Evil though they may be, I'm willing to bet they haven't destroyed their payroll records.

Including the payrolls documenting the people they illegally decided not to hire?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:13 PM
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Is it liberals or is it just people with too much money who are obsessed with their own navels? I mean, WF is fucking expensive, and my sense is that it's basically trendy. Most other stores carry organics, and people who are genuinely into liberal foodiesm are all doing farmers markets and stuff as much as possible anyway, right?

I don't think people choose stuff b/c x company "takes care of its workers." What they do is choose where to shop b/c it's trendy/popular/convenient/has the right yupped up look and presentation, and then the company posts some sign at the front door saying "we give health insurance to all our workers!" and people say "oh, that's nice" and it makes them feel virtuous about their shopping decisions. It's more about the brand of "virtuous, socially conscious" than it is about actually caring about any of that stuff.

Dear god, take my meds away and I start sounding almost like stras.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:14 PM
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Related question: having just about caught up on our tax filing, I'm determined to get all of our numbers in order from now on; can anyone recommend accounting software? Our situation is moderately complicated, as I work from home and need to be able to track all sorts of invoices, receipts and expenses. Pertinent: I have close to zero experience with accounting, and I use a Mac.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:15 PM
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268: I think that's sort of right, B. In Massachusetts there was a store called Bread and Circus which Whole Foods bought out in the early 90's; the name wasn't changed until the 21st century.

Bread and Circus was run by hippies, and at first they wouldn't sell white sugar. They had very good health benefits for part-timers, so they got a lot of musicians and artists who wanted part-time work. The service was excellent, and the people helping really knew their stuff and often cared. Nowadays, the people working there probably can't afford to shop there much, so they aren't as invested in the organic produce.

There are people who remember that Bread and Circus was a great company, and it hasn't caught on how much WF sucks.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:18 PM
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I don't think people choose stuff b/c x company "takes care of its workers."

Maybe not in general, but I'm a member of Costco instead of the equidistant Sam's Club or the closer BJ's for just this reason. I think you're underestimating the degree to which it's a useful marketing strategy.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:19 PM
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Their CEO John Mackey is an avowed libertarian who basically believes that if you eat right, you won't get sick.

Ugh. If there's anything worse than priggish sanctimony, it's priggish sanctimony in the service of libertarianism.

Yet another reason not to shop at Whole Foods.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:19 PM
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Most other stores carry organics

Maybe where you live. In my experience the organics at every other store consist of maybe 10% of the produce aisle, containing things that look exactly like the other produce except for being uglier and costing 50% more. I think the goal of this is to sell more of the non-organic produce by making it look cheap by comparison with the organics. Although I suppose some people do buy the organics.

, and people who are genuinely into liberal foodiesm are all doing farmers markets and stuff as much as possible anyway, right?

Maybe where you live. In my experience, well, the farmers market seems a lot more like a yuppie affectation than the Whole Foods does. It's a lot harder to get to, it's open about four hours a week, and just about everything there has "heirloom" in the name and looks like it was grown by someone who .

Then there's also the "farmers market" which seems to be the equivalent of "fell off the back of the truck" fruits and vegetables being sold at wholesale prices a few days before they were scheduled to go to the supermarket and be sold for retail prices.

So in short, no. There are no good options for ethical eating anywhere except California.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:20 PM
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One of the funny aspects of going through the cop/civil service testing process is that at least two of the people working for the dept. assumed I would be taking a pay cut to work for the police. Ha!

Definitely a better salary range than I'm currently in, especially when you factor in retirement.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:20 PM
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I remember trying to shop at Bread and Circus when I was in college! I would go and stare longingly at the beautiful fruits and vegetables, and go home with like one perfect pear (and no sugar).


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:21 PM
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I'm a member of Costco instead of the equidistant Sam's Club or the closer BJ's for just this reason.

Me too. Starbucks seems to treat employees pretty well as well.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:21 PM
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Having said 273, we do have a co-op in my city. It seems to be run by extremely ethical people, so that's where I go for produce. But it continues to be a surprise that that place is still open. If it wasn't, the Whole Foods would be the next best option. And the prices are pretty much the same between the co-op and the Whole Foods.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:22 PM
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Yeah, our local co-op, sadly, seems to be the best place in town to go for extremely sad, limp, and expensive produce.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:23 PM
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Well yeah, some are worse than others. The plans I've had with big corporations were pretty straightforward. Seems like the ones I've read for individuals were more loaded with small print.

This has been true in my experience, but only in the sense that those administered through even a mid-size organization provide someone to translate for you. Whether it's the HR person or the University health insurance staff.

Now that I have individual insurance, I'd be utterly lost in the fine print were it not for the insurance broker I somehow wound up working with (I'm not quite sure how that happened, but thank god it did). He not only translates, but provides advice about ever-changing state health insurance regulations.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:24 PM
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278 - Clearly what this town needs is a whole bunch of Seventh-Day Adventists.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:25 PM
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Just fyi, insurance companies are often responsive to threats. My wife is currently on a high dose of a very expensive medication--so expensive its dosage is restricted by our (usually very good) insurer. We were told several times in no uncertain terms that we would have to pay out-of-pocket for about 80% of what she was supposed to take (which was big $$$), because they would only cover x pills per month. On the advice of a friend (who works for another health insurance company), she told them she's pretty sure she wouldn't be feeling well without adequate medication and that if they didn't cover her full prescription she'd probably be visiting the ER once or twice a week (which comes with a $75 copay, but which is far, far more expensive for the insurance company). They thought she was bluffing, but after she followed through once they reconsidered their position and now fully cover her pills.

(Yes, someone in critical need probably died from lack of attention while my wife frivilously piddled away the scarce attention of the medical professionals in the ER, but don't focus on that--focus instead on the fact that she stuck it to the Man!)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:25 PM
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I do have this awesome memo of the week from the regional president. If I were a writer, I'd turn it into a satirical novel.

The basic set up would be a guy who's been scrounging off of his aunt for years and finds himself with no money once she dies and no job skills, so he goes to work at Whole Foods.

So, here's the memo. New England is in the North Atlantic region which now includes the UK. So the regional President whom almost no managers respect, writes a letter highlighting the Red Sox's new pitcher and says, "Now that you're part of our region, you all have to be Red Sox fans too." If anyone's interested, I can find his comments about the Japanese concept of effort and how it means that people should continue to work through pain.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:26 PM
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Meanwhile, while we weren't looking, Hewlett Packard invented a flux capacitor.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:29 PM
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265

"The laws aren't nearly as much of a farce as you think. The documents aren't hard to fake, but most of the illegal work is done by just hiring illegally, too."

I doubt that very much. You think most illegals are working off the books?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:32 PM
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The story in 281 is hilarious.

MRS. LANDERS: You won't spend a small amount of your money on something that I need, Mr. Insurance Company? Well, that may be the case, but I warn you that I also have the right to waste HUGE AMOUNTS of your money on something I DON'T need, whenever I want! So it's up to you. I'll take one day off from work and go to the emergency room for no reason at all, forcing you to pay for it, until you agree to pay this much smaller expense which I actually need but have no way of getting you to pay for.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:33 PM
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284

I doubt that very much. You think most illegals are working on the books?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:33 PM
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284: much is. And most of the rest isn't because "employers are required to accept easily forged documents", as you said, but because employers are very happy to do so.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:34 PM
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285 is more or less how the conversation went.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:35 PM
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(Except she went to the ER after work--she didn't take the day off.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:36 PM
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284: It's not off the books, they give a fake SSN and the company accepts it.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:40 PM
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ER NURSE: Hi Mrs. Landers, what can I do ya for?

MRS. LANDERS: Oh, I'm here for spite.

ER NURSE: Spite?

MRS. LANDERS: That's right, I don't care for my insurance company, so I've decided to go to the emergency room. Don't worry, you'll be fully reimbursed by them for all my expenses. I'll even sign something to guarantee that.

ER NURSE: I don't know if we can give someone medical care based purely on spite.

MRS. LANDERS: I don't need any medical care right now, just a diagnosis to once again affirm that I need this medication. No need to rush, just start doing something to me so I can start racking up the charges.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:41 PM
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290: I think by "hiring off the books" he means "without even bothering to ask for documentation".


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:42 PM
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"Don't worry, you'll be fully reimbursed by them for all my expenses."

There's the kicker, isn't it?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:43 PM
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I doubt that very much. You think most illegals are working off the books?

Given the amount that's field work, child care, and construction, industries where legally workers often work off the books, yes.

Or sometimes they are using their own ID and SSN, but are no longer permitted to work legally. Or they're making one up. Or they're faking documents.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:43 PM
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Further to 293: By which I mean that I've certainly been denied coverage for ER costs. I righted the situation but it took some dedication.

Still, sticking it to the man, well.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:46 PM
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283 is just totally awesome. They really did!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:53 PM
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245: JBS, I think that your evaluation is too corse. Actually, if we could not manage money we would not be as bad off as we are. We are kind-of-competent and did a wonderful job for years, which meant we started this downward slide with great credit that we wanted to preserve. Then a little momentum built up and the rest is history.

B: Thanks for the advice. I can certainly make that argument and make it honestly in this case. I just hate this part of the process since there is a lot of posturing and puffery going on.


Posted by: James K. Polk | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 7:59 PM
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283 is just totally awesome. They really did!

Seriously, so great. I really, really want everyone to agree to call it a flux capacitor and not a memristor. The invention itself is also extremely cool.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:00 PM
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An EE friend was enthusing about it to us earlier today: While transistors run into heat problems as you make them smaller and smaller, the FLUX CAPACITOR uses less energy the smaller it is. Plus because it's a simple passive component, it's naturally much simpler to construct at small size. And solid-state. Neat, neat, neat!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:09 PM
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I know someone who scheduled a surgery during the last six months before she retired so she could use up four or five months of sick time. It probably was a necessary surgery, but she was very happy to zing the boss, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out that it was elective.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:11 PM
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Sticking it to the man is all well and good, but your health insurance provider shouldn't be the man and you shouldn't have to stick it to him.

But I'd better stop now, before Emerson accuses me, yet again, of Canuckocentrism.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:14 PM
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America is the victim nation, the last nation that it's OK to insult. We put up with it because we're so nice, but one day the worm will turn. "Wake up, my fellow Americans!" I cry, but my words fall on he deaf ears of a nation of sheep -- today. But when America does finally awaken, the lesser peoples to our North will bitterly regret their arrogance and cruelty.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:20 PM
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John, that kind of rhetoric is what inevitably gets twisted around by opportunists and leads to the election of Berlusconists.


Posted by: Full circle spectrum commentry | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:22 PM
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I've often thought that I should run for office on an anti-Canadian platform. Everybody knows about the Mexicans, but the real threat is not from the South.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:24 PM
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294

For some actual facts see this NYT story .

Some quotes:

"It is impossible to know exactly how many illegal immigrant workers pay taxes. But according to specialists, most of them do. Since 1986, when the Immigration Reform and Control Act set penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, most such workers have been forced to buy fake ID's to get a job.

Currently available for about $150 on street corners in just about any immigrant neighborhood in California, a typical fake ID package includes a green card and a Social Security card. It provides cover for employers, who, if asked, can plausibly assert that they believe all their workers are legal. It also means that workers must be paid by the book - with payroll tax deductions."

and

""Our assumption is that about three-quarters of other-than-legal immigrants pay payroll taxes," said Stephen C. Goss, Social Security's chief actuary, using the agency's term for illegal immigration."


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:24 PM
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ID is not especially easy to fake. There's a market for fake ID, so people can get it. I'm not sure it's all fake, either. Some may be recycled from dead people or people who have returned to Mexico.

I doubt that the easy availability of fake ID is a big part of the problem, or one the solution of which would solve the problem. They're here because employers need them, and low wage businesses aren't going to go out of business just to obey the law.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:29 PM
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They're here because employers need them, and low wage businesses aren't going to go out of business just to obey the law.

They want low wage, but don't really need it. Substantial wage increases being passed on direct to the consumer in something labor intensive like crop picking still only results in a small increase in price per pound.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:35 PM
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At the moment when the guy's hiring, though, he needs the person he's hiring. Above old in field work, but really always. And whatever the wage is, it will be a low wage, whether he hires a legal or an illegal. I don't see getting rid of the illegals without putting a lot of businesses under. Maybe their niche will be filled later by someone paying a higher wage, maybe not, but if you raid a significant number of illegals someone has to go down.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:39 PM
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the lesser peoples to our North will bitterly regret their arrogance and cruelty.

We are notorious for our arrogance, of course, and not without good reason. Oh, sorry! Did you just step on my foot? I apologize.

I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold,
We'd fire no guns, shed no tears.

We may have a plan. But if we did, I guess we probably wouldn't tell you about it.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:49 PM
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269: I can't speak from personal experience, but I know someone very happy with iBank for a semi-complicated situation.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:51 PM
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306

"ID is not especially easy to fake. There's a market for fake ID, so people can get it. I'm not sure it's all fake, either. Some may be recycled from dead people or people who have returned to Mexico."

Another NYT article about recycled IDs.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:53 PM
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309: sshhhh, Mary Catherine, don't let on that the white house is going to get torched again.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:53 PM
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285 is awesome and makes me feel better about paying $129 tonight for two weeks' worth of medication.

That's right. The insurance company was acting like dicks because they were unwilling to pay for $65 extra dollars worth of drugs. Minus a $25 copay. Forty bucks.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:54 PM
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they give a fake SSN and the company accepts it.

Or more often a real one with a hispanic sounding name on it. A friend of mine had his hijacked three times so far, which makes things fun with the IRS when they come after you for not reporting all `your' income.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:57 PM
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297

"245: JBS, I think that your evaluation is too corse. Actually, if we could not manage money we would not be as bad off as we are. We are kind-of-competent and did a wonderful job for years, which meant we started this downward slide with great credit that we wanted to preserve. Then a little momentum built up and the rest is history."

And lots of alcoholics think they don't have a problem because they drank socially for years. It sounds like you have been living above your means for a long time.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 8:58 PM
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312: You probably learned in school that it was "the British" who did that, which probably made you think of tea and crumpets and Union Jacks. But it was one of the Highland regiments, of course. Those lads just loved to burn shit down.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:00 PM
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If you can manage money it is easy to look down on people who can't but there is probably something you are lousy at too.

Easy? Perhaps. Stupid? Certainly.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:00 PM
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You probably learned in school that it was "the British" who did that

Nah.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:02 PM
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It sounds like you have been living above your means for a long time.

In what way is this not just an asshole thing to say to someone who is in pretty desperate financial straits?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:04 PM
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One can pay payroll taxes by requesting an ITIN, too, so proof of paying taxes isn't proof of identity theft.

My quibble is with whose job it is to enforce it. Right now an employer can run a check on their employees and if the documentation bounces, it bounces. What they can't do is say 'I don't know whether that's a legal document so I won't hire you.' (All of you know exactly what a employment authorization card looks like, right? And you know the rules governing how long someone on an F-1 can work per week? You'd know how to spot a fake? Then leave the enforcement up to the feds.)

One thing that would help is having the turn-around time on the paperwork check be faster. One of shivbunny's co-workers' paperwork bounced, but he'd already been at work six weeks when the company had to let him go. Had this been a short-term job, he'd have been onto another place to work by the time the SSA got back to him. But I don't think making it illegal for his employer not to have identified the paperwork as fake makes a whole lot of sense, unless you're trying to increase discrimination against Hispanics.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:06 PM
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192: Bitch, if you are having problems with both high cholesterol and depression, please get a thyroid panel done. I had hideous cholesterol issues for years, then had thyroid disease diagnosed, and upon getting the thyroid properly medicated, the cholesterol magically dropped into perfect range. It's actually a bit of a mess at the moment -- but getting on track makes a huge difference and is a complete fucking relief. All the symptoms are vague hypochondriac sounding things (depression, sensitivity to cold, fatigue), so it apparently gets missed quite a bit. Worth a check.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:08 PM
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Jesus Shearer, way to showcase that conservative empathy.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:09 PM
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319

"In what way is this not just an asshole thing to say to someone who is in pretty desperate financial straits?"

Since when are you Miss Manners B?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:20 PM
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315, 322: I'm pretty sure that James is just trying to remind us why an analogy ban is a good idea. Right, James?

Seriously, Pres. Polk, the situation sounds pretty sucky. Best of luck.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:22 PM
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James, you are a jerk. You don't know that, though.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:22 PM
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322

"Jesus Shearer, way to showcase that conservative empathy."

Conservatives believe in tough love.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:23 PM
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From all the way back at 58, rationalizing why we shouldn't talk about income:

hard numbers make the disparity pretty stark and I think it would be upsetting and might lead to resentment. And it's not as if we're organizing a union or all work together, so there's very little benefit.

Couldn't disagree more. Not talking about salary is an exercise of power. The people who lose out are the ones who are more likely to be discriminated against and more likely to be ignorant of the "norms." The costs of disclosing are low; the costs of ignorance can be appallingly high.

If I have learned anything at all in the last 15 years, it's that people's notions of "normal" vary so dramatically that it's beyond absurd to imagine that anyone has a good sense of what most other people make. (Some other people, perhaps, although even there I have a lot of counter-evidence.)

I'm a bit of an outlier on this issue; I got on local access TV once and told my entire neighborhood (yeah, a lot of them actually watched) that I was making $34,000 a year. This was a very conscious effort to illustrate that a white professional wearing business clothes could indeed be defined as "moderate income" by federal standards.

For most of the last ten years my income has hovered within $1000 of the national median household income. Recently I got a ridiculously generous raise and am now making $61,500.

When I was 17 I would not have predicted how costly it would be for people not to know how much other people were earning. Now I see how badly it can hurt. So I make it a point to talk salary ranges when I do informational interviews with young graduates, and to explain the ins and outs of my house price and mortgage situation when visitors show interest.

Being good or not so good at managing money is a very small proportion a personality trait and a very large proportion of social capital, training, and conditioning. I don't know anything about James Polk's situation but I do know that most of the people I know who can't handle money spent important years of their lives being ignorant of really basic things like compounding interest and the existence of the mortgage interest tax deduction. So I don't agree with 58 and in fact advocate as strongly as I an against that kind of thinking. "Nice people don't talk about money because it makes others uncomfortable," might be true, but that's a reason to find other ways to talk about money, not to keep it hidden.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:23 PM
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Go ahead, Mary Catherine, laugh it up. Lackeys of the empire.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:26 PM
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Tough love would be what James Polk has already followed in consolidating his bills and making serious sacrifices to pay it off in four years.

Advice in a comment box delivered rudely doesn't count as tough love. Plus, tough love has to be delivered before the fact, right? To help someone change.

Next we solve alcoholism: come in after the alcoholic has in treatment, shriek 'you're a fucking drunk!' and then say 'um tough love no backsies.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:26 PM
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Conservatives believe in tough love.

Oh yeah!


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:28 PM
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313

"285 is awesome and makes me feel better about paying $129 tonight for two weeks' worth of medication."

That sounds a bit high. There is a generic form, Venlafaxine.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:29 PM
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In what way is this not just an asshole thing to say to someone who is in pretty desperate financial straits?

In no way at all, that I can think of. C'mon, James, reach deep inside yourself and find whatever it takes to be your better self. I'm not asking you to be Shirley MacLaine channelling past lives in the lost sea-utopia of Atlantis. I'm just saying you don't really have to be a pure and unmitigated arsehole if you don't want to be. No, not even on the Internets.

It's really easy (all too shockingly easy) to get in over your head financially, when you're trying to establish yourself in a career and you also have the care and feeding of small children to attend to.

Meanwhile, people seriously argue about the moral status of waterboarding. As if there really were a case to be made for torture, under certain circumstances, and when there might be a "ticking bomb" and who knows how many thousands of lives at stake!

Being in debt is an inconvenience, to be sure, both to the debtor and to the debtee. But hardly the stuff of serious moral outrage, in the grand scheme of things.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:30 PM
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331 makes a good point. Unless B requires the "extended release" version of Effexor/venlafaxine, which is apparently not off patent yet.

Please, people, the generic drug is exactly the same molecule.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:35 PM
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Mary Catherine, which James are you suggesting that we waterboard: Polk or Shearer?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:36 PM
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Being in debt is an inconvenience, to be sure, both to the debtor and to the debtee.

It's not really an inconvenience to the debtor. Not if the debtor is a bank, or a credit card corporation, or just about anything other than a human being. They try to get into as much debt as they can.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:36 PM
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329

He hasn't changed or he still wouldn't be living on the edge.

An acoholic drying out who thinks he doesn't have a problem and can resume social drinking is headed right back for trouble.

From the information presented the Polks obviously have trouible managing money. The first step to doing better is to acknowledge they have a problem.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:39 PM
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Er, wait a minute, which one is the debtor?

Which one is the debtee? Isn't that usually called the "creditor"?

Now I realize, what I meant to say in 335 was about the "creditor", not the debtor. Sorry.


336 goes far overboard into trolling. No more rational thought wasted on this person, please!


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:42 PM
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328: Ha! I had a probably quirky (but normal for the Ottawa Valley, I suppose) upbringing, I think. When it came to anything between Ireland and England: up the Republic! and the English were bloody bastards. When it came to anything between Canada and the US: damn those GD Yankees, and we support the Crown. We took great delight in 1812, but then again (and no shit, and for real), some of my peeps were actually Fenians.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:44 PM
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From the information presented the Polks obviously have trouible managing money. The first step to doing better is to acknowledge they have a problem.

What part of them already having done what they can to get rid of the debt don't you understand? What's the equivalent of 'social drinking'?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:47 PM
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Mr.Polk, you'll be all right, in a yr or two your kids will graduate, start to work and help you cover the debt, you have a loving family and a good paying job, that's the most important thing, so you'll be able to pay your debt sooner or later or you can declare bankruptcy anytime, so there is always this or another way to solve the problem
BPhD, why do you need medication, you are naturally cheerful and optimistic person, may be this break in your insurance coverage could be your opportunity to quit it, no? but i don't know may be you needed not only antideps
coz life i believe is good w/o meds or even better, but withdrawal sure sucks, i understand, or you can try selenium, it boosts immunity, fights depression, prevents viral infections and cancer, just have to be careful to not take it in excess, you'll start smelling like garlic :)
if you all mentioned, James said recently very hopeful words, 'sympathise and tough love', so there is a bit of change in his very rational mind, interesting, may be it's Unfogged's influence
good night, all


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:49 PM
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JKP's situation sounds terrible. Is there equity in the house or vehicles to tap? Student loans can be consolidated once, which lowers monthly payments. Is driving less expensive cars an option at all? Probably not if you owe family.

Hard to say much for salary without knowing more about your field. Know as much as you can about your employer, convey enthusiasm and optimism, and don't be the first to bring up salary. If the first offer's low, reply that it's a hard decision how to respond, though the work sounds fantastic.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:50 PM
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I'm falling a little bit in love with read.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:53 PM
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1. We admitted we were powerless over money--that our finances had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to solvency.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of the Market as we understood It.
4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our finances.
5. Admitted to the Market, to ourselves, and to people on the Internets the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have the Market remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked It to remove our debts.
8. Made a list of all institutions to whom we owed money, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct payments to such institutions wherever possible, except when they had sold the debt to increase their profitability.
10. Continued to take personal financial inventory and when we were overspent promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through production and consumption to improve our conscious contact with the Market as we understood It, praying only for knowledge of Its Will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a fiscal awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to debtors, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:58 PM
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342: I'm falling a little bit in love with read.

Yes, although I'm also thinking that she has gone long on selenium futures.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:59 PM
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332

"Being in debt is an inconvenience, to be sure, both to the debtor and to the debtee. But hardly the stuff of serious moral outrage, in the grand scheme of things."

Am I coming across as morally outraged? Hardly, I just think Polk has been mismanaging his money.

However I do have a little moral outrage for businesses that prey on people who can't manage money.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 9:59 PM
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James K. Polk was my favorite president as a child. I think I liked the way the name recalled Marvin K. Mooney. And that he "worked himself to death".


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:03 PM
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346: Filthy westward expansionist!


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:08 PM
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Yeah, the only real wealth is kids.

Actually, one thing educated people usually have that's worth something is books. Amazon makes it easy to check what's worth something, and easy to sell it. Prebuy your shipping materials and postage, find an exact 1 lb weight or a cheapo scale. A shelf of nonfiction or practical books can bring $200, easy, though it may take a month to sell. Similarly CDs, some are worthless but some aren't, and you can always rebuy or download and burn your jazz in better days.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:10 PM
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346: I think I liked the way the name recalled Marvin K. Mooney

Which in turn brings to mind founding father Marbury V. Madison (from the comment thread of this great post at Lawyers, Guns and Money).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:13 PM
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339

"What part of them already having done what they can to get rid of the debt don't you understand? What's the equivalent of 'social drinking'?"

The equivalent of social drinking is carrying a gradually increasing balance on your credit cards until the roof falls in, like the alcoholic who gradually increases his drinking until it leads to disaster.

And the debt isn't the problem, it's just a symptom, the problem is an inability to plan and budget so that minor shocks like increasing gas prices don't push them over the edge.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:13 PM
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Am I coming across as morally outraged? Hardly, I just think Polk has been mismanaging his money.

You're coming across, at least, as extremely insensitive. When someone has fucked something up, and has admitted it, and has taken steps to correct the problem--all of which Polk's done, which is actually what we're talking about--it's rude to say things that sound like personal criticisms.

I'm just barely willing to believe that okay, you're extremely socially unadept, and think you're only stating a neutral fact. But people with normal socialization don't do that sort of thing, and tend to judge those who do as being rude and judgmental, which is usually the case.

Witt gets it 100% right about the salary thing, which is why I suggested such a thread in the first place.

Re my medication, etc., folks, I'm not an idiot, and my (former) insurance company is certainly cheap enough that if I could take generics I would. Indeed, I believe that *all* insurance companies basically require people to use generics when possible these days. I appreciate the concern, though.

BPhD, why do you need medication, you are naturally cheerful and optimistic person, may be this break in your insurance coverage could be your opportunity to quit it, no? but i don't know may be you needed not only antideps

For a second-language speaker, you seem to have mastered sarcasm pretty well. At least, I'm pretty sure you don't actually think of me as a "naturally cheerful and optimistic person."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:15 PM
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The disaster already occurred, James. And they're already aware of it. It's too late for your tough, tactless, rude, homespun love to help them.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:16 PM
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At least, I'm pretty sure you don't actually think of me as a "naturally cheerful and optimistic person."

You seem to be optimistic about your own ability to accomplish things and win people over. About the world in general, maybe not.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:17 PM
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Well, in any case, I was amused by read's saying that rather than offended, and I realize on re-reading that my response to her sounds snippy, which was not my intent.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:18 PM
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B, we all think of you as a naturally cheerful and optimistic person. We just didn't have the heart to tell you.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:20 PM
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350: Analogy ban, James! Truly, you should try it. It will save you from saying sooo many stupid things.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:21 PM
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355: Growl.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:27 PM
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The song in 328 would make a pretty good national anthem.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:29 PM
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You can't tell me the analytic philosophy thread was worse than this.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:32 PM
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DS, sorry about the mix mixup earlier. "Certain Things" is awesome, and will probably yield a contribution to my semi-annual mix for friends (martin Sexton or Chet Baker).


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:33 PM
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And seriously, though: I can totally see people needing chemical adjustment to control depression, but noticing just how addictive antidepressants seem to be really gives my inner conspiracy theorist a workout. Like, is it really necessary for them to have withdrawal symptoms that brutal, or just more lucrative?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:33 PM
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360: Oh hey, no worries, all good. Cheers.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:33 PM
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359: Football sucks.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:34 PM
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Thanks, soup for the rec in 310; I'll check it out.

Witt's take on the salary thing in 327 sounds exactly right. Anyone who thinks otherwise has unhealthy money issues.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:37 PM
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361: They mostly don't. But the reality is that anti-d treatment is still pretty much like "ok, we know these things work but we're not *exactly* sure why, so let's keep trying you on different stuff until you feel beter, kay?"

So yeah, it's half-assed. But I think it's too half-assed for them to actually be fine-tuning it for addictive properties. Anyhoo, it makes sense that anything that affects your brain and has a short half-life is gonna mess you up if it suddenly evacuates your system.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:39 PM
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359: Football sucks. 359: Football sucks.


Posted by: Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:34 PM | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:45 PM
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I'll tell you what sucks. Palo Alto and its absurd cost of living sucks.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:50 PM
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359:I think it's a GREAT thread. Tore me away from junkie Heather Graham, it did.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:50 PM
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367: Still looking for a place to live?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:55 PM
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367: Still looking for a place to live?

I have somewhere expensive, and then a better deal with some friends fell through because of a landlord being a jerk about the prospect of the hoi polloi living in his faculty home.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:57 PM
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So I don't agree with 58

I can agree generally that it would be good for people to have a better idea what everyone else makes, but still think it would be bad for the blog for people to disclose.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:58 PM
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But the reality is that anti-d treatment is still pretty much like "ok, we know these things work but we're not *exactly* sure why, so let's keep trying you on different stuff until you feel beter, kay?"

With bonuses like "sweaty bastard" and "doesn't want to fuck anymore".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 10:59 PM
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Well, the not wanting to fuck thing, you try different meds.

The night sweats, I admit, are kind of annoying. The vivid weirdo dreams are kind of cool, though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:02 PM
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Night sweats? Huh. Someone I knew on Wellbutrin would sweat at ridiculously low levels of exertion.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:07 PM
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371:I am sorry if I wrecked the blog way up above. Everybody knows I was probably lying anyway.

Well, movie is over. Did Hope kill Will, or did Will kill Hope? Damfino. Brian Jonestown Massacre (sndtrk) is way overrated.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:11 PM
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I have somewhere expensive, and then a better deal with some friends fell through because of a landlord being a jerk about the prospect of the hoi polloi living in his faculty home.

You can probably find someplace affordable to live in Ben Lomond.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:12 PM
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Effexor has night sweats, yeah. It freaks new doctors out when they go down the line of symptoms--do you have ___?--until you say "it's okay, I'm on Effexor." Then they go, "aha."


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:20 PM
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You can probably find someplace affordable to live in Ben Lomond.

Right. Except I can't live there.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:29 PM
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Except I can't live there.

Are you required to live within the city limits of Palo Alto? That blows.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:44 PM
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246: see you and raise you: 98k plus good benefits and pension for a GED.
http://www.co.suffolk.ny.us/police/recruitment.htm

338: Union Jack Red Ensign.
In Canadian soap operas, everybody pledges allegiance to the Red Ensign.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:47 PM
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Graduate students have apartments in Palo Alto and its environs.

My conclusion: Gonerill's standards are too high. He should consult this simple algorithm.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05- 1-08 11:49 PM
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Night sweats would be enough to make me look for a different treatment option.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:02 AM
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Brian Jonestown Massacre (sndtrk) is way overrated.

There's a whole movie about this. It's called Dig!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:38 AM
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246: see you and raise you: 98k plus good benefits and pension for a GED.

NY and NJ state police pay decent as well, but check out NY City.

http://www.nypd2.org/html/recruit/salary.html

25K to start and they top out at basically the same as Salt Lake. Bad times.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:43 AM
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Yeah, but:
# 20 Paid vacation days your first year
# 27 Paid vacation days after 5 years of service
# Unlimited sick leave with full pay
# A choice of paid medical programs
# Prescription, dental, and eye glass coverage
And, $25k starts when you being police academy and goes to $32k upon completion of the police academy.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:00 AM
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Come on, cost of living! Seems nuts to me that NYC would be basically on the same salary range as Salt Lake. Sure, NYC is doing better on the sick and vacation, but the med, dental, and retirement are pretty standard for police depts. Even with the current inflated prices a house in a good school district can be had out here for 250-300k.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:25 AM
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I think Norway publishes everybody's income tax file. It was a profoundly un-Italian thing to do; I really hope somebody wget'd (wgot?) the whole lot before they took it down.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 4:46 AM
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328: From the comments:

more like "in the 1812, we were still fucking freeloding pussies" the only reason everyone hasnt nuked that shithole known as canada is because the U.S is protecting them. i guess we cant blame these fucking cunts for taking credit for someone elses work and pussying out, i mean they do derive from french culture

A few Americans understand the threat.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 5:09 AM
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Tangential to 283: Boy, has Scientific American been dumbed down in the last two decades!

You may dimly recall circuit diagrams from your middle school science class; those little boxes with a battery on one end and a lightbulb on the other. Ring any bells?

The Scientific American of old would have presupposed knowledge of symbolic notation for circuit diagrams.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 5:25 AM
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389: Hugely. When I was twenty-one, Scientific American was fun because it was a real strain to read; plenty of it I couldn't make anything of, and the rest I was really working at. Now it's a nice science magazine for the layperson, that's a comfortable evening read. It's moved more into my sweet spot for entertainment, but I still find the change disturbing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 5:33 AM
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343 did not get enough appreciation.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 5:41 AM
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351 i say only what i think, i really think you are optimistic person as people describe 'force of nature', if not always nice
i agree with you often and think you are kind person at heart and b/c i did not master yet imo sarcasm or reading between lines i always think that people say awesome when they actually think awesome
i do, at least, i'm sorry if you felt it was kinda nosy and tactless, just tried to be helpful b/c i really believe medications and credit cards are evil things to occur to people if that, mismanaged


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 5:52 AM
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B is not only optimistic but wholesome. She stresses herself, however, by always trying to put three pounds of beans into a two-pound sack. The socially-aware upper-middle-class Catholic feminist GLBT-friendly open marriage is hard to pull off.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 5:57 AM
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388

they do derive from french culture

LOL. Don't tell the Canadians that. I mean, the Canadians I know would agree, but I understand it's a touchy subject in most of the country.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 6:06 AM
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If I have learned anything at all in the last 15 years, it's that people's notions of "normal" vary so dramatically that it's beyond absurd to imagine that anyone has a good sense of what most other people make.

This is another excellent point by Witt.

The sentence would work equally well if you exchange "make" for "do in their personal lives" or "do behind closed doors."

One of liberal arts people probably can cite to some study about how people falsely assume that they know what other people's lives are like.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 6:09 AM
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338:

Ha! I had a probably quirky (but normal for the Ottawa Valley, I suppose) upbringing, I think. When it came to anything between Ireland and England...

Is Mary Catherine a new name for someone familiar under another pseud, as I suspect, or a fourth commenter, counting myself, from the Ottawa Valley?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 6:39 AM
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New pseud. I don't think that it's a seekrit who, but I maybe it is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 6:43 AM
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Just to answer some questions that came up in my absence:

336:

He hasn't changed or he still wouldn't be living on the edge.

I know you think that I am doing the cry me a river, poor me thing. But I am not living on the edge by choice -- it is the way the system works -- any step away for the edge that I could make is already taken by my creditors. Until I get out of purgatory, any extra money I would have each month is classified as "discretionary" and sent to my creditors.

[Parenthetically, there is some allowance for periodic expenses but nothing unexpected. I can gather money over a the year to pay for new tires on the car under the rules. But they would not let me "budget" for the root canal that nobody knew was coming. So I have a new tooth and old tires.]

To be fair to JBS I think that he needs for my story to be the result of my person flaws, because if not then he would run right smack into the cognitive dissonance of "there but for the grace of god go I." And that is not a comfortable place for many people.

Just for the record our big sin was having kids at the wrong time. I know that James will say it is a cop out but really it is more a case of youthful optimism and not knowing how expensive hiccups in real life can be.

Back in grad school my wife and I were looking at my late-thirties newly tenured major-professor who was just starting to try to start a family. She told me that they had waited until after tenure to have kids because the academy was so rough that it would be irresponsible to start a family before that.

I was ready to sacrifice quite a bit to the academy bot that seemed a bit too much. We agreed that it would be hard to be setting up a lab and starting a research program as a new professor with a new baby. The idea of having kids before that actually made some sense, do it while we were young, the campus had family housing for a reason right?

Well, kids were more expensive than we had thought and as a result by graduation we had more debt than we had planned on but it was manageable. We were going to triple our salaries and all would be right with the world.

Things went OK for a while we were making our payments making progress. Then in early september my father-in-law unexpectedly passed away. So, we flew across the pond for the funeral, got trapped for two weeks because of 9/11, and ended up with $10k of steaming new debt we were not in the position to handle.

Now in hindsight, we should have only sent my wife to the funeral since there are no international bereavement fairs for air travel. But this was an unexpected event, he had never gotten so see his grandson, we were emotional, yadda, yadda, yadda... The short of it is that shit happens.

Shit happens -- then the system becomes punitive -- and you will not make it out easily.

The funny thing is that if we still had the "original" terms we had on all our debt we would be paying it off just-fine-thank-you-very-much. The real problem, and the thing that we did not sully appreciate was how our debt was like a flask of nitroglycerin that would turn really ugly under a slight perturbation.

In hindsight, we should have done some things differently but I really do not see that as much different that saying we should have picked the right stocks or timed the real estate bubble. We took risks that we thought were reasonable at the time and lost.

I always marvel at the personal/business double standard here since if I was a business the answer would be simple. A business would declare bankruptcy, write off your losses and move on, 9 out of 10 business fail so pick yourself up and try again. A person, a person needs to be punished, the pound of flesh must be extracted for their own good.


Posted by: James K. Polk | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 7:55 AM
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kids were more expensive than we had thought

You're obviously overly-indulgent parents. Your kids are probably spoiled brats.

Seriously though, the recent bankruptcy "reform" completely sucks, and you're a perfect example of exactly why, for the reasons you mentioned upthread. Have you considered self-immolation on the steps of the capital, in protest? That may be the most effective solution at this point.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:13 AM
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You're absolutely right, James. In our neo-liberialist society, we champion the failed business as a learning step to the successful business. And bankrupt consumers are deadbeats who if they do get going again, got handouts.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:17 AM
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I always marvel at the personal/business double standard here since if I was a business the answer would be simple. A business would declare bankruptcy, write off your losses and move on, 9 out of 10 business fail so pick yourself up and try again. A person, a person needs to be punished, the pound of flesh must be extracted for their own good.

This really resonates. It seems like a vicious circle. A business can fail without shame because people talk openly about business failures. You hear about that, think, "Yeah, starting a business is hard, tough break." But people don't talk openly about their personal financial disasters because you kind of know at least some people are going to want to shame you for it. It's embarrassing. And because so few people talk about it, we probably all underestimate how common this kind of thing is, which just feeds into the mentality of thinking, "You must have done something stupid because everyone else is doing okay."

I am about as cautious and fiscally conservative as they come, and I make a very good wage, and it's still hard to stay afloat and feel financially secure. But we don't talk about such things because, you know, "How can you have a hard time making ends meet on your income?"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:20 AM
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"How can you have a hard time making ends meet on your income?"

Well, how can you? And that's a genuine question. You're right, no one talks about it. I really wasn't trying to accuse Polk of mismanaging his money before--I was just wondering what about the picture I was missing that would lead someone with such a nominal income to be pinched for food. (And it's perfectly understandable that he/you may not want to share, and that's fine. I was just expressing my ignorance and perplexity.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:31 AM
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When you're put on an inflexible budget, regardless of the nominal size of it, rising costs for necessities really throw a wrench into the works.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:37 AM
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I didn't read most of this thread (because I refuse to let unfogged make me any more profoundly depressed about the state of the world, at least not this instant) but holy shit Universal Default really is criminal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:40 AM
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I was ready to sacrifice quite a bit to the academy bot that seemed a bit too much. We agreed that it would be hard to be setting up a lab and starting a research program as a new professor with a new baby. The idea of having kids before that actually made some sense, do it while we were young, the campus had family housing for a reason right?

You know, this is still the advice tossed around. Have your kids early in grad school, because having them while tenure-track is a bitch. In following such advice you weren't doing anything that wouldn't come Chronicle of Higher-Ed approved, is my point.

Shearer seemed to miss the whole bit where you're paying off the debt and are on the edge not due to current overspending but because of the way repayment plan has been structured.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:43 AM
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I do of course understand that. What I didn't understand in Polk's case was how exactly the numbers became so inflexible, since (based on the limited numbers presented) his debt to income ratio was high but wasn't really inherently problematic.

If everyone would please just go ahead and email me scanned copies of your three most recent bank statements and your 2007 tax returns, I think I'll be better able to understand what's going on. A photocopy of your driver's license would be helpful as well.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:44 AM
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406 to 403.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:44 AM
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406: I think the Universal Default might go a long way towards answering that; if every company is valuing their debt based on the default rate of 27% or whatever, they're going to be a lot more inflexible on how much room they'll give the "counselor".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:46 AM
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406: Like I said, I think what's going on in his case is that They decide how much of his money he's allowed to keep, and that isn't adjusted for the rising cost of everything.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:46 AM
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Oh. Then I guess I don't get what you're saying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:46 AM
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Yeah, universal default is one of those things that make me ever more sympathetic to the Jacobins.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:51 AM
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Maybe I'm also overstimating how good a deal this voluntary repayment plan is. I'm assuming it's basically a fair deal that leaves Polk right about where he would be (or maybe only slightly worse off) in bankruptcy, without actually frocing bankrupcty. But maybe instead he's getting screwed*, and the plan is actually quite a bit better for his creditors than it is for him.

And yeah, universal default is criminal. Or, I mean, would be, if we had any justice in this country.

*Not saying it was a bad choice--he mentioned downsides to bankruptcy like job loss that could make it a worse option in his case than a simple balance sheet analysis would suggest.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:52 AM
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Who rules the world? Finance.

Which Unfoggedetarians are fattening up in the finance biz? Dsquared and Minneapolitan.

I say let's go get the bloodsucking leeches.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:54 AM
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412: I thought (speaking as a financial moron) that the whole deal with credit counseling -- the reason it was in the bankruptcy bill -- was that it allowed the creditors to get their whole nickel, as opposed to bankruptcy, where they could end up out of the money entirely?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:54 AM
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By which I mean that Minneapolitan and Dsquared themselves are the bloodsucking leeches, and that we should go get the two of them. I am not sugessting that we go get bloodsucking leeches and then attach them to Minneapolitan and Dsquared.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 8:57 AM
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402: My proximal cause is that we are in credit counseling. Basically, they looked at my income and expenses and cut them down to nothing. Then every month they take everything else and distribute it among my creditors, things are tight by design.

But they let me keep my kneecaps.


Posted by: James K. Polk | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:02 AM
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Well, how can you? And that's a genuine question. You're right, no one talks about it.

The short answer? Shit happens.

Honestly, I didn't pay especially close attention to the finances pre-divorce and don't have the energy to try to reconstruct where everything went up until then.

Attorney fees are a bitch. Don't get me wrong, the divorce was worth every penny. But it was alot of pennies.

Therapy is expensive, too, when your insurance doesn't cover much. Also well worth the money spent, but not cheap.

I didn't plan on my car gasping its last breath in the middle of the divorce. (I still mourn that loss -- loved that car!) New cars cost money.

All that latent defects in my house decided to reveal themselves right around the same time it became "my" house rather than "marital property." Yay, unexpected home repairs.

Childcare is not cheap.

Am I on the verge of bankruptcy? No. I am not at all claiming to be in the same kind of financial straits as Pres. Polk nor am I feeling sorry for myself or anything. I'm just saying shit happens that we're not always prepared for and can't always control and regaining your balance is kind of a bitch. And when that happens, it's kind of hard for any of us to talk about because, you know, "You should have planned better."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:07 AM
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415: I am not sugessting that we go get bloodsucking leeches and then attach them to Minneapolitan and Dsquared.

Or, God forbid, attach Minneapolitan and Dsquared to the poor innocent leeches.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:13 AM
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I confess that my own financial problems (ultimately, bad debt) were in part due to medical and school expenses, but were half to two thirds due to overspending on entertainment and books. There was a certain point where my choice was between five years of belt-tightening or else default. I spent two years maxing out all of my cards.

Yes, I'm the guy who gives the rest of you a bad name. And I did it without any real high-end spending, because both my income and my credit limit were low.


Posted by: John Randolph of Roanoke | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:14 AM
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415: bring it on, sunshine; I suck the blood out of leeches and give malaria to parasites.

(also, even in the unlikely event of your plucky band of hippies, hipsters and hobbits prevailing against me, I have a fine young son to avenge me, who already shows signs of being ten times as cunning and ten times ten times as evil).


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:17 AM
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Our financial situation is finally stable. It's been a bizarre couple years. We've only been married for less than one, but shivbunny was not a good bunny in his early 20s and his higher education came with a student-line-of-credit and a credit card with a $10K limit. Which was not a good situation for a young shivbunny who had the financial sense of your average.., well, bunny. I'm somewhere on the opposite end of the spectrum.

So when we started talking about getting engaged, it became rather clear that one of the things I needed to see was mass improvement on that front because one of the things I was not doing was getting fucked financially. The boy made a heroic effort with heroic results.

And then he immigrated, which long story short, aside from the wedding expenses, included $2000 in immigration fees, and meant that he only worked about six months out of last year (job is not seasonal, exactly, but has slow and busy seasons.) Grad student income is not really meant for two people.

I stopped having (totally unjustified) panic attacks sometime last month.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:18 AM
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oh yeah, bwahahaha.

Have you not tried renegotiating this payment plan by the way? It's usually built into the assumptions that a certain percentage of these agreements will be too harsh and need to be redone.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:19 AM
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But they let me keep my kneecaps.

With kidneys barely fetching a grand, I'm not sure how much those will help.

Which Unfoggedetarians are fattening up in the finance biz? Dsquared and Minneapolitan.

Isn't Brock swimming in that same pond?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:21 AM
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He's in demolition, right? Couldn't he get some spare bucks under the table just blowing stuff up freelance?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:23 AM
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412: The problem is that credit counseling is by the creditors and for the creditors. One of the reasons that I am contemplating bankruptcy is that I could argue my case before a judge and try for better terms.

Just to illustrate how tight things are in the current system, my wife gets paid biweekly and I get paid monthly. That means that she gets two "extra" paychecks a year (months with three pay periods ) under the terms of the deal those two extra paychecks are what we get to cover all our extra frivolous things like christmas and kids birthdays. Oh yeah, and the root canal, that was just like burning money for sport.

I guess my point is that in my present condition I am indentured, and, I must say that my desire to stick it to the man is growing by the minute. If I am working my ass off to get nowhere, why do it? Using back of the envelope numbers again if I just chose to opt out, spend the next couple of years writing a novel that I self publish 50 copies of and say screw them. I will be money ahead. That is a twisted incentive structure isn't it?


Posted by: James K. Polk | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:23 AM
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423: Isn't Brock swimming in that same pond?

So that's what it was all about, trolling for a potential new customer.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:24 AM
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423: hey, I just draw up the paperwork. All the moral culpability; 1/10th the income!


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:27 AM
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424: You'd be surprised at how much they don't let people play with dynamite recreationally.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:27 AM
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424, 428: hey if anyone has some spare dynamite let me know, as there is a divisional fishing trip scheduled and I am determined to win this year.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:31 AM
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421: Something similar happened to me, but I had the savings to absorb the debt. Which sucks, but isn't the end of the world --- what else is the point of savings than to smooth things like that out? We're still (temporarily) doing the single income thing, which doesn't help, but what do you do?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:32 AM
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Have you considered self-immolation on the steps of the capital, in protest? That may be the most effective solution at this point.

A coordinated campaign of suicides by hopelessly indebted Willy Lomans might be the only thing that could shame the bought-and-paid-for faction of the Congressional Democrats into crossing their credit card issuer benefactors.

OTOH, President Polk should review the fine print on his life insurance policy before volunteering to start the movement.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:32 AM
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428/429: They don't let you play with dynamite, but you can gin up replacements easily (if not as safely). Not so easy if you require underwater performance, I guess.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:33 AM
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Not so easy if you require underwater performance

Water proof fuse easy to come by. Black ppwder ingredients, a good ball mill to grind it with, and you're in business.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:35 AM
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433: If I wanted a fucking hobby, I'd do the fishing properly.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:36 AM
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Or, just buy smokeless powder for reloading. Under 20 bucks a pound.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:36 AM
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My nephew does demolition and owns his own wrecking ball and everything. His kid is about two years old and is raring to go. He has his own toy heavy equipment, realistic toys with real controls, and he's already become expert. There has to be a Guinness book of worldn records / novelty TV story here. "Six year old demolishes house -- and it's OK!"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:37 AM
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If you get past the first few times grinding your own black powder, it's pretty safe after that. The learning curve is steep.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:38 AM
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438

434: sheesh dsquared if you can't find a pal to lift some explosives from a construction site for you maybe you're not as in with the hard men at the pub as you thought.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:40 AM
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might just be the wrong pub, sifu.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:41 AM
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429: That only works on coral reefs, dsquared.

But hey, then you'll really get the hippies going after you.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:42 AM
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439: I'll say!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:45 AM
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No, people are occasionally prosecuted for dynamiting in Minnesota.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:48 AM
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438, 439: But he totally knows a guy... He can hook you up with any kind of fixed-for-floating swap you want, yo. LIBOR 3-month, 3-month T-bills, 3-month NYFR, this cat can index that shit to anything. He even throws in some free caps for good customers, ya dig?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:49 AM
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Have you not tried renegotiating this payment plan by the way? It's usually built into the assumptions that a certain percentage of these agreements will be too harsh and need to be redone.

Too harsh? This is the land of opportunity. Indentured debtors can surely use their gumption to earn a nigh-infinite amount of money and then pass it directly to their creditors. That's why the law allows the creditors to rack up such profitable levels of debt in the first place.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:50 AM
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That only works on coral reefs, dsquared.

Untrue. All you need is reasonable density of fish or unreasonable accuracy.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:52 AM
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443: yo I need 15 year term though otherwise I get the shakes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:53 AM
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445: "accuracy" with dynamite? Surely you mean "timing".


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:58 AM
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447: Either you need to know where the fish are and accurately put the pressure wave there (in space and in time), or you need a good chance of them randomly being wherever you put the wave.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 10:02 AM
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445: Good point. I didn't think you ever really got sufficient density in open water.

446: Go to dsquared's pub tonight, give him the handshake. Dude'll hook you up.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 10:04 AM
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He can hook you up with any kind of fixed-for-floating swap you want

Can he score some Effexor for B, too?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 10:06 AM
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Can he score some Effexor for B, too?

That pub's down the road a bit.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 10:07 AM
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Idea for a Youtube video: Bodie's crew slinging "subprime" instead of "pandemic," trio of junkie customers with the faces of known bankers, who try unsuccessfully to cheat the 14 yo runner. I realized yesterday that the only people I knew who bought pot were lawyers, a consequence of losing touch with old acquaintance.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 10:09 AM
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Money be green!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 10:15 AM
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You do realise that Dsquared is the only man I know whose response to details of the 7th July terrorist attack was to start experimenting with hydrogen peroxide? McManus thinks he's some kinda revolutionary, but I bet he's never tried applejacking H2O2.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 11:14 AM
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454: Really? I know half a dozen people who started doing[*] exactly that.

[*] technically there was a theory/experiment split.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 11:16 AM
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whose response to details of the 7th July terrorist attack was to start experimenting with hydrogen peroxide?

Terrorism? International panic? Hmm. Yes! I predict that blond will be in this season. . .


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 11:30 AM
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You know who really is shite at managing money? Jose Canseco.

"You know my life, this financial thing, is a very complicated issue. Obviously, when you make all that money, people think, `OK, let's assume it is $35 million.' People have to understand that $35 million, you're paying the government 41 percent. That leaves you with about $17 or $18 million, not even. Then you're taking care of your whole family." He added that a couple of divorces cost him $7 million or $8 million.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 11:33 AM
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Jose Canseco was onto something by selling his house for $2 million in Mexican telephone stock. sadly, owning Mexican telephone stock didn't work out as well for him as for Carlos Slim.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 11:39 AM
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I initially misread 456 as imagining some kind of sinister bond villian scenario involving blondes. That meaning, and the surmised actual meaning, are present in glorious superposition in my head as a sort of Zoolander 2: Actual Human Tragedy!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 11:43 AM
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Well, it does seem that a lot of Arab-americans would have liked to experiment with looking blond in the months after said attacks.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 11:44 AM
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He can hook you up with any kind of fixed-for-floating swap you want, yo. LIBOR 3-month, 3-month T-bills, 3-month NYFR, this cat can index that shit to anything.

I'm scared of that shit, man. I have this friend who knows a guy who tried derivatives. The broker-dealer assured him it was totally clean shit: fully hedged, solvent counterparty, legally bulletproof contract, bilateral netting agreement, exchange traded liquidity, the works. So he tries the stuff, and he's hooked right away. Pretty soon he's mainlining inverse floaters.

One day the dude is in the financial district trying to score a Forward Rate Agreement. He buys some shit that turns out to be cut with distressed Zimbabwean sovereign debt, and he ends up in the emergency room clawing out his own eyeballs. Supposedly the dude totally fried his net worth and now just sits on a park bench swaying his head back and forth.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 11:52 AM
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I have know at leats two stock market traders (one a day trader) who were exactly like compulsive gamblers. They had completely irrational and magical understandings of how investment works, like people who play the horses based on the numerology of the horses' names and post positions. ("So he bet $777 on the 7th horse in the 7th race, and sure enough the horse came in 7th!")


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:19 PM
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462: I knew a guy like that. "See, all you have to do is watch the graph, and you can tell when it's reached a turning point."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:23 PM
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"Solvent counterparty" is the new "military intelligence".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:28 PM
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414

"I thought (speaking as a financial moron) that the whole deal with credit counseling -- the reason it was in the bankruptcy bill -- was that it allowed the creditors to get their whole nickel, as opposed to bankruptcy, where they could end up out of the money entirely?"

I expect the reason credit counseling was in the bill was lobbying by the credit counseling industry. I believe a lot of credit counselers (and debt consolidators etc) are vultures preying on people in trouble.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:43 PM
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419

I could get a little outraged about this but of course it is not costing me anything, just people like Polk.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:47 PM
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'm scared of that shit, man. I have this friend who knows a guy who tried derivatives. The broker-dealer assured him it was totally clean shit: fully hedged, solvent counterparty, legally bulletproof contract, bilateral netting agreement, exchange traded liquidity, the works. So he tries the stuff, and he's hooked right away. Pretty soon he's mainlining inverse floaters.

One day the dude is in the financial district trying to score a Forward Rate Agreement. He buys some shit that turns out to be cut with distressed Zimbabwean sovereign debt, and he ends up in the emergency room clawing out his own eyeballs. Supposedly the dude totally fried his net worth and now just sits on a park bench swaying his head back and forth.

fabulous.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:48 PM
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it is not costing me anything, just people like Polk.

Isn't that a bit short-sited James? It is outrageous. General apathy in these regards can't lead to anything good for you when it's something that does affect you directly?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:52 PM
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405

"Shearer seemed to miss the whole bit where you're paying off the debt and are on the edge not due to current overspending but because of the way repayment plan has been structured."

Overspending is a relative term. You can cut your spending a lot and still be overspending if your income has fallen even farther. I find it hard to believe that given his family income and debt load that it is literally impossible for him to avoid living as close to the edge as he appears to be.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:56 PM
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What I've seen is that credit counseling is good for the creditors and for debtors for whom there are good reasons to keep their credit rating good. Besides trying to renegotiate, Polk should carefully cost out his credit rating to see if it's worth what he's paying for it.

I read somewhere that MDs, and professionals such as academics are usually poor ad dealing with credit, since they postpone gratification for as much as a decade, during which time they don't get much practice handling money, and then suddenly have this windfall to budget.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 12:57 PM
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470: A lot of med school students aren't very good at the delayed gratification part either. I think it's a matter of :ah, I'm borrowing 40k this year anyway, whats a few thousand more?"

Academics don't really have much of a windfall, but some fall prey to credit cards when they decide they can't live `like a student' any longer.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:01 PM
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I find it hard to believe that given his family income and debt load that it is literally impossible for him to avoid living as close to the edge as he appears to be.

Shearer's being an ass, of course, but this is what I was trying to ask upthread. Unlike Shearer, I'm not convinced that Polk must be blowing his money on hookers and booze and plasma televisions, etc., but I was noting that it seems like they must be in unusual financial circumstances (and no doubt unusually difficult ones), because at first blush the debt/income numbers don't seem unsustainable.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:02 PM
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academics...have this windfall

Really? When?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:03 PM
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Academics have a windfall?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:04 PM
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pwned...


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:04 PM
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Oh, pwned. I should have delayed gratification a bit and hit preview.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:05 PM
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I was probably thinking of the pre-adjunct era. And going from $15,000 to $40,000 seems like a windfall.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:05 PM
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Overspending is a relative term. You can cut your spending a lot and still be overspending if your income has fallen even farther. I find it hard to believe that given his family income and debt load that it is literally impossible for him to avoid living as close to the edge as he appears to be.

Sure, there are always ways to cut further. Sell the house, move to a cheaper apartment in a lower-rent part of town. But oddly enough, people like to avoid that kind of major disruption to their lives if at all possible.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:05 PM
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literally impossible to understand other people.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:07 PM
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472: Brock, when you say the numbers aren't adding up for you, are you factoring in accrual of interest? Because if you are just dividing total debt by four years to figure out payments, it's going to give you an unrealistic picture.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:07 PM
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We tried to ignore the salary increase (I'm badly paid for a lawyer, but not for a public interest lawyer; he's well paid for an academic) & just keep living like grad students. We eventually caved & got a bigger apartment, but rent goes further in Chicago than Boston, & I've paid off half my loans w/ prepayments. Of course, all this is relatively easy with two full time incomes & no kids.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:08 PM
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481: geez already guilt-tripping little McManus Katherinelastname.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:11 PM
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Shearer's being an ass, of course, but this is what I was trying to ask upthread.

This really a key difference though. Looking at a summary of a complicated situation that isn't making sense to you immediately, you can say `huh, there must be something I'm not getting', or you can say `huh, clearly this person is an idiot'.

The latter response is illogical in situations like this, and thus prone to influencing poor decisions. A marked tendency to do this is a notable character flaw, but hardly uncommon.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:18 PM
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480: no, and I obviously don't know the details of the repayment plan. But I thought interest was generally cut off once you arranged one of these things. It's certainly dramatically lowered--I'm sure everything's not still accruing at 23%.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:19 PM
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483 .last wasn't particularly aimed at anyone here, but is probably too open to misinterpretation


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:20 PM
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468

"Isn't that a bit short-sited James? It is outrageous. General apathy in these regards can't lead to anything good for you when it's something that does affect you directly?"

Did you read 419? The guy who could have paid down his cards but decided to max them out and walk away instead. I should be more outraged about this?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:21 PM
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I should be more outraged about this?

About universal default? Certainly. But I may have lost the thread of which `this' we're talking about.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:23 PM
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Rational business decision. Indignation butters no parsnips.


Posted by: John Randolph of Roanoke | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:24 PM
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But I thought interest was generally cut off once you arranged one of these things.

That's not my impression at all, but I don't know how variable these things are. In some cases it seems you may see a slight improvement in rate (but still very high) but you avoid daily/weekly harassment by collectors.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:25 PM
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488

"Rational business decision. ..."

Also illegal of course which matters to some people even some businessmen.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:28 PM
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488 is making me crack up. I shall attribute that quote to Randolph when I teach the undergraduates about him next week. I may also mention: "I am an aristocrat. I love liberty, I hate equality." Which seems relevant to this discussion.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:32 PM
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487

"About universal default? Certainly. But I may have lost the thread of which `this' we're talking about."

I do support limits on how onerous credit card terms can be. But like most people I get more exercised about injustices that personally affect me.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:33 PM
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I don't think so. You seem to be happy to judge people you don't know who have no connection to your life. And happiness is a good thing! But you also don't seem to have any concept of when not to butt in, or the criteria people have for deciding that someone is a jerk.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:40 PM
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"Swedish newspapers used to publish tax records."

They still do.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 1:59 PM
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But Swedes are only marginally less reticient about income than Americans.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 2:04 PM
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But Swedes are only marginally less reticient about income than Americans.

Which is why they frequently take up to 500 comments before they can sufficiently steel themselves to post in the wages and debt thread.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 2:36 PM
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That's modesty at having an obviously superior press, a reluctance to boast. Swedes will discuss at length the achievements of a guest, politely leaving unmentioned that they have themselves done the same thing but much better. Canadians squared, if you will, except with asskickicking pancakes and good booze (but locked away in systembolaget shops so hard to get at).


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 2:43 PM
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"The Finns were fighting, the Norwegians were drunk, the Danes were starting an export co-op, and the Swedes were waiting to be introduced." Universal Scandinavian joke, except I think that the Icelanders count as Norwegians.



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 2:49 PM
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Nah, they were just not on the radar. The Icelanders are definitely their own thing, but we Swedes at least don't have any stereotypes about them.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:18 PM
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454: ever since that episode, I've been playing around with freeze-distilling things. I have actually begun to develop a taste for the horrible syrupy unbelievably bitter mess that is the result of trying to fractionally freeze bottled Timothy Taylor Landlord.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:26 PM
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Iceland has more horses per capita than any nation except Mongolia. Probably more successful rock bands, too (3 or 4).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:32 PM
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I imagine that your distilled H2O2 and your distilled rotgut would be dynamite together.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:34 PM
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No one asked but the reason the papers can acccess people's tax recors is because of the Principle of Public Access in our constitution.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:40 PM
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I'll might as well quote it here.

"The Principle of Publicity (Swedish: Offentlighetsprincipen), as the collection of rules are commonly referred to, provides that all information and documents created or received by a public institution (local or central government, and all publicly operated establishments) must be available to all members of the public. It also states that all public institutions must do everything in their power to give anyone access to any information that he or she might want as soon as possible. The only exceptions to this rule are regulated in the Secrecy Act (Sekretesslag 1980:100), detailing what government agencies can keep secret what type of document, under what circumstances, and towards whom. According to the Second Chapter, Article 2, in the Freedom of the Press Act (part of the Swedish constitution): "The right of access to official documents may be restricted only if restriction is necessary having regard to

* the security of the Realm or its relations with a foreign state or an international organization;
* the central finance policy, monetary policy, or foreign exchange policy of the Realm;
* the inspection, control or other supervisory activities of a public authority;
* the interest of preventing or prosecuting crime;
* the public economic interest;
* the protection of the personal integrity or economic conditions of private subjects;
* the preservation of animal or plant species."

This list is exhaustive and the Parliament may not legislate about restrictions outside the scope of this list, and any restrictions have to be legislated into the Secrecy Act previously mentioned. Secrecy is limited to a maximum time of 70 years (when relating to individuals that is 70 years after the person's death)."

It's pretty neat!


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:41 PM
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A Bush Administration lawyer could make short work of that law.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:45 PM
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504: isn't it all about good faith on the part of the officials? That list of exceptions is broad enough to justify classifying almost anything, especially by someone acting in bad faith. Certainly tax returns could be kept secret--"the interest of preventing ... crime"/"protection of personal integrity or economic conditions of private subjects".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:48 PM
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505 is what I was trying to say.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:48 PM
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502: not really. The idea was that I was going to get concentrated H2O2 and then pour it over some granulated sugar to impress my boy (much steam, much carbon). But it never worked; the stuff just turned into a solid block of dilute peroxide ice in my freezer because I wasn't paying attention, then I felt a bit silly and worried that the missus would find out and chucked it away. Hydrogen peroxide is a lot less forgiving than cider.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:51 PM
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508: How concentrated were you aiming for? From knowledge of other fields, mixing concentrated hydrogen peroxide and organics is indeed a good way to make an explosion, if not a bomb per se.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:57 PM
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I think it's been effective in preventing corruption and other other everyday malfeasance, but not so much civil liberties.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:57 PM
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Protecting civil liberties.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 3:58 PM
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||

I can't bloody believe who's likely to be elected mayor of London.

>


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 4:11 PM
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See CT for the optimistic take (sorta).


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 4:13 PM
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re: 513

Yeah, I saw that. Still, an awful lot of people live in London, and having a crappy mayor isn't compensated for by the benefits that might accrue to the Labour Party.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 4:15 PM
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472

"... Unlike Shearer, I'm not convinced that Polk must be blowing his money on hookers and booze and plasma televisions, etc. ..."

Straw man alert. To get in Polk's kind of financial trouble it is only necessary to spend in a way which would be reasonable for somebody making 10% more. You can do that for a long time but eventually it catches up with you.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 5:15 PM
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472: ... it is only necessary to spend in a way which would be reasonable for somebody making 10% more.

I.e, blowing money on hookers and booze and plasma televisions.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 5:21 PM
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472 515


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 5:22 PM
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I understand that it's rude for me to ask how much someone else makes, but is it also taboo for me to reveal how much I make?

For professionals in private industry, it's often an explicitly specified firing offense.


Posted by: Matt McIrvin | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:28 PM
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...in the US, that is; in some other countries it may be illegal for employers to do that.

But I think the story is interesting in part because I had the evidently false impression that this was mostly an American taboo, and everywhere else people thought we were stupid for being so secretive about our pay.


Posted by: Matt McIrvin | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 9:30 PM
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518

"For professionals in private industry, it's often an explicitly specified firing offense."

I doubt this is legal.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 10:23 PM
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I think it's illegal to actually do that in the US, but it's not illegal to claim you're going to do it, so lots of employers do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 10:26 PM
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504: I'd like to request all the medical records hosted by public hospitals or paid by public insurance.

London vs Med Ken: I feel like I know Boris from NTK, years ago.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 10:38 PM
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mixing concentrated hydrogen peroxide and organics is indeed a good way to make an explosion,

Or, you could collect Civil War artillery shells.

But in February, White's hobby cost him his life: A cannonball he was restoring exploded, killing him in his driveway.

More than 140 years after Lee surrendered to Grant, the cannonball was still powerful enough to send a chunk of shrapnel through the front porch of a house a quarter-mile from White's home in this leafy Richmond suburb.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 2-08 11:15 PM
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ever since that episode, I've been playing around with freeze-distilling things. I have actually begun to develop a taste for the horrible syrupy unbelievably bitter mess that is the result of trying to fractionally freeze bottled Timothy Taylor Landlord.

You did what? Why?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05- 3-08 8:27 AM
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523: what the hell kind of cannonball explodes? Oh, that kind. I'll be damned!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 3-08 8:30 AM
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524 expresses my feelings exactly.


Posted by: OneFatEngishman | Link to this comment | 05- 3-08 9:17 AM
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I was bored.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05- 5-08 5:37 AM
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I think that the peroxide-ethanol mix would have relieved boredom even better.

They say that freeze-distilled spirits have lots of miscellaneous organic chemicals that can be separated off with heat-distillation. They say it like that's a bad thing, but I think that they're the same kinds of organics (methanol and fusel alcohols) that give brandy and rum their unique flavor and splendid hangover-inducing properties.

Fusel alcohols.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05- 5-08 5:49 AM
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We've discussed this before, but if you were to taste the stuff that heat distillation allows you to remove (which includes not just the fusel alcohols but also such compounds as acetaldehyde and ethyl acetate), it might just put you off freeze-distilled spirits for good.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-08 6:19 AM
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