Re: ATM: identity crisis

1

I don't know what the program even is

Women, Infants, and Children.

Of course you should take it if you qualify. That's why it's there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
2

Is it WIC that you don't know, Ben? It's a nutrition program for "Women, Infants, and Children" that allows for certain "nutritious" food for free or discount. I don't know how it works today but it used to be that people would get "WIC checks" that didn't look like a check at all but rather a paper that listed the things the people could get and how much. I knew this back when food stamps were little pieces of paper, though, and not a debit-card looking thing, like they are now, so maybe WIC has changed, too. As someone who was feed via WIC checks for a few years as a small child I'm all in favor of the program. (We also qualified for food stamps but my father was too proud to take them. The WIC stuff was delivered to us by a milkman so it wasn't so shameful to his mind.) I don't think that crowding out is likely and anyone who qualifies should get it.


Posted by: Matt (not the famous one) | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
3

Ben, are you being funny, or do you really not know that it's a nutritional program originally designed for Women, Infants and Children?

As far as IiP's question, WIC is funded by a mix of federal (USDA) and state (Dept. of Health, I think) funds, but I have no idea how low they are right now.

There are a fair number of restrictions on the type of food you can get -- for example, apparently you can't buy organic.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 12:54 PM
horizontal rule
4

If you qualify, take it. If you feel guilty about it, figure out the cost of the benefit, divide it by your usual hourly wage, and volunteer for something poverty related for enough hours to make up the benefit. Then it's just a job with a strangely paid salary.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
5

Somehow taking food stamps seems different.

It's not in the financial sense; you're taking some money either way.

Some of it may be pride/class issues,

Food stamps are for poor white trash, eh?

but mostly it feels wrong for us to be taking advantage of a program meant for the needy - like a rich old miser taking a senior discount.

I can sympathize with that.

So my question is twofold: 1. As a practical matter, are we crowding out the needy if we take WIC?

Almost certainly not. I doubt they can even get enough people to take the money yet. Which sucks, because that would be one of the ways to inject more money in the real economy.

I know it's not an unlimited fund, but is it effectively limitless?

For most purposes, yes. If they run out of money, because people need it and are using it that's what we want - people using as much as possible, given that there are needy people. The only reason we want the cash to not be suctioned down like that is because everyone is doing fine.

2. As an ethical matter, is there any reason for us to scruple about taking advantage of the program?

You have a child; unless you are seriously drowning in cash, take the damn money. Note how much you took, and later on, you can mail a nice check to the Treasury Deficit Reduction Fund.

max
['Seriously.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 12:57 PM
horizontal rule
6

3.last: Wow, that's much more restrictive than I'd realized. I'm not sure it would be worth the hassle for the small portion of our grocery bill that those things would constitute. I mean, maybe $10/week if we tried.

But the Access card program is a different one?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:02 PM
horizontal rule
7

And 4 is interesting.

Any way I could make Unfogged commenting be my societal payback?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
8

Yeah, there's a problem with the "I feel guilty" thing; we tend to view entitlements in this country as charity. And no one wants to be the object of charity.

I'd sign up for WIC and let all your solidly upper middle class friends know you've done so. It's good to make people aware that "they" aren't the only ones who need help sometimes.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:04 PM
horizontal rule
9

7: Why not. I buried all of my neighbors' propane tanks as a carbon offset for my SUV.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:05 PM
horizontal rule
10

Ben, are you being funny, or do you really not know that it's a nutritional program originally designed for Women, Infants and Children?

Where would the humor be? I admit that I deliberately did not google it.

I'm sorry if my upper-middle-class shelteredness offends or disappoints you, but I have to be who I am.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
11

Some of it may be pride/class issues, but mostly it feels wrong for us to be taking advantage of a program meant for the needy

Hmm, I'm going against the consensus here, I think, but I'd say that if you're really genuinely not needy, then you shouldn't take it. Not that it's necessarily wrong to do so--just that, it's a program meant for the needy, and if you're not, then it's not meant for you (even if it might be available to you).

The poverty line is rough proxy for "neediness", and it's very possible to be above it and still quite needy or below it and not really needy at all. And it works pretty well overall (especially on the "below=needy" side of the equation), but you know your situation better than the beaurocrats in charge of creating the poverty line.

On the other hand, it would be crazy not to accept WIC because of pride/class issues, or because you have a belief that you aren't a "needy sort of person", or anything like that, if you well and truly could use the help. As I said, the poverty line is a pretty good marker in most cases (especially on the "below=needy" side of the equation), so most people who find themselves there should definitely take the help without overthinking the matter.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
12

I like MH's answer in 4. I really don't think there's anything to feel guilty about; like everyone already said, the money is there to be used. The rich old miser analogy seems like a bad analogy* because WIC is not something you qualify for due to age but due to income, the very problem in question. No doubt there are people out there who need it more than you, but that doesn't mean you don't need it too. But maybe you feel guilty anyway; fine, people are often irrational, that doesn't make it any less significant to them. If so, there's a pretty simple way to make up for that: when you get a chance on the weekend or next summer or something, pay it forward.

* Also, there's probably a little bit of non-financial-hardship motivation for senior discounts, a sort of codified, impersonalized version of deference to the elderly, so I wouldn't necessarily assume that there's something wrong with a well-off geezer taking the discount. In other words, it's not analoguous to WIC and even if it was that might not matter.

Also, good luck. Whatever you do for work, I hope it picks up soon.

10: Fair enough. I knew the acronym from TV ads when I was a kid. Apparently the shame issue is strong enough that they have to hype these programs to get people to use them. Similarly, there's a pretty big problem with undernourished kids who clearly qualify for free and reduced lunch programs based on their family incomes, but never sign up for them because classmates would pick on someone who goes through the lunchline without paying.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
13

BTW, one reason to feel some doubt about the prospect is that it's not as if we're hugely economizing here - I'm a bit more frugal in my food shopping, our clothing budget is pretty much whatever AB sells on eBay, I think our newest CD is over a year old, but all told, we're living a relatively UMC lifestyle (debt has increased, but not that much).

IOW, it feels wrong to get WIC when we still pay for Netflix and had lamb* for Easter. But I'm probably being stupid.

* 3 shanks, $15 for 3 adults and Iris. But still.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
14

Take it. That's what it's there for. And don't feel guilty.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:18 PM
horizontal rule
15

One piece of good economic news: Kai went to town on rice, carrots, egg, and bulgogi beef last night, so I think that the super-expensive jarred food* phase will be over quickly.

* neither of my children has accepted homemade baby food.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:18 PM
horizontal rule
16

These programs seem pretty fucked up.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:21 PM
horizontal rule
17

To 11, I would say that when a friend of mine was dithering about whether to file for unemployment, another friend argued strenuously that people had fought and died for the existence of those benefits, and to think yourself "above" them or not take advantage because you think they're not meant for you would be disrespecting their long fight.

I think one reason to take them is precisely that: The program is there. It should be there; it is a good thing for our society to make sure that all of its members can afford nutritious food. It is meant for people in your circumstances. Take it. And if you want to mitigate guilt, take one of the excellent suggestions above, or just write a quick essay/letter about your experiences (anonymously if you want) and publish it somewhere. The world needs some good UMC-language pushback against the people* who just slur and slur food programs.

*I mostly mean legislators, because they're the ones with power.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:22 PM
horizontal rule
18

We had great success with homemade baby food. We'd freeze it in ice trays then thaw out as needed. This probably had nothing to do with our cooking and everything to do with our son's (now gone) willingness to eat anything.

Plums (just nuke, peel, and puree) were a big hit and very useful whenever things seem a bit slow in the diaper department.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:22 PM
horizontal rule
19

Re Netflix: The silver lining to an economic downturn is that it forces us to prioritize, individually and as a nation. Our family just canceled cable, in favor of watching movies only through the internet and the public library. We don't really need more.

I've been thinking about this kind of prioritization a lot, because I'm hoping that at the national level, the economic downturn will kill off a lot of the sprawl that afflicts the landscape. Not that at happy for the economic downturn, but it would be a silver lining.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
20

My s-i-l was receiving various sorts of benefits, including WIC, even though she was also able to enjoy occasional nice dinners out, trips, etc., thanks to family help and extreme frugality. Everyone's situation is different. But there's a reason those programs are called "entitlements." If there's no moral duty to pay more tax than you owe, why would there be a moral duty to turn down benefits you're entitled to?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
21

Huh. We appear to be in a similar situation, and it hadn't occurred to me to use WIC (for class reasons, I suppose). At a glance, the restrictions look onerous, but maybe I'll look into it. Having just caught up on our taxes and keenly aware of the accounting hassle involved, the savings would have to be significant for me to want to throw that into the numbers mix.

On preview, 11 is good, and gets right to the class issue. I don't feel needy; we own our house and car, and we have education and most of the stuff (and skills, like cooking) we need to live pretty comfortably. But we've become increasingly aware of our tightening budget, and if my wife loses her job or even a significant number of hours because of state budget cuts, we'd be screwed. At what point would/will I feel needy? I hope not to find out.

Again on preview, Hah! We had $15 worth of lamb, too, a short rack for four people. It felt extravagant, but it was so, so good.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
22

'm sorry if my upper-middle-class shelteredness offends or disappoints you, but I have to be who I am.

I would have expected you to recognize it, because one of the ways in which it is most visible to me is the signs at the farmer's market explaining vendors' WIC policy.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:23 PM
horizontal rule
23

There are some programs budgeted for specific total amounts on a first-come-first-served basis. College financial aid is one. I don't know if WIC or food stamps is. If so, Anonimo's scruples are reasonable (presuming that last year was a genuine anomaly.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
24

But the Access card program is a different one?

The Access card is how PA gives you food stamps and TANF (aka cash assistance, or welfare). Those programs are funded by different streams and have slightly different eligibility criteria, so I don't know whether they ever load WIC onto the Access card or not.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
25

WIC and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (a.k.a. food stamps) are two different things. The eligibility criteria and permissible purchases for the former are both much tighter.

In any event, Impoverished should not decline to participate in either one if he is eligible. A program for the poor is a poor program, as the old welfare advocates used to say. Think of it as your contribution to eliminating the stigma attached to government assistance.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
26

I've definitely seen "WIC" before, but that's about it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:26 PM
horizontal rule
27

It should be there; it is a good thing for our society to make sure that all of its members can afford nutritious food. It is meant for people in your circumstances.

Well, right, but that was my point--if you're not having any trouble affording nutritious food (while taking care of your other bills, etc.), then it's not really intended for people in your circumstances. It's meant for people with similar incomes but who are, for whatever reason, in significantly different circumstances.

But I strongly suspect all this is overly theoretical and that the JRoth should, in fact, use the program.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:27 PM
horizontal rule
28

27: Yeah, I don't think we're disagreeing all that much. IiP is broke, not poor. He's still got all of the UMC safety-net, but that doesn't mean he isn't fully entitled (especially for his KIDS) to tap into the society-wide safety net that he's been paying into all these years.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
29
like a rich old miser taking a senior discount

I'm probably the wrong person to comment on this matter, because I can't figure out what would be wrong with this.

It's a legitimate program, you qualify legitimately, so you take it and you don't feel guilty about it. Simple.

That said, I can't tolerate those under-two-year-old freeloaders who ride at the amusement parks for free. Those babies need to get jobs!


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
30

Also, Impoverished could consider it part of his patriotic duty to see that federal spending, with its sweet, sweet GDP multiplier, is injected into the economy as quickly as possible. If he accepts government assistance, maybe he'll be able to make some long-deferred discretionary purchases that will help put some unemployed lap dancers and pot growers recording artists and textile workers back to work.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:32 PM
horizontal rule
31

Well, right, but that was my point--if you're not having any trouble affording nutritious food (while taking care of your other bills, etc.), then it's not really intended for people in your circumstances. It's meant for people with similar incomes but who are, for whatever reason, in significantly different circumstances.

False. It's intended for people who meet the eligibility criteria. Eligibility criteria established by political processes very often don't make sense, and you're out of luck if you're unreasonably excluded. Excluding yourself when you're unreasonably included is just screwing yourself (assuming for the sake of argument that eligibility here is unreasonable, which I don't think is true in the first place).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
32

You have a child; unless you are seriously drowning in cash, take the damn money. Note how much you took, and later on, you can mail a nice check to the Treasury Deficit Reduction Fund. college savings plan.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
33

3: As far as IiP's question, WIC is funded by a mix of federal (USDA) and state (Dept. of Health, I think) funds, but I have no idea how low they are right now.

I gather IiP's question has to do with whether he and his family would be depriving potential others of funds if they themselves take the funding. Someone besides me would have to do this research. It's a good question. I asked myself that a decade or two ago when I got some kind of relief for winter heating costs up in Mass. based on my pathetic income.

As for ben not knowing what WIC is, well, he's honest.

Oh, having seen 13: if you're still paying for Netflix and are having lamb for Easter, I'd do a little thinking.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
34

The point of entitlement programs is that you're entitled HOWEVER, in answer to the questions, From the WIC web site:

Sometimes WIC agencies do not have enough money to serve everyone who needs WIC or calls to apply. When this happens, WIC agencies must keep a list, called a waiting list, of individuals who want to apply and are likely to be served. WIC agencies then use a special system, called a Priority System, to determine who will get WIC benefits first when more people can be served. The purpose of the priority system is to make sure that WIC services and benefits are provided first to participants with the most serious health conditions such as anemia (low blood levels), underweight, history of problems during pregnancy.


Without knowing the particulars of the local office, it's no secret that poverty programs are in greater demand during the current recession than is typically the case, and state funding is being cut in most places.

There are also medical requirements for WIC so if your children are in good health and at low risk you may not qualify.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
35

I think Jroth should take the money.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
36

I agree that scrupples are in order for taking some government assistance, especially your wealth. Which is why I suggested volunteering as an off-set.
But in this economy, spending savings (unless you've got a couple of years expenses socked away plus adequately funded retirement accounts), when you don't have to is foolish. I think it is much more likely that Pittsburgh is just about get hit than it is that Pittsburgh will somehow be one of the regions that doesn't get hit bad. Especially if your work is connected to building or real estate.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
37

There were probably some months early in my subtitling career when I would have qualified for social assistance, but I don't think the thought occured to me, because I was never close to any money trouble.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
38

How much Special K and Welch's Grape Juice could one family possibly consume? It seems not worth the hassle. Are you eligible for SNAP? I think SNAP will set you up for pretty much any kind of edible grocery, except for alcohol and pet foods.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
39

2. As an ethical matter, is there any reason for us to scruple about taking advantage of the program?

Arguably there's an ethical issue with you not taking advantage of it --- it isn't charity, it is a right, and you shouldn't give up rights just because you feel awkward about them. (If the program is underfunded, writing bitchy letters to congresspeople is probably more effective at getting it fixed than not taking the pittance they'll give you.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
40

I can't figure out what would be wrong with this [rich miser taking the senior discount]

There's nothing wrong with it at all. Senior discounts are, more often than not, a form of price discrimination (bringing additional customers into the market without lowering the overall price level) or revenue management (e.g. the early bird special at Shoney's for the hours when no one else will show up). The "senior" qualification, if it is enforced at all, is merely a rough proxy for willingness to pay. The intent is to ringfence the discount from the majority of customers; a little leakage is fully expected.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
41

Oh, having seen 13: if you're still paying for Netflix and are having lamb for Easter, I'd do a little thinking.

Why?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:38 PM
horizontal rule
42

10: Ben, you are not alone; without the context of IiP's email I would not have recognized the initials WIC as a food program and even with it I did not know what it stood for.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
43

Sometimes WIC agencies do not have enough money to serve everyone who needs WIC or calls to apply.

Holy shit that's barbaric. Do you still have workhouses over there?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
44

There were probably some months early in my subtitling career when I would have qualified for social assistance

Yeah, but that's in Sweden, where everyone but millionaires is eligible for free money and erotic massages paid for out of the social insurance fund, if what I've been led to believe is correct.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
45

I'm a bit more frugal in my food shopping, our clothing budget is pretty much whatever AB sells on eBay, I think our newest CD is over a year old, but all told, we're living a relatively UMC lifestyle (debt has increased, but not that much). IOW, it feels wrong to get WIC when we still pay for Netflix and had lamb* for Easter.

Try this on for size: we pay for schools, we pay for free lunches, we do all that stuff, so children do not suffer from a shitty existence. I'm glad you got the lamb shanks and the Netflix. Flip a bum a coupla bucks next time you get the chance, since they probably don't get anything.

But I'm probably being stupid.

Ben Bernanke is doing his damndest to funnel more money through the system; so much so that he tacked on a trillion dollars... A. Trillion. Dollars. ... to the monetary base, we can write him and ask but I am 110% sure his answer is something along the lines of 'I don't have time to baby you! Spend the money! Oy!'

Meanwhile Goldman Sachs and others are trying to figure out how to claim a profit, keep the government cash AND avoid paying any taxes. And they'll probably succeed.

max
['Spend it!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
46

41: A homeless man took a picture of Obama with his cellphone. A poor person I saw on TV had a TV.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
47

textile workers back to work

I literally do not own a single pair of casual pants without significant fraying (tragically, a not-old pair of blue jeans has inexplicably worn through at the crotch, of all places). Thank god for summer.

It occurs to me that part of the reason WIC seems weird to me is that food is the last place where we'd scrimp (aside from less and cheaper meat). I would happily take money from the Federal Aid for Paying Down Credit Debt Program, however, so I just need to remind myself that it's all fungible, and so that's what WIC means to me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:45 PM
horizontal rule
48

The fungibility of permoney is something that is lost of a lot of people, IME.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
49

33.last: Well, the Netflix is just stupid - since Kai came, we hardly use it. But it took us years to sign up, and we really enjoyed it for a year or so there, so it seems like we should hold onto it. But presumably there's no harm or penalty in canceling now and re-upping when time and money become available again.

As for the lamb, it feels extravagant, but $15 for one meal for 3.5 people simply isn't - we'd spend more at Denny's.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
50

Oh, having seen 13: if you're still paying for Netflix and are having lamb for Easter, I'd do a little thinking.

This makes me fairly angry, but I'll just stick with: 46 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
51

And no one wants to be the object of charity.

Fuck that noise. I'll accept any charity anybody's offering. Also, worrying whether you're ethically able to take WIC money while the federal government sprays AIG and Goldman Sachs with thousand dollar bills seems odd.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
52

47: According to Paul Fussell (in his book "Class"), wearing frayed clothing is an upper class marker. It's been a while since I read it, but I'm guessing that worn-through crotches don't count.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
53

It is possible you may qualify for unemployemnt insurance as well, even if you have some paying business. that's insurance you've been paying for directly directly for all these years. Worth looking into.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
54

Do you still have workhouses over there?

Even better.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
55

Who's got a problem with rich old people taking a senior discount? Or school age children of rich people paying the child fare?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
56

but mostly it feels wrong for us to be taking ... like a rich old miser taking a senior discount.

They're not at all the same. If you qualify for WIC then you need it.

As for merchants offering me a senior discount, I take them when I can. No one is holding a gun to their heads forcing them to give me a discount and I have below zero belief in any idea they're doing to be nice. There must be something in it for them to make the offer. (I mean, those things are figured out by people who have economics and management degrees so they have know what they're doing, right?)


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
57

Crap. Even better.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
58

But in this economy, spending savings (unless you've got a couple of years expenses socked away plus adequately funded retirement accounts), when you don't have to is foolish

The only savings we have - or have ever had - is college accounts funded entirely by relatives and AB's city pension, which IIRC is in IRA form. My retirement plan is never to do so.

There are also medical requirements for WIC so if your children are in good health and at low risk you may not qualify.

Good grief. This may all be moot after all.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
59

41: A homeless man took a picture of Obama with his cellphone. A poor person I saw on TV had a TV.

An arch-conservative buddy of mine was enraged to find out that they ran cable tv lines to housing projects.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
60

Going along with 47 and 51: it's stimulus, dude! If it helps you keep from altering your budget in other ways, you're doing your recession-mitigating part for society. Keep the Netflix.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
61

41: I find it difficult to articulate this. I don't know how IiP's finanancial accounting works, but it would seem that if your expenses offset your income in a taxably-reportable way that renders you below the poverty line, yet you are spending money on Netflix and lamb shanks, there is something off.

I really don't know, though. It's possible that this makes perfect sense. (You realize that the poverty line as currently defined is really fucking low.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
62

Good grief. This may all be moot after all.

You thought the government would help you buy food without attaching all kinds of onerous conditions and making your life a million times harder in every way they can? Ridiculous! If they don't make it harder to be poor, everybody'll want to do it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
63

49, 50: I understand after a few moments of thought that $15 for lamb shanks for 3 people is not a huge deal.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
64

61: one of the absolute most insidious things about the way poverty is treated in this country is the implied moral judgment that attaches to people in poverty. Maybe lamb shanks for easter and Netflix are just the (minimal) amenities to allow JRoth and AB to feel like they've kept their dignity, thus relieving some of the constant stress of dealing with money worries all the time? Maybe it's how they keep their kids from really focussing on the fact that cash is tight?

But no: anybody struggling with their finances who doesn't live a life of joy-free monklike austerity is a moral failure and needs to look inward. Clearly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:01 PM
horizontal rule
65

63: and Netflix is $5 a month for the base plan. If they had, like, a serious rare orchid habit, maybe you'd have a point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
66

64: Sifu, chill. I don't take that position at all.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
67

I collected unemployment for two weeks once. It was an absurd bureaucratic hassle - I even had to attend a hearing because my former employer contested it. Ultimately, after I won the case and got the benefit, the bureaucrat-in-charge over-ruled his own previous decision, and said I wasn't really eligible.

Why? Because he found out I was on jury duty in that period, and thus unavailable for work. True story.

The state demanded its money back. This was nearly 30 years ago, and I still haven't paid the bastards. I probably owe a lot of interest.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
68

I tend to see Netlfix as an inferior good (in the economic sense only) that substitutes for higher cost cable.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
69

If they had, like, a serious rare orchid habit, maybe you'd have a point.

"I'd like another Fabergé egg, please."


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
70

69: This just gets me back to normal.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
71

Netflix is $5 a month for the base plan.

Wow, I assumed it was more. Maybe we should sign up.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
72

Holy shit. The self-screen thing I just found for food stamps (not WIC) says we may be eligible for $485. Is that per month? That would be an incredible change.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
73

one of the absolute most insidious things about the way poverty is treated in this country

That's a mighty long list. One of the few silver linings to the economy crashing and burning is that a bunch of people who never had anything but contempt for the poor might get to spend some time experiencing poverty.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
74

I'm going to Netflix right now to dial back to the minimum plan. I don't think we've watched anything in 2 months, no need to pay for 3(?) a month or whatever.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
75

But no: anybody struggling with their finances who doesn't live a life of joy-free monklike austerity is a moral failure and needs to look inward. Clearly.

Cf. the passage in The Road to Wigan Pier about poor people wanting to have food that does more than just meet their minimum calorie requirements.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
76

72: Sounds about right. SNAP benefits go up to around 500/month. And you can buy organic produce, not just canned juice concentrates.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
77

66: I was a little harsher than really necessary, probably. Sorry.

73: well, it's far from the worst thing, but it strikes me as pretty insidious, just given the number of people who should know better I've heard point out the relative size of TVs in subsidized housing.

74: you should steal movies; it's much cheaper!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
78

How much does Netflix cost, $10 a month? $30? $50? What in the world does that have to do with anything? 41 and 59 are right, it's a common right-wing talking point that people aren't really poor if they have big-screen TVs or cell phones or whatever, but that just completely ignores how little that stuff costs. $50 or whatever seems like a lot out of pocket at one sitting, but at my previous job it would have covered just a week's worth of my buy-in to our health-care plan, which covered almost nothing anyway.

And on previous, Sifu answers my rhetorical questions. Thanks. $5 a month. Clearly anyone who applies to WIC if they can spare $5 a month for movies is a horrible, horrible moocher.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
79

it would seem that if your expenses offset your income in a taxably-reportable way that renders you below the poverty line

I think we just had the discussion here about the insidious American belief that income should be secret, so I'll lay it out here: even if I didn't deduct expenses for running my business (such as, you know, printing costs and driving 25 miles to a jobsite), our gross income last year was under $20k. Now, the previous year had been quite good (by our standards, not by UMC standards), so it wasn't as dire as that sounds. But still.

Maybe lamb shanks for easter and Netflix are just the (minimal) amenities to allow JRoth and AB to feel like they've kept their dignity, thus relieving some of the constant stress of dealing with money worries all the time?

No, no, that's what the bourbon is for.

Maybe it's how they keep their kids from really focussing on the fact that cash is tight?

Iris doesn't even get to watch any of the Netflix (public library, baby), and the only meat she cares about is mortadella and pickled herring, but I do appreciate the thought.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
80

you should steal movies; it's much cheaper!

I never even had a grasp on napster, much less this torrent stuff. I get all my online music via ASCII .sig files.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
81

the relative size of TVs in subsidized housing

Oh man, I've had that conversation too. "You know, they can't afford a car, they can't afford to buy a house, but they can afford to make payments (with a shitty interest rate, most probably) on a TV as their one big purchase, and you're going to get huffy about that? WTF is wrong with you?"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
82

79.last: I also invented more children for you in my dudgeon.

Also, pickled herring? That kid's ready for whatever comes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
83

No, no, that's what the bourbon is for.

If you have health coverage, Xanax might be cheaper.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
84

I also invented more children for you in my dudgeon.

No no, there's also Kai, but as long as the milk keeps flowing, he seems satisfied with his material conditions.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
85

81: right. They have an income level at 50% of the median or below, no money to go out, no money to pay the deposit on a regular home, and you're begrudging them the desire to entertain the kids they're scared to let go outside lest they find the wrong crowd? Shit, subsidized big-screen TVs and Nintendos would probably be a bang-up gang-prevention technique.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
86

82: I couldn't quite make sense of your comment until I realized you had used "dudgeon" instead of "dungeon".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
87

Wow, Netflix has a cool Put Your Account on Hold feature.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
88

JRoth should for sure get food stamps, and use them to buy lamb shanks if necessary. But also, we should set up a Paypal account where we can make donations to Unfoggedites in need. This would also provide endless threads worth of material about how the system should be set up, the morality of e.g. anonymous vs. non-anon contributions, the proper level of redistribution within a community, etc.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:28 PM
horizontal rule
89

86: Made that same mistake, and assumed it was a herring joke.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
90

67

I collected unemployment for two weeks once. It was an absurd bureaucratic hassle - I even had to attend a hearing because my former employer contested it. Ultimately, after I won the case and got the benefit, the bureaucrat-in-charge over-ruled his own previous decision, and said I wasn't really eligible.

I am currently collecting unemployment and have found the process quite easy.

Why? Because he found out I was on jury duty in that period, and thus unavailable for work. True story.

In New York it is explicitly stated that you can collect unemployment while serving on jury (which I in fact did).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
91

Also, pickled herring? That kid's ready for whatever comes.

To wit, aquavit.

Also, 77.1 notwithstanding, I think it's important to stomp pretty hard on the idea that there's some kind of moral duty to eliminate anything pleasurable that costs money from your life before it's OK to accept social insurance benefits. They're there to keep life from being more unpleasant than it has to, not just to prevent starvation.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
92

Also, re 72, $485/month is plausible. I don't know what my s-i-l was getting, but it was enough to make a difference.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
93

They're there to keep life from being more unpleasant than it has to, not just to prevent starvation.

And there's terrific public policy reasons for that being the case, too. Reducing the stress of being poor is probably at least as important to fighting endemic poverty as is keeping people fed and housed. Reduces medical bills, improves outcomes. It's cheaper!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
94

we would become like an early Christian community, except virtual and with a lot more arguing.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
95

75: That's really one of the most insidious messages. You are poor, and you must feel guilty if you don't atone for your poverty with less-nutritious and otherwise lower-quality food.

80: Dude, one word: Vuze.

||
I am pleased that the Yankees are celebrating the historic opening of their new park by getting slaughtered by the Indians. Even given the Chief Wahoo offensiveness. I'm that pleased.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:31 PM
horizontal rule
96

I'll add my voice to the growing chorus of "64 gets it exactly right". I was composing a similar comment in my head when I decided to hit the Refresh button and then discovered I didn't need to.

Sifu, chill. I don't take that position at all.

I'd be surprised if you did take that position, but it's difficult to distinguish what you wrote from that position, and what you wrote is all we have to go by.

I really don't know, though. It's possible that this makes perfect sense. (You realize that the poverty line as currently defined is really fucking low.)

And perhaps you didn't mean to come off as patronizing here, but, um, don't you think the fact that the Asker explicitly stated that his family fell below the poverty line indicates that he knows precisely how low it is? Or did you think he was exaggerating or something?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
97

the morality of e.g. anonymous vs. non-anon contributions,

Way ahead of you.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
98

In New York it is explicitly stated that you can collect unemployment while serving on jury (which I in fact did).

Well, you can. Of course, your ex-employer has to give you permission to collect unemployment. I was a bit surprised to find that out.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
99

I think that the only real question is whether going onto the program might mean that someone else might be denied because of a first-come-first-served lump sum budget. Otherwise he should take it.

"It's an entitlement" is a good argument if the program is funded so that everyone entitled gets what they're entitled to, but not if some people are budgeted out.

I read an article a long time ago about related questions. Some UMC college-educated guy who had been unemployed for a couple of months was applying for some benefit, there was a problem with his documentation, the worker explained it, and he said "Gotcha!" and was out the door to remedy the problem.

The next client was borderline retarded who still didn't understand what the problem was after it had been explained to him three times. He was alone with no support and had to negotiate his way through the bureaucracy himself. He walked out without being certified, not knowing what happened.

It's odd how everything in this country, even retarded people trying to get welfare, ends up being interpreted in terms of autonomy , self-sufficiency, individual responsibility, and (in effecte, here) even as individual competition. The second client was basically incapable of taking responsibility, but in order to receive help for people like him, he had to take responsibility.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
100

94: ... except virtual and with a lot more arguing and cock jokes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
101

Speaking of holes in local social services, a couple of weeks ago I saw a guy walking down Forbes with no shoes. He was otherwise clothed sufficiently for the weather. Right across the street there was a store with a "Shoe Sale" written in the window. I'm not superstitious, but I took this as a sign. I said "excuse me" and he turned. I asked him if he wanted a pair of shoes. He shouted "Don't ask me any questions" and went off.

I can't help wondering if I should have done nothing or maybe tried to start a more peripheral conversation before asking.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
102

101: maybe the dude doesn't like shoes. I knew a guy like that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
103

I see that JP hasn't read the NT in the original Greek.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
104

79.first: Babe, I hear you. Accept whatever aid is available and makes sense. Obviously.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
105

102: Maybe, but I should add that this conversation took place within an easy walk (shod or not) of the region's main inpatient psychiatric unit.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
106

Due to my upbringing, I keep reading "UMC" as "United Methodist Church" and getting momentarily confused.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
107

I think that the only real question is whether going onto the program might mean that someone else might be denied because of a first-come-first-served lump sum budget. Otherwise he should take it.

I don't think this is JRoth's responsibility to ask or answer.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
108

106: so that's what it means. I had been confused, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
109

E.g.:

we're living a relatively UMC lifestyle . . . .

What, lots of potluck suppers and hymn singing?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:47 PM
horizontal rule
110

Re: whether one applicant is going to crowd out another, I didn't know about what unimaginative linked to in 34, but even so it seems like asking the wrong question. On a day-to-day basis, if you go to the welfare office and the guy at the office is about to close the line behind you and cut off a truly destitute family straight out of the Great Depression, then yeah, let them go instead of you. But in the broader sense, if the program isn't big enough for everyone (within reason etc.) then it should be made bigger, and no one is going to know it should be made bigger unless everyone who needs to apply does.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
111

And isn't a bunch of stimulus money designated for filling gaps in joint federal/state social insurance programs?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:53 PM
horizontal rule
112

107, 110: To be clear, tho, I very much want to know if I'm crowding anyone out. This year should be better than last (even if more work doesn't come in, expenses are going down), and we survived last year. Furthermore, we have family resources beyond the dreams of most impoverished people. I mean, I agree that the goal is for there to be enough SNAP for everyone, but I can at least control some part of that equation through my participation in a way that voting or letter-writing will never do.

That said, it would be a powerful letter topic: "My young family went without because my conscience wouldn't let me take food $$ from someone worse off; why don't you, Congressperson, care that much?"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:54 PM
horizontal rule
113

I don't think this is JRoth's responsibility to ask or answer.

Why not? First of all, that's what I think he is asking. Second, I think that he rightly believes that his poverty is only temporary, and that he's an UMC person temporarily hard up (and let's pray to God he's right). Maybe he lives in a county where the service runs out of food every month in the third week. This isn't a trolley-car problem, that kind of stuff happens.

The individual rights interpretation is valid if it's accompanied by funding of the benefit for everyone, but not otherwise. We live in a country which has never had well-funded social services, and in which social services are under continual attack, and at a time when we can expect the services to be subject to massively increased demands.

Historically it's been the fate of a lot of social services to be diverted one way or another from the intended recipients to others who are better able to play the game. This is true both at the immediate individual level and at the national level.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
114

98

Well, you can. Of course, your ex-employer has to give you permission to collect unemployment. I was a bit surprised to find that out.

This isn't correct. You aren't eligible for unemployment if you quit voluntarily or were fired for severe misconduct so if your former employer claims either there is a factual question that has to be resolved. And I suppose your former employer could claim you never worked for them or were paid less than you claim. Again factual issues. Otherwise your former employer has no say.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 2:57 PM
horizontal rule
115

Food Stamps and Unemployment Insurance are entitlements and therefore the lump sum / "crowding out" problem does not exist; you have a legal entitlement and all must be served. (The only question is whether you are the straw that finally breaks the borrowing capacity of the U.S. government). WIC, on the other hand, is not an entitlement, so your participation has some infinitesimal effect on the likelihood that some other person will get less money or not be served.

Who will set up the Unfogged/Paypal resource sharing site? I'll contribute $ but I don't do computers.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
116

80: I get all my online music via ASCII .sig files.

Did George McQuary labor in vain*?

*However, I sometimes fantasize that collapsing whitespace HTML was decreed due to the specter of the spawn of a million ASCII .sigs let loose on the net. (But just think of the fun if Unfogged recognized the <pre> tag.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
117

Reducing the stress of being poor is probably at least as important to fighting endemic poverty as is keeping people fed and housed.

You get less burning of shit down.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:07 PM
horizontal rule
118

You mean "burning down of shit".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
119

96: M/itch, all I was saying with my 33.last, that is, if you're still paying for Netflix and are having lamb for Easter, I'd do a little thinking was that I understood why the Questioner was also doing a little thinking in that regard.

I think I've clarified enough otherwise.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
120

99.1 is correct.

My family had a brief period when we lived in the US (1982-83) where we were eligible for federal aid. I vividly remember the huge blocks of petroleum byproducts dyed orange and labeled "cheese." I'm sure the stuff was horrible for you, but I absolutely loved the taste. We also got some aid from the local food bank, but I'm certain we never got welfare money or food stamps or pretty much anything other than the cheese food product simulant.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
121

OT: It is very frustrating that Gmail is down.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
122

120: They pumped the school lunches full of that cheese. We'd get sticks of it. The point of the cheese was as much to help diary farmers as anything.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:16 PM
horizontal rule
123

Nowadays diary farmers have all been bankrupted by blogs anyway.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
124

Take the money. If next year turns out much better for you, you can write a check to whomever is feeding the poor then.

114: Unemployment insurance varies (wildly) by state.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
125

When my housemates were Americorps types, two of them in a row used foodstamps. (I do not know how this translates to WIC.) They were both gratified that our expensive hippie food co-op took them and pissed that our local farmers' market doesn't. That is an on-going campaign in our area, to get the farmers' market to take [whatever ticket-like things I am combining into one program].

Dunno if you have a local food co-op, but if so, they might help you keep eating the way you're used to. (Granted, the weekly food money doesn't go as far there.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:17 PM
horizontal rule
126

Take the money. If next year turns out much better for you, you can write a check to whomever is feeding the poor then.

Yes. And don't feel bad. By any definition, you qualify.

I see Emerson's point, sort of, but look: you're a young family with children. The program was literally designed to help you. If you start on it and then you get the sense that, you know, they run out of money every month and it's only your quick wits and catlike reflexes that are allowing you to get in the door, then maybe there's a spot you have that you could give up. But for now, see above.

Actually if you're worried about that, you could ask the caseworker type person.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
127

Otherwise your former employer has no say.

Except your employer can challenge the benefit and force you to travel for a hearing, which is what happened to me. My employer didn't even show up; he just wanted to throw a roadblock in my way.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
128

I think that he rightly believes that his poverty is only temporary, and that he's an UMC person temporarily hard up (and let's pray to God he's right).

God willing, yes. But why not take what is available now and if in 6 months or a year it turns out you are rolling in cash, pay it "back" through donating to a suitable charity.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
129

115.1 is very helpful, but for god's sake, PGD, don't contribute for my sake. If someone wants to stake me a round at the next meetup, that'd be grand.

125: $485/mo would pretty much cover 100% of my family's grocery budget, lamb and all. And I'm pretty sure that the local farmer's markets take SNAP (nee food stamps), as they are supported by the state DoA.

We'll be applying within the next few days; I'll let you all know how it turns out.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
130

127: isn't there some cost to employers of having former employees get unemployment? I thought I read about that here, at some point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:27 PM
horizontal rule
131

127 gets it right. In a story about the long-term unemployed, this one woman was talking about how her last employer had fired her for showing up late when he bus broke down, but she wishes she could work there again, because they were generous and actually let her get unemployment benefits, instead of claiming she was "fired for cause" as normally happens to people in her experience.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
132

130: The employer's premium will go up if former employees receive benefits.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:29 PM
horizontal rule
133

130: That's my belief.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:30 PM
horizontal rule
134

You aren't eligible for unemployment if you quit voluntarily or were fired for severe misconduct so if your former employer claims either there is a factual question that has to be resolved.

Of course, employers are hardly dispassionate witnesses in this process, because their unemployment insurance premiums go up if they have a lot of claimants among their ex employees. So you get companies that systematically dispute the claims of their ex-employees, arguing that they were fired for malfeasance or non-performance of duties. So while 98 was inartfully phrased, it is substantively correct in many cases.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:32 PM
horizontal rule
135

Jeepers, did 134 just set some kind of pwnage record?

So, how 'bout them torture memos? To call them legal sophistry would be an insult to sophistry. I hadn't heard much about Bradbury before, but that dude had better hope there isn't a place of eternal punishment in the afterlife.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
136

I was extremely suprised by how easy it would have been to prevent unemployment payments for a former employee. The form I received in the mail (in an inconspicuous envelope) was literally along the lines of, "[XX] has filed a claim for unemployment assistance with the State, citing you as a former employer. Please check "yes" below and return this form if this individual (i) was in fact your former employee [during the relevent period] and (ii) is eligible for unemployment assistance. (See [obscure legal reference] for eligibility requirements.) WARNING: IF YOU CHECK "YES" YOUR REQUIRED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE CONTRIBUTION MAY INCREASE. Your response is requested within 30 days. If you fail to retun this card within 30 days this individual's claim will be denied."

I mean, that's not all a direct quote, but really, it's disturbingly close. I was astonished and appalled.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
137

pp, I understand that there's a government assistance program for the severely pwned. If you qualify - and 134 sure seems to do so - you shouldn't be ashamed to take the aid.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
138

Brock, the unemployment forms were all written by future OLC staffers.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
139

Ill just note that there would be no wringing of hands if an UMC person was buying a house and didn't *need* the far more expensive and bad policy $8000 tax credit.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
140

135: One hopes that there is sufficient opportunity for these pricks to see retribution in this life. The news from Spain and Washington is not encouraging, though.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
141

Marginally on topic Pittsburgh food question. JRoth, your mention in another thread of a Korean restaurant out in Cecil made me think of Kim's Coffee Shop and its great Pho (my opinion at least). Made me wonder if you had ever done a review, and while my search on that point was inconclusive I did see a review of a place called Kim Pho in Castle Shannon. Is there any linkage? Is it a more upscale resurrection of Kim's?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:51 PM
horizontal rule
142

136: Huh. I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:52 PM
horizontal rule
143

135: One hopes that there is sufficient opportunity for these pricks to see retribution in this life. The news from Spain and Washington is not encouraging, though.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
144
Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:54 PM
horizontal rule
145

"Prevent" in 136 was no doubt too strong a word--I'm sure there's some way for an individual to dispute denied claims. But Jesus Christ, what a pain for them. And the form seriously could not possibly have been designed in a manner more likely to produce denied claims if that had been the explicit goal. (I'm not claiming it was--I don't know if it's malice or gross incompetence. It's terrible either way.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 3:55 PM
horizontal rule
146

I had this discussion with my boyfriend at one point, because I was thinking about applying for food stamps. He was firmly raised in the "food stamps are for people who really need them camp." I think he'd be too proud to use the card at a store where people might know us.

A while ago they changed the rules in MA so that roommates who didn't prepare meals together didn't have to include everyone's income. I had a housemate who's a musician and dirt poor who almost applied, but didn't because it's a hassle and another who wouldn't qualify.

My BF felt that he could support me, blah, blah. At this point, despite my funds being the same, I don't think that I'd qualify. My legal address is still the old one, and I have to pay rent there (cause I have some stuff stored there), but I basically live with my BF, and he makes over the median income in this state. Since we do prepare meals together, it might not be kosher for me to do that.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
147

145: In my experience with unemployment claims, I've never seen an employer just deny that the person worked there. They say the person is ineligible for all kinds of other reasons (i.e. misconduct, really quit and wasn't fired, etc.) but it's usually really really easy to prove you worked somewhere, assuming it was on the books.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
148

136

I was extremely suprised by how easy it would have been to prevent unemployment payments for a former employee ...

Shouldn't "prevent" be "prevent temporarily"? You have to have some sort of verification process to stop fraud.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
149

141: We reviewed that place a few years back (5 minute walk from the house), but IIRC Kim died about 2 years ago. We also reviewed Pho Kim 88, but I don't think there's any connection. Pho Kim was OK, but probably not worth the trip. Munch today liked the new Vietnam's Pho; we won't go there for another month or so.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
150

What reason is there for tying unemployment insurance premiums to the number of former employees claiming payments? I could speculate wildly, but does anyone know the real reason?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
151

150

What reason is there for tying unemployment insurance premiums to the number of former employees claiming payments? I could speculate wildly, but does anyone know the real reason?

It's the same reason as for tying worker's comp premiums to the number of workers getting hurt. It encourages employers to provide safe and stable employment.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:08 PM
horizontal rule
152

I could also speculate wildly!

Maybe it's to prevent employers from firing people for frivolous reasons?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:09 PM
horizontal rule
153

WF had a deliberate policy of trying to get people to quit by telling them that they'd lose their vacation pay if they were fired. (Lies). When they fired me, I made sure to get my employment records in case they wanted to contest it. The assitant manager and the local payroll person told me I couldn't get them, but I called the person at headquarters who was perfectly honest and said that you needed to submit a request in writing. I did that and cc-ed a whole ton of people. Nobody challenged my claim.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:10 PM
horizontal rule
154

"Dirk Van Dongen"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
155

Brock @ 11: but I'd say that if you're really genuinely not needy, then you shouldn't take it. Not that it's necessarily wrong to do so--just that, it's a program meant for the needy, and if you're not, then it's not meant for you (even if it might be available to you).

If this hasn't been addressed - if you don't need it, you ain't gonna qualify because they set the limits so low. That's what Rick Perry's the Human Pet Rock's thing about rejecting unemployment money from the Fed was about: the program extensions tacked on people who had been fired from part-time jobs! And that's bad, because those people, the part-time employed are really really RICH, and also, someday in the future, state taxes might be higher if they kept the program intact after the federal money ran out.

Further to that, I would add that I remain eternally baffled by the notion that people (as a group) who were taking ungodly amounst of free money from the banks to buy houses at prices that were way too high would quibble over a coupla hundred bucks a month.

Di @32: you can mail a nice check to the Treasury Deficit Reduction Fund. college savings plan.

That works too. I was simply saying it could be treated as a no-interest loan if you really felt bad about it.

Keir @ 43: Holy shit that's barbaric. Do you still have workhouses over there?

(I see Apo hit this, but oh, well) Yes; we just call them prisons, which is why we have more people in jail per cap than anybody. Subsidized cheap labor for the politically connected. You may also refer to it at the Jim Crow II.

Tweety @ 64: But no: anybody struggling with their finances who doesn't live a life of joy-free monklike austerity is a moral failure and needs to look inward. Clearly.

You had monklike austerity! Why, back in the Depression we had to go down to the government office, accept 10 lashings and crucifixion before they would gives a thin gruel of oatmeal and ground glass! And we were grateful to have it! You kids these days!

PGD @ 94:we would become like an early Christian community, except virtual and with a lot more arguing.

Judean. People's. Front.

Emerson @ 113: Historically it's been the fate of a lot of social services to be diverted one way or another from the intended recipients to others who are better able to play the game. This is true both at the immediate individual level and at the national level.

I am sure know that has occurred. It's not a solvable problem, except by the people administering the program. They're going to prioritize, so if JR gets crowded out, it'll be by someone worse off. I know that, right now, the program is essentially overfunded (they alloc this stuff on a quarterly basis, and they can move money up from future quarters) between the stimulus and the budget. Trying to self-manage for the system isn't going to accomplish anything.

116: (But just think of the fun if Unfogged recognized the tag.)

Who needs <pre>? <tt> or <code> would work.

max
['And also, go Becks!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:11 PM
horizontal rule
156

136: That really is appalling. Why, it's almost as though the system had been deliberately designed to increase the power of the employer, while reducing the employees to a state of abject dependence and docility.

JRoth, don't feel guilty/apologetic about having a Netflix account! or about eating something special for a holiday dinner. God. Good luck with your application.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:14 PM
horizontal rule
157

154: Money quote:

Van Dongen (who is the father of WhoRunsGov editor Rachel Van Dongen) rejected that claim.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
158

Why, it's almost as though the system had been deliberately designed to increase the power of the employer, while reducing the employees to a state of abject dependence and docility.

Many people don't realize that this is also why corporations desperately seek to maintain our national health "coverage" system, seemingly defying the logic that would make them want to shift health-care costs to the government. What's the matter with Kansas Caterpillar? No, they know what they're doing. Solidarity is important.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
159

It's not a solvable problem, except by the people administering the program. They're going to prioritize, so if JR gets crowded out, it'll be by someone worse off.

That's definitely not always true, maybe not even usually true.

I know that, right now, the program is essentially overfunded (they alloc this stuff on a quarterly basis, and they can move money up from future quarters) between the stimulus and the budget.

In which case, no problem. But there's a lot of state and county variation; there's no nationawide uniformity.

Trying to self-manage for the system isn't going to accomplish anything.

It will free up X amount of food for someone else.

This comes up with all kinds of charities too -- food banks, free clinics, etc. I've always felt that these should be regarded as designated for people who are very seriously poor and shouldn't be used as a budgeting convenience by people who go through a lot of money.

Note that these are two completely different statements:

1. We shouldn't have welfare programs because there are too many moochers cashing in.
and
2. People who aren't really needy shouldn't cash in on welfare programs.

#2 isn't a way of saying #1.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
160

Who needs <pre>? <tt> or <code> would work.

No, they don't. Not on the comments here, and not, I think, for what <pre> does.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
161

I think that you should restore blink


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
162

I went through your situation myself, back when I was a single mom with a toddler. I did my taxes one year and happily took my earned income tax credit, but then was flooded with letters from the government offering me other services. Seriously, not just food stamps but Medicaid, TANF, Head Start, job training. I thought it was rather sweet, actually. The only one I took was the health insurance for my kid, because at that point, more than 50% of my income was going for our health insurance, and it was irresistible. (And I was, as I used to say, optionally poor--I knew I could get a great job whenever I decided the money was more important than the time with my boy, plus I had savings, plus I have a family who would sweep in to the rescue the moment I shed a tear.)

But all that said, I think you should definitely take the money if you qualify, because at the very least, it will give you opportunities to help others that you wouldn't have otherwise had. If you like animals, fosterers and rescue shelters are overwhelmed with foreclosure strays right now: use the food stamps on food for you, use some of the dollars you otherwise would have spent on dog food for a local shelter. Or give some money to Second Harvest, so people living on the street--where food costs more generally and it's a lot harder to eat healthy--can get some extra meals. In Florida, the food lines are actually having to turn people away when they run out of food: those folks are going hungry, whether or not they qualify for help. Or spend $25 on a micro-loan at Kiva so a builder in Cambodia can buy materials and keep his business going for a little longer. Ooh, and there's a place called Angel Food Ministries--they are church-based, but they're doing great work right now with food relief, and they don't make people jumps through hoops to qualify, so you could help some people on the edge, who don't have the family safety net that you have. Sorry if that sounds preachy, but seriously, if I had that offer right now, I'd jump at the opportunity to spread the wealth.


Posted by: Sydnew | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:53 PM
horizontal rule
163

i think it could be done so that food, for example, is not to be given for free but sold for some money, i mean if the regular price is too expensive and if WIC or other similar agency distribute it for free, then the agency can charge maybe 1/10 or how much it's okay to charge to recover some funds, so that people who can pay could pay, who can't perhaps wouldn't
i recalled during our transition times the government decided to sell flour or rice, or what was else i'm not sure, other things which came through the international aid, that way they accumulated money to do something else, hopefully of course it did not enrich some corrupt official, but was used for something useful
some food prices are pretty expensive for example in Japan, here sometimes it's cheaper, but i'm not sure then about the ingredients, regular items are expensive perhaps if all organic etc
in my country the prices are going crazy my sister said, in the US there is this stimulus plan or other measures are taken to relieve the economical crisis, in the poorer countries it's really getting hard to get by


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 4:55 PM
horizontal rule
164

I lived on less than $20K/year for a few years, and I have to say that if my food budget had been covered by something else, I would have used the freed-up money on things for myself, like new tires for my car. I'd love to think that I would view that budget item as freed-up for sharing wealth, but at that level of poverty (for just me!) I still had a long list of things I thought I needed or deferred maintenance.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
165

Is 19K poor?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
166

For a family of 4 it is.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:18 PM
horizontal rule
167

Depends on the units.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:19 PM
horizontal rule
168

Genuine question, just converting to SEK is obviously problematic.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:20 PM
horizontal rule
169

Right, reference to JRoth's 79.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
170

It would be easier if he ever used subordinating conjunctions.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
171

SEK is obviously problematic

I just wanted to repeat that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:24 PM
horizontal rule
172

He of the flowing nose is fast of finger.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
173

Setting up an Unfogged kitty is all well and good, but what we really need is for the stably-employed Unfoggedtariat to start building new houses.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
174

It felt poor when it was just me. $19K/year is a little over a thousand a month. In my area, a monthly budget might look like:

$500 for a room in a house.
$300 for food.
$100 for a car (gas/insurance)
$30 for gas heating
$30 for electricity
$90 for city utilities (water, wastewater, trash)

leaving you a few hundred dollars (assuming no taxes came out of your paycheck) for everything else that comes up.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:28 PM
horizontal rule
175

Megan, your math is screwy.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:37 PM
horizontal rule
176

(First because assuming no taxes came out of your paycheck $19K/annum is closer to $2k/month than $1k/month; second because 500+300+100+90+30+30=1040 is more than 1000.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:41 PM
horizontal rule
177

Not that screwy. $19K/yr less 7.65% FICA leaves about $1460/month.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:42 PM
horizontal rule
178

I beliee that FICA is a tax, NPH.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
179

How so?

$19,000/12 = $1,583/month

Less $1050/month for the expenses I detailed leave you with $450/month. Which is a few hundred dollars a month.

Is it the "little over" that is bothering you?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:45 PM
horizontal rule
180

Yes, I don't think that 50% over is a little over.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:49 PM
horizontal rule
181

178: But not one that you get to avoid paying when you make very little money, so not one that I would have assumed away, but apparently Megan did. So.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:49 PM
horizontal rule
182

In the spirit of ATM, are we also going to set up a "charity" for the single Unfoggedtariat?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
183

(Admittedly context matters and $1.50 is an amount I can accept as a little over a dollar. But I don't think that $500 is a little amount of money.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
184

Maybe Megan got paid under the table.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
185

It's not $1000/mo as compared to $2000/mo, it's $1000/mo as compared to a normal middle-class income of $10,000/mo or thereabout.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:51 PM
horizontal rule
186

To the point of the question, when I was living on that for only me, I fell into debt, was scared of bills, was terrified of an unexpected expenditure, didn't want to accept invitations to join friends for occasions that might involve money and thought about money as much as I ever do.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:52 PM
horizontal rule
187

182: Maybe if we put the single Unfoggedtariat to work building a house that JRoth designed, romance would blossom.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
188

normal middle-class income of $10,000/mo or thereabout.

Wha?


Posted by: Amber | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:53 PM
horizontal rule
189

$20,000 with a family of four is well below the level where it's reasonable to collect WIC. I asked someone who knows people who are on WIC, and as far as she knows it's not structured in a way that it runs out.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:57 PM
horizontal rule
190

Yeah, if $10,000 a month is a normal middle class income, I have never been middle class in my life. It sure burnishes my working class credentials.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 5:59 PM
horizontal rule
191

I think he was joking.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:00 PM
horizontal rule
192

188 gets it right.

Also, income is not the sole thing that determines whether poverty is occurring. Wealth determines whether poverty is occurring. According to JRoth his family has a reserve of savings which makes it totally nonthreatening to spend a year or two at this level of income. Savings = wealth.

The question isn't "am I making too much money to deserve these benefits". Maybe he'd think he didn't deserve the benefits even at an income level of $0.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:01 PM
horizontal rule
193
WIC cannot serve all eligible people, so a system of priorities has been established for filling program openings. Once a local WIC agency has reached its maximum caseload, vacancies are generally filled in the order of the following priority levels:
* Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and infants determined to be at nutritional risk because of serious medical problems.
* Infants up to 6 months of age whose mothers participated in WIC or could have participated and had serious medical problems.
* Children (up to age 5) at nutritional risk because of serious medical problems.
* Pregnant or breastfeeding women and infants at nutritional risk because of dietary problems (like poor diet).
* Children (up to age 5) at nutritional risk because of dietary problems.
* Non-breastfeeding, postpartum women with any nutritional risk.
* Individuals at nutritional risk only because they are homeless or migrants, and current participants who without WIC foods could continue to have medical and/or dietary problems.
Link

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:04 PM
horizontal rule
194

normal middle-class income of $10,000/mo

In the Bay Area, some parts of Boston, certain areas of metro D.C., and NYC, it's not insane to think of $120,000/year as middle-class for a family of four.

But even there it's a stretch, and somewhat dependent on a social definition of "middle class" as able to afford certain items (housing, education, health insurance), rather than a structural definition of the middle quintile or whatever.

Speaking of healthcare, I recently talked to an 80-something woman whose husband had worked 45 years for Ford. She said she was glad he died before they started cutting into the retirees' health benefits, because it would have broken his heart. She said bravely that they had tried to be kind in telling people what their other options for healthcare were, but I could hear the sense of betrayal she felt. Even knowing all of the reasons that it can be rational or unavoidable for a company to do that, it was painful just to hear. When are we going to fix healthcare in this country, seriously?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:06 PM
horizontal rule
195

193: so, cool, they have a system in place.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
196

This does seem to show that they do have a priority system, though it doesn't seem to distinguish long term very poor adults and others with low incomes.

Some local jurisdictions are very stingy and some are pretty liberal. Federal welfare programs all have to defer to the South's reluctance to give money to the undeserving.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:08 PM
horizontal rule
197

165

Is 19K poor?

Depends a lot on where you live.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:11 PM
horizontal rule
198

191: Take it to Standpipe's blog.

193: If they are at all effective in applying the criteria, then it's not unreasonable for him to apply. (If he's plausibly going to knock off someone needier, then in the same circumstance I don't think I would apply.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:11 PM
horizontal rule
199

the South's reluctance to give money to the undeserving.

Had I written this sentence, I would have been unable to resist scare quotes around the final two words. John Emerson: model of rhetorical restraint.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:15 PM
horizontal rule
200

(If he's plausibly going to knock off someone needier, then in the same circumstance I don't think I would apply.)

Yes, but ... it seems to me that there are probably many folks commenting on this thread who have a greater responsibility than JRoth to help those needier than JRoth. Becks handled this nicely in 139.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:18 PM
horizontal rule
201

Social Security and unemployment insurance were specifically designed as fake insurance programs to avoid giving help to the long-term unemployed, and to give as little help as possible to the underemployed. A superior bill introduced by Minnesota's Communist Nazi Farmer-Labor Senator Lundeen didn't have a chance. Lundeen later died in a mysterious plane crash.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:18 PM
horizontal rule
202

I've been pretty philosophical so far. It seems to me that JRoth should probably apply. I'm thinking more of a bunch of skeezy people I've knew during other periods of my life. I was just trying to state the conditions under which I thought his concerns would be most valid.

These things come up pretty seriously with food banks, though. They almost always run out toward the end of the month.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:22 PM
horizontal rule
203

203: yeah; they're valid concerns that seem not to apply in this case, for a number of reasons.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:23 PM
horizontal rule
204

Good grief, apparently I need to start signing my comments OPINIONATED NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST or something.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:24 PM
horizontal rule
205

Which is to say yes, I was joking.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:26 PM
horizontal rule
206
Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:27 PM
horizontal rule
207

205 -- Maybe so, but those folks who are making 10k per month certainly aren't living a lifestyle beyond middle class. In coastal cities anyway.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:30 PM
horizontal rule
208

score me as a Welshman utterly bemused by the implication from the first 50 posts that there is something horrifically decadent and bourgeois about eating lamb. what the heck?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:30 PM
horizontal rule
209

208: it's not cheap to produce like beef, you see.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:32 PM
horizontal rule
210

200: But they'll give the tax credit to everybody.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:32 PM
horizontal rule
211

207 - We're still shooting them when the revolution comes.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:34 PM
horizontal rule
212

Apparently the comments here don't work like an Excel table (see self-referential 203).


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:34 PM
horizontal rule
213

We don't have personal relationships with sheep either. Cultures differ.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:35 PM
horizontal rule
214

213: Just bears.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:35 PM
horizontal rule
215

When are we going to fix healthcare in this country, seriously?

Maybe in about 60 years.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:36 PM
horizontal rule
216

Comment 203 is the result of a convergent fixed-point iteration.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:36 PM
horizontal rule
217

210 -- There's an income limit.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:37 PM
horizontal rule
218

And when we eat bear, we cook it thoroughly since bear is one of the few remaining vectors of trichinosis.

However, trichinosis is not transmittable venereally.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:37 PM
horizontal rule
219

207: Also true. Middle class is a broad category, and living expenses in a place like yours or mine can suck up mindboggling amounts of money to create a material standard of living that could be had for a whole lot less in Fargo. But I try to remember that we're fortunate as hell even as I contemplate how badly our poor little house needs paint.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:43 PM
horizontal rule
220

Also, CC, will you be reachable in the same place (office) for a bit longer? I gather from your site that your life is changing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
221

When I was a kid, we were broke, and I qualified for free lunches, and I remember my parents arguing about whether we should sign up for it, and we did not, and this to my mind was not a good decision. If you honestly feel you don't need it, then don't, but if what's holding you back is pride, swallow that down already.

Also, part of the reason you're doing fine, if you're doing fine, is that the cost of living in Pittsburgh is very low given the magical housing market. You can raise a family of six on $24K if no one gets sick. But you know what is not low? Needing a new car, medical bills. Better to have some money in reserve and use the WIC if you need it. Think of it as taking tax money from my dad, who is a cranky old bastard.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
222

219 -- I've been having my house painted, along with other work; if you want to see mindboggling sums of money go up in smoke, try that. It isn't going to come back in the sale price except in the most indirect, binary kind of way: people won't buy it at all if it isn't newly painted, but the price gets set5 based on what the house up the block wouldn't sell for earlier in the year.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:52 PM
horizontal rule
223

220 -- July. We're not talking about it around my place of employ just yet, although tomorrow when they put the sign up in front of my house, it'll be kind of obvious.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
224

(NB -- The Carps have been working the last several nights at moving furniture etc. The photographer came today, and so we have a day off. This Carp is rapidly slipping over the edge, with help from a surprisingly good 98 zin that was sitting around in the basement. Pay no attention to any further comments from any Carp.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
225

Thanks. I have a book of Hawaii paddling photos in the back seat of my car that was supposed to go in the mail, um, some time ago. It's been an eventful few months, but now it's just me procrastinating on getting to the post office.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:00 PM
horizontal rule
226

do you, CC, have a link to your site?
it would be nice to read it


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:01 PM
horizontal rule
227

According to Paul Fussell (in his book "Class"), wearing frayed clothing is an upper class marker.

My sister lived for a couple years on Curaçao, which has a famous pedestrian bridge. In the early 1900s there was a toll, but to keep the toll from being regressive it applied only to those wearing shoes. Those wealthy enough to have nice shoes would take them off and go barefoot, saving the guilder; the poor wanted to be seen as not being destitute and would wear borrowed shoes and pay the toll.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
228

very interesting, so that's why one is wealthy and another one is poor perhaps
or pride is like a shifting feeling and correlates with wealth ideally
if rich and arrogant it's off putting, if poor and shameless it's equally perhaps kinda strange
something horrifically decadent and bourgeois about eating lamb
it's lamb! animal young, might be really horrific to kill, the moment of taking its life i mean
if it's the full grown farm animal, i have no much feelings, that's the purpose of its breeding/existence like, to be eaten like, but eat young animals seem like morally wrong, to me
which is irrational, it's not like with growing up their senses will diminish or they'll lose pain feeling something
just projecting the feelings involving human babies, kids perhaps


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:19 PM
horizontal rule
229

when I was living on that for only me, I fell into debt, was scared of bills, was terrified of an unexpected expenditure, didn't want to accept invitations to join friends for occasions that might involve money and thought about money as much as I ever do.

I lived for a couple of years on $20K/yr, and it wasn't that bad. I definitely had to think about money a lot, but I don't remember feeling that anxious -- just that it I budgeted everything carefully, I could have $50-150/mo to spend on fun things (movies, bike parts, dinner somewhere other than a burrito joint, etc).

I was helped by living in a slightly cheaper area of the country and not having or needing a car.

On the other hand, the numbers Megan posted do not include health insurance.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:26 PM
horizontal rule
230

It would be easier if he ever used subordinating conjunctions.

DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND WE'RE POOR WE CAN'T AFFORD FANCY CONJUNCTIONS THOSE TWO APOSTROPHES WERE THE LAST ONES FROM THIS MONTHS BUDGET.


Posted by: OPINIONATED IIP | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:26 PM
horizontal rule
231

OK, I've got this fly buzzing around my desk lamp, and as it buzzes into the bulb, it's kicking up dust like a tiny circular saw. Annoying.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:28 PM
horizontal rule
232

Hey, be grateful it's not a wild boar.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
233

According to JRoth his family has a reserve of savings which makes it totally nonthreatening to spend a year or two at this level of income. Savings = wealth.

Just for the record, either Ned misunderstood or I miswrote. Or Ned's counting Iris' college account as savings. But that's the only savings we have. Our cushion consists of family, but we've already dipped into that quite enough, thank you. I'm definitely ready to dip into Cala's family now.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:35 PM
horizontal rule
234

173, incidentally, gets it exactly right.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
235

if i qualify and am eligible for material things, i would apply without any second thought
i applied last year for two scholarships, but got rejections from the both places this april, so unlucky
my jade died that's why perhaps


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:43 PM
horizontal rule
236

185: It's not $1000/mo as compared to $2000/mo, it's $1000/mo as compared to a normal middle-class income of $10,000/mo or thereabout.

Forgive me for stopping dead right there at 185, but WTF.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
237

Thankfully, I see I've been pwned. Like several hours ago. Still.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:47 PM
horizontal rule
238

but WTF

That's just a couple each earning 60K, which is decent middle management wages.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
239

re:OP:
identity crisis? If the government programs you patronize are a factor of your identity, you may be insane.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
240

Or Ned's counting Iris' college account as savings. But that's the only savings we have.

N.B. do not drain the kid's college fund.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
241

60K, which is decent middle management wages.

Or the average teacher salary in New Jersey and California.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
242

237: He got me too. It was an effective joke in hitting what appears to be a sweet spot between one person's laughably high income and another's threshold of penury, based on the experience of living a normal life while continuing to read the New York Times.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
243

238, 241: I know. I forget to think in terms of 4-person family income.

One tries not to become upset about financial matters. This place, unfogged, is not helpful in that regard, what with the upscale spending threads.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
244

237: And in need of a visit to Standpipe's blog, but other than that you're doing great.

234: We do have occasional thoughts of rebuilding, but geography is an issue. Also construction costs.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
245

I lived on $15K a year in Boston for a few years. Even managed to save almost $1000 a year. I'm still not sure how I did it, but I didn't think my standard of living was low at the time.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
246

242: In fairness to the "WTF?" contingent, I am of the coastal demographic who could plausibly be obtuse in that way, but I also have some understanding of what the actual numbers look like.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:07 PM
horizontal rule
247

I saved money on my grad stipend, but I didn't have a car, or expensive hobbies, or a need for an uberprofessional wardrobe. Also, no babies, who require food and regular maintenance.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
248

I think of middle class as $40k to $80k / year, possibly as low as $30 k in low-price areas. $80k is 6600 / month and to me would be the high end of upper middle class, but maybe in the highest priced areas it should be higher.

My intuitions may be all wrong.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:23 PM
horizontal rule
249

Around here the median house price is $600K+ and it's an island, so "drive until you qualify" doesn't work. The public schools are iffy enough that a lot of people are willing to scrimp pretty hard to put their kids in private school, at $8-18K/kid/year. Food and gas are expensive, going away for a vacation means getting on a plane, etc., etc. I really don't understand how a lot of people are getting by at all (and I suspect that there are a lot of HELOCs out there looking very ugly about now).


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
250

UMC is a fuzzy term. In East Coast cities it seems commonly understood to mean anything under a few million a year, I think. (The dividing line being: could you stop working altogether and maintain your very comfortable/expensive lifestyle? If so, rich. If not, UMC.)

I think most of the rest of the country thinks of it as something under roughly $120k-$150k or so.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
251

247: Stipends must be higher than they were in my day. They probably are.

I think of middle class in much the same way Emerson does in 248. That's middle middle class. Though, well, $80k wouldn't be the high end of upper middle class, it would be just plain upper middle class.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
252

So much depends on where you live. In my city, a "niceish" 2BR/2BA house will go for anywhere from $600,000 to $1,500,000. So people live in the sticks and commute, or get a small condo or apartment, or get a job somewhere else. Or they make a lot of money, get a smallish house in what most people would consider a ridiculously nice neighborhood but to them is just where they live, go out to eat every so often at their local diner that has $15 entrees, and wonder why everyone thinks they're so rich when they hardly have any money left at the end of the day.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
253

Er, a lot of rambling to say people percieve things in terms of what they can afford, not how much money they make.

And if you are conditioned to think that "middle class" means owning a house and a car that is roughly as new and as nice as that of your neighbors, that will range between $50k/year and $200k/year, depending on where you choose to live.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
254

I think of home ownership as the bottom end of middle class, so $30,000 could be middle class.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:46 PM
horizontal rule
255

water moccasin, although I love your pseud, you live in a silly city where the local diner has $15 entrees. I think you've said as much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:46 PM
horizontal rule
256

234, 173: Two years ago, I knew lots of people looking for a bigger house. Now, nobody. Don't know what to do about that. We've put aside thoughts of a bigger house on grounds that we don't really need it.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:51 PM
horizontal rule
257

home ownership as the bottom end of middle class, so $30,000 could be middle class

In my not-fancy neighborhood, small houses in rough shape go for 500k. That's 2.5 times 200k. Household income of two higher level federal bureaucrats. To starving artists, grad students, and poor people, i realize this seems like a lot of money. But it is not 'rich.'


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:52 PM
horizontal rule
258

Wobegon cost of living is 75% of the national average.

It's only roughly calculable because here you can have a quiet, green, open physical environment for nothing, but have to drive 12 miles for a sort of OK cup of coffee or a pretty decent restaurant. There's a woman down the road who owns 8 horses and has three kids on a salary of about $45,000.

Between Amazon, ILL, cable, and things of that kind, the cultural impoverishment of rural life is non-existent. You do get the social impoverishment, but that's one reason it's so cheap. My restaurant and entertainment budget here ranges from $10 to $30 a week, whereas in Portland I can spend $30 in a long afternoon (coffee lunch dinner beer) without actually "going out".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:53 PM
horizontal rule
259

254: I'd agree with that number, assuming you have reasonable benefits. That would get you a $90,000 dollar house without a stretch.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:54 PM
horizontal rule
260

257: We understand, Charley, it's not "rich." Keep looking.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:57 PM
horizontal rule
261

You pay a ton for location. My sister's house is about $90,000 with four bedrooms, double garage, basement, and a quarter acre of land with a productive garden. If it was maintained a lot better, it might be $130,000.

You're really paying a lot for whatever is near your house.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:57 PM
horizontal rule
262

But it is not 'rich.'

Yes, it is.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:58 PM
horizontal rule
263

255

... you live in a silly city where the local diner has $15 entrees. ...

This would be typical in Westchester, New York.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:58 PM
horizontal rule
264

257: $500k will get you a giant, renovated, 5-6 bedroom Victorian palace around here. The nicest streets and suburbs will be more, but still.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 8:59 PM
horizontal rule
265

"You're really paying a lot for whatever is near your house."

I know, the school is across the street and property taxes are 3%.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
266

Witt was plainer than I was willing to be.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
267

I more or less subscribe to Brock's concept that the dividing line between UMC and rich is whether you have to work for a living to maintain a comfortable standard of living. My concept of "comfortable" includes all sorts of things that aren't really necessary but stops a long way short of the kinds of lifestyles that draw the interest of the NYT.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
268

To elaborate on my point, it's "rich" because deciding on a location is more discretionary than most people seem to want to admit. In Philadelphia you can live in the priciest suburbs for $500K-$3M, or you can live in Southwest Phila. for probably $90K-$300K. Both are 20 minutes from the central business district, served by public transportation, and Southwest is actually closer to the airport (not enough to be bothered by flight patterns).

And yet I have never known anyone with a reasonable alternative who chose to live in Southwest. The homicide map alone gives you a good sense of why.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
269

Sorry, that was supposed to be $300K-$3M, indicating overlap with the high end of Southwest.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:06 PM
horizontal rule
270

Very expensive areas have a North Dakota homicide map and a NYC / LA cultural map. But you pay for the combination.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
271

The county thinks my lot, unimproved, is worth about $100 per square foot. People hereabouts work for a living, and are nearly all directly accountable to some immediate superior. Professionals, I guess, but not people with real wealth, beyond the inflated values of this land. UMC, sure. Rich? No.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:10 PM
horizontal rule
272

I'll have you all know that I live in a nominally expensive area quite nicely on an income that would surely win the unfogged poverty lottery. My secret: theft. $20/month buys me all the IP violations I like, and being poor forces you to cook creatively, so I'm now a ghetto chef, too. So there.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:11 PM
horizontal rule
273

I think a lot of work in 257 is being done by "Household income of two higher level federal bureaucrats." Really it says "these like the people I know. They can't be rich."

The two income thing also does a lot of work in the example. I'm tempted to call any couple where both people earn professional salaries and don't have to pay one of those salaries in its entirety to childcare "rich."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:13 PM
horizontal rule
274

256: We think about rebuilding not so much to get more space, although a little more would be nice, as to use our best earning years to get into something more likely to last us through our retirement years than the current flimsy, 50 year old, single wall box.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:14 PM
horizontal rule
275

Professionals, I guess, but not people with real wealth

Its the level of wealth most of my students were dreaming of when they signed up for community college, knowing in the back of their minds that they won't get halfway there.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:16 PM
horizontal rule
276

Charley, you're measuring "rich" on some absolute scale. I'm measuring it on a scale that is both relative and absolute. On a relative level, the people you're talking about have so much more autonomy of their lives and ability to problem-solve how to pay for college, health crises, etc., that it's not even funny.

And on an absolute level, money gives you choices and access. Even if every penny of the money that flows into your household every year flows right back out again, the very fact of the cycle fives you options that people with less cash flow just do not have.

I mean, for goodness sake, I'm getting blank checks with a 1.99% APR from my credit-card company, trying to induce me to spend money. That's just flat-out insane. The fact that after paying for housing, health insurance, transportation, and food of my choice I don't have a huge amount left over does not lead me to the conclusion that I am not very, very privileged. One might even say, 'rich.'


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:16 PM
horizontal rule
277

Autonomy in their lives, not of.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
278

273 -- Fair enough. To me, rich means beyond working for salary, but working for/with wealth. Or so highly paid that salary becomes meaningless (like ballplayers). Obviously, though, MV with age, expectations, etc.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
279

||

Maur/een Corr/igan gave the new biography of Frances Perkins a great review today on Fresh Air. I'm excited about reading it, though I feel I really should whittle down the stack of books next to my bed before picking it up.

I really like Maureen's reviews in general. (Full disclosure: She's an acquaintance whom I like quite a lot, but I recommend her to you independent of that fact.)

|>


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:19 PM
horizontal rule
280

267

I more or less subscribe to Brock's concept that the dividing line between UMC and rich is whether you have to work for a living to maintain a comfortable standard of living. ...

So retired people are rich?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:29 PM
horizontal rule
281

Never mind Frances Perkins, Piers Brendon's Decline and Fall of the British Empire is out in these states! I'm 250 pages in, and it is awesome as expected.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:31 PM
horizontal rule
282

Yes, exactly. Retired people are rich. That's exactly right. Very good.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:31 PM
horizontal rule
283

Part of the problem with defining "rich" is that "middle class" seems to cover everything from "not wanting to apply for WIC" to "not Paris Hilton". The other part of the problem is that property values are insane in parts of the country; on what my parents made, in Pittsburgh, we were hanging onto middle class. If we'd lived in a more expensive city? No way.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:34 PM
horizontal rule
284

Retired people are out of equilibrium - they are spending down accumulated assets. Rich seems to imply having accumulated enough money to increase your assets while maintaining a "good" standard of living.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:35 PM
horizontal rule
285

279: She made me want to read the book, which is unusual, because for a couple of reasons I generally find her irritating. On your recommendation, I'll try to cut her some slack the next couple of times, but if she fails to repay my renewed attention, basta.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
286

Someone 21 years old who owned a house free and clear, had Medicare-quality medical insurance, and had a steady $30,000/yr. income without working would be rich. A 65-year old of that description would be pretty well off.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:40 PM
horizontal rule
287

Part of the problem with defining "rich" is that "middle class" seems to cover everything from "not wanting to apply for WIC" to "not Paris Hilton".

This isn't just part of the problem. Its the crux of the biscuit.

Everyone in America wants to think of themselves as currently middle class but likely to move up a notch in the near future. You can't think of yourself as currently outside the middle class, because you are obviously normal and normal means middle class. On the other hand, you have to believe you will be richer some day, for the same reason you have to believe that children are the future.

Of course, the real middle class has been shrinking for 30 years. It members have for the most part either attained their dreams of wealth or had them permanently shut out. But no one could admit that.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:43 PM
horizontal rule
288

To me, rich means beyond working for salary, but working for/with wealth.

Fair enough. But if the people you're describing are not rich, they're certainly in a significantly higher income bracket than most middle-class Americans. I guess I'd at least want to call them "affluent" (by which I mean, richer than middle class, though not in the ranks of the fabulously wealthy).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:48 PM
horizontal rule
289

287: And another part of this is that TV, magazines, most movies etc. feign that they are showing a "middle class" lifestyle, but for the most part it is in fact out of the reach for almost any definition of same (and MC comes in with "affluent" at the right moment, which describes most of the crypto-aspirational lifestyle images that are presented in mainstream pop culture as being the norm).

I've mentioned before that one of the interesting aspects of YouTube (and "America's Funniest Home Videos" before) is that you can see how actual fucking people live their lives.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 9:57 PM
horizontal rule
290

Stormcrow, don't get me started on the crypto-aspirational (why "crypto"?) images in mainstream media.

I mean, that's why we all have Brazilians, right? Because everyone knows that's how it's done.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:05 PM
horizontal rule
291

One of the more important division within the upper class in America that came out during the Bush administration is the split between professionals, who make a lot of money because the have valuable skills, and the investor class, who get most of their income from investments. The investor class may have jobs, but even then their jobs are CEO type positions that pay out mostly with investments. The lower levels of rich are split between investors and professionals, but the upper levels of rich are all investor class. When people said that Bush policies benefited the extremely rich over the merely very rich, it was mostly because it benefited the investor class over the professional class.

I don't remember where I'm getting all this, but there is probably one activist or journalist who has been pre-eminent in promoting this picture.

In any case, I think upper level federal bureaucrats are automatically rich, but in the professional class of the rich


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:06 PM
horizontal rule
292

I mean, that's why we all have Brazilians, right?

Parsi reveals more about herself than intended.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:07 PM
horizontal rule
293

I want to see the videos with the actual fucking people!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:09 PM
horizontal rule
294

(why "crypto"?)

Spur-of-the-moment neologism. Because the aspirational aspects are concealed a bit since the images are presented to you as "average", "middle class", "they way you would already be living even at your economic level if you only had taste, good money/budgeting skills, knew how to shop for bargains etc". Brings on the cravings in a more subtle and effective way then just outright lusting for a real mansion.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:10 PM
horizontal rule
295

293: Well those are available too, of course. (Hint: the magic word is "amateur".)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:12 PM
horizontal rule
296

288

I think a percentile definition of rich makes the most sense. The top 1% (corresponding to a household income around $300000) seems a reasonable place to draw the line.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:13 PM
horizontal rule
297

On the professional class, everyone read "Disciplined Minds" by Jeff Schmidt. The division he makes is between professionals with specific, defined skills, and managers / bosses who make the big decisions on the basis of imperfect knowledge. Professionals are the lackeys and attendant lords; bosses are the lords.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:14 PM
horizontal rule
298

292: Sweetheart, was my tone utterly lost on you there?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:15 PM
horizontal rule
299

I very strongly doubt that you can find a single DC-based federal employee who will self-identify as rich. Or be considered by anyone at all who does self-identify as rich, as rich.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:17 PM
horizontal rule
300

I was idly thinking the other day that if you wanted to successfully revive Marxism, you would have to recast it so that the middle class were the good guys, rather than the proletariat. I've seen some Marxists try to argue that the proper interpretation is that what we call the middle class is really part of the proletariat, but that would be a hard-sell. Marxist terminology tends to flatten everything into lower versus upper, which makes it easy for the upper class to get the middle class to identify up instead of down. This is hard for the people who are drawn to Marxism to understand because they naturally identify down, and find the idea of identifying up as grotesquely bizarre. So instead of the middle class having a real class consciousness, they feel themselves as aspirational rich people. A middle class with class consciousness would view the various apologists for wealth and privilege as class traitors.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:17 PM
horizontal rule
301

294: Okay, that's good. And sort of what I figured, but I'm glad you took the time to spell it out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:18 PM
horizontal rule
302

I have the heart of a small Brazilian. I keep it in my desk drawer.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:20 PM
horizontal rule
303

296 -- I think that's going to be strongly driven by geography. 300k is a lot different in Wilkes-Barre than it is in Westchester. And the person getting that is in a very different social strata in one place than in the other. The same is true within Westchester, I suppose.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:21 PM
horizontal rule
304

298: Darling, it was funnier when I ignored your tone.

And so to bed. There are papers ungraded, but they came in late anyway.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:23 PM
horizontal rule
305

If you had 300k in Wilkes-Barre, you could keep people as pets.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:23 PM
horizontal rule
306

299: Alas for the mestizos of wealth: not rich, not middle class, and loved by no one.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:26 PM
horizontal rule
307

I very strongly doubt that you can find a single DC-based federal employee who will self-identify as rich. Or be considered by anyone at all who does self-identify as rich, as rich.

People who call themselves rich are actually absurdly rich. There are many people who are rich but wouldn't call themselves rich, because they aren't absurdly rich.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:28 PM
horizontal rule
308

I laughed aloud at that, Walt, and kept chuckling for several seconds.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:31 PM
horizontal rule
309

I don't know the exact numbers compared to 1920 when the word was coined, but "millionaire" means nothing any more. Just a nice house in a nice neighborhood, a medium-sized business, and maybe a small investment portfolio.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:31 PM
horizontal rule
310

208: The part about the Marxists? But I meant that one.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:33 PM
horizontal rule
311

305 is truly funny.

Charley is right about geography. 300K wouldn't get you too far in Westchester, I'm pretty sure. Not far enough to live a normatively middle-class lifestyle (which is actually an upper-middle-class lifestyle in comparison with the norms that obtain in many other parts of the country, I guess).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:36 PM
horizontal rule
312

303

I think that's going to be strongly driven by geography. 300k is a lot different in Wilkes-Barre than it is in Westchester. And the person getting that is in a very different social strata in one place than in the other. The same is true within Westchester, I suppose.

I don't think choosing to associate with people richer than you are makes you poor although it may feel like it.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:37 PM
horizontal rule
313

311

Charley is right about geography. 300K wouldn't get you too far in Westchester, I'm pretty sure. Not far enough to live a normatively middle-class lifestyle (which is actually an upper-middle-class lifestyle in comparison with the norms that obtain in many other parts of the country, I guess).

I live in Westchester and believe this is very wrong. 300k in Westchester is not poor.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 10:41 PM
horizontal rule
314

300k in Westchester is not poor.

Agreed. I didn't mean to suggest that 300K represented real poverty or anything near it, and I obviously exaggerated in order to make a point. Westchester does have one of the highest median income levels in the country, though, and that was my (admittedly exaggerated) point.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 11:14 PM
horizontal rule
315

155: That's definitely not always true, maybe not even usually true.
In which case, no problem. But there's a lot of state and county variation; there's no nationawide uniformity.
It will free up X amount of food for someone else.

In theory. In practice the person who fails to clear the application hurdle, is still going to fail to clear the app hurdle. In any event, it's a diffrent situation from 'normal'. The goal here would be to flood the queue and siphon as much cash out as possible and spend it; the merchants who need the spending employ people who feed other people and so on. The worst outcome is having leftover money, because if it all gets spent they're going to auth more... but if it doesn't get spent, it won't necessarily be injected somewhere else. (And if they're having trouble running admin, they'll hire more people.) The D's had trouble getting supplemental funding when the program ran through its money - but that was back in 2005 (I think) with an R majority and an R President. We don't have that problem right now.

This comes up with all kinds of charities too -- food banks, free clinics, etc. I've always felt that these should be regarded as designated for people who are very seriously poor and shouldn't be used as a budgeting convenience by people who go through a lot of money.

Actual services (as opposed to disbursements) are a different situation.

Note that these are two completely different statements: 1. We shouldn't have welfare programs because there are too many moochers cashing in. and 2. People who aren't really needy shouldn't cash in on welfare programs. #2 isn't a way of saying #1.

But that's what they're complaining about at the tea parties: the moochers are taking from the truly needy. It just so happens that they define moochers differently than you do; moochers are black people with cell phones and TV. The only truly needy are whiteish people dressed in rags. Of course, they would wipe it out altogether, so their intent is utterly different, but the rationale is essentially the same. The rationale is the problem since it's another version of the paradox of thrift. (BTW, I think the FRB is not being near aggressive enough; if it was me, I'd print up a coupla trillion in bills and details a division of marines with armored cars to drive through the poorest zipcodes and hand out individual packages of 5K$ consisting of fresh 20$ bills. Give the homeless guys some cash. Don't spend it all in one place, buddy.)

156:No, they don't. Not on the comments here, and not, I think, for what <pre> does.

I know <tt> doesn't work; I already tried it long ago. Ah, ok, bugger, you're correct. I was thinking of <plaintext>; had that mixed up with <pre>.

max
['I never use either, so...']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-16-09 11:45 PM
horizontal rule
316

Nonetheless, they're different statements, and #2 doesn't imply #1. A lot of this is empirically dependent on whether WIC is actually able to serve everyone who applies.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:28 AM
horizontal rule
317

American usage of the term middle class is weird.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:41 AM
horizontal rule
318

313 -- The idea that rich-poor is a binary choice might appeal to some of the binary mindset, but I certainly don't mean rich as an exact synonym to not-poor. (In keeping with this, the common expression 'house-poor' ought to be rendered 'house-not-rich' around here.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:53 AM
horizontal rule
319

I think upper class should be a broader category than rich.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:58 AM
horizontal rule
320

319 -- Certainly there are rich people who aren't upper class, and upper class people who aren't rich. As I use those terms. But there isn't really an agreed-upon definition for any of them, which is why the usage is so messed up. Back to the OP, JRoth isn't culturally poor. That's ok, though, imo, because the programs aren't for the culturally poor, they are for people who meet certain income and wealth criteria.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 6:18 AM
horizontal rule
321

I'm getting blank checks with a 1.99% APR from my credit-card company, trying to induce me to spend money. That's just flat-out insane.

wow, live checks, the marketing technique from hell! Is there a warning printed on the check that if you cash it, it creates a loan agreement? The really unethical companies put that disclosure on a separate piece of paper in the envelope, with the result that a frightening proportion of their borrowers didn't initially understand that it wasn't free money.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 6:21 AM
horizontal rule
322

That's ok, though, imo, because the programs aren't for the culturally poor, they are for people who meet certain income and wealth criteria.

This is the key point which, if you lose sight of it, you end up teabagging.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 6:22 AM
horizontal rule
323

That's ok, though, imo, because the programs aren't for the culturally poor, they are for people who meet certain income and wealth criteria.

Exactly. There is no fixed group, "the poor", for whom there are things like taxes and programs. Is JRoth in a better situation, long-term, than someone who is poor and not just having a bad year in their small business? Sure. But that's not part of any of this program. (We wouldn't tell someone "Don't apply for WIC, because you're unlikely to be in a position to make enough to contribute what you took in taxes.")


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 6:30 AM
horizontal rule
324

||
Awesome teabagger culture jamming. (marginally NSFW)
|>


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 6:32 AM
horizontal rule
325

300K wouldn't get you too far in Westchester

The house I lived in as a little kid was in Westchester - my parents bought it for $50k in 1972, sold it 7 years later for not much more (maybe $100k after years of stagflation?). By '85 it was worth $300k. Small house, but a nice, leafy neighb a short bike ride from the Metro North station and adjacent small business district with all the amenities, plus a short drive from Central Avenue, with all its strip businesses.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 6:53 AM
horizontal rule
326

professionals, who make a lot of money because the have valuable skills

"Professional" jobs in this sense are better defined as requiring a college degree and paid by salary v. wage. Lots of non-"professionals"* have valuable skills.

*In case the scare quotes don't make it obvious, I'm not fond of using the word "professional" to distinguish lawyers from autoworkers. I understand the origin of the term as you're using it, but because its opposite in more common usage is "amateur," I reject it. ("Hi, I'm looking for an amateur tailor to alter my suit.")


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 6:59 AM
horizontal rule
327

Why did I use "hi" there?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:01 AM
horizontal rule
328

I think "professional" is better defined as a job that sets its own standards of evaluation and admission: accountancy, law, medicine, skilled trades, engineering, etc. "Professional" shouldn't mean "remunerative" or "anything that allows you to have a nice upper middle class lifestyle just out of college."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:05 AM
horizontal rule
329

FWIW, I have trouble with a definition of rich that includes people who live in a decent house (not new, not large) on a street without violent crime, have a couple not-new cars and savings that basically cover a couple months' expenses and some college. UMC (almost) surely, possibly affluent or even upper class, but not "rich." To say that "middle class" excludes anyone who lives in comfort is to distort the meaning and intention of the term.

Rich =/= upper class.

Further, on the numbers: nationally, the top quintile starts at $88k. But the variation by region is huge. National median is $50k; in the Pittsburgh MSA, $60k; in the DC MSA, $99k*. Since I can't find quintiles by MSA, let's extrapolate and say that $88k nationally = $175k in DC. Does Charley seem so off-base now? Only if you want to define 20% of the country as rich. And, again, I don't buy that, and I don't think most people do - it's not what that word is for.

* Fargo, shockingly, is $65.5k. John has been gaslighting us.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:08 AM
horizontal rule
330

327: You're just friendly like that.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:08 AM
horizontal rule
331

328. Yeah, what used to be the "learned professions" - originally medicine, law, the church and for some reason architecture, now by extension comparable stuff that didn't exist in the 18th century.

The traditional word for the other group Rob identified is "rentier", isn't it?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:11 AM
horizontal rule
332

wow, live checks, the marketing technique from hell! Is there a warning printed on the check that if you cash it, it creates a loan agreement? The really unethical companies put that disclosure on a separate piece of paper in the envelope, with the result that a frightening proportion of their borrowers didn't initially understand that it wasn't free money.

I got one of these the other day that didn't offer so much as a hint of the interest rate. IIRC, it was not actually a live check - I think you had to go in to their office to cash it - but I was kind of shocked that there was no mention whatsoever that they would be expecting consideration in exchange for use of their money.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:12 AM
horizontal rule
333

and for some reason architecture

Because we're learned!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:12 AM
horizontal rule
334

Well you certainly put in enough time training.

Are your numbers in 329 household or personal income?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:15 AM
horizontal rule
335

More seriously to 331, isn't it because architects, like doctors, have access to arcane knowledge in which the client must simply trust, and the primary restraint is personal integrity (backed with lawsuits), not regulation or oversight?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:15 AM
horizontal rule
336

334: Household.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:16 AM
horizontal rule
337

Because we're learned!

Because if your shit falls down people get pissed. (And that the profession is self-regulating, isn't it? Do you need to do something (pass an exam, or have certain training, something) in order to be in charge on a project?)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:20 AM
horizontal rule
338

I understand the origin of the term as you're using it, but because its opposite in more common usage is "amateur," I reject it.

The fact that the Olympics has created one set of connotations for a word shouldn't strip it of its hundreds year old, clear and consistent meaning and usages. There's definitely slippage where middle managers and executives will be called professionals, but not by people who are being thoughtful.

And yes, I'm only protecting my privileges here, but if you take away my "profession," I'm just some poor bastard who happens to work on a computer.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:21 AM
horizontal rule
339

Professionals are also lackeys and attendant lords who benefit from credentialization monopolies: "The Disciplined Mind", Jeff Schmidt.

OK, one more time: I think that probably JRoth should go ahead with it. The only issue for me is basically whether or not his specific state or county ends up turning people away at the end of the month.

But there actually is a fixed group "the poor", though: people without money or wealth who have no particular job skills and whose parents didn't have money or wealth.Some of these people are "worthy poor" and some are "unworthy poor"; that's not the difference I'm talking about. They're all just downright poor, for whatever reason. It's a fair-sized group.

And as I've said, I've know peope much less scrupulous than JRoth who used the arguments made above in order to claim that when they milked the system for every dollar they could get, they were striking a blow for equality and justice, whereas from what I could see they were just putting extra weight on an underfunded system.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:21 AM
horizontal rule
340

338: Welcome to my world.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
341

An architect I was talking to the other day said he carried more professional insurance that a doctor in general practice, which was a bit of an eye opener for me.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:23 AM
horizontal rule
342

337: Yes, all that - specific degree at accredited program, closely-regulated internship, rigorous exams. Furthermore, drawings and specifications are technically "contract documents" - they carry a lot of legal weight, so it's not just a matter of designing the building right, but also getting responsibilities and such correct.

Every once in awhile I think, "who the fuck am I to be doing this? I'm just some schmoe who's interested in buildings."

But mostly I think, "Bow down before me, non-professionals of the world. And then hire me."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:24 AM
horizontal rule
343

I don't think "rich" and "middle class" name points on the same scale, or that they don't overlap. We were 'rich' on any reasonable percentile income definition while I was working for law firms, although the combination of our substantial negative wealth (student loans) and expensive location meant that we were the kind of rich that, e.g., thought of replacing a couch with big holes in the fabric as a real financial concern. We're still easily UMC by the numbers thrown around above -- two high-five-figure salaries.

Still, on anything other than income as a measurement, I can't see calling us anything but some variant of middle class even when we were making a whole lot. We just don't have the consumption patterns,the financial security, or the social environment of wealthy people.

326: Huh. I use 'professional class' to identify a segment of the UMC a lot. Do you have a preferred term which does lump together doctors and lawyers and hospital administrators and academics and so on?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:24 AM
horizontal rule
344

Fargo is the urban center, Sin City. It's practically in Minnesota. It's out in the boonies that you get the real estate bargains. You have to buy them when they're fresh, because after 5 or 10 years they're a shambles.

In other news, I'm starting to track down the connections between Milton Friedman and the Greenback Party. It turns out that the nineteenth century agrarian cranks were actually real economists, half a century ahead of their time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:25 AM
horizontal rule
345

343.3. They are the UMC, n'est-ce-pas?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:26 AM
horizontal rule
346

341: An incompetent doctor kills people one at a time. An incompetent architect can kill people by the hundreds.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:28 AM
horizontal rule
347

343: The only thing I really object to is when "professional" gets applied to something like "first-year staffer at a banking firm."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
348

IIRC, it was not actually a live check - I think you had to go in to their office to cash it

ahhh, where's the fun in that?

I made a fucking ton of money in around 2002/3 out of betting that the out-of-court settlement which placed the first elementary regulations on marketing practices in the consumer credit industry would beat the living crap out of it. Although not as much as one of my competitors, who was also long the providers of the main competing product - a then newfangled thing called the "Home Equity Line Of Credit".


Posted by: derauqsd | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:29 AM
horizontal rule
349

345: I guess the distinction I want to make is a not purely economic/income based one -- a class distinction. Mostly, separating out people who are UMC by virtue of earned income derived from specialized education from small business owners and such, who are often wealthier but are socially treated as members of a different class. It's the distinction in US politics that lets a wealthy used-car dealer think of himself as the downtrodden masses being treated with contempt by public schoolteachers making 60K.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:30 AM
horizontal rule
350

341: Well, sure - even a small firm is well capable of killing a half dozen people at a shot, whereas a doctor would have to be a real butcher even to approach that.

339.1: Yglesias is always going on about credentialization monopolies and such, and I just don't buy it - at one point he flaunted his ignorance by suggesting that there should be no registration for plumbers, since any idiot can install a toilet. But plumbing is more important than medicine for a healthy society, and there's a substantial body of knowledge attached to it. Sure, there's jockeying at the edges - can a homeowner install his own toilet, etc. - where there's probably some economic loss, but the idea that professions shouldn't exist is just, IMBO, contrarian bunk.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:32 AM
horizontal rule
351

I was told about professionalism when I worked at McDonald's in 1968. It seems to involve presenting yourself to the public as a representative of your employer, rather than as yourself. A lesson I've never forgotten, because how could McDonald's be wrong?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
352

MH, what are we going to do about getting you a better pseud? I know there was a brief discussion in another thread, but it didn't seem to bear fruit. ("Fruitbearer"?) Do you want to stick with something that uses MH or go hogwild? ("Hogwild"?)

(I've become rather imperious on this issue, haven't I?)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:34 AM
horizontal rule
353

345: I use the term 'professional class' the same way as 343.3.

Personally, I consider the difference between UMC and regular MC to be holding significant non-retirement assets plus the ability to use the word 'penultimate' correctly. I think of the difference between UMC and rich as being that the former don't have enough wealth to support themselves without working (assuming an age of less than 60).


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
354

Yglesias and Emerson, the Populist Goon Squad.

Milton Friedman wrote 115 pages about the Greenbackers and Free Silver. I'm dying to read it.

Professionalization can be a good thing or a bad thing. The professionalization of journalism was an utter disaster. Journalists think that writing "Shapes of the Earth Differ" he-said / she-said stories is their professional obligation, and that Brad DeLong and the rest are Know-Nothing Luddite cranks.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
355

I have trouble with a definition of rich that includes

I'd like to reiterate that two married public school teachers making the average teacher salary in New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, or California would be grossing roughly $120K. That's certainly rich by world standards, but by world standards just about everybody here is fabulously wealthy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
356

LB brings it up, but doesn't quite say it: "rich" entails wealth. Most UMC people have little to no wealth, at least until the end of their working lives, when a combination of salary increase and decreased expense (home paid off, children gone) suddenly means they have both assets and money left at the end of the month.

Not that someone earning $500k without owning a home (or whatever) isn't "rich," but that's only because they'll have wealth soon enough at that rate.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:40 AM
horizontal rule
357

the idea that professions shouldn't exist is just, IMBO, contrarian bunk

Agreed. I don't want an unlicensed electrician anywhere near my house.

Somewhat OT, I learned from a friend who's an electrician that water doesn't actually conduct electricity -- it's the impurities in the water. If the water were completely distilled, you could safely stick a live electric cable in a pool full of small children. (Provided the children themselves were completely pure and without sin, of course.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
358

349 said what I was going for in 353, but more clearly. I know a fair number of wealthy people with high school educations and no one with a Ph.D. who is wealthy (unless they also have an M.D. or J.D.).


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
359

352: I propose "Murgid Hacobian".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:43 AM
horizontal rule
360

317
American usage of the term middle class is weird.

Very true. 283 and 287 are right: the big problem is that it seems like there should be a middle ground between upper middle class and rich, but there's no good term for it. If a lawyer or doctor wants to claim he's not rich because if you set aside the necessities his discretionary income isn't much higher than JRoth's, and if he went without work for a while his family would soon be buried in debt, there's no good argument against that. And yet if he's living in a nice Manhattan apartment and putting his kids in private school and can afford to dress and entertain like his coworkers, there's no way he's just middle class or even UMC.

Someone used "affluent" upthread; maybe we should start a campaign to standardize on that word. Or maybe "high-flying" for the people who say they aren't rich because they make a lot but also spend a lot. (In other words, at risk of crashing.) Shearer's probably right in 296 that percentile of national income distribution is the best measurement of rich. If you want to argue about local cost of living, then bring in percentile of local income.

289
feign that they are showing a "middle class" lifestyle, but for the most part it is in fact out of the reach for almost any definition of same

Agreed. The part of the TV show "Smallville" that I found by far the hardest to believe was what they called small-town life. The Kents were perpetually in danger of losing their farm but they managed to go through two or three trucks per season, the local coffee shop was struggling but was decorated like a four-star restaurant...


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:44 AM
horizontal rule
361

354: The trouble is that journalism isn't, in fact, a natural profession. You're correct that it was professionalized, but that only made it professionesque - they self-police by not hiring people without credentials, but the credentials don't actually represent a body of arcane knowledge, just a set of skills and an approach. But, as I said above, the hallmark of a true or natural profession is that body of knowledge, one that can't be culled from mere observation.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
362

Looking at wikipedia, there doesn't seem to be any big non-anglophone countries who that term, or any with different words for salary and wage.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
363

353: I find those definitions appealing, but they're compatible with a ridiculously high income still not counting as UMC, even in the absence of noticeably profligate spending.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:46 AM
horizontal rule
364

Talk about class is encrusted with archaic notions from past societies much different than ours -- 91ths c. France, 1920s-1930s America, the Middle Ages.

What I'd do is separate wealth, income, and power, and call the top 5% in wealth "rich" and the top 5% in power "the ruling class". Not entirely overlapping. Income not converted to wealth barely counts. Fame doesn't count.

"Class" in the sense of "cultural capital" is pretty secondary. As I understand Bourdieu, he declared the intelligentsia, professionals, etc. to be the subordinate half of the upper class.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
365

"but there's no good term for it."

How about lower upper class?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
366

363: I swiped them from Paul Fussel and that was a large portion of his point.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:48 AM
horizontal rule
367

assuming an age of less than 60

I really hope that assumption is good. But give me an example of using "penultimate" incorrectly - I thought it was one of those binary words, where you eith know it or not.

In 343.3, three of LB's examples are actually self-credentialising professions and I suspect hospital administrators would be if anybody at the court of Queen Anne had thought that hospitals needed full time administration, so yes, "professional classes" is uncontentious, but there's a fuzzy boundary between these people and Cala's first-year staffer at a banking firm, which you need to take into account given that junior bankers' salaries may well compare favourably with used car dealers.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:48 AM
horizontal rule
368

362: Could be wrong, of course.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:49 AM
horizontal rule
369

Or you can go all Gramscian and describe them as the organic intellectuals.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
370

If you want to argue about local cost of living, then bring in percentile of local income.

Here's where I was getting median data from before.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:50 AM
horizontal rule
371

376: By that I mean using 'penultimate' for the last thing as opposed to the next to the last thing. In other words, thinking that 'penultimate' is just a more intense version of 'ultimate'.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:52 AM
horizontal rule
372

assuming an age of less than 60

I really hope that assumption is good.

It's not. You don't even start collecting Social Security at 60.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
373

Aaah, I went into the future. The robot flying cars have revolted.

371 is to 367.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:53 AM
horizontal rule
374

But give me an example of using "penultimate" incorrectly

People use it as an intensifier of "ultimate." Just about the only thing I ever did on my blog that's had any resonance was a link to a very clever (correct) use.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:54 AM
horizontal rule
375

Now a real professional knows how many "i"s there are in "antepenultimate".


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:55 AM
horizontal rule
376

AHHH WHAT THE HELL DID YOU MEAN WITH THAT THING ABOUT PENULTIMATE, TELL ME IMMEDIATELY IF NOT SOONER


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
377

372: I picked an age lower than the SS age because I think most UMC people aren't counting on SS as the cornerstone of their retirement. And I do not think of retirement savings (up to a certain level) as making you rich.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:58 AM
horizontal rule
378

360 Shearer's probably right in 296 that percentile of national income distribution is the best measurement of rich. If you want to argue about local cost of living, then bring in percentile of local income.

Local cost of living matters a lot, but I'm not sure percentile of local income is such a reasonable measure either. In the university town where I work, the median household income is close to $100k, but someone making $100k there is going to be living a much more UMC lifestyle than someone making the median household income of $40k in the city I grew up in.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:01 AM
horizontal rule
379

I can never remember if it goes "antepenultimate, preantepenultimate" or "prepenultimate, anteprepenultimate". Now you all know the sad truth of my socioeconomic status.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
380

I for my part deprecate the snootiness of those who would deny the status of "professional" to people who say things like "a fucking ton of money". I refute you through the easy reductio argument - if I weren't a professional, how could my behaviour be unprofessional?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
381

379. I didn't say you had to know what it means, merely that you don't spell it "anti-".


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
382

352: Sir Kraab and read are allies! Who would thunk it?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:07 AM
horizontal rule
383

382: +a


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
384

On questions of class, what year did the Rockefellers stop being "new money"? The Kennedys?

Per Wiki, the Roosevelts seem to have always been old money.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
385

People in finance are professional criminals, Dsquared. No one denies you that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:09 AM
horizontal rule
386

352, 359: What's wrong with MH? Too easy to type?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:10 AM
horizontal rule
387

People have to make up their own mnemonics. "Mad Hatter"? "Mother Huffer?" "Mud Harp"? Mega Hurl"?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:12 AM
horizontal rule
388

386: Looks to much like "MRH" who was here first. Plus, there's a general dislike for two-letter pseuds. Not memorable / distinctive enough.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
389

Monkey Horticulture


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
390

eb is kind of grandfathered in. ac left. TJ was pressured into becoming Turgid Jacobian.

Any others?

Was Parenthetical formerly a two-letter pseud person, or was there some other issue with her previous pseudonym?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
391

Parenthetical was DL.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:18 AM
horizontal rule
392

I picked an age lower than the SS age because I think most UMC people aren't counting on SS as the cornerstone of their retirement.

Maybe. But as the rare Unfoggedarian who will freely admit to being upper -- not upper middle -- class (having excellent benefits and no dependents goes a long way toward significant disposable income and wealth accumulation), SS may not be the cornerstone of my retirement, but it's indispensible.*

*Not indispensible to staying well above poverty, but indispensible to a comfortable retirement in which I feel secure that I can take care of myself come serious illness, etc.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:19 AM
horizontal rule
393

387--90: Yesterday, the suggestion was 'HM', which didn't seem like much of a change. Anyway, I'm thinking.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
394

Huh. I use 'professional class' to identify a segment of the UMC a lot. Do you have a preferred term which does lump together doctors and lawyers and hospital administrators and academics and so on?

I guess my question would be why you want to lump this category of people together. What sense of "professional" are you going with that would make these all part of that category?

Looks to much like "MRH" who was here first.

Which, incidentally, I always read as "Mr. H."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:20 AM
horizontal rule
395

Mynah.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
396

391: Right. And DS used to be D/o/c/t/o/r S/l/a/c/k. Going from a longer name to a two-letter abbreviation is better, but still not optimal.

As with most things, I think LB is our most eloquent spokesperson on the issue of two-letter or otherwise undistinctive pseuds.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
397

What sense of "professional" are you going with that would make these all part of that category?

"First Up Against the Wall Come the Revolution".

Which, incidentally, I always read as "Mr. H."

Me too.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:23 AM
horizontal rule
398

SS is Social Security.
PB&J is peanut butter and jelly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:24 AM
horizontal rule
399

As with most things, I think LB is our most eloquent spokesperson on the issue of two-letter or otherwise undistinctive pseuds.

Irony!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
400

||

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDKiQfBs9lo

>

Warning: swearing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
401

I also pronounce it Mr. H.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
402

Yesterday, the suggestion was 'HM', which didn't seem like much of a change.

Well, consider the source of that suggestion.

Anyway, I'm thinking.

HURRY!!!!!!

Another suggestion, in light of "Mr. H": Herr M.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
403

("Mis-tah H!" - sing-song, with the British accent from Arrested Development.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
404

Oh hey, there's H-G. I guess no baby?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:28 AM
horizontal rule
405

"Me and Mr. H . . . we got a thiiiiing, going onnnnn."


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
406

What's the word for saying something outloud in your head? Like hearing a pronunciation in your head?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:29 AM
horizontal rule
407

I guess no baby?

Nope. She has hunkered down and seems to be staying put.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
408

For MH, LizardBreath's edict on the naming issue.

MY IRRATIONAL PREFERENCES

These are all based on 'names that will make it hard for me to keep track of who you are, and so I'll get confused and embarrassed about not remembering more of what you've said in the past.'

...
(3) Short sets of initials. Again, eb, lw, mrh, I know who you are now, but anyone else contemplating commenting, trying to keep these straight hurts my head.

These aren't rules. The only penalty for violating them is that I will bitch, and I will have trouble interacting with you in any fashion that involves remembering what you said last week.

406: imagining?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:32 AM
horizontal rule
409

Actually, Lorraine quite likes solitary confinement.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
410

406: imagining?

YES! I can never remember that word!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:33 AM
horizontal rule
411

Googling MH gives, among other stuff, Machine Head, Monster Hunter and Megahenry, which last is lovely.

Also it's apparently the TLD for the Marshall Islands.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:35 AM
horizontal rule
412

406: If what you're saying in your head is something along the lines of "KILL THEM, MISTER HAND??? OKAY . . . ", I'd think "criminally insane" might be an apt descriptor.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
413

Subvocalization.

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


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:36 AM
horizontal rule
414

408 should read "RTFA!!!".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
415

"KILL THEM, MISTER HAND??? OKAY . . . "

Is MH Mister Hand?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
416

Subvocalization.

No, it was imagining.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
417

408: Thanks for the link. I was going to go with James Polk, but now I'm still thinking.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
418

Let's set a deadline for MH, after which a collectively agreed upon name will be imposed. High noon!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:39 AM
horizontal rule
419

What about 'Subvocalization'? Or "Subvoc'?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:41 AM
horizontal rule
420

419: Bono Subvox.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
421

What about 'Subvocalization'? Or "Subvoc'?

Or 'Imagining'?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
422

Imagining is a good name. Or Kames P. Jolk.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
423

419: I like -- shortens nicely to "Sub" for informal address.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
424

Monsieur Hortense.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
425

424: Too French.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
426

We're about to head to a chiropractor who can supposedly help posterior babies turn anterior. This flies in the face of all my general contemptuous sneering at hocus-pocus. There are no atheists in fox-holes, I guess.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
427

423: But "Bono Subvox" is better: it shortens to "BS".

"Sub" is too close to "soub".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
428

Too French.

Then see 402.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
429

"Imaginary Voice"?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
430

"Imaginary Voice"?

I think I was thinking of "subvocalization".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
431

428: Too German.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
432

There are no atheists in fox-holes, I guess.

I've never heard that euphemism before, but I like it.

And best of luck with the hocus-pocus!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
433

1 vote for Mr. Hand.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
434

425: OK, Mr. DeLay. Mr. Freedom then.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:51 AM
horizontal rule
435

431: Well then clearly the right pseud for you is "Goldilocks".

And I am very sorry to report that I know have that horrible "Zombie" song by the Cranberries subvocalizing very loudly. In my head . . . in my head . . . .


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
436

"Voice in head"?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
437

'Mostly Hatless'?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
438

364

What I'd do is separate wealth, income, and power, and call the top 5% in wealth "rich" and the top 5% in power "the ruling class". Not entirely overlapping. Income not converted to wealth barely counts. Fame doesn't count.

Why not count income as wealth on the basis of the present value of expected lifetime earnings? If you win the lottery you are rich whether or not you choose to take your winnings as a lump sum.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:53 AM
horizontal rule
439

Mt. Horrible


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:54 AM
horizontal rule
440

How about "Mentally Heard".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:55 AM
horizontal rule
441

How about adding a question mark at the end of 440?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
442

How about "Mentally Heard".?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:58 AM
horizontal rule
443

343

...Do you have a preferred term which does lump together doctors and lawyers and hospital administrators and academics and so on?

"White collar" is too broad?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
444

Motivated Hick?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
445

443: To my mind, yes.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:00 AM
horizontal rule
446

Because expected lifetime earnings are uncertain for most people, for a lot of reasons, and probably are becoming more so.

I even knew a tenured PhD who was laid off in his early fifties and found out that he was virtually unemployable. (His department was downsized; he wasn't fired and replaced). His CV was so-so, and the school he was laid off from was unprestigious.

Also, if someone has a big income and little net worth, unless there's some specific explanation (e.g. paying off debts) , they'll probably never have much net worth even if their income stays the same.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
447

444: And you could go by "Mo' Hick".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
448

443: No, "broad" is too whitecollar.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
449

If you don't like 'Motivated Hick', you have until noon (Eastern U.S.) to object. Further suggestions welcome, but I'm leaning toward names that would abbreviate to 'MH'.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:03 AM
horizontal rule
450

Also, if someone has a big income and little net worth, unless there's some specific explanation (e.g. paying off debts) , they'll probably never have much net worth even if their income stays the same.

Depends why they have little net worth. Maybe they're not saving now because they have kids who will, allah willing, support themselves someday.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:05 AM
horizontal rule
451
Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:07 AM
horizontal rule
452

What would be wrong with IV or SV?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
453

"White collar"
during soc times we had only three classes: workers, agricultural workers, intelligentsia
in my language we have this word for intelligentsia, sekheeten - sekhee means conscious, so it's like literally 'the conscious', now i think of it, how so strange
perhaps it was a literal translation of 'intelligent'


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
454

452: Those are two-letter pseuds. Haven't you been paying attention?!!???!!!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
455

Moby Hick


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
456

449: I like it, and not just because I'm hoping M/tch will make waffles on Sunday if I praise his genius in public.

noon (Eastern U.S.)

But Sifu's not even awake yet!

I'm leaning toward names that would abbreviate to 'MH'.

Surely you don't think that's how we'll address you, Hicky McHickenheimer?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
457

450: That could count as an explanation. But football player and pop stars aren't really rich until they've salted soething away, and for the same reason, a lot of entrepreneurs aren't really.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
458

455 is actually quite good.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
459

453: In China, they couldn't call the train tickets first-class and second-class, so they called them "soft seat" and "hard seat" instead.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
460

343: thought of replacing a couch with big holes in the fabric as a real financial concern

And as an illustration of the "crypto-aspirational lifestyle images" trope, where on TV would you see that couch other than COPS, Sanford and Son or some viewer-shot footage?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
461

456: No, I'd just like a bit of continuity.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
462

455 is good.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
463

I like it, and not just because I'm hoping M/tch will make waffles on Sunday if I praise his genius in public.

Um, honey? I didn't come up with "Motivated Hick", and don't particularly like it. "Moby Hick" is great, though.

And I can't do waffles Sunday morning (RTFC!). Maybe for dinner though?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
464

in Russian it's also that, "soft seat" and "hard seat"
perhaps in all the former soc countries it was called so


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
465

r FTW

454 s/b RTFT, MM.


Posted by: JP | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
466

463: I meant the truly excellent Mo' Hick nickname, of course.

RTF weather report!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
467

now b/c MH is 'MH Swedish clothes HM'
i don't have any objections to MH


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:22 AM
horizontal rule
468

446

Because expected lifetime earnings are uncertain for most people, for a lot of reasons, and probably are becoming more so.

Other forms of wealth can be difficult to value also.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
469

Mutombo Hussein


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
470

RTF weather report!

The F weather report for Hutto, TX on Sunday:

Sunday Apr 19
Mostly Sunny
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Mostly Sunny. High 79F. Winds NW at 13 mph. Air Quality: Good, UV Index: 9
Precipitation Chance: 0%
Morning Waffles Chance: 5%


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
471

Marilyn Hanson


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
472

457

That could count as an explanation. But football player and pop stars aren't really rich until they've salted soething away, and for the same reason, a lot of entrepreneurs aren't really.

I think it is wrong to say someone like Alex Rodriguez isn't really rich even if they spend their money as fast as they get their hands on it (I have no idea how ARod specifically handles his money).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
473

"Mutombo Handler"


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
474

And after we get MH's new pseud in place, we can work on jms.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:30 AM
horizontal rule
475

Only if I get to be James M. Shearer.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
476

Matata Hakuna


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
477

Morbid Handgel


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
478

Mr. Hostile, Molecule of Hydrogen, Mystery Hat?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
479

Morbid Handgel is pretty sweet.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
480

Monster Hazard
Masterful Harangue
Mat Hematical


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:37 AM
horizontal rule
481

Meconium Hotdog


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
482

Matt Hweiner


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
483

482 is great.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
484

OT: The engineer on the recently highjacked Maersk Alabama:

"We're Americans! We're union members! We stuck together and we did our jobs."

- John Cronan, quoted on the Today show, I'm told, from an interview just after the crew arrived in the U.S.

(The "We're Americans!" part is annoying, I know.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
485

Some of my best friends are Americans.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
486

Massive Happendage


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:47 AM
horizontal rule
487

Morning Waffles Chance: 5%

Apr 18: Chance of rain 80%.
Chance of extremely muddy conditions on Sunday: 90%.
Chance of my buying maple syrup today in anticipation of delicious Sunday morning waffles: 100%.

(I hope everyone is enjoying this conversation, which is clearly inappropriate to be having here.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:51 AM
horizontal rule
488

if i were MH and greedy i would use all of the suggested names intermittently and depending on the mood and context of the comment or thread


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
489

484: I should probably clarify for the foreigners that even mentioning union membership, never mind crediting it for escaping pirates, is very, very unusual here.

Related: Nearly every person involved in the rescue when the US Airways flight ditched on the Hudson was a union member and much of their training was provided by or negotiated by their unions.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
490

I am greedy, but not if I can't get anything for it but annoying people. From now one, MH is using Moby Hick. Thanks read.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:57 AM
horizontal rule
491

Chance of my buying maple syrup today in anticipation of delicious Sunday morning waffles: 100%.

NO!!!! WE'VE GOT TWO FULL BOTTLES IN THE PANTRY!!!!! (i.e. CTFP!!!)


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
492

We're about to head to a chiropractor who can supposedly help posterior babies turn anterior.

Moxibustion sometimes works for breech presentation (even science says so!) and other fetal position corrections. We did it—an acupuncturist friend taught me how—and it did the trick. Freaky.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:01 AM
horizontal rule
493

Apr 18: Chance of rain 80%.
Chance of extremely muddy conditions on Sunday: 90%.

You'd be surprised at how fast water gets absorbed, especially considering the last major rain was a long time ago. It's very likely that ground conditions on Sunday will be perfect for doing this thing that we're talking all mysteriously about.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:02 AM
horizontal rule
494

From now one, MH is using Moby Hick.

Hurrah!

Now:

just my size?
jackin' my style?
junior medium small??


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
495

489: You should also mention that crediting US Air with saving people is even more unusual. Previously, I was of the opinion that the safest thing about US Air was how often they left you sitting in the terminal.

P.S. I'll drop the double name in future threads.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
496

wow, thanks, MH (Moby Hick)


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
497

I thought posterior presentation was expected to resolve during early labor -- that plenty of babies hung out posterior, and then rotated during early labor. But of course I had the bad baby who flipped herself breech during early labor, so my sense of the probablilities may be skewed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:09 AM
horizontal rule
498

What I've been told is that labor stalls until the baby flips anterior, because the baby's head has to be such-n-such positioned in order to fit through the top of the birth canal. But the contractions while the baby is posterior are particularly excruciating b/c the baby's skull is pressing on your spine.

You know what they say: Mo' Hick, mo' problems.

Welcome aboard, Mo!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
499

Mildly Hungover

Mad Hacks
Max Headroom
Mushroom Hijinks
Minx Hustler
Muscle Hunk
Monk Hoodie
Moody Hues
Muse Host
Mostly Had

[on preview]Shit! These people who think they can make demands on your time just because they pay your salary.
Just My Stupidity


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
500

497 is an absolutely awful pseud.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
501

Fuck you, 500. At least I have one.


Posted by: I thought posterior presentation was expected to resolve during early labor -- that plenty of babies | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
502

Thank heebie.

499 is too late.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
503

BTW, the M/tch/SK confab there makes me want to bring AB aboard, just so we can converse here from 2 floors apart in the same house. I realize it's been done before, but seldom so entertainingly.

Also, given how much syrup is on hand, I'm tempted to go make waffles at their house myself.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:28 AM
horizontal rule
504

score me as a Welshman utterly bemused by the implication from the first 50 posts that there is something horrifically decadent and bourgeois about eating lamb. what the heck?

Score me as a Yorkshireman....sheep are incredibly cheap, they just eat grass in places you might not be able to raise or grow very much else. Not so long ago British farmers were practically giving away flocks of sheep. Perhaps we should set up a DEFRA aid program to ship needy US bloggers frozen surplus lamb? Stamped "Gift of the United Kingdom - throw this in the harbour and we'll burn the White House down again".

Anyway, I just learned a new demographic: "poverty jetset". Grad students flying Ryanair with netbooks. Hey, I once changed job because I was waiting for the end of the month to get a hole in my shoes fixed. At the time I was on a list of "Globally Influential Journalists" maintained by one of London's largest and most annoying PR conspiracies.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
505

Hmm, there's a character limit on pseuds. I guess it isn't a very good acronym.


Posted by: ITPPWETRDEL-TPOBHOPATRDELBOCIHTBBWFHBDELSMSPMBS | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
506

I thought that, once your water broke, they could generally manually-manipulate the baby into the correct position (i.e., press on your stomach and grab and twist and turn the damn thing around). I know I've read that somewhere. Most likely hippie birth literature. I do recognize that this is largely incompatible with the numerous horrifc back-labor stories, so it's probably not true. But I'm nevertheless sure that I read it.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
507

posterior presentation

Hawt!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:31 AM
horizontal rule
508

On the substance, of fucking course you should accept the coupons. You can always swap them for drugs if you're too proud to present them at the counter.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:32 AM
horizontal rule
509

Here in the US sheep are not industrially farmed, so they aren't cheap.

Score me as a Yorkshireman....sheep are incredibly cheap, they just eat grass in places you might not be able to raise or grow very much else. Not so long ago British farmers were practically giving away flocks of sheep.

"flocks" of sheep? They roam around in the open air? Sounds like the kind of thing that effete, impudent snobs eat.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
510

re: 504

I've certainly been in the poverty jet set. Literally living on a food and entertainment budget of 10 - 15 quid a week, but taking flights 6 or 7 times a year; during the first year of my doctorate when my wife was living abroad.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
511

504: Lamb's unpopular here, so it's expensive because it's uncommon. Very few people would have lamb for an ordinary dinner. Which is a shame, because I love it -- I'd eat lamb chops over beef any day of the week if they didn't cost the earth.

506: This is also from hippie-anti-interventionist literature, but I've read that getting stuck flat on your back in bed makes it much less likely that a posterior presentation will resolve -- being able to move around freely during early labor is important. To the extent that people get stuck in a hospital bed in early labor, that might be a risk factor. (Or I could be talking through my hat -- I did all my reading on this getting up to ten years ago.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:35 AM
horizontal rule
512

504. I've actually noticed this with visiting American friends and family - you produce lamb for a mid-week supper and they act like you're asking them if they want some truffles shaved on their fois gras. Well, not quite, but...


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
513

Actually, even here, I find lamb quite expensive. Perhaps that's just the prices in the local supermarkets, but it's certainly more expensive than pork or beef. My wife hates it, so I'd never buy it anyway, and would always choose some sort of game over lamb.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
514

512: Probably a useful tip for impressing visiting Americans, come to think. Risky, though -- a sizable percentage of Americans think of lamb as expensive but also unpleasant.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
515

Lamb is so very delicious.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
516

The traditional method for turning a posterior baby is of course washing the kitchen floor. Or anything that invovles crawling about. (So yeah, togolosh, hotttt!) Loads of stuff available about OFP (sp? Optimal Foetal Positioning, I think). Good luck heebs xxx


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
517

God, I love lamb. I like it very slowroasted with lotss of herbs/spices/etc. Might have a leg on Sunday - will have to see what's at the farmer's market tomorrow. My youngest doesn't like me buying legs as they look too much like body parts, so it might have to be a shoulder.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
518

My father, and my uncles, and apparently quite a few men who served in the US Navy during WWII had lamb permanently ruined for them, due to the rancid mutton they were served. Seriously, they would get nauseated by the smell.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
519

Tip which probably crosses the Atlantic: if you like the taste of lamb enough to appreciate it a little mature, get it at a halal butcher. Odds are it's half the price it is in a supermarket, and usually it's better meat (even if it's really hogget).


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:44 AM
horizontal rule
520

517
My youngest doesn't like me buying legs as they look too much like body parts,

Sooner or later you'll have to explain to him that there's a reason for this.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
521

In the 1990s, we produced so much lamb for export that Frenchmen started attacking trucks carrying it and setting them on fire, thus initiating the world's biggest barbecue on land. (At sea you have to go back to that ship full of live Australian sheep on their way to Saudi Arabia the Iraqi air force hit with an Exocet back in the 80s.)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
522

518. Yes, the entire population of Britain had the same experience, and mutton is only now coming back into fashion after two generations. But lamb never went away.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
523

I think heebie should fly from Texas to Alaska.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
524

My local butcher was selling an entire leg of Elysian Farms lamb for $5/lb, same as you'd pay for ordinary supermarket lamb. But, as has been well covered, I was not in a position to drop $45 on a piece of meat, no matter how good a deal.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
525

I look for lamb around here and don't find it. People just don't like it much, I think.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
526

I should have known he was in trouble when the spotlighted review this week was of a nondescript Chinese takeout place.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:55 AM
horizontal rule
527

I've never cooked lamb at home. When I've have it out, it's either one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten or borderline revolting, and I can't seem to figure out what's driving the difference. It doesn't seem (to me) to be prep method, although it probably is and I just don't realize it. I assume no one is serving a bad piece of meat. The difference is definitely not driven by price--I've had lamb I very much disliked in pricey restaurants, and a Greek place that used to be up the street from had a dirt-cheap lamb dish that made me cry tears of joy every time I ate it. I usually avoid lamb in unfamiliar restaurants for this reason. But I do wish I could figure out the difference, because I'd love to be able to reliably order the good stuff, because sweet jesus is it ever delicious.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 10:58 AM
horizontal rule
528

Has a new name been selected for jms yet?

"Just Might Scream"?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
529

However you cook lamb, you have to cook it slooooowly (partial exception for grilled/broiled chops if the animal is young enough). Cook it too fast and the muscle is tough while the fat tastes like smelly chewing gum.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
530

Lamb and veal are the devil's food. So amazingly delicious.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
531

Part of the lamb issue may be climate related. Most animals raised for meat come from the midwest, which has a dry, harsh climate. I've heard that sheep tend to damage the roots of the grass more than cows and, back where I'm from, if you've actually killed the grass, you will have problems (e.g. the dust bowl area).

This may be the ranchers' self-justification for doing what they wanted to do anyway, but that land supported millions of bison and very few sheep-like wild critters.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
532

I suspect one way to get a bad piece of lamb is to have it cooked in some annoying and fashionable way - sous vide or as the workers call it, boil in the bag, at precisely 52 degrees in a nitrogen atmosphere, yadda yadda wank wank wank. I've had this experience. Lamb ought to be rare in the middle and slightly scorched on the outside - like practically all meat, and it responds well to garlic, beans, and of course mint. I've done lamb chops with anchovies and garlic with success, too.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
533

Lamb ought to be rare in the middle and slightly scorched on the outside

This is good, but I think it's also more forgiving than beef to being cooked well-done.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
534

The last time I cooked lamb chop, I found the outside was well done but Sherri Lewis's hand was too chewy.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
535

Hmmm, my kids have just gone out for dinner with my parents and this thread is making me hungry enough that I am now wondering whether I am feeling flush enough to take C out for dinner at the fancy Greek place ... could demolish some kleftiko ...

520 made me laugh. Yeah, she knows. My 10 year old is vegetarian so we have an ongoing discussion about eating animals. The kids have decided that they want to eat meat still, but please can it be from animals that have lived happy lives. The youngest is 6 - she has no problems with eating chickens, but recognisable baby lamb parts are a bit more of a problem. Sentimental child.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
536

530 - and now will brings veal into it and I am actually salivating. There's this Sardinian place in town, and I had veal there last time we were there - I think it was Dutch. Fucking beautiful.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
537

My father, and my uncles, and apparently quite a few men who served in the US Navy during WWII had lamb permanently ruined for them, due to the rancid mutton they were served. Seriously, they would get nauseated by the smell.

My father's experience exactly, except he was in the Army in WWII. When I was young we went to his boss's house for a cook-out and they grilled lamb. Poor Dad ate one little piece and told his boss that he was coming down with something. It really gave him the, uhh, heebie-jeebies.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
538

That's funny, I wonder what about lamb/mutton made it more disgusting when cooked by the military than any other kind of food. Presumably he wasn't revolted for life by everything he ate in the military.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
539

538. As I said, the entire population of Britain was put off mutton for 60 years during the war. They were selling (rightly under the circumstances) elderly ewes which were near the end of their useful wool producing lives. I imagine US service personnel abroad were sold the same stuff - hell there was a war on and Atlantic was largely controlled by the enemy navy. It probably was truly disgusting, but them was the breaks.

The cheese ration for British civilians was 2oz a week.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:31 AM
horizontal rule
540

Eliz/s/lis/bet/ty/th: the answer is "military cooks".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:31 AM
horizontal rule
541

Old people in Britain won't eat snoek either, for similar reasons - it was shipped from S.Africa tinned, but it was apparently always stale in some way.

Apparently it's delicious fresh, though I've never tried it.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
542

As far as I can recall, lamb and veal are the only things that I hate that I love to eat.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
543

Also, the breeds of sheep raised mostly for meat and for wool are different. Most of the ones in the UK produce heavy, rough fibre and good meat; merinos aren't great eating but their wool can be used in superfine cloth.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
544

Will hates little lambs and calvies.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
545

538: Probably the answer is 539 and 540, plus the fact that U.S. troops mostly had no previous experience of lamb to counter their WWII mutton. Because the British had lots of previous experience of lamb, they were only put-off mutton.

I had an uncle stationed in the U.K. during the war and he always dislike lamb. However, he worked his whole life the in cattle industry so I'd always figured bias was involved.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
546

538/39: Yes to OFE. At least that was my father's understanding of his condition. But still, ever after even the smell of perfectly good lamb completely nauseated him. (And my dad would just feel ill, one my uncles would actually vomit.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
547

Lamb's unpopular here, so it's expensive because it's uncommon. Very few people would have lamb for an ordinary dinner.

Back in the Usenet days, one of the regulars on the newsgroup I read most frequently was a New Zealander. He was quite fond of bitching about the U.S.'s tariffs on Kiwi lamb; if we dropped them, he was convinced NZ would bury us all neck-deep in delicious, delicious lamb.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:42 AM
horizontal rule
548

My uncles certainly knew from lamb prior to the service -- they were all born in Lancashire to Irish parents. I don't know about my pop, though. His parents were Italian, so I am thinking no.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
549

they were all born in Lancashire to Irish parents.

Both proverbially arniophagous (?) places.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:52 AM
horizontal rule
550

I think 534 proves conclusively that adopting a proper pseud makes one more funny.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:54 AM
horizontal rule
551

ooh all this explains a weird exchange i had with a neighbour in a few weeks back (who is from tennessee)

i: I was in the supermarket pickin out bacon
ii: she spotted me and ran over with her little son
iii: "tierce, tierce," she said, "listen: IS PORK LAMB?"
iv: I was unsure I had heard her correctly and asked her to say again plz
v: "Is pork lamb?"
vi: er if yr askin what I THINK yr askin, pork comes from a pig and lamb from a sheep
vii: "grrr bah why does he make me shop for these things HE KNOWS I'M A VEGAN!"

everyone i told here in london thought this was the funniest thing ever, like asking "is soft hard?"


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:56 AM
horizontal rule
552

55.last like asking "is soft hard?"

Or "does it take a tough man to embrace the tender stuff?"


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:06 PM
horizontal rule
553

551: Heh. My brilliant and charming philosopher (also a vegetarian) tried to stop me from buying capers once 15 years ago. He thought they were a fish.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
554

I'm not sure what previous comments here you think "explain" that exchange, tierce.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
555

like asking "is soft hard?"

Yes, with a woman's embrace.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
556

I went vegetarian in junior high and I have to say that shopping for meat (for other people) is really hard. I have tiny moral objections which I harden myself against by buying pasture-raised type meats. But learning about cuts and types and figuring out what my friends want is really pretty difficult to figure out when you're in front of a counter and have no background.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
557

So are you one of those weekend vegetarians, oudemia?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
558

the exchange is explained by the evidence on this thread that americans are all mentalists are unfamiliar with lamb


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:12 PM
horizontal rule
559

557: Gosh, no. I haven't eaten meat since high school.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
560

For some reason, jms is less generic to me than some other initials, but it's still harder to associate with particular comments or discussions.

Are you committed to a jms phrase? Because Snoek (also spelled Snook) would be a good pseud. So would Smoot. Smoot-Hawley is the best tariff name ever.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
561

Does goat cheese count as meat?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
562

It is only through brute force memorization that I learned that prosciutto is not some cheese but a meat and I can't order whatever tasty-looking dish includes it. My mind is determined to categorize prosciutto as vegetarian.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
563

How about Taft Hartley?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
564

549: Wow, you're good, OFE. I could never have come up with the Greek for lamb -- "agnus" is too quick to jump in the way and confuse me.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
565

Better: Hawley Smoot


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:16 PM
horizontal rule
566

Is it right?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
567

566: The "arn" part sure is. OK, looking it up . . . Aha. So, "arneiophagous" would be best, I guess, since it is ἄρνειος.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
568

Anyway, Lancashire hotpot and Irish stew, so similar they must have cross-fertilised each other (Liverpool, I'm looking at you). Both wonderful, but stewing mutton? In your dreams.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
569

q: what do you say when someone describes themself as arneiophagous?
a: "i'll be rack"

*gets coat*


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
570

558: your neighbor didn't know what lambs are? I would think even people who don't eat a lot of it would be familiar with the animals. Your story read to me as if your neighbor didn't know what "pork" is. (Although that's just as odd, so really: odd either way.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
571

564 baffled me until I realized agnus is Latin (I was briefly entertaining the idea that, in the original Greek, Jesus is the goat of God, or something).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
572

571: No, it's: I am the marmot of God; I take away the sins of the world.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
573

the exchange is explained by the evidence on this thread that americans are all mentalists are unfamiliar with lamb vegans.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
574

That's funny, I wonder what about lamb/mutton made it more disgusting when cooked by the military than any other kind of food.

Dad said that he got turned off when he had to cross Texas on troop trains in summer (1943 or 1944). They'd stop the trains for meals and the cooks would boil large pieces of lamb/mutton in big vats next to the tracks. Smell, grease, heat, flies, dirt, bad prep. He never complained about anything else. I don't know if he ate lamb before going in, although his dad was a grocery wholesaler so I'm guessing it was available.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:37 PM
horizontal rule
575

certainly the all-bonkers thesis has more sweeping explanatory power


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
576

My mind is determined to categorize prosciutto as vegetarian.

Your mind is trying its hardest to do you a favor.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:43 PM
horizontal rule
577

576: It's like the opposite of that Calvin & Hobbes where Calvin's sitting on his sled at the precipice of a Matterhorn-like slope, and he keeps thinking that it's not so bad, he won't get hurt, etc. He then comments, "My brain is trying to kill me." Megan's brain is trying to make her mouth happy.

Megan, prosciutto is a kind of fungus that is dried and sliced very thinly. Honest.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
578

574 reminds me of this excellent book, The Railway Navvies, in which the preparation of the men's dinner is described. They were quite well paid by Victorian standards (though otherwise treated like shit), so they would buy huge joints of meat which the cook put in string bags and boiled all together in a caldron - beef, pork, mutton, bacon. And then pull them out and hand them back to their owners.

I went off my feed for a while, thinking about it.

(Am I going to get beaten up for linking to A****n? What's the score?)


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
579

578: Because of the fuckup over the weekend when you couldn't search for gay-themed books? Or is there some other reason to not link to them?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:55 PM
horizontal rule
580

Lancashire [or other city] Hotpot is a good pseud, as is Marmot of God.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 12:58 PM
horizontal rule
581

579. Sure. I thought their response was a bit weaselly, so I'm not friends with them again yet. In time I'll cave, like always. (I just did, didn't I?)


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:00 PM
horizontal rule
582

I'll never forget that quote from the Ken Burns movie:

"Killing those Japs was nothin' compared to having to eat all of that mutton."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:00 PM
horizontal rule
583

Marmot of God is excellent: "If you're all good I'll let tomorrow happen."


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
584

Mutton boiled in big cauldrons is what kept the various steppe armies going. This is an ancient military tradition. Can't argue with success.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
585

A type of fungus named "ham"? What an odd coincidence.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:05 PM
horizontal rule
586

A type of fungus named "ham"?

"I have rcored the converstaion between me an dthe manager of teh shop and the owner and also have the fungus ham in my possesion."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
587

579: Also, Powell's has the union. Of course, they don't have the search inside function.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:09 PM
horizontal rule
588

Alas, Powell's (who don't operate east of the sea) don't appear to have the book, at least on line.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
589
What is also important to remember is that the process of dry-aging usually also promotes growth of certain fungal (mold) species on the external surface of the meat. This doesn't cause spoilage, but actually forms an external "crust" on the meat's surface, which is trimmed off when the meat is prepared for cooking.
In addition to endogenous enzymes (those found naturally in the beef) which help tenderize and increase the flavor of the meat, these fungal species do so as well. The genus Thamnidia, in particular, is known to produce collagenolytic enzymes which greatly contribute to the tenderness and flavor of dry-aged meat.


"This doesn't cause spoilage" S/B "This is good spoilage."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
590

562:It is only through brute force memorization that I learned that prosciutto is not some cheese but a meat

BACON! Italian bacon! Yummy yummy bacon!

578:so they would buy huge joints of meat which the cook put in string bags and boiled all together in a caldron - beef, pork, mutton, bacon. And then pull them out and hand them back to their owners. I went off my feed for a while, thinking about it.

'Drop them cans in th' coffee gentle, Joe - we got a chicken stewin' in th' bottom.'

Just treat it as though they were making a really really diverse (and good!) meat stock.

max
['Meat!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
591

"is pork lamb?"
"it is now!"


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
592

578: OFE, here you go.

That's a neverending list of independent booksellers offering copies of that book. I didn't scroll down through a lot of them, but selling on the Biblio.com site are a number of UK sellers offering copies in various conditions and at various prices, incl. hardcover and paperback.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:35 PM
horizontal rule
593

590.1: pancetta is the Italian bacon, max. Or guanciale (altho I think that's actually jowl).

Megan, the reason the prosciutto fungus is called "ham" is that it grows on oaks in regions where pigs feed on the acorns. It's like calling Brit sailors limeys - they're not actually made from limes!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
594

"Beefsteak" tomatoes are also vegan!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
595

they're not actually made from limes!

Or so the limeys would have you believe.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
596

553 sort of makes sense. Or at least I can see how you might pick that error up.

From anchovies and capers often being used both interchangeably -- as a sort of generic salty thing chopped and added to add piquancy to things -- and also used together.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:45 PM
horizontal rule
597

Lime man.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
598

596: Wow! That actually makes sense. I will still never stop teasing him about it, though.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
599

capers are very tiny capons


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
600

Koooooobe!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
601

The days when Kobe had a realistic chance at 100 are long gone. We need a new meme.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:55 PM
horizontal rule
602

NO WE DON'T!


Posted by: OPINIONATED KOBE | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
603

The oak feeds the pigs and the fungus??


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
604

And flavors the wine!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
605

597 is really something.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
606

Am I the only one who thinks parsimon's ability to find books is totally hot?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
607

I look for lamb around here and don't find it.

They move much faster these days.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:22 PM
horizontal rule
608

606: There's something creepy about it, like she's a Djinn or something. Probably best to propitiate her with gifts of sweets and baked goods. Can't be too safe.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:30 PM
horizontal rule
609

Probably a bit late by this point, but what is "Ask the mineshaft?"


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
610

609: The canonical response is RTFA, but to give you a head start, Unfogged, as a whole, is The Mineshaft.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
611

The original Mineshaft reference (credit: Fontana Labs) has since been redacted, unfortunately.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
612

Guys, I love you, but it's just a website called bookfinder.com. I encourage everyone to use it when appropriate. If you do, there's an option toward the bottom of the front page to do a "classic search" -- that gives you the neverending list.

I seem to recall that someone here (oudemia?) knows the gentlemen who founded that site, outstanding men by all accounts, Anirvan and Charley.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
613

Since there is no FA, thanks for the info.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
614

*sniff*

I tell people about bookfinder.com all the time. But do I get called creepy? No, I do not.

*bursts into tears*


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 2:52 PM
horizontal rule
615

But do I get called creepy? No, I do not.

You're just not playing close enough attention, John.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
616

614: I know you do, babe. Don't worry: your book-fu is creepy, okay?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:01 PM
horizontal rule
617

PARSIMON IS TEH HOTT WIF DE BOOKFINDER
Emerson, not so much.


Posted by: OPINIONATED BIBLIOPHILE | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
618

613: Since there is no FA, thanks for the info.

Is Moby Hick (good grief) not realizing that FA means Fucking Archives? I can't tell.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:14 PM
horizontal rule
619

590.1: pancetta is the Italian bacon, max. Or guanciale (altho I think that's actually jowl).

I am describing it as bacon in the sense that it is a cured pork product; I have the big book with (some of the) descriptions of the (major) varieties of cured pork products, including three major kinds of prosciutto. If you're a vegetarian and won't be eating it... IT'S BACON! YUMMY YUMMY BACON!

And, in fairness to me, it's generally perfectly fine to substitute one for the other in the small amounts that are usually used in pasta dishes. And while we're at it because I Did Not Know That:

Guanciale is an unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek. Pork cheek is rubbed with salt, ground black pepper or red pepper and cured for three weeks. Its flavor is stronger than other pork products, such as pancetta, and its texture is more delicate. Guanciale is traditionally used in dishes like Pasta all'amatriciana and spaghetti alla carbonara. It is a delicacy of Central Italy, particularly Umbria and Lazio. Pancetta, a cured Italian bacon which is normally not smoked, can be used as a substitute when guanciale is not available, with slightly varying results.

max
['It's BACON!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:23 PM
horizontal rule
620

I had assumed it meant 'Fucking Article'. I'd also assumed that mineshaft was based on a version of the 'Thursday is your day in the well' joke.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:24 PM
horizontal rule
621

in the facsimile edition of mrs beeton i inherited from my grandmother there is a recipe for PIG'S FACE (ingredients: 1 pig's face; etc)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
622

I believe the original reference went something along the lines of "Everything I know about penis size, I learned from the guys who pound my ass at The Mineshaft."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:31 PM
horizontal rule
623

Not only is Spain the largest producer of air-dried-cured ham, Spaniards are the number one consumers in the world! (To prove that they're Christians. A single slice of ham wards off the Inquisition.)

I couldn't find one, but there are sites which talk about Spanish hams the way oenophiles talk about wine. But you people already knew that.

Tres cosas me tienen preso
de amores el corazón,
la bella Inés, el jamón
y berenjenas con queso.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:33 PM
horizontal rule
624

When mountain lions eat you, they start with the face. Closed casket funeral.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:35 PM
horizontal rule
625

621: I think Mastering the Art of Frech Cooking has COWFACE. It is the peeled off face of cow stuffed with things and rolled up.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
626

+n -- but where?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:36 PM
horizontal rule
627

i love mrs beeton, she was a madwoman: "773: TO COUNTERACT THE CONSEQUENCE OF A VIOLATION OF THE PHYSICAL LAWS, a powerful monitor in the brain of the pig teaches him to seek for relief and medicine" -- i have no idea what the bit in capitals means, the second bit means if a hog is itchy he scratches himself on a tree and eats dandelions if he has tummy ache



Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:44 PM
horizontal rule
628

Cow face


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:46 PM
horizontal rule
629

622: Wow, I didn't know that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:47 PM
horizontal rule
630

Captain Jack Aubrey enjoyed soused pig's face in the O'Brian books.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 3:49 PM
horizontal rule
631

The WSJ's take on the whole "who's rich?" thing.

As a member of one of those two well-paid bureaucrat couples Charley referred to upthread, for whom a nice but not especially luxurious lifestyle costs a lot in our chosen area, I would like to say very clearly: PRESIDENT OBAMA, PLEASE RAISE OUR TAXES. And we don't even make $250K.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:02 PM
horizontal rule
632

(Via Sausagely.)


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:03 PM
horizontal rule
633

624 - John, when one of our gerbils died and the other one ate it, it started at its face. Closed casket indeed.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:04 PM
horizontal rule
634

629: If I recall correctly, it was toward the beginning of this classic thread.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:06 PM
horizontal rule
635

634: it was toward the beginning of this classic thread.

MM: It would be cool if James Wolcott stopped by too. He never has before, has he?
OGGED: He hasn't. Though he is just the right kind of gay for this blog.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:20 PM
horizontal rule
636

this classic thread.

I had forgotten that you were nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor. Quite an honor, and well deserved.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:25 PM
horizontal rule
637

Gerbils laugh at your bourgeois sentimentality. So do chickens:

"Our sister is dead! Co terribly sad!.....Well, I guess there's nothing to do but eat her."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:26 PM
horizontal rule
638

634: Eek. That appears to be long. I'm going to have to take a breather on reading any classic thread. Maybe it's the one with Wolfson going on about the stretching of the penis.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:28 PM
horizontal rule
639

The excerpt in 635 is tempting! But goddammit, I have to go do some stuff.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:31 PM
horizontal rule
640

633: Closed casket indeed.

THAT CAN BE FIXED.


Posted by: OPINIONATED VARDAMAN | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:32 PM
horizontal rule
641

621: I think Mastering the Art of Frech Cooking has COWFACE. It is the peeled off face of cow stuffed with things and rolled up.

TEH JOWEL? Well... no. Rolled up COWBUTT, but no COWFACE.

max
['No PIGFACE either!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:48 PM
horizontal rule
642

Maybe it's the one with Wolfson going on about the stretching of the penis.

Yep, that's the one. Dick-stretching, leatherboys at the mineshaft, TEH GAY, and repeat.

max
['They've been mining that thread for years!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 4:52 PM
horizontal rule
643

641: Yes, I think so. But it is VEALFACE! Something de veau, but not visage . . .


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:00 PM
horizontal rule
644

Aha -- "tete de veau," but not JC. Here is Bourdain's description:
"...a slice of rolled-up calf's face, peeled right off the skull, tied up -- with a stuffing of sweetbreads -- and served boiled in a little broth with a few nicely shaped root vegetables and a slice of tongue. It's an ... acquired texture: the translucent fat, the blue calf's skin, and the bits of cheek and thymus gland take some getting past before you can actually enjoy the flavor."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:04 PM
horizontal rule
645

Wow, the link in 631 is remarkable. They're tithing $1,300 a month at their church, paying $4,000 for mortgages and land payments, and still have $1,200 month for discretionary spending. But still somehow they're not rich.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
646

Back in the Usenet days, one of the regulars on the newsgroup I read most frequently was a New Zealander. He was quite fond of bitching about the U.S.'s tariffs on Kiwi lamb; if we dropped them, he was convinced NZ would bury us all neck-deep in delicious, delicious lamb.

Oh, yes. Quite right at that.

(I find the idea that lamb is posh deeply weird; sheep are common as muck, no? And then I realise that I live on a massive sheep farm.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:23 PM
horizontal rule
647

Whether or not they're rich, they're perfectly capable of paying more income tax. Which ought to be the point.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:25 PM
horizontal rule
648

Aha -- "tete de veau," but not JC. Here is Bourdain's description:

Ah. See when you said that, I said, ya know, I don't remember it being in MTAFC but it ought to be in there; so I went and checked and TONGUE, BRAIN, and GLAND, but no FACE. Now I kind feel kind of ripped off. Also, I found a page number error in the index.

max
['But she didn't have any goat recipes either, so I guess it's ok. Sorta.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
649

645: Of course not; they have to work for a living. The rich just sit around all day and do nothing.

That said, increasing taxes on the rich should just result in the prices of all of those positional goods (college, private schools, real estate) falling to reflect the new, lower take-home pay. I don't know that telling people this will reassure anyone - the loss of the home value is going to piss a lot of people off.

But yeah, at the end of the day someone has to pay the taxes, so it might as well be people making more than $200k.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
650

positional goods (college, private schools, real estate)

College and private school are positional goods?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:50 PM
horizontal rule
651

Never mind, got it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 5:54 PM
horizontal rule
652

Regressive taxation bitch: the feds just jacked me. The tax on my rolling tobacco got increased by 2273%, from roughly 40 cents on an $11 can to $9. This is some majoritarian bullshit.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
653

652: I've had great success with the patch. It's kept me from smoking for 5 years and from tobacco for 3. And, it is now cheaper than smoking by quite a bit. Now all I need is a way to quit using the patch.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:05 PM
horizontal rule
654

Have you tried methamphetamine?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:16 PM
horizontal rule
655
Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:16 PM
horizontal rule
656

652: You are supposed to stop using tobacco. It's, uh, it's ... I don't know, but the obvious conclusion is that you might as well stop. I listened to some guy on the radio explaining that it was win/win all around.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:16 PM
horizontal rule
657

656: I once heard some guy on the radio explaining that I should go see Rush in concert. But, in this case, the guy on the radio is probably right. As an aside, I wonder how expensive tobacco has to get before people use grow lights in their basement?


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
658

I've seen Rush in concert three times.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
659

When you feel the time is right and you are ready, it's perfectly normal, even wonderful, to see Rush in concert. But, you should see Rush in concert only when you feel ready and not before. Don't let the media, peer pressure, or your partner push you into something you aren't ready for. And don't forget protection (for the ears).


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 7:49 PM
horizontal rule
660

I wonder how expensive tobacco has to get before people use grow lights in their basement?

It's already expensive enough to smuggle, at least in some forms.

I just spent a while hunting around for the case that RJR-Nabisco settled a number of years ago on conspiracy to smuggle cigarettes from Canada (I think it was via Indian reservations, but my memory is foggy). I can't find the cite, but I did find a write-up of a RICO case that stalled in 2000. Maybe that was it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:06 PM
horizontal rule
661

Tobacco tax increases are funding the continuation and the expansion of SCHIP. Don't smoke for yourself - do it for the children.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:13 PM
horizontal rule
662

eb is kind of grandfathered in

I'm not changing at this point, unless I go by another name entirely.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
663

"Mr. eb"?

Where is everyone tonight? Out having social lives or something?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:22 PM
horizontal rule
664

social lives outside of unfogged?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:26 PM
horizontal rule
665

Rush isn't still around, and performing, are they? (Yes, I could check myself. They're all still alive, right?) My ex-ex-etc. was in a Rush cover band at some point after we parted, which is weird. He could sing like Geddy Lee, which is no small thing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:26 PM
horizontal rule
666

social lives outside of unfogged?

I've heard people talk about them. They do sound kind of neat.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
667

The tax on my rolling tobacco got increased by 2273%

me too. I was shocked, disputed price with a teenager until he said tax change april 1.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:30 PM
horizontal rule
668

eb, don't change! The pressure to adopt these weird pseuds seems a bit much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:30 PM
horizontal rule
669

Completely OT: Before I Freecycle it, does anybody want New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, the "RecipEasel"? It's a little spiral-bound doodad that stands up for easy viewing as you cook.

(I suppose I could have just linked to Powell's or something instead of describing it. Oh well.)

I feel honor-bound to say that the reason I'm getting rid of it is that I never use it. It's perfectly handy, but somehow none of the recipes ever grab me. YMMV.

(Weird. When did this thing start requiring properly-formatted e-mail addresses? I just tried to post it and got two error messages. Anyway, macdanceATgmail.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
670

Rush played Pittsburgh last summer at the same outdoor arena where Sting played.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
671

668: For the record, 663 was in no way intended as peer pressure; to the contrary, it was meant to be a funny. Like, I always read mrh as Mr. H, and then "eb" is sort of similar to "Ed," and then there's that television horse, of course, of course, and... Well, I'm not a very funny person. But I try.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
672

Between taxes, the broken sump pump and somebody who can't read a clock waking us up at 4:30, we just didn't have the energy for a social life that requires moving from the chair.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
673

I always read "eb" as "Geddy Lee".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:39 PM
horizontal rule
674

An "ed" comments here every now and then. Seems to have been a Reagan admin official, judging by the e-mail address, which of course must be genuine.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:39 PM
horizontal rule
675

671: Di, I was thinking of the really freakin long subthread about MH's pseud, and the trend in general. I'm just having a stubborn streak.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
676

674: They just used peanut butter to make it look like a Reagan administration official was commenting. An actor made the words.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
677

675: I know. 671 was also supposed to be sort of funny. Seriously, I'm doing my best!!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:54 PM
horizontal rule
678

Though (not trying to be funny) I would have pegged you as the sort of person who would enjoy the whole collective naming ritual thing, Pars.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
679

Speaking of my new pseudonym, it was available on gmail.


Posted by: MH (Moby Hick) | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
680

We've thought long and hard about this, your Unfogged name is... Flounder.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:07 PM
horizontal rule
681

678: Few people use "Pars", and I prefer that, to tell you the truth.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:15 PM
horizontal rule
682

I need to get shiv to stop smoking. It's bad for him, and while he doesn't smoke much, it's getting more expensive and I figure I don't have stupid hobbies that cost that much.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
683

661: I was once a sick child myself, and did anybody offer me anything so fine as a crisply rolled cylinder of fresh Virginia tobacco? No, they did not, and I'll be damned if today's sick children smoke themselves silly at my expense. If they've only got a couple years anyway, why not spend that time working on a tobacco plantation, where at least there's some fresh air? If I were a sick child, I'd be very ashamed of myself right now.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:26 PM
horizontal rule
684

682: Any other stupid hobbies you can make him choose between? "Either the cigarettes go or the legos* go."

* Some of my best friends collect legos. And smoke.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 9:28 PM
horizontal rule
685

Few people use "Pars", and I prefer that, to tell you the truth.

Does "that" refer to "'Pars'", or to "Few people use"?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:05 PM
horizontal rule
686

I figure I don't have stupid hobbies that cost that much

Birth control?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:27 PM
horizontal rule
687

Also, both McManlyPants and I were out having social lives tonight.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-17-09 11:28 PM
horizontal rule
688

I was watching The Wire. (Which I know is a bit late, but BBC2 are putting it on in an intensive fashion and it has seemed easier to Sky+ it than to download it. Now of course the first series has finished and I want to see S2 and it won't be on for a couple of weeks. So I might be ILLEGALLY torrenting anyway. Or seeing how much the DVD boxset costs ... )


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 04-18-09 4:24 AM
horizontal rule
689

re: 688

The Wire box sets tend to be fairly cheap. I think I paid somewhere between 9 and 15 pounds per series [I've bought the first four]. One I bought on ebay, one from HMV in a sale and the other two from Amazon.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-18-09 5:14 AM
horizontal rule
690

657/59/65: Speaking of Rush concerts, Julia Stiles was talking about increase in number of women's bathrooms at the new Mets stadium (I will not use that name [for now, of course I will cave]) and said, "Women will not find a shorter wait for a bathroom anywhere but a Rush concert, and I speak from personal experience."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-18-09 5:52 AM
horizontal rule
691

690 charms me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-18-09 6:09 AM
horizontal rule
692

684: Some of my best friends collect legos. And smoke.

The latter in special hermetically-sealed canisters.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-18-09 8:31 AM
horizontal rule