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Star Power

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.09.11

From Nick S:

I saw this line in the 33 1/3 book on Tusk and thought it might be good unfogged fodder, because of the mix of pop culture and gender:

"Everyone so knows how good Lindsey Buckingham looks that when Rob arrives back in the office after meeting Lindsey Buckingham a co-worker tells Rob about the crush she has had on Lindsey Buckingham. She talks about this crush, a long and obviously detailed crush she has maintained since she was 14 years old, for twenty full minutes. Rob's co-worker is 27."

My thoughts are, first, I can't imagine what it would be like to go through life having that affect on people and, secondly, that pop music really does allow men more opportunities to experiment with fashion and to decorate themselves than most fields.

Though, I have to say, the cover of Buckingham/Nicks (from before they joined Fleetwood Mac) seems like something that Kris Kristofferson would have done.

From Heebie:

Stevie Nicks is totally unrecognizable in that album cover, although plenty gorgeous.


 

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Rent-seeking I can believe in

Posted by Stanley
on 04.09.11

I've been grumpy about housing policy ever since I filed my taxes as a renter. No, I did not pretend that I was in a position to own for thirty years a property and a hastily constructed piece-of-shit house, despite all the pressures to do so in 2004 (when I graduated college and started having a salary).

Where's the tax credit for renters? We've been acting responsibly in a fucked-up market.

I submit: the home-ownership incentives in the US distort peoples' perceptions about how wealthy they are, and said people vote against their own self interest as a result.


 

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Again with the poor rich people.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.08.11

On NPR this morning, (maybe Marketplace), they said that upscale stores like Neiman-Marcus and Saks 5th Ave have seen improved sales lately, whereas stores like the GAP franchise (Gap, Banana Republic*, Old Navy) and J Crew have seen sales drop. Their explanation was that people are experiencing frugality fatigue. Time to splurge!

How fortunate that the people who have been slumming it at Banana Republic have found some extra money in their pockets.

I'm sure Americans are experiencing frugality fatigue. High unemployment and underemployment will do that. But seriously - for most Americans, The Gap itself is a splurge.** The whole story irritated me.

*I can't refer to the store without thinking how utterly insane it is that there is a store named Banana Republic.

** Although I'd agree that Old Navy is a place that frugal people shop.


 

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Burning plastic

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.08.11

I walked in my classroom and thought "Who left the parking break on?" It smelled acrid. There is a chemistry lab adjacent on this poorly ventilated hallway. Then I gave a test. Now I have a headache. That would have definitely affected me if I were trying to take a math test. Ugh.


 

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Looking backward

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.08.11

I'd noticed that LiveJournal has been wonky lately. Apparently the Kremlin keeps trying to launch giant DDOS attacks which have knocked it offline, in order to curtail Russian political blogging. It's like the Russians like me!

So I made a back-up of my journal, and caught sight of an entry from about three years ago, where I asserted: the height of allure is someone unobtainable, who inexplicably is pursuing you. I think that holds up.

Re-reading posts there from before I started posting here, I notice that I used to come up with half-cocked grand theories about life constantly. Having a hundred people reflect on your ideas will bring a quick end to that practice.


 

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More Conservatism I Can't Believe In

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.08.11

Yglesias has been on an anti-licensing kick for a while, arguing that state licensing requirements for things like hair-braiders have no useful consumer-protection function, and don't benefit anyone but the current license-holders. And I do think he's got a point for some professions -- I don't really see how licensing barbers or interior decorators does much for consumers.

But his latest post on it says some silly things. For the kind of profession where a practitioner is handling money or valuables for not-necessarily-sophisticated customers, like bail-bondsmen, insurance brokers, real estate brokers or even the auctioneers he mentions, there's a huge potential for fraud that realistically can't be addressed by generic law enforcement, even if the money that's now spent on licensing were redirected to prosecutors. First, prosecutors aren't, and aren't going to be, expert in regulations and commercial practices applicable to every profession. Second, there's room for a whole lot of commercial sharp practice and dishonesty before you get close to the line of what a prosecutor will be able to prove as criminal beyond a reasonable doubt (even assuming, which is nonsense in the real world, that you're going to be able to get a prosecutor interested in a complaint that a bail-bondsman overcharged you when there are larger-scale, more important crimes to worry about out there). And thinking of the availability of civil lawsuits as a useful fraud remedy in a consumer context is likewise ludicrous -- most people simply don't have the resources to successfully bring a lawsuit, and a habitual fraudster can easily pay off the few victims who might manage to sue, while retaining his takings from the remainder of his victims.

A licensing agency, on the other hand, can take in consumer complaints without requiring them to hire a lawyer and make a case in court. It can investigate those complaints from a position of expertise in the relevant law, regulation, and commercial environment. And it can make a determination that a practitioner isn't reliable enough to be trusted with consumers' money or valuables without having to meet the standard of proof applicable before a prosecutor could put them in jail. This sort of regulation, when done sensibly (again, I'm with him on thinking that you really shouldn't need a license to be a barber), is what government is for.


 

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Welcome to the Neighborhood

Posted by Stanley
on 04.07.11

I have a new neighbor:

First there was Trump Ice spring water. Then Trump chocolate and Trump tea. Now comes Trump wine.

The real estate mogul and much-buzzed-about GOP presidential contender snapped up a well-known Charlottesville winery for $6.2 million at a foreclosure auction Thursday, giving him a bottling facility where barrels of wine await the perfect final touch: a label with his name on it.

So that's, uh, something.

Unrelated: in conversation this evening, I described a local musician (not present in the conversation) as "disgusting", meaning the term to convey high praise, and I was met with perplexed interlocutors.

Surely, we can all agree: "disgusting" is good in this context.


 

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Schools of Tomorrow

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.07.11

From Shearer:

The NYT had an article about online education. I didn't think this particular article was all that interesting but I think online (or computer) courses have the potential to be a very disruptive technology improving education while eliminating (or deskilling) lots of teaching jobs. They will also raise politically charged issues about the true purposes of public education.

From Heebie:

Really, online courses are no different than parking kids in a library with a book and telling them to complete all the exercises, and to ask a teacher if you get stuck. If the kid finds the topic fascinating, it may open up new opportunities. If not, it's shear drudgery, and most likely unsuccessful. So I basically believe the accusations that school districts are trending towards online ed to save money, and that it's terrible.

More from Heebie:

There was a documentary recently on PBS about the horrible world of for-profit colleges. They are serving tons more students than I was aware, and saddling them with gigantic debt and minimal job qualifications (of which I was already aware.) It appears to be institutionalized theft of federal tuition aid. The scary part was quotes from Obama and other politicians about the looming numbers of kids who will need college educations, and how we are looking forward to the growing world of for-profit colleges to meet the demand.


 

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I'm So Self-amusing

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.06.11

Someone was saying a dating thread needs posted? You lucky duck.

If you're reasonably tall (5'6-6', no more than that because, while I don't mind being eye to eye with you, I won't ever be looking up to you), you're passionate and intelligent so as to be good company, sexually liberated, and attractive - really attractive, fat chics need not apply (hehe, I'm so self-amusing). Capable of holding a steady job but without making it your #1 priority - since it could interfere with our sexual activities.

It's so hard to pick the best line.

You must be under 31 (that's the expiration date for most women anyway), and have good spending habits, no ridiculous credit card debts and a sense of home economy; I'm not planning on changing my excellent lifestyle, and I plant to eventually be able to give my children an excellent education - and that's not possible without good savings and planning.

Plays games, all sorts.

I'm attracted to all kinds of women, redheads, brunettes, black, white, latinas, you name it, as long as they're attractive.

Via Tedra


 

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That's some situationally adept body posture you got there, baby.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.06.11

From X. Trapnel: not unrelated to that job-interview MeFi thing.

From Heebie: The link talks about how body language required to navigate different organizations is built right into the organization itself. It's all kicked off from an example of how elite boarding schools teach you the postures and mannerisms of the elite social classes.

A point I'd take issue with is this: he uses the phrase "feel at ease" as shorthand for being able to play the body language game. I don't think those necessarily go hand-in-hand.


 

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Military Courts

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.05.11

Also from Shearer:

The trial of KSM et al has been moved back to military court. I thought Obama's decision to try him in the civilian courts was a mistake so I am in favor but I suspect this will be a minority view among unfoggers.

From Heebie:

I completely agree (that this will be a minority view).


 

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A great post-coitus conversation piece

Posted by Ben
on 04.05.11

You know, if you feel the need for that kind of thing. (Via Bitch Phd or whatever she calls herself now.)


 

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401Ks and drifting rants

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.05.11

From Shearer:

Here Yglesias complains about his 401k options. I have no other knowledge of his specific plan but it sounds like a ripoff. Certainly there are 401k plans which charge excessive fees and I have some empathy for workers trapped in them. I might even be open to sensible regulation on this subject. I have less sympathy for Yglesias himself. Unlike lower status employees he and his coworkers could probably get this changed if they made a big enough stink as I doubt their employer has made a carefully considered decision to screw over its workforce in this way. Both IBM and my current employer offer reasonable investment options (through Fidelity and Vanguard) for their savings plans (in part I suspect because their workers would complain loudly if they didn't).

From Heebie:

I hate the finance sector. About 98% of their innovations make the world a worse place. It is a bunch of very smart people motivated solely by the premise that redistributing money from middle-class people and poor people and into their own hands will make them extraordinarily weathy. And they've got a lot of money with which to rig the system. Since inequality is the root of half our ills, (the other half being the destruction of the environment), they are public enemy numero tied for first.


 

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Conservatives Have Principles

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.05.11

Seriously. When you look at Republican reactions to the Obama health care plan, which was a great conservative idea when Mitt Romney came up with it, it's easy to believe that they'd be opposed to anything, no matter how right wing, so long as it's a Democrat doing it.

But in the weeks since we started making war on Libya, I haven't seen any serious suggestions from the right that Obama was constitutionally obliged to defer to Congress on the question of whether we were going to make war. The right seems to sincerely believe that whether or not to take the country into a new war properly should be the decision of the President, and to stand by that belief even when it's a President they don't approve of. Of all the principles to get consistent about, why this one?


 

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Dry spell

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 04.04.11

I'm in a blogging slump lately. I'm not planning on going anywhere; I enjoy blogging way too much. I just haven't been peppered with ideas lately like I used to be.


 

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Republican Congressmen Feel Poor At $175,000 Per Year. Oddly, They Seem Unable To Draw Any Conclusions From This Fact

Posted by LizardBreath
on 04.03.11

Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI) was filmed explaining that he has trouble making ends meet on his congressional salary, and now the party is embarrassed and trying to get the video taken down.

Ashamed as I am to admit it, I can sympathize with how Congressman Duffy feels. His household income is not all that far off where ours is, and he's got six kids -- I have no idea what I'd do with six kids, economically, other than curl into the fetal position and start weeping endlessly. What's so unseemly about this sort of complaint isn't the chutzpah of feeling that money's tight when you're making more than ninety-five percent of the people in the country. It's that they can get this far: "Look, sympathize with the put-upon upper middle class -- they're not rich and they have money troubles too!" but not make the next step to "If I've still got money problems making this much, people making an eighth of what I do really need help."

Anyone, like Congressman Duffy, who's feeling poor at $175K per year, and doesn't get from there to a belief that government is desperately necessary to provide help and security for people who are genuinely poor and lower-income, has a completely broken sense of empathy.


 

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