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Actually, I quite like football sucks.

Posted by Stanley
on 07.06.13

As long as I've lived in Virginia, I've regarded Washington Redskins fans with suspicion. Partly, no doubt, it's a matter of my pro-Bears bias. But there are some objectively objectionable moments in the team's history, like being the last NFL team to integrate. And the fact that the team name is unambiguously racist.

Moreover:

A large majority of area sports fans say the Washington Redskins should not change the team name, even though most supporters of the nickname feel the word "redskin" is an inappropriate term for Native Americans, according to a new Washington Post poll.

The debate over the team's name has intensified in recent months as members of Congress, activists and media commentators criticized it as offensive to Native Americans and lobbied for change. But most Washingtonians -- 61 percent -- say they like the team's name, and two-thirds say the team should not change it, according to the poll.

Among Redskins fans, about eight in 10 say the team should keep its name. Also, there's some evidence that changing it might undermine support from some of the team's most ardent backers.

"It's been associated with the team for so long, I just don't see any reason to change it now," said retiree Joseph Braceland, 70. "It was not meant to be derogatory."

Oh, well in that case, it's totally fine.


 

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Egypt

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.05.13

I've been offline for the past few days, but a quick check didn't turn up a discussion of Egypt in the past few threads. So, can a coup be democratic? If it's not, how big a problem is that? Ends justify the means? By the way, I'm totally uninformed on the whole issue.


 

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The Sporting Life

Posted by Stanley
on 07.05.13

Moved by the spirit of the holiday, I directed my bike yesterday to a friend's backyard for the purposes of reënacting two of colonial America's favorite pastimes: drinking beer and playing cornhole.

I'm usually pretty good at cornhole, but yesterday (if I may be so immodest) I was on fire, as was my teammate. We handily defeated all comers, finishing the day 5-0. But my purpose here is not solely to brag lamely about my cornhole prowess.

Several times during the games, we butted up against severe cases of Taking Backyard Games Too Seriously. My favorite example: we scored the winning point and then some, making it 23-4, game over. But this bro dude from the other team got all righteous and kept going on and on, "No! It's not over yet! If you go over twenty-one it goes back to eleven and we keep playing!"

(I guess he had missed earlier in the day, when the same exact scenario came up, and we all agreed that, no, that was stupid and would take forever, and there are too many other people waiting to play, plus it's just a friendly backyard game, sheesh.)

So I just laughed and walked off the court, and he eventually realized he wasn't going to get any traction with his sore-loser routine. But holy crap was the whole thing pathetic.

In closing, and on a vaguely related note, I would like to remark that I feel uneasy around firecrackers, especially when the people deploying those firecrackers are drinking. I don't really get the attraction to shooting off lame-ass bottle rockets. From China.


 

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TAL

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.04.13

After Smearcase said that he didn't like TAL because of the annoying way they talk, I was worried it would be rendered un-listenable, but I still enjoy it. But that cadence is feeling more and more like shtick. My guess is Ira Glass always spoke like that, and people started imitating him. They should dial it back a tad.

Posting from my fancy phone so I'm not at all sure how clear this is.


 

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Teen Fathers

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.03.13

You all tend to eviscerate articles which go "Middle class people parent like this but poor people parent like this" but I still think this article holds up. Specifically, they're looking at poor, teenage fathers in the inner city:

The results, from a seven-year study of 205 men, all earning less than $16,000 per year, are no less extraordinary, calling into question the caricature of the "deadbeat dad." Like Andre Green, many poor men will overcome daunting personal challenges to spend time with their children, even as they fail to live up to middle-class norms of the father as provider and moral role model.
Poor, single dads have a lot in common with their female counterparts. Both young men and young women in these neighborhoods see forgoing contraception as a key sign of sexual trust and fidelity, and they demonstrate little anxiety about unexpected pregnancy--a surprising notion for many middle-class Americans, who viscerally fear the loss of educational, career, and romantic opportunities that premature parenthood brings. Far from disdaining marriage, low-income single parents have fully absorbed mainstream cultural messages about what that institution should entail: two good jobs, home ownership, and a "soul mate" kind of love. Because these goals appear impossible for people living hand-to-mouth at the bottom rung of the American economy, however, men told the researchers that marriage is generally off the table as a realistic lifestyle. Indeed, they mistrust women, whom they see as enforcers of middle-class earning expectations they cannot meet. The love these men feel for their children is far stronger than any romantic connection they've made with those children's mothers.

The whole thing is fascinating.

But poor men insist on being seen as "more than just a paycheck" to their children; they have attempted to redefine fatherhood as being about "spending quality time" with their kids and engaging with them emotionally.... The problem with this vision of "doing the best I can" is that it really isn't good enough. It leaves all the most difficult responsibilities of parenthood, financial and disciplinary, up to mothers.

(Not exactly related: I forget who proposed it, but child support should be paid into a state-run fund, and then custodial parents should receive a check from the state. The amount that the non-custodial parent ends up paying should not be so identically tied to what the custodial parent receives.)

Via Elsewhere


 

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Grostesque

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.03.13

The pro-choice and anti-abortion protests in Austin were covered on the local news yesterday. They were showing tons of footage of the pro-choice protesters, and focusing in on all the funny signs ("Ovaries Before Brovaries"). The commentator briefly mentioned "We are not showing footage of the anti-abortion protests due to the graphic nature of their signs." I got a small surge of schadenfreude from that.


 

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Pseudonymity

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.02.13

I'm still completely closeted as a blogger - no one knows me as Heebie besides Jammies, and a few crossover friends. My thinking always goes that a secret is a genie in a bottle - if I start telling people, I'll never have the option to get the secret back. (Plus a few less-than-diplomatic moments in the archive...)

But it seems much, much less fraught than it used to, particularly if Heebie U were to find out. My big fear used to be they'd discover how much time I wasted online (and a few less-than-diplomatic moments), and also that people wouldn't get why I was saying so much on the internet. That it would just seem like a really odd pastime, along the lines of the nerd in his parents' basement, and possibly that judgment would carry consequences.

What's changed is Facebook: First, it's now a common lament among non-internet-savvy people that they waste too much time on Facebook. It no longer has a stigma, because it's like complaining about being tired - it's smalltalk. The idea that the internet is a time-waster is mainstream and unremarkable. Second, all sorts of non-internet-savvy people share constantly on Facebook. If someone were to discover my paper trail on Unfogged, it would seem utterly boring because, first, it is boring, but second, because there's no novelty in having a long paper trail on the internet anymore.

If I were discovered, I'd still have a lingering fear of not being sure what's buried in the archives. But for the most part, the fear is no longer hanging over my head like it used to be.


 

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Badwill

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.01.13

This is possibly the last thing I want to read: Goodwill Industries is the worst charity in America. I do nearly all my non-grocery shopping there, because it predictably has great selection (compared to other thrift stores in town), is clean and well-lit, and I don't feel like I'm clogging up the planet by buying new stuff, and it's cheap. I'm hard-pressed to think of something I'm more loathe to boycott. Ugh.

(I went to Charity Navigator, and they only have a handful of regional Goodwills rated. Then CharityWatch was confusing and I gave up.)


 

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The MPDG Grows Up

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.01.13
[A]veragely pretty white women in their late teens and twenties are not the biggest, most profoundly unsolvable mystery in the universe.

Parts of this ("I was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl") are very good, parts resonate, and parts are kind of wrong. The last half, about the costs and trade-offs and benefits of becoming an adult woman and letting go of the MPDG, is very good.

(Parts are wrong: I was unloading my YA books from childhood this weekend, and I had mostly mystery novels with female heroines, from the 60s-80s. So while Sci-Fi may be lacking, YA books as a whole are not. And parts just do not resonate: I've never been attracted to "lost, pretty nerd boys". I like my men to be both a little bitchier and more rugged.)


 

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Guest Post - temp jobs

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.01.13

Yndew writes: This is about the growth of blue collar temp jobs. The county where I grew up falls on the list of areas with high concentrations of what they call " temporary help service workers." It was a very blue collar area, but there were enough good (read: union) jobs that it was entirely possible to support a medium sized family on a single income in the '80s and '90s. There was (and still is) manufacturing there that gives decent pay and good benefits. The next step down is more what this article is about. There used to be many meat processing plants (now, I think it's more warehouses and other service based jobs). Although these are grueling and unpleasant jobs, they were full time and paid OK (maybe 3-4X minimum wage), enough for a family if they rented their home and both parents worked. The work was steady, although I'm not sure about benefits. These jobs were frequently (AFAIK) held by high school dropouts and undocumented workers who had a lucky connection, maybe a relative, who could introduce them to a hiring manager. The next step down was food service, which was almost exclusively minimum wage, part time, and no benefits, which left people working two or three jobs and living in a shared house with large extended families. The sector being described in the article is the middle one, jobs that used to be steady and relatively secure, albeit not a path to the middle class.

The people here are not day laborers looking for an odd job from a passing contractor. They are regular employees of temp agencies working in the supply chain of many of America's largest companies - Walmart, Macy's, Nike, Frito-Lay. . .

The temp system insulates the host companies from workers' compensation claims, unemployment taxes, union drives and the duty to ensure that their workers are citizens or legal immigrants. In turn, the temps suffer high injury rates, according to federal officials and academic studies, and many of them endure hours of unpaid waiting and face fees that depress their pay below minimum wage. . . ' Unions have had two souls when it comes to temp workers,' said Harley Shaiken, a longtime labor economist at the University of California, Berkeley. One is to try to include them, he said, but 'the other is circle the wagons, protect the full-time workers that are there.' Will Collette, who led an AFL-CIO campaign against the temp firm Labor Ready in the early 2000s, said it was nearly impossible to organize workers with such a high turnover. And recent rulings have tied union hands. A 2004 order by the National Labor Relations Board barred temp workers from joining with permanent workers for collective bargaining unless both the temp agency and the host company agree to the arrangement."

I am not sure what the answer is, but it's disturbing that there is an extra layer of people making a profit on someone else's job, even at the level of low-skill, high turnover jobs. It bothers me for US government contractors, but this seems especially nasty because the tradeoff is for a temp agency to skim money off people who live in a very precarious financial situation where the extra would make a huge difference to them.

Heebie's take: This is class warfare, it seems to me. If we shored up the minimum wage and provided federal benefits to everybody, and properly funded and empowered agencies like OSHA, then temp workers would be much better protected.

I don't know what to make of the conflict faced by unions. In a magical world, basic workplace dignities would not be within the purview of unions anyway. And unions would not have been gutted, but government would generally serve the roll of worker advocate.


 

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What.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 06.30.13

My friends are getting divorced. They are doing the filing themselves. They went and got all the paperwork, and then they also got a book which annotated all the paperwork and explained it.

There were a bunch of options of divorces. The one they opted for involved him filing, and then she has to sign some waiver. The photo is concerning that waiver. It's the very last page of paperwork, from the annotated book.

View image


 

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