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No thank you, Mr. Pecker

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.08.19

Shall we have a Bezos thread?

Also that headline sounds so theatrical. No, thank you!


 

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Guest Post - Amy Klobuchar

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.08.19

Nick S. writes: Reading the Huffington Post story reporting rumors that Amy Klobuchar is too harsh on her staff I can't decide if it's good or bad political journalism. On one hand, it seems like an important story and, if the picture it presents is accurate, important information to know about a politician. On the other hand, it could easily be a political hit-job. The nature of the allegations are subjective, and there's no baseline to make a fair comparison with other Senators or other presidential candidates.

But this anecdote is memorable:

One morning several years ago, when most of the office staff was running late -- the ex-staffer couldn't remember the reason -- Klobuchar wrote out tardy slips and placed them on each missing aide's desk. The staffer recalls incredulous bursts of laughter as her co-workers arrived one by one to find the notes, but Klobuchar was deadly serious. An aide whom she called into her office walked back out in tears.

"She was constantly lighting new fires," a former staffer said, sometimes at the expense of focusing on legislative work.

On the other hand

Some people who worked for Klobuchar say they valued the experience: Klobuchar has an unrivaled command of details, puts in long, enthusiastic hours, and simply demands that her office meet those same high standards, several former staffers maintained. Those employees described working for her as a challenge, but an exhilarating one that caused them to grow and perform their best work. They question whether former co-workers who thought she was abusive were falling for sexist stereotypes about female leaders with high standards.

Heebie's take: I hardly ever read this type of piece, so I don't know how they're usually written.

My uninformed guess is that this is factually correct, but the analogous piece about men as demanding leaders never gets written. Not exactly a hit-piece, because it probably accurately reflects the rumor mill surrounding working for her, but not sufficiently critical of whether women are held to a double-standard (aside from the throwaway he-said/she-said).


 

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Generosity

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.07.19

Yesterday, I had a conversation with my brother, the finance one, who said that by reading obituaries he'd come to understand what a lefty our uncle was, and he sure would have liked to have the chance to take him on and challenge some of these points in conversation. There is a shocking number of Dunning-Kruger layers to this comment, and I just let it go. But this morning on my drive in, I was feeling enormously sad again about the size of the loss, and how awful it is when the best people, in some general sense, die, and the world doesn't have them anymore.

I was getting out of my car and saw one of my students, probably 21 years old, carrying a little white basket arranged with daisies, and asked him what it was for. He said that his supervisor's mom passed away, and he thought it might be nice to bring her flowers.

I said, "That's really thoughtful of you."
He said, "Well, we share an office, and I've got a punchcard to this flower shop I go to all the time, and this is 9 out of 10 that I've got, so I'm almost to my free flowers."
I said, "You have a flower shop that you go to all the time?"
He said, "Well, my girlfriend really likes flowers, so it's just such an easy thing to do, and I like to bring them to her. Every time I bring them to her house - she lives with her mom - her mom says, 'you don't need to do that! She already likes you!'"

We chatted a little longer. I was almost overcome by this kid and his warm-spirited love and caring for no other reason than itself. Some people like flowers, so he incorporates it into his routine to get them flowers, because it's a little thing with a big pay-off. I am really glad to be reminded that (some) people incorporate kindness and generosity into their approach to life for no good reason.


 

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I'm Not Famous, But

Posted by Ogged
on 02.06.19

There's a line in Dylan's Dark Eyes that goes "A million faces at my feet, but all I see are dark eyes," which sure seems like a wonderfully pithy comment about the alienations of fame.

You should all know, these past 16 years, I've been writing posts in blackface.

Finally, Liam Neeson is getting a raw deal. You gotta let people be honest, especially if they're doing self-critique.


 

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Guest Post -

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.06.19

Dairy Queen writes:

In an ideal world, this book would be required reading for every food pundit and cookbook author.

Couldn't agree more. And love for co-cooking!

Heebie's take: This link is spot on, and contrasts nicely with LB's post, where the woman was ruminating about overperforming in the kitchen. This book being reviewed is about how absurdly out-of-touch food writers are with the constraints of budgets and family lives, particularly families in poverty.

Over a period of five years, Bowen, Brenton, and Elliott interviewed over 150 mothers and grandmothers, mostly low-income, who were primary caregivers for young children in North Carolina....The authors asked these women detailed questions about what they serve their children, who shops for food, who cooks it, and how it all feels. With 12 families they went deeper, tagging along on shopping trips and food-pantry runs, hanging out in the kitchen and dining room, watching dinner get made and eaten. The authors cannily juxtapose these dense, closely observed scenes with quotes from the likes of Pollan and Bittman, drawing attention to how wildly out of touch much of their advice is with minute-to-minute existence in wide swaths of America.
All of the women profiled here have an intense desire to give their families the best dinners possible. All of them experience some variety of guilt that their dinners aren't as good as they could be and that their families are suffering for it. They want to buy the freshest, healthiest food possible but have to stick to strict budgets. They want their kids and spouses to eat healthy and try new things, but also want to honor cultural culinary traditions, give their families pleasure, and avoid end-of-day conflicts over novel dishes. They can't afford to throw out their mistakes and order a salad or pad thai from Grubhub. They'd like to do efficient meal prep ahead of time, but often have little or no control over their work schedules; the free time they have is scattered throughout the day and can be hard to take advantage of. They can't afford Blue Apron or the pre-prepped veggies from Whole Foods. They take pride in feeding their families but are almost constantly stressed by how hard it is. They make meal plans, only to have them undercut by transportation hassles, SNAP card malfunctions, unexpected bills, and price fluctuations at the grocery store--forces that we can't realistically fix simply by telling individuals to try harder.

The proposed solutions are basically the same as what it takes to fix the schools or childcare or anything else:


Fix the big stuff--reduce poverty, recognize food as a human right--and families will figure out their own dinners just fine. In the meantime, the authors suggest that local schools, daycares, and churches with commercial kitchens start preparing healthy, affordable dinners that are easily re-heatable. They also nod to the promise of community dinners, where customers of all incomes, paying on a sliding scale, gather to share food and stories.

STACEY ABRAMS! Solve all our problems now!


 

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Valedictorians

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.05.19

The Boston Globe's Valedictorian Project. They followed 93 valedictorians from...I'm not sure, because the newspaper has an insanely strict "free articles" interpretation, so I can't see anything besides the front page (and static pages, in reader mode.)

Maybe I should find something else to post. :/


 

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Flickr purge

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.04.19

Is the Flickr group going to die tomorrow? I don't have the wherewithal to save it, but this is frustrating and sad.

From the last paragraph:

People used to laugh when I said that even places like Facebook are perpetually 18 months away from being a ghost town, but I think more people understand that now. None of your content is safe from deletion. At least from the public sphere. You better believe that Facebook is going to hold on to your data for decades to come--and probably even sell that shit to your grandkids.

God, they really will sell it back, won't they.


 

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Phony U.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 02.04.19

WT utter FFFFFFFFFF:

On its website, the University of Farmington advertised an innovative STEM curriculum that would prepare students to compete in the global economy, and flexible class schedules that would allow them to enroll without disrupting their careers. The Michigan-based school touted the number of languages spoken by its president (four) and the number of classes taught by teaching assistants (zero.) Photos of the campus showed students lounging around with books on a grassy quad or engaged in rapt conversation in its brightly lit modern library. Tuition was relatively reasonable -- $8,500 a year for undergraduates and $11,000 a year for graduate students.
...
But there were no classes taking place at the university, which employed no instructors or professors. In court filings that were unsealed Wednesday, federal prosecutors revealed that the school was being run by undercover agents working for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The fake university had been set up in 2015 as part of an elaborate sting operation aimed at ensnaring foreign nationals who had initially come to the United States on student visas. Its "campus" consisted of a small office in a corporate park in the northwestern Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, Mich., with no quad or library in sight.

Why? Why are we doing this?

According to prosecutors, students were well aware that the school was a fraud. They allegedly chose to enroll anyway, because doing so would allow them to remain in the country on F-1 nonimmigrant visas, which allow foreign citizens to temporarily reside in the United States while studying at accredited academic institutions.

They caught "dozens of students" and eight people who launched free-lance recruiter practices, charging immigrants tons of money to hook them up with phony documents for this school.

Why are we setting up an entire phony school instead of just trying to catch actual predatory schools that are serving the same function?

Maybe it's not such a big deal in the grand scheme of things - way worse things are happening to immigrants. It just seems like such a sorry expenditure of time and effort in order to accomplish something mean-spirited.


 

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Superb Owl

Posted by Stanley
on 02.03.19

The best part of this story isn't just that ten-year-old Ace Davis used his Science Fair project to show definitively that Tom Brady is a cheating cheater who cheats with every cheating bone in his cheating body. No, friends, the best part is what young Ace Davis told NPR about the project: "Tom Brady's a cheater. It doesn't take a scientist to know that."

Zing!

Predictions: the Rams squeak out a win by three points; Virginia Governor Ralph Northam resigns near the end of the first quarter.


 

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