Linky Friday #34

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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51 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    A4 There is some craptastic history mixed in with the condemnation of Truman. FDR was pushing restrictions against Japan for the slight picky reason that Japan had invaded and been waring on China for most of the 30’s. It’s ridiculous to not mention that as a reason for why we had been cutting exports to Japan. Also Japan was absolutely defeated by the time we dropped the bomb but was not surrendering. Some of the Japanese gov wanted to surrender but many didn’t and were committed to fighting. There was even an attempted coup by some hard core military to prevent the surrender. It was likely Stalin’s invasion of the northern Japanese islands was what finally pushed them to surrender.

    C2- I’ve heard about this story. It is stunning. The wavering about what to do on the PH link was odd. Why wouldn’t we regulate banks more to prevent this. All they threw out was some generic libertarian stuff. Plenty of laws work. Silly.Report

  2. Mike Schilling says:

    The innovation of professional sports: Dodger Stadium is using foam to keep beer cold and the San Francisco 49ers have an app so you know where the short concession lines are.

    People’s memories are so short. You could use the internet to check whether a coke machine had cold soda in it all the way back in 1982.Report

  3. Mike Schilling says:

    Despite what we may have been lead to believe, the GOP position on abortion is not particularly out of touch with the populace at large.

    According to the linked piece, about 60 percent of Americans favor access to abortion in the first trimester (or first 12 weeks) of pregnancy, and don’t want contraceptives that might prevent implantation rather than conception banned. So, yes, the GOP position is pretty out of touch.Report

    • And 70% oppose the right to abortion in the second semester, which the Democratic Party defends.

      The difference, to me, is that one of the two parties keeps pushing those aspects of their platform that aren’t popular, and doing so loudly.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        If the government shouldn’t involve itself on day 90 of any given pregnancy, I find myself fumbling to find reasons why it should involve itself on day 120.

        I’ll grant: I am not representative of the 70% in question.Report

      • I think it speaks to the moral complexity of the issue. The conflict between two very, very important ideals. And the attempt to split down the middle.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        “The difference, to me, is that one of the two parties keeps pushing those aspects of their platform that aren’t popular, and doing so loudly.”

        You’re talking about the Republicans, right? Right?Report

      • Just Me in reply to Will Truman says:

        My feelings about abortion keep changing over time. I believe that abortions should be legal though I could never have one myself. After my nephews son was born at only 1lb 20oz. my thoughts about late term abortion changed again. I have a problem with late term abortions. Should my problem determine anybodies else’s right? Not sure yet. But, thousands are spent to save the little babies who are being born early at the same time we are aborting unwanted ones that could be babies if we let them be.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        “I believe that abortions should be legal though I could never have one myself.”

        I think this is a very, very common sentiment. It wouldn’t shock me if this was the most widely held belief (a plurality, not a majority) when you really get down to brass tacks.Report

      • Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        I think it speaks to the moral complexity of the issue. The conflict between two very, very important ideals. And the attempt to split down the middle.

        I think it speaks to ignorance of the facts of pregnancy, as well. A week 13 fetus is not all that different from a week 10 fetus, but is very, very different from a week 21 fetus.Report

      • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        I want third trimester abortions legal. But I’m okay with any and all private (or even public) actions to make them less necessary. If we wanted to, we could have a “baby exchange”, where folks that wanted a baby (but had a miscarriage, or the baby didn’t make it, or what not) could sign up, and get a different baby, straight from the womb (I’m presuming the baby’s original mother is in some sort of trouble (emotional, financial), and that the other folks could help shoulder some of the burdens of pregnancy).Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:


        Should the government involve itself on Day 1? You may not use an IUD because it might stop that fertilized egg from implanting? I don’t think so, nor do the vast majority of people.

        Should the government involve itself on Day 270? You may not kill that baby while it’s being born? Of course it should.

        Somewhere in there is a dividing line, but it’s not a bright, clear one.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        Should the government involve itself on Day 270? You may not kill that baby while it’s being born? Of course it should.

        For what it’s worth, there have been attempts at laws to prevent this practice. These laws are usually fought against with arguments similar to those used against laws trying to restrict abortions on day 1.Report

      • Francis in reply to Will Truman says:

        The opposition to government interference on day 270 is that things can go very badly wrong on day 270 and doctors can be forced to kill the fetus in unpleasant ways in order to save the life of the mother. The number of doctors who will perform a late-term dilatation and extraction simply on demand, especially when the fetus is viable, is approximately zero. The number of ambitious prosecutors willing to take political advantage of such misery is quite a bit higher.

        But yes, in a country of 300 million people, I’m sure you can find a sprinkling of events over the last several years in which, with 20-20 hindsight, the doctor should have tried harder to deliver a living baby.

        At some point it’s a tradeoff — how many pregnant women have to die due to the unavailability of a medical procedure in order to save X number of lives of otherwise aborted fetuses?

        It’s also a question of trust — do you trust women and their doctors to do the right thing, or should the State exercise oversight?Report

  4. Fnord says:

    C1: I think that using the James DiMaggio case as a starting point to consider child abuse is unwise. For much the same reason as I thought using Sandy Hook as a starting place to consider gun violence to be unwise: these events are nnewsworthy because they’re extraordinary, different from the (all-too-) common episodes of violence.Report

  5. Kazzy says:

    C2: Holy crap! I don’t know why, but that really boils my blood. I mean, I know why it is upsetting, but I’m not sure why I’m finding it SO upsetting.

    H2: What a great story. It’s great to see the coach supporting the athlete. Hopefully the university follows suit and maintains his scholarship (presuming he was on one) and otherwise helps him through his recovery and continued schooling.

    T3: Obligatory:

  6. Kazzy says:

    With all due respect to your co-blogger, I fear that she is letting her personal experiences cloud her assessment of reality.

    The vast, vast, vast, vast, vast vast, vast majority of adults pose no threat to children. The likelihood of a stranger posing a threat is even smaller still, as all stats I’ve seen point towards family members and other people close to the children as far more likely to victimize them than strangers. The idea that adults who are friendly to children, even children they don’t know, ought to send up an immediate red flag contributes to a culture of fear that ultimately makes our children less safe.

    This isn’t to say that parents shouldn’t be mindful of their children’s relationships with adults. They should be. But they should be on the lookout for real signs of risk, not imagined ones hyped up by the ongoing “stranger danger” fear mongering.

    “So here, we have a middle-aged man who is unsuccessful both romantically and financially. He was hanging around a family as a platonic “uncle,” where no man was present. He did them frequent favors, such as driving the attractive teenage daughter to her gymnastics practices. It should have been obvious he was after sex from someone there.”

    Obviously, it was not obvious he was after sex from someone there. If it had been obvious, don’t you think someone would have acted? There are a host of reasons an unsuccessful person might seek connection with a family, gaining it by doting upon them. One of those reasons might be seeking a sexual relationship, but a number of them aren’t. Might it still be concerning? Unhealthy? Absolutely. But for every James DiMaggio, you have all the other people in the world who don’t kill a mother and son and kidnap a 16-year-old.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

      I think the part that made me a tad uncomfortable about Sheila’s piece is the perpetuation of the men-as-inherent-risk meme, that I consider to be socially problematic. As you point out, stranger danger is inherently overblown.

      Having said that, I think she is right that there were some signs with DiMaggio that were missed. This wasn’t a stranger. This was a guy who ingratiated himself with a family with what seemed to be an inordinate amount of attention devoted to the daughter. Men who do this aren’t inherently dangerous – few will do what DiMaggio did, as Fnord points out – but it is the sort of thing that creates lesser problems. He… fit a certain profile in more ways than one. (Said profile is one of Sheila’s buggaboos, having been targeted by them for a significant part of her life.)Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        Thanks for fleshing it out a bit. I think the piece would have been well served to make that case a bit stronger. Less “Strange guy seeking connection = murderer” and more “Here are the real signs to look for to determine who might actually be a threat.”

        I obviously don’t know Sheila’s whole story, and I applaud her for her willingness to share it and to help others learn from it and avoid falling victim to whatever befell her. However, as Vikram so excellently reminded us recently, a degree of objectivity and balance is important.Report

  7. LeeEsq says:

    C2, the bank story is pretty much classic chutzpah. I don’t see how it can’t happen under a libertarian system though. You need law and agencies to prosecute behavior like that.Report

    • Patrick in reply to LeeEsq says:


      “It’s probably time for some actual rewriting of the origins of the entire Marvel Universe, a series that threads all those early issues into one post 9/11 narrative.”


      It’s time to let time move forward in both Marvel and DC at a normal pace. Spidey should be 51… it’s too late to fix that, but at the very least we can let the guy grow old from here on out.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Patrick says:

        Given that DC seems to reboot with agitating regularity, they probably could just let the characters age and then start again every twenty years or so. Last time, everything was wiped out before most of the heroes reached forty.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Patrick says:

        Let me say this: I hated, hated, hated the Xanth books after around Ogre, Ogre.Report

      • Patrick in reply to Patrick says:

        I think that had less to do with the likeability of the characters and more to do with the fact that the story was done.

        Some of the Marvel stories are done. Hell, they’ve been done since 1978. Retconning only gets you so far, after that, you’re just hanging new ideas on an old uniform for the sake of packaging.

        Just make some new characters, already.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Patrick says:

        I think I disagree, Patrick. There is nigh-endless room for reboots and re-imagining. I mean there are like what, five Batmans (all named Bruce Wayne).Report

      • Patrick in reply to Patrick says:

        That’s part of my point, Will.

        Are there really five Batmans? Are they five distinct Batmans? Then why are they all Batman?

        Because packaging sells, and the superhero identity name is all the packaging most comic books have.Report

      • greginak in reply to Patrick says:

        FWIW i’ve never been a comic book guy. Rebooting characters much or at all loses me. I can’t keep any attachment to a character that is just a temporary sketch that will be redone well after it has petered out. I can see why people like it though since i do like Bond movies. Then again i don’t really have any attachment to the Bond character like i’ve had to various Star Trek characters like Ben Sisko,etc. If a character is only a costume, then its not really a character at all.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

      There wouldn’t be tort law or laws against burglary in a libertarian system? I don’t think you know what that word means.Report

  8. LeeEsq says:

    A1- This might be a more universal problem. My dad and people his age I know are really mystified that so many people are so quick to reject partners because a lack of chemistry or something. My personal theory is that popular culture is really distorting what people expect in romance.Report

  9. Brandon Berg says:

    H4: While that’s interesting, there are far better responses to that criticism, including:

    1. It’s probably not even true.
    2. Pharmaceutical companies spend more of their revenue on R&D than just about any other industry.
    3. The entire point of advertising is to bring in more money than it costs. Pharmaceutical companies would have less money for R&D, not more, if they advertised less.
    4. It’s not as though money spent on advertising just gets thrown on a bonfire. Advertising subsidizes media and various other things for which we would otherwise have to pay, or pay more.

    Regarding #1 and #2, see Derek Lowe here, and also the previous post, and this follow-up by Tracy Staton.Report

    • From a pharma-critic’s point of view, though, the advertising-pays-for-itself is problematic because it’s ill-gotten gains. The advertising gets people to request drugs they don’t need that don’t make them any healthier. So even while you’re correct that the amount of money spent on advertising is a non-issue because it pays for itself, it’s still a waste of money on a social level. It is not money that generates socially good outcomes.

      Unless, of course, the advertising makes people feel better…

      (I feel sort of the way of the above about political advertising. While yes, it helps fund TV shows that I watch. It’s a lot of money that performs a mostly zero-sum purpose. It doesn’t create wealth or happiness. Not much that can be done about it, but it’s still something I don’t like.)Report

      • Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        Ah, that criticism. I’ve never heard it expressed as spending too much money, just misleading advertising. I know it bugs a lot of doctors.Report

      • It bugs the hell out of doctors.

        Here is an example of what I would consider to be criticism of the pharmaceutical industry for spending too much money on advertising and not enough on research. This isn’t strictly an opinion piece, though it’s the sort of things that I see people cite when the subject of big pharma and how we don’t need to worry about them (if we squeeze their profits) because they basically just spend the money on advertising anyway.Report

      • greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

        At least in the mental health field there is major concern about over prescribing medications especially for children. That over use of meds is driven by ads aimed at docs along with a billion or so perks that are given to docs. Parents also fall for this wanting little billy to get some meds for his problems even when meds are not the best option or they aren’t’ actually addressing the underlying problem.Report

      • Obviously, I’m in league with the docs so I hear there side of the story, which is that TV advertising results in people with marginal or vague symptoms asking for specific medications that aren’t really indicated (but aren’t contraindicated, either).

        I know there have been some studies done that the physician side of advertising works, too. So I’m not denying that.Report

    • Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      I’ve actually never heard the “too much on advertising” criticism. Where have y’all seen it?

      Also, the paper in the H4 link was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, which no one ever says. Everyone uses the acronym, which results in an hilarious (at the Beavis and Butthead level) pronunciation. As you can see, I can never let this pass without pointing this out.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Chris says:

        Usually the way it goes is that I’ll say that I’m worried that if we get single-payer health care in the US, the government will be tempted to squeeze the profits out of drug development, either through price controls or through its monopsony power, as it does in most European countries, and that this will result in fewer new therapies. Then my esteemed interlocutor will say that it doesn’t matter because drug companies spend more on marketing than on research. Oh, and also they just steal ideas from the government.

        Pretty sure I’ve had this conversation here, with Jesse Ewiak. I believe that Marcia Angell popularized this idea.Report

  10. Damon says:


    OMG get a clue. Thanks AGs. Our tax money well spend on this crap.Report

  11. NewDealer says:

    C1: Going to piggyback on Kazzy’s comments though I will point out that DiMaggio was not obviously a stranger. This sounds like a classic call for profiling. There are plenty of middle-age men with below-average romantic and financial success rates but they will not commit double homicide and kidnapping because the overwhelming majority of them are decent people who consider homicide and kidnapping to be immoral, wrong, and beyond the pale. I don’t think ostracizing middle-aged bachelors is going to solve extraordinary cases like DiMaggio or child endangerment in general.

    C2: Mother-fucking banks. I think we have a problem because society does not provide proper incentives for admitting wrong-doing. I’m not sure what the situation is here but it would be nice to have a bank that said “We made a horrible mistake and are deeply sorry. We will do everything we can to repair the damage and then some.” Americans love to lambast when people “double down” but doubling down often seems to be rewarded by society.

    H3: I often wonder if there is a natural contradiction, paradox, and impossibility between caring about civil liberties and free speech and being an elected politician. I imagine that a lot of concerned citizens wrote to the various AGs because their teenagers came home with these drugs. Ideally an AG would be able to write a letter saying “I understand your concern and take prescription drug abuse as a serious issue but this is protected speech under the United States Constitution and it is not the role of government to censor this way. If you are concerned, please write to Urban Outfitters about their product.” Now I also imagine that most AGs think that writing something like that feels unresponsive and they will never be elected again.Report

  12. George Turner says:

    I’m having some fun with A3, pointing out that atomic bombing releases less green-house gases than the conventional fire bombing we had been employing.

    WW-II happens, and they think the haberdasher at the very end was the war criminal? They’re simply nuts.Report

  13. Rod Engelsman says:

    Regarding A-3, I don’t know if Truman was really justified or not in using nukes. There are good historical arguments to be made both ways.

    But I have to wonder if maybe he did the world a service, by showing us all just how horrible these weapons are. I think it’s notable that despite some really horrific conflicts since then, no one has elected to throw a nuke in battle. And in an alternate universe where it wasn’t used to close out WWII, might it instead have been used in Korea or perhaps Vietnam? Would both sides have stood down from the Cuba missile crisis? Impossible to ever really know but it’s worth considering.Report

  14. Rod Engelsman says:

    H1 – … seems unsurprising to me. Of course different states with different existing regulatory apparatuses and different laws vis-a-vis coverage requirements will have disparate experiences post-Obamacare.

    If you read it carefully, the result is that under Obamacare premiums will go down in most cases where apples are compared to apples. The states where they’re reporting premium increases are cases where the cheaper premiums were buying substandard coverage and/or a lot of people simply couldn’t get coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Just reporting that “premiums will increase” is virtually meaningless in and of itself.

    And let me be clear what I mean by “substandard”. Covering this condition and that illness but not these other things is like having car insurance that covers head-on crashes but not side-swipes or rollovers. As if you can know ahead of time what kind of accidents you’re going to experience. On the other hand, making trade-offs between high/low premiums and low/high deductibles & copays is reasonable. And those kind of trade-offs are built into the health exchange model of Obamacare. If you’re young and/or healthy, generally use healthcare services sparingly, and perhaps have a decent credit line, then the low premium/high deductible model is great.Report