Linky Friday #45

Will Truman

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

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73 Responses

  1. Michael Cain says:

    E1: How do we define “similar level of subsidy”? That’s a serious question, not snark. What’s a liability cap on a nuclear reactor worth? The loan guarantee on the new reactors being built in Georgia? Sub-market lease rates for coal on federal land? 50+ years of rate-of-return regulation on vertically-integrated monopoly electric utilities?Report

    • daveNYC in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Not to mention our various military adventures in the Persian Gulf region.

      Seriously, somehow all that, plus the various tax breaks and whatnot that oil and gas companies get is discounted when compared to tax credits and subsidies for wind and solar?Report

      • Rod in reply to daveNYC says:

        My wife inherited a (very!) fractional royalty interest in some gas and oil producing properties in SW Kansas. So for most of our married life we’ve been getting small checks in the mail from various drilling and production companies. It’s not a lot of money, no more than two or three thousand a year at best, but it’s totally free cash that basically falls out of the sky for us.

        When I report it on our taxes I can immediately deduct 15% off the top for “depletion” allowance, I guess to account for the diminishing value of our “investment”.

        I’m not an idiot, so I take the deduction, but there’s absolutely no justification for it. Even putting aside the particular circumstance of this being an inheritance, even if we had actually put money down to purchase those rights, the fact that they’re finite would have been incorporated into the price from the getgo.Report

      • Roger in reply to daveNYC says:

        My dad actually invested in a beaver farm back in the 70s as a tax shelter. We used to get pictures of his beavers and reports on their health status.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to daveNYC says:

        Yes, they were much more common in the 70’s.

        Tax shelters, I mean.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to daveNYC says:

        Isn’t “depletion” just a form of depreciation? That is, if you pay $1,000,000 for a plot of land that produces $150,000 worth of oil (net of expenses) per year for ten years, then you’re not making $150,000 in profit each year. You’re making $50,000, because you’re using up 10% of your $1,000,000 investment.

        *Assuming for the sake of simplicity that the land is worthess once the oil is drained.Report

      • Glyph in reply to daveNYC says:

        @kolohe – yes, in the 70’s they flourished, a veritable tangled thicket of productivity, well-protected from the ravening shears of The State.

        Tax shelters, I mean.Report

      • Roger in reply to daveNYC says:

        Well at least beavers are a renewable resource.Report

      • Glyph in reply to daveNYC says:

        Where can I get more info on beaver husbandry?

        Don’t tell my wife I am asking this question.Report

      • Rod in reply to daveNYC says:

        @brandon-berg , it’s a similar concept but not, I think, identical. I have a long drive today (when don’t I? ) so perhaps I can offer a better answer after some rumination. My initial thought is that an oil lease is more akin to an investment instrument such as a MBS that is projected to produce a particular stream of income over a set time frame. Compare that to a tangible capital asset that is consumed in use, like the truck I’m sitting in.

        It has features of both but isn’t wholly like either. I suppose that’s why it has a distinct terminology.Report

      • Roger in reply to daveNYC says:

        Growth industry!!Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to daveNYC says:

        The best-known textbook is this


      • Glyph in reply to daveNYC says:

        @roger – that newspaper link is great, the ads in particular (“Hair-Loc”, to keep your toupee in place).

        Though it looks like investors took a bath on those beavers.

        Oh well, my wife would probably pelt me if I brought a bunch home anyway.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to daveNYC says:


        Beavers were more common in the 1970s based on photos I’ve seen.

        I couldn’t resist. I just couldn’t. It is sophomoric and adolescent but…..Report

      • Roger in reply to daveNYC says:

        I blame global warmingReport

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to daveNYC says:

        Come on, Schilling, surely you know that book was just about shooting beaver?Report

    • There are a number of ways of looking at it – and debating how we should look at it – that are better, in my view, than simply saying “Everybody gets subsidies so it doesn’t matter!” or “It’s really impossible to judge.” (Though both of these are better than trying to shift the argument to total amounts rather than per-kwh amounts). But it all matters. Even if we are totally cool spending money on clean energy subsidies (my comment actually wasn’t meant to be critical of them, actually), it’s going to be really hard to make worldwide change when there are cheaper – albeit dirtier or potentially more dangerous – alternatives available. Regardless of whether or not I think it should happen, I just don’t think it will. Making the transition has to be solved by technological advance. Which is happening, but hasn’t happened yet to the degree that I can comfortably look and say “Renewables are indeed the future.”Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        “…it’s going to be really hard to make worldwide change when there are cheaper – albeit dirtier or potentially more dangerous – alternatives available.”

        But isn’t the question whether or not it is actually cheaper? Sure, a gas-powered car is cheaper than an electric one if we simply look at sticker prices and cost of ownership and fueling. But given that the US has spent how many billions or trillions of dollars fighting wars at least partly in service of protecting our overseas oil interests, can we necessarily say that the gas car is the cheaper option?Report

      • daveNYC in reply to Will Truman says:

        I will remain skeptical of such things until they actually start to compete with other energy sources on a similar level of subsidy, but I do remain hopeful

        Probably shouldn’t use phrasing that implies that clean energy gets more subsidies than other sources.

        And if we are going to wait for technological advances to guarantee the switch to clean energy sources, I’ve got some future beachfront property in Sacramento I’d like to sell you.Report

      • DaveNYC, it terms of per-KWH energy, they do get more subsidy as far as I know, though I know you can get otherwise if you count things like “foreign wars.”

        Kazzy, it’s not a question of what’s good policy. It’s a question of what policy countries are ultimately going to go with.

        Or put another way, there is a reason that the estimates for how much of our energy will come from renewables 25 years down the road are still somewhat meager… stuff’s still expensive. It needs to get cheaper. Helping people in Colorado afford these things may be good policy, but it still papers over the additional cost which policy-makers and consumers won’t, over the long run, in my opinion, ignore.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:

        But Will, ALL energy is expensive. If we didn’t spend trillions on war and instead spent it on wind or solar with zero effect on the budget, would we still see them as expensive?

        I get what the likely reality is. But we shouldn’t pretend that wind/solar are expensive and gas is cheap. That isn’t supported by a macro view of the costs involved in each. The former might be MORE expensive, but all of it is expensive. And at least wind/solar don’t cost thousands of lives a year.Report

      • trumwill in reply to Will Truman says:

        Kazzy, my comments on this post are dedicated solely to the predicted realities rather than what would be best or most right. On the question of right my views are more complicated. I support carbon taxes, to better reflect externalities, though am wary of some other approaches.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman says:

        Solar & Wind just CAN NOT provide enough power in any reasonable time frame.

        If it is a questions of where to best spend subsidies on energy to avoid fossil fuels, we should be spending it on nuclear.Report

      • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        supplyside thinking is very narrowminded.
        (perhaps necessary in a global economy, though).Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Will Truman says:

        Taking a different tack than Kazzy, are the other technologies actually cheaper, or do they just have more negative externalities that aren’t being properly priced in the market?Report

      • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        How much of a pricetag do you put on genocide?
        … that’s 20 years away (and may not occur because of regime change, to be fair)?
        … and half a world away?

        Or on what godforsaken portion of the Ogallala disaster is because of climate change??

        I don’t know. I’d feel reasonably comfortable pricing in “current deaths” because of smog/asthma/etc. The future deaths are a LOT more troubling… and somewhat unpredictable.

        Say… if we take climate change as a given, and us not stopping it effectively…?
        Then all we’ve got is the time-value of lives. Hmm… I think that actually simplifies things greatly. Say climate change is going to cost us 1 billion people…(eventually. maybe 100 years from now) Yeah, I’d say that’s us not pricing in negative externalitiesReport

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Michael Cain says:

      If this is to be believed, the cost of this solar project can never be recouped.

      I thought most nuclear reactors actually get paid off, and that is even with the cost of the regulatory burden that is considerably more than what solar or wind enjoy.Report

  2. Mike Schilling says:

    W4: It’s true: America has developed a permanent class dedicated to the destruction of our traditional values of family, vocation, religion, and community. If this country is to have any hope for survival, they must be stopped. They are called bankers.Report

  3. Brandon Berg says:

    On the topic of PPACA, I’m interested in making some wagers. I keep hearing from leftists that the US has low life expectancy because of our health care system. This was explicitly and loudly pushed as an argument for passing Obamacare.

    Is anyone hear willing to put some money behind that claim? What I have in mind is a bet that the life expectancy gap between the US and the fifteen countries with the best health care systems (as judged by my counterparty) will not narrow by more than six months in the next three years, although I’m very flexible as far as the specific terms go.

    I’m willing to accept bets from multiple counterparties.Report

    • Kim in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      Let’s say we were to end multiple known carcinogenic inputs.
      Benzene if you want to be tricksy, or smoking (and smoked meat) if you want something that’s got less corporate approval to poison us.

      I’d expect you’d see the improvement in life expectancy over a 20 year timespan. Because affects are cumulative, and you’d have a lot of cancers still cropping up.

      PPACA, by any measure, is likely to have less affect than ending blatantly evil stuff.

      Your timespan is flawed. I’d be willing to take a bet on the US life expectancy, but I want to choose the timescale. (Yes, I’d be quite willing to let you renegotiate the narrowing).Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Kim says:

        With carcinogens, yes, the improvements would take decades to materialize fully. With changes to the health care system, not so much. People don’t generally die because of the health care they did or didn’t get thirty years ago, unless it’s something like an HPV vaccination.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        Okay, let’s fine tune the bet a bit.
        5 years. Statistically Significant Decrease in Hospital Acquired Infections?Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Kim says:

        I’d be fine with five years for overall life expectancy, but I have no strong beliefs regarding what’s going to happen with hospital-acquired infections. The reason I want to bet on life expectancy is that the left has been making ridiculous claims about the reasons for the life expectancy gap between the US and western Europe that I’m almost certain are not true.Report

    • Roger in reply to Brandon Berg says:

      If memory serves, when you adjust for violence and accidents, the US is pretty run of the mill now. I just saw a chart on life expectancy rates with cancer and the US was pretty much at the top, though this was not true for blacks.

      My expectation is that we are on the path toward universal care run by a massive bureaucracy of enlightened Mandarins. This will eliminate the last bastion of market dynamics and lead to worse service but similar outcomes. Over time, the potential creativeness of this industry will stagnate and future generations will miss out on the longer term rewards of creative destruction and constructive competition.

      On a positive note, I predict an emerging market in international care. The upper middle class and above will discover the best care at the lowest price will come via medical tourism with emergency care and a GP at home. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how this could work. This will keep market based innovation alive and will partially offset the socializing of medical care. Thus we will see a bifurcation in the market, with good coverage at a reasonable price for the upper half of the income groups, and socialized medicine for all.

      Over time, our King (or Queen) will declare the welfare state was a failure, and we will see something more viable emerge out of its ashes. Societies evolve.Report

      • Kim in reply to Roger says:

        *snort* you haven’t met the old enlightened Mandarins have you?Report

      • Roger in reply to Roger says:

        Actually my link above on the beavers has an add for the Mandarin restaurant and bar where all the Mandarins, new and old meet. The modern equivalent of the old Dutch coffee shops of the 17th century. These links are all interconnected.Report

  4. Roger says:

    The Flesh Eating Platypi. My new favorite band.Report

  5. Kolohe says:

    The link to item G3 should be this I believe.

    It’s easy to say ‘you need a better testing regimen’, it’s much harder to actually do one.

    The fact that members of an all-volunteer military are prohibited from using marijuana & cannabinoid products and their derivative, and are frequently screened for their use is really the least objectionable thing about the war on some drugs.

    imo, it’s not that objectionable at all – military service is a choice, and has all sorts of getting-up-in-your-grill aspects, some purposeful, some pointless. But everyone knows that going in.Report

  6. Kim says:

    I’m not surprised it’s the Atlanta Fed complaining about that.Report

  7. Kim says:

    That author from Forbes is being kinda a dick.
    When less than half of all Americans have $1000
    in the bank, it seems rather disingenuous to say
    that the older workers have “had their entire lives”
    to save for healthcare.

    If Obamacare’s health exchanges are getting
    below COBRA prices, we’re doing a good thing.

    (see the article from the Atlanta Fed).Report

  8. Glyph says:

    The link for C4 is a bit of a tease.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

      Also, since you go to read the link you have and not the one you wish you had, I have to say that that Grantland piece seems a bit premature at best.

      First, it explicitly acknowledges Game of Thrones, a current, wildly-popular, high-quality, high-critical-rep show that is seen as a real game-changer for what types of shows can be made.

      Second, Breaking Bad‘s finale aired all of FORTY DAYS AGO.

      That’s IT! It’s OVER, people! I can’t live in this world of diminishing returns anymore! Tell my mother I loved her!

      Is there an internet race to see who can call “first!” on the “end of an era”?

      Or is it really the sort of thing that only becomes apparent in hindsight?Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

      There was an HTML error in that combined C4 and C5. It’s fixed.Report

  9. LeeEsq says:

    W4-I’m concerned about inequality but I’m pretty sure that the moral panic over juggalo ethics is pretty much only moral panic. Even in times of low inequality and affluence, there have always been a decent number of people that can not or will not conform to how society thinks people should behave. Sometimes this is for the good. A lot of artists, actors, and other creative people can’t conform to societal expectations and the result is art and entertainment. Sometimes the inability to conform is a bad thing, lots of criminals are in the can’t or won’t conform to societal expectations either. Other times, the inability to conform is neither a positive or negative for society.

    Some people are just proudly dysfunctional and nearly every human society has to dealt with such people in one way or another.Report

  10. NewDealer says:

    C1: I’m not surprised for a variety of reasons. One is the continued conservative attack over academic research and freedom. Potentially not true in states like California and Oregon but often true on a Federal level and in purple to red states. Conservatives seem to love red-meat about the wild and outrageous things that academics do plus their belief that campuses are indoctrinating people in Marxist rhetoric even in supply-side management programs. Plus states have been cutting educational budgets for universities and educated for decades now so it seems like a win-win.

    I don’t think this is good though. I’m a firm believer in public universities that can give excellent educations at reduced costs. I also think it is a sign of maturity and stability if a government can allow a state university to exist with complete academic freedom and not being moral panicky about research done at said institution. Or shutting down research because the coal industry or whoever donates does not like it but I’m quaint.

    G5: Again I’m not really surprised. Center and moderate like independent are words that sound good to most people and most people do not spend vast amount of times thinking about politics and/or their ideology. We are kind of weird for participating on this site. Center and moderate are very tasteful words that show one is not going to be filled with rage over politics. They imply a certain amount of maturity and calm.

    W4: I’m split between you and Lee on this issue. Lee is right that this could seem a bit like a moral panic and there have always been people who refuse to conform to middle-class mores for a variety of reasons. We’ve discussed this on the community before about blue-collar and white-collar people viewing their jobs and life-work balance in very different ways But I have enough middle-class/urban norms that I look at juggalos and see people being willfully dysfunctional. Not necessarily their fault based on what the article states, they are the victims of a rapidly changing world but on other internet communities I’ve interacted with people from more rural and working-class backgrounds and we might as well be from different planets. Our ideas of art were very different. I think most people know mine on this community. Their idea was stuff like photographs of “girls and guns” or HR Geiger type stuff. Again very different worlds.Report

    • Kim in reply to NewDealer says:

      “Negro bands are not art”
      … you know who I’m quoting, right?Report

    • Pinky in reply to NewDealer says:

      G5 – Could you understand the article? I couldn’t. They wouldn’t say how they defined the Center. It doesn’t make much sense to describe a group without identifying its main characteristics; otherwise, you’re just describing some dudes you talked to.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

      With regard to C1, one notable thing to me is that there is virtually no correlation between the universities mentioned, and state politics. I could actually understand it in both ways: Red states for the reasons you describe. Or blue states for another set of reasons (the set of reasons being why red states tend – though not uniformly – to have more accessible flagship colleges). But it seems to mostly be a matter of highly-regarded schools – whether in red states or blue – kind of realizing that the state needs them more than they need the state.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Will Truman says:

        That is undoubtably true but if I were a state legislature member in Oregon or one of these other states, I would make this a cri de ceuor and say no.

        I find it shocking that legislatures are okay with this happening.Report

      • Trumwill in reply to Will Truman says:

        It may not exactly be for the same reasons, but we both have the same view of the phenomenon. If I were a legislator, I’d be doing what I can to rein these schools in.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

      ND, the other thing we don’t know is how much of juggalo culture is permanent way of life for people, something that they do twenty-four/seven. It could just be like people who do cosplay or historical reenactments, something they do in their spare time. Other times they are normal people with normal jobs and following the dictates of American society. There are more than a few people that are normal most of the time, especially at work, but go kind of weird in their free time.

      Your also not the first intellectual leftist or rightist with tastes leaning towards high culture that is shocked to find out that your working class allies like to spend their leisure time differently.Report

      • Glyph in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I will contribute to the fund to send NewDealer on an OT investigative assignment to the next Gathering of the Juggalos; I’m thinking the result could be New New Journalism, an Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test for our times.

        I envision a weeklong series of in-depth posts (or perhaps a number of frantic distress calls, increasing in frequency and intensity.)Report

      • NewDealer in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Distress calls. Absolutely distress calls.

        I haven’t seen a Blue Bottle Coffee or issue of the New Yorker in 36 hours!!! Stat! Please help!!!!Report

      • Glyph in reply to LeeEsq says:

        12:27 PM: Natives growing restless. Some dude calling himself “Jack Whack” threw my iPod into the Port-A-Potty after catching a glimpse of my “Belle & Sebastian Epic Megamix”. And I worked on that playlist for, like, a week!

        4:13 PM: Atmosphere here getting ugly, not sure how much longer I can stay. Crowd’s mood darkened noticeably after I made the incontrovertible observation that Faygo tastes like warm platypus urine.

        Hold on – I think I hear something outside the teReport

      • NewDealer in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I’m pretty sure that Belle & Sebastian is going to lead to more make-out sessions than Insane Clown Posse.

        Now that you mention it, a Belle & Sebastian epic megamix sounds like a good idea.

        Potential songs: Wrapped Up in Books, Dog on Wheels, Piazaa New York Catcher, Lazy Line Painter Jane, I’m Waking Up to Us, Expectations, Like Dylan in the Movies, Family Tree, etc.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I’m pretty sure that Belle & Sebastian is going to lead to more make-out sessions than Insane Clown Posse.

        You can see the extended pinky from here.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Glyph, I see high comedy and low drama.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Lee, I think you are defining juggalo culture more literally and narrowly than the article does (or at least how I read the article). There are literal juggalos, of course, but I think the important part is what they are emblematic of. Most of which won’t involve the makeup or ICP. Rather, it’s emblematic of young people checking out of society and its norms. Disregarding social and societal acceptability.

        A guy a knew a long time ago who was young, smart, and although not ambitious had a whole lot of potential. I have reconnected with him, sort of, on Facebook (he’s not friended, but he’s friend-of-friended-friends) and the degree of bitterness that has consumed him is depressing. It’s not just that he has lost faith in the ability to work and get ahead, but he has lost the incentive to act the way intelligent people act, communicate the way (mainstream) intelligent people communicate. He’s not a juggalo, but what he’s become represents the same rejection of the cultural and social norms a functional society depends on.

        If I met him today, it wouldn’t even occur to me that he is friendship material.

        Of the various reasons why I might be inspired to care about inequality as inequality (and apart from poverty), this represents a very significant one.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to NewDealer says:

      Plus states have been cutting educational budgets for universities and educated for decades now so it seems like a win-win.

      Citation needed.Report

  11. Pinky says:

    Oh, and I’m as devoted to Vigo the Destroyer as the next guy, but what inspired the picture choice? I didn’t notice any links that related to the Master.Report

  12. Kazzy says:

    From W4: “The annual “Gathering of the Juggalos,” which since 2007 has been held in Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, attracts tens of thousands of fans to an annual music festival that includes concerts as well as events ranging from bare-knuckle boxing to horrorcore karaoke. And, of course, plenty of alcohol- and drug-fuelled fighting, fornicating, and frolicking.”

    I’m curious what the response would be to a similar gathering of predominantly black fans of the rap equivalent of ICP (if such a thing exists).Report