Linky Friday #47

Will Truman

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

Related Post Roulette

65 Responses

  1. Damon says:

    Distracted drivers: I watched a dumbass in a Rav4 drift completly into the oncoming lane on a secondary road. He nearly hit the oncoming car, swerved, nearly rolled, and moved into the correct lane. Solo driver. This was the second time I’d seen him drift out of his lane, although this was the most sever. Damn fool would have killed someone. If there’d been an accident, I’d have stopped, taken pictures and did everything I could to see that he got the rich reward he deserved-sued so hard that he never drove again.

    Racial preferences in Dating: we’ve talked about this on this site before and nothing in that link seems different. Black chicks at the short end of the stick.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    I am not sure that the apprenticeship model can be grafted on to the United States. The reason why it works in Germany is because of a variety of economic and social policies that keeps many manufacturing jobs in Germany and makes high wage manufacturing jobs attractive. Things like guaranteed vacations, pensions, and worker participation in corporate governance.

    I’m pretty sure that American corporations would balk at their requirements under an apprenticeship system like actual having to offer the job to candidates.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Unpaid internships are like the apprentice model, except that all the obligations flow in one direction.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        That and the interns usually don’t learn anything useful.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Except to avoid any more unpaid internships, and often not even that.Report

      • Roger in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Internships are a fantastic learning experience. Substantially more cost effective than many formal educations.

        I employed countless interns in my career. Through the process, they learned valuable skills and began to understand how complex organizations work. They became familiar with the responsibilities and issues of working life. They learned if they like the occupation, whether they respected the firm. These are invaluable lessons.

        The firm learned which were the best future paid recruits. This benefits the firm and the intern — as it gives the intern a chance to develop experience which they otherwise wouldn’t have.

        Many of these led to long and important careers. Some of the top executives I worked with started as interns.

        In short it makes labor markets more transparent and efficient. It increases consumer surplus. It is great for workers and employers.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Come to my house at 10:00 Saturday morning, and I’ll start your internship in software engineering. Bring a dozen doughnuts and some work gloves.Report

    • j r in reply to LeeEsq says:

      It’s possible that those things are what allow the German model to succeed. It’s also possible that those things are extraneous and exist mostly because Germans like them. There’s only one way to find out.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

        We can experiment but the problem with these types of policy experiments is that people disagree on what it means for a particular policy to be a success. The advocates of a particular policy usually argue its a success even when it clear it is not. The Drys argued for Prohibition till the bitter end and there are still proponents of the drug war.Report

      • j r in reply to j r says:

        I don’t really think of this as a policy issue, but as labor economics/industrial organization issue. The relevant thing for the law to do is get out of the way and let people come to their own arrangements.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

        The apprenticeship model is more than simply an internship though. As Mike Schilling pointed out above, without the economic and social policy behind the apprenticeship model that its really not different from an unpaid internship. Under the law regarding unpaid internships, employers are allowed to use unpaid interns if the employers derives no financial benefit from them and the interns aren’t used for normal office work. We know that practice is actually different. In the case of Germany’s apprenticeship model, its tied to many other economic and social policies in order for it to work as intended.Report

      • j r in reply to j r says:

        Like I said, what’s needed is for the government to get out of the way. That can happen any number of ways. For instance, the government could relax certain wage and hour regulations or other compliance burdens or offer tax breaks to companies that offered apprenticeships with certain provisions.

        As you said above, you can’t simply graft one system on to another and pray that it takes. In an ideal world, these arrangements would be developed over a period of time, allowing for different arrangements to be tested and each iteration would improve on the one before it.

        The bottom line is that successful models don’t come from the technocratic drawing board. They come from being put to use in the real world. The problem with our system is that we’ve engineered out a great deal of trial and error.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

        @j-r, the German apprentice model is based on the policies of the German government that trace all the way back to the German Empire. For one thing, it started with the decision to create a multi-track educational system in the Kingdom of Prussia that acknowledged that not everybody was university bound and that most kids would be better served by a more vocational education. This was an easier pill for most Germans to swallow because German society recognized social inequality at the time. The United States never formally developed a multi-track educational system because our society is supposed to be equal. Formally stating that not everybody for college and that many kids would be better served by vocational education would rub too many Americans the wrong way. The history of racial conflict makes things even more complicated.

        The apprenticeship model also works in German because of various policies that ensure you can have a decent living if you have a blue collar job and that workers have a role in German corporate governance. The apprenticeship model did not arise in the absence of government involvement, it came about because of the policies of the German government in its various incarnations.Report

    • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Eh, come to pittsburgh. They hire who they teach.
      One of the main good things to come out of an apprenticeship is it gives
      people a chance to prove themselves.
      Consider: you got a guy just out of prison. He’s done drugs… that’s a redflag
      for a lot of people.
      But you put him under observation (while he’s mostly making money for someone else) and let him build a record of keeping his nose clean.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Including, as I understand it, a requirement at least for smaller businesses that if the owner is closing down, said owner must give the employees an opportunity to purchase the business and/or facilities at a fair price. I recall vaguely that when one of the big names in fencing gear manufacturing in Germany moved a bunch of its production to China, the employees at the small factory bought the equipment, went into business for themselves, and are doing well.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain says:

        The apprenticeship system is not really compatible with the American model of capitalism. The American model of capitalism is based around the idea of the free market and that business owners should be allowed to make any legal decision that they believe would be in their best interest. The apprenticeship model requires a model of capitalism that feels that owners have certain societal obligations to meet and must meet those obligations even if its not in their best interest to do so.

        I’m a liberal and I find the idea that owners must give their employees an opportunity to buy the business or facilities not that great. People should basically be allowed to dispose of their property as they see fit and sell it to whom they want.Report

      • I’m not a liberal but am intrigued by the idea. The only hesitation I would have are:

        1) Trademarks. If Bob sells Bob Smith’s Carwash (or even Dynamic Carwash or something without his name) I do think Bob should be able to require that they name it something else. This is easily remedied.

        2) Defining “Fair price.” I don’t really trust the government – or a labor commission or whatever – to come up with that number. This one isn’t easily remedied. I could, however, get on board with saying that employees should be able to match someone else’s offer. On the other hand, if they are willing and able to do this, would such a law be necessary?Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Will, the idea that employees get the first chance to purchase a business or the facilities not only runs contrary to the American model of capitalism but it goes against centuries of common law notions about property. Under common law, owners are allowed to more or less use their property as they see fit. There are limitations, your not allowed to use your property in a way that infringes on somebody else enjoying their property; so you can’t turn your 6th floor condo into a bar because it will disturb the other owners of condos in your building.

        The general principle in common law is that property is for the owner to use or sell how he or she wishes it.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Cain says:

        On the other hand, if [the employees] are willing and able to [buy the company], would such a law be necessary?

        Suppose there’s a cash offer today: it might be sensible to take it rather than notify the employees that they have 30 days to find financing and match it, so a law requiring the latter would make a difference. Though there are still some thorny issues: e.g. suppose I’m retiring and want to sell the business to my kids: do the employees have precedence?Report

  3. Kolohe says:

    C5: at first glance I thought B3 would be the most truly outrageous story in the links, but Hunter’s takes the prize. (btw, the link in the links list goes to Mr. Kuznicki’s post on the subject, not the politico piece).

    I suppose it is an apology (in both the modern and greek senses of the word) and it’s not nothing, but it’s not much either. Iow, I forgot I was such a jerkface is not really a good apology. And he wants to have it both ways:

    The Free Beacon highlighted a 2009 column in which I said I still supported secession. My point was that our drug laws, marriage laws and many other issues should be decided at the state level. That column was inspired by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s secessionist rhetoric over Obamacare. I wanted to show that I had been talking about secession long before he had.

    So in the previous paragraphs, he wanted to emphasize that by the time he came out from behind the mask in 2007, he ‘had changed’ but here he is proving his bonafides much later by saying he was into stupid stuff before it was cool.

    Plus he retcons a bit of the Ron Paul campaign wrt to immigration messaging. This is the ad the campaigned showed right before the NH primary, and yes, it attacks the immigrants themselves, (i.e. “overwhelms our schools, hospitals, and social services”) and not ‘government policy’. I remember this ad distinctly, as that’s when I got off the Paul bandwagon.

    (and I never knew 96 Wave folded. I used to enjoy Wavefest very much as a yute.)Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

      (this is the Ron Paul immigration ad mentioned above where linky no worky:)

    • Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

      Rule Number One about winning elections
      Don’t Hire Trolls.

      Rule Number Two about winning elections
      If you must hire trolls (and you’re going to,
      because we all know Republicans can’t code),
      please make sure they ditch the pseudonym.

      “So you mean to tell me you worked for both candidates for Senator?”Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

      WRT to the Hunter article, I am less interested in his redemption (or lack of redemption) than I am in “This is how this happens…” I mean, we talk about some of the righty shock jocks as exercises in cynicism and the like, and we assume that educated people don’t think that way. But how do they justify it? Presumably they believe at least some of what they’re saying, so how does that work? I like that Hunter kind of outlined the process, as well as discussing some of the factors and resentments at play. (Defenders of such thing typically argue that there are no resentments, critics tend to paint the harshest face on the resentment that they can find.)Report

      • greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’ve always thought seeing Righty shock jocks as purely cynical was more a defense mechanism. In fact people do the same with politicians, they assume what they are doing is pandering when they throw red meat to populists or engage in what seems like shallow high volume, low thought rhetoric. It is a failing of the educated to not take people as exactly as they are presenting themselves. Ted Cruz and Rush are very likely completely True Believers; they may be cynical or manipulative or really know how to rile people up, but in the end they are engaged in a game to get rich or power. They are on a mission from god.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

        Well, I think he’s not telling the whole story there either, and deliberating shaping his origin story to support the redemption narrative. That is, ‘what I was then wasn’t who I really am’ is as subject to skepticism as ‘I am now who I really am’.

        Now, it is fair to say that neo-confederate revisionism had plenty of fertile ground in the South (and elsewhere) among (white) 20 year olds in the 90s, the first generation born completely after de jure segregation was abolished and no living memory of separate water fountains and the like. Hunter playing on that with a sanitized narrative consisting of some combination of conviction and camp is somewhat acceptable – except they all shut off their ‘federal government is the sux0rs’ when good ol’ boy Bush became president, and didn’t find it again until his second term when everyone was well sour on the Iraq debacle.

        It’s also weird that Neil Boortz never comes into his professional story arc, though from the internet it seems there was never any association or conversational cross-pollination.Report

      • j r in reply to Will Truman says:

        There’s likely a feedback loop involved. You start out with a certain ideological point of view. You begin expressing that point of view and you find that it resonates with some people. Then you find that the more outlandish and reactionary you get with that point of view, the louder the applause.

        In a situation like that, I imagine that it’s very difficult to stop and try to interject some nuance into what you’re doing. That’s not what your audience tuned in to hear.Report

      • Greg, the thing is… I know a guy. Not to go all Kimmie here. But he was heavily involved in city politics back home. When his career there petered out, he took to the radio. He’s not one of the Big Ones and you probably wouldn’t recognize his name, but he’s on in a good half-dozen markets (EDK once condemned something he said) and he’s been a fill-in for one of the big ones.

        Anyway, there is simply no way that the guy I knew then – within a couple of years – actually became the guy who talks on the radio. It was shortly after I left town that all of this happened, so it’s not like I’ve talked to him about it. But I’d guess it’s just a Norman Arbuthnot case. Alternately, that he was a phony when I knew him before. Or that he was a phony in both cases. I’d be interested to hear, even if in an ass-covering-but-nothing-to-lose testimonial, how the guy who used to be the Republican exemplar of rainbow politics takes to the airwaves and argues that Muslims should be deported.Report

      • greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

        Will, i don’t doubt that. However lots of peoples, for example, politics changed radically after 9/11. Plenty of liberal types were all for bombing them back into the stone age then bombing them some more. Beliefs change dramatically yet are still deeply felt and not just playing to the crowd. It doesn’t make the beliefs correct and i’d certainly question how much someone thinks about their beliefs when they do a massive change out of nowhere.Report

  4. Kim says: is giving away Fallout and Fallout 2 for free today.
    (you do have to sign up, but you’d need to do that anyway to get the game).Report

  5. Kolohe says:

    G1: The worst possible person to illustrate a story on whistleblowers is John Kiriakou. A shameless public self promoter that left government service in 2004 to become a mercenary contractor? (i.e. after a decade and half – i.e. not a real ‘retirement’ even by the generous standards of government service)

    yeah, zero sympathy for getting burned while playing the game. I mean, sure Anne Jablonski probably deserves to be in jail more than Kiriakou does, but at least she has the good sense to keep her mouth shut and off the public media radar screen (and not much else).Report

  6. Kolohe says:

    G4: It’s nominally correct to say that ‘regulation’ shut down this particular food truck, and the new few truck regulation may be a soup sandwich from top to bottom, (and certainly the entrenched brick and mortar restaurants luv throwing regs at the food trucks) but at the end of the day, one is still faced with the fact that the food trucks operate on the public commons, not on their own (or rented out) property, and failure to allocate this resource on some sort of systematic basis would result in – well, not a tragedy, but something unfair.

    It’s clear that the status quo helped Cirque with its own first mover privilege and incumbency – and at the expense of potential competitors.Report

    • j r in reply to Kolohe says:

      one is still faced with the fact that the food trucks operate on the public commons, not on their own (or rented out) property, and failure to allocate this resource on some sort of systematic basis would result in – well, not a tragedy, but something unfair.

      It’s clear that the status quo helped Cirque with its own first mover privilege and incumbency – and at the expense of potential competitors.

      In the case of DC, this simple is not true.

      The present system is working fairly well and has allowed lot of new businesses to enter the market. And consumers are happy because they have more choices for lunch.

      The DC regulation has almost nothing to do with regulating the commons and everything to do with the political power of local retail and real estate. With food trucks gone, the main result will be more people going to Cosi and Subway or whatever new trendy spot is selling $12 sandwiches.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to j r says:

        Actually, as someone who lives and works in NoVa, I secretly want DC to destroy the food truck industry so they all move over on this side of the river 🙂

        And there’s been a few refugees. But the only one that I’ve seen so far close to me was the Maine lobster roll truck that was selling meals at the 15-18 dollar price point, in front of brick & mortar shops where lunch could be had for 10-12 dollars. So naturally, there was no line in front of lobster guy’s truck, and in fact he was just sitting in the front passenger’s seat as a walked into and out of Good Stuff.

        But really, that’s why I said little on the merits of the regulation itself, both due to ignorance on the details, and the likelyhood that this was indeed pure regulatory capture by the existing players.

        Nonetheless, food trucks exist on the very basis of taking a public good for limited, exclusive, and private use Now, a (very strong) case can be made that for now, this homesteading is fine, as enhances the public interest by enhancing the market for lunch – as you said above, and I agree. Plus it may be the case that there are not yet sufficient food truck operators to exhaust this resource, and there may never be, due to the maximum theoretical limits of the lunch market.

        But that’s all empirically contingent. It doesn’t get to the underlying fundamentals of what heuristic society and government should use to allocate public goods – or whether they should even exist in the first place. Specifically, the entire existence of street ‘free’ parking should be looked upon with suspicion as to whether or not it that is the best way to deliver the underlying service to the public and if it should indeed be a public good.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to j r says:

        I think their lottery system is a bit screwy. Customers won’t be able to find their favorite food truck consistently. It’s almost as though it was designed to try to prevent them from building a customer base.

        A better system would be an auction of tradeable permits. Probably more revenue for the city, and food truck owners could choose betwen a high price/high revenue location or a lower price/lower revenue location. And if you were doing well enough that you thought you were ready to move up, you could take your gamble on competing for a higher cost spot. If the current permit holders outbid you, it’s both a sign they were making rents and additional revenue for the city.Report

      • j r in reply to j r says:

        I did a little digging and it turns out that the ultimate food truck regulations aren’t as terrible as I thought that they were. They’re still bad, just not ruinous as some of what had been discussed.

        The regulations are still ultimately problematic in that they make running a food truck a very unpredictable endeavor. And predictability is really one of the most basic things that businesses need to succeed. If you don’t know where you are going to be week-to-week or month-to-month, you can’t effectively build a clientele or make long-term capital plans or even know what your revenue is going to look like next month.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to j r says:

        Or know how many employees you’ll need next month, which could make it hard to retain good employees.Report

  7. Glyph says:

    [G5] – I saw that one elsewhere, and it made me unreasonably mad. I want a secret compartment! I don’t have anything cool to put in there, but I want one anyway!

    How can we criminalize what is, essentially, space? Nothing, at all.

    Have we lost our damn minds?Report

    • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Glyph says:

      According to the article, it’s illegal to build a secret compartment with the intent of using it fir drugs. Assuming that’s an accurate description of the law, I wonder how they’ll prove intent?Report

      • Kim in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        But using the secret compartment for prostitution or for hiding illegal emmigrants is still legal?
        (note: this is not necessary to imply that they are illegal immigrants…)Report

      • Glyph in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Well, there was this dude who built super-cool secret compartments.

        He’s now serving 20+ years in the federal pen, although he was very careful to never ask why his clients wanted the compartments (after all, maybe they wanted to move a lot of cash or jewelry that legitimately belonged to them):

      • NewDealer in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:


        I think that guy was a little too careful.

        I wonder what would have happened if he had clients sign a disclaimer form that said “I do not intend to use the secret compartment to store illegal contraband.”Report

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


        If his clients got arrested and convicted of using them for drugs, could he sue the, fir breach of contract?

        Should he, to create a legal trail indicating that the waiver was serious (just to cover his own ass?)Report

      • NewDealer in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:


        That’s an interesting question. It might not be beneficial from a physical safety prospective.

        I read the Wired article a long time ago and felt sorry for the guy but also felt like he was not as completely innocent as the Internet made him seem.Report

      • Glyph in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I dunno, but if I were the cops, I’d start charging anybody with pockets with these crimes. Hell, let’s go after Levi’s. After all, you never know WHAT people might have in there. And that little itty-bitty pocket on the right-hand front? Could be a pill in there! Or anthrax! Who knows!

        Eventually, we’ll all have to go nude in our plexiglass cars. It’s the only way to be sure.Report

      • Glyph in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        How much more innocent can you be? He was building, in essence, lockboxes. Into which something (or nothing) can be placed, and which will be, by definition of being in a lockbox, hidden.

        Can I build a lockbox or a safe? But what if someone wants to put child porn in there?

        Is it OK, so long as I don’t hide the safe behind a painting?

        Come ON, this is ludicrous. It’s got to stop somewhere. Cocaine is not the baggie it’s sealed in. We don’t go after Ziploc even though we know people put drugs in there.Report

      • Kim in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I agree. And this has REALLY troubling implications.
        Say you make a drone, and someone uses it to smuggle drugs.
        Or you make a guard dog, and someone uses said guard dog to keep the cops out
        (Okay, if your firefighting hound spews fire, maybe you ought to be arrested… but not for conspiracy).

        This is akin to saying that anyone who ever does work on a druglord’s house is in the conspiracy. (and this is without wiring it with traps. )Report

      • Will H. in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        I see a paternity suit against Trojan coming up . . .Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Glyph says:

      “I’m alive because I knew there were risks involved taking on that particular client. My friend wasn’t so lucky. You know, any contractor willing to work on that Death Star knew the risks. If they were killed, it was their own fault. A roofer listens to this… [taps his heart] not his wallet.”Report

  8. NewDealer says:

    That three-headed King Cobra is the stuff of nightmares!!

    W1: I would support a return to apprenticeship and would expand it beyond blue collar professions. I think most business fields are perfect for apprenticeship and this would reduce the tuition crisis. Though Leeesq brings up good points about feasbility and grafting to the US.

    C1: I strongly and unsurprisingly dissent against Ms. Hale. Jewish literature is about hope beyond hope. It is about the survival of hope when it should no longer exist. So is existentialism in authors like Beckett (“I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” or “Ever tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.”) or Camus. The Diary of Anne Frank is about hope (and she died). Primo Levi is about humanity surviving or coming back after the worst possible experiences, a hell on earth. Mormons did suffer some prosecution during their early history but rather quickly worker their way into the American mainstream. Blacks, Jews, Latinos, and Asians needed to suffer more and worker harder and in many cases are still not fully part of mainstream American civic and social life. Those groups have also suffered more and longer official and unofficial oppression and progroms. When the Mormons have a Jim Crow, A Scotsboro Boys, Opium Wars, Conquestadors (sp?), Inquisition, Progrom, and Shoah, they will discover that not all is shiny and happy in the universe. There is something not quite reflective in the statements of Ms. Hale. It is the hope beyond hope and the yearning to be free and accepted that marks the literary renaissance of the Jewish, Black, Latino, and Asian experience great.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

      I think Mormons might have gotten the idea that the world was not a shiny and happy place when the Mormon Extermination Order was passed and they were expelled from Missouri. I don’t think that’s a group of people we can look at and say that their optimism is rooted in good treatment or only marginally poor treatment.

      The three-headed snake may actually be less dangerous than a one-headed snake. I think it would cut into its dexterity. That said, it’s visually terrifying. The sort of stuff satans in religion are made out of.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to NewDealer says:

      ND, the Mormons had a very troubled history in the United States. Their interpretation of Christianity was not popular with the average Protestant American and they tended to be literally driven out of town during their early history. Joseph Smith was murdered. They also had a troubled relationship with the Federal Government for most of the 19th century. There is a reason why the all ended up in Utah for a long time.

      The cheerfulness encouraged by Mormon culture is more theologically based than historically based, its a very upbeat theology compared to most Chrisitan theology when you get down to it.Report

  9. Michael Cain says:

    E4: I’ve always said that designing (and operating) an electric grid that is all of large, robust, efficient, reasonably clean by a variety of environmental standards, and incorporates some degree of equity is a very hard problem. It’s also a very important problem for any developed country whose standard of living is dependent on consuming prodigious amounts of electric power. Which is pretty much every developed country.Report

  10. Chris says:

    If you cut one of that snake’s heads off, do two more grow back in its place?Report

  11. Brandon Berg says:

    P2: “Feces” is just sensationalism, but foods made from the byproducts of bacterial metabolism are nothing new. Yogurt, cheese, MSG, bacon, and pepperoni, among many other foods, are all produced by bacterial fermentation and owe their distinctive flavors to this. For that matter, so is beef, since cows can only digest fiber with the help of bacteria in their rumen.

    H1: I’m skeptical. This conclusion has to be based on all kinds of debatable assumptions. Add to that the fact that there’s no real consensus on how obesity is related to the types of foods eaten, and this can’t possibly rise above the level of conjecture.Report

  12. Kazzy says:

    I can’t tell if people actually think that the three-headed snake — or any three-headed snake — is real, but here is the accompanying Snopes debunking: