Linky Friday #64

Will Truman

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

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42 Responses

  1. Kim says:

    A1 (the second): not pictured: underground migration of slaves and other peoples we would call illegal.

    W2: interestingly, this comes after efforts to increase children through popularizing incest (yes, that was probably a misuse of government money).Report

    • Kim in reply to Kim says:

      Also, with climate change: We may lose a few entire biomes, with all attendant plant species. Possibly the biome might just shift north by 10 degrees — but if it does it too quickly, we’re going to lose the plants.
      OTOH, we still produce maple syrup in PA (that’s the stuff in Aunt Jemima… the 1% or however much they have to put in to say “Made with Real Maple Syrup!”)Report

  2. Saul DeGraw says:

    G2: I wonder if people in those cities would say the same thing. I think people just like to complain. 🙂

    H1: This probably will not work as a solution to West Viriginia’s meth problem or alleged meth problem. I’ve never been to the state but it never seems to catch any breaks economically.

    H5: Thanks professor!

    A2: I don’t understand why voting Republican means voting white? Maybe this is because I am Jewish, there are only approximately 14 million of us worldwide. I don’t necessarily always feel white even though I have passing privilege as we Jews like to describe it sometimes. In San Francisco, I probably count as white. In Oklahoma and Mississippi, probably not so much. In my experience Jews tend to be white or not-white depending on whatever is convenient for the speaker at the time. There are also Jews who are African, Indian, Chinese, etc.

    I don’t think white people in the Bay Area, Los Angeles area are likely to suddenly become Republican overnight and listening to Rush because of suddenly being in the minority. Same with whites in other metro-blue areas. There are still trends that show many young people especially millennials, single women, college educated people, and post-grad educated people trend Democratic.

    A6: One day I need to write a post about whether relocation assistance is a good thing because it rips people apart from their families, friends, and other support structures. I don’t think e-mail and skype are the solutions. Sometimes you need friends and family close by in case something sudden happens.

    W1: Oh Canada

    W2: They probably won’t consider it until the last possible minute.Report

    • H1 – I think it’s a pretty awful idea. As does Clancy.

      A2 – I think the roots of the Jewish vote go back to when they weren’t considered white or a part of the majority. (White) Catholics, too, though they’ve turned. I don’t particularly expect the Jewish, too, but a part of me looks at the demographic change and wonders to what extent the electoral equilibrium won’t rebalance itself with whites voting generally in greater solidarity.

      California is a significant point against this theory. On the other hand, Romney won a greater percentage of the California white vote than did Bush did in 2004.Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        H1: My issue is that while I support legalizing marijuana, hash, MDMA, and potentially LSD/shrooms. I balk at the idea of legalizing cocaine, crack, PCP, meth, and heroin because I think those are serious drugs with serious public health problems. I don’t think addicts should be jailed but there is seemingly no way to end the meth crisis. Meth is also a serious environmental hazard.

        A2: My entire life has been spent in super-Democratic and liberal areas including the white population so I am probably the worst person to respond to this but it seems kind of odd that someone will stop being for universal healthcare once they are a white-minority or something like that.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        I balk at the idea of legalizing cocaine, crack, PCP, meth, and heroin because I think those are serious drugs with serious public health problems

        How has criminalization worked out for you so far?

        This is intended to be a serious question.Report

      • A2: Ideology often follows alignment, rather than the other way around.

        H1: I am agreed on taking on a case-by-case basis. At the very least, I want to see what happens with the lighter ones before we start talking about the heavier ones. (I’m increasingly wondering if we give people access to some of the safer ones whether that might actually head off gravitation towards the latter… though that would be so convenient that I am almost instantly skeptical.) On the other hand, this isn’t a case of making meth legal so much as it is a case of keeping sudo available. I realize that the two are linked because the latter assists production with the former, latter’s uses are not limited to – or primarily used for – production of meth.Report

      • Dan Miller in reply to Will Truman says:

        I actually wonder at that “not primarily used for the production of meth”. Does anybody have any figures on what share of the pseudoephedrine market is driven by meth manufacture?Report

      • You could be right, at least in terms of boxes sold. I meant that I don’t think that most puchasers are buying it for that reason. A couple relevant facts about West Virginia from this article:

        Only about one in six people who purchase sudafed purchase three boxes or more over a year. That suggests that most people who purchase it are not cookers or smurfs.

        About 30% of purchasers end up purchasing two-thirds of the stuff. This suggests a relatively high percentage of the boxes are indeed going to meth. I would add a significant caveat here, though: People who need it often need it regularly. I was not even familiar with the stuff until I married, but it’s become considerably more important since I have gotten married.

        I’d also express agitation that “Most people don’t need this stuff!” as being a compelling argument for prescription-only. The problem is that when people do need it, they fishing need it. It doesn’t do them a whole lot of good that most people don’t.

        I will also add this: My wife and I were actually both supportive of this when Oregon did it. The problem is that while it may have reduced the number of labs, it didn’t do much for the meth problem itself (in comparison to other states that did not pass the requirement).Report

      • North in reply to Will Truman says:

        Saul/ND I hate to agree with Jaybird (that Somalia loving libertarian crazy cat man) here but as compared to what?
        If we legalized cocaine, crack, PCP, meth, and heroin then at least the victims would have someone to try and sue. Also I guarantee you that legalizing meth would completely erase the environmental impact of meth labs. The industrial chemistry produces more complex and toxic things than meth with nary a serious whiff environmentally. Also I suspect there’s some serious substitution questions. If weaker milder safer drugs were legal would as many people end up on the real poisonous stuff? Also if a company had serious incentives to try and make dangerous drugs use less lethal (we wanna not be sued or have a defense if we are sued) wouldn’t they work on all kinds of ways to deliver the fun times safely?

        I don’t know if there are many prohibition legs left to stand on after the ocean of blood, racism, waste and misery that the WoD has drenched us in.Report

      • greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

        @north You are sort of avoiding the question of what legalization means then. If meth is legal, who can make it? Does it have to be a company that follows enviro rules, then that does eliminate most/all of the danger of meth labs. But that does require the laws to say that and then have the police arrest people who break the law. So that sort of legalization still involves cops and arrests. Would people go to walmart for their meth then make it home, probably as long as it was cheap enough and they weren’t so strung out.

        I think its a bit glib ( to use a sensitive word) to avoid talking about how dangerous some of those drugs are. Saying meth is a terrible thing doesn’t justify the WOD or express a desire to keep arresting addicts. There is a false black and white choice thing that goes on in this debate. We can want some drugs to be legalized but not all AND still want a different kind of response to illegal drugs ( less jail more treatment or harm mitigation strategies). It is possible to hate the WOD and still think some drugs are dangerous, possibly to dangerous to be legal.Report

      • North in reply to Will Truman says:

        Greg, I advocated legalizing some drugs, but I definitely did not recommend not abolishing the EPA or cops. Meth labs and their absolutely horrific environmental impact are market responses to the need for cheap disposable equipment, small hard to detect disposable labs and poorly trained disposable people. The WoD creates meth labs. I see no indication that in a legal environment they’d persist to any large degree. The chemical facts are that if meth was legal to produce a couple clean well run plants could cleanly produce all the pure minimally harmful meth at pennies on the dollar compared so a reeking explosive meth kit in some guys garage.

        Even absent a rule saying that meth had to be made by a company most meth would still be made cleanly and safely. It is the cheapest way to make meth. Who would want to buy expensive adulterated meth made in filthy environmental conditions? No one.

        I agree it’s perhaps glib to not talk about how dangerous these drugs are. Heroine can turn you into an addict that wastes away into a skeleton. Meth (crystal) quite literally rots the teeth right out of your head and makes your face cave in. The list goes on and on. We now have a century of data on prohibitionist policies both right based (forbid the drugs and toss you in jail if you don’t obey) and left (forbid the drugs and toss you in rehab if you don’t obey) but I haven’t seen any accounting on the part of prohibitionists for the consequences of prohibition. After ten decades of prohibition failing, and not just failing but increasing the problem, maybe a glib dismissal is all that prohibitionist policies deserve. Maybe some genuine liberalism on the question of what individual idiots heave into their bodies is merited. At the very least it’d have to be really really bad to produce outcomes that are worse than the ones prohibitionist policies have.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman says:

        Why not skip the prescription and just make every box of Sudafed cost $80-150? It would have the same effect and save me the time in a doctor’s waiting room.

        In fact, what is a box of Sudafed worth once the goodies are extracted and converted to meth? If it’s somewhere in the $80-150 range, this might just take a bite out of the problem.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        Ending the war on drugs is a gateway philosophy. It leads to private roads and abolishing the EPA. Sure, we all think that it’s harmless to say that the government shouldn’t care if you smoke a little herb… but the next thing you know, you’re allowing mercury into your rivers. AGAIN.

        Ending the War On Drugs. Not Even Once.Report

      • Does it have to be a company that follows enviro rules, then that does eliminate most/all of the danger of meth labs. But that does require the laws to say that…

        The laws already say that. Every home-rigged meth lab in a house or barn in the country violates one or more laws about release of toxic substances, or the inspection and licenses that verify all of the gear is in place and working so that no releases occur.Report

      • greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

        I think most of us here are against the WOD. I’m much more interested in the discussion of how to wind it down and what that leads. What is the actual result we are looking for. Yeah less WOD, we agree on that, but what are the details, what are the new laws, new regs, how do we make it work. While its easy to say legalize it, i’ve also noted how the Netherlands has had some problems with its legalized drugs ( mostly AFAIK with drug tourists causing problems) so i don’t want to gloss over potential problems. If one of us liberal types said “Lets spend X amount of money on this great program Y” one of the easy, and often true, criticisms coming from the other sides would be about unintended consequences and how to tell if the program worked.

        Maybe i’ve seen to many poorly run campaigns for complete pot legalization here in ak, but i tend to the drug legalization side, which i broadly agree with, be terrible on talking about drug rehabs or how to deal with any problems.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        My issue is that while I support legalizing marijuana, hash, MDMA, and potentially LSD/shrooms. I balk at the idea of legalizing cocaine, crack, PCP, meth, and heroin because I think those are serious drugs with serious public health problems.

        Politics aside, does cocaine really belong in the second group? My (not terribly well-informed) perception is that it seems to have a lot of high-functioning users.Report

  3. SWIM says:


    On a recent trip my pregnant wife did not want to incur the additional ionizing radiation exposure of a backscatter x-ray and opted for a pat down instead. One of the TSA agents, of very unpleasant appearance I might add, shouted, “We’re gonna need a female assistant for an opt-out! Repeat, we have an opt-out!” During the subsequent pat-down, the TSA agent decided to “punish” my wife for not wanting to further ionize her fetus with a painful karate chop to the vagina, which caused her to cry.

    Regarding the promotion of such workers, maybe we should promote no one, and in fact let all the TSA agents go, since the odds of my wife or any other pregnant woman carrying a bomb in her vagina are not really worth financing an entire branch of the government that has never caught a terrorist. I mean, seriously, have we all forgotten in the past five years just how stupid and worthless the TSA is?Report

    • North in reply to SWIM says:

      Security theater at its’ worst. I’ve seen fewer egrigarious examples of political CYA in action. Alas, the iron rules of CYA mean the TSA is probably never going to leave us.Report

      • Mo in reply to North says:

        It’s slowly leaving as more and more people get put into TSA PreReport

      • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

        Safety regulations like those involved with airport security theatre are the most difficult to get rid of because no politician wants to get caught if something goes wrong.Report

      • North in reply to North says:

        Yes, I use CYA as a short hand for this political calculus matrix:

        Security is always a concern to voters. Politicians can either:
        A: Campaign for increased security/regulation or the appearance of increases in said or
        B; Campaign for decreased security/regulation cutting back on both real and apparent security policies.

        The outcomes are either:
        1: A security breach of some significance occurrs or
        2: No security breach of some significance occurrs.

        Outcomes follow:
        A1 the politician says that he tried to warn us but wasn’t listened to sufficiently and he tried his best. He suffers mildly but weathers the storm as voters rally to him.
        A2: The politician says his policies were successful, crisis averted, voters not in absent approval. Mild benefit or no harm to politicians position.

        B1: The politician is on record decreasing or appearing to decrease security. This is linked directly to a significant breach. Politicians career is over. He is disgraced and ruined.
        B2: Nothing happens. Voters are perhaps slightly pleased about the increased efficiency/civil liberties but with no crisis to focus their attention the benefits to the politician are minor.

        With these risks and rewards it is natural implacable political logic to always be a security/regulation hawk. CYA.Report

  4. Glyph says:

    V4 reminds me of the Veridian Dynamics bumper promos in Better Off Ted.Report

  5. North says:

    Here’s a link I read.* It’s the League’s own Freddie’s devastating obliteration of Reihan Salam’s article on Salon. I don’t agree with Freddie a lot but man when he hits his stride he can unleash the written equivalent of a daisey cutter. It shreds Salam’s premise to tiny bits, burns them to ash and then makes the ash bounce. Holy cow!

    *And you should read it too. It’ll warm your heart.Report

    • zic in reply to North says:

      I am starting to get this feeling we’re in for a big debate about the Bush admin. and war crimes; something we should have done a long time ago, but perhaps weren’t ready to do.

      There’s been a spate of pro-neo-con stuff; a lot about Rummy (a movie!), a lot of chatter that we sort of skipped for a long, long time.

      And it sort of makes sense politically; people who used to hold power a looking to grab it again, and people who hold power have this rummage-through-the-closet to continue to maintain it.

      I predict some sort of war crimes investigation, probably triggered by the CIA torture reports Feinstein’s seeking to release.Report

      • North in reply to zic says:

        Zic my own impression/-fear- is that Obama made a conscious decision when he took power to put off (or Godd[ess?] help us) bury this subject of Bush, torture etc because he recognized that if he let it come to light a huge chunk of the political class would fight like made for survival and it’d consume his entire agenda. Now, either because his attempts to bury it failed or because he’s accepted that he’s gotten about as much of his agenda as he has any realistic hope of getting, those delayed reports and the like are finally surfacing.

        These rah rah neocon articles strike me as the preliminary strikes by a lot of desperate people trying to keep a lid on stuff they know will potentially end them up in jail if it comes out.Report

      • Dan Miller in reply to zic says:

        @zic Feinstein’s seeking to release the report only in the loosest sense of the word–she wants to have it be heavily redacted, and she sounds mighty pissed about leaks of the less-airbrushed version.Report

  6. DRS says:

    Here’s an interesting article about urban renewal in Toronto: the east Danforth. A group of residents worried about their neighbourhood attempt an experiment in controlled gentrification. This article is a good example of Canadian urban conservatism at work:

    Would it ever even be tried in the US, or would everyone get all tangled up in labeling before it got off the ground? I’m genuinely curious.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to DRS says:

      Thanks for the really interesting link!

      Something like that could probably get off the ground, if the locals were motivated to make a go of it. One of the things about urban politics is that (with some exceptions, like transportation) it tends to be much more bread-and-butter than labelly. One party tends to control the cities (more here than up there, if Ford is any indication) and the debates occur under that banner. (Like, typically, both gentrifiers and incumbents are Democrats even if they have their issues with one another.)Report

      • Dan Miller in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’m definitely not an expert, so take with some salt, but my understanding is that Rob Ford’s electorate includes a lot of areas outside the central city that we would probably call suburban, and that he draws his margins from these areas. A US analog might be Indianapolis, which has a unified city-county government and has elected Republican mayors in the recent past. AReport

      • Oh, I think that’s exactly right. The result of the partitioning in the US, though, is that cities tend to be Democratic wheelhouses.Report

      • DRS in reply to Will Truman says:

        The city of Toronto is one city – the geographical area with the 416-area-code – and all other cities in the area are self-contained municipalities (known as the Greater Toronto Area or the 905). Here’s a regional map:

        The city of Toronto was amalgamated over a dozen years ago out of the following: Toronto, cities of North York, Etobicoke and Scarborough, boroughs of York and East York. Each of these had its own elected council but all also elected representatives to an over-arching Regional Council as well. The argument at the time was that two layers of government was redundant and ridiculous and amalgamation was the way to go.

        The word “suburb” in Canada is usually understood to mean “that part of the city with the big lawns” and doesn’t imply separate governmental structure. Hope that helps – I’ve seen numerous references to Rob Ford having been elected by the “905” vote over the “416” vote and it’s completely false as 905-ers aren’t Toronto voters.Report

    • Saul DeGraw in reply to DRS says:

      Oakland is a city that has always had gentrification around the corner and this has been true for the past twenty years. There are very stubborn spots that resist gentrification.

      Though we are more likely to get Spike Lee’s rant.Report

  7. zic says:

    G1 does not surprise me at all. And I’m sure in a few more decades someone will discover pat-down screening jobs are lower paid. Sigh. Time for security theater to end it’s run; the show costs too much and the result is the audience is bored and irritated.

    H2 is also not surprising. What is does indicate is a proprietary view toward insured patients, and I suspect it happens in many other medical services. But I do think that there’s some balance of cost-of-services vs. small differences in outcome to consider here.

    H4 may reflect on H2, also; it’s very hard to get rules that sound good actually implemented. We have a friend who’s done this type of thing, runs a hospital in Utah that’s considered a national model. He says it’s not easy. I should also note that I’ve seen a few instances of failure to adhere to protocols that, instead of turning into teaching moments of what-not-to-do turn into legal battles of these-are-our-rules and since we have them, the patient has to prove we didn’t follow them. So I suspect not having a method of assessment for check-list compliance is a big problem; and the airline industry might be a good place to look on how to get better compliance.

    E1 First time I saw a vertical wind turbine was at the Madison Hut, one of the AMC huts in the Presidential range. I’ve seen a few others. I like that they’re quieter then bladed windmills. I’d like to install one on top of the beam-antenna tower on our barn roof.

    E2 Helium shortages. We’ve got to decide: birthday balloons or weather balloons and hover mills.

    E5 This bothers me a lot; poor models and lack of data don’t disprove. They don’t prove, either.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to zic says:

      Helium shortages

      My understanding is that there isn’t an impending helium shortage, there’s an impending shortage of cheap helium produced in the US. The price is too low to encourage countries that are helium-rich to separate it from the natural gas and export it. And in at least a couple of cases (Iran, now Russia), we’ve taken active steps to antagonize the governments that would make that decision. For some of the applications, it may be a moot point; for example, there are now demonstration MRI systems using liquid-nitrogen-temp superconducting magnets.Report

  8. zic says:

    And just to crow a little bit (and debate regulation with my Libertarian friends,) my comment on David Brooks column today was an editors pick.

    I actually rather enjoyed the column, with the exception of the paragraph I pointed out in the comment. But I, like most of you, sit squarely in the group of people afflicted with curiosity.Report

  9. Michael Cain says:

    E4: My eastern friends laugh/sneer/whatever at me when I tell them that the Western Interconnect states (basically, from the extreme western Great Plains to the Pacific, plus El Paso in Texas) are committing, consciously or not, to a long-term plan using renewable sources to provide a robust and reliable electricity supply. The good news is that, for the Western Interconnect, such a policy is feasible at reasonable expense [1]. The bad news is that for the Eastern Interconnect, where the large majority of the people and electoral votes reside, it’s not. And that things will get ugly when that large majority adopts national energy policies that screw over the West.

    [1] There are a number of reasonably detailed studies for doing a low-carbon grid for the Western addressing nuts-and-bolts issues like intermittency for renewables and where the grid upgrades have to happen. Geography is a harsh mistress that forces your hand on a lot of the questions, so the studies all come out with basically the same answer. The biggest difference that shows up — reflecting politics as much as anything — is whether to build a few more big dams versus build a few nukes. Plans for a low-carbon Eastern Interconnect all involve a whole lot more arm waving to get around the difficulties.Report

  10. DRS says:

    South Carolina has an official state fossil, but the creationists in the state senate had to make sure it was biblically correct before approval: