Linky Friday #83

Will Truman

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

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90 Responses

  1. James K says:

    E2 appears to be sans link.Report

  2. E5 [sitcom dads]: In my opinion, one dynamic at play in the doofus portrayals of men that Madrigal doesn’t mention is that jokes about such men are a way of “punching up” against people who, in society in general, tend to have more power. It also may have been a reaction to the “doofus wife” in, say, “I Love Lucy,” or the omnicompetent father, a la “Father Knows Best” (which I don’t think I’ve seen) or “Leave It to Beaver.” That’s not the only dynamic at play, but I think it is one.

    For the record, I tend to dislike those “doofus dad” tropes. But not all instances of that trope are equal. Madrigal mentions Homer Simpson, but I can recall a lot of episodes where he does the right thing, although maybe after a lot of personal wrangling and doofus style behavior (e.g., when he gives up alcohol for a month and when the month is over, he decides to spend time with Marge instead of going back to the bar; when he sacrifices getting a new a/c in order to get Lisa a sax after having accidentally destroyed hers). And, for example, the guy on modern family (I forget his name, and I haven’t seen the show in years so things might have changed): he’s a doofus, but in my opinion it’s more because he’s a bit absent-minded and like his youngest son.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      I stop short of describing the “doofus dad” meme as sexist or any other such term because it seems to bog the conversation down in ways that are mostly unproductive. However, as a decidedly non-doofusy* dad who is the primary caregiver for our son, I find the doofus dad meme and all that it reflects and perpetuates frustrating to no end. Anytime anything is slightly off with the boy, the presumption is that is the ONE area I was responsible for and I couldn’t even get that right. The reality is that such goofs are either A) Zazzy’s goofs or B) my goofs but largely on account of trying to do everything and not batting 1.000.

      None of this is a slight to Zazzy. She is a highly competent parent who contributes meaningfully to our family. But the bulk of the child rearing still falls to me. Yet all the jokes from all directions are about how long the boy would last if left alone with me. I probably don’t help matters because I usually just laugh them off, either because I don’t want to pick a fight and/or I don’t want to throw Zazzy under the bus (try not looking like a douche after saying the statement, “Actually, that lump on his head is from the five minutes he spent with Mom today). But the assumption that I don’t know what I’m doing and that Mayo remains alive in spite of my efforts is frustrating.

      * I am doofusy in a number of ways but not in any meaningful ways related to parenting.Report

      • Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy says:

        This is a great comment. It does make sense that crying out “reverse sexism!” is unlikely to garner much sympathy. Throwing Zazzy under the bus might be even worse. It sounds like the first step toward becoming a Dad’s Rights Activist.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

        So “women are the real sexists?”Report

      • dhex in reply to Kazzy says:

        reversed parenting role haters gonna hate.

        i feel you but i also feel your analysis is correct – i have done the whole “actually, weekends are my gig because his mom is a grad student and it’s a lot like being divorced” and while fun, it does not win you anything at all. except a tiny bit of fun. and in large communities, you can do that because no one can be in everyone else’s business. small communities suffer from the dread curse of communitas aka being up in everyone’s shizz forever and ever and ever. your jokes travel too far.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        Is a dad’s rights activist like a MRA? Because if so, I want no part. I support efforts to support ALL parents — men and women. I’d like to see dads assumed to be competent until proving otherwise and moms unshackled from the assumption that they will do all of the heavy parenting lifting.


        I’m not sure if your comment is aimed at me or Vikram, but I can assure you that is not at all what I am describing. I’m fairly competent that the writers who are developing these dad characters are mostly, if not all, men. This is a societal problem, not a man or woman problem.

        I do think part of the problem for me is that my particular form of parenting is often assumed to be intentionless, when it is anything but. I believe in encouraging healthy risk-taking in children. I also have spent enough time around my son to know what he needs, to know what he’s capable of, and to know what he likes. When I pick him up from the daycare room at the gym, he loves to run through the lobby to the main door unimpeded by any hand holding. So I let him. Most people smile at this darling, miniature little baby running awkwardly through the space. But every now and then someone shoots a look like, “Why aren’t you holding him? He could fall!!!” A look I doubt they would send a woman’s way. They seem to be thinking, “That dad has no idea what he’s doing.” The reality is, I know exactly what I’m doing. And while they may disagree with it, the presumption of ignorance is obnoxious. Disagree with how I parent all you want, but don’t assume that any deviance from your preferred method is the sole result of naivete/stupidity/doofiness.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy says:

        @kazzy Oh, it wasn’t directed at you or Vikram, actually. It was more of a throw away one-liner.

        Now that I stop to think about it, though, I suppose I could make an observation that there’s some irony in how some complaints white males make about the way people pre-judge them is somewhat arbitrarily acceptable and sympathetic these days, while in other cases is arbitrarily a clear example of how they’re a privileged part of the patriarchy, but to be honest I haven’t thought it through far enough to see if that thread really holds up.

        It was really mostly just a throw away one liner.Report

      • Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy says:


        Yes, that was the reference I was making, but I only made it because I know that wasn’t the direction you were going. Sorry if that caused confusion!

        My take on gender norms (which I don’t think is terribly unique) is that they are unnecessarily restrictive for both men and women in a variety of seen and unseen annoying ways. And while I think the brunt of the restrictions are borne by women, there are cases in which it is they limit men, and I think this is one of them.

        I probably ought not to speak for them, but my impression is that a real MRA would say that the costs of these things are borne solely by men.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        For what it’s worth, I’m not as concerned about the “how” of the assumptions as I am about the impact I feel as a result of them. Men are just as much, if not more so, to blame for the perception of fatherhood. I don’t really know or care who the “bad guy” is. I just know that the “doofus dad” meme can have real consequences* and that they suck.

        * And I’m lucky in that they have only manifested in obnoxious looks and comments. I know some men have suffered far worse fates because of assumptions about fathers, including arrest and/or separation from their children. I will not compare my struggle to their own. I will simply note that, as @vikram-bath says, rigidly enforced gender norms tend to harm everyone.Report

      • RTod in reply to Kazzy says:

        @kazzy Oh, I totally got that. And from me you get the hat trick on this topic: sympathy, empathy and agreement.

        But I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that wondered had Mike Dwyer or jr had written the exact same thing, if they wouldn’t have gotten pushback for being sexist.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:


        I don’t doubt that. The reason I didn’t assume you were making a joke was because I knew there was a possibility my comment was read as sexist.Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to Kazzy says:

        @kazzy ; It used to be a lot worse. When my oldest was a baby, like 24 (!) years ago, we were at some holiday gathering, Thanksgiving or Christmas, when it came time to change the little darling’s diaper. So I grabbed the diaper bag and got to work.

        My SIL was amazed. She was like, “You change diapers?”

        “Yeah… feed her, too.” It was my turn to be puzzled. “Why wouldn’t I?”

        “Your brother never once changed a diaper. Wouldn’t consider it.”

        Frankly, I feel a little sad for him. When our youngest was a newborn I was taking classes and had a very flexible schedule. So I would stay up late studying and when she woke up I would take care of the midnight feeding.

        Middle of the night, the house is quiet, and it’s just me, my baby girl, and a bottle. It really doesn’t get any better than that.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Kazzy says:


        Heh. My wife sleeps like the dead. From day one I’ve been the one to get up & change diapers, do feedings if need be, rock Bug back to sleep, etc. There were times my wife barely woke up to nurse in the middle of the night, came awake just enough to get a latch, then when back to sleep. I’d stay awake until Bug let go & drifted off again, then put him back to bed.

        Now, when he wakes up in the middle of the night, it’s me he calls for, & I go take care of him.

        And my wife still gets a bit of grief from the ladies at day care when Bug shows up in oddly matched outfits (because I was running late, that is what was at hand & that he wanted to wear… somedays he wears red socks, plaid shorts, and a pirate shirt & I’m ok with that.Report

  3. zic says:

    H5 — Senior-communities like this really bug me. First, it’s a community development model designed to help senior citizens get out of paying for schools; (the no-kids means no-school taxes, after all).

    When we discuss diversity, we tend to focus on race. For the most part, most of us would be better off living in more age-diverse communities; having regular contact with people from new-born to eleventy-one.Report

    • dhex in reply to zic says:

      i understand the impulse for the 55 and up communities, however – especially those that have on-site medical care and related services. i also can’t fault people for wanting to live where they want to live, in places where they feel most comfortable.Report

    • aaron david in reply to zic says:

      I’d say you hit it on the head with your second paragraph.Report

    • Mo in reply to zic says:

      There are advantages to communities with people at the same life stage as well, due to economies of scale. If you’re in a community with a critical mass of working parents, there is more likely to be multiple options for family services, like day cares. If there are a lot of single people and DINKs, you’ll have more bars and restaurants. Per dhex, lots of retirees will have more available medical and other old age services. With more mixing of ages, life stages, etc, there’s less of a chance for services to serve the community to crop up. Or if they do, they will be much more lumpy, making life inconvenient for most people.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Mo says:

        Big problems arise when people move into a DINK building, then become pregnant. Legally they typically can’t be kicked out, but big-time ugliness can ensue even if they’re not technically being evicted. And sometimes they will be evicted by calculating bastards who figure “who’s got time for a lawsuit with a newborn on the way?”Report

      • Kim in reply to Mo says:

        and more people deliberately trying to make you sick! More people around your own age means more people trying to scam you. And sometimes they’re “legit”Report

    • Vikram Bath in reply to zic says:

      Did you check out the comments on the senior communities link? RAWR!Report

    • Will Truman in reply to zic says:

      I hear what you’re saying, but I actually think it’s kind of unfortunate that we can’t do a little more age segregation. It’s unfortunate that, if you want to be surrounded by peers after graduating high school, you pretty much have to go to college. Trying to set up an apartment complex specifically for young people would probably be against the law.Report

      • Imagine my dismay when, losing my job by being the wrong side of a corporate acquisition, I got the really thick separation packet that included a summary of every position that had been eliminated, the age of the person who had held that position, and the statistical analysis demonstrating that no age descrimination had occurred. Because, at the ripe old age of almost-49, I was one of those people, who fell into a protected category.Report

      • Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        That’s not really the case. I’m sure there are any number of communes and city neighborhoods where the two person with kids folks are discouraged.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Will Truman says:

        They have “adult living” buildings where I live. The standards are enforced on move-in, and then people get pregnant, and things get ugly, and new single moms get illegally evicted. It’s a horrible, horrible idea.

        I also disagree strongly with the notion that one’s “peers” must or should be primarily peers in age. I think much of the dysfunction of middle and high schools comes precisely from a lack of respectful peer relationships between people of different ages. When you’ve graduated from high school, you should be capable of functioning in an adult world, which includes 18-year-old adults and 80-year-old adults. The fact that many aren’t so capable is should be addressed not by extending the social isolation of high school, but by helping high school students be less isolated from the adult world.

        Prolonging the social isolation of adults by age group can only lead to fully-grown adults in absurdly expensive hats, riding fixed-gear bicycles without brakes on city streets, and opening artisanal mayonaise shops.Report

  4. zic says:

    And A1 can potentially be attributed to hipster’s reading China MIeville.Report

  5. Vikram Bath says:

    T3: It’s amazing to me how little time can be spent talking about whether a policy is the right thing to do before there is an interjection as to what kind of people are helped or hurt by it.Report

  6. Michael Cain says:

    H2: Denver is something of a special case, having acquired major undeveloped areas inside the city limits over the last several years. Stapleton, the site of the former airport, made almost 7.5 square miles available. The former Lowrey Air Force Base wasn’t as big, but was still a significant addition. The site of the former Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center is just across the border in Aurora, and is being redeveloped with a heavy concentration of major hospitals and life science facilities.

    I’m curious as to how many of the other 19 may also have special one-time circumstances.Report

  7. Chris says:

    Is Canada home to the nation’s biggest housing bubble?

    Hehe… The answer to that question is tautological, isn’t it?

    Or have we finally annexed them? If so, I’m on my way to Vancouver right now.Report

  8. Chris says:

    W4 appears to be broken.Report

  9. Jim Heffman says:

    T4: I’m a little unclear on what you mean by “counterargument”, because that implies that Steve is a supporter of HSR, whereas the column pretty clearly is against it.

    also goddamit you made me read a steve sailer column you bastardReport

  10. j r says:

    E5 and E7 suffer from the same problem.

    The path from Homer Simpson ringing Bart Simpson’s neck—his main parental action—to our country’s miserable paternity leave rules might be more direct than we think.

    It is? I am suspect. It is possible, but if I am going to seriously consider this as a possibility, then I might want to see something in the way of actual evidence as opposed to a bunch of anecdotes about journalists and their friends.

    The problem that I find with people like Madrigal and Rosenberg, who spend a lot of time consuming and thinking about pop culture and who write it about it for a living, is that they assume that pop culture plays an equally important role in everyone else’s life.

    It is similar to the way that there are shows like Girls and Mad Men that get a lot of ink and pixels because journalists and bloggers find them interesting, but it is the rather routine procedural and one-gag sitcoms like NCIS and The Big Bang Theory that draw the most viewers.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to j r says:

      To be fair, Rosenberg was hired by Washington Post to write about pop culture so the Washington Post probably thinks that there is money to be had there.

      There seem to be two ways to success in TV:

      1. Mass popularity a la NCIS or Big Bang Theory

      2. Success with a smaller but more affluent and media connected and politically connected audience a la Girls, Mad Men, The Wire, etc.

      I suspect that pop-culture writers prefer talking about Girls and Mad Men because they are part of that college-educated and upper-middle class world themselves.

      I think you are right that there is an internet tendency to think you obsessions are the ones that everyone else has though.Report

  11. Saul Degraw says:

    E1: Christoper Orr is one of my favorite film critics and this is indeed an awesome series. Though I admit to liking Christopher Orr because he still seems to taking the idea of movies for adults seriously and will want to take down a movie like Lucy because it is absolute trash and not even in a campy fun way.

    E7: I generally think of Rosenberg as being part of the “Everything is Awesome” camp and I generally dislike her style of writing aka “What X gets wrong about Y: An Alyssa Rosenberg Reader” but every now and then she hits it out of the park and this is one example where she does.

    H1: America needs to decide what it wants people to do with housing and quickly. I’ve heard policy wonks rant against the American dream of home-ownership because it decreases labor mobility and plenty of well to do people in Europe spend their life renting. Then there are pieces like this one that say Americans are not buying homes quick enough but it is hard to buy homes when we are seeing more and more people in the gig economy including upper-middle class professionals. A mortgage requires that someone at least theoretically think they will have long term employment and be wanting to stay in an area for a long time. People generally view their houses as homes, not investments. I also read articles that said a big issue is that banks are not selling foreclosed/underwater homes and can simply afford to keep them fallow (so to speak) until the market improves, and prices go up. It is hard to consider buying if you might need to move for a job every year.

    H5: It is a sign that I am still young that living in a retirement community sounds like hell on earth to me.Report

    • E7 I hear what you’re saying. In the late 90’s, I had the opposite complaint: Movie reviewers who didn’t seem to like movies. Like some music critics, they proved their case by trashing just about everything. I remember one time when I was reading the Colosse alt-weekly when I finally counted it out. They had a thumb up vs thumb down model. Of the thirty movies they had listings for, they could only recommend three of them. They trashed Iron Giant, for gods sake, for being childish and undeveloped. I’m not sure when that turned, but it did and it seemed like there was a generation of movie critics (or culture critics) who actually liked movies. Which I considered an improvement.

      H1 I agree with a lot of this. It’s one of the reasons I think that we’re going to be looking at much more of a renting economy for the forseeable future. Until or unless things economically improve.

      H5 The go-carts are really, really cool.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        If you haven’t seen this cartoon about the evolution of games journalism, you should.

        It’s funny.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:


        I suspect that for the most part people who become film critics largely enjoy films and go to films/cinema (notice the words I am using) for very different reasons and experiences than the average movie-goer. Maybe this is because film critics are people who wanted to be Truffaut or Goddard or Bergman instead of Steven Speilberg. There are some exceptions but I don’t see most film critics as being populist. I think the Internet can be credited with the rise of the populist critic. To be fair, I would rather be compared to Truffaut so maybe I am projecting.

        I have lots of friends who are into the whole culture of going to midnight showings for the latest superhero/blockbuster/bang wow movie and I just think we are looking for very different things in films. The fandom scene seems largely connected to the visual and the highest compliments that they can give a movie are the words “kickass” or “bad ass”. I am looking for plot and writing, interesting stories, good acting, something that is about humanity. I’d much rather watch The Last Metro or Stolen Kisses, or Afterlife or Stillwalking than Guardians of the Galaxy. Boyhood is the most down to earth movie released in recent years. My top choice for the upcoming season is Mr. Turner by Mike Leigh.

        I have a pet peeve against the words kickass and badass for some reason. I see them as rather anti-intellectual. I realize this is a quirk with me.

        From what I hear, Hollywood likes franchises with special effects because those are the easiest movies to market for the global economy.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Are the banks at least renting out the foreclosed homes? I suppose that might be counter to their own interests, in a perverse way, since they might want more homelessness to drive housing demand up.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog says:

        They don’t seem to be doing so. The banks are so massive that holding on to the houses without renting them isn’t a money loser.

        My solution is a real estate version of Glass-Steigel that doesn’t permit banks to own any residential housing. They could provide mortgages or loans but if they get residential property through a default or some other reason, they should be legally required to sell the house within a reasonable time.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to dragonfrog says:


        I think Lee is right. I’ve also heard it is much harder to negotiate purchasing a house with a bank because they don’t have the same incentives as an individual putting their place on the market.Report

      • j r in reply to dragonfrog says:

        My solution is a real estate version of Glass-Steigel that doesn’t permit banks to own any residential housing.

        I have a feeling all that would end up doing is being a boon to non-bank real estate investors who could buy foreclosed houses from banks and then hold them just the way that banks do now.

        Also, I think the claim that banks benefit from homelessness because it drives up housing demand doesn’t make much sense. Most people don’t go from being homeless to buying a house. I think that housing demand is more dependent on the rental market than on homelessness.Report

      • Kim in reply to dragonfrog says:

        actually, it’s EASIER to negotiate with a bank, because there is NO NEGOTIATING. it’s a price, take it or leave it.
        However, the bank will occasionally just walk out of the contract. For no discernable reason (it’s a “big picture” kind of day).Report

      • I’m sort of with @j-r on this one. In some fashion or another, a requirement that the local bank sell the property quickly, realizing the loss, means that the properties end up in the hands of some financial entity that has the flexibility to judge whether the local market will recover enough to make waiting worthwhile. Just my opinion, but much of the housing bubble that got us in trouble seven years ago wouldn’t have happened if loan originators had been required to hold a substantial part of the mortgages, just because they would have been a hell of a lot pickier.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

        @j-r I guess I didn’t phrase that very well. Clearly banks aren’t issuing a lot of mortgages to the homeless and precariously housed, but they do issue them to the landlords who serve them, and the price of those mortgages affects how much those landlords charge.

        It’s in the lenders’ interests to have housing as a whole be a scarce commodity, which drives up all prices, from weekly rental rooms in boarding houses to mansions on multiple acres of grounds, which affects how many people are fifty dollars a week short of affording any housing at all.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

        So yeah, they don’t benefit from homelessness itself, but from the conditions that produce homelessness. The actual homelessness is just a side effect that’s either regrettable, or something they don’t even think about.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to dragonfrog says:

        The banks are so massive that holding on to the houses without renting them isn’t a money loser.

        I’m puzzling over how that works, and all I can come up with is the old punchline “we make it up on volume.”Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to dragonfrog says:

        People who live in glass steagalls shouldn’t stow homes.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to dragonfrog says:


        Maybe the banks just think it is easier to let homes be fallow until they can sell at their desired price? Banks are not equipped to be landlords and maybe the costs of hiring a management company are outside their expertise. They can make rent collection possible but probably don’t want to deal with repairs and the like.Report

      • I’m puzzling over how that works, and all I can come up with is the old punchline “we make it up on volume.”

        Lots of situational considerations. How fast will the local market rebound? Alternatively, if we dump all the houses we’re stuck with on the market now, how far will prices fall? How high are the local property taxes? What are local costs for minimal maintenance and utilities? What’s the cost of capital? What else can the bank do with money raised using the houses as collateral?Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I’m more perplexed by the amount of long-term fallow commercial property I see around my area. Presumably if you own commercial property, you’re equipped to rent it out, so it’s probably not a “don’t want the hassle of managing it” thing. Why would you own commercial property for years on end and get no income from it instead of renting it out for at least something. My only guess is that there’s a tax dodge in it somewhere and we’re stupidly paying property owners not to rent their space out to businesses.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to dragonfrog says:


        I was referring to the link between size and profit. Clearly the banks are losing money on these houses at present. Surely they think holding on to them for a while longer will pay off better than dumping them now. But that’s not really about size. Sure, they have other cash flow that allows them to do this, but their size does not mean it’s not a present drag on the bottom line, nor, of course does it guarantee they’ll net a profit rather than just minimize their losses.Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to dragonfrog says:

        @james-hanley ; Accounting rules? I couldn’t tell you what the existing rules regarding valuation are — vis-a-vis mark-to-market vs some inflated paper book value — but size of the institution may come into play by what fraction of their asset portfolio those properties represent.

        A whole lot of banking revolves around various ratios of assets and liabilities. That’s where to look when something they’re doing makes you say “wtf??”Report

      • Kim in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Banks are significantly less likely to let homes lie fallow in places where they are actively punished for promulgating malaria and other diseases.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Orr makes the comment about Barton Fink: “I can’t shake the sense that the Coens just grabbed a number of compelling ideas and images…and crammed them together in ways that have no particular internal logic.” Looking over the Coen movies in general, I think Orr is onto something. They have a beautiful sense of style, but they’ve never created a masterpiece (at least among the Coen movies I’ve seen) because they never make that last stitch that would turn all the pieces into a whole. For my money, Miller’s Crossing was their best work. The right studio executive could have seen that script and editing tweaked and produced one of the all-time greats.Report

      • aaron david in reply to Pinky says:

        You get 1000 internet points for liking Millers Crossing! (its one of my favorite films.)Report

      • Glyph in reply to Pinky says:

        In the comment section on the Miller’s Crossing entry, some commenters tb vagb n ubzbfrkhny fhogrkg gung unq arire bppheerq gb zr (V qba’g xabj vs V ohl vg, gubhtu gurer pbhyq jryy or na Brqvcny guvat gurer). Next time I will watch for it. It’s a great film.Report

      • aaron david in reply to Pinky says:

        @glyph I don’t really buy it either. My main take away (and the reason that I love the move) is that the whole thing is about ethics, and that idea strains credulity too far.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Pinky says:

        Gabriel Byrne should have been another Tom Hanks or even Al Pacino. I have no idea why his career didn’t take off. The Coen Brothers have a great stable of talented, quirky actors – I think I’m more fond of their casts than of their movies sometimes – but Byrne stood out. As for the rot13 part, name a work of art that critics haven’t read that way.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Pinky says:

        @pinky – these weren’t critics, they were commenters. And (with the caveat that I have not seen the movie in many years) they were supporting their thesis with scenes/dialogue/parallels with actual text or other characters from the film, to try to explain actions of Tom’s that otherwise seem inexplicable, motivation-wise.

        Coen brothers scripts are often diabolically precise (see Blood Simple, for ex.) with each character doing exactly what they think they must, given the (often incorrect) information they have, and their own goals/character. If someone takes actions that don’t seem to fit with those things, it’s reasonable to wonder why, and there appear to be possible clues in the other stories being told in the film.

        Anyway, like I said, I haven’t seen the movie in many years so I can’t say if it is sound or not, but it didn’t appear to me that they were simply pulling the theory out of their rears.Report

  12. Jim Heffman says:

    E4: This would seem to be relevant to the whole “is a contractor actually an employee” discussion, as well. Because Lehman seems to be arguing that Kirby was on contract, not an official employee of Marvel Comics, and therefore his creations were not “work for hire”. But we also see a great many discussions to the effect of “if an arrangement has most of the characteristics of employment–set hours, work rules, inability to negotiate terms and conditions, open-ended work assignments rather than specific deliverables–then it should be considered employment rather than contracting”.Report

  13. Jim Heffman says:

    E7: “Rather than showing television, movies or books respect by taking them seriously and accepting that they can stand up to analysis, it sometimes feels like the only acceptable way to show affection and appreciation is via absolute veneration.”

    But if something is racist or sexist or pro-rape or homophobic, of course, it is obviously awful and the people who like it are obviously awful people, and it’s okay to be horrible to them because they’re awful. What? I’m just trying to have a conversation here about how only racist MRA supporters are willing to watch “Game of Thrones”. Oh, you like “Game of Thrones”? Well obviously I didn’t mean YOU. Maybe you should think about why you get so touchy when people dare to criticize something you like, though.Report

  14. Pinky says:

    W1 – Very interesting. I don’t have any particular insight on it, but it is well worth a read.Report

  15. Troublesome Frog says:

    T3: This is just silly for a few reasons.

    1) Fuel taxes have never been proportional to benefit or wear and tear. Heavy commercial trucks, for example do lots of damage and benefit their owners and customers (all of us) enormously–much more than a family car.
    2) There are extreme edge cases on either end of the distribution, but the real story here is that median efficiency is constantly improving, inflation is eating away at a tax that’s enumerated in constant dollars, and nobody has considered the crazy idea of just raising the fuel tax across the board to keep the numbers in balance. Instead we’re focusing on how to bring in the tails of the distribution more toward the (wrong) median.
    3) If we get to the point where fuel usage is all over the map (lots of electric cars, for example), then maybe it’s time to admit that road usage is like a million other things government does and there’s no practical way to meter and tax by usage. That property of certain types of services doesn’t seem to have made it impossible to fund, say, the police.
    4) Why on earth would our first “solution” be an invasive metering system and a tax that reduces established incentives for energy efficiency? Why??Report

  16. Dan Miller says:

    A1: (Taxidermy) That article is incredible. The best quote has to be this: “When you start dealing with animals, you have to look at the laws in your state,” Marbury says. “Say you found a pet dog [on the road] that you want to make look like a robot with a TV embedded in it. There’s an ethical and legal challenge there.”

    Thanks for putting this together!Report

  17. Michael Cain says:

    Is anyelse having this problem? Comments — including my own — are showing up in “Gifts of Gab” well before they show up in a refreshed page body. Could just be caching weirdness on this machine…Report

    • I’ve noticed something similar. A page refresh solves the problem, although it’s a little bit annoying that you have to do it manually.Report

      • Sometimes it seems to take two refreshes, which feels like either a caching problem or WordPress saying that the page was good for a couple minutes (even though it may not be). Didn’t someone here say recently that the first rule of software engineering is “If it’s not broken, it doesn’t have enough features”?Report

  18. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    A2 – More evidence American politicians suck at foreign policy?Report

  19. Stillwater says:

    I read this and immediately thought of MRS. It may make his head explode.

    Pa. Man Shoots At Neighbor’s Home Because Only Way He Knew How To Unload ItReport

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Stillwater says:

      I just… I got nothing.

      I am baffled, too often it seems, as to how some people manage to live as long as they do without killing themselves.

      At least he was a known felon, so we don’t have to worry about taking his gun rights away. Although one does wonder how he came to own a gun he had no idea how to unload.Report

      • Maybe that’s the problem with our police departments. Is anyone teaching them how to unload the guns without firing them at random unarmed people?Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        If only there was some way to make sure people knew how to use something dangerous before being able to use it. Like, say, some sort of paper that proved you’d passed a test or proved you had knowledge of the basics.

        Nah, why would we do that? A bunch of guys in the 18th century century said we had unlimited rights to guns forever and ever, amen.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I’m going to assume that wasn’t aimed at me directly & is just grousing in general.

        I understand the reluctance of some in the gun rights movement against training & licensing requirements, because there is a vocal group within the gun control movement who like to carry on about how they’ll push for requirements so onerous that only top competition shooters would be able to qualify, or training requirements that would be so expensive only the wealthy could afford to do it. However, I think such persons are a minority, even if they are loud & annoying, and I think for most states (NY, NJ, MA, CA probably excepted) would enact perfectly reasonable standards that anyone could meet. I mean, we do it for hunter’s safety, so I don’t see the concern.

        Now the people who feel that such a requirement is essentially getting government permission to practice a right, I think that technically, they are correct; but practically, that ship sailed long ago.

        Of course, given that the guy Stillwater mentions was a known felon & prohibited from even touching a gun, much less doing a tactical unloading, all of the above is moot in this case.Report

  20. Citizen says:

    There are reports Ebola has reached Dallas.Report

    • morat20 in reply to Citizen says:

      Yes, a guy who caught it in Africa and brought it back.

      Ebola is as hard — harder, actually, because it has a much shorter contagious period — than HIV. (Frankly, you become aware you have ebola far faster than HIV, and die from it much quicker ) It can’t become an epidemic — or frankly, anything other than a medical curiosity — in the First World because we internalized the problems with blood borne pathogens decades ago.

      We don’t embalm corpses bare-handed (the cause of something like 2/3rds of the transmissions in Africa), we don’t perform medicine bare-handed nor do we re-use needles (basically the other 1/3rd).

      Anyone trying to make an American or a European afraid of Ebola is someone trying to sell you something.

      Even with all that, the CDC will back-track him and ensure he didn’t somehow leave blood on anyone on his trip back, just in case. Of all the things the First World has to worry about, ebola outbreaks aren’t one.Report