Linky Friday #85: Designated Hitler Edition

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Will Truman

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

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171 Responses

  1. Avatar Defender of Truth says:

    The only local fertility clinic in Calgary refused to allow multi-ethnic inseminations on the grounds of it constituted “designer babies.” Razib Khan response.

    Why do you think anyone cares what a racist thinks about mixed race children.Report

  2. Avatar Kim says:

    s1,
    “But a set of eyes is also all you need to see that nothing like the effect of NFL brain damage is replicated at the high-school or youth level. ”
    Actually, a set of eyes isn’t a decent research tool. The primary issue with football is the effect of excessive testosterone production on the growing mind (concussions are bad, but they aren’t a permanent feature of the sport). Some folks want to say “this leads to aggression” — that’s not what the science shows. What it leads to is inflexibility and a lack of creativity. This costs people in future income.Report

  3. Avatar Kim says:

    S4,
    Baseball should be about cool throws, and having some fun with the struck ball. I’d rather see someone playing small-ball defense than the Yanks just hitting homer after homer.Report

  4. Avatar Pinky says:

    S5 – I love how the brain fills in words when you’re reading too quickly. I first read this as Designated Hitler. Then again, half of the internet is about designating Hitlers. (To be fair to myself, the word “atrocity” was earlier in the sentence, so it’s not altogether strange that I came up with the wrong DH.)Report

  5. Avatar Kim says:

    e3,
    “why’d you donate our money to that charity?”
    “Improve our credit score.”

    one of the biggest issues with folks with poor credit is them not knowing what gets them docked.Report

  6. Avatar Pinky says:

    Tr3 – Interesting article on trams (or as we call them in the US, flashlights). It matched my instinct. Buses may be more efficient, but they’re creepy. Trams are more tourist-friendly, but have limited benefits. The article talked about development along tram routes, but mostly restaurants. Trams might be great for an all-day pass in a hip section of town, but I don’t see them changing commuter flow.

    I remember seeing a piece about the history of streetcars, and it depicted the auto companies as the bad guys, buying influence among city planners. I’m having a little trouble reconciling that to this article. Were streetcars a better deal back then, but a worse deal now? What would have changed?Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Pinky says:

      The auto companies did admit fault for the collusion and were fined $1.

      Streetcars and trains were private up until the 70’s around here.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Pinky says:

      You may be thinking of the plot of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. I believe that James Howard Kuntsler also echoes this claim in his book The Geography of Nowhere.

      The whole narrative may be false, however: http://marketurbanism.com/2010/09/23/the-great-american-streetcar-myth/Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        jr,
        Timelines, please? I think the deregulation of speedlimits (specifically auto-limiters designed to keep cars at 20mph or less), and the active passing of laws (lobbyed by car companies) to give cars the right of way on streets (as opposed to pedestrians, which was the former rule, and which certain areas judges still adhere to, up till this day), might have also had something to do with the streetcar’s demise.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

        The GM streetcar story makes for a great myth but its ultimately just that a myth. Americans fell in love with the car, most of us were rich enough to afford one, and our public polciy reflected this love in our transportation policy. This was a poor choice in my opinion. It would have been better to have a more balanced transportation policy like they did in other nations. Even with the sprawl allowed by America’s geography and the decentralization of work, you still get tremendous traffic jams when everybody needs to drive to get around. Still, it was what Americans desired for the most part and not something fostered on them by corporations.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        Lee,
        if cars weren’t faster to get to work than jogging, I can assure you most people would rather take the bus or trolley. And the car companies actively lobbyed to make that rule.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

        Kim, wishful thinking. Tens or even hundreds of millions of Americans really love driving even if they hate traffic. They voluntary abandoned the trolleys and interurbans when they could. In the 1920s, the City of Los Angeles attempted to limit parking in the downtown area in an early attempt at congestion pricing and so that more people would take the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles streetcars into the downtown. There were rallies in favor of parking.

        Public transportation is important for issues of a balanced transportation system and sustainability. Fewer cars also mean less polution but lets not kid ourselves and assume that cars were forced on a public in love with the trolley.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        Lee,
        I can survey my mostly republican leaning office, and I know (because it’s come up in various conversations) that they’d vastly prefer taking the train into town, rather than driving. In fact, a good few people outside of our county take public transit into town (one guy who’s outside of the state, in fact). Yes, people love cars. People don’t so much love cars for a commute.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to j r says:

        @leeesq
        Not just Americans. The global evidence seems to support the idea that once people get rich enough, their priorities include (a) personal transportation and (b) living space where they don’t have to share walls with another family. At some point sprawl gets inconvenient enough that even Americans will yield somewhat on (a) — witness the American West (my definition for West is “west of the Great Plains”) metro areas almost all now building passenger rail systems of some sort. I tend to use Denver as my example, since I live there, where the financing makes it accurate to say “Denver’s suburbs decided to build a light rail system.”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r says:

        Michael Cain, you see this happening in China and India as those societies grow wealthy. One of the most intelligent policy decisions made by the PRC was to approach transporation policy in a much more balanced manner than the United States. They are focusing on their rail system and building subways in all their major cities in order to avoid the pitfalls of American car culture. India is doin the same to a lesser extent. Chinese cities are still very polluted from cars despite the more than adequate subway systems in many of them.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Pinky says:

      trams (or as we call them in the US, flashlights)

      We do?Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Pinky says:

      IIRC, streetcars were killed by a combination of the American love affair of cars & very bad union contracts that limited the ability of the car operators from raising fares while being obligated to provide raises to employees.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I’d also argue that a failure to municpalize the streetcars at the right time was also a problem. The streetcars survived in Europe because city governments or at least public corporations took them over at some point.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

      Is controlling for present income the key variable there? It seems not unimportant, but less important than childhood family income, which is where perspectives on acceptable behavior are determined.

      Maybe the results would be the same either way, but that seems like a better comparison than age group or age group and present income.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        I don’t know about income, but I remember seeing a recent study (I’ll look for it a bit later, when I have a little more time) in which they found that among high school and all levels of college football, high school and Division III players suffered the most concussions. Better and more experienced players tend to get injured less often and learn how to avoid major collisions. What’s more, in high school, you have kids at vastly different stages of physical development.

        The NFL has a serious brain injury problem, but part of the reason it does is because those guys have been shaking their brains around in their skulls since they were in grade schools. The damage done in high school and college at practice alone is enough to cause problems later in life, if I remember the research correctly.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        Oh sorry, you were talking about domestic violence, right? I’m rushing while code runs on my other monitor.)

        If so, I was wrong in the other thread. It does look like when controlling for income, NFL players get arrested for DV at a very high rate.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        Chris,
        cops are worse. perhaps unsurprisingly.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        Apologies for butting in because maybe this is exactly the point you are making (and contra my own comments on prior threads), but it’s certainly possible that the brain damage (particularly to impulse control centers) is in part related to high rates of DV (and any criminal behaviors).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        At domestic violence? I imagine they are pretty bad, but in a very different tax bracket.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        Glyph, I’d bet a fair amount of money that it is. Impulse control is one of the things that goes with the sorts of brain damage football players exhibit.Report

      • Chris, my point was that controlling for income is not the right way to look at it in this context. In most contexts, it’s fine because upper income people tend to have upper income parents. Here, though, there are a lot of disconnects, because a lot of these very wealthy individuals came from much more humble backgrounds. That means that they incorporated value systems that are different from those who came from more affluent households, even if they land in the same income brackets.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        Who’d’a’thunk that encouraging people to go run upside other people’s heads, using their own heads, might sometimes cause their brains to predispose them to going upside other people’s heads?

        It’s not even really ironic.

        It’s like some sort of karmic ‘duh’ thing.

        I don’t think I will let my boy play football (aside from casual neighborhood games). He’s got no impulse control as it is.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        Will, I agree to some extent. It’d be interesting to control for childhood family income, but I’m somebody’d have to collect that data.Report

      • Avatar Defender of Truth in reply to Will Truman says:

        Since you like Razib Khan and Steve Sailer why don’t you stop playing games and tell us what you really mean.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        Waaaaaait, is that MA?Report

      • As strange as it may seem, I mean what I say above and probably not the code you derive from it.Report

      • Avatar Defender of Truth in reply to Will Truman says:

        Then why do keep linking to white supremacist blogs?Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Will Truman says:

        Will, you’ve just been designated Hitler!Report

      • I link to articles I find interesting and relevant. 30+ a week, most weeks. In this case, it was Khan’s article that tipped me off to the story, and so I included a link to his as well as a conventional news source on the story.Report

      • Avatar Defender of Truth in reply to Will Truman says:

        Why didn’t you mention that Khan is a scientific racist before linking to his post on mixed race children? Why did you link to Steve Sailer last week? How often do you read racist blogs?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        @pinky Will, you’ve just been designated Hitler!

        Awesome.Report

      • I read a variety of content. The Khan article didn’t delve into the views you refer to but simply argued against the ban. The Sailer piece was about class, making a point that I hadn’t seen elsewhere (and can’t cite elsewhere). I don’t think I’ve linked to Unz-associated writers a half-dozen times in the history of Linky Friday, and none on the subjects you linked to (and that I did not).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman says:

        I used to count Razib as a friend, and he was, in my ScienceBlog days, one of the few people who knew my super secret identity. I never thought of him as a racist then, despite the fact that he was writing a lot about race, and I still have trouble seeing him as one. I don’t like some of his views on the biology of race, but I promise you he knows the data better than you and I combined, and he always uses it in defending his positions. Maybe he’s a racist, but simply disagreeing with you on what the data says doesn’t make him one.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Will Truman says:

        @will-truman

        Can I please give @defender-of-truth a little love tap with the ban hammer? It’s been a while since I’ve used it and I could use the workout.

        😉Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

        No need.

        It’s not like this is the first guy to tell someone else here that something they said/liked/linked to was racist.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to Will Truman says:

        @defender-of-truth

        1) Your handle is ironic.

        2) Sailer is neither a “white supremacist blog” nor a “racist blog”.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Chris says:

      @chris From your link (and the 538 link contained therein):

      And according to Comstock’s data, which tracks millions of athletes, football’s clearly, dramatically more risky for the brain.

      “For every 10,000 kids playing in a football game this Friday across the country, we expect 33 of them to sustain a concussion,” Comstock told me.
      In comparison, for every 10,000 boys playing in one high school soccer game, there are 12 concussions.

      This is directed at Chait’s point that the difference between football and girls soccer is about 2:1, and that this difference, while sizable, is also incremental, along the lines of the increased risk of driving an older car vs. a new car. I don’t see how referencing a ratio of 2.5:1 as compared to boys soccer affects Chait’s point. What’s more, the citation to per-game incidence seems to ignore that soccer players have about two and a half times more games than football players. This is equivalent to the old claim of drug warriors that emphasized how much more tar is in a joint of marijuana as compared to a single cigarette even though almost no one would smoke the equivalent of 20 joints a day, while plenty of people (at least at the time) smoked a pack of cigarettes a day.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Mark, I would not deny that soccer has a head injury problem. In fact, I think it’s a huge issue for soccer, one that has to be addressed (the former U.S.M.N.T. player who died recently had a brain that looked like a long-time American football player’s). Not sure that is a defense of football, though. More like, “Yeah, it’s a huge issue in football, and we need to figure out how to address it, as we do in soccer as well.”

        Also, the problem in football isn’t the games, its the practices.Report

      • Also, the problem in football isn’t the games, its the practices.

        This is a very important point, and one I keep coming back to whenever the subject comes up. When we talk about reforming the sport, we’re often really looking at the wrong place (or the wrong place first, since games matter as well).

        If I’m looking to reform the sport, and I’m most interested in young people, I’m looking first at practices. When I played in junior high, we were hitting one another for at least an hour a day three or four days a week, compared to a game time of half an hour, comparatively little of it spent actually hitting one another.Report

      • @Chris I wasn’t trying to downplay the issues in soccer so much as I was saying that the argument doesn’t at all address Chaits point.

        To be honest I’m not all that sure that concussions are ultimately the real issue. They’re an important issue, but im not sure that concussions alone cause the type of permanent, long term cognitive and emotional damage that is really terrifying. A properly implemented protocol seems like it can go a long way toward mitigating the more immediate or more physical problems of concussions alone (which, I cannot overemphasize, can indeed be severe and cam include death).

        It’s the constantly repeated little blows (where practice really comes into play) that seem to be more the cause of the potentially terrifying stuff, if anything, and that is what I’d like to see more closely addressed. But there really does need to be a lot more work done on the CTE issue before we have a clue what it means and what can be done about it, if anything.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        @mark-thompson
        It’s the constantly repeated little blows (where practice really comes into play) that seem to be more the cause of the potentially terrifying stuff, if anything, and that is what I’d like to see more closely addressed.

        This. Concussions are a red herring.

        They’re bad, yes. But the fundamental issue is the brain being banged around in the skull. Concussions do that to an extreme amount, but football is full of tiny little instances of that, overshadowing the relatively few concussions.

        Even if it takes one thousand ‘jostles’ to equal one concussion, football is essentially unplayable as a sport. At some point we’re going to have to accept that.

        I’m not sure about soccer. Hitting the ball with the head might have to go. (And the rest of it is just rare accidental concussions that we can probably live with.)Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        I think it’s interesting that we continue to talk about football/soccer, where blows to the head are common but (theoretically) incidental, but we don’t discuss boxing, where blows to the head are basically the entire point of the sport.

        I realize football is probably the more popular sport (here at least), but boxing is a pretty big deal as well; and in all sports, if one wants to excel, one probably needs to start young, which is the biggest issue of all (not just because the brain is still developing, but also because if we were 100% sure that all brain damage was being incurred solely by adults who consented to and were responsible for/aware of the risks, the moral queasiness is somewhat lessened).

        Just sayin’.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Boxing is barbaric and I have nothing to do with it. My engagement with football has decreased a great deal as well. I admit that giving up soccer, which has been a part of my identity since I was four, would be much more difficult.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        RE: boxing=barbaric.

        I kind of feel this way too. I know there is extreme skill involved, and I have friends who love the sport, and I respect that, but…

        I don’t know if it’s my lapsed religious upbringing (that says we are ‘made in God’s image’), or my current agnosticism (that says it’s irresponsible in the extreme to intentionally pummel – for paid entertainment! – the only brains we are aware of in this universe that we are reasonably sure are capable of reasoning to the degree we do; brains that are, so far as we can tell, the only frail repository of anything like a ‘soul’ or ‘essence’ we have) that makes me feel “that ain’t right.”

        Maybe a bit of both.Report

      • Honestly, I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that soccer players suffer long-term brain damage with nearly the frequency of American football players. Certainly, it may happen, but given the sheer number of people who play soccer well into adulthood around the world, it’s really hard to conclude that the risk of long-term brain damage is particularly significant.

        We have many, many reports of early-onset dementia and memory loss with football players, and that trend was often noticed long before the letters “CTE” were juxtaposed together. To an even greater extent, it was also noticed and often commented upon with respect to retired boxers. Neither of these were ever sports with particularly remarkable youth participation rates, even on just a national scale – football’s participation rate has never, AFAIK, been more than a little over half of baseball’s, and even before the concussion crisis, it was well under half the participation rate for soccer and basketball. (Source: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303519404579350892629229918)

        But despite the sheer volume of people who play soccer around the globe, and despite the fact that it’s history as the world’s most popular sport goes back quite a long while, I don’t think there’s ever been a stereotype of retired soccer players suffering from dementia or having particularly severe cognitive problems. There is, however, this study: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/14/science/la-sci-soccer-brain-injury-20121114

        But there seems to me to be a big difference between “mild” and “severe” even there – a “mild traumatic brain injury” is just a synonym for “concussion” so far as I can tell. From what I can tell, the finding is essentially that soccer players’ brains look like the brain of the 30% of people who suffer a concussion that never fully heals. http://www.germaninnovation.org/docs/GCRI-Interview-Dr_Koerte.pdf

        Obviously concussions that never fully heal obviously aren’t good, but my point is that effects similar to the effects of one concussion that never fully heals aren’t so severe as to warrant radical changes.

        There are, to my knowledge, two confirmed reports of severe CTE in soccer players, one of whom died at the age of 83 and does not appear to have exhibited any symptoms of dementia or lost memory until his mid-60s, with it only becoming debilitating in his mid-70s. The other player (a career semi-pro) is a much more troubling case, to be sure, but statistically it’s impossible to reach any significant conclusions from such a small number of cases.

        Last but not least, it seems that in soccer the bigger issue is not the heading of the ball itself – done properly, heading the ball really should not be particularly violent – but the contact with the head that can occur in the air with other players or the goalposts, which seems to be what is most likely to cause the types of subconcussive (and concussive) injuries with life-changing long-term effects. There are fairly easy ways to mitigate these problems – padding or softening the goalposts, requiring goalies to wear headgear, and encouraging field players to do likewise.Report

      • Shorter me: In soccer, the issue really does seem to be concussions or effects similar to concussions far more than widespread CTE or dementia, at least at this point.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        Are they more likely to enjoy soccer?Report

      • Avatar gingergene in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        As far as the CTE stuff, it is looking more and more like every hit (big or little) counts, and effect is cumulative. So we can’t just count concussions, and we can’t just count games, and we need to look at every sport that has contact to the head as a regular occurance.

        On the plus side, I see a surge in competitive swimming on the horizon. I would love that for purely selfish reasons.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        ginger,
        that’s ignoring the effects of enhancing the amount of testosterone flowing through young bodies and minds…
        That’s a particular confound for football/hockey that doesn’t exist for other sports (except rugby).Report

      • @gingergene

        As far as the CTE stuff, it is looking more and more like every hit (big or little) counts, and effect is cumulative. So we can’t just count concussions, and we can’t just count games, and we need to look at every sport that has contact to the head as a regular occurance.

        While it is absolutely true that we can’t just count concussions, and while there certainly should be a willingness to look at whether and how much CTE is linked to every sport where there is contact with the head, it’s not at all clear that literally every little hit involving the head counts, and at this point it seems very unlikely that outside of football, boxing, and perhaps hockey “enforcers,” the prevalence of CTE is sufficiently large to warrant radical changes. Unfortunately, there’s an element of risk to all sports, and for injuries/risks that are not immediately fatal, I’m hesitant to even consider radical changes absent a showing that the long-term risks will dramatically impact post-career quality of life for a substantial percentage of players.

        That varies according to the risk of course- if soccer players suffer ALS at any rate at all comparable to the rate in football, that’s a huge problem. And football players seem to eventually suffer dementia at a rate double the rest of the population’s, meaning that somewhere on the order of 1 in 5 or 6 football players will suffer dementia directly attributable to football. That’s a huge problem worthy of radical changes even if most of those don’t experience symptoms until their late 60s/early 70s.

        But at this point, there’s not any evidence to suggest that the risks associated with brain injuries in soccer are at all comparable to the horror of brain injuries in football.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Chris says:

      The way Chait describes his experiences with football is eerily similar to the way people describe their experiences with CrossFit. That’s a bit creepy.Report

  7. Avatar Kim says:

    C1,
    What’s a world class city? Is it Honolulu? Pittsburgh? Toronto? Vancouver?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kim says:

      London, Paris, Tokyo, New York, etc.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cityReport

      • I think it’s overly exclusive to focus on those cities. Using the list provided, my definition of “World City” includes the alphas and (at least most of the) betas from the link.Report

      • Different metrics. Saul’s looks primarily at global integration, while Kim’s is (selective) “livability.”Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        @will-truman

        I would include the Alphas and the Betas too in my definition.

        We live in a globalized world whether we like it or not and right now the big money is seemingly in attracting the globalized market even if this is a finite market and not everyone is going to win. There are plenty of New York and San Francisco residents who are annoyed to really fishing angry about how global wealth is making it hard to afford to live in those cities on a normal salary. I just read an article about how Brooklyn properties are selling for rates that are higher than they were pre-fiscal crisis and this included a house that was a block away from my old apartment. That townhouse sold for 7 million dollars. When I was living in Brooklyn, townhouses usually went for somewhere in the 1.5-2.5 million dollar range depending.

        I think it is going to be a rare and possibly non-existent politician who would willingly turn their back on all that globalized money even if many to most places will not get a shot at attracting a large share of the creative and/or globalized crash. The politicians that do try to be populist in this regard usually get scornfully mocked by the pundit class.Report

    • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Kim says:

      In my experience, a “World Class City” is a trope you pull out when you want to bitch about a city, usually your own.Report

      • That’s my experience as well, more or less. I usually would hear it in the context of a former mayor of Colosse, saying “If we want to be a World Class City, we’ll make pharmacy permits conditional on providing apartments for rent upstairs so that we can have more people living in walkable neighborhoods.”

        (That is an argument that was actually made, if not in those words. A pharmacy had their permit denied because of the apartment requirement. The phrase “World Class City” was actually used in the discussion.)Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

        Will,
        if we’re saying that world class cities are such based on interconnectivity and economics, Pittsburgh is NEVER going to be a world class city. You’d literally need to put a space elevator there, or something.Report

      • Related to Will and Kim’s comments… I’ve started playing with county-level migration data for the US. There are clearly a number of different patterns occurring. One is relatively local patterns around cities (which cross state boundaries in the case of “border” cities [1]). One is urban-to-urban between neighboring states. One is long-distance migration between cities. I suspect that as I find ways to separate those patterns, it’s going to be possible to use the long-distance connections, to identify a sort of “world class” hierarchy by measuring “distance” from the known seed cities like New York and San Francisco.

        [1] Playing with state-to-state Census Bureau migration data and cluster analysis to define regions, one of the anomalies — relative to traditional business and census classifications — that emerged was that Ohio and Kentucky get grouped together very early on in the region-building process. At the county level, that connection is very largely movement between Cincinnati and the Kentucky counties just across the Ohio River.Report

  8. Depends on who you ask. I’m inclined to say no, maybe, yes, and yes. But that’s based on my perceptions which are not as knowledgeable as it could be.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Here is a counter-view of the Tram debate:

    http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/10/hey-streetcar-critics-stop-making-perfect-the-enemy-of-good/380913/

    I think policywonks have a way of not understanding politics very well. Mainly they seem to think people are pesky with their emotions and desires.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I am not sure that I understand the argument at play in that link or how it at all counters the arguments made in The Economist piece or by others mentioned.

      If the perfect is a transportation project that actually does what it claims and has a positive ROI and the good is MOAR public transit, even if the individual project turns into a white elephant, then yes, we ought to make the perfect the enemy of the good.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to j r says:

        @j-r

        How does one determine what is perfect? Whose metrics count and how do you weigh them?

        Whether we like it or not, democracy needs to mean majority rule at least fairly often and this includes when the majority wants sub-optimal policy. If people find trains and streetcars to be more aesthetic and pleasing than buses, they should be pursued because some form of public transportation is better than none.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r says:

        ROI. If a project creates more economic value than it takes to build, it is a good project. If it costs more money to build than it will ever create in economic value, or if the same level of economic value could be created with a cheaper project, then it is a bad project.

        The democracy argument is a red herring. In DC, the city spent $140 million to build a streetcar line, without a dedicated lane, along a street already serviced by two bus lines, because gentrifying yuppies think streetcars are cooler than buses. And after close to ten years, the thing has yet to actually run. This is in a city that can’t find the money to properly fund its schools.

        When you say that “people find trains and streetcars to be more aesthetic and pleasing than buses,” to which people exactly do you think this refers?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        jr,+1.
        We’ve had a lot of government investment aimed at attracting people Who Don’t Live Here.
        They don’t vote here either, so this can’t be about a democracy sort of thing.Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to j r says:

        @j-r

        Completely disagree that pure ROI is the way to assess transit (at least, for any definition of “return” that is limited to anything resembling “tolls paid by riders”).

        As someone who lives in one of the most congested places in America, I benefit from every person who uses any form of transit other than solo driving no matter how I commute on any given day. If I’m using a bus, I benefit from mass consumption because the buses run more frequently. If I’m driving, I benefit because there are fewer cars.

        So I would absolutely support additional transit options so long as people use them. And I support the options whether or not they turn an independent profit because the entire community benefits from them. And providing community benefits that would otherwise be unecomonical or practically impossible is (after all) a central point of government.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to j r says:

        (at least, for any definition of “return” that is limited to anything resembling “tolls paid by riders”).

        He explicitly said “economic value” twice, which is much broader than just fares.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r says:

        Completely disagree that pure ROI is the way to assess transit (at least, for any definition of “return” that is limited to anything resembling “tolls paid by riders”).

        Then I guess it is a good thing that is not what I said. I specifically defined ROI by how much economic value the project creates and not by revenue.

        The problem with infrastructure projects is that proponents can get very creative in making all sorts of promises and attributing all sorts on economic growth to their favored projects with very little or downright spurious connection. One of the most obvious areas in which this happens is sporting venues and sporting events.Report

      • Avatar nevermoor in reply to j r says:

        So now you’ve said you mean nothing like “tolls paid by riders” but also that “proponents can get very creative in making all sorts of promises and attributing all sorts on economic growth to their favored projects”

        So forgive me for having trouble understanding what you mean by economic value. Because you are absolutely right that anyone proposing any municipal work will be able to collect some group of benefits to justify it.

        Here’s a more concrete example: a regional bus service is, right now, proposing expanded late-night service (in part because our regional rail is closed every night from ~12-4). These are buses that are very unlikely to be full of riders, but the agency’s justification is that it allows low-income workers to get home much faster at the end of their night shift.

        Is that a quantifiable economic value to you? For either answer, why? And does the validity of the expanded service rely on a pure cost-benefit analysis?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        nevermoor,
        I’m pretty sure we all know what “concrete” ROI for public transit means — more space available (fewer parking spots), less damage to roads, some money from fares.

        “Fanciful” — or at least “prone to exaggeration” is “how many new restaurants will be built because of the new bus line.” (at least until you’ve done actual math, with actual voters).

        In your case, I’d be running a few numbers — risk of accidents due to late night shifts, cost to the entire community from muggings/deaths/etc. (which is NOT just “oh no crime is Bad!” but also “nurses won’t work nights because they can’t get to work”). And, of course, you have the whole “having at least one bus running is way better than nothing…” part of the equation.

        I dunno, it might be profitable, it might not be. There might be some political value (“look! I like poor night shift workers!”) that might incentivize choosing something with negative ROI. OTOH, this isn’t the worst, graftiest thing in politics, so I think i might be able to support a small negative roi.Report

  10. Avatar Kim says:

    G1,
    Compare with Philly. Need I say more?
    Being the rump end of boswash sucks, no matter where you put your head down to sleep.Report

  11. Avatar Kim says:

    G3,
    Anyone know whether these vouchers were going for income-segregated housing? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t fix much if you didn’t change the makeup of the community (having gangbangers and other lowlife hanging around offering tempting “easy money” is always a danger in cities, but it’s worse if you’re living in an income-segregated community).Report

  12. Avatar Kim says:

    G4,
    Had to laugh at the guy with the defective sprinklers (it took him a full year to get them fixed… OMG!). Still, he’ll at least have a decent long term average. The other shmucks concern me.Report

  13. Avatar North says:

    R1: Eh, I’m unmoved. Everything -everything- causes cancer.Report

  14. Avatar Kim says:

    TR1,
    Distracted driving is a PROBLEM. But, we need to get actually realistic about it. Educating the public that listening to music while driving means you need more following room, means you should drive slower… That someone talking with you in the car is probably just as dangerous as that telephone call…

    You probably can’t BAN distracted driving. But it sure would be nice if folks would put flags up “Listening to Music, Can’t Hear your horn!” “Talking with Wife, won’t see your hand signal”Report

  15. Avatar nevermoor says:

    Te2

    I’m not sure I understand how the link connects to your attempt at snark (I see no evidence the school “decided to start blocking conservative websites” or that anyone is suggesting more funding).

    Seems like the only thing the school could do is switch firewall providers (which the article specifically says is being considered) or allow students access to the political/advocacy group (which seems like a no-brainer to me).

    Given that, seems like the only reaction is either “Dell SonicWall has political bias” or “Look, a school is bad at appropriately applying technology, tries to improve when student discovers problem.” Of course, neither of those play into the GOP’s war on teachers…

    And, of course, as a liberal I can only imagine how, with the roles reversed, the conservative school district would be denying the existence of the difference, then defending it, then having the school board change the rules to codify it. I take comfort that the school’s current posture sounds honest, concerned, and likely to improve things.Report

  16. Avatar Kim says:

    R2,
    Because in Japan, it’s better to use the government’s money to encourage incest than to actually listen to what women have to say.Report

  17. Avatar nevermoor says:

    S3, alternate lead, “George W. Bush, bitter about his rejection the previous year, voted against measure that would create millions of dollars per year for successful franchises”

    (That said, the world would clearly be a better place had Bush’s efforts remained focused on professional sports)Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to nevermoor says:

      (That said, the world would clearly be a better place had Bush’s efforts remained focused on professional sports)

      I was thinking that as well. I’m going to stop blaming the Supreme Court and Gore for Iraq and the 8 lost years, and start blaming Selig.Report

  18. C2 and C3: I hate this type of thing when they use only percentages rather than including absolute numbers. Millennials in the suburbs grew by 1.3% versus the urban core’s 1.2%. But what were the bases? Colorado Springs and San Antonio had the highest millennial growth rate. Because the hipsters have discovered those cities? Or because military consolidations added a lot of 20-34 year-olds to them? Fargo grew jobs at a higher percentage than Minneapolis-St. Paul, but MSP added a lot more jobs in absolute terms. To borrow an idea from Warren Buffett, it’s a lot easier for a metro area to grow from one million people to two million than it is to reach a million in the first place.Report

    • @michael-cain I agree that both absolute and rates matter (or can depending on what point is being made).

      In the case of the Millennials, though, I think that leads to an understatement of the difference because I’m relatively sure that suburbs have a higher base point.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

        How are we defining suburbs in the first place. In many cities that boomed after World War II, you have neighborhoods in cities that are indistinguishable from an unincorporated, strictly zoned suburban community. Is a person living in a neighborhood of Phoenix or Orlando that only consists of single-family homes and no commercial or retail space within walking distance in a suburb or in the city? What about a suburb of New York, Boston, or Philadelphia that is more urban than most post-War suburbs because of its age like Jersey City or Cambridge?Report

      • There are a few ways of doing it:

        1) Tentpole cities versus municipalities (Miami vs areas around Miami).
        2) Urban cores versus areas outside the urban core(s) (downtown and miles from downtown).
        3) Density.

        I suspect that it’s #1 that’s the most generous to cities. I think once you start looking at housing configurations, a whole lot of “city” (housing within city limits) starts counting as “suburb.”Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman says:

        Lee and Will,
        Three basic categories:
        1) High Rises
        2) StreetCar Suburbs — walkable (to the supermarket or the bar or the shoestore), look like a “small town” — where most people want to live.
        3) “Car only” perserves.

        1&2 are basically “city” 3 is “suburb or exurb”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

        I prefer to call them anchor cities but I suspect that one or three is the best way to distinguish between urban or suburban but I’d use land-use as the defining factor rather than density. Roughly speaking, urban areas feature mixed-use land use and suburban areas are much more strictly zoned into residential, commercial, and industrial areas.Report

  19. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    G4: I am shocked, SHOCKED! I tell you, that government officials find themselves unable to comply with the restrictions they want to enforce on everyone else.

    Seriously though, such people should be fined heavily, or should lose their jobs, or both.Report

  20. Avatar DavidTC says:

    [E4]
    At some point, we have to admit to ourselves that providing small places for the homeless to live (Be it in remodeled dumpsters or the idea I like, small cinder-block dorms.) is just something we could easily do without spending that much money…but we have decided not to.

    [R2]
    Japan is sorta what happens when you take all the feminism accoutrements of modern society like women in the workplace, non-arranged marriages, spousal consent laws, divorce, birth control, abortion…and then don’t actually remove societal prejudice. They copied the west on the laws and technology and whatnot, but forgot to *not be sexist*.

    Japan is actually an interesting cautionary tale that everyone can look at, and strangely learn the same lesson: If you given women control over their own destinies, but you *don’t* let them to compete on equal footing as men (Much less help them with raising children.), they will just stop having children, as that greatly hinders their ability to compete, and they’re having enough problems competing without that.

    How misogynists and non-misogynists attempt to solve this problem will, of course, vary.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to DavidTC says:

      re: e4

      Exactly. No, no super cheap housing for you! The only acceptable housing for homeless people has to include all these amenities (beyond common sense safety requirements).

      Seattle is busy struggling with Micro Housing, with some people happy for the cheap units that increase housing supply, and others upset that it is somehow displacing family housing (it isn’t, as far as I can tell).Report

      • I agree, though I am arguably at an extreme on this point in my support for flophouses.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @dave

        So they’re requiring “Minimum 150 square-foot sleeping area”? My bedroom in my 1500 square-foot detached house fails that standard. Seriously.Report

      • That’s funny. I could have sworn that I’ve been told that, if left to their own devices, developers would only build luxury condominiums for rich people.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @will-truman

        That’s funny. I could have sworn that I’ve been told that, if left to their own devices, developers would only build luxury condominiums for rich people.

        If you heard it here, it must be true.

        @james-hanley

        Yes, 150 square feet, which pretty much leaves 70 square feet for the rest of it. That does seem mighty tight. If some of these exist and are being rented, I should be able to find a website that has unit layouts.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist
        Exactly. No, no super cheap housing for you!

        Well, I was talking about that more as something the government would build for the homeless, not developers building incredibly small houses.

        And reading about this, I’m a little torn. I’ve long said that we should stop having silly zoning rules about the size of houses, but, OTOH, the actual problem this appears to be solving is not ‘people want cheaper housing’, it’s ‘people want to live on streets that *are completely full of people*’, which is a sorta stupid problem to try to solve.

        I mean, this is somewhat akin to legalizing microhouses because people insist they want houses made out of gold. Yes, you have to build solid gold houses very small to make them affordable, but a better solution might be to just *live a quarter mile away*, you twits. I say that as someone that thinks less urban sprawl is a good thing, but the opposite of ‘sprawl’ is not ‘sardines’.

        I’m finding it hard to care about what is happening in Seattle. If anything, this demonstrates the inability of the political system to care about the poor…poor people have been unable to purchases houses for years, and would have liked smaller ones all this time (And middle class people have constantly made rules stopping that), but now it’s middle class people that want them, and, hey, let’s do it!

        How about we start not caring about housing size (And all the other bullshit that gets blocked because of ‘property values’.) as a *general rule*, not because of unique (and stupid) circumstances in one city?Report

      • If it were middle class people wanting the housing, people wouldn’t be trying to prevent it from being built.Report

      • @james-hanley
        Skimming through the Seattle building code (some days you have to love the Internet), your detached house doesn’t fall under the “small efficiency dwelling unit” statute. There doesn’t seem to be maximum size in the code for a small efficiency unit, but the working assumption seems to be that there are no internal walls dividing habitable areas aside from the bathroom (which, depending on its size, might not count as habitable). So, ≥220 sq ft total habitable space and ≥150 sq ft after you subtract out bathroom and kitchen areas.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @will-truman
        If it were middle class people wanting the housing, people wouldn’t be trying to prevent it from being built.

        From what I can tell, it’s lower-middle class people trying live in upper-middle class areas.

        And part of it seem to be the spillover…the laxiness in rules was designed for cramming nice tiny homes in very expensive streets that the middle class would buy, but, thanks to how the rules work, you also get people cramming cheap tiny homes in middle-class streets that the poor buy. (And that is possibly where the backlash is coming from.)

        Then again, I really have no idea of the political situation in Seattle. I do,however, suspect that if *only* poor people had wanted such housing, it never would have happened.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        So, ?220 sq ft total habitable space and ?150 sq ft after you subtract out bathroom and kitchen areas

        Ah, that sounds more reasonable. I still don’t think such a rule should be made, but it’s not nearly as silly as requiring a minimum bedroom size of 150 square feet.Report

      • …but it’s not nearly as silly as requiring a minimum bedroom size of 150 square feet.

        You get off easier than that, but there are rules for regular dwelling units. Every room used for sleeping purposes must be at least 70 sq ft, plus an additional 50 sq ft for each person in excess of two using the room. There’s another rule that requires the floor to be at least 7 ft in all dimensions; 7×10 would be okay but 6×12 would not. A bedroom must have window(s) with an area of at least 10% of the floor space or 10 sq ft, whichever is larger.

        I’m pretty sure I lived in an old house that had been carved up into apartments as an undergrad that failed the 7 ft rule.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        7 feet! Bah, British sailors got by with 5′ x 18″ and they ruled the waves!Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to DavidTC says:

      the idea I like, small cinder-block dorms.)

      Either you have a very different idea of what a cinder block dorm looks like than I do (and I spent 4 years in one), or you intend to balance providing shelter for the poor while making damn sure they know they’re still in public housing.

      I’m assuming the first, but sitting here staring at the walls of my cinder block office, I just can’t picture what it would look like.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley
        Either you have a very different idea of what a cinder block dorm looks like than I do (and I spent 4 years in one), or you intend to balance providing shelter for the poor while making damn sure they know they’re still in public housing.

        I didn’t say it was for the poor, I said it was for the *homeless*.

        I am talking about homeless shelters. Where instead of sleeping on the street, people can sleep in small rooms, and have a lock on the door, and somewhere to leave their stuff and take a shower.

        ‘Public housing’ is something else entirely.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley says:

        David,
        This “shelter” seems fairly illadvised for the percentage of homeless likely to create biohazards within the shelter (be they bedbugs or active use of the shelter as a toilet).Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley

        Postal banking is easier to accomplish than this.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        @davidtc

        I’m hung up on the “cinder block” aspect. Do you have a special attachment for cinder block structures–aesthetics? low cost? sturdy? you’re in the cinder block business?–or would you be ok with other materials?

        It’s likely I’m over-stressing this, but I have a loathing for cinder block as a form of dehumanizing brutalist architecture whose only virtue is being inexpensive–but therefore all the more dehumanizing because it’s overriding signal is “you’re not worth any real commitment of resources.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

        Most (if not all) of the chronically homeless would benefit from having a door they could lock. If something like a cinderblock dorm would get funding when a nicer complex with wood paneling wouldn’t, the cinderblock dorm would actually be a step up that would actually be achievable.Report

      • Bah. Brutalist architecture is awesome. If it’s good enough for Boston City Hall, it’s good enough.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley
        I’m hung up on the “cinder block” aspect. Do you have a special attachment for cinder block structures–aesthetics? low cost? sturdy? you’re in the cinder block business?–or would you be ok with other materials?

        I’d be fine with other materials. The problem, I don’t think others would be.

        It’s likely I’m over-stressing this, but I have a loathing for cinder block as a form of dehumanizing brutalist architecture whose only virtue is being inexpensive–but therefore all the more dehumanizing because it’s overriding signal is “you’re not worth any real commitment of resources.”

        I understand that. That is part of the reason I think it’s a good idea.

        Why? Because the only way certain groups in society will ever help the homeless is *if we make sure to dehumanize them*.

        While I can tell you are shocked that I am proposing this, think of me as, essentially, pre-compromising with Republicans on it. Of course we can’t let the homeless live in *actual places people might want to live*. That would just be crazy talk.

        What we can do, however, is set up horrible-looking homeless shelters that basically manage themselves.

        If you want my ‘I am a dictator and don’t have to deal with political reality’ plan, it’s giving the homeless houses to live in (Because, duh, we’ve got like fives more spare houses than homeless people.) and additionally giving the people on the street due to personal issues (as opposed to just the lack of money) some sort of mental health care.

        But, obviously, we aren’t going to that, because homeless people are useless scum.

        (Note Kim, for example, thinks homeless people will use the provided room as a toilet, for some reason. Because the reason homeless people use the bathroom in random locations outside is because they are gibbering idiots, and not because of the simple fact that *they have no damn bathroom*.)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        @davidtc,

        Well, since an underlying assumption of your argument is “Republicans are all horrid evil monsters, but apparently we can’t kill them so we have to accept them as is rather than try to actually shift their position one iota,” I guess we’re at an impasse.

        @will-truman
        It’s not good enough for Boston City Hall. We should keep one brutalist building in the U.S. as a memorial to how the Soviets were once upon a time winning the Cold War by infiltrating our schools of architecture, and other than that they should appear only in distopian cinema. It is the architecture of high modernism, and the conscious totalitarian effort to destroy any sense of the individual, of the human, and to create not a place designed for humans, but to redesign humans for a planned place.

        My loathing of brutalism is of a religously fundamentalist nature, and I could easily be persuaded to wage jihad against its defenders. 😉Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley
        Well, since an underlying assumption of your argument is “Republicans are all horrid evil monsters, but apparently we can’t kill them so we have to accept them as is rather than try to actually shift their position one iota,” I guess we’re at an impasse.

        I don’t think we’re actually at an impasse in any meaningful sense. I’m fine with not making it them look brutal. That is not, in any way, a required part of this. I’m just expecting backlash otherwise.

        And I didn’t call Republicans ‘horrid evil monsters’. However, they do generally refuse to provide government assistance to the homeless, and often have odd ideas about how we don’t want to provide ‘incentives’ to the poor for being poor. I suspect providing housing to the homeless would count as providing ‘incentives’, so I was trying to figure out a way to make it less incentive-ly.

        But I have a question. You said you were ‘hung up’ on the cinder block part? Does that mean you’d be fine with this *in theory*, as long as we made look less brutal?

        I think I have explained this before, but I don’t remember your opinion on it. To recap, I am basically talking about maybe 60 square feet rooms, with a locking door, a bed and table and chair, and a bathroom. (And larger sized ones for families) Maybe a microwave and fridge, but I’m flexible there. And we build enough of these that homeless people can essentially be given long-term use of them.

        They should be made pretty simply, and hard to damage. (Although as I said about Kim’s statement, the idea that homeless people will just randomly wreck stuff is nonsense.) And to decrease crime, they’re arranged like motels, there aren’t any internal hallways for people to lurk. (Probably two rows arranged back to back so we could run the plumbing down the middle.)Report

      • Chances are good that all of us live within easy distance of some very nice looking buildings that are cinder block underneath. It’s strong, relatively cheap, fireproof, bugproof, rotproof, and soundproof under most normal circumstances. If all you do to finish it is slap on a coat of paint, then yeah, it’s ugly and depressing. “Skin” it on the inside and outside and you can’t tell.

        I sympathize with the painted cinder block interior of your office. But, how nice is the exterior of the building, where the school cared more about the impression they gave? The rooms in the dorms where I lived were brutal (although I don’t recall minding as much then as I no doubt would now); the outside of the buildings gave no hints.Report

      • Avatar dhex in reply to James Hanley says:

        the good professor’s least favorite tumblr:

        http://fuckyeahbrutalism.tumblr.com/Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to James Hanley says:

        I’m caught in the dilemma of agreeing with both Hanley and Dave on this one.

        Housing for the poor or homeless is not a technical problem- we have the know how and wherewithal to build massive amounts of cheap housing.
        But what we have is just the ability to construct buildings, and as was learned from the infamous examples of the post war era, constructing large warehouses for poor people doesn’t solve, or even address the problem.
        There isn’t a neat and tidy solution- to even lessen the hardship of the homeless requires a sustained commitment which can attack many problems at once- Health care, mental illness, substance abuse, overall economic inequality.

        Not to say we can’t or shouldn’t do something; We can and should- but the idea that a speedy and shovel ready solution is at hand, or that the solution lies in the technical realm isn’t correct. The problem lies in the political/ cultural realm, and as Dave points out, a postal savings bank is easier to accomplish.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to James Hanley says:

        @james-hanley

        Re: Brutalism

        I am not a fan but I think you have the history a bit wrong. Brutalism took a hold in post-War Europe because:

        1. Concrete was really cheap and it allowed everyone to rebuild very quickly.

        2. The grandiose architecture of old Europe was seen as being parts of the symptoms that gave rise to the Imperialism of WWI and Fascism and Nazism. It was seen as being part and parcel of the bad old days.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

        Saul,

        I don’t think that’s quite right. Internationalism, in its minimalist form, took off in the post-war era because it was less costly than old styles and because it had ,min the pre-war era, a well-developed theoretical foundation (albeit one I don’t like). Brutalism gained in influence a couple of decades later, iirc–blossoming in the ’60s rather than the early ’50s like modernism.

        For me it’s not the concrete itself that’s problematic, although it’s actually a trickier material than thought, because of its tendency to discoler and crack, but the forms. I often like it’s use in deconstructionist architecture, which I find both more aesthetically and more intellectually appealing.

        Brutalists should be brutalized. Or, since the term actually comes from the French for raw concrete, not from brutality, they should be dropped in wet raw concrete and left sticking out of it, much as heads were once put on pikes.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to James Hanley says:

        @lwa
        There isn’t a neat and tidy solution- to even lessen the hardship of the homeless requires a sustained commitment which can attack many problems at once- Health care, mental illness, substance abuse, overall economic inequality.

        No, to *reduce the amount of the homeless* would require a sustained commitment in those things.

        To *lessen the hardship of the homeless*, you can just, you know, give them things that they desperately need. Like a place to sleep that isn’t outdoors.

        The problem is that a certain political philosophy in this country is completely opposed to lessening their hardship. (Which is true regardless of how much James want to pretend it’s a horrible thing for me to point out.) If we lessen their hardship, the logic goes, they’ll have less incentive to choose not to be homeless.Report

      • Avatar LWA (Liberal With Attitude) in reply to James Hanley says:

        @davidtc
        I totally agree that there is a large swath of Americans (of all political persuasions, but dominated by the right) that views poverty and homelessness as either karmic retribution for sinfulness, or consequence of poor decisions, but either way, not a problem that should be worked on, short of sweeping them away.
        @james-hanley
        We share a violent loathing of Brutalism. Your historiography leans a bit too far to the Tom Wolfe “Bauhas to Our House” explanation, but its not entirely incorrect- the embrace of the International Style and Brutalism stemmed from a myriad of reasons, but there was in fact a political undertone which saw central planning as a natural outcome of human progress.
        Of course, it also lent itself just as easily to the desire of capitalists to conjure up a “disruptive” future of limitless consumption.
        Architectural styles are flexible this way- the same way Thomas Jefferson and Albert Speer could share a love of Classicism, drawing diametrically opposite conclusions from it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to James Hanley says:

        People seem to be responding to DavidTC as if he were arguing that we need to set these rooms up for, say, families of five who hope to send their kids off to community college someday. (“Why community college? Are you saying these kids don’t deserve to go to Yale?”)

        I see that he’s arguing for these rooms to be given to people who are individuals who are pretty much past our ability to rehabilitate. (“Are you saying these people can’t be rehabilitated?” “I’m saying that we don’t know how to rehabilitate them.”) The choice isn’t between setting these people up with a lifestyle that will allow them back into Babbitesque Middle Class Society and getting drunk in an alley but between getting drunk in an alley and getting drunk in a small room of their own with a door that they can lock.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to James Hanley says:

        DavidTC,
        I am referring to a specific homeless person who would break into a hospital and contaminate the stairwell with his fecal matter (posing a real safety issue for the hundreds of people who enter and exit the hospital on any given day). Perhaps he does not have a restroom to use… still, this isn’t someone defecating in an alley. It’s a hospital.

        He is, by his own choice, choosing not to stay in a shelter. I don’t know the reason why.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to DavidTC says:

      R2-Most European countries are much less sexist than Japan and a few like Italy and Spain are experiencing similar demographic problems.

      IMO, feminism was perfectly implemented in Japan because Japanese politics doesn’t have a tradition of what you can call rights agitiation like European, North American, and Latin American countries. The feminist movement, the labor movement, the LGBT movement, and even various Rightist populist movements are based on groups agitating the government for their rights. In Japan this sort of behavior is seen as deeply disturbing on contrary on how people are supposed to act. Without rights agitiation and open discussion of the issues, its really difficult to change society.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to DavidTC says:

      @davidtc

      Female employment in Japan is kind of interesting because I think it is still largely done in a way that we would think is right out Mad Men. At least it was when I was in Japan in the early aughts. Women would get very basic office jobs which were largely light clerical and social, they would usually live at home (IIRC men did this too, Japanese society does not have the same stigma about living at home that American society has), and were expected to stop working after marriage. This gave rise to the so-called “parasite single” who had a small income but not great expenses (because they lived at home) so they ended up spending lots of money on up-market goods and services.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        There wasn’t really much of a feminist movement in Japan in the way that there was in the Americas or Europe. There are Japanese women that consider themselves feminist but they didn’t engage in political action in the way feminists in other countries did as far as I can tell. Nor did they seem to exist in the numbers that they did elsewhere.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I think that Japan’s creepy treatment of women draws attention away from how lousy its society is for working-age men, too. I can understand why Japanese women don’t feel motivated to raise children. I can also see why the hours, commutes, and housing costs make men feel like marriage and children are beyond their reach. It’s bizarre. A society that in theory values family above all has no place for it in practice.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to DavidTC says:

      At some point, we have to admit to ourselves that providing small places for the homeless to live (Be it in remodeled dumpsters or the idea I like, small cinder-block dorms.) is just something we could easily do without spending that much money…but we have decided not to.

      I don’t quite understand this comment. For one thing, which homeless are you talking about: the small percentage of people you see on the street panhandling and pushing shopping carts or the much larger percentage of the homeless who tend to be families or single mothers with kids who have fallen behind on rent and forced to move from shelter to shelter or live in cheap motels?

      If it’s the former, you are essentially saying that you want to take a bunch of men and women with severe mental illnesses and substance abuse problems and warehouse them in barracks, probably against their will. Not sure how that is a solution.

      If you are talking about the latter group, are you really going to start putting families in something the size of a dumpster or in a concrete barracks? I suppose you could provide something more substantial, but even a relatively nice shelter is still a shelter. And more homeless shelters would certainly be a benefit to homeless people, but it would be a temporary measure and not a solution.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to j r says:

        I think he was talking about telling the NIMBY’s, the rent controllers and the other housing supply restrictionists to jump off a pier and permitting developers to build small (safety building code compliant), low ammenity, high density housing to rent or sell in urban areas.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to j r says:

        If it’s the former, you are essentially saying that you want to take a bunch of men and women with severe mental illnesses and substance abuse problems and warehouse them in barracks, probably against their will. Not sure how that is a solution.

        First, at no point did I say or even imply ‘against their will’.

        Second, I don’t think you know what ‘severe mental illness’ is. All that means is that is affects them so much they can’t live normally. So, by definition, all homeless people that are homeless because of their mental illness have a severe mental illness. That doesn’t mean the same thing as ‘dangerous’.

        Third, I find is *astonishing* that people think the correct thing to do with people that are severally mentally ill is to present no option to them but to wander the street.

        So *what* if they are mentally ill? That means they should *live outside in the street*? Jesus Christ, victim blaming much?

        If you want to argue such people are ‘dangerous’…well, you could try that, but I feel I must remind you that the alternate for this is for the same people to *wander the street*, where I guess they somehow magically become less dangerous?

        We should probably put people who are dangerous to themselves or others in a mental institution. That…is completely unrelated to this. (If anything, an actual place to live would help solve some of the minor problems. The homeless who need to stay on medication could be given medication and it would be kept safe, and they could even be monitored in a fairly safe manner instead of having to track them down. I’m not saying it would help *a lot*, but it would help some.)

        If you are talking about the latter group, are you really going to start putting families in something the size of a dumpster or in a concrete barracks? I suppose you could provide something more substantial, but even a relatively nice shelter is still a shelter. And more homeless shelters would certainly be a benefit to homeless people, but it would be a temporary measure and not a solution.

        As oppose to the *street*? Yes, yes I am going to start putting families there.

        As I have mentioned above, this entire plan is *extremely* scaled down because I would like it to pass. If *you* want to propose building the homeless actual apartments, go ahead, I have no objections.Report

      • Avatar LWA (Liberal With Attitude) in reply to j r says:

        There are of course almost as many causes of poverty and homelessness as there are homeless themselves, but one thing they share is that their lives are in chaos and turmoil.
        Some are so mentally ill that compulsory institutionalization is actually the most loving thing we can do. Some are so heavily addicted to drugs or alcohol that the most we can do is 3 hots and a cot.
        Others, though could definitely benefit from very small SRO (Single Room Occupancy) housing. I’ve designed several myself, in cities like Santa Monica which are hospitable to them.
        There seems to be a bit of a hangup about the cinder block/ dormitory aspect which is probably unnecesary. Plain old wood frame and drywall, like the houses everyone lives in, as just as cheap.
        What I referred to in my other post about a lack of tidy solutions is that providing space for people is just the first step- an important first step, one that absolutely must be pursued, but its every bit as critical to go onto the next steps, or we end up with Pruit Igoe.

        We’ve actually learned a lot since that era of warehousing. Keeping the projects small, integrating them into workforce neighborhoods, providing health care and day care are very good ways to transition homeless familes back into the self-sustaining community.

        The biggest resistance to this, IMO, doesn’t come from the rich who would presumably be taxed for the bill- its most often from the working poor, who live right at that fuzzy boundary between self-sustenance and homelessness, who resent the fatted calf being served up to the prodigal son while they toil away.

        Which, also IMO, calls for a seamless social program that provides benefits to all, so that there is no sharp cliff between generous benefits and none at all. And while we are dreaming, a culture that celebrates community and interdependence.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r says:

        a culture that celebrates community and interdependence.

        I suspect we’d need a lot less diversity. To the point where we probably shared a common religion.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to j r says:

        If you want to argue such people are ‘dangerous’…well, you could try that, but I feel I must remind you that the alternate for this is for the same people to *wander the street*, where I guess they somehow magically become less dangerous?

        I reread my comment a few times to figure out where I said anything to imply that I think homeless people are dangerous. I didn’t find it.

        If you’re saying that we presently have a sub-optimal number of homeless shelters, I don’t know enough to have a strong opinion, but I suspect you are right. If you are saying that micro-apartments and the like hold out some promise for re-thinking the design of homeless shelters, again I don’t know enough, but I suspect that you may be right.

        What I am responding to in your comment is the idea that homelessness is some problem that has an easy fix and that the only reason that we have not fixed it is because we don’t care enough.

        You are not even talking about the largest aspect of the homelessness issue, which is families, not the single homeless people that you see on the street. Homeless families are already off the street. They are homeless because they are in shelters or on short-term motels and rooming houses.

        As for the people on the street, most of those people are not on the street because there is nowhere for them to go. Most of those people are on the street, because they have some issue (often mental illness and/or substance abuse problems) that preclude them from going to the places where they might get help. If you have some magic solution that can help those people, I am all ears. Putting them in refurbished dumpsters or barracks is simply not that magic solution.

        The weird thing about your comment is that you seem completely unaware of the fact that the question of whether to institutionalize homeless men and women is, in fact, a long and ongoing debate. This used to be the policy and then deinstitutionalization became the norm (Google it). And that didn’t happen because we stopped caring. It happened because advocates for the homeless fought against warehousing people in institutions against their will. If you want to argue in favor of that, I am all ears. I tend to think that putting people in mental hospitals for the sole purpose of getting them off the streets is more about getting them out of the public sight than it is about helping those people, but I am more than willing to hear arguments for it.

        As an aside, this randomly came up on my FB wall yesterday: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/10/star-apartments-los-angeles_n_5961558.html. This is a promising model. However, while this is the sort of thing that may be very good at helping the people ready for help, it is not a solution for homelessness for the simple reason that there is no such thing as a solution for homelessness.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to j r says:

        Plain old wood frame and drywall, like the houses everyone lives in, as just as cheap.

        They may be roughly equally expensive to build once, but cinder blocks may be significantly less likely to need repairs when housing someone of questionable mental stability and sporadic sobriety.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to j r says:

        cinder blocks may be significantly less likely to need repairs when housing someone of questionable mental stability and sporadic sobriety.

        I think you just explained why I’m in a cinder block office.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to j r says:

        @j-r
        I reread my comment a few times to figure out where I said anything to imply that I think homeless people are dangerous. I didn’t find it.

        That would be me assuming that you had some *rational* reason for objecting to them getting a place to live.

        I was unaware that you did not have any reason at all.

        What I am responding to in your comment is the idea that homelessness is some problem that has an easy fix and that the only reason that we have not fixed it is because we don’t care enough.

        Strictly speaking, there is a trivial easy solution to homelessness: Give them homes.

        You’re trying to solve *other* problems. You’re trying to solve *why* they can’t support themselves.

        The definition of ‘homeless’ is ‘without a home’. Providing them a home means they are, by definition, not homeless anymore. QED.

        (Please note this is not really what I’m proposing. A room like this is not really a ‘home’, it’s basically a shelter. I’m just pointing out we actually could just *give them homes*. We certainly have enough empty houses. Pretending this is some insanely complicated problem is nonsense.)

        You are not even talking about the largest aspect of the homelessness issue, which is families, not the single homeless people that you see on the street.

        I’m pretty certain I explicitly said I *was* talking about families also. I have not provided any specifics, so I’m fairly baffled as to what your objection to this is, unless you inanely think I’m proposing offering families the same size rooms as single people. Obviously, they’d be bigger.

        And, yes, a lot of homeless families live in various places. I am baffled as to why you think this is relevant. Clearly, my idea is to provide shelter for the homeless who *do not have shelter*. The homeless that do have shelter would, obviously, not be very helped by this. (Although they might choose to use this instead of paying for a motel room, letting them use their limited funds better.)

        As for the people on the street, most of those people are not on the street because there is nowhere for them to go. Most of those people are on the street, because they have some issue (often mental illness and/or substance abuse problems) that preclude them from going to the places where they might get help. If you have some magic solution that can help those people, I am all ears. Putting them in refurbished dumpsters or barracks is simply not that magic solution.

        You know, I’m getting a little tired of this silliness. The reason they are ‘precluded from going to places where they might get help’ like that is because those places have limited resources so they try to filter out certain types of people. They aren’t *choosing* to not get help, they’re unable to meet the requirements.

        But, more importantly, that has FUCK ALL to do with the fact that their life would be immeasurably better if they weren’t sleeping the damn street. That we could do that *even if* we aren’t sure how to solve their root problem.

        ‘Hey, you, PTSD-suffering alcoholic sleeping under that overhang in a cardboard box. Sleep here, in this room, it has a cheap mattress and heat and a bathroom. Here’s the key.’

        What, *exactly*, is your objection there? Not irrelevant history about institutionalizing people that I didn’t even slightly suggest, not irrelevant facts about the mental problems homeless people suffer from (Suffering from mental problems is not any sort of logical reason to deny people shelter, if anything, it’s more reason to help them.), the *actual objection* the words I’ve said, not hypothetical silliness.

        The weird thing about your comment is that you seem completely unaware of the fact that the question of whether to institutionalize homeless men and women is, in fact, a long and ongoing debate.

        The weird thing about your comment is about how you can’t possible conceive of helping someone by offering a roof over their head that they don’t currently have makes their life better, *even if everything else stays the same*. A heroin addict with a room to call his own is better off than a heroin addict living in a gutter. (And, hell, society is better off, too.)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to j r says:

        That would be me assuming that you had some *rational* reason for objecting to them getting a place to live.

        Of course he did no such thing. And this is pretty hypocritical since you recently accused me of purposely misinterpreting you.

        Strictly speaking, there is a trivial easy solution to homelessness: Give them homes…Providing them a home means they are, by definition, not homeless anymore. QED.

        Well, that’s a useful addition to the conversation.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to j r says:

        DavidTC,
        I make no pretense to knowing about as much homelessness as you do. However, giving people homes doesn’t actually work for drugmules, unless you plan on making mandatory homes on trains a “thing”.

        “give them homes and assume they’ll use them”… I don’t think that’s quite right, actually. If they would, well, fine. But you haven’t presented any reasoning as to why they’d use them, when they currently aren’t allocating enough time/money for FREE SHELTERS so their feet don’t get amputated.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to j r says:

        @davidtc

        The weird thing about your comment is about how you can’t possible conceive of helping someone by offering a roof over their head that they don’t currently have makes their life better, *even if everything else stays the same*. A heroin addict with a room to call his own is better off than a heroin addict living in a gutter. (And, hell, society is better off, too.)

        I think you crossed a pretty big line here. It’s one thing to have a good faith disagreement. It’s a whole other thing to accuse people of not caring about something on the basis of that disagreement.

        That you argue almost exclusively from the realm of your values is annoying but tolerable, but throwing out these kinds of cheap shots is not.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to j r says:

        @dave
        I think you crossed a pretty big line here. It’s one thing to have a good faith disagreement. It’s a whole other thing to accuse people of not caring about something on the basis of that disagreement.

        I didn’t accuse j-r of not caring. At least, that was not my intention, although the lack of a ‘how’ in that sentence makes it somewhat incoherent.

        That sentence was intended to say ‘The weird thing about your comment is about how you can’t possible conceive of *how* helping someone by offering a roof over their head that they don’t currently have makes their life better…’

        I.e., I accused him of lack of vision, not lack of empathy.Report

  21. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Malala Yousafzai has just announced that she supports the bombing of Syria.Report

  22. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    [S5]

    1) National League baseball is unwatchable.

    2) The article you linked to is from 1998.

    3) It is factually incorrect; the author makes reference to DHs in Little League, even though there is no DH rule in Little League.

    4) Why was this originally called the “Designated Hitter Edition” anyway?Report

    • 1) Because of the lack of DH?

      2) Has the history changed in the meantime?

      4) It wasn’t. It became the Designated Hitler Edition after the fact.Report

      • Avatar ScarletNumbers in reply to Will Truman says:

        1) Yes

        2) I count on Linky Friday to give me timely links.

        4) But wasn’t it called the “Designated Hitter Edition” to start?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Will Truman says:

        I count on Linky Friday to give me timely links.

        Once again we have the standard internet complaint of “you’re not writing about the things I want you to write about.”

        Personally, I count on Linky Friday to give me interesting links, with due accounting for the bizarre reality that some things I don’t find interesting, other people do.Report

  23. S4:
    Sure, change the rules. But don’t make certain defenses illegal. Give ’em aluminum bats. And put those pitchers on a shot clock, dammit.Report