Linky Friday #88


Will Truman

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

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155 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Ed3-I’m still not entirely getting the logic behind the “Don’t Go to College” movement. It seems even less plausible than the don’t go to law school movement. Many employers simply won’t even consider looking at a person without a degree. Unless you have connections or are content with a low-paying job than going to college is still the sane option even if it means debt. College at least offers the possibility of a decent paying job with less luck than not going.

    Everybody who seems to be arguing against college also seems to have connections that allowed them to get college-level jobs. Most people don’t have these connections. They need the degree to act as a signal that they have the skills and intelligence for the job.Report

    • Avatar dhex says:

      the real takeaway is “don’t go to a college you can’t afford, especially if you’re not sure about the environment and future costs”. and also “when you get there don’t be lazy but network your ass off and get your fingers in as many pies as possible. also be prepared to move after graduation.”

      that is not as snappy, though.Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        Sadly, with every college having doubled in price over the last two decades, it’s not like there’s ‘affordable’ and ‘unaffordable’ college. There’s just ‘unaffordable’ and ‘ridiculously unaffordable’.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        What morat said. College is only affordable for people whose parents or other relatives can pay for all or at least part of it and are willing to do so. If a kid could live at home during college, its even better. The modern American economy seems like a giant scam some days. Many colleges are acting more like academic Tammany Halls than institutions of education. NYU is the worse of the lot naturally.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        Doesn’t this depend on how you define affordable?

        Most housing is unaffordable in that most people will never have the cash to buy a home outright, but there are mortgages and there are rentals.

        Whether or not college is a scam, at least at the individual level, is a net present value calculation.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        “There’s just ‘unaffordable’ and ‘ridiculously unaffordable’.”

        so…what would be “affordable” in your eyes? free? 2k a year? 5k a year? 10k a year?

        because those last two can certainly be done, though obviously not at every single institution, and regardless it requires a bit of planning. there’s also the discount rate issue – e.g. most private 4 year colleges, the most expensive of american higher ed institutions, generally have discount rates around 50%. that means on 50k tuition, the institution awards 25k/yr. (attempts to simplify this by just making tuition 25k have had interesting results at the few places that have attempted it – it is an interesting/really weird phenomenon)

        affordability, in my mind, is a number of factors, including things like comfort with debt, future projected earnings, and ultimately balancing the reason one wants to go to a specific college. is it a career goal? is it a program’s offerings? is it some weird romantic notion?

        there’s also the in-state option, or first two years at a good cc, which then open up options for transfer that often carry very good merit awards and guaranteed transfer programs.Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        Junior college and two years at a local state college while living at home are not unreasonable for those where this is available (a significant portion of the country) especially if they can get any kind of aid.

        I suggest we quit trying to steer people to expensive, private schools unless truly appropriate. Getting in debt to pay for a country club lifestyle, fifteen counsellors, and Panini bars is the height is folly.

        My experience hiring gobs of people is that after the interview the particular university is totally irrelevant (and it is not even all that critical during the interview.)

        Ivy League schools are the partial exception, but I never promoted a Harvard grad with lower performance ahead of a Fresno State grad with better.

        Sorry if this bursts bubbles. Real world.Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        Junior college and two years at a local state college while living at home are not unreasonable for those where this is available (a significant portion of the country) especially if they can get any kind of aid.
        Twice as expensive as 15 years ago.

        They’re ALL twice as expensive, at minimum. Every flippin’ college in the US, from the community college to Ivy League. Doubled in price in less than two decades.

        Two years of CC plus two years of the cheapest state/local 4-year amounts to about a 50% increase in costs over 4-years at a cheap state university in the mid-90s. Being as frugal as possible is still half again as expensive than just going to the good but cheap 1994 school.Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        Two or three thousand per year is more than the good old days but is still affordable. Of course if you want my laundry list on BS included in the cost of college which could immediately lead to cutting the costs in half or more, just ask.

        Rent seekers and organized interest groups will fight us every inch of the way of course. My guess is like the Taxi cartels, OPEC, and AT&T it is just a matter of time before parents find better ways to educate their college kids substantially better for a fraction of what they are paying today.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I’ve historically been of the view that college is almost always good for the individual, but in a collective action problem sort of way. I’ve actually been questioning this over the last year or two. I think there may a lot of people going to college that would themselves be better off not doing doing so.

      We compare people who went to college vs people who didn’t, when I actually want to compare more marginal students and students who went to more marginal schools to people who didn’t go. Comparing someone who went to the University of Michigan to someone who didn’t go to college isn’t particularly helpful. Comparing someone who went to Eastern Michigan University to someone who didn’t go would be better.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        That makes sense. There is still a problem that decently paying jobs for non-college graduates are rapidly disappearing from the economic landscape in the United States and many other countries. In a few Scandinavian countries, you can get a decent wage for working in a fast food restaurant but that system might not be replicable elsewhere. A lot of jobs probably don’t need a college degree but I can’t see businesses going back to the old methods of hiring and training people.

        Nor can I see the states getting big into vocational education even though a public vocational training at the high school level would really help. It would go against American educational policy as it existed since the 19th century. There was always a bias agaisnt vocational schools in American education. Reforming the licensing system by getting rid of some and lowering the requirements for others would also help. Being able to leave school at eighteen as a licensed electrian or plumber or knowing a craft like carpentry or jewelry-making would make college much less attractive for mariginal schools. We also need to prevent for profit colleges from praying on the marginal students. A little state paternalism can be good.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        In a few Scandinavian countries, you can get a decent wage for working in a fast food restaurant…

        Is that true? Or is it that people in those countries have their take home pay plussed up by a robust basket of social welfare entitlements? I tend to think that is the case, which is why I am more and more drawn over to the universal basic income.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        JR, the minimum wage in Denmark comes out to be about twenty American dollars per hour. Assuming a 40 hour work week, thats around 800 dollars a week before taxes. That means the lowest paid workers in Denmark are making abotu 30,000 to 40,000 American dollars per year before taxes. That isn’t that bad for working in a fast food place or some other minimallly-skilled job. The social welfare state helps immensely still.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        Sure, the nominal wage is high, but nominal wages don’t take into account the tax burden and the cost of living.

        Here is some information on the relative cost of living of Denmark to the United States:

        Depending on the the relative tax rates, the minimum wage worker in Denmark may not be doing all that much better than the minimum wage worker in the United States, until you figure in the more generous Danish entitlements.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I think what you say here makes sense. I also agree with the argument that North makes that many people are probably just going to college to get good jobs even students at elite universities like Northwestern. This is why I say business and fianance and marketing should be apprenticeships. You don’t need to study Plato or Proust or Differential Calculus for a career in marketing.

        Yet when I think of the arguments like the Forbes one, I imagine that most people think it is the Art History and English students of the world who shouldn’t go to university and then I get defensive because in a nation of 300 million people some of us are just going to really like school and “impractical subjects.”Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        There is still a problem that decently paying jobs for non-college graduates are rapidly disappearing from the economic landscape in the United States and many other countries.

        Change “non-college graduates” to “high school only graduates” & this statement is true. The key is to get career training of some kind after high school.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        This is why I say business and fianance and marketing should be apprenticeships. You don’t need to study Plato or Proust or Differential Calculus for a career in marketing.

        Didn’t you write a post saying the exact opposite?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I have a right to change my mind!

        More seriously, I still think it is a sign of an advanced and civilized society to have a mass educated class but not in the way it is currently done in the United States with huge loans.

        This does not change my opinion that it seems that the so-called reformers would tell the liberal arts students not to go and keep the business majors.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        “You don’t need to study Plato or Proust or Differential Calculus for a career in marketing.”

        first off, if you’re interested at all in persuasion, plato is where you’d start.

        second off, if you’re interested in how to tell stories, literature is a really good place to start.

        third off, if you’re interested in knowing how to measure how things work, how to ask meaningful questions about large buckets of data, and ultimately providing useful understandings on roi, statistics is really, really helpful.

        fourth off, there is no one way to get into a field. my background was journalism and religious studies. my early career was graphic design. my side jobs were freelance audio production and running a small record label. my masters was focused on statistics and persuasion. etc.

        for someone who talks up a really big game about the value of a liberal arts education, your imagination appears to be incredibly limited when it comes to the uses of that education.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        “I get defensive because in a nation of 300 million people some of us are just going to really like school and “impractical subjects.””

        so they take out loans.


      • Avatar Glyph says:

        religious studies



      • Avatar dhex says:



        i double minored in poly sci and comp religious studies. at the time i’d learned that the religion beat was one of the easiest to slide into at newspapers, so etc etc and so forth. had some really good classes. also got yelled at for using “judeo-christian tradition” once by an orthodox classmate. i learned stuff. cool.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        also got yelled at for using “judeo-christian tradition” once by an orthodox classmate

        Well, the Orthodox kind of were the original hipsters, old-timey clothing/hair and all. They were into YHWH before He was cool.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @dhex You wanted to work in newspapers?

        Oh, man, I could have told you that wouldn’t work out.

        Newspapers expect you to use caps. Like, consistently and stuff.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        “I’ve WORKED in the private sector. They expect CAPITALIZATION!”Report

      • Avatar dhex says:


        “Newspapers expect you to use caps. Like, consistently and stuff.”

        like i’ve said before, you give me money, i use caps. otherwise, no deal. i got stuff to do. important stuff.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Get a degree in a major that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life because nobody is hiring those people.Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        “I have a right to change my mind!”

        Best comment of the day! Hooray for changing minds!Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        ” i’d learned that the religion beat was one of the easiest to slide into at newspapers,”

        Also easiest way into Harvard – Divinity School.Report

  2. Avatar morat20 says:

    M3: No, it didn’t play a part. I knew a WHOLE bunch of laid off people who collected unemployment. Every single one urgently looked for another job, because unemployment does not exactly pay the bills. At best it can keep you from losing everything as you frantically search and cut costs wherever possible.

    It especially wouldn’t do so in the sort of recession we had, which had everything to do with broke people not spending money they didn’t have. They jobs weren’t there because the customer’s weren’t there.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      The mechanism in question is actually about employers, not employees. What they are saying is that generous unemployment benefits send a signal to firms about how much it will take to hire new employees and those firms scale back in anticipation of lower profits.

      Don’t know enough to say whether I agree or disagree, but the mechanism doesn’t really have to do with how hard the unemployed are looking for work.Report

      • Avatar Dave says:


        The mechanism in question is actually about employers, not employees. What they are saying is that generous unemployment benefits send a signal to firms about how much it will take to hire new employees and those firms scale back in anticipation of lower profits.

        In other words, if workers were paid X and X was a dollar amount close to what unemployment provides, then the dynamic described above probably makes some sense.

        For every white collar professional I know that was laid off, take that dynamic and throw it in the trash. Unemployment benefits were a fraction of what some of these people were making and I think that’s were @morat20 seemed to go with his initial comment.

        I can accept that the mechanism applies in some circumstances but not in others, assuming that generosity means that unemployment benefits can cover a majority of a person’s lost income.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Respectfully, while this is true to a considerable extent, it’s not absolutely true. My own sainted mother used to collect unemployment insurance during the times she was laid off from GE, and merely went through the motions of applying for jobs with no intent to ever take one. Of course she knew she was going to be re-employed by GE in a while, so that’s not representative of everyone.

      But there’s also evidence that the two peaks in finding new jobs occur 1) right after losing a job, which supports your thesis, and 2) right before benefits run out, which supports a contradictory thesis.

      My take is that people differ, and so it’s not surprising that some people hustle hard for jobs right away while some others take the opportunity to chill for a while.Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        I too personally know several folks abusing unemployment and disability insurance. Oddly, I think some of them are supplementing their income on Craigslists black market (many of them buy and sell used stuff at phenomenal returns.)Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      The data is pretty clear that people find jobs faster when they exhaust their unemployment. There are a variety of reasons for this, not all of which have to do with desperation (a substantial percentage of people on UI benefits are employed, but with reduced hours, so they don’t feel motivated to look for full-time work until they lose the UI payments, e.g.), but in general, people look harder when they have no money coming in whatsoever. However, if I remember correctly, post-exhaustion wages are significantly lower than pre-unemployment wages or the wages of jobs people get before they fully exhaust their UI benefits.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        The decrease in post-exhaustion wages is real, yes. And it’s one of the factors that deters people from taking jobs until benefits are (nearly) exhausted. At that point people become willing to settle for less. Objectively, most of them probably should have settled for less earlier, but obviously it’s very hard for a person to accept that they’re going to have to settle for an income/status/standard-of-living that’s less than what they had become accustomed to.

        But some number of those post-exhaustion folks were effectively vacationing. Even if they were making less, they were also working less, and it can be quite rational to balance those. Heck, at some level there are a lot of us who advocate that balance (we just tend to assume it’s appropriate at a higher wage). I won’t presume to guess how large that percentage is, limiting myself to asserting–based on people I’ve known–that it’s non-negligible.Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      @morat20 The median case and even the majority case is not the marginal. Even if 90% of people act the way you describe (which I think is high), that still means 10% of the unemployed aren’t acting that way.Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        *shrug*. Again, it really doesn’t matter with this recession. There weren’t jobs because there weren’t customers. Unemployment insurance was a boost to the economy, not a drag, in that situation. (Even though they didn’t have jobs, the unemployed could still be customers. Well, more of ones than if they didn’t have some money coming in).

        James and Chris are right that there’s a spike when the insurance runs out — although I’d heavily suspect that’s people taking dead-end, low-pay, last-resort jobs basically locking themselves out of their field. Engineers working at Walmart because nobody’s hiring engineers, that sort of thing.

        That’s admittedly anecdotal — the people I know who were the hardest hit by the recession and were out of work the longest tended to end up in places like that (especially if they were older). Some managed to claw their way back into something vaguely like their old job, but I’m guessing it’s really hard to find, say, a management gig if in between your last management job and the one you’re applying for you ended up as a greeter for Walmart.

        (In fact, the worst-hit case I know is finally, just now, looking to get back into exactly that — he used to manage a department for 200+ people — and then the whole business folded during the recession, the few remaining jobs moved as part of a bankruptcy/buyout things. He’s mid fifties, and just now looks like he’ll get a job managing about 50 or so people. He did food prep, some temporary jobs, and a lot of other odd stuff over the last five years, and it’s only through luck and an old business connection that this new company treated his application seriously).Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        *shrug*. Again, it really doesn’t matter with this recession. There weren’t jobs because there weren’t customers. Unemployment insurance was a boost to the economy, not a drag, in that situation.

        The claim in question actual runs somewhat counter to what you are saying. From the FRBNY blog post on which the Reason article is based:

        How can the end of such an important fiscal stimulus, which at face value could be a drag on consumption, help the labor market and boost job openings? After all, one rationale for this program was to provide stimulus to a fragile economy. The mechanism that we offer as an explanation is based on firms’ response to UI and is not new. In fact, the Diamond-Mortensen-Pissarides model (Pissarides 2000, Mortensen and Pissarides 1994, and Diamond 1982), for which the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded in 2010, predicts that increases in UI generosity put upward pressure on wages since it becomes more expensive to lure people into work. As a consequence, firms anticipate lower profits and cut back job creation, which lowers the job finding rate and increases the unemployment rate.

        Most of the previous work on UI has focused on its effect on unemployed workers’ search behavior. Unemployed workers might respond to UI extensions by searching less intensively or by being picky about job opportunities. Several papers have estimated this effect to be small (see, for example, Rothstein [2011], Farber and Valletta [2013], and Valletta [2014]). However, little was known about the effect on job creation, prior to recent work described below.


      • Avatar morat20 says:


        They can claim what they want. The Great Recession was about as classic a demand-based recession as you can get, what with everyone in debt to their eyeballs and trying to pay it all back at once.

        The trigger was fun banking fun, but the end result was an economy where everyone cut back on spending — due to debt, or sudden lack of a job.

        If there was ANY upward pressure on wages due to UI, it was drowned out by the massive amount of unemployed and debt. Furthermore, given wages have been stagnant for decades and have DROPPED through the recession, they’re kinda pushing against reality there.Report

      • Avatar j r says:


        The Great Recession was about as classic a demand-based recession as you can get…

        Not really. The Great Recession had/has a lot of structural causes baked into it, a lot of misplaced investment and over-valued assets exposed by a great big margin call.

        If there was ANY upward pressure on wages due to UI, it was drowned out by the massive amount of unemployed and debt.

        This is a lump of labor fallacy. The world is not one big labor market. It is possible for some labor markets to be overwhelmed by job seekers while other struggle to find qualified workers. And, in fact, that is pretty much what has been happening. The friends that you mentioned in your first comment, I am sure that they were looking very hard for work, but chances are they were looking for certain kinds of work. There were plenty of jobs that they were not applying for because they either were not qualified to do those jobs or they were over-qualified and not willing to take the large cut in wage and/or prestige.

        Also, how supply and demand operate in the short term is different from how supply and demand operate in the long term. In the long term, employers can re-tool or change their business models and workers can learn new skills. Generous unemployment plays a role in keeping people in the short term mindset.

        Anyway, the argument in question isn’t really about workers. It may be that the NY Fed economists are wrong about job creation, but it seems a bit odd to reject the claim outright, without even bothering to fully understand it.Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        Perhaps I’m merely cynical after the last few elections. I do recall one Senator or House rep grousing about lazy unemployed mooching off UI, even as company’s in his district or state basically had dozens and dozens of people for each job opening.

        It’s all well and good to say “Oh, there’s engineer jobs over there” — but I ain’t over there, and being unemployed makes it really hard to move. Especially if you’re married, and your spouse still has a job. In the real world, moving isn’t even remotely frictionless.

        Plus, again — once the bubble popped and the easy credit ended, you had an America in which everyone who wasn’t basically Warren Buffet had a ton of debt (often in housing, that being the precipitating collapse). Every penny paid towards debt is a penny not going to purchases.

        Which is, over and over, why people didn’t hire from 2007ish through 2010 or later. Nobody had money. whatever structural reasons caused the collapse, the massive debt overhang deepened it.

        I watched it happen — there weren’t jobs where the jobless were. Nor was it structural — it wasn’t like there were tons of construction work in another state, most industries were depressed nation-wide. And even if there was a massive amount of jobs open in North Dakota, the out-of-work folks in Texas by and large couldn’t get there. And their lack of LOCAL jobs was often due to a total lack of local demand.

        Heck, you can see that in microcosm with cities like Flint. It all trickles down. Lay off a sizeable chunk of the population, and what they have to spend goes down. Which means every other business feels the pain as revenue drops with demand. Which means they often lay people off.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        It’s all well and good to say “Oh, there’s engineer jobs over there” — but I ain’t over there, and being unemployed makes it really hard to move. Especially if you’re married, and your spouse still has a job. In the real world, moving isn’t even remotely frictionless.

        Given the size of America, this is a real problem, and one that could be treated with a re-employment re-location benefit (i.e. help with moving expenses). I wouldn’t even give the benefit to people directly, but to employers. If they don’t have a relocation program, and they hire a person who is unemployed but more than 50 miles away (or something like that), Uncle Sam will pitch in & help with relocation expenses.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist I’d target it more towards the long term unemployed. (Someday I need to do an official Kansas City Plan post.)Report

      • Avatar j r says:


        We are having two different conversations here. I am not talking about what people ought to do or even whether generous UI is the right policy to pursue or not. I am talking about the empirical evidence surrounding generous UI. And that’s what the link is about.

        It makes no sense to dismiss claims out of hand just because you find it doesn’t fit with your underlying ideology or policy preferences. It is perfectly reasonable to accept that generous UI has a negative effect on the number of open jobs and still think that it is the right thing to do because of the short-term positive impact that it has on people.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Sure, long term unemployed is fine, that would cut down on folks who just want a free move.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      As JR said, that wasn’t actually the focus of the article.

      That said, I have doddled twice while collecting unemployment. I didn’t turn down good jobs in favor of not working, but in one case I didn’t contact a highly undesirable employer that I knew would hire me until UI ran out, then I went to work for them.Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:

        I’d imagine that’s not uncommon. However, given how…minimal..unemployment insurance is (Texas’ might be lower paid than most, now that I think about it), there’s a limit to how long most people can afford to be picky even with UI.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      “My own sainted mother”

      I didn’t think Anabaptists were into this kind of thing…

      That being said, yes there are going to be people who just go through the motions. I don’t think liberals ever claimed that laziness was not an issue for some people. We just think that it is still moral to offer welfare and unemployement instead of more strict measures. As I’ve noted before, this debate has been going on for over a hundred years and will probably never end though.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I think we have it close to right presently. Unemployment as a temporary benefit with an endpoint after which you can’t as easily accommodate the hope that you will find a job that meets your satisfaction and you need to take what you can find (and/or Kansas City Plan).Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        How about people whose family commitments keep them in a certain area like a relative with needs or even just a spouse/partner with a job? I don’t think the government should be in the business of breaking up families simply for the sake of jobs and I don’t think that the spouse with the job should be forced to quit.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Then they need to find a job doing whatever they can where they are or be put formally on the welfare rolls (or both).Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I will also add that it is hard to get jobs unless you live in an area. I have California and New York bar licenses. I’ve been applying to jobs in New York because the market is much better there. I also have family in New York that I can stay with for interviews and even start immediately if I get a job. I can even keep my SF apartment open during the probation period to be on the safe side. Here are the problems with getting jobs in NY:

        1. How does it look to employers if all my experience is in SF but I have a New York address on my resume? FWIW I keep a SF and NY address on my resume.

        2. Why would a New York firm want to hire someone who only has California experience?

        3. I can start immediately if the job is in NYC because I could stay with my brother and use the subway to get to work. Maybe it can be expanded to areas accessible by commuter train. This gets harder for areas out side of NYC-Metro because it involves moving my car cross country so I can get to and from work and this takes weeks. Employers are fine at taking weeks to hire someone but when they hire someone they generally want that person to start ASAP.

        4. Applying to jobs outside of the Bay Area is also difficult because of a lack of places to stay and the time it takes to set up a new place.

        I think people are more tied to places and careers than many would like to imagine.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Saul, maybe its different for law talkers, but i’ve never seen a professional level job that didn’t’ assume it would take new hires a month to start. If you have working as a professional they assume you have matter that need to be cleaned up, bodies to dispose of, etc.

        I’m generally positive about people moving to find better opportunities. However it does suggest to me that many things are done better at a federal level as opposed to states. Health care being most prominent. If you have good HI, especially with some sort of preexisting condition, it is far better for HI to be federal or at least portable. The R’s refusal, in some states, to open up medicare inhibits mobility for some. Marriage liscense for some people would obviously be another issue allthough seems to be going away.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I’ve moved five times in the last ten years, with frantic job hunts for three of them. I am probably more aware than you realize.

        Anyway, ideally it would be part of a job-matching program. Places that lack for employees and so can’t be arbitrarily selective would be the places that we would be helping people move to.

        Most people don’t have the state bar situation. States that are overly restrictive with licensure across the board would probably have difficulty participating in the program.

        California and New York aren’t what I have in mind, though if they do have shortages sufficient that employers would be willing to hire the long term unemployed, and they were willing to abide by the terms, of course they could participate, too.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        It’s going to vary from job to job. Most jobs don’t have the sort of state-specific requirements that being a lawyer (or doctor, for that matter) have.

        I wouldn’t be opposed to leaning on states to fast-track certain certifications, for applicants or their spouses, where possible. Some states look down on out-of-state teaching certification. Telling Kansas or South Dakota or wherever “Look, the point of these people moving here need to be able to work. Also, the welder you’re looking for may have a spouse that is a teacher. Do you want the welder in your state or not? If you want to participate, here’s what you need to do…”

        It’s not a cure-all. It’s not really meant to be. But as an option, I believe it’s a valuable one. Worth whatever tax dollars are required to make it happen, as often as not.

        The trick would be finding terms sufficiently generous enough to states and/or employers (and/or workers) that need people that they sign up for it, but not so generous that it’s taken advantage of.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        Lawyers are generally horrible at project management. They are also not very good at delegation until the absolute last minute. The reasons many new associates (especially at big firms) need to work all-nighters or stay late is not a sudden surge of last minute work but because their supervising partner put off delegating work until the last possible minute like 6 PM on a Friday.

        So when I see ads they are usually about needing people right away. Every job I’ve has been rather quick turnaround from being interviewed to my first day at work.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        I don’t think the government should be in the business of breaking up families simply for the sake of jobs

        You wacky libertarians!

        “My own sainted mother”
        I didn’t think Anabaptists were into this kind of thing…

        Heh, it’s a sort of double-entendre. Of course I love and revere my mom. But she’s also religious right-wing to the core. So the sainthood can be read however one wants.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Perhaps I’m not up to speed on the KCP, but is government breaking up families, or just enabling relocation for those who want it?Report

  3. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I can’t link to it right now but a friend of mine posted a news story about possibly the dumbest sex criminals of all time on facebook yesterday.

    Apparently, there was a female teacher in Durham, North Carolina in her upper thirties that fell bad for a 15-year old female student and entered into an illicit relationship with said student. Than the teacher’s husband got in on the act to. So far, its a normal suburban sex scandal. The really moronic part is that the teacher and her husband created a lot of evidence of this relationship including schedules with the student’s name and four-letter word for sex, DVDs and photobooks marked with the students name, and both of them had the image and name of the student tattoed on their bodies. Making matters dumber, the girl’s parents apparently knew of the relationship and gave the teacher and a husband an out before they contacted the police and the two adults did not take it.

    Its like a prosecutor’s dream sex crime case. The amount of evidence created by the accused are tremendous. The teacher and her husband practically made the prosecutor’s case for them. If it gets turned into a movie it should be made as a black comedy like the Informant because of the sheer ridiculousness of the situation.Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      In Louisiana there was another recent case where two female teachers are accused of having an ongoing threeway with a male student.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        The threesome itself is not the remarkable thing about the case. We all know that these sorts of teacher-student affairs happen from time to time. They shouldn’t but with humans, your bound to get a bit of misbehavior know and than if the hormones are activated. The remarkable part is the sheer amount of documentation created by the teacher and her husband. When most people enter into an illicit relationship of some type, they usually try to keep it a secret and hush-hush. In this case, the people in the relationship were creating anything they possible could to celebrate it. Love and lust might make people do dumb, reckless things but this really takes the cake.

        The best way for high schools to avoid these type of situations might be to only higher older and average or unattractive teachers. I’ve heard a lot of stories about apparently voluntary student-teacher affairs after I graduated high school from the news or as stories from my friends. Looking back at my high school experience, I can’t imagine any teacher that a student would want to have an affair with regardless of their preferences.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:


      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Also, RE: meticulous documentation (warning, language and I guess mild spoilers):


      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        The best way for high schools to avoid these type of situations might be to only higher older and average or unattractive teachers.

        The union is asking why we can’t hope for uglier students.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        My question is, it seems like the tempo and luridness of these type of stories has increased of late.

        Has this always been going on and it just gets reported more now (or internet transmits more widely stories that would have stayed local 20 years ago)?

        Or is it really happening more (maybe, as has been speculated with the RC Church’s abuse scandals, people with certain…predilections, have gravitated towards the institution?)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        One of my philsophy teachers snickered that Bertrand Russell complained about coming over to America and having to explain to his students why Oscar Wilde got arrested.

        In the last 100 years or so, a tipping point was reached.

        If I may use the passive voice.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Glyph, people have been misbeaving as long as we had rules concerning people’s behavior. Nor is press coverage about them particularly new, sex and scandal always sold papers. What changed is like you said it, the Internet. All these local stories now get viewed nationally or internationally.

        There were probably changes in mores though. In the past, people had more conservative social mores because of religion and other things. Even misbehaving people usually felt the need to at least look like they were behaving by conventional morality. These days people seem more brazen in openly defying conventional behavior for better or worse.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @leeesq – yeah, internet is probably it. I mentioned in another thread yesterday that there was a scandal at my high school (it broke after I graduated, but there had been low-level rumors, while I was there), the details of which were, if not exactly any more lurid than all of these, pretty….unusual. Didn’t fit the usual, expected template. I’m actually reluctant to say what the details were, because they are unusual enough that it’d probably be pretty easy to suss out exactly where it went down, and potentially even the names of the victims. If this same situation happened today it’d probably be all over the web, for novelty’s sake.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I’ve said before, it’s the internet, and the use of digital communication & social media with the weakening of the idea of privacy.

        Basically, digital comms always leave a record unless care is taken to not do so. And kids are more open about their lives on social media, leaving clues & hints that expose the game.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        MRS, the Internet weakening the concept of privacy is a very troubling development. The idea of privacy was one of the greatest guarantee’s of civil liberties. As the idea of privacy gets weakened, even fewer people are going to care about police misconduct in carrying out searches and arrests. It also explains why so many are so blase about the NSA scandal. Sometimes, the idea that there are things you want to be secret from the world is a very important one.

        I wouldn’t blame it entirely on the Internet. What the Internet does his help local scandals go national. I still think that fewer people are being restrained in their behavior as they were in the past because social mores are decreasing. There were always teacher-student affairs and other similar relationships but in the past conventional morality was able to get more people to control themselves more.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I think it is the Internet. Gawker seems to troll local news for these stories and then makes them national. Before Gawker, these stories just stayed local.Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        @saul-degraw Before Gawker, Fark did the same thing and Fark is older than some high schoolers.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

        “Has this always been going on and it just gets reported more now ”

        I’m sure it’s always been going on, but what’s happening now is that the resolution is Massive Public Exposure followed by a court case. It used to be that the resolution was an off-duty cop and the girl’s daddy going over to the offender’s house and whaling on him with a pipe wrench.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Jim, I’m not sure if the old-system would work now since women get to be offenders these days to. I suppose we could have a female cop and the victim’s mom do the beat down but it just doesn’t seem the same.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        @jim-heffman – this seems to me to be yet another way the legal system/media has difficulty with sex crimes, in this case statutory rape.

        The 16- or 17- year old boy may have some lingering issues from having ongoing three-way sex with two older women who were also his teachers, but the damage from that is maybe smaller than the damage from being always and forevermore “the kid who was in that famous court case.” Sure, the media redact the names of the minors in these cases, but I guarantee everyone in his school/social circle/town knows exactly who it is; and these are the people who he’ll be seeing the rest of his life, unless he moves away.

        I don’t think vigilante justice is preferable, exactly, but it does have the advantage of potentially stopping the problem in a given situation with a minimum of further publicity, for any of the parties. I just don’t think it’s workable though.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        The internet (& sites like Gawker) just make sure we all hear about it. But the weakening of respect/desire for privacy along with social media is what helps catch such affairs.

        And I am right there with you on the weakening of privacy.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Vigilante justice is always incredibly messy and can go wrong in so many spectacularly bad ways. We have plenty of evidence for this from our history. I was only slightly joking with my apply to Jim, but a lot of current offenders in modern sex scandals are women. Somehow, I don’t think the public would really get into informal justice being inflicted on women defenders in the same that it could live with informal justice on male offenders.

        The reactions to the Louisiana case and the North Carolina case are very interesting and patriarchal. In both cases, the students seem to be willing participants in the escapades. Yet, we seem to think that the female student is going to have more psychological issues than the male student in Lousiana. Both are in the news, media was apparently made of trysts in both situations, and the adult offenders are going to court but with the male student we think that he will basically be fine. Some are evenvious of the kid’s “luck.” In reality, both situations are highly inappropriate and involves adults in a position of trust violating a kid sexually. The gender of the kid shouldn’t matter.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I don’t disagree with the general point, but IMO these items are weird ones to be talking about the ‘weakening of privacy’.

        Kids being taken advantage of by teachers is kind of the stuff we want to know about/catch, rather than them just getting away with it forever. I think there are times when it’s OK to focus on the silver lining rather than the dark Cloud.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        Perhaps, but as respect/desire for a right wanes, so too do the protections that keep the government in check. The fact that these kids have less respect for privacy may have the silver lining of exposing troubling abuse, but it also means those kids will be less concerned about privacy as agents of the government work to gut the protections.

        Rights are always double edged.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Like I said, I get your point.

        I just think picking the battles in which you make that argument is wise, since if these were public school teachers, these kids were literally being taken advantage of by agents of the government RIGHT NOW, and it’s potentially their social media use that helped end that.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        In the Louisiana case, it seems to be good old-fashioned in person bragging that got the two teachers in trouble with the law. For the North Carolina case, it seems to be the teacher’s obsession that got her in trouble. The girl’s parents and the school did seem to try to deal with the situation informally by telling the teacher to stay away. Its just that the teacher could not, so the girl’s parents turned the law on her.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      It seems salacious, we know that teenagers are indeed curious about sex and often sexually active on their own, and we’re all conscious that if this were a situation involving all consenting adults it would be none of our business (and titillating to boot). So there’s a tendency to dismiss this sort of thing as functionally harmless.

      But that’s simply not the case. The relationship of a high school teacher to a high school student is fundamentally one of power, not of social affinity. And the psychological consequences of a young person, forming her (or his) foundational impressions about sexual experience from these encounters are easy and disturbing to imagine.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @burt-likko @glyph

        This is the Gawker story that my brother is talking about:

        This is the really bad evidence that he is talking about:

        “There were two framed photos of the Whites and the student hanging on the wall in the couple’s bedroom, according to the warrant. Investigators found a blue binder containing handwritten notes, and a card all written by Phillip White to the girl.

        Investigators also discovered the student’s schedule with a four-letter word for sex written on it, handwritten notes from Michelle White, a handwritten card and more pictures in wooden frames of the girl in White’s house.”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        One reason why we have statutory rape laws is to prevent adults in positions of trust and authority from abusing their youthful charges. Its also why many companies really don’t like intra-company dating among other reasons. You never quite know how willing the inferior person in the power relationship is.

        In this case, its hard to define who had power over who here. Based on the facts of the story, mainly the fact that the teacher and the husband both got the student’s name tattoed on them, they didn’t seem to have that much power over what they were doing. The teacher seems to have initiated the illicit relations but obession quickly took the better of her. The entire situation is really sick, stil darkly humurous, but also really sick the more that I think about it.

        I pity the criminal defense lawyer that has to represent the teacher though. Some might perceive it as a great challenge but most are going to see this case as a nightmare to defend if the teacher doesn’t plea guilty.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Saul, you also forgot the labtops and other media equipment taken from the house. Chances are that the schedule with the four letter word is not the most incriminating piece of evidence in this case.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        We don’t know if there is pornographic material on the laptops or videocameras yet. It is a possible, even a probable but still unknown.

        People are focusing more on the tattoo names and schedule because it is like the scene Glyph posted above.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Thats why I used the word “chances.” We don’t know whats on the laptops or videocameras but we can take a fair guess. If they were dumb enough with the tattoo names and schedule than chances are, they made some even more moronic choices.

        My problem with this case is that I seem to read it from the angle of the defense lawyer that has to represent them.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        That there would be psychological weaknesses with people in their mid 30’s who would pursue a sexual relationship with a 15 year old should hardly be surprising. And that may be a mitigating circumstance to take into account at sentencing, should they be convicted.

        I’d say that there is probable cause to search the computer and other media devices.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I did not mean to imply that there wasn’t probable cause to search the computer and other devices.

        I am just sort of awed by the schedule like almost everyone else. And the tattoos.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Mental illness might be the best possible defense for the teacher but I understand that courts are loathe to excuse any sort of sexual abuse of minors because of mental illness.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Eh, you guys are the lawyers, but if the husband’s involved, IMO mental illness is going to be a hard sell. We Americans don’t go in for that Frenchy ‘folie a deux’ business (despite our general fondness for their other great invention, the ménage a trois).Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Glyph, based on what we know so far, I’d argue that the husband doesn’t seem to operating with full mental capacity either. Your right that mental illness is going to be a hard sell in this case though.

        I’ve also been reading about the teacher-student threesome in Louisiana to waste time at work. Kids seem much more adventurous than they did in my teenage years during the 1990s.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:


        According to the Gawker article, the husband is not being charged.

        At least not yet.Report

  4. Avatar Chris says:

    [C5] : This is not surprising, or unusual. To the police, potential rescuers are just more people who they might have to rescue, or more bodies they might have to account for.

    [G1]: I’m not sure it’s the not the Democrats who planted her, in fact. While it’s true that she’s sucked some money out of competitive districts, in general, she’s made Democrats pay attention to this election year in a way that they probably wouldn’t have with most other candidates. The reason is simple: no Democrat is going to win, but Davis’ campaign has been… interesting… so people are paying attention to a Democrat for once, and Democrats are paying attention to the election. The last few Democratic gubernatorial candidates were non-entities. I suspect most Texas Democrats couldn’t even name them.Report

  5. Avatar James Hanley says:


    This is the type of thing that makes me think all the doomsayers about the future are just dead wrong. I have a hard time caring if people have to start adjusting their economic expectations downwards a bit if that’s accompanied by restoring mobility to people who’ve been injured, doing 3D printing of inexpensive prosthetics, and the like. We’re achieving what people not long ago would have called miracles. In the vein of any sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic, we’re doing magic from the perspective of, say, 1975.

    I suspect people don’t focus on that as much because most of us have a harder time picturing ourselves as quadriplegics or losing a limb than picturing ourselves unemployed and our houses foreclosed on.Report

    • Avatar Dan Miller says:

      If I can play devil’s advocate, there are 250,000 paraplegics or quadriplegics in the U.S., compared to 9.3 million unemployed people, so that’s not a crazy thing to focus on.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Not sure if you saw, @dan-miller , but a link you tweeted is on the board this week [En1]. Any further thoughts on it?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        Sheer numbers don’t tell the story. One can say I have 5,000 healthy microbes, so why do I need one banana, but it doesn’t mean the comparison works.Report

      • Avatar Dan Miller says:

        @james-hanley Sorry, I’m not sure I follow that one.

        @will-truman Just that I find it pretty daunting. I’m with Ezra Klein in that I expect us to fail in keeping climate change to 2 degrees or less. The consequences of all that remain to be seen, but, well, the Great Filter is probably out there somewhere and this suite of problems is one potential candidate. Cheery thoughts for a Friday!Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        Unemployment beyond a certain point is an indication of structural impediments to working markets. At the right price I will personally hire every single unemployed person that passes a credit and criminal check. The fact that nobody is hiring them is a strong sign that legal barriers are in the way. Said another way, someone is forcing employers to set wages, benefits and or work conditions too high. It’s easy to fix if we just understand the situation (and assuming we really want to solve it).Report

      • Avatar morat20 says:


        You’re overlooking the converse — you’re paying too little. Maybe nobody wants the job because the pay is crap. I mean, sure, if we remove the entire safety net so that if the choice is between slave wages and nothing, I’m sure people will apply.

        But frankly, I’ve seen too many business owners bemoaning the lack of applicants when they’re offering salaries 20% below the local market for those jobs. And those poor MBA folks just can’t figure out why they don’t have takers.Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        yes, again you are discussing institutional “solutions” which are contributing to the unemployment. If unemployment or social safety nets are structured poorly they will interfere with people adding value to fellow humans via paid employment. We can foster free riding. Sad. We can also structure them so that we have safety nets and incentivize productivity. Another discussion.

        Employers will hire people at the wage at which they can earn a reasonable return. At above that wage, no hire.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      Re: Adjusting Economic Expectations Downward.

      I think this is much easier said than done for most people. I read years ago that one of the hardest aspects of marrying above or below your economic class is adjust to the social and cultural norms/preferences of your spouse’s class. This includes for people who marry higher and lower on the economic spectrum. It is hard to go from hanging out with people who know all about NPR to people who know nothing about it and vice-versa.

      The issue is how much downward to people need to adjust their expectations. I admit to not being the most “down-home”. I think this was covered in Vikram’s post when we were debating why the upper-middle class seem to get most of the ire in American culture politics and the decision was that the upper-middle class don’t know their place as compared to the upper-class and the lower-class perhaps. When people tell me I am being delusional for still trying for a legal position, what I hear is them telling me I should just settle for something very mediocre or less in terms of a career and do a Homer Simpson and go in and just do a half-assed job. And I say to no to that.

      I admit that my position is odd because I seem to be in a middle ground of long-term direct hire contract work. I am not completely out of law like many of my friends but I also know a lot of people who did get firm jobs (often by working for parents but not always).Report

      • Avatar LWA says:

        “Adjusting Economic Expectations Downward” is just a wonkish version of “You need to work longer, harder, for less money.”

        Which is a truthful statement, and probably a good recommendation for many.

        But then people like me wonder what problems 30 years of tax cuts, regulation cuts, neoliberalism and market oriented solutions were meant to solve, if not the need to work longer, harder, for less money.

        Productivity is higher than ever, profits are skyrocketing, investment income is soaring into the stratosphere…but still the recommendation for the rest of us is to work longer, harder, for less money.

        For what? Is there a pony around the corner, the promised land of plentiful good paying jobs resulting from freed markets? Or in 5 years time, 10 years time, we will still be given stern lectures about our need to work longer, harder, for less money?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        All I said was that it’s understandably hard for people to do.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Mixing up H1 and H2:

    Why aren’t there more missionaries bringing chiropractic care to indigenous peoples?Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    C1: I should know better by now than to pay to much attention to URLs; I thought the article was going to be about female police officers stealing houses.

    I’m also kinda surprised they went through the effort of fake deeds, a renter isn’t likely to check on those. (and it also indicates that title management in Prince George’s county is hella bad)

    En4: I wonder if the oceans and other absorbent materials are simply off-gassing and there were higher initial concentrations than other chloro/flouro carbons. Also wiki says that one CFC is actually increasing in concentration.

    T1: I was expecting to also see a related story of the FBI screwing with the internet of a guest of Caesar’s Palace then posing as the repair personnel to gain access to the suite. all without any warrantReport

  8. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    [M4] — I’m normally a big booster of California but this story is every stereotype about this state that California’s (mostly internal) critics claim to be true, made manifest in real life. There would have been water for that plant; we’re in a drought but it’s not to the point that we have to call a moratorium on construction yet.

    Note also that the union has now failed to expand its potential membership by driving the jobs away instead of doing what unions have been doing for years (letting the shop open and then salting it with union agitators who can bring suit under NLRA if they are interfered with) — it’s one thing to shoot yourself in the foot, it’s something else entirely to take aim first.

    This one pisses me off in a very particular way, because it hits so close to home.Report

    • Avatar LWA says:

      I agree the union probably had crappy negotiating skills, and lost a big opportunity.

      I wonder though, how the company lost in this “lose-lose” situation.

      Did they actually lose anything? In other words, was it really “but for the union”, or did it just make sense to relocate, union or no?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        I think the company did lose; it wanted to have an assembly plant near certain of its suppliers, near certain of its anticipated customers, with a pre-trained workforce (specifically, alumni of airframe manufacturers), and near the transportation infrastructure Palmdale offers (directly on a Southern Pacific rail line). The price for the land was right, too. If it moves the assembly plant to Nevada or Arizona as currently anticipated, that’ll represent longer times for its supply and delivery chains. Maybe that won’t hurt it so much, but IMO those extra transaction times will bear all sorts of extra costs for them (and therefore their customers).Report

  9. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    [T2] The second robot is not at all piss-in-your-pants terrifying.

    The first robot will be coming to your neighborhood soon, looking for Sarah Connor.Report

  10. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    C1: Story I heard this week in SF. Guy goes to jail. Guy’s dad decides to pay his son’s rent for the duration of the jail sentence. One of the guy’s female friends has a key to the apartment and decided to pose as the owener/landlord and rent apartment out to a couple. This is why we say there is no honor among thieves. Another attorney friend of mind told me about a case where a woman took out liens on the property of all of her co-workers. She was suffering from mental illness and part of that weird “sovereign citizens” movement that seems to believe that courts have no authority over them by muttering some words in court. The sovereign citizen movement is also strangely fascinated by the Uniform Commercial Code and thinks it applies to everyone. That being said, there is a lot of magic word thinking out there for the law even among very intelligent people. I get very cranky when I see my friends post something on facebook about the Uniform Intellectual Property Code and think this prevents FB from using their posts.

    C2: There are a lot of homeless (and also elderly Asian) people who go around SF to fish bottles and cans and other things for recycling. The quality of life issue is that this usually happens in the wee hours and leads to a mess sometimes and can be unseemly looking when done in daylight. Going after said issue is probably too much of a pain to be worth it though.

    M3: No. This seems like wishful thinking among reactionaries opposed to the safety net. I can tell you that the law market is still pretty stagnant and in very interesting ways and generally still a buyer’s market with a lot of firms just not having enough work for all the lawyers out there.

    Ed3: I think Lee brings up good points here. The reason the author was able to succeed without going to college is because of his family connections and potentially wealth. There is not only a glass ceiling but also a concept of a glass floor and once you are born into a certain level of wealth, it is very hard to fall unless you are disowned by your family or do something to earn a life sentence in prison.

    Ed4: I think at that level they are called “escorts” and I can see how having an education can add a premium to being a sex worker.

    G1: No, she is just a bad candidate who was nominated in a passion because she went to the ropes for abortion rights at a time when it seemed like anti-abortion politicians and activists were scoring all the victories.

    G3: There are tricky issues with unions especially public unions that wonder if the deck is stacked against politicians for being progressive on certain issues. Harry Truman could veto Taft-Hartley and Congresspeople could vote against it but it is hard to support a strike among clerks at the courts or public transport workers (no matter how noble and right the strike is) because politicians are also responsible for making sure things run smoothly and get heat from the voters if the trains do not run and people can’t get to work. Suggesting this on LGM during the BART transit strike got people into a lot of trouble.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      C2-Elderly Asian immigrants and homeless people do this in New York to. For elderly Asian, I think they live with their kids and do this to supplement family income. Late afternoon seems to be the most popular time for collecting cans and bottles.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        That is my general thought too!

        The most interesting thing here is that Asian immigrants set up blankets on the street with foodstuffs and sell them to homeless people and/or junkies in some of the sketchier parts of Market.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        Same in our neighbourhood.

        Occasionally someone would rip open a recycling bag going after what looked like a deposit container, which made a bit of a mess despite their efforts to clean up (the bags are translucent – it would be hard to tell a beer can with a deposit from a bean can without one). It hasn’t happened in a while – the folks who collect in our alley now know that we put deposit containers out separately for them.

        I remember some time ago, someone saw me in the yard, and came over to tell me that he’d been picking cans and bottles a few months earlier, and that on seeing him I’d gone into the house to fetch him some cans and bottles I hadn’t put out yet. I guess he’d been touched by the small kindness at a hard time in his life, and was happy to tell me that he’d since found work and was doing much better. That conversation made my day.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      M3: No. This seems like wishful thinking among reactionaries opposed to the safety net.

      See the relevant thread above.Report

  11. Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

    En3: Yes! We’ve been struggling with plastic bag bans around here and I simply can’t figure out what problem they’re fixing. They seem to make up a relatively small portion of the litter, their volume and mass indicates that they simply can’t be consuming that much in the way of input or landfill resources, they’re super useful, and they’re so cheap to make that stores give them away for free. How much better does a product need to be before you consider not banning it?

    H2: I can’t figure out chiropractors. My wife just did a round of physical therapy with a couple of brothers who work together (a sports medicine guy and a chiropractor) and it started off great. They fixed up some long-term problems and the overall process was very impressive. Then, like clockwork, the chiropractor brings out his weird supplements, claims that sunscreen is the root of all illness, and generally drops off the deep end. Weird as it was, I could have told you in advance that it was going to happen. WTF is up with that? Seems to me like somebody with the proper knowledge manipulating the muscles and bones of the back is potentially a perfectly sensible remedy to a bunch of back problems. What is it about going to school for it that also makes people say, “…and I think I’m going to bail on everything else we know about medicine and science and just do my own thing.”?Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      That is sort of the “dirty” secret of chiropractic. The PT/spinal manipulation works and has been scientifically proven. The rest of it is pretty much witch doctor new agey guff.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        IIRC, the rap is that spinal manipulation has verifiable palliative effects (relieve pressure on the nerves, patient feels better, imagine that!) and is often combined with other pain relief modalities like massage, but chiropractic isn’t going to prevent a heart attack or cancer. That and chiropractors often seem to deliver better customer service than traditional medical offices, so patients just plain have better experiences and that can dovetail into the placebo effect. Is that your understanding too?Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Mostly. Chiropractors certainly do seem to spend time talking with and getting to know people which is understandably popular. Placebo effect and human compassion is likely most of why people think Chiro works. Still there actual theories about humans work are far out man….far out.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

        That’s my take on it too. It seems like chiropractic medicine could be a totally respectable profession in and of itself if it just stuck to its perfectly sensible roots. I have no idea why it seems inevitably to be attached to giant piles of other BS.

        It would be like plumbers all learning plumbing and how to dowse for water or how to fix your TV with the power of prayer. All it would do give plumbing a bad name. Electricians and other tradesmen would all distance themselves from plumbers and counsel people to steer clear, and only people with a taste for adventure would have non-leaky pipes.

        Why does this happen? What are they teaching in those schools?Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott says:

        “It seems like chiropractic medicine could be a totally respectable profession in and of itself if it just stuck to its perfectly sensible roots”

        But that’s the thing. The roots are in no way sensible. It started out as a new-agey movement with hyped claims–the first beneficiary was supposedly cured of deafeness with a spine adjustment, for example.

        Rather than returning to its roots, chiropratic medicine has to escape from them–but I just don’t think that the incentives are there, especially given how alternative medicine interacts with the modern system of healthcare provision.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      En3: At least here the wind blows a lot during three seasons of the year, and the filmy plastic bags are visually polluting all out of proportion to their actual share of litter — blowing down the streets or getting hung up on fences and bushes and flapping like mad. They’re the only kind of other-people’s litter that winds up in my back yard.Report

      • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

        I’m a fan of coming down hard on litter and other nuisance behaviors. But getting rid of a product just because people litter seems like a roundabout way to solve it.

        In my area, we have shopping carts all over the place. A cheap house around here comes in over $500,000, crime is low, schools are good, etc. But shopping carts. People just take them, use them, and then leave them on the sidewalk in front of their homes. I’m not talking about homeless people who have everything they own in a cart tucked away somewhere. I’m talking about people who can’t be bothered to own their own cart that they keep at home just taking and dumping carts whenever and wherever at their convenience. And I’m thinking that if the cops started cuffing some of those people and hauling them in for petty theft, the problem would go away in a few weeks once word got around. But for now, shopping carts.Report

    • Avatar Jim Heffman says:

      “We’ve been struggling with plastic bag bans around here and I simply can’t figure out what problem they’re fixing. ”

      They’re fixing the problem where the elected government can’t figure out how to solve any of the actual problems that people have, so they invent a problem and fix it so they can claim they’re winners.Report

    • Avatar Roger says:

      Plastic bags are another answer to Tod’s leftward purity sanctity question.

      I get the feeling that people literally think there is a floating island of debris in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Funny I regularly surf right in the middle of said island and have never even noticed it. The water is gorgeous! Granted I want to keep it that way, but I don’t see plastic bags as the real issue. Plus they make great doggie poop bags.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Throwback to last week: Apparently the Christmas Tree in Paris that looked kinda like… well… it was an argument for art being transgressive or something.

    Anyway, it got deflated.

    The War on Christmas begins not with a bang, but a long rude noise.Report

  13. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Ed6: Thanks @mad-rocket-scientist! I’ve been concerned.Report

    • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      No problem! I figured of all the professors on this site, you’d be the one most likely to be at the center of an incident like this*.

      *That’s not saying anything bad about you, by the way.Report

  14. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    [Ed1] I quite like the approach of this doctor: she’s billing employers for their employees’ visits when their only purpose is to comply with the employer’s sick note policy.

  15. Avatar Roger says:

    On G3, my grandson just missed an entire month of school because the teachers in his city decided to go on strike. I empathize with the teachers, as the school board seems beyond dysfunctional. If I had to work with those jerks even I would become Norma Rae.

    However, the system is broken. We need a reboot.Report

  16. Avatar notme says:

    Here is an interesting story: Immigration Crisis: 94% of Border Crossers Skip Court Hearings over 11-Week Period

    • Avatar James Hanley says:

      Pro tip: If the source you link to has multiple ad windows pop up, it’s not a real news source, it’s just a click generator.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        The link clicks just fine for me, maybe it’s operator error on your part. So you are saying the brietbart is a click generator? I know you are pro illegal but come on.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        “Click” is the polite word for it.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I clicked on the Breitbart link. First, I got a popup asking whether I wanted to subscribe to their newsletter. When I clicked “no”, I got another popup, offering to show me the SHOCKING TRUTH! I clicked on that, and got a video claiming that FEMA is buying up packaged food for unstated nefarious purposes. (Certainly not to have it on hand in case of emegency.)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:


        Oh, the link worked fine. That is, it took me to the Breitbart site and it opened up several popups, just as the Breitbart folks want it to. It couldn’t have worked any better.

        So you are saying the brietbart is a click generator?

        Yes. It’s designed to lure in easily outraged ideologues for the purpose of generating clicks. That is exactly what I’m saying.

        I know you are pro illegal

        Damn right. Of course if we’d just end the charade they wouldn’t be illegal at all.Report