Linky Friday #103: Fear & Guns Edition

Will Truman

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

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160 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    [F1] Friends and I laughed and lamented that one all day when we saw it last week. This country…

    [C3]: That’s not the future of porn, it’s the present. It would have gone this way even without piracy.Report

  2. dhex says:

    [f4] little bit more than contrast going on there!

    [c6] first clip art; next allowing anyone who can’t pass a test the ability to choose fonts other than garamond. then the kingdom of god will be at hand.

    oh and removing prezi from the internet and requiring a credit card and breathalyzer test before using powerpoint/keynote.

    and then the kingdom of god will be at hand.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    A5: A dissent on the Danish Archer

    A6: Conservative Utah needed the help of the ACLU and Maryland Democrats to reign in police militarization. Way to bury the lede 🙂

    F3: “The closest thing we have to a geopolitical challenge is internal. Basically, Schumpeter was right. What we have to fear is our own professional, intellectual, and political classes, all of which are busily undermining the very economy, society, and politics on which they depend for their survival.”

    This quote can be extremely left-wing, extremely right-wing, or both. It is also largely meaningless because he doesn’t really give any examples and comes at the end of the post. Jamelle Bouie had a an article in Slate about how Jon Stewart was bad for liberals. He talked about it more on the Slate culture fest and one thing he pointed out was about how horrible it is to think in a kind of “If we can only stop yelling at each other and get along things, will get done” instead of realizing that we are yelling at each other because we really disagree about the problems are and/or what the solutions are. Is Political a swipe against Liberals, Conservatives, or both? Is professional going against trial lawyers, CEOs/Koch, or both? Intellectual is usually just a swipe at liberals.

    I am always constantly amazed that people are gob-smacked when people disagree with them. This quote was real Tin Foil, Glenn Beck, Alex Jones nuttery. I am kind of surprised you included it.

    Ed2: Links to a story in the Guardian about a woman who was devastated when her on-line boyfriend came out of the closet in Dragon Age.

    Ed6: I’ve generally noticed that University of City tend to be Jesuit. University of San Francisco, University of Portland, University of Scranton, University of Seattle, University of San Diego are all Jesuit. University of Chicago is an exception. Many private universities are named after their founders and/or first big benefactors: Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Vassar, Duke, etc.

    C2: Awesome

    C3: So porn will have a bunch of Medicis?Report

    • Ed2 fixed.

      Ed6: Sometimes, but a fair number of public schools do that, too: Pittsburgh, Louisville, Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, Toledo, Akron.Report

    • For people who don’t regularly read Schuler, F3 may lack context. He’s not particularly far to the right or the left. He believes, and makes some pretty good arguments over time, that our system is really good at proliferating income and wealth to its upper classes with public money devoted to the privileged of public and private sectors.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:


        I still think that is a rather vague charge so it can have truth but also spend on what you consider money and how it should be spent. He had another post that seemed to go against social security, medicare, medicaid, and was some old-fashioned Calvinist (sorry Gabriel) save, save, save, and damn the welfare state kind of stuff.

        I do agree that we can do better at routing out corruption with stuff like road construction, military contracts, and other government contracts but I still believe in public goods including the welfare state and roads and bridges and stuff. I would abolish the private prison and criminal justice industries.

        This sort of ranting against “elites” is vague and meaningless because it doesn’t acknowledge how complicated creating policy is, how complicated the world is, how difficult balancing between equal but different priorities and interests can be. It simply imaging that there is a shadowy “elite” that is different and evil from the rest of humanity and once we get rid of them, everything will be shiny and happy utopia.

        Bull fucking shit.Report

      • j r in reply to Will Truman says:


        Did you actually read the post? He makes pretty clear what he means.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Nice link to the take down on the archer. The video did make me want to dig out my bow, but of course my bow is a modern compound, which could never be used for tricks like that unless I had lats big enough to be mistaken for wings.Report

  4. LeeEsq says:

    A2-Lethal-lite (and the proper spelling should be light) is going to make police even more trigger happy. What we need is less trigger happy police officers, not police officers with less-lethal ways to shoot people. It would be better to make meditation and yoga classes compulsory and try to select for police officers that are naturally calm and not excitable.

    Ed4-I have a feeling that every party involved is not going to like doing what is necessary for bringing German-style apprenticeship to the United States. Union supporters might be an exception because German-style apprenticeship requires a unionized environment and it give labor a big boost. Employees aren’t going to like this because training apprentices are going to be expensive for them, especially at the set up of the program. American corporations seem to favor short term profits over anything else. They want fully trained employees.

    En1-This article had very little to do with energy. There is an argument that the Scandinavian system requires a good deal of cultural homogeneity to work or at least set up initial. People have no problem with a generous welfare state when everybody its helping is like you but in more diverse societies, it starts to flay because of humanities’ innate tribalism. According to other blogs I read, welfare queen like arguments are starting to turn up in Scandinavian blogs with some frequency now.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Actually, the big problem with Lethal-Lite is that being able to use it requires training & habits that are completely counter to current training. Current training is to shoot center of mass as many times as needed to stop the threat. Using this device would require police having the time to decide the threat is low enough that they have the time to mount the device, use it at the very short distances it will be effective at, and then have the time to evaluate if it was effective before following up with additional, lethal shots. And that assumes that any other officers on hand don’t hear a gun shot & immediately follow up with supporting fire, not realizing a non-lethal round was fired.

      Something like this would be useful in situations like what recently happened in Pasco, WA, but then, so are shotgun bean bag rounds.

      No, a cop who wants to deploy less-than-lethal rounds on the fly needs to have a magazine full of such rounds in his gun, with his second & third mags loaded with lethal rounds.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Similar to my thoughts… I was wondering what the official police training might be with regards “double-tap to center mass” would that second shot be too hard to unlearn, or are they very well trained on a round by round basis. Anecdotally, it seems that once the first shot is fired there are an awful lot of shots fired – and they seem to be contagious with other officers in the area. But, I haven’t really looked at any meaningful data on that point.

        Hard to tell from the video what the exact stopping power might be… they say it is equivalent to being hit by a baseball bat… but the videos didn’t make me think it would be a reliable drop. And then we’re right back to the lethal second round. That said, I could potentially see it working in some situations with the right training.Report

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

        It would require a concerted effort to unlearn it, especially in high stress situations. Once the adrenaline gets going, there is a reflex to pull the trigger more than once, which is why I said the whole magazine has to be less than lethal.

        I wonder how effective a round like this would be as a less-than-lethal alternative, especially if the powder charge was reduced quite a bit. I can imagine getting hit with a magazine of a low power variant of these would be quite entangling.Report

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

        Oops, sorry, forgot the link

      • Alan Scott in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Yeah, this sounds like the perfect storm of terrible: Focus needs to be on getting cops to shoot less, while this will encourage them to shoot more–and the device’s design basically encourages lethal follow-up.

        The fact that The Ferguson PD is so eager to explore this option just makes it clear that they still have no understanding of the problems within their department.Report

  5. North says:

    H3: Well any movement towards sanity on organ donation compensation is a good one. I’m astonished that so many people would prefer that the sick wither and die rather than give money to poor people.

    En3&4: Well I’m delighted to see sanity come creeping back. I wonder how long before the Germans get real and flip their plants back on. Amazingly it’s really hard to power an entire grid on sunbeams and unicorn farts. Who’da thunk.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to North says:

      Everybody knows unicorn farts release methane into the environment and contribute to global warming.Report

    • morat20 in reply to North says:

      an entire grid on sunbeams
      Where do you think oil came from? 🙂Report

      • North in reply to morat20 says:

        Aye, but if we go to that level of meta then both “solar” and wind is simply nuclear power. If you want non nuclear power you’re stuck with tidal or geothermal.Report

      • morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        I just found it funny you pointed to an actual source of energy and derided it as not a source of energy.

        I’m pretty happy with solar. I’ve been looking at solar leases for ages.

        But I live in sunny Houston, where A/C is a huge power draw. A huge power draw on bright, sunny days. Honestly, it makes fiscal sense right now (either purchase or lease) — I just haven’t pulled the plug because I’m due for a new roof soon, and would prefer to get that done first.Report

      • North in reply to morat20 says:

        I derided it as a baseload power source and now I’m going to deride it again. You can’t run an industrial power grid on solar, unicorn farts and good intentions.Report

      • morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        I’d no more suggest sustaining a power grid on solar alone than Germany would. Solar accounts for less than 7% of Germany’s power. The actual amount of baseline load from solar is much lower, as only for actual plants.

        Indeed, their actual grid troubles with this are enlightening — as energy production becomes more distributed (and cheap solar makes that a no-brainer. It’s happening everywhere in the first world and will continue to do so. Sunlight is an increasingly cheap source of energy. Moreover, once the panels are in place your price-per-watt is highly predictable over the lifetime of the panel) old-style grids aren’t really built to handle it.

        Germany’s not trying to create it’s baseline on pure solar. Why on earth would you think that?Report

      • North in reply to morat20 says:

        My primary scorn was that they have turned off their nuclear base load and instead are running on coal and oil as a replacements. The environmental lift there is stunning- especially considering that Germany, a geologically stable, non-tsunami susceptible, cold, water rich region is pretty much an ideal place to operate traditional nuclear power plants.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        Then your primary scorn is misplaced. They didn’t ‘turn off their nuclear base load’. They had plants scheduled for retirement due to age and retired them. Nuclear power is still close to 12% of their production.

        The problem in Germany is, as usual, a lot more complex than the sound bites that get passed around in other countries — generally to help someone grind their favorite axe.

        As I understand the situation, Germany has been trying to phase out their nuke plants since 2000. Because they’re German, and thus not crazed idealists with no idea of the practicalities of engineering, they went with “We will just let nuclear plants retire on schedule as they reach the end of their operating lifespan, which gives us two decades or so to replace them”.

        And, because Germany is an actual nation of people and businesses and not some dictatorship, this was immediately lobbied against by the folks building and running their nuke plants. (Who, quite reasonably, preferred being in business than not). This led to a lot of flip-flops on the program, as multiple attempts to resurrect the nuclear program or extend it (against the will of voters who, you know, technically are supposed to be in charge) happened.

        So the nuke plants were back, then gone, then extended for a decade, then gone again. Their problem was not power (in fact, their biggest problem is grid instability, which has happened as far back as 2006 before any solar buildout OR nuke retirement)

        Right now, they’ve still got well over a dozen nuke plants running and plant to run through the early 2020s. They’ve always been huge coal users, but they’re pushing to switch more to NG in the interim.

        I think their long-term renewable goal is 80% in 2050 or so.

        Germany’s problems with nuke are, basically, a great deal of political infighting rather than technical. Because, you know, they STILL have nuke plants running. And oil. And coal. And NG. And they plan to keep running them for a very long time, although their environmental controls get more and more strict to deal with emissions.

        But by the time it filters over HERE people get the weird idea that Germanys decided to pull the switch on all their nuke plants after Japan (um, no) and that apparently Germans are a nation of luddite environmentalists.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to morat20 says:

        The actual link itself does a pretty good job of running down how Germany ended up either the problems it has. Anti-nuclear doesn’t seem to shoulder much blame, but attempts to transition to green energy doesn’t seem so relatively blameless.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        I’d have honestly been shocked if such a large changeover had actually gone smoothly.

        Germany’s the one out on the edge, dealing with all the problems that crop up trying to do something new. Of course it’s going to run into troubles, big and small.

        Anyone making big changes — well, anyone being the first one to make such changes — runs into that problem, in anything. Which is why I don’t get the sneering.

        Of course things have gone wrong. of course there’s been problems. How could it be otherwise? With anything? Trailblazers reap rewards, but “this is the easy path” isn’t one of them.

        In the end, someone’s gotta be first. And what they start is popping up over here. Solar’s pretty attractive in an age of volatile energy costs, because it’s gotten really cheap to install and because that cost-per-watt stays static. Which is not a small thing, in business, to have highly predictable costs in one area.

        Especially if you’re hedging against the possibility of carbon taxes or other such things — oil is cheap today — will it be next year? Same with NG? And what happens when they start cracking down even further on emissions? (Whether a carbon tax or just emissions controls). Will it stay cheap?

        We’re not seeing a Germany-style buildout on solar here, but we’re still seeing large jumps in solar and wind installations. The price is quite competitive, and only going to fall. (Inputs — sunlight — are fixed, and costs go down as the # of units goes up and technology matures).Report

    • Jim Heffman in reply to North says:

      “H3: Well any movement towards sanity on organ donation compensation is a good one. I’m astonished that so many people would prefer that the sick wither and die rather than give money to poor people. ”

      The assumption is that poor people will be exploited by unscrupulous organ brokers…or just have their organs stolen outright (that joke about waking up in a motel bathtub with no kidneys wouldn’t be a joke anymore.)Report

    • LWA in reply to North says:

      “I’m astonished that so many people would prefer that the sick wither and die rather than give money to poor people.
      Of course its astonishing, since no one is actually advocating that. Just like I’m astonished you want to harvest poor Irish children for their meat.

      Really, organ donor compensation is being argued in the name of the poor? For their benefit, solely?

      Why is it that advocates of the poor (and I include my fellow leftists) never seem to trust poor people to speak on their own behalf about what they really want?

      If you got a bunch of poor people together and had them write a list of their top desires and concerns, would organ sales, unpasteurized milk, or an anarcho-syndicalist collective make the cut?

      If you just culled out the people who were so poor that selling their kidney was an attractive option, wouldn’t it seem more plausible that they would favor oh, I don’t know, maybe direct food and rental assistance, or maybe a state-supported college education, unionized job, and single payer health care?

      Maybe there are some people who are fully enfranchised and financially stable, who for reasons of their own are capable of fully exchanging an organ for money. Given the existence of a robust regulatory apparatus to ensure non-coercion yadda yadda, sure, I could see that being a just solution.

      But I’m just not buying this stuff about how this is “for the poor”.Report

      • North in reply to LWA says:

        You’re pummeling a position I don’t hold. I most certainly don’t advocate the payment of organ donors as a some form of program for the benefit of the poor; not what so ever or in any form nor do most advocates of compensation for organ donation. Their, and my, point is that allowing compensation would very likely eliminate organ shortages entirely to the enormous net benefit of everyone who ever may be in need of a donor organ (in other words all people including the poor and wealthy alike).

        Yes, in theory, a poor person might sell their spare organ for money, an organ which might end up donated to a wealthy recipient (note that in such a program the organ would statistically be more likely to end up saving the life of a poor or middle class recipient). I consider this neither a feature nor a bug- merely a fact. Critics of the proposal object that this is unacceptable. They do not wish for the poor to have the option of selling their organ. They would prefer that donor organ recipients suffer for lack of donor organs than run the risk that a poor recipient be given money for an organ that ends up in a wealthy recipient.

        I find this annoying and intellectually stunted, thus my pithy statement. I think the poor are capable of deciding on their own whether to donate an organ in exchange for some form of compensation. I see a whole lot of knee jerk ick factor and some really thick skulled class warfare blocking a policy that would improve the health of everyone (including the poor). I think that’s unfortunate.Report

      • LWA in reply to LWA says:

        OK, so we have established that this isn’t for the benefit of the poor donors, but the benefit of the recipient.
        But are we don’t want poor people, and only poor people to have this option? No one is saying that, of course.
        So it remains that the only donors, functionally, are going to be those who are so desperate as to do it.

        What I am saying is that before we allow this choice, lets remove that desperation, and let the poor make their choice on the same level playing field as the rest of us.Report

      • North in reply to LWA says:

        An empty suggestion; before we institute food safety standards let’s make sure everyone has enough food to eat while we’re at it yes?

        I dare say no small number of young middle class people would be interested if the value shakes out as has been theorized but I am getting the inkling that you have the standard poor organs will go to the rich objection. Fair enough if so but you could just come out and say it; in which case we’re back to stating that it’s preferable that people do not have the option of giving up their organs for compensation and that everyone, poor rich and middle class alike, should suffer for lack of organ donations rather than making a policy change that could eliminate that privation. All this because poor people apparently can’t be trusted to make their own decisions.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LWA says:

        You want the poor to eat unsafe GMO foods?Report

      • Notme in reply to LWA says:

        No, the poor can eat cake.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to LWA says:

        If we should trust the poor to make their own decisions, should it be illegal for them to sell themselves into slavery?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LWA says:

        Here is my argument against selling oneself into slavery, even voluntarily:

        (I wrote it a million years ago)

        You have the right to sell yourself into short-duration slavery (that is, for a year, or for two weeks with a perpetual option to renew the contract, or whathave you) but to do it in perpetuity is to sell your future self down the river.

        When I was 15, I was someone very different than when I was 25. When I was 25, I was someone very different than when I was 35. If I sold myself into slavery at age 15, I’d be actively harming my 25 year-old self and positively destroying my 35 year-old self.

        If, however, I was willing to sell myself, on a limited basis, for 3.75/hr… most libertarians would be fine with that. They might even be okay with a contract of up to a year or so… I can’t see them being okay with much longer than that.

        Your future self is someone else entirely. Treat him gently.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to LWA says:

        If you sell your kidney now, you’re depriving future self of it as well.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LWA says:

        As much as I am in love with the whole “Eff You, I’ve Got Mine” argument, I do think that the fact that we have two kidneys mitigates the imperative to be selfish somewhat and allow for spares to be sold as needed. One hopes that someone who helped out with a kidney in the past would be near the front of the line if/when they need one in the future (and there will be many more who will not need one in the future than who will).Report

      • LWA in reply to LWA says:

        We’ve already established that it isn’t the poor who are the constituents here. They aren’t asking to sell their organs, it isn’t of benefit to them, they are just the red herring being tossed around.
        Nor is it the middle class. I don’t see any middle class people agitating for the right to sell their organs.

        No, what we are talking about is the welfare and constituency of the recipients. And I agree it is a difficult decision, whether to allow them to pay so as to increase the number of willing donors. I’m not opposed to it implacably.
        I just think the present circumstances of inequality and lack of safeguards makes it extremely likely that the benefit (lives extended) will not be worth the cost of an entire society that reduces its members to economic units stripped of human dignity.

        I don’t think there are any easy villains or victims here. The cause of saving human life is of course a powerful compelling interest. So compelling, I use it to justify the various nanny state infringements on liberty.
        But I believe the cause of human dignity and the sanctity of the human body is equally compelling. Its what justifies the prohibition against torture and cruel and unusual punishment.

        Again, it could turn out that after a careful evaluation and the institution of proper safeguards it could be justified.
        But the waving of the bloody shirt of agency of the donors is nonsense.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to LWA says:

        the cost of an entire society that reduces its members to economic units stripped of human dignity.

        That’s not an actual argument. This is just you saying stuff.that sounds vaguely ominous if you don’t subject it to any actual scrutiny.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to LWA says:

        “All this because poor people apparently can’t be trusted to make their own decisions.”

        Actually, it’s more that for the most part, humans make a lot of bad decisions, but poor people face the worst consequences for making bad decisions.

        But, I guess that’s the difference between liberals/social democrats and neoliberals/libertarians is that you see a poor person donating a kidney or more out of desperation and think it’s a good thing and I don’t.Report

      • Damon in reply to LWA says:

        “is that you see a poor person donating a kidney or more out of desperation and think it’s a good thing and I don’t.”

        That’s not is at all. For many of us it’s the simple case that “intervention” is a violation of our basic freedoms and that that intervention comes with serious strings attached, strings we want no part of.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to LWA says:

        Also, can we stop with this “to the rich” silliness? There’s this thing called insurance that makes it possible for people of modest means to pay for expensive health care procedures. Given that kidney disease tends to skew towards the low end of the economic spectrum, I suspect that the rich would be underrepresented among kidney transplant recipients.Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to LWA says:

        @jaybird : Here is my argument against selling oneself into slavery, even voluntarily:

        (I wrote it a million years ago)

        You have the right to sell yourself into short-duration slavery…

        That’s almost a nice try, JB. The problem is that it only works by redefining the very concept of slavery from what it actually is, the literal ownership of one person by another, into a kind of rental contract.

        When you are a slave in a society that recognizes slavery as a legitimate institution you have the same legal status as a farm animal. You may be bought and sold, rented out to another and made to perform any labor. You may be beaten and abused with no more legal repercussion to the owner than someone accused of cruelty to animals, because that’s what you are.

        You can be slaughtered for meat. Which I will cheerfully admit could positively address the shortage of organs for transplantation but which also would seem to render the “limited duration” element of your proposal moot.

        Assuming you survive that long you also run into the problem of enforcing the limited duration clause of the contract. As a slave you cease to be a legal person. So if your temporary owner decides unilaterally to extend the “contract” indefinitely against your wishes, you have no more legal standing to challenge that action than would a dog, a toaster, or a tree.

        Of course that also presents an interesting legal dilemma for the putative owner since it would seem that the instant the contract takes effect your counter-party legally ceases to exist. You can’t very well sue your horse for fleeing the barn, can you?

        In the end what you’re describing is nothing more than an employment contract with perhaps some rather onerous conditions. But whatever it is isn’t actual slavery.

        As to the issue of binding your future self… well we do that quite routinely. You may have done it yourself. It’s called a “mortgage” which I understand to derive from the French and translates literally into “death contract.” It seems to me that your 45-year old self that still has ten years of payments ahead is a lot different person than the 25 year old you that signed the contract. (And let’s not even get into the whole marriage thing. Until death do us part. Oy vey!)Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LWA says:

        If we define “ownership” within the confines of “what will the other people in society do if you (whatever)”, slavery is one thing. If we define “ownership” as a more nebulous relationship that can exist between two moral agents, it’s another (and if the only thing that can be owned are in the set of “things” (as opposed to “moral agents”), we’ve got yet another (one which precludes slavery)).

        The definition of slavery you’re using seems to preclude the ability to sell oneself. Which is fair enough.

        But it seems like the question Schilling was asking was asking something to the effect of “using your own premises, why couldn’t someone sell themselves into slavery” and my answer was of the form “using my own premises, here’s my answer”. Jumping from there to “HA! USING MY PREMISES, YOUR ANSWER DOESN’T WORK!” gets a response of “well, of course my answer wouldn’t work using your premises. My assumption was that I was going to be using mine.”Report

      • North in reply to LWA says:

        @LWA If I were advocating a straight up free market for organs I think your position would be stronger (inadequate in my biased view but stronger) but, if you follow the link, the discussion is of something considerably more constricted than a free market for organs. We’re discussing compensation of various forms whereas currently the organ donor is pretty much the -only- person in the organ transplant chain that isn’t getting compensated. I suppose I am to a degree waving the bloody shirt of agency but I’m primarily doing far worse- brandishing the bloodless ledger of utility. People in need of transplants suffer enormously and consume massive quantities of medical care. One can compensate an organ donor very generously and still come out miles ahead in both suffering and costs avoided by obtaining a donor organ.

        Certainly I would be appalled and opposed if the outcome had any serious likelihood of turning into Mike’s example of people being forced to count their own organs as asserts etc. We don’t do that with plasma or hair, both of which have commercial value, and I would be entirely in favor of strong barriers against allowing such a cold inhumane enumeration with donatable organs.

        Jesse, the link/discussion at hand primarily addresses your objection by making the compensation that the donors receive less immediately liquid. Payment into a retirement account or similar deferred benefits would make organ donation an unappealing option for desperate poor people. Note, also, that the requirement of matching comparability also makes organ donation a ineffectual quick cash option for the desperate. This is something you’d have to put a lot of time into doing.Report

  6. j r says:

    F1: Oh geez… Reporting on Twitter posts is one step above reporting what people write on bathroom walls.Report

  7. Jaybird says:

    H1: Sizism is the last acceptable prejudice.

    I had a math teacher who bragged about how everybody in her AP course got 3s or better. When I took the AP course, I got a 3 (hurray!) but couldn’t help but notice that, halfway through the class, she kicked out half of her students.

    Reading that article made me remember that, for some reason.Report

    • morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

      My math teacher just had a private meeting with each student and informed them of where she predicted they’d score based on classroom results, and made a recommendation as to whether to take it. The choice was up to the student.

      Then again, she basically pushed the math AP program and personally revamped the math program from K-12 in order to get the school from ‘a handful of people taking the Cal I AP test’ to ‘multiple classes taking the Cal I and II (BC) test’ over about ten years.

      I don’t think she had to worry about pass percentages or pad her resume, since there were across the board improvements in math scores and a much larger % of the school taking the higher level math classes.Report

  8. Saul Degraw says:

    The Koch Brothers and the ACLU are joining forces and creating the Coalition of Public Safety to advance Criminal Justice Reform.

    Am I the only one who heard the name and thought of the Committee for Public Safety during the French Revolution?

  9. Saul Degraw says:

    Calfiornia is having an amazingly mild winter because of epic megadrought. Last weekend I was able to wear a t-shirt and no jacket it was hot enough to justify getting ice cream.

    Meanwhile Boston is being smashed into submission by blizzard after blizzard and will have a lot of flooding come springtime.

  10. Kolohe says:

    A1 is like an article that was translated into another language, then yet another language, then back into English. Not the writing per se, it’s fine enough (though a bit effusive towards friends), it’s just the ideas it presents are all scrambled up and not quite right.Report

    • morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

      They’re probably right about underwater drones though.

      Drone swarms are the future of air combat and close air support, and I’d say that predicting drone swarms as the future of undersea warfare is much the same.

      Why risk expensive and hard to replace crew and very expensive material when there’s a better, cheaper, more effective option?

      I don’t care how good a pilot you are — three or four drones will each your lunch, and you’ll be lucky to take one with you. Us fleshy creatures have always been a big limiting factor in more subs and fighter/bombers. Too much life support requirements. Too little tolerance for pressure, g-forces, environmental changes…

      ECM, jamming, and hacking would be more your defense than missiles or guns.

      Bet the US doesn’t really change until someone’s cheap drone swarm wolf-packs a few expensive planes out of the air.Report

    • Jim Heffman in reply to Kolohe says:

      Also it’s the very common refrain about how Chinese/Russian super-technology is going to destroy America’s technological edge and they’ll be ruling the planet within our lifetimes and our only hope is to [author’s favorite idea, which is incredibly expensive and only works as a thought experiment].

      I mean, “satellites tracking submarines by their wake” has been a technothriller plot element since the 1980s (it even showed up in a James Bond movie.)Report

      • I don’t think that either of those countries has intentions to take over the world; OTOH, I’m sure they’re very interested in being able to make things painful enough for the US military that it will confine itself to the Western Hemisphere.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Kolohe says:


      Are you unclear on something specific in the article?


      Drone warfare is the future, especially as drones get better AI. I expect in the next 20 years, the REMO’s won’t be piloting the drones as much as being the non-linear thinking machine that attempts to get inside the oppositions OODA loop.Report

      • morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Yep. Now broad-scale jammers can be a problem, but frequency hopping can generally get around that. It’d be hard, but not impossible, to prevent drones from coordinating or receiving commands from base. (You’d still fall back to each drone’s own internal systems, like target prioritization and fallback procedures for loss of communication)

        Shooting down the GPS system would probably be easier.

        In any case, I see the future battlefields starting with swarms of drones, working wolf-pack fashion, to first clear the skies then remove critical battlefield elements (artillery, anti-air capability so the slower, heavier loaded anti-ground drones can fly safely, ECM stations whatever), before human troops set foot there.

        And human troops will be taking to a battlefield that’s been mapped down to the centimeter, with enemy troops and equipment positions updated in real time, with dedicated scout drones and CAS flying right overhead.

        I don’t think sea warfare is going to be much different. Carriers will be smaller and cheaper, fielding drones, and their escorts are going to be dealing with air and sea drones as well.

        Skilled, trained, experience technicians, soldiers, and pilots are far more of a limiting factor than material.

        Of course, this will probably keep the status quo much like it is — the US military able to stomp anyone without nukes into submission with hardly any effort or loss of US life — and utterly lacking in the soldiers, training, and technique to police or otherwise rebuild after.

        Great at war, crappy at occupation.Report

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



      • Kolohe in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        @mad-rocket-scientist the author was a perfectly clear communicator, it’s just the stuff he ingested then regurgitated is missing some things and emphasizes the wrong things.

        trying not to give away any trade secrets,

        1) The A2AD problem (from the US point of view) for the Persian Gulf and the Western Pacific are significantly different, and each is substantially different than the problem of strategic defense survivability (i.e. boomers able to boom before getting boomed themselves)

        2) It’s not processing power and models that are the recent (and potential near future) game changers – though they’re a factor – it’s distributed sensors. (of which smallish autonomous vehicles aerial & surface are a good part of).

        3) UUVs have a bandwidth problem. As you know, good ol’ H2O greatly attenuates the EM spectrum below the frequencies where it serves as a carrier signal for a decent baud rate information signal. (frequencies that are carriers for a low baud rate information signals penetrate the water just fine, but we’re not going to be fighting a war against AOL compact discs)

        And both those last two things said, the biggest thing everybody seems to miss is that all our current efforts with drones have been in permissive environments, and, almost always, with local government support. Nobody in the world yet has experience with flying or driving a significant force of autonomous and/or remote operated vehicles against a peer or near peer competitor.

        (and all that said, let me be clear that Bryan Clark does know what he’s talking about)Report

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


        OK, so you understand everything just fine.Report

      • Jim Heffman in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        “Nobody in the world yet has experience with flying or driving a significant force of autonomous and/or remote operated vehicles against a peer or near peer competitor. ”

        Guided bombs and missiles are UAVs, actually, and we have a fair amount of experience with how you get those through an advanced air-defense network. I don’t think it’s as far out there as people imagine.

        It’s sort of like how everyone used to think that there were Phone Calls and Internet Connections, and we’re starting to realize that those are basically just different flavors of the same stream.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        I agree that TLAMs are Predators that didn’t book a round-trip ticket*, and that there are more differences in degree than differences in kind when you trace the evolution back from the V-1/V-2 to the present day. The thing with that ‘fair amount of experience’ in penetrating IADS networks hasn’t been at peer competitors, and it’s a stretch to call those we have used them against as ‘near-peer’ competitors – namely, Iraq (twice**), Libya***, and Afghanistan. Also, the key element in OIF, OEF, Odyssey Dawn was surprise (but completely ignoring the Pope). The air campaign started at a time of our choosing, we took out the air defense systems, then sortied the rest of the combined air forces with impunity and complete tactical air superiority. There has not yet been a Coral Sea type battle of the drones.

        I am unfamiliar with how Russia used air power against Georgia, and how the Ukraine v Russia battle is being fought in the air (except for that one big famous incident), so there may be examples in those conflicts of using UAVs in a non-permissive environment (successfully or unsuccessfully)

        *and esp now the Echo ‘tactical’ variant that has increased loitering and, moreover, in flight re-programing for the first time – but it hasn’t been around all that long, i.e. we didn’t have it in service when OIF kicked off.

        **or more, if you count the little strikes in the 90s to enforce no-fly zones, like Desert Fox.

        ***this would have been twice two, but the TLAM shooter in ’86 (the first time it would have been used) went out of service and was not in position in time to conduct the attack.Report

  11. Saul Degraw says:

    @chris and @glyph bait

    One sad thing about the Internet is the death of the local music poster advertising gigs. I don’t think I have ever seen any examples except for shows that happened way before old enough to attend concerts.

    • Chris in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      A bunch of the posters from that era are still up at the two Threadgills. I think the founder of Threadgills was either a partial owner of Armadillo World Headquarters or close to the owners, and when the Armadillo went under, he got a lot of their stuff. Also, the chicken fried steak is pretty good.

      I’ve actually seen some great posters for local shows recently, but it’s so easy to make them now that I don’t think you can make a lot of money making them for one market.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I don’t see why they’ll die – in fact, more of them than ever will be preserved for view on the ‘net, and people will still make them, to put up at/near the venue, to sell at the merch table, etc. (not to mention, the art itself will still be displayed on a website advertising the gig).

      As long as there are dorm room walls there will be gig posters. At least until we go full Black Mirror and make every surface a touchscreen.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Glyph says:


        I mean modern ones are not really being made anymore. I have never been walking down the street and saw cool posters advertising shows.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Huh. I still see them at venues, so I am pretty sure they are still being made.

        If you don’t see them on the streets, that may be less “internet” and more “post no handbills” laws?Report

      • Chris in reply to Glyph says:

        I still see them on campus, but not as much as I did 10 years ago. Mostly I just see them at or near venues.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Glyph says:

        Both my hometown and my current city have special poster hanging infrastructure – in my hometown, they’re these very phallic posts about 6′ high and 2′ round; in my current city there are similar but somehow less phallic posts, and walls about 7′ high by 10′ long, with an overhanging roof so you can stand out of the rain while reading the posters. They’re always thick with posters, half an inch deep or more. Theatre, music, public meetings, etc.

        And yet I never seem to get the information about the specific shows I go to from those posters.Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Come to Seattle and visit Capitol Hill. Every single telephone pole is rife with ’em.Report

  12. re: ed3:

    (((What follows is one of those things that’s not only anecdotal, but based on my memory of how things were when I was a high school student in the early 1990s. Anecdote is not data. And memory is not really what happened. Be forewarned.)))

    From the linked-to article:

    I could not believe how tired I was after the first day. I literally sat down the entire day, except for walking to and from classes. We forget as teachers, because we are on our feet a lot – in front of the board, pacing as we speak, circling around the room to check on student work, sitting, standing, kneeling down to chat with a student as she works through a difficult problem…we move a lot.

    But students move almost never. And never is exhausting. In every class for four long blocks, the expectation was for us to come in, take our seats, and sit down for the duration of the time. By the end of the day, I could not stop yawning and I was desperate to move or stretch. I couldn’t believe how alert my host student was, because it took a lot of conscious effort for me not to get up and start doing jumping jacks in the middle of Science just to keep my mind and body from slipping into oblivion after so many hours of sitting passively.

    I had a very different experience. Beginning in my junior year, I worked a part time job. Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Aundays during the 1990-1991 school year, and an extra weekday (or more, if I got called in) during my senior year. (The latter was my senior year.) I had a very different take on the “sitting all the time” aspect of education. I saw it as a rest from work, as leisure activity. I had my job where I had to stand all throughout my shift, and now I was the consumer who got to sit while someone else (my teachers) had to stand. It gave me a sense that education was leisure. And a luxury. And it was something I enjoyed. A lot.

    Again, this is anecdote, and my experiences are not that teacher’s experiences, nor are they the experiences of her students, or of my own fellow students from when I was in high school, especially because I enjoyed school and that was my aptitude. But what I want to say is, sitting down was a luxury.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:


      This speaks to the great variability amongst humans — including (GASP!) children and young people — and the probably with a standardized approach to education. Some folks do their best learning sitting and attending for extended periods. Others find it torturous. Yet far too many schools and classrooms use essentially the exact same model and have for decades despite all that we’ve learned about the diversity of learning styles and the like.Report

      • Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy says:


        I agree. And I certainly knew many, very intelligent people in high school, and what worked for me didn’t for some of them.

        Also, this,

        I had a very different experience. Beginning in my junior year, I worked a part time job. Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Aundays during the 1990-1991 school year, and an extra weekday (or more, if I got called in) during my senior year. (The latter was my senior year.)

        might have been written better. Maybe I should’ve paid more attention in class? 🙂Report

  13. Michael Cain says:

    En2: Any piece that starts off with “the IEA forecasts” and doesn’t immediately start laughing is subject to doubt. Over the last 15 years, the IEA has an abysmal forecasting record. 15 years ago, they said that: (a) ten years out world production/consumption of oil would be past 125 million barrels per day, (b) it would all be conventional oil, tar sands and fracking and bio-fuels were unaffordable and not needed, and (c) prices would never go past $40/barrel and would be dropping back into the $20s before now.

    It’s worth noting that the IEA is reasonably upfront about their modeling approach. Their political masters tell them what global economic growth rate is acceptable, typically 2.5 to 2.7%. They run that growth rate through their model that tells them how much oil has been historically required to deliver that. They assign those production levels to various sources, both real and potential. Over time, the gap between what known sources can produce and what they forecast is needed to support the economic growth rate has been “filled” by various things: Brazil; Iraq; the Arctic Ocean. Currently they use “efficiency gains” at rates the world has never managed to reach.

    Will does well to point out the employment thing in North Dakota. We have enough data now to know that half of the operators in ND need $80/bbl to break even; none of those are going to even think about drilling at today’s prices. The corresponding figure for Texas drillers is about $60/bbl — they’re not losing as much money, but it’s still ugly. Citi Group is the biggest cheerleader right now — a number of analysts have suggested that Citi has bet heavily on oil prices continuing to drop, and if that doesn’t happen, Citi is bankrupt. Since it’s all derivatives that don’t have to be reported, no one will know unless/until the day comes when their creditors sue.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Cain says:

      It’s good to see that big finance has learned their lesson from the collapse of 2008.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I understand some of them are already moving in on car loans. If you can slice and dice mortgages to get Triple-A, you can do it with a car! And even more people own cars than houses.

        No, not kidding.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Hence the Ninga loan: no income, no garage.Report

      • James K in reply to Mike Schilling says:


        You mean the lesson that they can screw up as big as they like and the government will bail them out?Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        The lesson that diversified portfolios are for suckers.Report

      • Troublesome Frog in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Given that the upper limit of the possible value of a typical car is its retail price, I don’t think we have too much to worry about a car bubble popping and taking out the financial system.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Given that the upper limit of the possible value of a typical car is its retail price, I don’t think we have too much to worry about a car bubble popping and taking out the financial system.
        I think you glossed over the biggest part of the Great Recession.

        What froze the credit market was what amounted to uncertainty. Once it became clear that “triple-A” rated CDOs…weren’t….everyone who held them froze, because nobody knew if what they had was good, bad, or in between.

        Nobody could unpack the mess — the slicing and dicing process wasn’t one-way, theoretically you could trace it all back — but in practicality you couldn’t. Even if you could find the note, you couldn’t be sure it was up-to-date (notes were traded willy nilly, and as often as not the transfer was not properly recorded with the state), you certainly couldn’t trust the valuations or the claims about borrowers.

        There was little market to buy the things except at massive fire-sale prices, but if you sold you took the loss immediately.

        Doing it with car loans (which is a HUGE business) has the same problem, except on top of that cars depreciate in value from the get-go. Also, you can at least FIND the house. Cars move around.

        The fact that anybody is considering it is simple proof that you don’t have to be smart to work in high finance. You can, apparently, be the king of morons.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        But this time they couldn’t mix things like zero-down-payment loans on new Ferraris taken out by fast-food workers into the AAA tranche, because …

        Oh, and the car prices wouldn’t start to rise once more and easier financing is available, because …

        OK, now I’m starting to get scared.Report

  14. Damon says:

    A1: Low freq. sonar has been around for a while. The US navy uses it to protect the carrier task forces. It’s very good at finding subs. But this development doesn’t surprise me. The current tech seems pretty mature.
    A2: Ferguson early adopting strikes me as PR. Not sure of the value of this tool, especially since tazers and other less than lethal rounds are avail and this is pretty much a one shot and done tool.
    A3: Those reasons could be applied to anything to justify this here as well. I NEED a fully auto weapon to protect my family! :p
    F1: Lol…dumb asses. Still not as good as forcing someone to resign for saying “niggardly” claiming it was a racial insult.
    F4: Our alien overlords are exposed! All hail or new masters! How much worse than the current idiots can they be?
    H1: This is of course, the fault of Obama care. :p
    H3; Blah blah. Wait..give me the logic between “it’s my body and I’ll have an abortion if I want” and “no it’s not your body and you can’t sell your organs”. Ofc this would also allow women who wanted abortions to sell the product of their medical procedure rather than the doctors and researchers solely benefiting.
    C3: Wait 7 to 14 days for my custom porn?! I want it NOW!Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Damon says:

      Silly man! Choice is for pregnant women!Report

      • Damon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Yep, gotta love the hypocrisy.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Hypocrisy? Well, let’s see…

        Permitting a woman choice in taking a pregnancy to term seems categorically different than permitting a person to sell their organs. I mean, if you trivially reduce the two things to the relationship between an individual and government, then sure, you can find some analogues. But most people don’t view things that way, yes? So it’s not hypocritical on their parts to think that only one action ought to be permitted. Given that, ya’lls claim that those folks are hypocritical doesn’t even make any sense.

        Now, if there were in fact no distinctions between terminating a pregnancy and selling organs, then you would have a point. But I don’t see how you could do that, myself. For example, it seems clear to me that a person could consistently maintain that abortion ought to be illegal while organ sales ought be allowed. So I don’t see how you could sustain the charge of hypocrisy without begging the question by asserting that the only relevant similarity between the two is the role government plays in all this.Report

      • Damon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Actually the hypocrisy is in the comments I wrote about “it’s my body and I’ll have an abortion if I want”. If it’s “her body” as all “right thinking” folks do, then how is it not applicable to me selling a kidney. After all, “it’s my body”.

        It’s not the act that generates the hypocrisy, it’s the claim of ownership.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Even then, it’s not as simple as what you’re claiming. Selling a kidney involves a transaction with (amongst other things) other moral agents. Terminating a pregnancy doesn’t, especially if undertaken within the first Xish weeks. Alsotoo, permitting selling organs can create perverse incentives which presumably (but especially for pro-choicers) don’t exist in the case of permissible abortion. So even the “it’s my body and I’ll do what I want to” argument isn’t analogous in the relevant respects. Seems to me, anyway.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I think @stillwater has you here, @damon . I mean, no one argues, “It’s my body, I can kill you with it.” It is not the claim of autonomy and agency over one’s self that is inconsistent from situation to situation but the ripple effects beyond the individual that must be weighed.

        That said, I support regulated access to abortion and a regulated market for organ transactions.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        If the issue is about drawing an analogy between selling organs for cash and having an abortion based on the premise that people ought to be able to do what they want with their bodies (“It’s my body and I’ll do what I want to”….) then the more perfect analogy would require that women a) get paid for having abortions because b) there is a market for terminating pregnancies. Short of that, the motives, outcomes and utility-increasing measures are radically distinct between the two cases.

        Of course, prototypical libertarian logic requires doubling down on the presumptive dubiousness of certain assumptions, in this case that women shouldn’t be paid to have abortions! So that’s another ball we have to juggle without letting drop! Well ….

        Even if that were included in the debate, the moral properties of the two policy positions strike me as disanalogous.Report

      • kenB in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        “Women have a right to their own body” is a rhetorical club, like its opposite number “It’s a child, not a choice”. In either case, of course you can try to drill into the details and find conditions and nuance and trade-offs, but it’s also easy enough to find people shouting these slogans as if they were sufficient and unassailable arguments for the rightness of the given opinion.

        Damon is clearly referring to the way it’s usually deployed and is pointing out its deficiencies as a self-contained argument and engaging in a bit of mocking of the people who use it that way. I doubt he’s suggesting that there’s no way to come up with a notion of self-ownership that’s contingent rather than absolute. The best response IMO is to acknowledge that it’s over-simplistic, like most statements that appear on placards and bumper-stickers.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        I’d agree, except for the fact that pro-choicers have been fighting an uphill battle attain the status that a woman actually does have a right to her own body. IF the starting point was neutrality, then I’d agree with you. But it wasn’t. And in some sense it still isn’t. So what you call “sloganeering” is actually more than a club. It’s an attempt to gain some freedom – some autonomy – by expressing the goal in political shorthand. Nothing wrong with that, just so long as we remember where these “movements” start from. In my view anyway.Report

      • Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The state will force people to donate organs. I should have the right not to do so.

        There, now we have the proper analogy.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Maybe women should have the right to sell their kidneys?Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        @kazzy It is not the claim of autonomy and agency over one’s self that is inconsistent from situation to situation but the ripple effects beyond the individual that must be weighed.

        But there are no legitimate externalities. At least with abortion, you can talk about the effect on the fetus, if you ignore the fact that a fetus’s CNS isn’t developed to the point where it has any plausible moral significance. If you sell your kidney, it doesn’t harm anyone but you, and if you get paid enough that you’re willing to do it voluntarily, it’s still a net benefit.

        If we’re going to treat hand-wavy nonsense about “commodification” as an externality, then we can ban anything we want. If we allow women to terminate their pregnancies, that cheapens life, and next thing you know, we’ll have gladiatorial combat on pay-per-view TV*. There’s a whole cottage industry around making fake-externality arguments against gay marriage.

        *I was just trying to make up something silly, but in retrospect I think that’s an actual argument(oid) that’s been made.Report

  15. Brandon Berg says:

    H2 is much better than your blurb makes it sound, though in retrospect I guess I shouldn’t have expected an article you linked to to be “Ra ra France! Ra ra socialism!” boilerplate.Report

  16. LWA says:

    Down here-
    Since the phrase “economic units stripped of human dignity” is used often by people on my side of the fence, I thought it a good idea to flesh it out a bit more.

    The phrase springs from religious social justice theory, mostly Catholic, but widely adopted by most Christian denominations.
    The basic premise is that economic activity and property rights are means to an end, the end being the fulfillment of the human person.
    The other premise is that the human person itself- our bodies- are sacred things.

    Both of these premises contain the idea that possession of rights isn’t a binary state where you either have it or not.
    Instead its based on the “bundle of sticks” theory, where our claim over property and our bodies is partial, bounded, and never total.

    So asserting marketplace logic over the human body is an error- it places economic activity as a higher moral value than the respect for the human person. We become economic units, rather than persons with a fundamental dignity.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to LWA says:

      “Economic units stripped of human dignity” assumes that there is a higher human purpose than profit maximization. Which is crazy talk.Report

  17. Kazzy says:

    (DOWN HERE!)

    If we are talking about a single organ sale transaction, sure, the ripple effects are minimal if non-existent. But by creating a market, all sorts of other things happen. Let’s suppose that the creation of a market leads to organ donations ceasing as those willing to part with theirs realize they can make a buck. Now organ recipients are limited to those who can pay market rate, which may be well into the 5 or even 6 figures. That is an consequences that effects many many people and quite negatively. Are we okay with that? Maybe you are. I’d have some discomfort there. Such consequences do not exist with abortions, whether we are talking about one or one million.

    Which isn’t to say we can devise a system wherein those willing to part with their organs are compensated in some way. I just personally think we’d want to put some regulations in place to avoid some of the grosser negative outcomes of a completely free market.

    The reality is, all sides leverage the “It’s my body and I can do what I want” argument when it is convenient to their position. And while I believe that the goal should be to maximize individual autonomy and agency, we must balance this against the effects of exercising said autonomy and agency. Think back to ‘The Simpsons’ where Bart and Lisa walk towards each other, one punching empty air and one kicking empty air and both insisting that if the other comes to occupy that air, it’s their own fault. Actions have consequences.

    There are myriad examples of all sides being inconsistent hypocrites. In our lifetime we’ve had real or proposed laws which banned certain sex acts, gay marriage, drug use, trans fats, big sodas, organ sales, abortion, driving too fast, not vaccinating your children, and riding a motorcycle without a helmet. All of these impose constraints on individual autonomy and agency. Some of these were/are probably good laws and some of them were awful laws.

    As a general rule, I think invoking the “It is my body and I’ll do what I want with it” argument is weak tea. Stated as such it is simply not one we can apply with any serious. As someone else stated above, the main reason that argument became so common among the pro-choice crowd was because the first part of it — the idea that women’s bodies were their own — was not universally recognized. So a hyperbolic position was necessary in order to correct for that.

    If we could trust that all parties in the abortion debate genuinely accept the premise that a woman’s body is her own in the exact same manner in which a man’s body is his own, I’d be comfortable banning that particular slogan. Unfortunately, I don’t think we can say that. I think there is too much evidence that *some segment* of pro-lifers think women’s bodies or women’s agency and autonomy is less their own then men’s.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Kazzy says:

      What was the original suggestion, that there should be a free market in organ donation, or that organ donors should be compensated somehow? Because it seems to me that these are two very different things with only a very small area of potential overlap.

      Allowing the recipient, or their insurance, or the state, to provide anew attractive measure of financial compensation should be a non-issue except to those who are irrationally hung up on the giving aspect. For living donors, there is a very limited number of ways they can donate (kidneys, skin, bone marrow, blood, plasma, perhaps a few others ) but most such donations are very unpleasant for the donor & uncertain (you can’t just donate a kidney at the local kidney bank when the bills are due).

      However, a compensation scheme that would make payments to education or retirement accounts, or to the estate of a deceased donor, would potentially attract more people to register as donors and get screened for match markers.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        I’ll confess that I’m not sure what the original contention was. I jumped in mid-debate.

        I will say that my not-fully-thought-through plan for encouraging organ donation involves myriad shifts, some minor (e.g., making organ donation via automobile licensure opt-out instead of opt-in) and some major (e.g., methods of compensating organ donors both living and deceased). A little creativity in this area could save untold number of lives and a bit of thoughtfulness will mitigate most potential downsides.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy says:

      @kazzy Again, insurance. A kidney transplant already costs about a quarter million dollars. Compensating the donor might add $100,000 tops, including cash and lifetime insurance against any associated medical costs. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the number of people who self-insure for whom the difference between $250,000 and $350,000 is a deal-breaker is roughly zero.

      Also, I count the end of uncompensated donations as a plus. I’ve heard stories from people who were pressured by their families to donate a kidney, and it sounds like a terrible situation. Opponents of organ sales talk about “exploitation,” but they apparently have no problem with the exploitation that’s going on now, where donors are guilted into giving up a kidney and get nothing in exchange.

      The only people who have a leg to stand on when objecting to kidney sales are those who have personally donated a kidney. All the rest deserve to experience the joys of end-stage renal failure for themselves.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        You’ll see I never used the word exploited in my argument. Again, I’m in favor of compensating organ donors. I’m for whatever increases the number of available organs. I just think there are better and worse ways to do that. Craig’s List and eBay are poor models. Having not thought it through fully, I’d rather there exist a central clearing house wherein organs are gathered and distributed than individuals brokering with strangers. But I’m open to being convinced otherwise.

        If the question is about saving 100 rich people or 50 regular/poor people (yes, yes, false dilemma), I’d take the former every day of the week and twice on Sundays. But I’d prefer a third path where we can get those hundred organs and have a distribution model based on something other than ability to pay.

        You and I, I believe, are on the same side of the fence and arguing details.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Part of the issue with compensating organ donors is that taking someone’s kidney after they’re dead starts to look like taking their wallet, and volunteering to be an organ donor gets a lot more complicated than just ticking a box on the driver’s licence renewal form.Report

      • Damon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Yeah, so EVERYBODY who’s involved in the transplant process/industry gets to earn a buck but the guy/estate who gives it up gets squat. Who’s the exploited? The donors. Everyone else is making money off of them.

        Time to fix it. Besides, with the ACA coming into effect medical costs are going to come down, so this worry about cost is just a red herring, isn’t it?Report