Linky Friday #105

Will Truman

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

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258 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    N4-This should be obvious. Koalas are wild animals with a limited and specialized diet who have never been domesticated. They are also for Australia, land of even the cute and cuddly animals are trying to kill you. A little research should have revealed they make bad pets. I’m assuming this man did know research.

    F1-Japan’s demographic problems are so steep now that even feminism might not reverse the trend. Most Japanese women might simply be used to not having that many children by this point.

    I’m also not sure if this is true. The American workplace is more friendly towards working mother than the Japanese workplace but still nowhere as friendly as the European workplace. If your an American worker mother at the lower end of the socio-economic latter, the American workplace could be especially unforgiven. The United States doesn’t offer paid time off or good child care options for people with kids too young for school or for when school is not in session. We have a higher birthrate than Japan and most European countries despite being in-between the two when it comes to friendliness towards working mothers in terms of policy. The places with the highest birthrates in the world are the most fiercely patriarchal countries.

    F6-I blame Disney and their princess culture.

    E2-I’m not really sure where the myth of liberal Hollywood came from. Hollywood has mainly always been about making money The original studio moguls were either conservative Republicans or apolitical establishmentarians who supported whoever was in power. During the golden age of Hollywood, most movies were particularly apolitical. This caused Hollywood to take a big hit during the 1960s because their movies seemed stodgy and old-fashioned during the Counter-Culture even if they were from liberal directors with an ostensibly liberal message like Guess Whose Coming to Dinner.* Hollywood started putting sex and more violence in the movies for one reason, it makes money. They didn’t do it because they were liberal.

    *There is a less famous but better movie about inter-racial marriage from the early 1960s called One Potato, Two Potato. It involves less glamor than Guess Whose Coming to Dinner and deals with interracial marriage on a more human level. The plot is that a white woman gets married to an African-American man after her first white husband abandons and divorces her. When the woman’s first husband learns of this marriage, he is furious and sues for custody of his daughter because he doesn’t want his daughter’s step dad to be (insert racial slur here).

    T3-I imagine that a lot of people are going to want to own self-driving cars because it would be cool and they don’t like the idea of having to wait for one just like how many people don’t like waiting for a bus or train.Report

    • Glyph in reply to LeeEsq says:

      N4 – Given their formidable claws (used to climb and break down their extremely fibrous diet of eucalyptus trees), koalas are only really comfortable with other shredders.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq says:

      [T3] That might persist for a while – but if the self-driving car becomes very common, it would probably stop. Maybe not in the country, but in the city.

      Taxis have to keep moving to remain profitable because humans need to eat regardless of whether much they work; cars only ‘eat’ and incur maintenance costs per kilometre travelled. So, the fleet could be so big it would be equivalent to crushing underemployment for taxi drivers. Look out the window right now – imagine two thirds of the parked cars you see right now gone and the remaining third to be self-driving cars just waiting to take somebody somewhere. If you needed to go somewhere right now, how much waiting would be involved?

      Maybe if you’re travelling during the late part of rush hour, there wouldn’t be one on your block; the nearest idle one would be two whole blocks away. Call the car before you put on your boots instead of after, and there’s your wait time covered.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to dragonfrog says:


        Personally, I’m looking forward to the day when owning a car in any city is only a necessity for those who regularly travel long distance by road.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Even in the most aggressive scenario, I think having a car will still be a luxury item, even inside cities. You also might have people uberizing their cars, and so viewing it as a sort of investment as well as having dibs on a car whenever you need one. I think there may be some unevenness in small cities and mid-sized markets – particularly less wealthy ones – though I think big cities will be absolutely flooded with autocars (though, obviously, far fewer than exist now).Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Absolutely, some people will still own cars for whatever personal reasons. There may not be fewer private cars in London than in Houston, just fewer cars per capita, and more people whose daily transportation doesn’t involve cars.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The myth comes from the product itself, written by writers who lean overwhelmingly to one side. I don’t think it would even be possible for the product itself not to reflect to the views of the people actually creating the product, with such a consensus. Even if they were really trying to play it straight, and even with the profit motive. The only real exceptions are story demands (I’m speaking of crime dramas, mostly), and even then they often try to hedge (not that there’s anything wrong with doing so), and oftentimes succeed in reversing the orientation.Report

  2. Chris says:

    M2: A friend of mine makes a lot of money doing this, and I’ve actually done it twice for a friend’s relatives. I even wrote (well, heavily rewrote) an academic book chapter for some Taiwanese engineering researcher friends of her’s. It’s a lucrative business, and from what I can tell, it’s seen as part of the cost of applying to American schools. It is, I gather, so common that universities are starting to change their admission processes to try to prevent it.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Chris says:

      I can understand why foreign students struggle with the admission essay. In China and most other countries, college admission is purely based on a test. The United States is unique for requiring essays, interviews, and extracurricular activities in addition to grades. It can strike non-Americans as weird.Report

      • Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

        It’s not true that the U.S. is unique in this. In fact, while one of the two essays I wrote for my friend’s relatives was for a U.S. graduate program (to which he was admitted), the other was for a Taipei medical school that required an English-language essay and interview. I wrote the essay and the interview answers (they gave the questions in advance).

        The issue isn’t that they require things that other countries’ programs do not, but that they require them in English, and the applicants are non-native English speakers who don’t have a lot of experience writing at that level in English. In fact, they often have the equivalent of a couple year’s of college English, which if you’ve ever known anyone from who’s only taken the required college Spanish, say, you’ll know what this means. They might be able to ask where the library or bathroom is, but they’re not going to be able to write an essay that will impress an Ivy League school.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to LeeEsq says:

        I don’t buy that. If this were about English fluency, then how will those students whose English skills prevent them from writing a college essay perform adequately once they’re accepted into the school?

        In my education classes, I was taught that it takes 5-7 years for a non-English speaker to become academically fluent. If someone’s English-language writing skills are so low that they need a ghost writer (rather than simply needing an editor), then they’re still multiple years behind.Report

      • Chris in reply to LeeEsq says:

        then how will those students whose English skills prevent them from writing a college essay perform adequately once they’re accepted into the school?

        It’s really tough, particularly for the faculty (though a lot of these kids are applying to programs with a fair number of faculty who speak their native language). This is why universities are changing the process, with things like in-person, English-only interviews, to try to avoid admitting students who can’t speak or write in English at the necessary level.

        But yeah, kids who don’t speak a lick of English are getting in, and have been for a while. When I was in grad school, one of the other students in my lab was Korean, and he basically spoke enough English to find his classes, but not much more. It took English classes and an expensive private English tutor over about a year or so to get him to the point where he could reliably take in the information in his classes, and I’m not sure he ever got to a point where he could write an academic paper (say for a journal submission) in English (he’s now back in Seoul). He got through his first year largely because there was a strong Korean grad student support network both in the department and the university at large.

        I’ve actually heard faculty say that they won’t mentor any foreign graduate students, because writing (and publishing) is such a big part of graduate work, and you can’t tell whether a foreign student can write in English by their applications because they pay native speakers to do the writing portions.Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Soooon, sooon,
        college students will have to take the same tests as sperm donors.
        (because nobody wants to pay good money for a stupid baby OR a stupid scholar).Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:


        The undergrad component of my law school’s university has a substantial portion coming from the new Asian rich. Probably the type of student Park did essays for. I see them on campus and they generally wear much nicer clothing than their American counterparts (like 450 dollar shirts) and drive fancy sports cars (Maserattis). There was allegedly a scandal where an admissions officer or admin higher-up needed to resign because of admitting undergrads who could not speak English.Report

      • LWA in reply to LeeEsq says:

        “college students will have to take the same tests as sperm donors.”

        What, standing in a little room with a porn mag?Report

      • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

        no, the ones to make sure they aren’t autistic. Quite extensive and a bit more difficult than your run of the mill IQ test.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to LeeEsq says:

        What, standing in a little room with a porn mag?

        That really hasn’t been a major part of the college experience since the Internet went mainstream.Report

      • Glyph in reply to LeeEsq says:

        But what if my fetish involves close quarters and glossy periodicals?Report

  3. dhex says:

    h1 – medicare does cover some gastric bypass and lap band procedures. started about six or seven years ago, and this really changed the way some hospitals were able to handle the procedures. that said, they’re really a weapon of last resort, because they are hella extensive and rather dangerous as far as surgeries go.Report

    • morat20 in reply to dhex says:

      A relative of mine had one of those (lap band, I think? Whatever the reversible one is, so I think the band). His insurance covered it, but the lead-up was a year’s work with a nutritionist that basically required him to develop healthy eating and exercise habits first, and get them ingrained in.

      Seemed a fair deal. He lost weight prior to the lap band and a lot after, and as he shed the weight he was able to exercise more effectively. I think he ultimately stabilized as maybe 75% of the man he used to be. 🙂Report

      • dhex in reply to morat20 says:

        lap bands are reversible. nutritionist before and after is obviously preferable for the best outcomes.

        the big up and coming one is the duodenal switch, which is the tac nuke of obesity surgeries. but it’s only invoked in more extreme cases. i babysat a tv crew that filmed one a few years back. kid was 25 or so, 5’2 and 420lbs; developed type 2 diabetes in 8th grade, etc, and was at risk of limb loss before 30, etc.

        obvious trivia – surgery is pretty gross.Report

  4. Kazzy says:


    This is remarkable in that it is unremarkable. This stuff goes on all the time, though it is generally reserved for the uber upper class. “College admission consultants” and the like sell a bevy of services. Some simply guide and edit. Some “edit”. And some just flat out write.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Kazzy says:

      If you want to go far in life, its always a good idea to be born to the right parents. There is an entire consultation industry on building the perfect high school life to get into an elite college or university.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

        It starts even younger. These services exists for INCOMING high school students.

        Some folks even seek services for preschoolers!Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

        (My sister teaches First Grade here in town in one of the school districts that has parents that request specific teachers to help their children prepare for certain colleges. My sister is the college prep first grade teacher of choice for the Ivy League Parental Hopefuls.)Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq says:

        There have been many articles written on the mad race to get into the right pre-school program in the New York City metropolitan area. I can’t exactly blame the parents. Going to the right university and graduate/professional school can have an enormous impact on your kid’s early career even if the differences might pan out at least a little latter. At the same time, it is adding a strong hereditary element in American society that kind of but not really existed before, except maybe during the First Gilded Age in the late 19th and early 20th century. This can’t be a good thing.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:


        The kindergarten teacher here once had parents sit down and say, “So what are you doing to get my child into Harvard?”

        They were not joking.

        What strikes me is that this is an arms race that ultimately yields few winners.

        If every 11th grader from Prep School Prep Day School is working with a college consultant, then they likely increase their advantage over the kids at Public School #47, but they all end up more or less the same relative to one another. And their parents are out thousands of dollars.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq says:

        “And their parents are out thousands of dollars”

        Wealth re-distribution from the upper 10% to the 40-11% doesn’t fill me with that much angst.Report

  5. Damon says:

    [M3] I can’t speak to the reports findings, but I can confirm that “smart people aren’t any less racist than other people, they’re just better at hiding it.” is true. I’ve worked and lived around smart folks a long time and the pattern has been the same. They won’t say anything controversial until you get to know them well. Once they think you’re “one of them”, then they’ll go off.

    But I also think it’s geographic as well. A lot of the people in the Bos-Wash area are gov’t employees, contractors, or public union types. They KNOW if they get caught saying something anti PC they are in deep doo doo. I’ve seen less reluctance in people expressing their racist ideas farther away from areas.Report

    • LWA in reply to Damon says:

      I have noticed as well that wealthy white liberals are not necessarily as nonracist as they sound.

      I don’t believe it is a conscious deception. I thi9nk it is more like with religious piety, where most of us vastly underestimate the power of tribalism and group suspicion. Despite all the liberal pieties, most white people live in segregated communities, where black people are an abstraction.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to LWA says:

        Somewhat related to the unconscious self-deception bit – Ontario is introducing a new sex ed curriculum, it’s apparently quite controversial.

        I read an article this morning, where the interviewer introduces the parents objecting to the curriculum as “I discovered that the people objecting are not in fact religiously conservative, they are not homophobic.” Then come the excerpts from the interviews, in which the parents cite various religious conservative and homophobic objections – except of course they’re framed in the “I’m not homophobic but…” format.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to LWA says:

        This makes sense. Intellectually, socially they want to be all-inclusive, but when it comes down to brass tacks, old habits & tribalism still rule the day.Report

      • Chris in reply to LWA says:

        Austin is well-known for this phenomenon. It’s a very liberal city, at least nominally, and one of the most segregated cities in the country at the same time. The result is that you’ll meet a lot of white liberals who have no idea what goes on over there (on the East or Southeast or Rundberg or whatever), and who have no idea that white, non-Hispanic residents are a minority here. The result is a culture that makes no attempt whatsoever to be inclusive.Report

      • greginak in reply to LWA says:

        @chris How much of that is related to Austin being a college town? Many residents of college towns are students (obviously), grad students or short timers before they move on after college. What does that do to settlement patterns and neighborhoods?Report

      • Chris in reply to LWA says:

        It has less of an effect than it used to, as a result of housing demand and the fact that Austin once had 50,000 students in a town of 400,000, and now has 50,000 students in a town of about 1,000,000 (Austin is now officially the 11th largest city in the country!). Now there are some areas that are known as student areas that aren’t adjacent to campus (Far West, part of East Riverside), but not as many as their used to be, and even those are going to be redeveloped over the next decade (and become incredibly expensive).

        The real issue isn’t students, its economic segregation. According to one recent study, Austin’s metro area is the most economically segregated in the country. So what we have here is a bunch of rich white areas to the west and northwest of downtown with very few non-white residents. They’re so separated from the poorer and less white parts of town that the residents in those areas are unlikely to encounter non-white people shopping in the same stores they shop. Then to the south and east of downtown, in the areas that haven’t been gentrified, you have largely Hispanic and, in a few pockets, black areas where white people almost never go (except the young hipsters looking for a neighborhood restaurant that’s being hyped by foodies on Yelp).Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LWA says:

        I’ve been trying to write a post in my head for a year discussing this phenomenon with regards to RTod’s post discussing apartheid schools and how the article is talking about how troubling it is that these schools are becoming more common in the South… but my research had me stumble across how there are more of these such schools in the Northeast and, say, San Francisco than in the region the story was about.

        But I couldn’t do anything with it.

        There. Now I can lay the burden down.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to LWA says:


        I don’t know how schooling works in San Francisco too much but this is what I do know:

        1. San Francisco has the smallest percentage of people under 18 than any other American city. There are more dogs than children in San Francisco.

        2. Many white people who do choose to raise their children in San Francisco seem to send their children to private school. I interview students for my undergrad and if I am interviewing a kid who is white, chances are he or she goes to one of the exclusive private schools in San Francisco. There was one white kid who went to Lowell (San Francisco’s exclusive and highly competitive public high school) but he still grew up very comfortably and did private school from K-8. He seemed to have decided on public high school as a lark. There are exceptions to this. One of my friends sent her son to public high school (though he went to a private middle school) and other people I know attended public or the handful of charter schools.

        3. Public elementary schools in big cities seem to be fairly diverse and good but the real segregation happens in middle school and high school. That is when people start getting serious.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to LWA says:

        …most white people live in segregated communities, where black people are an abstraction. That’s a remarkably succinct description. Props.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to LWA says:

        @saul-degraw , I expect that San Francisco is fairly atypical when it comes to apartheid schools, which as I understand it have a lot to do with their implementation of school choice laws at the public level, as well as the importance of private school. But SF schools are almost guaranteed to be weird, especially when viewed separately from the rest of the Bay Area, because SF housing is so weird, especially when viewed separately from the rest of the Bay Area.

        Apartheid schools are a phenomenon that reflects a pretty simple fact: There are a lot of places where White people (and especially White families) just don’t live. The reason they’re more common outside the South is that Jim Crow meant that the South never got around to engaging in the comparatively subtle sorts of discrimination, including geographic segregation, that took place elsewhere.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to LWA says:


        True. There is a lot of geographic segregation in the Northeast and it goes well-beyond white vs. black.

        I grew up in a suburb of New York that was (and still is) primarily Jewish and Asian. Wiki says that in 2011-2012, my high school was 46 percent white and 45 percent Asian in terms of student body demographics (more than half of the white students are Jewish but that is not tracked). Other towns were almost exclusively Irish-Italian Catholic and this could be only a few towns over. The Jewish population of the NYC-Metro tends to concentrate. My town was Jewish but largely reform and conservative. 5 Towns is much more Orthodox. Roslyn is also more Reform and Conservative Jewish. Manhasset and Port Washington had comparably much smaller Jewish populations even though they are only a short distance from my hometown.

        The Asian populations of Port Washington and my hometown are comparable according to wiki.

        The same is true in Massachusetts where Brookline and Newton are known as the Jewish suburbs. Newton, MA is lovingly and unlovingly referred to as “Jewton”.

        The thing about the Northeast is that it also does the old-school thing where school budgets are determined and come from property taxes so wealthy areas with high property taxes have the best school budgets. When I was in high school, someone tried to run for town government by promising to slash property taxes and everyone thought he was crazy (we like our schools). I also can’t ever recall a school bond measure that was defeated in the polls.

        IIRC California tries to have all spending for a student be equal whether a student lives in Mill Valley or East L.A. but California schools ask for supplements from parents and these can vary depending on the wealth of the area. I heard that Orinda asks for 3000 dollars extra per a student from families and Walnut Creek only asks for 500 extra. Walnut Creek and Orinda are very close to each other.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to LWA says:

        Argh. And now I have a title. “Segregation without Segregationists” (“The benefits of segregation without the costs” would have been too risible, I think. “What? You’re saying that segregation has benefits? I’m going to talk about you, personally, instead of your article!”)

        I might still have to write it. Crap.Report

    • aaron david in reply to Damon says:

      Damon has the right of it here. I grew up in a small college town, and most people were racist. Also, many city ordinances to “protect the nature of the town” had massively racist effects. Seriously, a coastal California town, and the high school demographics were 1% African American, 1% Hispanic. The farm town around us were more integrated.Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to aaron david says:

        @aaron-david , you sound like you’re describing my current stomping grounds. Are you a San Luis Obispo native?

        Right now, I live in one of those farm towns outside the college town–and I certainly see more racism here than I ever did when I was going to Cal Poly–not to say it isn’t there, of course. It’s just a lot easier to notice racism when people are making nasty comments about their Hispanic neighbors rather than just never having to interact with any Hispanic people in their daily lives at all.Report

      • aaron david in reply to aaron david says:

        Yes, I am a SLO native. I live in the bay area now, but I lived there from 4-23yo, basically doing all schooling there, and I was the son of a prof. My mother was a very serious (and well regarded) local business women, and a local NPR DJ. My son is on KCPR (he is a sophomore.)

        Which little town do you live in?Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to aaron david says:

        @aaron-david , I’m in Atascadero. I went to Cal Poly, and have been bouncing around SLO and north county ever since.Report

    • Gabriel Conroy in reply to Damon says:

      One complaint I have about M3 is the title (which, I understand, the author probably doesn’t have much say in coming up with). People who go to college or who have more education are not (necessarily) smarter. They’re just more educated.Report

  6. Michael Cain says:

    N1: Look like pretty normal sized jackrabbits to me; a lot of the bulk is fluffy winter fur. A full-grown jackrabbit running flat out is impressive. This is a fairly small gathering — google “jackrabbit plague” and look at some of the pictures from the Dust Bowl days.Report

  7. Jaybird says:

    So the UCLA Student Council had a debate over whether or not a Jewish student could effectively (and without bias) be a member of the student council’s Judicial Board.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yeah I saw that story last night. I can’t say I am surprised that this is happening. My alma mater sent out a bunch of e-mails at the end of 2014 with how they were dealing with tensions on campus because of Israel-Palestine.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

      The real funny thing about these debates is that you can’t point out how anti-Semitic the people who ask these sorts of questions are. They seem to operate on unlimited good faith because they are on the side of all that is right and good or something like that. No matter how much evidence and linkage to the past you bring in, it never works.Report

    • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yeah, charges of anti-semitism never stick in these conversations…Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        They don’t, particularly in academic contexts, because the unanswerable defense is “You’re calling anti-Zionism anti-Semitism”.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

        Your comment seems to collapse the two. As if being anti-zionist was merely a cover for anti-semitism.

        Man, wouldn’t it be great if other minorities had the luxury of appealing to anti-nationalism as an indication of racial prejudice in the outgroup?

        Fact is, there’s plenty of things to oppose about Israeli policy. And there are plenty of Jews out there in this wide ole world (some right here on this blog) who are apologists for the nonsense that constitutes Israeli policy. Am I anti-semitic for not only disagreeing with Israeli policy, but recognizing that there are Jews who can only view ME affairs thru a Jewish-Zionist lens?Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        That’s not what I said.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Seems to have stuck pretty well in this case.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

        I was expectantly waiting for that accusation, not with any apprehension, mind. I just didn’t think it was gonna come from you. Care to flesh out why you think what I wrote is anti-semitic? I’d love to hear it.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Me? I’m talking about UCLA.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

      That is disgusting. And seems to support Mike Schilling’s post on a similar matter.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

        That there is anti-semitism in the world? Sure. Did any careful thinker disagree? Why is this instance of INJUSTICE so pronounced that it deserves special attention? …. ???

        On the other hand, there are all sorts of other “isms” and folks in the world, and they don’t get much play here at the LoOG. I mean, Saul likes to remind me that there are only 14 million Jews in the world, and maybe that’s a sad state of affairs, or something that’s supposed to motivate my sympathy, or is merely a statement of fact. Yet there are 35 million +/- black people in the US, and that’s just a statement of fact, without any appeal to sadness or sympathy. Is the racially-prejudiced oppression those folks experience any worse than that experienced by the person you’re referring to in your comment?

        I’m sorta inclined to say that I know of at least 5 regular Jewish commenters here at the league but not a single regular black commenter, and that might be why we all (as a collective, ya know?) don’t pay much attention to the oppression of blacks. Well, it’s one reason anyway.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        It says here that you’re a member of Alpha Phi Alpha… here at the Student Council we’re going to be dealing with students from many cultures and backgrounds. Will you be able to discuss issues of race without getting all W.E.B. DuBois?Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

        Sure, Jaybird. All types of discrimination are BAD BAD BAD. Who of us white people denies that? So … who’s doing the discriminating? (This gets close to a refutation of your views of privilege. I’d really like to say it gets us all the way there, but my honesty prevents me from committing *that* much.)

        On the other hand, you have white people doing white people things, and interpreting things in white people ways, and viewing the world thru white people lenses.

        Is that what you’re doing here?Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

        So … who’s doing the discriminating?

        The UCLA student council who asked the Jewish applicant those questions?

        Is that what you’re doing here?

        I’m rephrasing the question as if it were being asked of an African-American student?Report

    • j r in reply to Jaybird says:

      The anti-semitism/zionism angle is interesting and all, but can we stop that for a second and consider a sentence like this:

      For the next 40 minutes, after Ms. Beyda was dispatched from the room, the council tangled in a debate about whether her faith and affiliation with Jewish organizations, including her sorority and Hillel, a popular student group, meant she would be biased in dealing with sensitive governance questions that come before the board, which is the campus equivalent of the Supreme Court.

      The fact that the paper of record can publish the phrase “campus equivalent of the Supreme Court,” without thinking to spend anytime reflecting on what that could possibly mean, tells me an awful lot about what’s wring with the kids these days – other than them not wanting to stay off my lawn.Report

      • Chris in reply to j r says:

        I took that as less of a reflection on the writer than on the intended audience.Report

      • j r in reply to j r says:

        The two are the same to me.

        It’s more than a little sad that the that the highest aspirations that some people have for young people is that they absorb, replicate and argue over the absolute dumbest shit that adults do.

        Also, further proof that politics makes us dumber.Report

      • Glyph in reply to j r says:

        the highest aspirations that some people have for young people is that they absorb, replicate and argue over the absolute dumbest shit that adults do.

        But all this dumb shit is our only legacy!Report

      • Jaybird in reply to j r says:

        The problem ain’t the campus equivalent of the Supreme Court. The problem is the campus equivalent of Wickard.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

        I took that to mean that it’s the final place to .make appeals. Why should that bother me?Report

  8. Saul Degraw says:

    E2: Uncle Steve really? Steve Sailer is not the best source to lecture anyone on liberalism considering his barely hidden racism. Taki himiself is also an out and out anti-Semite.

    I find it kind of shocking that you would think anything from either of these two is worthy of merit. Paleocons are the worst. These guys are really repugnant in all respects.

    Lee has the basic points. Hollywood is and will always be about making money. The original studio moguls (who were almost exclusively Eastern European Jewish immigrants, hmmmm……) were staunch Republicans and they scuttled Upton Sinclair’s bid for the California governership during the Great Depression. Some of the early Hollywood actors and screenwriters did go commie and/or pitched for
    the New Deal.

    Hollywood (like any other Capitalist enterprise) will sell anything to anybody.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Other Hollywood actors like Barbara Stanwyck, Clarke Gable, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant and others were passionte Republicans and ardent red-baiters.Report

    • “Uncle Steve” is a trigger warning of sorts. If you dismiss the message because of the messenger, don’t click on any link so referenced (and I will always provide said warning).

      I don’t buy into the notion that Hollywood is the perfect capitalist machine. It requires a lot of guesswork, and a lot of guesswork is tailored to our preconceived biases (not just political – I think racial diversity is a problem along similar lines). It also requires people who can credibly write the characters. If writers aren’t comfortable with it, or good at it, you have personnel problems

      I do believe that Hollywood hasn’t always been as liberal as it presently is.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

        If you are really trying to warn people of what it is and whence it comes, I’d just write “Steve Sailer at Taki” instead of “Uncle Steve”.

        “Uncle Steve” seems a little coy, and people who don’t see this, or aren’t regulars, won’t recognize it.

        Just my .02.Report

      • Maybe. it’s a holdover from a convention at Hit Coffee of not mentioning certain people by name (Roissy became “A Certain Well-known Blogger”) but being able to mention them all the same. In the case of “Uncle Steve”, it comes from the Ben Folds song “Uncle Walter” (and the general “racist uncle” we often have to deal with).

        Basically, it’s a form of compromise of citing a piece (or a person) I am comfortable with, without giving them undue publicity, that I am most comfortable with. (I don’t mind giving Razib Khan publicity, so I mention him by name, even though he is often seen in the same light. But in either case, I’ll reference who they are with varying degrees of transparency.)

        I don’t have any issue with naming Takimag by name, though. I honestly didn’t catch that it was a Takimag article. I thought it was on Unz. Maybe mentioning the publication will help.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        I agree that Hollywood types are more likely to support Democratic Presidents but there are plenty of movies out there that are conservative or downright reactionary.

        Kingsmen is downright reactionary from what I heard and basically has Obama as the villain and the idea that “gentlemen” should run the world.

        Plenty of liberals find many action movies to be sexist, racist, jingonisitc, macho, etc.Report

      • Kingsmen is notable in large part because it goes against the grain. In fact, the only mentions of the movie I have ever heard have involved its politics.

        Also, that Hollywood has race and sex issues does not exclude a liberal bias. White liberals – which Hollywood writers disproportionately are – can be consciously or unconsciously dismissive of minorities, women, and conservatives… at the same time, even.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        I also know plenty of non-Hollywood liberals who dislike Hollywood’s version of “liberalism”

        Plenty of liberals really hate Crash for example (the one that won best picture, not the disturbing Cronenberg movie with James Spader and Holly Hunter).Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:


        I agree with @glyph. Uncle Steve reads a bit too playful to my eyes and thoughts but YMMV.


        I am surprised you did not comment on my Kim Gordon thread….Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        I also know plenty of non-Hollywood liberals who dislike Hollywood’s version of “liberalism”

        Sure, but you live in one of the most left-wing cities in the country. You would agree that you’re left of center, right? Don’t you ever get criticized for not being far enough to the left?Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman says:

        Now I saw Kingsman, and I have NO idea how anyone gets any of that without some pretty tricky mental contortions.Report

      • @mad-rocket-scientist Here are a couple reviews from the right. Here’s one from The Guardian, another from Slant, and AV Club, all with the same general view, with differing degrees of approval.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman says:

        I swear people think too hard about movies that aren’t meant to be thought much about at all.Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to Will Truman says:


        Uncle Steve reads a bit too playful to my eyes and thoughts but YMMV.

        You’re embarrassing yourself.Report

      • Jim Heffman in reply to Will Truman says:

        It’s important to remember that the original comic book of “Kingsmen” was made by Mark Millar, who is just about England’s equivalent of Frank Miller.

        The original comic book was much more clear about its idea that poor people are violent children who, left to themselves, will get up to all sorts of destructive foolishness, but that they can be educated and refined into proper citizens.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        Frank Miller loves his characters and tries to love his fans.

        Mark Millar holds both in some weird form of contempt.Report

  9. Kolohe says:

    F1 – every other place in the world with really bad sexism has really high birthrates. I’m skeptical that’s there’s some sort of sexism Laffer curve.

    F4 – golfing?

    M1 – saw this story on the TV news early this week. I’m not liking that they stiffed the hospital, but anyone who can afford several thousand dollars for what is an insurance policy is someone we should welcome (because they’re also likely to stash some assets here).

    T5 – Waze may not be able to be gamed, but most residential communities with clout have mitigated or stopped shortcuts by ‘traffic calming’, road tables (i.e. speed pumps), or simply making a street discontinuous. Knowing how to take advantage of shortcuts in a neighborhood is not really new.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Kolohe says:

      You’re right about “mitigating” shortcuts. In my old hometown, the locals managed to make what used to be a through street that ran under an underpass into a dead end because the traffic was bothering them. That street was an exist on a major interstate highway (the whole shebang, two onramps and two offramps).

      They didn’t like that lots of cars were driving through their neighborhood. As if that interstate highway and exit just appeared out of nowhere last year instead of having been laid down then the city was nothing but chicken ranches.Report

  10. Saul Degraw says:

    Obama derangement syndrome proved again. Free Beacon hack feels compelled to write an article about how he doesn’t love Spock. Seemingly because President Obama said Spock meant something special to him:

    • Free Beacon doesn’t suffer from Obama Derangement. It enjoys every minute. It’s part of their schtick. I go back and forth on the value their posture provides. It is amusing at times.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      That was better argued than the one by the guy who practically invented the slate pitch in picking the Empire over the Republic when the prequels came out.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

        That would be trumwill-favorite Jonathan V Last.

        I’m reading the Spock piece now. Not a Trek person, but it actually seems reasonably persuasive, if he’s not taking things out of context.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

        He’s not taking things out of context, but he is way to dismissive of the singular event that concluded Trek Movie 2 and misinterprets what Spock transferring his katra to McCoy meant. Under normal circumstances, it’s ‘last rites’. It was only the – unknown by everyone at the time – consequence of the Genesis effect that allowed McCoy to be a recovery boot disk for a fully imaged Spock.Report

  11. Kolohe says:

    E1: “CBS’s Mom and ABC’s Cristela, for example, boast solid writing and strong points of view at their centers; they need to be supported in every way possible. ”

    I’ve watch most of the Mom episodes because Allison Janey is a national treasure. It’s only Janey’s impeccable comedy chops that’s holding that thing together – and a well timed guest star turn by Kevin Pollack. The writing is not solid at all, and the tonal shifts (light to dark and back again) are almost universally ill executed. (which is not helped by the laugh track).Report

  12. Jim Heffman says:

    T5: It’ll be hella funny if “disruptive” apps like Waze lead to an even more pervasive surveillance society, as municipalities that can’t keep up with enforcement needs resort to cameras and remote monitoring.Report

  13. Jim Heffman says:

    E1: I could watch a sitcom, which is about twenty minutes of content and ten minutes of (extra loud) commercials; or I could watch “Cat Fails Compilation 2014” on YouTube. For free.Report

    • Jim Heffman in reply to Jim Heffman says:

      It’s also the case that DVRs exist. I don’t think I’ve *ever* watched an episode of Big Bang Theory right as it aired.Report

      • Jim Heffman in reply to Jim Heffman says:

        ha ha ha, someone is seriously considering “Real Genius” as a source for a sitcom? On the one hand, wow, Big Bang Theory ripoff much? On the other hand, hey, I’d probably watch it.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jim Heffman says:

      Dude, have you watched the Russian cat videos? It’s like a fresh new way of looking at this thing you’ve loved all your life! Of course, they find “let’s scare the hell out of the cat” to be less problematic than our culture does which is totally uncool of them.Report

      • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        YouTube has taught me so much about Russia.

        Also about Brazil, though whereas Russia just looks a bit more eccentric than I’d though (though a horrible place to drive as well), Brazil looks terrifying.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

        Now I need to o look up Brazil on Youtube. Any recommendations on a good starting point?Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

        Bad Slavic Accent:

        In Mother Russia, the Cat Videos watch you….

        /Slavic accent.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

        @chris what has youtube shown you of Brazil? I could probably describe one or perhaps a couple of platonic ideal Russian youtube videos, but I’m not sure what a platonic ideal of a Brazilian youtube video would be.Report

      • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        That Brazil can be a very violent place.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

        Well, OK, I can think of one for Brazil – improbably fit young people doing something very acrobatic, very casually. Capoeira, or bouncing off a rubber ball half buried in beach sand and doing ridiculous flips.

        One of the few videos I took in Brazil myself was of some kids in a park, sitting around chatting, and taking turns getting up and very casually doing very impressive power tumbling.Report

      • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        Have you seen the Russian dash cam video of the cows spilling out of a truck as it turns over (the cows are OK, which is part of what makes it so great)? I don’t know that it’s the Platonic ideal, but it is definitely the best.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

        Brazil is what happens when you combine the class problems of Southern Europe, the United States racism problem, and add a heavy dose of somewhat plausible deniability on the latter issue.Report

      • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        Also drug trafficking and third world extreme poverty.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

        @Chris – That’s pretty close – bleakness of scene, weird traffic accident in which no one is badly hurt. The people you hear talking appear actually somewhat affected by the scene though; if they were a bit more sanguine about the whole thing, that would be another element of the platonic ideal of Russian youtube videos.Report

      • Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        My favorite Russian dash cam video may actually be the guy on the shopping cart on the highway. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t explain how odd it is:

      • LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

        @chris, hence the Southern European class structure. The Spanish, Portuguese, and French attempted to replicate the hierarchical and hereditary class structure of Europe much more than the British did in their new world colonies even when you take slavery into account. This ended up causing a lot of socio-economic problems when the Spanish America and Brazil achieved independence.Report

    • ScarletNumber in reply to Jim Heffman says:

      Meh, I have found the amount of ads on youtube to be increasing.Report

  14. Dave says:

    [H4] BMI – That BMI may be accurate in the aggregate doesn’t buy much, especially since any kind of nutrition program where fat loss is a goal has to be highly individualized.

    My BMI at 175 lbs is 29.1. Uh….ok.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Dave says:

      I agree that the BMI is limited in its utility with a nutritional program. I was referring to it being useful from a data collection standpoint.Report

      • Dave in reply to Will Truman says:


        I guess my question is that if it’s not worth much individually, what value does it have in the aggregate?

        I’d agree that it may have some value assuming that people fall within the “average” build, but outside of that, it doesn’t say anything.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’ve seen several studies suggesting that waist circumference and/or waist-hip-ratio are better metrics, and they’re just as easy to measure. Arguably easier, since they don’t require a scale.Report

      • Presumably it’s what is used for population obesity rates? I think Will is saying it’s not useless for purposes like that.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:


        Except it is. I’m 5-10. I weigh about 180 lbs. I have a 32-inch waist, a 42-inch chest. My body fat is probably in the single digits. According to BMI, I am overweight. At the risk of sounding arrogant, you’d find that laughable if you saw me in a bathing suit. Last year, I was heavier. About 210 on a ‘bad’ day. I had a 34-inch waist. I was a little doughy but was still relatively toned and muscular. On those days, I was officially obese according to BMI.

        BMI does not take into count the vast difference in density between body fat and muscle. It is simply a height-to-weight ratio.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        @Kazzy The point, I think, is that people who are “obese” because of muscle are a small enough percentage of the total number of “obese” people as not to be statistically relevant, especially when we’re looking at changes over time. Which is to say, you may have had a BMI over 30 more because of muscle than because of fat, but if the obesity rate increases by ten percentage points, it’s probably not because a lot of people started hitting the gym.Report

      • …I agree with Brandon, especially given that it’s the change in rate we really care about when thinking about it societally. People might be hitting the gym more, but not that much that fat-weight gain wouldn’t still be the driver of big moves in aggregate BMI.

        I would say that where we set the number for the term ‘obese’ could be way off (I’ve always thought it was). If we adjusted it up a bit, then that should render the number of people whose BMIs are obese because they are so jacked (or big-boned) an even smaller part of the ‘obese’ population.

        Point being, if that’s how it is, then the issue is where we set the number to qualify for the term, not with doing the measurement that way (weight divided by height). Not that it’s perfect, but it’s still not useless when looking at fitness in the population.

        You’re just a One-Percent(ile)er, @kazzy, that’s all! You too, @dave !Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to Will Truman says:


        1) I would submit that the percentage of the male population with a 10-inch drop between their chest and their waist is very very very small.

        @kazzy != the rest of the US

        2) BMI doesn’t differentiate on the basis of gender. Most women would consider a woman who weighed 180 to be overweight. BMI actually gives women a lot more slack than society does.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        Clearly we need a program to redistribute muscle mass, since (not-)fat cats like Kazzy and Dave insist on hoarding it.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        I don’t see how they did anything to deserve low body fat.

        Look, if you’ve been skinny, you didn’t get there on your own… If you were skinny, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great trainer somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create these unbelievable gyms that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody discovered the diets and workouts. If you’ve got visible abs—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to Will Truman says:


        ICWUDT, but people are genetically predisposed to certain body types.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        Genetically predisposed? You mean… INHERITED FROM YOUR PARENTS?Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        @scarletnumber ICWUDT, but people are genetically predisposed to certain body types.

        This is a problem for the analogy to income…how?Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to Will Truman says:

        @brandon-berg @jaybird

        Wealth != incomeReport

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:


        Speaking slightly more seriously, I am the first to say that I have been very fortunate in the genetics department. I still put a ton of work in (upwards of 10 hours a week of total exercise, on top of a pretty healthy diet and spending most of my day on my feet even when I’m not working out) but, yes, I am very lucky. Even there, though, luck is inconsistent. I can do one back or arm exercise and those areas blow up. Meanwhile, it is much harder for me to build my chest and it took my years of squats to graduate from scrawny little legs to real adult-sized legs.

        During the symposium on inequality, I believe Rose discussed attractiveness. I don’t doubt that people who win the genetic lottery fare better, on average, than those who didn’t. The problem with analogizing it to income/wealth is A) I think the disparity between the lucky and unlucky is much greater for income/wealth (i.e., people who are less attractive but born into money probably have better overall life outcomes than people who are more attractive but born poor) and B) I don’t know how you go about accounting for disparities in genetic luck.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        @scarletnumber Income is “heritable” in largely the same ways that body type is, i.e. mostly through genetics and upbringing.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Will Truman says:


        I don’t think it is quite that simple.

        Imagine my parents were fabulously attractive and fabulously wealthy. They could decide with near certainty whether or not I inherit their wealth and, if so, how much and when. They could not exert nearly as much control over whether or not I inherit their looks.

        Going the other way, if my parents were hideous looking and broke, I’d still have a shot at being born handsome but would have virtually zero chance of inheriting any money.Report

      • Dave in reply to Will Truman says:


        I think @brandon-berg is right:

        The point, I think, is that people who are “obese” because of muscle are a small enough percentage of the total number of “obese” people as not to be statistically relevant

        @scarletnumber is as well.

        We’re the exceptions to the rule. The 1%’ers as @michael-drew

        I probably should have had that perspective before posting.Report

      • Dave in reply to Will Truman says:

        This conversation took place on my birthday and I missed it. I’m laughing my ass off at @brandon-berg and @jaybird . The Warren/Obama angle is a nice touch.

        Then there’s @mike-schilling talking about my upper legs. I read that while eating my broccoli. I almost choked. Surely I would have been missed.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        @kazzy Sure, but we were talking about income. Wealth can be used to generate income, of course, but those are outliers. Besides, “You didn’t build that” wasn’t really about inherited wealth.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        @dave We knew you couldn’t hide forever. Time for your fat injection.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        @kazzy I don’t know how you go about accounting for disparities in genetic luck.

        Harrison Bergeron. We can’t give the unlucky people better genes, but at least we can reduce inequality.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’m joking, of course, but the idea that’s it’s good to reduce inequality, even if it makes nobody any richer, is an actual position that people argue for.Report

    • Damon in reply to Dave says:

      BMI is the GOLD standard? The best method? Please….

      Maybe “the best method that’s the fastest or easiest”. Volume displacement is the best and most accurate IIRC.Report

      • Dave in reply to Damon says:


        The best method? Please…

        I thought it was hydrostatic weighing, but in the absence of having the ability to get that done, a simple set of calipers should suffice.Report

    • ScarletNumber in reply to Dave says:

      You don’t feel like you are overweight?Report

    • ScarletNumber in reply to Dave says:

      I am comfortable saying that most people who are 5’5″ 175 are overweight.Report

    • Morat20 in reply to Dave says:

      BMI is weird. Like me — I’m fat *now* (I’m working on it) — but back in the day, I’m pretty sure what gave me weird results was a combination of 10 years of competitive swimming (that builds up serious muscle, even if you don’t look built) and a predisposition to gigantic overly muscled legs.

      I swear, I don’t know what part of my ancestry decided to encode for that, but all my life I’ve worn pants loose in the waist — because otherwise they’d split in the thighs. Even back in the “Hey, I have clearly visible abs” days, I had to buy a size or two up in the waist to get pants comfortable around my legs. (I still can’t buy boots. My calves are just way too big for anything but custom or specialty brands).

      One of the reasons I decided on jogging to try to get back into shape. Hoping it might convince my body to decide my legs should have a little less bulk.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

        @morat20 I have the same issue with my legs. It was actually more pronounced when I was at my skinniest. Is any of your ancestry German? It comes from the German branch of mine.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Morat20 says:

        Yep. German very directly on my mother’s side (both parents German) and my father’s side is German, although they were in America since the mid-1800s. (That’s a bit of a guess. My father’s last name is German, and with the few bits we do know — like where he came from — the most likely bet is the 1800s wave of German settlers. It fits where his family was living at the time, at least).

        Stupid German legs. Pants never fit.Report

  15. LWA says:

    @jim-heffman makes a very perceptive comment, about communities resorting to increased surveillance to maintain control of their streets.
    It hadn’t occurred to me before, but it does touch on something I have been pondering, which is how we react to the new “disruptive” economy.

    If we take as a given that the legal and economic world we Americans live in has grown increasingly fluid, mobile, and subject to sudden change, the question I have is how we can or should react.

    Its often pitched as an unmitigated good, that this new economy produces goods and services faster, cheaper and in more varying ways than before.
    But it also makes livelihoods and careers obsolete faster and in more unpredictable ways.
    How do people react to increasing uncertainty, insecurity and doubt? How do any people react? Most often, by resorting to increasingly draconian security measures to attempt to gain control of their world. Another method is to grow increasingly illiberal and intolerant of outsiders.

    Not that this is good or bad- it just is part of human nature.

    This isn’t to make a policy proposal- just my rather pessimistic view of the changes being brought about by the new model.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to LWA says:

      My wife and I had a similar conversation this morning, about how we need to be very proactive in making sure we are widely employable, rather than too specialized and hope for indispensable.

      Things move too fast for all but a few specializations to be indispensable to an employer any more.Report

  16. Michael Drew says:

    [H2] – [Btw, all the Hs are numbered 1] –

    Ozimek says, “But depending on who pays for [burger eaters’] healthcare, this cost could entirely be born by the person eating poorly, which means it is not an externality.”

    To me this sounds like he is conceding that it would or might be an externality if their health care costs are born by others or are socialized in some significant way. It seems like he’s basically saying it’s not <necessarily an eternality – if the person actually bears all of their downstream health costs (not just if they would if they weren’t diverted by policy). But we all know it’s a lot more likely that some part of their health costs will be socialized than it is that they bear them all themselves in any given case.

    Which I think is not as strong a position as the one you take (Will), where if socialization is what realizes the cost to be externalized, then it’s not an externality (which, by economists’ terms, I think you might be right about, though I’m not sure).

    So either Ozimek differs from that view, or he’s actually not making his point here nearly as strongly as he could.

    I think Ozimek is right to say that it’s kind of a detour or even blind alley for Bittman, since the point stands that people aren’t thinking about the true cost of a burger when they order it, because it’s not reflected in the price (rather, a portion of it is delayed) – whether that price is going to be paid by them or someone else or is socialized.

    I kind of think people do consider that part of the cost – even if it’s socialized, poor health down the road from bad eating today is not going to be pleasant, and most people (not all) I think have that in mind when they order a burger. But it’s true that that cost is not right there on the page in the price of the item, which wold make it more real.

    I don’t really like his singling out burgers, though. There’s so much food that’s bad for you.Report

    • Fixed. Thanks for the heads up. I had to piece this together late last night, and finished moments before Lain woke up crying (which is why no images, among other things).Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Michael Drew says:

      Honestly I think sometimes Economists just get tired of Journalists playing at Economic analysis and look for any way to show that the Journalist should go back to writing about recipes and leave the heavy lifting to the Economists. It doesn’t help that Bittman can be just insufferably smug about such things at times.

      (And no, I’ve never wanted to just tear apart some journalists article on some bit of engineering they obviously half understood, but wrote about anyway. Nope, not me. Nu-uh)Report

      • Over and over again, I find myself reading articles and taking them at face value and then reading an article on something that I have intimate knowledge of… D&D, say… and seeing how very many things the reporter got wrong. “No, it’s Vampire that has people throwing d10s for everything! D&D has many different kinds of die, you cretin!!!”

        Then I go back to taking articles at face value again.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      Also form Ozimek:

      Another issue in [Bittman’s] piece is the lumping together of unhealthy meat consumption with a general dislike of industrial food:

      And all the products of industrial food consumption have externalities that would be lessened by a system that makes as its primary goal the links among nutrition, fairness and sustainability.

      This first weird thing is that he throws fairness into this mix. What is he even talking about here? Would the externalities of meat consumption be lower if farm workers received a higher wage? Sure, a small amount less might be consumed due to higher prices, but this would amount to a trivially small tax. Second, he again includes nutrition into the mix as an externality problem.

      Really? Ozimek seems to be willfully not understanding Bittman here.

      I’m going to go in something like reverse order. While Ozimek was closer to right about Bittman’s points about health externalities above, here he is just not reading the sentence he is critiquing. Bittman is not there talking about about health costs with “externalities.” He’s talking about any and all externalities of industrial food production (which, in honesty, is basically all food production). So: pollution; carbon emissions from factories and transport – all the things Ozimek later goes to chide him for not talking about as externalities. Again, here’s the sentence: “all the products of industrial food consumption have externalities that would be lessened by a system that makes as its primary goal the links among nutrition, fairness and sustainability.” He’s not qualifying what those externalities are there; he’s including them all.

      Then, on Bittman’s prescription. Really, Adam? If meat production (and production includes the process of getting meat to market) were made truly fair to workers worldwide, the price increases that would result “would amount to a trivially small tax”? That’s not the sense I get when I hear most economists talk about proposals like that. And fairness is a broad category: we might say that under fairness would fall one aspect of the argument against the kinds of agricultural subsidies that helps make meat production in the U.S. cheaper than it would otherwise be. My sense is that the price increases that would result from pursuing fairness throughout industrial food production systems would not be trivial.

      But fairness is not all Bittman calls for – rather, he wants “a system that makes as its primary goal the links among nutrition, fairness and sustainability.” We’ve covered fairness; let’s consider sustainability. Let’s assume by that Bittman basically means excessive contribution to human-caused climate change (an externality, so there if nowhere else are your externalities that “all the products of industrial food consumption have.”). I consider it something of a pipe dream to ever really include that cost into prices in general. But let’s it could be and it were done. That would seriously affect systems that get meat onto your supermarket shelves in the quantity it is, and offered to you on menus for the price that it is. Is Adam still going to try to tell me that price increases here will be minimal?

      So then let’s think about the links of those two – fairness and sustainability – with nutrition. Bittman’s view is the “industrially produced” food tends to be less healthy for you than… foods made through some other kinds of processes. I know that’s probably a contentious view and I don’t fully share it, but in ways I do think it’s plausible. And a system that injected fairness and sustainability into food production processes think plausibly might spur food production toward those other processes.

      More concretely and certainly, “a system that makes as its primary goal the links among nutrition, fairness and sustainability” – that injected fairness and sustainability into food production processes in a substantial way – would almost certainly raise the price of meat in general, and red meat particularly, and probably lead to reductions in consumption of them. I don’t think anyone would deny that this would improve our nutrition. That’s the kind of link Bittman is rather clearly talking about here.

      And let me just say. I’m no Bittmanian myself. I’m pretty skeptical of the idea that a lot of industrial foods are that much more unhealthy than the same basic agricultural product had it been processed differently. (Obviously I don;t deny that there are effects of food production processes, but I think their extent doesn;t always justify the emphasis on them). And I pretty much absolutely want to keep eating steaks and burgers for the same prices that I currently eat them for. I don’t have that much desire to see Bittman’s vision realized.

      But I don’t have much truck with people like Adam Ozimek who condescendingly act like it’s an incoherent or practically misconceived vision. There are any number of details as to why it might not be able to work, and there are certainly reasons of entrenched economic and political interests why it won’t come to pass. But in it’s broad outlines it is perfectly coherent, and by all means it’s clear enough what Bittman is basically talking about. Ozimek is not dense, so it looks to me like he is rather feigning denseness with Bittman here.Report

    • I’ll make one other point about production, externalities, and health that squares the circle Ozimek is trying to draw around Bittman’s argument.

      We can say that the health effects of ordering/eating a burger is not an externaity to the consumer’s decision to order the burger. But we can say that effects of the production process that influence the consumer’s decision of what to order/buy are an externality to the production process. (Which, notice, are the externalities Bittman talks about in the sentence Ozimek picks out in my previous comment).

      So, we can say that if production systems of the kind Bittman is concerned about lower the sticker price of (red) meat relative to healthier options (i.e. because they’re systems “that don’t make[] as [their] primary goal the links among nutrition, fairness and sustainability”), and that induces consumers to eat more red meat, then an externality of that production process would be the increased health costs incurred by consumers as a result of the behavior modification caused by the lowered sticker price of meat.

      I’m quite sure that’s one of the externalities Bittman is talking about with, “all the products of industrial food consumption have externalities that would be lessened by a system that makes as its primary goal the links among nutrition, fairness and sustainability.” I’m sure there will still be resistance, but that does seem like a plausible account of an externality to me. And it’s a good illustration of “links among nutrition, fairness and sustainability” in food production systems.Report

    • j r in reply to Michael Drew says:


      I actually think that Ozimek is being far too kind to Bittman. What Bittman does is to make a really sloppy application of an economic principle onto a situation where it really does not fit, at least not with regards to health care costs. There simply is no such thing as an objective health cost to a hamburger and, even if there were, our understanding of nutrition is a long way from being able to capture it.

      More importantly, hamburgers don’t have externalities, because the concept is not rightly applied to goods. Externalities are the result of activity. Bittman groks this when talk about litter. It’s not the wrapper that imposes externalities; it’s the act of littering. When you take the hamburger wrapper and deposit it in the trash receptacle at the restaurant, there are no externalities because the cost of cleaning up the restaurant has been priced into the burger.

      Likewise, when a person who is healthy, active and generally eats a healthy diet splurges and has a hamburger, he is absorbing the cost by taking action to counter the negative effects of eating the burger by doing something positive, like eating less later or working out. The people who cost the health care system more money are not the people who eat hamburgers, they are the people who eat poorly. Or they are the people born with a congenital heart problem or who just end up having bad luck. It’s basically impossible to price the effect of eating one hamburger on any one person’s health.

      The closest you could come to accurately capturing these costs would be to make assessments of individual’s baseline health status and then start charging them for everything they ate and crediting them for exercise, something like that episode of Black Mirror.

      tl:dr – If you really wanted to price the externalities of diet and health, you’d have to do it at the level of the individual and not for the item of food.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to j r says:

        A hamburger is not activity. But ordering a hamburger is. Eating a hamburger is. So I don’ think that distinction tells us much.

        Like I said, when he applied it to the health costs of eating a hamburger, I agree that he went down a blind alley. And he doesn’t really need the concept of externality to make his poin there anyway. The point there is the incomplete cost in the price of the burger. And agree with you that it’s a little weird to think that one’s future health costs would ever be reflected in the price of food we eat. Also, that individual calculation of such is basically impossible.

        But please read my comments above. There are plenty of ways that externalizing the full costs of producing cheap meat affects health (through nutrition), which is the nut of Bittman’s point. Production that harms the environment without internalizing that cost and thus produces cheaper meat affects health by lowering the price of meat, causing more consumption. At least the environmental harm there is an externality,if not the artificially low cost of the meat itself. But the artificially low cost of the meat has other behavior effects, which can have health cost effects downstream. In that sense those health cost effects are an effect of the externalization of the cost of (externality of) environmental harms from meat production, which if internalized would raise the price of meat.Report

      • j r in reply to j r says:


        My comment deals only with the part of Bittman’s case that tries to quantify the health costs. You can quantify production externalities; although, Bittman’s calculations leave a lot to be desired.Report

  17. Saul Degraw says:

    Re: Hamburger debate

    Like many other people, I enjoy a good hamburger every now and then. If it were possible to eat anything without any adverse health-effects, I would probably eat hamburgers much more frequently.

    That being said, when I was in another Internet community, a woman said that her father’s basic dinner consisted of one or two cheeseburgers, coke, and some ice cream.

    This sort of dropped my jaw. I understand that part of my reaction is socio-economics and culture but it is really unhealthy to eat that way on a regular basis. I’d love it if I could but I cannot.

    I think Bittman raises some good points and the U.S. probably does have artificially low beef prices because of government subsidies and the carbon footprint is true enough. But this is where I get annoyed at my fellow liberals because it is sort of missing the point and showing smug superiority. It also goes back to Orwell’s great observation that when you are poor you want something tasty to eat and burgers are really tasty.

    This is why I dislike non-profits that dedicate themselves to teaching the poor about nutrition. There seems to be a basic conceit of “We can’t do anything about income and wealth inequality but we will teach you how to eat like you are upper-middle class.”Report

    • greginak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      @saul-degraw Poor people can eat well if they want to. If someone is poor and wants to improve their eating habits then i hope there is someplace they can turn to for help.

      It is becoming the in thing to relate every single thing to “being like the upper class”. Trust me, plenty of poor people want to eat well because they want to be healthy, because they know burgers and ice cream for dinner likely means a handful of pills for desert. Eating healthy is not just some upper crust thing. It may relate in some ways to class but there is more to it.Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to greginak says:

        plenty of poor people want to eat well because they want to be healthy, because they know burgers and ice cream for dinner likely means a handful of pills for desert.

        And more poor people are going to have the burgers, soda, and ice cream because it might bring them some joy in their day. Good for them.Report

    • LWA in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Poor people do make stupid lifestyle decisions, such as eating poorly, or (my pet peeve) buying bottled water. These sorts of decisions squander what little resources they have, and lead to long term immiseration.

      Which doesn’t really say much, because everyone makes stupid decisions- like paying $300,000 for a meal, marrying a Kardashian, or refinancing a house. Except that our wealth hides and softens the blow of our stupidity. That’s why we want wealth in the first place, because it buys us out of a lot of hassle and inconvenience.

      Stupidity is universal, but the consequences strike hardest at the poor. Which is one reason I keep banging the drum for anti-consumerism. A culture that stresses the vital necessity of buying stupid stuff (like bottled water) invariably hurts the poor the most when they buy into that message.Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to LWA says:

        Considering how inexpensive bottled water is, I don’t think it is stupid per se.Report

      • LWA in reply to LWA says:

        The people I am talking about live in apartments where the water is included with their rent, so it is effectively free.
        However cheap bottled water is, it squanders what little cash they have.
        I only use that as an example, because it so beautifully exemplifies the triumph of marketing over reason.
        By almost any measure, municipal water is as clean and healthful as any bottled water. Before the late 70’s when Perrier became famous, using bottled water for drinking was virtually unheard of.
        Yet somehow an entire nation has convinced itself that municipal water “tastes bad” in some vague way that no one can quite explain, and so it becomes an accepted wisdom that one simply must buy bottles of water to drink.

        I won’t even limit my scorn to the water companies or advertising agencies. Why we, collectively accept this nonsense is one of the deep follies of human nature. But like urban legends it shows how we collectively create stories and pass them around our electronic campfires and they become an accepted truth.

        It also shows how connected we are, and how our perception of reality is shaped not merely by our own experience but by the collective.Report

    • ScarletNumber in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      That being said, when I was in another Internet community, a woman said that her father’s basic dinner consisted of one or two cheeseburgers, coke, and some ice cream.

      This sort of dropped my jaw.

      Your standard for dropping your jaw is risibly low. I say good for the father.Report

  18. Saul Degraw says:

    Speaking of Vice and speaking of vice, VICE’s CEO managed to spend 300,000 on a meal in Vegas

    He did this to celebrate winning 100,000 at Blackjack. Basically, he produced a net loss of 200,000.


  19. Michael Cain says:

    T1: I understsand the arguments, but would suggest that at least in the West, the situation is more subtle.

    ~45% of all US container traffic comes through three ports: Seattle/Tacoma, San Francisco/Oakland, and LA/Long Beach, and a lot of that is intended for points much farther east. The trucks carrying it are not just transport, they’re also warehouse capacity — many of those same trailers will deliver the contents directly to retailers.

    More importantly, the author makes it sound like “If we just fixed Chicago, freight rail would be ready to go.” It’s much worse than that. The railroads have abandoned scheduled freight delivery. A train heads out when enough cars have been assembled, not in order to meet some delivery schedule. An enormous amount of the rail capacity has been given over to transport of bulk materials that don’t have/need a schedule much beyond “week after next”. This map is indicative — bulk transport by rail and the Mississippi River system, retail (high cost per pound) goods by truck.

    Digression: Note how, in the western third of the country, the truck and rail corridors overlap almost completely. Geography dictates just as much now as it did in 1870.Report

    • I’d love to see a guest post on this, @michael-cainReport

      • Which “this”? JIT inventory management? The state of freight rail in the US? Why the UP runs its tracks along the same route as the Oregon/Morman/California trails? US history might have turned out differently if Wyoming’s South Pass didn’t exist.Report

      • Yes! All of the above. Particularly the state of rail, the inventory, and the Wyoming pass.Report

      • LWA in reply to Will Truman says:

        As long as you are taking requests, I would like to place my order for a guest post on the alternate history where the South Pass didn’t exist.

        Oh, and if Brigham Young had a pulse cannon.
        Yeah, that’d be cool.Report

      • As long as you are taking requests, I would like to place my order for a guest post on the alternate history where the South Pass didn’t exist. Oh, and if Brigham Young had a pulse cannon.

        So, a Turtledove-like four-novel sequence, all boiled down to a guest post. Makes character development a real challenge…Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Michael Cain says:

      T1 is also a prime example of a headline being overly dramatic and over promising. (and in this case, it’s not an editor’s fault, as he uses the same language in the body of the piece).

      He’s not ‘abolishing the Interstate System’, he’s ending (most) freeways and shifting funding to the state level. Which may or may not be a good idea, but it’s not the idea being sold by the headline.

      There’s definitely a government subsidy for trucking that the nearly completely privately owned freight rail industry lacks, but a solution that increases the subsidy for someone who lacks it (particularly when those someones are a large industry with their own aggressive lobbying arm) leaves me feeling somewhat dubious.

      There was also little (no?) analysis of how much the revenue stream and funding mechanisms go towards upkeep and re-capitalization, vice building new projects (or expanding existing ones).Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Michael Cain says:

      I like the map, and the rail line that loops into WY & back out again.

      Hello coal mine!Report

      • About 40% of all the thermal coal mined in the US comes out of six counties in NW Wyoming. Even ignoring the loop, the routes across Nebraska are the most heavily-used in the world, measured by tonnage. Most of the Wyoming coal is burned to provide electricity for cities well to the east. My favorite example is the Scherer power station in the middle of Georgia, fueled exclusively with Wyoming coal, to the tune of 10-12 million tons per year.Report

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

        I know. I actually just recently learned about that (like a few months ago). Blew my mind that such a huge part of WY is providing such a massive abundance of coal.Report

      • Could be Wyoming’s ticket into the WSA!Report

      • Obviously, should have said NE Wyoming, not NW.

        MRS, if/when Wyoming runs low, they can extend the rail loop up into SE Montana, where there are about twice the reserves but of somewhat lower quality.

        Will, my thinking is that wind plus headwaters for both the Colorado River and the Columbia are Wyoming’s ticket into the WSA; peace and continued coal shipments east are one of the reasons the other states let the WSA go :^) Securing rail lines that stretch hundreds of miles across the Great Plains is a non-trivial task.Report

  20. Michael Drew says:


    I will say that I am sufficiently ashamed of the amount of soda that I drink that I wouldn’t respond honestly to a survey asking how much that is. And I might claim to be trying to reduce the amount, even though that’s not particularly true most of the time. (Sometimes, though.)

    But I wouldn’t claim to try to avoid it. I certainly drink myself some Coke: happy to affirm that.Report

  21. Kolohe says:

    Ok, on Uncle Steve’s E2
    a) starts with a passive voice sentence, then a sweeping, data-free assertion, which is the surest sign that entity of dry hayness may be bludgeoned shortly.
    b) has a factually incorrect datapoint (Mockingjay beat American Sniper at the box office), and a questionable premise that Avatar (for all its flaws) is not an ‘adult’ movie.
    c) forgets that a closet gun nut wouldn’t have spent time and money switching out the FB of I’s pistols with walkie talkies.
    d) and then goes on to an increasingly intense series of non-sequiturs.Report

    • Chris in reply to Kolohe says:

      I think you just described 2/3s of the essays I’ve read on the internet in the last 10 years.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Kolohe says:

      I’d also challenge the initial assertion

      It’s widely assumed, both by liberals and conservatives, that the fields of arts and entertainment innately induce egalitarian political leanings.

      I think people assume Hollywood leans left. But not egalitarian exactly. Hollywood could structure itself to be much more egalitarian than it does, but it doesn’t. When it makes liberal political movies, it’s usually about social liberal themes (equality of dignity for gay people; liberation of oppressd people, etc.), not the clear correctness of a world where wealth was distributed more equally. For every movie it makes that has that theme, it makes at least one either just celebrating the rich per se, celebrating their path to making themselves rich, or celebrating a poor person’s path out of poverty, and usually to riches. And it never turns around and emphasizes how important it is that that newly rich person now be taxed at high marginal rates in order to realize greater economic equality.

      Basically, on distributive matters, Hollywood pretty well reinforces America’s founding mythology of self-creation, success, and prosperity unto great wealth.Report

  22. ScarletNumber says:


    Oh, THOSE kind of gendered toys. Never mind…Report

  23. James K says:

    H2: I agree with Ozimek, people need to understand that just because they don’t like something doesn’t mean it’s a market failure.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

      I’ll sing a song about some people you might know
      They made front pages in the news not long ago
      Oh, but now they’re just part of a crowd
      And I wonder where they all are now

      An obscure song off an obscure album, though it was used in one of the last episodes of HIMYM.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

      What a sad story, all the way around. None of them deserved (all) that happened to them.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yeah. In our Brave New World that has such engines as Google in it, Adria Richards is most probably going to find herself being overlooked for jobs that, on paper, she’d be perfect for. I mean, like, for decades.

        And we can’t really discuss why that is.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird says:

      Huh. For some reason I was under the impression that Richards was a fairly innocent player in this drama who simply had no idea that it would get him in so much trouble and regretted that it had. But in this piece she comes off as a really terrible person, like a composite of all the worst Tumblr has to offer.

      She strikes me as sort of a mirror image of Scott Aaronson; whereas he took feminist rhetoric to seriously and became paranoid about becoming an oppressor, she seems to have taken it too seriously and became paranoid about being oppressed, to the point where she feels physically threatened because she’s in a room full of white (and almost certainly Asian, but that doesn’t fit the narrative) men and one of them whispers a joke to another.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        We’re seeing after she was the victim of countless rape and death threats and felt she had to go into hiding for her own safety. Which was not irrational; even if 99% of them were from assholes who didn’t pose any physical threat, it only required one to be genuinely deranged to put her in real danger. So I find it difficult to fault her for feeling unsafe. IANAMD, but PTSD seems natural enough.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I was referring to her description of how she felt at the time, before any of that happened.

        Her response to the later stuff is reasonable, but fearing for one’s safety after overhearing a very mild off-color joke at a software development conference is nuts.Report

      • Damon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        If one pokes a stick into a bees nest, one expects a reaction from the bees. Her actions got a dude fired for no real good cause. The reaction was harsh and deserved. Sure, there were lots of “inappropriate” reactions, but it’s not like this was new…nor was it unforeseeable.Report

      • She seems to go out of her way to be unsympathetic, but no one deserves what she got. Sort of like how Charlie Hebdo’s insensitivity ceased to be the important thing after what happened happened.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I don’t really blame her for the tweet. It was an overreaction, and kind of a jerky thing to do, but whatever. She couldn’t reasonably have predicted that it would result in the guy getting fired, and for all we know maybe there was more to the story than that. But her comments in that interview, combined with the incidents described in the post DensityDuck linked to, make her sound like a terrible person, more concerned with self-promotion and pushing her agenda than with actually doing her job, for which she probably deserved to get fired.

        It should go without saying that the 4chan stuff was out of line. I hate that stuff, not only because it’s cruel, but because it makes the victims look sympathetic, a halo effect that often extends to whatever they were trying to say.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Seriously, rape and death threats get “inappropriate” with scare quotes? Keep it up and I’ll be 100% on her side.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        I understand what you’re referring to, but we’re not reading about her contemporaneous feelings about it, and have no real idea what they were.Report

      • Damon in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        “She couldn’t reasonably have predicted that it would result in the guy getting fired” Right……
        She wanted the guy punished. Getting fired is a reasonable outcome. What should didn’t count on was getting fired herself.

        They weren’t scare quotes. It was a euphemism for “rape/death/etc.” “Keep it up and I’ll be on her side 100%” You say that like I’d care.Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        I’m with @damon on this; no one really gives a shit if you are on her side or not. And @damon ‘s comments should have nothing to do with it. Bad job out of you.Report

      • DRS in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Get used to it. Times are changing, and a lot of stuff that didn’t seem all that serious a few years ago is going to be more serious as women become a larger percentage of a particular sector’s workforce. Whereas in the (not-so) old days, women overhearing a stupid joke would just roll their eyes and simmer, increasingly they’re going to turn around in their seats and say “Knock that shit off now.” And that shit better get knocked off right quick.

        There’s a strong current of “Hey, I don’t have to take that anymore” running through society and another sign of it is the attitude towards sexual harassment during the past year. Even ten years ago, there would have been many articles about how to avoid it or how to deal with it HR-wise but a tipping point has been reached and now I’m reading angry articles about why certain men are too dumb to just keep it in their pants. Status isn’t protection anymore – Cosby, Ghomeshi.

        “Knock that shit off” – a slogan for the times.Report

      • Fortunately for just about everybody, most women do not respond the way Richards did.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        @drs That’s a neat rhetorical trick, conflating giggling at “dongles” to rape. The men didn’t assault her. They weren’t threatening her directly or indirectly. The jokes, while not particularly mature or funny, were not derogatory towards women in any way. While a reasonable person might object to them talking during a presentation (though I have no idea whether that was the case or they were talking in between presentations), no reasonable person could construe it as sexual harassment. Unfortunately for them, there was a radical feminist sitting behind them.Report

      • zic in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        @will-truman I’m not sure I’d say ‘fortunately.’ But I do think @drs is right, that more and more, we’re going to see women speak out.

        I’ll go back to my oft-linked post by Friedersdorf, the rules of good behavior he found on a Spanish chapel, circa 1943

        1. Women shall not appear on the streets of this village with dresses that are too tight in those places which provoke the evil passions of men.

        2. They must never wear dresses that are too short.

        3. They must be particularly careful not to wear dresses that are low-cut in front.

        4. It is shameful for women to walk in the streets with short sleeves.

        5. Every woman who appears in the streets must wear stockings.

        6. Women must not wear transparent or network cloth over those parts which decency requires to be covered.

        7. At the age of twelve girls must begin to wear dresses that reach to the knee, and stockings at all times.

        8. Little boys must not appear in the streets with their upper legs bare.

        9. Girls must never walk in out-of-the-way places because to do so is both immoral and dangerous.

        10. No decent woman or girl is ever seen on a bicycle.

        11. No decent woman is ever seen wearing trousers.

        12. What they call in the cities ‘modern dancing’ is strictly forbidden.


        Now a full ten of these 12 rules are about how women should behave, but it’s obvious that the intent is not just women’s behavior, but men’s behavior; best seen in point 9 — where girls should do this thing because not doing so is immoral and dangerous. But there’s no call to boys to refrain from being dangerous, to refrain from being immoral. And the only thing for boys/men is to not dance and (for boys only,) not show their upper thigh, which might trigger lustful thoughts, too, I suppose.

        DRS’s point is that these burdens of behavior are rightly placed on the people who misbehave instead of passing the problem to people who suffer from that misbehavior. Unfortunately, it’s going to take many repeat instances of people responding like Richards did to make the miscreants aware of their responsibility; the unfortunate part here isn’t Richards, it’s what triggered Richards to do something that was unfortunate.Report

      • I’m not against women calling out boorish behavior. But this case? This is a terrible case to make an exemplar of women righteously doing so, and Richards makes for a pretty bad protagonist even if she did not deserve the fate that befell her (and, of course, she did not).Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        Richards … did not deserve the fate that befell her.

        Which fate was that, the comments she received electronically, or her losing her job? Or both?Report

      • I’d prefer she not have been fired, but given her job description that’s a tossup (and there may have been other issues). I was mostly referring to the threats.Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        Considering that she showed NO remorse over the guy getting fired, goose, gander, etc.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Prior to this article, she may have been able to pick up a job in her chosen field after stuff died down… I don’t see that happening now.Report

      • DRS in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        That’s cute, Will. Like your perception of whether Richards is an acceptably sympathetic protagonist matters a damn. She didn’t like something, she spoke up and repercussions ensued – for everyone. And if guys attending a tech conference get the message that dumb sex jokes are inappropriate when there are women within hearing range, then some good will come of it. It’s not just women anymore who’ll have to worry about how they’re coming across.

        And of course I didn’t say rape was the equivalent of a 12-year-old-male mentality joke. If I had meant it, I would have said it explicitly. I’m sure Berg has his own reasons for thinking so, along with the “radical feminist” label he thinks is such a devastating insult.Report

      • Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I think it’s unfortunate that any jobs were lost (and Richards is, I believe, gainfully employed today), and she obviously handled it the wrong way (she has a history of doing things in a way that brings the most attention to herself), but I do think it’s interesting that people ate still talking about it 2 years later.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        If she’s employed today, that’s awesome.

        As of the writing in the book, she still wasn’t.

        “You’ve got a new job now, right?” I said to Adria.

        “No,” she said.

        Her twitter doesn’t mention whether she’s employed but… at this point, that’d be like painting a target on her back one way or another.Report

      • ScarletNumber in reply to Brandon Berg says:


        And if guys attending a tech conference get the message that dumb sex jokes are inappropriate when there are women within hearing range, then some good will come of it.

        So “dumb sex jokes” are appropriate when women are out of hearing range?Report

      • Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I gathered she was employed mostly because she talks about work a lot. Perhaps she’s freelancing or otherwise self-employed.Report

      • Well, you’re free to stop wasting your time engaging someone whose opinion you don’t care about.

        At the end of the day, Richards career took a bigger hit than his did. I’m not sure this is the victory for feminism you think it is, so while my opinion may not be worth much as I am just one guy, it doesn’t seem to me being condescending to potential supporters is a worthwhile way to go.Report

      • aaron david in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        @chris ” but I do think it’s interesting that people ate still talking about it 2 years later.”

        That is because it was round one of gamer gate.Report

      • Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Hmm… I suppose it was in a way. And that gets at why I think it’s interesting. It plays right into certain beliefs about feminists (e.g., that they overreact, and that they’re out to get men), so it’s been used as evidence in tech gender wars from day 1. It’s a tool to help undermine progress women make in tech, because it suggests women are the problem, much like what happens in gamer gate.Report

      • DRS in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Scarlet Number: make all the dumb jokes you want when you’re alone with your buds. Jokes about women, Jews, Muslims, blacks, Asians – whatever floats your boat. But in public, when there are strangers around whose reactions you can’t predict, it makes professional career sense to watch your mouth and keep it innocuous. Believe me, women tell dick jokes too.

        Will: I’m using your responses to engage with others on the list. You’re impervious to other POV’s. Fine. But if I recall correctly, you have a daughter who must be in the toddler stage right now. (Or is that someone else’s child I’m remembering?) If we were to flash forward about 15 years, I think you’d be horrified to find out how much sense I’m making.

        As for “victory for feminism”: please. You’re the one thinking that Richards has to be something other than just a regular woman for her to have been offended. Her situation is immaterial to the overall cultural change. Women are simply not going to pretend they don’t hear things like that anymore. Women are peers, colleagues, fellow conference attendees – and bosses. We’re everywhere. BWAAAHHAAAAHAAAA!!!!Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        We’re talking about it because Will just linked to a post about it. If he’d linked to this instead, we’d be talking about Bob Gibson.Report

      • Dand in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        but I do think it’s interesting that people ate still talking about it 2 years later.

        Why? People are still talking about the people who unjustly lost their jobs during McCarthyism and that happened 65 years ago. Compared to that 2 years is nothing.Report

      • I’ve expressed a sympathy for everybody hurt by this, including Richards, which is odd for someone incapable of empathy.

        Even apart from my daughter, I live in a female-breadwinner household. Our financial situation depends on women being treated with respect in the office place. And my wife being treated respectfully in the workplace is an ongoing problem (though, to be fair, no complaints about her current employer).

        You say that women are going to speak out? I have no problem with that. At least, except in those cases where the justification is shaky and the manner in which they speak out is likely to cause more harm than good.

        By and large, I think Amanda Blum has it about right.Report

      • Actually, twas Jaybird who supplied the link.Report

      • Chris in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        The fact that there is a link suggests the we is a bit broader.

        Dand, you win the hyperbole Olympics for today, possibly for the month.Report

    • zic in reply to Jaybird says:

      I dunno, @jaybird I tried to take this piece as serious insight into the problems women face in communities where male humor is the accepted norm, and the complications that arise when women are sharp-elbowed enough to point it out.

      But I got to the end of the piece, there were all this thumbnail photos to other stories, and boobs and butts sticking out at me, and like I’m supposed to think that this is a serious consideration? Does context matter?Report

  24. Mike Schilling says:

    Next week, we can save space by having one link where Domenech plagiarizes Sailer.Report

  25. Michael Drew says:

    Tonight a 19 year-old man was shot and killed by police in Madison, Wisconsin two blocks from where I lived when I started reading OT(League), eight blocks from the house I grew up in, and four blocks from the elementary school where his mother and I went to elementary school together thirty years ago.

    …Unless the story is being reported all wrong, or I am drastically misjudging the pictures being reported of the victim. I didn’t remember her son’s name for sure, but I recognize from her Facebook page the very graduation photo that is being reported of him, and her in it.Report

  26. Michael Drew says:

    Yes, this is her.

    On her Facebook page while I’ve been connected with her she has always talked a lot about how hard she’s worked and how her work has worn her out; about how life’s travails often have gotten her down. But then she always seems to come back with updates that show how she’s persevered (not her word), and has about the little moment of joy and reward joy in life. Recently (very recently, like a week ago), she posted an update about having gotten a promotion that she’d been working toward for a year. And, of course, all throughout she has talked about how proud she is of her son, who graduated high school a year ago and was preparing to start college this year.

    I haven’t talked to her for about twenty years. She’s just one of those people you have fond memories of from when you were really young who pops up on the “People You May Know” section, so you friend request them. I do have one particular memory of riding the bus with her from about first grade (we were the same year), but that’s about as well as I ever knew her. I’m amazed at how raw this feels.Report

    • It’s… weird when people you know die. Especially in such a fashion.

      I’m still waiting for confirmation that a loose college acquaintance from college was in fact killed after a we-have-your-journalist video from Syria.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew says:

      From what I understand, grief hits hard but it hits hardest when it is 1) someone very close, 2) a sudden death, 3) a violent death, 4) an unexpected death.

      If a death has 2, 3, and 4, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t have 1 for it to really hit us in our bones.

      Given that the details in the news story sound familiar enough to previous stories that it’s fair to wonder if, in addition to all those, he’s also the victim of a crime that will never be acknowledged as such, that can make things worse too.Report

    • Thanks, guys. I think it was just kind of a shock to see this lovely graduation photo from my Facebook feed become the one that was going around Twitter giving an image to this incident.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Michael Drew says:

      Sorry to hear about this & your acquaintance. Stories like this are not a common part of Madison’s character, which makes it even more troubling.Report

      • Notme in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Robinson’s family said he wasn’t violent despite his conviction for armed robbery last april.Report

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


        That’s not relevant to the discussion, & it’s a datum that is insufficient to make a judgment from. It’s the kind of crap info PDs put out to poison the PR environment so they can move it out of the news cycle faster.Report

      • Notme in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        His conviction for armed robbery is certainly more relevant than the fact this incident took place in Madison. I think it tells us about his character and propensity for violence. Listening to the call that brought the cops to his house, it sounds like this guy was on something. Are you going to tell me that the blood panel for drugs doesnt matter either?Report

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

        It’s not relevant to the discussion that this was the son of someone Michael Drew knew in his youth.

        As for Madison, the character I speak of is one where the PD doesn’t reach for the gun as a first resort. It has happened in the past, but the PD when I lived there was careful about the use of force, & i hope they remain careful, which was all I was saying.

        Bringing in information regarding the dead young man that the media is reporting this early is pointless, because the media usually gets this early information wrong in pretty significant ways. Unless you are somehow dialed into the WI justice system.Report

      • notme in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


        “Bringing in information regarding the dead young man that the media is reporting this early is pointless, because the media usually gets this early information wrong in pretty significant ways.”

        What questionable information did I bring up? His conviction? I’m talking facts not wallowing in white liberal guilt like Chris in the Ferguson threadReport