Linky Friday #117: Oil Everywhere

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Will Truman

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

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230 Responses

  1. Avatar Chris says:

    [L2] It’s probably not a coincidence that you can see the effects of wage increases better at the local (well, regional — local is tough, because people who work in a city may not live and therefore may not spend in a city) and state levels, empirically.

    [S3] Amen.

    [U5] I have been in Austin for a handful of floods now, including one with 12 feet of water on North Lamar downtown (anyone who’s spent time here will know how insane that is) back in November of ’00 or ’01, but I’d never seen anything like this. We live on Shoal Creek, the creek that flooded Lamar then and flooded it this time (the picture on HC of the football stadium flooded? that’s Shoal Creek), but where we are the flood protections are almost insurmountable (I have video of it immediately after the rain stopped; it was intense, but within its banks). However, because it had rained for a few weeks, and because we had gotten several inches on Sunday, the ground was completely saturated so all of the runoff ran into the streets. Most of the streets in my neighborhood were completely flooded, with a foot or more of fast-running water, as were the major streets nearby. Hyde Park was flooded (I’d never seen that before), large swaths of downtown on both the East and West sides were flooded. And parts of Kyle (where teenager’s mom lives), San Marcos, and Wimberly were… are devastated. More thunderstorms on the way, too.

    [P3] One of the most entertaining early blog fights I remember (from around 2004 or 2005) was over that war. Wunderkind Matthew Yglesias, apparently just having learned that there was a second war with Britain, opined that we were on the wrong side, because we were fighting the English, and the English were fighting Napoleon, and Napoleon was, well, Napoleon. The resulting multi-blog conversation, in which many people of many different backgrounds, including some historians of the period, debated the connection between the war over here and the War of the 6th Coalition, whether the U.S. “lost” (basically, does “we got our asses kicked and failed to achieve any of our military and territorial objectives, but we settled the question of England’s influence over its former colonies definitively” count as a win or a loss?), and so on. It was the geekiest of geekfests, and it turns out that everybody on the internet at the time had an opinion on a war that was almost 2 full centuries old. Good times.Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    [P3]

    Although the war started badly for the United States, eventually after American victories in Baltimore and in New Orleans, a peace agreement was reached

    Err…Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Chris says:

      That’s funny. There are perhaps three factoids people with a vague knowledge of history have from the War of 1812. One is that the Battle of New Orleans took place after the peace treaty was signed. This being The Guardian, I wondered if this piece were written by a Brit, who likely don’t have even three factoids about that war, but Ben Jacobs seems to be an American. *sigh*

      The irony is that a really good argument can be made for New Orleans being the most important battle of the war. Many people assumed the Treaty of Ghent was the signal for a brief pause in the fighting while the UK finished with Napoleon. In New Orleans, the Americans beat British regulars in a fair, line-up-and-fight battle. This put the idea in their heads that going back for another round might not be all that easy after all, and the idea quietly faded away.

      Oh, and the US totally had to fight that war. Not for the invasion of Canada. That was a spectacularly incompetent cock up. The point of the war was that the UK was treating the US as a minor power, with whom the niceties of sovereignty need not be too closely observed. I’m not moralizing here. This is how great powers treat minor power. Just look at how the US treats central America and the Caribbean nations. The War of 1812 was the US showing that it was willing to push back, and had the ability at least to be an annoyance.Report

      • That last paragraph is what I was always taught. The War of 1812 wasn’t exactly successful, but it was important in establishing the US as a non-subordinate state.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman says:

          The problem is successful at what? This would not be the last time we forgot to work that out ahead of time. The war successfully addressed the provocations by the Brits, but a lot of people signed onto the idea because of the chance to invade Canada.

          Now the War of 1846 was a different matter: we knew exactly what we wanted, and we took it!Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        By “factoid,” do you mean that it’s not actually true?Report

      • As a Canadian, one of the main things I learned about the War of 1812 in school was that it wasn’t really about British impressment of American sailors, even though that was commonly promoted as America’s justification for war. (And Britain had agreed to stop the impressment before the war even started; America just hadn’t heard the news yet because news travelled slow).

        What America really wanted was to conquer the Native Americans living in the Ohio River Valley, and expand its settlement into that area. (It also wanted to expand into Canada, but failed in that regard.) The British were allied with the Native Americans. The War of 1812 was successful enough for the Americans that the British left their Native American allies in the lurch, and the United States was able to expand.

        It wasn’t a ‘necessary’ war for purposes other than imperialism. A powerful indication of this is that people in New England (who, being naval traders, were most affected by impressment – but would be even more negatively affected by the interruption of trade that war would cause) were heavily anti-war, while Western settlers were heavily pro-war.

        Also, British impressment was a reaction to being in a no-holds-barred fight against Napoleon. It amuses me when Americans act as though their achievements in the War of 1812 were some big victory, because Britain’s situation was comparable to fighting WWII and the Vietnam War simultaneously, and coming to a negotiated settlement on the latter. The War of 1812 was a distraction for Britain, not a priority.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

      It’s very relativistic. Given early 19th-century technology, the interval between the battle of New Orleans and the Treaty of Ghent was space-like.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        It’s perfectly reasonable to argue that the battle began before the treaty was signed, and ended before it was ratified, as both things are true. It makes no sense to suggest, as that sentence seems to be doing, that the peace agreement was reached because of that British defeat, as the peace agreement was signed before the British were defeated.

        Like Richard, I sort of assumed this was common knowledge, since it’s one of the few things everyone seems to know about that war (though as I was suggesting above, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that a lot of people know a whole lot about that war).Report

  3. Avatar Glyph says:

    BoingBoing linked to a Medium piece on the, yes, “problematic” nature of, yes, Rickrolling(!).

    Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    E1- I really have no problem with government doing things like this. I personally think that homeschooling is a bad idea for many reasons. A lot of it is just to teach a kid some brand of woo, whether it be Evangelical Christian or New Age liberal in flavor, even parents who are actually teaching children the subjects might not be the most qualified teachers, the socialization aspect of school is important in most circumstances (this is why many home schooling parents still want their kids to be able to participate in after school clubs and sports), and finally I imagine that the number of home schooling parents who use home schooling as a way to hide horrifying crimes is higher than most home schooling advocates want to admit. Teachers are often the best spotters of abuse. Making kids go to school and hoping that a teacher would spot abuse is a lot less intrusive than other ways.

    S5-A lot of people seem to try to use these sorts of sites anonymously while doing absolutely nothing to remain anonymous. I can’t really see the logic behind this.

    E4-I disagree. Most of the commencement speeches I’ve attended where given by liberals, broadly defined, and one by a conservative. The conservative one was the worst.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

      There traditionally are two kinds of homeschoolers. The one we are most familiar with today are the ideologues who don’t want their kids exposed to outside influences. The other is the prodigy (whether real, or optimistically supposed by the parents) whom the available schools can’t really deal with , and who would merely be held back by trying. I have little sympathy for the former group. The kids are going to leave the compound eventually, and parents owe their kids an honest shot at preparation for the world. The latter group is more sympathetic. It is hard to objectively distinguish the two, even if we all know the difference when we see it.

      True story: My niece comes home one day from elementary school and announces that the school wants her to have a calculator. My brother, a chemistry professor, quizzes her one what the calculator needs to be able to do, and concludes it is just for basic arithmetic. He digs out his old slide rule and says “Honey, I am going to teach you about something called “logarithms.” Now jump forward a few years to middle school, and her math teacher tells her that she needs a calculator. “I have one already!” she replies, holding up her slide rule. Her teacher (who, I suspect, had only the vaguest idea what it was) tells her that she won’t be able to keep up with that. “Try me.” So he puts a series of problems on the board and has her race the rest of the class, which she beats easily. Now jump forward a few more years to high school, and her math teacher tells her that she needs a graphing calculator. “I have one” she replies, holding up her slide rule and pulling out a pencil and graph paper. But at that point, you really do have trouble keeping up, so she relented and my brother got her a graphing calculator.

      Her younger sister came home from elementary school one day and announced “I need a calculator, and if you give me that stupid stick I’ll break it.” Guess which one did her post-grad work in chemistry, and which in musicology? (Before you laugh: at Harvard.)

      I was mildly surprised that my brother and sister-in-law didn’t home school those two, but they valued the socialization. It likely helped that, while they lived in a small Midwestern town, it was a university town. I suspect that the school was used to over-achieving children of faculty. But go a town or two over, and they might have regarded the kids as Martians.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        There are perfectly legitimate to home school kids in certain circumstances. If kid are growing up in an isolate area like the wilderness areas of Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, etc. than home schooling is certainly more convenient than having them go long distances for school. If your kid is subjected to harsh bullying than home-schooling also makes sense. Its just that in most circumstances, it does not.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        I just want to raise eyebrows at why is a Chemistry post-grad considered better than a Musicology post-grad?

        Though I admit that last weekend I was on a trip and got asked questions like “So, Didn’t you read science fiction as a kid and want to become an engineer?” A lot of tech types seem perplexed by the existence of arts and humanities majors.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          A chemistry post-grad is free. So there’s that.
          A Musicology post-grad is… are you actually going to be doing music by that point? Because, if you aren’t, then it makes perfect sense. But if you are… why choose that route? Its Expensive, and musicmaking isn’t a super high paying jobfield.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim says:

            Man does not live by bread alone. We only have art in this world because some people chose the non-pragmatic path and embrace poverty to give us art. If you do not see what is great about this than you have no soul.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Lee,
              The alternative is ACTUALLY DOING WORK MAKING MUSIC.

              I know people who are crack aces at programming, and they make works of art. They ain’t fucking poor! I know college professors who have albums of music… they ain’t THAT poor! TONS of people got dayjobs, and Poverty ain’t NEEDED to make art. Certainly anything that’s a true commercial success ain’t gonna leave you living hand to mouth… (granted, some of that’s work in the third world).

              I dislike strongly the idea that anyone should live in poverty, artists included. I’d rather have an artist who shovels shit for a living, and manages to produce art on the side until he’s commercially viable (ten points if you get the artist!).

              Artists tell me all the time how hard it is to create if you don’t know jack about anything. Jobs are a great way to learn things, stuff to pour back into your art.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Kim says:

            “A Musicology post-grad is…”

            …also free, at least in this case. I imagine she has some sort of fellowship. I don’t know if this is generally true. I also don’t know what sort of living expenses stipend she receives. I doubt that it is extravagant. Of course we could talk about opportunity cost, but let’s not.

            Oh, and musicology isn’t music-making, it is the study and analysis of music and music history and music in society, etc. A musicologist typically is a competent musician, but that is incidental.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Considered by whom? I am giddily proud of both of them. That being said, the Ph.D. in chemistry is certainly the more marketable of the two. The point about Harvard is that a musicology Ph.D. from there can actually plausibly lead to full time employment in the field, while one from Midwest State U. stereotypically leads to a career of adjunct work if you are lucky, and burger flipping if you aren’t.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

            Note: I’m not even saying anything about getting a phd for adjuct work. Just that getting a PHd might not be the best use of time if you want to build a career in music.Report

            • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Kim says:

              “Just that getting a PHd might not be the best use of time if you want to build a career in music.”

              It would be pretty darned silly if you want to build a career performing.

              Composition, once you get beyond the pop song level, requires study. Look at the composers back in the day and you can trace who studied with whom. Nowadays that sort of thing is usually done in an academic setting, but they still talk about who you studied under at least as much as they talk about where.

              But in the instant case, we are talking about a career in musicology. This is an academic field, and a Ph.D. is a necessary prerequisite.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                I don’t think Danny Elfman got any formal training, and he’s a fine composer.
                I’ve linked to music made by math and physics geeks, and they definitely haven’t had formal training (in fact, putting their computerized music to paper is kinda doomed to failure, as the standard notation doesn’t really adapt well to odd note-duration).

                Everyone has to train to get better at something — many people train better with mentors, but not all of them.Report

        • A lot of tech types seem perplexed by the existence of arts and humanities majors.

          He says to the group, at least several of whom are tech types, and so far as I can tell, none of those have any problem understanding why arts and humanities majors exist.

          To be perfectly honest, I’m much more concerned about the opinion pieces that appear regularly from people who run arts and humanities programs, arguing that not only should the engineers be required to take a bunch of A&H classes, but that math is so irrelevant that the A&H majors shouldn’t be required to take even basic algebra. I’m concerned not because of the demand for engineers to take some A&H — I’ve always been a supporter that tech types should be exposed to at least H, even if it’s custom tailored for them. But I’m terrified that in a world where so many of the hard problems are argued with statistics, or involve tech and engineering, that anyone gets to graduate from college without some exposure to those subjects as well, even if it’s custom tailored for them.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain says:

            @michael-cain

            I am firmly partisan in this issue but also concerned about the existence of the two cultures.

            I think it depends on where you went to college. A lot of my friends from undergrad were science majors and went on to get their PhDs or other careers in tech. But I went to a SLAC and they are not insulting to the arts and humanities,

            But I have gone to plenty of networking events (usually through the Jewish Federation) in SF and here I meet a lot of people who were STEM majors or if not STEM majored in business/economics. When we do the “What did you study” question and I say I was a theatre major, I get a lot of stares and remarks that translate into “Wow” and “Why would you choose to major in that?”. Maybe this is fairly unique to SF because of tech. Interestingly for Jewish networking events, there are not many lawyers and doctors. I guess I represent a throwback to older generation career choices.

            I honestly can perfectly understand why people would choose to major in STEM. The fields are interesting to many and I agree that they are usually more stable economically*. I am just tired of bug-eyed stares about being a drama major (why is this so surprising to people?) and the snide remarks about not really being intelligent for being arts and humanities focused.

            *Though two of my friends with PhDs in science are also on the nontenure adjunct tract for the time being so the adjunct crisis has also hit the science fields.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Cain says:

            If I have any trouble understanding why Arts and Humanities majors exist, I might note:
            I know published authors. I know published composers. I know artists who have had work displayed in museums.

            … none of these have managed a degree in said subject (and there are several composers who can’t even read sheet music! — making it pretty much impossible for them to get a degree in music composition.)Report

      • To me, there’s daylight in between “I want to shield my children from a corrupt society” and “I want my children prepared with our own values before they have to confront the broader society.”

        The latter is, to me, not unlike “No soft drinks in the household” rules. Yes, they’re going to graduate and meet with the temptations of soft drinks and their sugary goodness/badness, but the hope is that they will confront that with the right value system.

        My own value system doesn’t differ that much from broader society’s – certainly not so much that I would consider homeschooling for that reason – but a link in the queue involving Alabama textbooks from 1953-70 reminds me that this isn’t always the case.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      the socialization aspect of school

      If a child isn’t bullied, he or she may grow up to not understand their relationship to police officers.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

        Ha. I actually thing frequent and harsh bullying, like when nearly everybody at the school is bullying the kid or only a few are but the school refuses to do anything about it, are perfectly legitimate reasons to home school kids.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq says:

      @leeesq

      “A lot of it is just to teach a kid some brand of woo…”

      The problem is, many of those folks see what is being taught in schools as just “some brand of woo”. You might disagree with them. I might disagree with them. Hell, 99% of the country may. But the fact is all education is teaching “some brand of woo”. We just tend to accept the woo if it is our brand of woo.

      We can make plenty of arguments for why our brand of woo may be better. Some of them may even be objective and data-backed. But at the end of the day, the question that all education seeks to answer is, “What should I impart on this student?” To act as if there is one true way — and that the American public school system has found it! — is laughable.

      Dewey wrote about this.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Kazzy says:

        sure, but the woo (whichever bit each individual thinks of as woo) is usually pretty incidental to things like “Interacting with non-family peers”, “Having time outside the direct supervision of one’s parents”, and “learning how fractions work”.

        I talked to a homeschooled student recently who never learned how to do long division until he was in community college. Seemed like a bright, insightful kid, but he was still taking high-school math in his twenties. That shit is not cool, and generally not worth quibbles about young-earth creationism or whether John Adams was a Christian. There aren’t exactly a shortage of Christian private schools if you don’t want your kids to experience secular education–but the teachers at those schools are generally competent enough to teach long division.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Alan Scott says:

          There’s more to education than STEM, you know. If he learned that little math, he must have learned how to think really well.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            Heh. I remember a big to-do as the Texas School board was talking about revamping curriculum again. They wanted to remove critical thinking from English because “It’s already taught in third grade”.

            (Critical thinking being, IIRC, “understanding what you just read and using it” — which is anything from word problems to reading several short pieces and integrating what you just read to answer a question.)

            Which sums up the state school board, really, and why it’s a national joke.

            I can’t imagine the patience of some of the people called upon to actually explain that things like ‘critical thinking’ are things that have to be continually practiced and used, not taught once and ignored after that.

            *sigh*. One guy was a big proponent of diagramming sentences. He’d get mad that they didn’t diagram sentences every year until graduation, and basically seemed to think English was spelling and sentence diagramming.

            Elected positions, you know? Their expertise on education is “I went to High School 30 years ago”, which would be fine if they were willing to dig into the subject, but it seems half of them got elected to get the Bible back into Texas schools and the other half think it should be more like it was when they went to school.

            Don’t even get me started on the people screaming about ‘wasting kid’s times with number lines’ and ‘why can’t they just teach addition and subtraction the normal way’ because apparently they don’t remember being SEVEN. They just see number lines being used to teach addition and subtraction and apparently think it’s all New MAth craziness, instead of a highly useful visual tool (one that, in fact, really teaches some fundamental math concepts to kids. And also makes it easier for them to visualize how addition and subtraction work.)Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to LeeEsq says:

      As long as there are private schools of any stripe, from the local Waldorf to Sidwell Friends to Admiral Faragutt Academy to Vassar to BYU, I will support any parent who feels that the public option is not for them. For any reason they choose. Just because I don’t particularly like the brand of woo to which they subscribe is no excuse for the classist idea of only the wealthy being able to educate their children as they so choose.

      Edited for clarity.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The kids I know who were homeschooled are some of the smartest young people I’ve met. I know folks who never learned to read in the school system who were homeschooled for a year or two, made incredible progress to reading at or above their grade level, and became top students. They also tend to be incredibly creative (especially in fine arts) and involved in extracurricular activities, so socialization isn’t a problem. Homeschooling gives people a lot more freedom to learn rather than covering everything in broken-up one-hour segments, and allows them to pursue their passions.

      The people I know may not be representative (all of them have at least one parent who is a teacher), but they do show how valuable homeschooling can be when done well. Sometimes it’s about protecting kids from ideas the parents don’t agree with; but it’s also frequently about providing a less structured, more free learning environment. I think it’s worth facilitating, or at least, not discouraging. A one-size-fits-all model of education doesn’t fit everyone.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to KatherineMW says:

        (fill in blank) education model can work well for some kids. I’ve seen homeschooling be a disaster for some kids and i’ve also heard the stories about how it works well. The problem i think comes when the idea breaks out from the initial group that is really really passionate about it. The first people who develop and prove an idea are often successful but they will often be the outliers. When the idea filters down to the general pop. you start to see more problems. I’m actually fine with homeschooling as long as there is some oversight, like yearly testing, to make sure the kids are learning something.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

          I want to see evidence of a substantial problem and/or a better idea of the scope of the problem before we start talking about imposing solutions for the problem.

          I’m not opposed to using a small supplies stipend as a carrot to encourage testing, though.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

            If kids aren’t in any program or even being tested then it will be impossible to ever get any data on them. If a kid isn’t going to get some sort of diploma or even a GED cert when they are done with homeschooling i’m sure how well they can move forward with eduction or anybody would even know they have an education.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

              Just data on how many of them go to college would be a start. Offer them money to take a test and see the results. Did they take the SAT? How did those homeschooled who took it compared to those who weren’t? What percentage of them took the SAT? Look at census data on what kind of jobs homeschooled kids have.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

                @will Yeah that is all fine. My actual preference would be that HS kids need to be in some sort of recognized HS program. There are a million of them out there and plenty are plenty religious if that is what people want. Programs can be tracked for success rates and some of the things you mentioned. I’m mostly very skeptical of people who say they are educating their kids solely on their own. I’m sure that has worked for the brilliant and the dedicated and the pathfinders. But things always work well for those people. I don’t think that works well for regular people.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

                For the most part I don’t think parents should home school without a program if at all. But I only want to actually get involved if we can actually demonstrate a problem with the scope to necessitate.

                Short of that, I don’t want to do much more than bribery. (We’ll help you with supplies, your kid can try out for the volleyball team, etc.)Report

              • There’s an article here, Will: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2013/06/stop-saying-homeschoolers-are-brilliant.html

                It’s arguing against the idea that homeschooled kids are much more intelligent and talented than publicly-schooled kids, and it still acknowledges that homeschooled kids perform similarly on the SAT to demographically-similar kids who aren’t homeschooled.

                A pertinent piece from the article:

                While we don’t have any statistics on homeschoolers’ academic success that aren’t drawn from volunteer or self-selected samples, we do have some that correct for background variables. (I am now drawing on information from Milton Gaither and Robert Kunzman’s recent survey of the literature and studies on homeschooling.)

                In 2005, Belfield conducted a study of homeschoolers’ SAT scores, controlling for family background variables, and found that homeschoolers scored slightly better than predicted on the verbal section and slightly worse than predicted on the math section. A 2004 study of the ACT scores of 127 seniors at a diverse suburban public high school found that those who reported the highest level of parental involvement scored quite a bit above average and just as well as homeschoolers taking the ACT (before controlling for other background variables). A 2011 study (Martin-Chang, Gould, and Meuse) looked at 37 homeschoolers and 37 institutionally schooled children who were demographically paired. The study found that some of the homeschool students did better than their institutionally schooled peers while others did worse.

                So at the very least, homeschooling doesn’t seem to make kids’ learning any worse on average. The better-English, worse-math is about what I’d expect, as math is one mof the more difficult subjects for someone who’s not trained as a teacher (or as a mathemetician) to teach. Even there, the article recognizes the differences aren’t large.

                The statistics I’ve found on higher education indicate that homeschooled students attend at similar rates, and have similar levels of success, to school-educated students.

                So based on the evidence, there doesn’t seem to be an empirical justification for restricting homeschooling, as its outcomes are generally just as good as those achieved by the public school system, going by conventional methods of evaluation (SATs), and it provides other benefits that aren’t measured by conventional evaluation methods.Report

              • Thanks, Katherine. I’d thought I remembered the results were about the same, but a brief scan earlier hadn’t found it.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to KatherineMW says:

                That all makes sense. I’m not for restricting HS. I think its a good option for some kids. But i think any good system has some sort of lower limit to prevent to many kids from failure. Most kids do just fine in regular school but schools still have oversight. Most kids do fine in charter schools, but should still have oversight. I think for motivated parents and kids HS is a good option, i just want some backstop to prevent some problems.Report

            • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to greginak says:

              Greg – At some point homeschooled kids would probably need to take SATs (or, in Canada, provincial exams), but that doesn’t mean they need to learn the exact same thing that kids learn at school during the exact same years. That’s why I think interviews to understand what they were learning, and how they were learning, would be more effective than tests that assumed everyone needed to follow the same pattern.

              The current system in British Columbia is similar to what I describe:

              When you enroll, the government sees you as a distance learner or an online learner. Enrolled students received a larger amount of money (around $1000-$1200 per student per year), but there are strings attached. You are assigned to a support teacher, whom you must be in contact with weekly or biweekly. You are required to either submit a portfolio of the student’s work or have your support teacher do a ‘portfolio visit’ 3 times a year. You are also required to fulfill the BC Provincial Learning Outcomes. By doing it this way, your student will receive a Dogwood diploma upon high school completion.

              So: there’s a large financial incentive (but not a requirement) for homeschooled student to enroll in a schooling program; student performance is supported, monitored, and evaluated, but through flexible portfolios rather than inflexible tests; and students gain a diploma.

              The portfolio system for certification and graduation strikes me as much more flexible, and much more able to reflect the differences between homeschooling and conventional schooling, than requiring standardized tests.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to KatherineMW says:

                Katherine…That sounds great. I’m all for that. My issue is not with that which sounds like a well done system. Where i have a problem is with people who aren’t doing all that good stuff, they are just winging it.

                The worse i’ve seen was a kid i mentioned above. Her didn’t have any program or curriculum. She was 16 and said she was a junior. Why was she a junior, well she was 16 so she must be. She wanted to go to college in a year but had never taken a test so even if her education was far better then it sounded she was going to have a really high stakes test when she took the SAT’s or similar test. But she couldn’t point me to anything she could show me she had done and to be frank, while she seemed like a nice kid, she didn’t seem to have much general knowledge.Report

        • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to greginak says:

          I think that the strongest elements of homeschooling (initiave, flexibility, allowing kids to pursue their passions) are ones that aren’t effective evaluated by a standard test. A homeschooled kid may not learn everything on the typical curriculum, but they may do other things (examine a specific subject of interest in detail that most kids won’t get to until they’re much older; pursue a particular art form; write a novel) that your typical kid in the school system never would. They may focus intensively on the sciences in one year, and intensively on history and civics another year. They might learn calculus a few years earlier than kids in the school system, and the Civil War a few years later, or vice versa. And a major benefit is that they have the ability to spend far more time learning how to learn and think rather than memorizing the designated lists of facts. If you measure them against a benchmark of “do they know [x], [y], and [z] facts”, it’s not going to be illuminating.

          If you had the resources, I’d say that interviews where the kids talk about what they’ve learned and show a portfolio of work would be more effective, but that would also take more effort.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to KatherineMW says:

            @katherinemw I agree in general. However the questionable homeschoolers i’ve seen don’t’ have any portfolio of work. I remember one kid, a 16 year old, telling me her mom had them read wikipedia pages and some books every know and then. She didn’t tell me about passions she followed or projects she created. She actually couldn’t tell me much about what she learned. She did tell me that she was bad at math. So was her brother. But so was her mom who was their teacher.

            I disagree to some extent about fact knowledge. Some knowledge base is necessary. That should be paired with critical thinking skills. But some facts are needed also.Report

            • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to greginak says:

              Oh, I agree that some fact basis is needed. But the facts learned in a given year may not match the facts typically taught in that year of school, and that’s okay. They may learn about a subject that’s never covered in regular schooling, and not learn about a subject that is regularly covered. If they know more about ancient China, and less about how the feudal system worked, that’s okay. That’s why I think yearly tests is a very poor way to go about evaluating them.

              I think financial incentives to encourage parents to have their homeschooled children evaluated in some way (e.g., the portfolio system) is a good method, because it offers a service rather that creating a restriction.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to KatherineMW says:

        The problem with homeschooling is the number of parents who are quite clear that they’re doing it because they can include religious teaching at the same level of emphasis as any other subject. And they are not at all apologetic about it. And that nonapologetic attitude just really gets up some people’s noses.Report

        • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Yeah, actually, I don’t give a shit about that. My boyfriend is just as schooled in the bible as he is in literature, algebra, or biology. Didn’t stop him from being a bisexual Atheist.

          I care about the fact that he gets nervous in large crowds and can’t talk to strangers over the phone. Frankly, his Mom is a bit apologetic, given the benefit of hindsight. Don’t know how his dad feels, because they don’t talk to each other anymore.

          But sure, blame my opinions on Liberal smugness if it makes you happy.Report

        • As long as the students are learning other things and not only religious teaching, I think that’s perfectly fine. At some point the students will leave home, and make decisions for themselves, but it’s perfectly natural for a religious parent to teach their child their faith.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    L2 and L3-related: 15 dollars an hour is still not enough for LA,

    http://la.curbed.com/archives/2015/05/every_single_part_of_los_angeles_is_unaffordable_on_15_an_hour.php

    P1: I imagine the UK has more of a Big Sort problem than the US does. My anecdotal and reading evidence confirms this. There have been national coalition governments in the UK but they tend to be hated by one side or another. Ramsay MacDonald was the first Labour PM. He was considered a turn-coat and traitor for his national government during the Great Depression, so were the Labour politicians who went with him. The Great Depression turned Labour politicians from that era into old-fashioned 19th century pols who abhorred deficits.

    P5: Japan has no right to lecture anyone about past wrongs considering that the country has an active far-right base that still denies WWII era atrocities. When I taught English in Japan, my Korean students were still seen as Korean even if their family had been in Japan for generations. Some of them still had Korean passports.

    E3: He might also have time for more Sax at the University of Alabama. More seriously, a lot of the Ivies are the worst when it comes to scholarships for the middle-class. I am happy to report that my Alma Mater has been getting strong notice for their Vet support programs and commitments to income diversity.

    E4: I dissent.

    S2: Like the article says, some of those requirements are discriminatory or could be discriminatory like the make-up one and event the 15 hours of exercise and transportation one (these two could violate the ADA). These people are really going all out to show what dicks people in tech can be. The problem with people who willingly violate Fair Housing and anti-Discrimination law is that finding the proper fix can be very hard. The Hollywood version of a fix would be requiring them to take on the opposite of what they want but that doesn’t work in real life.

    S3: Speaking of Freddie, what is the LGM v. Freddie spat about? I say this as someone who is not always found of either camp but also considers himself on the left.

    R1: SF is letting at least some of their parks go brown. Alamo Square (the Full House park) has signage up about “Brown being the new Green”Report

    • P5, Japan isn’t lecturing about past wrongs so much as saying that Korea needs to let it go. Which isn’t new, and certainly has a self-serving aspect to it since they were the party that done wrong. The interesting thing about that article is that the Obama administration seems to be siding with Japan.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      S3: Freddie is an academic. Most of the main contributors of LGM are academics. What do they say about academic politics?

      More seriously, I think that a lot of it is because Freddie has some heterodox positions on liberal-left issues like privilege, social justice talk, and how liberal-leftists make their arguments. Since he is otherwise a more orthodox leftist than Chait, who is a standard liberal, it comes across as more of a betrayal.Report

    • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      E3: most large state schools have these honors programs that offer all the vast resources of a massive school plus priority access to classes/profs/etc that essentially put you in an elite sub-school.

      Spinning it as a blow to ivies or triumph of state schools is a bit odd, but the kid’s decision makes total sense by any standard.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to nevermoor says:

        Those were pretty much the reasons outlined in the article itself. Along with the free ride scholarship. My wife actually went a similar route, for largely the same reasons (though perhaps with more emphasis on “free” and less emphasis on the Honors College). I’m not sure that’s the decision I would have made, or the one I would advocate for Lain if she is in such a situation.Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Regarding L2, the only way that it could really work is on the local level. In other (longer) words, a bump in the minimum wage to $15 in SF is really not that big of a deal in that most business’s pay over that, more likely than not. Sure, there will be adverse effects on the margins such as Borderlands books, but that is always going to be the case.

      On the other hand, $15 in Stockton would be a disaster. The shear number of business’ in that location who could be devastated by that large of a wage increase could have severely detrimental effects on the town’s economics.Report

      • I have really come around on the idea of minimum wages being set locally. Rather, having federal and state makes sense, too, but the US’s should be kept with West Virginia in mind, California’s with Stockton in mind, and Los Angeles with Los Angeles in mind. Generally speaking, minimum wage jobs tend to be more locations-specific, so you have less to worry about buildings up and moving across county or state lines on that basis.Report

        • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Will Truman says:

          Agreed, but my sense is that LA is such an expansive and economically diverse city that a $15/hour minimum wage doesn’t necessarily make sense there in the way it would for geographically concentrated cities like San Francisco.

          I’d like to hear more from OTers who actually live in the LA area.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    S1 related, Simon Pegg argues that Nerd Culture is now infantilizing its fans. Unsurprisingly, I agree:

    http://simonpegg.net/2015/05/19/big-mouth-strikes-again/Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The big problem with Simon Pegg’s analysis is that it is treating the period of the late 1960s to the late 1970s as the rule rather than the exception of the rule. Its true that the Studio System and Golden Age Hollywood produced a lot of challenging and adult movies but it also made a lot of forgettable crowd-pleasing musicals, B-movies, the melodramas, and dumb comedies. These were the pop-corn movies of their day. It took Hollywood a long time to recover from the blow delivered by television. Up until the late 1960s, many studios were still trying to make their bucks with musicals and other movies that would fit right into the Studio System like Anne of a Thousand Days. The auteur period was an exception. There were also lots of dumb movies made during this time to.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      My god, that is hilarious!
      My god, it is!
      No, no, no, we’re going to worry about adolescence going on too long! Surely that’s the problem, not ten year olds getting pregnant!

      It shows that this guy doesn’t have a preteen kid. It really, really shows.

      Prolonged adolescence goes both ways.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I keep seeing comments like these by Simon Pegg and thinking: “Man, if he keeps this up, they’ll probably write Scotty out of Star Trek 3”

      And then I remember that Simon Pegg is actually the one writing Star Trek 3, and get my hopes up that we’ll actually get a movie that embraces the intellectual spirit of Star Trek and not just the cool ships and pointy-eared aliens.Report

  7. Avatar Chris says:

    Speaking of Freddie, what is the LGM v. Freddie spat about? I say this as someone who is not always found of either camp but also considers himself on the left.

    As far as I can tell, Scott and Loomis can’t stand Freddie, and Freddie isn’t particularly fond of them either. The result has been accusation and recrimination, usually about tone and who’s to the left of whom, who’s working for the cause and who’s working against it, and so on. At LGM, the Freddie stuff has devolved, as things as LGM tend to do, into a post that says, “Freddie is wrong, because Freddie. Freddie!” and then commenters saying, “OMFG Freddie!” Then Freddie does that thing he sometimes does (that, let’s face it, most of us do), where he lets himself get sucked in, takes to Twitter or his own blog to do a commentary on Freddie commentary at LGM, misremembers and misinterprets stuff (as he usually does; see, e.g., the recent Ortber commentary), then Scott or Loomis comment or Tweet about it, using the misremembering or misinterpreting as gotcha moments, and the cycle continues.Report

  8. S3: TNC is awesome. The fact that he gets overpraised in sometimes creepy ways doesn’t alter this.

    Corollary: Derek Jeter was a hall-of-famer.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      It’s actually representative of something TNC writes* about a lot: his speaking is taken as he’s speaking for All Black People, and not for himself. You notice that when he did go out on a limb and actually speak for All Black People, he did so with an exhaustively researched piece on public policy since the North Atlantic slave trade began.

      *I struggled with tense, and wanted to say ‘wrote,’ because he doesn’t write nearly enough to satisfy my hunger for his writing and his horde. I made a lot of fine internet friends there; it was where I hung out before I started hangin’ here; and I started frequenting here because there because he’d already begun slowing down on the blogging.Report

  9. P5 + S3: Is Obama likewise tired of TNC writing about the ongoing consequences of racism?Report

  10. Avatar Dand says:

    The Religious Right’s Blank Slate Fallacy & the Duggars

    http://www.unz.com/gnxp/the-religious-rights-blank-slate-fallacy-the-duggars/

    Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown questions Chicago’s spending in light of the fact that the on the verge of bankruptcy, I’ve seen some other questionable spending.

    http://chicago.suntimes.com/chicago-politics/7/71/637902/riverwalk-chicago-financesReport

  11. Avatar Kazzy says:

    E1:

    The Michigan link is identical to the Connecticut link, so I’m not sure what the rationale they are offering is, but I can say that the Connecticut plan is concerning. If we are REALLY concerned about students with social, emotional, or behavioral needs — beyond turning them into convenient bogeyman — the better approach would be to increase access to support services. That doesn’t mean some won’t slip (or be forced by their parents) through the cracks. But allow home schooled students full access to support services would be a huge step in the right direction.Report

  12. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    L4. Having read the piece (which is heavy on pictures and light on text, so it didn’t take long) what happened is that the stock price of this guy’s company dropped. The reason for this drop might have been rational, or it might not. The piece doesn’t give anything like enough information to tell. In any case, it seems not to have been a “close up shop” kind of price drop. If the drop was irrational, then the share prices will come back up. This isn’t a disaster for this guy. It is a golden opportunity to snap up more shares cheap. If the drop was rational, then the connection to his attending a conference is very tenuous. Even if that was the trigger, it would have fallen eventually, with something else being the trigger. What we have here is the first paragraph of a story that might be interesting.Report

  13. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    R3: This led me to the Wikipedia page on Stirling engines. The page is excellent, especially the graphics. I had heard of Stirling engines but never made the effort to understand them. Having stared at the graphics, it sunk in that the key is that this is a closed system, with pistons linked such that the volume of the air space is variable. At that point it makes sense. Eureka!Report

  14. Avatar greginak says:

    E1- There is also a group of homeschooling parents who don’t’ want to send their kids to school for various reasons but don’t actually do much homeschooling. I’ve met a few of them and they aren’t the people the homeschooling advocates really want to hear about. But they don’t’ have their kids in a homeschooling program that supplies curriculum or testing and they just let the kids read wikipedia and book every now and then. They call this educating. Maybe it works for a few but i doubt it in general.

    Everything has positives and negatives. Home schooling is no different.Report

  15. Avatar LWA says:

    L3:
    This is a good example of the framing device that is used, often unconsciously, against the interests of the working class.

    The headline (from a public radio station no less!) blares that the higher minimum wage will lead to less childcare. (it doesn’t actually say, “Will no one think of the children? but discerning minds will hear that).

    Then when we get into the article, it tells us that the nut of the problem is that some of the daycare workers are paid for by the state, and that while their wages are going up, the state reimbursements covering their pay didn’t.

    So what to do, what to do? Advocate for an increase in the state reimbursement? NO, silly! Lets bang the drum for lower pay!

    Oh then there’s this:

    “Wilkin said her agency could probably apply for the exemption from the minimum wage available to nonprofits and child care agencies. Yet she fears doing so will mean losing her qualified teachers to jobs that will have to pay more, like McDonald’s. So her organization plans on implementing the minimum wage increase, even though they could be exempted.”

    So when the minimum wage at McDonald’s goes up, offering the workers a competitive place to go, this is a Bad Thing. So although she could pay less and suffer the competitive disadvantage, what she really wants is for the state to keep McDonald’s wages low so she can benefit.

    I mean seriously.
    Raising taxes to support a higher state reimbursement to allow both the McDonald’s workers and day care workers a better wage is Un-possible, simply Un-thinkable, out of the question.

    Keeping wages low, now that’s the ticket, the solution to all things.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to LWA says:

      @lwa , you don’t understand. If we raise reimbursements for child care workers, now, not only are we breaking the impeachable iron laws of economics that we’re already destroying by having any type of minimum wage which is already overpaying people of low value, then my taxes will have to be raised, via the power of the state that can kill me if I continue to break the law by not paying those taxes, to people of low value.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        I wonder if Northrop Grumman or any other military contractor ever suffers this problem, where rising wages pinch them since reimbursement from the government is so parsimonious…

        Oh, hell, I can’t even type that.Report

        • Avatar zic in reply to LWA says:

          Spent a lot of time writing about defense contractors, and I don’t think most of them have many minimum-wage jobs in house. But all of them (at least the bigger contractors) have a lot of sub-contractors that probably pay minimum wage. (This is, in fact, how the government meets a lot of minority/woman-owned quotas, btw.) The pricing for those subcontracts will increase if wages increase; but I think that that’s already being worked through the system with Obama’s executive order 13658, signed last June.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to zic says:

            @zic, I think @lwa ‘s point is that the defense budget is ever rising and rising, even under the godless socialist Obama, unlike the budgets for various social services.Report

            • Avatar zic in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              I won’t argue that; I’ve long maintained that the defense spending is the single greatest tool that president’s have to inject stimulus into the economy in the POTUS took kit.

              It would be nice if, in fact, domestic spending were the norm and defense dollars had to be fought for tooth and nail, but that’s not the thing we’re exceptional at here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.Report

            • Avatar LWA in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Right.
              We have never seen, and will never see, a headline like:
              “Higher compensation to defense workers will result in fewer planes being built”Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to LWA says:

                Edited to add:
                This is why I have come to refuse to accept even the term “fiscal conservative”- because such an animal is nowhere to be found, in any significant number, at any level of government.

                “Fiscal conservatism” is really just code for SNAP and TANF, and maybe public employee pay and pensions. There are no other issues upon which “fiscal conservatives” set their sights.Report

  16. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    From TFA in [U4]

    …Now combine that with the fact Florida is such a large, weird state and the fact many media outlets know that a particularly weird news story might be a ticket to viral gold (and tons and tons of page views), and you begin to understand why Florida has a reputation for weird crimes. There’s probably some ass-backward weirdness going on in, say, Alabama that probably makes Florida look like bizarre-criminal amateur hour, but without those factors, “Alabama Man” isn’t gonna catch on.

    The hell you say!Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to Burt Likko says:

      The same could be said for California Man!Report

      • I think I got your link fixed.

        It’s interesting that story comes out of Kern County, because we Californians frequently call Kern County “Western Alabama.” But yeah, that did happen in California, so I gotta own it. There was a cockfighting right right here in my own hometown not too long ago, so I’m not throwing the stone all that hard.Report

        • Avatar aaron david in reply to Burt Likko says:

          @burt-likko
          I too am a Californian! My point being that you could look anywhere and find weird things happening. And yes, Kern is the butt of many jokes, although cockfighting goes on in many parts of the state, sadly.Report

    • And in a different sort of state weirdness, the non-partisan Nebraska Unicameral (Republican supermajority in practice) overrode three vetoes by the Republican governor this month, to pass laws that: (a) raise gas taxes for road and bridge repairs, (b) allow DREAMers to get drivers licenses, and (c) abolish the death penalty.Report

      • Demonstrating the deleterious effects of formalized partisanship, perhaps.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michael Cain says:

        What’s gotten into those folks? 🙂

        (Go Big Red!)Report

        • My understanding is that this time the bill’s sponsor also convinced some small-government conservatives that spending a couple of million dollars and ten years in court on each case, with no guarantee that they’d actually get to carry out the execution, was a poor use of limited state funds.

          It’s not over just yet. The Governor and AG assert that the law doesn’t commute the sentences of the people on death row, and are going to federal court to claim that the FDA can’t block a state from importing sodium thiopental. It looks like this bill will generate a batch of ballot initiatives next year, ranging from overturning the statute up to revising the constitution to go back to a bicameral legislature.

          Way back when I was a summer intern for the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, one of the then state senators speaking to the interns said that a terrific feature of the unicameral was that it forced everyone to think carefully and eliminated posturing — if you voted for a stupid bill, there was no second chamber where the stupidity could be undone.Report

          • Not a whole lot of reason to have two houses at the state level, except maybe a handful of states. If that many. Maybe a couple. Maybe none.Report

            • The state senator talking about returning to a bicameral says that the one-house legislature is too powerful relative to the executive branch — that two chambers are necessary so the legislature can act as a check on itself. I suspect that there’s some underlying fear of the fact that day is in sight — I’ll almost certainly live to see it — when three counties of 99 in the state will elect 30 members of the Unicameral, enough votes to pass anything and override a veto. None of the three cases this month were actually split along those geographic lines, but there are members who fear the death of rural influence.Report

      • An interesting point. If you have a veto-proof majority in a unicameral legislature, do you really have a governor or a premier?Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

          If you have a veto-proof majority in a unicameral legislature, do you really have a governor or a premier?

          Sure you do. THe gubna is CEO of the executive branch, accorded all the power and purpose that title conveys. Seems to me that an argument could be made that having a veto proof majority fulfills the exact purpose of a legislature. The fact that the leg. is veto proof is evidence of the “will of the people” (whatever that is…).

          Or are you saying that a guvna’s only power resides in vetoing leg.?

          Adding: I mean, even without a veto he or she can still give the bro deal to ole college buddies…Report

          • Seems to me the governorship that answers to the legislature is fundamentally different than the independent executive we usually have.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

              But the governor’s ability to veto is contingent on the absence of a super-majority (or whatever it’s called). It’s not an unconditional power, one that defines governorship.

              On the other hand, I get the worry about concentration of political power to only three highly urbanized counties in Nebraska. On the one hand, I wanna say: thems the breaks, ruralites! You live in places that aren’t densely populated. And furthermore, if you can’t argue you’re way into political representation, then you’re doing it wrong.

              But I tend to feel that way about conservative’s generally, for better or worse. (Probably worse. 🙂 Which isn’t to say that I don’t agree with rural conservative’s desire to have influence in state gummint. Rather, it’s that I generally don’t agree with or often even understand the reasons given for their policy preferences. So it’s like a double whammy when they assert that their policy views ought to be “influential” irrespective of the reasons why they want that ability.Report

              • I think you may have read a judgment that wasn’t intended to be made. I wasn’t saying there is or would be something untoward about it. Just that it is, so long as the super majority holds, potentially a very different form of governance.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                Maybe.

                Seems to me I was focusing more on the formal side of both legislatures and governors. The fact that a legislature holds a veto-proof majority on a particular issue could be viewed (emphasis on “could”) as the exact purpose of a legislature given the supermajority-defeats-gubna’s veto conditions.

                That’s clearly not the end of the story, but it is from a purely formal pov.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

                Super-majority likely won’t hold for all things — Legislators are still individuals, after all.

                Whereas a Governor can make a single decision (and represent a single point of contact, a single viewpoint to try to change or uphold) for a super-majority, you need only convince a few people to jump ship. It doesn’t even have to be the same people, in fact. It can change vote to vote, and the Governor can force them to USE that super-majority.

                In practice, facing a super-majority, I suspect Governors would use the veto to shape policy in two ways — first, the token veto (as here) used to represent disapproval. Often for purely political purposes. (Say, the Executive version of passing a law you know will be veto’d or struck down by courts. Theater, or positioning for the next election, or what have you).

                The second is to force the super-majority to actually assemble, corral all the members, and get their agreement. If the governor is an outlier in terms of public opinion, that will be easier. If he isn’t an outlier, trying to get everyone to court an angry public (a majority or a minority) will make it much harder.

                So the governor still plays a vital role when it comes to Legislation — he forces the super-majority to work, agree, and highlights opposition to the public (which gives the public a chance to weigh in). Not to mention his or her actual executive policies.

                Legislators are akin to cats — even in this climate of high party loyalty, getting all your party’s members (super-majority or not) on board can be difficult.

                And if nothing else, the governor’s veto makes each Legislator’s vote more important — which means a lot more bargaining. (As an example, the endless struggle during the ACA deliberations to get Lieberman on board.)Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Morat20 says:

                Legislators are still individuals, after all.

                Even more so in the case under discussion than ordinarily. Unicameral, non-partisan (including the primary system), term limits added later… it was set up to make it pretty much as hard as possible for parties to punish legislators, or for “leadership” to hide what’s going on. An example frequently used is conference committees. A nearly mandatory part of a bicameral system, but too often used to tack on things so that they get voted on without debate.Report

        • When it’s a part-time legislature — 90 days in odd years, 60 days in even ones — you have to give the executive considerable room to implement policy. This is particularly true because the federal government often issues instructions and funds directly to the state executive branch agencies, sometimes intentionally bypassing the legislature’s appropriation power. So in this case I’m inclined to say you still have a governor.Report

        • Regarding a premier: Yes, absolutely. You have a premier with the power to do a great deal, since his/her party is the one with control of the legislature, and s/he is in charge of the party.

          Party discipline is stronger in Canada than in the US, I think. There are issues where MLAs vote against the majority of their party, but it’s rare for a premier to have a big legislative initiative that’s defeated by their own party.Report

  17. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Republican Senator thinks that a Hollywood movie based on an Internationally loved toy brand is going to lead to a communist revolution:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/05/sen_ron_johnson_should_love_the_lego_movie_it_stands_for_core_american_values.html

    Why is it that business types get so butthurt about the mildest critiques of business and capitalism? Isn’t their wealth enough? There is some interesting psychology going on with “Why don’t people just love us without reservation?”Report

  18. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Hollywood is rightfully being criticized for casting the very blonde-haired and blue-eyed Emma Stone as the half-Hawaii and half-Chinese Alison Ng.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/05/aloha-hawaii/394295/Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Shouldn’t it be about the actors skills, and not trying to fit them into a racial stereotype?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to aaron david says:

        Not completely no. Yes an actor’s skill does come into play but there is a simple biological fact that someone with quarter Hawaiian and quarter Chinese ancestry is not going to look like Emma Stone. There is also a long history of not casting Asian actors to make things more palpable for white audiences and sometimes inexplicitly so like the attempt to white-wash the live action Akira.Report

        • Avatar aaron david in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I know what you are saying, and generally agree with you. But all too often we use roles like this in a reverse manor to bolster modern political sensibilities (Black Spiderman!) with just as much thought going into the reasons for it.Report

        • Avatar Dand in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          y but there is a simple biological fact that someone with quarter Hawaiian and quarter Chinese ancestry is not going to look like Emma Stone.

          It’s entirely possible that someone with that ancestry would have a white phenotype, about half of the half Asians I went to school with looked white(and the west looked Hispanic).Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Dand says:

            What Dand said. My kids (who are half Asian) look completely white. My stepson (also half Asian, but the other half from southern rather then northern Europe) looks Latino.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Dand says:

            It might be scientifically possible for somebody half Asian/Hawaiian and half White to look phenotypically white but this doesn’t make the situation more palatable towards Asian-Americans. They feel excluded from mainstream American society and want in. Casting white actors to play Asian-Americans does not help.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Emma Stone’s part should have been played by Idris Elba.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

                No but they could have easily found an Asian American actress to play the role. Thank you for playing.

                Aren’t liberals just using market pressure to raise awareness on a casting issue? No one is calling for law to get involved and libertarians are still getting hurt feelings.Report

              • Not everything that isn’t government is “market forces.” In this case, liberals are trying to apply social pressure (“Do this or we will say bad things about you”) or just kvetching. Either way, that’s not free markets so much as free speech.

                If you organize a boycott, then we’re talking about free markets maybe, if the threat has any teeth to it. But even then, it seems like boycotts are mostly about attracting attention, which brings us back to speech.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

                It is attempting to change the market via social pressure and speech.

                Aren’t you the one who wants Hollywood to notice the Christian movie industry profits?Report

              • This is like arguing that the KKK is using market pressure by threatening to burn down hotels that rent rooms to black people. No, that’s using violence and intimidation to “change the market.”

                Using bad publicity to change the market isn’t using market pressure. it’s using speech. Which is, of course, waaaaay better than violence and intimidation. But what the two have in common is that they are both not “market pressure.”

                In this context, argument using market forces would be “If you cast an Asian you will sell your tickets” (which is an argument I use for non-secular-liberal art).

                “If you don’t cast an Asian we will boycott it” is, as mentioned, threatening market forces, but that’s actually a bit more complicated (it’s where speech and markets intersect and it can be hard to suss out how much of each is involved).Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                No one is calling for law to get involved and libertarians are still getting hurt feelings.

                Get your talking points straight. Libertarians don’t have any feelings.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Emma Stone’s part should have been played by Idris Elba.”

                Nobody got the joke 🙁

                (or should I say, nobody saw the joke…)Report

              • You don’t think Idris would have been great in it?Report

            • Avatar Dand in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Casting white actors to play Asian-Americans does not help.

              If it were a one way street I’d find merit with but it’s clearly a two way street half-Asians are frequently casts in white role.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Dand says:

                They do when they can “pass.” Most people don’t know that Cain and Reeves are Asian.

                And more broadly, the circumstances of white and non-white are just not comparable in this regard. White folks don’t especially have the difficulty getting good parts – and seeing people who look like them in good parts – that most minorities do.Report

              • Avatar Dand in reply to Will Truman says:

                I’d think that the complaints had more merit if it was a full Asian character.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Dand says:

                Unless her looking white is a relatively important part of the character, I think it’s fair to ask why the character doesn’t look white.

                So for me it depends on if the first part of that is true. If her white appearance is a part of the character, then maybe there’s a question of whether or not that was done specifically to explain a white-looking Asian character, but I’d be inclined to cut slack at that point.

                But I don’t know one way or the other on that.Report

              • Avatar Dand in reply to Will Truman says:

                Is Emma Stone any whiter than Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Kreuk or Norah Jones?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Dand says:

                Aaaaand this conversation cannot possibly go anywhere good.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Dand says:

                The plurality of people living in Hawaii are biracial or multiracial. It’s good to have that reflected in a Hawaiian character, but if you’re going to do it you really should cast someone who actually is biracial or multiracial. It’s accurate, and it ensures more roles and more representation for people who are biracial or multiracial, because most leading roles automatically get cast with white people.

                An Asian or Native American actress isn’t as likely to become as famous as Emma Stone, because she’ll have less opportunities to be in big movies. This was an opportunity to address that in a way that would also make the film more accurate, and it’s a missed opportunity.

                I used to dismiss the idea of ‘representation’ as important (as opposed to ‘equal opportunities for actors/actresses, which is more concrete/economic), but from a lot of articles and blogs I’ve read, seeing people who look like themselves in protagonist roles is genuinely important to a lot of people.

                So why should we be defaulting to casting characters as white even when they’re not?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to aaron david says:

        Emma Stone is a wonderful actor but she is also a known name and bankable. She is being cast for more than her talent.

        The George Clooney movie set in Hawaii managed to cast Asian and Hawaiian actors in roles even if they were not always main ones. Movies and media should reflect a fair deal of reality. Hawaii is only 30 percent white. NYC and San Francisco public schools are also majority not-white yet in media land these things are not true.* Why? Which audience members get uncomfortable with these facts? Who won’t buy?

        *There are two Disney shows that take place in SF and NYC public schools respectively and I have seen criticisms about how 99 percent of the students in the shows are white. Even the really elite NYC public schools are more likely to have Asian than white students.Report

        • Avatar Dand in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          NYC and San Francisco public schools are also majority not-white yet in media land these things are not true.* Why? Which audience members get uncomfortable with these facts? Who won’t buy?

          The majority of the audience lives in places that aren’t as diverse as NY and SF, you could just as easily ask why are these shows sef in NY and SF and not Kansas City and Columbus.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Dand says:

            The BBC manages to cast shows with a much more diverse cast than American media even though the UK is a more white place than the US statistically. Immunity to commercial pressures might help here though.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

              I’ve been thinking about why this issue seems to be a liberal libertarian divide even though it shouldn’t be. I think libertarians dislike that liberals are using speech and press to change stuff that benefits them. The liberals are using their market power and this annoys the libertarians.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Nobody here is saying that liberals don’t have the right to do what they want with the media properties. There is some skepticism that what we see is actually “the market” at work as such.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Will Truman says:

                I think this getting to the heart of the issue. Some people argue that in multicultural country, the media has at least a vague responsibility to be as inclusive as possible even if it might hurt somewhat commercially. Others argue that entertainment is a business and business does not have any responsibility beyond making money. If there is no market for depicting a multicultural television show in a NYC public school than it is perfectly fine to depict such a place as whiter than it would be in real life according to this argument.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Isn’t complaining a way of saying “Hey, we see your movies and spend money on you. We would like to be seen in movies as well” a valid tactic for market pressure.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                I don’t think libertarians are against racially diverse casting. What they are arguing against is the idea that media conglomerates have a responsibility to make sure casting is diverse.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

                I admit: I find it difficult to think “they should have cast other people” about movies that I would never, ever, ever, ever see.

                Because I find that difficult, it’s downright impossible for me to think “they had a responsibility to cast someone else.”Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

                I don’t want to see Aloha either. There are plenty of people who do want to see movies like Aloha and the Notebook who are not white and would like to be represented as viable romantic leads though and not just in roles like nerdy weirdo or techie in the forensics lab.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Are Jewish people over-represented in Hollywood? The arts?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

                Jews were a large part of founding hollywood.
                I’d be surprised if Jews weren’t overrepresented in comedy, but I’ll ask my friends who ought to know because they work in showbiz.

                (How does someone in Pittsburgh work in showbiz? That’s a kochamaimie story if ever i’ve heard one!).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Are Jewish people over-represented in Hollywood? The arts?

                G-d no. What would Murkin film culture be without Jews? Variations on a “Birth of a Nation” theme?Report

          • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Dand says:

            Dand:
            The majority of the audience lives in places that aren’t as diverse as NY and SF, you could just as easily ask why are these shows sef in NY and SF and not Kansas City and Columbus.

            You absolutely could, and should. But that doesn’t really absolve the Disney Channel from charges of white-washing. They made a very conscious choice to set their shows in a place associated with the coolness of cultural diversity and yet strip them of the racial diversity that helped create that coolness.

            See also High School Musical, where they had a flamboyant, gay-coded kid but refused to acknowledge his homosexuality and even gave him a girlfriend, even though they could have just told a story without including gay characters at all.

            When an entertainment company wants to have their cake and eat it to, it’s appropriate to call bullshit–and it’s fine to decide you’d prefer that they keep and don’t eat the cake instead of eating and not keeping it.Report

            • The two issues seem pretty related to me. Why do they seem to gravitate towards disproportionately urban and coastal whites? Because the creative minds behind these productions tend to be urban and coastal whites.Report

              • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Will Truman says:

                I don’t buy that.

                I do think lack of diversity in creative staff has some impact. But when it comes to something like this, it’s an intentional branding decision.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

                @will-truman

                I partially agree. A lot of people in TV and Film come from non-coastal areas but live in those areas because that is where the business is located. Lee has a point that the BBC is purposefully spread through out the UK. Doctor Who is filmed in Cardiff. TV used to have a lot more local programming until the 1980s. Now the only local programming seems to be the news and some talk shows.

                That being said, I wonder what would happen if you looked at TV shows (real-world only) and where they take place. I can think of lots of TV shows that took place outside of NYC, SF, LA. Cheers and St. Elsewhere took place in Boston, Northern Exposure was in Alaska, Fraser was in Seattle, Roseanne was in the Midwest, Major Dad was not coastal (I think), neither was Coach. Home Improvement was in the Detroit suburbs. Lots of crime shows take place outside of NYC/LA/SF, ER was in Chicago, The Good Wife is in Chicago. And I don’t even watch TV!Report

              • Saul, a few years ago I actually checked on the location on every show that had run in prime time the previous week. Here is what I came up with:

                There were 34 in all. Of those 34, 25 take place [In BosWash], the west coast, or Chicago. Twenty-one of those shows take place in (or have their primary reference point as) New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, or DC. The locations of the shows that do not take place in one of those locations are: South Park (CO), Smallville (KS), Phoenix (AZ), Las Vegas (NV), Scranton (PA), Camden County (??), or Springfield (??). More than half of those places don’t exist.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                @saul-degraw the racial diversity of the BBC has nothing to do with the geographic diversity of its’ program. The racial diversity of BBC programming has to do with the fact that a lot of the staff are squishy liberals with the advantage of immunity to commercial pressures. If the BBC has to worry about profits more, there would probably be less racially diversity on their programs.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

                Do you remember the old TV show Head of the Class? It wasn’t perfect but it did strive to show more realistic levels of diversity that you would see in NYC Public High Schools?Report

              • The only show that had a character who was whatever the hell Horshack was.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                That’s pretty insensitive, Mike. The Horshacks are a proud people who suffered mightily under the oppression of the Khan and fled.

                Things were only slightly better for them under Moopish rule, and they were forced to leave under a cloud of suspicion and recriminations regarding whose turn it had been to replace the toilet paper. Later, in a nearly-unprecedented move, the Tsar would personally declare them ‘non gratas’, and set them adrift on a donkey.Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Alan Scott says:

              Disney is in a very weird position with all of this because of the place they hold in American and world culture. Disney is more than an entertainment company. It is a practically synonym with wholesome family and children’s entertainment for generations. This pushes them in both liberal and conservative directions. On the liberal side, there is a lot watered down liberal messages in Disney’s movies and TV shows like be yourself, diversity is good, underdogs win, etc. However, since Disney can not actively alienate conservative Americans because of it’s status they can not be too implicit about their liberalism. This has to do more with LGBT characters than racial diversity in casting. There are a lot of plausible deniability LGBT characters in current Disney media because including openly LGBT characters isn’t quite possible in kid’s entertainment yet nationally or globally.Report

    • Avatar Dand in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Since half Asians(Keanu Reeves, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Dean Cain) are often cast in white roles there’s no reason to object to the reverse happening.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Dand says:

        Only if you ignore the history of casting choices. White actors had been given roles playing other asian and native americans for years. Why? And why should that continue?Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Dand says:

        Dean Cain’s most famous role is that of a non-human. They cast a passing-as-white actor to play a passing-as-white character.

        Keanu Reeve’s most famous roles are all original characters. I find it unlikely that those roles were explicitly described at any point as “white roles”, and given that many of the characters in the Matrix are biracial or people of color, I wouldn’t be surprised that his asain heritage helped him land that role. The one time I can think of that he played a character that had been explicitly played as white in a previous medium, he was roundly criticized as a bad choice for the role.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Emma Stone is a brunette I think. Rachel McAdams is the blonde.Report

  19. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Probably going to be the subject of a post but this shows that there is a sort of winner take all economy. The top 1 percent of firms pay the 1 percent of salaries:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/05/29/economists-have-figured-out-whos-really-to-blame-for-inequality/Report

  20. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    S3: I see FdB’s point about “white people using black people to work out their own personal shit about racism”, but I’m also reminded of that Dream Theater fan in his early twenties getting angry because people stood up and danced when the band was playing, like, this isn’t a DANCE band, you idiots, this is a MUSIC band.Report

  21. [L2]: I think city-based minimum wages are a good idea. Partly as a solution to federal and state governments who don’t step up, and partly because an appropriate minimum wage in the city may not be one in the country, and vice versa, due to cost-of-living differences. If a city with a very high cost of living considers $15/hr a good partial solution, having it done by the municipal government is a good way to deal with rural concerns about that being unrealistically high. (I’ve had 5 jobs. I liked all of them fairly well and felt I was well-treated. Only one of them paid above $15/hr. Of course, that’s not factoring inflation over the last 10 years.)

    [U1]: Harriet Tubman on the $20 is a good idea. (Andrew Jackson off the $20, due to his committing genocide and, less importantly, hating paper money, is also a good idea).

    If Canada made a change to our paper money, I’d support putting Louis Riel (founding father of Manitoba, Métis, major figure in national history) and Nellie McClung (leader of the movement for voting rights and legal personhood for women) on the currency in place Robert Borden and William Lyon Mackenzie King (PMs during WWI and WWII respectively; Borden’s notable but less so than Riel or McClung, whereas WLM King was dreadful in many ways that I’ve mentioned previously). That would put them on the $50 and $100. We’ve already got good images on the opposite side of the bills, which have changed on a semi-occasional basis (e.g.: hockey, world wars memorial, Canadarm on the space station, Trans-Canada Highway), but it’s worthwhile to have the portraits more diverse range of major historical figures.

    We’ve already got a woman on our currency, of course (Queen Liz, on the $20 and on coinage), but overseas royalty is rather different than major Canadian historical figures.Report

  22. Avatar Stillwater says:

    [U3]: Chicago’s bonds are now junk.

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the downgrade is irresponsible and plays politics with the city’s financial future.

    He sounds pissed! From Rahm’s pov, the only one who can act irresponsibly and play politics with Chicago’s finances is Rahm!Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Stillwater says:

      Obviously, Stillwater, like all of Chicago’s problems, this is the teacher unions fault.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Jesse Ewiak,

        I know you’re a smart guy, Jesse, and I think you meant that comment sarcastically, but in point of fact, the downgrade resulted from future liabilities which the credit agencies (apparently!) believe Chicago cannot fully fund. So it’s not the teacher’s union’s fault (or any other union). But those unfunded liabilities are the proximal cause (apparently!) of the downgrade.

        Thanks Rahm!Report

        • Avatar zic in reply to Stillwater says:

          Not to defend Rahm, but: if public unions have created the unfunded liabilities, this is probably due to the habit public officials had of swapping lower pay for better retirement policies back in the days before economic collapse, and promising retirement packages calculated on 8% returns, and so not something that Rahm is actually responsible for.

          This is a common problem for a lot of state and local governments.Report

        • I can’t recommend Dave Schuler enough on such issues. He has lived in Chicago a long time and writes quite a bit on their budgetary problems from a pretty independent perspective. The way he lays it out:

          1. A lot of places have pension obligation problems, but Chicago’s and Illinois’) are far worse than most.
          2. Intrastate money transfers (Chicago being on the hook for pensions in other cities and counties throughout the state, disproportionately), interstate transfers (Illinois being a pretty significant donor state), and the threat of relocation make any solution involving raising revenues difficult. (I asked him about this specifically, since Illinois is middling-to-middle-high-but-not-high-high as far as taxation goes.)
          3. Rahm inherited this mess, but since being mayor has actively contributed further to it.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

            Trumwill,

            I’ll check the guy out. I self identify as Deep Dish, rather than thin crust, even tho I live on CO now, and try to stay attuned to what’s goin on in ole Chi-town. Greatest city on the planet! Except for the weather!!!

            Go Blackhawks!Report

            • What’s so bad about the weather, anyway? Is it really that Windy? I hear periodically about heat stroke in the summer, but I assume that’s because it hits stretches of being abnormally hot in a way that the buildings aren’t prepared for because it’s not usually that hot.

              I mean, being from the Southern Coast I can tell you exactly what’s so bad about the weather there. It’s even alliterative: Hot, Humid, and Hurricanes.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

                No, not windy. Cloudy. And really hot in the summer. And really cold in the winter. And cloudy, too. 🙂 You get about 90 enjoyable days a year.

                Apart from that, it’s a great place to live!Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

                Really hot in the summer… heh.

                When I lived in Lexington, we’d have a few days straight in the lower 90s and call it a heat wave. I was so innocent then. So innocent.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

                Are we really gonna get into this?

                Yes we are….

                I’ve spent summers in Dallas, and it’s HOT. But it’s a dry heat…Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                Oh quit whining about heat. It hit 73 in anchorage this weekend. I’ll tell you about heat.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                Got that AC unit running full bore, eh?

                {I’ll tell you about heat!}}

                Actually, I will. Back when I lived in Terlingua Tx we all useta congregate in the afternoons on a Porch near the beer store. The summertime temps would get so high that when a porch dog caught wind of an interesting smell they’d only stick the very tip of their noses outa the shade to catch wind of it. 106 in the shade (edit: the day I’m remembering anyway!)!Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Sounds like my time in Somalia…Report

              • I only know of Terlingua from country music.

                A story I like to tell… when I lived in the South, in a good ole red state that hates regulation and loves big business and rich people and all that jazz, it’s the law that rented apartments must have working AC for the summer months. Free markets are one thing, but hot is hot, man, and nobody should have to put up with that crap.

                Then I moved to the Mountain West, to an even more red state. They didn’t have any laws about the summer months, but they had a special hotline if your landlord didn’t have working heat in the other months of the year.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

            From a Schuler Bloomberg linky:

            Chicago won some relief from its pension burden as Illinois’s legislature cut required payments into police and fire retirement systems.

            Meanwhile, budget talks between the Democratic-controlled legislature and Republican Governor Bruce Rauner broke down hours before the session’s scheduled end, meaning any compromise to close a $6.2 billion deficit for the year starting July 1 now will require a three-fifths vote rather than a simple majority.

            Rauner, a former private-equity executive, has criticized Democrats’ insistence on tax increases to deal with the deficit. He said he won’t back them unless Democrats approve spending cuts and ease business regulations.

            Well, there ya go, eh? Contracts made with the city are being violated by the state, I mean the city … uhhh … because the city … no the state … hell I don’t know who, has amassed a 6.2 billion dollar deficit for the fiscal year?

            Wowza.Report

  23. Avatar Stillwater says:

    This would be a great time for senators to still have canes to whack each other with.

    Bob Schooley on Twitter referring to Rand Paul’s obstructing Patriot Act renewal.

    I agree!Report

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