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Linky Friday #127: Crime, Coin, & Sesame Street


[H1] A World War II vet and Walmart employee celebrates his 103rd birthday.

[H2] The joke writes itself: The daughter of the Governor of Oklahoma had to disconnect her trailer from the Governor’s Mansion.

[H3] A paper that boosted Golden Rice has been retracted over concerns of subject consent. (There is, it should be added, no evidence of falsification or fabrication.)

[H4] To quote Jesse Walker: “No!”

[H5] Color me a bit surprised: In the UK, seven in ten homes that had the decision to filter out pornographic content chose to do so.

[H6] Some people seem rather upset that Charlie Hebdo has announced that it won’t be doing anymore Mohammed cartoons. I am glad that they didn’t back down at the time, but the attacks did not impose a requirement that they produce these comics indefinitely. Besides, there are always safer targets where you’re brave and provocative instead of mean and reckless.


undercover photo

Image by lareneg Linky Friday #127: Crime, Coin, & Sesame Street

[C1] A deep undercover agent in London went a little too deep, and a woman won a $685,737 judgment.

[C2] The courts in the UK have ruled that making private copies of your music is illegal.

[C3] A bounty hunter in Arizona raided the wrong house. No, I mean he really raided the wrong house.

[C4] Some pictures on a cell phone in a town dump lead to the arrest of a sailor.

[C5] I’m trying to imagine how this guy explains the gap in his resume. “I cared about the success of my clients a little too much, it turns out.”

shotgun wedding photo

Image by satanoid Linky Friday #127: Crime, Coin, & Sesame Street

[C6] A judge in Texas ordered a 20 year old man to marry his 19 year old girlfriend within 18 days.

[C7] By ending up on the sex offender registry, Zach Anderson (the 19 year old who slept with the 14 year old who represented herself as being 17) was prohibited by an animal shelter from getting a dog.

[C8] So here’s the thing… while such a relationship is entirely and utterly inappropriate, and the man should never be able to teach again, if the young lady is willing to marry the guy in order not to testify against him, I can’t say I am in favor of trying to prosecute him whether they can make a case without her testimony or no.


[E1] The New York Times reports that manufacturing is making a comeback in the South, but Adam Ozimek says “Not so.”

[E2] Moody Analytic’s model looks (mostly) the economy and suggests the slightest of slight victories for Hillary Clinton a Democrat next year. 270 EVs.

[E3] Well, this sounds like a pleasant working environment.

[E4] As it turns out, giving people health insurance doesn’t save money. (“But long term, preventive care saves money!” Not exactly.)

[E5] Despite some bad news recently, Ben Thompson argues that ESPN is going to be okay.

[E6] Come on, Jared, all you had to do was keep your weight off and not be a creep, and you were pretty much set for life. Or maybe not, since Subway’s fortunes have changed dramatically. Which can be attributable to a lot of things, I suppose, in conjunction with some other companies having fallen on tough times (to the celebration of some), I fear it has more to do with the lack of market in trying to sell downmarket, which is sometimes good but I don’t think good in this case.

Sesame Street:

sesame street photo

Image by mark sebastian Linky Friday #127: Crime, Coin, & Sesame Street

[SS1] Vox explains Sesame Street’s move to HBO. Boy, mixed feelings about that. But more episodes is good. I had no idea that they produced so few a year.

[SS2] Alia Wong looks at the history of Sesame Street, and what we did and didn’t learn from it.

[SS3] Though they say we still need preschool (but do we?), should we work harder at putting a TV in every home, so that kids can watch Sesame Street? It’s almost kind of funny that PBS – which is free – is one of the reasons I am itching to pay money for Satellite.

[SS4] I got some old Sesame Street shows on video. They come with a disclaimer. Here’s the story on that. (Oscar the Grouch being orange was weird to see.)

[SS5] Speaking of Sesame Street, is it responsible for the gentrification of Brooklyn?


putin photo

Image by AZRainman Linky Friday #127: Crime, Coin, & Sesame Street

[R1] Some Russian Nationalists want to fly the flag of the Tsarist imperial standard. I can’t speak to the history, but it’s certainly a cooler flag than their present one. (For that matter, the so was the Soviet flag).

[R2] Boris Pastukhov says that had the anti-Bolshevik White Russians won almost 100 years ago, Russia would… actually look a lot like it does under Putin.

[R3] Well, I suppose bribery may indeed be an inelastic good.

[R4] Wired has a fascinating article on Russia’s Cold War mapmakers. There was an episode of Homicide, Life on the Street about an American counterpart.

[R5] I wonder if Russia Today’s illuminati correspondent has access to the state’s Trolling Treasure Trove.

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259 thoughts on “Linky Friday #127: Crime, Coin, & Sesame Street

  1. H1: I do not find stories like this inspiring. Maybe this particular 103 year old would be bored out of his mind without work but a system that causes the very old to do labor long past their prime is horrible. Social security was created for a reason.

    H4: I’m in firm agreement. No more security theater. It will only destroy the little left of public life and drive everybody into his or her home.

    H6: The pope condom artist is rather cute.

    C6: You put the link with C1. Ordering a man to marry his girlfriend or face jail time is blatantly unconstitutional. So is the Bible verse order. I’m always a little shocked about how frequently judges make rulings that they know are beyond their powers.

    C7: What happened to Zach Anderson is and continues to be a tragedy of the first order.

    C8: A big problem with prosecutors is that many of them seem to be the sorts that would be happy to serve on the Holy Inquisition. The only thing they care about is getting convictions. Many of the prosecutors with the proper mindset jump ship fast.

    SS5: Sesame Street is supposed to take place in Manhattan.

    R2 is probably right. Not even the most conservative of White leaders was that serious about restoring the Romanovs to the Imperial throne. Most of the Romanovs were either dead or discredited and in exile. Nicholas II and his immediate family were more useful as martyrs than as living people to the Whites. Russia would have probably ended up something like a big version of Interwar Hungry or Franco’s Spain. A conservative authoritarian state with all the droppings of monarchy but no actual monarch and a very close link between church and state with the church being Russian Orthodox rather than Roman Catholic.

    From a Jewish perspective there is one advantage to this scenario. There would have been less Jewish assimilation and the destruction of Jewish identity, so there would be more Jews because more would have retained their Jewish identity, married other Jews, and had Jewish children.

    A White Russia might have significantly changed American politics because their would be no Communist state to get the American Far Right into a fever pitch. Liberal politics could not be smeared as communism light that easily in American life with a White victory. It could have moved American politics slightly or a lot to the left.


    • Not even the most conservative of White leaders was that serious about restoring the Romanovs to the Imperial throne.

      You’ve clearly never heard of Roman von Ungern-Sternberg. Also, you can’t say that 5 times fast.

      Seriously, though, until Michael was shot, there were pretty damn serious tsarists. The Whites, like those they opposed, were a diverse coalition, but until there were no more contenders, some of them had real designs on restoring the monarchy.


    • [C6] — I’m beginning to think that the hard right has given up any pretense of democratic civil society and has gone full open dominionism. Which brings to mind Tod’s comments about “swinging for the fences.” I don’t see how the hard right can even pretend it ever wanted to co-exist.


      • Well to be fairish to the hard right, the hard left has always opposed democratic civil society. Liberalism is based on the idea that people should generally be allowed to do what they want and quietly discuss their choices with their neighbors. One problem for liberalism is that there are lots of people who are illiberal and believe that life should be lived their way or no way. Stereotypically, the illiberal are on the right and believe in order and hierarchy but there is also a strong traditional of leftist illiberalism based on enforced egalitarianism. The branch of feminists that are having a really difficult time adjusting their thought process to incorporate transgenderism is an example of leftist illiberalism. The parts of the left that had an automatic distrust of anything bourgeois is another example.

        You can really force liberalism on the illiberal. That would be contrary to the spirit of liberalism. At the same time, allowing illiberalism to thrive endangers liberalism. This creates something of a dilemma. John Rawls last major work, Political Liberalism, attempted to deal with this problem but could not reach anything like a solution.


      • C6: We elect judges in Texas. This is an excellent example of why that’s probably a bad idea. I’m not entirely sure you need any actual experience with the law to get elected as a judge, and the more rural or remote counties the less likely the judge is to be….terribly professional.

        Pretty much like rural Sheriff’s. It’s someone that lives there that everyone voted for, not someone who had to meet some criteria or even had to get through an interview. He just had to put his name on a ballot, and you’d be shocked at how many times they’ll run unopposed.


        • Most states have elected judges at least for the lower level courts. We can thank Mississippi for this particular bit of mischief of American democracy. They were the first state to initiate electing judges during the 1830s. Other states followed because it was more democratic, which it is. Judges and DAs should not be elected for a variety of reasons they need protection from electorate pressure to do their job right.


          • The judiciary always presented challenges for democracy because it always has the potential to become a really big anti-democratic force in a state. Law tends to attract a lot of people with a “don’t rock the boat, keep things safe, and cautious” personality, yes really, and disproportionate number of the most cautious go on to become judges. While liberal and progressive judges are not unknown, judges in many countries have generally acted conservatively or even as a force of reaction. The Weimar judges were the most reactionary element of the Weimar political system. Many judges in post-World War II Italy were much more conservative than the average Italian. Some were openly sympathetic towards fascism. Electing judges is a way to create democratic accountability in theory and prevent the natural tendency towards conservatism in the judiciary.


            • The judiciary always presented challenges for democracy because it always has the potential to become a really big anti-democratic force in a state.

              That’s what it’s for. Part of the purpose of the Judiciary is to put a check on the more democratic legislature.


              • Where the legislative and executive are not elected, an elected judiciary seems like it could make some sense (and, absent that, jury duty helps some).

                But, when all the other branches of government are elected, I’m with you – it seems like what’s probably needed is some conservatism (not of the right / left variety so much, but of the “hold on now, let’s not get carried away with this latest fad” variety).


                  • Constitutional analysis isn’t right just because you agree with the outcome.

                    What did Justice Jackson say “We aren’t final because we are infallible. We are infallible because we are final.”? And he didn’t mean this as a good thing.


                    • Saul Degraw: Constitutional analysis isn’t right just because you agree with the outcome.

                      The sheer lack of self-awareness in this comment is stunning. I have a record of acknowledging the correctness of rulings whose outcomes I don’t like (e.g. Kelo) and the incorrectness of rulings whose outcomes I do like (e.g. Roe).

                      I’ve also laid out, multiple times, on this site and elsewhere, why the Butterfly Effect interpretation of the interstate commence clause and the blanket-power interpretation of the tax and spending clause are pure twentieth-century inventions with no justification either in the text of the Constitution or the historical context of its ratification. I have yet to see a serious rebuttal to this.

                      If you can offer one, I’d be very interested in seeing it. If not, well, you’re free to continue being wrong. It’s not going to change anything either way. Just don’t be so obnoxious about it.


                        • I’m not as confident on this as I am on the interstate commerce clause issues, because I’m not aware of any contemporary commentary on the issue, so this is based purely on the text of the Fifth Amendment, but because it makes no mention of a distinction between government taking private property for public use or doing so for private use, it seems that the most natural reading is that anything the government chooses to do is “public use,” with the requirement for just compensation being the main point of that clause, and the primary intended restriction on government’s use of eminent domain.


                    • “The Constitution permanently enshrines rightist socio-economic policy preferences?”

                      You’re assuming the legislation struck down was antithetical to “rightist socio-economic policy preferences[.]” Maybe some was, but the NIRA was an attempt to give cartels the force of law, and to give the president the power to designate cartel rules as laws. There’s at least a little wrong with that.


                      • I was ripping off a little from Justice Holmes dissent about the Constitution not enshrining Spencer’s Social Statistics. I also didn’t want to rile the libertarians who read this blog by using free market capitalism instead of rightist socio-economic preferences.

                        I’m a parliamentarian at heart, so I always find judicial review a bit troubling even if it has a result I agree with. It is not an easy issue to deal because the people are capable of legislating evil things into the law very easily if they want to.


                        • That’s a fair response, Lee. I’m probably not nearly the parliamentarian you are. I have stronger…not faith, but hope….that the the judiciary could serve as a check against abuses of civil rights.

                          And for the record and despite my libertarian leanings, even though I do believe economic liberty is a real liberty and as a policy matter ought to be respected, I don’t think (contra, e.g., Timothy Sandefuhr) it’s a fundamental “right” (civil or otherwise) that need be given the same deference by courts as other, more important rights.


                          • This raises the question about why do we consider economic rights to be about “the rights of business owners” instead of “the rights of all people to a livable income with dignity and decency.”


                              • I mean, look at this story about a guy who wanted to become a goat.

                                But why would anyone go to such lengths to be a goat?

                                ‘I suppose it was because it could be fairly difficult, depressive and just stressful being a human being,’ Thwaites told DailyMail.com

                                I mean, I read this and I think “hey, more power to you.”

                                But this appears in the story as well:

                                His efforts, funded by the government, culminated in a three day trip to the Swiss Alps, where he lived as a goat, roaming the hills with a herd.

                                Are we talking about “the rights of all people to live as a goat”? If not, where are we drawing the line for what livable, dignity, and decency?

                                “You sound like a Republican!”


                                • My answer there would be that he revealed why he wanted to live like a goat and as society we should have better access to mental health for all. He probably could have used some therapy.

                                  We aren’t always the best at supporting people mentally. When people are stressed/depressed, others tend to say stuff like “look out/take care of yourself” instead of offering aid or productive suggestions for how said person can improve.

                                  But this sort of gets back to when Morat and I were arguing with Murali about long working hours. The science shows that human productivity peaks around 40-50 hours a week and then rapidly declines. Yet many jobs seem to demand many more hours for reasons that we seem to like to see who can sink and who can swim and tradition (“I worked these hours and so shall you”). Add commuting time and potentially family responsibilities/chore (which I would also include boyfriends/girlfriends into) and you have a lot of really stressed people who are not getting enough sleep, downtime, socializing, exercise, time to eat and prepare proper meals, etc.

                                  Yet it seems to me that suggesting that society incorporate these as good policy is treated like being Lenin at Finland Station or Robespierre in front of the mob. It shouldn’t be.


                              • Doctors, for one. There’s no other explanation for the hours worked during residency (in the last ten years, they’ve been capped at 80 hour weeks) than as a form of hazing. Associates in law firms also work a crapton of hours, but those are billable, so it could simply be greed.

                                In high school, between classes, sports (not quite required, but very highly encouraged), and homework, my kids had longer days than I did. Add to that part-time jobs and the other extra-curriculars that colleges like to see, and something has to give, generally sleep. But it’s how kids get into the Ivies these days.


                              • What Mike said. Also one of the things about corporations trying to have more salaried workers than hourly workers is that salaried workers can generally be assigned as many hours as necessary. So positions that used to be hourly or should be hourly become salaried like clerks or paralegals at law firms or basic admin staff at any office. I think in California paralegals and clerks are considered hourly employees (they were in any firm I worked at) but in other states, they can be salaried employees and this is how you have 22 year old college grads working 50-60 hours a week or more for 40-50K a year.


                                • That doesn’t answer the question of who the “we” is with regards to considering economic rights to be solely about business owners. I sure as hell don’t.

                                  Of course corporations are going to act in their own best interests and support policies that do the same. But look at all the laws on the books that are intended to* pursue the exact preference you hold:
                                  – minimum wage laws
                                  – Medicare and Social Security taxes being matched by employers
                                  – OSHA regulations
                                  – workplace discrimination and harassment laws

                                  Do any of those scream “economic rights are solely about business owners” to you?

                                  * Though their efficacy can often be debated.


                                  • Kazzy: But look at all the laws on the books that are intended to* pursue the exact preference you hold:
                                    – minimum wage laws
                                    – Medicare and Social Security taxes being matched by employers
                                    – OSHA regulations
                                    – workplace discrimination and harassment laws

                                    Do any of those scream “economic rights are solely about business owners” to you?

                                    No. But then again, those are exactly the sorts of laws that libertarians and right-wingers would complain about being contrary to economic liberty and unconstitutional to boot.


                            • This raises the question about why do we consider economic rights to be about “the rights of business owners” instead of “the rights of all people to a livable income with dignity and decency.”

                              I don’t know about “we,” but “I” consider economic liberty to be about choice, and that’s the choice of employees and workers as well as business owners. I know my “jobs first” bias raises push back–and I can understand why and am even starting to reconsider some of it–but I really, truly am concerned about workers’ being empowered to make choices in the job market. At a personal level, I don’t really like business owners as a class (although I’ve known some individual business owners who are nice people).

                              Also, I purposefully chose to say “economic liberty” instead of “economic rights.” If we’re talking about “rights,” then I can see the argument for something like what you call “the rights of all people to a livable income with dignity and decency.” On this blog and elsewhere, I have long supported welfare supports and other measures that, I hope, would help ensure dignity and at least a minimal (preferably more than minimal) living standard.

                              Finally, to bring this back to the NIRA….that law brought us the worst of most worlds. Some business owners, but not all, were protected. Some workers were given a voice in running industries (especially in already unionized markets, like the coal teamsters in Chicago, or in union-friendlier industries, like bituminous coal), but others weren’t. And even those that did have a voice sometimes were subject to dictates of the bosses, through “Employment Representation Plans” that operated as company unions.

                              And it’s important to recognize the power ceded to the president here: a group of business owners (and this group was usually dominated by the strongest, largest players in the field) come up with fair trade practices, and the president could declare those practices to have something like the force of law. If the group of business owners could not agree to a set of fair trade practices, then the president could impose a provisional set.

                              And the NIRA didn’t work. By spring 1935, even FDR wasn’t too enthused about keeping it, however concerned he was about the Schechter case’s implications for his other programs.

                              Of course, the NIRA wasn’t the whole of the New Deal, and it would be a mistake for me to claim it was. I’m just suggesting that needn’t be a right-wing apologist to oppose it and some of the other New Deal programs.


                            • , besides what said, people talk about economic liberty rather than rights and liberty has an entirely different connotation, economic liberty is easier to achieve politically.


                    • LeeEsq:
                      The Constitution permanently enshrines rightist socio-economic policy preferences?

                      No. It just doesn’t give the Federal Government the power to do the kinds of things Roosevelt (and pretty much every president since) did.

                      The Constitution gives the states pretty wide latitude to implement pretty much whatever policies they want on the state level, subject only to the powers explicitly denied to the states. There’s nothing in the Constitution that Oregon can’t go full socialist, if the people of Oregon are foolish enough to elect socialists. There’s also an amendment process for giving the Federal Government additional powers.


                      • Brandon Berg: There’s nothing in the Constitution that Oregon can’t go full socialist, if the people of Oregon are foolish enough to elect socialists.

                        I don’t think that’s true. Oregon could elect socialists, but I think the Constitution – prior to amendment – would prevent Oregon or any other entity from going full socialist. Once you introduce the possibility of amendments, then the discussion approaches absurdity, since we could in theory pass an amendment revoking the (rest of the) Constitution in its entirety.

                        So, dealing with the Constitution we have, prior to its being re-written as an essentially different constitution under a different theory of government, the answer to LeeEsq’s original question – “The Constitution permanently enshrines rightist socio-economic policy preferences?” – is probably “yes,” for some definitions of “rightist,” and probably the ones he has in mind, and under practical definitions of “permanently.”


  2. H1: What Lee said.

    H4: I’m with you here. No is right.

    H5: “No sex please, we’re British”

    C3: I don’t event think we should allow bounty hunters to exist as an occupation. Law enforcement is the priority of the state, not the priority of armed guys seeking bounty. And no outsourcing.

    E6: I wonder how much carb/glutten free hurts Sandwich places. Ike’s Place is a much better local sandwich chain (in the Bay Area) than subway. There is also a really good place near me that makes a hot roasted turkey sandwich. I like mine with mustard, provolone, and on a Dutch Crunch roll.

    SS2 and SS4: Sesame Street was originally targeted at urban children (aka people who would have lived in housing that was not on the up and up. NYC in the late 1960s was not the sparkly place it is today. I read an article that said Sesame Street stayed devoted to the “disadvantaged, urban youth” for much of their history. Maybe they still are. The thing is that anyone can way PBS and I think a lot of middle class kids got the benefits of parents who read to them and Sesame Street. Disadvantaged urban youth got Sesame Street which is great but there was an unintentional double whammy for the suburban kids.

    SS5: Lee is right. Sesame Street is supposed to take place around Harlem/Hamilton Heights. Though Brownstone Brooklyn does look like Sesame Street. The theory seems plausible enough but I have never heard anyone say this. Also the time lines are a bit long. Park Slope began going through gentrification in the 1960s/70s because you could get a Brownstone for a steal (like 10,000 dollars). Neighborhoods like Boreum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill (these were my old neighborhoods), gentrified in the 1980s once Park Slope got a bit too pricey for homeownership. Fun fact: Carroll Gardens had a largeish Native American population in the 1940s.



    • SS2 and SS4: Has anybody ever done a study if getting middle class parenting and Sesame Street helps kids more than just getting one of them? This study is probably going to be rather difficult to produce because middle class parents are probably not inclined to potentially disadvantage their kids by forgoing one or the other but I kind of mind the double dosage idea useful. The real way to fight poverty is through wealth transfers and without the right politically and social environment, this is a very hard thing to do.


      • LeeEsq: Has anybody ever done a study if getting middle class parenting and Sesame Street helps kids more than just getting one of them? This study is probably going to be rather difficult to produce because middle class parents are probably not inclined to potentially disadvantage their kids by forgoing one or the other

        [Raises hand]

        The littlest Bath has yet to see any Sesame Street. This isn’t a conscious choice so much as we don’t have a TV. Neither has she ever used an educational app. She has seen a few “Bob the Train” youtube videos a handful of times. I have…mixed feelings about how she reacts to video in general. I recognize the eyes glazing over thing that other parents talk about, but that by itself doesn’t bother me. I think that is just her concentrating. On the other hand, it does seem like a lot of stimulus, and I think there is something to Louie CK’s point that maybe TV is so interesting that actual life becomes boring in comparison, and I wouldn’t want that for her.

        In other words, even acknowledging the benefits of Sesame Street, I’m uncertain about whether I want to open that door.

        On the other hand, if there were a Mandarin Sesame Street equivalent, I’d show that to her in a heartbeat. I haven’t found one yet though.


    • [SS4] We got one of the disks of old Sesame Street episodes (and I think maybe some of them showed up on Netflix for a while). Man those were fun to watch! It reminded me of why Oscar was my favourite character as a kid. They’ve totally nerfed him in the current shows, now he’s just a reasonably nice monster with a somewhat gruff demeanor. In the old show, whole episodes centered on Oscar’s plots and machinations to make everyone miserable.


    • You can make a plausible argument that Sesame Street helped kids born in Generation X or latter move into the cities though. Many people born after 1964 have very positive memories of watching Sesame Street as kids and for several decades, Sesame Street was one of the few positive images of city life on television or in movies. On other TV shows and movies that were made in the 1960s and 1980s, the city was a dark place filled with crime, dirt, and vice. Sesame Street was one of the few exceptions and taught lots of kids raised in the suburbs that the city does not need to be a dark place. This helped transition Generation X and latter into urban living when it was time for them to live on their own.


      • rrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaching

        Young people have always wished to get out of their small town and see the big lights, and they don’t do that because it’s “safe”, they do it because they want to cut loose and get down and dirty. If Luke hadn’t left Tatooine, he’d at least have gotten a studio in Mos Eisley for a few years.


        • This has always been true but as far as I can tell that during the days of urban decay and blight, roughly from the late 1960s to 1992, there were a lot of young people that grew up in the suburbs and stayed there even during their single years. You only lived in the city if you were particularly adventurous or belonged to some disadvantaged sub-group that necessitated urban living. The 1970s and 1980s seemed to be the peak of stay in the suburbs for young people. You didn’t have anything close to hipster culture the way we do now. Even if you did live in the city for a bit you moved out once you had kids rather than trying to raise a family in the city.

          I have a friend who grew up in suburban Florida and moved to Manhattan in the 1980s when she was in her twenties. She told me that it was very fun but that she did not let her parents visit her Manhattan neighborhood, the West Village, because it was dirty and dangerous. It is now the most expensive place to live in New York. I can’t think of any young person not wanting their parents to visit their New York City neighborhood because of the danger.


  3. Restaurants across the nation are facing a cook shortage. Kevin Drum correctly wonders “Why can’t you pay them more?”


    I sometimes wonder if there is something psychological about employers and raised wages. It always seems like a tool of last resort when economics tells us that a labor shortage should be met with higher wages. This does not seem true or it operates on a really slow timeframe. Everything else will be tried first before raising wages and that might not even be tried at all.


      • Except CEO wages, because a higher paid CEO “demonstrates your strength” to Wall Street. Which is why boards are pushed (or push themselves) to offer ‘above average pay’ to any CEO.

        Which, if you understand basic math, has one simple outcome.

        And of course, there is but one solution: Outsource CEO’s.


          • This is illuminating

            From the link:

            No board that isn’t about to fire its CEO really wants to admit that their CEO is a less-than-average performer by paying him or her less than average. But if the lowest-paid CEO’s are always being brought up to the average, then the average increases every year. Then for the high performers to be paid well, their compensation needs to be increased, but that raises the average… and so on every year.


            • Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad if a similar dynamic also applied to lower-tier employees, like the ones doing the hands-on work. Of course, then it becomes easy to see how that could swallow up profits altogether, meaning it can’t be sustained over time. But the difference between applying this principle to executives only as opposed to every employee is one of degree and time, not quality: if we won’t do it for regular employees, then some qualitative difference between the marketplace for regular labor and the marketplace for executive labor needs to be identified so as to justify the difference in compensation regimes. I don’t see AEI offering that qualitative distinction — at best, only a quantitative one, and this fails to impress me.


              • Burt Likko: I don’t see AEI offering that qualitative distinction

                Sometimes the first step in fixing a problem is identifying a root cause. While a lack of a qualitative proposed fix does leave one a bit empty, having the cause spelled out offers one something for their brain to chew on beyond the primal response.

                So instead of, “OMG C-Suite pay is out of control, we have to leverage the power of regulation to clamp down on it!”, we can move to “Oh look, a skewed incentive that is a result of an unintended consequence (no judgement on the originating requirement – that of public disclosure of CEO compensation). What can we do? Do we have to roll this back, or is it possible to establish a policy with an incentive that unskews things?”

                I don’t expect every essay that sheds light on a problem to offer a solution (unless the essay claims to offer a solution, and then doesn’t).


                • Now that I think about it, public disclosure of any type of wage seems more likely to drive wages up than down so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be the same for the CEO. I’ve often said that there’s a huge inefficiency in most labor markets because it’s hard to get good wage information, and that lack of transparency hugely benefits employers over employees. Public disclosure of CEO pay does away with that natural employer advantage…for CEOs.


                  • Personally I think it should be all or nothing. Either wages are public info up & down the org chart, or it’s protected information.

                    Personally,while I can imagine reasons to keep it private, I think it should be public, with some kind of protection so an employer can’t be sued easily if their justification for a given salary is less than complimentary.

                    ETA they should at least have to publish salary tables.


                  • Now that I think about it, public disclosure of any type of wage seems more likely to drive wages up than down so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be the same for the CEO.

                    I don’t think I see why the one should follow from the other, actually, and would like to hear why you think a single principle applies on both cases.

                    CEO pay is a function of “reputability” as much as anything else. Not so for the grunts. In fact, I’ve often felt that if not for the marketwise-irrelevant politics of being a CEO, they’d all be paid much less than they currently receive. It’s only a function of meta-level (and meta above that, if you ask me) that justifies paying “polished” CEOs what they currently receive.

                    But that’s all cultural, yeah? So it seems to me that more transparency would lead to higher low end pay and lower high end pay. (Saul is hatin me right now!)


      • If you don’t sell enough product because your prices are too high, you need to lower your prices even if your per unit profit goes down, you make more total profit based on volume.


      • Not quite that simple . Wages are indeed a cost, but it’s the price sold less the costs that is the profit. There’s two general ways of determining price. 1) costs + profit =price. 2)Price = what the market is willing to pay. A lot of industries sell items not at some cost market up but at what people are willing to pay. Think an Iphone is a cost + profit deal? Hardly, it’s priced at what people will bear. Wages are a lot less important as a factor under that scenario than the first.


        • Price = what the market is willing to pay.

          At the end of the day, that is always what price is. However, if there is not enough of a difference between costs and price, the suppliers will have less incentive to continue producing and selling.


          • However, if there is not enough of a difference between cost of living and wages, the workers will have less incentive to continue working.

            Which appears to be what’s going on here, and provoked Saul’s comment.
            The fact that this phenomenon is met with cries that there is a “shortage” of cooks reflects the inherent bias of the reporting.

            A shortage.
            Of cooks.
            A shortage of one of the simplest, entry level jobs imaginable in a nation with millions of un and under employed people.

            Yet somehow this mismatch of price and supply is confounding, even as we have a continual stream of pundits and commenters on the internet who are always eager to give us stern lectures on “Econ 101”, assuring us that as prices go up, market shortages are eased.


            • Well, not short order cooks working at truck stop diners, but graduates of a culinary school. So not a simple, entry level job for the barely skilled.

              Of course, paying someone who is a graduate of a culinary school $10-$12/hr in one of the most expensive markets in the country is laughable at best.

              I have no sympathy for their plight. They are doing what tons of tech & engineering companies are doing, loudly & publicly bemoaning a shortage in the hopes that more people will get the necessary education in order to boost the supply of qualified labor such that they don’t have to pay more. Tech companies do the same thing when they cry for more H1-B visas. Lots of people in the US can do the job, but not for the wages they want to pay &, more importantly, not for the hours they want them to work.


            • A shortage of one of the simplest, entry level jobs imaginable

              For what it’s worth, it’s not the no-training, entry-level cooks that they can’t find. It’s skilled cooks, those with either experience or who have gone to trade school.

              Which is a distinction that cuts both ways. On the one hand, it’s entirely possible that their is a raw shortage of sufficiently trained personnel. On the other hand, if they’ve gone to culinary school and we’re talking about Seattle and Chicago, it does seem that $10-12 an hour is a pretty light wage.

              If the raw personnel shortage does exist, then individual restaurants can maybe find people quickly by offering more than the $10-12, though that’s not something that be fixed industry-wide quickly because restaurants would just be poaching from one another, and training and culinary school take time.

              Does anyone know how long culinary school takes?


              • If a culinary graduate can only expect to make $10-$12/hour, it is quite possible there are a lot of such graduates not working in kitchens precisely because the pay is low, and they found other work that pays better, even if it is less satisfying work.

                Bumping pay upwards can potentially shake some of them loose.


              • @oscar-gordon

                Perhaps I can shed some light here because I know people who attended pastry school and briefly worked as pastry cooks but quit for a variety of reasons and are doing different things or modified stuff.

                A friend of mine attended pastry school on the East Coast. Her program lasted nine months or so, maybe a year. She then got an internship at a prestigious bakery in the Bay Area. After that, she got a job at a really expensive restaurant in the Bay Area,

                Her hours were very long because bakers need to be up early (before 6 AM) and one or two would need to stay for service. She would frequently have 10, 12, 14 hour days of being on her feat and in the kitchen. She eventually got to the point where she was allowed to make management decisions but that did not come with a raise because you don’t get paid well as a Pastry Chef until you become the Pastry Chef (top dog) or start your own bakery/business. Also Pastry Cook’s are usually the first to go in a downtown because the chef can outsource that easily. She was a victim of the great recession.

                Chefs are also prone to lots of minor accidents because of heat and oil and working in close proximity in most restaurant kitchens. Another friend decided to go to law school because she was tired of sugar burns (which are apparently extremely painful).

                Lots of college grads seem attracted to the cooking world and it is not just arts majors. My friend who attended pastry school before law school studied economics as an undergrad.

                From what I’ve read in various articles, there seems to be a lot of “TRADITION” that dictates wages over market realities. You get paid this because we got paid something compatible, etc. So I wonder how many people are rebelling against this tradition.


        • Wages are indeed a cost, but it’s the price sold less the costs that is the profit

          And, another wrinkle: costs of labor are more than just compensation. Turnover is a significant labor cost, that is generally quite sensitive to wage level.


        • If there’s a shortage of labor, then it seems to me that the market isn’t clearing and employers aren’t paying the market value for this particular type of labor.


  4. Since I refuse to use Twitter, I am just going to use this space to respond to random things I see in the Twitter sidebar.

    RE: octopiopusopodeses: Peter Watts has hit a few times just how WEIRD they are. That article also touches on something I’ve read elsewhere, which is that the genetic code of the animals is so distinct from all other life on earth as to be nearly ‘alien’.

    RE: Former OT’er Kyle Cupp – boy, I’m starting to think that guy has some sort of beef with capitalism. I wasn’t sure where he came down in his first thirty or forty tweets about it, but my momma didn’t raise no dummy.


  5. E5: Reads to me like someone who follows ESPN and sports based on annual reports and through the media rather than actually experiencing it. ESPN more resembles the Fox Newsification of sports than showing more sports. His comment about whether or not sports leagues will go direct to consumer ignores the fact that they already do. MLB is most famous for this and is spinning off BAMS for $3 billion dollars. The NFL Sunday Ticket contract is almost up and they most certainly will reserve the right to go direct to consumer (or make a bundle when they give up that right to a cable company). College football conferences are going over the top direct to consumer as well. ESPN needs to be concerned that rights are getting more and more expensive and they are on a losing streak. If sports and cable channels become more unbundled, ESPN is the biggest loser because the fans that would pay for ESPN will be more likely to go direct to the source.


    • This. I just got back from a week at the beach, with no internet. (That last was by personal choice. Some members of the extended family had internet-accessible devices with them, but I opted not to, and didn’t borrow one.) I checked ESPN in the morning for scores. What little sports I watched beyond that was all on the regional sports networks (both Philly and NYC where we were). I have cut the cable, but even back when I had it, I rarely watched ESPN for actual games. Their capability for adequately broadcasting a baseball game is mediocre: better than Fox, but not as good a TBS. No national network can do as well as a local crew, though in fairness neither can they do as badly as some other local outfits.


  6. [H5] – It’s not actually that seven in ten users opted in, but that three in ten explicitly opted out.

    The 70-ish % who didn’t opt out are presumably the combination of

    1) those who care enough that they would have taken affirmative action if they had to opt in rather than out

    2) those who don’t care very much about porn one way or the other, so they also would have taken no action if it was opt-in, being further divided into
    2a) those who would choose filtering if forced to make an affirmative choice either way
    2b) those who could choose no filtering if forced to make an affirmative choice either way

    3) those who haven’t even noticed the filter exists or aren’t bothered by it because it’s ineffective enough not to interfere with their porn watching

    The article suggests that that (1) only consists of 5% of customers (those who opted in when Sky’s filters were default-off), and (2a) is about 30% (based on BT customers, who can’t get any internet access until they choose one way or another, and of whom 35% opt for filtering, minus the 5% of group 1).

    I’m guessing that, as ineffective as the filters are reported to be, they’re not totally without noticeable effect, so group (3) is probably quite small.

    So, I get
    – 30% are sufficiently annoyed by the presence filters that they actively opt out
    – 5% are sufficiently annoyed by the absence of filters that they actively opt in
    – 30% are relatively indifferent, but if forced to choose, would prefer filtering, which leaves
    – 35% are relatively indifferent, but if forced to choose, would prefer no filtering

    That hardly seems like the strong support for filtering advocates the article makes it out to be.


  7. [C5] Actual prison? That seems a little harsh to me. I’ve been frustrated with teaching students and the inability to hold them accountable, but I never wished any of them to have to sit in prison.


    • I suspect the crime involved was more infiltrating the school’s/teacher’s computer systems than the fact that Lai helped students cheat. Maybe 1 year and 5 years probation is overmuch for the crime, at least based on what it reported in the article (and based on my sense of fairness….maybe the laws really do require such a penalty).

      But this raises my something-something meter:

      Corona del Mar High School Principal Kathy Scott told the court before Lai’s sentencing yesterday that “lives were shaken” when parents discovered that “the person they trusted to help their student to improve academically undermined them and betrayed them by his leadership role in the cheating scandal.”

      I do wonder if the parents would’ve cared so much if the cheating hadn’t been caught and the children gotten the credentials they needed.


  8. E3:

    Employees were also told that they can no longer bring rival companies’ food to work, except when it’s being sampled for competitive purposes.

    It’s this kind of petty nonsense that makes me glad to be at place in my career where I can easily leave for another job. “We’ve decided to burden all of you with more rules for no actual benefit to the company. Your time and dignity aren’t worth anything to us and we know you won’t leave, so suck it up and smile, you easily replaceable cogs.”


  9. C5: I’d like to know a little bit more about this guy’s tutoring job to better put this into context.
    I pretty strongly suspect that he had huge financial motives to do what he did. At least in my area tutoring pays pretty well, but is also very heavily dominated by companies that hire tutors as independent contractors, and will not charge clients or pay tutors if the students grades don’t improve by a certain amount.

    Say this dude was working 15 hours a week as a tutor for $16/hour. He’d be making about 4000 over the course of a semester, entirely contigent on the success of a few students. Now, if these are B students who want to be A students’ that’s a decent gig. But if they are D or F students whose parents want them to be B students, and have signed up to pay only if that happens, those students are typically dealing with issues a Tutor is in no position to address.

    I of course think this dude is nevertheless guilty of serious breach of trust and professional ethics, and deserves a criminal conviction–but I recognize that this story is very likely one of someone pushed to crime because of financially desperate circumstances created by an exploitative employer.


  10. The Washington Post has an article talking about the whole email thing.

    The issues around Clinton’s e-mails have also intensified as it has become clear that a number of her statements defending her actions now appear to be false.

    It ain’t the crime, it’s the coverup.

    I imagine that the emphasis in the future will take this particular tone:

    Clinton was on the thread of the e-mails as other aides shared new information or joined in the discussion, and often did not reply, the officials said.

    That is: “well, maybe some bad stuff happened, but Hillary didn’t do it. It was all the fault of staffers.”


    • When I was reporting on doing business with the military, I encountered a lot of issues with classified information. More precisely, my sources had a lot of issues with classified information. During the Bush years, it became a total clusterfuck.

      Often, information was publicly available, and retroactively classified; but it had already entered the public domain. It was public here, classified there.

      So my basic take here is that people muddled through as best they could; it was terribly easy to repeat something that had been classified because, from the source you got it, it wasn’t classified, and that as the wars stretched on, the folks who classified stuff got more and more paranoid and classified so much stuff that nearly everything, in one place or another, was classified.

      So this whole business, to me, has the stench of Cheney; and it seems pretty obvious that Hillary didn’t actively go out and try to leak stuff. Did she do it the right way? She kept it in her own domain, at least.

      But I do have a huge beef with people going after her for emails here without adding the context of the state-secret clusterfuck GWB nurtured.


        • You miss it, Jaybird.

          I’m saying it’s statistically improbable that people at the State Dept. didn’t reveal classified information, it was impossible to know if all things needing discussion were or were not classified. I have 100% confidence that state secrets were revealed, because it was impossible to know all things that were classified. This is like giving Ken Star a guaranteed outcome.


          • Two issues here:

            1) whether or not classified information was being handled on Hillary Clinton’s private email server

            2) whether or not Hillary Clinton attempted to cover up that classified information was being handled on Hillary Clinton’s private email server

            It seems that the answer to #1 is “classified information was being handled on Hillary Clinton’s private email server” and that seems to not have anyone arguing to the contrary. Instead the arguments more take the form “hey, people make mistakes, this could have happened to anybody, besides, Cheney set her up.”

            To what extent is #2 interesting given the conclusions about #1? At all?


            • I haven’t read up on the whole thing, but as I understand it, all but two of the emails that travelled through Clinton’s servers were not marked classified at the time but were retroactively deemed as such. However, two emails were indeed classified at the time.

              For me, I think there are two questions:

              1.) Practically speaking, what were the consequences of Clinton routing the emails through her personal server? This could range from “HUGELY CONSEQUENTIAL” to “Nothing to see here, folks.” I have quite literally no idea what the answer is.

              2.) What does Clinton’s decision to route her emails through a personal server tell us about her? Was she being irresponsible, playing fast-and-loose with potentially sensitive information? Was she attempting to hide things? Did she think the rules didn’t apply to her? Did she not know the rules?

              To me, #2 seems more important especially as we consider her push for the Presidency. #1 could possibly be more important if the degree of consequence is on the higher end of that scale.

              I support a properly independent investigation (with potential penalties) for #1. #2 is harder to ‘investigate’ but seems like the sort of things the press should, well, press her on (potentially in debates). And I don’t mean FNC blathering on about it or MSNBC ignoring it. I mean asking her direct, pointed questions about what she did and why.


              • I agree, . And I’d add a question 2a.: Was it established as beyond bounds that secretaries of state can’t use private email servers? (Maybe that’s covered in the article…I didn’t read it). If it was common practice for secretaries of state to use private email servers and if there wasn’t a rule against it, that lowers my own outrage meter a little bit. (But still, by 2009, I would think that a public official at her level should use public-server email address for discharging public duties unless there’s a compelling reason not to.)

                Also, I agree with what I take to be zic’s point that it’s not always easy to know what is classified or not. If someone’s the head of the state department, he/she should know the difference. But again, maybe it’s hard to discern that.

                Not that I’m a fan of Clinton, mind.


                • From what I understand (yay! CISSP studying!), the servers and whatnot need to go through a hardening process. If you buy a server off the rack, you have to do stuff like change the default settings, make sure that certain permissions of certain files are changed, make sure that auditing of certain files is turned on, so on and so forth.

                  Do we know whether this was done to the server in question?


                  • I would actually be unconcerned with that question. As far as I see it, if she wasn’t using a State Department (or other appropriate government organization) approved server, than she fished up. If someone with the authority to do so approved her use of that server and the server proved to be inadequate, that we should be talking to that person.

                    But everything I’ve read indicates Clinton made this call on her own.


                • Yea, I’d include that under the “What were the rules and what did Clinton know about the rules?” umbrella.

                  Interestingly, there may be limited precedent with regards to SoS’s and email. Prior to Clinton, we can assume Rice and Powell used email. Albright probably did and Christopher maybe did.

                  Of course, thousands of government employees also used email and presumably the rules for them should have been the minimum rules for the higher ups, but I really don’t know.

                  Again, though, I’m less concerned about the letter of the law and more concerned with the spirit of the law. If the Secretary of State didn’t know that her personal email server was not the best place for her to have her emails stored, well, that is a pretty glaring blind spot if you ask me.


              • With regards to the proposition that some of the things on the server were only classified retroactively, I think that that should definitely get us to nod and say that those things are not the things we’re talking about when we’re talking about the things that were found to be classified on the email server.

                As such, in the future, please know that when I’m talking about the things that were found to be classified on Hillary’s email server, I’m not talking about the things that were classified retroactively, but the things that were classified at the time that they appeared on there.



                • Oh, absolutely. Sorry, I wasn’t trying to agree or disagree but rather was offering what I have come to learn about the situation.

                  In fact, I’d probably go a bit further than you and say that the retroactively classified material does matter insofar as the possibility for material to become classified after the fact means we still want a certain level of protection/control over it.

                  I don’t think it unreasonable to tell the SoS, “Hey, we don’t know how much of this we’ll need to classify down the line so just use your discretion in terms of who you share it with in case any of it does need to become classified.” The private email server does not seem to be the best use of discretion. Intentionally sharing something with a reporter in the course of doing her job seems okay. Leaving the entirety of her email account vulnerable to hackers does not.

                  But that circles us back to #2 and the “What was she thinking?” question.


                  • AS I noted before, she was apparently thinking “I’ll do it the way the last two people in this office did”. The White House didn’t finalize a policy on emails until after she left.

                    Also, an important caveat about email: You can both SEND it and RECEIVE it. Anything classified in her email, well — I’d consider it important to know whether she sent it or received it — and whether it was marked as such.

                    From the business world, it’s considered your fault if you send proprietary email, but not if you receive it. If it’s not marked, and it’s not your work product, you’re in the clear if you send it. If it’s your work product, it’s your job to make sure it’s marked correctly. If I email a mis-marked subordinate’s product out, I’m going to be in some crap — but only because my subordinate wasn’t following processes, and he’s my subordinate

                    That’s straight from my sensitive materials training, BTW, with a Fortune 500 company that deals with officially classified documents, proprietary documents (all companies have those), and export-controlled documents.


                    • From the business world, it’s considered your fault if you send proprietary email, but not if you receive it.

                      In the business world, are there things that the receiver is responsible for doing when s/he realizes that s/he has been sent proprietary email?

                      What about in the government world?

                      Were these things done?

                      (Additionally, I understand that she put backups of her emails onto a thumb drive and gave this thumb drive to her lawyer. Was the lawyer cleared to receive the emails? If he wasn’t, is this a clear-cut case of her passing along classified information even if she wasn’t the person who did it first? Additionally, if it is true that she gave a thumb drive with the emails on it to her lawyer, the “after the fact” classifications defense disappears into thin air.)


                      • It depends, actually. If it’s someone ELSE’s proprietary information, you’re supposed to do one thing. (Suffice to say, if you accidentally get something even if you delete it it could be used against your company during a bid — the equivalent of insider information). If it’s your proprietary information, you’re supposed to notify the relevant folks in the company.

                        However, you’re actually in more crap if it’s someone else’s data than if it’s your own company’s, because if if it’s YOUR data they go after whatever idiot sent it (or failed to mark it properly, etc. Whomever screwed up) even if you never reported it. If it’s another company’s, they really get on your case because you’re the only person in the entire chain that works there.

                        As the receiver, it’s not a firing offense (or even a disciplinary offense — generally they just make you retake your training, so I’ve heard) unless you do something with data you darn well knew was proprietary –That opens the company up to liability if it’s someone else’s proprietary information. And all this is contingent on clear markings. In short, if it ain’t marked and it’s not your product to mark, you’ve done nothing wrong period.

                        So take HRC — if she was routing marked, classified data through private email without having followed whatever procedure was necessary to secure it (which might including things like having the servers specifically hardened and audited, but certainly includes things like using proper encryption. Think about it — private contractors get classified data all the time. Often via email, FTP sites, etc. There are rules for sending it to and through private systems. Generally it’s encryption) than she certainly screwed up.

                        In short, if it was marked and she followed the rules — which at the time DID allow private email and private servers — then she’s clear on ‘sending’. If she received it and it was marked, then she’d generally get a minor slap on the wrist if she was an employee. As she’s more like management– well let’s say if she was the CFO of Lockheed nobody would say anything they’d just ask a VP to bring up a ‘recent rash’ of mishandled materials at the next meeting and hope she gets the message — or let the CEO or the board know, who’d tell her to be more careful.

                        If it wasn’t marked classified, she’s generally off the hook. If it was marked classified and she received it — it’d depend on the procedures in place. Is the server set up as required? Was the email encrypted?

                        That’s the thing, we’re all thinking of this a bit like she’s tossing crap around on Gmail. She was running a professional grade server that was almost certainly audited and secured to specs generated somewhere in the Executive branch. She’d be running clients that automatically encrypted her emails with State department keys.

                        In terms of ‘scandal’ the real question is “What were the rules at the time?”. We know private servers were allowed (Rice and Powell both used them). We don’t know what the rules were on marked documents, and the only details we know so far is that the only classified documents that have been mentioned were classified later (which means, clearly, they were unmarked).

                        So really we’re down to “Did she send marked, classified materials?” followed by “And was that against policy at the time?” (You’d think it was, but IIRC the policies put into place after she left were part of a big push to modernize and secure Executive branch IT procedures and security) with the lesser question “Did she receive marked, classified material?”

                        As to the thumb drive: I don’t know the rules. If it was something like Ironkey, she’s probably within them as it’d be encrypted heavily and require her to open it. There are also PLENTY of government provisions for transporting data, including via thumb drive. And lawyers are included, because court cases at times need to review such things. Using encrypted thumb drives to transport data is considered more secure, and lawyers often have copies.


                          • It..depends.

                            As I understand it, the chain is as follows:
                            1) HRC has archives of her emails from her SecState time.
                            2) These archives are on a private server, which was acceptable under the rules at the time.
                            3) There is an investigation into whether some classified materials — whether classified before, during, or after her time as SecState are on those emails.
                            4) She performs an internal investigation and claims no classified emails exist in the archives (she had to have been relying on internal markings of the documents. There’s no other real way to make that determination. This does not rule out things marked classified after).
                            5) She turns over copies of those emails to the investigators, and leaves a copy with her lawyer on a thumb drive. (These are undoubtedly heavily encrypted on something like an Ironkey drive, because she’s not about to let them wander off)

                            So….if she’s right, and none of the documents were marked classified, then there’s no problem leaving it with her lawyer. If some have been retroactively classified, she’s still cleared — because she can’t possibly know that to be the case.

                            If some are marked classified, if the thumb drive meets encrpytion standards for that sort of thing it’s probably okay. Ironkey does. ‘Classified’ does a lot of heavy lifting. There’s stuff that’s never put on thumb drives or networked systems, but none of that would be floating around on email. There wouldn’t be any questions if there was anything like that in the emails. Ironkey is acceptable, for instance, for stuff like rocket flight data, and military data below the ‘cut your own throat after reading’ stuff. And if there were questions about THAT stuff you’d be seeing a lot more fire and a lot less smoke.

                            Lawyer can’t open the files on an encrypted drive without the key.

                            So if Hillary isn’t lying about there being no classified data, it’s fine. If it was classified after her tenure, it’s fine. If there IS classified data, assuming she placed it on a secure thumb drive it’s probably fine. And secure thumb drive’s acceptable for data like this are 100 bucks, max and freely available. US Army uses them, Lockheed Martin and every other defense contractor uses them, State department uses them….it’s considered “the way” to transport data that doesn’t have to be physically handcuffed to you, because if it gets lost or stolen it’s pretty much impossible to get anything out of.

                            Now, if you assume HRC Is lying, and that the classified data is top-level US secrets that shouldn’t be on any network, and you assume she used a thumb drive she bought at Best Buy and just copied the files as clear-text — then yes, that’s a huge breach.

                            But I think that’s sort of assuming your conclusion.

                            Judging by the data know, it appears few — if any — of the documents contained classified data, and those that did weren’t marked as such (because they were classified later). So the lawyer thing is unlikely to matter .
                            (Seriously, I have to take training in this EVERY YEAR. How to transport the stuff, how to know if it’s classified or proprietary — we deal with both. How to get it marked, what to do if it’s marked, what to do when we get a notice saying something we used to be able to share freely is now proprietary, etc.)


                            • Morat,

                              I agree with your general line of argument here (that she didn’t do anything technically wrong and the whole issue is more/less politically motivated) but that just brings the discussion right into my wheel house as far as criticism goes. We all already know that Hillary is held to a ridiculously high standard by her political enemies (including (apparently) even liberal NYT!) so surely she must be aware of that herself. Given that, her handling of this situation – from first choosing to use a private server for official State Dep. business on thru her subsequent responses and actions – has only inflamed what was already an incendiary situation. (Did I overly stretch that metaphor?)

                              In other words, her carelessness and flippancy about the political aspects of this situation not only confirm her opponents negative views of her, it also concerns people like me, folks who would otherwise, if not for things like this, be supportive of her candidacy.


                              • You’re looking at a string of decisions with hindsight,

                                At the time, I’m pretty sure security was a major concern and driving reason for having a private server.

                                And it’s pretty unlikely that these decisions were made by others who sought her approval after advising her it was the best way to go. I’m sure she has some knowledge and understanding of how email servers work; but nothing technical beyond the fact that security, state secrets, and encryption mattered.

                                Do you think, for instance, that Carly F. handled encryption and security for HP? What about Trump? Perry, Kasich, Christie, etc. as governors? States handle a lot of private information over the internet and on servers.


                                • You’re looking at a string of decisions with hindsight

                                  No, I made real-time comments here at the OT about how her responses were politically inept, disingenuous and careless to the point of expressing a lack of any appreciable concern regarding the public perception of her as well as the role and responsibilities she played within the State Department.

                                  Adding: Her first response accounting for her use of a private server was to say she didn’t want to carry two devices with her. Which is just absurd, practically as well as politically.


                                  • It was also what her predecessors did. Hillary didn’t INVENT using private email for her job.

                                    And I get the two devices thing. That’s a PITA — I’ve had to do it. And everyone pushed for moving to just one.


                                      • You’re saying she should have KNOWN better than to use the same system used by her predecessors.

                                        You’re trying to blame her for being insufficiently paranoid that she didn’t massively overhaul the way her two immediate predecessors did the job out of sheer self-defense.

                                        And then claim she ‘handled it badly’ by using an explanation I’ve personally heard from half a dozen people who had to use totally separate devices for work and personal use.


                                      • There is no good security reason for a private email server in this case unless you don’t trust the IT at Foggy Bottom.

                                        To the more general question, assuming is correct, I still have to wonder why she didn’t hand the email server to State IT & have them configure & harden it. They could have even set it to copy things so the official records question would be moot.

                                        So I’m in agreement with , this isn’t smart, which worries me that either she does/did have something to hide, or she was disturbingly blind to the politics of this.


                                            • A Tale of Private Server:

                                              Hillary walks into her office, her first day as Secretary of State. An IT guy is waiting for her, to finish setting up her account and her systems access.

                                              She asks “So how do I get email on my phone? Are we gonna set that up next?” waving said phone at the IT guy, The IT guy says “We can’t. We’re locked into this Blackberry contract for a few more years, and the client software only works with that. We’ll issue you a blackberry for government use as soon as I’m done here.”

                                              Clinton says “Seriously? I’ve got to carry two freaking phones? Did Powell carry two? Rice?”

                                              The IT guy says “No, but they had to set up a private email server because the government email servers have the aforementioned locked in blackberry stuff”.

                                              Clinton “Yeah, talk to [staffer] in the hallway and get that set up. I’m not tracking two phones if I don’t have to”.

                                              Back in 2009, 2010, I know NASA civil servants often complained about that very thing. There was no way to get email access through their phones, just through NASA issued devices. NASA implemented a webmail system not long after that as a workaround (and now you can use smartphones to access email directly), but a private server actually sounds safer than a webmail portal for obvious reasons.


                                              • Which is a fine tale to justify the convenience, but not the security (despite Zics ‘get real’ posted elsewhere, which is not exactly the damning rejoinder she thinks it is)


                                                • But Powell and Rice ddn’t. Why are we comparing apples to oranges?

                                                  Why not apples to apples? There were two immediately previous Secretaries who followed the same practices. Why aren’t they on the carpet again?

                                                  Either this email thing is an unfathomable mistake, in which case Rice and Powell’s butts should be on the carpet too….or it’s not, and this is about Hillary and the email is a red herring.

                                                  Which is it?


                                              • Morat20: Clinton “Yeah, talk to [staffer] in the hallway and get that set up. I’m not tracking two phones if I don’t have to”.


                                                And when asked by Swisher whether she’s an Android or Apple user, Clinton delicately sidestepped the question by again poking fun at herself. Clinton said she has an iPhone and a Blackberry.
                                                ‘I don’t throw anything away,’ she said. ‘I’m like two steps short of a hoarder.’


                                                • So THREE phones instead of TWO.

                                                  The scandal. Jesus Christ, guys. I don’t even LIKE Clinton. I attended my first primary to vote against her.

                                                  But this crap comes up in my job all the time, and I’m having a hard time seeing the fire here. I see two immediate predecessors who did exactly the same thing, I’m seeing the normal fun of emails, classified documents, and backwards classification…..and the usual application of the Clinton Rules.

                                                  In short, it appears to be “okay” when Rice and Powell did it, but not Clinton. Besides the “D” after her name, what’s the difference?


                                                • I brought this up before, but throughout my entire professional career, we have been required to utilize company-sanctioned devices and accounts to communicate for work business.

                                                  In 2015, that means we can use personal iPads and smart phones etc. (as long as we also use the VPN AND the company-approved mail software); but it used to mean that we carried whatever company-issued and -secured devices we had to carry, in addition to our personal ones; and sometimes, carried in multiple.

                                                  At different times, those were pagers, and company-issued phones, and company-issued laptops.

                                                  I, seriously, used to have to have my work phone and work laptop (and VPN keyfob token, though now that’s a smartphone app) with me (or accessible) at pretty much all times, so I could VPN into the company network, and communicate from there. There was no alternative.

                                                  It was inconvenient, but I and my colleagues lugged around two phones and a laptop, pretty much everywhere, and we were responsible for their security.

                                                  I’m not saying that it would shock me to find the State Department was way more loosey-goosey on data security than my company was/is. Wouldn’t be the first time that the government has been way behind the curve.

                                                  If that’s the case, then the scandal isn’t what Hillary did – it’s why the heck she was allowed to do such a thing in the first place. If she was seen as powerful enough to say “That’s inconvenient and I shouldn’t have to do it”, that’s a problem – there’s no reasonable security scheme where we should force low-level people (who presumably are also lower-value targets) to follow best security practices, but exempt high-level (and therefore high-value) people from those same practices.

                                                  The consequences of a security breach caused by me would be bad, for our customers and my company; but jeez louise I have to imagine that the Sec. of State is frequently handling information that is far more sensitive than anything I ever see.


                                        • There is no good security reason for a private email server in this case unless you don’t trust the IT at Foggy Bottom.

                                          Chelsea Manning.
                                          Edward Snowden.
                                          Jullian Assange.

                                          Every other hacker for every government and freelance information trader ever.

                                          Get real. Somebody was tasked with what’s the most-secure and this was their answer.

                                          Perhaps the real questions we should be asking about the credentials and protocols used by her IT people, no? Their security clearances?


                                          • Exactly the questions I would ask & information she should have provided to head this off.

                                            Information I haven’t seen offered up, even if not publicly. Which worries me that she bought a COTS server & set it up using the setup wizard.


                                            • Linky

                                              To track how the information flowed, agents will try to gain access to the email accounts of many State Department officials who worked there while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the officials said. State Department employees apparently circulated the emails on unclassified systems in 2009 and 2011, and some were ultimately forwarded to Mrs. Clinton.

                                              They were not marked as classified, the State Department has said, and it is unclear whether its employees knew the origin of the information.
                                              To track how the information flowed, agents will try to gain access to the email accounts of many State Department officials who worked there while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, the officials said. State Department employees apparently circulated the emails on unclassified systems in 2009 and 2011, and some were ultimately forwarded to Mrs. Clinton.

                                              They were not marked as classified, the State Department has said, and it is unclear whether its employees knew the origin of the information.
                                              According to current and former State Department officials who worked with Mrs. Clinton, most classified information was routed to classified government servers in her office, where it was printed out for her review. Her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, often operated the same way.

                                              Clinton rules…or IOKIYAR.


                                                • In fact, I believe that’s what the investigation is about. They’re not looking for traitors — they’re checking their IT and document processes to figure out where it’s gone off the rails.

                                                  Feinstein, the ranking Democrat who has actually read the emails, mentioned the classified ones were all ones Hillary got forwarded.

                                                  Which makes sense, if you’re aware of how upper management works. They don’t routinely send out email. They get it, most of that is managed, and anything important is generally presented or handed to them.


                                                  • This.

                                                    I doubt HRC did anything criminal, or at least not majorly so, but allowing a major government figure to use a personal email server to conduct official business strikes me as rife for trouble. The need for security, official records, and accountability outweigh other concerns.

                                                    Anyway, they need to shore up the rules on that. This shouldn’t be an issue.


                                                • *eyeroll* Powell then? This seems to be a textbook case of IOKIYAR.

                                                  Powell doesn’t even have emails to turn over — all of his were deleted. Nobody seems to be calling him on the carpet.

                                                  Sure, Hillary’s a presidential candidate — but if this is a real issue, a real concern about government IT practices and classified materials, shouldn’t Powell and Rice be on the carpet? Or is it the usual witch hunt? In which case the email is not actually an issue, so we don’t have to care.


                                                  • Powell is old school and nobody is crediting Rice with being able to run a lemonade stand.

                                                    Hillary Clinton is supposed to be the competent & forward looking one.

                                                    What is does show to all the GS-12s-15s out there that have to suffer byzantine rules is that once you get to a different level, the rules are different for you. (Petraeus showed this as well)


                                                    • Right. So different rules for Hillary. She’s held to an entirely different, higher standard than everyone else.

                                                      Seems fair.

                                                      Just admit it — the difference is it’s okay if your’re a Republican. Or the rules are different for Hillary Clinton. Normal behavior for someone else is a scandal of epic proportions for her.


                                                      I’m done with this topic. It’s like a less interesting version of Benghazi, and will end up the same way. And the usual suspects will mutter darkly about how Clinton can’t be “trusted” because she did the same thing in the same way has the two people that held the job before her.

                                                      because *mumble mumble something mumble*.


                                                      • Is the assumption that Powell and Rice must have discussed classified info on their mail servers and they didn’t get crucified for doing so?

                                                        Out of curiosity, did they destroy their email servers in the middle of investigations too or do we just not know whether they did?


                                  • Her first response accounting for her use of a private server was to say she didn’t want to carry two devices with her. Which is just absurd, practically as well as politically.

                                    Now it’s absurd.

                                    In 2009? It’s not absurd at all.


                                    • They may still have been using Blackberry’s then. The White House had a big tech overhaul sometime in the last few years, but before that — IIRC — they were locked into some specific software that didn’t exactly have an android or iPhone app.


                                        • Wouldn’t surprise me. Among other things,he doesn’t really have much of a life outside of being President. I’mn pretty sure his phone was taken for his security, not the security of what he sees.

                                          Secretaries of State get to go home. And are also, to be blunt, more replaceable.


                                            • Maybe you’re not explaining it well, since we’re so confused.

                                              What’s the point? That Hillary should be treated under different, more stringent rules, than the two people that held the job before her? Why?


                                              • Whether or not Hillary is or isn’t subject to different rules than anyone else is entirely besides the point. The issue is how she handles the politically charged situations she’s actually in.

                                                Your argument is that there’s a double standard in play. My argument is that irrespective of whether that’s true or not, she consistently fails to deal with politics in a way the engenders confidence in her … ability to deal with politics. Politics is the reality polticians deal with, yeah? She’s really bad at it. And that has implications regarding her ability to govern, seems to me.

                                                I mean, I say that realizing that I’ll vote for her if she’s the Dem candidate. So it’s not like I’m trying to persuade people to not vote for her.

                                                And to be honest, all this “double standard, Feminazi” stuff falls pretty flat to me. As I said before, she’s aware of the double standard, yes?


                                    • zic and Morat,

                                      The point of referencing her response about not wanting to carry two devices is to highlight that she handled the politics of the situation poorly. Like, really poorly. That’s all.

                                      We can disagree about *that* aspect of how things shook out, but as it stands I don’t think we are. We’re disagreeing about whether any of this should have become a political issue at all. And my view is that of course it’s political (whether rightly or wrongly). And she handled the politics of it very badly.


                                      • And my point is: so what?

                                        She has so much shit constantly thrown at her, she’s often going to handle the politics of it poorly. It’s the same conundrum as was created by too-much classified information; you’re bound to step in it.


                                        • And my point is that I worry she’ll continue to handle the politics of situations poorly, but for reasons that go beyond merely having to deal the shit thrown at her.


                                          • Yeah. I know.

                                            I just want you to keep squarely in mind: people have been trained to think that way about her for a quarter-century, too.

                                            It can be a legitimate concern; her proficiency matters a great deal. But the least one can do, if for no other reason than that of respect for one of the most-qualified people to ever run for POTUS, is to push back on that feeling of worry; is it a real concern or a silly thing you’ve been conditioned to feel by a quarter-century of feminazi propaganda.


                                            • people have been trained to think that way about her for a quarter-century, too.

                                              Huh? The first big political issue Hillary faced was working a back room deal during Bill’s Presidency to overhaul the US healthcare delivery system. CCers were rightly, in my mind, pissed off about it.


                                              • I’ll agree to that so long as you give it the appropriate context,

                                                I didn’t say one shouldn’t criticize her; I said one should always push a little on the feminazi hysteria and it’s companion #KneeJerkSuspicion.


                                                • Even if it is true that Clinton (and before her Powell and Rice) genuinely didn’t want to carry two phones, I find that ridiculous. You are the Secretary of State. Either manage two phones or migrate your personal shit to your work phone. But don’t devise a workaround that is less secure, even if it is legal to do so and done with the blessing of IT. If it was less secure, it was less secure and shouldn’t be accepted for mere convenience.


                                        • zic, there’s actually a substantive issue being discussed here, one not easily dismissed by appeals to feminazi-whatever or knee-jerk-something or other.


                                          • Well, what’s the substantiative issue?

                                            Do you know how this even works?

                                            The office of the Secretary of State has an IT staff. That staff is not political; it’s bureaucratic. She inherited that staff from Condi Rice’s management; with her replacements being the top management that’s politically appointed. For the first two years, presidential administrations pretty much steer the ship-of-state created by the previous president; the details of the ship appointments, the underlying workforce and work-flow habits, pass from admin. to admin.

                                            Say Rubio wins. He’ll be steering the Goodship Obama for the first two years; and his SOS will inherit what John Kerry leaves behind.


                                            • Do you know how this even works?

                                              Yeah, I think I do, actually. When you have lots of political enemies and are confronted with a potentially damaging situation you don’t account for it by saying “I didn’t want to carry two devices” and you don’t follow that up by giving the DOJ (or State, whatever) all the emails which you, based on your own perceptions, view as relevant to your Official Functions and then irretrievably scrub the rest. That’s really bad politics, zic. Like, suicidally bad. For anyone. But for a person in her position, it’s even worse. (If that’s imaginable.)


                                              • all the emails which you, based on your own perceptions, view as relevant to your Official Functions and then irretrievably scrub the rest.

                                                Again, did she, personally do that? Authorize that?

                                                And do we have the right to her private conversations with her husband and daughter?

                                                She would have asked for certain specifics: what do I want for an IT interface, and she said, “one device.” And somebody gave her one device.

                                                Is there any reason to think that she wouldn’t turn over all public-function emails? Let me guess: the Benghazi smoking gun, right?

                                                Like I said upthread, this is a problem her IT people should be addressing. And addressing it as an opportunity to analyze data flows seems enormously intelligent; investigation shouldn’t be just a game of gotcha, but also as an opportunity to learn.

                                                On this thread, we’ve had folks wondering if she set up her own server out of the box.

                                                For fucks sake.

                                                She had more important things to think about, and it was her IT staff’s job to make sure she didn’t have to worry about that crap.

                                                As to the wiping, we’ll see what investigation reveals. But I’m a lot more intrigued by one that’s pro-active than one that’s just another witch hunt. I don’t believe, for a single minute, that she did something she’s desperate to hide. Do you? Like, she’s already the most-investigated person ever.

                                                Do you think maybe she made disparaging comments about world leaders and politicians to Bill she’d prefer not be made public? Discussed private things with her daughter or mother or friends?


                                                • Food for thought.

                                                  Let’s say the HRC we are talking about is Hilda Roberta Cochran, the CEO of Extremely Unpleasant Inc. Her company is under investigation for something unpleasant, but not serious, and she used a private email server for official corporate communications, and the powers that be want that server. Do you still defend? What if it’s Howard Robert Cochran?


                                                  • I just saw that Chris Christie is on CNN right now and asked the CNN hosts how they’d have reacted if, during bridgegate, he announced that he wiped out a server upon which he did government business.

                                                    If Christie saying that was accurately reported (not sure I trust the source), that’s one heck of a question.

                                                    edit: It’s Real. (Jump ahead to around 7 minute mark.)


                                                  • I am not clear on the legal restraint on Clinton to save personal correspondences, in this case emails, from the years she served as Secretary of State. She says she turned over the work-related stuff.

                                                    In reading her responses; I hear: when they asked her what she wanted, how she wanted to work, she responded with “I want only one device.” And when her work-related emails were requested, she turned them over — copies of them, not of the physical servers. And when asked if she wanted her old personal emails — those older than 60 days — she said no.

                                                    Does any of that add up to criminal intent, or is it someone trusting her IT staff? I don’t know — with all things Hillary, I see there’s two ways to read things: perfectly innocent with slightly-off optics and witch hunt.

                                                    As I understand the FBI’s investigation: it’s a very good case study in information flow, particularly the information flow of classified documents. That investigation does have to based on bad intent, and that it’s happening, does not mean it’s happening because of a witch hunt; I’ve repeatedly heard there’s no concerns of her having committed some criminal act that she’s trying to cover.

                                                    As to Hilda and Howard; I’d presume that they, like Clinton, delegated their IT needs to their IT department or a consulting firm. That’s how this stuff typically works.

                                                    Maybe she maliciously had her personal emails to Bill wiped because she said funny things about national leaders to him. But she was Secretary of State in a time of war and global economic collapse; and I wouldn’t take that from her, and I don’t think it should be revealed. That kind of venting, more than anything, is what damaged the US’s diplomacy efforts after the Snowden leaks.

                                                    So if you want me to buy into this as a legitimate controversy, I need something bigger than ‘she wiped her server,’ because 1) she didn’t wipe her server, and 2) the command that caused that wipe could have been a simple as ‘I don’t want my old email,” and somebody putting an old, now unused server back into service from the ground up.

                                                    I don’t know, but with her, it’s as good an exercise to construct my explanations (which reflect what she said,) with any more ill-intent explanation. She’s like the most investigated person ever; and they’ve dug up squat. I don’t expect that to change, and I cannot blame her, say what a horrid person she is, because she’s the most investigated person ever, particularly in light of the squat uncovered thus far.


              • What does Clinton’s decision to route her emails through a personal server tell us about her? Was she being irresponsible, playing fast-and-loose with potentially sensitive information? Was she attempting to hide things? Did she think the rules didn’t apply to her? Did she not know the rules?

                It was within the rules. Rice and Powell before her used private email in pretty much the same way. The rules forbidding that weren’t finalized until AFTER she left office.

                That’s kind of the other thing. There’s “OMG, the rules!” except those rules came AFTER Hillary left. I can’t quite bring myself to call it ‘scandalous’ that she didn’t obey rules that didn’t exist, and that she did what her predecessors did.

                (For the record: Rice had both a private and official email address, and mostly used the former — but rarely used email, according to her spokesman. Powell used private email, but retained no records since that was 10 years or so ago.)


          • Sounds like excuses to me. No classified info would have been released if she hadn’t used her own private server. Hillary is above the rules for the regular people.


  11. Jaybird: That is: “well, maybe some bad stuff happened, but Hillary didn’t do it. It was all the fault of staffers.”

    If the staffers were stripping the THIS DOCUMENT IS CLASSIFIED headers off the documents and mailing them to her, well, yeah. If the Benghazi! committee was looking at documents and saying that “oh, this unclassified document should have been classified after all”, it’s not their fault.


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