Linky Friday #166: Everything Is Awful


Will Truman

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

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197 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    E3: Promprosals are even more inevitable once you know the origins of the prom. Back in the early 20th century when high school was becoming more common, our wealthy people liked to mimic the habits of the English aristocracy. This included giving a debutante ball to all eighteen year old girls. In the United Kingdom the debutante ball indicated that she was fishable and I guess it meant the same thing in the United States. Part of the debutante ball was the promenade, a ritualistic percentage of the girl. Prom comes from promenade. The original purpose of the prom was to be a sort of debutante ball for the vast majority of American girls whose parents could not afford a debutante ball with gyms decorated to the finest that parents could muster.

    M1: I’m not sure that UBI is coming anytime soon but both of this articles were very unimpressive. John Tamny’s was just a pean to normal rightist think on the economy, free markets will take care of everything. Schrager’s was another exercise in received tradition.

    M2: Both of these articles were self-serving. Money and wealth might not guarantee happiness but they do provide a lot of safety. Most people would kill for these problems as M4 demonstrates.

    M3: Many anti-capitalists used to study economics just as seriously as the pro-capitalists. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, this tradition disappeared. It was kind of on it’s way out before hand. Few anti-capitalists study economics these days and because of that they are unable to articulate what would a socialist economy look like in economic terms.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      Presenting, not percentageReport

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Few anti-capitalists study economics these days and because of that they are unable to articulate what would a socialist economy look like in economic terms.

      Hard to take a proposal serious if you can’t articulate how it would work in concise terms.Report

      • Avatar Joe Sal says:

        M3- It’s like doing all the hellish stuff capitalism does, just without the profit.

        Sorry neo-liberals for all that trash talk about profit, I’ll be shutting up about that (for at least a month anyhow).

        Sure as hell hope that ain’t Bernie’s intentions.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      E3 Yabbut… I always assume that the numbers in articles like this are bullshit. The classic version is the evergreen “cost of weddings” piece. The incentives for everyone involved is to inflate the numbers. The industry associations that feed the numbers to the reporter want the numbers high to create demand: convince you that everyone will think you are poor if you don’t throw a wedding meeting some basic bottom line standard, and that bottom line is very high. The reporter in turn has the incentive to take these numbers at face value, because a story about how lots of people spend sensibly on weddings lacks the click-bait outrage factor. (The exception is the occasional contrarian piece, just for variety.)

      In the case of prom, my wife teaches high school and has been involved with the funding and planning of proms. This is a mostly white middle- to upper-middle class school. The key is that the class undertakes frantic fund-raising for a couple of years, starting its freshman year. How much they raise then determines how lavish a venue they can afford and how high the ticket prices will be. This crowd manages to raise enough for downtown hotels in Baltimore. IIRC, the tickets were in the $60 – $70 range. Of course there is no upper limit on what they can spend on add-ons: clothing, limos, etc. It seems to be a thing to also rent a hotel room. I assume the excuse is that the prom will run late, and the real reason is that they want to fuck; and that the parents dwell on the first and carefully avoid thinking about the second. So sure, a kid could easily end up spending a thousand bucks. But I’m also pretty sure that most don’t.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        I just wanted to show off my knowledge of weird bits of American social history. How many people know where proms come from?Report

  2. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    A5: Those homicide rates are definitely wrong. Japan’s national homicide rate is less than one per 100,000.

    Edit: Oh, that’s over the full ten years, rather than per year, maybe?

    I’m also surprised that test scores aren’t higher for Tokyo, considering its status as a magnet for the elite.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    A2: This is Tokyo-Metro, not just the city of Tokyo. Kind of like how the city of Los Angeles is much smaller than Los Angeles County. Though the city of Los Angeles is still big. Tokyo-Metro also includes cities like Yokohama and Kawasaki and many more.

    A4: Singapore is small by American standards but it is not that small.

    E3: How do you get a four-course meal out of a Wendy’s? Also I am always amazed at how cost conscious you always seemed to be. I wonder if families with lower SES spend more on prom because it is seen as a last hurrah over the start of something better. All in all, I did not go to the prom so can’t comment on the excesses. Taking a limo to prom was “mandatory” at my high school seemingly but friends split limos. The only prom thing I did was not go to school the following day.

    M1: Unsurprisingly, I agree with my brother. I have my doubts on UBI coming anytime soon but Tammy’s article was just basic right-wing talking points with more words. I maintain my cynicism on the “absolute wealth” school of economic growth.

    M5: I wondered when this article would get discussed here. I don’t know if there is a non-ideological answer to Garber’s essay. The essay seems ripe for being interpreted through the ideological lens and for confirming previously held beliefs.Report

  4. Avatar notme says:

    [E5] Of course the new PC Army will find a way to excuse the cadets’ behavior.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    e5: The only people who matter in this issue are those who are required to enforce the regs. I’m confided these dudes will noodle it out.

    CEO pay: “No, these things didn’t make the book and weren’t obvious to me—and made perfect sense as soon as I read them. ” Yeah, journalists not knowing anything about their subject matter but writing about it anyway. SOP.

    M5: This article reads like a “do not do this list”. Jeebus, I saw the where this was going on the third paragraph when he said he was dunning folks he’d loaned money to so he could pay HIS bills. God, all that education and none of it on how to manage your finances. No wonder he’s where he is, as he admits.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      M5 is an excellent example of what’s wrong with this “the middle class can’t afford to save” meme. If the Chinese middle class can afford to save, the American middle class can. Some people just choose to spend right up to the limits of what they can afford, no matter where those limits are.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        Well saidReport

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Some people just choose to spend right up to the limits of what they can afford, no matter where those limits are.

        I agree with this, for the same reason I agree with “Some people just choose to eat more calories than they burn”.

        They are both true statements, and both contain an element of moral scolding and blame, that these “some people” are behaving stupidly.

        Which they are, most definitely!

        But of course I can then ask, what sort of culture produces so much stupid behavior, and what part do I play in it?
        I mean, do I participate in a culture that valorizes consumption and excess, where people who drive old cars are scorned, where people who shop at thrift stores are pitied?

        Alternatively, what would our culture look like if thrift and exercise and abstemious eating habits were valorized and reinforced like other moral norms?

        Would we even like it? Would we be comfortable with it? Don’t we have a derisive term for it called “Puritanical”?Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          I mean, do I participate in a culture that valorizes consumption and excess, where people who drive old cars are scorned, where people who shop at thrift stores are pitied?

          I’ve never heard anyone scorned for driving an old car nor been scorned myself. There was a second hand clothes shop in the little town I lived in for many years. No one remarked on the people shopping there. Consignment shops and VoA and Salvation Army shops are not thick on the ground, so they are generally servicing an unusually impecunious clientele (even in a place that’s seen better days like Utica).Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            What do you think about the idea that in our culture, if women derive their sense of status and worth from appearance, men derive theirs from wealth and power?Report

            • Avatar Art Deco says:

              I think men derive their status from accomplishment (vocational and avocational) and women from a variety of factors including marriage, children, attractiveness, and accomplishment. Domestic roles are a weak vector in influencing the status of men, but still a vector. Middle aged bachelors aren’t respected under ordinary circumstances.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          “But of course I can then ask, what sort of culture produces so much stupid behavior, and what part do I play in it?”

          I’m not sure it’s a cultural thing. I think it’s parents not raising and educating their kids. My parents taught me: how to sew a button on, how to use the washer & dryer, how to iron, how to cook, how to hunt and fish. I had jobs in high school that I was “encourage” to find, or one would be found FOR me. I had lots of chores to do for my allowance before I started having part time jobs, and given all that I still managed to keep a 3.5 gpa in highschool, and go out for various sports. Those jobs taught me the value of the dollar, saving, and delayed gratification. Any of that being done now? Not that I’ve seen.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            That’s all great.

            What sort of changes would happen if we DID have an American culture that was thrifty and conservation minded, where people repaired shoes instead of buying new, drove their old cars for 20 years, saved 5% of their income, rarely ate out, and so on?

            I suppose what I’m probing is the notion that there would be tradeoffs, some of which would make us uncomfortable, even those of us like me who are the most vocal scolds of overconsumption.

            How much of our economy runs on this overconsumption? What would happen to the fast food, retail, and service sectors if suddenly we behaved like those thrifty self sufficient folk we admire?

            This ties into the other discussion about automation and globalism, where the global economy already produces so much stuff so cheaply that we have a hard time finding enough labor for all the hands to do.
            But the solution we are told, is that consumers will consume even more still, so the overall labor market will expand. Or so we’re told.

            Go ahead, save that 5% of your paycheck, and watch the demand for whatever it is you produce, fall even further.Report

            • Avatar Damon says:

              “Go ahead, save that 5% of your paycheck, and watch the demand for whatever it is you produce, fall even further.”

              As long as gov’ts are killing people somewhere, I’ll still have a job.

              But really, smart consumption and savings isn’t going to crush the american consumer and kill off all the economic engines. I had this convo a few years ago with a guy that was arguing that you needed a 2 income family to make ends meet in my area. I responded: No, you can do it on one. They can give up that new car every 5 years, they can stop going on expensive vacations every year, they can stop buying 10k flat screen tvs, etc. They haven’t even TRIED to scale it down, so don’t give me that crap.” Scale it down, not end it entirely. Shesh.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Smart Consumption and Savings would crush the American economy flat dead.
                That’s most people not using cars (public transportation), using a zipcar or rental twice a month for groceries and other sundries.

                Gank the gasoline intake of America, and you see a whole new economy.

                I’m friends with a businessman, and if everyone ran their lives like he runs his, the economy would need to completely restructure itself. (Wouldn’t be hardly any starbucks, for example. Maybe a few in downtown manhattan — enough people to fund a store even at less than 1% demanding a coffee a day)Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                It would do nothing of the kind. Manufacturers, merchants, and professionals would redirect their resources into producing services people took an interest in lieu of such things as private automobiles. The severity of the economic contraction would depend on the severity of the demand shock.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                A large enough demand shock would leave oodles of people out of work, and then you’d have the shock to the transportation sector. Which would be worse — because with fewer people using private autos… it becomes more expensive to maintain gas stations for simply trucks.

                Yes, it would recover, of course — don’t be silly.Report

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Depends on the parent, depends on the kid. Hard to teach a kid how to hunt or fish in the city (except for recreation — you don’t want to eat pittsburgh fish, they’re intersexed). I’m certain plenty of kids wind up getting summer jobs in high school (I certainly see enough of them at the amusement park — getting paid no overtime, which amounts to less than minimum wage, because seasonal workers).Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

      I thought the, “All CEOs must be paid above the average” problem was pretty well documented in the business literature.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        I think it is, but that is not something that necessarily makes it’s way down to the masses. So people see the problem, but don’t understand all the variables in play, and thus reach the wrong conclusion.Report

  6. Avatar dhex says:

    [e1] declining high school students is definitely a factor, but there’s lots in the southeast compared to other parts of america.

    think of it this way – college selection is a giant sorting bin conveyer belt made out of both rational and irrational parts.

    the first part of that bin has a lot of gatekeeper influence; parents and college counselors, family friends, etc. it’s a big ole pile of tinder swipes using first impressions. if your first impression of mizzou from out of state is “this place is a mess!”, they go immediately into the nope pile. climbing out of the nope pile is impossible, especially in the larger state school sector, as there are a whole lotta different options. and at that level, unless there’s something mizzou-specific someone wants to pursue…mizzou is out of luck.Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe says:

    E5 is a bulls*** witch hunt. There’s plenty of right wing leaning active duty people that have been riding the razor’s edge of acceptable statements of personal opinion and unacceptable poltical advocacy for years, (both during Bush and Obama) with nary a peep from anyone.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      Witch-hunt, really? What did they think would happen when they had a picture of themselves taken in uniform giving a black power salute?

      There’s plenty of right wing leaning active duty people that have been riding the razor’s edge of acceptable statements of personal opinion and unacceptable poltical advocacy for years, (both during Bush and Obama) with nary a peep from anyone.

      Any proof or is this just BS?Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        Are you of the opinion that graduating from West Point is not empowering? Or that the question of whether black people should have power is a partisan one in the USA in 2016?

        I had gotten the impression that empowerment of black people has officially been a bipartisan issue in the US for some generations now. If you argued that that’s only lip service on one side of the aisle but not the other – so transparently so that even an institution like the military can’t pretend to believe that black power is no longer a partisan issue and therefore acceptable to advocate in uniform – well, that would be something alright.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          I don’t think about or care about whether graduating from West Point is empowering or not. I only care that members of the military don’t make political statements while in uniform. Apparently, even some of the cadets thought it was a bad idea.

          • Avatar Kim says:

            Does the color of their skin really make it a political statement?
            When the white boys do the same salute, nobody gives a shit.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              From the article, “The time, place and manner of a symbol can also hold significant meaning and influence perception.” I would add skin color to that as well. Let me ask you this, if white folks make the same gesture, is it meant as a symbol of black power?Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                Dude, if a black guy wins a rap contest, and some white dudes in the audience stand up with fists raised — yes, it does mean black power.
                (I’d expect him to have been rappin’ like Malcom X, sure…)Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            No one cares what you care about because military code does not bar political statements in uniform… something you’d know if you actually, ya know, read the piece.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog says:

            OK let me spell this out in very simple steps

            – What political statement were they making?

            – Which party is in agreement with that statement, and which party opposed?

            Note that for it to qualify as a partisan political statement in the US, you’d need to be able to quickly and uncontroversially identify which party is for it, and which is against it.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              Black Power and all that was part of a conservative — even nativist movement by African Americans.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                Here’s the military code on political activities – you’ll note every reference is to *partisan* politics. Coming out against racism or for black power isn’t a problem, unless that statement is so tightly tied to the agendas of the major political parties that it is obviously a statement of support for one party and condemnation of the other.

                @notme is implicitly making that claim.

                So I’m calling notme out to make that implicit accusation explicit: to identify which political party is so obviously to notme the party of empowering black people and ending racism, and which is so obviously the party of disempowering black people and continuing racism, as to make the black power salute a partisan political statement.

                (or, alternately, notme could concede that they didn’t realize the code only barred partisan political statements, and now see that there really is no problem and the West Point graduates did nothing wrong under that code)Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                BLM is clearly a partisan political group as much as you would like to deny it.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                Maybe BLM has partisan associations. They also don’t own the black power salute, any more than the Catalan independence movement owns the ‘V’ sign.

                BLM is a hashtag. Black power is a movement. Come on out and say which party a person is obviously supporting, if they fight for black power and against racism.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                if they fight for black power and against racism

                It’s amusing it does not occur to you that these objects might contradictory.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                I find it amusing that you think these objects might be contradictory, but: so conceded!Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                More precisely, BLM flourishes when you have officialdom willing to do-si-do with rioters and sorosphere rent-a-crowd. You only get that with Democratic officialdom. It can also flourish when officials are capons. Republican pols aren’t bad at that, but never as good as Jay Wasteofspace Nixon.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                I think your Markov chain generator is on the fritz.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                indeed. bots write better poetry than this.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Not only partisan, but they’ve clearly been a bunch of incompetent idiots ever since they used their time machine to go back and popularize their black power salute instead of using the time machine for anything useful. (I understand saving JFK is tricky and risks the Civil Rights act, but how about saving MLK? Or Bobby Kennedy?)Report

              • Or tipping McCovery off to what pitch is coming, so he can get the ball over Richardson’s head.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Black Power and all that was part of a conservative — even nativist movement by African Americans.

                Let go of everyone’s leg.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                I’m not joking. Neither is Field Negro if you read his blog which I rather suggest you do.

                When black folks start talking about how they should buy only from other black folks, that’s nativism, pure and simple.

                When black folks start buying guns and “organizing” into brownshirt-like militias, I am going to term that conservative (if only so I don’t Godwin myself out of the conversation). Feel free to take issue with that… as long as you’re going to call the Tea Party fascist as well.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                You’re not joking, but your judgments are a joke. Stokely Carmichael et al were purveyors of inchoate hostility and intimidation. That was all. There was nothing more to it. That’s only ‘conservative’ because your understanding of that term is driven by the fictions liberals tell themselves.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Stokely Carmichael et al were the product of white racism.

                They were told for so long that they were filled with inchoate hostility and intimidation, that eventually they just said to hell with it, and became the angry agents of senseless destruction that everyone said they were.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Neither Stokely Carmichael nor anyone else born in 1941 were the ‘products’ of an abstraction. You’re not fully a ‘product’ of your school, neighborhood, or family. You always have a will and interact with those around you.

                As for Carmichael himself, his upbringing was a 50-50 split between the West Indies and New York City, his parents were skilled or at least semi-skilled workers, and his schooling was more than satisfactory. As a youth, he knew nothing of Mississippi and its cruelties (and nothing of any of its graces, either), bar what you could learn through storytelling. His life up to 1962 had been truncated in certain ways. It was not disagreeable in schema.

                Where I grew up, there was no shortage of blacks born in 1941, before, and after, who grew up, got the schooling they could handle, landed jobs at Kodak or Strong Hospital, started families, and enjoyed what they could with the income they had. Most of them likely did have a mess of complaints about life, some common, some idiosyncratic, some about things palable to them, some about things abstract. I guarantee you that 85% of them spent zero time making themselves an irritant to others bar in the most banal ways and that another 10% did so only in ways you cannot harness to political life.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                My bad-
                I was confusing this with the other thread, about how liberals forced conservatives to become racist by repeatedly calling them that.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              Sure, I’ll spell it out in simple steps for you. Actually I think different Army Times article spells it out quite well about what political statement is possibly being made. Note that a political statement doesn’t need to be endorsed by a particular party to violate the standards.


              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                See my comment chronologically after but located above yours. It does in fact matter which party, because that’s what the military code says.

                You can’t just rely on the fact that other people called for an investigation under that code. So other are making the same implicit association of anti-racism with partisan politics. Great.

                I wouldn’t respect an argument for creationism that is bolstered only by demonstrating that there exist creationists other than the one making the argument. Nor do I accept an argument that the black power salute violates a code that prohibits only partisan statements, bolstered only by demonstrating that you are not the only person who believes it.

                I want to hear that implicit association made explicit – which party is the pro-racism one, and which the anti-racism one?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                I want to hear that implicit association made explicit – which party is the pro-racism one, and which the anti-racism one?

                Tough. You’re not getting an answer until you come up with less tendentious framing.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog says:

                It’s hard to get much less tendentious when responding to a statement that the black power salute is obviously a partisan political gesture, because that itself is pretty tendentious. I’ll do what I can.

                1a) Which party is so integrally the party of black power and the end of racism, so much so that it is practically impossible to endorse black power without endorsing that party?

                1b) That being established why does notme believe it impossible to consistently endorse both black power and the other major party?


                2) Will notme concede that black power is in fact a cause that one can support without being inevitably tied to one party over the other, and retract their implicit accusation that one party completely “owns” the entire spectrum of possible black power activism (i.e. that the other major party as currently constructed has no room for black power activism)?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                You’re crushing it in this subthread.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Which party is so integrally the party of black power and the end of racism, s

                There is no party which is both of these things. “Black power” is an explicit ethnic mobilization. That can be good, bad or indifferent. It has nothing to do with the ‘end of racism’ as an ordinary person would understand that term. Political sectaries have made ‘racism’ a term of art. The rest of us are not obliged to use that term in that way (or to use that term at all).

                Again, Republican politicians are capons, as a rule, and have the biases (or defer to the biases) of their class. The biases are not functional for any purposes other than keeping lawfare artists off your back and being accepted in Society. (“If you wish to be accepted in English Society, you will remove the label on your cigar before lighting it”). So, this issue has been off the table since the 1st Bush Administration.

                Republicans at one time (and in concert with their constituency) were advocates of a system of natural liberty – equal liberty and careers-open-to-talents. No, that’s not congruent with manufacturing systemic patron-client relations between white bourgeois and blacks (which seem always to include performances wherein the two sides to the transaction pretend to be antagonists – see Tom Wolfe’s take on this a generation or more ago).Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          I had gotten the impression that empowerment of black people has officially been a bipartisan issue in the US for some generations now.

          No one uses ’empowerment’ in that way other than ethnic particularists and people writing for The Village Voice. While we’re at it, a great many people are dubious about the utility and prudence of ethnic moblizations, or find them distasteful.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        notme: Any proof or is this just BS?

        there’s a milblogger I’ve been following for a long time. I’m not going to call him out because afaict he hasn’t said anything about this issue, so there’s no hypocrisy. He’s recently retired, and his opinions have got more direct (which is perfectly legit – my opinions got more direct after I retired).

        But before he retired, he was riding that razor’s edge between a perfect valid giving his two cents on US foreign policy, and making disparaging remarks against the CiC and other political officials elected and/or appointed to run the military.Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          If he was violating the UCMJ then he should be called out. If you aren’t willing to name names then don’t use it as proof of your point b/c there is no way anyone can verify it’s true.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            Well, unlike you, I don’t like to throw internet IEDs just to watch the damage. (I like to watch the damage and have a bigger purpose behind it)Report

      • Avatar El Muneco says:

        There’s certainly enough hinky stuff going on to keep an entire Foundation – the MRFF – fully occupied.Report

      • What did they think would happen when they had a picture of themselves taken in uniform giving a black power salute?

        Note: Notice who said that empowering black people is a partisan issue.Report

        • Avatar notme says:


          The only issue here is things you shouldn’t do when in uniform.Report

          • And it’s not in any way established that a “black power” salute is one of them. Perhaps not even a terrorist fist jab. Crossing yourself should be right out, though, since it’s offensive to those of us Christians have been persecuting for thousands of years.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              Once again you are wrong. The article says that “the women will, however, receive additional counseling prior to graduating this month.” As well as this gem, “Even so, the photo pose was “inappropriate,” according to the major who conducted the official inquiry.

              West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen agreed.

              “While the inquiry did not find that these cadets violated a policy or regulation, it did determine that they demonstrated a lapse of awareness in how symbols and gestures can be misinterpreted and cause division,” Caslen wrote in a letter Tuesday to the Corps of Cadets. “The impact of this photo, regardless of its intent, is evident. It is unfortunate that this perception brought attention to our Alma Mater for all the wrong reasons.””


              As i said, things you shouldn’t do in uniform. I don’t think they will do it again and I doubt others will try it.Report

              • “Last December, on the night before the Army-Navy game, I [Caslen] joined hundreds of staff and graduates in raising our fist in support of the Army football team during the Army-Navy pep rally video. The time, place and manner of a symbol can also hold significant meaning and influence perception.”

                Because it’s not offensive when a white guy does it. Or it’s not offensive until a Facebook claque insists they’re offended by a group of people being offensively black.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The weaponization of having been offended.

                Who could have guessed that the outgroup would have started to generate claims of offense?Report

              • You know, black people have had it too good for too long, and it’s time for them to suffer just like the rest of us.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                While I appreciate that you want to focus more on the group that did the microaggressing, this isn’t about them.

                This is about the people who were microaggressed against.Report

              • It’s not as if this were something new. Black people being scary because they’re, you know, black goes way back. Like the guy who was intimidating voters by opening doors for them.

                If you want to BSDI this, you’ll have to find SJWs who insist that the entire intertubes be a safe space.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                If we want to normalize “I’m offended!” as being an argument in itself, we have to expect that ignorant hillbilly rednecks will start pretending to be offended by things.

                If we want to normalize “life sucks, wear a freaking helmet” as being an argument in itself, we have to not be surprised when we are told that life sucks and that we should wear a freaking helmet.

                I don’t think that abandoning universalizability of moral arguments will take us anyplace that looks like the picture on the brochure.Report

              • It’s a good things those two poles are the only possible places to land. Otherwise, things might get complicated.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Play your cards right and you can get a position nuanced enough to be able to explain to those people that they need to get a helmet while, at the same time, explaining how offended you are.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I agree: there’s tremendous utilitarian value in promoting universalizability as a conservative check on progressivisity.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Deontologically, however, such people are obviously acting counterrevolutionarily.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Deonticounterevs are ignored at society’s peril.Report

              • Avatar notme says:


                Your quote doesn’t say that “it’s not offensive when a white guy does it.” If you’d bothered to read your own quote it says, “The time, place and manner of a symbol can also hold significant meaning and influence perception.”

                These woman have been training the last four years to be leaders and should by now be cognizant of the perception that their actions can have actions.Report

              • Oh, they’re going to be leaders? That makes them completely different from their Commandant, who says that he did the same thing.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      Here is some of your BS, a Marine discharged for his on line Obama comments.

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        “Among other comments posted to his Facebook page, Stein called Obama a liar and suggested he would not follow some orders issued by the president.
        An other-than-honorable discharge is given to a Marine who commits a “serious offense” that significantly differs from conduct expected of a Marine, the Corps said.
        A statement from the Marines said it approved the findings of a military board, which in March recommended the discharge.”

        So the Marines are on board with the decision because this was about as blatant a violation of policy as you can get and you’re objection is what exactly?Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          That was a response to Kolohe’s BS statement about a lack of punishment for folks on the right.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            I’m talking about the people on the borderline. Yes, there’s people (more than I would have guess existed 10 years ago) that have gone completely outside the navigation steaming box, and have been (rightly) called out for itReport

            • Avatar Kolohe says:

              it’s also worth noting, as you are aware, that US military officers have a slightly different oath than enlisted personnel. So what a Sgt may do, and what he or she may say about the chain of command, is slightly different than what an officer can do.Report

            • Avatar notme says:

              Borderline cases are more difficult to prove than clear cut ones and therefore harder to prove in this area or regular civilian criminal cases. So I’m not sure what your point is or even attempts to prove.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                I’m saying any of the ‘right wing’ borderline cases weren’t brought forth to the court of public opinion until *after* the military started their investigation, unlike this case, where the court of public opinion got the ball rolling. From the original Army Times reporting on the story

                Army Times received the photo Wednesday from several readers who are concerned the women violated Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces. The policy provides a list of political do’s and don’ts for service members and cautions against “partisan political activity” when in uniform.

                John Burk — a motivational coach, online firebrand and former soldier — criticized the image Wednesday via his fitness website In The Arena. He said the women may run afoul a section of the policy that says troops may not “Display a partisan political sign, poster, banner, or similar device visible to the public at one’s residence on a military installation, even if that residence is part of a privatized housing development.” His post on Facebook was shared more than 1,200 times, which helped to fuel speculation and raise concerns.

                I mean, also, since we’re all gorram barracks lawyers here – you, me, and Mr Burk – no sure again for the 2nd day in a row why we’re all of of sudden very concerned about what young African Americans are doing that their white peers have been doing without anybody (rightly) giving a darn.Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                notme has a bug up its ass about anything that black people do.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                no sure again for the 2nd day in a row why we’re all of of sudden very concerned about what young African Americans are doing that their white peers have been doing without anybody (rightly) giving a darn.

                What proof do you have that their white peers have been doing the same without anyone caring?Report

  8. Avatar Autolukos says:

    M1: I credit Schrager for uttering “EITC”, at least, but neither engages terribly effectively with the actual existence of benefits programs for the poor and unemployed.

    M3: A fascinating read. “Autonomous” seems to be doing a great deal of work here, and I finished with no clear sense of how he would try to protect the autonomy of financial institutions (particularly given the background of a recent expropriation of assets). As far as I can tell, contemporary China bears some strong similarities to his proposed model of ownership, but perhaps I’m misunderstanding something.Report

  9. Avatar Roland Dodds says:

    [E3] I hope my daughter really loves working because there is no way I am paying for all that crap. Parents have to stop acting like these small social events in high school are anything more than an opportunity to get dressed up and go out with your friends.Report

    • Avatar aaron david says:

      When my son went to prom, he paid for everything himself, and even though I would have given him a bit of help with that, he didn’t ask. Then again, he had a job, so he had money that he earned and could spend however he wanted. He is also able to graduate college a semester early (from a college famous for being a five year school) cause he isn’t one to screw around.Report

  10. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    A2 – The interesting thing is that nowhere in Tokyo feels very big. Even at the top of the tallest building the cityscape is rather unserwhelming. Riding the Yamanote-sen for some time, just to see all the people file on an off, is an experience.Report

  11. Avatar notme says:

    So the feds are charging this cop even though he’s already been charged by the state with murder. I guess the DOJ was short on publicity that day.

  12. Avatar LTL FTC says:

    M1: One of the UBI’s main selling points is the prospect of a “grand bargain” between the right, which wants to cut overhead on income support programs, and the left, which wants to make it easier for the poor to receive benefits without jumping through hoops and constantly falling in and out of eligibility.

    For the moment, leave aside how laughable the idea of any sort of bargain would be in today’s Washington. Imagine that there existed two parties that recognized they both had something to gain from a UBI. I’m interested to know what the marginal programs would be.

    The programs that would obviously go: Unemployment insurance (to the joy of the Chamber of Commerce), WIC, Food Stamps, Disability, subsidized school lunches and Section 8.

    But what about Medicare? If your UBI gives you enough money to get a subsidized tin level plan on your state exchange, what’s the justification? And does this mean that single-payer is even less likely?

    Then, there are all those other “poor people programs.” Heating assistance, phone subsidies, other housing programs, etc. Will they be rendered unnecessary, sacrificed for the good of the UBI project or what?

    Next up comes the posturing. Certainly, some smart pol will get some good press for carving out violent felons, sex offenders, people who don’t sign up for selective service, etc. Another may put UBI benefits on a card that can’t be used for disfavored purposes, like spending at liquor stores. A social safety net that’s full of holes will just be replaced with something else that has new holes on different places.

    The more I think about it, the more I feel like a small-c conservative (in a progressive way) about this project. Our current system is terrible, but putting the whole thing up for renegotiation seems to me to be an invitation for trouble.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      One of the qualifiers of a UBI is that it is unconditional, i.e. no carve outs or qualifiers or restrictions. You get the money, if you choose to spend it sending yourself to hell, so be it.

      If we ever did a UBI, I’m thinking CPS will need more budget & personnel and have to be much more aggressive dealing with parents who fail to provide for their kids.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC says:

        UBI was never really unconditional, since in all of the proposed schemes, nobody is writing a check to people with higher incomes. If government isn’t cutting an identical check to every living, breathing human within a nation’s borders, there have to be eligibility rules. “Income” must be defined, and that’s somewhat difficult by itself. Writing those rules is where lots of chicanery comes in.

        “Senator X voted to write unconditional checks to child molesters and murders,” even if it’s voting against a carve-out, is sadly probably a winning argument.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          They certainly are cutting an identical check to all citizens in every plan I’ve seen. If that goes, we’ve established what it is and just negotiating over the price…Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC says:

            The Swiss referendum does reduce the size of the check as you earn more, though it does make income up to the amount of the UBI tax-free.Report

            • Avatar El Muneco says:

              Yeah, most of the back of the envelope thinking I’ve seen uses changes to the tax laws to essentially means-test the payment so that it ends up as no net gain somewhere in the middle class. And disparate impact is modulated by what other programs get cut to make up the revenue (and whether health care is tied to the UBI or kept distinct).

              I just think it’s important – politically – that a UBI be sold from day one as being equal for all Americans. That the payment itself is basic and inviolate. No special interests, no fishing with it by Congress, none of the shenanigans we see with voting.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC says:

          You keep adding hurdles, and then talking about how we need to deal with those hurdles?

          Pretty much everyone *here* is talking about just giving everyone (Or, at least, all adult citizens, although I’m not sure why we care about the ‘adult’ part of that.) the same amount of money. Period. No exceptions at all. (And also this wouldn’t count as income for tax purposes, because that is completely nonsensical.)

          The upper-class and upper-middle class are just going to give more than that back in taxes. Or, perhaps more logically, have an option to direct the UBI *towards* their taxes throughout the year, so they have less withholding.

          There are *political* obstacles to that (Although someone should point out that withholding money from criminals in general makes it *more* likely for them to commit more crimes. Duh.), but it seems odd to mention those immediately after putting us in a hypothetical where this could pass happen.

          And, yes, the theory is that it replaces everything, or at least all general programs.

          How that would interact with Medicaid and health care subsidies is not something anyone’s really figured out. It really depends if we *want* specific people to end up on Medicaid or private health insurance.Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC says:

            This isn’t about “hurdles” for UBI to be a good idea. What everybody *here* wants in an ideal public policy is irrelevant to my initial comment. That’s something else entirely.

            How that would interact with Medicaid and health care subsidies is not something anyone’s really figured out. It really depends if we *want* specific people to end up on Medicaid or private health insurance.

            This. This. This. When you say it “replaces everything,” that’s the kind of shorthand that I wanted to address. I rarely see discussion of what “everything” is. Unemployment Insurance, clearly. Farm subsidies, fairly clearly not. But there are a lot of programs in the middle including Medicaid. So, let’s talk.Report

    • Avatar Tim M says:

      I agree with your cynicism, but I think it’s a separate discussion. There is value in figuring out the “ideal” public policy, even if it can’t be implemented in the near term.

      In fact, I think there’s three different discussions to have about a policy proposal:
      – Assuming it works, would it be a good idea?
      – Assuming you can get it up and running, does it keep working, or collapse under the weight of its own contradictions?
      – Assuming the world as it exists today, can we implement this policy without being destroyed by transition costs?

      UBI is still working through the first question, with a bit of the second. The political implementation is a whole separate ballgame.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC says:

        You rarely hear about UBI without mention of Milton Friedman because UBI’s strengths were always both economic and political. Without the prospect of broader buy-in and the end of piecemeal battles for this entitlement or that intervention, I get the feeling that most proponents wouldn’t even consider it.

        And in the evaluation, I would also add “what are the possible unintended consequences?”Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          IIRC, Friedman was talking about a negative income tax, which is a term that gets used interchangeably with UBI & GBI, even though the terms have subtle differences.Report

  13. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    M2: Didn’t I send that to you last year?Report

  14. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    W2 is pretty cool. I like how it analogizes each person to a spread sheet cell.Report

  15. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    W5 At least he’s admitting $28/hr would result in unemployment. I think Hanauer is definitely a pie-in-the-sky idealist, but he has been pretty consistent with his underlying message about inequality and that he sees a risk to the elite if people get sufficiently frustrated and enraged.Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      So, what, Jerry Brown said that $15 didn’t make economic sense but signed the law anyway.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        With the admission that I haven’t read everything Hanauer has said on the subject, the impression that he gives me is that he is honestly concerned about inequality and it’s bad ends when the proletariat gets all bloody minded (student of the French Revolution, etc., I suppose), and that in a manner similar to other like minded Elites, he’s trying to build support for industry to move toward alleviating it BEFORE government does something that is not ideal for the business community (and the government will eventually do something, because as much as they like to pretend otherwise, most of the folks warming seats in Congress are Elite, and should the proletariat get bloody minded, they’ll be up against the wall as well).Report

        • Avatar notme says:


          Do you really believe that if we don’t give folks $15 for flipping burgers there will be a revolution?Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Not in the least. What I think is that as more and more of the percentage of wealth accumulates to fewer people, larger & larger percentages of the population will feel disconnected, or perhaps a better term is “not invested”, in the health of the economy. The less invested the population is in the economy, the less committed they are in maintaining it, or participating in it.

            Upping the minimum wage won’t necessarily make people feel more invested, but something needs to be done to close the gap between the top & bottom quintiles and keep people invested. Minimum wage hikes are the sledgehammer of options (IMHO, it’s why government likes it, because subtlety in public policy is hard). I would bet that the likes of Hanauer raise the spectre of a high minimum wage as more of a boogey man than as a actual policy, a way to encourage business leaders to think of ways to increase the amount of wealth flowing to workers, before politicians o it for them.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              Remember when the guy that owned Papa John’s screamed that if he gave his workers healthcare, he’d have to raise the price of pizza 25 cents?

              THE HORROR.

              I was actually fairly surprised when my son (in college, working as a waiter) mentioned that he’s not allowed to come to work within 24 hours of throwing up. Which seemed a no-brainer for me, but this is Texas. Showing up to work while violently ill is, in general, seen as the sort of thing you have to do because of making the life choice of being “poor”.

              (Which actually reminds me of my mother, rather liberal these days — Dubya turned her from a Republican to a Democrat, I was shocked — complaining that she’d rather pay MORE for poor people to use the ER than pay less so they can get health insurance, because the hours and hours of waiting and extra pain somehow makes it better than her tax money is paying for those people. Which was true right up until my brother and his wife, got stuck in the lovely tax subsidy-free zone of ‘Should be qualified for Medicaid, but Texas said no” healthcare…My father blames Obama for that, whereas my mother blames Rick Perry)Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Hell, we could start with something similar to what the UK did.

                Question for the economists hereabouts: How much of an effect does employment tax have on wages?Report

              • Avatar James K says:


                An employment tax is functionally an income tax. In both cases whether employers of employees bear most of the burden depends on whether supply or demand tends to move more in response to an increases in wages. This will vary by industry.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                So you can’t make a blanket statement that you tax something you want less of, so an employment tax will generally give you less employment?Report

  16. Avatar Kazzy says:

    M5: Wow. So much to criticize. But I think this bit captures it best and most succinctly: “I came to the realization that what was happening to me was also happening to millions of other Americans.”

    No… nothing was happening to you. You are responsible for the situation you put yourself in. As you said just a paragraph or two before, your lifestyle and resume and tax return all indicate that you should not be struggling financially… and yet you are. So unless someone is regularly stealing your money, you and you alone are responsible for your insecurity.

    Not everyone is solely or even primarily responsible for economic hardships they find themselves in. But guys like this guy? Yea… he’s pretty clearly to blame.Report

  17. Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

    H5: When your whole activist science industry is basically a big p-hacking operation, you have to clamp down hard on any meta-analysis that shows your results to be one-off glitches. The moment the EPA study was published, a huge poo flinging fit was sure to begin. Unfortunately, I’d be surprised if the study ever resurfaces again in its unadulterated form. As far as I can tell, the anti-glyphosate brigade is out there with the “cell phones cause cancer” brigade, except they’re actually winning significant PR victories.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Speaking of the EPA

      What bugs me is, the guy got a permit from WY to do the work, so he was, as far as he knew, operating within the law. If a state permit was inadequate, shouldn’t the state have a degree of obligation to make the permit seeker aware of that? If the state gives a citizen bad information regarding the law, the EPA should take it up with the state, not the citizen. This is an example of the problem with “Ignorance of the law…” when the laws are not only voluminous, but also subject to an ever constant state of interpretive change.Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        Any western landowner who claims not to know that EPA cares about the dredging and filling of Waters of the US is likely lying. This has been an issue for decades.

        Also, take a look at Wyoming Fish and Game’s webpage on building a pond, here. Right at the bottom of the page it provides links to the Army Corps of Engineers. (The ACOE and EPA jointly regulate what are known as “404 permits”). So no, I don’t buy the argument from ignorance.

        Impacts to waters are cumulative. A lost swamp here, a change in habitat there and soon enough you have significant impacts to the environment.Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          That’s note entirely the who issue though. There have been numerous instances where the gov’t has unilaterally classified certain bodies of water as under their jurisdiction where no reasonable person otherwise would–after someone’s altered it of course.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe says:

          Francis: (The ACOE and EPA jointly regulate what are known as “404 permits”)

          Well, that explains why nobody can find them for the Wyoming guy.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          Also note, the EPA decided to settle the case for the cost of some Willows, which tells me they were probably over-reaching. From the PLF:

          …arguing that the order was illegal because “stock ponds” like his are expressly exempt from the Clean Water Act. Additionally, he challenged the government’s assertion of jurisdiction. Under Supreme Court precedent, the federal government can regulate waters only if they have a “significant nexus” to navigable waters. Andy Johnson’s pond drains to a manmade irrigation ditch, where the water is used for agriculture.

          As for that link, as a non-lawyer who is not very familiar with water rights and what the EPA may or may not claim jurisdiction over, that link just says, “Hey, here is some more information you might be interested in”, and following that link, I have no clue where to start looking for any additional information.

          I’ve made this point before that if government wishes to claim that ignorance is no excuse, then government has a duty to be as proactive as possible regarding informing the citizenry of the law and any possible intersections it will have with them. To me, that means doing a hell of a lot more than putting the rules in a locked cabinet in a dark basement with a vague warning of predatory cats. It means helping people navigate the regulatory/permitting process, and if it may involve multiple layers, making sure the citizen is aware of that.

          As you have said yourself, water rights & regulations in the Western States is more than complicated. Just because it’s complicated doesn’t mean citizens should be extra careful, it means governments should be extra diligent in navigating the mess they have to manage.Report

          • Avatar Francis says:

            Well if it were too easy I’d be out of a job (that I no longer work at).

            More generally, the Clean Water Act is a mess and there is no agreement on fixing it. The environmental community wants the federal govt to exercise its jurisdiction to the maximum extent of its powers and the ranching and housing groups want to abolish EPA. Expanding federal/state cooperation is one road to consensus but Republican governors have – at the behest of their constituents — have decided on obstructionism. EPA is poorly funded and its rulemaking on these issues is utterly deadlocked (last I checked).

            Moreover, cumulative impacts are a real issue, but sometimes EPA bureaucrats can be very difficult to work with, insisting on expensive mitigation for what appears to be trivial impacts.

            As to the threat of penalty, EPA always advises those facing an EPA action of the worst possible case under the law, and the CWA does provide for those penalties. Would you have them soft-peddle upfront? Affected parties would be outraged if the fine got worse as the investigation continued.

            And as to this particular case, who knows what EPA’s real position was? It’s entirely possible that they just wanted some protection against sediment discharge all along and it’s the rancher who was making all the fuss. I’ve had clients like that.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              I’m not trying to comment on the CWA, nor am I commenting on the EPA quoting the maximum penalties, but rather the burden our legal system places upon people that I find largely problematic. I am not even claiming that people should be let off because of ignorance, because that sets up a perverse incentive. My issue is that if a person approaches their government and asks, “I want to do X, can I and how do I do it legally?”, then government should be obligated to be diligent and accurate in it’s advice & guidance to the citizen. If it fails to do so, then the fault, and any penalty, falls to the government body and the citizen is not held to account.

              Also, from what I read, the EPA was demanding the pond be drained and the stream returned to it’s original state. That’s a bit more than asking for some sediment protection.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              I’ve got friends that deal with both the EPA (and have complained excessively) and companies who are in trouble with the EPA (and complain excessively) and companies that SHOULD be in trouble with the EPA, but the EPA does not yet know.

              And it’s 50/50 who is holding the idiot ball, although after some of the stories I’ve heard I’m not sure I can blame the EPA inspectors for getting overly rigid. People do some really, really, really stupid stuff.

              I mean like “Let’s take this incredibly caustic chemical that tends to exude a lot of vapors that not only cause tons of exciting cancers but react with practically everything and also explode — and store them in open plastic bins! Right in the middle of the work-floor! The degrading plastic bins full of exploding chemicals are perfectly placed to catch any other spills, or perhaps sparks. And they perfume the air so nicely!” stupid.

              Like “How has this place not blown up and everyone died” stupid.

              I suppose after the tenth time you see people breaking a dozen regulations (and big ones like “Don’t pour that down the drains or just out into the yard, for God’s sake” and “You can’t have 100 tons of this stuff on site, you’re not licensed to store it and you’re keeping it in a shed. This stuff explodes”) for no other reason that laziness (and it’s laziness even more than greed)….Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                From what it’s sounding like, you could be talking about the place in West, TX.Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                oh god, the don’t pour down the drain clients. I had one of those once. Sludge in a pond. Enforcement officers put on the Tyvek suits, schlep up the drain pipe following the sludge, which stops directly underneath a drain that (surprise!) was right next to some heavy machinery on the client’s property.

                They settled pretty quickly.

                Oscar — I agree that government agencies should do more to cooperate with their own citizens. But the laws passed by Congress in this field are complicated and people can disagree quite strongly as to the meaning of the laws and the obligations they create. And in some states, the parallel state agencies have an actively hostile relationship with the federal agency. That tends to make the feds pretty hard-nosed.

                Also, sometimes the feds overreach. And when that happens sometimes it’s a legitimate disagreement; sometimes it’s because the agency was incompetent and even occasionally the agency was malicious. (that’s actually quite rare.)Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                Yeah, my two friends in the chemical industry have said much the same — the EPA guys might be rigid, they might be hard-nosed (it’s generally the really cynical ones that have just gotten tired of constant idiocy), but they’re more likely to be overly focused on the immediate, small issue than outright malicious.

                And the people routinely doing incredibly unwise stuff? It’s just a lot more common for it to be laziness or sheer short-sighted stupidity, and not greed. (They’re not doing it to save money, someone just didn’t think it through or someone didn’t bother, and nobody checked and you end up with ten years of something awful stored in a shed or down the drain).

                One of the guys I know spent a few years doing compliance audits of companies recently acquired outright, or acquired as suppliers who agreed to meet his company’s standards. He only told the horror stories, so I can’t say how frequent “WTF” moments were in his job.

                He has a lot of stories, though. My personal favorite involves them locating a 40-year old liquid container full of something nasty. It was a train container. It went literally went MISSING 40 years ago, insurance paid out, someone actually found the stupid thing in a trainyard somewhere a few years after they bought out the company.

                Lawyers got involved there, simply because there was a free-for-all about who actually owned it now (and thus was responsible for figuring out how to safely dispose of a chemical that’s been stewing inside a sealed, heavily rusted and corroded, container for decades).Report

              • Avatar Kim says:

                It’s worse when you work for the CDC… Then everything’s a public health hazard, and you have corporate stick-in-the-muds who would rather kill children than lose a bit of corporate profit.

                Russel’s co-blogger wrote about one of those companies and how “family friendly” they were.Report

  18. Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

    M2: The wording is a little awkward, but I’m not sure that Koch was saying what people think he was saying. From the other quotes in the interview, it sounds like he was saying that if your goal is to get rich, you’re going to give up a lot of things that make you happy in service to that goal. Which is pretty bog-standard life advice when it comes to starting a business. The problem is the phrasing of this one sentence: “I tell everyone, getting rich is life’s biggest booby trap.” From the other sentences, it sounds like he meant something more along the lines of, “Being obsessed with getting rich is life’s biggest booby trap.”Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      I am literally eyerolling at the arrogance inherent in that statement.
      It takes two generations to lose a fortune, doesn’t it?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      “Trying to get rich is life’s biggest booby trap” is probably closer to what he meant. Not sure if that is true (It’s a big one, but the biggest?) but it offers a different perspective on his comments.Report

  19. Avatar notme says:

    George Zimmerman finds a new auction site to sell the gun that killed Trayvon Martin

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      The gun did not kill Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman used the gun to shoot Martin because Martin was grinding Zimmerman’s head into the concrete.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        Are you sure that’s what happened? Folks here will insist Zimmerman was out to kill a black person, found Martin then stalked him before murdering him in cold blood.Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

          As always, this is an astute reading of the people who disagree with you.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          I seem to recall Kazzy and “Blaise P” were quite inventive in dreaming up scenarios regarding the sequence of events and of what was going through Zimmerman’s head at the time. The evidence for these scenarios was just about nil. The one thing they had in common is that they consisted of deductions from a premise that Zimmerman must be a contemptible human being.

          Justifiable homicides by private citizens are not that common (the annual number is measured in scores). Still, they do happen and there wasn’t much about this one that would have merited it being anything other than a local crime story. Metro Orlando has I think about 90 homicides a year. What’s so interesting about this one? Well, the media allowed itself to be played by a pair of grifters named Ryan Julison and Benjamin Crump (pushing an open door, I’m sure), Gov. Scott was snookered by the state Attorney-General into turning the case over to an unscrupulous prosecutor who has a history of abusive treatment of people who defend themselves with guns, and Holder and Obama tossed in an IED just to entertain us all.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC says:

            Metro Orlando has I think about 90 homicides a year. What’s so interesting about this one?

            That the police didn’t even arrest the person that committed a justifiable homicide, and no one bothered to charge him, so there was absolutely no legal determination made that it *was* justifiable for quite some time. That seems a *bit* interesting, doesn’t it?

            People who kill people should almost always be *arrested* and *charged with a crime*. Especially if it happened in public (as opposed to during some sort of trespassing), *and* there were no other witnesses, *and* the only person who appears to have been armed was the killer.

            Claiming a homicide is ‘justifiable’ is something that *the defense uses at trial*, not just something the cops decide at the scene.

            The rational for not charging Zimmerman appears to be ‘The killed guy was black, it must have been justified.’

            Oh, wait, you’re just waiting for someone to mention ‘Stand Your Ground’, so you can claim it wasn’t relevant. Except, uh, it was. It was why he didn’t get charged originally, and it was why, in the trial, he didn’t have to produce evidence of half the stuff he claimed.

            I.e., the SYG law said he was fine if the situation was X , but he claimed the situation met stricter self-defense rules, so everyone trumpeted that ‘Stand Your Ground’ didn’t apply. But the reason that the prosecution didn’t bother to challenge those (probably bogus) self-defense claims, because all that would prove is that…the situation was X, and SYG covered him.

            If I have a hypothetical license to shoot anyone I want to, and I shoot someone and claim self-defense…the prosecution probably isn’t going to try to disprove my claim of self-defense. What would that accomplish for them? That doesn’t mean I was *actually* acting in self-defense.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC says:

              No other *good* witnesses, I mean. There were plenty of witnesses, but all of them only saw fractions of the fight, and were so far away that they could only identify people by the color of their clothing.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                No. The fight took place outside the back door of the most salient witness. He could see them perfectly clearly. IIRC, he was about 30 feet away and he yelled at Martin.

                That aside, the autopsy report made plain the juxtaposition of Martin and Zimmerman at the moment Martin was shot.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco says:

              Stand Your Ground wasn’t relevant because he had no option to retreat. He also had a self-defense claim. Without regard to what the jury decided, you wouldn’t call it ‘bogus’ unless it were your thesis that your contempt for Zimmerman’s safety should have been shared by Zimmerman himself or the wider community.

              People who kill people should almost always be *arrested* and *charged with a crime*. Especially if it happened in public (as opposed to during some sort of trespassing), *and* there were no other witnesses, *and* the only person who appears to have been armed was the killer.

              There were witnesses, David. There was a neighbor standing right there while Martin was pummeling Zimmerman. I’m really not sure why you have vehement opinions on local police procedure or what should and should not trigger an arrest in those circumstances. He was taken into custody for a time, then released. He spoke to officers at length over two days about the sequence of events, and did so without a lawyer present.

              Claiming a homicide is ‘justifiable’ is something that *the defense uses at trial*, not just something the cops decide at the scene. The rational for not charging Zimmerman appears to be ‘The killed guy was black, it must have been justified.’

              No, that’s your gloss because you have some esoteric need to think ill of local law enforcement and Zimmerman. At least one investigating officer had a tentative recommendation that GZ be charged with manslaughter. I think his superiors disagreed. The local prosecutor was disinclined to seek an indictment or information. I’m not sure where you got the idea that prosecutors cannot or must never refuse to proceed with a case. They do that all the time based on their assessment of the facts and priorities given other cases the office is handling. Only a small minority of cases are disposed of by petit jury trials, though a large share of homicide cases are so disposed.

              As it was, a plea bargain was never in the offing because the case was taken away from the local DA and turned over to a special prosecutor who hideously overcharged him and then assigned the case over to a shady subordinate who played hide the ball with the defense until the case went down in flames at trial. See Jerilyn Merritt’s commentary on the case, Andrew Branca’s, or Alan Dershowitz. Merritt in particular said the trial judge was about normal but that the prosecutor was unprofessional to a degree outside her four decades of experience.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                Stand Your Ground wasn’t relevant because he had no option to retreat. He also had a self-defense claim.

                I *literally* just mentioned that.

                He *claimed* he had no option to retreat. The prosecution didn’t bother to challenge that statement, because *even if he did* have such an option, it wouldn’t matter under Stand Your Ground.

                *Without* Stand Your Ground, the prosecution would probably have challenged that, considering he *tracked down the guy*.

                And, yes, he claims he was jumped by Martin…but even if we accept that, he was jumped *while looking for him*.

                In places without Stand Your Ground, *even if we take 100% of what Zimmerman said as true*, he’d have a pretty hard fight for as self-defense legal defense…and there’s no reason the prosecution would accept it as true.

                Telling the authorities you’re going to track down and confront a completely random person, and then, *somehow*, ending up in a fight for your life (Which no one saw start) with that person and that person ending up dead…is not a very good start to a self defense claim. It *might * work, but it’s a bit dubious…at least in places without Stand Your Ground laws, where all you have to do is get the guy to hit you first. (Or, without witnesses, apparently just *claim* the guy hit you first.)

                There were witnesses, David. There was a neighbor standing right there while Martin was pummeling Zimmerman.

                Yes, there was a neighbor watching as an unarmed person fought with an armed person, and the armed person won.

                And there is absolutely nothing about that statement that makes it *not a murder*. What there *aren’t* any witnesses to was how it got to that point. Two people fighting, and one person killing the other, is only self defense *if the other started it*.

                For all we know, ten seconds before anyone saw them, Zimmerman was threatening to kill Martin, and Martin leap on him and tried to stop him. (And, thanks to Stand Your Ground, it’s not like *Martin* had a duty to retreat either.)

                The only thing we know about before the witnesses is the 911 call…which doesn’t even vaguely help Zimmerman’s case. The *most kind* interpretation of Zimmerman describes a man, with a gun, who decided to chase down another man for *no reason at all*, with the *stated intent* of challenging him in some manner.

                No, that’s your gloss because you have some esoteric need to think ill of local law enforcement and Zimmerman. At least one investigating officer had a tentative recommendation that GZ be charged with manslaughter. I think his superiors disagreed.

                …I have no idea why you think I think ill of local law enforcement.

                And, no, his supervisors did not disagree. The police appear to have thought there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman (Which is a completely insane statement. See below.), but turned it over to the Florida State Attorney.

                The local prosecutor was disinclined to seek an indictment or information. I’m not sure where you got the idea that prosecutors cannot or must never refuse to proceed with a case.

                Erm, they *did* proceed with the case.

                The problem was not, in fact, the ultimate outcome.

                I actually think, under Florida law, there was not enough evidence to convict Zimmerman. I’m not *sure* about under state law with a duty to retreat, perhaps yes, perhaps no. And second degree murder was indeed the wrong choice.

                But the thing is…when people shoot other people, you arrest them, unless there’s a real clear reason not to. ‘I tried to track down some random dude I saw walking around and he jumped me’ is…*not* a real clear reason not to arrest someone. In fact, it’s a rather dubious claim on the face of it.

                The lack of arrest in any timely manner is what got the case national attention, as I pointed out. Not the *outcome*.

                And self defense is an *affirmative* defense that the *defendant* is suppose to prove the situation met the qualifications of. (Hence the statement that the police thought there ‘wasn’t enough evidence to arrest Zimmerman’ is pretty damn insane. They couldn’t prove it wasn’t self defense, but they don’t *need* to prove that. *He*, at least in theory, needed to prove it *was*….well, or go for a Stand Your Ground hearing, but he didn’t do that.)Report

          • Avatar Kazzy says:

            Quote me or don’t mention me.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        The gun did not kill Trayvon Martin.

        If it wasn’t the gun then what was it?

        Zimmerman used the gun to shoot Martin…

        Ahh, so it was the gun. Glad you cleared that up in your own comment, Art.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          As a character in Weird Al’s “UHF” said: “Guns don’t kill people. I do.”Report

        • Avatar notme says:

          Zimmerman used the gun to shoot Martin

          This is clear enough even for a liberal to understand.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Apparently it’s not clear enough for Art to understand given his disagreement with your comment about “the gun that killed Trayvon Martin”. Or perhaps it’s not clear to you. I’ll stay out of it and let you two sort it out.Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

              Art and notme’s point, I believe, is that Trayvon Martin killed Trayvon Martin, in the same fashion that Eric Garner killed Eric Garner by selling cigarettes and Jordan Davis killed Jordan Davis by listening to rap music at a gas station.

              But not, it should be stressed, the way that Dillon Taylor killed Dillon Taylor. Because Dillon Taylor was totally killed by the police officer who shot him with his gun.Report

              • If liberals hadn’t kept calling Republicans racists, Zimmerman wouldn’t have had to kill Trayvon Martin.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                No, that is not my point. Zimmerman, like any citizen, has a franchise to use lethal force under certain circumstances. When you’re on your beck being pummeled by a perfect stranger because said stranger has his nose out of joint, you’re in the zone where the use of lethal force is legitimate. The subordinate determination is whether a reasonable person would have believed his life was in danger.

                As for Garner, he was a morbidly obese diabetic asthmatic. He had an eccentric reaction to an ordinary police tackle. There is no way in the world for police officers to have granular knowledge of the medical problems of the middle-aged men they encounter on a day to day basis.

                As for Davis, he was killed in the course of one of those wretched interpersonal disputes of which you have dozens every year in a normal midsize city. It had some unusual features (young lumpenproletarians are commonly the parties to such disputes, not middle-aged bourgeois), but that’s all.

                These three cases have little in common bar that a black male didn’t die in bed. Well, about 7,000 black males don’t die in bed every year. The number killed by cops, bad tempered computer programmers, and insurance office employees getting beaten up is a single digit share of that.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          Inanimate objects are not agents.Report

          • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

            When a friend says that his dog was hit by a car, should I offer the correction immediately or let it slide for a while?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Inanimate objects are not agents.

            That much is clear. But in normal English, it’s entirely appropriate to say that earthquakes kill people. Tornadoes too! When people say stuff like “the fire killed 13 people” they aren’t attributing agency to a natural property. Rather, they’re identifying the proximal cause of those people’s death. Same with the gun that killed Trayvon Martin. Everyone knows exactly what that means, and it isn’t that the gun, of it’s own volition!, acted on murderous intent. (Of course, the gun didn’t kill Trayvon either. Only fucking idiots would believe that, yeah? It was a particular bullet fired from that gun’s chamber…)Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              Or IOW Art: inanimate objects can kill people, they just can’t murder them.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco says:

              A tornado is an event. A gun is a tool.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Yes, I agree. What’s your point? I mean that seriously, btw. I have no idea what you’re arguing here since the general vibe I’m getting is that you’re being overly legalistic about a property of natural language no one disputes.

                But that sorta makes you look like a condescending fool, so I’m reluctant to go that route.Report

      • No one testified to “Martin was grinding Zimmerman’s head into the concrete”, and the medical examiner’s testimony was that Zimmerman’s injuries were “very insignificant”.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco says:

          Zimmerman’s head was covered in blood. Photographs of Zimmerman covered in blood were taken at the scene by witnesses. There was both eyewitness and earwitness testimony regarding Martin’s attack on Zimmerman delivered at the trial, as well as recordings of Zimmerman’s yelling while he was being beaten. Martin was on top of Zimmerman pummeling him. C’mon, this isn’t that difficult.

          Medical examiners conduct autopsies. No clue what a pathologist would have been up to examining Zimmerman, who was and is very much alive.Report

          • Go ahead, make more stuff up. Or actually look up the facts. I gave you the phrase to search for.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco says:

              I am making nothing up. Photographs of Zimmerman were all published at the time. They were taken by one of his neighbors. The testimony was given orally at the trial; the fight was taking place right outside the back door of a neighbor who did testify. The recordings of the 911 calls were played at the trial. None of this is esoteric information. All of this was hashed out three years ago.

              There was also an autopsy of Martin. The results were published. He was shot at an angle and distance consistent with Zimmerman’s account.Report

              • None of this addresses “grinding Zimmerman’s head into the concrete”. Which is unsurprising.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                Martin did bang Zimmerman’s head into the ground as he was hitting him in the face. The bottom line is that the homicide was justified and Tod Kelly’s point is just liberal BS.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Photographs were taken of the back of his head showing cuts and bruises. IIRC, the main witness used the term ‘ground and pound’ and ‘MMA style’ to describe Martin’s moves.Report

              • Photographs were taken of the back of his head showing cuts and bruises

                Which were (and once again I quote the medical testimony given at the trial) “very insignificant”. Nor was there any testimony that the person on top was striking the person on the bottom.

                If you don’t believe me, look it up.Report

              • Avatar notme says:


                Why don’t your post it? Even if Art is wrong, so what? It wont change the fact that the homicide was justified.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                Most certainly there was and, again, there was the autopsy report. I’ve no idea how you got this nonsense into your head.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:


                Also, how would an autopsy report tell us what happened to Zimmerman?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                It would help decide the issue of whether or not Zimmy was being beaten so badly that he “feared for his life”, which is a sufficient condition in Florida for self-defense to justify the use of lethal force against another.

                I mean, let’s face it, Kazzy: according to Florida law Zimmerman was entirely justified in killing Trayvon Martin (ie., the only relevant consideration is his report of his own mental state…) – since he claimed he had a legitimate fear for his life in that moment – and all the self-appointed-Neighborhood-Watch-Captain-stalking or other intent wrt Martin is irrelevant to the letter of the law.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                Errrmmm… even that I’m not so sure about. An autopsy could probably tell us if Martin had bruised knuckles or other injuries consistent with an altercation, but they wouldn’t do much in the way of telling us how badly Zimmerman was injured. Art Deco made specific claims as to the injuries that Zimmerman sustained. When asked for evidence, he did what he always did and tried to dodge the question.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Seems to me this is what’s going on: Art is intent on establishing that Z was being pummeled by TM for purposes that have nothing to do with the correct application of law in Florida. I’m not gonna say what issue he’s promoting here, since I don’t really know, but the line he’s taking wrt Trayvon’s guilt goes way beyond the justification required by the Florida statute. So he’s got something else up his sleeve. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

                I mean, let’s face it, Kazzy: according to Florida law Zimmerman was entirely justified in killing Trayvon Martin – since he had a legitimate fear for his life in that moment – and all the self-appointed-Neighborhood-Watch-Captain-stalking or other intent wrt Martin is irrelevant to the letter of the law.

                I think that’s about it. If somebody is on top of you and winning a fight, you’re pretty much at their mercy and have to either hope that they’ll decide not to kill you or pull your weapon and shoot. I don’t think I’d have voted to convict Zimmerman for that reason alone. It’s hard to see how you could write a workable law any other way.

                That being said, I’d be absolutely stunned if Zimmerman’s story was true and he didn’t bear some culpability for starting the whole thing. We’re to believe that a guy with a history of violence and poor judgment (which has continued after this event) was keeping to himself and behaving prudently while a teenager with no obvious indicators that he’s a cold-blooded murderer took a detour from his walk home and came “from the bushes” to beat Zimmerman to death for no clear reason. Stranger things have happened, but that sounds like the story of somebody who doesn’t think the real story would cast him in a good light and is thanking his lucky stars that the only witness is dead.

                The problem with these types of situations is that it’s clearly possible to start a fight and then shoot your opponent when it turns out that you’re not going to win. If I had to guess, I’d guess that’s what really happened. I can’t see Martin jumping Zimmerman for no apparent reason, but I certainly can see Zimmerman grabbing Martin for showing insufficient respect for him and his authoritah as an imaginary neighborhood cop.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC says:

                I mean, let’s face it, Kazzy: according to Florida law Zimmerman was entirely justified in killing Trayvon Martin (ie., the only relevant consideration is his report of his own mental state…) – since he claimed he had a legitimate fear for his life in that moment – and all the self-appointed-Neighborhood-Watch-Captain-stalking or other intent wrt Martin is irrelevant to the letter of the law.

                That is pretty much my position, also.

                As has been pointed out, this is an absolutely *ludicrous* legal standard.

                For one thing, it lets *both parties* claim self defense…and not just in a hypothetical way, either.

                I mean, again, going back to the hypothetical where what Zimmerman said was 100% true…it’s certainly plausible that Martin feared for *his* life, and thus his attack on Zimmerman was entirely justified. (I wonder how many Republicans would be running around cheering if Martin had indeed done that, but *won* the fight. ‘Black kid disarms and shoots guy stalking him’.)

                It’s created a legal situation where you can just…hurt people, based on your mental state. Which, in a reality without mindreading, means you can hurt people based on what you *say* your mental state is.

                So what it *actually* appeared to be is a get-out-of-jail-free card for shooting ‘scary’ people…and damned if it doesn’t appear that ‘scary’ is code for ‘black’.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco says:

                The autopsy report includes information on the point of entry of the shot, the angle of the shot, and the distance of the barrel from the clothing and skin, i.e. the juxtaposition of the two when Zimmerman shot Martin.Report

  20. Avatar notme says:

    Twitter suspends Azealia Banks’ account. It was okay when she suggested that Sarah Palin be gang raped but she went too far for Twitter when she made racist and homophobic comments about ex-One Direction singer Zayn Malik.

    Just remember that Twitter doesn’t play favorites.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco says:

      I seem to recall RTod had some gassy post up to the effect that Twitter was perfectly within their rights to play favorites, something the offended party (Robert Stacy McCain) did not dispute. The question, as always, is are they who they clam they are and whether its appropriate for a common carrier to conduct itself this way.Report