Morning Ed: Politics {2016.05.16.M}


Will Truman

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

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115 Responses

  1. Avatar notme says:

    From the irony department: Obama Slams Trump Wall at Rutgers Commencement …As White House Raises Its Fence

    Obama wants more protection for himself than he wants for this country.Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Re: Keene article on Gaffney/Norquist conspiracies. Interesting to see Washington Times finally mucking out the stables. I would bet cash money that Gaffney was a frequent source for Bill Gertz when Gertz was the long time national security correspondent for the Times.Report

    • Avatar LTL FTC says:

      Mucking out the stables? Grover Norquist has done so much damage to discourse and politics over the last three decades that, were there any justice, he would be the one getting pitched out of polite society. Yet we live in a world where his most successful critic accuses him of the one bad thing he hasn’t done.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Ruth Graham wonders if the rise of Trump can help the Christian Left gain more influence within the Democratic Party. I am doubtful.

    1. Here Christian Left seems to mean “white evangelical(ish)” people who lean Left. The religious wings of the Democratic Party are the African-Americans and Hispanic voters who are the real base of the Democratic Party.

    2. White, educated Democratic voters are increasingly secular.

    3. The Democratic Party religious diversity means that there non-Christian members means pushback against Jesus talk.

    4. The Christian Left has made itself vastly uncomfortable against the politics of material gain. Democratic policies win when they understand that voters are aspirational and generally like materialism/consumerism. When I read the Christian Left, they express a deep distrust and dislike of materialism and consumerism overall. So I think they are not going to get a lot of people onboard with their anti-materialist communalist world vision.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      A lot of hard atheist leftists are also very uncomfortable with the politics of material gain. A lot of this comes from the fact that leftists have never been entirely comfortable with what a more equitable division of left means to most people. The ideological enemy of the left has been the bourgeois and they hate everything associated with the bourgeois, which includes private property and creature comforts along with delayed gratification. Many people associate increased wealth with a chance to live a bourgeois life style, which seems to be much more attractive to people than a collectivist socialist one.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        The ideological enemy of the left has been the bourgeois and they hate everything associated with the bourgeois,

        I don’t think that is true anymore, as I think the bourgeois is now primarily of the left. Hence the Bernie/Hilary fight going on.Report

      • Avatar Fortytwo says:

        That last sentence is a huge understatement. The fact that state run economies have gone the way of the dodo has been a boon to humans. Unvarnished capitalism is also a problem, of course.Report

        • Avatar Fortytwo says:

          That last sentence is a huge understatement. The fact that state run economies have gone the way of the dodo has been a boon to humans. Unvarnished capitalism is also a problem, of course. Sorry, this reply is to LeeEsq post.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      When I read the Chip’s posts, they express a deep distrust and dislike of materialism and consumerism overall.

      Yeah, probably more accurate and I cheerfully fess up.

      However, as much as I would love to walk thru the streets ginning up a sackcloth and ashes army like the High Sparrow, it (like Fetch), isn’t going to happen.

      But there are some deep tectonic plates shifting I think. Our economy isn’t going to start generating loads of gainful jobs like it used to, so we are fast approaching a time when we have to decide how we are going to distribute the products. Like in the discussion about automation and globalization, the upcoming generations are going to live in more communal arrangements out of necessity, consuming less materials than before.

      Or maybe not- maybe political power will shift such that the products of technology are distributed widely, allowing everyone to share in the endless bounty.

      But either option will require some very deep and radical shifts on how we live and work.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I suppose my biggest problem with the Christian-Left’s focus on anti-materialism is that it is deeply rooted in Christian theology and as a non-Christian I have trouble with that. Judaism is not a faith/salvation based religion. You are judged on your actions on this Earth. Judaism is rather materialist in this regard. Above that, I am largely agnostic and strongly lean towards no on questions of whether there is an afterlife or not. It would be nice if somekind of paradise existed but I am doubtful.

        Life is painful on many levels thing. The thing about consumerism and material goods is that they make life more pleasant and comfortable. I am also firmly wedded to liberal neutrality. You know if someone thinks that the best things in life are a suburban backyard, a bbq, and small kids good for them. If someone thinks that the best things in life are Brooklyn or Portland bohemia and being able to hangout late on weeknights, good for them. Etc.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The Trump crackup of the GOP continues. David Horowitz calls Kristol a “renegade Jew” on

  5. Avatar Kazzy says:

    From Milo’s piece:
    “Trust me, alt-right hardliners don’t like me any more than they like the Republican establishment or Hillary: I’m a degenerate, race-mixing gay Jew, and they don’t let me forget it!”

    Doesn’t this seem like a pretty blatant admission that the alt-right IS racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      It does but Milo Y is in love with being an agent provocateur against the Left so I doubt it matter.

      He is a loathsome human being.Report

      • Avatar j r says:

        It’s interesting that in a conversation implicating racism, homophobia and anti-semiticism, its provoking the the left that draws the comment of loathsome from you.Report

        • Avatar greginak says:

          That seems to be a really uncharitable read.Report

          • Avatar j r says:

            How so? Here is a link to a Saul post that is explicitly about anti-progressive signalling:

            My reading is squarely in line with Saul’s professed beliefs on these topics.Report

            • Avatar greginak says:

              Saul has been around here for quite a while. His thoughts on homophobia, racism and very very especially anti-Semiteism have been clearly stated many times. Crimany he has talked about anti-semitism plenty and he has no patience for it. You seemed to imply that he didn’t care about that much but only took offense at some conservo troll being a troll. That seems way out of line compared his frequently stated beliefs. It certainly implies he cares more about libs being bad mouthed then those other evils which is a pretty uncharitable read in any case and in his case seems unaware of his frequently offered thoughts.Report

              • Avatar j r says:

                You seemed to imply that he didn’t care about that much but only took offense at some conservo troll being a troll.

                I don’t imply anything. I say exactly what I mean and generally provide links/quotes when needed. You are welcome to read more into it than what I said, but that’s on you.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

      To be fair, I bet Milo Y also loves taunting the alt-right by being their biggest supporter in the press and being all those things he describes.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Perhaps the best response is to demand higher wages for paralegals.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Or maybe lawyers need to develop a marketable skill.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Perhaps we could pass a law outlawing robot lawyers?Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

            @jaybird @chip-daniels

            The law already outlaws robot lawyers. ROSS cannot pass the bar exam. It has not gone to law school, cannot sit for the Bar Exam, etc.

            So a person would still need to go to a lawyer who has a ROSS machine rather than hiring one themselves.

            The question now is how many firms are going to stop hiring associates and just using ROSS machines. So you will have a handful of partners to bring in business and then some ROSS machines to do the basic associate work. Can ROSS handle both sides of litigation or just defense?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Make the ROSS machines public defenders! Everybody’s happy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I mean until it’s demonstrated that they’re better at it than humans. Then we can give real people ROSS machines and assign humans to those who need public defenders.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              All very true.
              But the encroachment of automation up the skill ladder never happens all at once.
              If, for example you had told Don Draper in 1961 that within a few decades automation would replace all the secretaries, he would have imagined rows of pretty female robots typing away on carbon paper, and scoffed.

              He would have been right, in the sense that there are no robot secretaries, at least in that sort of imagining.

              Instead, the work that they do has become so de-skilled that even CEO’s type their own memos and correspondence, file stuff away and answer their own phones half the time.

              As with architects, software has made us so incredibly productive that there are no such things as “drafting rooms” with masses of junior draftsmen; instead even a huge project can be done with just a modest crew.

              So I’m seeing that legal teams will do more and more work with fewer and fewer bodies.

              Which leads back to the point of, so what happens next? The traditional theory is that consumption more than makes up for the increase in productivity, spurring yet more demand for labor.

              I am not seeing that happen this time.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

              Of course, if our laws weren’t so deeply mired in narrow precedents, confusing regulatory rulings, and a tome of actual laws thick enough to be used as an anchor in high seas (literally, not poetically), there would be little demand for an advanced AI to wade through the muck.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Law is complex because society is complex. Trying to develop bright lines rules that everybody could understand could lead to a lot of injustice. Consider statutory rape laws. The idea behind them is simple, don’t have sex with people under the age of consent because we want to protect children. It should be difficult to understand that everybody x age or younger is off limits. We also know that sometimes a couple might be at a point where one of them is slightly over the age of consent and another one slightly under it or that both might be under the age of consent but still having sex with each other. Throwing statutory rape laws at them seems like a bad idea. That’s why many states wrote Rome and Juliet exceptions.

                Sexting provides us with a good example of what happens when you just have a bright line approach to the law. Lots of kids are getting prosecuting under the statues meant to protect them because no exception or flexibility exists in the law as it stands.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Then one should not be surprised when advanced AI shows up to handle some of the work load.Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                Since the very first day of law school I’ve heard people complaining about how complex the laws are.

                The complexity of the law is driven almost entirely by the complexity of human relationships in a global society. Every law, rule and regulation exists in response to someone, somewhere saying “There oughtta be a law!”.

                Politicians at the federal, state and local level all too often promise a return to a simpler system. Then they sit down with the legislative aides and mandarins of the various agencies and suddenly found out that simplification is a lot tougher than expected. Democratic systems demand compromise, and compromise leads to complexity.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

                This is a bit too charitable. Much of the complexity is necessary, yes, but much of it is there to give various interest groups—including majoritarian ones—their place at the trough. Making the law simple in an absolute sense is hard for logical reasons, but making it simpler in a relative sense is hard primarily because those interest groups raise hell if you try to take away their special carve-outs.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                There will always be interest groups claiming their place at the trough and using any means possible to do so. Even if you could achieve minimalist government, I’d think you would be surprised about how many individuals or groups are able to use the limited functions of government to their advantage.Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                I agree completely. That’s what I was getting at with my bit about democracy requiring compromise. Special interests (also known as the affected community) will always be far more likely to participate in law-making than the general public.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                Another reason why law is complex is that going through legislation to see what is no longer necessary is a thankless task for politicians. They aren’t going to get many votes for it. Most of the electorate is going to be unimpressed with a legislator seeking reelection explaining that she thought it was more important to do a massive spring cleaning of the laws.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                The fact that there is not a department, or branch, of government solely dedicated to the identification and removal of outdated or un/under-utilized laws is an obvious oversight by the founding fathers.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


                The interesting thing is that a lot of laws can seem outdated and then become relevant again.

                The primary civil rights law in the United States is now called section 1983 of the United States Code. The law was originally passed in 1871 and called the Enforcement Act or the Klan Act. It was a piece of Reconstruction legislation.

                Section 1983 went out of use for many decades and was seen as a relic of the “bad old days” until a case called Monroe v. Pape wound up before the Supreme Court in 1961. Monroe v. Pape involved typical police brutality in Chicago. The Supreme Court affirmed three uses of 1983:

                “1) ‘to override certain kinds of state laws’; 2) to provide ‘a remedy where state law was inadequate’; and 3) to provide ‘a federal remedy where the state remedy, though adequate in theory, was not available in practice.’ ”

                Someone needed to be very clever to do bring out section 1983 from the dust bin. So it is very hard to say when a law is necessary or not.


              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                So, we should be legal hoarders because something might be useful again? Sounds like my mom, and let me tell you, cleaning up her house after she died was not fun .Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                The United Kingdom does have people whose jobs it is to go through all the old laws and determine if they are needed or not. Like Saul noted sometimes a law that seems really out of date does end up getting used latter.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                At least in my state, that task has been off-loaded to the permanent staff. One of my jobs when I worked for the legislature was to find things that were complete deadwood and fill out a report for legislative legal services. Every year LLS prepares a bill based on those reports, and a bunch of obsolete stuff gets removed.

                For better or worse, one of the incentives for not undertaking a major rewriting is that a considerable portion of 50 years or more of clarifying case law would get tossed. Ie, the statute as currently worded has passed state constitutional muster at some point; that’s not something to be casually discarded.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        It’s not worked so well for the burger flippers.Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Jack’s story is pretty interesting. Milo’s says quite a bit about Breitbart (though so does the fact that they ran the second Jack piece).

    You mean, that the only standard it has is whether or not people will click on it? Because that seems to me to be the obvious explanation for running each of those pieces.Report

  7. Avatar Damon says:

    Nudity: please…please no old nudity.

    Millo, et all: LOL.

    Biden: Suuuuuure

    Congressman tell all: Yep, pretty much confirms the deal-e-o. So let’s bounce that against Tess posting here: Discuss.Report

  8. Avatar notme says:

    Report: Government regulations add $84,671 to new home prices

    This according to the National Association of Home Builders. And liberals wonder why fewer folks can afford to buy new homes.Report

    • Avatar Francis says:

      oh joy, the NAHB.

      So-called regulatory costs include such things as water and sewer hookup fees, compliance with fire and building codes, and zoning requirements.

      So, if you want to build a multistory deathtrap that goes right out to the lot lines and where you sh!t in the streets, but the government won’t let you, that’s a regulatory cost according to the NAHB.

      Another way of looking at the world is that raw land is valued according to the legal restrictions already imposed and NAHB is double counting. If the death-trap were legal, after all, then the cost of the land would be much higher.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        This. The cost goes up, but what are you getting for that cost? Certainly some of that cost is wasted to bureaucratic overhead, but most probably adds value to the home &/or the neighborhood/development.

        Safety improvements, efficiency requirements, etc. How much of that cost is earned back in energy or maintenance savings over the next few decades?

        Now if you want to talk about regulations that increase costs but add little value, I’m all ears, but just looking at costs without even trying to quantify value isn’t going to get very far.

        This link has more detail.Report

        • Avatar Francis says:

          Re regs that don’t add value.

          If you dig a little deeper into the arguments on waterless urinals, one of the issues is the cost of replacement. By not building in water supply lines (especially in a tall building) when the building is being built, the cost of putting in flush urinals becomes astronomical. So a choice is being made at the time of building design that affects a potentially sensitive issue for the entire life of the building.

          Now, it may be the case that evidence regarding the use of flushless urinals is overwhelmingly positive; I just don’t know. And yes, the accusation that the union is being self-serving is completely legitimate. That’s why I tend to defer to the experts. When was the nationwide building code on urinals last updated? Did the code go through notice-and-comment? (That’s the procedural analysis.) Now, if I actually have to understand the issue more deeply, then I have to go read the comments and the responses from the consensus community. (That’s the substantive analysis.)

          Since there are only so many hours in the day, it’s best to try to find non-partisan sources on issues like this. And NAHB is most certainly partisan.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


            You do realize we are, mostly, on the same side on this issue, right? I get your Chesterson’s gate bit, but it’s always a good exercise to figure out where there is waste and to reduce it if possible.Report

            • Avatar Francis says:

              Agreed. But “waste” is always someone’s income stream. And nobody likes being told, or, worse, suffering the loss of associated income, that what they’re doing is a waste.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Good, just wanted to make sure it’s a conversation, not an argument.

                And sure, no one likes being told it’s a waste, but that doesn’t change facts on the ground, just makes them invested in spin.Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                An argument may, or may not, be just a contradiction. See, e.g., here, courtesy of the Monty Python gang.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Thank Gore for the intertubes, may Monty Python live on!Report

          • Avatar Fortytwo says:

            Agree that the NAHB link is a joke, but almost all the water lines have to be built to serve lavatories and toilets. You would have some replumbing costs, but fairly minor considering the total cost of renovations. I have a lot of knowledge about buildings and costs, trust me, I’m an engineer.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            To me, the problem is one of regulations forcing what should be a business decision. There maybe an argument from public safety, or some greater public interest, that makes the case for running the supply lines to the flushless urinals, but that wasn’t the argument made. The argument was that a future owner might want traditional urinals, which strikes me as a concern best left to the building owners, should they try to sell it in the future (and have to convince buyers that not having the lines in place is not a hit to the value of the building), and not a place for regulatory compliance.

            Concerns over the urinals themselves are a red herring, as they’ve been around for a long time, and have a solid track record if maintained properly.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Which, of course, is only part of the story.

      The percentage of the home price that results from regulations remains consistent over the five year span. So, essentially, the situation has not changed.

      Now, what does it mean that approximately 25% of a final home cost is a function of government regulation? Um… it is impossible to say absent more information. But the 25% figure remains consistent since at least 2011.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Drilling down into the “study” it turns out that it was merely a survey, where they asked a bunch of developers “Hey, how much do you think regulation costs?”
        Not as in, “lets track this specific regulation and show how much it adds; No, they just asked people to pull numbers out of a dark place.

        Also, they measured “delay” and “cost” from a zero base, assuming a world in which there were literally no regulations of any kind whatsoever.

        Does NAHB want to live in such a world? Ha ha, of course not.

        Can they point to any regulation in specific and argue why it is onerous or inefficient? Ha ha, of course not.

        This is again, the “too many notes” argument.
        “There are too many notes.
        Which ones?
        Oh, I don’t know, just take some out

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      This is somewhat less important for the 76ers themselves, but imagine all of those marks among the fans who will pay the 80 dollars for a shirt promoting Subway, Gatorade, and Farmer’s Insurance.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Eh… many of us already pay good money to have GAP, Polo, and whatever else emblazoned across our chests.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          And there are no shortage of T-Shirts with Coca-Cola labels (or any given brand) on them.


          This polybrandy will all end in tears. Gaudy, gaudy tears.Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        Have you never seen a European soccer jersey?Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          Not just at the top level, either – I have a shirt from my fourth-tier club where the “Matchroom SPORT” logo is 8 times the size of the club’s badge.

          And US teams were quick to get in on the act. Including a change kit along with home and away, just to sell more.

          Oh, and as for the most popular sport in the USA?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Do fan Nascar jackets come covered in ads?

            I admit to not getting out much but I don’t recall ever seeing a guy walking out and about wearing a Nascar recreation jacket… I suppose that that is what the Google is for…

            Oh, god. They’re awful. $130 bucks to look like a 1999 AOL homepage.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

        If I remember right, @jaybird, the NBA already announced fan jerseys won’t have the ads…for now.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      Let’s take the two proposals separately…

      In my experience with a different heavily-regulated utility, if you have a proposal that could save the utility a bunch of money, you can get a respectful hearing. Among the listeners will be one or more systems engineers (perhaps without that title, but doing that job). My suspicion would be that putting a device that will require a power tap on every pole will have very high up-front costs. Not just the devices, but the tap is going to be installed, no matter how trivial that process may be, by someone with an appropriate license/certification. Those people aren’t particularly cheap. Multiply by millions of poles and you’re talking real money.

      The other proposal is one that comes up a lot. I admit to certain biases, but summarize it this way: some number of relatively rich people who can afford to generate excess power intermittently want the utility to provide them with storage capacity for free. Eg, someone with a big roof-top array of solar panels generates excess power at noon on sunny weekdays when there’s no one home. At night, and all day on Saturday and Sundays when the kids are home with the lights/stereo/computer on, and dad’s doing the laundry, they draw power. If the array is big enough and the home is efficient enough, the household gets to “net zero” on power. But that’s an accounting gimmick, and they reach that only because of free “storage” in the grid. It gets described in lots of other ways, eg, “We’re enabling a minute-by-minute market where millions of residential consumers sell power to each other”, but that doesn’t change what’s actually happening and who’s the provider of last resort.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

        1) Installation cost would obviously have to be measured against the cost of how often poles fail, the cost of finding those poles, and the (harder to quantify) costs of customers being without power. Alsotoo, obviously such costs would be a lot less for new installations as opposed to retrofits. Although, my knowledge of electrical engineering being minimal, do you have to have a hard, physical tap? Short range wireless power transmission is a thing now.

        2) I can see people wanting a credit for excess power dumped to the grid, but people who want retail price credit are smoking something.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          A “standard” wooden utility pole has a lifetime of 40-80 years, depending on where it’s used (wet/dry, types of local pests that will attack the pole, etc). Unless someone is taking great (expensive) pains, field-deployed electronics are going to have a shorter life than the poles. IIRC — and it’s been a long time since the Bell System sent me out on field trips to learn about actual operations — visual inspection of poles is not just about “are they leaning”, but about things like bird or insect damage that requires maintenance but not replacement. This is all straight-forward life-cycle analysis that the utility’s systems engineers can do in their sleep.

          Stick a coil next to a wire carrying high-voltage AC and it’s a power tap. How close you have to be depends on the voltage. You read actual stories from time to time of farmers installing induction taps near high-voltage lines that cross their property. They invariably get caught — the line operator’s monitoring equipment is sensitive enough to detect that much load. My (very limited) experience is with the phone and cable TV wiring further down on most poles. I do know that there are a lot of rules and practices about what goes into or above the six-foot buffer zone above those communications cables.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            So not even the mesh network aspect piques your interest?

            It’s been a long time since I’ve played around with induction, but it’s good to know that I remember it right.Report

            • Avatar Michael Cain says:

              Mesh networks terrify me. Oh, they’re fine in controlled circumstances, where someone has taken pains to build in things like verification and how to isolate rogue elements, and whose neck is on the line if they’ve gotten the algorithms wrong. I have nightmares about a future “smart grid” where the utility is looking to shed load and pushes prices way up, and I get stuck with the bill because my washer and my neighbor’s refrigerator were bickering over who had to shut down (so neither did).Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                So it’s good as long as there is some accountable authority?Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Let’s say that I want to see evidence that someone — “authority” or not — has worried about more of the failure modes. After all, even today we see occasional stories about how someone has managed to screw up routing in significant chunks of the internet by (intentionally or not) injecting bad information. Large mesh networks are going to be made up of devices that generally have the cheapest implementation of the hardware/software stack. One of the ways you make things cheap is to ignore failure modes.

                You regularly see stories about security holes in important places that are invoked by sending certain malformed messages. Back in the day when I wrote specs for some distributed control processing (with some of the processing being done by software outside our control), I drove the coders nuts. Two-thirds of the spec was all the conditions that had to be tested, and the order in which they had to be tested, before a message could be acted on. The coders eventually came around, once the logs started showing just how often a message showed up that was either internally inconsistent, or inconsistent with the state of the system.

                My whole tech career suggests that you can’t be too paranoid about such stuff.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Fair enoughReport

            • Avatar DavidTC says:

              That…isn’t really a mesh network. Or, at least, it’s nowhere near as interesting a mesh network as the article is trying to make it out to be. And has, as far as I can tell, absolutely nothing to do with any blockchain, or at least no reason to *use* a blockchain.

              And it’s barely a ‘mesh network’ in any sense. They’re fixed devices, at fixed locations. It has none of the interesting routing of a mesh network, or at least it doesn’t *need* it.

              And while I don’t know much about Australia shipping, I do know that Australia is a *really big* place with vast areas in the center that are empty…and while those areas might have powerlines, and roads possibly within distance of those powerlines (?)…I also suspect that that *no one is shipping across them in trucks*.

              In places where there *are* delivery trucks, there are things called *cellular* networks that delivery trucks can use to keep track of their location. All delivery trucks are *already* location tracked and people really should know that! You are solving a problem that literally was solved a decade ago!

              And I’m also baffled by the idea of individuals connecting to these things. First, if all this ends up on the internet, why would they *want* to connect directly to the thing? And if they’re using their ‘phone, tablet, or computer’, that means we’re talking about wifi or bluetooth, which means they can be maybe ~100 feet away. So, uh, congrats, you can connect to a *single* power pole outside your house. So you know if…uh…it falls down? Huh? Wouldn’t it be easier to just wait until the power goes out, and then, I dunno, look out the door and see if there are downed poles? What is even the hell?

              ….which makes the idea that they’re running them through areas that delivery trucks need a communication option even dumber. Yes, put those in those vast stretches of Australia with no cellular service but do have delivery trucks running around and do have technologically included people living really close to the road. Huh?

              In fact, if they want to do something useful, they should forget the stupid ‘We are going to use these things to communicate about poles’ and build *short-range cellular base stations* that relay the calls via this ‘mesh network’ to the telephone network, which would actually make sense.Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        A lot of Vox is pretty silly, but I thought that the series about residential solar and the duck-shaped power curve was interesting and informative.

        Yes, I have a nice flat surface over my garage that is a good spot for residential solar and I’ve been idly looking into a couple of programs. I also work in an industrial building with a big flat roof and a big fat light and AC bill.

        It seems to me that the net metering price that SoCal Edison gives me should incorporate the true cost of receiving that power, whether it’s storage, or grid maintenance that I would otherwise be paying, or stranded assets. But on the other hand, I’m giving SoCal Ed essentially free power at the time of day when demand is high and that should be worth something to them.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          I’ve been eyeing residential solar myself. A friend just got an estimate — it’s pretty affordable. It does pay for itself fairly quickly (as houses go, so 10 to 15 years) but I wouldn’t use the loan the solar outfit was pushing. I suspect I could get a better rate at my credit union.

          What’s stopping me is my roof is aging, and I’d like to replace it and get solar at the same time. And that’s a bigger chunk of change to take out.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Ditto, although I don’t need a new roof. More like, I just got done with a kitchen remodel, solar will have to wait a year or two (even though we have some nice programs to help with the cost, etc.).

            In a few years, my wife and I plan on getting a place on the island. That place will have solar/wind/whatever I can install that makes sense. Makes no sense to have a weekend property drawing from the grid when no one is home.

            ETA but yeah, the dramatic decline in small scale renewable tech price is making it more & more attractive.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain says:

          To quote an acquaintance at a utility, it’s not the normal operation that’s the problem, it’s all the failure modes. Does your house automatically disconnect when the local section of the grid is powered down for a repair operation? Does your liability insurance cover the case where your inverter injects out-of-sync power and causes a transformer to overheat and fail? As he puts it, “One of the reasons the grid is reliable is because everyone who injects power into it agrees to follow rigid rules, and spends quite a bit of money to make sure they can.”Report

  9. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    It’s not entirely clear from your description that the first link contains a very large collection of photographs that might be regarded as inappropriate in certain contexts.Report

  10. Avatar Francis says:

    One other link that may be of interest: Little Sisters kicked back to lower courts. Scotusblog analysis here.Report

  11. Avatar notme says:

    It was too much for them to fingerprint their drivers so Uber, Lyft suspend service in Austin over fingerprint rule.

    • Avatar El Muneco says:

      It’s freaking expensive to get fingerprints. Because you’re not actually paying for the prints themselves, you’re paying for an agency to vouch for the chain of custody.

      At my last job, I could have been printed fifty feet from my desk, but I had to drive across town and pony up bucks to get a trusted agent to do it for me.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        In plain English how expensive is, “freaking expensive?” My local PD did it for free. It’s a one time cost that doesn’t seem that burdensome to guarantee that the person with the license is who they say they are and has a clean record.Report

        • Avatar El Muneco says:

          Thirty bucks plus time off work, IIRC. I was thinking more along the lines of a business doing it for all their current and potential employees when I called it expensive.

          We were right across the street from the local PD who used to do it for free but not anymore, so that’s going to vary by place. It also varies by state (I’m all too familiar with this since a lot of states were our customers).Report

          • Avatar notme says:

            Thirty bucks plus time off work

            Hardly, “freaking expensive.” Uber makes the driver bear the cost of the fingerprints.Report

          • Avatar Chris says:

            Here, the city was going to pay for it, and charge Uber/Lyft a small fee (not per case, but a sort of tax) to cover the cost. I believe something like this is true in Houston and other cities as well, though I could be wrong. Drivers would have to take the time to get finger printed, of course, and there is a delay in verification (a few weeks in Houston), which is what Uber/Lyft say is the reason they oppose the requirement.

            Interestingly, Uber/Lyft lost the election by a pretty good margin despite spending more than $12 million against an opposition that spent in the tens of thousands; despite getting the election scheduled for a random Saturday, instead of in November like the city wanted, because Uber/Lyft thought their drivers/riders would dominate the voting booths; despite (possibly illegally) messaging drivers and riders (in their app and via text message) repeatedly throughout the process to get them to vote.

            Perhaps the funniest part is that the number of votes the Uber/Lyft side got was just over half the number of signatures Uber/Lyft had to get to create the ballot initiative in the first place. Granted, there’s some doubt about the actual number of valid signatures they collected, but still.

            I didn’t vote, because I didn’t feel strongly about the proposition itself (finger-printing is no safety panacea, but I think there are legitimate safety concerns, as there are with all taxi services; on the other hand, it creates some real practical issues for out-of-town drivers during large events), but I’m not sad to see either of them go, particularly Uber. I was already not a fan of the companies, but Uber behaved abominably during the campaign.Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              Also, if you are curious about what passive-aggressiveness looks like from a national corporation, check out Lyft’s messages to its drivers in the days leading up to the election.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC says:

              there is a delay in verification (a few weeks in Houston), which is what Uber/Lyft say is the reason they oppose the requirement.

              it creates some real practical issues for out-of-town drivers during large events)

              Both these are trivially solvable if Uber/Lyft had taken the slightest bit of effort.

              The first merely is an argument for some sort of phase-in period in the law, an entirely reasonable demand.

              The second merely requires the companies *notifying* drivers of these requirements before said events (Or just in general. Really, any driver within driving distance of Austin should have a popup in the app ‘Go and get fingerprinted if you want to work in Austin’.), and then adding a few flags to their database about who has met the requirements to pick up people in different locations. Or have they suddenly forgotten how databases work?

              But neither of these companies seemed to try for that, because those asshat companies seem to think no one is allowed to regulate them at all. At all. So you try to regulate them, they up and leave.

              I keep waiting for some sort of *well-behaved* alternative to show up and start actually complying with the law in these cities that those companies have abandoned…and even more locations, especially ones that have been threatened and caved, start back up with rules and sees what those companies do.

              (Incidentally, it’s *hilarious* to see people like notme run around thinking these regulations are good, because Lyft and Uber are, somehow, liberal companies. Somehow. Not quite sure what the hell that logic is. But, anyway, because they’re liberal, regulations against them are *fine*.)Report