Linky Friday: Century Edition

Crime:

dontbeaburglarytarget[Cr1] NASCAR driver Kurt Busch wants a protective order against his ex-girlfriend, who he claims is an assassin.

[Cr2] Less than wise: Taking selfies on an iPhone you just stole.

[Cr3] I was excited to hear about the Obama Administration’s plans to scale back asset forfeiture. Looks like there may be less to it than meets the eye. Darn. Still better than nothing, I suppose.

[Cr4] League alum Barrett Brown – since sentenced to five years – explains how he got kicked out of a prison.

[Cr5] Joshua Neuman said no to drugs, because of this comic book. Trainspotting and Requiem of a Dream both had indentations on my views of the subject.

Culture:

bodybuilder[Cu1] Unrealistic beauty standards for babies?! The article is (I’m pretty sure) a joke, but my wife would applaud the development, as they can’t really use real newborns and it drives her crazy when they use older babies to represent newborns.

[Cu2] The story of an 18-year old who plans to marry her long-lost father. I didn’t know that “Genetic Sexual Attraction” is actually a thing. Here’s another disturbing tale.

[Cu3] According to the Washington Post, women are dyeing their armpit hair. Young people make me glad to have been young a long time ago. (But not too long ago, because 80’s.)

[Cu4] Ugly stereotype alert! Watch a bunch of body-builders debate how many days there are in two weeks.

Children:

lain[Ch1] From Vikram Bath: Living in an orphanage is considered to be so bad that even measuring how the kids were doing was criticized for being unethical.

[Ch2] The results from charter schools demonstrate that charter schools are not particularly more effective than assigned schools… unless you’re poor or black.

[Ch3] Catching up on the unschooled, and what becomes of them. Another study looks at homeschooled, to investigate whether concerns over socialization are justified.

[Ch4] As our work schedules become less predictable, the daycare market adapts.

Capitalism:

capitalism[Ca1] This is probably not good: A for-profit college investment firm now has a controlling interest in Inside Higher Ed.

[Ca2] It’s not often I say this, but I’m kind of with the rich New York lawyers on this one.

[Ca3] In the words of one of the Popehats (Patrick or Ken), “The Internet is like a huge, violent maniac who shows up occasionally and beats the shit out of unlucky mean people.”

[Ca4] From Tod Kelly: I had this story forwarded to me, and it’s utterly fascinating: a story about a internet company that had hundreds of employees despite having no product, no service, no customers, and no business plan. I almost wonder if the story isn’t a hoax; either way, though, great read.

Politics:

JessePostGov[P1] Mitt Romney may or may not be the right man for the GOP in 2016, but a number of the arguments against him are a bit dubious. Says what it might about the GOP, he remains one of their stronger candidates both in the primary and the general. The different media response between his announcement and Bush’s has been quite remarkable.

[P2] Republicans looking to make gains among Hispanics may want to follow the Conservative Party of Canada’s example. Meanwhile, Canadian politics have apparently been picking up inspiration from American politics.

[P3] Brent Rathgeber (MP) on the Americanization of Canadian politics.

[P4] Kevin Drum explains that yes, in fact, some people do love Facebook (and Walmart!), and it speaks questionably of the person who doesn’t recognize this.

[P5] Sheldon Richman argues that some libertarians spend too much time trying to feel superior and not enough time trying to actually win people over.

Body:

JesseBodyVentura[B1] Another ineffective weight-loss strategy: “Eat more fruits and vegetables.”

[B2] The case against coffee, in 1888.

[B3] Even after a global apolocalypse, people gotta eat.

[B4] Thomas Lumley says that cancer isn’t just bad luck. Not just bad luck, but I want to see what the figure (roughly 1/3 according to Lumley) if we include genetics, which I consider to be a type of bad luck.

Mind:

JesseGovPortrait[M1] Meet the guy who has seen it all before. Like non-stop, for the last eight years.

[M2] Colton Burpo did not come back from heaven, after all.

[M3] Dwell on that breakup because it’ll help you get over it! Keep that anger bottled up, lower your self esteem, hire a narcissist, and seven more counter-intuitive psychological findings.

[M4] Tia Ghose writes about the relationship between the stress of strangers and empathy.

Space:

[S1] Lost Beagle! Found! On Mars.

[S2] From Mad Rocket Scientist: Massive ring system discovered in another solar system. I imagine this is probably what a young Jupiter may have looked like as it’s moons formed.

[S3] Also discovered… maybe… two more planets?

[S4] Intergalactic wormholes are popular in fiction, but hard in science.

[S5] Scientists had previously thought that a three-star solar system wouldn’t allow planets to form, but it may be happening.

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137 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Century Edition

  1. Happy, 100th post linky Friday.

    Cr1: This claim seems highly implausible. Beautiful, blonde killers tend to exist in fiction only.

    Cr2. The crime writer Leonard Elmore once remarked that writing about criminals are easy because criminals tend to be dumb.

    Cu2: I know that these sorts of things are more common than many of us want but I can’t imagine the type of mental gymnastics you need to go through to consider something like this.

    B3: One of the things that always bugged me about after the end movies, zombie or otherwise, is that they never deal with the little things like eating and hygiene.

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  2. P5 yeah Libertarians and Arch Liberals have that in common. I leave arch conservatives out because they always seem to simultaniously be increasing in popularity within the right wing pool while also shrinking the overall right wing pool.

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      • That would make Leadership a required pre-req.

        I think the last character I had that took it was a cleric, but that was mostly because he was the sole worshiper of that particular God in that world, and wanted to start a church. So he recruited minions, I mean ‘converted people to the faith’.

        You know, I still have that Paladin of ‘Proper Compensation’ concept. (You can dedicate yourself to an ideal, as well as a God. And ‘fair pay for fair work’ is an ideal, and if that means my Paladin is a mercenary, so what? :) ) He’d do good with cannon fodder, I mean minions….

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      • There’ve gotta be minions. Or maybe even henchmen. (Do henchmen outrank minions?) And they need magic items!

        Granola, The Green Knight: Crusader for the environment, wearing the Greaves Of Ecological Restoration! But one touch of his great staff restores clean water and generates tens of thousands of billable hours for CERCLA attorneys!

        Avatar of Demographic Equity: In her left hand she bears the Scales Of Economic Redistribution and in her right, the Sword Of Litigated Equal Opportunity. Beware, oppressors of the historically disavantaged!

        Pepacca The Blessed: A healer of renown and compassion, she is protected from harm by the Shield Of Mandate — but do not underestimate the fearsome Mace Of Tax Penalties when her hands bring it to bear in battle. Vulnerable to invocations of religious belief.

        Forwardean, Sage of the Scholars: Alchemist extraordinaire, his greatest concoction is K-graduate school education reform! Weakened by the appearance of his dastardly arch-enemy known only as “The Voucher.”

        and last but not least,

        Jo-stick, the Ninja of Ways and Means: Sneaking in the dead of night, she strikes fear into the hearts of plutocrats by enhancing the progressiveness of the tax structure and using the proceeds for her own goals. Dangerous, powerful… and seductive.

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      • Henchmen outrank minions — henchmen have at least some idea of what is going on and are expected to exercise a certain amount of initiative. Minions are generally clueless. These days I’m trying to rewrite a novel with a touch of urban fantasy in it — the Sorcerers Guild, in the interest of modernity and political correctness, has graduate students rather than apprentices. In my experience, graduate students and apprentices get similar compensation.

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      • The article is about how people’s choice of political language can alienate because they’re speaking to themselves instead of to others. Comments at OT immediately devolve into obscurish Dungeons & Dragons references. I can’t say I’m surprised by this.

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  3. CR1: Like a protective order would work against a trained killer :p

    CR2: Lee nails it.

    CR3: The headline is always over delivers. You expected they’d actually give it all up? Nah.

    CA2: I weep for those poor less well compensated lawyers.

    CA3: I think I’d heard about this before. Nice going by the dealership. Pizza guys should put them on the banned list.

    P4: Kevin is plain wrong. I’ve got a relatively high income and I like Walmart. It’s convenient. I don’t shop there as a rule, but their sporting goods dept is cheaper than some of the competitors. And they sell stuff the competitors won’t sell. But he is right about the elitism.

    B3: All ya gotta do is last long enough that most of the population dies out from starvation. Problem solved.

    CU3: Wasn’t this some BS false meme?

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    • [Cu3] I don’t know anyone who has done this. Like, I have bright purple hair and a fair number of my friends have hair of various exciting hues. The women in that article look like the women I hang out with. But we aren’t actually doing this.

      On the other hand, if they want to, that’s cool. Dye away my beautiful Amazon sisters!

      (I did hang with a dude the other day who had a bright green mohawk like thing along with bright green eyebrows, which frankly was pretty unattractive. But he seemed pretty cool and happy and self-confidence is darn important. So yay him.)

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  4. P1: Before the other candidates dropped out, county-level maps made it clear that Romney was the candidate of urban and inner-ring suburban Republicans. This is a winning strategy if you’re the only candidate that appeals in those areas. Romney finished second in lots of states that awarded delegates proportionately by winning the urban and inner-ring areas, and losing the exurbs and rural areas to the other candidate-du-jour or favorite local. Lots of days there were headlines of the form “X and Y win primaries; Romney increases delegate lead”. Whether or not that set of Republicans is “the establishment”, or susceptible to manipulation by the establishment, it’s clear that they’re the ones who won Romney the nomination.

    During that period, the counties that Romney won were a pretty good predictor of which counties Obama would win in the general.

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    • But holy crap I’m sick of Romney and his unrealistically perfect coif and Brahmin diction and then with the money and the transparently plastic political belief system. Give me someone else whose belief system is more opaquely plastic, who has the decency to compromise her ideals behind closed doors and do her scheming in a smoke-filled room like one of those politicians from the good old days.

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      • I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you, . I’m just wondering which — if any — of the Republican crowd is looking at those maps and saying, “I can win the nomination by winning the urban and inner-ring suburban areas. And win the whole thing if I can capture enough independents in those areas in the general.”

        I really wish Dennis would write some more pieces going farther into the “why does my party hate cities?” subject.

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      • Back when either Mad TV or SNL or some show like that was around, and Mondale was running, they showed him on the back of a moving power boat. Everyone’s hair was flying around except his.

        Voiceover: “How does he keep his hair perfect? Shellac.”

        A LOL if ever there was. Applies to Romney too.

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    • Given Romney is a well-known candidate, as well known as Hillary Clinton, what are they polling at? If he’s not within 5 or so points, he’s a bad candidate. (As in “He’s got no chance of winning barring Clinton self-destructing”).

      Romney and Hillary are well known candidates — there is no real “pool” of voters to which the can be introduced to and convince. They’re both incredibly well-defined — people know them, have firm opinions on them, and aren’t prone to be squishy out of — again — not being sure what sort of people they are or their politics.

      That makes both of them very rare cases when it comes to super early polls. You’re not going to see the numbers bounce around. They’re not the new flavor of the month, whose popularity skyrockets than collapses as they get known. They are what they are, and the public in general knows what that is.

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      • “Who might make a viable run at that?” Jeb Bush, obviously, but also Scott Walker. He’s right now my pick to win the nomination. He had a good showing at Representative King’s Iowa circus, has street cred from both being a governor *and* taking on the unions (and winning), and is as standardly socially conservative as any run of the mill elected Republican but isn’t motivated by it (or defined by it) the way Huckabee or Santorum (or Bachmann) are.

        (And if Jeb is his running mate, which he won’t be, but if it was, we’d have a ‘Walker – Bush’ on the Republican ticket in a year ending in 6 and finally complete the cycle.)

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      • Jeb and Christie seem like the guys that will most likely actually run and use that approach. It will be interesting — and by interesting, I mean utterly fascinating — to see what happens.

        Talk radio is still talk radio, but it seems Fox News is tacking back towards being more moderate. And I think that’s important. When I look back at the 3-ring circus that was the 2011 primaries, every single non-Mitt candidate in successive order (well, besides Huntsman) was championed and pimped hard by Fox.

        I’m not so sure that the Cruzs, Santorums, Perrys, etc. are going to get that push this time around. (They will from radio, though.)

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      • Scott Walker could do it. Remember, the appeal is to Republican voters. He straddles the line between tossing out red meat to the red-meat eaters and seeming like a guy who wants to roll up his sleeves and get to work trading horses. Lots of rhetoric and lensing about him; and he’ll be a lightning rod on both sides for the strident, but if you’re sticking to the GOP “pump up the base as much as you can without actually losing too much of the middle” strategy, Walker is well-positioned to pull it off.

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      • but if you’re sticking to the GOP “pump up the base as much as you can without actually losing too much of the middle” strategy, Walker is well-positioned to pull it off.
        Judging by turnout patterns, that’s a pretty risky bet.

        OTOH, I’m not sure there’s a better path for the GOP anyways.

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      • None of the people mentioned so far (Bush and Walker mostly) strike me as city guys. At least not to the extent that I think Romney was/is. My perception — and feel free to correct me — is that Romney was happy to go into Georgia, win big in the core around Atlanta, let the rest of the state go, and walk away happy with a share of the delegates. Oklahoma City and Norman, not Oklahoma. Chicago, not Illinois. Greater Milwaukee, not Wisconsin. Miami/Orlando/Tampa, not the rest of Florida. Sort of an “I’m not a small-town guy, I’ve never been a small-town guy, and I’m not going to pay attention to small towns in this campaign.” Bush might be able to pull it off. Walker? Not a chance, in my mind.

        Maybe a touchstone on it — who in the crowd of candidates would be believable saying that of course they knew people who took mass transit to work?

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      • @michael-cain

        I think Scott Walker could win a GOP Primary for President easily but he is probably a much stronger lightening rod for Democrats than Mitt Romney. I could see a situation in which Romney won 2016 because Democrats were too blase in dealing with him the second time around. There are a lot of people on the Democratic side who really dislike Walker. I also think Walker is more unappealing to inner-ring suburban moderates.

        The most interesting possibility if Walker wins the GOP nomination is the fact that he does not have a college degree. I wonder if that would become a culture war lightening rod because any Democratic nominee is going to be college educated and probably elite college educated.

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      • I think Romney’s peeps are largely suburban voters more generally, along with small city voters, rather than urban/inner-ringers, of whom I don’t think there are enough to deliver the primary. I think Bush and Christie will be the candidates there. Walker, too, if he’s a good politician and able to bridge some of the gaps. The promise and peril of his campaign is that he can have some of all of these groups, or none of them.

        Despite the resistance to his campaign, I really thought Romney had a better shot than anybody at the nomination if he had run. Without him, a lot of it is going to hinge on Walker’s strength as a candidate, and whether a Romney-powered Christie (if the rumors are true) can unseat Jeb. I’d actually thought of the college drop-out thing. It’ll be interesting to see the degree to which that becomes an issue. His degree in ag from Texas A&M would have been one of the more interesting aspects of a Perry nomination.

        I think the response Romney got would have been better reserved for Bush. I could see Romney winning the general. I can see Christie or Walker winning. Not likely, but I can see it in the event that HRC has problems. I have a much harder time groking Jeb winning. The folks who jumped from Romney to Bush are either fools, or (in many cases I suspect) actually quite comfortable at the prospect of an HRC presidency.

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      • As I remember the 90’s fondly, I am one of those who would not mind a fairly Republican congress, a fairly (but not 60 seats!) Republican senate, and an HRC Executive.

        Where everybody hates everybody.

        But I would.

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      • People Do Not Learn Better When Taught Via Their Preferred “Learning Style”

        That’s the second one. It seems more than counter-intuitive; it seems contradictory. Can we even talk about “learning styles” if they don’t help a person to learn better? Could this be a situation where people think they know their learning style, but are wrong? I’ve had too many experiences in teaching and learning where a modified approach turns on a light bulb that wasn’t getting any brighter using conventional methods.

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      • Pinky,
        it could easily be “people dont’ know their preferred learning style”.
        Doing math using two’s complement isnt’ exactly straightforward, but it’s the only way a friend of mine ever manages to do practically anything.

        But that? That’s two things: 1) severe dyscalcula 2) not covered in the audio/visual/kinesthetic paradigm the study was testing.

        I’m pretty confident that if you tested him learning most things with kinesthetic learning, he’d be pretty horrid at it (motor skills issues).

        But again, they may have pulled out anyone with severe enough learning disabilities.

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      • Could this be a situation where people think they know their learning style, but are wrong?

        Yes, this is what the study they cite actually suggests (you can read it here). The study looks at self-reported modality preferences (visual, auditory, textual) and shows that people don’t remember information any better when they learn it in their preferred modality. They then look at what information people are using to determine their preferred modality, and show that they’re not remembering cases when they learned better in that modality. The implication, then, is that they just have a vague idea that they are visual learners, say, and that this idea is likely wrong. It is entirely possible that people do learn better in a particular modality (or perhaps there are content-modality interactions), but we’d have to find some other way of figuring that out. They note that the learning style tests aren’t particularly reliable and generally haven’t been empirically verified.

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      • With my kids, (we went through lots and lots of testing, they’re at the top and bottom of abilities, both) I don’t really recall the results of the testing we had indicating a better learning style so much as identifying places where standard stuff didn’t necessarily stick, and modifications that seemed linked to learning style to standard stuff to better help it stick. So my younger sprout, who had trouble getting between-the-lines, unspoken meaning in fiction got modifications pointing those things out before reading them; then he could see what was going on. They both got alternatives to word searches, which just scrambled their eyeballs (mine, too) and were not fun, rewarding, and endlessly frustrating.

        So I wonder if a lot of the ‘learning style’ identification is sort-of the opposite, identified learning-deficits, flipped on its head?

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      • zic,
        yeah, I know a guy with problems with abstract thinking. (Hence why he’s using two’s complement. after you try to count more than ten objects in your head, it’s easy to lose count. knowing whether something’s even or odd is easy though).

        I think it’s also quite possible that voids in people’s abilities are person-specific. My friend is perfectly capable of taking notes, but that’s by drawing pieces of art that just happen to be letters (takes a LOT of concentration. Can’t listen to the teacher while drawing). With that severe dysgraphia, he’s honestly learned to memorize stuff better than most people (or learn out of the book).

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      • Did a bit of research on this for one of my education classes. There are other studies that show similar findings, and many of them don’t rely on self-reported learning styles.

        That “light bulb” process you describe is obviously real, but there’s no real reason to suppose it’s related to an individual student’s preferred learning modality. When two methods are tried and the second one works, it’s basically either a case of the second method being the right answer all along or both methods working together in conjunction.

        When it comes to the science of how brains learn, Daniel T. Willingham is my go-to-guy. He’s got a nice article about the issue here.

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      • obvious caveat is that where specific applications of teaching styles interact with student capability, students who lack that capability for whatever reason will suffer reduced benefit. So the aforementioned person with dyslexia is going to have a hard time with a lesson that requires writing, or a person who isn’t fluent in English will do better with a lesson that focuses on diagrams than one that focuses on listening to an English language lecture.

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  5. M1 – Is this a joke? I mean, it reads like a believable story about a patient suffering from stretches of deja vu, and they don’t know why it’s happening. But there’s just a passing reference to the fact that he’s taken LSD? It seems to me that a drug that alters brain chemistry deserves more than a passing reference if the patient is having a perceptual problem.

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    • Not to minimize the LSD angle (and of course, just because he reports having taken “LSD” doesn’t mean that what he took was *actually* LSD – there are newer compounds that bear some experiential resemblance to LSD, and are psychoactive at similarly small doses as LSD, but that are emphatically NOT even close in molecular structure to LSD, which has a fairly well-accepted/understood safety profile, due to millions of individual “tests”, over decades) – but pretty much EVERYTHING “alters brain chemistry”, even the slice of pizza I just ate.

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      • That might sound like I’m nitpicking, don’t mean it to. Assuming they can get their hands on a sample of whatever he took (doubtful), it wouldn’t be a bad place to start their investigation if he is having some sort of ultra-rare mental experience.

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      • I get your point. But there’s a horses-and-zebras thing here. If someone came to me with anxiety problems and perceptual problems, and had used LSD at some point, I wouldn’t be quick to assume a connection between anxiety and perception.

        To put it less broadly, it sounds like the patient had anxiety issues including OCD, developed occasional deja vu, and the periods of deja vu increased as time went on – but during that time he had been treated with multiple meds, and at some point he had taken something “labeled” LSD; so while we can speculate on the connection between his early anxiety and deja vu, it’d be risky to speculate that the initial anxiety was the main driver of his continued and unique bouts of deja vu.

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  6. Cr1: This seems absolutely implausible. How did he get a lawyer to make this allegation?

    Cr2: Not exactly Moriarty, no.

    Cr5: I just think the concept of putting something up your nose or choosing to use needles when you don’t have to is odd. 2 year olds put things up their nose and needles are needles….

    Cu5: I don’t think this is really a widespread trend.

    Ch3: I am just not enough of a hippie to get into unschooling or think it should and can be universal. I wonder how much subtle nudging happens in unschool environments and whether parents who unschool do it only for children who seem precocious.

    Ca4: This just seems like the next logical step in the giddy world of Web 2.0 where venture capital seems to flow freely. I wonder what is going to happen when web 2.0 companies need to start cutting back on all the nice perks that they give their employees.

    P5: North is spot on here. A lot of people do use politics as a way of showing how good and pure and unsullied they are instead of dealing with the murky world of compromise and getting some of what you want but not all of it. The term I use for this is on the Left is Leftier-Than-Thou

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  7. Not really related to [Ch1] but it brought it to mind: It’s recently getting some public attention that Statistics Canada, in its monthly estimates of unemployment, doesn’t include anyone living on native reserves – many of which are the poorest places in Canada, little pockets of near-third-world conditions close to vast wealth.

    Statscan’s justification is that it’s often hard to reach people living on reserves, what with their isolated locations, lack of access to utilities including phone lines, and other factors that contribute directly to their having on average far higher unemployment rates of the rest of the country.

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  8. Cu4 – How the hell did you find this? I don’t fancy many people here frequenting the bodybuilding.com forums. I have the site in my Facebook feed but I rarely venture into those forums. The articles are very good.

    Sunday-Saturday is only 6 days, do you have 6 days weeks where you live?

    *facepalm

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    • I remember seeing it on Fark and/or in a Facebook feed (the type of post that’s the Facebook equivalent of the FW:FW:FW:FW). Someone on the forum probably put it on one of the aggregators and it went viral.

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      • That makes sense.

        Having read through those forums in the past, I will say that the bodybuilding.com forum has the largest collection of BroScience PhD’s anywhere on the internet.

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  9. Republicans think climate change is serious and government should do something:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/01/30/global_warming_poll_republicans_threat_taken_seriously_times_finds.html

    The problem I have with stories like this is that they fail to acknowledge that people have lots of policy preferences and stack. Taking this poll at face value, they still might not vote for an environmentalist candidate if said candidate takes stances that they oppose on most other issues. To be fair, I might generally agree with many libertarians on the NSA and Drug War but I am not going to vote solely on those issues because many libertarian candidates will also oppose policies that I disagree with strongly when it comes to nearly everything else.

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    • My complaint is that the third statement, that a plurality of Republicans chose, is… well, call it the “weak form” of the global warming hypothesis and the actions required to accomplish something meaningful: things are getting warmer, and we ought to do something, but it’s not going to be particularly painful. Pretty much business as usual, with a bit more renewables and a bit more efficiency. I’d be much more interested in a poll that included a “strong form”: say, one that required phasing out coal in 15 years, internal combustion engines in 20, and natural gas in 25, and the probable consequences of those. Then see how many Republicans (or even how many Democrats) buy in.

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      • Kevin Drum once called global warming the ultimate slow moving problem from grad school hell because the real damage will not really begin until all of us are dead and gone or potentially very old. But chances are that the world will not become a hothouse completely in my lifetime.

        Though the current situation in California with drought seems to say otherwise but it could also be that the current high-pressure ridge system which is preventing rain in California goes away in a few years and things go back to normalish. Though I also read that the 19th and 20th centuries in California were abnormally wet probably.

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      • You’re enough younger than I am that I expect you to live to see the end of attempts at agriculture in the southern Great Plains; Arizona abandon water-intense crops like cotton and hay in order to meet the needs of the Sun Valley cities; major changes in the crops grown in SE Texas; close to open warfare between West Texas and New Mexico over who gets to dry up the Rio Grande (heck, I’ll probably live to see that one). In The Nine Nations of North America, Joel Garreau made the point that most parts of the West has enough water to support of wilderness, agriculture, and industry (read cities). You’ll live to see major confrontations between the federal government (supporting wilderness) and the states (supporting one of agriculture or cities).

        Given sufficient energy supplies, California coastal urban/suburban areas can’t run out of water, what with the Pacific right there and desalinization available (at a decreasing but always high energy cost barring a technology breakthrough). Assume cheap enough costs and the Central Valley is taken care of as well: lift the desalinated water to 500 ft and it’s downhill to most of the Valley. I’m pessimistic about the energy supplies, of course.

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  10. Ca3: What I find especially amusing about this story is that it appears it was the a-holes themselves who actually posted the video of them being a-holes in an attempt to say “hey, look at this other a-hole” on YouTube.

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  11. Cr3

    Local Republican politicians are trying to push through asset forfeiture legislation. This has drawn a lot of ire, especially from local Republican/conservative citizens (at least, according to the local opinion pages). I’m really curious to see how this plays out.

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      • Wow, that’s a strikingly unfair reading of that article. Did you just not read it, or did you see that it was written by a conservative and just translate it in your head back into the original R’lyehian?

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      • I skimmed the article, and found it hilarious that anyone would take his concern trolling seriously.

        Here’s the tell:
        “Well, part of my objection is that upper-middle-income voters only oppose tax hikes on themselves. They are generally fine with raising taxes on people richer than themselves”
        He goes on to try and bang the drum of populism hitting the usual Republican Wall Streeter tropes:
        Occupational licensing, immigration of higher skilled people.

        Gosh, one would think he is angry at the way the yups have ignored the concerns and plight of the working class who are forced to compete with Bangladeshi workers making a dollar a day.

        Except one would be wrong.

        Salam is angry that the upper middle class has not embraced the Romney vision for America where regulation and taxes are nonexistent.

        That is to say, he is angry that they act in their own self interest, instead of throwing themselves down the same pit as the working class.

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      • is largely right here. There is a lot of strawmanning of upper-middle class liberals and the only reason seems to be the same kind of rage that the GOP reserves for Jews from time to time in perplexity of “why won’t you vote for us…………….”

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      • He lost me on the transition from middle school to high school:

        Before high school, some of the kids I knew were somewhat worse off, and others were somewhat better off than most, but we generally all fell into the same lower-middle- or middle-middle-class milieu. So high school was a revelation. Status distinctions that had been entirely obscure to me came into focus. Everything about you—the clothes you wore, the music you listened to, the way you pronounced things—turned out to be a clear marker of where you were from and whether you were worth knowing.

        And that’s in the first paragraph, and if he’d gone to a poor school, he’d still have seen the same crap.

        And when I go to this:

        Though virtually all of these polite, well-groomed people were politically liberal, I sensed that their gut political instincts were all about protecting what they had and scratching out the eyeballs of anyone who dared to suggest taking it away from them. I can’t say I liked these people as a group. Yet without really reflecting on it, I felt that it was inevitable that I would live among them, and that’s pretty much exactly what’s happened.

        And I’m like 100% sure he not only doesn’t like me, personally, but he’d scratch my eyeballs out too if he felt I threatened taking his stuff from him.

        If you’re a conservative, you celebrate successful people. But we this kneejerk reaction that liberals must be poor. They can’t be successful, they can’t have earned money or live in nice neighborhoods, they have to be the 47%, mooching of the fat of others.

        Give me a break. This is a piece of political bigotry, pure and simple.

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      • @kenb

        My theory is that conservatives don’t know what to make of upper-middle class liberals because they tend to be income wealthy instead of capital wealthy and if they own a business, it is something vastly different than the businesses of their normal constituents and tends to be on the small or smallish side. You might have a lot of upper-middle class liberals with their own law firms, doctor’s practices, design firms, boutiques, etc. You see very few trying to build business empires.

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      • Also, that he even got to go to that high school and to college after probably had to do with some liberal affirmative action policy those schools had that kids of immigrant parents who showed they could do the work deserved a chance; he probably displaced some other upper middle-class student who was perfectly groomed, and nobody gouged his eyes out to protect those precious educational opportunities for their precious, perfect, status-conscious children.

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      • Could be true of Cornell, but definitely not the case with Salam’s high school. The argument does validate one of the common arguments against affirmative action: People assume that minorities wouldn’t have gotten there if not for affirmative action.

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      • Yes, but affirmative action letting him get there doesn’t mean he wasn’t capable; it can also mean he was capable, and it wasn’t ability that kept minorities out, it was bigotry.

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      • To understand affirmative action, flip it from ‘minority’ to ‘woman.’

        Do you think women are incapable? That’s just a silly argument that reinforces the notion that minorities couldn’t handle it if not for affirmative action. Any one who gets through Cornell does so because they earned it, not because they got exceptions because of some repressed status.

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      • And yet, that he was allegedly a beneficiary of affirmative action seems meant to undermine his perspective. The very possibility of it seems to incur some obligation to the liberal project. It can be assumed whether we know that he benefited from affirmative action or not. As the child of immigrants, his accomplishments can be assumed to be shared, at least a little, with liberals.

        (Leaving aside that his high school has no affirmative action policy, that he actually has no love for his old school, or that he is – in addition to being the child of immigrants – a member of the demographic most negatively affected by the policy.)

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      • , if you, he, and I all had the exact same resume, applied for the same job, you’d be most likely to be the one called in for an interview or considered for a job. That’s real, it’s not made up. That he or I might even get considered for that job or accepted into a school is much of what affirmative action was about; opening doors for people who, without the help of having them opened, wouldn’t get the opportunity by dint of their race, sex, or whatever. That it’s associated with people of less caliber getting stuff reserved for the privileged is a troublesome thing; a means to mostly discredit liberal policy without serious thought to the underlying issues, and something that I’ve heard a lot, but never seen actual numbers to support. Getting through Cornell happens because of the student, affirmative action only helps get you a foot in the door.

        But you, not me, and not Reihan, would, absent some liberal awareness, be the one called for the interview most of the time.

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      • I go back to the three resumes. That okay with you?

        It’s not okay with me; but hey, I’m a liberal.

        It’s also not okay with me to be told, up front, that he despises me and people like me, but accepts he’s going to live among us, and then tell me why we’re ruining the things he’s loves and decided to do — live among us. He’s mean spirited and nasty.

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      • My own views of affirmative action are actually quite conflicted. I used to b3 mildly in favor of it but now (as of five years ago) am mildly against it. I see arguments both ways.

        But that benefit is assumed and used as an argument against minorities is actually in the “against” bucket.

        Interestingly, I was actually turned on the issue in part by a prolonged discussion on the issue with a child of South Asian immigrants. That may be why the Salam case resonates with me.

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      • there are probably lots of ways to think about it, but what conservatives did to it is pretty disgusting to my mind; they linked to to being less deserving because of ability. I think it’s being likely to have access to opportunity despite ability.

        The conservative meme means was, I think, a way to insult people who were/are different, and a way to pretend that bootstrapping works for anybody so long as they try hard enough. That’s a might fine American Myth, and it might have even been true once upon a time, when there were enough labor shortages that labor constraints were what restricted growth. That’s not the problem now, though, and boot strapping has become a pernicious excuse for bigotry and redistributing income upward.

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      • I think there are legitimate questions about the extent to which AA in practice actually makes significant headway towards addressing the issues it is supposed to, and at whose expense (made more complicated by the fact that it’s not a monolithic policy) .

        I’m frankly not all that jazzed up by the moral rectitude of a lot of people on either side of this debate, to be honest. And I honestly think using AA as a method of criticizing Salam (which is very much how it came across to me) doesn’t particularly do it any favors.

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      • I should add, I commented on that criticism and not the other criticisms because I either agreed with the other criticisms or at least thought they were pretty fair points. I didn’t actually care that much for the piece.

        I do think that liberalism is a badge for showing off for some people in some social venues, but so what? Where I come from, my then- liberalism came with a price tag, if anything.

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      • On AA: it was a social policy to address structural institutional bias. And those who liked and benefitted from and wanted to maintain that bias then simply changed their suits, and instead of trying to maintain the privilege, they discredited the people who gained privilege via AA; like I said, getting through a school like Cornell is a huge achievement.

        I did use it as an attack, but one to suggest that he’s benefitted from a lot of liberal policy and I’ve never ever seen him try to take that measure.

        I am reminded of the commercials run to try to discourage young adults from signing up for Obamacare; the scary Uncle Sam getting ready to violate, I mean give take a pap smear, from that poor girl! Better to avoid having insurance than that!

        There are many other examples of liberalism we all benefit from; that most of us take for granted as ‘normal,’ because they are normal. Like clean water, Medicare, and the right to eat at any lunch counter you like, so long as you pay your bill and behave reasonably.

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      • We don’t even know that AA helped him get in to Connell any more than his high school. For all we know, he may have overcome the disadvantages to be able to earn his spot without affirmative action. For all we know, as an Asian-American affirmative action may have been something he had to overcome in order to get into Cornell and if it weren’t for affirmative action he might have gotten into an even better school.

        TThat it seems a safe assumption for some that he needed affirmative action, even if we consider affirmative action a corrective instead of an unfair benefit, I by virtue of the fact that he is the child of immigrants, is troublesome to me. Not the least of which because it is so often used as a point of criticism against minorities who don’t have the correct opinions.

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      • That it seems a safe assumption for some that he needed affirmative action, even if we consider affirmative action a corrective instead of an unfair benefit, I by virtue of the fact that he is the child of immigrants, is troublesome to me.

        Only if you think changing the policies of access is somehow insulting; AA policies made schools revalue their admissions policies, made them look at candidates they were not considering before quite outside any quota systems that may have been set up. That’s the value. Perhaps he wasn’t an AA student, but the institutional changes benefitted people who were not simply because admissions offices considered them in ways they had not before.

        AA was not not just about the individual students; it was mostly about the institutional bias that existed, and liberalism was what changed that to the extent it’s changed.

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      • No, the troublesome doesn’t go away if it’s not meant as an insult, because it is often going to be recieved as one. Especially when it comes to Asian-Americans.

        Also, whether it’s intended as an insult or recieved as one, I don’t think it’s actually a safe assumption. Or a fair one, especially given the implications (“You didn’t build that”… or worse). And it’s an unfair one to a lot of minorities.

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      • You’re probably right, he’s not an AA beneficiary; he earned all his educational opportunities on his own, and suggesting he benefitted from attempts to breakdown structural bias is an outright insult to him. My suggesting he benefitted from liberal policy is just silly and insulting, it’s insensitive, and blames the worthy people’s success on the removal of structural bias and not on their own effort. It embeds individual achievement (which is a very good thing) from the structures and norms within which one achieves (which are tradition, also a very good thing).

        Thus, it’s perfectly logical and reasonable to write a post of how one hates liberals, how liberals are ruining everything, and how they should all just respect individual accomplishment and tradition and stop complaining about institutional bias; Reihan knows his accomplishments are his own. All those other people who had doors opened so that they could also achieve, on the other hand, don’t own their achievements, and didn’t earn them or they wouldn’t have needed something like AA to achieve, they would have accomplished that based on their own merit.

        How PC of me.

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      • Reihan Salam is 35 years old. Regardless of what AA may have been at some point in the past, by the time Salam got to college it was essentially a system of admissions standards that varied by race. That’s what Salam is objecting to, and when you say he benefited from it, it a) implies that he wasn’t good enough to get in on his own merits, and b) is probably wrong, as AA programs do not generally favor South Asians, who are one of the most successful racial groups in the United States, if not actually the most successful.

        That aside, the idea that the same college administrators who implemented AA in the first place would have discriminated against nonwhite applicants if they had been prevented from discriminating in their favor strains credibility. These are people who, when AA at certain state colleges was struck down by court decisions, exploited every loophole they could find to maintain de facto discrimination in favor of non-Asian minorities.

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      • mplies that he wasn’t good enough to get in on his own merits,

        My word. The right created that meme, and you’re all sucking it up like it’s gospel.

        It’ means he had opportunity to show his merit where, a decade or two before, he’d never have been given the chance because, you know, WMP. White male privilege. Every response here feels like it drips of it.

        My first tech job was an AA hire in a shop where there were 25 or so men and two women programming. AA got me an interview. I got me the job.

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      • Zic, your comment assigned to me different, and more arguments than I have made on this thread. My perspective on the matter was more or less limited to thinking it’s actually kind of uncool to point to a successful minority and say “affirmative action” whether you intend it insultingly or not.

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      • That’s what Salam is objecting to

        I don’t recall Salam actually making any arguments on affirmative action in the piece. It’s been a couple days since I read it and I don’t have time to do so again at the moment, but a quick search for applicable terms (affirmative, racial, minority/ies, black) don’t turn anything up.

        If I recall, Salam’s views on affirmative action tend to be nuanced, though he is opposed to focusing strictly on race.

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      • He goes after 529s, professional licensing, and immigration quotas for high-skilled workers but not retail workers.

        (Doctors? there’s a shortage; that was one of the arguments against ACA I heard from the right all the time — not enough doctors.

        As I said before, he seems completely incapable of recognizing what benefit he’s experienced from liberal policy. You’re welcome to think I’m uncool for making fun of him. But I don’t think he deserves the credit he gets as a deep thinker, I thing he’s intentionally mean and cruel to make his points, he has no problem disregarding the opinions or reasons of people who disagree with him, and I don’t find much subtlety or consideration for others in any of his writing I’ve bothered to read.

        Mostly, I don’t read him; I did out of courtesy (and respect) for you, because I do value your opinions on things.

        But I wanna know why it’s okay for him to make fun of liberals and it’s uncool for me to make fun of him? He got what he earned, and I actually agreed that yes, it was not fair to suggest he’s an AA candidate to school.

        It’s also really, really unfair to suggest AA’s who graduate from Cornell or Stanford or Harvard or work their asses off like I did at a job back in the day aren’t really there for their own merit; and that was exactly the charge to my unfair charge.

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      • Out of respect for me? I didn’t endorse the piece, didn’t link on it, and didn’t comment on it until after others had. And one of my comments was in saying that the piece had its problems. Had you picked another example of the debt he has incurred to the liberal project, I probably wouldn’t have actually said anything.

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    • Well, part of my objection is that upper-middle-income voters only oppose tax hikes on themselves. They are generally fine with raising taxes on people richer than themselves, including taxes on the investments that rich people make in new products, services, and businesses.

      The editor got a little sloppy there.

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  12. http://www.thenation.com/blog/196521/jonathan-chait-and-new-pc?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

    Michelle Goldberg on Chait:

    “Social media has done away with all that. Nobody gets a presumption of good faith anymore, and we’re all subject to loud, public judgment by people who might not share any of our underlying assumptions about the way the world works or the rules of intellectual debate. In the past, The Baffler might have published something that pissed off feminist readers, but most of those readers would share The Baffler’s broader worldview, and would be less likely to excoriate it. Even if they wanted to publish a response, there wouldn’t be many venues except the publication’s own letters section. Outsiders simply wouldn’t notice.”

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    • I think its absurd for people to prtend as if “Political Correctness” is somehow a new phenomenon.

      Social controls over speech have always existed. But of course they just controlled different things.

      When was there an era in which the phrase “Fu**ing Ni**er” publishable? Its just that over the years which word was taboo has changed.

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      • Eh, I still think the real fight over “PC” is over blame.

        Nobody’s contradicting that someone got offended, the question is “Should the person who said/did that have known better” (putting the burden on him/her to basically learn the rules, often changing, and be sensitive” or “Was the person who got offended, should he or she have just let it slide, because X didn’t mean it”.

        “You shouldn’t be so easily offended” versus “You shouldn’t say crap like that to people”. Unsurprisingly, if you’re offended you blame the person that offended you — and if you offended someone, you generally blame them for being too sensitive.

        And to top that off, there’s of course people who don’t even bother learning basic rules (or even break them on purpose) and then act like martyrs when people get offended. (Let’s call them “Why can’t white guys say the N-word when black guys can?” people.You know darn well why)

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      • In the old days, when Grandpa Simpson and I ran together, when someone uttered a taboo word, he was scolded with a reference to a universal code of etiquette which all good men learned in their Whitman Samplers.

        In the modern era, which embraces the notion that there are no such universal norms, a different enforcement mechanism is needed.
        So personal offense is wielded as the most convenient tool.

        So “Its rude to fart in public” changes to “I am on the Flatulence-Challenged spectrum, and you have offended me!”

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  13. For all his faults and crimes, Barrett Brown can friggin’ write. His Arts and Letters and Jail series is fabulous.

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  14. [Cr5] We got a propagandizing visit to our elementary school from a cop. My main conclusion from that was ‘this is clearly nonsense – if drugs were as bad as he’s saying, the 60s and 70s would be remembered mainly as a time of horror and death, not through ridiculous “hippy” halloween costumes’

    The effect of being so obviously misled certainly made a strong impression – I’m not sure if my drug use patterns would have been different had the propaganda visit not happened, but any effect it had can only have been toward encouraging trying more different drugs, not avoiding them.

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      • It wasn’t even so much forbidden fruit syndrome as I would interpret it, as anger at being lied to (1) by a cop, someone I was supposed to be able to respect and trust, (2) at my school, where we were supposed to be able to get straight answers.

        It didn’t directly motivate me to want to use drugs, but it motivated me to want to research them with more trustworthy sources, which I spent a number of evenings at the library doing. Having done that research toward the end of elementary, when I had the opportunity to get some hash in high school, I knew there would be useful reference materials I could turn to. I spent the lunch hour in the school library reading up on cannabis, and decided to buy a gram the next day.

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      • I admit that much of my obnoxiousness in my early SUPERATHEIST! days was due to the whole “I was lied to about God, I was lied to about alcohol, I was lied to about sex, I was lied to about marijuana, I was lied to about EVERYTHING!” thing.

        (Of course, now, I know that “lie” is not even close to being the best term, given that much of the advice I got was very, very, very good. I don’t know that “It’s Complicated” would have protected me as much as the “lies” did.)

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      • When I was in the Eleventh grade, I argued for legalizing drugs in health class. My teacher said she didn’t like what I advocated but I made good points, which was that drug’s illegality makes any health problems surrounding their use even more problematic. With alcohol, people can get treated for addiction or overdose without facing criminal penalty. Drug users can’t.

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      • , I think one reason why Jewish atheists tend to get less angry than other atheists about religion, besides the ethnic quality of Jewishness, is that Jewish ethics tend towards the situational rather than the black and white. It leads towards a more nuanced view of the world.

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      • it’s interesting we seem to hold that view much more commonly with respect to drugs that aren’t alcohol – that “it’s complicated” is too complicated; that modeling responsible drinking is a responsible thing to do, but modeling responsible cannabis use is irresponsible.

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      • (Of course, now, I know that “lie” is not even close to being the best term, given that much of the advice I got was very, very, very good. I don’t know that “It’s Complicated” would have protected me as much as the “lies” did.)

        I do wonder about that, especially when it comes to parenthood. I’m not a parent and won’t be, but I can imagine that when one is actually raising a child, sometimes lying might be the answer when it comes to certain things. Or if not lying, then temporizing and equivocating so much that it works as a lie for most intents and purposes.

        Maybe as seems to suggest, such lying might not be necessary, or seem as necessary, when it comes to non-alcohol drugs. But I can imagine other cases–e.g., discussions of death and the abstract possibility that someone, either the child or parent, might die before their time–could at least in the moment seem to warrant a lie or at least stretching the truth.

        I suppose one takeaway is for me not to judge parents who lie, because I’m not sure what I would do or say.

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    • A former county sheriff in Colorado who has been a long-time advocate for legalization (and is now on the winning side!) used to say something along the lines of “My deputies and I made at least one run every single day to deal with a domestic violence situation where someone got drunk and went home and beat their spouse and/or kids. We never, ever made a run where someone got high and made that choice.”

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    • @saul-degraw
      I grew up in the 1970’s. It more like Ridgemont High than anything else.
      It was that weird interval after the culture wars of the 60’s but before the rising drug hysteria of the 80’s.

      In 1977 my high school had an officially sanctioned Smoking Area for the students (who were over 18 of course, wink wink).

      The Theatre Department held a movie showing each Friday at lunch. One Friday offering was Reefer Madness, played obviously for laughs.

      Good times, good times.

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  15. Thanks for the link on cancer and bad luck.

    The genetics question is difficult: it varies a lot between cancers, it’s not really known for all of them, and it’s not always well defined.

    As an example, basal cell carcinoma could be seen as almost entirely due to sun exposure or almost entirely due to having white skin — either mostly environmental or mostly genetic. There’s a less-extreme example with breast cancer, which is quite heritable (maybe 20-25%) comparing between women in Western societies, but is/was much less common where women have many more children. Depending on the comparison, you could get a much lower figure for the genetic component.

    For relatively common cancers the highest heritability estimate I’ve seen is ovarian cancer at over 1/3. On a world-wide scale, lung cancer and liver cancer are very common and are mostly environmental (smoking; hepatitis B &C, aflatoxin, alcohol). Breast cancer is quite heritable. Cervical cancer is largely due to a virus. Colon cancer is maybe between breast and ovarian. Stomach cancer is mostly due to diet.

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  16. P5-

    The Reason article was good, but seemed like sort of libertarian version of Whats The Matter With Kansas.

    In other words, it correctly stressed trying to persuade and gather converts, but like a lot of liberals, spoke very little about constituency.

    Liberals often have this fixed dogma about the working class, and see success as simply finding newer and more novel methods of marketing it. Conservatives have it also about black people, Hispanics, women, and well, just about everybody who isn’t already a Republican.

    As opposed to identifying their constituency, and entering into a dialogue with them about how a set of proposals can be developed to meet their concerns and fulfill their desires.

    My snark about the false consciousness touched on that- assuming that people reject our policies only because they are stupid or lack sufficient doctrinal purity.

    I’ve said it before- as much scorn as I heap upon the Rush Limbaughs and Sarah Palins of the world, they are able to identify with the concerns of the working class in a way that many liberals can’t.

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