Linky Friday #114: Food, Family, & Fun

Culture:

[Cu1] Full House is the latest “classic” to get a reboot. Naomi Shaeffer Riley argues that this is demonstrative of a hunger for family entertainment. It mentions ABC Family and how it’s kind of gone off the rails. My friend and I were watching TV a few years ago, and there was some ad for a raunchy comedy that I didn’t think too much of until my friend said “Wait, did they say ABC Family?!”

[Cu2] Is Kraft Macaroni And Cheese still even Kraft Macaroni And Cheese if it’s not radioactive orange?

[Cu3] Julian Sanchez explains why the planet of Krypton doesn’t really make sense, when you think about it from an evolutionary standpoint.

[Cu4] From Oscar Gordon: A nice critique of a rhetorical tactic I despise.

Evolution:

[E1] From Oscar Gordon to Chris: The backwards bike will break your brain.

[E2] Want an advantage to take to battle? Wear a crying baby. {via Oscar}

[E3] Joe Carter looks at the implications that an ultrasound-on-a-chip will have for abortion. {More}

[E4] It turns out, men on a sexual hookup site behave quite superficially. I’m not sure what this has to do with men and dating in general, though.

[E5] Andrew Swift believes that reading to your children may be justified, but is the enemy of social mobility, and that things like private schooling cannot be justified.

Business:

[B1] From Oscar Gordon: One more reason why I will not willingly give business to Wells Fargo.

[B2] I don’t even know what this game is, but I kind of want to play it.

[B3] Verizon is trying to unbundle cable, which has Disney calling foul.

[B4] I’ve long speculated that the future of legal pot may lie with the much-maligned tobacco industry. Apparently, they’ve peeked into it themselves. I’m caught between believing it’s one thing they could do to perhaps help their image, and believing that opponents of decriminalization need to convince them to throw their hat in the ring immediately.

[B5] Bob Marley’s family is launching a cannabis brand. I’ll bet a certain fictitious tobacco company is hiring lawyers as we speak.

Crime:

[Cr1] Jailed criminals think pretty highly of themselves.

[Cr2] Alex Tabarrok writes about three felonies a day and its ramifications.

[Cr3] Alice Goffman wrote a book on the fugitive life, and here’s an excerpt.

[Cr4] When we decide to make something illegal, we really need to think through what we’re going to do with the people who do not or cannot comply.

America:

[A1] From Christopher Carr: This map from the New York Times shows where poor children experience the most and the least income mobility.

[A2] An NYPD officer with a replica of the General Lee has been informed that he cannot park the car at the precinct. I really wish the rebooted movie had taken advantage of the opportunity to change the design of the roof.

[A3] Washington, DC, is home to some very historic gravel, apparently.

[A4] A mostly private venture to connect Houston and Dallas with HSR is running in to some opposition. I’m sympathetic to the concerns of guaranteed ridership numbers and bailouts, though not much else.

[A5] Standardized tests are much-criticized among white and middle class parents, across ideology. But they’re popular with minorities.

[A6] A lake in Boulder, Colorado, has a whole lot of goldfish.

World:

[W1] Liberland may or may not exist, but 250,000 people have applied to live there.

[W2] FM radio in Norway is signing off… for good.

[W3] Is Mexico about to be the next failed state? The more curious question is whether democracy has utterly ruined the third most populous nation in the sphere.

[W4] Kyle Smith says that Scandanavia isn’t all that as they have high depression rates, but Scott Alexander says that depression is not a proxy for social dysfunction.

[W5] As we continue to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall, photographer Stefan Koppelkamm presents the contrast between East German and eastern Germany.

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141 thoughts on “Linky Friday #114: Food, Family, & Fun

  1. E3 — (ultrasound on a chip) reminds me of the very first link posted have about rhetorical tactics, so much ado about what women might do if ______ (fill in blank, so long as it has to do with ladies’ reproductive organs). Not a word about how those same ultrasounds in the hands of any midwife in the world might also save lives and help some women remain fertile; not a word about the how education and reproductive control help of women helps lift local economies, benefitting everybody, and bringing down crime, infant death, and a host of other good things. And you know, that buzz about controlling lady parts is a big part of why women are devalued and there’s so much sex-selection trends male in so many places.

    Gah.

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    • Who cares about women? THERE ARE CHILDREN TO WORRY ABOUT!

      Don’t worry, though… we’ll still treat women like children when it’s harmful to do so.

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      • we’ll still treat women like children when it’s harmful to do so.

        I asked North a similar question, but what’s the purpose of using “we” in that construction?

        It seems like it conceals more than it reveals.

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          • I’ve been thinking lately about the construction of statements that go like this:

            “we behave in X way to Y group”

            In the fatherhood thread you said something about society undervaluing motherhood. And here, is saying what “we” treat women like children.

            The other place I keep seeing this sort of statement is in the pro-cop posts that pop up on my FB wall, which say something along the lines of “we don’t value the dangerous work that police do.”

            I’m just curious as to what the underlying thought process is in using these types of statement. They don’t seem very precise.

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            • I typically mean “we as a collective society”. Does that necessitate all members and all elements making a concerted effort? No. But the aggregate result. Thankfully, there are multiple vectors pointing in multiple directions and the ones pointing the “right” way can hopefully change that.

              I also do it to include myself as part of the equation as I bear culpability as a member of this society. Saying “they” feels sanctinmonious.

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              • Saying “they” feels sanctinmonious.

                I get that, but at the same time, the “we” seems a bit like false modesty. As in you are invoking yourself, but pointing out that at least you get it, so the inference is still that some nefarious “they” is really responsible.

                More importantly, if you make a claim about “they” and their behavior it forces you to show your work.

                This is something on which I need to do some more thinking.

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    • Ah, Joe Carter, a blast from the past. I remember him from back when he was part of the same small circle of conservative Christian bloggers as Beale (they used to link each other a lot). And then again a few years later, when he played a role in the rise in popularity of PZ Myers (and in a way, New Atheism itself) during the absurd ID creationism debates.

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    • There are smugglers in this world who are heroes.
      They smuggle birth control pills, and have so many death sentences on their heads it’s a wonder they aren’t dead any given day.

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  2. Cu1: Its also a sign of decreasing creativity. They can create new family entertainment. I suppose the problem with new family entertainment is a result of political polarization though. Some families are going to want family entertainment with a liberal bent, multiculturalism, LGBT people, etc. and others more traditional family entertainment.

    Cu3: Thi falls under, don’t think about it too much.

    E4: As I understand it, Tindr evolved from a sexual hook-up app into a quick dating app. On dating apps that favor less information over more information like Tindr or Coffee Meets Bagels, people are going to favor physical appearances above other things because its pretty much like picking up somebody in a bar.

    B4: There are some marijuana users that feel ambivalent about legalizing pot because they don’t want it too commercialized.

    Cr1: Not surprising.

    A4: This is a perfect example of transportation as an ideological and cultural issue.

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    • The members of B4 who feel that way are the ones least likely to go to prison for years because they’re caught with a few grams of the stuff.

      Meanwhile, Colorado Springs has its first all-Marijuana Talk Radio Station.

      http://letstalkpot.com/

      It’s positively infuriating. I find myself yelling “THIS IS WHAT I VOTED FOR??? THIS IS WHAT I VOTED FOR????”

      But then they have a station identification commercial that includes a disclaimer that “if a dog talks to you, please don’t call us” and I snort and stop yelling for a little while.

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      • That is the least generous reading of their opposition to Big Pot. A lot of it was because they saw pot consumption as an essentially anti-consumerist way of getting intoxicated because lots of people found it disreputable because it was something done by those people. The mainstreaming and commercialization of pot turns something counter-cultural into a middle class activity that boring people can do in their free time. There were apparently some members of the LGBT community that were ambivalent about LGBT people becoming mainstream for the same reason.

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    • Related to B4, I have a bit of a reservation about the legalization of pot: legalizing and regulating it will probably make it harder for teenagers to get hold of (that’s one of the big selling points of proponents). At least in my experience in high school, getting alcohol took some fairly involved planning and a few days’ prep, while getting pot could be done reliably the same day. No weed dealer is in danger of losing their lucrative weed license over failing to ID a 17 year old with a moustache the way a liquor store is.

      Which would not be that big of a deal, except that pot is about the safest intoxicant we have. Teenagers aren’t going to stop getting high. If they can’t get pot, they’ll get something else, and that something else is pretty well guaranteed to be more dangerous than pot – meth, coke, whatever horrifyingly lethal thing they’re passing off as E this month…

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      • First things first Dragonfrog. You need to get it legalized and used in enormous numbers. Then, after a couple years of that if you have rock solid evidence that pot is as benign as you and I think it is then you can very credibly advocate for easing the youth restrictions. One step at a time, if any movement tries to go for the whole enchilada in one bit it ends up choking.

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        • Well that’s exactly it – right now there are no youth restrictions at all.

          Legalization would produce immense benefits in people not being imprisoned, a market not controlled by organized crime, ruined houses from grow ops a thing of the past.

          I just question this one point touted as an unquestioned good – regulations restricting the age of buyers. Weed doesn’t have to be rock-solid demonstrated safer than mother’s milk, to be safer than almost any conceivable alternative teenagers might buy if it actually becomes as unavailable to them as legalization proponents suggest. I mean, I guess there’s shrooms, they’re pretty safe. But other than that – pretty much all the alternatives including alcohol have the potential of fatal overdose.

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          • I really think this fear is misplaced. There is absolutely no shortage of availability for alcohol and cigarettes. All you need is to know someone who is the appropriate age or who looks the appropriate age. I was buying alcohol at 17.

            According to this :

            Alcohol availability is higher than marijuana among 8th graders (55% to 38%) and 10th graders (75% vs 65%).
            Cigarette availability is higher for 8th graders (47% to 38%) and about the same for 10th graders (70% vs 68%)

            So I don’t see accessibility being a problem.

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      • legalizing and regulating it will probably make it harder for teenagers to get hold of

        I don’t think this is true at all. It was always easier for me to get alcohol than pot. They won’t easily be able to buy it directly, but they’ll get it the same way they get beer and cigarettes: Someone will buy it for them.

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        • Must indeed be regional, and perhaps even specific to the social milieu.

          It was 19 to buy booze, and there were only half a dozen liquor stores in the whole city (government controlled alcohol retail), both of which presented logistical challenges. Even if someone’s older sibling was willing to buy alcohol, you had to go to their house after school, hope they were around, then at their convenience they’d go to a liquor store, which might not be for a couple of days.

          By contrast, your weed dealer was probably a fellow student and had weed right in their locker. If not, you still didn’t need to engage a reluctant middleman who also had other things going on – you just went by that one apartment yourself.

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          • Problem with weed is….you get seeds when you buy the stuff, and any idiot can grow it and smoke it. It doesn’t require careful cultivation or complex chemistry.

            I suspect THAT tidbit is probably the biggest blocker for big tobacco companies to push the pot market open nationwide and get in on it.

            If you think about it, the biggest nicotine market is the poor — but if you switch them to pot, they’ll grow their own. (It’s harder to grow your own tobacco). Middle class would probably buy for convenience rather than futz with plants.

            And of course, what if you get into the pot market and start seeing big sin taxes? Pot’s not even remotely as addictive as nicotine, and there’s a low cost alternative to buying.

            In short, while it’s probably a vast market (how many Americans smoke regularly? Quite a few, and even more would if they don’t have to worry about finding a connection or failing a test at work), it’s not remotely a captive one it’s probably fairly sensitive to price.

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            • Not so easy to grow; particularly if you want ‘quality,’ and the very same is also true of tobacco; it’s not grown in folk’s gardens because it’s illegal to do so.

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              • KHIG radio was interviewing a grower and discussing what people would need if they wanted to break into the business.

                The guy started talking about mold, about insects, about various forms of blight, and he ended up saying that a good greenhouse guy would be worth about $100,000 a year.

                Which communicates to me that the skills to be a good greenhouse guy are rare indeed.

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              • Good luck with that. Whatever comes out the back end wouldn’t be pot anymore, that’s for sure. (And I suspect any wide-spread legalization would be fairly rigorous in defining legal weed in terms of composition)

                Addiction has a lot of components, but on the pure physical side nothing beats nicotine. Short of ADDING nicotine to weed, you couldn’t even come close.

                People quit hard-core heroin addictions easier than cigarettes.

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      • I generally assume the worst about any large bank. I have had too many bad experiences. I use a regional credit union. They don’t have many branches, and their hours suck, but they are otherwise superior in every way to deal with. Alas, Bank of America holds my mortgage. There isn’t really anything I can do about that.

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  3. E5 is insane. Harrison Bergeron.

    While we may say something like “man, I wish that more parents could do for their kids what I am able to do for mine” and that makes nothing but sense to me, the attitude that says, and I’m cutting and pasting this: ‘I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,’ quips Swift.

    Is insane. I had to re-read the article to make sure that the guy’s name wasn’t Jonathan and this wasn’t an elaborate joke at the expense of people who might take it seriously.

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    • I don’t think it’s that insane to keep in mind from time to time the extent to which what we are doing reflects our privilege and that of our child. Not to stop doing the thing, but to be mindful of the fact that not everyone gets the advantages we are conferring with things as simple as a hug, a story, a bike ride.

      Try to be aware of your privilege, and you will be less likely to judge others for outcomes related to lacking that privilege. Seems like sound advice to me.

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      • This. He put it poorly, but this is what I think he meant.

        This discussion is a bit like criticizing someone for both supporting public school funding and sending their own kids to private school. The two are not in any way contradictory. It is entirely reasonable to both want society to help everyone, and to use your own resources to benefit your own family. But people will point at this and cry ‘hypocrite!’

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        • So when he said, and I’m cutting and pasting this, ‘I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,’ I should be charitable and think that he didn’t mean that reading to one’s own children is unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children?

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          • You misunderstand. There is only so much intellect to go around in this world, and if you are reading to your kids, you are giving them more access to the available intellect than other kids get.

            Intellect is a zero sum thing.

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        • This discussion is a bit like criticizing someone for both supporting public school funding and sending their own kids to private school. The two are not in any way contradictory. It is entirely reasonable to both want society to help everyone, and to use your own resources to benefit your own family. But people will point at this and cry ‘hypocrite!’

          Sorry, but I’ve never seen anyone criticize someone or call them a hypocrite for “supporting public school funding” and sending their kids to private school. The criticism is for people who actively oppose things like vouchers and other measures to increse school choice and then send their kids to private school, or better yet just move to a more expensive school district.

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      • No, it’s still malarkey.

        For example, it’s a common enough tradition to say grace before meals (or before a special meal) and include some semblance of “let’s be thankful for this food and be mindful of those around us and in the world that may not be able to have such a meal right now”. And that’s fine.

        It’s a different thing to say “let’s be thankful for our food because we took it out of the mouths of some other kids”

        *that’s* the equivalent of his assertion that reading to kids ‘unfairly disadvantages others people’s children” (em added)

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        • It’s the common call to level the playing field to the lowest common denominator instead of striving to raise everyone up.

          It’s the whole equality of outcome schtick pretending to be equality of opportunity.

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          • It is about lowering the highest denominator (though not by getting anyone to stop reading to their kids, as he explicitly says), but it’s not about outcome rather than opportunity.

            Family is the crucible of life opportunity. Trying to equalize the advantages conferred within the family is exactly trying to equalize opportunity. Part of the aim of equalizing opportunity is indeed to pursue somewhat more outcome equality I suspect, but it’s mostly to achieve greater fairness in life chances. I certainly think this guy’s views can be criticized for failing to focus on raising the opportunity levels at the bottom and instead on limiting them at the top, but I don’t see the basis for accusing him of actually caring only about outcome and not opportunity.

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            • There is no value in lowering the highest denominator. It serves no greater good to prevent the conferring of advantage to a child unless the very act of conferring an advantage actually harms the ability of another parent to do the same.

              Focusing on limiting the non-scarce advantageous of the top can only serve to equalize outcomes by creating a scarcity of advantages where none existed before.

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        • Actually, “let’s be thankful for this food and be mindful of those around us and in the world that may not be able to have such a meal right now” is just about exactly the thought he asks prints to occasionally have about reading, only adding that he’d like us to think about how not being able to have that meal puts children at a disadvantage. He says nothing about reflecting on whether your reading to your child is actually denying another parent the chance to read to hers just as much. Only that, given that many won’t, our doing so puts other kids at an unfair disadvantage.

          And the unfairness in it is that kids are randomly assigned parents with different means, different burdens, and different likelihoods of doing things like reading with them. Kids don’t do anything to deserve to grow up in a far less nurturing environment than other kids. That doing so puts them at such great disadvantage, and that the did nothing to deserve that, is grossly unfair. You cannot gainsay that. It is blatantly obvious (and obviously what he is referring to by unfairness).

          And there’s nothing insane about occasionally reflecting on the unfair disadvantage your propensity to read to your kid confers on other kids. Which doesn’t mean you should stop reading to them. But it might mean you will be more likely to think of something better to do to try to lessen the unfairness of the disadvantages conferred on kids through random assignment of parents. He suggests not sending them to private school to accomplish that, and he’d probably argue with you if you argued that doing so is a justifiable thing in view of the unfairness I describe, but I would guess that if you were offering other possibilities about how to lessen the unfairness of the disadvantages conferred on kids through random assignment of parents as a result of reflecting on the disadvantages conferred on other kids by your reading to them, then he would consider his admonition to parents to do that reflection to have been successful. The idea is to get you thinking about the unfairness and what to do about it.

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          • And there’s nothing insane about occasionally reflecting on the unfair disadvantage your propensity to read to your kid confers on other kids.

            It’s all in the framing.

            If *I* were to discuss this, I’d discuss it as the disadvantages bestowed on children by their parents, for whatever reason, failing to read to them. The unfair disadvantages bestowed by parents not having the time to read to children at night. The unfair disadvantages bestowed by parents not having books to read to their children at night. The unfair disadvantages bestowed by parents who don’t even know that you’re supposed to read to your children at night.

            And then we can discuss whether I’m blaming people for being poor.

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            • We can. But like you say, it’s two sides of the same coin. You do confer an advantage because those others do confer a disadvantage (if you weren’t conferring the advantage there wouldn’t be a disadvantage, though it would certainly be a worse world if everyone were equal and illiterate). So you also confer the disadvantage. And it’s unfair, because the kids don’t choose it.

              You can prefer not to, but it’s not insane to consider that, or suggest others do.

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              • I am not certain that reading to children is zero-sum.

                Imagine, if you will, a town: in this town, we’ve achieved books in every home. Every night, parents read to their children.

                Are there any children in this town that have an unfair advantage?

                Now let’s have a new family move in. This new family fails, for whatever reason, to read to their children.

                Suddenly, according to this theory, this town is full of families unfairly giving their children an advantage though they’ve changed *NOTHING* about their own behaviors.

                This is absurd.

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                • Are parents who teach their kids about condoms unfairly giving them an advantage over abstinence only households? Are parents who teach their kids about evolution unfairly giving them an advantage over young earth creationist households? Are parents who teach their kids to do chores quickly and efficiently giving them an unfair advantage over kids who never have to pick up after themselves? Are parents who don’t physically abuse their children giving them an unfair advantage over kids whose parents beat them?

                  Why in the hell are we using bad parents as the measuring stick of what is and what is not “fair”?

                  This is insane.

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                • I wouldn’t even say it’s absurd, but it’s also not what anyone is saying. People are talking about the real world, and will actually happen. And that is that there are a lot of kids who aren’t read to and don’t have books, and that is an ongoing and well-known reality. In that context it is an unfair advantage for kids who are read to (though it shouldn’t be fixed by their not being read to as much), which croutes to an unfair disadvantage being place on kids who aren’t. No one says that that means anyone should read with their kids less, but nevertheless, we can reflect on that and think about other things to do.

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                  • but it’s also not what anyone is saying

                    Here. Let me copy and paste this again.

                    ‘I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally,’

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                    • Right, and that’s about the world, where there is ongoing, well-known, and realistically ineradicable deprivation of this kind of nurturing for a significant segment of children, not about the fantasy town you speak of.

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            • Let me say I don’t disagree with you that the better framing is that there is an unfair advantage being conferred. It’s just that the flip side of that is an unfair disadvantage.

              Nothing I’ve said requires reading to kids to be zero-sum. Everyone could do it more and that would be much better. But it’s a fact that many will be read to much less, and that puts them at an unfair disadvantage. Part of that disadvantage has to do with the fact that some kids will be read to (and read that as a stand-in for a whole bundle of nurturing acts) much, much more. This doesn’t deny that a greater part of it might be the paucity of reading elsewhere. But it’s not insane to ask people to reflect on both part of the unfair disadvantage.

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                • I’m sorry. It certainly unfairly disadvantaged you. I will indeed contemplate the advantage not having that happen to me put me at compared to those to whom things like that happened.

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                    • I think I said I would contemplate the (unfair) advantage I got. I don’t have kids, and we’re contemporaries, so I think that makes more sense. I didn’t say unfair but I didn’t mean to exclude it.

                      Note also that Swift in the passage you are fixated on asks us to contemplate the unfair disadvantage, not the unfair advantage.

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                      • Note also that Swift in the passage you are fixated on asks us to contemplate the unfair disadvantage, not the unfair advantage.

                        You’re absolutely right.

                        Looking at the phrasing again: “the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children” that would lead me to be able to say that the unfair disadvantage, in this case, would be conferred by your father not dying.

                        Which seems weird to say out loud, doesn’t it?

                        I’m reminded of the Chris Rock sketch wherein people are doing things like bragging that “my baby has never gone to jail”. “WHAT DO YOU WANT, A FREAKING COOKIE???”

                        Well, this goes a step further.

                        “My baby has never gone to jail.” “You should consider how your that confers an unfair disadvantage on other children.”

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                      • It’s not the contemplation of the disadvantage that is the issue. Being aware of the good you’ve been granted and allowing it to humble you is without question a good idea.

                        It is the idea that the conferring of an advantage that does not involve the re-allocation of limited resources somehow results in a disadvantage.

                        Or perhaps we should discuss how women in the west have created a disadvantage for others through the use of birth control? How not only should they be aware of the privilege they have to exert reproductive control, but also that because they exert that control through modern medicine, they confer a disadvantage to women who do not have access, or who exist in a society or social setting that de-values reproductive choice.

                        That society or social setting is the key, that is what confers the disadvantage, that is what needs to addressed. Trying to draw a logical, causal connection from A to B when there is no serious link is beyond silly.

                        Honestly, I seriously hope the learned men involved were just badly misquoted, and not, as Tod said in his recent post, demonstrating Intellectualism.

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                      • Allow me to add that I get that philosophers oftentimes go strange places with thought experiments, and the article does suggest that that is what this largely is – a thought experiment with a rather unconventional framework through which to play with ideas. Of course, then the interview turns it around and makes suggestions that perhaps this should be informing policy, or at the very least, informing how people should view their efforts. And that is where is goes pear shaped.

                        Which is why I seriously hope there is parts of the conversation missing, or things were misquoted.

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              • I think you are trying to grant Swift a very charitable read whereas others are not. And they are not willing to do so (or, at least, I am not) because Swift is a professional philosopher, which is one of those professions where the practitioners must be very precise with language, if they are to be able to do their jobs.

                So when Swift makes the quote Jaybird posted, I have to take it on face that that is precisely what he meant. That my effort to impart to my son an advantage through a means that is effectively unlimited in supply* is somehow directly impacting another child, and that I should somehow take this into consideration as I read to my son (&, I assume, feel bad about it, or guilty, or aware of my privilege, or whatnot).

                That is utter horse manure. Hell, it’s even more worthless than horse manure. I can at least put horse manure in my garden and unfairly advantage my vegetables.

                I’ll tell you what, how about we look at how they construct bridges in parts of the third world, recognize that because they lack modern engineering methods and computational resources, we should accept that we are disadvantaging those economies and reduce our engineering standards for our bridges (or at least feel bad that we aren’t), instead of just deciding that we could do more good by sending a team over there with a couple of high end laptops and a copy of ANSYS and teach them a better way.

                Ya know, all of this does make me feel something. It makes me feel like reading my kid an extra book every night, and I will sleep the sleep of the just because I know there is no way in this reality that doing so has suddenly striped some other parent of their ability to read a book to their child.

                *by unlimited, I mean that my choice to read one more book to my son does not in any way limit the ability of another parent to do the same. Just as deciding to not read him any books tonight somehow grants some other parent the extra time & inclination to read to their kid. Disadvantage can only be conferred through the allocation of scarce resources, e.g. every kid who gets accepted to Harvard is going to disadvantage a kid who didn’t.

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                • It says a great deal about his quotation that the biggest defense of it is “since he obviously couldn’t have meant what he said, you’re arguing against a strawman when you’re arguing against what he said”.

                  Again: I am 100% down with thinking “I am blessed, I am privileged, I should take a moment and not only be grateful for what I have, I need to think about how we can make sure that others can have similar things.”

                  Kimmie hit the nail on the head when she said “Here’s a funny idea: if you’re so concerned, sign up for a Beginning with Books (or equivalent) “read to kids” in your area.”

                  Sorry to reiterate everything you just said, but, seriously, this article had me yelling in the car, yelling in the shower, and mumbling to myself as I fell asleep last night.

                  Grah. I think I can put it down now.

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                  • t says a great deal about his quotation that the biggest defense of it is “since he obviously couldn’t have meant what he said, you’re arguing against a strawman when you’re arguing against what he said”.

                    It says a lot about how clearly you are seeing this exchange that you think you can correctly make this charge.

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    • ‘What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children, if allowing those activities would create unfairnesses for other people’s children’.

      j r’s thoughts on ‘we’ and ‘they’ are applicable here too.

      I also like ‘we didn’t need to allow’ – a weasel passive voice litotes way of saying ‘prohibit’. and the exemplar of the type of mindset this clown has. A view that holds people emerge from society (and/or the state) instead of the other way around, and society – but really, the state – sets maximal rules. Rules to which individuals may be granted exceptions – but only if the big brains allow it.

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    • one more

      ‘When we talk about parents’ rights, we’re talking about the person who is parenting the child. How you got to be parenting the child is another issue. One implication of our theory is that it’s not one’s biological relation that does much work in justifying your rights with respect to how the child is parented.’

      Well, no fishin shingle sherlock. The conservatives have a hang up about The Gays being dads and moms, but they, and *everyone else* that doesn’t have their head stuck up their socioeconomic equalizer believes that ‘parenting’ is parenting, regardless if the child is ‘yours’ biologically, through marriage, through adoption, or through other arrangement.

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      • This is the subtle justification to make sure only the “right” people are being parents. If biology has little import to development, than anyone can be parents to a child, and if those parents are screwing it up, these parents will do a much better job.

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  4. Some thoughts

    Cu4: That is a great post. I love it as much as some folks will invariably hate it. That said, the horse is out of the barn here. Slim Charles said it best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHol7WW2A8g

    E4: I am tempted to label this article a “duh” and then to point out that if you performed the exact same “experiment” with a male profile, the results would be about the same. I know people who have done just that. All that is beside the point, however, as the point of this article isn’t to say anything meaningful about internet dating or male preferences in the sexual marketplace. The real purpose of that article is to establish publicly that Hayley Quinn is a “dating expert” and then when she puts on makeup and low-cut top, she is certifiable hawt!

    E5: I’m a former philosophy undergrad who went on to a career in economics. As such, I understand the mistake in elevating pure economic analysis over normative ethical considerations. Swift, however, is making the exact opposite mistake. He is trying to speak authoritatively on normative ethical issues completely devoid of an understanding, or even much of a consideration, of economic and market considerations.

    As a result you get statements like this:

    ‘We could prevent elite private schooling without any real hit to healthy family relationships, whereas if we say that you can’t read bedtime stories to your kids because it’s not fair that some kids get them and others don’t, then that would be too big a hit at the core of family life.’

    Swift has decided, based almost solely on the basis of an introspective analytic investigation, what can and cannot prevent or foster healthy family relationships. What could go wrong?

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  5. [E1] Instead of spending months learning to ride that bike and then having a bunch of people fail to ride it on stage, he could have just read The Concept of Mind. Of course, some might say that spending a months and months learning to ride a trick bicycle is better than spending a few hours reading Ryle.

    Seriously, though, while the particulars are still hotly debated in philosophy of mind, the distinction between “knowing how” and “knowing that” is an important, empirically observable distinction that helps differentiate sensorimotor knowledge and conceptual knowledge, and has been a fairly important part of a lot of debates over the nature of knowledge representation in cognitive science over the last few decades. I’ve even taken a couple dives into that conversation myself (in the real world, not just on blogs).

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      • Yeah, it’s a nice demonstration of sensorimotor programming and how that sort of learning works.

        That particular skill (riding a reversed bicycle) is probably also limited by some innate components (it’s not just contrary to the way we learn to ride a bike, it’s probably contrary to the way we’re primed to learn to ride a bike).

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      • I have no idea how related this is, if at all, but on most smartphones if you want to scroll down on something, you push up. On my old Windows Mobile phones, it was the opposite. Neither is more intuitive than the other, necessarily. It just depends on internal conceptualization.

        Anyway, the bike reminded me of that. Sort of.

        It (the title, actually, as it is almost entirely unrelated otherwise) also reminded me how cool but terrible it would be if someone designed a car that looked backwards. I mean, you were still facing forward and everything, but the frame of the car was such that the hood looked like a trunk, and vice-versa.

        I bet it would cause a lot of accidents by way of double takes, as people thought they saw a car going in reverse 65mph down the freeway.

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  6. [E4] Turns out that when on an app used almost exclusively for hooking up, people don’t care what books you read.

    In other news, my study showing that people who live in colder climes wear heavier clothing than people who live in warmer ones will be released next week.

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      • In our paper, which is so ground-breaking that we’re publishing it in both Science and Nature, we speculate both about the political and the ethical implications. For example, does the thick clothing worn by people from the North suggest that they are, in fact, worse people? We believe that it does, particularly when combined with the word “pop” used to refer to coke.

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  7. Cu1: I am with Lee. This is a sign of creativity is dead and very close to a play for the Buzzfeed Rewind crowd. I’m all for killing the idea of reboots. I suspect in 10 or 20 years, I will be seeing reboots of reboots. They will be called rereboots.

    E4: Not really about a hook-up specific site for dating but I have roughly discovered that lots of men have what can be called a net-throwing technique to on-line dating and sex. They will send out hundreds or thousands of messages that are simply “Do you want to get a drink?” or even “Let’s have sex/fuck/etc”. Most women will reject them but if they get laid once, these guys will consider themselves successful. When I did on-line dating, a lot of women complimented me for doing things like using full sentences and paragraphs. Now while my technique might be less vile and vulgar, it also did lead to a lot more “not feeling chemistry but I had fun” polite rejections that I found incredibly frustrating. This brings up another issue that there is a disconnect. I know a lot of guys who had a relatively low-bar for what counted as a good first date with someone you met on-line. Guy’s basically seem to think “Did we interact well in person? Were awkward pauses kept at a minimum? Yes. Great first date with someone I am meeting for the first time.” Other people seem to set a much higher bar for a good first date and this gives rise to the elusive chemistry.

    E5: I think there are lots of studies that show that middle class and above children often have an advantage and higher vocabularies because their parents read and talked to them a lot and this can include while the child was in the womb. The banning Private School thing is intriguing but I think you might need to do more. You will need to get rid of school funding via property taxes and also be very draconian about parents not chipping in extra. California tries to fund all schools equally. This results in districts asking parents to pay a bit in contributions. These are not mandatory but are often done anyway. Orinda schools ask for 3000 per a student. Walnut Creek asks for 500 per a student. Both places are very close to each other. You might also need to say “Hey parents, you can move to the nice suburb but we are going to bus your kids to the city for school” I also don’t think it is fair or right to make kids travel 2-3 hours a day for their education.

    Cr4: This story made me very angry. I agree with you but we won’t. To a certain extent it makes sense because we would never think to outlaw burglary or robbery because some people are kleptomaniacs. Same with arson and pyromaniacs. The whole point of criminal law is to punish those who won’t conform with societal expectations. The question here is whether sending kids to adult jail is good (Spoiler: NO!!!!) and whether there are better ways than draconian fines to get kids to go to school (SPOILER: YES!!!)

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    • Chemistry is something that can be taught, just as much as anything else. Be engaging, insightful, and a little unpredictable. Oh, and vocal training… lots of vocal training.

      The people who are best at seducing others aren’t exactly 100’s in the looks department. Just, really really good at entertaining others.

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    • You will need to get rid of school funding via property taxes…

      Happening, slowly but steadily. 50 years ago, almost no state GF dollars went to K-12 education. Pick a typical state now, and you’ll find that K-12 is the largest single category for state GF spending (the two big exceptions are Wyoming and New Hampshire). Examples from the Kaiser Family Foundation, the share of GF going to K-12: Massachusetts 20%; New York 32%; Texas 35%; Colorado 38%; California 39%; Kansas 50%. Here in Colorado, in some of the poorer districts the budget is 80% state GF dollars.

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    • Cu1: Yes and let us ban sequels to while we are it. Force the creative people to be creative with their own ideas.

      E4: I believe the technical term for this is the law of averages, somebody will have to say yes eventually. Heterosexual women can have higher requirements for chemistry because they are the ones being approached in heterosexual circumstances. They are often more certain of the next date than the average heterosexual man. Since heterosexual men are the ones who do the approaching and are less certain of the next date than the standards for chemistry are usually less. It would not surprise me if the most desirable heterosexual men who are looking for romance rather than sex will have just as stringent chemistry requirements.

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    • Saul Degraw: The question here is whether sending kids to adult jail is good (Spoiler: NO!!!!) and whether there are better ways than draconian fines to get kids to go to school (SPOILER: YES!!!)

      The better question is toward the wisdom of using the criminal justice system to address social ills that are harmless, very low harm, or only harm the person in question. This aligns with using the police & criminal courts to deal with deadbeat parents who owe child support. Or teenage sexting. Etc.

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      • To be fair, teen sexting is a troublesome area for criminal justice. It does technically violate criminal law and prosecutorial discretion in the enforcement of the law is always a tricky issue.

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      • I largely agree but I do think that sometimes opponents of overcriminalization downplay societal harm. I am not so much the radical individualist to think that dropping out of school and/or abusing narcotics only damages the individual and not people around him or her and/or society. Now I get why the downplay happens but that doesn’t make it correct.

        There was a book called methland about the ravages that meth did to small-town Iowa. One story involved a meth addict who forced his ten-year old daughter to perform oral sex on him while high. Something about demons was his excuse. Maybe he would have done this sans meth but maybe not. There is also the fact that meth labs are huge environmental hazards and the normal stresses that narcotic addiction can do to a family or children.

        Likewise, a high school drop out is more likely to go through severe unemployment and underemployment. I think there is a societal benefit to making sure as many people get a K-12 education as possible. I am not sure if the criminal justice system is the way to do it though.

        Perhaps this is another weak link between liberals and libertarians? I am not willing to apply a broad label to “only harms the individual”

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        • Not sure how the story regarding the drug induced rape of a child fits into this discussion.

          Sure such minor social ills have a harm associated with them, but the question has to be on of the appropriateness of the response. There is no logical or reasonable way that we reduce minor social ills by ruining their lives through criminalization.

          Being truant is bad, being expelled/dropping out of school &/or spending time in lockup is worse. Teens who are sexting don’t need prison, they need education (why this is a bad idea), discipline, and probably some counseling. They don’t need a felony indictment & to register as sex offenders. Deadbeat parents can’t possibly pay their child support if they are in prison. Etc.

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        • I largely agree but I do think that sometimes opponents of overcriminalization downplay societal harm.

          It’s not about downplaying social harm. It’s about forcing proponents of criminalization to define precisely what they mean by social harm, to show how exactly the activity in question causes the harm, and offer some proof that locking people up will alleviate more harm than it causes.

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          • Sexting was already illegal under the laws against child porn. Law enforcement didn’t need to create new laws to go after texting, it just needed to apply the existing laws to a new fact pattern and convince the jury to convict.

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          • j r: It’s about forcing proponents of criminalization to define precisely what they mean by social harm, to show how exactly the activity in question causes the harm, and offer some proof that locking people up will alleviate more harm than it causes.

            This! Before Texas decided to start criminalizing truancy, did they really explain & demonstrate how it would help, or was there just a whole bunch of hyperbolic rhetoric about bad kids & crime, etc.?

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            • My instinctual motivation-assignment is actually different. In multiple states I’ve lived in, school funding depends on attendance, among other things, and kids skipping class means less money. Further, state rankings and such look at that.

              You may be more right than I am, but I mostly looked at it through the prism of “They’re making us look bad!” and how we measure schools. Possibly because I wrote a post on this a while back when Arne Duncan went after Texas almost entirely on the basis of things like attendance and four-year graduation rates, which are things most likely to be addressed through truancy laws and grade inflation, which makes them not good things to use as measurements.

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                • The last time I donated blood and was running through the screening questions, I found a new one. Many of the questions are related to situations where you may have been exposed to some of the nasty STDs, or at least the bodily fluids of people who are at risk for having nasty STDs. The new question was basically, “Have you, in the last 12 months, spent time totaling 72 hours or more in juvenile detention?” At least one group who presumably have some sort of statistics backing them up has decided that there are actual risks associated with putting kids in jail.

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        • Drug use can cause tons of problems as does keeping the milder ones illegal and over-criminalizing their use. Those two thoughts really can coexist and need to for the debate to ever get anywhere. Having more drug rehab options and beds would should be the start of any move to legalize more drugs. For harder drugs it is possible they are to dangerous to be legal ( meth) or they are to be legal need to be produced in a “safer” form.

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    • “lots of men have what can be called a net-throwing technique to on-line dating and sex. They will send out hundreds or thousands of messages that are simply “Do you want to get a drink?” or even “Let’s have sex/fuck/etc”.”

      I knew a guy in college who used this strategy. He would go to parties and walk up to women and ask “Wanna fuck?” If, as happened in the vast majority of the time, his generous offer was declined he would move on to the next woman. He swore that the success rate was higher than he ever had by, you know, getting to know persons of the opposite sex. Perhaps it was his personality. My take on it was this was at best a recipe for lots of mediocre sex, likely with medical ramifications. It later dawned on me that a lot of sales strategies amount to the same thing. I suck at sales.

      “there are lots of studies that show that middle class and above children often have an advantage and higher vocabularies because their parents read and talked to them a lot”

      Sesame Street was an attempt at making these benefits available to the lower classes. It turned out that middle class parents loved it, so while it may have helped in an absolute sense, it didn’t if the goal was to help working class families catch up.

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      • When I was doing the Internet dating thing, I found that I was actually more successful sending out a lower number of more personalized emails somehow indicating that I did read their profile, rather than casting a net.

        My favorite service was LavaLife, which actually charged you per email that you sent instead of a monthly fee. That was good on both ends, because it made me selective about who I reached out to, and the person on the other end knew I wasn’t casting the infinity net.

        I never used anything like Tindr, though.

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      • Sesame Street was indeed originally aimed and targeted at minority, inner-city Youth. The actual location for the action is (or was) supposed to be Harlem. I read some articles about Sesame Street including stuff that noticed things from the first season would be no-fly today like kids playing in what was essentially a dump yard/garbage heap and an adult male taking a girl home with him for ice cream and cookies. The articles mentioned how as late as the 1970s (if not later) the staff at Sesame Street was still committed to their “target audience” as being African-American urban kids.

        But you are right to notice that many or even an overwhelming majority of middle-class and above kids grew up with Sesame Street. I did, my friends did, and now their kids are as well. My mom was getting her Masters in education in the late 1960s and saw a pilot for Sesame Street before it aired. My mom said she “flipped” for the show. Even Glenn Beck basically needs to admit that his kids love Sesame Street even as he takes swipes at the show and at PBS.

        So now middle-class and above kids get a double whammy of benefit.

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        • A few years back they released some early episodes on DVD, including the first one. It comes with a warning that it isn’t really suitable for kids. I guffawed like everyone else, but then I watched it and was appalled. The frame is this adorable little girl has just moved into the neighborhood, and her teacher is introducing her to everyone. He then invites her up to his apartment for a snack. The kids playing sequence was a construction site. This is live action, not animated or puppets. The sequence illustrated various concepts like “through” by showing the kids crawling through a culvert, and “over” with them climbing up and walking on a plank laid over two rickety sawhorses. I snort in derision at how we parents are expected to hover over our kids nowadays, but this stuff was truly horrifying.

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        • Sesame Street was supposed to take place in a working class/poor New York neighborhood, right down to the Jewish store owner. The creative time decided to go to the remaining Yiddish actors to get it right.

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        • I would try replacing the blue with black and have striped rows running along each side instead of crossing. Maybe stick a Cherokee Rose in the center (You can even contemplate changing the name from General Lee to Cherokee Rose). Then talk to some African-Americans and get a feel. Given that they did accept the “Stars and Bars” Georgia flag, they seem to be more reasonable than I would be.

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          • They accepted it (edit: “we” and “they” accepted it) because nobody really knows the stars and bars was the ‘real’ flag and the other thing is an ensign.

            I mean, the dude that changed up the flag in ’56 to stick it to that damn yankee Ike must have felt the existing flag *with* the stars and bars adopted post-reconstruction wasn’t enough to send the message.

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            • The stars and bars is so generic that I think even little differences go a long way.

              While the average person may not have known, the designers of the flag surely did, and the African-American leadership likely did, too. They could have made an issue out of it and didn’t. And I’m pretty sure it’s been pointed out to them, and the outrage I would expect to see there isn’t really there. Maybe they were just too exhausted from the whole thing.

              Anyway, another option is to keep the blue and ditch the stars (longways and uncrossed), and maybe or maybe not add the flower.

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  8. W3: The more curious question is whether democracy has utterly ruined the third most populous nation in the sphere. Mexico has longed suffered from too little democracy, not too much. (and they never got their own ‘new deal’ to better equalize income distribution between rural and urban areas)

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    • Yeah, I was scratching my head over that phrasing too. Wouldn’t it be safer to ask if Mexican corruption and American Prohibition has utterly ruined the most populous nation in the sphere?

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    • @north

      Mexico has longed suffered from too little democracy, not too much.

      Right, but then actual democracy took hold, and everything spiraled out of control. The corruption, and prohibition, were already there. But the lack of democracy may have acted as a counterweight to the cartels. Once the government was vulnerable (to elections), that changed.

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  9. B1
    If past is any indication, this case will wend its way slowly through the system, and end with some fines and a stern warning.
    Yet people who refer to bankers as criminals will still be seen as wild eyed radicals, hyperbolic ideologues.

    The deference shown to wealth by our justice system is the real scandal.

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  10. [E1] I would like to forward that video to everyone who said, “Yeah Apple flipping the scrolling on the trackpad was confusing at first, but now that I got used to it, it ‘s not a problem. This is totally better than the way it used to be!”

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  11. [W4] – an article about depression in Scandinavian countries contains the words “dark” and “Winter” exactly once each, and the phrase “seasonal affective disorder” zero times. I’m thinking they may be missing a few important points.

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  12. [W1] needs more explanation on the supposed legal justification.

    How did ‘no country claim’ an area that appears to have a road a few hundred feet away? This doesn’t look like some strange obscure case of land no one wants, where one country claims something, and another country claims something else, and no one notices they don’t quite touch. Like no one noticed, for quite some time, that parts of the Sahara desert were not part of a country.

    That’s not this situation. There’s, like, a *city* right there in Croatia. Roads going by.

    And does Croatia really not claim everything up the Danube River? That seems like a weird thing to do…that river seems to pretty much be the border between the two countries in the north part. There aren’t even *bridges* to Serbia there, nor does it look like anything Serbia would want.

    I mean, we all know micronations don’t really exist anyway, and we know the actual problem of ‘these two countries don’t quite touch’ is that the countries fix it, not that some random guy just gets to make his own nation.

    But the article can’t give us ‘Realizing that the land was claimed by no one’ and not explain that, nor give a vague reference to the land being ‘disputed’.

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  13. E3 — what are these cheap, over-the-counter abortifacients that Joe Carter is complaining about? The usual things he calls “abortifacients” (Plan B, IUDs) barely deserve that name and even that only because they might hypothetically prevent a zygote from implanting. They would not abort a fetus developed enough to show abnormalities via an ultrasound.

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    • I may write a post on this, but in short, I believe…. it depends.

      The article really steps on the wrong foot by talking about the UK and Germany, wherein they have to make the argument that the reason these two parties are losing are… the only successes they’ve had in modern history (the last 40 years in one case, and reunification in the other). And it’s on the heels of an election where the Labor candidate ran a Kinnock campaign and, like Kinnock, lost. And lost in such a way that it’s hard to explain it through “lost core voters” (turnout was high, and for the first time in over fifty years, liberal parties did not get a majority of the popular vote).

      On the other hand, I don’t think it’s inherently or always wrong. Here in the US, I do think the Democrats have some real room to maneuver that if it doesn’t help their prospects probably won’t hurt them. (Easy for me to say, though, as I am not invested.) And I actually think there is some meat to the notion that GWB did the GOP harm with some of the compromises he made.

      Centrists are not great with the macro-vision thing, and that sort of thing does catch up to electorates, so I think the notion of a permanent majority through centrism is a misguided one (unless you’re getting a lot of help from the opposition). But I also think “screw centrists who probably don’t exist, onward ho!” would ultimately land the Democrats in a pretty good deal of trouble over time as well.

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      • I’m somewhat sympathetic to the idea, but I do think it faces a high bar in view of the “Big Fact” in Jason K.’s phrase, which is that the only successful Labour government in the last 40 years is Tony Blair’s (or in any case philosophically his). Taking Obama appropriately as the center-leftist he is, the same is true of leftish governments in the U.S. Moving to the center may “lose voters,” but it kinda look like the only thing that “wins elections” for the broad left in Western or at least Anglophone democracies in the last half-century.

        I’d certainly read your thoughts with interest.

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        • And in the other case they specifically cite, Germany, Schroeder is the only SDP to win since reunification. They do cite Greece, but that’s something of a special case. If the economy in the US, or the UK, is in such dire straits then… yeah, centrism is most likely not the order of the day. Or, at least, doesn’t need to be.

          Obama is probably a null case. He didn’t particularly campaign in centrist fashion nor as a firebrand. But it’s also an election that a firebrand Howard Dean could have won. It wasn’t Greece, but it was an incredibly favorable environment. In contrast to 1992, when I think it needed to be someone of the Third Way mold.

          Which all takes us back to… it depends.

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