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Linky Friday #134: Shoot The Skunk

Headlines:

active shooter photo

Image by COD Newsroom

[H1] I… get the argument here, but no. You can paint it as a collective action problem, but you can’t really paint it as honorable or noble. Relatedly

[H2] Jay d’Brooklyn makes the uncomfortable argument that despite the outrage at the horrifying and evil nature of it, there’s not much we can do about Afghanistan’s boys.

[H3] The Governor of Alabama and his wife are getting a divorce.

[H4] Jesse Singal is not impressed with the UN report on cyberharassment.

Copyright:

copyright photo

Image by DaveBleasdale

[Co1] I do think that running for president does kinda sorta mean that you don’t get to have your name trademarked in quite the same way you did when you were a business brand.

[Co2] This leaves me torn. On the one hand, aggressive copyright enforcement. On the other hand, memes. How do you pick a side in that one?

[Co3] TNR explains how patent law is jacking up the costs of car repairs.

[Co4] The state of Georgia cannot copyright its own laws.

[Co5] The Microsoft Zune is no longer in production, and the subscription services are no longer available. So if you have one… now what?

Migration:

[M1] German mayors are looking to build up for incoming refugees. Which is better than kicking people out of their homes, I guess, though the political tide in Germany may be turning as the number of refugees climbs to 1,500,000.

[M2] When it pays to be Syrian, migrants will become Syrian. The Danes are concerned.

[M3] Refugees are less than impressed with Finland, and Nordic countries are squabbling among themselves over the issue. {More}

[M4] A North Korean refugee wants to return to North Korea.

[M5] An anti-immigration argument I hear pretty regularly is that because of Univision, this generation of immigrants won’t learn English. It seems to me that 100+ English channels outweighs a few Spanish ones far more than the English/Non-English breakdown of media in generations past. Here is how things presently look.

Politics:

[P1] In a piece about replacing John Boehner, Voteviewblog reveals something interesting: as southerners have switched parties, the ideological divide between southern and northern congresscritters has become larger in the GOP than in the Democratic Party.

[P2] I’m not a fan of Trump, but autographing protest signs is pretty cool. Jeb Bush, meanwhile, has the political smarts of a walnut.

[P3] The Democratic Party’s says it has a 200 year history fighting for civil rights, but starts its history right after Woodrow Wilson.

[P4] What will the presidential candidates look like in 2025? USA Today is on it! Rand Paul seems to look more presidential with age. It seems to overestimate how much hair I suspect Ted Cruz will have.

[P5] I’ve been saying pretty regularly that the appropriate analogous Republican primary isn’t 2012, but 2008. It’s good to see the New York Times making the connection, right down to the hazard of Rubio being Romney. (Trump as Rudy, Jeb as McCain, Cruz as Huckabee, and Carson as Thompson.)

[P7] John B Judis looks at the Middle American Radical that’s propping Trump up.

Crime:

Our kitchen after the movers left...

Our kitchen after the movers left…

[Cr1] Well this is a half-lovely story, if true. A man’s wife runs off with their daughter. Sixteen years later he finally tracks her down, discovers that she spent most of that time in foster care, and then is handed a bill.

[Cr2] This is a really bad idea.

[Cr3] I thought we had a bad moving experience, but… could have been worse.

[Cr4] In Australia, the 11 year old totally wanted, so the 21 year old goes free.

[Cr5] Police chase, Kansas style! (It involves officers unloading on a combine being driven away by the assailant.)

Tennessee:

[T1] Lyfe is going country, but Nashville is apparently especially susceptible to a robot invasion, coming to seize their jobs.

[T2] Tent cities in Tennessee: Should Nashville accept tent cities as a short-term approach to a lack of affordable housing? {via Chris}

[T3] There’s Nashville hot chicken at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Pittsburgh! {via Chris}

[T4] An East Tennessee police officer is suspended after refusing to shoot a skunk that needed to be shot (and tested for rabies).

[T5] Here’s a nice story of a program in Tennessee to help foster kids adjust to their post-fostered lives.

Coming soon: Society, Resources, US, and Britain

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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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138 thoughts on “Linky Friday #134: Shoot The Skunk

  1. Cr1: Am I missing it, or is there no mention of what happened to the mother?

    Cr3: It’s really disgusting that they devoted a quarter of the article to victim-blaming “advice” about how not to get robbed. Why aren’t we telling movers not to rob people?

    Cr4: My odds were 50-50, so it’s probably just a coincidence that I guessed the sexes of the people involved ahead of time.

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    • notme,
      Did you even read that?
      Hillary’s who she’s always been, a bit of a pugnacious bitch. But I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. She’s sharp as a tack, and knows when to curtsey and play nice.

      If you don’t see the lady who had the Senator from WV declaring himself as the Third Senator from New York, you aren’t seeing all of Hillary.

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      • It does accuse her of almost-kinda-sorta-well-not-really perjury.

        Although Issa did once nearly catch Hillary Clinton in an act of perjury for denying she’d seen a cable she’d signed, before everyone who’s ever read State Department cables explained to him that all cables from Washington are automatically signed with the name of the Secretary of State.

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  2. I’ve got to admit, the absolute debacle of the House Speakers nomination has me rolling in the aisles. They actually got the scalp of the chosen successor and now no one that the party wants in the position wants the job!

    P2: God(ess?) damnit Jeb, I need you to at least fake it and fumble through to the victory in your primary THEN stink up the joint! You can’t rely on this generation of Bushes for anything for fish’s sake.

    M(all) That Syrian migration issue is just going bananas, on the one hand it’s good for Europe, they could use the young blood. Assimilation is a concern though and their regulatory apparatus makes it really hard to employ them though (though I repeat myself). I shudder to think of what will happen if one or more of that group commits a terrorist attack.

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    • When Boehner announced his resignation more than a month in advance, I said that I thought it was so the inevitable ugly fight over a successor could proceed largely behind closed doors over the course of October. As compared to having the ugly fight out in the open, which would happen if a “vacate the chair” motion passed. Then he turned around and scheduled a caucus vote for the 8th, before enough of the dissidents could be bought off compromises could be made, so the fight has spilled out into the open anyway. Shades of Casey Stengel’s “Can’t anyone here play this game?” lament.

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      • Yeah, that’s about it. I haven’t paid more attention to it than, say, Google news allows, but even with that scant information it sure seems like Boehner, on the way out, pretty much ratf****ed the GOP caucus by simply giving them, collectively, what they wanted. Now chaos reigns, they look even MORE dysfunctional than under his leadership (as if anyone thought that was possible), and more importantly, perhaps, on the strictly policy side of the equation, they’ve collectively revealed their inability to engage in mature, adult-like governance MORE starkly. Course, the TP hardliners (etc) who rattled sabers over Boehner retaining the speakership and forced his hand in retiring won’t view it that way (which really is a big problem in all this). So they’ll push even harder, and shtomp their feet even more petulantly, that they’re not getting what they want. So nothing will change. Until it does, of course. :)

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        • It is possible that Boehner’s ratf***ing of the GOP will be the best thing he’s done for them. The question is how long will it take before the more reasonable heads can clean out enough crap to make the party functional again.

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          • Boehner’s announcement yesterday that he will stay on until a replacement is selected is interesting. Josh Marshall at TPM, among others, has suggested a conspiracy in which Boehner will now trot out all of the bills that the Freedom Caucus hates and pass them with the more moderate Republicans, plus Democrats as needed. Josh is clearly tongue in cheek about it; not clear that all of the others are.

            As Speaker under the current rules, Boehner is required to provide a list of members that would serve as Speaker pro tempore so that business can proceed if the office becomes vacant. Boehner has provided such a list to the House Clerk, who does not divulge its contents. I admit to being curious about whose names are on it.

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            • Oh. My. God.

              That is the greatest theory ever.

              I’m reminded of an idea that has show up a few times in fantasy and sci-fi. The best example I can think of was on Angel, where it turns out that vampires can have their hearts removed, which makes them functionally immortal for a short period…and then they die. But that idea has been bouncing around in various ways for a while…you do something that *is* going to kill you at a certain time, but, until that happens, you cannot be stopped.

              The idea that this is actually happened is hilarious.

              Incidentally, I discovered something interesting the other day: The Speaker of the House does not have to be a *member* of the House. They can, technically, elect anyone. They have never *done* that, but they can. (This becomes even weirder when you remember the whole ‘third in line to the presidency’ thing.)

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        • Marshall over at TPM had this to say about Freedom Caucus’ use of the term “Valley Forge Americans” to describe who they’ve chosen as Speaker candidates:

          Quite simply they’ve actually convinced themselves that they’re in the midst of some grand world historical moment when in fact they’re just floundering in derp.

          Heh.

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    • Bush clearly has the political IQ of an edible nut, but I have to wonder about the intelligence of folks wearing Republicans for Sanders T-shirts as well. I mean, I’m sure they’re nice enough people who love their kids and all… But still. The only way that Tshirt makes any sense is as a joke.

      Oh, wait a minute. I forgot. We’re talking about Americans here!

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      • No, It’s freaking Bernie Sanders — the man does politics and he does it well. I listened to a bonafide racist singing the man’s praises (poor boy was creeped to hell thinking that Obama was going to give the country away to the blacks, for land’s sake!)
        (granted, he was from Vermont).

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  3. M5: I think there is somewhat of a legitimate concern. During the Great European migration of the late 19th and early 20th century, the state of media allowed for a lot less maintenance of ethnic identity. You could read a newspaper in your own language, watch some theater, and join social clubs that was about it. The ability for immigrants and their children to maintain a truly separate identity and absorb nothing of the country they moved into was limited. Cable TV, the Internet, and DVDs allow for more consumption of ethnic entertainment. Immigrants don’t need to watch baseball or American football because they can watch Association football or soccer instead. You can watch Bollywood movies or telenovelas instead of American TV or movies.

    If you think that having some form of unified natural culture and identity is important than the more fragmented media and entertainment landscape of the present is a bad thing because it makes it easier for immigrants to avoid at least some assimilation. Even in low or no immigration customs, modern technology creates a more fragmented cultural landscape as we discussed in other threads.

    Cr1: This seems more like a violation of civil law rather than criminal law on the part of the Foster Agency but what they did was not a good thing. If the kidnapping mother abandoned her daughter to foster care than the foster agency should have turned the daughter back to the father. There does not seem to be any issue of abuse or crime here. Maybe the mother had somewhat of a good reason to kidnap the daughter but I’m disinclined to believe it in this case.

    Cr2: Let us increase the homeless population and violate even more Constitutional Rights. Once you’ve done your time, you should be able to start with a clean slate and not receive more punishment.

    Cr4: No, just no. What happened is sexual abuse and the woman should be punished. The boy’s father doesn’t seem to be the cleanest person himself.

    T2: Tent cities are a bad idea because they tend to evolve into shanty towns. Even at it’s worse, American cities managed to avoid shanty towns when it came to housing.

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    • Cr1: I absolutely agree. If a person can be trusted to be about society free & unsupervised, then their criminal history should only be relevant in a very minor number of instances (say, background checks for security clearances, etc – violent crimes with regard to firearms background checks).

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    • M5: That’s not how childhood language acquisition works. (This is an endlessly studied subject, since every scientist in any vaguely related field becomes fascinated by it upon having kids.) While we parents desperately wish that we were the most important influence on our kids in linguistic (and other) matters, it turns out that their peer group is far more important. You only see minority languages persisting across generations when there is a large enough and compact enough immigrant community such that the kids don’t interact with the outside world.

      All the evidence is that Hispanic immigrants follow the usual pattern: most of the immigrants themselves never master English, the next generation has bilingual fluency, and the generation after that has only poor fluency in the old language. The main exceptions are if Grandma is a major caregiver for the kid, or if there is continuous influx of family members immigrating. In such cases retaining the old language continues to be useful, so the kids so. But they still are bilingual.

      It is possible to conceive of a self-sustaining enclave of monolingual Spanish speakers forming, but there is no sign of its actually happening.

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      • Very true. Speaking anecdotally i’ve interacted with many of the small immigrant communities we have here from the Philippines, Thailand, Somalia and Mexico. Not one of the children didn’t speak english as their first language even when their parents could barely speak any english. In general the children of immigrants learn the language of the country they live in.

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        • More anecdata about the subsequent generations… Some years back, the large telecom/cable company I worked for did field studies in East LA with respect to whether the Spanish-language channel bundle met the needs of the subscribers. Essentially all parents wanted more Spanish-language news channels so that there was one from whatever “old country” they had come from: Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, whatever. They also all wanted music and cartoon channels in English rather than Spanish so the kids would be forced to know English.

          As it turned out, the subscribers didn’t get what they asked for. There was too much money to be made by, for example, putting Spanish-language MTV into the bundle — MTV would cut deals on the per-sub fees for the English-language content in exchange for the bundling so they could sell more Spanish-language advertising.

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            • Pricing for cable TV is… interesting. Insane. Possibly illegal. Sometimes the cable operator pays the content company (eg, ESPN). Sometimes the content company pays the cable operator (eg, those obscure channels a hundred slots up from the things you recognize that hope to become popular enough that the cable operator will start paying them). Sometimes the cable operator pays the content company a large fee, but gets it back in the form of payments on loans or “for services rendered”, with the net result that money is moved from one tax/regulatory category to another. Sometimes there are side deals to split advertising revenues. Historically, there were so many cross-ownership arrangements that sometimes the deals were structured to provide particular individuals with what amounted to money-laundering services on their cash flow.

              John Malone (who earned assorted degrees including a PhD in an applied math field before he got into the cable business) was notorious for structuring deals that no one could understand but that eventually made him a billionaire. Conventional wisdom became “If John offers you a deal, demand cash and nothing bigger than a twenty.”

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        • Lee, i think you are largely incorrect about how easy it was to avoid assimilation at least in cities. Many immigrants moved into ethnic neighborhoods to make living in the US easier. They lives with and around people who spoke the same language and had similar mores. They printed papers in their native language. In the early days of movies some were made in old countries languages. Immigrants could live most or all of their lives in self selected ethnic “ghettos”.

          My cousins sent me a book about old Newark, NJ. It had detailed maps about the separated ethnic neighborhoods around the city. There must have been 8 or 9 clearly defined areas where certain european immigrants settled based on nationality. My greek grandparents settled in one of those areas and , while they learned englsh, they spoke greek in the home their entire lives. My jewish grandparents lived in an apartment complex filled with old yiddish immigrants for the last few decades of their lives. They spoke yiddish at times in the home and with friends even after being in the US for decades.

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        • In the past, immigrants acculturated poorly: just like today. Learning a new language as an adult is somewhere from difficult to impossible for most people. There are exceptional people with a knack for languages, but for the rest of us the wiring in the language acquisition part of the brain is pretty much set in place by adolescence. Past that, we can learn through painful effort to sort-of get by, but not achieve true fluency.

          The upshot is that nothing really has changed. A modern immigrant’s cultural enclave takes a somewhat different form than it did back in the day, but the substance of the situation is the same.

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          • My understanding is that it’s a myth that children are better language learners than adults. The advantage kids have is solely in pronunciation. However, if a child and an adult spend the same amount of time trying to learn a language, the adult will do better. And there is the rub. An adult has other responsibilities aside from school and learning, while that’s basically all a child does.

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            • I started writing pretty much this exact same comment, but then got distracted. I just would have added that, in particular, child immigrants will spend pretty much all day in school listening to teachers and other students speak about a wide variety of topics, whereas adult immigrants, particularly those in low-skill jobs, will often be exposed to a much narrower range of communication at work, and often self-segregate by language outside of work.

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              • What’s interesting and really important regarding the education of immigrant populations is that kintergarden is a really, really bad place to start learning a new language if you stop learning the old one. Very young children exposed to a second language learn it as though it was a first language. Past that, the mechanisms for learning languages change. A major reason adults are better at learning a second language is that they have a good understanding of their first language and can filter their second language acquisition through that understanding. But five-year-olds still have a very limited understanding of their first language, and that really handicaps subsequent language acquisition if they never progress much past that point.

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      • More anecdata on the first gen / second gen / third gen thing: My wife and her sister are separated by several years and grew up in different neighborhoods and circumstances. My wife, the elder, was raised primarily by her mother and grandmother very soon “off the boat” while her younger sister was raised primarily in a different neighborhood by both parents without their grandmother. My wife’s first language (which she’s slowly forgetting) is Vietnamese. She didn’t start with English until she was in school. Her sister barely speaks a word of Vietnamese. My in-laws speak English competently but not well, and they stay mostly within the Vietnamese community when it’s possible for them to do so.

        Without some effort, the next generation probably won’t even be able to find Vietnam on a map.

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  4. [T3] I don’t know whether to be horrified or excited that KFC is doing Nashville hot chicken. I’m thoroughly perplexed that they’re piloting it in Pittsburgh, though. Maybe Kim can tell us how it tastes?

    If you’ve never had real Nashville hot chicken, I won’t go so far as to say that you haven’t actually lived, but… no, you haven’t actually lived.

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  5. P3: To be slightly fair to my party, you can be really good at defending the civil rights of one group while being absolutely horrible for another. So the Northern Democratic Party was courting the Irish-American vote at the same time the South was being horrible over slavery. But your point is taken.

    P7: This makes sense. Plenty of people have compared Trump to Wallace. What is interesting to me is how it shows the easily malleable nature of being middle class in the United States. Every group can seemingly think of themselves as middle-class and under siege by others. This can include geographical issues. “You can’t be middle class because you live in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, BosWash Corridor, Miami, etc.”

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  6. T3: When visiting Nashville, we stayed across the street from the newly opened Hattie B’s and ate about half our meals there. Delicious. The owner took a liking to us and cooked up a batch of chixken-and-waffles for us at our urging. I welcome the spread of Nashville Hot Chicken (which I didn’t realize was a “thing” but am so glad it is).

    ETA: is dead on above.

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    • There’s a place in Nashville called Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, which didn’t originate the style, but which made it a phenomenon in Nashville and for anyone who’s visited Nashville and been lucky enough to have some. It’s so incredibly good that my brother who lives in Oregon insists on being taken there on the way to my parents’ house from the airport. He can’t even wait until he gets home and unpacks. It is that good.

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      • How much better is Prince’s then Hatties? Because I’d be more than happy with Hatties. If you’re telling me there’s better….!

        That pic reminds me of the newfound appreciation Southern food gave me for the pickle. I always enjoyed a good kosher pickle alongside my sandwich but they so perfectly complement so many Southern dishes with their crunch and sweetness and tang and, ugh, I’m drooling…

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        • Hattie B’s is pretty damn good. I think Prince’s is what popularized the name (“hot chicken” probably predates anyone alive today), but you can’t go wrong either way. We go to Prince’s largely out of tradition, though if someone said, “We’re going to Hattie B’s,” I wouldn’t be at all upset.

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    • To be clear, the current rules about when a person is a gun dealer who should have an FFL, and when they are a guy selling his personal arms is a subjective definition that is largely left up to the BATFE to determine on a case by case basis.

      Giving it an objective number (proposed is someone who sells 50 guns a year) might be open to a legal challenge, but I’m all for nice, objective standards in regulation, since it limits the ability of regulators with a burr up their a$$ from causing headaches for people by reading a subjective standard to meet their own ends.

      And honestly, the only folks I know who sell around 50 guns a year are people who tend to buy crappy old guns & restore them. Which one could argue is a business to some degree.

      Although, if this is the case, then those people should have easy access to the NICS system (honestly I think EVERYONE should have access to NCIS for the purposes of firearms transfers, especially if there is this insistence of requiring all transfers to have a check).

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        • As I see it (YMMV),the big issues with universal checks are :

          1) Not enough FFLs to service the volume, which not only creates an artificial bottleneck that serves no real purpose, & FFLs don’t really like doing it except for their sales, so they tend to set a service charge that is upwards of $100. Either the feds need to greatly expand the number of FFLs who can do the check (perhaps a limited FFL, very easy to get – pay a small fee & be able to pass an NICS check yourself & you get it – who can only do checks and would be something akin to a notary), or NICS needs to be open to all.

          2) Temporary transfer exceptions; if I loan my gun to a friend at the range, or while hunting, that should not count as a transfer. Set a reasonable time limit, like 30 days (if I loan you my gun for 31 days, we need to run the NICS check). Yes some people will use that to claim they only lent a gun to someone, yadda yadda. If a case like that comes to court, I would hope the DA has something meatier he can hang a charge on.

          3) Family transfer exception; hopefully grandpa knows whether or not I can legally own a gun before he gifts me one. If he doesn’t, and I can’t, then I am still breaking the law for accepting the gift.

          4) NICS denial follow-ups; if the Brady camp is going to claim that NICS has stopped 2 million criminals from getting a gun, I’d feel better if I knew those 2 million attempts had a LEO make a house call and find out why a prohibited person was trying to get a gun. They generally don’t (I think last year there were some 10K denials & only 62 follow-ups). Imagine if the local PD or the county sheriff had gotten a call from the FBI that Dylan Roof bought a gun & he couldn’t pass a check. Perhaps the local PD might have swung by & saved some lives. At the very least, in the case of a false positive, someone could get some help figuring out why they were denied & get it cleared up. If the feds are going to put us through the trouble, let’s at least do it right.

          5) (For the tin foil hat crowd) No data retention past whatever it currently is (a week or two, I think, I’d have to look it up). I’ve talked in the past about encrypted databases, etc. This isn’t a hill I care to defend too much.

          6) Carry permit exception – I have a damn carry permit, I’ve passed a much more rigorous check than NICS does. Why do I have to fill out the form yet again? The FFL should be able to call the issuing agency and verify my permit status & that’s it (maybe they make a photocopy of it for their records). Hell, my valid carry permit should be an affirmative defense for me against any claim of accepting a firearm without a check.

          I was also thinking about a scheme that would get more enthusiastic buy in for expanding checks, but it’s late, and Inquisition is calling my name, so this is all I can think. If I think of anything else, I’ll add an addendum.

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          • That’s…not quite the question, I don’t think. At least,it’s not the question as I read it, so let me just try instead:

            What is stopping us from setting up a system where anyone can run a check on another person before selling them a gun?

            No needing an FFL, no needing to find someone with an FFL. Person A can run a check on Person B, period, the end. The only *slight* problem appears to be some sort of confirmation that the second person has consented to the check, and they didn’t just decided to run a check on a random person.

            But that could be easily solved by flipping things around and having the second person ask for the check, and have it delivered to the first person.(1)

            Or they could just carry it around, although it would have to be non-forge-able.

            Well, I’m stumped. Someone needs to contact a car rental place, I know they have some magical way of determining if the government allows you to operate a motor vehicle. Telepathy?

            1) An even *better* idea would be to actually stop all this stupid dancing around and having the US government actually have some generic way for everyone to confirm their own identity and interact with government services that way, including forwarding data from the government to *someone else*.

            This would be *incredibly* trivial to set up. I log into my identity on my phone, ask for it to send my background check to a specific business ID (I.e, I scan a barcode they provide, or it’s announced over bluetooth NFC or something. Or I just type it in.), and, hey, they get my photo, my name, and my permission or not.

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            • I’d have to look at the Brady Act, but I don’t think there is any major impediment besides just telling the FBI to open it to everyone (instead of just people with FFL).

              Originally I think it was a way to keep the workload reasonable since it’s all done over the phone (still is, although I think its somewhat automated these days). Why there isn’t a website with a digital 4473 & a mobile app (that actually works) makes no sense to me, but if there was you’d see opposition largely evaporate.

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              • Why there isn’t a website with a digital 4473 & a mobile app (that actually works) makes no sense to me, but if there was you’d see opposition largely evaporate.

                Oh, man. I actually did just laugh out loud reading that. You think the NRA will say ‘Sure, backgrounds checks for all’?

                In fact, I’m not sure that the NRA wouldn’t oppose some sort of easier check system that anyone could use, even if not required…on the grounds that such a system would *eventually* be required.

                But I think we’ve already talked about our disagreements about the NRA and their goals and what they would do in different circumstances, and it’s not worth going over.

                Anyway, as I’ve mentioned before, we’ve long been able to assume that all businesses (at least all the ones that are really subject to any regulations) have internet connections and various software to let people operate the business.

                So it seems rather odd that certain things haven’t happened. Forget guns for a second, those have a strange political location. Why is it, when I walk into a bar and intend to buy alcohol, I don’t pull up my phone, push a few buttons, have it grab the businesses ‘post to’ URL out of the wifi or a QR code or something (And remember it after), and then send a request off to the state government, asking them to send a picture of me to the business and confirmation I’m over 21 to that URL. (And, incidentally, giving them something they can turn into the police if I run out without paying.)

                This is not hard to set up. This is *incredibly* not hard. We’ve done much, much harder things with technology.

                And the really clever thing is, once this works, it works for anything. All our government licenses, in one place. ATF background check.

                Granted, it runs into the problem of ‘people without smartphones’…except it doesn’t. They just still carry around pieces of plastic that get scanned by other people with smartphones. Granted, there’s a slight security/privacy issue there…except it’s exactly the same issue that already exists if you’ve ever handed your license to someone.

                And there’s nothing stopping us from using it between individuals, too. Not just when we need to check licensing, but if, for example, I wanted to confirm someone online *really was* a certain person….or at least has access to their smartphone, I guess, but it would still cut down on the whole ‘Meet up with someone on Craiglist to buy an X-Box, get murdered’ stories.

                But no one has done it. So I guess I can’t blame the lack of this on the NRA. When this happens in 2020, *except* for gun background checks, then I’ll blame the NRA. ;)

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                • DavidTC: Oh, man. I actually did just laugh out loud reading that. You think the NRA will say ‘Sure, backgrounds checks for all’?

                  Umm, where exactly did I say anything at all about the NRA? You asked a technical question divorced (I assumed, perhaps incorrectly) from political considerations, so I gave a technical answer.

                  To expand a bit further, creating a system that would make checks easy & open to all can be done via executive action, as I don’t believe the Brady Act that created the system says anything about how it supposed to work (if I had time, I’d go read it, but I don’t). I think it lays out the broad requirements, time limits, and what has to happen for certain if…else conditions, but how that all happens is up to the FBI & the BATFE, both of which (IIRC) fall under the purview of the executive.

                  But you are right, it won’t happen, because there are no adults spending lobbying money here. One side is busy winning & not interested in giving ground, and both sides are so ideologically blinkered that they can’t even pretend to honestly compromise.

                  PS Strangely enough, gun dealers would support expanding background checks, but oppose making the system open to all. Well, not actually all that strange, since if there were universal checks, they would probably have a new & relatively constant revenue stream.

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                  • Umm, where exactly did I say anything at all about the NRA?

                    ..you said, ‘I don’t think there is any major impediment besides just telling the FBI to open it to everyone’.

                    There is, rather clearly, a major impediment, called the NRA. Now, maybe you think the executive can do it entirely on their own…but, no, they can’t. Regardless of what the law says.

                    Let’s remember the government just almost shut down over contraceptive and women’s healthcare funding based on a bogus video. What’s going to happen if the NRA says ‘Do not fund this backdoor attempt to restrict gun rights?’.

                    But you are right, it won’t happen, because there are no adults spending lobbying money here.

                    Correct. There is one giant child called the NRA, and some random people who try to get their act together long enough to accomplish anything, but don’t really have any money behind them, and/or just don’t understand how the system works, so they fail.

                    One side is busy winning & not interested in giving ground, and both sides are so ideologically blinkered that they can’t even pretend to honestly compromise.

                    No, that’s BSDI nonsense. In fact, half the job of the NRA appears to be preemptively *cutting off* obvious compromises (like registries and licensing and not carrying the damn things into courthouses) so the only things left that can be done end up affecting everyone instead of just the wackos. (So, of course, those don’t get done either.)

                    But, okay, I’ll listen. What do *you* think a compromise on gun laws would look like? Magazine limits? Expanded background checks?

                    PS Strangely enough, gun dealers would support expanding background checks, but oppose making the system open to all.

                    *Licensed* gun dealers probably don’t care unless it makes their job harder, which it wouldn’t. In fact, not using paper forms would make things easier, especially since their own systems could fill out their half.

                    There are, however, a lot of ‘gun dealers’ who do not actually have to do background checks right now, and they’d probably complain. (But they don’t really matter.)

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                    • No time for long winded debate, so bullet points:

                      -NRA is being child – given.
                      -Brady, et. al also being children, or perhaps just hopeless amateurs, because they are letting NRA control their narrative & are utterly failing to develop a new narrative that the NRA can’t bend to it’s own purposes 30 seconds after it hits the PR circuit. This is mostly because they suck, and I mean absolutely SUCK, at engaging with gun owners in any meaningful way. So not BSDI nonsense, but rather ideology gets in everybodys way.

                      Perhaps after Halloween I can expand on this more.

                      -Licensed dealers get annoyed at having to run the occasional random check for walkins. If checks are always required, then random walkins become regular business, so less annoying.
                      If system was digital & open to all, dealers would probably be on board just for the ease of record keeping and streamlined process.

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  7. [T4] There must be more to this story! I’ve never heard of anyone in Tennessee being reluctant to shoot a skunk under any circumstances.

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        • It’s not a vest, it’s a Hawaiian shirt worn unbuttoned over a dark t-shirt (I admit that it somehow gives a vest-like impression).

          I have fond memories of Hawaiian shirts. Years ago, the marketing department began calling their casual Fridays “dress like an engineer day,” which meant jeans and rolled-up sleeves. We lab rats escalated by making Fridays “Hawaiian shirt day”, the louder the shirt the better.

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      • It maintains (marginally) plausible deniability by not explicitly saying anything about appearance, but the image was clearly chosen because it combines all the negative stereotypes about the appearance of MRAs.

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        • I guess among the many, many criticisms of MRAs that I’ve heard, nothing has ever been said about their appearance. Unless we are connecting “Pick Up Culture” with MRA. I understand there is some overlap between the two worlds but I understand them to be fairly different.

          I still think the comics are different, in part because the one regarding female gamers explicitly makes reference to physical appearance vis a vis the comments on donuts. I think absent that, I’d have a similar reaction to that as I do to the MRA one: perhaps a rather crude, stereotypical representation but as a subculture that seeks to set themselves apart in part via their clothes, using those as identifiers of the group in question doesn’t seem inherently fun making.

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          • From what I understand PUA and MRA hate each other but a lot of their critics on the liberal, feminist side conflate the two. In blogs critical of both, you have see the two described as PUA/MRA as if they are the same thing.

            There is a stereotypical PUA/MRA/White nerd look that does involve something like the picture above.

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            • The MRA stereotype, as communicated in Internet fora, is:

              1.) overweight (possibly with modifiers like ‘pasty’ or ‘mouthbreathing’)
              2.) neckbeard (this will often be deployed as shorthand)
              3.) Fedora

              Basically, Simpsons Comic Book Guy, but with a hat.

              This pic skirts a few of these – he’s a little chubby, if not obese, and he has the hat. The neckbeard part is questionable, but he’s still got facial hair.

              The big surprise for me was the Op Ivy shirt.

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              • I’m not sure the “fat” part has ever actually been part of the stereotype, at least not in the anti-MRA/PUA blogs and related SJW spaces I’ve had the chance to observe. Depictions, both in illustration and in photo examples, seem to use a variety of body types.

                There’s a reason the stereotype centers around hats and shaving: At it’s core, it’s a critique of social awareness. That the stereotypical fedora wearing member of the manosphere just doesn’t pay enough attention to what the people (and especially, the women) around him think and feel to know that he’s a bad dresser.

                OTOH, ain’t nobody in America who’s fat who doesn’t know they’re fat.

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                • The thing I hate about neckbeard as a phrase is that the guys might just have very sensitive skin and are just doing the best they can. My facial hair tends to grow in all directions. This makes it nearly impossible to tell when I am shaving with or against the grain. I keep clean shaven because I dislike facial hair but it does leave bumps.

                  Now MRAs use plenty of other language about female appearances that are really horrible about women and this is unexcusable.

                  IIRC we discussed the hat thing on OT before. Jaybird said that hats were for guys of a certain size who were trying to be fashionable on a budget.

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                    • If the best — or one of the best criticisms — you have of someone or some group of someones is related to their appearance, you’ve pretty much conceded the argument. Unless, of course, the argument is about their appearance. And I find those to be of very little interest.

                      I mean, if you can’t find enough to criticize Trump about with commenting on his hair or Christie about without commenting on his weight or Boehner about without commenting on his skin tone… you just really aren’t trying. And, yes, I use those three examples not to heap on conservatives but because goddamn fucking liberals need to offer substantive criticism if they want to be taken seriously.

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                    • Is the French wearing berets still a thing? It seems like a stereotype that’s about forty or fifty years out of date. I’ve been to France multiple times over the years and I can’t recall seeing a single person wearing a beret.

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        • And some day, humanity will overcome the negative stereotypes about thinking a group of people wear a certain hat.

          No, wait. That’s not actually a *negative* stereotype. It’s just a stereotype. Stereotypes are not magically negative. I imagine most lawyers wear a suit to work, which is a stereotype…but *wearing a suit* is not a negative trait, so it’s not a *negative* stereotype.

          Same with wearing a fedora, that’s a perfectly fine hat…except recently can cause the assumption you’re a MRA. But I don’t think the claim that the image is stereotyping MRAs *as* MRAs makes a lot of sense.

          Okay, let’s check other traits…facial hair? Well, there is a stereotype about MRA neckbeards…except that’s not one. That’s just a normal goatee. Not quite sure there’s a negative image of goatees.

          What’s left? An slightly odd fashion sense? *Is* that a stereotype? I googled ‘mra fashion sense’ and couldn’t find anything except a few references to fedoras. I’ve found nothing that claims they have poor fashion sense *generally*. If that’s a stereotype, it’s a pretty secret one.

          And is he even poorly dressed in the first place? As one of the first comments points out, lose the fedora and the weird necktie and he’s perfectly normally dressed. In fact, most of the discussion on that post actually is about fashion…but not in a negative way. A lot of people say they do dress that way, or *would* dress that way if they didn’t look like MRAs.

          So, we’re maybe faced with something that might be a stereotype…but if it is, it’s not really a *negative* one. It’s not poor fashion sense, it’s ‘wearing open shirts over t-shirts’, which is, in fact, a completely fine way to dress. His color scheme is a bit dubious, but no one judges people that dress that way…except by thinking they might be MRAs. (Which, again, is not a negative stereotype of an *image of a MRA*.)

          Now, the tie, I’ll admit, is a little stupid looking. But, again, not sure that’s any sort of stereotype.

          For a ‘generic portrayal of the enemy’, that image is surprisingly fair.

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    • So you think someone making a meme fat-shaming all their enemies, and someone making a meme showing their enemies wearing slighty-goofy clothing, are the same thing?

      Interesting.

      You do understand that there is a difference between complaining about something a person *can’t* change, or can’t change easily, and complaining their clothing choices are dumb, right?

      And you also realize the graphic *didn’t actually* say anything about the clothing choice in the first place, right? You’re just sorta *assuming* it’s a comment about MRA’s hypothetical clothing choice? What it’s *actually* complaining about are the arguments that MRAs use, despite the fact that a lot of people in the comments decided the outfit was important. (With a lot of people defending it.)

      When someone makes a meme that is talking about a group, and put an image of that group in there, it’s going to be a little stereotypical so people recognize who the person is supposed to be, rather like political cartoons. It’s worth pointing out that not only is this image *not* insulting, it doesn’t even manage to incorporate all the stereotypes…there’s no neckbeard, for example. It’s the equivalent of a political cartoon that shows French people wearing berets, so readers can tell they are French people. It’s not to mock French people’s fashion sense.

      Whereas the fat-shaming one is pretty explicitly fat-shaming, and absurdly insulting, literally calling all their opponents fat.

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      • So you think someone making a meme fat-shaming all their enemies, and someone making a meme showing their enemies wearing slighty-goofy clothing, are the same thing?

        Yeah they’re both making fun of people on the basis of their looks.

        You do understand that there is a difference between complaining about something a person *can’t* change, or can’t change easily, and complaining their clothing choices are dumb, right?

        So your position is that change the cloths you wear is easier than changing the food you eat? In theory both weight a fashion sense are easy to change in practice they aren’t that easy.

        And you also realize the graphic *didn’t actually* say anything about the clothing choice in the first place, right?

        They insult was implied, are you really claiming that all insults must be explicitly stated?

        What it’s *actually* complaining about are the arguments that MRAs use, despite the fact that a lot of people in the comments decided the outfit was important. (With a lot of people defending it.)

        And the Gamergate complained about the argument that their opponents were making.

        When someone makes a meme that is talking about a group, and put an image of that group in there, it’s going to be a little stereotypical so people recognize who the person is supposed to be, rather like political cartoons. It’s worth pointing out that not only is this image *not* insulting, it doesn’t even manage to incorporate all the stereotypes…there’s no neckbeard, for example. It’s the equivalent of a political cartoon that shows French people wearing berets, so readers can tell they are French people. It’s not to mock French people’s fashion sense.

        Useing that logic there is nothing offensive about this cartoon or this image.

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        • So your position is that change the cloths you wear is easier than changing the food you eat?

          Uh, yes, considering that people change clothes every day, hopefully. Whereas, as we’re learning, weight isn’t even necessarily dependent on what someone eats.

          In theory both weight a fashion sense are easy to change in practice they aren’t that easy.

          …I have no idea why you would think that. A perfectly acceptable fashion for men is a shirt and shorts. The man is actually wearing that, he just needs to *not* wear a tie, a hat, and an open shirt over a closed shirt.

          If you think ‘figuring out people don’t normally wear a tie with a t-shirt ‘ and ‘no one wears fedoras’ is anywhere difficult as losing *any* weight, you are, uh, just wrong. This is downright trivial knowledge, and he can easy be in fashion *wearing the clothes he already owns*, just wearing them in a less stupid-looking way.

          Loosing weight, meanwhile, is something that society has become convinced has something to do with the food you eat…which medical science is pretty certain is a pretty small influence on what people weigh, and when it is an influence, it’s not actually the things people think it is.

          They insult was implied, are you really claiming that all insults must be explicitly stated?

          Uh, there was a stereotype, yes. But stereotypes and insults are not the same thing. The intent of that picture was clearly to mock MRA for *what they say*, not how they dress.

          And the Gamergate complained about the argument that their opponents were making.

          There are nine statements next to that picture. Three of them are just saying ‘I’m fat’.

          Useing that logic there is nothing offensive about this cartoon or this image.

          That cartoon, *by itself*, would be a…well, an ugly representation of a Jew, but drawing political opponents as ugly is not really a moral offense. It does get somewhat into physical racial stereotypes, which are, uh, racist.

          Redraw that picture without the gigantic nose and hunchback, and it would work as a reasonable representation of a ‘Jew’ in a political cartoon. The problem *isn’t* the yarmulke, or even the beard. The *actual* problem with that cartoon is that we know the context it was used it. We know that, 99% of the time, when a Jew ends up in a historical political cartoon, especially when they are drawn *ugly*, we’re about to get an anti-Semitic message.

          Likewise, when an MRA is draw in an ugly manner (Although, as I said that picture is not actually that ugly.), we’re getting an anti-MRA message.

          But, uh, one of those is attacking people for their race (Both the physical characteristics, and the anti-Semitic message we’re sure is going to be in the caption.), which is racism and not something society likes, and the other is attacking them for their message, which is perfectly fine.

          It is perfectly acceptable to say ‘People who believe a thing are wrong and stupid’. It is perfectly acceptable to say ‘my opponents, whom I’m caricaturing the clothing of, believe stupid things’. If the gamer gate people had posted that drawing *without* stretching it out, and *without* the doughnut comments, I would disagree with it, but it would be acceptable. It’s not the most stylish outfit, but it’s not unacceptable. But fat-shaming *is*. (Especially using it as some sort of general purpose insult of a group of people in general.)

          But making fun of the supposed physical characteristics of a group of people is not acceptable. It’s not acceptable when it’s racism, it’s not acceptable when it’s anti-Semitism, it’s not acceptable when it’s just made up by calling your opponents ‘fat’, like here. Whereas, making fun of what people choose to wear is *generally* acceptable, although that can veer into a proxy of making fun things that aren’t that acceptable, like their religion or their poverty. (But ‘bad fashion sense’ is not one of those things.)

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          • Uh, yes, considering that people change clothes every day, hopefully. Whereas, as we’re learning, weight isn’t even necessarily dependent on what someone eats.

            If what you eat doesn’t affect your weight then why are people supporting big gulp bans and soda taxes, why are schools taking out vending machines, why is Michele Obama teaching kids about nutrition? If what a person eats has no effect on their weight than most of policies taken to stop the “obesity epidemic” are pointless.

            …I have no idea why you would think that. A perfectly acceptable fashion for men is a shirt and shorts. The man is actually wearing that, he just needs to *not* wear a tie, a hat, and an open shirt over a closed shirt.

            If you think ‘figuring out people don’t normally wear a tie with a t-shirt ‘ and ‘no one wears fedoras’ is anywhere difficult as losing *any* weight, you are, uh, just wrong. This is downright trivial knowledge, and he can easy be in fashion *wearing the clothes he already owns*, just wearing them in a less stupid-looking way.

            Loosing weight, meanwhile, is something that society has become convinced has something to do with the food you eat…which medical science is pretty certain is a pretty small influence on what people weigh, and when it is an influence, it’s not actually the things people think it is.

            The problem is a general fashion sense not the specific fashion choices(the fedora is an attempt at being fashionable). There is zero evidence that fashion scene is less heritable than weight. Since fashion since is easy for you you’re assuming that it’s easy for everyone just like people who can control their weight assume that it is easy for everyone.

            Uh, there was a stereotype, yes. But stereotypes and insults are not the same thing. The intent of that picture was clearly to mock MRA for *what they say*, not how they dress.

            BS it was insulting them because of the way they look.

            There are nine statements next to that picture. Three of them are just saying ‘I’m fat’.

            So that means six of them were making other points.

            But, uh, one of those is attacking people for their race (Both the physical characteristics, and the anti-Semitic message we’re sure is going to be in the caption.), which is racism and not something society likes, and the other is attacking them for their message, which is perfectly fine.

            So than anti-Muslim cartoons are ok since they’re attacking Muslims for their message not for their race(forget for second that Judaism is also a religion not race, there are in fact Jews of all races).

            , I would disagree with it, but it would be acceptable. It’s not the most stylish outfit, but it’s not unacceptable. But fat-shaming *is*. (Especially using it as some sort of general purpose insult of a group of people in general.)

            Both “fat shaming” (and progressives have no problem “fat shaming” Chris Christy) and “fashion shaming” are insulting people based on their looks. You are creating an arbitrary distinction to make it ok for your side to insult based on their looks while declaring it out of bounds for the other team to do.

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            • dand,
              if changing what you eat affects 5% of people’s weight, that’s enough for the Insurance Industry to champion it.

              … you don’t think the liberals wanted to end smoking, didja?

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            • If what you eat doesn’t affect your weight then why are people supporting big gulp bans and soda taxes, why are schools taking out vending machines, why is Michele Obama teaching kids about nutrition? If what a person eats has no effect on their weight than most of policies taken to stop the “obesity epidemic” are pointless.

              Yes, most of those policies *are* pointless, or at least won’t do anything about obesity. Of course, kids need reasonable nutrition for *other* reasons, because *lack* of protein and whatnot will stunt their development…but barring a few outliers of parents behaving in completely stupid ways like feeding their child entirely with soda and candy, the problem can’t be solved that way.

              In fact, there’s some evidence that obesity is literally contagious. And some evidence it has to do with hormones and antibacterial drugs we’re eating (Which are pumped into livestock specifically to cause weight gain), and some evidence it might have something to do with gut bacteria.

              It is also worth pointing out that this is fairly *new* research, that until the early 2000s it *was* believed that all this was due to diet and exercise. And the US government is, very stupidly, far behind.

              And this isn’t the first time we’ve been incredibly wrong about this sort of thing. For years, doctors believed that people becoming obese could cause diabetes. It cannot. People with diabetes (and insulin resistance, aka, ‘pre-diabetes’.) store fat easier. Aka, diabetes causes weight gain, not the other way around.

              The problem is a general fashion sense not the specific fashion choices(the fedora is an attempt at being fashionable). There is zero evidence that fashion scene is less heritable than weight.

              First, I didn’t say weight was heritable. It seems not to be, at least not in the general DNA sense. (It might be epigenetic, though.)

              Secondly, fashion sense cannot possibly be inherited, and the idea that it might be very dumb.

              Since fashion since is easy for you you’re assuming that it’s easy for everyone just like people who can control their weight assume that it is easy for everyone.

              Uh, no, ‘fashion sense’ is not easy for me. In fact, I tend to dress rather generically. T-shirt, cargo shorts, that’s it. I could be that guy, except I’m not silly enough to wear a tie and old hat for no reason!

              But I do have working eyes, and hence can observe that literally no one I know wears a fedora, and literally no one I know wears a tie when not wearing a button-up shirt. That’s a pretty easy observation to make, assuming a person is not blind. (And even if a person is blind, I don’t really understand how they’d end up wearing those things.)

              So than anti-Muslim cartoons are ok since they’re attacking Muslims for their message not for their race(forget for second that Judaism is also a religion not race, there are in fact Jews of all races).

              You seem to be conflating a few different reasons people object to things.

              People object to various anti-Muslim cartoon because they paint one and half billion people with the brush of ‘terrorist’. Not because the guy in the cartoon has a beard or whatever that signifies him as ‘Muslim’.

              There are, at minimum, three kinds levels of stereotypes here:

              There are what really are ‘signifiers’, things that mark someone as being generically representative of a group. It’s an American wearing a cowboy hat, or a Frenchman wearing a beret, or a Muslim wearing a robe and beard, or a Jew with a yarmulke, or a lesbian with short hair. These can, indeed, be *somewhat* offensive, but generally not enough for people to get worked over.

              And then there’s the actually offensive stuff, usually due to historical associations, or due to exaggerating and mocking physical characteristics. Black people with distorted large brows, Jews with large noses, Asians with yellow skin and buck teeth.

              And then there’s the ‘Everyone in this group are X’, where X is some horrible thing. The problem there isn’t how the group looks or dresses in the cartoon, the problem is literally calling them all criminals.

              And *none* of this is really relevant here. Both portrayals in the cartoon you linked to show someone dressing slightly unfashionable. The MRA guy is unfashionable, and the anti-gamer-gate woman is somewhat frumpy…and you’ll notice that *how she is dressed* isn’t the issue taken there.

              Likewise, both of them paint the other side with a broad brush of their beliefs, but, then again, those claims are *within bounds*. No one’s accusing the other side of sacrificing babies.

              The issue here is calling all those women fat-fat fatties. Not only painting the group with a rather broad brush that *is* outside bounds, but that brush is using fat as an insult!

              Both “fat shaming” (and progressives have no problem “fat shaming” Chris Christy) and “fashion shaming” are insulting people based on their looks.

              Actually, a lot of progressives have called out people about fat-shaming Christy. Jon Stewart did a whole piece about it. So did Salon:
              http://www.salon.com/2013/11/07/dont_call_chris_christie_an_elephant/

              You are creating an arbitrary distinction to make it ok for your side to insult based on their looks while declaring it out of bounds for the other team to do.

              Dude, *you* are the person that brought the word ‘looks’ into the conversation. The original post called them out on being ‘misogynistic and transphobic (and, oh yeah, craaaaazy racist)’, and also fat-shaming, which is clearly intended to point out how the gamer gate people judge other people on *physical attributes*, not ‘how they look’, which is a term you invented.

              Moreover, you can keep repeating it all you want, but judging someone on their ‘looks’ and judging someone on their ‘clothes’ are two different things, so even the term you can up with doesn’t really work.

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              • Secondly, fashion sense cannot possibly be inherited, and the idea that it might be very dumb.

                All human behavioural traits are heritable. to claim otherwise is no different than creationism.

                You seem to be conflating a few different reasons people object to things.

                People object to various anti-Muslim cartoon because they paint one and half billion people with the brush of ‘terrorist’. Not because the guy in the cartoon has a beard or whatever that signifies him as ‘Muslim’.

                Up thread you stated:

                and the other is attacking them for their message, which is perfectly fine.

                A religion is a message therefore is your previously state position attacking someone on the basis of their religion is acceptable.

                Dude, *you* are the person that brought the word ‘looks’ into the conversation.

                Making fun of someone’s weight is one form of making fun of someone’s looks.

                Moreover, you can keep repeating it all you want, but judging someone on their ‘looks’ and judging someone on their ‘clothes’ are two different things, so even the term you can up with doesn’t really work.

                No the cloths you wear are part of your looks. You’re creating an arbitrary distinction.

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            • Loosing weight, meanwhile, is something that society has become convinced has something to do with the food you eat…which medical science is pretty certain is a pretty small influence on what people weigh, and when it is an influence, it’s not actually the things people think it is.

              While I am far from the smartest person here at OT, and may in fact be one of the resident idiots, if there is an area where I do consider myself a resident expert, it’s nutrition (although I have no formal background and frankly no one should need one).

              I get that there are people that are going to have weight-related issues due to hormonal imbalances and that there’s no way that weight can be addressed until the hormones go into balance (especially with something like leptin, which controls appetite).

              However, if you’re making a broad-based claim that losing weight has little to do with diet, especially for people that don’t have other issues, I have to disagree.

              I’ll gladly discuss how I’ve dropped almost 15 lbs over the past six weeks although I can boil it down to one word that begins with a D.

              All kidding aside, I’m confused over here. Help a fellow David out.

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              • I’ll gladly discuss how I’ve dropped almost 15 lbs over the past six weeks although I can boil it down to one word that begins with a D.

                …yes, anyone can lose somewhere between 10 and 30 pounds via diet.

                But that, oddly, pretty much proves my point. Two people can eat identical things, and be at different weights, and then diet, and both lose weight.

                This pretty clearly shows diet is not the cause of *anything*. It’s like blaming shoes for the height of really tall people. Yes, they get shorter when they take them off, but, uh…everyone does that.

                People basically have a ‘starvation diet’ weight, a ‘normal food’ weight (call it a default) weight, and an ‘overeating’ weight. Those weights are *all* that dieting can possibly take you between. (Or, rather, it can take you from wherever you are down to starvation weight.)

                In fact, it’s interesting to look at the results of bariatric surgery. I mean, that proves diet is important, right? People lose huge amounts of weight after having their diet hugely restricted.

                …in fact, their diet is so restricted they are eating a fraction of what others eat. Other people who are normal weight. And often the person who got the surgery is still slightly overweight, despite the fact they can’t *possibly* be overeating.

                Hrm, that doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. We have people who are forced, by actual physical facts, to eat less food than anyone else is, and they still seem to weigh *more* than other people. It’s almost as if there is some actual real *disease* that we decided, 40 years ago, was instead due to diet and exercise, and we were done forever in trying to figure it out, despite the fact we’re obviously *really incorrect* about.

                In the real world, it’s pretty easy to prove these default weights can vary by *hundreds* of pounds, for no reason anyone can point to. It’s *not* genetic, as far as anyone can tell…there are outliers in both directions that are genetic, but it doesn’t seem to run in families…although oddly enough it seems to be literally contagious. Seriously. People who make overweight friends are more likely to become overweight, for no reason anyone can tell.

                Likewise, it’s pretty easy to prove these numbers have not only mysteriously gotten higher in the US since the 70s, (While we really haven’t changed out food intake much.), it’s actually *spreading* to other places, places who do not eat the same foods we do.

                What has been happening with people’s weight in America, and how we reacted to that over the decades, is going to, one day, be viewed the same way we used to look at stomach ulcers. (Stomach ulcers, for those who are unaware, used to be entirely blamed on diet and/or stress, neither of which is barely even a contributing factor.)

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                • Weight is complicated. While at the root of it, it’s something very simple (calories in versus calories out), the human body is highly adaptable. Reducing calories IN causes the body to preemptively reduce calories OUT.

                  The human body likes to store energy. It likes to overeat. Because the human body evolved where the human life was back-breaking labor to get enough to eat, alternating times of plenty with times of little. (If nothing else, compare harvest to the depths of winter in terms of calorie availability. And that’s with agriculture).

                  Don’t get enough calories — that is, diet? Your body clamps down on energy use, because it’s anticipating famine. Exercise can help, to a certain extent — but even then, your body does it as efficiently as possible. It STILL wants as much fat as humanly possible because, historically, there will be starvation in your future and those fat stores will keep you alive.

                  Fat is complicated. Weight is complicated (there’s literature now showing your basic adult weight might be set as early as late childhood barring massive diet or exercise campaigns, the sort of campaigns most adults can neither afford nor have the will to handle — because your body will rebel). There’s literature on that stomach surgery that indicate outcomes are more dependent on your particular mix of gut bacteria than anything else!

                  “Eat less and exercise” is a lovely slogan that does not, in reality, work for many people. That’s not even getting into hormonal disorders or other pure medical issues.

                  You want to get rich? Find a pill that disables your body’s instinctive responses to diet. Or find one that’ll force the body to liquidate empty fat cells.

                  Good luck. Energy is critical to life, and you’ll find that the human body is very inventive about storing it and doesn’t like to let go. It’s kept things alive for billions of years.

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                  • Weight is complicated (there’s literature now showing your basic adult weight might be set as early as late childhood barring massive diet or exercise campaigns, the sort of campaigns most adults can neither afford nor have the will to handle — because your body will rebel).

                    Yeah. Diets don’t actually ‘work’, in the sense of putting you at some lower weight. (Well, there are a few people who binge-eat or eat when upset, and can train themselves not to do that, but I’m talking ‘reduction in diet’ dieting, not behavioral training dieting.)

                    But if you’re not over what your body thinks is too much, dieting will make you lose weight…but you have to keep doing that, _forever_, to keep it off.

                    People too often seem to think it is math: If I need X food a day to maintain *this* weight, I can go with 90% of X for a few weeks, knock some weight off, and then start eating X again and it will stay off.

                    No. It will not. That is, indeed, how math works, but it’s not how biology works.

                    There’s literature on that stomach surgery that indicate outcomes are more dependent on your particular mix of gut bacteria than anything else!

                    Yup. And you want to hear something crazier?

                    If someone has a child, then has bariatric surgery and ends up with a reduced weight, and then has another child…the second child will be less likely to be obese later in life.

                    This…doesn’t make any sense in *any* understanding of how this works. It can’t be due to genetics, because, duh, same genetics. And it can’t be due to metabolic programming or epigenetics, because someone who grew inside a person with less calories available should logically be *more* inclined to retain fat, not less.

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  8. greginak:
    Very true. Speaking anecdotally i’ve interacted with many of the small immigrant communities we have here from the Philippines, Thailand, Somalia and Mexico. Not one of the children didn’t speak english as their first language even when their parents could barely speak any english. In general the children of immigrants learn the language of the country they live in.

    More anecdote: I’m one of two people on one of my soccer teams who isn’t Hispanic. The other players often have friends/family tagging along, so there’s a variety of ages and some in classes as well. The 40-year-olds speak Spanish first and English hesitantly. The 30-year-olds speak Spanish first and English well. The 20-year-olds speak both English and Spanish fluently and switch between them without missing a beat, even when entirely among themselves. It’ll all be fine.

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    • El Muneco: The 20-year-olds speak both English and Spanish fluently and switch between them without missing a beat, even when entirely among themselves.

      This bit? The Spanglish or Spanish/English code-switching or whatever you want to call it? Absolutely my favorite part.

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  9. Further anecdate on immigrants and language. My father, born in San Fransisco to an at least 2nd generation Californian and a Canadian immigrant, spoke German before English. Because grandma.

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