Linky Friday: Home Ec

Family:

[Fa1] According to a new study, authoritarian parenting leads to worse outcomes. This confirms my priors, though while the article focuses on the risks of self-reporting, I would be more concerned about kids with harsh parents more likely being the kids that do things that result in harsh parenting.

[Fa2] More adventures in confirmation bias, for me.

[Fa3] Spain wants more babies, and has appointed a special commissioner.

[Fa4] Wow, this is a really powerful piece.

[Fa5] Though I’m sure he said it with the best of intentions… but no.

[Fa6] Wow.

Food:

twinkies photo

Image by OnTask

[Fo1] I actually don’t mind this too much, though when you do filler like this you ought to add spice.

[Fo2] I have a sudden desire for some Twinkies.

[Fo3] I want to disagree with this assessment of Sheetz vs Wawa’s, but my experience with the latter is limited and I do have to agree that Sheetz burgers lack personality.

[Fo4] Celeste Noche argues that food bloggers are fueling racist stereotypes.

[Fo5] Elizabeth Nolan Brown looks at ten ridiculous food-marketing lawsuits. I dunno, I do get pissed when places use too much ice, and if fourteen people think McCormick ground pepper is under-filled maybe it’s under-filled.

Gender:

Image by hans s

Image by hans s

[G1] This is sad.

[G2] Women may never quite make it to half of the workforce.

[G3] The Sunday Star pays tribute to all the single ladies (of Malaysia).

[G4] Viking raiding communities skewed male and a new paper explains how that mattered.

[G5] It appears that bots are insufficiently woke.

[G6] The importance of Reading The Comments: Sarah Sicard says that sexism made her a better military reporter.

Pets:

twinkies photo

Image by gilmae

[P1] Psychology Today looks at our fascination with health-troubled purebreads. Long live the mutt! (Literally.)

[P2] Relatedly, everything about this story is insane. I can’t even get excited about the “helping people’s credit” part.

[P3] Dammit, people.

[P4] Not all male cats are deadbeat dads, it turns out.

[P5] Hurm. At least when you flush it down the toilet, you’re returning fish to the water.

[P6] When my dogs got ticks, I was surprised that we had vaccinations for Lyme Disease. We have them for humans, too, though people being people we managed to screw that up.

Shopping:

[S1] Sonny Bunch’s logic here is unassailable. I’ll never forget my first futon. And you can’t upgrade if you don’t start low.

[S2] “There are some basic questions to consider before you make the decision to take on a wedding loan.”… like whether or not you are fiscally responsible?

[S3] I’m up for embracing the brave new world in many respects, and it already goes on to some extent, but hyperlocalized price discrimination does make me uneasy.

[S4] One can imagine that at some point, Facebook will have a whole sales profile for the suicidal.

[S5] This will end in tears and recriminations.

[S6] Trump’s victory has been bad for the gun industry.

[S7] If you want to build support for The Wall, commercializing it (with yuppie trimmings, no less) seems like a pretty good way to do it.


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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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94 thoughts on “Linky Friday: Home Ec

  1. Fa1: This seems to make intuitive sense. See red states and teen pregnancy rates. Though strict can be weird. I wasn’t allowed to watch TV on weeknights but my parents also let me spend a day at a David Lynch film festival which might strike horror in the socially conservative set.

    Fo2: I knew it! I always had my hunches about you.

    S1: I don’t get the cult of proud cheapness. People shouldn’t buy what they don’t want and can’t afford (though this can be a judgment call) but there is a certain kind of guy (usually) writing/bragging about not spending money on things and boasting about anti-aesthetics. I don’t get it. Why are guys afraid to think that aesthetics/design matters?

    G1: Articles like this are why childcare and nursing and early education get paid less. They are seen as “women’s work” and will be as long as guys who enter said positions are morally suspect. Why would a guy enter early ed if he was up for these kind of accusations

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    • The teen pregnancy data does not necessarily say what you think it does… It’s more of a southern thing and a western thing than a red state thing. Basically, in places where there are a lot of African-Americans or Latinos and/or Native Americans (and low education rates among whites also helps). The teen motherhood rate does correlate with redness, though there’s a different reason for that.

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    • S1: The writer makes two critiques: (1) against expensive furniture, and (2) against expensive furniture that needs to be replaced frequently.

      I think he is right in the first critique for the specific circumstances in question: a young couple moving in together making a major joint purchase. If one of them moves out in a year, that $1200 couch is a much bigger issue than a $300 couch would be. But in the general case, furniture is an area where I think it makes sense to pay for quality. But this is only partly for aesthetic reasons. The other is to buy something that will last forever. The ideal is something that my kids will fight over when I am dead. That isn’t realistic with upholstered furniture, but the underlying principle applies. The writer is dead on that it is ridiculous to buy an expensive piece of furniture with the expectation of replacing it in a couple of years.

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      • Lifestyle has a lot to do with this also. When you are moving a lot, or having wild parties, or kids that throw up or draw with crayons on things, having nice furniture is an expensive burden. As your age and lifestyle changes, what works and doesn’t also changes.

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        • Before Bug was born, my wife and I did a bit of furniture shopping, and a sofa set was on the list. We opted for leather because incoming baby and cleaning. I wanted to make sure it was full grain leather, and not that fabric backed paper leather. I also wanted removable cushions (again, baby, cleaning), preferably with removable covers.

          Wound up getting a set at IKEA. Places like Dania had sofa sets that met the requirements, but they wanted upwards of $6K for them. We spent $1500 at IKEA and got a sofa, loveseat, and chaise. It isn’t super stylish, or luxurious, or anything, but it’s tough, comfortable, reconfigurable (I can unbolt the arm rests and attach all 3 pieces to each other, or attach the chaise to one of them, etc.), and perfectly functional. We’ve had it 5 years now and it isn’t showing any sign of excessive wear.

          As with our recent college discussion, price is not always a solid indicator of quality.

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      • I don’t disagree with this but I remain firm in my opinions that Ikea is shoddy stuff with meh designs. I don’t get the love for that brand.

        FWIW my first couch was a really ugly thing my uncle got in the 1980s or maybe 70s and was passed down to me. My most recent furniture upgrades were stuff from when my parent’s closed down their NYC apartment and some of that stuff came from our old house including some table lamps from the 1980s.

        But I’ve gotten into discussions where people wondered about prices of things and then I’ve pointed out why the quality was better than something from Ikea and they had to make concessions.

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      • I got a good couch.
        It was custom designed for a … rather famous British singer, so of course it’s red.
        I love Ikea!

        The last furniture (pure hickory) I bought was from Costco, but it shipped from Bill Gates’ place. Apparently he got the whole production run or something like that. (He uses them to entertain employees…)

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    • They went with the wheat roll for the Wawa meatball sub. Smart move. I still wouldn’t turn down a cold sandwich from Sheetz, but Wawa’s wheat bread is just a better product.

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      • Fifteen years ago I lived in place where I would walk past a Wawa between the train station and my apartment, so I went there more than I really should have. Their hoagie was astonishingly good, by which I mean is was only decent, but I would never have expected that from a glorified gas station. Sheetz isn’t terrible, but it is much more in the “decent for a convenience store” category.

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  2. G2 – Because they have to stay home ensuring the toddlers finally get smarter than the chickens? (plus, also stop the toddler murderous rampage carnage, I suppose)

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  3. S3 – I think both Safeway and Harris Teeter do something like this already (but a bit less Orwellian). Safeway calls it Just 4 U, HT calls it eVic. If you sign up for it, they’ll push you special deals on the internet over and above the ‘member price’, which presumably, are based on your history buying preferences and their desire to move particular stock.

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  4. Fa1: Yeah, I think that’s true. My parents were strict in some ways (and they tried to model good/moral behavior to us – I still remember the time my mom turned around immediately and drove back to the bank when she realized the cashier gave her a good bit more money than what she was cashing the check for. The cashier was nearly in tears when my mom explained and returned the money – she said she could have been fired if her drawer came up short. That was an early and powerful lesson to me in how seemingly ‘victimless’ actions often aren’t)

    They were strict, but there were other things they were lax on with my brother and me. Like, if what they were serving for dinner was something we disliked or just didn’t want to eat, we were welcome to make ourselves a peanut butter sandwich and sit at the table with them and eat it. (We had to eat the vegetables, though). I had friends who either were forced to sit with the hated food until they ate it, or were sent to bed hungry.

    I also confess, as a goody-two-shoes kid, I used their strictness as an excuse at least once, when friends were planning to ditch school or something: “Oh, no. You know my parents. They’d KILL me if they found out.” (Probably not, but it was an easy way to have an appeal-to-authority to say “no, I don’t want to do this”)

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  5. Love the hipster junk food.

    Fa2: incentives always matter and will always overcome professionalism if they aren’t aligned.

    Ga1: Does the US have rates like that, or is Australia having a serious problem?

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  6. Fo5: The linked piece is really a standard complaint about class action lawsuits. But it is interesting how the lead “ridiculous” lawsuit is for labeling “100% Parmesan cheese” when the contents in fact were not 100% Parmesan cheese. Presumably the idea the label was intended to convey is that the contents were not a mixture of Parmesan and some cheaper. Maybe this is a valid legal defense. I don’t know anything about food labeling law. Either way, the claim that the complaint is absurd seems unsubstantiated.

    As for class action lawsuits, the critique is the horror that lawyers might make money off them. The alternative is giving corporations carte blanche to rob you so long as they do it in such a way as to ensure it is uneconomical to sue them. Oddly, this alternative never seems to get laid out in these critiques.

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  7. S2: It is always worth keeping in mind with these “cost of a modern wedding” stories that they are all bullshit, usually coming out of the wedding-industrial complex, which has a vested interest in making people think that they have to go into debt or lose face. The source of the data is usually pretty vague, but typically comes from surveys of wedding planners. Even assuming they aren’t simply lying, this means that the data only includes those weddings that involve wedding planners. If you get married in your own church and have the reception in the social hall, this doesn’t count. Even less so if the happy couple walks into city hall. Also: weddings are usually cheap. You can make them expensive, but you have to work at it. Receptions are where people go into debt. Dirty little secret: the reception is optional.

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    • I would be happy to go to a wedding that didn’t have a reception. I would consider it in no way losing face for the couple. (it would also obviate the need for a “plus one” for me, something that is always problematic, because receptions tend to have dancing and weddings don’t).

      My brother and sister in law did their wedding and reception (just a dinner, no other stuff) on the cheap and it was fantastic. And they’re still happy together some 18 years later, and I suppose that’s what really matters.

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      • My understanding is this is how weddings work in South Korea kind of. You have the ceremony than a very quick lunch and everybody is off to do their daily activities because of the hectic nature of Korean life.

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        • I’ve said if a miracle ever happened and I WAS getting married, my “reception” would be an outdoor barbecue with lawn games (e.g., badminton) because the very words “selecting a DJ” makes me come out in hives.

          I once mentioned my hypothetical barbecue reception thing to a person I know and she was aghast – how TACKY! (it would have been “catered meat and a few sides, bring a side or dessert to share”) but most of my good friends thought it was an awesome idea. So either that one person had a stick up her fundament, or all my friends are as tacky as I am.

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          • *shrugs* the counter to “how tacky” is “Hey, at least I’m not getting married at the county jail!” (I did this. The reception was outside in the parking lot. With Champagne, and broken glass (deliberate), and wedding cake).

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            • Were you looking for your microwave? Or did that precede the other incident? I’m updating my Kimmi scrapbook even now. (It is by far the best one I have).

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              • Marchmaine,
                No, that was well before the microwave incident (which happened in the past year).
                I don’t think I even mentioned the ex-cons we had delivering our dryer (which, as it was designed to run on an undersea base, needed to be specially wired to actually work with household current). [It still says whirlpool on the outside, though it’s basically a functional prototype].

                The funny part about getting married at the arraignment court was being told that we needed exact change, and my fiancee wandered around asking people if they could split a dollar.

                Kimmi scrapbook is rather boring. Does not feature Yakusa, poison, or nazi daggers with real blood flakes on them. Also does not feature “guess what I won in a bet!” or “That prize is NOT coming home with me…”.

                …. I know folks who are rather a lot more interesting than I am. Truly.

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                • To be sure, exact change is barbaric.

                  The thing about scrapbooks is that there’s always someone somewhere with a better one… so don’t feel bad.

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    • It had never occurred to me that there was such a thing as a wedding loan. I guess the financial advice in the article is good in a kind of next-worst way. It’d be tempting, even if you had most of the money for your wedding, to throw a couple of miscellaneous items on a credit card. Getting a low-rate loan is smarter. The smartest thing to do is not bury yourself in debt if there’s any way of avoiding it.

      Then again, I’m a cubic zirconia guy at heart. Then again, that may be why I’ve never shopped for a diamond or cubic zirconia.

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    • People definitely go all out for weddings sometime but it wedding etiquette can be weird. There is a balance between going into debt but I’ve seen couples go the other way and get in Internet trouble for basically asking everyone to pay for their wedding party. Jezebel/Gawker used to troll gofundme type sites for stories like that pretty regularly.

      But there is far from a Western thing and far from something that is the purview of wedding planners. There is probably a history of showing wealth and status by having a fancy wedding. Chinese weddings are huge because the parents of the bride (or maybe both parents) are supposed to give a huge banquet for everyone they know.

      I sort of go inbetween. Just going to city hall and then getting on with your day seems kind of blah. At least take a day off and have some kind of celebration.

      The other way to make guests pay is to do destination weddings or trips which always struck me as being potentially unavoidable (especially for international couples) and also kind of unfair to guests because they have to pay for airfare, hotel, etc.

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      • Indian weddings can get famously expensive and elaborate. A recent New York Times article was on the state of Kashmir deciding to force some equality on weddings by limiting the number of guests to 500 maximum and curtailing the number of dishes that could be served.

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            • Kabul tried (maybe succeeded, I’m not sure) to pass something similar. It’s not so much ‘equality’ as an attempt by the sliver of the upper middle class (and the step just below) to get out of the escalating arms race with the nouveau riche on costly wedding extravaganzas.

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    • As I’ve announced in today’s feature article, I’m in no position to discuss marital success. But one thing I’m quite certain was a good move for us was for my now-soon-to-be-ex-wife and I to get married in Las Vegas with a one-step-above-basic-level wedding-and-reception package at a good-but-not-top-tier casino.* Eloping wasn’t really an option for either of our families. So we did Vegas. We got a nice ceremony, a nice party, they took care of all the details, and what we paid was quite reasonable for what we got. For about five grand, I think we had something like a hundred guests and we served them up a mixed grill dinner and had a DJ for four hours with a no-host bar.

      Now, that was fourteen years ago.

      * I know, it looks like I’ve become addicted to en dashes. Kind of embarrassing for an editor. Well, the first step is admitting you have a problem so I guess I’m on my way to help.

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  8. In this paper, we use evolutionary theory and ethnographic evidence in combination with archaeological data and textual sources to develop a new explanation for the early raids, which began in the late 8th century. Specifically, we explore the possibility that they may have been prompted in part by the existence of certain forms of male–female relationship that motivated men to obtain status, wealth, and captives, and to engage in risky behaviour such as raiding in order to do so.

    1. Tinder and Tinder Select, discuss.
    2. Very old theory on early selling point of Christianity to both women and men in the ancient world.
    3. Saul, go a-viking.

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  9. P6: I was unaware that there was a lyme disease vaccine. The article seems to pass over the cost-benefits of the vaccine though, as in how many shots/boosters are required? Is 80% immunity really that good, given that humans are not the primary carrier, so we’re not obtaining any herd immunity. It feels like a niche product that is easily roiled by class-action websites.

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    • Yeah, there’s something strange about the article… wants to jump on an anti-vaxxer thing, but I’m suspicious that’s the real driver.

      It was interesting to see that the vaccine was developed in the late 90’s because during that period *and* after they stopped making the vaccine in 2002 we were being told by doctors that there was no such thing as Lymes (in Virginia). Three of our children have had Lymes, and one of them was sent home on the first visit by one of the several doctors who told us it was not a real thing… the very next day he developed Bell’s Palsy and a different doctor at the same facility immediately diagnosed Lymes and prescribed the antibiotics course. That episode was in 2008.

      Then there’s the secondary factor… would we have vaccinated for a rare illness that’s pretty easy to recognize and treat (once you know what to look for and can find doctors willing to treat it as such)… probably, but that’s because we have 30-acres of woods and spend a lot of time outside and around animals. But for the various friends who live in town (even the few who’ve gotten Lymes), I could see them not getting it.

      I think the real point of the article was lamenting how it was an optional vaccine and not mandatory… since it is the mandatory (or, more accurately medically routine) aspect that makes the vaccine profitable to make. So the real argument, if you peel away some of the layers, is really: isn’t it a pity that we don’t make Lymes vaccination routine for everyone in the US Northeast. Should we? Ought we? Must we?

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      • It seems like the article wanted the vaccine to be mandatory or for the government to provide tort immunity. The thing about looking to have the State of Massachusetts manufacture the vaccine is that it potentially addresses both: (a) sovereign immunity for the State; and (b) the costs of the drug can be spread to all taxpayers without necessarily requiring every 16 year old to get a shot. I don’t know that this is my preferred solution, but I wouldn’t mandate any vaccine that isn’t based foremost on herd immunity concerns.

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  10. G1 is your daily reminder that most people are only opportunistically against tradition gender roles and stereotypes. They will enforce them with full force when it suits their purpose or ideological outlook and disregard them when it goes against their purpose.

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  11. P2 – OK, I just read the first few paragraphs of this one, and I take back everything I said about wedding loans. They’re the soundest decision in the world compared to what this article talks about. Will said that everything in the article is insane, and somehow that’s an understatement.

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  12. Fo4: When I read stories like this I often wonder what the end game for these types of arguments are. I kind of understand the point they are trying to make but most people aren’t going to put that type of effort into their life and keep all of these things in mind when they eat or wear clothing they think is good looking. What the Social Justice section is just as demanding on most people as the stricter forms of religion. Most people could no more be perfect followers of Social Justice as they could live like the Amish or the Haredim or a Tibetan monk.

    Its also hard to be for more racial integration than currently exists but expect perfect opposition to cultural appropriation. People are not perfect and are going to get sloppy with these things.

    I also wonder if the type of thought process that leads to the conclusions made by Ms. Noche is similar to the thought process that gave us the wilder ideological manifestations of the mid-20th century. It all begins with a perfectly fine and accurate observation but than people take this observation to the natural logical conclusion and your getting the Birchers denouncing nearly everything as a Communist plot or seem really strange Leftist thought on the evil of Mickey Mouse. For all we know the genesis of the Khemer Rogue could have been a rather mundane Marxist observation made by Pol Pot during his student days.

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  13. Fo1: This reeks of methodological errors. If your test of a slab of chicken breast results in something substantially less than 100% chicken, something is not right. This raises a bunch of questions like, how does a DNA test detect fillers that may not contain DNA? DNA seems to break down substantially during cooking, so how did they deal with that? And how do you arrive at a percentage? Is this like those ancestry things were people erroneously say, “I’m 17.64323 Cherokee!” when it’s really a projection of a high-dimensional feature space down to a single vector? It seems like somebody may be courting a lawsuit.

    Fo4: I’m trying to figure out how we’re making the jump between “served with the wrong side dish/on the wrong type of plate” to “racist stereotypes.” It would also be interesting to see how often these ignorant white food personalities accidentally mix, say, German and Austrian or Dutch cultural details when they present their dishes and how much damage it causes. I’m trying to work out the problem with the phrase, “Pho is the new ramen,” but I worry that if I dig too far, I’ll end up at the wikipedia article for cultural appropriation again.

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  14. Food lawsuits: I wonder if the “Starbucks cold drinks have too much ice” lawsuit is fundamentally off the mark. I’m pretty sure that a soft drink with “too much” ice actually costs more than one without ice because making ice is more expensive than making the same volume of soft drink from syrup. I wonder what a Starbucks cold beverage costs per unit volume and how it compares.

    And unless they’re actually advertising that the drink volume is of coffee and not ice, it seems like “too much ice” is like suing over “too much milk” so some other matter of preference. We either have to acknowledge that 12oz is 12oz total with some ice in it or reject the notion that 12oz cups may contain ice, which would be something totally new as far as I’m aware.

    What does the straw displace, and is it properly accounted for? If I put a straw in a drink and it doesn’t overflow a little bit, did I get cheated?

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  15. Re: Food Law Suits.

    Pardon my inner and not so inner plaintiff’s lawyer but the thing but these “har har…did you hear about this case” is that they always seem to have a right-wing and anti-consumer agenda whether intentional or not. A lot of them sound silly on the surface, some might be silly but if people are willing to scratch the surface, there is usually something there that is reasonable.

    There is the McDonald’s hot coffee case but if you spent a few minutes with the record, you will see that the McDonalds in question received numerous complaints about how their coffee was too hot and the plaintiff received third degree burns.

    Everyone likes to talk about receiving miniscule checks from a class action but that is the entire point. You could be one of tens of millions of people to receive a check. The whole point of a class action is that they are brought when individual damages are low (usually) but the damages can are spread around a lot of people which gives the defendant a huge incentive for minor violations and profit. If a bank charged all their clients an illegal fee of 1-3 dollars a month, it would be an easy tidy profit.

    But laziness at looking too deep and some propaganda on the respectability of corporations and the self-important defense bar make it easy to dismiss these things.

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    • Plaintiff advocates often say that if people really knew about the hot coffee case they wouldn’t have a problem with it. That’s not really true. The main reason people shouldn’t be upset about the size of the verdict is that the judge drew it down considerably.

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      • The judge does have the power to reduce a jury’s damages. They also have the power to increase but that is more rare.

        I think the answer to your claim is yes and no. There are always people who are more sympathetic to defendants in civil cases. There are jurisdictions that are known for being plaintiff friendly and those that are known for being defense friendly in civil cases. But I’ve seen people learn about the case in more detail and they develop a more nuanced view than “Damn that stupid woman spilled hot coffee on herself and sued McDs, what a moron……”

        But I do think there is a strange notion that the defense side is more “respectable” and maybe it is because I am an ornery lefty bohemian at heart but I reject the view of corporate respectability even if I think they deserve lawyers too.

        Again, everyone dislikes the plaintiff’s bar and the criminal defense bar until they need it themselves usually.

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        • Some people will agree with the last person to inform them of stuff. When I first heard the pro-plaintiff argument, I bought it. Then I learned more and didn’t buy it anymore. Point being, there may be a positive relationship between knowing more about the plaintiff’s side and being okay with the original verdict, but not necessarily in knowing about the case and agreeing with the verdict.

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    • Hence my observation that the standard class-action lawsuit critique amounts to saying that the critic would rather be ripped off by a corporation than face the possibility of a lawyer making money from penalizing the corporation for ripping him off.

      We could also have an instructive discussion on the economics for lawyers of class action suits. An interesting facet of the triumph of corporate propaganda is that many people hold as an article of faith that it is trivially easy to make huge money from frivolous lawsuits. They then typically hold themselves out as paragons of virtue for not doing this. This belief is most generously characterized as poorly thought out.

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      • One possibility: it might have more to do with how different “hanging out with friends” tends to look for men and for women. Women are more prone to having kids and getting the kids together to be part of the hanging out — men are likely to have a much smaller pool of male friends with kids to choose from. Shopping together or having lunch together (common female activities both while young and as we age) are easier to fit into a busy life and kinder to aging bodies than an evening out drinking, a full day of gaming, or a day of Ultimate Frisbee.

        I’m stretching here — I’m a nerd girl and have spent most of my life with nerd boys, so typical activities are a bit of a mental exercise. But even though I do think that the kinds of things that women tend to do with female friends tend to fit more easily into a busy middle age more easily than the typical kinds of things that male friends tend to do together, I’m certain it’s not that simple.

        I’m going to blame the patriarchy a little for feeling that men aren’t encouraged to have good friends as much as women are, and that’s a damn shame. When you don’t have as many to begin with, and you weren’t encouraged to bond that tightly, or you don’t have a pattern of making friends…as you age, it’s certainly easy for them to dwindle.

        Women in relationships are also more likely to take on the role of organizing social events…so whether from habit or inclination, maybe more likely to reach out and set up a get together with their friends. Whereas maybe middle aged men get used to not doing that and…just don’t.

        I think there’re also social pressures, and maybe that’s what Lee was touching on — women are expected to have a wide circle of friends and it’s very okay for us to hang out, to go out with our girlfriends. It’s rarely seen as threatening to our husband/boyfriend/home relationship — even when the stereotype says that middle aged women are just getting together to bitch about their husbands/boyfriends.

        On the other hand, a night out with the guys can be seen as threatening — the stereotype says it’s going to involve drinking to excess, gambling, looking at/talking about other women. That they’re reliving their pre-marriage days.

        Which is all just dumb. And I’m grasping at straws a bit here, having just as many male friends as female and the men in my life having very strong and numerous friendships. As usual, there are a lot of factors in play and your mileage will vary a lot, I’m guessing, based on your social strata, part of the country, etc. And all of this is very cis-gender/hetero-based.

        But encouraging the men in your life to spend time with friends? Encouraging boys to make friends? Do that.

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        • To me it just seems deeply counterfactual to suggest men give up their hobbies, which is not the same thing as saying they let their social connections wither. I certainly can believe the latter, and there seems a fair amount of social science to back that up, but the existence of the “man cave” and garage “workshop,” and the continuing popularity of sports tickets, expensive video games, expensive golf clubs, expensive (but poorly made) power tools, and so on, indicate strongly against men giving up their hobbies.

          It is certainly a common refrain among women-in-relationships that they are expected to maintain social connection for both themselves and their partners, which is to say, they arrange the parties. They accept the invitations. They push the couple into a social space, whereas the men, if left to their own devices, self-isolate.

          There is much written about this, along with the general finding that married men have better life outcomes than single men, whereas for women there is no major difference.

          There does seem to be a gendered difference here. The question is, why?

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          • Agreed. I’ll admit that I ignored hobbies as it’s the struggle of middle-aged men having and keeping friends that piqued my interest as something that should be addressed in our society.

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  16. From the Twitter sidebar, this is a part of the GOP bill I’ve been paying quite a bit of attention too:

    Make no mistake: the GOP’s plan to promote genetic testing to reduce costs to insurance companies *is* applied eugenics.

    Well, it IS applied eugenics, but the purpose isn’t to reduce costs to insurance companies, seems to me, since they’ll get theirs either way. It’s to reduce costs to the “genetically pure” folks who might otherwise see their own premiums increase to cover the difference.

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    • It’s mostly focused on reducing costs to big companies not just insurance companies. Great for big biz. Is this applied eugenics? Meh. However Steve King might be a better topic for discussion since he is speaking the quiet parts loud. Of course loud is his only setting and white nationalism has always been pretty obvious.

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      • It’s mostly focused on reducing costs to big companies not just insurance companies.

        How does it reduce costs to big companies without it also requiring employees who are at high risk to pay more than they otherwise would in a group pool? That’s the point,, seems to me. People with high risk assessments would pay more in premiums than low risk folks. Freedom!

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        • Well yeah that is what it would do. High risk employees would pay more thus offsetting some of the cost for big business. They are unlikely to be able to get rid of those employees but if they can get more money out of them it will help the bottom line. Now if they could ask for genetic testing before hiring then that would open up a ginormous can of eels. It seems like a classic overreach that can blowback hard on the R’s. Very few Trumpets will really want to be under this thumb and lord know non T voters are going to be thrilled with it.

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          • So, you think genetic testing is no big deal, eh?

            I gotta say, greg, you’ve been consistently surprising me lately in the views you disagree with me about, and the reasons for doing so. :)

            Add: here’s another way to say it: pricing based on genetic testing runs entirely counter the ACA idea that USAmericans should be able to purchase insurance at community rating under guarantee issue. That’s the direction I’d like to see things go in, myself.

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            • When did i say it was no big deal. It is a gigantic sporking deal. It’s terrible idea in every way.

              I think it’s mostly about saving money for big business. I know Trump think he has great genes and is therefore better then us proles and plenty of other conservatives have similar views. Do i think this bill is about improving the gene pool: no. It’s still a terrible; a giant clusterfish. I hope it’s classic over reach that will bite the R’s in their superior butts since it’s unlikely to be popular and will be feared.

              It does indeed run into legal problems with a couple different major laws so the courts will be reviewing this hard. I am completely fine with guaranteed issue and have railed against the problems people pre-exsisting conditions had getting coverage for years. In fact the Wifeinak has a pre-exisisting condition that will always mean we have to be careful with HI and our insurer would love us to leave.

              I’ll add on, my SIL is a genetic counselor and is horrified by this bill. I’d love to hear some conservatives try to defend it.

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              • I think it’s mostly about saving money for big business.

                But by definition it isn’t. Big business is on the hook (voluntarily with some help from the employer subsidy) for whatever the insurance companies charge them for a group plan. Insurance companies are on the hook for whatever their costs + profit expectations requires them to charge for next years’ premiums. The whole point is to get individuals to pick up the slack on a system which incurs high costs: namely, by charging the people who actually need insurance more than those who don’t.

                I dunno, tho. Maybe I’m missing something here. But it seems to me that the can-kicking cost savings terminates with the individual who’s test shows a high likelihood of early onset parkinsons or heart disease or diabetes. They’re the ones “saving” everyone else money by paying more in premium price than they otherwise would without genetic testing.

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                  • I think we’re disagreeing about motivations, hence our talking past each other a bit. Seems to me the motivation of the genetic testing provision is to require individuals with a predisposition for requiring health care to pay more than their “healthy” compatriots.

                    Which is certainly a leverage point in the debate: if you eliminate all those folks who actually use insurance from the rolls it becomes affordable and accessible – damn near universal! – for everyone else. Now, that’s not the bare intention, of course, at least as offered by conservatives. They’re not so heartless. So let’s call it “a compromise” position instead. :)

                    That you’re unlucky in the lottery of life isn’t MY responsibility, after all.

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        • It isn’t just people with high risk genetics who would pay more. This would allow companies to make employees who refuse to submit to a genetic test pay more. So the choice is, compromise my own privacy and pay less for health insurance, or allow my employer to see all sorts of stuff that is covered by HIPPA laws and pay less. It is ridiculous.

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    • This is interesting. However thinking it could end in war suggests they don’t know the geography of Europe among many other things. Some more harsh name calling seems most likely.

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      • Yes, exactly. The only way it could get “interesting” is if the Turkish government were to call for action by Turkish residents (foreign nationals and citizens alike) and a substantial majority took up said actions. I have no idea the likelihood of the Turks doing any of that; I’d presume it is low and/or the action would be a low grade letter writing protest (let’s say) with low participation. If it escalates from there, it would have to escalate to Germany, France and BeneLux… but then we’re talking Bonfire of the Banlieus on a multi-national scale with Turkey as agent provocateur. I’m not seeing it; but I bet Merkel will feel the bite; we already know Le Pen will take second place in France and that all the other factions will unite to defeat her… right?

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