Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Happy Hour Thread

Get happy

Perfectly Aligned Incentives

What could go wrong.

Hospitals are increasingly offering “patient-financing” strategies, cooperating with banks and other financial institutions to provide on-the-spot loans to make sure patients pay their bills.

The Greatest Obstacle To Participation In Public Debate

I get why conservatives want to say "lefty college students" though I don't actually get why centrist-types who claim to be liberals do, other than "that hot hippie chick who sold Socialist Worker papers when I was at Ann Arbor laughed at my small penis."

Most people don't have the luxury of being able to "say what they want" without facing potential lifelong financial ruin, and I don't mean because of libel/defamation suits. I mean because most of us exist in a precarious at will employment existence. A few "idiotic"* college students yelling at Charles Murray, who will be paid quite nicely no matter what, don't qualify as anything worth remarking on.

As with the "pundit defense force" generally, which battles people choose says a lot about them. Even elite college students mostly have no power, and often the "idiots" doing these things are members of marginalized groups who have good reason to object to racists and homophobes and misogynists, who already get paid to write things for our elite publications, getting a stage and a microphone in their communities. The heckler's veto is still speech, and it's unclear why it's more offensive speech than "paying a racist a bunch of money out of your tuition fees." The man with the microphone has already been granted a disproportionate voice and you have to yell to be heard above the sound system. There is no "debate among equals" in these situations.

*I don't necessarily agree that they are "idiotic" (depends!) but I don't feel like arguing specific cases here. Just making the point that what a few college students at a few elite campuses do does not matter one bit unless you imagine you are one of those people who will be paid money to go talk at college students and might, also, too, be yelled at.

Nothing Is More Important Than The Lifetime Income Streams Of Elite Tenured Columnists

And let's face it, it's a pretty good gig. If you've got a highly paid gig spewing crap about stuff you know little about, while other elites kiss your ass and consider you a part of the club, you're going to want to keep it and have it be as cushy and lucrative as possible AND you're to get a bit annoyed when people, often people who know a lot more than you, point out that you have an undeserved gig spouting nonsense about stuff you know little about.

Blogging isn't much different, except for the lack of respect and lack of riches and, hopefully in my case at least, the understanding that I am not a member of a tiny club of truly elite people who are uniquely qualified to opine in public without fear of criticism. When political blogging became a thing a long time ago, there were two basic reactions: 1) Why are these people qualified to opine on things? 2) It isn't fair that they don't have editors and producers I can complain to so I can try to get them fired.

As for 1), well, I never had any idea what the expertise of most of the people who opine about everything for money was. Once upon a time it was a kind of golden watch at the end of a journalism career, but then after complaints from conservatives about the "liberal media" all of these idiot conservatives with no qualifications except usually nepotism were being pushed onto the opinion pages. And of course no one knows where cable news street meat really comes from.

And 2), well, yes, it's hard to get me fired. It's also hard to get David Brooks fired, so I guess we're even, except for the salary differential.

The clubby "columnist defense force" is always pretty funny, especially as it comes from the same people who are screaming about snowflake college students and their safe spaces. The price of being a rich public figure is now that people are mean to you on the internet in ways you can mostly easily ignore. Boo fucking hoo.

People tend to circle the wagons around their own kind. This is normal. It's also illuminating because it shows who people like Chait actually think "their people" are.

Everything I Needed To Know About Politics I Learned At The Applebees Salad Bar

Not gonna click BoBo's latest, but it's that trifecta of Red America whisperer, liberals are doing it wrong, and even when liberals are right they're mean and, actually, they're wrong.

Why should anyone pay for this? Don't.

So What You're Saying Is That It Will, Then


David Davis will tell business leaders in Austria that fears the Conservatives will plunge Britain into a “Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction” after leaving the EU are unfounded.

The Brexit secretary will claim that Theresa May’s government wants to oversee a race to the top in global standards, listing workers’ rights, City regulation, animal welfare and the environment as areas for potential improvement.

Regarding the 2nd paragraph he means those things will all be worse.

Morning Thread

Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday Night

They're easier when they are holidays.

New Map

"Looks" sensible and still favors Rs, but it'll still be portrayed as dirty dealing by Dems somehow.

"Commonsense Solutions"

Really one of my numerous pet peeve phrases. What should we do? Enact commonsense solutions! What are they? Well the commonsense ones! What are they? The ones I support! Because everything I support is common sense, of course, not like things those clowns to the left and those jokers to the right support! Incremental! Cautious! Commonsense!

Faux-centrism will destroy us all.

Meet George Jetson

I've long laughed at "concept cars" at car shows - even before my self-driving car obsession - because they get a lot of press for no good reason. They're usually the present's idea of what "the future" looks like and of course nothing actually futuristic works yet. Double with the self-driving cars. This one is fascinating. If a car is self-driving...then the driver will be able to do other things! Cool, bro.

But, of course, the “driver” of the I.D. Vizzion will be freed from the need to pay attention to the road, and so the importance of the performance specs is debatable. Instead, the driver will be able to join the passengers in enjoying the ride. They’ll be able to interact with the car’s “virtual host,” which can be done either by voice or gesture control. VW says this digital assistant will know “the personal preferences of the vehicle guests” — that’s my favorite new way to refer to passengers; can’t wait to use it myself someday — in a way that allows it to adapt the car’s “digital ecosystem” to each of them.

Shotgun, Rifle, Handgun, "Assault Weapon"

I put the last in quotes because if you talk to gun nuts there's no such thing as an "assault" weapon and debating the distinctions between not, semi-, and fully automatic is like trying to determine how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but aside from that, how many guns do people need? There are some people who really do hunt and some people, like farmers, in rural areas who probably have legitimate gun needs, but most gun nuts are just suburban and exurban yahoos who at best like to trek out into the woods and unsafely blow the shit out of things and at worst have vigilante fantasies about slaughtering the dark hordes who are coming to take their women. But even these people...how many damn guns do they need?

At some level it doesn't much matter what they like to spend their money on. Not much difference between 4 and 40 guns ultimately. But if you have 40 guns, I worry a bit about you.

Monday, Monday

Might see that movie all the kids are talking about.


Sunday, February 18, 2018


Such fun.

A former top aide to Donald Trump's presidential campaign will plead guilty to fraud-related charges within days – and has made clear to prosecutors that he would testify against Paul J. Manafort Jr., the lawyer-lobbyist who once managed the campaign.

Everything's Great

OK that's in the Sunday Review not the daily opinion section, which have different editors, but..

Lunch Thread

Get lunchin'

No You're The Mark

I recommend this twitter thread from Goldy (click through for the rest.)

Along with this in the New Yorker.

The power of news illiteracy. At the heart of the Russian fraud is an essential, embarrassing insight into American life: large numbers of Americans are ill-equipped to assess the credibility of the things they read. The willingness to believe purported news stories, often riddled with typos or coming from unfamiliar outlets, is a liability of today’s fragmented media and polarized politics. Even the trolls themselves were surprised at what Americans would believe. According to the indictment, in September, 2017, once U.S. authorities had begun to crack down on the fraud, one of the defendants, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, e-mailed a family member, saying, “We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity (not a joke). So, I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues.” She went on, “I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed that it was written by their people.”

And a lot of them have highly paid positions in major media outlets, are members of Congress, or are even president of the United States! Some are even editors of the New Yorker who published the funniest post-9/11 thing I ever read by the guy who now edits The Atlantic!

All this "facebook is sapping our vital essences" and "fake news" stuff ignores the fact that the real fake news is often the "real" news, not some bullshit websites linked to on facebook. The New York Times partnered with Steve Bannon's crew during the election season (I do keep telling you to delete your subscriptions)! I don't mean fake news in the Trump sense of "news I don't like" or even understandable mistakes. I mean the designed to manipulate you bullshit, either directly by the "journalists" themselves or their editors, or because the journalists themselves are also easily manipulable (they know manipulation is part of the game, yet somehow they are impervious!).

To some degree, if "the Russians" were that successful at election manipulation, it just means that our professionals aren't good enough at it. They're doing the same job.

Sunday Funday

Lazy blogging day.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Late Night

Rock on.


They're going to get somebody killed pulling this shit (which they do all the time).

Afternoon Thread