Saturday, January 31, 2015

Easy Peasy

I do not think they thought this part through very well...

...adding, a lot of not affluent people, whose annual interaction with the IRS was mostly a nuisance, are going to be entangled with them forever at a time when staffing has been cut and it's impossible to get through to a person on the phone. This is really a problem.

Afternoon Thread

It isn't hot outside.

Those Tracks Are A Mess

Only a matter of time before there's a serious hazmat incident...

The Quiet American

I don't remember if it was a sudden realization or a slow burn coming to be aware that the phone call was coming from inside the house, but to me the amazing thing about The Quiet American when I first read it is that it was first published in 1955.

Worth a read.

Don't think the (relatively recent) movie was superb, but it wasn't bad.

What Was It All About Then

I always feel bad about making Benghazi jokes because people did die, but years later I still have no idea what conservatives think the "scandal" is.

Wakey, Wakey

UNE has a different take on the children of MLK trying to control his estate. The discussion in comments is worth reading as well.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday, Friday

Gotta get down on...

They'll Mess You Up

Despite being born in Australia, and having my favorite childhood toy being my stuffed toy platypus, it wasn't until recently I knew that those little bastards shoot venom from their hind limbs which will mess you up.

That Was Fast

Kinda wow.
Outgoing Pennsylvania state treasurer Rob McCord will plead guilty to charges stemming from alleged campaign finance violations, his attorneys said in a statement Friday.

He also released a video admitting guilt. Kinda weird.

The Way We Were

You know, Jim, your Scotch-Irish identity politics is just as much identity politics as any other. Figure that out, and you might be onto something...

Yes We Can

I was listening to my 10 daily minutes of NPR (otherwise known as "shower radio time") and there was a science friday show about the vaccination issue. Whoever they had on the program (a researcher of some sort) made an offhand remark about how while people trust their Pediatricians on this issue, we [roughly] "can't send them door to door." It was just a throwaway remark without much context, so I'm not knocking the guy, but, you know, we could send Pediatricians (or nurses) door to door if we wanted to! If ever there is, say, a measles epidemic, I'm pretty sure we will (or at least certainly should!) send them door to door. Because, you know, public health.

Afternoon Thread

The afternooning begins.


Go Helen!

God Does Not Love Atrios

Mittens isn't running after all. :( :( :( :(

Called Out


God knows there's a lot of moronic discourse on the internet and it's important to try to sort out trolls from serious critics. And nobody says that you are required to absorb whatever abuse any crank decides to lay on you. My wrecked comment section stays dormant because useful arguments have shifted to twitter and I don't need to spend my days trying to deal with the odd assortment of misogynists and malcontents who took up residence there and chased off all the normal people. But so-called "PC Police" are among those critics who are actually making a difference, even if it is uncomfortable and frustrating to be on the receiving end. My own response to being "called out" is often anger at first just like Chait. It's very hurtful and I'm human. But I've learned that when I feel that very particular kind of anger that comes from being attacked for my privilege, it is often a useful signal that I probably need to step back think a little harder about something.

I know the feeling. I'm a good liberal! I'm a feminist! Most of my friends are gay! Why are you criticizing meeeeeeee??? But I don't know everything about the experience of others, and when your supposed allies sorta suck, too, the impulse to call them out is understandable

One flaw about the quickness of social media is that sometimes there's too much of a pressure to RESPOND RIGHT NOW TO THAT THING YOU DID WRONG. Sometimes maybe it's hard to respond because you put the computer down for a few minutes, the extreme example being Justine Sacco. Sometimes it takes time to respond because the criticisms are coming from all over the place, and not all of them are even close to being germane. A game of telephone gets played with this stuff, such that legitimate criticisms of things you said evolve into stupid commentary on things you didn't say.

It takes time to come to genuinely understand something that you are being lambasted for not having understood five minutes ago. Silence can anger people, but stepping back and thinking is often the right thing to do. It's hard to respond honestly and thoughtfully and, when appropriate, with contrition, if you don't understand what you're responding to.

But, you know, so what? My fee fees don't matter much. I'm privileged enough that I'm required to have a thick skin, and the vast majority of people who might take to the internet to criticize me will be punching up, not down, even if I don't quite have the prominence of, say, Jonah Goldberg. When people in more marginalized groups speak, I try to listen, even if it takes some time to really hear. That doesn't mean I'm always obligated to agree, but I shouldn't tune it out either.

Stupid Trademark Tricks

This is just a dumb interpretation of what trademark law is supposed to be (of course like all IP law, it just gets worse and worse in practice). It isn't supposed to give its owners monopoly use of the term, just prevent other businesses from confusing customers. No one thinks the bar around the corner is having the actual Super Bowl, they're just putting the game on the damn TVs. If I rented out a nearby high school field, started advertising "PHOENIX AREA SUPER BOWL," and pitted a couple of high school teams togther then the NFL would have reasonable (if still stupid) cause to complain.

In other words, McDonald's hardware store should be fine, my opening a non-franchise "McDonald's" hamburger joint would not be fine, and McDowell's and his Golden Arcs are probably going to have some problems.

Morning Thread

A few quick hits from Echidne. If the obit hadn't mentioned that Colleen McCullough was heavy I wouldn't have known, and frankly, I don't need to know.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Late Night

Rock on.