Open Thread and Link Farm: New Snow Edition

Post what you want, when you want, about what you want, and self-link if you want. Indulge yourself until you make yourself sick or I’ll have you thrown off the island!

If you can watch this video of adults seeing snow for the first time in their lives without cracking a grin, then you need to relax more, or perhaps you’ve just this moment been told that your dog has died.

  1. Waking Up Now’s ongoing series of posts responding to Robert George’s anti-SSM “What Is Marriage?” is the best thing I’ve read all year. I hope he keeps the series going.
  2. Hundreds Worldwide Order Pizza for Wisconsin Capitol Protesters
  3. The Comic Book of the Month Podcast spends an entire hour discussing Hereville! And yeah, dude, it’s fine to call me “Barry.” :-p
  4. Wisconsin state workers are not overpaid, and the state budget crisis is caused by the economic collapse, not by greedy workers.
  5. Full Blood, Verifiable Native American: A Weird Experience at Trivia Night
  6. 401(k) plans are a crashing failure for everyone but the rich.
  7. America’s Food Sweatshops and the Workers of Color Who Feed Us
  8. I feel obliged to speak up for a scorned and ignored group in American politics, those of us — and, yes, I’m certainly one of them — who don’t believe, as a matter of policy, that the budget of the United States of America should be balanced at all times. Or over time. Or in the long run.”
  9. Hello, I Am Fat: A really terrific pro-fat post responding to Dan Savage.
  10. QUOTE: “I have done that,” says my memory. “I cannot have done that” — says my pride, and remains adamant. At last — memory yields. -Nietzsche (via)
  11. THE CONSERVATIVE DILEMMA: “Obviously it’s impossible to meet all four of those commitments. It would be difficult enough to combine #4 with even two of the first three. Much of the struggle within the conservative world can be understood as a quiet debate over which of those commitments to jettison.”
  12. Weight Science: Evaluating the Evidence for a Paradigm Shift
  13. The Philosophers’ Magazine | Is Dumbledore gay? Or, does the author have authority after the final book has been published?
  14. Factchecking NOM’s tweets
  15. The world’s first anti-android marriage activist speaks out at a Maryland debate
  16. A dad watches the Dead Island game trailer.
  17. It’s pretty galling how little those charged with [educational] reform care about the input of actual educators.”
  18. Dialogue with an Anti-Fat Troll (A play in one act)
  19. A (Shockingly) Short History Of ‘Hello’
  20. House Republican Spending Cuts Target Programs For Children And Pregnant Women
  21. While some states are rejecting Arizona-style immigration laws, Arizona considers a law checking the immigration status of patients at hospitals. Such a law would without a doubt give dreadfully sick undocumented immigrants an incentive to avoid getting treated, and inevitably there would be some unnecessary deaths.
  22. A Tea Party Without Any Sandwiches for YOU. Or Cutting The Bloated Government
  23. Radley Balko sums up this study of police dogs: “Here’s another study showing problems with the use of police dogs. My favorite bit is how the tests designed to fool the handlers were twice as likely to produce false alerts as the tests designed to fool the dogs.”
  24. I feel like there is often an eagerness in FA to accept the false equivalency that a fat person saying something like “Skinny people are evil” is the same thing as the stigmatization that fat people experience.”
  25. Hisaye Yamamoto, and Japanese Internment During WWII
  26. Just how much does the right loathe and demonize public sector workers? I think this cover says it all:

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10 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm: New Snow Edition

  1. 1
    Robert says:

    @11 is easy enough. Cut defense, cut medicare, keep taxes flat, get the budget balanced.

  2. 2
    Sage says:

    I’m trying to convince a class of high school kids that it’s somehow a good idea to take responsibility for ourselves. It’s trickier than I thought. Help me out here.

  3. 3
    Jake Squid says:

    @6 leaves me feeling ambivalent. I don’t think that it’s the structure of 401(k) plans vs traditional pensions that is the problem described by the article. The problem is lack of education about financial planning and investments.

    The people quoted in the article are overwhelmingly middle class and above. The shortfall of their retirement funds don’t seem to have been caused by the structure of 401(k) plans.

    Mr. Rutschmann provides no details of why his retirement funds will run out at 85. There is more info we would need to have to know why this is so. The obvious questions are:
    How much has he been putting into his 401(k) and for how long?
    How did he allocate his investments and how did that change during and after the crashes of 2001 & 2008?
    How old does he expect to live to be?

    So there isn’t enough in that example.

    Dr. Moss, otoh, made investment mistakes due to lack of financial education. Moving her depleted funds from stocks to bonds during the 2 crashes of the oughts must have been devastating to her retirement funds. One also questions why she was the one repaying her children’s college loans. She had no financial education and, as a result, was unable to manage her 401(k) successfully.

    Mr. Mastej’s retirement plan was hurt by a combination of the loss of his job and his priorities after losing that job. The most important thing to him was to pay his mortgage. When faced with a choice between his home and his retirement he chose his home. If he had had a pension plan instead of a 401(k) plan he would have lost his home and his pension would have been less than he had been planning on. Which is worse? I would imagine that the pension scenario would have been worse for Mr. Mastej given what we know of his priorities.

    Carol Dailey’s problems, from the information that we’re given, have nothing to do with her 401(k). Her problem stems from the practice of compensating employees with stock options in the corporation for which they work. She was relying on the stock options rather than her 401(k) for retirement. That’s great if you cash out while the company’s stock is high, but it sucks if you wait even a minute too long. Enron employees, for example, were wiped out. I would guess that, like most of us, nobody ever taught her about that.

    Bob & Patti Webster are another example of lack of financial education. If they were planning to retire in 2008, their 401(k) assets should have been allocated so that they were not vulnerable to great losses if the stock market dropped.

    Perhaps the solution is to require companies (or the company managing the company’s 401(k)) to provide financial and investment education. Perhaps financial and investment education from grades 6 through 12 should be required.

    Whatever the solution, I think that it’s clear that the problem with 401(k) plans is not with the plans themselves but rather with the lack of financial planning education that we receive. It’s frightening how little people are taught about financial planning and investing. That’s great for the financial management companies and for the stock brokerages, that’s not so good for the population in general.

  4. 4
    gin-and-whiskey says:


    “It’s pretty galling how little those charged with reform care about the input of actual educators. This is because:
    * Reformers tend to think that only authoritarian, top-down leadership can ‘shake things up’. Knock enough skulls together and you get results. This is the shock and awe version of education reform. It’s also highly undemocratic.
    * Reformers tend to ignore the input of teachers, administrators, and parents. They find sympathetic voices in academia and in charitable foundations to bulwark their reforms in the intellectual sphere.
    * Reformers tend to blame teachers, principals, and others members of the ‘status quo’ for the problems with education. Most education reforms in the past decade and a half have been aimed at breaking up teachers’ unions.
    * Reformers do not pay much attention to the substance of education so much as they pay attention to the procedural side of things. Rather than focus on curriculum, reformers focus on uniformity in pedagogy and strictly regimented ideas on how to teach (specifically to tests).
    * Reformers focus only on testable subjects, primarily math and reading, because accountability has become the golden goose of education reform.”

    Actually, no.

    It’s because most teachers–by which I mean people whose individual focus is providing education, not designing it–really have very little knowledge and training in the means of evaluating education.

    Don’t get me wrong; teachers aren’t stupid. My mom and grandmother and other family members were/are teachers, and damn good ones. But being good at teaching is an individual skill (a hard one) which is, if done right, intimately linked to the specific personalities and situation of the teacher and students involved. It’s sort of the ultimate anecdotal situation, and it’s very distinct from forming good educational policy.

  5. 5
    Robert says:

    I agree with Jake @ 6. Alert the media. Prepare for armageddon.

  6. 6
    Jake Squid says:

    @5 And now I must rethink my initial position. Great.

  7. 7
    Robert says:

    That’s how I get you, Jake. Soon you’ll be questioning everything.

  8. 8
    Jake Squid says:

    Crap. Now I have to reevaluate my reevaluation. You bastard!

  9. 9
    Penny says:

    I have uncovered an astonishing fact about Obama’s birth(or, according to some of my friends, whether I should work for the Onion).

  10. 10
    Redfox says:

    I, for one, welcome our new public servant overlords!