Open Thread and Link Farm, Pie In A Mirror Edition


  1. The case for having the federal government guarantee a job for every9oe who wants one – Democracy Journal
    I’m worried about unintentional effects if this were to happen, but I’m also intrigued by the idea.
  2. One of the “Death Panels” Republicans talk about.
    End-of-life counseling is a good thing.
  3. What’s in a name? More than we can imagine – Media Diversified
    “The truth is, I only became Millie less than a year ago. Before that, I had a Sikh Punjabi first name.”
  4. The Conservative Christian Boycott of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Is the Height of Hypocrisy
  5. In Trump’s ‘Maternity Leave’ Plan, The Devil — and the Stereotypes — Are In the Details | American Civil Liberties Union
    Unmarried women are excluded. So are fathers.
  6. Supreme Court Won’t Hear Case, But Justice Thomas Questions Constitutionality Of Asset Forfeiture
    One of those rare cases when I’m rooting for Justice Thomas to prevail.
  7. House GOP would let employers demand workers’ genetic test results
  8. After decades in America, the newly deported return to a Mexico they barely recognize – The Washington Post
  9. Trump’s Childcare Plan Will Only Help the Rich | The Nation
  10. The boycott against Beauty and the Beast is about much more than the movie – Vox
    In terms of the business the movie will do, or the audience’s access, it’s meaningless. But it is a chance for one or both sides to make a public display of their principles.
  11. Former Colorado GOP chairman Steven Curtis charged with voter fraud – 7NEWS Denver
    Last year, he said this: “It seems to be, and correct me if I’m wrong here, but virtually every case of voter fraud I can remember in my lifetime was committed by Democrats.” Incidentally, Curtis’ alleged voter fraud was committed with an absentee ballot (he’s accused of forging his wife’s ballot), so voter ID laws would do nothing in a case like this.
  12. The prison business is booming in rural America and there’s no end – Business Insider
  13. Payment Processors are Still Policing Your Sex Life, and the Latest Victim is FetLife | Electronic Frontier Foundation
  14. The new hysteria over campus speech – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money
  15. Charles Murray and the Problem With ‘Hiring Out’ to Understand the White Working Class – The Atlantic
  16. Marriage Equality = Fewer Adolescents Killing Themselves. Some Implications: | And Taking It Personally
  17. The FDA Has Revolutionized Drug Approvals Over the Past Decade | Mother Jones
    Approval wait times for new drugs may now be as low as we could reasonably want them to be.
  18. It’s Not Just Uber | Jacobin
    Sexism is not a solved problem.
  19. Dartmouth researchers find no evidence of bused-in voters
    Yet another lie about large-scale voting fraud that will be leveraged to justify voter suppression. Wheeee!
  20. Report: Trump transition ordered government economists to cook up rosy growth forecasts – Vox
  21. Seven Troubling Questions About Transgender Theories, Answered | Thing of Things
    Ozy answers some evangelical right concern-trolling.
  22. A Conservative Wisconsin Legislator Models Political Correctness – The Atlantic
    Conor’s framing creates a false equivalence; legislators acting this way are a far greater threat to free speech than campus protesters are. But I guess we should be grateful that he was actually willing to criticize a threat to free speech from the right.
  23. The Debate Link: Personal Responsibility and the Infantilization of the American Right
    This is an older post, but it’s spot-on, and Trump’s ridiculous claim that the Democrats are to blame for the AHCA’s Hindenburg moment has brought it to my mind again.
  24. Paper Cutouts by ‘Paperboyo’ Transform World Landmarks into Quirky Scenes | Colossal


This entry posted in Link farms. Bookmark the permalink. 

24 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Pie In A Mirror Edition

  1. 1
    Sebastian H says:

    The asset forfeiture practice just makes me crazy. The author of the story is right–when you describe the practice to people who don’t know about it they are certain you must be lying or exaggerating about it. “That can’t be right in the US”.
    It is another area where grassroots right and left agree but almost nothing gets done.

  2. 2
    Harlequin says:

    Wow, I did not expect where the “what’s in a name” essay went–though perhaps I should have. Thanks for that, and all links, as usual!

  3. 3
    nobody.really says:

    NYT reports on growing diversity in comics’ protagonists–and authors.

  4. 4
    nobody.really says:

    News flash: In America, minorities have higher mortality rates than whites.

    Ok, that’s not new. But a pair of Princeton researchers are updating their report of rising morbidity and mortality among middle-aged non-Hispanic whites—especially among people without college educations—due to suicide, drug abuse, chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, etc. Apparently this is a long-term trend, but its effects were masked by improvements in health outcomes for heart disease, etc. This trend is unique to the US; other developed nations do not show this trend.

    The report is alarming. But is it accurate? The answer is—it’s complicated.

    Clearly morbidity among white (non-Hispanic) women 45-54 is rising in the South and Midwest.

    But what about morbidity among those without college educations? This is complicated by the fact that the size of the group of people without college educations has changed over time. In 2000, 25% of people 25+ yrs old had college degrees; today it’s 33%-ish. So when we compare morbidity rates among people without college degrees between 2000 and 2017, we’re comparing different groups of people.

    If we assume that richer people have lower morbidity rates, AND that richer people tend to have more education, then what the data may show is that roughly 8% of people who used to be averaged into the demographic that had no college degree are now averaged into the demographic that DOES have a college degree—and that this 8% was selected from among the most affluent, and most healthy, among the non-college educated group. Thus, even if there had been NO change in morbidity rates over time, the data would show that the AVERAGE morbidity rate would rise for people without college educations because we’re now calculating that average over a smaller (and likely poorer) segment of the population.

    Slate publishes graphs of morbidity trends among white non-Hispanics BY STATE. It’s fascinating. Yeah, I can guess the direction things are headed in Louisiana—but in Hawaii? Whoda thunk?

  5. 5
    nobody.really says:

    Yet another cartoon superhero: Perfect Cancer Patient!

  6. 6
    nobody.really says:

    Freedom Caucus member Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.):

    I went to Iowa twice and came back with [Ron Paul]. I was with him at every event for the last three days in Iowa…. From what I observed, not just in Iowa but also in Kentucky, up close with individuals, was that the people that voted for me in Kentucky, and the people who had voted for Rand Paul in Iowa several years before, were now voting for Trump. In fact, the people that voted for Rand in a primary in Kentucky were preferring Trump.

    All this time, I thought they were voting for libertarian Republicans. But after some soul searching I realized when they voted for Rand and Ron and me in these primaries, they weren’t voting for libertarian ideas — they were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race. And Donald Trump won best in class, as we had up until he came along.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    … they were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race. And Donald Trump won best in class, ….

    As I have said elsewhere, on the morning of Nov. 8th 2016 the world saw us as the United States of Predictability. On the morning of Nov. 9th 2016 the world saw us as the United States of Hold My Beer and Watch This.

  8. 8
    nobody.really says:

    Another news flash: Man to Tell Woman What to Do.

    But in this case the woman is Batgirl. And the man is Joss Whedon.

  9. 9
    desipis says:

    Eye witness to a Title IX Witch Trial

    I found this bit interesting:

    Six months later, in April 2016, Ludlow reached what he called a “settlement” with Eunice Cho in the still pending back-and-forth lawsuits. Cho dropped her gender-violence suit against him. Ludlow dropped his defamation suit against her, and he paid her, as he put it to me on the phone, “zero dollars.”

    Along with a statement on the settlement, Ludlow released the letter Cho had sent to the faculty panel in the dismissal hearing explaining why she had declined to participate. It was an exceedingly odd letter. After reflection, Cho wrote, she’d decided that she didn’t trust Northwestern’s “ends, means, or motives,” and that the university did “not now have my support in its effort to terminate Professor Ludlow.” The “contentious litigation” between herself and Ludlow had become “a significant fire that has grown to engulf everyone and everything with any connection to the people or events involved.”

    Also, she’d had an epiphany: Northwestern hadn’t operated or conducted itself in good faith, and its “inner machinations” had been driven by a singular motive: protection and preservation of the institution at all costs. She herself needed to re-examine “this long road in which Northwestern somehow had input into my decision-making,” adding that Northwestern had “opted to play both ends against the middle, and so it will now find itself alone.” She asked the faculty panel to consider a “peaceful, restorative, universal resolution.”

  10. 11
    RonF says:

    Colin Kaepernick is back in the news because some media folks are floating the idea that he’s being blackballed. As it happens, I just now had to read my company’s ethics and code of conduct rules and certify that I had read them. The following section brought our debate on his rights to do what he did where he did them to mind:

    The Company encourages everyone as individuals to participate in the political process, but in so doing, associates may not give the impression that they speak or act on behalf of the Company. Never use Company resources – such as work time, email, phone systems, or personnel – to engage in personal political activities, and associates may not make political contributions in an attempt to influence the award of business or in violation of applicable law.

    If the NFL has such a policy, then he broke it. I wonder how many of you have something like this in your company policies?

  11. 12
    Harlequin says:

    RonF, I have worked under such a rule before. At least in my case, all our examples were about electoral politics–pertaining to the election of specific candidates and/or ballot issues–rather than than the broader “any social issue that touches on politics.” (And the time somebody got in trouble for breaking the rule, it was electoral politics, too.) I don’t know how courts would interpret such a rule, and I lack the requisite knowledge to find out in a quick Google search.

    I’d say, given the commentary surrounding it, it’s also doubtful that you could make a claim anybody thought Kaepernick was speaking for the NFL. Use of company time and resources could still be under question.

    In any case, something may be contractually allowed while still being the wrong thing to do.

  12. 13
    RonF says:

    I agree that no one would think he was speaking on behalf of the league. But he did use company time. I agree that the question of “personal political activities” vs. electoral politics is a question that would probably end up being interpreted by a court should the NFL a) have such a policy and b) decide to apply it to Kaepernick.

  13. 14
    Chris says:

    Should choosing to sit during the national anthem really be considered a misuse of company time, rather than protected speech?

  14. 15
    Ampersand says:

    This is also a more complex issue because the company isn’t asking him to do nothing. They’re asking him to make a political statement by standing up for the national anthem. The statement Kaepernick is saying consists of him refusing to make the political statement his employers want him to.

    I don’t know how this would play out in court. But I certainly hope the courts would find that employers don’t have the right to demand that employees join in company political statements. (With exceptions for jobs where making such statements is germane, like being the President’s press spokesperson.)

  15. 16
    Harlequin says:

    But I certainly hope the courts would find that employers don’t have the right to demand that employees join in company political statements.

    I don’t know enough to vouch for its accuracy, but I did find this article on employers and how much they’re allowed to force political activities on their employees when I was looking for sources for my previous comment, and it turns out it may not be as obvious as you think, Amp.

  16. 17
    Ampersand says:

    Well, that was an interesting and depressing article. Thanks, Harlequin.

  17. 18
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    An Ohio coal-mining firm invited Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for a rally at its plant. The firm’s management [allegedly] told miners that they would be required to attend the rally, and that they would not be paid for their participation. [However, the management disputes that description.]

    This is the most egregious one in the list IMO and seems like a real problem to me. Note, however, that there is not agreement on facts, and the above statement (as edited by me) more accurately reflects the dispute; here’s other info.

    Not only was the compulsion investigated, but it was flatly denied by management, which suggests it is NOT viewed as acceptable. You can’t stop people wanting to do bad things occasionally, but if you investigate and threaten punishment, then they don’t get normalized.

    Executives at Cintas, a provider of uniforms and other workplace supplies, and Georgia-Pacific, a major paper-product manufacturer, sent letters to their respective workforces expressing clear partisan stances during the 2012 election.

    Not sure what the problem is, here. If you think it’s an issue can you explain why? People get lobbied all the time; they can still vote for who they want.

    Executives at Georgia-Pacific, which is owned by Charles and David Koch, distributed a flyer and a letter indicating which candidates the firm endorsed in races ranging from the presidency to state government. The letters warned that workers might “suffer the consequences” if the company’s favored candidates were not elected.

    Not sure what the problem is here either. Voting is secret. Management can lobby all they want, and they can inform employees of their views on the effect of pending legislation. Why not?

    A renewable energy company whose executives I interviewed reported that it encouraged its workers to contact their members of Congress in an effort to renew a federal tax credit for wind energy, warning its workers of the decline in sales of their products if the credit were to expire.

    This involves non-secret stuff so could be more squicky, and raises more concerns. That said it seems fine absent some sort of evidence that they were monitoring who did/didn’t reach out politically.

    In the wake of a number of highly publicized episodes of racial violence, Starbucks executives launched a campaign for their baristas to start conversations with their patrons about race relations in America. Baristas would write the words “Race Together” on customers’ coffee cups. Staff were also encouraged to visit a company website with essays and videos about race relations. In an earlier 2013 effort, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz encouraged the store’s patrons to sign a petition to end a government shutdown, and baristas wrote the words “Come Together” on coffee cups

    This is the other bad one. I’m not a fan. That said there’s a reasonable argument that this relatively generic platitude (as opposed to directly supporting a particular political candidate) should be fine to require, especially in those employees who have direct personal interactions with customers.

    As for it being a “depressing” article overall: We have ~200,000 businesses in the US with over 100 employees. These folks obviously looked over multiple years and they’re obviously doing their best to focus selectively on finding bad apples. If this is the worst they can find, the problem doesn’t seem so bad.

  18. 19
    nobody.really says:

    New topic: bed.

    Are Sleep Number beds worth it? Do people actually use those adjustment-thingies? Do you really raise your knees? Does it really get your spouse to stop snoring? Do they break? Is there a pit/crease where the two mattresses meet? Are there better options? Any favorite authorities on this question?

    They’re a big investment. But I expect to spend a third of my life in bed–more if I’m lucky. Or unlucky. So it’s worth considering.

  19. 20
    David Simon says:

    I am unexpectedly in a position to talk about a thing!

    I’ve had a queen size Sleep Number bed for about 15 years now, through about 6 or 7 different homes. It’s possible that newer models are different than mine, so grain of salt and all that.

    But overall, it’s been really nice. This one is more comfortable than most regular mattresses I’ve slept on, where I can usually feel the springs. On the other hand, sleep number mattresses come with a foam topper, which I have not tried on regular mattresses, so it might not be a fair comparison.

    I don’t use the remote ever except when re-inflating the mattress (e.g. after a move). My spouse and I both just like the medium setting best. Maybe other couples might get more use out of this feature, I dunno.

    I have no idea what you’re talking about with raising knees. Is that in their newer ads or something like that?

    I also don’t know about any effects on snoring. That’s luckily not a problem either my spouse or I have had.

    Both of the air bags in my bed have been replaced once apiece due to slow leaks. The warranty covers a percentage of part costs based on how long since purchase. Both leaks happened at around 10 years out, where 50% is covered, and I ended up paying $100 per replacement, which is not so bad. Also their warranty website is titled “Rest Assured”, and I have to give props to a good (bad) pun.

    There’s not a noticeable gap between the air bags because the bags are placed inside a foam structure that presses them tightly in, and also the whole thing is covered by another sheet of foam.

    It’s nice that it’s comfortable, but my favorite thing about the mattress is how easy it is to move to a new place. Deflate it and take it apart and it’ll fit into a car’s backseat. I’ve cut the two longer foam bars in half to compress it even further.

    They are kind of expensive though. I wouldn’t be surprised if strong competitors have emerged since I got mine.

  20. 21
    nobody.really says:


  21. 22
    Ruchama says:

    I only used a Sleep Number bed once, in a hotel, and I found it incredibly uncomfortable. I think it might have been broken, though — I kept setting the number, and then when I looked at the remote half an hour later, the number had decreased by 10 or 20.

  22. 23
    David Simon says:

    Ruchama, yep, that’s a leak. :-)

  23. 24
    Ampersand says:

    I had never before realized that the sleep number mattresses were essentially air mattresses. Although now that you mention it, I guess they’d have to be.