Open Thread and Link Farm, Quarter-Eating Mechanical Owl Edition

  1. Biden’s COVID-Relief Bill Is a Big F**king Deal
    “This is how progressives have been begging their party to govern for more than a decade: Ignore the Beltway’s fetish for bipartisanship and deliver big, clear gains to the American people. The Democratic leadership has now affirmed that counsel in both word and deed.”
  2. 5 Simple Things Restaurants Can Do to Be More Accessible to Fat People – Fluffy Kitten Party
  3. ‘I Miss My Mom’: Children Of QAnon Believers Are Desperately Trying To Deradicalize Their Own Parents
    Without any success. :-(
  4. Brazilian butt lift: behind the world’s most dangerous cosmetic surgery | Plastic surgery | The Guardian
  5. Opinion | ‘There’s No Natural Dignity in Work’ – Ezra Klein And an alternate link.
    “Bush’s comment was an extreme expression of a common — and bipartisan — sentiment: Work is good, more of it is better and policy should be a conveyor belt from the moral torpor of idleness to the dignity of wage labor.”
  6. …But see also this thread responding to Klein by Jill Filipovic on Twitter.
    “But while the argument that at-home work is just as valuable as paid work may be morally correct, in our capitalist reality, not working outside of the home leaves women incredibly financially and physically vulnerable.”
  7. Study of Racism and Confirmation Bias
    53 partners from different law firms were asked to evaluate a young lawyer’s legal memo. It was the exact same memo, except half identified the writer as Black, half as white. The “Black” writer’s work was consistently seen as less competent, by evaluators of every race.
  8. Raya and the Last Dragon’s Kelly Marie Tran Believes Her Disney Princess Is Gay | Vanity Fair
  9. The deadly cost of charging patients more for prescriptions
    “… the conventional wisdom in health care has been that charging patients small copays will lead them to make better decisions about what care to get (or not get), and their health won’t be harmed. But a new study suggests giving patients too much “skin in the game” can actually lead to the greatest health harm of all: death.”
  10. The Fed should give everyone a bank account – Slow Boring
    Everyone should have access to a bank account’s basic features – including electronic banking – even if they don’t have enough money to open an account at a commercial bank.
  11. The Most Ambitious Effort Yet to Reform Policing May Be Happening In Ithaca, New York | GQ
    “…calls for service will be evaluated to determine whether an armed or unarmed respondent is necessary, or another public agency altogether would be best to respond. Mental health calls would be outsourced to a standalone unit of social workers based on the CAHOOTS program pioneered in Eugene, Oregon. The goal, ultimately, is to have far fewer encounters between citizens and armed government agents.”
  12. Cats rival dogs on many tests of social smarts. But is anyone brave enough to study them? | Science | AAAS
    “Brave” is an odd way to put it, but the article makes the point that cats are harder to study than dogs in part because cats are less likely to put up with being bored. “In the first study to directly compare how cats and dogs communicate with people, he and colleagues conducted the pointing test at pet owners’ homes. The cats performed as well as the dogs. But, foreshadowing a headache that would plague the field of feline social cognition, several cats “dropped out” of the study, according to the research paper. Some stopped paying attention. Others simply walked away from the testing site.”
  13. Immigration arrests have fallen sharply under Biden, ICE data show – The Washington Post
  14. What the GOP voting restrictions actually do vs. what proponents claim – The Washington Post
    What legitimate purpose is served by outlawing bringing water to people standing on long poll lines? The GOP would outright ban voting if they could.
  15. Supervision, once intended to help offenders, ups mass incarceration
    “Almost 25% of people entering prison in 2017 were incarcerated for a technical supervision violation, rather than a new offense.”
  16. Photos by Ronan Furuta on Unsplash

This entry posted in Link farms. Bookmark the permalink. 

23 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, Quarter-Eating Mechanical Owl Edition

  1. 1
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    re #4:

    Unless I missed it, they don’t tell us WHY it’s the most dangerous cosmetic surgery. (Please let me know if I missed it). Why is it more dangerous than the fat graft I had for my first reconstruction or the fat graft the surgeon would like to do as revision for my DIEP Flap surgery? Is it because of the volume of fat a BBL requires?

    In any case, I agree with Melissa about the pain – it isn’t in the receiving site. That’s because liposuction is a brutal process that beats your body up to get the fat. It took me way longer to recover from that than from the mastectomy, but I never cried out in pain from somebody touching me – I was just sore and tired for a couple of weeks.

  2. 2
    Joe in Australia says:

    […] replacing the city’s current 63-officer, $12.5 million a year department with a “Department of Community Solutions and Public Safety” which would include armed “public safety workers”

    “Then the public safety officer shouted ‘You are invited to engage with us!’ But the community member refused to engage with them, and the public safety officers feared that he might be a danger to himself or others, so they applied a personal calming device to his wrists and helped him assume a contemplative pose on the sidewalk. Regrettably, after some moments it appeared that the community member had ceased to breathe …”

  3. 3
    Görkem says:

    The interesting thing about 7. is that black partners still discriminated against the “black” paper. I think it shows that getting PoC into positions of power may be necessary to ending institutional racial bias, but it is not sufficient.

  4. 4
    Fibi says:

    The really interesting thing about #7 is that the link is now invalid. Obviously, it worked once upon a time because Gorkem just commented. I wonder what happened?

  5. 5
    nobody.really says:

    “On March 10, 2008, [in the middle of my campaign for the Senate,] the New York Times broke the news that the governor of New York, Eliot Sptizer, had been a client of a high-end escort service, spending thousands of dollars on prostitutes while serving as New York’s attorney general and in his current position….

    I was shocked. And more than a little bummed out. I had really admired Spitzer, who had been a crusader for progressive reforms, taking on Wall Street banks and powerful corporations with an incomparable fearlessness, almost a swagger. I had even thought of him as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2008, or maybe even the first Jewish president. Now all that was out the window.

    The more I thought about it, the more depressed I got. I thought about how hard he must have worked to win his first election, and how many people had helped, and how important it must have been to all of them that he get the chance to make a difference. I thought about all the important work he had done as attorney general and was now doing as governor, and what would happen to his mission of reining in corporate abuse. I thought about other politicians who had made similar mistakes, like Gary Hart…. How could these guys risk everything that they’d worked for like that? How could they live with themselves after letting so many people down?

    * * *

    I was now the presumptive [Democratic] nominee [for Senate].

    But I was still stuck in my funk, distracted by the tragic fall of Eliot Spitzer. And I couldn’t help but feel a strange sense of foreboding.”

    Al Franken, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate (2017), Chap. 15.

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    The really interesting thing about #7 is that the link is now invalid. Obviously, it worked once upon a time because Gorkem just commented. I wonder what happened?

    I’ve fixed the link now. Thanks for pointing this out!

    My guess is that Görkem follows me on twitter and read the study when I linked it there.

  7. 7
    Ampersand says:

    I’m not bothered that Sptizer paid escorts for sex.

    I am bothered that while he was paying for sex, as an attorney general and then as governor he was one of the most anti-sexwork politicians in the country. I don’t think voting for anti-sexwork registration is good in general, but it’s extra galling when mixed with hypocrisy.

    And Franken voted for SESTA. (To be fair, so did 97 other senators.)

    As for his “sense of foreboding,” that’s funny – but in the book, Franken explains that the foreboding was because he was thrust into the general election campaign three months earlier than he had expected.

  8. 8
    Corso says:

    Re #2:

    I clicked that specifically thinking about number 3 in mind. I’m not huge (42″ belt), but I can think of three restaurants I specifically avoid because of chairs exactly like that. Fuck those chairs.

  9. 9
    nobody.really says:

    “[S]elf-driving cars can and will be safe only directly in inverse proportion to their marketability. That is, you can either have a safe autonomous vehicle, or you can have a mass-marketable one that drives the way contemporary human American passengers and drivers want them to drive, but not both. The reason for this is simple: humans are unsafe drivers, and the customs of the roadway reflect that….

    Modern car- and road-culture expectations assume unsafe driving. When people are forced to contemplate what safe driving really looks like, the way a properly programmed robot would do it, it’s not going to sell cars. Nobody will want to own one—not if it’s going to stop at every intersection for pedestrians, even though that’s already the law. Not if it’s going to give bicycles sufficient following distance and no less than three feet of passing buffer, but also not unsafely cross into the lane of oncoming traffic, instead waiting patiently for a safe opportunity to pass, even though that’s all already the law. Not if it routinely drives under the speed limit to avoid reasonably foreseeable hazards or to adapt to road conditions, even though that’s already the law.”

    Christa Moseng, “Autonomous Cars Can Be Safe or Mass-Marketable, Not Both” (2018)

  10. 10
    Ampersand says:

    That’s really interesting. But I do wonder if there might be something commercially viable that isn’t as safe as it could possibly be, but is still safer than our human-driver-dominated status quo.

  11. 11
    Charles says:

    I feel like the problem the author points to in terms of the corporations that are trying to push self-driving cars cutting corners and trying to make the worst self-driving cars the market will allow is much more of a real problem than the problem of people not being willing to accept cars that won’t drive unsafely.

    The automatic braking system that Uber disabled (and didn’t replace with their own version or even a warning) is now standard on Volvos. The problem wasn’t that Uber drivers wouldn’t accept the “erratic braking” of the Volvo automated safety system, it was that Uber engineers couldn’t (or weren’t allowed to due to time constraints) either integrate the Volvo system into their automated system or develop their own automated braking system that worked well enough to use before they put their car on the open road. Volvo drivers are not demanding that they be allowed to run over pedestrians, that’s Uber cutting corners to satisfy their funders.

    Riding in a truly self-driving car will be like being a passenger, and I don’t think many passengers have a problem with their driver driving responsibly.

  12. 12
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    I feel like the problem the author points to in terms of the corporations that are trying to push self-driving cars cutting corners and trying to make the worst self-driving cars the market will allow is much more of a real problem than the problem of people not being willing to accept cars that won’t drive unsafely.

    Between that and the irrational fear of new technology that is endemic in our species, it’s going to be a long, long time before self driving cars are widely available. Tesla hasn’t been helping even a little bit on this.

  13. 13
    Fibi says:

    #15 uses statistics in a way that is a pet peeve of mine.

    Almost 25% of people entering prison in 2017 were incarcerated for a technical supervision violation, rather than a new offense.”

    That’s the quote Amp highlights. The article itself goes back and forth between discussing admissions and discussing the prison population itself. Intuitively, these are the same thing. But they aren’t. Because inmates readmitted for parole violations typically don’t have especially long sentences the current prison population looks very different than the population that is admitted on any particular day. There are some people who genuinely believe our prisons are full of nonviolent offenders. My understanding is this belief comes from confusing the daily admissions data with the current population data. Essentially our prisons are a mix of recent offenders (a mix of violent and non-violent) and those who entered more than a few years ago (almost all violent offenders although three strikes laws mean there are a relatively small number of long haul non-violent offenders).

    Mostly I’m commenting because mixing statistics is a pet peeve. But it’s worth noting that if you believe that a high probability of a modest punishment has more deterrent effect than a low probability of a harsh punishment you probably should want that 25% number to go up (while wanting most of those people to serve only a few days for their technical violation).

    That said, I fully support virtual check ins to ensure that parolees don’t have to choose between work and their PO. Other common sense (to me) changes include a reasonable relaxation of the rule against fraternizing with ex-cons (perhaps a process where close family members get exempted).

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    In general, Fibi, I agree with you. But I don’t see anywhere in that article where the entering prison statistics were being used as if they were current prison population statistics, or used in a deceptive way at all.

    Admittedly, I just skimmed it, rather than rereading it fully. So I could be missing something.

    But it’s worth noting that if you believe that a high probability of a modest punishment has more deterrent effect than a low probability of a harsh punishment you probably should want that 25% number to go up (while wanting most of those people to serve only a few days for their technical violation).

    If there was a rule against chewing bubble gum in public, I wouldn’t want people sent to prison for a day for violating that rule, even if that would lead to better odds of the rule being followed. A few days in prison is not a “modest” punishment if the “crime” was something very petty.

    ETA: Prison or jail for any length of time should be seen as a serious punishment. Part of the problem with our system is that we put people behind bars far too easily (and for far too long). We need forms of “modest punishment” that fall short of time incarcerated. (Not that I know what those forms should be! Fines are obvious, but also problematic, since the same fine that could be a crushing I-can’t-pay-rent-now problem for person A could be a I-don’t-even-notice-the-loss for person B).

  15. 15
    Fibi says:

    Amp – when I read #15 again I confess the way statistics are presented don’t bother me as much. Unless there were stealth edits (and I don’t have any reason to believe there were) I am forced to conclude I either misread or just had a bad day.

  16. 16
    Ampersand says:

    Whoa, whoa there! There’s no call to be so reasonable.

  17. 17
    Lauren says:

    Amp said:
    We need forms of “modest punishment” that fall short of time incarcerated. (Not that I know what those forms should be! Fines are obvious, but also problematic, since the same fine that could be a crushing I-can’t-pay-rent-now problem for person A could be a I-don’t-even-notice-the-loss for person B)

    Regarding fines: in Germany, criminals who are sentenced to money payment (as opposed to citizens fined for things like parking violations, which is another issue) are sentenced to a “Day-Rate”. The number of days is based on the crime, level of guilt, previous convictions, expression of regret etc. The hight of the rate is calculated based on monthly income(minus certain costs, deductions for dependents etc.) divided by thirty (basically, daily income). So a rich guy and poor guy commiting exactly the same crime, with the same priors etc. should both get the same “day-rate” sentence (e.g. 30 for a first offence of theft), but the amount of money they would have to pay would differ greatly- about 300 € for a guy living on the german version of social security, 3000€ for the rich guy making 3000 € a month (net, after taxes and insurance).
    Still not ideal (poor people can not afford good lawyers, rich people are less likely to commit typical poverty crimes etc., so class differences still have a huge influence on criminal convictions), but just the way of calculating the punishment seems pretty fair to me. (The poor convict can usually pay of the mony in monthly payments without additional fees or interest.)

  18. 18
    Ampersand says:

    Lauren, that’s obviously a MUCH better way of doing fines than what the US has. I was wondering if something like that was possible, or if it would be too difficult to administer; I’m glad to hear that ti’s actually a working system elsewhere in the world.

  19. 19
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    I’ve been an advocate of that system for a long, long time. I can’t remember which country I heard did it, but I loved the concept immediately.

  20. 20
    Kate says:

    Prison or jail for any length of time should be seen as a serious punishment. Part of the problem with our system is that we put people behind bars far too easily (and for far too long). We need forms of “modest punishment” that fall short of time incarcerated. (Not that I know what those forms should be! Fines are obvious, but also problematic, since the same fine that could be a crushing I-can’t-pay-rent-now problem for person A could be a I-don’t-even-notice-the-loss for person B).

    1.) Communities of color have been working on the idea of restorative justice for a long time. The focus is not on punishing the perpetrator, but providing care and support for the victim and finding a way for the offender to make amends and reintegrate into the community. When the party who did wrong is willing to admit it and make amends, that can work well. It was used in my son’s primary school.
    2.) A short list of alternatives to imprisonment- drug treatment, drug testing, psychiatric care, community service, restraining orders, ankle monitors, curfews, house arrest, seizing guns… [ETA..we already do a lot of these things for middle class and wealthy white people]

  21. 21
    Fibi says:

    Kate, you wrote:

    A short list of alternatives to imprisonment- drug treatment…

    While this conversational thread has taken on a life of its own, it’s worth noting that article #15, which prompted it all, was lamenting that convicts released early with drug treatment as a condition of parole were being sent to prison for leaving these treatment programs (that was, in fact, one of two anecdotes used to illustrate the issue with readmissions for technical violations).

    There are two questions: 1) when should prison be the first resort, and 2) when prison isn’t the first resort, when should it be resorted to?

  22. 22
    Kate says:

    I only think prison should be used when there is no other way to keep society safe from a person who has proven themselves to be dangerous to others. Even then, I think they should be humane places in which one can actually make a life for oneself.

  23. 23
    Görkem says:

    @22: I think we would all, from the most anti-carceralist liberal to the most law-and-order conservative, agree with the first part of what you are saying as a general statement of principles. But we would disagree with the specific definitio of what counts as “proven themselves”.

    The second part, though, not so much. Even a lot of people I know who regard themselves on the left seem to feel that there are a certain group of people whose suffering in prison is not only acceptable but actually desirable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *