7 things @ 6 o’clock (7.29)

1. “A woman who discovered huge errors in her Equifax credit report and couldn’t get them fixed was awarded a total of $18.6 million in damages. She contacted Equifax eight times about the errors between 2009 and 2011, but they remained on her report.”

That big number will, as usual, likely be whittled way down on appeal — particularly the $18.4 million of it that the jury awarded as punitive damages. But this is still a positive sign of push-back against the unelected, usually unaccountable overlords of the credit reporting agencies, whose vast and growing influence on our lives is relentlessly awful.

2. Steve Wiggins reminisces about an obscure tribal debate among white evangelicals of a certain age: What about the Violent Femmes? My short answer: Frontman Gordon Gano is, like Alice Cooper, an American Baptist PK (pastor’s kid), who has described himself in the past as a “devout Baptist.” But if you’re looking for “Christian themes in rock music” from Gano, check out the delicious self-titled album from Mercy Seat — his gospel-punk side project with Zena Von Heppinstall. Check out “I’ve Got a Feeling” or “Let the Church Roll On.”

3. Steve Benen has a smart piece about the blue-state/red-state patchwork taking shape as the 2014 arrival of Obamacare approaches. In places like New York, California and Maryland, residents will be very pleased to find better coverage and lower premiums. But in places like Indiana and Ohio, where Republican governors have been working hard to make sure residents won’t be pleased with the law, it’s benefits won’t be nearly as obvious or as beneficial. That’s been the goal of GOP attempts to obstruct Obamacare at every turn — to prevent residents from enjoying the benefits it can provide.

Benen asks the key question: “What happens in those red states when residents start looking across borders and they wonder to themselves, ‘Why aren’t my benefits as great as theirs?'” (The answer, I think, is that they’ll start telling lies about New York and California just as they have, for years, about Canada. Expect to hear scary stories and urban legends about death panels, waiting lists and the “undeserving” — i.e., non-white — somehow stealing health coverage that rightly belongs only to real ‘murkans.)

4. Once again, here is a quote I love, attributed to St. Augustine: “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” (Trigger warning for that link to Sarah Moon’s “When Anger Saved My Life,” which is hopeful, beautiful, angry and courageous, but also frankly  discusses and describes abusive violence and sexual violence.)

5.Operation Cross Country.” The FBI held a news conference this morning, “in which they announced that 105 children have been rescued from a child sex-trafficking scheme that spanned 76 U.S. cities and has landed over 150 people in cuffs.”

6.Willie Reed (Louis) died last week at the age of 76.” I did not recognize his name and I did not know his story, although I knew about the larger story in which he played a courageous role. He was, as Paul Campos describes him, “An American Hero.”

7. No vengeance in Jubilee. At Internet Monk, Mike Bell discusses Jesus’ first public sermon — his “mission statement,” taken from the book of Isaiah:

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’

And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.

To fully catch what’s going on there, Bell notes, you have to look at the passage Jesus is quoting, from Isaiah 61. He stops reading mid-sentence. Isaiah says, “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God.” Jesus got to that bit about vengeance, “And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.” Hmmm.

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  • sievetronix

    And here I thought he was talking about Nick Cave….


  • MikeJ

    Regarding the Violent Femmes, you know that Juliana Hatfield tune, My Sister? In it she talks about going to her “first all ages show, it was the Violent Femmes, and the Del Fuegos”. I also saw the Femmes with the Del Fuegos, but friends in bands had already been getting me into clubs for a few years at that point. I even got high with the Del Fuegos at that show

    Anyway, Juliana’s b-day was this weekend. Same as mine. :) Sadly, I couldn’t find a video of Get Off Your Knees to post. Get off your knees and repeat after me, The devil rocks my soul….

  • Carstonio

    Fred usually talks about anger in righteous terms, as if anger wasn’t about arrogant entitlement, as if it wasn’t inextricably linked with aggression and violence. Anger is two drivers in gridlocked traffic yelling curses at each other. Anger is someone throwing a device across a room because it’s not working right. Anger is an intoxicated person leaning over people and delivering enraged, unfocused rants in their faces. Anger is the father I once saw in a park, cruelly berating his preschool-age son in hateful words and tones.

  • dpolicar

    Those are certainly some things anger can be, yes.

    When you suggest that anger is “inextricably linked with aggression and violence,” I understand you to be saying that one cannot be angry without becoming violent, without hurting people, without making the world worse.

    Have I understood you correctly?

  • Carstonio

    I mean that an angry person has the potential to become violent if provoked any further. It’s like heating water on a stove, with violence being the water at full boil. That’s why someone who is angry should be either avoided or handled gingerly.

  • Lori

    Everyone has the potential to become violent if you push the right buttons. Not everyone who commits an act of violence gets angry first.

    I know that in your mind angry is linked to violence, but this is one of those things where the world really doesn’t conform to your expectations.

  • Carstonio

    Not everyone who commits an act of violence gets angry first.

    Very true. Often people lash out violently from fear, but that’s from a desire for security and not a personal animosity.

  • Lori

    And sometimes people commit acts of violence out of cold calculation. You have something I want, if I hurt you or threaten you, you’ll give it to me. Nothing personal, just business.

    Fear is not the only driver of bad things in the world Carstonio. I know it’s your go-to explanation for, but it’s not all there is.

  • Carstonio

    I tend to see greed as a type of fear, or really insecurity. Similar to the bully who victimizes others because he subconsciously sees this as the only way to prevent being victimized himself.

    If someone hurts me or gets angry at me, I have a responsibility to look at my own behavior first, because it’s possible that there was something about me or something I inadvertently did that provoked the person. The other person could still be operating out of cold calculation, as you described, but there could have been a way to exempt myself from the person’s calculations.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    So the man who killed an elderly couple for $20 to go buy beer — he’s insecure and afraid?

  • Lori

    I tend to see greed as a type of fear, or really insecurity.

    This is because you see everything as a form of fear. This is your issue. I think it would be easier for you to understand some things about how other people operate in the world if you expanded your view beyond fear.

    If someone hurts me or gets angry at me, I have a responsibility to look at my own behavior first, because it’s possible that there was something about me or something I inadvertently did that provoked the person.

    It’s always good to examine oneself and to be willing to accept your fair share of responsibility. It’s possible to take that too far.

    The other person could still be operating out of cold
    calculation, as you described, but there could have been a way to exempt myself from the person’s calculations.

    This? Is too far. This is the root of victim blaming, and the magical thinking of abuse victims.

  • general_apathy

    If someone hurts me or gets angry at me, I have a responsibility to look at my own behavior first, because it’s possible that there was something about me or something I inadvertently did that provoked the person.

    This is rather unfortunate given the Emmett Till article Fred linked in the post. (“[…] tortured and murdered, for the crime of allegedly whistling at the wife of one of the men.”) Really it’s unfortunate in any circumstance. There is a big gulf between “getting angry” and “hurting someone”. Regardless of how they may feel, it’s their responsibility not to hurt.

  • MarkTemporis

    Is that you, Jonathan Crane?

  • ohiolibrarian

    Why does this make me think of Monty Python? This bit:

    Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.

  • alfgifu

    Often people lash out violently from fear, but that’s from a desire for security and not a personal animosity.

    I’m in my late twenties, and I’m female. Though that puts me in a disadvantaged position in some ways, the oodles of privilege that I’ve picked up from my skin colour, height, conventional good looks, good health, fortunate upbringing, and high level of education tend to counter it much of the time. I am scared sometimes, mostly of failure and disapproval. The thing that frightens me most is the idea of the depression I experienced as a teenager coming back again. These fears are not present at the top of my mind most of the time, and they don’t drive most of my thoughts and actions (always allowing for perspective – I suppose I might not know it if they did).

    So, that’s the context. I’m seldom operating out of fear. Now, here’s the thing: there is a strong impulse in me to hurt other people. I can take pleasure in somebody else’s pain, and I think it’s connected to enjoying a sense of power – of being able to control another person at a whim.

    I consciously push myself to empathise with the people around me to hold this impulse at bay. Not hurting people (either for personal advantage or just for pleasure) is an effort. Not a great effort because it’s a form of self-control I’ve been practising for many years. I don’t go around using words or fists to hurt the people I know *because I recognise the impulse is bad and I work hard to overcome it*.

    I can easily picture someone with the same impulse (which is not universal but I reckon must be fairly common), who didn’t make the effort to develop the counter-balancing empathy, causing someone else pain without thinking twice about it. No motivating fear required.

  • Carstonio

    “Lashing out violently from fear” was meant to describe situations where one perceives another person as a threat. It wasn’t meant to exclude other reasons people become violent.

    While I empathize with your situation, I admit that your specific impulse to hurt others makes no sense to me. I don’t claim to be free from the desire to hurt others, or from any ability to take pleasure in someone else’s pain. I mean that the impulse you describe doesn’t seem to view others as conscious actors. As if the impulse were no different from a natural force and the other person were merely an object in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m describing my own impression and I apologize for the tone.

    When one person deliberately hurts another, it seems to me that the violent act equates to a punishment, even when that isn’t the offender’s intention or even the victim’s perception. (That doesn’t mean that the punishment is deserved or just.) It seems that way to me because there’s a conscious mind behind the decision. I wouldn’t know how to understand such decisions that aren’t about the victim in some way. That would almost be like a judge having bailiffs pull people off the streets and handing down sentences just for fun.

  • dpolicar

    Do you mean necessarily?

    Do you mean differentially? (That is, do you mean that people who behave angrily have the potential to become violent if provoked, and people who don’t behave angrily don’t?)

  • smrnda

    I’d argue that if some angry people actually became violent over the things that made them angry, as long as their actions were aimed at those really responsible for them, I’d say it’s okay. Would it be wrong for people to violently rebel against an unjust authority, or should they just sit around and meditate?

    The other thing is that many people are very good at being violent simply because they don’t get angry – they’re able to remain calm and calculating with far better judgment, which can make them more dangerous.

  • http://vmthecoyote.tumblr.com/post/56439695124/names-on-the-internet VMtheCoyote

    Anger can be a fuel, and enact change, and anger directed correctly is a force to be reckoned with… but it’s way, way, way too easy to decide that because some anger is good, all anger is good, and then you get caught in this trap where you’re too busy yelling at the universe to do anything about it, and it’s roaring out at people who in no way, shape, or form deserve it or should be having to deal with it…

    I think maybe anger is like comedy, a bit? Fred also talks often about how good comedy always punches up – from powerless to powerful, and not the other way around. Not all anger directed at the powerful is good, but consider the anger of someone who recognizes the injustice of the fact that black males are incarcerated more than white males, to an utterly horrific degree. That can go places – it can change things.

    Versus the anger of significant parts of the entitled right-wing towards what they imagine to be a “welfare state.” Hell, just take that – those who are angry at the “welfare state” and therefore the poor, versus those who are angry at the corporate “welfare state,” and get angry, instead, at the laws and system that have allowed this state of affairs to come about.

    Anger’s like all emotions, IMO. It can be a good thing, as long as you don’t let it consume you and start eclipsing everything else.

  • Albanaeon

    As a Taoist, I have to disagree. Anger is an emotion that everyone has, what you decide to do with it, however is personal. In and of itself, anger is natural and neutral expression in regards to events, but how you act on it can have a wide range of consequences, both positive and negative. Equating “anger” into only a few responses, most negative, ignores the reality and complexities that often crop up in human emotions.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    And also has the unfortunate effect of conflating an angry person with an irrational and dangerous person, which makes the victim of injustice into the perceived aggressor. (See also: “I don’t care who started it.“)

  • Carstonio

    I’m not sure that anger qualifies as an emotion. It seems to be more an expression of dissatisfaction with someone, and the person on the receiving end has to deal with the fact that zie doesn’t meet the angry person’s expectations. Whether those expectations are reasonable is largely irrelevant. Being on the receiving end of someone’s anger is arguably a punishment.

  • Lee B.

    I’m not sure that anger qualifies as an emotion.

    what is this i dont even

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    If anger isn’t an emotion, then neither is anything else. Happiness isn’t an emotion, it’s an expression of satisfaction with the current state of affairs. Sadness isn’t an emotion, it’s an expression of discontent. We just react as programmed to the stimuli, nothing more.

  • Lori

    This is a reflection of your experiences and your perceptions. That’s obviously legitimate for you, but it is most definitely not the whole picture how how anger operates in the larger world. You have a very narrow, self-derived view of this issue. There’s a whole wide world beyond your experience that simply does not conform to your view. It’s like you’re looking at an ocean liner through a straw and insisting that what you see is all there is.

  • Carstonio

    Actually it’s more like intent not being magic. I could say that I love someone, but the person may not feel loved by me, perhaps if I treat the person in an unloving manner. Anger is the same way, where it’s ultimately about how others react to the person’s anger.

  • Lori

    So you’re saying people can’t have their own emotions, but are instead beholden to other’s people’s reactions for permission to feel things? You need to think that one through a lot more, through something other than your fear lens, because that’s a recipe for abuse.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You can also be hopping mad about things like credit reporting agencies and the unconscionable leverage they have over the lives of millions in the financial system.

  • stardreamer42

    Anger is a tool. Like any other tool, it can be used wisely or poorly. I dare you to read that link from Sarah Moon and deny that the ability to get angry saved her life. She’d have been a statistic by now. Instead, she’s happy and healthy… because of anger, appropriately directed.

    Telling the abused that they shouldn’t be angry because anger is “inextricably linked with aggression and violence” is clamping the chains onto their arms yourself.

  • Carstonio

    What Moon experienced doesn’t feel like anger to me, because it was about assertiveness and self-defense and not about judgmentality or dominance or punishment. The idea that abuse could be justified is horrid to me – in a truly just world, abusers would feel soul-crushing terror far worse than their victims feel.

  • http://vmthecoyote.tumblr.com/post/56439695124/names-on-the-internet VMtheCoyote

    It seems like you are defining anger only as something that is purely aggressive. Moon was angry. She was angry because someone was abusing her. That is a good reason to be angry, because you are being hurt by another person. There is nothing wrong with her reaction of anger – and you are, perhaps unintentionally, undermining her message and her experience by denying that it was anger.

  • Carstonio

    You’re right that it sounds like I’m denying what Moon felt. I could be splitting too many semantic hairs. To me, it feels unfair to Moon to lump her reaction in the same category as, say, an abuser acting from entitlement or hate, since her cause is just.

    You and others seem to be describing anger as morally neutral, where any moral quality comes entirely from the context. I’m suggesting that the motives help shape the reaction. I would hope that someone reacting out of self-defense or justice would not make the issue about the other person, the way someone reacting out of a desire to preserve their power. I suppose I want two different words to distinguish the two reactions.

    Ironically, when I’m around an angry person, I have difficulty distinguishing whether the person’s cause is just, because I experience feelings of panic to one degree or another. I long for a way of calming the person, and obviously that does a disservice to people with just causes. But if someone told me that I simply need to find a way to calm myself, would the person then be denying my emotional experience? Is there a way I can let the person know that they have a right to be angry but that they’re scaring me?

  • Lori

    Ironically, when I’m around an angry person, I have difficulty
    distinguishing whether the person’s cause is just, because I experience
    feelings of panic to one degree or another.

    If at all possible, you need to get help for this. In the mean time you need to keep reminding yourself that your perceptions of anger aren’t always an accurate picture of how other people feel and experience it. You need to stop projecting your fears onto other people.

  • http://vmthecoyote.tumblr.com/post/56439695124/names-on-the-internet VMtheCoyote

    To me, it feels unfair to Moon to lump her reaction in the same
    category as, say, an abuser acting from entitlement or hate, since her
    cause is just.

    But you’re not – we’re not. Actions that defend oneself are not the same as actions that control and manipulate. To continue that response – anger is morally neutral, and I disagree immensely that motives help shape the reaction. To deny that anger can ever be used for good is to allow yourself to start feeling shame for anger, which is a hard thing. I understand that it’s a little messy, and a little confusing, but again – that’s humanity. Pretty much any emotion can cause harm if we allow it to.

    Is there a way I can let the person know that they have a right to be angry but that they’re scaring me?

    Yes. Yes, a thousand times yes. Quite simply: “I understand that you’re angry, and you have a right to be angry, but you’re scaring me.” I have the same reaction, for what it’s worth. I might get angry back, but my knee-jerk reaction to someone angry and/or shouting is basically pure terror. I still acknowledge that people have the right to be angry (usually – there are most definitely exceptions. “I want to smoke in the house and you won’t let me,” for example, is not a good reason to flip out.), but I also think that people in a situation where the other person is a frightening level of angry have every fucking right in the world to get out of that situation ASAP, for the sake of their own health, mental or physical.

  • Carstonio

    (nods) You’re making a distinction between what someone feels and how that feeling manifests itself. I’ve been focusing only on the latter, and that may be a large part of the problem. I seem to mistake the manifestations of an emotion with an emotion itself. Perhaps that’s because other people’s emotions aren’t tangible to me the way my own are, and I seem to lack the judgment or intuition to know with certainty what others are feeling.

  • http://vmthecoyote.tumblr.com/post/56439695124/names-on-the-internet VMtheCoyote

    Aye, I think that’s the root of it. In another community where I hang out, I recently wrote up a long post in response to a lot of recent issues. At its heart, though, the message is pretty simple: Feeling pain does is not an excuse for causing pain (self defense, that’s different – I mean lashing out at people because they happen to be in your way), and feeling anger is okay… but letting that anger manifest as wanton destruction and verbal/physical attacks is not.

    It’s tough to gauge other people’s emotions, and it gets even tougher when people are under the impression that they should hide or be ashamed of those emotions. God, the number of times I’ve seen massive fights happen because one person never came out and said “I’m angry because you said [this], and that felt like an attack,” or “What you said hurt me, and I’m still hurt and angry.” But I think the answer is more of that communication of emotions, not striving to eliminate them.

  • Jamoche

    Helen Mirren has some good advice for you:


    (sorry for the dailyfail link)

    ‘If I’d had children and had a girl, the first words I would have taught her would have been “f*** off” because we weren’t brought up ever to say that to anyone, were we?
    ‘And it’s quite valuable to have the courage and the confidence to say, “No, f*** off, leave me alone, thank you very much.”

  • Carstonio

    In such situations, I find myself trying to reason with the person who’s being unreasonable, as if I could convince hir to leave me alone through simple argument. Or else I don’t fully grasp that my boundaries are being violated. Then I reach a point where I’ve had enough and I go nuclear.

    These days “nuclear” means cutting off any relationship with the person. In middle school that meant throwing a punch at someone laughing at me or someone giving me a wedgie. Both times the person seemed shocked. And neither person was regularly giving me a hard time – I was reacting to treatment from several different classmates. The schoolyard equivalent of a hostile work environment.

    I’ve long felt that it shouldn’t be necessary to say “f*** off.” I foolishly long for the standards of conduct in a workplace to be observed everywhere. To my way of thinking, if one isn’t sure whether another likes being treated a certain way, then it’s more prudent to not treat the other that way. Assume non-consent unless consent is given. The burden of proof shouldn’t be on someone to have personal boundaries, but should be instead on anyone else who thinks the person should relax those boundaries.

    Also, “f*** off” (I’m parroting the Daily Mail’s formatting here) doesn’t seem sufficient. Maybe the ability to instantly destroy the offender’s dreams…

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Is there a way I can let the person know that they have a right to be angry but that they’re scaring me?

    As Captain Awkward says, Use Your Words.

    “I understand that you’re angry, and that your anger may be justified, but unfortunately I’ve got an irrational panic-reaction about anger. This isn’t blaming you; the problem is mine. But it does mean I have to step away from you while you’re angry so that I don’t freak out and make you even more upset.”

  • stardreamer42

    Say WHAT?!! Did you even notice that you’ve just vicariously mansplained to Sarah that the poor little thing didn’t really recognize what she was feeling at all, it wasn’t anger, it was this other thing that you of course can read in her mind.

    You do not get to redefine words to suit yourself, and you especially do not get to tell women (or anyone else either) that they don’t REALLY feel what they say they’re feeling. Whether you meant it so or not, this is sexist bullshit and I’m calling you on it. This is not a case of everyone except you being wrong.

    And yes, I am quite angry with you right now. I tend to get that way when I see people denying the agency of others.

  • Alix

    FWIW, I’d call that rage.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Re #3: For the second straight year I got a letter from my insurance company letting me know that I’ll be getting a small rebate (last year it was $33). Because only 84.3% of the $2.2 billion they collected in premiums were spent on health care, my provider must return over $15 million to its plan-holders. Thanks again, Obamacare!

  • Baby_Raptor

    Alright! Update two on the Fundie Questionnaire from the beginning of the month. We just now got back to it because Dear Boyfriend has had some life stuff happening. We finished it last night.

    The first big issue to come up came from “Would you rather rent or buy?” as we are both fine with renting an apartment until we’re ready for kids to come into the picture, but there’s a lot of push-back against renting. A lot of people tend to describe it as throwing money down the drain. And yet the housing market is still iffy. So it ended up getting left up in the air for future debate, contingent on figuring out where he’s going to land permanent employment.

    Next was “Can you balance a check book?” I was taught how to in junior high, but would probably need some time and the necessary materials to remember how. He doesn’t remember if he ever learned or not. This may be a Bad Thing, I am unsure. In my current living situation, we just monitor the account’s standing balance and make decisions from there, and that’s worked fine thus far.

    “How would you respond if somebody were to tell you that you are angry?” and my response “I’m a grown woman; I am perfectly capable of identifying my own emotions” caused a fairly long discussion on how exactly to know when one truly is reading their own emotions wrong. We never reached a solid conclusion.

    “Are you willing to take a physical exam by a physician before marriage?” was kind of looked at askance. I feel like this is one of those things that there are logical sounding reasons for, but it’s still just weird and…unnecessary?

    And then we had a debate on whether or not clear is a colour.

    A *bunch* of the questions revolved around God in some way, which really isn’t something we can resolve right now as Dear Boyfriend is going through a massive doubting phase.

    We learned that apparently birthday parties are questionable, as “Are Birthday Parties O.K.?” was a question asked.

    We also learned that “Curse Free Units” exist. My guess is that this is a device that filters swear words out of TV shows.

    “Are you open to us making these decisions together?” was asked in several forms throughout, which I found odd because according to the comments, this was something that was designed for a man to give a woman. They ask questions casting aspersions on women having any sort of life outside them home, and then give her authority here? Confused.

    “How do you begin to train infants?” was just several levels of sickening to me. Overall, we did not in any way agree with the questionnaire’s child-rearing ideas.

    I learned during “Do you have a problem with nursing vs. bottle feeding our foals?” that some New York hospitals are having a big push to get mothers to breastfeed, at which point I made clear that we wouldn’t be having kids in NY (he lives there currently) because I have a massive fear of breastfeeding.

    And that’s the worst of it. Sorry for the big wall of text.

  • http://vmthecoyote.tumblr.com/post/56439695124/names-on-the-internet VMtheCoyote

    This is a way awesome update, and thank you for posting it! It’s really interesting to take that questionaire of… so much Wat, and think about it in a reality-based context.

  • Evan

    About balancing your checkbook – I’ve heard people recommend not just looking over the balance but the transaction history, because they’ve sometimes actually seen mis-labeled transactions. I’ve never seen any with my account, but it still seems like a decent idea.

  • banancat

    I sort of do it in an unusual way. It’s 2013 so I rarely write checks at all anymore. I put whatever I can on my credit card so I can get the rebate and then pay of the balance each month. So I basically just have to check my bank account that one time to make sure there is enough in checking, rather than at each transaction. It’s basically three transactions that affect my checking account each month: rent, electricity, and then “everything else” dealt with in one lump all at the same time.

    I do check my credit card statement to make sure there are no errors, but I find this method much less stressful because I only have to worry about it once.

  • Lori

    We also learned that “Curse Free Units” exist. My guess is that this is a device that filters swear words out of TV shows.

    Indeed it is:


  • Vang

    On the telling you you’re angry part, I like both sides. Having someone tell me I’m angry is insulting. On the other hand, I agree that you’re not always a neutral party in telling whether or not you’re angry.

    To me personally, I don’t say “You’re angry”, unless the person is waving a knife at you. And even then, maybe not the best idea. :) It’s always been better when talking to someone I care about who’s upset to say that they *seem* angry. It’s much more open there.. you’re not accusing them as much, you can discuss what they’re doing seems angry, and it’s just more of a leading statement than a flat one, inviting them to explain rather than accusing. And there’s lots of things that seem like anger that are just frustration, and the other person can clarify rather than having to defend as much. Sure, it doesn’t always help, there are lots of people who’ll take that as exactly equivalent to “You’re angry”, but it’s at least a step.

  • stardreamer42

    FOALS???!!! WTFIDE. If they refer to human infants as animals, what other fucked-up assumptions are in there?

    Re balancing checkbooks, I still know how, but online banking has rendered this skill largely obsolete. The reason you had to balance your checkbook was to catch and correct errors in your addition and subtraction of amounts. Now you can monitor your balance and transactions on a daily basis if you like (for me, it’s more like biweekly) and the bank is far less likely to screw up an entry than you are doing it by hand.

  • AnonaMiss

    That would be BR’s brony filter automatically converting ‘children’ to ‘foals’.

    I did a double take too, FWIW.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yeah, that’s my fault. I wrote the comment out in a different space and left it waiting for today’s “7 Things at Time” post, and didn’t think about the RP filter having fun with my paragraphs. My apologies.

    I went back and fixed it now that it’s been caught.

  • stardreamer42

    Ah, okay. Thanks for explaining, because that really had me freaking out!

  • Donalbain

    Chequebook? Haven’t used one of those in YEARS. Are they still in common usage in the USA?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Hmmm. Possibly. In the USA, it’s possible to write checks for a lot more things than you would in the UK or Canada.

    Canadian practice in a lot of retail establishments is to simply not accept them. Where they ARE accepted, it’s very difficult to scam the system: you need two pieces of ID plus the in-store-issued check cashing card.

    This has led Canadians to using less fraud-prone forms of payment.

    By contrast, US practice is to accept checks in a lot of places and so there is a thriving cottage industry of both people who write bad checks (knowingly) and all sorts of mechanisms to defend against them (“Check-Rite” being one example; it scans the printed data at the bottom of the check to validate it before the retail cashier will accept it). And of course, court trials for people who get caught passing bad checks.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Personal cheques will be entirely phased out in Britain by next year, IIRC

  • Alix

    At least where I am, “balancing a checkbook” has become an idiom for balancing the family budget.

    And yeah, some places around here (and I’m right in the D.C. metropolitan area, mind) still don’t accept credit/debit cards. I’ve only written, I think, three checks in my life? But I still have a checkbook, ’cause sometimes it’s still necessary. If incredibly annoying.

  • aunursa

    in places like Indiana and Ohio, where Republican governors have been working hard … to obstruct Obamacare at every turn

    They’re just following the lead from our chief executive. If a part of the law is politically inconvenient, you can just decide unilaterally to ignore that part (at least for the time being.)

  • Lori

    Oh yes, it’s definitely Obama leading the way on that one. It’s got nothing whatsoever to do with rampent Republican obstructionism. If he insists that the lay be implemented as passed, in the timeframe originally agreed to he’s ramming it down wingnuts’ throats. If he defers implementation of some parts in order to get some fucking thing done he’s unilaterally blah, blah, blah.

    Seriously? On this issue Republicans really need to STFU now.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    As for that jibber-jabber about the War Powers Act, I don’t recall Republicans being too unhappy with the way Dubya Bush justfied and costed his two $3 trillion wars.

    Or when Reagan decided to have a litlte army jaunt into Grenada to pick up a crappy little country and throw it against the wall just to show the US means business.

  • aunursa

    No, the Republicans are not going to STFU on this issue. Today more Americans than ever support repeal. If the Democrats don’t like the pace of implementation, they shouldn’t have left it up to states. They can always change their minds and repeal it and support bipartisan reform.

  • Lori

    You break it and then blame Obama for it being broken. You lie to people and then use their responses to your lies as proof that your lies are true. You are so full of shit.

    Also, it’s funny how “more people than ever” (can you vague that up a little more?) supposedly supporting the GOP position on this issue means that the law needs to be repealed, but when public opinion goes against a GOP position all we hear is that the Republicans have the votes to get their way and everyone who disagrees can like it or lump it. Hypocritical assholes.

    And another thing, there is no such thing as “bipartisan reform” in the current climate. Because for the modern GOP bipartisan means “everyone does what Republicans want”.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    He posted before he found the opinion poll.

  • Nathaniel

    Even you actually defending a position, you still engage in distancing language to give you technical ability to deny any personal opinions on the subject.

    Is this behavior conscious, or is it just a reflex by now?

  • de_la_Nae

    Hey, Hoosier here (because Indianian is awkward). Thank your team for making our lives here even harder for us, ‘kay?

    Not that we don’t help do it to ourselves sometimes, but sheesh.

  • stardreamer42

    Ah yes, whataboutery — aka the old “But Clinton did it too!” defense updated. That doesn’t fly. You can’t pretend that the problems here do not stem directly from the Republicans’ stated goal of making sure Obama fails, even if they have to take down the rest of America to do it.

    Well, obviously you can pretend that, because you just did. But nobody outside your own little thought balloon is going to believe you.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I admit, I was concerned about this too, but apparently phase-in adjustments/postponements are fairly routine and not at all illegal:

    Though “wise,” is the current postponement “illegal”? On the contrary, Treasury’s Mazur wrote to Chair Upton, such temporary postponements of tax reporting and payment requirements are routine, citing numerous examples of such postponements by Republican and Democratic administrations when statutory deadlines proved unworkable.

    In fact, applicable judicial precedent places such timing adjustments well within the Executive Branch’s lawful discretion. To be sure, the federal Administrative Procedure Act authorizes federal courts to compel agencies to initiate statutorily required actions that have been “unreasonably delayed.” But courts have found delays to be unreasonable only in rare cases where, unlike this one, inaction had lasted for several years, and the recalcitrant agency could offer neither a persuasive excuse nor a credible end to its dithering. In deciding whether a given agency delay is reasonable, current law tells courts to consider whether expedited action could adversely affect “higher or competing” agency priorities, and whether other interests could be “prejudiced by the delay.” Even in cases where an agency outright refuses to enforce a policy in specified types of cases — not the case here — the Supreme Court has declined to intervene. As held by former Chief Justice William Rehnquist in a leading case on this subject, Heckler v. Chaney, courts must respect an agency’s presumptively superior grasp of “the many variables involved in the proper ordering of its priorities.”

    Also, it is highly disingenuous to classify a decision:

    to continue working through 2014 with “employers, insurers, and other reporting entities” to revise and engage in “real-world testing” of the reporting requirements, simplify forms, coordinate requisite public and private sector information technology arrangements, and engineer a “smoother transition to full implementation in 2015.”

    as “ignoring” that part of the law.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    1. “A woman who discovered huge errors in her Equifax credit report and couldn’t get them fixed was awarded a total of $18.6 million in damages. She contacted Equifax eight times about the errors between 2009 and 2011, but they remained on her report.”

    You know, I very very rarely wish for severe destruction of our technological infrastructure, mainly as I depend on it myself to communicate, but on this one occasion I would say that the depredations of the credit industry (Equifax and equivalents, as well as the way banks have helped create the Charlie Foxtrot that is the mortgage and foreclosure crisis) depend crucially on computers.

    And when I think about that?

    I would probably give up all this and acquiesce to the sudden drop in my standard of living if something like Revolution were to happen tomorrow.

    Because at that point, the entire industry above would be rendered virtually powerless and nonexistent. Credit scores mean nothing when the entire world has to run on cash and barter.

  • http://vmthecoyote.tumblr.com/post/56439695124/names-on-the-internet VMtheCoyote

    There are not enough words in the world to adequately express my utter hatred of the credit score system. It is so completely wrong in such a massive way.

  • Fusina

    I am lucky that I can disregard it (at present–this may change in future) but I assume that I have a good score, based entirely on the insane volume of credit card offers I get. I shred them for use in the cat litter pan. Seems a good use for the scoring companies too.

  • http://vmthecoyote.tumblr.com/post/56439695124/names-on-the-internet VMtheCoyote

    Hah. Yeah, I’ve been lucky the same way. I just have this distinct idea that as soon as it is relevant, it will start screwing me over. (I used to kind of skim Fred’s post on this, and then somewhere along the way, the penny dropped in a huge way. Fuck adulthood, man.)

  • Lori

    I assume that I have a good score, based entirely on the insane volume of credit card offers I get

    This seems like it would be try, but it isn’t necessarily.

  • Alix

    My jackass of a landlord is currently trying to force my mother and me out of our home. Mom, who is seizing the opportunity to buy her dream retirement home, spent a very stressful week wrangling with the various credit agencies over weird entries and errors in her credit report (such as them listing debts from her ex-husband – after the divorce, mind – on her credit), and, very luckily, squeaked into qualifying for a home loan.

    I am a person who has no credit cards, has run up only student loan debt and very little of that (which isn’t due yet), and took out a very small loan years ago, paid it off on time, and it no longer even shows on my credit report – and my score is dead-on average. It is utterly ridiculous that people who manage to avoid or keep up with their debt get dinged for not playing the debt/credit game … and I’m currently worrying about all this ’cause I’m trying to convince my credit union to give me a small loan to purchase some necessary appliances for the new place. I have the income to pay it off in good time, I’m not asking for more than I can reasonably afford to pay back … and I might not get the loan ’cause I don’t dance on the edge of debt every month with a credit card, and I don’t take out loans I don’t need, because it’s stupid and irresponsible to do so.

    And yet, every financial expert tells me that I ought to get a credit card and put everything on it and just make sure I can pay it off on time, and that I ought to keep taking out the exact kind of loan I’m trying to take out (paying it back perfectly, of course, and not too fast), to “build my credit.” But I might not qualify for the loans or the credit cards because … I haven’t already been using them. What, do we have to start on our first credit card at age 5, now?

    …Ahem. Sorry for the rant, this is just really really annoying the crap out of me right now. And there is no. good. justification. for any of this bullshit.

  • Marshall

    #3, “telling lies” … It’s happening already. This is a column by Nat Hentoff, a regular, in our local newspaper:

    … little attention has been paid to the president’s most threatening weapon for cutting health care costs: the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It still remains, causing the administration fury when it’s called a “death panel.”

    Well, it isn’t a lie lie; people do get upset. But let’s pretend Medicare lets your doctor do whatever is in your best interest, cost notwithstanding.

    (In their defense, the paper published “Reform drives GOP mad” in the same space. Balance, of a sort.)

  • http://vmthecoyote.tumblr.com/post/56439695124/names-on-the-internet VMtheCoyote

    …argh. It is infuriating to see that sort of balance, to be honest. It basically fails at the central job of “informing the public.” Readers who are inclined to see the plan as Teh Ebil Obamacare are going to read the one column, nod sagely at Even The Liberal Media admitting that Obamacare is a problem – readers who are not, are going to nod sagely at the column slashing the GOP.

    It’s like interviewing the defending and prosecuting attorneys of a case, and then, rather than publish one factual explanation of what the hell is going on, have one columnist write up The Grand Theft of the Century, and another write up The Crucifixion of an Innocent Man. That’s not information, it’s bloody pandering.

    And it is most definitely a lie. When your job is to tell the truth, telling the half of the truth that makes your side look good is a lie.

  • phantomreader42

    When your job is to tell the truth, telling the half of the truth that makes your side look good is a lie.
    “A lie that is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies”

  • Marshall

    #7, EricW’s comment is worth reading. For one thing, it isn’t clear that Jesus selected this passage for himself.

    I believe by omitting the final verse he is disclaiming the role of Messiah as Conquerer. A new thought for me, maybe that’s why they wanted to throw him off the cliff … that is, I used to think it was for being uppity. But he was already a wonder-worker, maybe his homies had strong expectations for him and took violent exception when he insisted that no, this isn’t the season for vengeance. Fans always hate it when you change your gig.

  • EdinburghEye

    Expect to hear scary stories and urban legends about death panels,
    waiting lists and the “undeserving” — i.e., non-white — somehow stealing
    health coverage that rightly belongs only to real ‘murkans.)

    Quite a few years ago now, I was sitting around with a half dozen white Americans in a waiting room in Canada (why we were all there is not germane – I’m white too by the way, but I have a very noticeable English accent) and the talk, which was general, moved to healthcare.

    Someone asked me, as they do, what was my view of the NHS versus US healthcare?

    And I said obviously that while the NHS had its flaws and faults and was currently suffering from two to three decades of chronic underfunding (it’s suffering a lot worse now) it was still in the top fifteen, could be in the top ten, of healthcare systems in the world, and the key thing seemed to be that it was economic and effective to give everyone in the UK the healthcare they needed free of charge and claim the costs back in taxes. Whereas in the US, I said, not to be offensive, but you spend an awful lot of money and you really don’t seem to get very much for it.

    And there were nods round the room, but then one man said “Yes, but we could never introduce anything like the NHS in here (he meant the US, I think he’d forgotten briefly he was in Canada). We’re too multicultural, you’ve got a much less diverse country.” (London is the most multicultural city in the world.) Silence fell. Nobody else said anything and the subject changed to something else.

    But I’ve thought ever since that what he meant was something like “too many black people.”

  • Fusina

    I have family in Canada and friends in London, and we have discussed NHS vs USH (can I start calling it US Denial of Healthcare, or US DOH!–seems appropriate as the system as it is now seems to be run by Homer Simpson, with a side of Montgomery Burns) and I am still hoping that we get an NHS of our own. Because, when the insurance company denies care to someone that a Doctor deemed necessary, it seems that is practicing medicine without a license, yes? I am still waiting for someone to sue an insurance company for that reason.

  • Charby

    That last bit probably won’t happen. insurance companies don’t practice medicine, they pay for medicine. When they deny care, they’re not really saying, “you can’t have this,” they’re saying, “we won’t pay for you to have this”. It’s not the same as being a doctor, and yes, it’s not something that would go away as a result of a lawsuit, unless you gave the insurance company all the money in the country and required it to fund every conceivable treatment option.

    The good part — the reason why the US desperately needs it — about a single-payer system though is that they have no profit motive, which means that they’ll usually only deny coverage for care for things that are impractical, rather than merely unprofitable.

  • Fusina

    Only, refusing to pay, in many cases, is saying “you can’t have this”. Most people can’t afford medical bills without help from insurance. And yes, I do realize they have their asses firmly covered–probably to keep from needing medical care for the bruises.

  • Charby

    Well, yeah, that’s why we need a single-payer system — because the way we have things set up right now essentially means that the provider and the customer are at cross purposes; the provider doesn’t want to spend too much money because that lowers their profits, but the customer needs that money to, you know, live. Removing the profit motive shifts more of the focus on providing health care. While there will still almost certainly be things that aren’t covered, the decision will be more of a medical and practical one rather than a, “if we cover this for everyone, we won’t make our quarterly profit taget,” decision.

    I was just objecting to the portrayal of health insurance providers as ‘practicing medicine’ when they decide what they do and don’t cover; Aetna isn’t a doctor, just like Geico isn’t an auto mechanic.

  • Fusina

    Well, yes. And I agree completely that insurance providers should be non-profit–single payer would be the current ideal–while not perfect, it is a hella lot better than what we have now.

    I also object to the stock market–yes, it does allow smaller business to make it, but at the same time, it gives them incentive to get the maximum profit from whatever it is they make, while making it as cheaply as possible. It is a dilemma, and I did not study econ in college. I do, however manufacture something, and sell it on occasion. I also worked at a small company where they paid their workers the minimum they could get away with, while the owners were buying second houses and expensive vehicles while crying too poor to give out Christmas bonuses–this was announced at the fancy Christmas party at a very, very nice restaurant. I’d have gladly forgone the party for the (based on the prices I saw) couple hundred they spent for just my and my SO’s food and drink.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    If there was ever a case where punitive damages should make sense to even the most fervent detractor, it should be this. Heck, a few million, pish posh!

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    I’m not clear on what that woman actually sued Equifax for. Defamation of character would seem reasonable.


  • phantomreader42

    Libel probably fits, given that they made statements about her in writing that were false, that they KNEW to be false, and that caused her demonstrable harm.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    I have to imagine the hardest thing about something like Operation Cross Country would be allowing those children to continue being harmed while you gather all the evidence and get everything in order. That must be heart-breaking.

  • Amaryllis

    “Willie Reed (Louis) died last week at the age of 76.”

    The last bleak news of the ballad.
    The rest of the rugged music.
    The last quatrain.