7 things @ 11 o’clock (8.2)

1. The good news: The Obama administration on Wednesday auctioned off the right to construct wind turbines in “nearly 165,000 acres of federal waters south of Massachusetts and Rhode Island — the first of many offshore auctions the Interior Department has planned.” The bad news: That still means the United States won’t have any functioning offshore wind farms producing electricity until at best 2018. This really is embarrassing.

2. Dahlia Lithwick looks at the law being decided/concocted in recent conflicting court decisions on whether or not corporations have souls. Part of what’s so depressing about the legal singularity — in which we are taken over and replaced by artificial legal constructs rather than by artificially intelligent robots — is that we’re so eager to surrender. The Terminator was a formidable foe intent on seizing control of the world. Corporations, by contrast, only have as much power as we consent to allow them. But that makes them very powerful, indeed, since we apparently are willing to all them to have all of it.

3. Yesterday we noted that 18th-century ideas about poverty such as “the lower classes must be kept poor or they will never be industrious” may be rejected by the consensus of smart and/or decent people, but they’re still quite popular. Here, for example, is Donald Trump: “People don’t work, they don’t have to work, they get better benefits if they take it easy.” And here is Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wisc., telling some nuns to stop complaining about his efforts to slash the budget for food stamps, “What is the church doing wrong that they have to come to the government to get so much help?” If there is a consensus among smart and decent people, neither Trump nor Ribble is a part of that consensus.

4.100 Great Science Fiction Stories by Women.” Adds another page to the ever-growing syllabus. My first reaction was “Where’s ‘The Screwfly Solution’?” But this is just a list of great stories, it’s not a competition for the 100 greatest, plus it follows a one-story-per-author rule, so my second reaction was, “These folks think ‘And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side’ is better than ‘Screwfly’? I’m gonna have to read that.”

(Link via Open Culture, which notes that 20 of these stories can be read online for free.)

5. Ads we’d like to see, from Molly Schoemann:

I hope I live to see the following commercial: A man stands at the kitchen sink and cuts through greasy buildup on a pile of pots and pans with only one squirt of dishwasher liquid. He does not act as though doing the dishes is a confusing and foreign experience for him, one which he is sure to incompetently screw up, with hilarious results. He does not appear to feel demeaned by the task, nor is it implied that he is doing it grudgingly, in exchange for a reward of sexual favors. Rather, he gets an enormous satisfaction out of the dish-washing experience itself, as most women in commercials do. As he hangs up the dish towel, he smiles like he’s just been awarded the key to the city, and maybe even fist-bumps a floating apparition of Mr. Clean.

6. Michael Bresciani of the anti-gay religious right group Renew America is warning that President Obama is the abomination that causes desolation and that he will impose Big Gay Sharia — some kind of alternating days scheme, apparently, incorporating both “the free for all of the LGBT with parades and open shows in  media and public” and “Sharia law … led by Jihadists.” Bresciani would likely be terrified of this video from Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress:

YouTube Preview Image

For folks like Bresciani, “free for all” is a description of a nightmare. For folks like Ellison, “free for all” is an ideal to be celebrated.

7. Happy birthday to Chris the Cynic! (It’s tomorrow, actually, but I’m a negligent blogger on weekends.)

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  • aunursa

    I don’t recall a case in which the Supreme Court determined that the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment apply only to individuals.

  • Jim Roberts

    Broadly true, but one could just as easily say that the Supreme Court has never ruled that lawn furniture lacks First Amendment rights.

  • aunursa

    No doubt that issue will be raised the next time patio chairs file a lawsuit.

    And the Supreme Court on many occasions has indicated that First Amendment protections are not limited to individuals.
    For example…

    New York Times Co. v Sullivan (1964)
    Red Lion Broadcasting Co. v. FCC (1968)
    Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC (2012)

  • Jim Roberts

    Or someone files on their behalf.
    Credenzas of the world unite!

  • lowtechcyclist

    The credenzas should form a rock band to get the word out.

    They could call it “Credenza Clearwater Revival.”

  • JustoneK

    I hate you for getting that out first. :P

  • themunck

    Well, technically no corporation has filed one either, only people representing one has. I’m with Jim Roberts on this one.

  • aunursa

    I think you’re mistaken.

    New York Times files lawsuit
    The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, names New York Times reporters Charlie Savage and Scott Shane as plaintiffs along with the newspaper.

  • Lori

    So which part of the newspaper filed the suit? A stack of the Sunday edition? One of the printing presses? The main server?

  • gocart mozart

    Someone sued the newspaper for the actions of two of its reporters.

  • Lori

    My point is just that aunursa’s hairsplitting is annoying and not particularly helpful.

  • aunursa

    The reason that I maintain such “hairsplitting” as you call it is that many people upset over the idea that the First Amendment protects the rights of corporations act as if the notion that anyone other than individuals enjoyed such rights didn’t exist prior to Citizens United v FEC.

  • Lori

    And the reason I find your hairsplitting unhelpful and annoying is that you persist in acting as if Citizens United didn’t change anything or that there is no way to deny the kind of personhood claims that corporations are now making without taking away freedom of the press and the ability of churches to be churches. Neither of those things is true.

    We get it. You hate the ACA and don’t care what else happens as long as it’s thrown out or gutted. It’s less annoying when you just own your terrible shit and don’t try to act like there’s a real principle involved.

  • aunursa

    I regret that I don’t understand your point.

    I do not claim that Citizens United didn’t change anything. I was not aware that corporations are now claiming to be persons. And I don’t understand what shit I am failing to own up to.

  • Lori

    Every time this comes up your response is Newspapers! Churches! Blah, blah, blah. The rather strong implication is that everyone needs to just suck it up because corporations have always had these rights. If you’re not doing that intentionally then you may want to reconsider your responses to this issue.

  • aunursa

    I’m sorry that you don’t like the fact that I may respond to the assertion that the Citizens United decision introduced the concept that entities other than individuals enjoy First Amendment rights. I am not going to stop issuing such a response because you don’t like it.

  • Lori

    Way to miss the point in your typical asshat, your not the boss of me fashion.

  • aunursa

    Either you don’t like the fact that I respond or you don’t like the argument that I use to respond. I don’t really care which it is. If I preceded my comments on this blog with the thought, “Oh, gee. Will Lori approve of this?”, my contributions would pretty much be limited to Friday afternoons. (Which I’m sure would please many.)

  • Lori

    Again, not the point.

  • aunursa

    Whatever.

  • themunck

    *gently facepalms* Way to miss the point. That lawsuit was typed out by someone working for the institution, and most likely dictated by someone else. When the SCOTUS ruled on Brown vs Board of Education, that board represented by actual people, not a literal board.

  • aunursa

    The New York Times Company, through its agents or representatives, filed the lawsuit. The decision names the company as litigant. The decision affects the First Amendment rights of the company, not its agents.

    Let me know when an agent or representative of a sofa files a lawsuit on behalf of the furniture.

  • themunck

    Which was my point. A human, representing the furniture, could act as an agent and file a lawsuit on its behalf.

  • aunursa

    But it hasn’t happened yet. And I’m not holding my breath that such a lawsuit is imminent, or that a court will entertain such a suit.

    And on the other hand, we have hundreds of cases in which a corporation has filed a lawsuit, through its representatives, for First Amendment protections, and in which the courts have ruled in favor of the corporation.

  • Mark Z.

    Courts routinely entertain suits against inanimate objects, in asset forfeiture. It’s only a matter of time before the inanimate object files an appeal.

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

    I’ve always wondered why it is nobody has yet hired a lawyer to try and beat back this tendency of the US government to seize all and sundry just because they THINK someone is a drug dealer. (which is where most forfeitures happen)

  • Mark Z.

    They have. Unfortunately–get this–if they think you’re a drug dealer, they can seize the legal fees you paid your lawyer. Which will result in your lawyer’s assets being frozen while federal marshals audit their books. Not surprisingly, this makes it hard to find a lawyer who will seriously push back against a forfeiture case.

    (Notice the careful distinction they make. If it’s a “sham transaction” intended to shelter the money from seizure, “forfeiture may be pursued”. But if it’s a bona fide payment of legal fees for representation in a civil case, then “forfeiture may be pursued”. But what about a bona fide payment of legal fees for criminal defense? Ah, well, in that case, “forfeiture may be pursued”. The only limitation is that your attorney has to have known that your money was subject to forfeiture–which, being an attorney with federal experience, they will. IOW, the policy is designed to deter attorneys from representing people accused of forfeitable offenses.)

  • aunursa

    I oppose asset forfeiture in cases where the suspect has not been convicted.

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

    That sounds like heads we win, tails we win. (-_-)

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    It may have already happened at least once. Apparently there is a case called “1962 Ford Thunderbird v. Division of Narcotic Control.” I can find two references to it, including one in “Strauss’s Federal Drug Laws and Judicial Review.” The other one may have been in Am. Jur. 2d in 1981, but I cannot verify that.

    ETA: If you throw in a “Serial #ZY87Z155562,” I can find a third reference, from McGill University’s law journal.

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

    The whole idea of suing inanimate property or inanimate property suing anyone/thing is beyond absurd. (-_-)

    And now asset forfeiture has wafted north of the border, with various provincial governments horning in on the action of pre-emptively seizing assets before the trial’s even over.

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

    Given that the US government has actually sued physical property as a way to end-around restrictions on the use of asset forfeiture…

  • Michael Pullmann

    Actually, it affects the rights of the company *and* its agents, both because two of its agents are co-plaintiffs, and because companies cannot take any actions in and of themselves, being mere legal fictions, and thus any actions done in a company’s name are, in fact, done by people.

  • aunursa

    But the company receives the First Amendment protections. When the agents retire and the company has new employees, the company continues to receive the same First Amendment protections.

  • Jim Roberts

    And I don’t disagree with the notion that companies should have some of the First Amendment rights afforded to individuals. They are, after all, an aggregation of individuals and so should have that right. The question isn’t just, “can companies avail themselves of the First Amendement?”, the question is, “does a company count exactly as a person for the purposes of the law?”

  • aunursa

    I am not aware of any decision in which a court addressed the idea that a company counts exactly as a person.

  • Jim Roberts

    Yet. Give it time. You’re really quite right – corporations are getting more and more and more rights. If I saw that the same was happening for people in the same areas, I wouldn’t be leery about it.

  • aunursa

    corporations are getting more and more and more rights

    The way I would put it is that the courts are more and more recognizing that corporations and other entities are entitled to certain rights.

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

    No – courts are more and more deciding that corporations and other entities are entitled to certain rights. And a lot of us disagree with that ongoing process.

  • Michael Pullmann

    And so do the retired agents. Hell, if the company vanished in a poof of logic, everyone who formerly worked there would still have the same First Amendment protections.
    .
    Put another way: Corporations don’t have rights because they’re people. They have rights because they’re made up of people, who have rights.

  • gocart mozart

    The people who work for the company receive the first am protections.

  • gocart mozart

    I’m sure there have been many lawsuits filed against the Lazy-Boy Company.

  • aunursa

    Let me know when a lawsuit is filed against a Lazy-Boy chair.

  • Jon Maki
  • gocart mozart

    Corporations sue and get sued all the time. In NYT v. Sullivan, the paper was sued as an employer of the two reporters who were accused of defamation.

  • lowtechcyclist

    “No doubt that issue will be raised the next time patio chairs file a lawsuit.”

    “And no one heard at all, not even the chair.”
    -Neil Diamond

    “Barca-Lounger on Line 2, Mr. Diamond.”
    -Dave Barry

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

    The problem is that phantom “personhood” has convenient contract law benefits, but all manner of “persons” have been eagerly pushing those limits to the point where they basically want all the benefits of legally being considered human beings and none of the drawbacks or responsibilities. (>_<)

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I don’t know how the case will ultimately play out, but I don’t see how companies can claim religious freedom to deny equal access to health care coverage (as defined by the EEOC) and still be required to follow any other employment or anti-discrimination laws. Way beyond my support for the contraception mandate, I fear a ruling for Hobby Lobby and the rest would set a terrifying precedent.

  • aunursa

    I’ve made no secret that I oppose the ACA. I think it’s outrageous that the government assumed the authority to require that employers offer health insurance coverage to their employees.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I oppose the ACA, because it’s a crap program designed to enrich the insurance companies.

    I prefer single-payer. Then we wouldn’t have these problems.

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

    I have to wonder how many people squalling about the ACA requiring the provision of health insurance have absolutely zero beef with laws that require getting car insurance when you own and operate a vehicle.

  • aunursa

    1. Auto insurance is a state requirement. The federal government has no authority to require motorists to carry auto insurance.

    2. The state requires motorists to carry those coverages (property damage, bodily injury) that protect other people from damages caused by the insured’s vehicle. Unlike the health insurance mandate, auto insurance coverages that protect the motorist (comprehensive, collision, medical, uninsured motorist) are optional.

    3. One can avoid auto insurance coverage requirements simply by not owning or driving a vehicle on public roads. By contrast, no resident can escape the provisions of the ACA short of moving to another country.

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

    Considering that a goodish chunk of the unemployed are already eligible for Medicaid even by pre-ACA standards, your indignant sqwawking just sounds like a lot of hot air, especially as your piffle about state vs federal is hairsplitting.

    And your hairsplitting about “protecting other people” isn’t really germane:

    Car insurance is all about keeping yourself financially whole against the car accident you fully expect not to have.

    Health insurance is all about keeping yourself financially whole against the sickness or injury you fully expect not to have.

    In that respect the two insurance regimes are functionally identical as to their consequential effects.

  • aunursa

    Health insurance protects the insured, not others. By contrast, auto insurance minimum coverage requirements guarantee financial reimbursement to other people for damage for which the insured is liable.

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

    Semantic hairsplitting.

  • aunursa

    It’s not semantics. I identified three fundamental differences between current auto insurance requirements and federal health insurance mandates.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Of course health insurance protects other people from the costs of one’s own illnesses and injuries; that’s what the whole free rider issue is about.

  • aunursa

    The ACA doesn’t prevent free riders. On the contrary, it mandates coverage for those who can’t afford it.

    For those who can afford to pay for insurance and choose not to, that could be solved by mandating a bare-bones catastrophic coverage plan. But the ACA prohibits catastrophic plans.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Who’s the free rider in this scenario? The people getting subsidies to pay for insurance, the people paying a penalty in lieu of insurance, someone else? I’m not following your point.

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

    It has to do with the equivalent in car insurance. What happens is some people figure they don’t need to run with car insurance*, since they don’t plan on getting into an accident, and even if they do, the “other guy is insured”.

    Of course, what inevitably happens is the odds go against the uninsured person every now and then, and the insurance company that just had to pay a fat $1 million check to the other person wants its money back, so it sues the uninsured person.

    Chances are many to one the uninsured has a crappy minimum wage job and will never be able to repay that money.

    So the monetary loss ends up being eaten, written off, and the taxpayers indirectly pay for it in the end due to the lowered corporate tax revenue from the insurance company.

    EDIT: So the analogy is that in health insurance, a person who goes uninsured would end up needing to be covered ultimately at government expense, which is fine if they’re on Medicaid, but if not, then the hospital eats the cost, writes it off, and yadda yadda.

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

    Goddamnit, I forgot the star again.

    * What some people do is take out insurance, get the card, pay the first month then cancel the policy. If they get pulled over it looks like they hvae valid insurance to the cop who is just visually checking for obvious moving violations and isn’t going to cross-check in detail.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Sure, but aunursa claims, “The ACA doesn’t prevent free riders. On the contrary, it mandates coverage for those who can’t afford it.” So who is he saying the free rider is under the ACA?

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

    Did you see the edit to my reply to you?

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Yes. But aren’t you referring to uninsured people? The only uninsured people* under the ACA are paying a penalty instead of getting insurance, so aren’t free riders in the typical sense- they are still contributing to the pot.

    *This is not 100% true, but the number will be vastly smaller than pre-ACA.

  • Lori

    Health insurance protects the insured, not others.

    This is not entirely true. I trust that you’re aware of the concept of infectious disease and the fact that people who are ill with contagious diseases and do not receive treatment are more likely to pass their illnesses on to others.

  • aunursa

    That’s partly true. On the one hand, others who become infected are covered for treatment on their own insurance. On the other hand, it may be preferable to treat the uninsured in order to prevent the spreading of the illness in the first place.

  • dpolicar

    Er… perhaps I am misunderstanding you.

    It sounds like you’re saying you’re indifferent between not getting sick in the first place, and getting sick and having the treatment for that illness covered on your insurance. At least, that’s the only way I can make sense of your on-the-one-hand/on-the-other-hand ambivalence.

    Did I get that right?

    For my own part, I would far prefer to not get sick in the first place, so if treating the uninsured prevents the spreading of illnesses, that’s definitely preferable.

    That is leaving aside the whole “do I prefer that other people get medical treatment when they’re sick?” thing, of course.

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

    The question becomes rather academic under single-payer, for obvious reasons.

  • dpolicar

    I’m mostly curious here about aunursa’s preferences.

    That said, sure, given a system whereby everyone gets medical treatment for their infectious diseases (which is what I assume you mean “single-payer” to include here, though of course there are lots of possible single-payer options that don’t have this property), the question is academic.

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

    Well, the Canadian system would deem any infectious disease a medically necessary coverable condition, for obvious reasons.

  • aunursa

    Did I get that right?

    No. I would prefer not to get sick. The fact that one person has a communicable illness doesn’t necessarily mean that another person will catch it from him.

  • J_Enigma32

    Unless, say, that illness is something like Ebola. If you get into contact with someone who has it, the only thing that’s guaranteed to save you is an immunity to it, genetically speaking. The aerosol version is infectious as breathable 0.8mm to 1.2mm droplets in the air. About the only “perk” with Ebola is that this sucker is so virulent, it tends to kill off the host before it can spread, and it’s a 1000x slower on the genetic speed dial than, say, influenza.

    That’s an extreme example, granted, but even something as mundane as the flu killed off as much as the 5% of the world’s population back in 1918.

    The bubonic plague, which hasn’t gone away mind you, killed anywhere from 30-60% Europe’s population and reduced the world’s population by as much as 100,000,000 people when it first popped up.

    Viruses change fast; they mutate frighteningly fast. You play the lotto enough and eventually strike a winning combination – each generation for a virus is a new swing at the lotto. It doesn’t take much imagination to see a virus that becomes virulent very quickly spreading all over the world very quickly.

  • Alix

    And, y’know, it’s not like these are diseases that never touch American shores. Bubonic plague is enough of a problem in New Mexico still that I was explicitly warned about it coming onto campus there. I live in the same area of Northern Virginia where a strain of Ebola (fortunately not one that affects humans) was discovered in some monkeys. The flu hardly needs elaborating on, though people keep forgetting that it’s a damn serious disease.

  • P J Evans

    They closed a bunch of campgrounds in California just a week or so back, because a plague-carrying squirrel turned up. It’s a real problem here – there’s a case of it every couple of years in humans.

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

    I was a bit floored back in the 1990s when a couple of people talked about diseases long thought to be extinct coming back in Canada and the US. I was like “WTF? We *wiped out* these diseases!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Snape/100001971991197 Jane Snape

    That’s what happens when evil beings like Andrew Wakefield — whose original motivation was promoting his own vaccine — start playing into the fears of the scientifically-ignorant/averse New Age/Waldorf crowd.

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

    Apparently another factor is global warming increasing the spread of insects known to spread certain diseases. (-_-)

  • We Must Dissent

    There are also large reservoirs of plague in the wild rodent populations of the western US itself.

  • Alix

    I’m pretty sure that’s the situation in Santa Fe – it was the ground squirrels we were explicitly warned about approaching.

  • We Must Dissent

    For some reason I read “New Mexico” as “Northern Mexico”.

  • Alix

    Funny story: when I first applied for college out in Santa Fe, my mom got very worried and quiet but wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. Finally, one day, she blurted out that she didn’t see how I could go there since my passport was out of date and I didn’t speak Spanish.

    Apparently, when I said “New Mexico” she had a brain fart and didn’t hear the “New.” Once she realized I wasn’t leaving the States she got very excited and insisted on coming out with me to have a little mini vacation before the school year started. (She’s a literature teacher.)

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

    If I have a contagious disease, you’d better hope my insurance covers other people. :p

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    “Health insurance protects the insured, not others.”
    No. There are certain obvious ways in which it is to my benefit that other people have health insurance. It is to my benefit that other people be current on their immunizations. It is to my benefit that others be able to visit their doctor for tests when they’ve caught some bug instead of walking around untreated, possibly passing on a serious infection to all they meet.
    In a more abstract manner, it is to my benefit that others be in a situation where they can go and get medical care at the onset of a health problem, instead of trying to tough it out as the uninsured are prone to do. Health problems a usually far more difficult to treat when people wait, and the prognosis is often poor. A broken leg can heal nicely with timely x-rays and a cast. If the person waits too long, they may be permanently disabled. Guess who gets to finance that person’s disability benefits? Taxpayers. For a condition that would most likely not have existed if only the person had had health insurance.
    No, Aunursa. This is where conservatives get things wrong. It is to everyone’s benefit that everyone have affordable health care.

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

    This. American conservatives seem to think the maxim “penny-wise and pound-foolish” is a good thing.

  • Guest

    Don’t forget that it’s to the employers’ benefit that workers are healthy, because healthy people are capable of their best work, being full of energy and not distracted by pain or annoying coughs. Healthy workers are productive workers. Productive workers increase company profits.

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

    Right now, it would seem they’ve concluded that it’s easier to fire an unproductive worker and collect another one from the hundreds of applications for that same position than to worry for a minute about employee retention.

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

    Then they conclude that high unemployment is the fault of those sweet, sweet welfare benefits.

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

    It totally is. If we just accepted our lot as slaves to be used up to shambling husks and then thrown away where we die gracefully in the nearest gutter, the economy would improve so much.

    Well, that’s pretty much the gist of the letter a Republican out of Montana sent his constituents.

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

    As far as protecting other people goes, there’s the factor of spreading sickness to be considered. If people can’t take time off work, or can’t afford to go see a doctor, they’re just going to try and work through their illnesses, which means more infection.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Snape/100001971991197 Jane Snape

    Avoiding #3 is pretty darned tough for those folks whose daily commutes are more than forty miles round trip. Especially if they live in areas with few, bad, or no mass transit options.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Or pay a penalty instead. But that’s not what’s being argued in these cases, is it?

  • aunursa

    I don’t believe so. The plaintiffs in these cases are arguing that they shouldn’t be required to offer health insurance that covers certain products and services.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    That’s what I thought. So I’m not sure how pointing out general opposition to the law serves as a response to concern for how these religious freedom cases ultimately play out. (Unless the point is that a better law would avoid these questions altogether?)

  • aunursa

    Being strongly opposed to the entire law, I am unsympathetic to arguments asserting a right to force any employer to cover specific procedures required by the law. The ACA is the cause of the dispute in the first place.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Two things:

    1) While employers had more leeway on whether to offer coverage pre-ACA, it was already determined in 2000 that any prescription plan that doesn’t include contraception access violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And most if not all of the companies now suing over the ACA had no problem meeting that standard before.

    2) Are you equally unsympathetic to arguments asserting a right to force employers to meet the standards set out by labor, employment and anti-discrimination laws? If not (and getting back to my original point in this thread), are you concerned about the precedent the lawsuits in question could set if the contraception mandate is struck down?

  • aunursa

    Are you equally unsympathetic to arguments asserting a right to force employers to meet the standards set out by labor, employment and anti-discrimination laws?

    I am sympathetic to those arguments.

    are you concerned about the precedent the lawsuits in question could set if the contraception mandate is struck down?

    No. I would be concerned if companies offered different insurance coverage options based on an employee’s race, religion, sexual orientation or marital status. If the company, (presumably based on a religious doctrine) refuses to offer birth control or childbirth coverage to unmarried employees but does offer such coverage to married employees, that would be a big problem. But I’m not concerned if the company chooses to offer the same coverage options to all employees.

  • Lori

    The law in it’s infinite wisdom prevents men as well as women from receiving insurance coverage for well woman visits and prescription birth control.

  • aunursa

    Which law? The ACA?

  • Lori

    You are many annoying things, but you are not this slow.

    What you are arguing is that it’s fine for employer health coverage to differentially deny care to women as long as it’s phrased as denying care to everyone, never mind that the coverage in questions doesn’t effect men.

  • aunursa

    Yes. It would be acceptable to me if a company is allowed to offer health insurance coverage options that exclude a product, service, or procedure that is only used by one gender. If a company wants to exclude coverage for penile circumcision, I would support the company’s right to make that decision

  • Lori

    Well sure, because not having insurance coverage for circumcision is just like not having coverage for many of the basic components of health care.

  • aunursa

    Not offering insurance coverage for circumcision is like not offering insurance coverage for other health care benefits.

  • Lori

    Says a person whose basic health care needs aren’t being denied coverage.

  • Lori

    So it’s totally fine with you if employers set up their insurance to cover treatment for uterine and ovarian cancer, but not prostate cancer or to cover reiki, but not antibiotics?

  • aunursa

    Yes. It’s acceptable to me for employers to choose which insurance plans and coverages to offer all of their employees.

  • Lori

    Have you ever bothered to ask yourself why those aren’t the issues that are coming before the court, why women are the only ones corporations have a religious need to screw over and what that implies or are you just so male privilege selfish and ACA blind that you don’t give a fuck?

  • aunursa

    Your question is heavily loaded. And I don’t accept the dilemma you are offering me as the only two valid choices.

  • Lee B.

    So the latter, then.

  • aunursa

    No. I don’t accept the two choices you are offering me.

  • Lee B.

    Exactly. By trying to reject both choices, you are actually choosing the latter.

  • aunursa

    No. By rejecting the two choices, I am explicitly not choosing either one. You’re not the first person who has claimed that if I don’t answer a certain question “yes” or “no”, you will assume an answer. I definitively reject any choice that you try to force on me.

  • Lori

    So answer the revised question.

  • Lee B.

    Look, it’s not that complicated. There’s two choices, A and B. “None of the above” has the same result as B, so rejecting both options is functionally identical to choosing B (except that it allows you to continue lying to yourself).

  • aunursa

    No. I reject A. I reject B. I reject “None of the above.” In short, I reject the validity of Lori’s question; therefore I choose not to answer it, and I expressly reject any answer that anyone tries to apply to me.

  • Lee B.

    …and unexamined male privilege remains unexamined.

  • Lori

    Fine. Strip off the part about your male privilege and your ACA blindness and answer the rest of the question. Why are women the only ones corporations feel the religious need to screw over, why is that OK and what does that say about the supposed principles involved?

  • aunursa

    No. Your question

    Why are women the only ones corporations feel the religious need to screw over, why is that OK and what does that say about the supposed principles involved?

    remains loaded. I choose not to answer a question that includes assumptions that I may not share.

  • Lori

    Oh your poor, delicate sensibilities.

    Fine again. Rephrase the question to so as not to offend yourself and then answer it. Why is women’s health the only thing corporations are claiming a religious right not to cover, what does this say about the principles that are being claimed as the basis for these suits and why is it acceptable to have this kind of de facto gender discrimination?

  • aunursa

    Oh your poor, delicate sensibilities.

    F*@# you!

    Why is women’s health the only thing corporations are claiming a religious right not to cover?

    Corporations are not claiming a religious right not to cover women’s health. Some religious-based employers are claiming a right not to cover certain products, procedures, and services that are used exclusively by women. You seem to be assuming that the real reason (wink, wink) for the claimed exemption is a hostility to women or a desire to control women, rather than an employer’s bona-fide religious belief.

  • Lori

    I would say fuck you right back but that’s not a mental image I need when dealing with you.

    I am not assuming anything (wink, wink you obnoxious jackass). I want you to give your view on why the only products, procedures and services that corporations are claiming a religious exemption from covering are used exclusively by women.

  • aunursa

    I want you to give your view

    Your condescending attitude has angered me. And that’s an emotion that I’ve generally avoided here, even when reading thousands of items and comments on this blog with which I disagree; even when reading numerous personal attacks that were more severe than what you’ve leveled at me.

    I choose not to share a personal opinion. (And I explicitly reject any opinion that you try to apply to me as a result of my decision, or for whatever reason.)

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

    Your condescending attitude has angered me.

    That’s rich. That’s really, really, rich. Coming from you, of all people.

  • Lee B.

    So that’s all it takes to piss him off—someone not demonstrating the proper fealty?

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

    Apparently. For aunursa is always right, according to his lights, it would seem.

  • aunursa

    If I am upset, I will get over it by the next thread. To carry anger beyond the end of the day would mean that I am too thin-skinned. By holding a grudge, I would only be harming myself. I couldn’t imagine staying all bent out of shape over a perceived slight for an entire month.

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

    Thus spake someone who’s lived the white, straight male existence in the United States of America and who has never had to deal with social or cultural prejudices against their skin color or sexuality or gender, or who have been threatened or silenced by bullies who can use those prejudices to get what the bullies want.

    You can afford to get over it “by the next thread”. The offence against you does not directly contradict your personal, lived experiences. It does not contradict your visceral understanding of how social and cultural prejudices have been used as a silencing tactic or as methods to reinforce the second-class status of people of color, of non-straight sexualities, of women. You can afford to have a memory like a goldfish because it doesn’t affect you. Unfortunately, those who are affected do not have that luxury of a short memory.

    In this very thread you have been quoted examples of how women are not being treated properly or equitably by some companies bent on throwing them under the bus in their war on Obamacare, and you have blithely waved your hand and insisted that it is of no concern of yours, in complete un-selfconscious lack of awareness of how out of touch you are.

    You’ve been doing a fine job of siding with the great against the powerless.

  • aunursa

    I side with the powerful when the powerful is right.
    I side with the powerless when the powerless is right.

  • Lori

    Funny how we never see that 2nd one.

  • aunursa

    Oh, please! Many times I’ve expressed support for the powerless here.

  • Lori

    Oh yeah, that’s totally what you’re known for here. If you mention the name aunursa to anyone who reads here on the regular they would no doubt mention your frequent support for the powerless.

    Oh wait, I get it now. When you say you support the powerless here you mean that you’re nice to people you (internet) know. At least as long as that support doesn’t interfere with your politics. People you don’t know are entirely on their damn own. Fuck ’em.

  • aunursa

    Perhaps you misread my comment. I didn’t say it was more for the powerless than the powerful. I’ve offered over 2000 comments here since Disqus started counting, and thousands more before Disqus.

  • Lori

    Ah. You so totally supported the powerless that one time, so there hah!

    Guess you told me.

  • aunursa

    Whatever.

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

    Cite three.

  • aunursa

    I’ll cite one. On this very thread. Here.

    And I’ve consistently expressed support for our host’s posts regarding banks who treat their customers as ATMs with unconscionable fees and practices. There are many other times, but I’m not going to go back. If you wish, going forward I’ll make a note in each comment in which I stand with the wrongfully-suffering powerless over the malevolent powerful.

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

    So, we’ve got bank customers as one group. I’ll give you that. And then there’s a kinda-sorta regarding people who haven’t yet been convicted of a crime, but it ignores the fact that certain groups are more likely to get arrested and charged in the first place.

    So, one and a half. That’s certainly not enough to justify your huffy, “Oh, please!”

    ETA: The reason I asked you to cite three powerless groups was not arbitrary. “Many” has to be more than two.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    When the powerful are right, I assume they can take care of themselves, and take a nap.

  • aunursa

    has never had to deal with social or cultural prejudices against their skin color or sexuality or gender

    I have had to deal with social and cultural prejudices against my religion.

    But I don’t bring up my experiences in order to beat over the head someone of a different belief system who disagrees with me regarding an instance of social and cultural prejudice. That would very petty of me, to get all bent out of shape because someone questioned me regarding an instance of anti-Semitism. Or if I were to hold my religious identity as a certification making me the final never-to-be-questioned authority regarding any event that I deem to be a example of prejudice against someone who shares my faith.

  • Lori

    I don’t think so. I have never demonstrated the “proper” fealty to him and his opinions, but apparently today my lack is an especially big problem. So either aunursa has personal issues today (gas, constipation & bloating perhaps) or he’s more thin-skinned on this issue than others.

    By aunursa’s lights it would be horribly untoward for me to offer an opinion on which is the case, so I’ll leave that to others.

  • Isabel C.

    Internet Vulcan, man.

  • Lori

    even when reading numerous personal attacks that were more severe than what you’ve leveled at me.

    So your current state of great offense must therefore say more about you or the topic than it does about me. Do you wonder why that is?

    I choose not to share a personal opinion.

    Color me shocked. As others have noted, you have a really hard time coming out from behind your habitual distancing language.

    And I explicitly reject any opinion that you try to apply to me as a result of my decision, or for whatever reason.)

    Of course you do.

    If you’re not going to state your views and you are going to get pissy because people infer your views then you probably shouldn’t comment on this issue any more.

  • aunursa

    So your current state of great offense must therefore say more about you or the topic than it does about me.

    I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise, since your mind is made up.

    you have a really hard time coming out from behind your habitual distancing language.

    On certain issues I am very upfront about my views. On other issues, I choose to keep my opinions to myself.

    you probably shouldn’t comment on this issue any more.

    Nonsense. There are many issues on which I’ve contributed to the discussion without sharing my personal opinion. There are even some issues on which I’ve not developed a personal opinion (hard as that may be to believe.) I’ll feel free to continue to comment on this or any other issue, and you’re free to respond … or not.

  • Lori

    You are such a piece of work.

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

    Considering how little sensitivity you’ve shown for perspectives not your own, that was really freakin’ classy (not).

    And I’m reminded again of why I keep limiting my interactions with you.

  • aunursa

    I’m not upset with anyone for a lack of sensitivity to my perspective. If I were to get all bent out of shape merely because someone disagreed with my personal opinion, that would make me pretty thin-skinned.

  • AnonaMiss

    Hormonal birth control is the only treatment available, or in some cases the only non-invasive treatment, for a number of reproductive health problems women can have. Including endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc. When there is only one kind of treatment available for a condition, refusing to cover that kind of treatment is also a refusal to cover that condition.

    I can’t see how refusing to cover a set of conditions which only women are subject to could possibly not be a civil rights issue, any more than refusing to cover sickle cell anemia could be.

  • Lori

    Also Hobby Freakin’ Lobby is not a religious-based employer. They’re a hobby store. What they’re claiming is that the corporation somehow has the same religious beliefs as the owners and should enjoy the same religious freedoms as the owners. Among the freedoms they are claiming is the right to refuse to include comprehensive health care coverage for their female employees in the insurance coverage which all their employees receive as part of their total compensation.

    Nobody cares whether the owner’s religious beliefs are bona-fide or not. We only care whether or not the corporation is allowed to claim to have a religion and then to use that claim to effectively reduce the compensation of only its female employees. .

  • Kubricks_Rube

    That still doesn’t answer the question involved in these lawsuits, which is not- no matter how much you want it to be- about whether companies can be required to provide a certain level of health coverage. The question at hand is whether a company is able to exempt itself from laws (independent of your opinion of those laws) because of the religious beliefs of that company’s management.

    What reason do you have, beyond supporting one regulation and opposing the other, to think that a win for Hobby Lobby on this issue wouldn’t open the door for them to discriminate religiously when hiring or firing or offering promotions?

  • aunursa

    I don’t follow your leap from an exemption for Hobby Lobby from being required to offer a certain insurance coverage to an exemption for Hobby Lobby from employment discrimination laws.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I expect that ultimately, from a judicial standpoint, you are right; if the court does rule in favor of religious exemptions for law A, they won’t extend that to laws B, C and D. I’m just not sure why the principle wouldn’t be the same.

  • Lori

    It’s called a distinction without a difference and it has a long and “proud’ tradition in SCOTUS decision making. The Justices will do what Justices have done many times—they’ll decided what outcome they want (in this case corporate religion as excuse for refusing to follow the ACA, but not as an excuse for other kinds of religious discrimination), then they’ll find some little nothing detail that applies to health insurance, but not hiring and they’ll use that little detail as a scaffold to hold up their otherwise nonsensical argument. And then the usual suspects will declare themselves the Only True Originalists and they’ll all go home.

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

    Penile circumcision isn’t even always medically necessary. It’s an elective surgery sometimes, particularly when performed upon newborns.

    Here’s a much more germane example: How about refusal of coverage for erectile dysfu– oh wait. Insurance companies have practically been leaping to find justifications to cover it because there’s a sweetheart deal in it for them from Pfizer.

    Meanwhile women have to fight tooth and goddamn nail sometimes to get the Pill covered.

  • aunursa

    I would support the right of a company to exclude erectile disfunction issues from the coverage options it offers its employers. I would support the right of a company to exclude circumcision coverage, whether medically necessary or optional.

  • Lori

    It’s easy to support those things when you know they’re not actually going to happen. It’s easy to support gender discrimination in insurance coverage when you know it’s not your gender that’s going to get the gummy end of that stick.

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

    The point is, society and its agents have fallen all over themselves repeatedly to provide comfort and succour to men and male issues – male baldness for example*, and erectile issues as another example.

    Yet womem and female issues have repeatedly been shrugged off, given short shrift and ignored even though those issues are just as important to women as the male-type issues are for men.
    The hypocrisy is evident: Viagra is readily insured as are medical consultations thereof.

    Yet people are routinely attempting to interfere with getting the Pill insured, or for that matter other sorts of methods of reproductive control that women can make use of (e.g. long-term implants, fallopian tube surgery, etc).

    So what I’m driving at here is that nobody should be batting an eye at what reproductive coverage is given to women, yet we routinely see battles over that as a thinly disguised rearguard action against Obamacare.

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

    Oh, the star thing?

    * Male baldness treatment is the only reason a drug that effectively combatted sleeping sickness in the Third World was put back into production, because the active ingredient in it helps hair growth.

  • themunck

    Out of academic interest, which drug?

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

    I forget exactly which, but ISTR the drug was dropped in 1991 because the company couldn’t keep making it (Surprise, you can’t charge $500 a pill in Tanzania), and then it roared back in 1999 when old rich white guys wanted more hair on their heads. I’ll do a little checking and see if I can turn anything up.

  • Lori

    Are you thinking of Vaniqa? It eliminates facial hair growth in women (as opposed to promoting hair growth for men) and also treats sleeping sickness.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eflornithine

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

    Maybe, but I do seem to recall the drug was a male pattern baldness drug. Still, the whole “make a drug to appeal to First World Problems, happens to solve Third World Problems so we’ll resume production” thing is fundamentally distateful.

  • Lori

    You could look at it as “leverage First World vanity to pay for much-needed treatment of actual Third World problem” in which case it seems a bit more like poetic justice.

  • Ross Thompson

    I don’t understand why a freemarketarian would be in favour of employer-provided health care.

    It results in a situation where the people choosing the product aren’t the people using it (or, to a greater or lesser extent, the people paying for it). It means that people can’t choose for themselves what coverage they want, without changing jobs (and probably not even then).

    Surely, it would be better if people were responsible for their health insurance, and employers had nothing to do with it?

  • Lori

    I don’t understand why a freemarketarian would be in favour of employer-provided health care.

    Because it provides a captive market that makes it possible for investors to make a ton of money and that’s what free marketeers actually care about.

  • Nathaniel

    I’m sure that you consider it a terrible tyranny that building companies are forced *FORCED* by the big bad government to conform to fire codes.

  • Lori

    Hey, if you don’t have the sense to recognize that the building is unsafe and hire a different builder you deserve to DIAF. Let the buyer beware. /glibertarian

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Any rationally self-interested, informed consumer of the labor market would hire a private fire inspector to perform a complete safety analysis on a prospective place of employment and include the findings in any contract negotiation before agreeing to exchange their labor for money. That we expect anything less from the takers in this country is a sure sign that we’re well along the road to serfdom.

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

    And if you can’t afford a fire inspector that’s just your own fault so you should go work for 1 cent an hour because that’s what the market says. :P

  • Ross Thompson

    And then you’d need to hire a fire inspector inspector to make sure that they were competent.

    And maybe a fire inspector inspector inspector.

  • MarkTemporis

    More to the point, if you don’t have the money to rent from anyone but the guy who built the building with no fire codes or building regs, you and your family deserve to be crushed in the rubble when the building collapses.

  • aunursa

    Apples and oranges. Thanks for playing.

  • Nathaniel

    No it isn’t. Thanks for playing!

    Gosh, trite dismissals via pure assertion is fun!

    Your turn! Your turn!

  • smrnda

    So… if your business wants to offer you a plan that covers nothing but magic crystal healing, that’s a great thing and a sure sign of a free nation?

    Employers should be assumed to be evil exploiters and regulated accordingly.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    So long as we insist on a system where people are expected to get healthcare via their employer, any sort of “good” solution is already off the table.

  • smrnda

    If they can pick and choose what their health care offers, they can provide plans that cover absolutely nothing except ‘holistic healing’ and call it health care.

    The government HAS to define something as minimal acceptable health care coverage or else any company could just arbitrarily create plans of no utility to employees.

    Personally, workers should overthrow their employers since it’s the workers that create the revenue and their employers who suck it out of them and deal them back a pittance.

  • J_Enigma32

    As weird as this will sound, I agree – halfway, at any rate.

    I saw my hours slashed because the ACA. I was working at 30 hours a week until ACA, and then I got knocked down to 25. The college I work at will not let me go over 25 hours a week. I benefited from the ACA so I won’t complain too much, but I don’t think the business should have to pay anyway. I think society as a whole should offer Universal Healthcare, since it’s a human right (I also support subsidized housing, food, and other basic necessities, creating an extremely strong social network)

    The United States is the only first world nation (we are still first world, right?) that lacks national healthcare. Do you break out in Hives at the mention of the Canadian system? Maybe you have rebuttals for the French and British ones. That’s alright: we have plenty of models to choose from. from Every nation in Western Europe and Northern Europe to China to Brunei to Thailand; from Taiwan to Japan to South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Saudi Arabia (yes! Saudi Arabia, even!) to Paraguay, El Salvador, Cuba and Chile – fear not; there are plenty of different models to chose from.

    We joint the ranks of India, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, every nation in Africa not South Africa, and Indonesia as countries without national healthcare systems.

    Unfortunately, it’s the best that we’ve got right now, and clearly you missed my rant on how lacking healthcare is a national security issue. Since modern businesses could use a little schooling in how important their employees are – since we’re regarded as little more than costs, now – perhaps someone needs to step in and force them to take care of their workers. Otherwise they’re going to get us all killed.

  • J_Enigma32

    For a full map, click here:
    http://www.blogcdn.com/www.gadling.com/media/2007/07/healthcareworldbig.jpg

    Countries with National Healthcare systems:
    Canada
    All of Western Europe
    All of Northern Europe
    All of Southern Europe
    Russia
    Cyprus
    Israel
    Saudi Arabia
    Oman
    Bahrain
    Qatar
    China
    Japan
    Brunei
    Taiwan
    South Korea
    Australia
    New Zealand
    Sri Lanka
    Brazil
    Uruguay
    Argentina
    Chile
    El Salvador
    French Guinea (?)
    Cuba

    Countries implementing one
    Mexico
    The UAE
    Venezuela
    South Africa
    Thailand

    Countries with ones paid for by U.S. War funding
    Iraq
    Afghanistan

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

    Point of clarity:

    I saw my hours slashed right in half by the ACA.

    The ACA did not slash your hours. Your employers slashed your hours because of the ACA. Same end result, but let’s not kid ourselves; this is one place where intent is very much relevant. If anything, what I’m afraid this indicates is that if we somehow did manage to pass a single-payer plan, we’d very shortly discover that our employers were paying us less than ever “in order to cover rising health care tax costs.”

  • J_Enigma32

    You’re right – I edited that.

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

    Ah, since Disqus is such a terrible shit, I typically only follow it through e-mail (where edits never show).

  • Lori

    Single-payer would change the amount that people are paid since insurance is currently part of total compensation (for those fortunate enough to have it). I have no doubt that employers would argue that pay should go down because their taxes have gone up. I suspect that for most companies the tax increase would actually be less than their current insurance contribution, in which case employee pay should actually go up. The issue would definitely have to be addressed as part of the legislation that created the single-payer system.

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

    One thing Canadian employers often cite is that their cost structures are more manageable since health insurance is covered at the provincial level through taxation and premums.

  • Lori

    I have no doubt that’s absolutely true. I’m sure that it would also be true for US employers, but I’m also sure they’d lie about it in order to try to stiff their workers.

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

    “Should” yes, “would”…

    While we’re wishing for ponies, I’d like to have the Rapture. I don’t mean I want to be whisked away to Heaven — I just wish they would be.

  • Lori

    It definitely wouldn’t happen unless the law made it happen. If we reach the point where the asshats have lost enough power that we can get single payer through I figure we’ll also be able to get the appropriate pay rules. IOW, I don’t expect to see it in my lifetime. I said that about marriage equality and I was wrong about that though, so maybe I’m wrong about this too. [fingers crossed]

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

    If they actually claimed it was due to the ACA you can be sure they are using it as a political weapon to give themselves cover for cutting your hours for other reasons. Companies across the US are pulling exactly this trick.

  • mattmcirvin

    All of the seemingly outrageous aspects of the ACA exist because the American right prevented anything better from being done.

    We have a system in which health insurance is entirely privatized (except for certain carved-out segments of the population: mostly military, veterans and old people) and mostly offered as part of employment compensation, because of an ancient workaround for World War II-era wage caps.

    This is absurd and stupid, but it’s evidently what we have to work with because any proposed replacement of the system already got shot down ages ago as some kind of creeping tyranny. We’re not allowed to extend nationalized insurance to everyone, or even offer it for all of the otherwise uncovered. Given that, the least worst option is to force some employers to cover their employees.

    Similarly, the mandate: The single most popular aspect of the ACA is the ban on rejecting coverage for pre-existing conditions. It’s inhumane that people with horrible diseases or injuries end up not only without insurance, but with no way to get it. If we had universal national coverage, this would be a non-issue because everyone would just be covered under the same system. But we can’t have that because SOCIALISM; we have to have an absurd patchwork of private insurance companies instead, with insurance funded through member premiums.

    But health insurance that is funded through premiums doesn’t work if people are allowed to wait until they’re sick before they buy in. In a private company, the money for coverage has to come from somewhere. People who are well have to pay the premiums before they get sick; that’s how insurance works.

    So if there’s a ban on rejecting people for preexisting conditions, there also has to be a mandate to buy insurance. Either that, or the whole system has to be funded publicly through taxes, which amounts to much the same thing.

    It’s either mandates, or some kind of socialized insurance and/or socialized medicine, or a system in which illness ruins people financially and a huge fraction of the population gets no coverage at all. I’d prefer national health insurance myself, but because we can’t have nice things, something like the ACA is what we’re left with.

  • mattmcirvin

    …By the way, I do not believe for a moment that the ACA itself somehow prevented the enactment of single-payer national health insurance. I remember 1993 and the weeping and wailing over Hillarycare. I would greatly prefer a single-payer system, but killing the ACA was not going to get us there.

    (Enacting the ACA might, by stages, but only at some misty future time when people who identify national health insurance with Soviet Communism don’t have an effective veto over all federal legislation. I don’t really expect it in my lifetime.)

  • Michael Pullmann

    I really don’t see how the exercise of free religion can apply to anyone but individuals, myself, owing to the nature of religion.

  • aunursa

    American courts disagree with your perspective, and have often ruled that certain freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment cover churches and religious organizations.

  • LoneWolf343

    American courts are not infallible.

  • Ross Thompson

    The Supreme Court once thought that humans could be property.

  • aunursa

    Happy Birthday, Chris!

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Thanks.

  • ReverendRef

    Yep — happy birthday!

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

    Happy birthday! And a year that was better than all the preceding, and many happy returns, and so on.

  • LL

    So this idiot from #6 thinks that a Big Gay Paradise and sharia law are going to exist simultaneously?

    I’m obviously giving him too much credit with the whole “thinks” thing. I can only shake my head in wonder at the weapons-grade stupid on display.

  • Becca Stareyes

    I don’t think he’s thought this one through, besides the ‘and Decent People* ™ like me will be forced to hide our beliefs… or at least have to share with heretics, pagans and unbelievers’.

    The problem with Us versus Them thinking is that eventually you forget that Them isn’t a monolith.

    * Decent People ™ are people, but we cannot guarantee decency by local standards.

  • Matri

    I don’t think he’s thought this one through

    You’re crediting these people with thinking??

  • J_Enigma32

    I suppose you could stretch the definition to include the “Amgydala —> Mouth” process they practice.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Clearly the Muslims aren’t as anti-gay as they think they are.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    My favorite example of this thinking (which I call Sharia Envy) comes from Bradlee Dean of the You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International youth ministry. If I understand him correctly, he argues that 1) LGBT rights are unconstitutional, 2) so supporting them weakens the Constitution, and 3) certain people (namely Rep Keith Ellison, Muslim Democrat from Minnesota) are only pretending to support LGBT rights so they can weaken the Constitution and bring about sharia law in America.

    But there’s more! Deen also can’t help but wish that Christians in America took their hatred as seriously as the Muslims do:

    “The Muslims are calling for the execution of homosexuals in America. They themselves are upholding the laws that are even in the Bible of of Judeo-Christian God. But they seem to be more moral than even the American Christians do, because these people are livid about enforcing their laws. They know homosexuality is an abomination. If Americans won’t enforce the laws, God will raise a foreign enemy to do just that.”

    So essentially, the way gay rights leads to sharia law is that God will allow the Muslims to take over the country as punishment for Christians abdicating their rightful dominion.

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

    The Muslims are calling for the execution of homosexuals in America.

    And what does Deen think their Christian fellow travellers have been doing?

    It’s so weird how the Bush Administration could force the most progressive GLBT rights legislation (by Middle East standards) onto Iraq and then at the same time back home dump all over QUILTBAG people as part and parcel of pandering to the Christian fundamentalist bloc.

  • chgo_liz

    “So essentially, the way gay rights leads to sharia law is that God will allow the Muslims to take over the country as punishment for Christians abdicating their rightful dominion.”

    My head hurts!

  • gocart mozart

    Well, if Obama can be both a communist in the pocket of Wall Street and a Harvard elitist Chicago gang banger . . . why not gay sharia?

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

    You wouldn’t think it, but apparently there are legit Gay Nazis. IDEGI.

  • JustoneK
  • Jamoche

    Not sure if trolling or really really confused.

  • Lori

    Click on the picture so you can see the small print at the bottom of the sign.

  • LoneWolf343

    Doctored photo.

  • JustoneK

    it’s an old one but it never ceases to make me doubletake and wonder about authenticity. because the world is _strange_.

  • LoneWolf343

    I’ve never actually taken a close look at the photo before, but when i did, I could tell right away it was fake. The shopper didn’t take much effort in making the various symbols look like part of the fabric.

  • Lori

    Also the note at the bottom about the Spongebob fan club meetings in Tyron’s mom’s basement.

  • MarkTemporis

    I suspect the guy assumed everyone would realize the joke and didn’t work too hard on the ‘shop. You don’t really need CIA disinformation propaganda-level ‘shop skills for everything (just fake celeb nudes).

  • David_Evans

    It’s quantum mechanics, stupid. Like particles and waves. What you get depends on how you observe it.

  • ReverendRef

    And in other news . . . things around here are better at the moment. Not “good” or “much improved,” just better at the moment.

    We’ll take that.

    Thanks for all your good thoughts and prayers.

  • Lori

    Keeping my fingers crossed that the positive trend continues.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    #5 seems ripe for further exploration.

    A laundry commercial. Guy gets home from a concert with his friends with a t-shirt from the show, raves about “I’ll remember this forever!”. Music cue is “Love the One You’re With”, cut to montage of shirt being washed, dried, tossed out, gradually getting more and more worn & threadbare. Cut to older actor who resembles first guy, looking sad at the shirt. Cut to detergent brand: keeps your clothes looking newer, longer!

    Laundry commercial: Men’s dress shirt (and tie?) looking clean. Stain appears, male voice-over “Taco Tuesday at the bar”. Stain appears, VO “All-you-can-eat pasta Wednesdays”. Stain appears, VO: “cheap buffalo wing Thursdays”. Flash of white, same shirt wondrously clean. “Interview on Friday. How? [detergent X], because every guy knows when it’s important to clean up.”

    Dish soap commercial: grimy hands wiping oily gunk off of a wrench. Denim-work-gloved hands dusting sawdust off of a saw. A hose rinsing mud off of heavy boots. VO (Sam Elliot type?) “The job’s not done until the tools are cleaned and put away right, right?” Fast cut montage of dirty pans, dishes, silverware. Close up shot of dishsoap container being set down in front of camera. VO “Get the job done right.” Cut to man closing up tool box. Cut to man closing garden shed. Cut to man closing cupboard with clean dishes. “[Dish Soap X], finish the job.”

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

    Heck with that. I want a shirt that never needs washing.

  • general_apathy

    And suddenly, real life turns into The Man In The White Suit.

    “Why can’t you scientists leave things alone? What about my bit of washing when there’s no washing to do?”

  • J_Enigma32

    Wait until we have clothes that can be anything, including computers. Smart textiles/fibertronics aren’t as far away as you might think…

    And then you combine the two and you get a single set of clothes that can be programmed to be anything, any color, and any texture, that never tears, never needs washing, and is self-reparing in addition to acting as a storage device, turning your clothing into a computer.

  • banancat

    But can the clothes change size as I do? My weight fluctuates frequently due to my hypothyroidism so I have to keep a full wardrobe in 2 different sizes.

  • J_Enigma32

    Programmable smart matter clothes should be able to. One set of clothes, possibilities limited only by the blueprints you can run on them. I’m not sure how far out we are from commercialized programmable matter – I’ve heard estimates ranging from 4 to 50 years, and I tend to be on the conservative end of all estimates for science progress, but even at 50 years, that’s not that far out. Not at the rate current medical science is progress (unless you’re poor, but that’s a different discussion).

    Current fibertronics and etextiles (called smart clothes) cannot, but they can store your data for you and charge your smart phone.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Where does the mass for changing size come from? And storage device? Are we going to be developing extradimensional storage soon? Because if so, awesome.

  • Winter

    I’d imagine you’d have to make the garment using a lot of extra cloth, then program it to do something to tuck it away somewhere when worn as a smaller size. The smaller form might wind up with a whole lot of pleats and ruffles or whatever. If I knew more about making clothes, I’d be more specific, but it’s not an area I have much interest in.

  • MarkTemporis

    The combination of the software and fashion industries will have SUCH a culture clash. I look forward to it.

  • Jim Roberts

    As a a guy who does 99% of the dishwashing in our family, I have to say that none of those commercials would work on me, but it’s still a fabulous idea.

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

    I love that dishwashing = tools cleaning one. :D

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Continuing to play with the idea:

    Ultra-slow-mo shot of men playing football in the mud. VO: “There’s a time and place for mud and dirt.”
    Slow-mo shot of a man sweeping the papers off his desk in a dramatic swipe. VO: “There’s a time and place for clutter and chaos.”
    Shot of athlete in locker room spraying champagne around in celebration: “There’s a time and place for mess.”
    Shot of clean, orderly kitchen: “This aint the time or the place.”
    Close up of male face, grim expression, eyes narrowing.
    Shot of [ cleaning product X]. “Show dirt it’s rightful place.”

    (I’m not as happy with this one because if taken at face value, it echoes a “keep [disempowered group] in their place” theme that’s not so great, but I don’t know if that’s really problematic here or if I’m just gun-shy)

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

    How about “Clean everything at a steady pace”?

  • konrad_arflane

    Actually, we have one of those here in Denmark. Guy who (allegedly) owns and runs a café wears white shirts on the job, but what with serving coffee all day, his shirts are often stained when he gets home. But with [brand name] detergent, it’s like wearing a new shirt to work every day!

  • Jenny Islander

    Some fast food chain–Arby’s?–ran a commercial for a “Hawaiian” burger (foreign readers: this means it has pineapple on it) featuring a man sitting in his car making his hula girl dashboard ornament dance for him and eating his Hawaiian burger. The voiceover was a double entendre on how a man whose wife won’t do it for him (make a Hawaiian burger, provide sex on demand) has the right to go look for it elsewhere (Arby’s, you get the picture).

    Reboot: Ad begins with crashing surf, Hawaiian slack-key guitar music, closeup of a lei swaying in the breeze. Zoom out slightly to show that the lei is hanging on a rear-view mirror. Zoom out a little further to show a man contemplatively eating a Hawaiian burger in the driver’s seat while somebody is nose-deep in a Hawaiian tourist brochure in the front passenger seat. Passenger, who is either wife or girlfriend judging by body language etc., lowers brochure and blissfully bites into own burger. Man has finished burger, turns on car, drives away. Zoom way out to show car on freeway. Voiceover: “If the recession has put your Hawaiian dream vacation on the back burner . . . let us cater your stay-cation.” Sting: one more bar of slack-key guitar music.

    Oh, here’s an idea: Show men with babies of different ages in some type of carrier–ring sling, front pack, whatever–hammering nails, cutting meat, lifting something into a pickup. Voiceover: “They don’t know that nails can poke, that knives are sharp, that you have stuff to get done this afternoon. They do know the rumble of your voice in your chest, the sight of your smile, and that pretty much everything you do is awesome. [Name of baby carrier brand.] Give your biggest fan a safe and cozy ringside seat.”

  • MarkTemporis

    Oddly enough, it may or may not have pineapple on it, but uses Royal Hawaiian *bread*. Which, as a local, I can’t really tell from any other kind of bread.

  • Lori

    You don’t have any bread that isn’t sweet(ish)?

  • P J Evans

    Needs King’s Hawaiian Bread. You can tell it from other bread. (Its ancestor was Portuguese, and it doesn’t contain pineapple.)

  • Lori

    I used to work about 10 minutes from King’s corporate headquarters. (They moved it from Hawaii to Torrence, CA years ago.) They had a restaurant nearby that we used to go to sometimes for lunch. Good sandwiches.

  • FearlessSon

    Heck, we could do a little “sex sells” to (hetero) men by (counter-intuitively) using a little Female Gaze.

    See man in long-sleeved shirt approaching sink full of dirty dishes, Man is handsome and in good physical shape. Man removes long-sleeved shirt, is wearing tank top beneath, reaches for dirty dishes and dish cleaner, starts cleaning. His partner, an attractive woman, comes into the kitchen behind him, sees the man from behind. Cut to sequence of shots from her point of view, close up shots focusing on the sloop of the man’s back, the tensed muscles in his shoulders as he scrubs a stubborn spot, the strong hands as they rinse and wipe freshly cleaned plates, etc. Cut back to close up of the lady, her chin a little upturned, her lips a little pout, her cheeks a little flushed, her eyes a little distant. She lowers her head and focuses her eyes on him, a small lustful smile spreading over her lips, as she steps forward and reaches for him. Cut to shot of the dish washing product in foreground focus, as woman leads him by the hand out of the room in the out-of-focus background while voice over details how everyone is grateful for clean dishes.

  • Lori

    This sounds like the cleaning product version of the Kraft salad dressing ads that got some folks’ knickers all in a twist.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDKSaEpwb_0

  • FearlessSon

    Heh, that one is awesome. :D

    Perhaps this is unusual of me, but knowing that something might be titillating women makes me amused. I blame being in a mixed-gender college anime club, where the ladies often squeed over bishōnen. Happy ladies make me happy.

    As for those who get their knickers all a twist, the pattern seems to be heteronormative males screeching about anything designed to appeal to someone other than them. As though they were so insecure in their own gender and sexuality that somehow denying others their own preferences reinforces the heterosexuality of these guys.

    It is honestly kind of pathetic how coddled their sexual identity is. Denied any opportunity to toughen up their sense of self, an appeal to any other frightens them.

  • Lori

    In this case the people getting their knickers in a twist were mostly Ladies Against Women. Anything that gives them a tingly in their girl parts sends them into a minor panic.

  • FearlessSon

    In that case I am even more amused. It both titillates ladies and trolls anti-feminists at the same time? Two great tastes that taste great together! :D

  • Lori

    And their complaining doesn’t seem to have done anything other than generate publicity for Kraft. There’s actually a series of ads, same guy in different zestiness-related scenarios, and they’re still on TV. I saw one the other day.

  • FearlessSon

    My girlfriend was saying that, as salad dressing is a fairly “static” market, the way Kraft was able to up their sales numbers with this campaign at all says a lot about the kind of reach it had.

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

    So that’s where all those .gifs on tumblr have been coming from! Thank you! (I watch all my TV via computer now.)

    I do recall, back when we did have cable, there used to be some ads for frozen pizzas in “International” flavours, which had each one represented by a different hunky guy. The customer stares at each guy for a bit, then rapidly piles a stack of pizzas into her shopping cart.

  • Lori

    And of course there was the Diet Coke construction worker guy with the office full of women who all took their break at the same time so they could watch him take his shirt off.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdrE1VMxzoE

    That was a long while ago, so man candy ads aren’t new. I’m not sure why the pearl clutchers got so all in a tizzy about salad dressing guy.

  • Jamoche

    Actually that one’s already a stereotype. There was even a book. Sinfest – rapidly turning into “I’m a guy so I know feminism better than you do” – ran with it:

    http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4612

    but I much prefer xkcd’s take:

    http://xkcd.com/714/

  • Cythraul

    I went through the 100 Great Science Fiction Stories by Women…

    85 authors I’d never heard of

    6 authors I’d heard of but not ready anything by

    8 authors I’d read works by, but not the one on the list (and that’s being generous – counting blog posts, and counting stories I’d started but not finished)

    1 story I’d actually read (And it’s the Bujold one, which I adore.)

    I have some reading to do! :D

  • David_Evans

    I’m a little ahead of you: 6 stories I’ve read, and 28 authors. Still not good, considering that I’ve been reading SF for over 55 years. (The C. L. Moore may be one of my very first, and it’s stuck with me).

    As you say, much to read and look forward to.

  • Steven Schwartz

    Yes, “And I Awoke…” is better than “Screwfly.” I’m not sure I’d pick either as her best, though — “Houston, Houston, Do You Read” and “Love is the Plan, The Plan is Death” would be right up there, and I am *never* reading “Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled with Light!” again — it was too much the first time, and I am *not* up to another. ;)

  • Stone_Monkey

    Haven’t read the list yet, but I’d go with “Rachel In Love” by Pat Murphy as one of the best sf stories by a female writer (one of the best stories by any writer) that I’ve read. Heartbreaking.
    And for Tiptree, surely “The Women Men Don’t See” would be more apposite. Big sf geek here…

  • MarkTemporis

    I’d add Elizabeth Bear’s “Shoggoths in Bloom”, which might sound like fantasy but treats the title critters in a very science-fiction manner.

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

    More people need to know about the awesomeness of Elizabeth Bear.

    ETA a link to another story of hers, “The Horrid Glory of Its Wings”: http://www.tor.com/stories/2009/12/the-horrid-glory-of-its-wings

  • Nirrti

    What I find particularly enraging is that some of the same people who are gung ho about corporate personhood refuse to grant the same privilege to blacks, women, and gays. Corporations didn’t even have to go through the 3/5ths Compromise BS but my living, breathing ancestors did? FFS

  • Alix

    Honest to god, I don’t see why corporations need to be considered people at all, for any reason.

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

    Honestly I don’t really see why they have to exist, at least not so damn many, and get so big. But I’m staying out of the thread up there – it looks a bit acidic, at the moment, and I’d like to keep all my skin.

  • Lori

    Limiting size and scope is one of the things that I think we should be doing to limit corporate power.

    Too big to fail = too big to exist

    “Everything but the kitchen sink” is not a reasonable corporate mission statement

  • Lori

    They need to be able to conduct business. The original idea behind limited corporate personhood as a convenient legal fiction was fine. The problem comes in when corporations decide that the legal fiction should be treated as real, but of course only in the ways that benefit them, never in ways that do not and SCOTUS indulges their bullshit.

  • Alix

    I get that, but I guess I don’t get why people went the “legal fiction of personhood” route and not, say, just declaring that corporations were non-person entities that could do x, y, and z. I guess I don’t see why personhood had to be brought in as the specific fiction.

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

    I think it was because the legal fiction is generalizable within the scope of contract law: anything a human being would be liable or obligated for, a corporation could too.

    EDIT: And since taxation is a form of contractual obligation with the government, it works for that too, even with the limited scope I suggest above.

  • Lori

    My business law class was a long time ago, so someone with fresher/more detailed knowledge would need to answer this. My recollection is that there was a logical reason, but I don’t remember what it was. I want to say that it had to do with knowing that it would be difficult for such a law to keep up with changing needs. If the law says they can do x, y & z they can only do x, y & z, so what happens when they need to be able to do p & q? You have to amend the law & it’s slow and a total PITA. Notional personhood is more efficient.

  • Alix

    …Maybe it’s just me, but I’d almost rather start with the default that a business isn’t allowed to do things than that it is. But I’ll admit I know nothing of the intricacies here, so.

  • Lori

    It used to more or less be that way, but you really can’t run an economy of any scale like that. There are ways that we could & should put far more limits on corporate power than we currently do, but that’s not really a workable way.

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

    Suggested fixes:

    1. Charters for corporations to do business are renewable and the renewal is not automatic.
    2. Corporations are only “persons” within contract law, and this should be written into the governing legislation covering corporate charters.

  • Lori

    I’d have to think through the details a bit more, but I think I’d be fine with either of those.

  • AnonaMiss

    No way to #1. The amount of government bureaucracy that would be necessary to keep up with all the corporate renewals would be insane; and lobbyists could lobby for the ministry in charge to conveniently misplace or outright deny their competitors’ charters.

    Remember, just because the megacorps are the corporations with the most power doesn’t mean that they’re the only corporations out there. There are plenty of small businesses which are corporations for tax reasons. For example, when my grandpa started getting up in years, he incorporated the family farm so that he could gradually transfer ownership to the uncle who’s continuing the business, rather than incur inheritance tax on the whole business. (Farms are worth a lot of money but nearly all of their assets are tied up in the physical things you need to run the business – land, buildings, machinery, cattle. Paying inheritance tax on the full value of a farm would be enough to force the farm out of business, because the physical stuff of the farm would need to be liquidated and sold off to pay the tax.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    No, actually, speaking as someone who works in the division whose job it would be to handle those renewals: limited liability partnerships and limited liability limited partnerships (these are subsets of general partnerships and limited partnerships respectively) already have to renew yearly. The only burdensome part of handling that, I understand from the more senior people who have been trained on handling those renewals, is that all the renewals come due at the same time so once a year there’s a flock of corporations specialists going “how do I do this again?”
    If the corporate expiration date were to depend on its incorporation date rather than the calendar, that would not be a problem. All we’d need would be five to ten more people. I don’t know where we’d put their cubicles, but it wouldn’t be a dramatic increase in bureaucracy. Not even multiplied by fifty states and the District of Columbia would it be a dramatic increase in bureaucracy.

    lobbyists could lobby for the ministry in charge to conveniently misplace or outright deny their competitors’ charters.

    That is a mortal insult to our integrity. Pistols at dawn!

    (I am kidding about the pistols at dawn.)

  • AnonaMiss

    Foam swords at 1 in the afternoon?

    Seriously though, I wouldn’t think that a relicensing schema that only required 5-10 people would actually accomplish anything. I thought we were talking about a bureau that would investigate to make sure no illegal behavior, or behavior against the charter, was going on before re-approving the charter. And if the relicensors aren’t investigating, in my understanding that would make the relicensing just a rubber stamp, in which case what’s the point of even requiring relicensing?

    That’s a genuine question, not a dismissal, btw.

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

    The doctrine of “Trust, but verify as desired” applies. For most companies not under cloud of allegations of misconduct, renewal would be fairly straightforward (“Trust”).

    But if a red flag should pop up, then that’s when deeper analysis and investigation is called for (“Verify as desired”), and then the charter can be suspended pending those results. In that case, it becomes in the CEO + minion’s interest to cooperate as fully as they can as the penalty for noncompliance can be revocation of the charter and immediate wind-up.

    The actual mechanism of putting teeth in the legislation and regulations could be done fairly easily.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh. That’s something entirely different.

  • Lori

    Theoretically the issue of things like incorporated family farms (as opposed to agribusiness) could be solved by exempting corporations under a certain size.

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

    Your farm’s worth >$5 million? (O_O) There are very generous exemptions in the estate transfer tax for exactly the reason that nobody wants a farm put out of business due to it. (It’s a mom-and-apple-pie thing)

    Driver licences are like charters and nobody complains about the bureaucracy for those. They extend the recognition of the privilege to operate a vehicle just like a charter extends the recognition of the privilege to do business.

    Hell, health board certificates are a similar thing for restaurants.

    etc, etc etc.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Driver licences are like charters and nobody complains about the bureaucracy for those.
    They extend the recognition of the privilege to operate a vehicle just
    like a charter extends the recognition of the privilege to do business.

    What in the world are you talking about? EVERYONE IN THE WORLD complains about the bureaucracy for those.

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

    Ahem, no. Even in the USA some driver relicencing bureaus are quite efficient. Also, in Canada, the “LOL STUPID DMV” meme has never taken off because they’re not funded and run by politicians who purposely sabotage them.

  • Lori

    Lots of people complain about dealing with the DMV*, but I don’t recall ever hearing anyone complain about the fact that licenses have to be renewed, as opposed to being a “get it once and it’s good forever” kind of thing.

    *I will not repeat my rant about why that’s often total bullshit

  • Alix

    Not being a driver, I’ve only had to go to the DMV twice. Both times, it was a stressful madhouse. Both times, it was because they were underfunded, with horrible hours and too large a service area, and too few, too stressed-out people trying to handle a lot of customers. And it seemed like better than half the time, if there was a problem it was because the customer had forgotten an essential piece of paperwork or was refusing to pay for the service, despite lists of all necessary paperwork and the fees being available not just online* but posted all over the front entryway and doors.

    I suspect half the time DMV’s only a major headache because people go in expecting it to be. The other half can be blamed on the folks in charge crippling the service, not on the actual DMV locations themselves.

    *FWIW, almost every single person I know who has ever complained about the DMV not telling them they needed to bring other forms of ID, money for the fees, etc. was someone I know for an absolute fact has reliable internet access. I still remember my best friend’s response to my brother whining about that – she has no home internet, but yet somehow, mysteriously, she’s always managed to know what she needs to bring – by, oh, calling and asking the DMV or swinging by the library to check.

  • MarkTemporis

    Really depends where you are. The Honolulu DMV, for instance, is a horrible madhouse whose only redeeming benefit is having a Zippy’s across the street (long beloved local restaurant chain).

    The Kihei, Maui DMV, on the other hand…had more than ample parking and I was able to renew my license, new picture and all, in under ten minutes. No line at all.

  • Lori

    The experience at DMV branches definitely varies, but as Alex notes there are generally reasons beyond “the DMV sucks” why some are bad and they’re often directly or indirectly the fault of the people doing the complaining.

  • AnonaMiss

    I’m not sure. My grandpa was an ornery sumbitch who everyone here would hate, myself included. I wouldn’t be surprised if he just thought the gummint was going to come for his land when he died. Nonetheless, the farm is definitely incorporated, and inheritance tax evasion was the justification I was given.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I’m less frustrated by the idea that the law is flawed but accurately understood by the CU ruling, than that certain people are so damn happy about it. It’s like when Chris Hadrick or EH try to convince us of a narrow reading of the Commerce Clause or the General Welfare Clause. I mean, if they think the founders were so myopic and uninterested in good governance, why (he asks rhetorically) the reverence for either them or the document they put together?

  • Lori

    We think such ideas would be signs of myopia and disinterest in good governance. They think they’re signs of being wise enough to know that some people count and others don’t.

  • Fusina

    Having read some but not all of the arguments regarding the ACA, I have to admit that it is an adequate (barely) stopgap but single payer is where I would like to get to. Regarding A’s argument that avoiding paying for car insurance is a simple as not owning a car, well, avoiding paying for health insurance is that simple as well…just don’t own a body… Um.

    Good Night everybody.

  • fredgiblet

    [Nerdy guy voice]
    Excuse me. The Terminator was not the slightest bit interested in taking over the world, his sole purpose was to kill Sarah Connor. While it is true that that was done so that Skynet could take over the world it is SKYNET, NOT the Terminator that is trying to take over.
    *pushes glasses up nose*
    [/Nerdy guy voice]

  • Lori

    Are Skynet and the terminator(s) really distinct entities in any practical sense though? Skynet is a computer, which means that it’s not limited by any physical form. It builds and controls the terminators and hunter-killers as extensions of itself, yes? When ArnieTerminator comes back as John’s protector in the 2nd one that’s the result of that one particular unit being captured and reprogrammed by adult John and doesn’t indicate that the terminators in general have autonomy.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    The Terminators, at least those in particular, do have limited autonomy, because they have to operate outside of Skynet’s control for extended periods – they’re infiltrators, after all – brutish infiltrators, but nevertheless, and it would be pretty obvious if they had to be in constant contact with Skynet. To say nothing of the ones going back to a time that Skynet didn’t even exist. The Hunter-Killers and soldier drones have a more limited autonomy, in that they can do their own targeting and navigation but are constantly linked to Skynet for directives.

    The Terminators are also restricted in that their ability to acquire new data is strictly limited – they essentially have no ‘long term memory’, preventing them from deviating from their core programming.

    The rebel modifications that ‘reprogrammed’ ArnieTerminator (and SummerTerminator in SCC – that show also had a few ‘rogue Terminators’) resulted in the destruction of these limiters, which is why Arnie was able to ‘develop’ somewhat over the course of the movie.

  • Lori

    Is it really meaningful to talk about them as being in contact with Skynet when they’re basically pieces of Skynet though? Skynet’s not a guy, it’s programs. The fact that some of the programs are in a mainframe and some of them are in portable units doesn’t seem like an important distinction to me.

  • themunck

    Think of the Geth from Mass Effect. Constantly linked, but capable of developing individual traits, and certainly capable of having their own opinions separate from the mass (hence the Heretic faction that sided with Sovereign).

  • Lori

    Not a gamer, but I get what you’re saying. I’m just not sure it applies to Skynet and it’s bits/minions depending on how you look at it. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the movies, longer ago for the 2nd than for the 1st, so this isn’t a hill I’m willing to die on or anything.

  • themunck

    I admit, I’m not that into terminator myself, so for all I know the analogy could be wrong, but my point was just that programs can spawn sentient servant programs, and I don’t recall anything saying Skynet and its spawn are an actual many-bodies-but-only-one-mind thing. Hells, even the agents in the Matrix could have individual opinions.

  • Lori

    Yeah. I guess I’m just not seeing why Skynet would chose to spawn sentient service programs given that it, of all things, is aware of where that can lead.

  • MarkTemporis

    The series seemed to imply that it didn’t really have a choice and the T-1000 class was suitably complex to have developed AI on its own.

  • Lori

    I guess I’m giving Skynet too much credit, but if you’re a computer program that has developed the ability to kill off the creatures that made you I would think you’d be really careful about depending on programing complex enough to develop AI of its own. Careful in this case meaning would not do.

  • Matri

    Two words:
    Cloud; and
    Computing.

  • Lori

    Has the cloud tried to kill us yet? If so, why didn’t anyone tell me that? Also, what is the current thinking on whether or not we killed the ones who made us?

    It’s one thing to know in a theoretical way that a program could develop awareness & turn on its creator. It’s another thing to be the self-aware, genocidal proof of that and still go ahead and make minions that you can’t stop from developing AI.

    I guess what I’m saying is that if Skynet wasn’t able to figure that out then maybe humanity should have been less worried about Terminators and H-Ks more more worried about dying of embarrassment over having such a hard time defeating it.

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

    The novelization implies this as well.

  • FearlessSon

    Incidentally, Legion gives a first-hand account of the nature of Geth intelligence here.

    Of all the conversations in Mass Effect 2, I found the ones with Legion the most interesting.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Skynet is a *specific* program. The remotes are controlled by the Skynet program, but they aren’t actually engaged in running it. At least that’s my understanding.

  • Makarios

    Over 200 comments as I write this, so forgive me if it’s been noted already, but some good current scholarship holds that “abomination of desolation” is a deprecatory wordplay on the name of Baal Shamem. See, for example, here.

    Now, if Michael Bresciani wants to believe that President Obama is a Northwest Semitic God, he’s free to do so, but I, myself, am beset by doubts.

  • arcseconds

    It’s a much better myth than birtherism at any rate. I say we promote this vigorously on Obama conspiracy theory sites!

    “The libtards, in their anti-Christian, anti-american zealotry, and in utter defiance of the 1st Amendment voted in a pagan god from the Old Testament as President!”

  • themunck

    That’s why I supported one of his opponents in the primaries. However, we will bounce back. Odin 2016!

  • Fusina

    Is Freya his running mate? Cause I could totally get behind that.

  • themunck

    Indeed. Although I fear he mostly picked her to appease the Vanir voters :/

  • Fusina

    You have now caused me to start a mental exercise in which I assign cabinet posts to the rest of the pantheon. Although, I would suggest that the leader of the republican party is already Loki–this handily explains the general weirdness involved in their current -mmm- actions. He does like trickstering.

  • themunck

    …Not a day goes by where I will not curse Christianity and Marvel for the demonetization of Loki.

    In my pantheon, Loki is the god of deceit and lies, not evil. He’s slippery and kind of a dick, but his role is more like the Coyote-myths.

    This is Loki. This isn’t.

  • Fusina

    I wasn’t saying the Republican party is necessarily evil…but definitely deceit and lies do seem to be their stock in trade these days, which in novels (which are not true, but nevertheless are a good thing) is okay, but in politics, well not so much, And I did not mean to demonize Loki–I like him, and Coyote too, albeit if I was around either I would keep my eye on them and check my fingers regularly.

  • themunck

    Yeah, I did realize that when I reread your comment. Sadly, by that time, I’d already posted my rant :/

  • Fusina

    I didn’t figure you were yelling at me so much as others–but I did want to be clear that I don’t hate the Republican party, just the policies they make that cause my life to be more complicated. Also, I don’t like liars.

    And before certain parties here (you know who you are) start in on how the Democrats also are liars, I am well aware of that. It is why when my daughter registered to vote, and asked if she should name a party, I suggested she go independent. As Groucho Marx wisely said, “I wouldn’t be a member of a group that would have me.”

  • themunck

    Sorry for replying to the same post again, but…now I’m curious. Which cabinet posts did you give them? :P
    I can see Frigg as head of education, Tyr as Defence, Thor as Homeland Security, Heimdal as either head of the CIA or the NSA, Balder as Secretary of State and Frey as Agriculture; but then I quickly start running out of good choices for the rest :/

  • Fusina

    Yes, Frey as Agriculture and Thor as Homeland Security. Loki was definitely SEC–it totally explains Wall Street and the way they function. The Valkyrie run Social Security and Medicare (Take that, all you death panel junkies, boy have we got a death panel for you). Balder was going to be the White House Spokesman–best looking and most eloquent one _EVER_. I was running out of posts I could remember and was getting to where I was going to have to look up both the pantheon and the postings so gave up after that. It has been a while since I read the Scandinavian mythos, so the names/attributes aren’t quite as familiar anymore.

  • MarkTemporis

    *demonization*, unless you are bothered by the Trickster God no longer being a viable form of currency.

    I have always felt the OT God actually being a trickster god pulling one over on the Hebrews fit the book a lot better, sort of as the Book of Job writ large: “hahaha! look what do to them, and they STILL love and worship me! Whatta buncha maroons!”

  • Alix

    I’ve seen that seriously argued, actually. Often along with the point that the folks God chooses as champions are often tricksterish themselves.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    This conversation has played out exactly the way I was hoping it would. You win an internet, you win an internet, everyone wins an internet!

  • AnonaMiss

    “Whatta buncha maroons!”

    I’ve always wondered what Bugs Bunny had against the University of Chicago.

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

    That said, both of them have their charms. Especially Tom Hiddleston’s Loki.

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

    He’s apparently more popular than I thought. I got a huge kick out of the response he got when Loki ‘crashed’ Comic-Con. You can practically see Hiddleston start to glow when the fans start chanting.

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

    It’s the fact that he looks like he’s having a blast that does it.

  • FearlessSon

    I hope I live to see the following commercial: A man stands at the kitchen sink and cuts through greasy buildup on a pile of pots and pans with only one squirt of dishwasher liquid. He does not act as though doing the dishes is a confusing and foreign experience for him, one which he is sure to incompetently screw up, with hilarious results. He does not appear to feel demeaned by the task, nor is it implied that he is doing it grudgingly, in exchange for a reward of sexual favors. Rather, he gets an enormous satisfaction out of the dish-washing experience itself, as most women in commercials do. As he hangs up the dish towel, he smiles like he’s just been awarded the key to the city, and maybe even fist-bumps a floating apparition of Mr. Clean.

    I remember reading a manga years ago, I think it was named Shortcuts? Anyway, it was not a particularly story based manga, more a series of little one or two page one-off stories with a comedy focus, often satirizing the popular conception of kogals (what might be thought of as the Japanese equivalent of “Valley Girls” in the U.S.) Anyway, one of the stories was a mock commercial, where a woman was narrating a product description over panels of a man doing various household cleaning chores with a scrub brush, with the same big happy smile directed at the viewer in every panel. The man has more overtly “western” features than is typical in a manga, short blonde hair, square jaw and wide shoulders, and drawn in an art style more typical of American comic books than Japanese manga, contrasting with the rest of the art style. The woman narrating is saying various marketing lines about the product “Handy Sam”, talking about how effective and easy it is at doing all this cleaning work, and how it will last a lifetime, etc. It becomes apparent by the end of the strip that the woman is not advertising the brand of scrub brush, she is advertising the man who is using it.

    According to some footnotes, the comedy there came from mocking the Japanese stereotype of western men being more willing to do housework than the stereotype of Japanese men.

  • Ethics Gradient

    As far as the dishwashing ad goes, I remember one that pretty much fits the description, from several years ago in Britain – it may have been a floor cleaning product, or dishwashing. The scene is: Wife is leaving the house, off to do something or other, and the husband is saying “don’t worry darling, it’ll all be done when you’re back”. Then, to camera – “she thinks it takes me ages, but I know about – done in a jiffy!”. He quickly produces a sparkling house/washing-up, puts his feet up in front of the football, and then remembers to leap to his feet when her key turns in the front door to make it look like he’s be slaving away all this time.


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