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Sunday, December 02, 2012

OTP December 2012 - Pushing G.O.P. to Negotiate, Obama Ends Giving In

Mr. Obama, scarred by failed negotiations in his first term and emboldened by a clear if close election to a second, has emerged as a different kind of negotiator in the past week or two, sticking to the liberal line and frustrating Republicans on the other side of the bargaining table.

Bitter Mouse Posted: December 02, 2012 at 11:15 PM | 6172 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics

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   2201. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4322956)
My explanation for affirmative action is this: Humans aren't happy unless we're ####### someone over. Before affirmative action, the only people to get ###### over were minorities and lower-class whites. Now, with affirmative action, we can continue to #### over minorities and lower-class whites, but can now #### over middle class whites as well. This is a clear win for everyone.

I say this as someone who broadly supports affirmative action. I think it reduces the overall amount of ####### over that goes on in the world, but it does #### on another group. This is one of those situations in which there are a lot of bad answers and no good ones. I just wish we'd do what they do in the UK and call it "Positive Discrimination". More honest that way.
   2202. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4322957)
I don't doubt you've heard this, Ray, because I've heard it from academics, too. The wonder is that there are any employed white people at all :) When I hear this from white professors (I stress, not where I'm working now, but anecdotally along the grapevine), I also always observe, objectively and from the outside, that the institution in question actually hires and tenures lots of white people.


Of course they do. All I've said is that it is more difficult in certain areas to get a job if you're white. Not that you can't get one, or they wouldn't hire you.
   2203. spike Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4322959)
I know people in hiring positions at big corporations, and they have told me that hiring whites is often simply a non-starter.

Ever consider maybe they were just letting you down easy? My own anecdotal experience is that I've been laid off/forced out of work three times in my life. Half a dozen phone calls later in every instance and problem solved.
   2204. Poulanc Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:27 PM (#4322960)
(*) And I may have suffered from some.



More likely, you didn't suffer at all.
   2205. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM (#4322962)
#2198 - I had no idea where you were going and at first didn't like the metaphor, but it slowly seeped into me and now I find I do like it. Well done.
   2206. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4322964)
All I've said is that it is more difficult in certain areas to get a job if you're white. Not that you can't get one, or they wouldn't hire you.


And you are failing to recognize that if you are not white, you are less likely to be in that position in the first place.
   2207. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4322968)
And the soft factors of diversity and the like didn't help me, as I am white


How'd you end up with an Italian name?
   2208. Tripon Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4322972)
blah blah white people. If anyone is being discriminated against in today's academic world, its the soft academic bigotry against Asians. That applies to certain industries as well, like the tech industry, where we're considered the number crunchers but not good enough to sell and innovate our own products.
   2209. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4322973)
And the soft factors of diversity and the like didn't help me, as I am white


How'd you end up with an Italian name?

Good question, since these dudes sure look kind of swarthy to me. Kind of murderous, too.
   2210. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4322978)
Racism is just like that, a poison that was dumped into the very core of American society, it seeped into every nook and cranny, making everything toxic. It needs to be cleaned up, a process taking generations, and it will come to pass that those who are paying for the clean-up had little or no connection to those who did the dumping, or those who were immediately affected. Tough ####. That's racism for you, it poisons everything. Resentment at those who are getting the free clean-up on their property, or who are getting free fresh drinking water, is beside the point. Don't get mad at those people, get mad (if you like) at the short-sighted ############# who created the problem in the first place, and resolve that it never be allowed to happen again.

That's a terrible analogy. It only works if you postulate the clean-up involving pouring more toxic water in the wells, in the way that doctors of yore would prescribe bleeding for a bleeding patient.
   2211. DA Baracus Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4322979)
White people, please tell me more about how there is no more racism in America.
   2212. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4322981)
The purpose of safety net programs is to put resources into the hands of people who don't have those resources.


This would be fine and good if the only reason, or even the main reason, people didn't have resources is because they were unlucky, or prejudiced against, or had a bad break. This is where liberalism makes me want to scream. Many, if not the majority of people, dependent on welfare, are dependent because the COULDN'T MAKE A SENSIBLE DECISION IF THEIR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT. I know, I live next door to two different households that operate this way.

If you give somebody $30 and they go out and have a nice dinner at a restaurant, so what?


So what? Well, since I can only afford to go out and eat on rare occasions, I would be pissed off, and I would learn from that experience to ensure that that person never got a dollar from me again. That's the great advantage private charity has over forced wealth redistribution, in that people only tend to benefit from it when they use the resources they are given in good faith. That has nothing to do with imposing my morality on someone. I'm not saying that the beneficiaries of my charity or tax revenue have to grovel and thank me, but since I have a very limited supply of money and work to earn it, I expect it to be spent wisely. Paying for food, shelter and other things you've actually consumed under a contract to repay (e.g. power and cell phone bills) are always a more important priority than a meal at a restaurant when you're using money provided by someone else to pay for it. I don't get how this is unclear to anyone.

   2213. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4322986)
White people, please tell me more about how there is no more racism in America.


Enough of that, I want to hear from men about the dearth of sexism or from Americans how disadvantaged and put upon our exceptional nation is by those who fear and hate us and our freedoms.

In unrelated news I once stubbed my toe which proves floors are biased against rodents.
   2214. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4322991)
Many, if not the majority of people, dependent on welfare, are dependent because the COULDN'T MAKE A SENSIBLE DECISION IF THEIR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT.


And because they are humans I am ok with spending my money (and Ray's) to make sure they have a certain standard of living.
   2215. Lassus Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4322993)
In unrelated news I once stubbed my toe which proves floors are biased against rodents.

In high school, one of my friends' fathers who was a black belt captured a live mouse with his foot on a hardwood floor while his son and I were in the room. "Bo! Clean this up." -crunch-
   2216. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4322995)
In unrelated news I once stubbed my toe


This reminds me of a good joke I read the other day.....

A guy was standing at a bar and a beautiful woman was beside him so he leans over and says,
"You remind me of my little toe"
She replies, "What? You Mean I'm small and cute?"
He says, "No. I’ll probably bang you on the coffee table later when I'm drunk."
   2217. Tripon Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4322997)
Many, if not the majority of people, dependent on welfare, are dependent because the COULDN'T MAKE A SENSIBLE DECISION IF THEIR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT.


Then its okay for them to die? Because that's the logical conclusion isn't it? If there's nobody to support you(friends, family, etc.) and the government won't support you, then what else is there?

Look, I'm with you in that some people (maybe a significant percentage of people) abuse the system. But that doesn't mean the system is unfixable, it means that we better make sure the safeguards, and checks actually work so people don't abuse it.
   2218. Ron J2 Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4322998)
Rants here is the formal report on the SEC's failures.

(Includes a 22 page "Executive Summary". Runs to 369 pages)

It's hard to sum up briefly. Still I count 5 formal investigations of Madoff (or his agents). It's easy to document serious (very basic) failings. The first complaint (of his agents running a Ponzi scheme) dates back to 1991.

You can see a lot of tunnel vision. Best I can tell they simply didn't understand how powerful the evidence that Markopolos provided was. (By the way, I was wrong. It included a specific allegation that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme)

(from page 368)

E. Factors in the SEC’s Failure to Discover Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme
From the outset of its investigation, the NERO Enforcement staff, unlike the Boston District Office, failed to appreciate the significance of the evidence in the 2005 Markopolos submission. As a result of this initial failure, the Enforcement staff never really conducted an adequate and thorough investigation of Markopolos’ claim that Madoff was operating a Ponzi scheme.
Almost immediately after Markopolos’ submission was brought to the Enforcement staff’s attention, they expressed skepticism and disbelief toward the evidence contained in the submission. The Enforcement staff claimed that Markopolos was neither an insider nor an investor and, thus, immediately discounted his’ evidence. Bachenheimer testified that “often the only way [the SEC] can develop evidence … in a Ponzi scheme, is if we have somebody on the inside … It’s very challenging to develop evidence [about a Ponzi scheme] until the thing actually falls apart.” Bachenheimer Testimony Tr. at pgs. 65-66. Yet, had the Enforcement staff simply sought documents from DTC, Madoff’s bank or his purported OTC option counterparties, they would have been able to uncover the fraud without any such inside information.

And later:

However, each member of the Enforcement staff accepted as plausible Madoff’s claim that his returns were due to his perfect “gut feel” for when the market would go up or down. Suh testified that she “didn’t know what to think at that time about [Madoff’s claimed returns]. I did not know enough about this industry to place that number” and that she “did not have a view about how likely or unlikely” “it was that one person could achieve such consistent returns over 14-and-a-half years with only seven down months.”

And

According to NASD Vice President Gene DeMaio, the Enforcement staff did not understand the basics about options and “some of those [options trading] strategies were over their heads.”

(Yeah, they really didn't understand the industry. I'm told that in the industry the SEC is viewed as a home for the losers not good enough to actually work in the industry)
   2219. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4322999)
And because they are humans I am ok with spending my money (and Ray's) to make sure they have a certain standard of living./quote]

So you'll actually admit that you don't hold anyone to any standards whatsoever? I'm not talking about retarded (sorry!) people here. Is there a limit to how many stupid purchases a person could make with your money before you'd stop giving it to them, or would you just wait until everyone had descended into the same level of poverty and squalor to save you the stress of saying no?
   2220. BrianBrianson Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4323002)

And because they are humans I am ok with spending my money (and Ray's) to make sure they have a certain standard of living.


It's generally better than leaving them with no better recourse than to become petty thieves, hooligans, and the like, even if you're quite selfish. And again, (in my anecdotal experience), if kids never see their parents making good decisions, it's ####### hard for them to. Kids with a bad example at home are going to struggle no matter what, but it's best if they're at least fed and able to go to school, rather than living the Dickensian life of becoming a pickpocket at six and finding the gallows at fifteen.
   2221. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4323006)
Look, I'm with you in that some people (maybe a significant percentage of people) abuse the system. But that doesn't mean the system is unfixable, it means that we better make sure the safeguards, and checks actually work so people don't abuse it.


I totally agree, I'm not against social safety nets on a fundamental level at all, but I do think that the penchant for abuse is pervasive and real, and I think after so many chances you get cut off. If you die, too bad.
   2222. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4323007)
Thanks Ron. I still can't see how they weren't willfully abdicating their responsibilities.
   2223. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4323009)
White people, please tell me more about how there is no more racism in America.

Enough of that, I want to hear from men about the dearth of sexism


I'm sad I missed out on the segue towards "Men's Rights" that took place a few pages ago because that's a particularly amusing topic for me. I admit to occasionally trolling forums built around that topic, like this one, because I find it enormously amusing to hear these obviously low-status, low-fitness schlubs wallow in their own inadequacy by projecting their failure on everyone else in the world. Hey fellas, maybe we can get some men to run for political office so we can get some representation in the law!
   2224. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4323010)
Kids with a bad example at home are going to struggle no matter what


Which is why the abandonment of discipline and failing grades by the school system is having such severe repurcussions in society. It used to be that kids with no good examples to follow at home still had a chance of becoming a productive member of society because of the structure school provided, but the liberalism of the education system has guaranteed they won't.

   2225. Gotham Dave Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4323011)
I totally agree, I'm not against social safety nets on a fundamental level at all, but I do think that the penchant for abuse is pervasive and real, and I think after so many chances you get cut off. If you die, too bad.
Jesus Christ, man. Not only is this callous as hell, it's pretty stupid, too. People are going to bust down your door and take your #### and possibly murder you before that happens. They're not just gonna go die quietly. Come on.

And "guns" is not an answer for this concern, sorry.
   2226. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4323019)
The "do you want to let them die what is wrong with you!!!" is an utter strawman. Because as we've learned from Andy and, well, all of the rest of you as applied to health care, it's not acceptable to treat people and then bill them, either, if they cant afford it.
   2227. BDC Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4323026)
Paying for food, shelter and other things you've actually consumed under a contract to repay (e.g. power and cell phone bills) are always a more important priority than a meal at a restaurant when you're using money provided by someone else to pay for it. I don't get how this is unclear to anyone

This is sound advice, but I don't think that social-benefits programs should work quite so paternally. The situation you describe, if I'm taking it in, is one where somebody who's getting a check from the government (SSI, whatever source) goes out and has a restaurant meal somewhere (which is, come to think of it, food) instead of paying their bills. Admittedly, there is potential for unintended consequences here: so do as many agencies have done, and dedicate support directly to utilities, or housing, or whatever you want to make sure that dependent people need.

At some point, there's some sort of discretionary income in play, however, unless you just put everyone in institutions. So why not take it to a restaurant? Presumably the restaurant contributes to the economy overall, people get jobs thereby.

To take this to a logical conclusion: I'm not dependent right now, but after I retire, I'd be indigent without my Social Security, and likely dead very early without Medicare, which will prolong my life so I can get still more SS and Medicare. And in 2010-12, I spent a few thousand dollars on Rangers games. (A drawback of World Series teams :) How dare I enjoy myself and contribute to a frivolous sector of the local economy, instead of putting everything toward my retirement so that the government won't ever have to pay me any entitlements?
   2228. Ron J2 Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4323027)
Rants, "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence" (substitute "conspiracy" for "malice" here)

I think there's clear evidence that the SEC simply does not fully understand that which they are supposed to regulate.

Oh, there's clear evidence of human factors at work. Multiple reports of SEC agents being told how powerful and important Madoff was. Specific allegations of Madoff attempting to intimidate investigators.

But at the end of the day, tunnel vision ("Its front-running. We know it but we can't prove it."), a lack of understanding of probability (see the testimony I included), a lack of experienced staff (the summary of the first investigation notes that nobody with any real experience was involved. In many cases people who were involved in the investigation were drafted for other tasks. And in the first investigation, Price-Waterhouse was brought in but the guys being investigated basically stalled and the judge hearing the case wouldn't give them more time) pretty much explain things to my satisfaction.

Not of course that fundamental incompetence in a regulatory agency is a good thing.
   2229. BrianBrianson Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4323028)

Which is why the abandonment of discipline and failing grades by the school system is having such severe repurcussions in society. It used to be that kids with no good examples to follow at home still had a chance of becoming a productive member of society because of the structure school provided, but the liberalism of the education system has guaranteed they won't.


This would be a great theory if the underlying premise was true, but it's false. The schools weren't successful at teaching those kids how to cope; they were successful at drumming them out of school and making them someone else's problem. Schools are, of course, still pretty bad at dealing with such kids, but they do have access to better role models by remaining in school (even special ed or behavioral), than by being drummed out early and spending all day with their abusive alcoholic fathers or funny uncle or whoever. That the best students fare relatively worse than they otherwise would is probably true (although it's not clear it's in an absolute sense - we still have to recalibrate IQ tests to make them tougher every few years; the overall level is going up).
   2230. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4323032)
Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence"


I know that, and I do try to remember it when I get on my conspiracy hunts, but it is difficult. Then my wife tells me a story like the one yesterday, in which a grown man called her over to his desk and said he couldn't do the problem (143-34=?) because you can't subract 4 from 3. Again, this is a man in a private college, not a literacy program for Grade 2 drop outs. The utter stupidity of a lot of people is scary as hell. And then a few minutes later I read an article about how researchers in New Zealand had taught dogs to drive cars. What a ###### up time we live in.
   2231. BDC Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4323036)
Whoa, I have to get one of those dogs, I could read a book on the way to work then.
   2232. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4323037)
the overall level is going up


Maybe the overall regurgitation rate of rote material, but not actual learning. There isn't a statistic you could show me that would make me believe the education system is better now, for the people that are actually in it, than it was at any point between 1850 and 1985. No, they maybe didn't learn as many facts in 1875 as they do know, but they learned how to read and learned the value of curiosity and critical thinking. The latter two are almost non-existent today, and are more valuable over the course of a lifetime than any rote fact. Sorry.
   2233. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4323043)
To take this to a logical conclusion: I'm not dependent right now, but after I retire, I'd be indigent without my Social Security, and likely dead very early without Medicare, which will prolong my life so I can get still more SS and Medicare. And in 2010-12, I spent a few thousand dollars on Rangers games. (A drawback of World Series teams :) How dare I enjoy myself and contribute to a frivolous sector of the local economy, instead of putting everything toward my retirement so that the government won't ever have to pay me any entitlements?


Bob, I was responding to the specific situation of me giving $30 out of my pocket directly to someone that went out and blew it in a restaurant. I'm not saying people in social assistance can never go to a restaurant. I don't think you should have to live on oatmeal and hot dogs if you're on social assistance, but you damn well should be accountable for your spending.
   2234. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4323045)
I don't think you should have to live on oatmeal and hot dogs if you're on social assistance,


Such levels of luxury for welfare drones is repugnant to us productive types. Gruel and potted meat is good enough for those wogs, maybe they'll have some incentive to get a job. I bet he'll own a TV and a ceiling fan too, the parasite.
   2235. BDC Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4323049)
Fair enough, Rants. I just think one of the problems in thinking about this is making the overall situation personal. I paid thousands of dollars to the Treasury last year, and I'm sure the Pentagon paid thousands for one toilet seat. But my reaction should be proportional: it's not like the government wasted its entire budget. (Though I know some of our Libertarian friends would insist it did just that :)
   2236. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4323058)

So what? Well, since I can only afford to go out and eat on rare occasions, I would be pissed off, and I would learn from that experience to ensure that that person never got a dollar from me again. That's the great advantage private charity has over forced wealth redistribution, in that people only tend to benefit from it when they use the resources they are given in good faith. That has nothing to do with imposing my morality on someone. I'm not saying that the beneficiaries of my charity or tax revenue have to grovel and thank me, but since I have a very limited supply of money and work to earn it, I expect it to be spent wisely. Paying for food, shelter and other things you've actually consumed under a contract to repay (e.g. power and cell phone bills) are always a more important priority than a meal at a restaurant when you're using money provided by someone else to pay for it. I don't get how this is unclear to anyone.


First off, if you don't have a large income, then in a progressive system you wouldn't be paying as much in taxes, so that issues should take care of itself.

As for spending the money wisely, yes, sure, I think all people should spend money wisely. Mitt Romney ought to spend money wisely. I just think that's a red herring. The widow donated her last coin to the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus said that she was more generous than the rich man who gave bags of gold, but I might just as well say that she was foolish in spending her money on a God who doesn't exist.

Similarly, if a single mom, who is raising kids, and is depressive, decides that she's sick of coming home from work and cooking and tired of the kids complaining about not liking the food and just wants to give them a treat because they are poor and god knows their life is miserable, so she decides to take some of that money and take them out for pizza, so damn what?

I guess my attitude comes from the fact that a) I grew up poor, and know what it is like, and it is nothing like the caricatures, and b) I am a rock-solid proponent of democracy. I think that while people may not always do what's in their best interest, they are nonetheless better judges of their own interests than other people. That's why everyone deserves an equal say in government no matter how foolish or stupid or short-sighted I might think them to be. Similarly, I think that however poorly a person might run their own life, they are better qualified to do so than another person. (Criminal or other anti-social behavior aside). I am happy to assist with recovery programs for addicts, to provide job training for those who want to improve themselves, but in the end I don't think one person ought to be master over another.

Once you pay your taxes and those taxes are given to someone else, a welfare recipient, post office worker, or defense contractor, that isn't your money anymore, and you have no right to monitor them to see if they spend it 'wisely' any more than your boss has that right in your regard.

Note that this is a separate argument from saying that we must have that welfare program or spend tax dollars in a specific way to begin with. I do think moral issues are involved there, but that is a different discussion. If you don't think your tax dollars are being spent wisely in the aggregate, then call your Congressman. But individually monitoring recipients in an ever-enlarging Big Brother system is inimical to democracy and to a free society.
   2237. BrianBrianson Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:39 PM (#4323062)
Maybe the overall regurgitation rate of rote material, but not actual learning.


No, that's exactly backwards. People are worse at rote regurgitation of material. They're better at reading and critical thinking. In 1875 ~15% of Americans were signing their names with X. People are bad at reading and critical thinking today, but they were absolutely atrocious at them historically, and you're being misled by a highly skewed sample of historical people which has filtered to select examples that are worth promoting of the past. The average alcoholic 14 year old who didn't care for letters and never figured out you shouldn't stick your arm in a combine harvestor didn't leave any memoires for you to peruse, but the country was full of them.

For reading and critical thinking ;)
   2238. Srul Itza Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4323072)
However, each member of the Enforcement staff accepted as plausible Madoff’s claim that his returns were due to his perfect “gut feel” for when the market would go up or down. Suh testified that she “didn’t know what to think at that time about [Madoff’s claimed returns]. I did not know enough about this industry to place that number” and that she “did not have a view about how likely or unlikely” “it was that one person could achieve such consistent returns over 14-and-a-half years with only seven down months.”

And

According to NASD Vice President Gene DeMaio, the Enforcement staff did not understand the basics about options and “some of those [options trading] strategies were over their heads.”


I make a part of my living representing investors against stockbrokers in arbitration (which is a stacked deck but the only game in town). The best regulators are more often found in State agencies, but this is really sad. It is a truism that NOBODY has ever successfully "timed" the market for any significant period of time. The very fact of the reported returns for that period of time shouted FRAUD. That these people did not understand that is just sad.

   2239. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4323075)
My mother was on welfare for a number of years when I was a kid; among other things, she was working her way through college via night classes. Eventually she did get a fairly decent job. She made lots of mistakes. She spent money unwisely. I know. I was there.

She wrote a column for the local newspaper in 1979 on being poor:

Being poor is having no money. No problem understanding that. but it’s more.

It’s spending all afternoon trying to figure out how to make supper with the last of the meat you take from the freezer – liver. Defrosted, you find it’s turned green, and you scrape off the green stuff and cook it anyhow because it’s suppertime.

Being poor is conning just one more dollar from your mother for gas for the car to go for an interview for a job that you don’t want, but need; and the embarrassment (never getting used to it) of asking for a dollar’s worth of gas. And when you finally get the gas and are on your way, you get a flat tire, not six blocks from your house, and having no spare.

Being poor is having 30 cents and finding a quarter in an unused, summer jacket in the farthest corner of the closet and knowing you have 55 cents for a package of cigarettes, but you feel guilty because the kids need milk but you need cigarettes more. And besides, you can only buy a quart of milk for 55 cents, and that won’t last two meals.

Being poor is making pancakes for supper with the last egg. You used the second to the last egg for pancakes for breakfast with the last of the sugar on them and the kids thought it was a great treat for breakfast. But for supper, with so much flour and water added that the egg gets lost and they taste like what my father used to call “wallpaper paste.” I’ve since learned to make wallpaper paste to hang wallpaper, and he’s right, they do.

Being poor is washing your clothes, without soap, in the bathtub and taking a bath, without soap, in that same dirty bathtub. No cleanser to clean it. And dripping dry or using pages from the telephone book when you use the toilet. And making Kotex out of old, threadbare pillow cases; then, wondering what to do with them after they’re used. You can’t boil them on the stove like your mother used to do when you were young. You didn’t pay attention then so now you don’t know how to do it, and besides, you wouldn’t. But you’re running out of old pillow cases and you know you can’t buy anything like Kotex, or soap, or kitchen cleanser with food stamps.

Being poor is getting your Welfare check, or Social Security check, or Compensation check and stupidly blowing so much money in one night on a movie and dinner out for everyone because you didn’t have a really good time in a month and you’re sick and tired of TV re-runs, and the kids are driving you crazy, and you feel guilty as hell about the family and yourself being poor. If you don’t get out of the house and see other people, be with other people who are not poor and who don’t know you are, you’ll go nuts. You can forget for one evening. That’s not too much to ask.

Being poor is giving your cat the kid’s Cheerios because you don’t have anything else, not a thing to feed him. And he’s crying all day and that damn cat won’t eat it and you’re sick and tired of hearing him cry. You wish you hadn’t picked him up that day in the alley. If you hadn’t, someone else would have, or maybe not. You lock him in the basement so you won’t have to hear him cry, putting the Cheerios down there just in case. You can’t buy cat food, either, on food stamps because when you’re poor you’re not supposed to have a cat or dog – or kids either, for that matter.

Being poor is something no man, ever, anywhere, can ever get used to even given an entire lifetime. Even if he’s poor for an entire lifetime. Most people, thank God, are not, but too many are. It’s not how long one is poor, but how poor one is that is unacceptable, unbelievable, and unforgivable in this “great, most prosperous country of ours.” and no amount of Social Security, no amount of Welfare money, no amount of social service organizations will ever change anything. No amount of television, or movies, or McDonald’s, or sex, or food, or booze, or pills, will ever help – being poor.
   2240. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4323082)
People are bad at reading and critical thinking today, but they were absolutely atrocious at them historically


In my post I qualified it with "for the people that are actually in it". Of course if we include the people that couldn't go to school because they had to work on the farm, or couldn't afford to attend, the average is dragged down, but I am 99% confident that a typical high school grad from 1875 or 1950 was more literate, more numerate, and had more practical knowledge that could be applied in everyday life than a high school grad today. There were less grads out of the group that eve tried, but that's because they didn't give you a diploma just for showing up at least 2/3 of the time. Like guy in my wife's class who didn't think it was possible to subtract 34 from 143. He would have failed out of Grade 2 40 years ago, and never would have graduated high school in a million years.
   2241. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4323083)
The best regulators are more often found in State agencies


Like Elliot Spitzer, before his character was assassinated (another conspiracy).
   2242. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4323086)
I know what its like being poor (relatively speaking - I grew up in Canada). We had to go to the food bank, and I wore hand me downs for most of my childhood. Anyone can have a bad break and go through a rough time, but I don't have any sympathy for people that continually make decisions that ensure their poverty, year after year after year.
   2243. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 01:57 PM (#4323088)
I obviously need to take a break, I've made almost half the posts on this page.
   2244. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4323100)
The last couple of hundred posts have swung from the ridiculous foofarah over the Duke incident to some of the smartest, most profound posts I've read on this site. Thank you, all.

So, assuming one's chosen path to "success" and fulfillment involves academic and professional competition and credentials, at key inflection points not only are whites not "privileged" because they're white, they're disadvantaged.

This is so obvious that it's barely worthy of argument, and only is because of white liberal denial.


The prattling on about generic this or that from unnamed liberals, particularly when the matter is both disputed and obscure is irritating and makes you look... less than lustrous (why not link to something credible if this is so pervasive?) but it IS a subject that even someone as far left as you would consider me can get vastly irritated about, especially by assumptions (which I've only heard in conversation) on the order of, as a white man gold coins are put nightly under my pillow by sweaty Nubian princesses.

I'm going on the assumption that a lot of what is irritating about claims of 'white male privilege' is when those are blanket claims, and there's no acknowledgment that counterexamples might be legitimate, or are simply wished away as mosquito bites along the red carpeted ascendancy.

Being a white male in several situations has been anywhere from very costly to me, to a minor irritation. I've been assaulted (out of the blue, as far as I can tell, not having had anything like my usual opportunity to annoy my assailants) because I was white.

I was involved in extremely expensive, protracted litigation in family court because in the 80s and 90s being male in a certain state's courts involved a de facto presumption of guilt, because the rules had been shifted in response to the womens' rights movement to an absurd degree, and the appeals process where men were 95% of the appellants had been dismantled.

It was not a case where this was necessary in order to right some historical wrong, but rather a corner of the justice system run amok, dominated by women, and run essentially for the benefit of women.

I also became aware of situations that lent credence to some of the theses of the mens' rights movements. Their rhetoric is too often extreme and fraught with conspiracy language, and this largely wrecks their credibility, but in many senses, and regarding men's rights in child support and child custody cases, they're not wrong. It does seem to have gotten more balanced in the last decade, I'm happy to say.

I've also been in tech-oriented classrooms where it was clear the female students were given an easy ride. I've had three professors admit as much. It wasn't that big a deal, but it was mildly offensive. I did have a drawing class where the female professor gave the ten females students A's across the board, and in order not to wreck the curve, gave the men lesser grades. Over beers she admitted it was her own, private affirmative action program. I'm not arguing this is on the order of being told to sit in the back of the bus.

I lived abroad for a while in a very feminist culture. It was ####### annoying to be a slightly second class citizen, but it was fascinating to see how, nonetheless, in an atmosphere as free of gender discrimination as I can imagine, the bulk of women gravitated to what is historically womens' work, and the bulk of men gravitated to what is historically mens' work. This was a minor but persistent topic of debate, one of which would often end with our ardent feminists clucking then going back to their self-chosen tasks of baking bread or weaving.

I'd be interested to hear theories, and I have no explanation for it beyond the plain fact that what is historically mens' work is often unpleasant, and rather more unpleasant if you have a typical woman's build. There are plenty of men's jobs that men who are around 5'-10 and 170 lbs can physically do indefinitely, but are very tough if you're 5'-4 and 135.

Still, women did not gravitate to tasks involving, say, electrical work, or plumbing, or light carpentry, or x, that while physical are the kinds of things that fit people of any size can handle easily enough.

To get back on topic, I'm not arguing that being a white man doesn't confer huge benefits (the number of neighborhoods I can travel freely on foot and without worry in --something I like to do-- as a white man is much, much greater than if I was black, or female just to mention one important example that is easy to be unaware of), but I'm not completely unsympathetic to people claiming they just don't see it. It's not always easy to see, especially since, say, 1980, where examples of preferential treatment for women and minorities in admissions and hirings are very visible.

   2245. The Good Face Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4323115)
I know what its like being poor (relatively speaking - I grew up in Canada). We had to go to the food bank, and I wore hand me downs for most of my childhood. Anyone can have a bad break and go through a rough time, but I don't have any sympathy for people that continually make decisions that ensure their poverty, year after year after year.


Unfortunately, long term poverty in Western civilization is generally caused by low intelligence and poor future time orientation. Being dumb and unable to plan for the future leads to poor decisions, which leads to adverse social and economic consequences, which makes life harder, which leads to even worse decisions, etc.

It's a failure cascade, but stupidity is at the root of it. Unfortunately, we can't fix stupid. Some folks offer faith based solutions, like education, but education doesn't make people any smarter; it just reduces their ignorance, assuming it takes, which it often doesn't. We used to have work available for stupid people, but we increasingly don't; so unless we're willing to let them starve (and plenty of them are dumb enough to wind up in those straights) we should make some allowances for them.

Of course, A) people respond to incentives and B) people whose physical needs are met but who don't have anything to do are a rich source of social pathologies. Where the value of working vs. being on the dole is small or non-existent, you've incentivized people to do nothing. Especially when you create a system that allows them to manipulate their take under the dole; witness Kristof's recent NYT article about pulling kids from literacy classes to ensure they'll be eligible for disability payments. Now, having used financial incentives to create a class of people doing nothing all day, you reap the rewards; alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, broken families, single parenthood, child abuse and crime. Right thinking people are horrified, which means even MORE money is needed to "fix" all the problems that bad social policy created in the first place. For the politically minded among us, this is what is known as an opportunity.
   2246. BrianBrianson Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4323123)
but I am 99% confident that a typical high school grad from 1875 or 1950 was more literate, more numerate, and had more practical knowledge that could be applied in everyday life than a high school grad today.


Yes, the most educated 1% of the population in 1875 was more literate, more numerate, and had more practical knowledge than the least educated 1% of the population today. That's not exactly high praise for the education system of the time. The phrase "for the people that are actually in it" was doing such heavy lifting it was turning earthworms into astronauts, obliterating whatever point might've been made.
   2247. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4323127)
Unfortunately, long term poverty in Western civilization is generally caused by low intelligence and poor future time orientation. Being dumb and unable to plan for the future leads to poor decisions, which leads to adverse social and economic consequences, which makes life harder, which leads to even worse decisions, etc.


But being poor in and of itself provides it's own feedback loop as well. If you have to ride the bus to work rather than drive your own car, that takes up valuable time that you could use in more productive events, like cooking a meal from fresh ingredients rather than packaged pre - prepared meals which are more expensive and less healthy. You can't afford to upgrade appliances to more energy efficient models, thus you spend more on utility bills. Here where I live, cooling is the biggest utility cost. When they build low income housing, I know they use the cheapest, least efficient windows, roof insulation, and appliances on the homes. It can be expensive to be poor.
   2248. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4323129)
I think there's clear evidence that the SEC simply does not fully understand that which they are supposed to regulate.


But at the end of the day, tunnel vision ("Its front-running. We know it but we can't prove it."), a lack of understanding of probability (see the testimony I included), a lack of experienced staff (the summary of the first investigation notes that nobody with any real experience was involved. In many cases people who were involved in the investigation were drafted for other tasks.


as someone who has gone through 1/2 a dozen SEC/FINRA (fka NASD) exams I can definitely support the notion that there are no shortage of examiners who are often ill equipped at even understanding the basic business model of the firm they are examining. I should not have to explain the basics of trade settlement to the guys regulating the brokerage industry, but we do. When PwC or E&Y come here, ok, I get it, they aren't BD guys, but not the OCIE or FINRA

With that said, we're in the midst of an exam and I will tell you the posture and focus by this group is night and day different from the last exams. There is clearly a directive to relentlessly drill down on any areas of risk within your walls. On one hand this is a marked improvement compared to the last series of exams, as they are not wasting time on areas of the brokerage world which are totally 'N/A' at your firm. On the other hand, they're still chasing red herrings sometimes (similar situation to the Madoff theory that it was 'front running'.) and you have to keep biting your tongue and walk them through your process over and over.
   2249. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4323131)
And "guns" is not an answer for this concern, sorry.

Well, they have been for a very long time and before that it was pointy sticks and blunt objects that did the trick.
   2250. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4323134)
Regarding education...

First math education (pre-college) has become much batter than back in the day in the last 20+ years and anyone who says differently is wrong (or at least their experience is completely at odds with mine). I am less sure of the other aspects and admit I am suspicious of the mdoern writing practices.

Second (and this ties in with the other coversations) interesting article.

Read it all, but ...
The University of Iowa has made two changes to a portion of its undergraduate admissions application designed to make the process more inclusive to prospective students who are members of the LGBT population.
   2251. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4323136)
But being poor in and of itself provides it's own feedback loop as well. If you have to ride the bus to work rather than drive your own car, that takes up valuable time that you could use in more productive events, like cooking a meal from fresh ingredients rather than packaged pre - prepared meals which are more expensive and less healthy. You can't afford to upgrade appliances to more energy efficient models, thus you spend more on utility bills. Here where I live, cooling is the biggest utility cost. When they build low income housing, I know they use the cheapest, least efficient windows, roof insulation, and appliances on the homes. It can be expensive to be poor.

Bus travel is vastly cheaper than car travel.

Prepared meals are generally cheaper per calorie than "freshly" prepared meals. "Fresh" is rather expensive. Plus prepared meals do not require appliances let alone more energy efficient appliances.
   2252. Ron J2 Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4323137)
#2247 Terry Pratchett has the Sam Vimes theory of boots. (nabbed from a wiki) "Vimes reflects that he can only afford ten-dollar boots with thin soles which don't keep out the damp and wear out in a season or two. A pair of good boots, which cost fifty dollars, would last for years and years - which means that over the long run, the man with cheap boots has spent much more money and still has wet feet."
   2253. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4323141)
Plus prepared meals do not require appliances let alone more energy efficient appliances.


What a ridiculous response.
   2254. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4323150)
What a ridiculous response.

To a ridiculous set of statements in the first place.

   2255. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4323159)
First math education (pre-college) has become much batter than back in the day in the last 20+ years and anyone who says differently is wrong (or at least their experience is completely at odds with mine). I am less sure of the other aspects and admit I am suspicious of the mdoern writing practices.


I spent a couple of years analyzing and cataloging a collection of American K-12 textbooks published from ~1850 to 1980. The textbooks from before 1970 in every area are universally simplistic -- I had no problem with anything in any of the advanced math textbooks I looked at, even though I was a bad math student in high school and haved stayed away from it since then. Everything in every area tended to be extremely simplistic, and there was also a huge amount of time spent on penmanship and shorthand and posture and cotillion dances and other things that are more or less ignored today. Through the 1950s there were a huge amount of agricultural textbooks published, with instructions for plowing and for canning vegetables and math problems covering the amount of pickled cabbage your family will need to survive the winter. There were also lots of textbooks published in technical areas we would never consider part of high school education today. There were high school textbooks on piloting airplanes, for example. Generally lots more vocational stuff than I think you'd see today, lots of textbooks on being a secretary or running a shop counter or whatever. Also lots of weird city textbooks -- a social studies book about Cleveland, things like that.

Just from looking at the textbooks its seems that what's been lost in K-12 education are the practical things -- handwriting, learning to can vegetables and fly airplanes and work at specific jobs, learning what we might call social graces, and so on. (Also a lot less of the Grand Narrative in history textbooks; no one spends a full year on Roman history anymore.)

(This is of course changes from the 19th century to 1980, not anything truly current.)
   2256. Ron J2 Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4323164)
McCoy, what he's talking about is generally called a "ghetto tax" (though "Sam Vimes boots" is growing in popularity)

Brookings paper on the subject.

From the intro:

In general, lower income families tend to pay more for the exact same consumer product than families with higher incomes. For instance, 4.2 million lower income homeowners that earn less than $30,000 a year pay higher than average prices for their mortgages. About 4.5 million lower income households pay higher than average prices for auto loans. At least 1.6 million lower income adults pay excessive fees for furniture, appliances, and electronics. And, countless more pay high prices for other necessities, such as basic financial services, groceries, and insurance. Together, these extra costs add up to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars unnecessarily spent by lower income families every year.


(includes data from 12 major metropolitan areas as well as national data)
   2257. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4323167)
McCoy, what he's talking about is generally called a "ghetto tax" (though "Sam Vimes boots" is growing in popularity)


But apparently that can be mitigated by eating cold ravioli out of a can and not owning a refrigerator.
   2258. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4323169)
Well heating it up would sap their wills.
   2259. BrianBrianson Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4323179)
Prepared meals are generally cheaper per calorie than "freshly" prepared meals. "Fresh" is rather expensive. Plus prepared meals do not require appliances let alone more energy efficient appliances.


Wildly false. I can make salted rice and lard at home for far less than I buy chicken nuggets for (on a per calorie basis). The reason poor people end up so fat is because they buy the lard/corn sugar concoctions that have too few nutrients (apart from calories), which is why they end up eating so much. The reason you spend more on freshly prepared meals than poor people spend on prepared meals is because the quality of your fresh meals is so much higher.
   2260. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:28 PM (#4323186)
McCoy, what he's talking about is generally called a "ghetto tax"

Which has very little to do with food. The tax has mostly to do with financing issues. Best Buy doesn't charge poor people more for a TV than they do middle income people. The difference comes when they purchase their goods with a credit card or with financing and the differing interest rates kick in.

But apparently that can be mitigated by eating cold ravioli out of a can and not owning a refrigerator.


So the poor own their own houses?

From the last time we talked about the poor I posted a link that showed that virtually all of the poor have the basic appliances to store and heat food. Now then the poor aren't using the Kaiser 200 refrigerator series to keep food cool so while there is a difference between some expensive energy efficient model and a "poor" model in terms of energy costs that is a cost that takes many years to pay off and energy savings are rather minimal when comparing the price tags.
   2261. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4323188)
Wildly false. I can make salted rice and lard at home for far less than I buy chicken nuggets for (on a per calorie basis). The reason poor people end up so fat is because they buy the lard/corn sugar concoctions that have too few nutrients (apart from calories), which is why they end up eating so much. The reason you spend more on freshly prepared meals than poor people spend on prepared meals is because the quality of your fresh meals is so much higher.

No it isn't wildly false. How much would it cost you to make chicken nuggets at home vs simpy going to McDonalds and buying them off the dollar menu?

Secondly your statements don't make a lot of sense. People get fat because they intake more calories than they use. Plain and simple. Poor people buy cheap food packed with calories and consequently they sometimes don't burn it off. Other people buy "fresh" food that is largely not packed with calories and they sometimes don't burn it off.
   2262. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:35 PM (#4323191)
energy savings are rather minimal when comparing the price tags.


But it's not minimal when comparing using your otherwise well functioning 20 year old unit vs buying a new one.
   2263. The Good Face Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4323192)
The reason poor people end up so fat is because they buy the lard/corn sugar concoctions that have too few nutrients (apart from calories), which is why they end up eating so much.


Poor people are fat because they're not willing or able to prepare their own food as opposed to buying fast food or pre-packaged ####. Beans are cheap. Rice is cheap. Eggs are cheap. Ditto onions and garlic, apples and bananas. But even simple recipes require a modicum of knowledge and time to prepare if they're to be appetizing. We no longer teach cooking or useful life skills in public schools, so unless our hypothetical poor person is lucky enough to have somebody at home who can teach them, they're SOL when it comes to cooking.

Of course, even if we did make an educational push to teach cooking and nutrition, I doubt it would help much. The same things that make poor people poor also lead to making them fat; poor future time orientation, poor impulse control, inability to make good decisions due to low intelligence.
   2264. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4323195)
Beans are cheap. Rice is cheap. Eggs are cheap. Ditto onions and garlic, apples and bananas. But even simple recipes require a modicum of knowledge and time to prepare if they're to be appetizing.


And time. If you take the bus to and from work and have to make 3 transfers, you have less time to prepare meals (and learn how to do so). It's not THE factor, and not even the biggest factor, but it is a factor for many, and just one more small obstacle on the road to getting out of poverty.
   2265. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:45 PM (#4323197)
And time. If you take the bus to and from work and have to make 3 transfers, you have less time to prepare meals (and learn how to do so). It's not THE factor, and not even the biggest factor, but it is a factor for many, and just one more small obstacle on the road to getting out of poverty.


I call b###sh##. "Rich" people commuting in to NYC from NJ spend 3-5 hours on the commute each day. And people with high incomes are generally working a ton of hours. So stop with this "poor people have to make 12 transfers and have to work 29 jobs and therefore they have no time to cook." If you compare commute time and hours per week worked for the rich and poor, the rich are spending more time doing both.

Poor people in general are of lower intelligence and make... poor... decisions. Those are the overriding factors, along with culture, not race or "the rich people taking their wealth," whatever the hell that means.
   2266. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4323200)
But it's not minimal when comparing using your otherwise well functioning 20 year old unit vs buying a new one.

Yeah it is. If you've got a 20 year old fridge that means you haven't bought a fridge in 20 years. That is a savings as well that has to get factored in. That's a $600 to, well, lots that one can choose to spend on other things and the cost of not spending that money probably comes to something like $35 a year in difference. Probably even less. For instance Best Buy claims that a refrigerator built in 1992 costs about $100 a year to run and a brand new energy efficient refrigerator costs $65 a year to run. Again, the savings simply aren't worth the price tag for poor families and not buying a brand new energy efficient is not really a penalty. Hell, a middle income family probably ends up paying something like 10 years worth of energy savings in interest payments on the fridge.
   2267. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:50 PM (#4323202)
I call b###sh##. "Rich" people commuting in to NYC from NJ spend 3-5 hours on the commute each day.


And then they get home and start prepping to make dinner? Sounds implausible to me, and I do lots of cooking. I plan my weekly menus in advance to save myself time but you really can't do all your chopping and whatnot on a Sunday and expect your recipes to turn out right when you make them on Wednesday.
   2268. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:54 PM (#4323204)
people commuting in to NYC from NJ spend 3-5 hours on the commute each day


Here in flyover land my commute was terrible the last few days because of a huge snowstorm, it near doubled all the way to almost 20 minutes each way* (which is how long it takes to bike when the weather is nice).

But seriously having been poor the problem for me wasn't commuting it was shopping. Grocery shopping and bus riding are doable, but it sucks and limits what you can buy** even assuming there are reasonable stores nearby.

* OK I have a super nice commute right now, but at my worst commute - going across town 20+ miles after a major freeway bridge on my route collapsed and screwed everything up it was ~30 minutes each way (much worse in snow though). 3 - 5 hours is crazy stupid.

** For example if you have a long bus ride frozen goods are problematic. Also fruits and veggies get more crushed on the bus. And forget shopping at CostCo unless all you are buying is a giant tub of mayo, since you need to buy in not-bulk generally because of space limitations.
   2269. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4323205)

And then they get home and start prepping to make dinner? Sounds implausible to me, and I do lots of cooking.


Not really. For about 2 years I did in-home catering for upper middle class and upper class families in West Chester and NYC. Will they do everything from scratch? No, but the key is proper time management which poor people tend to be poor at. Cooking at home if you are organized and know what you are doing doesn't take a long time. It isn't like every single day is roasting a turkey or cooking a pot roast. I cook at home all the time and do all of it from scratch. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to prepare and cook a protein, a starch, and vegetables. I do all of that with a sheet pan, a skillet, a large pot, and a small pot.

About every 6 months we have this argument and people keep on being mystified by home cooking.
   2270. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4323206)
For example if you have a long bus ride frozen goods are problematic.


That's cool, because nobody needs to take a long bus ride to buy frozen goods, "food deserts" being a myth and all.
   2271. spike Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4323208)
Poor people in general are of lower intelligence and make... poor... decisions.

I am an avowed atheist, but statements like these sometimes make me wish there was a Christian god who doled out judgement at the pearly gates.
   2272. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 12, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4323212)
That the best students fare relatively worse than they otherwise would is probably true...


Having been one of those students and having suffered greatly for it I will insist to your dying breath that any system that functions in the way you describe is very fundamentally broken.

Maybe the overall regurgitation rate of rote material, but not actual learning. There isn't a statistic you could show me that would make me believe the education system is better now, for the people that are actually in it, than it was at any point between 1850 and 1985. No, they maybe didn't learn as many facts in 1875 as they do know, but they learned how to read and learned the value of curiosity and critical thinking.


This is so false I can barely believe it was typed. I went to some of the best public schools in the country in the 60s and 70s and critical thinking of any kind was brutally discouraged. There was no premium on it in any sense. I am unaware of any public schools that prized it, either.

Post 2255 is fascinating, btw.

#2247 Terry Pratchett has the Sam Vimes theory of boots. (nabbed from a wiki) "Vimes reflects that he can only afford ten-dollar boots with thin soles which don't keep out the damp and wear out in a season or two. A pair of good boots, which cost fifty dollars, would last for years and years - which means that over the long run, the man with cheap boots has spent much more money and still has wet feet."
I can vouch for this. My folks were cheap bastards, and I always struggled to get through winter in inadequate clothing to the point of having nothing but short pants to wear to school one December. My first purchase once I had my first job and my own money was a $170 down coat that lasted 20 years. It was wonderfully made and turned winter from a nightmare to a pleasure--no exaggeration.

That Christmas my mother's response was to give me nothing, since I was obviously doing so well. But that's another story.

SdeB: That's a very smart recounting of what it's like by your mom. I had a couple of years like that as an adult and it's a grinding misery. Once I started doing well it became abundantly clear how much money having money saves. I can buy in bulk. Instead of buying thousand dollar beaters I can find the sweet spot in used cars and get fantastic deals, saving on repairs and on all the hassles that come with having your car in the shop too often. I can afford new, but that seems nutty to me. I can afford to shop much more often, so I eat fresher food, too. I work fewer hours so I can cook tastier meals. I can afford a quieter neighborhood and so I sleep better. The benefits of having even just a modest level of economic comfort are extraodinary.
   2273. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4323215)
10 facts about the Battle of Fredericksburg

150 years ago yesterday was the start of the Battle of Fredericksburg
   2274. Poulanc Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4323222)
I cook at home all the time and do all of it from scratch. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to prepare and cook a protein, a starch, and vegetables. I do all of that with a sheet pan, a skillet, a large pot, and a small pot.


Do you have any kids?
   2275. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:07 PM (#4323224)
Poor people in general are of lower intelligence and make... poor... decisions.

I am an avowed atheist, but statements like these sometimes make me wish there was a Christian god who doled out judgement at the pearly gates.


Why would I be judged harshly or punished for making that statement?

Do you disagree that it is true? So poor people are in general either as intelligent or more intelligent than rich people? And poor people in general make as good or better decisions than rich people?

WTF are you arguing, anyway?

Too often liberals will just repeat a comment and act all aghast at it, as if it is self evident that the comment is beyond the pale. But why would it be beyond the pale, if it is true? Are you arguing that it is false?
   2276. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4323226)
That's cool, because nobody needs to take a long bus ride to buy frozen goods, "food deserts" being a myth and all.


What do you consider long? A short trip on a bus often ends up being a very long time with bus waits and especially transfers (certainly if your schedule means having to take mass transit off peak hours when the buses run more frequently). Sometimes it is faster to just walk for 40 minutes, except of course doing that with two bags of food while the frozen peas thaw doesn't work.

I am not willing to quibble with you whether of not "food deserts" exist, but in my experience not having a car severly limits food shopping and makes the whole thing very inefficient and often problematic especially in weather extremes.
   2277. Ron J2 Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:10 PM (#4323228)
#2272, I've never regretted paying money for good clothing. Particularly shoes. OK, the only reason I could make myself shell out for my Mefistos was that they were on sale. But they were still more than I had spent on any two pairs of shoes. Years later they're still keeping my feet dry and warm during the Canadian slush seasons.
   2278. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:13 PM (#4323229)
#2272, I've never regretted paying money for good clothing. Particularly shoes. OK, the only reason I could make myself shell out for my Mefistos was that they were on sale. But they were still more than I had spent on any two pairs of shoes. Years later they're still keeping my feet dry and warm during the Canadian slush seasons.


I bought a long cashmere winter coat about 10 years ago. At the time it was the most expensive thing I owned. (Now it is third-most expensive - apartment and Toyota Camry, though of course the bank owns most of my apartment and actually I'm still paying off the car.) I never regretted it. I still use it to this day. Got it re-lined a couple years ago and it is in great shape.
   2279. Poulanc Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4323230)
So poor people are in general either as intelligent or more intelligent than rich people?


I would argue that yes, poor people in general are as intelligent as rich people. But of course, you will then point to IQ scores as the measurement of intelligence, and we won't get anywhere.
   2280. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4323232)
Do you disagree that it is true? So poor people are in general either as intelligent or more intelligent than rich people? And poor people in general make as good or better decisions than rich people?


I am pretty sure we had pages and pages on this discussion a few thread back. it was dismal, roughly in between discussing the Duke case and discussing Liberal Media Bias in the Bitter Mouse pantheon of subjects I would rather never revisit.

Some people have a very strong investment in the idea rich people are smart and will argue in circles forever to justify this. Others think intelligence is a subtle and complex topic (and thus perfect to discuss in this forum!).

EDIT: Ice tea to Poulanc.
   2281. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4323234)
. That is a savings as well that has to get factored in. That's a $600 to, well...


I won't tell you how much my fridge costs.

About every 6 months we have this argument and people keep on being mystified by home cooking


I'll vouch for this, and agree with it, and I do have two young girls under 4. If we didn't do the menu plan, we'd be ######, no doubt as we both work, but we definitely are able to do home cooking 5.5/7 dinners a week w/o much hassle. However, we rarely do a starch by choice, which cuts time further. The worst case scenario is we prep and eat dinner after the kids go to bed around 8-8:30, which is kind of nice some nights. I don't mind eating late one bit, in exchange for peace and quiet and not getting up and down for the kids.
   2282. The Good Face Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4323237)
So poor people are in general either as intelligent or more intelligent than rich people?


I would argue that yes, poor people in general are as intelligent as rich people. But of course, you will then point to IQ scores as the measurement of intelligence, and we won't get anywhere.


Since you have nothing to support your position, I can't see why we should take your faith-based reasoning seriously.
   2283. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4323238)
I would argue that yes, poor people in general are as intelligent as rich people. But of course, you will then point to IQ scores as the measurement of intelligence, and we won't get anywhere.


Actually, I won't point to IQ scores, because the original statement is so delusional that the conversation can't go anywhere.

EDIT: And what about the decisionmaking part of the question, incidentally? Do you also think poor people generally make as good or better decisions than rich people?
   2284. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4323239)
As much as Ray deserves to twist on Satan's bony pitchfork, I'd guess on average that rich people are slightly more intelligent than poor folks, but that we're talking about a couple of IQ points (that being the only handy measure at the moment), and the median is probably a closer, since despite Trump jokes someone with an IQ or 70 or 80 simply is not going to be able to get organized enough to become wealthy.

Though if Ray wants to try to sell us on the idea that the rich don't make fantastically poor decisions by the limousine load, he's sol.

The one characteristic the wealthy I know have in common is the knowledge of how money is made. It's a very specific trait, and it takes no more intelligence to become a successful class action attorney than it does to become a good electrician. It's just intelligence aimed at a different object.

I knew an accountant, for example, who was a completely average guy, but because he was personable and had served an apprenticeship over five years that taught him the ropes, he became a very successful headhunter, worth millions. His IQ had to have been in the 98-102 range.

The idea that the rich on average are more intelligent than the middle class is pretty stupid, frankly.
   2285. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:21 PM (#4323240)
Do you have any kids?

No but when I cook I cook enough food for more than one person. 4 chicken breasts in a pan take the same amount of time to cook as 1 chicken breast in a pan. Quadrupling the amount of rice one is using doesn't require one to quadruple the amount of time one needs to cook the rice.
   2286. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:22 PM (#4323243)
Admiral Ackbar just called me, but I was busy so he left a message. I wonder what he was trying to tell me?
   2287. Poulanc Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4323250)
4 chicken breasts in a pan take the same amount of time to cook as 1 chicken breast in a pan. Quadrupling the amount of rice one is using doesn't require one to quadruple the amount of time one needs to cook the rice.


I not saying it takes longer to cook 4 chicken breasts. Just that in my experience having kids greatly cuts into that hour you can devote to cooking.
   2288. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4323253)
the bulk of women gravitated to what is historically womens' work, and the bulk of men gravitated to what is historically
mens' work.


Almost as if we were born for it. Crazy talk, I know.

And you guys can't have it both ways. If the reason poor people continually make decisions to keep them in poverty year after year isn't because they're stupid, then they're smart enough to make better decisions and at least give themselves a chance at economic independence.
   2289. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4323263)
As far as calories goes, Brian is right. The reason many people consume ridiculous amounts of calories in the form of junk food (which includes white bread, white pasta, most sugars, and almost all food that comes in a box) is because the body needs a certain amount of nutrients to survive. Nutrients does not equal calories.

You can eat perfectly healthfully and cheaply cooking your own meals. Cabbage is loaded with nutrients, and is dirt cheap. Same goes for most root vegetables (carrots, beats, onions). Fruit is cheap in season, if you want to get off your ass and make some preserves. Many cuts of beef and pork can be had for $2/lb or less. No, you can't BBQ them for 15 minutes and cut them with a fork.




   2290. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4323264)
What do you consider long? A short trip on a bus often ends up being a very long time with bus waits and especially transfers (certainly if your schedule means having to take mass transit off peak hours when the buses run more frequently). Sometimes it is faster to just walk for 40 minutes, except of course doing that with two bags of food while the frozen peas thaw doesn't work.

I am not willing to quibble with you whether of not "food deserts" exist, but in my experience not having a car severly limits food shopping and makes the whole thing very inefficient and often problematic especially in weather extremes.


I haven't driven to a grocery store in almost two years. I take mass transit to buy seafood at Maine Avenue and I take mass transit to Eastern Market to buy my meats. For everything else I walk to one of the two grocery stores near me. Mass transit in most big cities is actually geared towards getting people to where the need to go and one of the places they need to go is to food centers.
   2291. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4323266)
having kids greatly cuts into that hour you can devote to cooking


Especially for many modern parents, who cook a different meal for each kid and then one for themselves. But I suppose its soul crushsing to make a 6-year old eat his vegetables.
   2292. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4323269)
I not saying it takes longer to cook 4 chicken breasts. Just that in my experience having kids greatly cuts into that hour you can devote to cooking.


my experience is that you better hustle your ass up to get dinner done in time. That and don't make risotto or sauces which require constant attention, unless your spouse/other is there to help.
   2293. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4323270)
And then they get home and start prepping to make dinner? Sounds implausible to me, and I do lots of cooking.

Not really. For about 2 years I did in-home catering for upper middle class and upper class families in West Chester and NYC.


OK, so thus far we've established that you're a professional cook. That's a degree of experience and sophistication that I can't match, and I'll reckon that I've done more cooking than most non-chefs because I really like cooking (well, I really like eating, gotta start at Point A to get to Point B).

Will they do everything from scratch? No, but the key is proper time management which poor people tend to be poor at.


Well I think I'm pretty good at time management in general, being a scientist and lab owner and all. Of course in terms of cooking-specific time management experience helps an awful lot - just moving from sea level to 5000 feet of altitude screwed up half my recipes for months. But OK, granted, time management, very important, even if I'm not really convinced that "the poors" are particularly deficient in that respect.

It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to prepare and cook a protein, a starch, and vegetables.


And that sounds about right to me as a very general guesstimate. I mean, it takes me an hour just to Julienne a bag of onions for soup but my knifework sucks. But let's get back to the point of mine that you were replying to:

"Rich" people commuting in to NYC from NJ spend 3-5 hours on the commute each day.

And then they get home and start prepping to make dinner? Sounds implausible to me, and I do lots of cooking.


If you're getting off work at 5 and commuting 1.5 to 2.5 hours to get home at 6:30 or 7:30, and then cooking up to an hour, your family is eating at 7:30 or 8:30 at night. I find that implausible. Much easier to pull out the box of Hamburger Helper or pull through a drive-in. Or, of course, hire you to do the cooking.
   2294. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4323272)
@2288--I realize that it's a lot to ask of a righty, but you do grasp that the poor are not monolithic, and that we actually must have a whole bunch of them for our system to function, yeah?

No matter what you tell us, the supply of bootstraps is limited. No matter how many wonderful decisions poor folks made, full employment or anything close to it is a fiction.

I imagine you can also conceive of the working poor who, too, for structural reasons, will never improve their economic lot.

It sounds like you're arguing something on the order of, if only poor people worked harder and smarter, we'd have full employment and ghettos would disappear. Surely you're not as dumb as those perpetually poor folks you're decrying?
   2295. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4323273)
Some people have a very strong investment in the idea rich people are smart and will argue in circles forever to justify this.


Then you mention Dubya Bush and they mutter bitterly under their breath and wander off.
   2296. The Good Face Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:38 PM (#4323277)
Actually, I won't point to IQ scores, because the original statement is so delusional that the conversation can't go anywhere.


Yeah, although it aligns with the "everything in life is just random chance!" arguments advanced here by certain posters. Nobody is ever smarter than anyone else when it comes to making decisions; some folks just randomly happen to consistently make the right ones while other people just randomly happen to keep making the wrong ones. Certainly not caused by any attributes possessed by the decision makers themselves. I usually assume people are just being cynical and opportunistic debaters when I see such silliness, but I guess Poulanc actually believes it. Funny stuff.
   2297. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4323279)
But I suppose its soul crushsing to make a 6-year old eat his vegetables.

I won't even let broccoli in my car. I just hate the smell of that particular vegetable worse than almost anything.
   2298. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4323280)
Especially for many modern parents, who cook a different meal for each kid and then one for themselves


we're deep into this mode, and have found a balance. The 3 year old has a rotation of foods she eats, which is predictable for any little kid (sans grille cheese), yet lo and behold she loves pork chops/tenderloin/pulled/etc. just don't season it with anything other than salt. Same with any pasta, keep it plain, she'll load it with grated parm anyways. Same with meat, fine, I say, she's just going to wash the pork/beef or chicken away in a bottle of bbq sauce or ketchup anyway. This isn't that hard to incorporate into our 'adult dish'.
   2299. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4323283)
As far as calories goes, Brian is right. The reason many people consume ridiculous amounts of calories in the form of junk food (which includes white bread, white pasta, most sugars, and almost all food that comes in a box) is because the body needs a certain amount of nutrients to survive. Nutrients does not equal calories.

No that isn't right. People aren't eating two quarter pounders at a dollar each because one quarter pounder doesn't give them enough vitamin B. People who consume a junk food diet can be nutrient deficient and be amassing more calories than they consume. The reason people conumse high amounts of calories via "empty calorie" food is because that food tastes good (salty, fatty, sweet, umami, and such) and we want more of it and since it is so cheap you do buy more of it.
   2300. Rants Mulliniks Posted: December 12, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4323285)

No matter what you tell us, the supply of bootstraps is limited. No matter how many wonderful decisions poor folks made, full employment or anything close to it is a fiction.

I imagine you can also conceive of the working poor who, too, for structural reasons, will never improve their economic lot.

It sounds like you're arguing something on the order of, if only poor people worked harder and smarter, we'd have full employment and ghettos would disappear. Surely you're not as dumb as those perpetually poor folks you're decrying?


I don't have any of these opinions. I just get tired of people drinking and smoking all the time, buying $1000 dollar cameras, ATVs, etc., and then going to the food bank and sending their kids to school with no lunch. Don't put words in my mouth.
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