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You own nothing

This is insane (but increasingly common).


By fnord12 | March 22, 2017, 8:10 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




'Just When I Thought I Was Out' Horde

I am nearing the end of my Bones horde and i have enough miniatures for a lifetime, so i thought i was almost done painting. But then friend Wanyas gave me a bunch of miniatures from a game.

The game is based on Magic: The Gathering, which i'm not familiar with. But they'll work well in any fantasy setting. The set came with a few pre-painted miniatures (not shown) and a ton of unpainted ones. So now i once again have way too many minis to paint. Luckily friend Andy was willing to help. We managed to tackle about half the set.

Some nice generic undead:

Every campaign can use some tentacled horrors:

And ogres (or whatever; they were supposed to be more undead):

These guys are supposed to be vampires:

Some of the miniatures were made in translucent colored plastic, which is cool, and i deliberately painted sparingly to preserve the translucent effect. These guys are supposed to be illusionary duplicates of one of the pre-painted figures. But they can also be used as generic ghosts:

Some more ectoplasmic monsters:

And now the ones Andy painted. Some awesome Rhino men:

And some mostly-faceless swamp creatures:


By fnord12 | March 21, 2017, 12:26 PM | D&D | Link




Recap 77

Living In The Past

Yes, this is a potato with an axe.

By fnord12 | March 21, 2017, 12:00 PM | D&D | Link




Speaking of provocative

Matt Bruenig:

If you favor Obamacare over single-payer or dismiss single-payer as relatively unimportant, then you are a moral monster at least on par with the AHCA [Ryancare] proponents you condemn.

By fnord12 | March 18, 2017, 2:16 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Two-tiered socialism

This op-ed in Forbes is clearly designed to be as provocative as possible and will definitely rile people up and probably win over nobody. But i agree with the general sentiment.

Like most of my neighbors I have a good job in the private sector. Ask my neighbors about the cost of the welfare programs they enjoy and you will be greeted by baffled stares. All that we have is "earned" and we perceive no need for government support. Nevertheless, taxpayers fund our retirement saving, health insurance, primary, secondary, and advanced education, daycare, commuter costs, and even our mortgages at a staggering public cost. Socialism for white people is all-enveloping, benevolent, invisible, and insulated by the nasty, deceptive notion that we have earned our benefits by our own hand.

By fnord12 | March 18, 2017, 1:03 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Your work here is done

WaPo:

Soon after Charla McComic's son lost his job, his health-insurance premium dropped from $567 per month to just $88, a "blessing from God" that she believes was made possible by President Trump.

"I think it was just because of the tax credit," said McComic, 52, a former first-grade teacher who traveled to Trump's Wednesday night rally in Nashville from Lexington, Tenn., with her daughter, mother, aunt and cousin.

The price change was actually thanks to a subsidy made possible by former president Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, which is still in place, not by the tax credits proposed by Republicans as part of the health-care bill still being considered by Congress.

Ok, make fun of the lady all you want. But realize that this is the problem with super-complicated schemes like Obamacare compared to universal programs. And hey, maybe we can use this to convince Trump that his work is already done. See Trump, you already solved the problem. Nice work. (Unless you want to listen to your friend and implement Medicaid for all.)


By fnord12 | March 17, 2017, 11:43 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Meet in whose middle?

Reacting to the Vox article i linked to below, Ryan Cooper outlines Obama's bad history of seeking a middle ground with Republicans at the expense of his own party's agenda and common sense.

Relatedly, Democrats are apparently fretting that the Bernie Sanders wing will apply "purity tests" to candidates in the South through groups like Our Revolution (the article reads like an open letter pleading with them). And you're goddamn right we will. For one thing, Democrats like Joe Manchin have proven that there's really no benefit in having a guy with a D next to his name if he's going to vote and make statements like a Republican all the time. So we might as well go for someone better. More importantly, we just watched a townhall with Bernie Sanders connecting with a room full of Trump voters. Bernie proves that it is possible to find common ground with Republican - voters anyway, not politicians - and you can do it without being "moderate" as centrist Dems define it (Bernie can't gut a deer, but he's the most popular politician). Whereas Obama was trying to get Republicans to agree to tax cuts in return for cutting Social Security and Medicare, Sanders had a room full of Trump voters cheering the idea of universal health care.


By fnord12 | March 16, 2017, 11:06 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Plus/Minus 500 Million Years

Link

Research published this week in PLoS Biology suggests this collection of ancient, newly analyzed fossils--unearthed a few years back--are in all likelihood red algae. If that proves true, it would imply that complex, multicellular life evolved a lot earlier than previously thought--and that the evolutionary family tree of life on Earth might need a major pruning.

Earth's first traces of life probably showed up around 3.5 billion years ago, a billion years or so after our planet formed. Just when these simple, single-celled organisms--classified as "prokaryotes" due to their lack of a nucleus--evolved into multicellular, nucleated forms called "eukaryotes" is a matter of debate. Alga, a eukaryote, is thought to be one of the oldest forms of complex life. And given that previous fossil finds had dated red algae back just 1.2 billion years, the new discovery could reset the evolutionary time line by nearly half a billion years.

I just like saying "eukaryote".

The authors used a technique called synchrotron-based x-ray tomographic microscopy to construct a three-dimensional model of the fossils, and to identify internal cellular structures that the organisms probably used for energy production. Radioactive dating was used to confirm the fossils' age. "The new fossils provide tangible evidence that advanced multicellularity, at least in plants, appeared much earlier than previously thought," says Stefan Bengtson, senior author of the new paper and professor emeritus of paleozoology at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. "They suggest that the timing of early eukaryotes may have to be drastically revised."

Without the presence of DNA--which does not hang around in samples so staggeringly old--it is impossible to confirm the new fossils are bygone red algae. Bengtson admits as much. But he also believes the fossils' structures bear a strong resemblance to that of red alga.

Paul Strother, a Boston College biologist who studies the evolution of algae and plants, and who was not involved in the new research, is not sold. "If these are real...they still do not show any sort of cell differentiation. All the cells are basically the same, and these forms do not represent complex multicellularity," he says.

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire biology chair, Wilson Taylor, who was also uninvolved in the work, points out that even if the new samples are really algae, the search for the origins of complex life still has a long way to go. "If a red alga really had evolved by this time...this implies a prior period of eukaryotic evolution of some length," he says. "How long before the 1.6-billion-year horizon eukaryotes arose, based on that early occurrence, is anyone's guess." Taylor explains that eukaryotes--which comprise virtually all nonmicroscopic life on Earth--likely arose when one prokaryote engulfed another and found some symbiotic benefit that kept the relationship going. But how long it took this vital communion to take hold in the evolutionary process is unknown.

Goddamned prokaryotes eating their friends and neighbors. Jerks.


By min | March 16, 2017, 9:19 AM | Science | Link




The Horrible People Show

Fnord12 and i recently started watching Billions. It was of interest to us because it's created by the 2 guys who wrote Ocean's Thirteen and the author of Too Big to Fail.

Turns out, the show is basically full of characters who are just awful, awful people. But while that's true, they're not one dimensional caricatures. The douchebag hedge fund guy actually loves his wife and has a real sense of loyalty to friends. The douchebag U.S. Attorney has good intentions when it comes to making rich guys serve time and not just get off with a fine, and despite a tendency to manipulate everybody around him, has a healthy relationship with his wife. It even portrays BDSM in a healthy way (i'm looking at you, Fifty Shades).

So the characters are multi-dimensional. The dialogue is quick and complex. And with Andrew Ross Sorkin's input, i'm assuming it's at least accurate in the portrayal of the investment business even if the plot is soap opera-esque.

We're enjoying it, but i gotta tell you, i can't understand half of what the hedge fund characters are saying. At one point, we had to pause the show and get Wall Street by Doug Henwood to try to understand what illegal shenanigans were going on. Even after reading Henwood's definition and example, i still wasn't quite sure what the hell was happening.

Despite this, it's pretty obvious that these people live in a world completely removed from the rest of us. Everything hinges on the result of a gamble on a gamble on a gamble. Transactions are in millions of dollars. But some of the time they're gambling with a pension fund! It's one thing if they're playing roulette with some rich guy's money, but to gamble with someone's pension and all because they can offer you the chance that they might win big? Yeah, but what happens if you lose big? No big deal to someone with millions of dollars of disposable income. Totally different story to a 70yr old retiree who's counting on that $2000/month check to pay for housing and food.

Now, while i'm enjoying the show and it does pass the Bechdel test and there are a few minorities with actual speaking roles, i am a little peeved that although the one character is based on New York U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, they cast a white guy. Were they afraid the audience couldn't empathize with a non-white main character? Was there a dearth of Indian actors to fulfill the role?


By min | March 15, 2017, 8:17 AM | TeeVee | Link




Oh, Obama

Vox on his post-presidency plans:

Critics to his left and right say this theory is riddled with contradictions. They note that it has left Obama largely silent as Trump hacks away at his signature achievements, while simultaneously working behind the scenes to thwart a branch of activists in his own party.

What may be even more perplexing, critics say, is that Obama is still chasing the mirage of a nonpartisan solution to America's political crisis, after eight years of failing to find it in the White House.

The bolded passage in the first paragraph refers to his strong-arming for Perez against Ellison as the DNC head.

On at least one political front, Obama has stayed deeply engaged: He worked the phones to help tip the race for chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) had sewn up the endorsements of dozens of state Democratic Party chairs in his campaign against Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez. Ellison had won most of the congressional endorsements, including those of the party's senior leadership. He had the strong support of Bernie Sanders and his progressive fans.

Obama helped Perez overcome all that...

Observers have been mystified by the Obama White House's decision to spark a Democratic Party civil war over the DNC chair race so soon after its clobbering in November...

Obama aides say the intervention was related to the former president's reluctance to openly criticize Trump. By helping ensure a close ally like Perez is running the DNC, they said, Obama felt like he was liberating himself from having to personally respond to Trump over the next several years.

Obama, in other words, was trying to extricate himself from the partisan fray -- but by taking action in the DNC race that risked antagonizing his own party's base.

It's not clear it worked.

"Going out of his way to find a challenger to Keith Ellison, who was the consensus candidate and a hero of the progressive grassroots, was selfish and counterproductive," says Adam Green, co-founder of the left-wing organization the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.


By fnord12 | March 13, 2017, 4:34 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Never thought to blame cats, though

I've had this conversation with players many times.


By fnord12 | March 12, 2017, 3:30 PM | Comics & D&D | Link




Your own lying ears

What you think you sound like while you're jamming:

When you listen to the recording the next day:


By fnord12 | March 10, 2017, 1:17 PM | Music & My stupid life | Link




Russia is not a plan

Shaun King has an article asking if the Democratic party understands that they are less popular than Trump right now and if they have any plans to do anything about it.

The other question is, "What exactly is the strategy of the Democratic Party to take back the government from conservatives across the country?"

That one always gets the most laughs. Nobody has any idea. Not once has somebody stood up and said, "Hey, I know the strategy." Hell, I don't know it. I don't think one exists. Whatever the strategy was this past election, it didn't work either. And again, I don't just mean in the presidential election. Democrats lost all over the place in national, state, and local elections.

Rolling Stone has the answer, but you're not going to like it:

One senior House Democrat, who asked for anonymity to discuss party strategy, told me that pushing for a full accounting on Trump and Russia is the best way to turn Trump into an albatross around the necks of congressional Republicans to the point that party leaders like McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan might abandon him.

That's great. Never mind the fact that Democrats are secretly aware that the Russian stuff is overhyped. Never mind that the Obama-voting factory workers in Michigan that didn't turn out for Clinton do not give a shit about Russia. Never mind that getting McConnell and Ryan to abandon Trump would not get the Dems one step closer to taking back Congress or statehouses. The Russia thing ensures that you don't have to make any changes in policy direction, so it's a great strategy.


By fnord12 | March 10, 2017, 10:28 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




It was always obvious to us

It apparently took Donald Trump to get people to realize that the Starship Trooper movie is a satire, and good.


By fnord12 | March 9, 2017, 10:53 PM | Liberal Outrage & Movies | Link




Democratic Elites Could Derail the Revolution

Yes, the Tea Party brought down many Republicans, but in truth it was a way of rebranding the same old Republican party without the stink of George W Bush attached. Conservative activists back then looked out over an economic disaster brought on by libertarian idealism - by a generation that worshiped bank deregulation - and insisted that what we needed was more deregulation, that we needed to go full-on free market. That's the achievement of the Tea Party.

There is a possibility that the resistance to Trump will turn out the same way - that it will become a vehicle for our Enron Democrats to avoid accountability. "I don't think people want a new direction," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said in December. Now is not the moment for infighting, others have insisted, but for unity and togetherness. Unity behind the existing leadership, that is. Changing the personnel in the C-Suites will only weaken us, they will say; hell, we can't even afford to see our leaders criticized.

...

Lesson No 2 from the Tea Party movement has to do with good old money-making opportunism. Back in the day, Tea Party events were always accompanied by a sort of traveling trade show, where the countless entrepreneurs associated with the movement sought to get rich off one another.
...

Harbingers of this approach are already visible. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook has written a nonspecific but distinctly anti-Trump manifesto. Budweiser is running commercials perceived to be critical of Trumpism, as is Coca-Cola. Starbucks has made its antipathy clear. A bunch of tech companies have declared their undying hostility to Trump's immigration policies. Before long, no doubt, Nike or Reebok will be encouraging you to make a stand against fascism with a specially branded line of resistance sneakers.

What will of course disappear in the thrilling waves of corporate resistance to come, I expect, is that many American companies have a lot to answer for themselves. One possible reason so many corporate types are against immigration reform, for example, is because of corporate America's epidemic of H-1B visa abuse. It's not freedom they care for, really, it's profit squeezed out of desperate human beings.

...

The last lesson to take from modern conservatism is the most important: the Tea Party succeeded by pretending to be a hard-times protest movement.
...

The insight here is that liberals don't need to mimic the Tea Party in order to head off this powerful impulse; they merely need to be what they used to be - what they are supposed to be.

I doubt that many of our leading Democrats will be able even to do that, however. For decades now, Democrats and Blair-style "Third Way" leaders have praised one another for leaving all that workerist stuff behind, for embracing globalization and the knowledge economy and the enlightened professional class and affluent Republican voters in the suburbs. This has been going on for so long that the problem today is not only that they don't want to recapture that part of their identity but that they don't even know it exists.

The current Dems need to go if any real change is going to happen. They need to be primaried and replaced because they refuse to see how they have completely failed the people they claim to represent and are somehow still deluded enough to think that we will vote for them. How'd that plan work for you in November? Yeah, why don't you be patronizing and scolding some more to younger voters while you're at it? That's definitely a good long term strategy.

What is most pathetic about all the thinking I've described here is that it instinctively yearns for a movement of national unity, in which all the tasteful people from every high-status corner of society get together and put this braying New York bigot back in his place.

It was exactly the same dream that powered the Hillary campaign: all the respected people are together, and that's what matters. All the foreign policy gurus, all the Silicon Valley CEOs, all the Wall Street guys, all the highly regarded policy wonks. Rs and Ds alike, holding hands and singing from the same hymnal.

A popular front it ain't. This is the same Washington dream of a great consensus of the well-graduated that has animated every stage of loser liberalism's decline. What is stupid about it is that it unconsciously fulfills Donald Trump's vision of a rigged establishment game. But what truly is awful about it is that it wants to crush the very real possibility that the Democratic party might become relevant again.

Link


By min | March 9, 2017, 7:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Jobs not marriage

The title of this is The conservative theory of marriage just got blown apart which just makes it extra sad that the main policy example is Bill Clinton's Welfare Reform.


By fnord12 | March 9, 2017, 6:38 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




American Healthcare

I offer two write-ups from The Week regarding the Republican's healthcare replacement bill. The first is has details worth knowing about Medicaid regardless of what happens with this bill, and it also goes into why the bill isn't likely to pass. The second begins with a "it's funny because it's true but please kill me" sample conversation between an American and a Canadian about healthcare. The second article doesn't make the case for its main point as well as i think it should (i.e., it's true that the Republican plan won't actually reform our healthcare system but i don't think they'll care or that that's the fact that would keep it from passing). But it's still worth a read.

Also something from Matt Bruenig, who takes the normal dismissal of what Nordic countries were able to do with their social programs and says the opposite is true: Small populations make it harder to do what Nordic countries do. I like when people say, "Well, they're a homogeneous culture!". I don't even want to know what they think that means.


By fnord12 | March 9, 2017, 1:45 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Feeling disrespected

I cleaned the house on International Women's Strike Day. How come no one interviewed me?


By fnord12 | March 9, 2017, 8:54 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




We're all shovel ready now

Omaha goes back to gravel roads.


By fnord12 | March 8, 2017, 10:06 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




"Merit"ocrats

Matt Stoller has another good look at the state of the Democratic party's philosophy via, in part, Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal.


By fnord12 | March 1, 2017, 5:21 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Oatmeal puns

Ok, how are we doing?

Oatrageous. That's great. Next?

Berry intense. Ok, very good. Next?

Cinnsational. Ok, sure, i'll take it. Next?

Oh, i get it. The only way to win is to not play the game. Ok, i'll mark you down as a conscientious objector. And finally...

No, that's... that's not a pun. You just repeated what's on the box and then said the first word again. That's terrible. You did a terrible job, and you ruined this whole ad.


By fnord12 | March 1, 2017, 1:44 PM | Ummm... Other? | Link




Thank you, Dean Baker

I read this New York Times article last night and nearly had an aneurysm suppressing my rage. In part for seeing them include Social Security in the general budget and in part just for the general tone of obvious disappointment that Trump's budget didn't include cuts to Social Security and Medicare (e.g. "dogged", "hoped that reality.. would have led to new conclusions"). And that's just what i saw without trying to verify anything. But i calmed myself by saying don't worry, Dean Baker will get this in the morning. And, indeed.

(To be clear, i'm 100% against Trump's insane proposals for increased military spending and cuts to other domestic programs. But an article that subtly attacks Trump for not cutting out most important universal programs is just wrong.)


By fnord12 | February 28, 2017, 10:32 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




C'mon! Don't Making Things Confusing for the Olds

This is some crap. Right now, full retirement age is 66. Starting in 2021, it will go up 2 months every year until it hits 67. Ofc, with our cabal of useless and douchebag politicians (and fucking Tom Brokaw), it might get pushed up to infinity by the time we're in our 60s.

Anyway, for now, you can start collecting social security as early as 62 or delay it up to 70. If you start collecting before "full retirement age", you get a reduced percentage and you will always get that reduced percentage (30% less if you start collecting at 62). If you hold off until 70, your social security check will be 32% greater than if you start collecting at 66 - 8% for every year you hold off. This is called "delayed retirement credits".

Now, if you started collecting social security but then read about the delayed retirement credits and are in good health and don't expect to shed this mortal coil before 70, you can tell SS to suspend your benefits until you're 70, thus earning the delayed credits and getting a bigger check later on. However, if you have also signed up for Medicare Parts B, C, and/or D, the premiums for these are coming out of your ss check. If you suspend ss but don't send Medicare on time payments yourself, they will continue to deduct it from your ss, which effectively negates your suspension of ss benefits.

But SS won't tell you that. They will continue to not send you checks until 70 because ofc that part they understood correctly, but you won't accumulate those extra delayed retirement credits so your check won't be any bigger and you'll have basically lost out on collecting ss checks for those 4 years when you thought your benefits were suspended.

Was that confusing? I thought it was confusing. Why is it that in order to know basic things necessary to our lives we have to figuratively go down the broken stairs to the cellar, with a flashlight, past the "Beware of the Leopard" sign, and find the locked cabinet in the disused lavatory? I barely have enough functioning neurons to remember from the time i leave the bathroom to the time i get to my phone that i wanted to add "toilet paper" to the shopping list. I'm only 40! What do you think i'm going to be like at 67? I don't need help making things difficult!

And like fnord12 said - seems to me if someone can write a book saying that, someone in the SSA ought to have been notified and fix it. i mean, that's a "bug".

Right? RIGHT???


By min | February 27, 2017, 8:30 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Public pensions are fine

You simply can't dissolve, say, Arkansas...

Seems similar to the "Social Security is going bankrupt" meme.


By fnord12 | February 27, 2017, 7:30 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Pesky voters, how dare they

A quote from an article from before the vote:

Mr. Groen said he is a fan of both Mr. Ellison and Mr. Perez, the Obama administration's former labor secretary -- but the pro-Ellison effort convinced him to go public with his support for Mr. Perez.

"Let's say you were completely uncommitted," he said. "You don't want 300 people calling you and telling you what to do."

Definitely don't elect the guy with the engaged grassroots base. Smart.


By fnord12 | February 26, 2017, 1:31 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




All in favor of being unanimous?

From NBC's DNC Chief Tom Perez Faces Divided Party article:

In the front of the ballroom where voting occurred Saturday, DNC members from both factions moved quickly to show unity. They cheered Perez and adopted a motion to record for posterity their vote as unanimous.


min: Do they have any clue how ridiculous they are? Pathetic.

By fnord12 | February 26, 2017, 1:11 PM | Liberal Outrage & My stupid life & Ummm... Other? | Link




Dems shit the bed again

A write-up from Matt Bruenig on the DNC election.

Congrats to Keith Ellison for getting the Mickey Mouse fake "deputy" position though.


By fnord12 | February 26, 2017, 11:55 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Flaming Hot Garbage

Ryan Cooper looks at proposed changes to a Washington DC plan to provide paid family leave (just in the city; don't get excited). It's not specifically relevant to you unless you work in DC, but it works well as an example of why means-testing and other half measures are actually worse and more expensive than universal programs. Apply to healthcare, college tuition, etc.. Click through to Matt Bruenig's more detailed analysis, too.


By fnord12 | February 23, 2017, 6:05 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Dweebs

But as a dweeb, i still *can* read comics, right?

I know that the gag of this comic isn't supposed to be Tom DeFalco thinking to himself, "But there goes our whole business model!", but it's all i can see.


By fnord12 | February 21, 2017, 6:13 PM | Comics | Link




The World We Live In

Back in 2002 when i attempted to make cheesey biscuits but the vegan cheese at the time was so awful that they came out more like fishy biscuits, i could never have imagined a world where bloody Breyers would put out a vegan ice cream!

Our friend Original Bob tipped us off to the miraculous news that Ben & Jerry's and Breyers were both selling vegan ice cream in regular supermarkets. So, clearly, we looked for it on our very next shopping trip. And also clearly, we had to get both brands.

Both were surprisingly good. Our current favorite is Coconut Bliss and still is even after tasting these two. The Breyers tasted a little "thin", not very creamy, but pretty good and much better than the So Delicious attempts (both soy and coconut). The Ben & Jerry's was very good, but I'm withholding final judgement until i taste a vanilla-based flavor. Coffee can hide flaws. Fnord12 wouldn't let me get all of the B&J pints so it'll be some time before I try another flavor. I dunno why he's always trying to keep me down.

Now, you know what's a truly horrible vegan ice cream?

This one:

OMG it's so bad. I can't even describe how bad it is. It's icy and worst than tasteless. There's a horrible aftertaste that hits you after you swallow. Don't get this. We should have known something was wrong because the container listed a whole bunch of stuff it was "free of" and that just means someone's trying to make shit healthy. You can't make healthy ice cream! IT'S ICE CREAM JUST EAT IT AND SHUT UP! So, yeah, don't get this. It's the ice cream equivalent of fish biscuits.

fnord12: Someone needs to lotion more.


By min | February 21, 2017, 11:33 AM | Vegan Vittles | Link




Torrent effects on comic book sales

This is just one study so all the usual caveats apply, and it focused on Manga specifically, but the conclusion seems to be that the availability of comics torrents negatively affects regular single issue sales but actually increases trade/collection sales (at least, in this case, for series that have been discontinued; again, the fact that the study focused on Manga introduces variables not necessarily applicable to US superhero comics). This does make sense to me and is actually pretty obvious. The torrents allow people to sample books and decide what they want to own.

(Personally i still need to hold physical copies when sitting down to read, and for my project i prefer single issues to trades, but it's nice to have digital scans available for quick reference and screenshots. But my peculiar needs make me an outlier.)


By fnord12 | February 21, 2017, 10:22 AM | Comics | Link




Continuing the "now you own it" beat

Ryan Cooper:

Now without any opponent in power to blame for everything, many GOP congressmen are getting a tiny, disturbing inkling of the fact that what people actually want with health care is something even more extensive and expensive than ObamaCare -- but what few plans they have sketched out are the polar opposite of that.

By fnord12 | February 17, 2017, 12:16 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




What Happened to You, Man?

The director of Glengarry Glen Ross is the 50 Shades director??? Holy hell!


By min | February 14, 2017, 7:11 PM | Movies | Link




On this Valentine's Day, please respect this


By fnord12 | February 14, 2017, 7:26 AM | Ummm... Other? | Link




Make Amazon a public utility

I haven't fully read this paper by Lina Khan yet, let alone fully digested it. But there's something in there that i think i'm going to like, so i'm blogging it here so i don't forget about it (and to share, ofc). Whenever i read people worrying about Amazon becoming a monopoly. Because, i looooove Amazon. I can't conceive of a more simple way to buy... everything, and i'd really hate it if Amazon were broken up and i had to go to multiple websites to shop.

But of course i also recognize that concentrated power is bad in general. For Amazon, that means that once it's driven all of its competitors out of business it might finally raise prices (to the point where it might actually become profitable).

My solution to this has always been to simply nationalize it, but of course i am a socialist loon. So it's nice to see a Yale academic, among other points, making a similar, but less extreme argument (as one of two possible solutions, the other being anti-trust action). The idea is to regulate Amazon as a public utility:

Although largely out of fashion today, public utility regulations were widely adopted in the early 1900s, as a way of regulating the technologies of the industrial age...

Given that Amazon increasingly serves as essential infrastructure across the internet economy, applying elements of public utility regulations to its business is worth considering. The most common public utility policies are (1) requiring nondiscrimination in price and service, (2) setting limits on rate-setting, and (3) imposing capitalization and investment requirements. Of these three traditional policies, nondiscrimination would make the most sense, while rate-setting and investment requirements would be trickier to implement and, perhaps, would less obviously address an outstanding deficiency.

...A nondiscrimination policy that prohibited Amazon from privileging its own goods and from discriminating among producers and consumers would be significant. Given that many of the most notable anticompetitive concerns around Amazon's business structure arise from its vertical integration and the resulting conflicts of interest, applying a nondiscrimination scheme would curb the anticompetitive risk.

Matt Stoller has a tl;dr tweetstorm if the paper is too much.


By fnord12 | February 13, 2017, 5:21 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Some good news

Rules have been established saying that:

...nobody can be jailed for nonpayment of fines without a hearing establishing that they had the money and deliberately refused to pay, or that nonpayment was not the defendant's fault and alternatives to incarceration were inadequate.

By fnord12 | February 13, 2017, 5:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Nailed it

Don't worry, guys. All my fussing about the Democrats needing to change has paid off. The House Dems have emerged from their post election autopsy with the following conclusion:

"I think the next presidential nominee should be someone who's gutted a deer or in some other way demonstrates to small-town America and rural America and hunters that they're culturally attuned," [California Rep. Brad] Sherman said. "And gutting a deer is one way to go."


min: i can't believe these motherfucking morons managed to successfully rig a primary against us.

By fnord12 | February 13, 2017, 7:52 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Was that likely?

Also not to be confused with Rawr, the sound that means 'I love you' in Dinosaur.

By fnord12 | February 10, 2017, 2:35 PM | Music | Link




At least it's an ethos

I know i've post-mortemed to death already, but Glenn Greenwald just wrote an article showing that the Dems are resisting any attempt to learn anything.

In fact, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has denied that there are any divisions at all and also weirdly claims that the Dems don't have a party orthodoxy.

The reporter pressed on, asking if Pelosi was denying real divisions within her party.

"Yeah, that's what I'm saying," Pelosi insisted.

"A political party has to accommodate differences, or else we'd all be teeny-tiny political parties, and we could meet in this room for the rest of our time," she said, indicating the small hotel meeting room where she was meeting with reporters. She claimed that unlike Republicans, Democrats "don't have a party orthodoxy."

(Of course Pelosi also recently said "we're capitalists, and that's just the way it is", which sounds like orthodoxy to me.)

The Yahoo news article i linked to doesn't have the full quote from Pelosi. I had to go to the right-wing Daily Caller for that. The full quote is actually pretty incoherent (it's amazing to me how a leader of a national party can be so bad at speaking), but it's interesting how she acknowledges that the Republicans actually having a fucking message works out for them during elections, but nonetheless thinks that the Dems not having one is a good thing.

She also proudly notes that there's no one out there funding primary challenges on the left. She attributes that to the weird "only Republicans have ideology" thing, but of course the truth is that the funding for Democrats is available only for those that do follow the party orthodoxy. For what it's worth, the Justice Democrats are trying to change that.


By fnord12 | February 10, 2017, 7:53 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link




Ideological drag at the Fed

Matt Stoller has a long write-up on the Fed, noting that a good portion of it is still controlled by people hired by Alan Greenspan. There's a lot to process. My first impression is that looking at how arcane and powerful it is while at the same time being so resistant to change/influence from officials that people actually elect, i understand where the "abolish the Fed" sentiment comes from. Not saying i agree with that, and i understand that the Fed's independence was designed as a feature, not a bug. But when you look at the way Obama appointee Janet Yellen has/had to contend with an embedded bureaucracy created not by the person she replaced but by the guy before him, it seems messed up.

Update: Looks like the main subject of the article, Scott Alvarez, is stepping down, and Yellen will pick the replacement. That's good news but doesn't take away from Stoller's "ideological drag" point.


By fnord12 | February 10, 2017, 7:30 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link



No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.