Bits & Pieces (Wednesday Night Open Mic)

The days fly by. Already hump day, and I haven’t finished the stuff I meant to get done on Monday.

Startfire Sure Wears Less Clothes Than She Did When I Read Teen Titans (of course, she's not in the Teen Titans anymore).

The 5 Most Ridiculously Sexists Superhero Costumes.

Scientists say sugar is as toxic as alcohol, and there should be a drinking age for soda.

Some fly-by-night web startup called Facebook filed their IPO, which values the company at $100 zillion dollars.

Republicans direct police to detain documentary crew to keep them from filing a hearing on natural gas. Oh, that doesn’t make them look like a collect group of mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplashes.

And right under that on Dvorak, do you think Big Brother should be watching everybody? Well, now there’s an app for that.

Back to Starfire. How would someone even wear something like that? It would have to be painted on. Sheesh.

That’s it. Blessing and karma to all! — KW 

103 Responses

  1. Not good for the Texas jobs front, mostly in the DFW area.
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-amrtre8101qd-20120201,0,4112616.story

    American Airlines is slashing jobs, terminating its pension plans, and closing its maintenance center in FW.

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  2. Looks like a slow day at ATiM but things were hoppin’ at the Plumline…..lol. Me? I’ve been at the vets all afternoon. Little Penny Lane had another one of her puppy accidents and only needed a few stitches…..what a dork. We probably should have picked out the old dog needing a home almost a year ago rather than a dog with a big ego who thinks she’s a star athlete.

    Msjs, didn’t AA file for bankruptcy a month or two ago? It looks like it’s not just public employee pensions that are taking a beating. Thank God for SS……… 🙂

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  3. Looks like 1200 jobs to be lost in FW, according to the Star-Telegram.

    But DFW is in a great position to absorb this, as the area continues to grow, but not as fast as Houston, the perpetual boomtown.

    urban job growth through 10/31/11

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  4. Mark, Houston is oil right?

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  5. Houston is petrochemicals, biomedical research, aerospace, shipping, and high tech, as well as a commercial hub.

    Petrochemicals are what have made Houston the perpetual boomtown, I think, but the greatest growth in the last decade has been in biomed/biotech. If you have never seen the Texas Medical Center in Houston, there is nothing at all like it anywhere in America.
    It has also been America’s biggest single port for a long time. George can correct me, but I believe over 130K people work in the Texas Medical Center.

    Houston is the only city in America that could have done what it did for New Orleans. There has always been the sense that it can be done in Houston, whatever it is.

    On the other hand, it is built over a muggy swamp with bayous running through the city, and weather so humid if you come there from anywhere but New Orleans you feel as if you are suffocating. The air used to be orange, but it has been much cleaner for thirty years now then it used to be. I like Houston. But I hate the weather there. And the expressway traffic. Only Angelenos would find the expressway traffic not much. Houston has over 600 sq. mi. and it might seem you would want to take the expressways. Until you get on one.

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  6. Thanks Mark. My little sister was born in Houston but I don’t remember it very well, except oddly enough the weather. She was born in July and I remember lying in bed listening to her cry and sweating, weird. My dad worked in oil for a few years after graduating from USC with a degree in chemical engineering. My parents hated Houston though so he changed gears and went into heating and air conditioning. Our daughter will most certainly end up in Houston at some point, so I imagine I’ll get to experience it first hand again. She bought herself some time with a company that has a lot of plays in CO, so she won’t have to go yet.

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  7. Kevin–

    They didn’t paint Starfire’s outfit onto her. They reverse-engineered it directly into her skin when they removed every ounce of subcutaneous body fat from her entire body and re-injected it into her boobs and ass. That’s the only explanation for that “look”.

    And I loved the link to the 5 most sexist superhero costumes. Fact of the matter is, that if you look at fertility goddesses over the years, male fantasies haven’t changed at all! One can only hope that actual expectations have. . . 😉

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  8. I read the Teen Titans back in the Big Bodacious Starfire days. She was hot and heavy with Nightwing (aka Robin).

    I’ll take Raven over Starfire, myself. Love them broodie ladies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raven_(comics)

    Though for sheer hots, go for the original Rogue. Rachel Summers had my heart.

    BB

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  9. FB:

    go for the original Rogue

    Fair warning: Rogue has my hair. And when, exactly, are you coming out here for a job interview again???? 🙂

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  10. And why is it that it always seems to be soccer fans that riot like that? I mean, throwing octopi on the ice just pales compared to this. . .

    And you couldn’t pay me enough to do the body prep that it must take to be able to paint something on like that bathing suit. Talk about itching for months afterwards. . . for that photoshoot I would exempt her from the Buffett rule for the tax year! 🙂

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    • Mich:

      the body prep that it must take

      The mind boggles. I remember the first year that SI did a body-painting segment in their swimsuit edition. I was fascinated and spent a long time wondering about exactly that.

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  11. Today’s quotation is quite good, BTW. Have you been collecting these for a while or are they just springing to your attention?

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    • Mich:

      Have you been collecting these for a while or are they just springing to your attention?

      Some of them I know about already and specifically choose them, but most of the time I just use a website I found that has tons of quotations, and I just look through them each morning for a good one. I’ll try to make them relevant if it’s a holiday or if something of interest is going on.

      I liked today’s because it is sort of true for me. I am a huge fan of our founders, but they were indeed quite radical in their day. And my favorite economist, FA Hayek, spent years in the economic wilderness for his heresies against conventional wisdom (ie whatever Keynes said.)

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  12. I’m not entirely sure why this is news; it wasn’t on the same scale, because the Winter Games are smaller (and so is SLC), but the same thing happened here.

    Landlords in Britain’s capital are evicting tenants so they can cash in on this summer’s Olympic Games by charging tourists many times the usual rent.

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  13. The mind boggles

    It certainly does!

    I’ve often wondered if they don’t just put on a latex (or something else really smooth) body suit that gets painted on, and then edges of the body suit get airbrushed for the picture. I’ve got a friend who is a ballet dancer who wore an amazing costume in a production of The Firebird one year, and it was basically exactly that; from the audience I thought sure they’d had to paint the feathers onto her to have them stay on but it turned out to be a body suit and makeup from the wrists down and neck up that exactly matched the skin tone of the suit.

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    • Mich:

      I’ve often wondered if they don’t just put on a latex (or something else really smooth) body suit…

      I don’t think so. SI did an article one year about the process, with the models talking about getting body painted, and the impression they left was definitely that it is full on skin. And I’d cry fraud if it turned out it wasn’t au natural.

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  14. Scott:

    they were indeed quite radical in their day

    Hmmmmmmm–so maybe history is going to judge that we wild-eyed liberals of the late 20th/early 21st century were visionaries, and conservatives of the future will admire us!

    (Must. Refrain. From. Smiling)

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    • Mich:

      so maybe history is going to judge that we wild-eyed liberals of the late 20th/early 21st century were visionaries, and conservatives of the future will admire us!

      Maybe, but to be honest there doesn’t seem anything particularly radical about what liberals advocate for these days. Radical, perhaps, in the context of exercising power allowed by the Constitution, but certainly not in terms of the actual policies they prefer. Turning America into what Europe has been for decades doesn’t seem likely to ever qualify as “visionary”.

      I suspect that I am far more radical in what I prefer than most liberals, despite the fact that I call myself a conservative.

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  15. That PL thread with Jon DeNunzio explaining that they will be moderating comments reminded me of Bill Murray telling Chevy Chase, “Well, I’m going to clean this up,”
    right after telling him, “You’ve been acting psychotic lately.”

    If memory serves.

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  16. And I’d cry fraud if it turned out it wasn’t au natural.

    That has long been my assumption (because men are the consumers of these photos, after all), I’d hoped for the body suit, but I think every photographer who does this kind of a shoot should have to personally get a Brazilian body wax a month before doing it. And the editors who publish them should have to get one monthly for a year.

    Just sayin’

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    • Mich:

      I think every photographer who does this kind of a shoot should have to personally get a Brazilian body wax a month before doing it. And the editors who publish them should have to get one monthly for a year.

      I imagine the models get compensated quite nicely, so I wouldn’t feel too bad for them. And my guess is that they aren’t required to do anything they’re not already doing.

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  17. qb:

    That PL thread with Jon DeNunzio explaining

    Rather surreal, isn’t it? He would make a good politician; on the post on Monday (?) where they announced their new commenting policy I asked him three times why they wouldn’t just post their list of words that automatically deleted a post, citing shrink’s use of the word “chink”–as in “a chink in his armor”–as an example of the use of a derogatory term which might not be used in a derogatory manner (and that might not be immediately recognizable to the average well-educated person). Jon ignored the first comment, and then the subsequent two were deleted.

    Classic.

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  18. Classic indeed, Michi.

    And surreal is the rightest possible word for it all. After what they let happen in the past year+, it’s just plain sad to see them suddenly pretend to waken from a slumber and realize things are a mess. Random and senseless deletions are of course the only remedy one should expect.

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  19. qb:

    Random and senseless deletions

    Like yesterday.. . I predict that their commenting platform will be unusable within a week. If you think about it, we created ATiM as a haven just five months ago,largely in response to the technical difficulties there. It was only after we left that the commenting difficulties there, from a civility standpoint, became so blindingly obvious. They don’t seem to realize that they’re “self-deporting” into oblivion.

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  20. Scott:

    what liberals advocate for these days

    If you’re talking about maintaining SS, re-defining/reforming/redeveloping Medicare/Medicaid through the ACA, and repealing the PATRIOT Act, I’m going to disagree with you. If you’re talking about what Democrats in office are doing, well, we’re on the same sheet of music.

    However, I think the Republicans currently in office, and running for office, are even worse.

    I suspect that I am far more radical in what I prefer than most liberals,

    Yes, yes you are, and we disagree. But we like you anyway! 🙂

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  21. I imagine the models get compensated quite nicely,

    Oh, they are, but it’s the downstram effect (that men in the general population think their women should also be so hairless) that bugs me. That’s why I think the photographers and editors should pay!

    If you think I’m wrong about the downstream effect, talk to your family; I guarantee the women in your life have felt pressure–subliminal or otherwise–from these kind of photoshoots. Why do you think Brazilian waxes even exist?

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    • Mich:

      I guarantee the women in your life have felt pressure–subliminal or otherwise–from these kind of photoshoots.

      I’ve got no first hand experience, but my understanding is that it works both ways these days. A male friend of a friend got divorced a couple years ago, and is back on the dating circuit. Apparently he discovered very quickly that single women have certain expectations, and after a couple of uncomfortable experiences, he finally caved in and submitted to the body wax.

      As Bobby Jones once said, they are playing a game these days with which I am unfamiliar.

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  22. And now I must go all “drive-by” and disappear for a while. . .

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  23. Morning Report!

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  24. And why is it that it always seems to be soccer fans that riot like that?

    Well, soccer is by far the most popular sport in the world so there are simply more opportunities for riots to occur. The rivalries between teams often are geographically based and class based. By geography I mean neighborhood by neighborhood, not just city by city. When it comes to Celtic v. Rangers (two Scottish teams) the rivalry is based on religion, Catholic v. Protestant. Those are a few of the factors. For an interesting read that is somewhat related, I would recommend “How Soccer Explains the World” They don’t focus exclusively on riots and fan violence, but they discuss a number of soccer clubs that were tied in with religion, politics etc. Also, the documentary “The Two Escobars” is really good and provides an interesting look at Pablo Escobar, the Columbian drug king, and his ties to Columbian soccer. You can definitely get that movie on Netflix, not sure if you can watch it instantly or not.

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    • ashot:

      Also, the documentary “The Two Escobars” is really good and provides an interesting look at Pablo Escobar, the Columbian drug king, and his ties to Columbian soccer.

      That was very good. Wasn’t that an ESPN 30 for 30 episode?

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  25. Why do you think Brazilian waxes even exist?

    That goes both ways. Certainly, most men in the movies are waxed (chest, back, often arms and legs waxed or bleached).

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  26. Whether or not radicals are respected, after time, by conservatives depends on the radical. Hayek and Marx were both radicals. Both are not equally respected by conservatives. 😉

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  27. A male friend of a friend got divorced a couple years ago, and is back on the dating circuit.

    Well, that’s his first mistake. Get out from under the thumb of one woman, and then you’re ripping hair out in order to conform to the expectations of other ones? Sheesh. 😉

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  28. Maybe, but to be honest there doesn’t seem anything particularly radical about what liberals advocate for these days. Radical, perhaps, in the context of exercising power allowed by the Constitution, but certainly not in terms of the actual policies they prefer. Turning America into what Europe has been for decades doesn’t seem likely to ever qualify as “visionary”.

    Scott, this could perhaps be an opportunity for a good bout of fisticuffs between us, which would probably be entertaining to some people. Alas, I am still too busy to spend much time mixing it up. I would agree that we have slid so far down and to the left that moving farther into the model of Europe might be more incremental than radical in a relative sense, but still I think our left is extremely radical in ways it is important to keep calling radical. A “right” to ssm, criticism of open borders immediately being labeled bigoted and unAmerican, the incessant drive to punish success and level economic circumstances, deepening official hostility to religion … to me the radicalism of the agenda only continues to increase. In contrast, I don’t believe that reform and rollback can properly labeled radical at all. They are still the opposite of radical.

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  29. Wasn’t that an ESPN 30 for 30 episode?

    Yes, it was a 30 for 30 documentary. I did not watch very many of those, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I did watch. I particularly liked “The Two Escobars” and the one on the Fab Five. In my reckless youth, I was a University of Michigan fan and loved the Fab Five.

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    • ashot:

      I did not watch very many of those, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I did watch.

      Everyone I have seen was fantastic. The Fab Five was excellent, and if you haven’t seen “The U” about the University of Miami football during the 80’s and 90’s, definitely watch it.

      I haven’t seen this one yet, but I have a friend who used to work for ESPN and told me about it when it was still in the production process. Apparently the working title was “No Balls”, but I guess that was a bit too much for the final production.

      BTW, are these really available on Netflix? I didn’t think they were.

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  30. We watched the Two Escobars. It was a terrific movie. My brother-in-law is soccer mad (his favorite player is Messi) and took me to see a World Cup qualifier in 2010. Costa Rica beat Honduras 2 – 0. I definitely want to go see a game at the new national stadium donated by China.

    No word on job interviews, Goose, but it’s looking grim here at the laboratory. My PRL is due out in 2 weeks.

    BB

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  31. You know what I think? I think the right feels threatened by some of the rhetoric coming from the left or even the population at large if some of the polls can be believed, and so they radically try to pressure the people who have legitimate complaints regarding their economic situation by attempting to fight old battles in the guise of freedom. And so instead of debating or even suggesting solutions to the problems, we are re-hashing women’s rights, labor rights and even immigrant’s rights. Throw in “religious persecution”, “entitlements” and SSM and off we go. In reality, it’s a power struggle.

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    • lms:

      I think the right feels threatened by some of the rhetoric coming from the left

      I feel threatened by the policies coming from the left.

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  32. I don’t feel particularly threatened by the rhetoric or the politics of the left, but I certainly do have preferences. I often feel irritated by the rhetoric of the left, but that’s not the same thing. 😉

    And, no doubt, that feeling is mutual.

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  33. And “the right” suggests all sorts of solutions, quite often, from the academic right and the think tanks and individual policy experts.

    The politicians . . . well, that’s another story.

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  34. Scott-
    I haven’t seen this one yet, but I have a friend who used to work for ESPN and told me about it when it was still in the production process. Apparently the working title was “No Balls”, but I guess that was a bit too much for the final production.

    I have not seen that one either, but this article about Ms. Richards is outstanding. For those who don’t want to go to the link, the documentary and article are about Renee Richards, who was born a man, but after struggling with her sexual identity had gender reassignment surgery and began to live as a woman. She was a professional tennis player and attempted to enter the women’s draw of the 1977 US Open.

    qb-
    Scott, this could perhaps be an opportunity for a good bout of fisticuffs between us, which would probably be entertaining to some people.

    I think that would be an interesting group discussion provided everyone promised not to be offended by being called radical. It would provide some great insight into the perspectives we all start from.

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  35. “and so they radically try to pressure the people who have legitimate complaints regarding their economic situation by attempting to fight old battles in the guise of freedom.”

    but there’s vastly different ways of addressing those situations. there’s FDR’s “four freedoms” and his economic bill or rights: “The right of every family to a decent home; The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health; The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment; The right to a good education.” and others.

    conversely, there’s Reagan’s: “The freedom to work. The freedom to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. The freedom to own and control one’s property. The freedom to participate in a free market.”

    squaring those ideals through the political process, well, tricky, anyway.

    [edit: i pasted Reagan’s twice]

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  36. There was the beginning of an interesting discussion over at the Plumline, this morning I think, between Kevin and Yellojkt. Yello was highlighting the impression that women’s health care issues seem to be under attack, in particular birth control. Kevin said it will never happen, the majority would never approve and besides the pharmaceutical industry has too much invested. That’s the kind of old battle I’m talking about, it’s already been decided so why are we still pretending it’s a war. I’m betting no one here believes BC shouldn’t be both covered by insurance or provided at low cost to the poor. Yet, here we are as a country pretending it’s still an issue when the real battle is a power struggle between the haves and the have nots, at least in my opinion. The haves are trying to protect what they have and the have nots are pissed that they’re in even worse shape than they were 5 years ago and blame the haves for gaming the system. When you throw in changes to public education, medicare, SS, labor unions, access to health care, etc. etc. people in the middle and below get a little nervous especially since they’ve already lost so much.

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    • lms:

      I’m betting no one here believes BC shouldn’t be both covered by insurance or provided at low cost to the poor.

      I don’t think it should be covered by insurance. It is not an insurable event. It is a known, predictable expense. Birth control should no more be covered by insurance than should clothes or food.

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    • lms:

      That’s the kind of old battle I’m talking about, it’s already been decided so why are we still pretending it’s a war.

      I think that when people speak about birth control being “under attack”, they mean to suggest that there is a movement to outlaw birth control. As Kevin says, there is virtually no chance of that ever happening. The reason some liberals “pretend” (to use your word) that this is an issue is a matter for speculation, but I suspect it is strictly a function of electoral politics. If you can scare enough uninformed people into thinking those nasty republicans are going to take away your birth control, Democrats are more likely to get elected.

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  37. oh, you’re talking about the “sideshow” nature of our politics. The “look, there’s a X doing [objectionable thing]! … pay no attention to the man behind the curtain with his hand in the cookie jar.”

    “I’m betting no one here believes BC shouldn’t be both covered by insurance or provided at low cost to the poor.”

    under the current system, I’ll say that’s true.

    under NoVA’s system, as it’s not a catastrophic, unforeseen medical expense, no.

    or even better. plans do or don’t cover as they see fit, consumers decide accordingly (bonus: my workplace and member of congress are totally ignorant of what I decide)

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  38. it’s been the highlight of my week, Scott.

    I’d add: (assuming we’re talking about non-poor population)

    The only reason I disagree in part with Scotts comment is that many other things that are not an “insurance event” are covered on a first dollar basis, so it seems odd to exclude BC. This is a flaw in the system, not necessarily the particular items/service.

    I don’t think annual physicals, or annual dental cleanings, should be covered by insurance either. You get them because you’re a responsible adult. Or your teeth rot. This is why I’m popular at parties.

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    • nova:

      many other things that are not an “insurance event” are covered on a first dollar basis, so it seems odd to exclude BC.

      It is definitely true that lots of things are covered by insurance that ought not be. But, even given the context of a system that covers many of these things, that’s no justification for including more. Again, if BC “should” be covered by insurance, why shouldn’t clothes be covered?

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  39. That’s the kind of old battle I’m talking about, it’s already been decided so why are we still pretending it’s a war

    As I noted, it’s because (I think) we are, en masse, biologically compelled to let go of certain social structures and potentially beneficial limits or strategies very, very slowly.We may as individuals be able to see the futility of certain ongoing arguments, but at a macroscopic scale considerations may be very different. It took a while for the last buggy whip manufacturer to go out of business, and you can still release albums on vinyl or even 8-track tape. Still!

    As an organism, the human population (and portions of it) works things out and discards poor ideas at their own pace. Which will be much slower than most folks think it should be, but folks who would ban birth control outright have lost the argument for many reasons, and if they don’t know it yet, then perhaps they are playing out their role in the larger evolution of humanity, unwilling to discard an idea (that unconstrained reproduction is the best way to ensure the survival and dominance of the species) until it’s clear not only to individual intellects, but is proved conclusively in the large scale, long term development of the human species.

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  40. And BC is available and low cost and a variety of forms in the market place. Encouraging people to avail themselves of it is another matter.

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  41. “Again, if BC “should” be covered by insurance, why shouldn’t clothes be covered?”

    maybe they should be. “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society”

    but I get what you’re saying.

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  42. If you can scare enough uninformed people into thinking those nasty republicans are going to take away your birth control, Democrats are more likely to get elected.

    That would probably be tougher to do if there were no Republican Presidential candidates stating states should have the option of outlawing birth control. Should we just ignore Santorum? Isn’t he pretending this is an issue? Just like Newt is pretending he’ll build a moon colony and make it the newest state by the end of his second term?

    I’m trying not pull the old “you need to call out your own side” move, but your righteous indignation at the gall of Democrats to use this issue to gain votes was a bit much for me given Santorum’s comments.

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    • ashot:

      Should we just ignore Santorum?

      Probably. I am.

      Isn’t he pretending this is an issue?

      I don’t know…I am ignoring him.

      …but your righteous idignation at the gall of Democrats to use this issue to gain votes…

      Righteous indignation? Really? I was just answering lms’ question, in fairly matter-of-fact way I thought.

      Like

      • nova:

        Problaby for the best.

        (Sigh.)

        Like

      • Righteous indignation?

        Alright, that was a bit strong, but it was an awfully one sided take, particularly given the fact that the candidate who won Iowa pretty clearly is desirious of seeing BC banned.

        Do you guys dislike Santorum because of his policy proposals? I obviously strongly disagree with him, but I feel like his positions are actually how he feels as opposed to pandering to the base. In that sense, I quite like him.

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        • ashot:

          but it was an awfully one sided take particularly given the fact that the candidate who won Iowa pretty clearly is desirious of seeing BC banned.

          I just think that any candidate who campaigns on a desire to outlaw birth control can’t possibly be pandering for votes because his stance is such an obvious electoral loser, it must be sincerely held and a matter of principle. But since the stance is such an obvious electoral loser, liberals who claim that access to birth control is any danger whatsoever are either amazingly blind to the culture of the nation or are, as I said, simply stoking up fear as an electoral strategy. If that is a one-sided take, so be it.

          Do you guys dislike Santorum because of his policy proposals?

          I don’t dislike him. I just think he has no chance, and so isn’t worth paying much attention to.

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  43. Actually, Scott and NoVA, I’d say that birth control is exactly the kind of thing that insurance should cover; you’re protecting yourself against an unexpected or unplanned event (or you wouldn’t be using birth control). I’d put annual physicals and dental cleanings in the same category–I understand that you’re thinking of insurance as simply coverage for the unexpected, but it’s far more cost effective for insurance companies if their policy holders do basic maintenance. My insurance company (USAA) pays out dividends to all subscribers annually because it encourages people to use their insurance like responsible adults. . . and their profits get passed on to us insurance holders to a small extent.

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    • Mich:

      I’d say that birth control is exactly the kind of thing that insurance should cover; you’re protecting yourself against an unexpected or unplanned event (or you wouldn’t be using birth control).

      That is sort of like saying that homeowners insurance, not the homeowner himself, should pay for a home alarm system. If you pay for an alarm system, your insurance cost might go down because it becomes less likely to be used. But if the insurance company had to pay to put in the alarm system, your insurance cost would just rise to cover the cost.

      Likewise, if you pay to use birth control, then an insurance policy that covers a pregnancy might become cheaper, because it is less likely to be used. But if an insurance policy has to cover pregnancy and birth control, the cost of the policy will naturally have to go up.

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  44. “Should we just ignore Santorum?”

    Problaby for the best.

    Paul Anka: To stop those monsters 1-2-3,
    Here’s a fresh new way that’s trouble-free,
    It’s got Paul Anka’s guarantee…

    Lisa: Guarantee void in Tennessee.

    All: Just don’t look! Just don’t look!
    Just don’t look! Just don’t look!
    Just don’t look! Just don’t look!

    Like

  45. “Why shouldn’t clothes be covered?”

    An actuarial and/or underwriting decision, I guess.
    ====================================
    Men shave their bodies now?

    Weird.
    =====================
    “…criticism of open borders immediately being labeled bigoted and unAmerican, the incessant drive to punish success and level economic circumstances, deepening official hostility to religion …”

    Would piss me off, too. Don’t see much of that, however.
    =====================
    In 1967, my last year in law school, one night I double dated to a local bar. My date was a grad student. Her older sis was a young prof, dating another young prof [English Dept.] At one point, when the discussion turned to ‘Nam, I said I had already signed up for Navy OCS, hoped to be a JAG, but had no issues with the war that would not be fixed by winning it sooner rather than later. The young English prof thundered “You are as guilty as the Nazis who killed the Jews” I said, quietly, “I am Jewish, 55 of my Austrian relatives are dead at Hitler’s hands, and I resent the comparison at a deeply personal level.” He changed his line of attack: “Then you have an identity crisis”. I pulled out my wallet, looked at my TDL, and told him that I was still the same person I had been previously. He and my date’s sister left in a huff. She was a bit perturbed with me, but thought I was funny and that her sister’s date was pretentious.

    I also knew a lawyer who took only court appointed criminal cases because she believed in helping the downtrodden, who argued for open borders. She was a very bad lawyer.
    Frankly, if those kinds of folks are any more prevalent than one in a hundred, I’ve missed it. Otherwise, I would not think it is as funny as I do.

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    • Men shave their bodies now?

      Weird.

      Full disclosure…I do some manscaping, but not my entire body. I dated a girl in law school who wanted me to shave my chest, so I complied. I met my wife shortly after I broke up with the aforementioned young lass and my wife liked it so I kept shaving. The first girl was extremely high maintenance, Michi.

      Like

  46. Mark:

    Men shave their bodies now?
    Weird.

    I think Scott’s friend is dating some women that are way too high maintenance.

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  47. ashot:

    wanted me to shave my chest

    I don’t understand this, but at least it’s a relatively easy area to shave.

    The first girl was extremely high maintenance

    I can only imagine. . . 🙂

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  48. If you can scare enough uninformed people into thinking those nasty republicans are going to take away your birth control, Democrats are more likely to get elected.

    Yeah, or like when they threaten to defund Planned Parenthood or something, or even decide it’s necessary to force pregnant women who are contemplating their decisions regarding an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy to have one of those nasty ultrasounds first, I’m sure the Democrats are responsible for that too.

    And just because something’s covered by insurance doesn’t mean you don’t still pay for it with co-pays. I agree some of the stuff covered is ridiculous. Hey I pay more for an office visit right now with my co-pay than if I just pay cash up front. I’m not talking about the fact that the insurance and health industry are screwed up, I’m talking about the same thing all the economists here talk about all the time. The unintended consequence of threatening women with reversing a lot of the things we value for ourselves and our daughters just might lead to an electoral beating. And while we make old people, women, gays and lesbians, and poor people the target of everything that’s wrong with our society, the real problems go unresolved. It feels like misdirection to me, that’s all I’m saying.

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  49. I’m gong to start keeping a scratch pad on my desk with the heading “corked ScottC”

    Like

  50. Scott–

    I knew as I was typing my comment that your response would be what it is; but do you see my point? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and if rather than raking in staggering profits for directors and CEOs insurance companies did pay for some of those preventative things their costs would go down.

    Insurance covers both Viagra and vasectomies–why not birth control for women? I’m trying to not make this into a male vs female power struggle, but I can tell you that it sure feels like it sometimes!

    Like

    • Mich:

      Insurance covers both Viagra and vasectomies–why not birth control for women?

      It shouldn’t cover either. Or, more accurately, insurance companies ought to be able to provide actual insurance policies that do not cover them, and “insurance” policies that do cover them (along with BC) should reflect the additional cost of providing such coverage.

      I’ll make a basic proposition here: Insurance policies, properly understood, should in the long run be an economic loss to most of those covered. That is to say, insurance should cover the cost of events that most people will never or rarely experience, and so the cost they pay for the insurance should be in effect “wasted” in the end, apart from the peace-of-mind factor along the way. A perfect example is fire insurance for one’s house.

      Any “insurance” policy in which most participants can or do expect to receive a greater coverage benefit than the cost they paid for the insurance in the first place is a) not really insurance and b) ultimately doomed to either economic failure or perpetually spiraling cost.

      A basic economic truism applies here: There ain’t no free lunch.

      Like

  51. “but it’s far more cost effective for insurance companies if their policy holders do basic maintenance”

    This gets into the data on preventive care a bit and whether or not its a cost saver. Data on that indicates it’s mixed, at best. At times the savings can be outweighed by the cost of the prevention/screening. it’s tough. you might catch and prevent a case of X. but you’ve run up a huge bill “preventing” an illness/condition that the vast majority of those screened would never get anyway.

    It’s screen a million at $100 a pop to save $100k on one less heart attack … along those lines. but if you’re the one saved, this is a great deal.

    http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home/publications/news/news-now/health-of-the-public/20090114hlth-aff-prev.html

    Like

  52. ” But if an insurance policy has to cover pregnancy and birth control, the cost of the policy will naturally have to go up.”

    Not necessarily. Pregnancy is more expensive than BC.

    Like

    • mark:

      Not necessarily. Pregnancy is more expensive than BC.

      Sure, but a) many (most?) pregnancies are chosen/desired and so access to BC wouldn’t defray those costs and b) many (most?) people who don’t want to get pregnant will use some form of birth control even if it . So from the insurance perspective, what matters is whether the additional cost of providing birth control to everyone is more or less than the cost of the marginal pregnancies that go unprevented without it. My guess (admittedly a guess) is that it would definitely drive costs up. Otherwise insurance companies would probably already be doing it and pocketing the pickup as profit.

      Like

  53. Is there no one here who hasn’t corked me in the last two days?

    –ScottC

    I have been too busy this week.

    Like

  54. NoVA:

    This gets into the data on preventive care a bit and whether or not its a cost saver

    I understand your point about the mixed bag, but I was speaking specifically about birth control, annual physicals and dental cleanings. I suspect that if you stuck with those three basics their costs are far less than (1) pregnancy (which Mark corked me on), (2) waiting until you have a stroke or heart attack to find out that your blood pressure is high or that you’re diabetic, or (3) need to have teeth pulled and replaced.

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  55. Mark — but not everyone would get pregnant absent the free birth control.

    IOM is recommending that “all women with reproductive capacity” have access to free birth control. at $25 (??) a month X millions of women aged 15-44 vs. the $11 billion cost of unplanned pregnancy?

    Like

  56. Likewise, if you pay to use birth control, then an insurance policy that covers a pregnancy might become cheaper, because it is less likely to be used.

    Or, if the insurance covers birth control, the likelihood of a pregnancy becomes even less. The same way covering mammograms reduces the chances of covering a more costly event later. I’m not sure which way makes more sense, but I’m pretty sure that helping young women, especially poor women, with family planning, saves most of us money in the long run.

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  57. “Mark — but not everyone would get pregnant absent the free birth control.”
    ======================================================
    Well, I wouldn’t. And I already had my vasectomy, too. Paid for it myself. So there.

    Se y’all later.

    Like

  58. Scott–

    It shouldn’t cover either.

    I won’t argue with that. But it does–so my question still stands. I’m dealing with the world as it is, rather than arguing for your libertarian utopia (which is what lms often ends up doing with you, also).

    Like

  59. My insurance covers neither Viagra or vasectomies. I believe it will cover prescribed birth control for medical conditions, which most obgyns can provide. I’ve had similar insurance policies in the past that had some form of medical BC coverage (though not all), but none that covered vasectomies or Viagra. Though I’m sure such beasts do exist. 😉

    Like

  60. liberals who claim that access to birth control is any danger whatsoever are either amazingly blind to the culture of the nation or are, as I said, simply stoking up fear as an electoral strategy. If that is a one-sided take, so be it.

    Scott, as you know, I’m a modern marvel of detached objectivity. 😉

    But I must agree. I can see no circumstance, short of military defeat at the hands of North Korea, where birth control is in any danger of being outlawed. We are in more danger of being destroyed by a giant meteor. “Well, who would have believed we’d have the Patriot Act or who would have believed that X would have happened” are catch-alls into which some people throw everything into, though not everything fits. There are so many reasons that outlawing of BC isn’t going to happen . . . the Morning After pill might be taken off the market at some point, and for political reasons, but we don’t consider taking Viox off the market as the outlawing of pain relievers.

    And there would be a replacement. There’s a lot of money to be made in birth control (which is not meant to sound sinister–it’s American Ingenuity at its best!)

    Like

  61. “I’m pretty sure that helping young women, especially poor women, with family planning, saves most of us money in the long run.”

    The key here is the targeted intervention. Providing it at low/no cost women who would otherwise go without would save costs (direct and indirect). But the equation gets out of whack when you expand that population. The savings of preventing pregnancies among a subset of the population will be dwarfed by providing a benefit to all.

    So it becomes a policy preference at that point. Do we want the wife of a DC lobbyist to have access to birth control without cost sharing in exchange for (likely) increased premiums?

    Like

  62. Yeah, or like when they threaten to defund Planned Parenthood or something, or even decide it’s necessary to force pregnant women who are contemplating their decisions regarding an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy to have one of those nasty ultrasounds first, I’m sure the Democrats are responsible for that too

    No, but those are both a far, far cry from outlawing of birth control pills (which had medicinal as well as contraceptive value) or condoms. It’s a yawning chasm. Which is not an endorsement on either policy (of course, I don’t think the government needs to be funding Planned parenthood, either–but lack of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and outlawing BC are very, very, very different things).

    I understand the impetus, as regards the ultrasound, for the pro-life people (you do feel different when you first see that little tiny person on the screen), but until you require men seeking Viagra to get a colonoscopy and prostate exam (it’s a health issue, gentleman), it doesn’t really seem appropriate.

    In any case, defunding PP and mandatory ultrasounds (big government in action) are plausible, and being advanced in a manner that has some hope of them becoming reality, where as the outlawing of all contraception has no chance of happening in this country. If for no other reason than defunding PP and mandatory ultrasounds will have no impact on the pharmaceutical industry.

    Like

  63. The other thing to keep in mind — the more and more we provide things for “free” the less incentive there is to control costs.

    Like

  64. The savings of preventing pregnancies among a subset of the population will be dwarfed by providing a benefit to all.

    Yes, I understand that and agree. One kind fits all costs money. Hence, outfits like Planned Parenthood, free clinics and county health care. There’s no love from me for the current system as I think you know. But, we need to keep working on some of this stuff to get it right and I don’t believe alienating women from the process will foster cooperation. The problem with pregnancy issues is that women are the ones who pay the price for the most part, especially when they’re young and unmarried, but we all share the burden.

    Like

  65. Santorum is all right, but he (a) preaches to the choir, and so doesn’t try to bring folks a long and (b) abandoned Pat Toomey as a political calculation, which I didn’t too much of. Not a fan of his views on birth control (which he says are personal, and he would not try to legislate), and I think he wastes too much time deriding homosexuality. Or providing the media with too many soundbites so I think he does that. But he’s not going to win and, frankly, he supported Specter over Toomey so why should I support him over anybody else?

    Like

  66. I understand where you’re coming from, LMS.

    Like

  67. Kevin

    No, but those are both a far, far cry from outlawing of birth control pills

    I wasn’t suggesting that this was a “real” threat, I was trying to say it is a distraction which keeps us from debating the real issues. I agree it’s a bogus extreme, but the other threats are more real and have consequences that not everyone will end up being so happy with when all is said and done. I keep thinking of when our daughter was in Midland. There are no Planned Parenthood or similar clinics there, abstinence only is the flavor of the decade and the number of teen pregnancies is higher than anywhere else in the country. She was mortified at the number of teenagers, all very young women, with children living in her apartment building. Every young woman she met had two or three children……ridiculous. That’s apropos of nothing really, but I keep thinking about it when we have these discussions about birth control and pregnancy. It seems really short sighted to focus our attention on some of this when the problems in the economy are huge and these issues represent pennies on the billions, and the benefits clearly outweigh the costs anyway, and they also alienate a large percentage of the population, at least the women on the left who try to deal with this stuff realistically.

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  68. ha ha. I corked him again!

    Like

  69. speaking off — the politics of this:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/72345.html

    Like

  70. We should just call you corker NoVA and Scott can just be bolder.

    Like

  71. lol — i’m off. see you later!

    Like

  72. Bits and pieces for tonight is up. Please move all conversation there. Don’t forget the recent study that links low IQ to prejudice, racism, and conservatism. That should be a fun conversation starter!

    Like

  73. Interesting comments NoVa, in regards to preventitive screening. As an example, the rate of death from cervical cancer had decresed 75% from the 50’s do to the utilization of Pap Smears (which are genrally covered by insurance.) The rate of death from oral cancer is still very high since it is rarely diagnosed until it’s stage 4. One reason is that there hasn’t been, up till now, any easy brush test like there is for a pap smear. All oral cancer screening must be done by surgical biopsy (and don’t get me started on those stupid light things your dentist tries to sell you on. Their sensitivity and specificity and pathetic, save your money as they do not illuminate anything worth seeing.) which is expensive and painful. Now there is an effective “brush test” for oral cancer called OralCDX. It is similar to a pap smear in that bushed cells are transferred to a slide and sent in for analysis. It’s selectivty and sensistivity are above 99% and it’s made by one of the leading manufacturers of pap smear tests. It is not covered by dental insurance however and often not covered by medical insurance if performed by a dentist. As a result, the test is rarely utilized even though the cost is below $100 per test. My question is, if your Doctor asked you to submit to a test once a year that had a 99.9% chance of showing health cells on every test (because the rate of oral cancer is small) for the rest of your life, would you do it?

    Like

  74. Scott,
    Maybe santorum’s birth control policy doesn’t win votes on its own but I would guess that it gets him support from the state rights/ libertarian crowd. Isn’t that essentially Ron Paul’s opinion on abortion? There must be a reason Santorum’s won Iowa and is still in he race. Obviously some of what he say resonate with a not insignificant voting block.

    Like

    • ashot:

      Maybe santorum’s birth control policy doesn’t win votes on its own but I would guess that it gets him support from the state rights/ libertarian crowd.

      Perhaps, but saying that the Supreme Court is not authorized by the constitution to prevent a state from outlawing birth control is a very, very different thing from saying that birth control should be outlawed. If he is saying the former, then he should get the votes of the libertarian crowd. If he is saying the latter, he will never get the votes of the libertarian crowd.

      There must be a reason Santorum’s won Iowa …

      Yes…the quirks of the caucus system (as opposed to an actual primary) is probably the main reason. Less than 20% of registered R’s actually bothered to show.

      Obviously some of what he say resonate with a not insignificant voting block.

      I’m sure some of what he says does. But I suspect the voting block for whom rhetoric about outlawing birth control resonates probably is insignificant.

      Like

  75. Troll,

    To answer your question, if the cancer progressed fast enough and the cure rate decreased quickly after stage 1, I would probably do the test very year or very other year. I have noticed that my dentist does heck for oral cancer now along with asking me questions about sleep apnea. I wonder if they have a deal with a sleep clinic. Assuming he doesn’t take Medicare or Medicaid, he could cut a referral deal. It just seems like a weird condition to ask about. Can dentist do surgery or make an orthodontic device to help with sleep apnea?

    Like

  76. Perhaps, but saying that the Supreme Court is not authorized by the constitution to prevent a state from outlawing birth control is a very, very different thing from saying that birth control should be outlawed.

    That is undoubtedly true and obviously an important difference. But regardless of how Santorum intends to go about it, his proposal and similar proposals by libertarians to place these rights back in the hands of the states increases the likelihood of these rights disappearing.

    But I suspect the voting block for whom rhetoric about outlawing birth control resonates probably is insignificant.
    Maybe that paritcular policy doesn’t resonate much, but his clear intention to continue the culture war, be a strong social conservative and put this type of decision in the hands of the states. His position on birth control sends out all the right signals and I do think plenty of people respond to those signals. Maybe that’s a bit of a cop out on our original discussion, but sometimes the policy itself is less important than where it puts the politician in the political spectrum.

    Like

    • ashot:

      his proposal and similar proposals by libertarians to place these rights back in the hands of the states increases the likelihood of these rights disappearing.

      Perhaps infinitesimally. But as I said earlier, the likelihood that birth control ever becomes illegal, either via a federal process or via state legislatures, is akin to Mr. Blutarsky’s grade point average: 0.0

      Like

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