About that White Male Privilege Post That's Going Around
Context is everything. Maybe that guy is a “creepster.” Maybe he’s just a lonely schlub. I don’t know. What I do know is that I was taught by my aunt that I should take compliments graciously and I learned from my single mother to take advances with vigilance and I learned from my wife that some women like when you notice that they’re pretty. Trolling is about as meaningful as the effort you put into it, which is zilch. Telling a woman she’s pretty or telling a man he’s handsome is a gateway to sexual violence the same way smoking weed is a gateway to heroin addiction — it’s the person that matters, not the demographic. So maybe rather than making this guy a poster-child for something far more sinister and truly a problem, just leave him to his cigars and bourbon and loneliness.
I’m so, so sorry. It’s a horrible, soul-crushing experience. And the expenses don’t stop once you get the house. If you have disposable income, kiss it goodbye.
Every house you look at will have something wrong with it. Get a good inspector. Stay away from franchises like Tiger Inspection. If they walk through with a default checklist and spend less than an hour or so, the inspection is no good. I have an inspector that spends 3-4 hours checking around. He found an issue in one house that would have necessitated $100K in repairs JUST TO MAKE SURE THE HOUSE DIDN’T FALL DOWN. I had this confirmed with a second inspector, a specialist in structural inspections. Other inspectors for other buyers did not even find this. That house, which was bank owned and then bought sight-unseen at an auction, is now off the market while the winning bidder tries to figure out how to come up with $100K to fix what was supposed to be a quick $20K flip.
When you get the inspection report (ask about this beforehand—the one I get is 30-40 pages, whereas friends have received a 2-page summary), decide what you can live with, what you can’t, what you want the buyer to fix, and then, should you buy the house, use the rest of the report as a checklist of things to fix once you get in there.
Pay special attention to the heating system. If it’s oil and there’s a tank, get the age of the entire system. On our first house, I knew the age, and before winter came, the tank burst and spilled some of what was left of the oil onto the basement floor, which was dirt in that area (common with older houses in the northeast). Because the oil didn’t reach the water table, nor did it cross the property line, the insurance company wouldn’t pay a cent. We had to have a team come in to dig a hole in the basement, remove the contaminated dirt, fill in the hole, and cement over it. This cost $25,000 and added no value to the house. I could have literally thrown the money into the hole before they filled it and it would have had the same effect.
I have about a dozen other horror stories, including another like the oil spill that almost turned into an environmental disaster, so please ask if you want more. The point is, in short, be prepared for anything and be prepared to fix it all yourself.
My recommendation is to stay mobile and rent a yurt when needed.
Everything he says is true. The inspection is so super-duper important. It’s like the difference between Mayo Clinic trained specialist and a doc-in-the-box. You may spend a third more for a good inspector but that extra $200 could, no exaggeration, save you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Pay particular attention to the stuff behind the walls: plumbing and electrical systems cost a lot of money to repair. Make sure the house can handle your computers, TVs, showers, bowel movements, etc.
Write down your must-haves beforehand and balance your design wants and your utilitarian necessities. If you are handy, then great. But if you’re anything short of a master carpenter you will want to temper your expectations of taking on a fixer-upper, even if the price is enticing.
Also, buy for the future as much as you can manage. You will be stretched at first, but it’s still a good time to buy and if you keep moving ahead in your career and salary then what’s a stretch now may not be in three years. We look back at what we thought was important just five years ago and want to laugh and then punch ourselves in the face. We love our house but we also feel a lot more cozy than we thought we would when we moved in. Plus, a lot of those fixer-upper things still need fixing-upping.
Brian Blase has his eye on the PPACA (Health Care Reform, also known by some as “Obamacare”).
Brian is a former policy analyst in Health Studies at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. Blase is an expert in health economics, with a particular focus on Medicaid. He is currently a doctoral candidate in economics at George Mason University, and he teaches a course in Economics and Public Policy at Georgetown University.
(George Mason faculty have twice won the Nobel Prize in Economics.)
This article does a good, high-level job of outlining some reasons why you are seeing news about the impact of Health Care Reform (“Obamacare”) on the economy and impact to employment.
I know many believe layoffs and hiring freezes, etc. are motivated by corporate greed. From where I sit (and where I have been seated), across the markets and on average, I have to disagree.
This is not a post about the merits of the law or the benefits of the law. This is a post about the impact of the law. It was not a surprise. It was the known price tag on this policy.
I can respect the hypothesis that PPACA may actually be bad for employers, but there are a number of key factors that are left out of this study (or at least the summary results), as well as some false suppositions, that don’t bolster its case.
Penalties - The summary outlines the possible employer penalties well. It does not, however, outline the factors that may have an impact on an employer’s decision to not offer coverage. First, the penalty of $3,000 for an employee receiving a subsidy may seem like a lot, but with average cost of coverage for a family of four running $11,000-$15,000 per year in premiums alone, Many companies may actually save money by not offering “basic” (60% or more) coverage for these employees. If an employer simply opts out, the penalty is $2,000, excluding to first 30 employees. Translated, if your company has 75 employees and you choose not to offer coverage, your employees will cost you $90,000, or $1,200 per employee. Again, you may not be paying zero dollars for not covering your employees, but you’re still saving a substantial amount based on what you would pay to cover them. Add to that consideration that, if you’re a company that would consider dropping coverage because of its impact on your low-income workforce, most of those employees would qualify for coverage subsidies, if not outright free coverage (the controversial “Medicaid mandate”) under PPACA. Therefore, you may be able to save money while your employees get coverage cheaper than they would before, and you’re still helping to subsidize it through the penalties. (I’ve yet to hear of a company over 500 that’s not politically motivated like Papa John’s that has seriously considered not offering benefits because of PPACA. On the contrary, several polls by private companies indicate that large companies think that offering good benefits packages are even more important than before PPACA because of the competitive advantage a robust benefits package may give them.) In fairness, there is a grey area in there for employers between 51-499 where it may actually be a burden on their budgets to offer insurance and a competitive disadvantage not to offer it. That is probably the primary area for the “one-half of one percent” impact on unemployment that may occur because of PPACA (although the footnote leads to a document that doesn’t seem to exist, so I’m not sure). Which leads to…
PPACA was driven by market factors, not ideology. It’s all fine and good to say that PPACA will burden companies to the point that wages will stagnate… except that wages have been stagnant for nearly three decades already — roughly the same amount of time that health costs, and health insurance premiums in particular, have increased, on average, at double the rate of inflation. PPACA, while not perfect by a longshot, became an issue because healthcare has become a drag on the economy, not because some people wanted to advance a socialist agenda (this is where that pesky fact that the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea comes into play). It may actually increase costs in the short run, but the ultimate goal is to curb cost increases, not necessarily to reverse them.
While “defined contribution” has emerged as an alternative to public exchanges, the characterization that “defined contribution” is portable (i.e. my employer gives me money to pay for benefits, I use it for that purpose, and then I can take my benefits with me to another job) is not one that I’ve heard being mentioned with any health insurance carrier or company, and I would think that this kind of portability would be fought by any company. Why would I give my employer $5,000 to spend on benefits if I knew they could just quit and take that money with them to another job?
PPACA is far from perfect and it’s really tough to tell what will happen. I don’t envy anyone on either side trying to predict the outcome. But let’s at least try to predict without preconceptions in either direction, whether you feel that health coverage is an inalienable right or that the true inalienable right to is be able to run your business without government interference.
“Nobody’d be out on the frozen lake, I’d suspected, and there wasn’t a soul. Superman 2 was on TV. I’d seen it at Malvern cinema about three years ago on Neal Brose’s birthday. It wasn’t bad but not worth sacrificing my own private lake for. Clark Kent gives up his powers just to have sexual intercourse with Lois Lane in a glittery bed. Who’d make such a stupid swap? If you could fly? Deflect nuclear missiles into space? Turn back time by spinning the planet in reverse? Sexual intercourse can’t be that good.”—
Jason Taylor in Black Swan Green, by David Mitchell
Statistically, it’s not a stretch to say that about the only demographic left, aside from (some) pro-Israel Jewish Americans and (some) anti-Castro Cuban Americans, who are still voting for Romney are (some) middle-aged white men and (fewer of) their wives.
Also, serious question: Has anyone seen pictures or even heard of any business partners that Mitt Romney had who weren’t white men? I’ve searched the interwebs and haven’t found any.
That last post wasn’t so much about Democrats vs. Republicans as it was about the current state of presidential politics. The Kennedy clan is the picture of entitlement in that arena. John Kerry was old money married to sorta new money. On the flipside, Reagan was very much a self-made man, which is probably why he had such crossover appeal and is such a hero of the party that for at least the last half-century has been an uncomfortable union of socially conservative (WASP) middle-classers and fiscally conservative rich (WASP) people. The thing that strikes me is how the populist message of the Republican party is so baldly selfish this year — “I Built That!” What the Democrats have done this week, and I predict it will be shown in the post-convention bump, is to appeal to the American sense that we are still all in it together. It’s been a really nasty campaign on both sides. Both candidates have historically low approval ratings. Anyone who’s been effected by the economy has probably already made up their minds. So maybe just saying “we” instead of “I” — reminding people that America is about all of us rather than about each of us, will truly be the difference in the swing states that will decide the election.
It occurred to me today that the past three Republican nominees for president were scions of some kind — Romney’s father was a respected, principled governor, McCain’s family had a multigenerational history of military leadership, Bush was the idiot son of an admirable yet bumbling son of a well-respected politician — while both Obama and Clinton have very similar claims to being, for all intents and purposes, self-made men. And yet, they are both quick to say that they did not achieve their great successes by themselves. Meanwhile, those who more clearly owe their success to some form of personal and/or cultural advantage — Romney often gets compared to his father if only to illustrate his shortcomings as a public servant and presidential candidate; McCain, setting aside his war heroism, was generally thought of as a shitty student coasting off his father and grandfather’s successes, Bush was a coke-sniffing dipshit — want you to believe that they did it themselves. Is that Freudian, or just ignorant?
Real Rock Drummer for NON-pussy band (L.A.) Date: 2012-05-25, 12:28AM PDT Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [Errors when replying to ads?] I do NOT play to a click track or backing tracks and GO SCREW if you think I’m gonna “tone it down a little, bro” so you can piddle away on your stringed sissy box. I WILL NOT play hotel cafe and don’t take direction from ninnies who live in their fucking parents basement and whack off to dreams of hanging with Jack Johnson and rapping about his “process”, you piece of shit. I am a real mother fucker with balls of steel and have a drumset that loves to be ass fucked mercilessly from behind and I need to join a band who understands that stage-sex is part of the fucking game, dude. So when I’m fucking the shit outta the kit, you can’t be the guy in the corner beating your limp, taffy dick wishing that you could stick your dick in too, NO! You get that dick hard and fuck the stage with me, pussy boy. I’m so sick of stealing the show and would really love to meet some real sons of fucking bitches who aren’t afraid to use a sweat band for its intended purpose: wiping off fucking sweat, cum, groupies, pussy juice, blood, etc. Do not write me for reasons of sass because I will FIND YOU and shred your fucking face with my SHIT-STORMING DRUM GODLINESS!
ugh I get it, but Romney isn’t running for student body president of the young Mormons club, he’s running for THE Presidency. I don’t care what your religion believes. This man wants to rule MY country, and I am not his religion.
He’s not my religion either, but that doesn’t mean I can’t admire how good he looks with his shirts tucked into his jeans.
I watched Bill Maher last night for the first time in a long time. I don’t like him a whole lot, but I think his general comedic antipathy toward organized religinz may have played into that last post.
Let me preface this by saying I didn’t watch the RNC and I won’t watch it, nor will I watch the DNC, because they’re not part of our civic duty, they’re conventions combined with infomercials and holy fuck you have to hate your life to subject yourself to that for anything other than comedic purposes. Yes, that includes “news.”
But, two things floating around that appeared to be said that, while I don’t agree with the messages per se and generally have no admiration for the messengers, have a least an inkling of, uh, non-horribleness to them:
Santorum talking about family units being the bestest thing of all bestest things ever created by blue-eyed Jesus. The implied message is that “broken homes,” AKA single-parent homes, are godless. Whatever. Go fuck yourself, Rick. But… having a two-parent household certainly has the potential for being a truer ideal than a single-parent household. Before you go firing up my inboxes, I’m not saying this as a slight to single moms (or dads) — I was raised in a single-mom home — but rather as a father who considers himself pretty active in the house and sees the real benefits in, if nothing else, a division of labor that is possible in two-parent homes. Notice I said “two-parent homes,” not “mother-father homes.” Yes, it’s hard not to take personally a dude in a sweater vest who has devoted his life to a religion that doesn’t let its bishops have sex yet still calls them “father.” But maybe it would be more productive to handle it like Barack handles the abortion issue (“Nobody’s out there campaigning for more abortions”) than automatically saying things like, oh, I don’t know, “Go fuck yourself, Rick.”
Ann Romney saying that stuff about moms being the bestest of the bestest thing ever invented by blue-eye Joseph Smith Heavenly Father. Here’s the thing: in the Mormon faith, there is almost nothing higher than motherhood, so, no matter how Rockwellian and out of touch she may sound to educated urban dwellers, when she says that crap she’s not just pandering to the base — in fact, it probably does far more to reinforce the female perception of the patriarchal downside of the GOP than to pick up any independent votes — she’s speaking from her spiritual heart of hearts, which is more than her husband has ever done.
This isn’t really a “see the other side” point, but I want to make it anyway: For how much the Republican party seems to feel that taxes are anathema to freedom, patriotism and citizenship, they’re awfully quick to form a hierarchy of Productive Members of Society based on how much people pay in taxes. Go fuck yourself, old white guys.
Wonderful, eloquent, frustrating, much needed article.
Certainly an article worth reading and it goes without saying that “men explaining things” to women as if they’re idiots is a real, awful thing that women have to deal with constantly.
Here is the one problem I have with it: the central premise, as the writer says, is that “the out-and-out confrontational confidence of the totally ignorant is, in my experience, gendered,” is itself a gendered argument. She puts too much experiental stock in this being an issue of gender when, I feel, it’s more an issue of power and elitism. And since men hold a lot of the power, they’re the ones doing it the most.
I have worked in professions where women, if not on par, are far more on par than the the examples given in the article, which are essentially the higher rungs of academia and intellectual elitism. In more gender-neutral (and, for that matter, orientation-neutral) professions, I’ve been on the receiving end of a fair amount of these “explaining things” conversations. The common denominator was not gender but education. Ivy-leaguers and, on the west coast, Stanford and Berkeley students, had a particular fondness for and confidence in their own opinions combined with an absence of humility for the occasional wrongness of those opinions. It’s something that came up a lot when reading about Rebecca Mayer being named CEO of Yahoo! — her seeming confidence was frequently characterized as arrogance and condescension from men and women alike who had worked with her.
Of course, these too are generalizations. Ivy-Leaguers would and should take exception to being blanketed as high on their own fumes. And, certainly, males put in Mayer’s shoes rarely face the same kind of scrutiny for arrogance. The point is that looking to gender as an explanation for what to me seems like clearly learned behavior may actually harm efforts to keep it from happening than help it. I don’t see a big difference in an educated woman saying “men are just that way” and an educated man saying “women are just that way” or, for that matter, “black people are just that way.”
I believe that it’s about the sociocultural identity we have and the code to which we’re asked to adhere, which also means that I believe it can change. If you’re a man, knock that shit off. Treat each person as an equal and, more importantly, seek to learn before you seek to teach. And if you’re a woman, do stand up for yourself and call us on our bullshit, but also do your best to not go into situations assuming you will have to deal with bullshit. Because, even though you will, if we work hard at it, someday hopefully you won’t.
Our boy starts kindergarten tomorrow. And, y’know, it’s not the typical “they grow up so fast” wistfulness that’s been running through my mind. It’s the future. I see him on the playground with his friends, daring each other to go higher and jump farther. I see *him* reading *me* a bedtime story, then burying his nose in a chapter book. I see his eyes light up when he realizes that math is lovely lyrical patterns.
I see him on his first day of middle school, concerned about his locker combination and the imposing eighth graders. I see him becoming one of those eighth graders and simultaneously becoming a pain in my ass because I’m a pain in his ass. I see him, oh god, asking for the keys, doing stupid things to impress girls, asking his mom for some cover-up for an unfortunate blemish and making us promise not to tell. I see him graduating, going away for college, achieving, succeeding, experiencing so much and impacting so many.
I know there will be struggles, I know it will be so hard sometimes that I’ll wonder why or how or where it went wrong. But not tonight. Tonight, all I see is a bright, shining promise of great things to come.