Handy-dandy list of cut-n-paste responses

Here, for my own use and possibly yours, is a collection of responses that I often make in internet conversations.  (I use “conversation” loosely here.)

Mix-n-match for your own purposes!

Duty calls: https://xkcd.com/386/

I don’t know how to explain to you that you should care about other people: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/i-dont-know-how-to-explain-to-you-that-you-should_us_59519811e4b0f078efd98440

I cannot believe…

cannot believe

Leopards are classic:

And, if all else fails:


Got any good ones to add, Grumpeteers?

Communal vs. individual school supplies

Update:  FDR quote from the FDR monument in Washington, DC (Thanks Leah!).  I found it as the last slide on Peter Diamond’s history of Social Security changes.

It seems like across much of the US, school supplies for elementary school have moved from being individual (you know, where I was the only kid whose mom followed instructions and bought the 12 pack of crayons instead of the 48 pack, and a couple of kids even got the 96 pack that had gold and silver and a built-in-sharpener) to communal, where the school list will, for example, request two 24 packs of crayons, crayola-only, to be collected and distributed across the classroom.   Back in my day only the Kleenex was communal.

This has caused some complaining across the personal finance blogosphere.  There’s a reluctance to subsidize children whose parents can’t or won’t buy school supplies for their own children.

I disagree with that sentiment.  I like having communal supplies because it makes it easier for kids who can’t afford school supplies. I do wish that we could what we did when we were living in a blue state and give money to the PTA to buy in bulk instead of buying new supplies individually. And I wish our current state was like the blue state we were in before and solicited donations so the school could own the calculators instead of the kids. I feel really bad for the kids whose parents can’t afford to buy calculators or rent instruments or go on field trips or get school supplies. (The district does have a pantry that accepts donations for kids who get free and reduced lunch, but it’s mostly clothing and hygiene supplies.)

It seems so much more humane to do it communally instead of individually.  Of course, it’s still not as humane as everyone’s tax money going to support future generations of Americans, but it’s much better than the idea that kids should be penalized for their parents being poor. Or that kids should have to rely on religious charity because people aren’t willing to give a little extra unless the “worthy poor” end up being indebted to a Christian organization for something that should be a right for all Americans.

Because funding to schools keeps getting cut in the interest of lower taxes, more and more of what used to be funded by schools is now funded by parents.  We’ve had to pay for orchestra music/instrument/uniforms and every field-trip and individual science experiments and many more things on top of more historically standard calls for empty toilet paper tubes and pot-luck dishes.  We’ve been doing directed donations for other kids each time we get one of these requests for our own kid, and there have been a lot of them, but we’ve generally had to take the initiative to ask about it ourselves (only the science teacher added donations for other kids to requests). And I just feel really bad for kids on the other end whose parents can’t or won’t provide for them who have to ask the teachers what to do when they don’t have the money. I remember just not going on field trips to ball games or amusement parks as a kid– not wanting my parents to have to worry about the money and not wanting to ask for charity (my parents would have died of embarrassment)– and that would be something like once every three years since all the local educational trips were covered. There’s so much less covered here.

In contrast, the year we were living in a blue state they flat out asked for a (recommended) largish donation at the beginning of the year from people who could afford it and some smaller amount for school supplies for people who didn’t want to shop on their own and that was it– and that money covered supplies, field trips, computers, calculators, and the arts program. There were also a limited number of free musical instruments that the school owned that anyone could rent if they jumped through a few hurdles, or the richer people could pay to rent through local music stores without jumping through hurdles. Kids didn’t have to feel bad for not having stuff because it was supplied for everyone.

Obviously that’s not possible in an impoverished district.  For those, federal or state funding is really needed to fill in those gaps.  But most of the commenters on these blog posts who are complaining about having to subsidize other people’s kids can afford to pick up more supplies than their individual kid will use at the back-to-school sale, and if they can’t, then someone else can pick one up on their child’s behalf.  And they’re not complaining about the expense so much as the unfairness of having to help a child that isn’t their own (though they don’t put it in those words… I think/hope if they did they might check themselves and not share that sentiment).  It sucks that parents have to buy basic supplies when children are America’s future taxpayers and we should all be subsidizing education through taxes, but failing that, this is one area where I don’t at all mind secular charity from those who can afford it.  Especially if it means some kid doesn’t have to constantly be reminded that they don’t have what everyone else has.  And you better believe we’ll be giving additional unrequested directed donations to our children’s schools this year, especially with DC1 in a 56% poverty elementary school.

And, as a reminder, Donorschoose is a fantastic charity that helps out kids and teachers in districts where having some parents buy a second set of school supplies isn’t possible or isn’t enough.

Link Love: A week has felt like a year ever since the 2016 election started getting heated up

and this week is no different.  Yes to all the comedians saying, “I’m old enough to remember when we were all just worried about nuclear war with North Korea.”

So as you can see in the bottom video link, for some reason I’ve had “John and Hank have got a purple tank” stuck in my head (possibly from watching some of the Indiana Jones clip that shows every fight with Nazis… I hate Nazis).   If you listen to that often enough and don’t click away, eventually youtube plays the most excellent John and Green We are All Bat People songify (which is how #1 discovered Vlogbrothers).  One of the lines that John says is, “Crime is not actually caused by evil.”  When this songify first came out, I agreed with him whole-heartedly.  Crime *is* caused by “systematic disenfranchisement and lack of opportunity” (and lead in the water, and so on).  But that’s only small crime.  The crime that superheroes only fight when they’re bored waiting for the movie or comic book to get underway.  The muggings and petty thievery.  Until this year, I believed that super-villains were overblown.  I was wrong.  I was very wrong.  Steve Bannon isn’t disenfranchised.  He doesn’t lack opportunity.  He is just full-stop evil.  A super-villain.  Whoever is writing these anti-Trans laws and funding politicians to bully Trans people; that person is evil and powerful.  Nazis in their crisp white Trump polos and khakis– they’re not lacking opportunity.  This isn’t economic anxiety.  They’re not just misguided.  Comic books and other fantastic novels have been warning us about this kind of evil for ages.  Not all villains are complicated.  Not all villains are well-meaning but misguided.  The kind of bully Trump is is an ageless one.  Literature and history have been warning us, but because we lived in a society where their voices were dulled and Hitler was a long-dead memory (and other genocidal leaders geographically so far away), we scoffed at them as unrealistic.

So what can you do?  I’m still following actions for americans and 5calls for action items.  Even if I don’t say it here, I still make calls every week, and boy do those $25 donations to various groups and candidates sure add up.  DH is still going to local indivisible meetings (he’s now the treasurer) and democratic party meetings and the occasional protest or rally.  Voter enfranchisement is an incredibly important issue right now– DH is a voter registrar and I’ll be attending the local indivisible become a voter registrar workshop in September.  There are a lot of ways to get active and to fight hate and to bring our country back on the path bending towards justice.  (As always, please leave suggestions in the comments!)

A chilling report from a synagogue in Charlottesville

Fox News, Daily Caller delete posts encouraging people to drive through protests  Here are the states that have introduced legislation to make it legal to hit protesters with cars  If you live in one– call up your state legislators and tell them WTF

Hate that doesn’t hide.

An excellent rant by FrugalToque

Turns out fascists didn’t actually get the trains to run on time.  That was just propaganda!

Godwin provides an important corollary to his law

One way to confront racists

Here’s another

And if you’re more into cream pies than punches or conversation, here’s another.

A debunking handbook


AP provides standards on how to talk about racists (and other bigots)

Which is the more dangerous kind of nazi?

Anti-nazi comics

Unfortunately the short documentary video clip of Sir Nicholas George Winton who organized the rescue of 669 children, mostly Jewish from the Nazis got taken down (the company gave permission, but twitter is being slow to release it).  There’s a longer version on youtube that is less dramatic.  Watch it.  You need to watch it.  Have lots of kleenex handy.  Then hug your loved ones close to you.  (I’ve also put a shorter youtube clip down below.)

Go Illinois!

GOP senator Corker accuses mom who paid $40 to meet with him because she was worried about her kids’ insurance of being a paid fake activist.

Oregon makes abortion accessible to all women

Texas Women now have to pay for rape insurance (also insurance to cover ectopic pregnancies as the amendment about saving the life of the mother did not make it into the bill)

More research showing that refugees have zero effect on native outcomes

This is pretty good

#Notallstatues are bad:  The English Pug and the French Poodle

I also have this question

dog poop paper vs. plastic

A book definitely makes a guy more attractive.  More hot guys.

I would totally buy this if DH’s old t-shirts weren’t so comfy

Jeans through the ages

How songs get stuck in my head

Ask the grumpies: Which fictional figure would you meet?

Leah asks:

if you could meet any fictional figure, who and why?

#1:  I want to meet one of those brilliant super-heroes who always manages to do something brilliant to save the day.  Like Jeeves but on a bigger scale.  Like the top bureaucrat from Yes Minister.  Or Kyoya from Ouren High school Host Club.  Or the team from Leverage.  I want him or her or them to tell me how to fix the problem our country is currently in with a brilliant plan for which he or she has forseen all possible complications that I can implement.  So that the day can be saved.

#2:  I really want to meet scifi animals.  There’s a species of treecats in the Honor Harrington Universe, and a species called norbears in the Liaden books.  Both species are sentient but lack a shared language with humans…. both seem super cute


  • I knew John Green had terrible taste in literature (as evidenced by his deep abiding love for the required HS whiny privileged male protagonist canon), but I didn’t realize it wasn’t just that he liked terrible books in addition to good books.  He has read one Terry Pratchett.  (A Discworld too, and not one of Pratchett’s early meh children’s books.)  I can’t even.  How is that even possible?  None, All, or “I’m in the middle of the series” all make sense, but one is beyond the bounds of belief.
  • I guess I like some of the “privileged people create their own problems” literature, but generally the ones I read allow the reader in on the joke.  Like if Gatsby had Jeeves working for him.  Emma is a warning about what happens when an intelligent woman has too much time on her hands, not whatever deep lessons it is that people get from Holden Caulfield’s incessant whining.  Though I guess they both would have been better off with meaningful occupation.  We chuckle at Emma but nobody identifies with her.  Maybe because of male privilege– men want to identify with privileged losers but that’s a luxury women don’t have.  To get as whiny and indolent as Holden Caulfield as a woman, you end up being a side character put in the story merely for comic relief.
  • Note to self:  If I ever become a YA writer, try writing a story where Caulfield is a minor character played for laughs from the perspective of a female protagonist.
  • I am glad that if I wrote an “unvarnished truth” style memoir, it would be pretty boring.  Or, as our tag says, “probably boring if you’re not us
  • It is annoying that some of the jargon in my field is non-pc.  I am currently going through a paper doing a find/replace to change all the bad jargon into less obnoxious words.  I know I could probably get this published with the jargon still in place, but non-pc terms can hurt marginalized people and we don’t have to do that.  Still, because it is the jargon in my field, my early drafts always use the shorthand.  Just 42 instances more to go…
  • The times in my life when I’ve been least happy have been times when I have had less agency and the times when I’ve been most happy, I’ve been the one deciding what to do with my life.  I suspect this is healthy.
  • I keep getting upper respiratory infections. (I suspect this is not  healthy.) I do not like it.
  • It feels amazing to not be sick after being sick.
  • It is amazing to have DH back after him being gone for over a week.
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DH’s company is back in business

But it will be a while before he gets paid…

As regular readers know, the company for which DH telecommutes has been having cash flow problems and they had to shut down for a couple of months.  They were supposed to get back to work in July, but the contract that was supposed to put them back in business for the next 2 years (give or take) kept not getting signed.  Finally it did get signed!

DH and I were able to save up enough to not worry about his lost income and DH’s direct boss is in a similar situation.  It’s been a bit tougher for a couple of the other employees, but it seems like they’ve stuck around.  Anybody who was going to leave left when the company started showing signs of trouble.

Sadly, even though the grant has been signed, it’s going to take 20 days from the first pay request for the grant to start paying out, so that will mean a month and a half without pay even after people have started back to work.  Again, not a huge problem for us since we saved for this, but I feel bad for a few of DH’s colleagues.

Also, annoyingly, they’re keeping the 10% paycuts for now (and any retirement matching) which is irritating, but I don’t think we’ll complain about it until things settle down a bit and the boss is able to pay back some of the debt he’s taken on keeping the company’s health insurance paid.

So what does that mean for us financially?  Well, we’ll be back to being upper-middle class again, but I’m not sure that I’ll feel quite so much like throwing money around like water.  So we probably won’t redo the kitchen and we’ll probably stick with a Prius or something when my car finally bites the dust.  And I won’t be signing up for silly overpriced subscription services (#notallsubscriptionservices) even if they look fun and so on.  I think some of the worry about our income will be sticking.  Though it took a while to start feeling free with money the first time around too.  We will still continue to give money to charity and politics at higher levels.

I think I will probably start putting more money away in stocks so it’s out of sight, even though I don’t know when the market is going to crash.  Or I might keep it in cash in case we need to flee to Canada.  I don’t know.  It really sucks to live in interesting times.  But it’s nice worrying about what to do with extra money.  And we’ll have quite a bit of time to decide– I don’t get paid until October so we’re still spending down our savings and if and when DH’s paycheck starts up it will only be covering expenses.

I definitely see an allure of being truly financially free– instead of thinking, well DH can just not work for 3 years and we won’t be putting a crimp in our lifestyle, how nice would it be to say he never has to find a job unless he wants to?  Don’t get me wrong, he likes work, but it would also be nice to have more options.  Or if we could afford to move to Paradise without anything lined up if we got too fed up with our state government.  But again, even at an upper-middle-class salary, it would take a long time to build up that kind of savings.  So are they worth sacrificing for now?  Probably not.  But I could do a better job of feeling artificial scarcity so our lifestyle doesn’t inflate too much.  Or maybe I should just embrace the benefits that having so much income brings.

In any case, this is something I can worry about after school starts.  Until then, I’ll be spending down our savings account on things like daycare (technically we just gave them the last check), insurance, and groceries.  Mark in your calendars that our money posts will probably start getting obnoxious again sometime in November.  ;)

Link love for a long week

This week was really pushing it on the “I hate white men” front #notallwhitemen.  I’m tired of sexism, I’m tired of mansplaining, and I’m especially tired of so-called liberal men who do nothing but tell women that they’re doing it wrong.  F@#$23ing put forth some effort yourself, jackasses.  Instead of telling the woman she should be doing something different than what she’s doing (ESPECIALLY if what you think she’s wasting her time on involves her advocating for abortion rights or police not killing black people or any of those other things so-called socialist white men deem as unimportant, you racist misogynist prick), why don’t you @#$23ing take up the torch and do the thing you’re telling her to do instead.  Instead of just writing posts or complaining in the hallway at work about how wimmen are doing it wrong and wasting their time, do what you think should be done instead yourself.  As much as you want it to be true, women are not your lackeys (yet).  I know the Republican party is working its best to have a desperate subservient woman in every home, but they’re not there yet.  Don’t help them get there.

Shout out to other Gen Xers (and boomers) who are having childhood flashbacks of learning to duck-and-cover in the event of a nuclear bomb.

BTW, if you or someone you love in the US is under 40, you can buy FDA approved Potassium Iodide from Amazon for use in a nuclear emergency (note affiliate link).  Remembering Katrina, I don’t really trust that the US will have their supply chains ready for this kind of emergency.  A package is $14.  Here’s the CDC’s instructions on how to use it.

This is truly terrifying thread.  Here’s an addendum.

Well, obviously

Even if you already know all there is to know about the prisoner’s dilemma, this link is really amazing and well worth the (15-30 min) it takes to play through it.  If I were teaching micro instead of methods, I would definitely add it as a class assignment for discussion.

Creating a hostile work environment seems to be reason enough to fire someone.  Here’s some more reasons.  Here’s a thread on “debate” that really isn’t debate.

Speaking of hostile work environments, in 1998, Milton Friedman said that the pendulum had tipped too far in gender equity in economics and now men were being discriminated against.  AND that statement was published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives (a top journal in our field).  I Can’t Even.

Seems legit and well-argued.

Scalzi talks about when he realized GLBTQ people are people.  I don’t remember ever not knowing that, something I attribute (after considerable introspection) to having lived in SF as a small child and having parents who were from the Bay Area and had partnered friends.  Where it’s safer to be out, a wider spectrum of people will be out.  (Also one of my great-aunts was most likely in a long-term lesbian relationship.)  I’m not saying I was perfect– I’ve said cringeworthy things as a teen (telling someone when I was 15 that he couldn’t possibly know he was homosexual because he was only 13 and shouldn’t be interested in anybody yet, for example), but that I’m grateful to have had a wider and more varied experience than a lot of people did back in the 1980s– not just the “they’re all promiscuous dudes dying of AIDS” narrative the media was selling at the time.  So I saw that stereotype and similar from Tales of the City, and saw gay best friends and effeminate males in movies, but also had known adults in more pedestrian relationships and as soon as I got to boarding school met lots of boys and girls with all kinds of different personalities discovering and living their sexuality (including every letter of GLBTQ!).  College brought me in contact with both stereotypical and not-stereotypical gay guys and I had a bunch of friends who came out as lesbian and bisexual in college (a few of whom dated the same terrible emotionally destructive girlfriend, something that showed me that some homosexual partners can be just as bad news as heterosexual ones!)  One of the things I love right now is that really amazing self-publishing authors are starting to tell the stories of same-sex relationships without the standard tropes of tragedy striking half the couple (Deanna Raybourn– you could have done better).  We have a future Wednesday post that talks more about our thoughts on culture normalizing GLBTQ– We’ve been pushing it off a bit after the Trump Transgender ban hit because it seemed to strike too much of an optimistic note given current events.  Keep making those phone calls about protecting Transgender rights . It’s likely there’s also state and local things going on– rights are expanding in some states and are under attack in others. I’m not sure how to figure out what’s going on in your particular state, but maybe your local Indivisible group can help?

Iowa dems win special election in Trump +22 district

5calls is soliciting donations

One author on this paper is a bit of a known racist/misogynist, so it isn’t surprising that he buried the lede (check out the last sentence).  The summary of the paper in the NBER reporter has a very different spin on the same findings:  Over the first 20 years in the U.S., the average adult refugee pays taxes that exceed relocation costs and social benefits. 

Taxes, Behavior, and Regressive Incentives  One of the things I’ve been noticing on the PF blogosphere is an increased tipping towards go @#$3 the poor, I want what’s mine.  We’ll be trying to push back on that a bit in posts and comments as we go forward on the internet.  I hope you all do the same.  Because I really do believe that most people are good deep down, but culture can tip notions of fairness.  Right now there are a lot of Russian bots and US oligarchs that want us to become a more fascist union with even greater income inequality.  But the future of our nation depends on how we treat our children and the opportunities adults have to get out of poverty.  And in a rich nation, we can do far better with how we treat the worst off.  Life does not need to be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”– after all this isn’t 1651 anymore.  Let’s tip towards reminding folks that kindness should be our first response.  (I agree with this article #2 sent me that notes the same thing about tipping towards lack of empathy, BUT I disagree that we cannot change culture.  We ARE culture.  Debating may not work, but reminding, telling people’s stories, telling our own stories, shutting people down when they show lack of empathy towards others… these are things that actually work.  I’ve seen them work on fora.  But there need to be enough empathetic voices to change the tide.  Maybe we need pay-it-forward bots to combat the screw-everybody-who-isn’t-me bots)

Not just Russian bots are spreading propaganda for personal gain.  There’s also US bots.

This Scalzi short story has new meaning

My grandma is in here.  (My parents have a hardcopy of this book, complete with pictures.  It’s pretty amazing.)

Well read black girl

A few personal finance sites have been making arguments that you MUST have a pre-nup and if it’s too late for a pre-nup, then you need to go out and get yourself a post-nup immediately no matter what your circumstances.  This well-reasoned article does a much better job of talking about the pros and cons of when you should have a pre-nup or post-nup.

If you live in Canada, don’t save for your children’s education using a group RESP!

Everyone is sorry.

Huh, it really is a mallow from the marsh.  Who knew.  (Besides #2, of course.  She seems to known all sorts of random trivia.)

Ice Cream, America, and War

Do you have any suggestions for how to break into tech?

Jordan the cat’s library card


a woo hoo

Boy that was a chatty link love this week.  Maybe we should have turned some of those paragraphs into posts.  Let us know in the comments!