This is bonkers. The U.S. government set up a fake university, got millions from international students who enrolled, then arrested and deported those students for "visa fraud" because they enrolled in a fake school. WHAT THE FUCK? https://t.co/Gi85KWOuZK
For #DoctorWhoDay's 56th, I want to celebrate one woman in particular. Delia Derbyshire literally began Dr Who: the very first thing you hear is her work, her soul, her erasure. pic.twitter.com/7ml8G5QYW7
I would like to know more about the Chick-Fil-A controversy. Here is where my knowledge has been over the years.
* First – Wow, they are so dedicated to their religious morals that they are closed on Sundays. That’s got to be costing them money. So I respect that. Also, the secret to their lemonaid deliciousness is that it is made with lemon juice, water, and sugar. No garbage.
* Later – Yikes–they’re funding de-gayification torture. Okay screw that. I mean it’s one thing to have different beliefs from me (I’m an atheist-leaning agnostic), but quite another to torture people, even in a misguided attempt to help them get to heaven. Not something I want to help fund.
* Recently – they’ve decided to stop funding anti-gay charities, but one of them was the Salvation Army. Is there something I don’t know about the Salvation Army? (Of course they are claiming they actually help more gay folks than most other charities, if for no other reason than that they’re gigantic.) Neither of these seem like the de-gayification place. Then I heard they stopped funding that one already, years ago.
* Then a bunch of Christians decided to boycott them for stopping this funding.
* Now they’re backtracking.
So how bad are these charities? Do the anti-gay beliefs of these charities infiltrate their work? Also, is Chick-Fil-A a bad place for gay people to work? (I mean worse than for other people? Though at least they pay more than minimum wage.)
People in our town like Chick Fil A because they don’t tend to screw up catering orders and they have playgrounds. I have not eaten there in over 10 years because they taste like Hate and are also just super salty and greasy and once when one of our kids was still in diapers someone (I think my in-laws, see above re: playgrounds) fed hir chick fil a and I have never smelled a more disgusting poo. We don’t eat at any national fast food chains (except occasionally Subway or similar regional chains), so our boycott really means nothing.
The fellowship of christian athletes requires members to pledge that they will not “engage in homosexual activity.” Which is pretty openly discriminatory.
Salvation Army is openly a fairly conservative evangelical christian organization. They hold the position that it’s not sinful to *be* lqbtq+ but it is unacceptable to *act* on it (or have anything but heterosexual married sex) and also opposed marriage equality. Telling a group that they don’t deserve a full human life and basic civil rights is maybe not the same kind of overt torture as conversion therapy but it’s still not okay.
It seems like in recent years they took down the formal position page on their website that explicitly states this but have not made any statement about changing their beliefs. Their more recent statements are along the lines of “wellllll we love all sinners so we also provide charity to people even though they’re lgbtq+” and formal statements that they “don’t lobby to roll back marriage equality because we don’t employ lobbyists” and extend benefits to employees’ same sex spouses “because the law says we have to right now.” People have also still reported being turned away or discriminated against at Salvation Army facilities for being trans (apparently with the excuse that it makes other clients uncomfortable to have a trans person around).
It’s not the issue under discussion but they’re also still openly anti choice.
There’s probably more nuance I don’t know.
They have also donate to Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, and Exodus International, all of which are anti-LGBTQ groups. They’ve promised before to stop donating to anti-LGBTQ groups, and then backtracked and resumed donating.
I will admit I was once a patron of Chick-fil-A. And I have had earnest conversations with local franchisees about the company’s funding of anti-LGBTQ groups. Those conversations were a lot like the one I had with my local Roman Catholic church pastor, who assured me I was welcome, and that they would always welcome me, no matter what was said by the corporation (or in the church’s case, the bishop or pope).
She is now eating elsewhere and is no longer Catholic.
Back in 2012, Chick Fil A said they would stop donating to political causes… and they did, sort of. They donated to organizations who had hate as only one of a few objectives, or that specifically excluded LGBTQ beneficiaries, rather than organizations whose only objective is to promote hate. Of course, there’s some discussion in the twitterverse about whether or not the owners who are getting rich from Chick Fil A profits still donate to the hate-only causes with their own wealth. I don’t know, but I would not be surprised. I’d rather not have intolerant people getting rich and having all the political power that comes with wealth.
Even if they made the best chicken sandwich under the sun, I do not want money I’m giving a company to go towards funding anti-LGBTQ groups. There is zero benefit to funding hate and so much harm. So, no, don’t eat at Chick Fil A, and let people know why you don’t.
These white Christian people seem so nice. So genuinely likeable. And yet… they thinkingly or unthinkingly do these things that encourage hate on a large scale. In person and individually they’re so nice. But eating at an organization that sponsors hate is not a politically neutral act.
The best purchase we have been enjoying has been TSA Pre. I didn’t appreciate how much I would appreciate it. Similarly, I continue to be delighted to take toll-roads with a toll tag for the city nearest us.
Having a battery that can fuel a phone or laptop during travel has been really great. I’ve also been able to occasionally help out fellow travelers. We have bought several Anker products (amazon link) and have been very happy with all of them.
This kit to make a music box (not sponsored) is probably the coolest kid’s present this year. Even after the music box has been created, it provides hours of fun choosing different songs.
DH wants to give a shoutout to this guy who organizes boxes of electronic components (I guess the actual organization is done in China, according to the box, also, not sponsored). DH is in love with a box of resistors. It brilliantly stores resistors on labeled sheets of paper in little plastic bags in a little box. If DH hadn’t stumbled on it online, he would have done what all of his former labs have done and bought a fishing tackle box or cabinet and sorted them that way. This is much more compact and it’s much faster to find things.
This backpack from Tom Bihn (not sponsored) has made traveling much easier. I’ve stopped taking my own bag and use DH’s backpack instead.
Last year I suggested that DH buy me some bras, figuring he’d get something to his taste (Sorry! The TMI was only in my brain though :/.). Instead he went to a department store and got boring but very supportive bras in my size that cost quite a bit more than the kind I used to pick up for myself at Target. Things I would think of as Grandma-style or for women with larger busts than what I have. And… it turns out that’s what people (my shopping buddy, my sister… though to be fair, I WENT bra shopping with my shopping buddy and did not get this kind even with the lady at the bra store measuring me and hard selling) have been meaning when they’ve been telling me I need better bras for my clothing to fit better. So… lesson learned. Pay more for better bras and better bras aren’t ones that look fancier, but ones that have more coverage. And how is it that DH is better at buying women’s underwear than I am?
While we’re on the subject of women’s clothing, I got some amazing tights from Target online. The brand is A New Day (not sponsored) and all of the tights I got from them have been crazy amazing, from the plain black, to the patterned, to the super soft super warm fleece lined tights that are warmer than a lot of pants. No tears yet! 100% recommend (and we don’t get any kickbacks from Target!)
What things have you loved this past year? What purchases have made your life easier or better?
I heard somewhere that the Apple Watch detects heart attacks and then notifies authorities. This is not actually true. But I thought it was true. DH works from home alone and my second biggest fear is that he’s going to have a heart attack at home and his life could have been saved if people had been around to get him medical attention (my biggest fear is similar but involves semi-trucks and crossing the street). So I decided that an Apple Watch would be a good thing for DH to get, especially after reading a bunch of highly compelling stories about people whose lives were saved by the watch. After additional research, I did find out that the newest version of the Apple Watch, the Apple Watch 5, is very good at fall detection and will alert authorities and I have instructed DH to attempt to fall (in addition to chewing the aspirin I make him keep at his desk) should he feel a heart attack coming on and is unable to call 911. This is only somewhat tongue-in-cheek (yes, I do make him keep aspirin at his desk). Version 5 also has better detection of heart problems that aren’t heart attacks, so if it’s a heart problem that has some warning signs that would be nice too. So even after I found out that the heart attack thing isn’t true, I was sold on him having one.
It turns out, if you buy an Apple Watch 5, you’re going to need a new iPhone to go with it (because your iPhone 6 isn’t compatible). You find this out after you get the watch in the mail and have to decide whether to upgrade the phone or return the watch.
When you get a new iPhone 8, you’re going to need a new SIM card to go with it (because your old iPhone 6 SIM card isn’t compatible). Fortunately, unlike the iPhone 8 ($450 plus tax), the SIM card is only $5 (plus $4 s/h plus tax). You also find this out after you get the new iPhone in the mail, but by this point you’re committed.
DC1 is going to get the hand-me-down iPhone 6, which is surprisingly beat up (surprisingly because mine is still in really nice condition). Turns out it’s only worth about $60 resale which is just a little more than we’ve been paying for DC1’s crappy flip phones. DC1’s current crappy dumb phone has been driving us crazy because it doesn’t get very good reception at hir school which means zie leaves us voice mails that we can’t understand and zie doesn’t get our texts when we need to pick hir up. It also has such a terrible battery life that I went and bought hir an external battery. Zie has lost or washed so many flip phones at this point we assumed this one would not last long, but it’s been a few months. Zie will still have it as a back-up when zie inevitably loses the iPhone.
We are going to have to have a long talk about proper smart-phone use and internet addiction and all those other lovely things, but it will be nice for DC1 to be able to use an electronic calendar and to actually get the texts that hir orchestra teacher tends to send in the middle of the day.
Do you have a smart watch? If applicable, when did your kid get a smart phone?
Galperti, Simone. 2019.”Persuasion: The Art of Changing Worldviews.” American Economic Review 109(3):996-1031
Abstract: Persuaders often face the task of changing their listeners’ worldview, which may involve conveying evidence that disconfirms that view. It has been shown, however, that people are often reluctant to change their worldviews. These aspects of persuasion cannot be captured in the standard Bayesian framework. The paper identifies the constraints, opportunities, and trade-offs of persuading people to change worldview. It finds necessary and sufficient conditions under which it is optimal for persuaders to do so. It also shows when and how they conceal disconfirming evidence and take advantage of their listener’s existing worldview.
Not a ton of practical information there.
The things I’ve seen recommended have been:
1. Not disagreeing, but asking questions until the person starts to question it themselves. This is a little tougher than it used to be because Fox News has glib answers to the surface questions that feel right because they’ve been repeated so many times, but continuing to probe deeper until the contradictions come out helps. I’m not finding a link on this, but I have seen it talked about as something that has been tested.
2. A three pronged approach:
An approach that starts by coming out with common ground . You validate things they believe, make them feel listened to and like you have something in common. Then you give alternatives– I notice in the link here the examples they give start with questions. Only then do you provide proof. In pre-Trump days when I taught Public Finance, I was able to get Libertarians to understand that feeding children is an investment in smaller government later. (Nowadays the Libertarians I get are Libertarian In Name Only– and it’s really hard to reason with Social Conservatives who hate women and minorities.)
3. A third thing that I’ve seen on forums but have not actually seen anybody talk about scientifically (probably because it’s a different part of psychology) is not focusing on the hard-core people at all, but focusing on the folks that are easily swayed. This is likely to alienate the core close-minded people, but may “save” more people. I don’t think I would do this with college students though because they’re so young and are probably more reachable than the main nutcases on the closed anti-vaxxer sub-forums of mommy boards.
4. Convince people who believe things because they’re conspiracy theorists that there’s a conspiracy to get them to believe these horrible things. That turns out to not be that hard to do because IT IS TRUE (see: Russian bots). The last part of this article talks about that technique in conjunction with anti-vaxxers and I’ve seen anecdotal evidence from doctors that it often works with their more paranoid patients.
Grumpy Nation, have you ever been able to convince a close-minded person of anything?
We’ve tried a bunch of things so far, even talking to one of the teachers, but DC1 cannot always remember to turn in hir homework. Homework has different deadlines for different classes– math, for example, unlike previous math classes, only wants one big homework packet on the day of the exam. English has daily bellwork that is only due on Fridays. Biology is due randomly. And so on.
DC1 is oblivious to the teacher reminding in class and to other kids putting homework in homework baskets. Things came to a head last week when we got an auto-notification that DC1 had gotten zeroes on three (completed) assignments (two major, one minor) on the same day. Zie had just not turned them in. Of course, one of these classes was English, and for the same not turning bellwork in on Friday as has happened before that we literally discussed with hir about this exact assignment this past week. The other two classes are ones where zie does not have a whole lot of wiggle room, including a math packet on exam day. This is the second time DC1 has failed to turn in a completed math packet on exam day. None of these teachers accept late work.
Keeping an assignment notebook hasn’t worked. Punching holes into papers and putting them in a 3 ring binder hasn’t worked. Having a folder for random papers hasn’t worked. For a while there I was going through papers with DC1 every night but got sick of it, and DH said he’d take over and he did for a few days but then he stopped.
The current thing we’re trying is to take a page from DC2’s elementary school. I have repurposed one of DC2’s old homework folders. DC1 is going to cross out hir younger sibling’s name and put HOMEWORK FOLDER on it in sharpie. And it is only going to have homework that is due in it. And then maybe if it still has stuff in it at the end of the day, zie can run and try to turn it in before getting on the bus? Of course, this still requires going through those damn papers every night and making sure they get filed instead of just stuffing them in hir backpack in a crumpled mess. I suspect any system would work if zie would just go through things without a parent assisting.
One of my friends complains that her kid doesn’t do the homework, or forgets about it and does it at the last minute. But her kid turns things in! And a 70 or 80% is better than a 0%! Our kid remembers assignments, does the homework, and then just… never turns them in. It has been happening all year, and we’re at a complete loss.
So over the past year or two we’ve bought two cars, renovated the kitchen, shared the expense for a new fence with our neighbor, and bought a new clothes washer. We’ve subsidized family vacations to not-so-fancy midwestern destinations and we’re going on an anniversary trip (to Portland!) next summer. I also bought an iPad pro and a Remarkable for quasi-work purposes (the iPad pro seems to be the winner so far for editing other people’s papers, and I’ve been good about not using it for goofing off).
Since October we’ve bought the aforementioned clothes washer, donated a TON of money to various educational causes (including $2K+ to DC2’s school, the + because they had a couple fundraisers that we donated to separately), sent money to various political causes, and I made DH buy an Apple watch because he works from home alone and it can detect falls and irregular heart-beats and notify people about them. (Really I started the campaign to have him buy one because I thought it could detect heart attacks, but it turns out it can’t. Still, the other health metrics seem more useful than nothing.)* DH is buying himself a 3D printer (he’s been avidly reading gasstationwithoutpumps among other sources in anticipation), though maybe that shouldn’t count since he’s been saving up his allowance for it for a long time. We also bought $200 worth of Scholastic books and a new tall bookcase to replace DC1’s short bookcase (hir old bookcase is going back into the hallway) for $500. And we paid the full property taxes in one fell swoop and I transferred 10K over to Vanguard taxable.
Really only the property taxes (and technically the Vanguard transfer before it) made a dent in our savings. This is because in October we both got a bunch of large delayed reimbursements (I think something like 9K (!) worth– did you know you can just rent an ultrasound for like $500/mo?), late summer salary, and my first paycheck on top of DH’s paychecks. So we were super flush with cash after having a somewhat careful September and then the bills for a lot of these won’t be due until after we get paid again.
I don’t really have a point to this post, but it’s been weighing on me and I had to tell someone, and who else to tell besides the grumpy nation? I am going crazy buying all the things, but a lot of this buying was also delayed spending. So it feels like a lot, but maybe it isn’t because other people would have renovated that kitchen a decade ago, bought a new clothes washer the first time it broke instead of repairing it multiple times, regularly gone on vacations, and have bought a watch to replace that 20 year old Casio calculator watch a long time ago instead of just replacing bands and batteries. (Me, I’m still rocking a 20 year old Timex that I love. I think you can get the same model new for under $40.) But let’s be completely honest, we’ve been spending a lot.
What I’m wondering is if after this spurt of buying things we’ve been putting off buying or thought would be nice to have if I’ll settle down again into not spending frivolously or if this is a new normal. I can’t really think of anything else I want… I mean we’ve kind of exhausted useful Apple products. Maybe my next big purchase will be a crown for when my third molar finishes cracking (dentist thinks no earlier than next year, but definitely in my future). Or maybe I’ll see something new I want and just get it in my best Ariana Grande style.
Will the obnoxious posts end? What money things will I blog about if they do? Do you delay purchases and then spend when you’re flush or do you spend more evenly?
*Update: it turns out our iphones are just a little bit too old for the newest Apple watch (we didn’t get the S version when we bought our phones). So DH has to decide if he wants to get a new phone or return this watch. And if he returns this watch, does he get an older model Apple watch or not. He probably won’t get an older model. My guess is we’ll either return or DH will finally upgrade phones (his is falling apart a bit and we have been thinking of passing it down to DC1 since DC1’s current dumb phone works only about half the time we need it to work, though that has its own concerns). There was another item in the initial draft of this post that got returned as well– I bought a pair of fancy European shoes off Zappo’s, but when I got them one of the two didn’t fit and had all sorts of stitching problems(!) so I sent them back and decided I really do have to go to a store to try on expensive shoes, but there are no such stores nearby so… I’m not sure what I’m going to do for my brown dress shoes need given my half boots are really worn down in the heel. DH is thinking an iPhone 8 (same size as his current 6) for $450 instead of an 11 for $700 or 11 Pro for $1000, so that’s almost frugal (not really).
If you saw Bill Gates’ attack on Elizabeth Warren, remember this (and think of Amazon and Facebook and how they’re even worse monopolies than Microsoft ever was):
Bill Gates was the head of Microsoft while they used ruthless and unethical business practices to create an unlawful monopoly that stifled innovation and funneled that unimaginable wealth to Gates himself. They had to be sued by the federal govt to stop it. That's what happened.
Every year, on Veterans Day, LGBTQ military veterans in the D.C. area gather in the Congressional Cemetery at the grave of Air Force Tech Sgt. Leonard P. Matlovich to remember all those LGBTQ patriots who paved the way for us. Look at the quote on his headstone.#VeteransDaypic.twitter.com/tqetGSZOmx
How do you feel about decluttering? Is it easy or challenging for you?
Is it easy or challenging? Who knows? We haven’t tried! I mean, we’re already hitting where our budget constraint hits our utility curves, so why would we want to mess with that?
More seriously: I try to not let stuff in the house to begin with. So when we get gifts we don’t want, they go in our goodwill cabinet (or gift closet for unopened children’s gifts) straight away. The only actual “decluttering” I do is when DC2 outgrows clothing and I hand them down to a colleague which was something people did before it got called decluttering. Most of the stuff that leaves our house leaves it because it is broken or worn out or used up or outgrown at the point it is no longer useful. We don’t systematically clean things out or have any sort of targeted decluttering.
Update: DC2 recently went through hir room and closet and got rid of a lot of stuff zie had outgrown. I guess that’s technically decluttering, though the questions were more “have you grown out of this/do you want this” than “does this spark joy.” When zie did that, the goodwill cabinet (where we put things we don’t want until we decide to deal with them) got full, so we took multiple loads to goodwill, three of my colleagues with younger kids got bags full of clothing and toys, and we have a bag of new with tags stuff (gifts that never got worn) ready to go to a refugee center in the city. So I guess we declutter but don’t think of it as decluttering.
What about the rest of Grumpy Nation? Do you declutter?