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Author Topic: old man blogs at cloud
BlackBlade
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Not sure what essay you guys are talking about.
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scifibum
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It's the most recent on ornery.org, which is a few months old.
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Obama is an infectious disease see, the parallel is too clear

No, he's arguing that Obama is a symptom of the disease (and the distinction between the disease and its symptoms is very much Card's point). It's an argument I don't find convincing at all, but there's no need to misrepresent it.
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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Don’t underestimate the role that snobbery plays in shopping. Even well-to-do snobs slip into Wal-Mart occasionally, sometimes in disguise, in order to look at the sad little things that the hoi polloi buy, and to gawk a little at the hoi polloi themselves. There are websites devoted to abusing and ridiculing poor people who shop at Wal-Mart.

(To be fair, I also know a lot of non-snobs who could shop anywhere, but enjoy shopping at Wal-Mart because of the wide selection. A belief in the poverty or bad taste of all Wal-Mart shoppers is merely a symptom of the self-delusion of the snobs. Oddly enough, most people I’ve known who have this snobbish attitude fancy themselves intellectuals and liberals who love the poor. They see no contradiction.)

This annoys me on so many levels as some who is 1. liberal 2. likes poor people (and votes to pay taxes and support programs to improve their lives, even though some people certainly do take advantage of the system) 3. lives in a city that barely has a Wal-mart, and I don't shop there.

1. I take it OSC has never visited said website. I don't particularly care for creepshots, but a vast percentage of people seem to get on that site for wearing clothing that doesn't cover what standard undergarments should, let alone the expanded body area that Mormon underwear does. Outfits that show your butt cost pretty much the same as those that don't and are available at every price point. These people don't care.


2. I'm really curious what the political affiliation of the "people of Wal-Mart" website visitors and submitters are. OSC hates liberals, fine, but I really wish he wouldn't assume that everyone who does something he doesn't like must be liberal. I can assure you that conservative types are equally disgusted by the poor people when they shop there (exhibit A, my dad, who is quite conservative)

3. While you can get cheap consumer goods at Wal-mart, the place is pretty much Sam Vines's boots theory run amok. It's fairly well known that many products have a "Wal-Mart version" designed to allow manufacturers to meet the low per-unit price in Wal-mart's high volume.

Wal-mart is cheap for many things, but it's not necessarily the cheapest at all things at all time , however, their advertising sure has people convinced it's the only store that people could ever afford to shop at and the only way people could buy something. While we're on the subject, not all deals on Black Friday are the best deal of the year, either.

I'm also frustrated because buying used, getting to know your neighbors and sharing things you don't use often, price-booking groceries and following the "the pantry principle", and not eating convenience foods are going to save you more money than simply shopping at Wal-Mart for everything just because it's there.

4. If Wal-Mart actually paid its workers properly, it would save the government billions in wage subsidies (aka food stamps and welfare). The price hike would cost shoppers $12 a year according to the article, but would pump money into the economy as people who can't afford to buy everything they need will buy more things. Also, the Walton siblings have way, way, way too much money for a business that relies on the federal government for their workers' salaries.

So yes, liberals care about the poor, but hate Wal-Mart, because it's not helping them, just appearing to do so.

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Samprimary
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Walmart has a pretty good thing going for it with the whole thing where it is powerful enough to ensure over time that it creates entrapping wage structures and the government subsidizes its own workers for it.

then republicans and moral majority types respond to minimum wage arguments by thinking and asserting some version of the jobs market that was an obsolete fantasy by, what, 1970 or so?

basically saying that minimum wage jobs are something that people totally cruise on by into better paying career, so long as they're really trying* (*as judged by a filthy rich white upper class republican male with a political career)!

It's like the paperboy route you took as a kid, on your bike, in this charming illusion I have where paper delivery is still something that is still frequently given to kids on bikes, and isn't primarily done by dire straits middle aged people in cars desperately trying to make ends meet and not being compensated for the wear and tear on their vehicle! A world where people largely can still pay their own way through college on a summer job, or get a house young without being a trust fund kid to save them from being bled dry by overheated rental markets, or expect that their job opportunities are going to be anything other than a steady stream of increasingly marginalizing part-time shuffles. If only the dag-gumbed youths and mirlennials would get their bootstraps on in the morning and stop being such a whiny entitled generation!

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Orincoro
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For my part, I am a liberal who can't stand to look at pictures of people at Walmart, because it reminds me of an abused spouse who can't leave, and doesn't realize she is enabling the abuser. I don't live in America anymore, and we don't have the equivalent type of business in Europe because here, people believe that a society of fairness is not compatible with extreme greed.

That and a more traditional culture. There is a great saying among Czechs: "nejsem tak bohatý abych si mohl koupit levné věci." "I am not so rich, as to buy cheap things." The culture is far less focused on material consumerism. And this has interesting consequences: you'll find that people here will wear a coat that might easily account for two months salary. But they might have bought it 15 years ago. Everything is like that.

[ November 05, 2014, 07:15 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
This annoys me on so many levels as some who is 1. liberal 2. likes poor people (and votes to pay taxes and support programs to improve their lives, even though some people certainly do take advantage of the system) 3. lives in a city that barely has a Wal-mart, and I don't shop there.

1. I take it OSC has never visited said website. I don't particularly care for creepshots, but a vast percentage of people seem to get on that site for wearing clothing that doesn't cover what standard undergarments should, let alone the expanded body area that Mormon underwear does. Outfits that show your butt cost pretty much the same as those that don't and are available at every price point. These people don't care.


2. I'm really curious what the political affiliation of the "people of Wal-Mart" website visitors and submitters are. OSC hates liberals, fine, but I really wish he wouldn't assume that everyone who does something he doesn't like must be liberal. I can assure you that conservative types are equally disgusted by the poor people when they shop there (exhibit A, my dad, who is quite conservative)

A very conservative friend of mine (who was actually just elected state treasurer is Indiana yesterday) absolutely despises Wal*Mart and everything it stands for. She grew up in a small town in Indiana and throughout her career has seen the same scenario played out over and over: Wal*Mart moves into a small town, operates at a loss (because they can afford to do this for *years*) and undercuts local retailers (and increasingly grocery stores too, thanks to Super Wal*Mart), driving them out of business, and ends up employing a quarter of the town's population and gets most of them all on welfare. Because Wal*Mart literally gives classes to it's employees on how to apply for welfare benefits when they first hire on. They've done this hundreds (if not thousands) of times - they roll through small towns previously filled mostly with independent taxpayers and leave a broken, welfare dependent population in their wake. It's perhaps the most bleak, dytopian form of socialism we've seen in America.

Honestly, they're not the only company that has preyed on small towns in this manner, but they're the biggest one to do so. And quite a few conservatives (I mean real, small business, small government, financial independence and the American dream conservatives, which are something of a dying breed) despise them for it.

quote:
3. While you can get cheap consumer goods at Wal-mart, the place is pretty much Sam Vines's boots theory run amok. It's fairly well known that many products have a "Wal-Mart version" designed to allow manufacturers to meet the low per-unit price in Wal-mart's high volume.

Wal-mart is cheap for many things, but it's not necessarily the cheapest at all things at all time , however, their advertising sure has people convinced it's the only store that people could ever afford to shop at and the only way people could buy something. While we're on the subject, not all deals on Black Friday are the best deal of the year, either.

The myth that poor people need to shop at Wal*Mart and eat fast food because they're too poor to do anything else is something my wife and I find immensely frustrating.

For starters, Good Will, Ross, and even TJ Maxx have higher quality and much cheaper clothes than those sold at Wal*Mart, and a better selection too. There's no shortage of high quality used clothing in the U.S. There's something to be said for quality vs. price as well - a pair of $70 jeans (on sale at Ross for like $19.99) will last you 2 or 3 years of hard wear before wearing out.

But also, food. My wife and I live on a fairly tight budget (admittedly by choice rather than necessity), and we budget $600 a month for food. In Hawaii, where food is outrageously expensive. And we eat very well - lots of fresh fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables (of every sort), nuts, berries, greek yogurt, pita, hummus, occasionally steak, etc. If we were to eat more simply (but still be healthy) we could easily live off $400/month. We plan out our meals and shopping trips, we cook most nights (unless we have leftovers), we make everything from scratch as much as possible, and we pack lunches every day. We usually have enough money left over at the end of the month to go out to dinner once or twice.

That ends up being about $3 a meal per person, plus snacks. If we were to eat fast food every day, it'd be twice that. At least.

This also isn't very time consuming, which is another argument I've heard. It takes about an hour to and hour and a half for whoever's cooking, and an hour for whoever cleans up and makes lunch for the next day.(we switch off) I work 60 hours a week and it's not particularly demanding. It also takes about 6 hours a month for shopping, since we plan our shopping trips out beforehand and only go 3 times a month.

It also doesn't take much in the way of resources. A stove, a refrigerator, some utensils, $5 worth of tupperware and a cookbook will suffice.

No, the real problems are the myths (only rich people can afford to eat healthy food), lack of education (how to cook, how to make a budget, what foods to eat, how to plan meals), and most importantly, a lack of neighborhood grocery stores. Who actually has a grocery store within 10-15 minutes walking distance? There's a crappy little mini-mart within walking distance of me, but it's mostly frozen hungry man meals and junk food, and very expensive. The nearest actual grocery store is 3 miles. And I live on a relatively small island. If I didn't have a car and instead had 3 kids, I'd be out of luck. It's kind of hard to fit a grocery cart on a bus.

I remember walking to the grocery store as a kid. It was on the corner of the block. I also remember when most neighborhood grocery stores started shutting down - when huge super stores (like Wal*Mart or Meijer) began selling food. And Wal*Mart, McDonalds, and their ilk have no problem perpetuating the myth that they're the only places with affordable products for poor people because frankly, the more you believe it, the more true it becomes.

All this is to say I think the best way to combat crappy living conditions for people in poverty (aside from helping them get out of poverty) is education. Saying things like "they can't help but eat junk food, it's all they can afford! You snob!" or "They can't help but shop at Wal*Mart, it's all they can afford! You snob!" is not only condescending, but is also incredibly indifferent and fatalistic. As important and noble a goal as raising the overall amount of money available to the poorest among is, I think an equally important (but often neglected) goal is efforts to make life more livable and enjoyable at those low wages. And that means education, that means cooking classes and financial management classes at community centers (and more effective community outreach programs), that means more neighborhood stores and businesses and stricter laws to curtail exploitative corporations, it means better public transportation, more parks, better schools, and safer neighborhoods.

I honestly don't know if wanting those things, or all the hours I volunteered working at a neighborhood community center makes me much of a snob. I don't even know if it makes me much of a liberal. (I certainly didn't think so) But it does in OSC's eyes, and also in the eyes of much of the current Republican party, which is pretty sad. At this point, any observations along the lines of "man, being poor sucks" or "gee, it sure is difficult to buy a house when mortgage rates are literally more than I can pay and still eat" makes me an arrogant liberal or a whining, lazy Millennial.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
A world where people largely can still pay their own way through college on a summer job

I think I've shared this here before, but this is something I often discuss with my father. (Who is actually somehow capable of realizing just how shitty our generation has it, amazingly enough)

When he was in college in the late 60s, his college tuition cost him $600 a semester. He worked a summer job roofing, which paid $6 an hour. It was hard work, but he literally made enough money to pay for an entire year of college in about a month. (200 hours of work)

Tuition nowadays at a good state college costs around $6,000-10,000 a semester. 10-16 times what he had to pay. How many 19 year olds make $12,000-$20,000 for 200 hours of work? How many people with graduate degrees make that much?

He tries to bring this up whenever his buddies are sitting around, "Dave's always bellyaching about his student loans, still living at home with me and Margaret. I tell you, when I was in college I didn't need loans! I paid my own way through school, thank you very much, didn't need any help from mommy and daddy. And we bought our house when I was 25. I tell you, this generation... lazy. Ungrateful. Entitled. It's a real shame."

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Dogbreath
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Also, minimum wage at the time was $1.25/hour. Even if he had been working minimum wage, he would have been able to pay his entire tuition with 4 months work. Let's say, 3 months full time in the summer and 5 hours a week during the school year. You would have to work 9-14 months full time at $7.25/hour to pay $12-$20,000 in tuition.
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Dogbreath
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And there's an entire other point about an unskilled laborer being able to make 4x minimum wage, or minimum wage at the time itself being about 25% higher than it is now, adjusted for inflation or...

arrrrrrghfghfgn

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Rakeesh
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This might lead one to conclude something crazy, like the idea that a tax policy favored by the extremely wealthy *might not* be necessarily geared towards the betterment and justice to the lower 99.2% of the country. Weird!
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theamazeeaz
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I think we're on entirely the same page on why Walmart is horrible.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
This might lead one to conclude something crazy, like the idea that a tax policy favored by the extremely wealthy *might not* be necessarily geared towards the betterment and justice to the lower 99.2% of the country. Weird!

I wish it did and that laffernomics was a real thing and the rising tide lifted all boats. It would be real easy riding in the us if that were true. It would be so harmoniously effective - the rational self interest of the top level capitalist clan would feed back into national prosperity on all levels.

Oh well.


*goes back to reading the national geographic article about epidemic child hunger throughout the rusted out bones of America*

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
A world where people largely can still pay their own way through college on a summer job

I think I've shared this here before, but this is something I often discuss with my father. (Who is actually somehow capable of realizing just how shitty our generation has it, amazingly enough)

When he was in college in the late 60s, his college tuition cost him $600 a semester. He worked a summer job roofing, which paid $6 an hour. It was hard work, but he literally made enough money to pay for an entire year of college in about a month. (200 hours of work)

Tuition nowadays at a good state college costs around $6,000-10,000 a semester. 10-16 times what he had to pay. How many 19 year olds make $12,000-$20,000 for 200 hours of work? How many people with graduate degrees make that much?

He tries to bring this up whenever his buddies are sitting around, "Dave's always bellyaching about his student loans, still living at home with me and Margaret. I tell you, when I was in college I didn't need loans! I paid my own way through school, thank you very much, didn't need any help from mommy and daddy. And we bought our house when I was 25. I tell you, this generation... lazy. Ungrateful. Entitled. It's a real shame."

I'm over half a decade out of college at this point, but I had what I would consider a decent summer college job: a science REU (research experience for undergraduates, typically funded by the national science foundation, and often very competitive). Dorms were usually provided, and we were to generally work for 10 weeks at 40 hours per week (summer vacation lasted about 12-14 weeks, so typically there was one week between when undergrads left and the seniors graduated, and two-three weeks before the new school year started that I could spend with my family. We were compensated about $4000 for the whole summer.

Nowadays I have a PhD, and no, I do not make a semester's tuition in a month (the low estimate). But it's plenty to live on.

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Dogbreath
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So you're somewhere in the bottom 97% of Americans, economically speaking. (according to this calculator, where conveniently the 97th percentile ends at $143,705/year) It's all right, though, I am too. The statistics listed indicate that, at most, 0.05% of people under 25 make close to that. For the low estimate. So...

While researching this, most of the results were about median household incomes, which led me to the question: what, exactly, constitutes "middle class?" I mean, I know a lot of people define it by profession, but we live in a world where a lot of white collar professionals and even managers sometimes make less than, say, a guy who does flooring or picks up dead animals on the road. (which my friend made $80,000/year doing, amazingly enough) So I decided to set some criteria:
- Home ownership
- Car ownership (unless you live in a city that actually has good, comprehensive public transportation, as well as grocery and retail stores in walking distance. Like, say, Paris)
- Adequate retirement (either a pension or an IRA)
- Health care
- Basic luxuries. Internet, TV, being able to eat out occasionally, being able to take vacations every year or two.
- About $10-$15,000 extra per child. (For child care, extra food, and other expenses)

So I decided to calculate that for where I live, to see if we qualify as middle class.

The median price of houses in my city is $380,000. I actually live in a very affordable area, but if we move from 2 to 3 bedrooms, the prices jump to over $500,000. But let's say having you have 2 kids and they share a bedroom, so $380,000. Anywhere within a mile or two of the beach and you're paying over a million, but we'll disregard that for now.

With a 30 year mortgage assuming you pay 20% down and have a 4% APR (average for Hawaii), you're making monthly mortgage payments of $1,837.63, or $22,051.56 a year, which is actually pretty decent. I pay only slightly less than that in rent on a postage stamp sized 1 bedroom apartment. (I should really buy a house if I can get a decent job here after I get out of the service)

Utilities will easily add another $500/month to that. (electricity is really expensive) Though a huge number of people have had solar panels put on their roof, so you can cut $350/month off that if you can afford $30,000 or so to get them installed.

So we're at $28,000/year now.

A car loan will cost you $471 for a new car or $351 for a used car, average. More if you're driving a mini-van. Let's assume your family has 2 cars, one used and one new. Plus $400/month for gasoline (it's really expensive here), and another $100/month for insurance, and another $100/month for average cost of tires, oil, repairs, what have you. That's $1,422 a month for transportation, or $17,064/year. You can cut $4,000 or $5,000 off that by owning one of the cars outright, or about $10,000 for both. So it's a lot cheaper to be older, or to have more money starting out. The bus isn't an option, it doesn't go near either of our jobs. (Isn't America great?)

So we're at $45,000 now

As discussed, food for us is about $600/month or $7,200/year. We budget pretty effectively and get military discounts. Let's round that out to $10,000/year for 2 adults. (we're not even accounting for kids yet)

$55,000

Airfares, hotels, and other expenses means any sort of off island vacation will cost you about $5,000 for 2 weeks of vacation. Let's say you go home once a year to visit family.

$60,000

Internet, cable TV, movies, boat rides, waterparks, going out, video games, new clothes, other other simple luxuries. Nothing crazy like horseback riding or skydiving or whatever. Maybe 400/month minimum? Let's say $5,000/year

$65,000

Healthcare. Paid by your employer hopefully. If not (say you own your own business), about $6,000 a year. We won't count it for now, though.

Retirement: 2 IRAs maxed at $11,000, or perhaps $12,000 in 401ks in order to make a livable retirement.

Sooo... bare bones, no frills, $77,000/year after taxes, or about $115,000 before. (Federal income tax is 25%, state tax is 8.25%)

In other words, for 2 people, a household income of $115,000 is what you need to be middle class in Hawaii. Or $100,000 if you own your own vehicles outright, budget really well, and don't travel. $130-$145,000 if you have 2 kids.

Except the median household income here is actually $70,093/year. Whoops. What this looks like in reality is that we have "Ohana houses" where multiple generations of family live together in packed into a single house, and very few people save for retirement, or at all really. They spend all their income just making ends meet.

While it's true that older people do own some property and will pass it on to their children, most of the residential property here is actually owned by a relatively small number of rich white people. And will be inherited by an equally small number of rich white people. When you keep rent high enough that people can't even save enough to make a down-payment on a house, you don't get a lot of new home owners here.

Some cursory research seems to indicate this is true across most of the country - "middle class" household income is about twice what the actual median household income is. Which means that home ownership is becoming increasingly difficult, and the dream of retirement and eventual financial independence mostly unobtainable. The majority of people will live in rental property (or in crippling debt) and work until they die, or until they're too old to work and their kids have to support them.

I know all that has probably been said many times and more eloquently than by me, but it's really, truly frustrating for me to know all of this, when there's a huge number of politicians in this country who still believe that a middle class lifestyle is obtainable for anyone who "just works hard enough" for it, or that it's something the average American family can now achieve. The fact that a huge percentage of voters come from a generation when this actually was a possibility and bullheadedly refuse to believe it's not just "lazy millennial who don't want to work hard" only exacerbates this. And by the time they die off, it'll be too late for my generation.

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Orincoro
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Yes. The 1950s convinced Americans that American life defined middle class existence. This is why upper class people call themselves middle class, and working class people do the same.

It also had interesting effects on our economy: the mortgage crisis was a result of unrealistic ideas of how many people could live a "middle class," consumer life.

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Dogbreath
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*nods* That and the massive amounts of credit card debt and vanishing savings. Without a fairly intense restructuring, our current economy simply can't support as large of a middle class as it would like, and I feel the next 20 years or so will see whole suburbs of cookie cutter mcmansions left vacant or re-purposed as multi-family apartments.

This was already happening in Indianapolis when I left in 2009, and I made a decent amount of money renovating houses because of it. Families leaving their large suburban houses en mass to move into smaller, cheap houses near downtown that had been mostly unoccupied since white flight in the 70s.

The security and comfort of a big $300,000 house and large backyard with a grill and a pool in a quiet cul-de-sac a 40 minute drive from your job stops being so appealing when you realize you could live at just about the same comfort level in a $90,000 house that's a 20 minute bike ride from your job. You just have to give up the yard, live around people of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, and walk to a public pool to swim. $300,000 is a lot to pay for status. Which, more than anything else, a suburban house is. A big sign saying "hey! I've made it! I'm living the American dream!" The privilege of isolation.

And I think the main reason why this happens is the rhetoric surrounding class warfare in this country, especially politically. If you're not middle class, you're a failure. You haven't worked hard enough, you're not hungry enough, you're not a go getter. You're lazy. Why do you need a higher minimum wage? Surely if you just applied yourself, your employer would see your worth and you could command a better salary. Why do you need welfare? Why don't you get a job and pay your own way instead of asking for handouts. I think in many ways it's coming from rich people with guilty consciouses trying to justify their wealth by pretending that everyone not as fortunate is simply lazier, but the biggest impact it has is on the working class: "if you're working class, you're a failure." It doesn't help that many politicians are hell bent on making poverty in this country as miserable as possible, supposedly with the oh-so-noble goal of "motivating" poor people to succeed.

So you see people living unsustainable lifestyles with increasing indebtedness every year to prove to themselves that they aren't failures, when they might actually be happier and more successful overall living within their means in a smaller place without that car, or big screen TV, or living room furniture set. Everyone is so focused on moving up socially, no one seems to really care any more about making where you're at more comfortable and livable.

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Dogbreath
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Anyway, I apologize for all the ranting. As of late, I've found myself being pressured (by job offers, superiors at work, family, friends, and society) into the sort of middle class job and lifestyle I never really wanted. I suppose I'm having my midlife crisis about 25 years early, if that makes sense. I've always been precocious like that.
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theamazeeaz
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$500/mo? For electricity?

For a 2 bedroom apt, that presumably has neither heat nor ac (my understanding is it's never boiling hot in HI?

I will grant that air-drying clothes probably will not work.

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Dogbreath
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No, $500/mo for utilities, including electricity. For a house. (We don't spend near $500/mo on utilities) Water and sewer are also expensive, as is garbage. Also, a lot of the things that are done with natural gas in the mainland (like hot water heaters, stoves, etc.) are all electrical here. It adds up.

You're correct in assuming that most houses here don't have air conditioning. It's not necessary, as it almost never gets about 85 degrees or so outside. (It's almost noon here, and it's currently 78 degrees inside my house with a nice breeze blowing. We literally only close our windows during hurricanes) It's also insanely expensive to run air conditioning.

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stilesbn
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quote:
The security and comfort of a big $300,000 house and large backyard with a grill and a pool in a quiet cul-de-sac a 40 minute drive from your job stops being so appealing when you realize you could live at just about the same comfort level in a $90,000 house that's a 20 minute bike ride from your job.
So I'm in Texas, not Hawaii, but we're house hunting at the moment. It just so happens that anything near where I work or any of the business centers where most the jobs are is way more expensive than a house out in the suburbs. If you want to be within a 20 minute bike ride of work you have to either spend 500k or live in an overpriced trailer park.
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stilesbn
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quote:
She grew up in a small town in Indiana and throughout her career has seen the same scenario played out over and over: Wal*Mart moves into a small town, operates at a loss (because they can afford to do this for *years*) and undercuts local retailers (and increasingly grocery stores too, thanks to Super Wal*Mart), driving them out of business
Predatory practices like this are actually quite illegal.
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scifibum
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quote:
If you want to be within a 20 minute bike ride of work you have to either spend 500k or live in an overpriced trailer park.
I think "overpriced trailer park" may be another way of saying the same thing that Dogbreath was saying - you'd let go of some of the external status markers and a few of the benefits of living in a McMansion in exchange for affordability and proximity to things that would otherwise require you to drive.

I think this is somewhat true in a lot of cities, but of course if everyone was chasing those properties instead of the ones further out in the suburbs, the relative price might change.

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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
quote:
If you want to be within a 20 minute bike ride of work you have to either spend 500k or live in an overpriced trailer park.
I think "overpriced trailer park" may be another way of saying the same thing that Dogbreath was saying - you'd let go of some of the external status markers and a few of the benefits of living in a McMansion in exchange for affordability and proximity to things that would otherwise require you to drive.
No he said that you just have to give up a yard, pool, and white neighbors.

quote:
You just have to give up the yard, live around people of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, and walk to a public pool to swim. $300,000 is a lot to pay for status.
The places we looked at are giving up a lot more than that.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
quote:
The security and comfort of a big $300,000 house and large backyard with a grill and a pool in a quiet cul-de-sac a 40 minute drive from your job stops being so appealing when you realize you could live at just about the same comfort level in a $90,000 house that's a 20 minute bike ride from your job.
So I'm in Texas, not Hawaii, but we're house hunting at the moment. It just so happens that anything near where I work or any of the business centers where most the jobs are is way more expensive than a house out in the suburbs. If you want to be within a 20 minute bike ride of work you have to either spend 500k or live in an overpriced trailer park.
*nods* I was talking about Indiana in that scenario, actually. Hawaii is an entirely different beast with real estate. A pool and a yard will run you a million bucks here, at least. (more if you're near the beach

[ November 10, 2014, 05:53 PM: Message edited by: Dogbreath ]

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
quote:
She grew up in a small town in Indiana and throughout her career has seen the same scenario played out over and over: Wal*Mart moves into a small town, operates at a loss (because they can afford to do this for *years*) and undercuts local retailers (and increasingly grocery stores too, thanks to Super Wal*Mart), driving them out of business
Predatory practices like this are actually quite illegal.
If so, it doesn't seem like much of a deterrent seeing as it continues to happen. What exactly is illegal about opening a new store?
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Dogbreath
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If you're talking about predatory pricing - i.e, selling items below cost, then yes that's illegal and Wal*Mart has been successfully sued several times for doing so. But the fact that Wal*Mart can sell at a much lower margin than, say, a local business and still sell above cost isn't illegal, nor is running at a loss. (Which is something almost any new store will do for a while, Wal*Mart or not) Because Wal*Mart can sell at those prices nation-wide and makes an overall profit, and doesn't, say, raise prices after the competition has been eliminated. They simply increase their customer base to the point where it becomes profitable.
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theamazeeaz
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Given the latest column, I gotta ask how Alvin is doing.
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Jake
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The "Yes Please/Underwear/Soft Water" column?
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Dogbreath
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No, the "New Messiah, World of Ice and Fire" one. (where he insists GRRM is obligated to finish SoIaF)
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Jake
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Ah, I didn't see that one on the main page; thanks! I'm pretty curious to hear his argument about Ice and Fire.

[Edit - I'm not seeing it. Link?]

[Edit II - Nevermind; I found it.]

[Edit III - After reading the article, I'd guess that he doesn't consider the Alvin series to be a work of the same caliber as Ice and Fire. Note that he's pretty explicit about saying that the rule applies to "Great Works". Or maybe he does, and is dragging his heels on Alvin because he wants to be absolutely sure he gets it right.]

[Edit IV - Because if you're going to have three edits, why not four?]

[ November 17, 2014, 02:44 PM: Message edited by: Jake ]

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Elison R. Salazar
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Its hard not to be infected by the limitless pessimism that is SomethingAwful and be convinced that GRRM is going to die before he finishes the books; or has no intention to finish them now that he can blame the writers of the show or whatever.
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Samprimary
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"Limitless pessimism" sounds kind of a bitp of goons
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Orincoro
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You know, I can understand fans of OSC becoming disillusioned with his deepening author tract and loopy politics, but GRRM haters are the scum of the nerd universe. This man has worked for decades for his fans, and been nothing if not gracious in the face of their demanding fandom. I haven't read his books (yet), but even if he should never finish his series, I would not act as if the man owes me a thing. He writes books, you buy them. When he gets sick of writing them, that's too bad for you. As Spock says, wanting a hung is often more gratifying than having it. It is not logical, but it is often true.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Elison R. Salazar:
Its hard not to be infected by the limitless pessimism that is SomethingAwful and be convinced that GRRM is going to die before he finishes the books; or has no intention to finish them now that he can blame the writers of the show or whatever.

Huh, that's strange. It's pretty easy for me.

quote:
You know, I can understand fans of OSC becoming disillusioned with his deepening author tract and loopy politics, but GRRM haters are the scum of the nerd universe. This man has worked for decades for his fans, and been nothing if not gracious in the face of their demanding fandom. I haven't read his books (yet), but even if he should never finish his series, I would not act as if the man owes me a thing. He writes books, you buy them. When he gets sick of writing them, that's too bad for you. As Spock says, wanting a hung is often more gratifying than having it. It is not logical, but it is often true.
While the Song of Ice and Fire books are fantastic, some of his best writing is his short stories published in the 70s and 80s. His Novelette "Portraits of His Children" is a great place to start reading and get a feel for him as an author.
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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
You know, I can understand fans of OSC becoming disillusioned with his deepening author tract and loopy politics, but GRRM haters are the scum of the nerd universe. This man has worked for decades for his fans, and been nothing if not gracious in the face of their demanding fandom. I haven't read his books (yet), but even if he should never finish his series, I would not act as if the man owes me a thing. He writes books, you buy them. When he gets sick of writing them, that's too bad for you. As Spock says, wanting a hung is often more gratifying than having it. It is not logical, but it is often true.

I dunno. I don't really blame these people.

I've read the ASOIAF books around the time ADWD came out, and enjoyed them, but I wouldn't say I'm a big fan. I thought ADWD was hard to follow and AFFC wasn't great. I'm very behind on the HBO series.

I was pretty annoyed when it took 3 years between Harry Potters 4 and 5. Between that time, the first two movies came out. Anyway, the only word people had on the books were from movie produces being like, 'yeah, she's writing the book". Because the other books came out so quickly, it still felt off. Also, no query was answered with "oh hey, it's going to be really really long, so long we're gonna drop the font size down". So if someone came along and said "see you in 2003", then, okay, fine.

GRRM ended book 4's epilogue with "Installment 5 out next year!" (printed in the book). He also split the book up so half the characters would narrate book 4 and half the characters would narrate book 5. So book 5 was completing the story from book three, of which the Red Wedding was right near the end. Basically, parts of the story published in 2011 were picking up where the author left off in 2000!

Imagine if there were 10 years between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Sure, Jedi underwhelmed some, but it provided closure.

I think there is an obligation for authors to be realistic about how long books will take, and for long series with large stretches, not do nasty cliffhangers.

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Elison R. Salazar
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He also originally claimed there would only be three books, and then revised it to four, then five... And now his editor claims there might be two more books after Dream of Spring.

I don't hate GRRM and vastly prefer the books over the show except for some bits of dialogue and characterization I think the show does better (Tyrion in general); but the slow writing speed really hurts.

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JanitorBlade
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quote:
Sure, Jedi underwhelmed some, but it provided closure.
No way man, ROTJ is delightful. And I'll not hear a word against it!
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stilesbn
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I don't know. I can see that if you are giving someone your money you have at least some right to expect something from him. You could argue that you're giving money for the book you are buying, but I think it could be argued that you are buying book 1 and book 2 with the expectation that the series will be finished. If you expected it to not be finished you would not give your money.
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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by JanitorBlade:
quote:
Sure, Jedi underwhelmed some, but it provided closure.
No way man, ROTJ is delightful. And I'll not hear a word against it!
I liked it personally. I saw it when I was young enough to like the Ewok scenes, but I can understand why they bothered people.
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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
I don't know. I can see that if you are giving someone your money you have at least some right to expect something from him. You could argue that you're giving money for the book you are buying, but I think it could be argued that you are buying book 1 and book 2 with the expectation that the series will be finished. If you expected it to not be finished you would not give your money.

I know people who won't read a series until every single book is out. I don't get it personally.
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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
quote:
Originally posted by stilesbn:
I don't know. I can see that if you are giving someone your money you have at least some right to expect something from him. You could argue that you're giving money for the book you are buying, but I think it could be argued that you are buying book 1 and book 2 with the expectation that the series will be finished. If you expected it to not be finished you would not give your money.

I know people who won't read a series until every single book is out. I don't get it personally.
As I anxiously wait for the final book in the Powder Mage trilogy I can understand why people don't like to have to wait. I don't adhere to it myself, but I can understand it.
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NobleHunter
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quote:
I don't know. I can see that if you are giving someone your money you have at least some right to expect something from him. You could argue that you're giving money for the book you are buying, but I think it could be argued that you are buying book 1 and book 2 with the expectation that the series will be finished. If you expected it to not be finished you would not give your money.
I think that if this were true, there'd be provisions in the transaction for books 3 and 4. But books from an unfinished series are sold the same as those from finished ones. As a customer of books, you only have the right to get the books you bought.

It's certainly good practice to finish series in a timely manner, but a reader is not entitled to have books written as they wish. Likewise, authors are not entitled to have readers for the books they write. If a series is not living up to one's expectations in either quality or timeliness, one can stop reading it (which I have failed to regarding ASOIF. I'm trying to collect spoilers for Winds but I'm not sure it's working).

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Rakeesh
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I can absolutely understand why some people are angry about the pace of ASoIaF releases. Anyone who can't is kidding themselves, I think.

What I can't understand is the part where this anger gets translated into some expression of an actual right or entitlement to not just future books, but future books released on an agreeable schedule. Well, I can understand that, but to me it is some frustrating thinking. This was brought to mind with something that happened at work this past week, actually.

I recently transferred positions to a different shift and set of responsibilities in the company. More money, more hours, more demands, etc. All to the good. As it turns out, though, someone on the shift I used to be responsible for filed a grievance, and everyone who didn't work the contractually obligated (to offer to employees, that is) number of hours was paid for those hours for six weeks back. This meant that if an employee only worked an hour and a half a day on weekdays (and there are a lot of those, they're there for the benefits), they got paid an extra three hours per day five days a week for six weeks. This ranged in checks from $700 to $1500.

Now, the absurd thing about this is that almost the entire point of that particular sort and shift from the perspective of 3/4s of the employees who work it is 'a low-maintenance part time job that gives benefits'. In fact almost all of the employees don't want three and a half hours a night on that shift as it interferes with family obligations and their regular FT work, but now they're stuck with it.

I missed this window, and even though my check would have been smaller, I was still annoyed as all hell for a little while. I actually felt wronged by the fact that I wasn't going to get some free money for work I *hadn't* done, but could have if I had asked management gotten the hours for anyway, but I didn't want that much time at that sort anyway. It took some committed reminding to myself that just because the fearsome union had negotiated such a payment, I would only ever have been entitled to it pretty unethically (that is, getting paid for hours that collectively the sort didn't want to have, and hadn't wanted to have for at least 20 years). But for awhile I really not only wanted that money, but felt it was unfair I hadn't gotten it.

It's not unlike the ASoIaF situation, I think. Frankly I think the only real reason anyone feels like some covenant has been broken by GRRM's glacial pace is that there is now a community of people clamoring that such has happened. How much other media in the world today is of a similar format? Set in a series of some sort? So much. There isn't any authentic entitlement in any of that, either. The whole force of it here is just the intensity of wanting, which while satisfying in a way to feel doesn't actually comprise an argument.

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scifibum
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No one linked this yet?

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
No one linked this yet?

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html

Ah, that was perfect. Just where my own thoughts were going, but much better expressed by a real author.

I've been waiting for the next book from Rothfuss and will get it as soon as I can after it comes out, but am I mad at him for taking so long? No. It's his book. I want to read it, but I also want him to take as much time as he needs with it, which time I do not dictate. And if he never finishes it, well, I can't say I won't be disappointed, but it's still silly to get mad at him for not producing the content I was waiting to enjoy. Thankfully there are plenty of other authors and books to read.

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Dogbreath
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It seems fairly obvious to me that he burnt out after the 3rd book in the series.

He published the first 3 books in 4 years time, the 4th and 5th came 5 and 11 years after the 3rd, and there's a clear difference in tone, too. Just compare Storm of Swords to Feast, the former has a passion and urgency to the writing that makes it feel like a quick read even though it's over 1000 pages. The later is a lot more slow, dry, subdued.

And I think this is mainly because he had no idea how big the series would become. He had originally planned it to be 3 books and, well, the story grew in the telling. And since he's publishing it one book at a time, he hasn't had the opportunity to go back and excise characters and story arcs that end up becoming to bloated/distracted later on - he's stuck with them, and has to bring them to a satisfactory conclusion. (usually by killing everyone involved, admittedly, but still...)

So I think he wrote his heart out for the first 3 books, and then realized "holy crap, I'm not even half way done"... and since then, he's lost his drive and passion for writing the series and is completing them out of a sense of duty. And because he has integrity and pride, he's doing it right and making sure what he is publishing is of a quality we've come to expect from the series. Which means time, lots and lots of time. Hell, I've been struggling over the past week and a half on a five page letter I don't really want to write - I can't even imagine having a whole book series.

Tolkien did it right - he didn't publish his series until it was already completed, and that gave him a lot of freedom. He simply stopped writing LotR for 6 years in the 1940s before returning to it. He was able to go back and edit earlier parts of the book many times over the course of writing it, and trimmed a lot of fat in the process. And because he didn't, say, publish Fellowship of the Ring in 1939, he didn't have fans hounding him for 15 years about finishing the series. For all we know the best thing for SoIaF would be for GRRM to take 5 or 6 years off and focus on other things, and then come back and finish the series with a renewed vigor. But that's not realistically going to happen, especially with the immense pressure that's put on him - both online, and now that's he's a celebrity, every time he goes out in public. Which is sad.

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Elison R. Salazar
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I'm not entirely convinced he's burned out, ADWD for example has a huge amount of effort and subtext to it that I feel is entirely unimaginable to be capable of a burnt out person. The urgency of the first books makes sense because there's an active civil war and fighting; by book 4 that's over and done with and only inevitability and false hope remains.
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theamazeeaz
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I disagree. You can write a big work and be burned out. It's a symptom of procrastinating on getting the story where it needs to be.
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Samprimary
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Just to point out cause he got mentioned recently:

bill cosby is most assuredly likely a horrendous serial rapist and really bad man, so you can be pretty glad you aren't like him!

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