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Dave Hill
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Judging "Neglectful" Parents

Some interesting research described here that concludes that a lot of increased societal concern over kids being left alone isn't driven by actual risk, but by increased moral judgment on parental behavior. The more that parental behavior is seen as neglectful, the greater the danger the children being seen as neglected are considered to be in. As the researchers put it:

'People don't only think that leaving children alone is dangerous and therefore immoral. They also think it is immoral and therefore dangerous.'

I'm wondering where that heightened moral judgment of parents is coming from. Is it from a growing nanny state / village-to-raise-a-child sensibility? Is it from changing social mores leading to increased scrutiny and criticism by more traditionalist forces? Is the growing number of single parents (or two-working-parents) driving increased concerns from people who disapprove of the phenomenon? Or increased concerns from parents who recognize how both categories increase the difficulty to care for kids?

I dunno. It will be interesting to see how this continues to evolve over time.
Tania Lombrozo looks at research published Monday showing people's factual judgment of how much danger a child is in while a parent is away varies according to the extent of their moral outrage.
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This ... Is ... Insomnia Jeopardy!

Heh.

[h/t +Mary Oswell]
See this Instagram photo by @newyorkercartoons • 6,476 likes
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Getting a head in downtown Denver

Last week this rather elaborate-looking "public restroom" trailer downtown this week, set up on 14th between the convention center and the performing arts complex. Not quite sure why it was there, or how long it will be, but it came complete with a ground sign pointing to it at the light rail station.
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Colorado may go back to presidential primaries

Caucuses are messy, dubiously democratic, and sometimes not even meaningful. Colorado shifted over to a caucus system for both parties largely as a money-saving measure, but I don't think it's been a very successful experiment. I'll be happy to see a primary system restored.

(In theory this should be the internal decision of each party, but given that there are public costs that occur around it, it makes sense for the public to vote.)

I am a lot more divided about making these open primaries. On the one hand, why should Democrats or Independents get a voice on who gets nominated by the GOP (or vice-versa)? If Indies don't care to affiliate with any party, why should they be able to select who a party wants to vote for.

But turning from the philosophical to the practical, open primary states tend to get much more moderate candidates for both major political parties. That may not appeal to folk who want bolder, further-out-on-the-wing candidates, but, net-net, I think there are some pragmatic benefits there, especially given Colorado's purplish party status.

Anyway, glad we'll be able to vote for it, and I look forward to what the results will be.
Colorado voters will decide this fall whether to scrap the presidential caucuses and replace them with primary elections.
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Les Jenkins's profile photoDave Hill's profile photo
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+Les Jenkins Well, I guess if non-Democrat Bernie can join the party for purposes of running, it might be justifiable for someone not a Democrat to vote in the party's primary. :-)
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How not to frame an effective counter-argument to accusations of systemic racism

Whether one supports the position or actions of Colin Kaepernick or not, the bits of Twitter counter-argument to his position, cited in the article, are not exactly Socratean in their brilliance:

1. That Kaepernick makes millions of dollars personally says nothing about the breadth of black experience in the US or issues of police killings of blacks -- or even what his personal experience has been off the field. Put another way, the counter-argument "Blacks face no racism in the US because Colin Kaepernick gets a lot of money playing football" is, on the face of it, silly.

2. Is there significant black-on-black violence? Certainly. Does that excuse violence by police against blacks, or mean that allegations of systemic racism in some police departments shouldn't be looked at, even though those police are representing the forces of law and order as hired and paid for by the citizenry? Certainly not.

Put another way, if someone believes that the official forces of law and order in our society, the ones who are authorized by our nation to use violence against criminals, are targeting blacks for unjust treatment, protest against that seems perfectly legit, even if there are other goings-on that are racking up a higher body count. One might similarly ask if sending angry Tweets about a pro athlete's political actions instead of working to support a cause (hell, any cause) that results in actual human deaths makes the Tweeter a "selective activist."

3. That Kaepernick continues to live in the US doesn't mean that he is a hypocrite or should just shut up. To use a trivial example, people complain about their jobs all the time -- sometimes righteously -- without looking for a new one or with any certainty that another workplace would be better. Similarly, someone can criticize -- even deeply criticize -- the nation of their birth without being obliged to move elsewhere. "America: Love It or Leave It" doesn't make any more sense today than it did in the 60s, especially from a bunch of people who likely support a guy running for president on the proposition that America is no longer "great."

4. Finally, and, one would hope, most obviously, If your counter-argument about allegations of societal racism is to call the black man making such allegations a "nigger," I fear you have well and truly missed the point.
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A Five O'Clock World

Friday was one month and one week that I've actually been working at the New Job, after all the background check brouhaha. So far, things are going very well -- my team has a below-average number of trouble spots, my peers have been welcoming and helpful, my boss (though extremely busy) has been supportive. I'm now beginning to get assignments and interact with our internal customers, and pursuing various issues to start calling my own.

Really, the biggest problem I have is a very interior office, right next to the building core, such I can almost see the power draining out of my phone as it struggles to maintain a bar of signal. There's wifi, so that's not bad, but for voice my phone is always running hot and I basically have to leave it plugged in all the time.

Not quite sure what to do about that one. But I guess if I were to have problems, that would be the simplest to have.

What's striking is how _un_like a "government agency" (or the public perception of same) my workplace is. This isn't a bunch of stereotypical entitled civil servants sleeping in their cubes and building up their pensions. The past and present IT chiefs, both of them from private industry, have done a lot to not only instill a real sense of public service (that what we do, IT-wise, actually affects the lives of the citizenry), but that even beyond that there's room and opportunity and a thirst for real innovation. We're doing a ton of interesting projects, and it's amazing how interesting the work is (heck, it's amazing how interesting it is to see all the odd nooks and crannies of the public organization we support).

I've begun to develop a regular rhythm around the work day -- up at 5:15, which means if I don't lollygag I can make the train that gets me there around 6:30; otherwise, it's 6:45, either of which gets me to the office by 7 walking from the nearest light rail station. There's a Daz Bog along the way that I grab a nice iced coffee from (that will change sooner or later to un-iced), and into the office. That's really the only coffee I drink in the morning, plus usually something caffeinated at lunch, as everyone at the office carries water bottles, and I've taken to doing the same. There is a good soup and sandwich place nearby, and there's an interior "walking trail" -- 1/10 mile a circuit -- that lets me get in some good walking over the course of lunch.

Out by 4, home by 5 -- and then all the stuff that has to happen there, all the Intertubular bits that I don't have access to from work, time with the family, a smackerel of dinner, some TV, and &c. That stuff feels a lot more compressed than it did during my 10 months unemployed, or even the previous few years on the last job, but I'm coping.

So far, so good.

And now for the Vogues (and the extended title sequence of an early season of the Drew Carey Show.)
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My cube is in the basement away from on the opposite side of the building from any windows, so I know that pain.

But it sounds like you landed at a great place, so woot! :)
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Is it true the Clinton Foundation spends 80% of its money on "overhead"?

As part of the grasping-at-straws efforts of the GOP to discredit Hillary Clinton more than Donald Trump keeps discrediting himself, the philanthropic Clinton Foundation has come under fire.

Part of that is on largely baseless accusations of "pay for play" deals between donors to the Clinton Foundation and those donor getting special favors from the State Dept. while Clinton was Secretary. Those accusations have pretty much been demonstrated to be much ado about nothing, but they fit the "Corrupt Hillary" narrative, so they keep being repeated.

The other part of that has been to attack the Foundation itself as some sort of sham charity used for money laundering and doing very little charitable work for all the donations provided (by folk that have included a number of Republican luminaries, including Donald Trump himself). That includes the accusation by obvious anagram[1] Reince Priebus, national chairman of the GOP, that the Clinton Foundation only spends 20% of its donations on charitable causes, and the rest goes to overhead, fundraising, and (the accusation implies) lining the pockets of the Clinton family.

In short: no, that's not true. In long: read the article.

------

[1] Tip of the hat to Charlie Pierce for this epithet.
In a radio interview Aug. 23, 2016, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus wrongly interpreted tax forms submitted by the Clinton Foundation to claim that the foundation spends the vast majority of its donations on overhead and not charitable work. Speaking on The Mike Gallagher Show, Priebus described the foundation as a way to make the Clintons rich and said he couldn’t find examples of charitable work that they do.
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I think the point has not been to say, "Hey, the Bush family is great" but that setting up charitable foundations of this sort is not uncommon or a unique (and therefore OMG SUSPICIOUS!!!!) thing the Clintons have done.

Mother Jones has a bit more of a look at the Clinton Foundation (and CHAI): http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/08/clinton-foundation-controversy-actual-work

Forbes also delves into it: http://fortune.com/2016/08/27/clinton-foundation-health-work/
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Dave Hill

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The "Other" People

On the one hand, race and ethnicity identifiers are largely nonsensical from an objective standpoint. "Race" is literally a human concept, not something that biologists can actually point at, consisting of a huge variety of traits from a zillion points of human origin and notation and cross-breeding over many thousands of years that usually boil down to people pointing at someone and deciding by consensus that he is "black" or "white" or some other color based on gross physiognomy.

Things get even screwier with vague ethnicity / linguistic groups like "Hispanic" or "Latino," which imply some continuity and commonality of population from Tierra del Fuego to San Diego.

The problem is, humans do draw those identity distinctions, internal from themselves ("I am X") or, just as often, imposed from outside ("You are X"). This often leads to mistreatment and marginalization ("We don't want Xs moving next door. We don't want them electing politicians who promise expensive welfare programs to coddle the Xs. Xs don't vote for our party, so we need to suppress the X vote."). And the result is that tracking race and ethnicity helps both demonstrate that mistreatment and assists in programs and legal action to help mitigate it.

So then things get even weirder when you start seeing people who consider themselves to have a heritage from more than one of these groups, or who don't think the categories described accurately identify them, and, in growing numbers, begin checking off the box for "Other".

I mean, on the one and, it's kind of neat to think of an actual post-racial society -- but I suspect that in certain quarters race will remain an oppressive measure, only it will be harder to detect from outside because of that categorization issue. (It's also likely that we'll discover that, once "race" stops being considered as important, we'll discover that a lot of it was a proxy for "class," which will be a whole new set of challenges.)

Anyway, it's worth noting that not only do demographics change over time, but what things we even include in demographics change as well.
An increasing number of respondents are checking “Some Other Race” on U.S. Census forms, forcing officials to rethink current racial categories.
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She of the Shoe

Now I want to run a game just to throw this in.
It's a great way to save on rent when starting a new family. └ Tags: giant, nursery rhymes, shoe, woman. Related Comics ¬. Jun 19, 13, #654 – Gigantic. May 13, 16, #1332 – Legs. Oct 8, 14, #957 – Hill. Nov 1, 13, #721 – Grown. Sep 19, 12, #468 – Attract. Comments are closed.
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South Africa may try to ban wildlife apps

I had no idea this was a thing.

'Thanks to a new breed of animal-spotting app, tourists who come across a lion or a leopard can crowdsource their sightings, sharing their locations with fellow parkgoers and drawing huge crowds to particular spots.

But according to South African National Parks, or SANParks, visitors might have to sharpen their other senses once again. Following an increase in road rage, speeding, and animal deaths, SANParks is considering a ban on these wildlife apps, the organization said in a statement.'

South African National Parks must have better cell coverage (and people ponying up for tourist data plans) than the parks we visited a few years ago in Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

This sort of application makes perfect sense -- but I can absolutely see how it would encourage less-thoughtful, less-scrupulous, or less-civil tourists to do things that would be unsafe for humans, unsafe for animals, and detrimental to the parks just so that they could get that picture of a giraffe. Good luck to SANParks in trying to manage this problem.
Sometimes disruptive technology is, well, disruptive.
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Donald Trump wouldn't know a sensitive reaction if it bit his nose off.

Dear Donald:

When someone has been senselessly killed as a bystander in a violent altercation, here are a couple of ways you, as a political candidate, might consider responding:

1. Express sympathy.

While "thoughts and prayers" kind of messages can be considered crass or meaningless if action (by those in a position to act) doesn't follow, it's still an appropriate social response to lead with.

2. Suggest that this kind of violence must not be tolerated and that you have a plan to avert future, further violence.

That can seem exploitative if not handled well, but certainly conveys the idea that you will back up words with actions, even if unspecific ones.

What you shouldn't do is the following:

3. Assert that such violence proves you are right, and that therefore people will (not should, not might, not reasonably ought to, but will) vote for you.

Believe it or not, Donald, not everything is about you. Really. It's not about you being right. It's not about people voting for you. It's about an awful occurrence that resulted in an untimely death of a woman and is symptomatic of a much larger problem.

Clapping yourself on the back for your being "right" echoes the same sort of self-focused buffoonery you engaged in after the Nice attack. And it demonstrates once again your lack of temperament (and mouth control) to be President of the United States. 
Talking Points Memo reports: NBA star Dwayne Wade’s cousin Nykea Aldridge was fatally shot Friday pushing a child in a stroller in a Chicago. Less than 24 hours later, Donald Trump said her death was evidence that African-Americans will vote for him in November. The tweet Saturday morning is just the latest tone deaf comment ...
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Two hours after this tweet, the Donald tweeted something a bit more ... conventional. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/769592508879892480
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Ancient sculpture is not a matter of gray and white

The Greeks and Romans both painted their marble (etc.) statuary. It's just that the paint has faded and worn off over the millennia since, leaving modern audiences to consider their white marble and other stone to be a "classic" look, whereas the ancients would have considered that as unfinished and odd as we consider office buildings wreathed in colorful insulation panels before being covered over and painted a nicely neutral tone.
Original Greek statues were brightly painted, but after thousands of years, those paints have worn away. Find out how shining a light on the statues can be all that's required to see them as they were thousands of years ago.
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Color is eyecatching and interesting, as well as a sign of wealth. The wall paintings in Pompeii show that, in lieu of colorful tchotchkes and hung artwork, paint was used to decorate. It's not at all surprising that exterior paint was used as well; it only seems odd because that's not our modern tradition, and in part that's because we've been so influenced by the time-stripped paintless buildings of the ancients.
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Husband, father, writer, gamer, diplomat, theist, civil libertarian, techie, pointy-haired manager, traditionalist, Coloradoan, wordsmith, reader, blogger, magpie, nice guy.

I write about politics, religion, my particular geeky pop culture kinks (SF, Fantasy, Comic Books), and whatever other shiny objects attract my attention from moment to moment.
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