Maggie’s Afternoon Links

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

(Thanks to Jesse Walker for #2 and Lenore Skenazy for #5).

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28 Responses to “Maggie’s Afternoon Links”

  1. #1 |  SJE | 

    When I was a lifeguard and swimming teacher, I was taught (and taught others) to do the right thing, and worry about the law later. I still do the same.

  2. #2 |  marie | 

    Sex offenders: Now our children will be completely safe. After all, in the centuries before Internet and Facebook, children led lives absolutely free of harm.

  3. #3 |  Brandon | 

    Maggie linking to her own blog in which she also comments. Meta.

  4. #4 |  Robert | 

    What amazes me is that it took that long before the girl quit the sex class.

  5. #5 |  B - Mac | 

    In most places, lifeguards with an ocean cert. are in short supply. That guy will probably get rehired ASAP. Not that it makes it right to fire him, but in reality it probably means getting a weekend off (which is damn hard to get as a lifeguard) and a new job on monday.

  6. #6 |  Chuchundra | 

    I wouldn’t necessarily take the woman’s statements at face value. Kubistant has apparently been teaching that class for a while and if it was really as out there as she claims I’d have expected to see more complaints.

    Kubistant seems to have a pretty positive rating on Rate My Professors.

  7. #7 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #3: Even more Meta: Maggie commenting about a comment about linking to her own blog in which she comments…and referring to herself in third person while she does it! ;-)

  8. #8 |  el_nino | 

    Note that the lifeguard was fired by his private employer, not by a public entity. This was just the free market working as it should.

  9. #9 |  DMS | 

    With more and more restrictions being placed on sex offenders, I’m just waiting for a state to require them to kill themselves upon release.

  10. #10 |  Mattocracy | 

    No Child Left Behind is big part of the problem with education in America. Bad teachers, top heavy administration, and inefficiency are causing their fair share, but even overcoming these issues won’t fix anything as long as NCLB is in effect. Other countries simply separate students based on their performance, allowing the good students to reach their full potential and raising the overall average of test scores. We lower the bar to the lowest common denominator to get everyone to pass, lowering performance for everyone in the process.

    No amount of money, charter schools, or vouchers will overcome this shitty policy as long as it is on the books.

  11. #11 |  Brandon | 

    My mind is blown.

  12. #12 |  SJE | 

    In partial defense of the lady in the sex class
    1. In many schools its REALLY HARD to get out of classes without it showing up negatively on your transcript (e.g. it might be counted as a fail).
    2. Even if you get out, you are not going to get your money back: a few thousand, even.
    3. We should encourage students to try and stick at things that are hard and unpleasant. IRL you don’t get to just do what is easier and fun.

  13. #13 |  SJE | 

    #5: Exactly. I’d hire him and feature him in the local newspaper: “we hired this hero!”

  14. #14 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “When she was next pulled over, she was, of course, driving without a license. By then her fees added up to more than $1,500 [over a speeding ticket]. Unable to pay, she was handed over to a private probation company and jailed — charged an additional fee for each day behind bars. ”

    Get used to seeing more of this in rural America. City gov’ts, cops, probation agencies have become vampires, leeches,shameless self-serving bloodsuckers,willing and able to suck as much money out of your bank account as they want.
    And when they lock you up, they’ll charge you for that too, you peasant scum. Who ya gonna run to–the police? LOL

  15. #15 |  Comrade Dread | 


    The profit motive. City governments refuse to raise taxes or cut spending, so they increase fees and fines. This gives them even more of an incentive to pass more restrictive laws.

    Likewise, bringing in a private companies to execute policing and court functions whose profits depend on the number of law breakers or those delinquent in payments of said fines also increases the likelihood that we’ll see more lobbying for tougher laws and penalties.

  16. #16 |  Dannyp19 | 

    An observation on your “what If column. Dont for get building codes! These codes are enacted with the blessing of the industries that will profit from them. To me that is blatent coercion on the part of industry and government.

    Down on the gulf coast the new building code are based on “What If” we have 150 MPH winds. Balderdash! I’ve been through 9 hurricanes down here and the wind has never damaged my home, but it did knock down my tree that did damage my home.

    I see a code comming that all trees near a house will be chopped down.

    Not to mention fire codes, OSHA regs, Etc.

    If I want to build my house out of toothpicks and duct tape it should be my right!

    Also, I always thought that building codes were for safety reasons, now we have “energy” codes. So at the point of a gun I MUST make my home “energy wise”.

    How do you fight a system when major industries and the federal gov. are partners in crime?

  17. #17 |  Sean L. | 

    Re: Lifeguard —

    I don’t think he should have been fired, either, but I do see the argument.. Where is the limit? If he sees something happening a half-mile out of his zone, should he abandon the people who are expecting him to be there? Will people then expect him to come-a-runnin’ even if that means he has to watch thousands of feet of beach?

    I’m not offering an answer here, only that this isn’t black-and-white.

  18. #18 |  EH | 

    It *is* black and white: lifeguards and bureaucratic meddling don’t go together.

  19. #19 |  StrangeOne | 

    Sean L.

    I think the sensible answer is that even on crowded beaches drownings are rare. He wouldn’t see or hear of someone drowning a half mile away, but 500 yards is close enough that he can save someone. Hes a lifeguard, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on his sprinting ability.

    The company can’t have a policy like that and expect to enforce it without a mountain of bad publicity. A bunch of other lifeguards already quit in solidarity with him. It’ll be pretty hard for them to hire new guards without some reanalysis of the policy. That’s the free market.

  20. #20 |  Bernard | 

    That Onion video is alarmingly accurate.

  21. #21 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “When she was next pulled over, she was, of course, driving without a license. By then her fees added up to more than $1,500. Unable to pay, she was handed over to a private probation company and jailed — charged an additional fee for each day behind bars.”

    Welcome to Neoliberalism 101 peasants! Your loss of control is our gain! All hail corporatism!

  22. #22 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #19 Strange One: “That’s the free market”

    Really? We have a free market now? How did I miss that one? Did government disappear? Are we all roaming around engaging in voluntary transactions without interference from coercive structures? With all due respect, Strange One, there is no free market. There never has been a free market in the U.S. and there never will be a free market in any state capitalist society. Capitalism would cease to exist without a little help from its friend the state. Don’t believe me? Read about enclosure movement in Europe. Google “Dutch East India Company” or maybe “Ludlow Massacre.”

    This lifeguard was fired for violating an arbitrary rule crafted by a private bureaucracy, possibly in concert with the local government. Hierarchal institutions–be they public or private–are not human friendly and thrive because they are legally able to limit freedom and keep people in fear. So it doesn’t matter that this man saved a life. He did something that displeased his masters so he had to go. No concern for human life is necessary to be a corporate manager. Indeed, people who care too much probably don’t make it past the interview stage.

    Why do “libertarians” get warm fuzzies and speak of a free market that has never existed whenever some poor wage slave gets fired. I find this to be both perplexing and annoying. Then again, I am just a wage slave myself, so no one really cares what I think. But us wage slaves know one thing for sure: Every boss needs a yes man.

  23. #23 |  Pablo | 

    Welcome to Incarceration Nation! Who says we don’t have debtors’ prisons here?

    The worst story of this sort I ever heard was a case in rural GA where a lady (black) was stopped on some BS traffic violation. The cops searched her car without consent (said they smelled pot). Found a tiny remnant of a joint. She was arrested for possession of marijuana, fined 1000 bucks. She could not pay so of course she was put on probation with all of the attendant fees. She didn’t make enough money to pay the fine quickly enough so they put her in jail. She lost her job and her kids went into state custody since she had no family or friends who could care for them.

    All this over a goddamn roach.

  24. #24 |  A.G. Pym | 

    Not specifically about these posts but I ran across this link that shows that taping law enforcement really -does- help, no matter where it happens. This from Australia:

    Everything about this sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

  25. #25 |  marie | 

    With more and more restrictions being placed on sex offenders, I’m just waiting for a state to require them to kill themselves upon release.

    Not so far fetched, unfortunately. I would like to know how many men DO kill themselves (or attempt to) when they are being investigated for receipt/possession of child porn. This is about all I have been able to find:

    In the northern district of California, according to the area’s leading legal newspaper, The Recorder, four suicides and one suicide attempt have been recorded in the last nine months.

    There’s a clue right there, I suppose, to the reason why those numbers aren’t known. Because there are far too many suicides.

  26. #26 |  StrangeOne | 

    It’s OK Helmet let it out. This is a safe place.

    I’ll bitch about lack free markets any day of the week, but lets not pretend lifeguard hiring practices are the most egregious. At worst the guy will be required some kind of ocean certification to be a lifeguard.

    I’ve been a wage slave too, I’ve been fired for bad reasons, and I’ve had to fire people too. You’re going on about hierarchies and limiting freedom. I mean what do you expect? That someones going to be paid a wage and have absolutely no conditions on what they can and can’t do? An employer pays an employee to do something, whatever rules they draft concerning that job will be a guideline for termination or continued employment.

    If a company makes a point of having bad rules, or loose guidelines regarding terminating employees, they will have trouble keeping a functional staff. Which is exactly what happened in this case. That really is the basis of a free market. You accept a job based upon the compensation and duties expected of you.

  27. #27 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    I’m sorry you got the brunt of my libertarian socialist rant o’ the day. I’m not angry at you personally. Cliches like “that’s the free market” or “if you don’t like it you can get another job” are very common on “libertarian” websites and I shouldn’t single you out. Nonetheless, these platitudes do not tell the whole story of life in a state capitalist society.

    It’s interesting that you note that you have been on both sides of the power pendulum in the work place. It seems your experience has led you to believe that there is no alternative to capitalism, as Ms. Thatcher said…repeatedly. This is a common assumption in the U.S.. You ask what do I expect? Well, I don’t expect much at all from the capitalist system, that’s for sure. As I inferred above, I don’t expect managers to act like regular, caring human beings, because that is an impediment to profit maximization. At worst, capitalist firms encourage managers to emulate psychopaths. Even so, I will not refrain from razzing such managers or encouraging fellow workers to organize and throw a wrench into the machine whenever they get a chance.

    If you believe it is my place as a wage worker to put up, shut up or choose another master (or unemployment), I must strongly disagree. Like most anarchists I have never been good at knowing my place. Ask my pig of a boss about that one! People who have to give up their freedom for 40 + hours a week just so they can pay rent or eat are not truly free. It pains me that people who call themselves “libertarians” cannot grasp this concept.

    Don’t get me wrong, I consider right-libertarians (or conservative libertarians or liberals or whatever) to be my strategic allies when it comes to criminal justice policy, foreign policy and some economic issues like eminent domain or corporate welfare. But when I hear one of my allies infer that my employer and I have equal bargaining power and that my employment contract was purely voluntary I just blows my mind. It just takes a lot of neo-classical brainwashing to actually believe that. Sorry, that is just how I feel.

    There ARE alternatives to the capitalist wage system. We can work independently or in worker-managed operations (cooperatives). Those who do the work should control the day-to-day operations and reap the profits that come from their labor. Ultimately, the state and the boss need to go. In a free society, we will have a better opportunity to see what production models are best.

  28. #28 |  Personanongrata | 

    Beware of the Blob.

    Children do not need an education they need knowledge and critical thinking skills.