May 1, 2014 Xyzzy commented on Why Labor Supports This Seattle Minimum Wage Compromise.
I think one point is missing from this conversation: Once the big businesses start paying $15/hour, there will be huge competitive pressure on smaller businesses to do the same.

Let's say your choices are "work at McDonald's for $15 an hour," versus "work at small independent bookstore for $13 an hour." You'd have to really love selling books (or not care about the difference in pay) to be willing to take the second option.

The independent bookstore will probably have to pay $15, or close to that, just to retain qualified employees. As a result, it's likely that smaller businesses will have to raise their wages sooner than is required by law just to compete. Otherwise, the only employees they have will be those who aren't good enough for McDonald's.
Jun 21, 2012 Xyzzy commented on Win, Lose, or Draw.

The Oatmeal didn't "yell" at anyone. He also didn't file a DMCA complaint, file a lawsuit or even threaten to file a lawsuit. He simply posted a well-worded article on his own website that discussed the problems with copyright enforcement for sleazy websites like FunnyJunk -- not only for him, but for other content creators as well.

Specifically, there are (or at least, were) thousands of infringing copies of his comics and other comics on FunnyJunk. People like Inman can't act as their own personal "copyright cops" through the DMCA unless they spend all of their time searching for infringing copies and sending out DMCA notices each and every time. If they went down that path, then they won't have any time to do their actual work of creating new content.

After Inman posted this article, FunnyJunk decided that the best defense is a good offense, and made inflamatory statements like "the Oatmeal wants to shut down FunnyJunk" (a complete lie) and issued a call for FunnyJunk users to harass Inman.

Inman then let the issue rest. Nothing happened for a year, until FunnyJunk had the unmitigated gall to hire an attorney and threaten to sue *Inman* due to Inman daring to criticize FunnyJunk for having a business model that depends on copyright infringement. In a situation like this, an old-fashioned public shaming is entirely appropriate.
Feb 17, 2012 Xyzzy commented on About the Islamist Jihadist from Nigeria Sentenced to Life Imprisonment in the U.S..
Or "burned off," for that matter.
Feb 17, 2012 Xyzzy commented on About the Islamist Jihadist from Nigeria Sentenced to Life Imprisonment in the U.S..
This is all very funny, I guess, but my morbid curiosity for more information led me to Google. According to Wikipedia, the idiot "incurred first and second degree burns to his hands, as well as second degree burns to his right inner thigh and genitalia."…

I wouldn't be happy to have second-degree burns anywhere, much less on my nether-regions, but this doesn't quite mean that his genitals were "exploded." Only his buddies in prison will know for sure, but he's probably recovered just fine.
Oct 25, 2011 Xyzzy commented on Clergy Takes Out NY Times Ad; Pressures Village Voice to End Sex Trafficking in Its Publications.
Note that when the same issue came up before in a similar context (banning of "erotic services" ads on Craigslist), The Stranger had a different spin on the story:

"A moment of silence, please, to mark a passing. The love child of free speech and free enterprise that was the Craigslist Erotic Services section is no more. State attorneys around the country have been hounding Craigslist for over a year to censor sex-work ads. On September 3, the site, facing massive lawsuits and a firestorm of bad press, bowed to the pressure and removed the ads.

"I understand why Craigslist did it, but from a First Amendment standpoint, this is bad. The notion that censoring Craigslist makes people safer is a canard; it's simply a sad example of political scapegoating. Any traffickers in children and unwilling women will go about their business, undeterred, while politicians praise themselves for being tough on pedophiles. ..."…
Sep 27, 2011 Xyzzy commented on Will "Stopgap" Tablet Sour Amazon Customers to Future Products?.
Amazon will not be marketing this as an "iPad killer." They will be marketing this as a "Kindle Killer." It will be an eBook reader that has additional "bonus" features, like video, a web browser, and Angry Birds, not a full-featured computer like an iPad.

Compare this to the existing Kindles. They have 6" screens, e-ink displays that work pretty well (except for the painfully slow refresh rates), and physical keyboards. They are about the size and weight of a paperback book. I see people using them to read a book on the bus all of the time on their way to work.

The new Kindle will have a slightly larger screen, in full color, and with no physical keyboard. Given this, the actual physical size and weight will be about the same as the existing Kindle. It will be something that you can throw into your purse or man-bag before you hop on the bus -- something that you wouldn't necessarily want to do with a larger iPad-like device.

At a $250 or $300 price point, it will be more expensive than an e-ink Kindle, but much less than an iPad or the Android equivalent. I could definitely see it capturing this middle ground. It will be more of an impulse buy, unlike an iPad.
Jul 19, 2011 Xyzzy commented on Moron Cheers Borders Closures.
Paul, why didn't you call BS on one of the central arguments -- that e-books are "cheaper"?

I often buy Kindle books from Amazon for convenience (instant gratification, to prevent my bookshelves from getting even more overstuffed, etc.). However, the notion that e-books are "cheaper" seems to be one of the biggest fallacies of this market.

At least on Amazon, e-books are often priced nearly the same as new softcover books -- and sometimes more. That's ridiculous. It doesn't take a genius to realize that it should be substantially cheaper to make and distribute e-books electronically than to print and distribute physical books.

I've recently turned to buying paper books from Amazon merchants. You can often find "gently used" books or even "new" (but older) books available for a few bucks -- far less than the same books in Kindle format.
Jul 9, 2011 Xyzzy commented on Mayor McGinn Tells All City Departments to Stop Advertising in the Seattle Weekly.
@19 I haven't read the Seattle Weekly in years. It's a rag. Why do you assume that any criticism of the Stranger's knee-jerk coverage of this issue automatically associates me with Seattle Weekly?
Jul 8, 2011 Xyzzy commented on Mayor McGinn Tells All City Departments to Stop Advertising in the Seattle Weekly.
Stop with the piling on, Stranger. This seems like a bitch-fight between you and your chief competitor, not something that you're pursuing as a disinterested news story. It's also quite sanctimonious for a publication that makes most of its money from "massage/escort" ads and "medical reefer" ads. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...) Glass houses... stones... cough....

Does Backpage have a section entitled "Child Prostitution" or "Young Girls for Rent"? Or, is this a circumstance where some minors advertised in what is otherwise a section that is "by adults, for adults"? The linked article concerning the SPD's statement doesn't provide any information -- it just states that four minors posted ads on

If it's the latter, did these girls disclose or at least hint at their actual age? Did they use code-words to suggest that they were underage (e.g., "Lolita" or whatever creepy-old-heterosexual-men-in-trenchcoats look for)? Or, were they just 17-year-olds who happened to run ads, and weren't forthcoming about their age?

Is the Stranger entirely above reproach? Can you guarantee that you've never run an "escort" ad by a seventeen-year-old?

NB that I am NOT defending child prostitution whatsoever. It's disgusting and deplorable. However, it seems a bit ironic for The Stranger to be hopping on the "won't somebody just think of the CHILDREN?" bandwagon.

If there is evidence that Backpage is actively soliciting child prostitution, that's one thing. If this is just a matter of Backpage having "adult services" ads in which some underage people posted their own ads, without the people at Backpage knowing that these individuals were underage, that's another.
Jun 14, 2011 Xyzzy commented on Another Noted Lesbian Blogger Revealed to Be a Man.
I'm beginning to wonder about the entire Stranger staff. Dan Savage especially... he's probably just a straight guy who's been covering as a gay writer for years, using Terry as his "beard." He and Lindy have been making out in the Stranger cloakroom, and they have periodic "fights" in public to throw everyone off the trail.