Monday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    Heard on Twitter….

    Donald Trump was commentator for Holyfield vs. Belfort.

    It lasted 81 seconds.

    Stormy Daniels said, “That’s about right.”

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  2. Kylopod says:

    Larry Elder spoke at a conference with white nationalist Kyle Chapman.

    Just to refresh people’s memory, Chapman is the guy who tried to create a more explicitly racist and anti-Semitic split-off of the Proud Boys called the Proud Goys.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Took my vegetarian neighbor some squash and peppers. Found out she’s an anti vaxxer.
    Sigh…
    Shut that conversation down fast, before any damage could be done to the relationship. Neighbors are neighbors and we can’t pick them. She’s a sweet person but… I expect her to change her mind the first time she tries to travel. (quite the traveler, Australia is the only continent she has yet to visit)

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  4. CSK says:

    This is a good encapsulation of the Trump era:

    http://www.thebulwark.com/trump-era-corruption-eclipses-even-teapot-dome/

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  5. Mikey says:

    @Kylopod:

    Larry Elder spoke at a conference with white nationalist Kyle Chapman.

    Larry Elder is proof one need not be white to be a white supremacist.

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  6. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey:

    Larry Elder is proof one need not be white to be a white supremacist.

    I want to be careful here, because I’m not ready to say Larry Elder is a white supremacist, though he’s either okay in their company or not paying close attention.

    That said, I definitely agree that a non-white person can be a white supremacist. One of the most notable examples in the past few years is Michelle Malkin, a Filipino-American who’s increasingly aligned herself with white nationalist groups like VDARE and individuals like Nick Fuentes (who himself might be a marginal example, as he’s partly Hispanic, but that gets into the tricky question of whether Hispanics can be considered white).

    The Proud Boys themselves are currently run by a black Hispanic man (which is part of the reason Chapman wanted a split-off), and despite what they say, they are a borderline white supremacist group.

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  7. MarkedMan says:

    I honestly don’t know what to make of Amy Coney Barrett’s speech over the weekend where she led off stating she was going to demonstrate that the Supreme Court was non-partisan… while keynoting at a celebration of Mitch McConnell.

    Was she trolling or is she really that bizarrely clueless?

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  8. Kathy says:

    Deep into Bad Blood, it strikes me that labor practices at Theranos were as big a problem as the frauds Holmes and Balwani perpetrated.

    For one thing, as the story unfolds you see Theranos was good at attracting new employees, but it was even better at firing them. The turnover’s so bad you need a scorecard to keep up.

    The other thing was the insistence by both Holmes and Balwani that people work long hours, come in on weekends, etc. Aside from the fact that productivity drops after a few hours, there’s seldom a need to work such long days, much less to come in on weekends, unless you can’t measure work output by any other means than hours worked. Or maybe if you believe that employment means total devotion to the employer, rather than the transactional relationship it tends to be.

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  9. Monala says:

    I posted last night that David Frum had a great Twitter thread yesterday, pointing out that overwhelmingly, anti-vaxxers faced with vaccine mandates are complying:

    How’s the mass civil disobedience campaign against vaccine mandates going? At United Airlines, 50% of unvaccinated employees have already complied in the first 3 weeks of the 5 week grace period, according to CEO Jack Kirby.

    How’s the mass civil disobedience campaign against vaccine mandates going? At Delta Airlines, the vaccination rate has risen to 78% in just two weeks since a mandate was imposed, with no resignations, says the company’s chief health officer.

    How’s the mass civil disobedience campaign against vaccine mandates going? Tyson’s Food imposed a mandate in August, employee vaccination rate has risen from 45% to 72% – cutting number of unvaccinated workers in half in less than a month.

    How’s that mass civil disobedience campaign against vaccine mandates going? Only 2% of human-resource professionals surveyed say they have noticed any instances at all of employees quitting rather than be vaccinated. bloomberg

    How’s the mass civil disobedience campaign against vaccine mandates going? One of the first in the country was imposed by tax office in Florida’s Orange County. Vax rate doubled from 45% to 90%. Only 12 employees quit. And that’s FLORIDA.

    And I’ll add one I read about in my own community:

    Seattle’s electric utility had been braced for an “orchestrated” wave of people calling in sick to protest a new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, but only two out of 250 actually did, @seattletimes reports:

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  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    @MarkedMan:

    It is often said that the SC follows public opinion, all the R justices came to the court as ideologues. Roberts likely the most astute politically recognized that the court could not stray too far from public opinion w/o losing legitimacy and has sought a way to promote conservative decisions w/o angering the populous. Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch will be ideologues to the grave. Kavanaugh has given indications that he has a similar understanding as Roberts and has been accused of being Roberts’ mini me. The evidence is in some of his convoluted opinions. Barrett, maybe realizing the court isn’t a law school seminar, nor a Federalist society kegger.

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  11. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Kylopod:

    I want to be careful here, because I’m not ready to say Larry Elder is a white supremacist, though he’s either okay in their company or not paying close attention.

    He’s willfully doing white supremacist things. The precise nature of his Platonic essence is irrelevant as longs as he intends to go on doing them.

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  12. Kylopod says:

    @Monala: Anyone who knows anything about the history of civil disobedience has to laugh at the use of the term in this context. First of all, I don’t believe there’s anything civil about their disobedience. Many of these people are openly violent, but even among those who aren’t, what they’re doing is a pretty far cry from the principles of Thoreau, Gandhi, or King. One of the most fundamental components of civil disobedience is accepting the consequences of one’s actions. The civil rights protesters of the ’60s literally allowed themselves to get the shit beaten out of them without fighting back. If they were thrown in prison, they’d accept the sentence. Can you imagine any of the anti-vax or anti-mask folks today behaving remotely in that manner? Based on what I’ve seen, they whine about their treatment every step of the way.

    Of course, when we’re talking about mandates, most of them so far are more professional than legal–you disobey them, the consequence isn’t being arrested (let alone beaten) but being fired. You then have the option of suing, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing some lawsuits very soon, but most of the people don’t have the resources to go through with it and in the end probably won’t opt to take that route anyway.

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  13. MarkedMan says:

    @Monala: I’ve been wondering how many of the un-vaxed are secretly relieved they are being forced to get the jab.

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  14. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: of course. It’s a way of saving face. You can still say you’re against the vaccine, but we’re “forced” to get it.

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  15. Mimai says:

    @Monala: This is great news and cause for celebration. I hope these trends continue.

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  16. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: The employment practices you are discussing are in fact somewhat common here in Silicon Valley. And yes, it turns out that there is no good metric for programming productivity. Or marketing productivity, come to that. And yes, they are looking for total loyalty. I overheard that exact conversation one time at a long-standing popular restaurant here. “How much would it take to have your complete devotion?” asks the management guy.

    And, it’s impossible to have the conversation about how those long hours damage productivity with many here. They think all those studies don’t apply to them because they are really, really special. It turns out that there are lots of people here who do get that it’s a problem and kind of game the system or go along with it because the rewards are so high.

    There’s kind of a longstanding joke where you measure a project by the number of divorces it created.

    I think it’s so hard to get off this train because 1) so much money is at stake and 2) some very noteworthy success stories have used this approach, especially at the beginning. After an IPO, things calm down some, but people can retain the idea that those post-IPO hires are lesser mortals.

    The firing is less universal, but not unique to Theranos. Advanced Micro Devices has a quarterly “bloodletting” where they laid off 10 percent of their work force. And that was in the 80’s and 90’s. I’ve never worked for someone with that attitude and I’m glad of it.

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  17. KM says:

    @Monala:
    The stubborn but not suicidal need a way to blame others. Saving face means never admitting they espouse a murderous, selfish outlook during a worldwide plague. They don’t want to lose their jobs or their social cache so forced mandates were always the way to go. Authoritarian rules- Boss Daddy Trump told them to not take the shot so it’s logical Big Bad Joe needs to be the one to “force” it.

    How many needlessly died because we tried to coddle them into reason rather then threatening the stick and letting them fake-cry “tyranny made me do it!”?

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  18. de stijl says:

    @Mimai:

    This morning I checked out Big Thief.

    Your link got blocked for copyright so I hit the search bar.

    The first two were solo acoustic and I was kinda “meh”. Been there. Done that. Great voice.

    And then I clicked Shark Smile with a full band that effin rocks and I truly saw why you recommended it. Lenker fucking kills it.

    When she sang

    Whoo!

    Baby

    Take Me

    I understood why you recommended this. The “whooh!” bit made a bit weak in the knees.

    She has a def Exene Cervenka thing going on to my brain.

    Very killer. Good call!

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  19. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    Crunch is a thing.

    One week I worked 117 hours. That was brutal.

    I melted down soon thereafter. Random panic attacks in public.

    My first panic attack was on a bus just after bar closing time so pretty full and I had to stand in the aisle.

    I could not stop freaking out about stress. I started hyperventilating and could not stop. I tried to stop and calm myself down but my brain was just “Sorry, pal! This is happening now. The whirlwind broke the gate and we need to let it run it’s course and just pick up after.” I willed myself to stop and control my damn self. I failed. Everyone is looking at me and freaking out because of me. Please fucking stop!

    I thought I was having a heart attack. I thought I was dying. That upped my stress level even higher. I toppled.

    Someone called 911. We stopped. Cops came. More cops. An ambulance. A dead bus in the middle of Hennepin Avenue at 1:15 AM. A stretcher. Surrounded by strobing lights.

    I got home at 6 AM. Was back at work at my desk by 8. Pretended nothing happened. Soldiered on.

    Did 80-90 hour weeks regularly. 80 hours was an easy week. A bit of a breather.

    No evenings off. No weekends. No holidays.

    Here’s how they suck you in: with a project plan.

    You output is necessary for Carol to do her work. It is an essential input for her task.

    Carol is supposed to start on this tomorrow morning at 8. It’s 11 pm Sunday night and you commit yourself to staying until it is done. By hook or crook, I will see this through. Carol is a trusted colleague and my friend and I will not let her down. She needs this. Per the project plan.

    Crunch is mostly unrealistic planning and bad management.

    Where it goes toxic is when everyone’s work is dependent on another’s task. It becomes a snarl of mutual obligations where no one wants to let another person / friend / colleague down. It becomes an ouroboros.

    Crunch really sucks.

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  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: My money is on her really believing that about herself–so clueless it is.

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  21. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Sometimes.

    In our line of work, we have a series of deadlines imposed by the customer. Miss one and you’re out. So when a proposal involving over a thousand documents and a price list of 200 or so products has to be presented Friday at 9 am, you can believe we’ll work as long as necessary to get it ready as soon before the deadline as possible.

    We’ve had weeks when several proposals are dues, and that means working from 7 am to 10 pm. Some days staying as late as 4 am. More than once, we’ve finished just hours before the deadline. One time, involving three proposals, we finished around 6 am. two had to be presented at 9, relatively nearby, and the other in Toluca, about 50 km away, at 1 pm. I drew that one. I drove straight there, napped a bit in the car (and set like all the alarms the phone had). The real problem was driving home around 7 pm when it was all over. to this day I can’t say why I didn’t have an accident in the highway.

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  22. Dutchgirl says:

    Hawaii is implementing new rules for businesses, requiring vaccination or neg test or no entry. I’m all for it, and yes there’s an app for that. Kicking around in my brain this morning is the question of potential long term negative effects of the vaccine. There could, possibly, maybe, potentially be some measurable negative effect 10 years down the line, which is one reason people give for not getting it. But what would that look like? Many people who cite that have no idea what that risk would really be, and completely overblown in their imaginations.

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  23. grumpy realist says:

    My last 6 months working for a Japanese corporation were like that. I was getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night and the rest of the time was spent working and making phone calls to our counterparts in the US (10-12 at night or/and 5-6 in the morning) Ended up running the entire shebang mess because I was the only one in the entire damn project (which covered quite a few corporations, US and Japanese, and Japanese government agencies) who spoke both English and Japanese, so guess who ended up as the go-between for EVERYTHING?!

    (I’ve done other similar 100 hrs/week work stints, but usually it’s been for much shorter periods of time–1-2 weeks at most. Six months is too much.)

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  24. wr says:

    @Dutchgirl: “There could, possibly, maybe, potentially be some measurable negative effect 10 years down the line, which is one reason people give for not getting it. ”

    Imagine if Americans gave a damn about the potential for maybe some measurable negative effect 10 years down the line to anything. Florida is under water and California is burning up because we can’t be bothered to think about the potential damage our use of carbon might cause. People die of skin cancer because the idea of contemplating the idea of maybe getting skin cancer a decade down the line is unthinkable. Corporations piss away the future because nothing matters beyond the end of the current quarter.

    Anyone who claims to be seriously concerned about possible negative consequences of the vaccine ten years down the line is lying, either to you or to themselves.

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  25. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Dutchgirl: Most negative effects from vaccines are on display in the two weeks after receiving it.
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/vaccines-are-highly-unlikely-to-cause-side-effects-long-after-getting-the-shot-

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  26. de stijl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I once worked every day for 7 and a half months. On salary, ffs. I was averaging 90 hours a week and getting paid for 40. I must have been deranged at the time.

    Last time I did project work on flat salary.

    I went contract.

    One way we dealt with it was to institute a fee structure into the initial contract. Marginal hours above 50 per week and we will bill you at 1.5 the rate. Hours past 60 is going be billed at 2x, etc.

    I made so much fucking money off projects going crunch.

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  27. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I can’t imagine being devoted to a company, unless I owned it. Loyal, maybe, but not devoted.

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  28. Kathy says:

    @wr:

    I don’t know of any vaccine that showed any negative consequences years down the line. But there are a number of diseases, mostly viral, that have. Like post-polio syndrome, shingles, etc.

    So I’d give more worry to negative effects from COVID, even for a “mild*” case, and maybe for an asymptomatic one, than to the vaccines. I had my second shot June 2nd. If boosters are necessary, I’m ready for them. If an annual booster and/or new vaccine proves necessary, I’ll take as many doses as prescribed.

    *”mild” is a very relative term. Some descriptions I’ve read of “mild” cases seem several times worse than the worse bout of disease I’ve ever had (bacterial pneumonia in late 1985, hands down). Ergo the continued uses of masks and distancing even with two doses of Pfizer onboard, until case numbers go down to really low levels.

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  29. Jen says:

    @Dutchgirl: As others have noted, it’s highly unlikely that there will be long-term negative side effects. This is because vaccines are just training instructions for the immune system. They aren’t like medications, or even like viruses. I am fairly certain that I read somewhere that vaccines don’t stick around for any longer than a couple of weeks–they get into the cells, train them up on what to look for, and that’s it.*

    *I recognize this is not a scientific description, but best I could come up with from memory. If anyone has a more accurate description, I’m happy to be corrected.

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  30. Jen says:

    @Jen:

    Sigh. No edit button.

    The National Geographic link added by @Mike in Arlington has a good explanation of this.

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  31. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    The mRNA in Moderna and Pfizer only remains in your system for a few days.

    I can’t say the same, however, for the Gates/Soros microchip, nor the device that turns one into a human magnet. 🙂

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  32. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I often get an edit button when I refresh the page after posting. Not always.

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  33. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: I get the edit button when I don’t want it, and on those occasions when I want to edit something, it’s not there. If there’s anything to make me believe in the microchip theory….

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  34. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: If we ever did in fact turn magnetic, we could manufacture some REALLY nifty transportation systems…The Japanese maglev Shinkansen goes at 450 km/hr IIRC….

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  35. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    I like Munroe’s illustration at XKCD. It’s an almost perfect analogy. It’s also funny.

    “Keep building ships! Build ships forever!”

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  36. Dutchgirl says:

    @CSK: or makes your blood flow backwards, or whatever non sense some people claim to believe.
    To be clear, I don’t believe there is any long term risk in this, or any other vaccine. But this is the main narrative I encounter where I feel people might be persuaded with reality. This is especially true for parents considering the vaccine for young kids when it gets approved. When we have a governor giving a literal podium to a person saying the vaccine changes your RNA, it’s uphill all the way for reality.
    I guess I’m just so frustrated with people unable or unwilling to understand what’s at stake.

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  37. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kathy: PEW! PEW! PEW! PEW!

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  38. flat earth luddite says:

    On a (significantly) lighter note, everyone:

    On this date in 1769.

    Three pounds of sugar in large lumps were found in the trousers of Samuel Barnton after he had been seen loitering on Fresh-wharf.

    h/t to The Old Bailey (on-line).

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  39. de stijl says:

    @CSK:
    @Kylopod:

    One thing that has worked for me in the past was to close the OTB tab entirely and then reload it. It’s worth a shot.

    Of course, we could just get better at proof-reading and editing, too. Negating the need.

    Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

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  40. de stijl says:

    @CSK:

    Magneto is really nonplussed that all of us vaccinated folks now have the same powers as he.

    Heard he was thinking about suing Bill Gates.

    Or mentally crushing greater Seattle with metal things.

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  41. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Magneto would be a fearsome opponent.

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  42. Kathy says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    I’m sure I’ll keep linking to that cartoon for years when discussing vaccines.

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  43. Mu Yixiao says:

    I am currently viewing the 3rd hour of the local school board meeting.

    30 people singed up for public comments. They each get 5 minutes. I’m not going to listen to all of them, but what I’ve heard has been… educational.

    1) The local PD hired a new part-time officer, and it’s a running joke between myself and the Chief that every new hire has to sit down for a “welcome to the town” interview with me. After the interview, the 5 of us (three officers, the woman that actually gets thing done, and me) we shooting the shit and the Chief mentioned that 2 of them had been requested to attend the School Board meeting in case things got out of hand.

    While there were definite disagreements in the public comments, everyone was very polite and respectful.*

    Wrong. But polite and respectful about it. And… everyone presented their arguments as “I want what is best for my children”. Again: Many had their facts wrong, but they weren’t out to “own the Libz”; they want what they think is best for their kids.

    2) I’ve been one to say “Critical Race Theory isn’t being taught in K-12”.

    This is a “joint statement” released by a “consortium” (their word) of K-12 School Districts:

    As a consortium of school districts, we all have a responsibility and most importantly we cannot remain silent. We must all recognize our place in perpetuating inequities and acknowledge that if we don’t actively disrupt racism then we too are accountable. Our schools are in service of our students and families. Our students in Dane County and throughout Wisconsin have experienced significant, measurable, system-wide inequities for far too long. We recognize our historic failure and seek to address and disrupt societal and historical inequities and eliminate disparities as a collective.

    [emphasis added]

    That…. kinda sounds like they’re teaching CRT.

    On the other side: I listened to a mother say that her Mexican-American primary-school children were told–by their classmates–that “Mexicans shouldn’t eat McDonald’s. That’s American food.”

    How do we find the middle ground?

    ============
    * At least until I closed the live stream. If it went Mad-Max after that, I have no clue.

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  44. JohnMcC says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I am in awe of your public spiritedness.

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  45. Jax says:

    ohmyfuckinggod. Older teenager came home with a stuffy nose and fever today. We’re all vaxxed, but…..we’re supposed to leave for Tennessee in two weeks. By the time whatever it is works it’s way through all of us….it will all be for naught! The plane tickets….VIP concert tickets and the caving package…the hotels…the rental car….

    School’s been in for 2.5 weeks.

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  46. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: I have an unfortunate tendency of responding to someone saying “failure is not an option” with lots of questions like “why not?”, “what does failure look like?”, “what happens if we deliver one day late?”, “one week?”, “what if this feature isn’t done?”…

    I make some project managers very sad. And I rarely work more than 40 hours a week.

    I would like to claim that it is a principled stand, or that I am being rigorous with the requirements, but really I just can’t resist poking.

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  47. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Gustopher: I’ve read that the healthcare.gov website rollout charlie foxtrot was due to the project managers telling the developers that “failure is not an option” when the developers were raising alarms about the problems with the project. So they couldn’t mitigate any of the shortcomings and it failed in a spectacular way when they unveiled the website.

    https://www.theverge.com/policy/2013/12/5/5178756/clay-shirky-failure-is-not-an-option-mentality-doomed-healthcare-gov

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  48. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy:

    I can’t imagine being devoted to a company, unless I owned it. Loyal, maybe, but not devoted.

    Remember that this is the land of stock options or now, equity stakes as compensation, even for individual contributors (especially engineers).

    So, yeah, they do own it.

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