links with short commentary: lady gaga, doma, progressive insurance
Posted on 2011-04-25 13:39:00
Tags: essay links
(today is going to be a LJ-spammy kinda day. My apologies in advance.)
Weird Al was going to do a parody of a Lady Gaga song for his next album. Unfortunately, after a lot of back and forth and wasted time she said no. Then he posted about the saga and it turns out her manager had been speaking for her and she loves the song and gave permission. That's one of the downsides to fame that I hadn't thought about: it's hard enough to protect your reputation as it is, but when people contact "you" and have an entire conversation it seems downright impossible. The only reason this got sorted out is because Weird Al is also famous enough and posted about it. Of course, I don't know what the alternative is - surely Lady Gaga's manager deals with tons of stuff that Lady Gaga doesn't care or doesn't have time for.
The Obama administration has said that they're not going to defend DOMA in the courts. So the House of Representatives hired a law firm to do it for them. Now, presumably under pressure, that law firm has changed their mind and pulled out, and a senior partner has resigned from the firm as a result. My first response: DOMA is bad, so yay! My second response: actually, this isn't a great thing. Our legal system is based on the fact that lawyers will defend unpopular people, and it's up to the jury to decide. (Clement, the senior partner who resigned, made this point in his resignation letter) My third response: Well, this isn't exactly the same thing - law firms aren't obligated to defend things they don't want to, and defending an unpopular person is a lot different than defending an unpopular cause. So I don't know.
I've been hearing ads from Progressive about their Snapshot program, which gives you "a discount for good driving". Apparently you get a discount based on how much you drive and when you drive, as well as if you avoid sudden braking, etc. On the one hand, hey, more data! It would be very very cool if you had access to this data so you could see how "safe" your driving is. I remember reading in a book that programs like this for beginning drivers helped them a lot. On the other hand, plugging a device into my car and giving my insurance company access to this data is not something I particularly relish. They say that your rates won't go up based on the data (and there's no GPS data), but I wouldn't be surprised if both of those change over time. Could they make the Snapshot program mandatory? Or would consumers rebel?
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