Trying to understand each other is bad politics

I am not opposed to negative political ads. After all, what is to stop a politician from embellishing his/her record or from making unrealistic promises? Heck, even I can promise to cut taxes and increase services.

But the reality is, you can’t win a race without getting your people to the polls; Senator Sanders got a cruel reminder of that in California. The kids flocked to his rallies, but not to the voting booths. That can be a problem for liberals.


So what do the politicians do?

Republicans remind their base that Democrats are evil and stupid people. We want to take away money from hard working people and give it to people like this:

Who, in turn, just have more kids and end up in jail:

And, of course, we try to “keep out God” and are attempting to bring in Sharia Law and just let all of these other second rate nations just walk all over us.

But the Democrats remind US that the Republicans are evil and stupid people. Republicans reject science and embrace racism and misogyny; they want a “return to white America” and to turn our country into a theocracy.

So, the political rhetoric we hear isn’t designed to persuade but rather designed to get our people to show up and vote.

And yes, I understand why they do that. But while I love politics and love following it, I regret not having the kind of policy based discussions that I could have with those who see things differently from the way I do.

And, unfortunately, when people try to make a point, too often it is made in a way that attacks rather than invites discussion:


Yes, WalMart: the idea is they pay their workers too little to live on, so the public, in effect, subsidizes them with public aid. And of course, there is corporate tax break and oil subsidies.

Now one might argue that corporations employ people, do some basic research and make things for us. But then, one can also argue that public aid IS stimulus to the economy.

Think of it this way: suppose I got 100,000 dollars. I’d end up looking for a good, safe, long term investment. On the other hand, if 20 poor families got 5000 dollars each, they’d spend it on things (food and other items) thereby putting the money directly into the economy.

But, because we are too busy yelling at the other stupid, evil people, we don’t have this discussion often enough.

June 11, 2016 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, racism, social/political | , | Leave a comment

The Democratic Race gets chippy….

Yes, the news for Hillary Clinton remains good; she maintains a lead in *most* recent national polls and in key primary states, and she still enjoys lead of about 210 pledged delegates.

But Bernie Sanders is still hanging around and the race is getting chippy. One can see that by the tone of the campaign e-mails:

From the Sanders campaign

Ollie –

Hillary Clinton herself just unleashed the first part of the new “disqualify him, defeat him and then they can unify the party later” strategy we told you about. Look at this new headline:

Washington Post: “Clinton questions whether Sanders is qualified to be president”

Polls in Wisconsin haven’t even been closed for 24 hours, and we’re already seeing the start of the Clinton campaign’s full-on attack before the New York primary. We knew they were getting nervous, but candidly, we didn’t think they would go this negative so quickly. We have to be ready for what comes next.

Contribute $28 to Bernie 2016 right now to help us get ready for the New York primary and be able to fend off whatever the billionaire class throws at us next.

New York is going to be an important state for the Democratic nomination. Bernie was born there, Hillary Clinton moved there, and 247 delegates are at stake on April 19.

We’ve won seven of the last eight contests, and voters clearly side with Bernie. So now the Clinton campaign is moving beyond a discussion of the issues to say Bernie isn’t even qualified to be president.

Meanwhile, Bernie’s going to keep talking about universal health care, fighting climate change, making our economy work for everyone, and taking on our corrupt campaign finance system. Voters seem to like it – and we’re not going to let up now.

From the Clinton campaign:

Ollie —

Last night, after Bernie Sanders won Wisconsin, his campaign manager went on CNN to accuse our team of destroying the Democratic Party to “satisfy the Secretary’s ambition to become President of the United States.”

I. Don’t. Think. So.

Our team has more wins than Bernie’s, more delegates, and over 2 million more votes. We’re building the biggest and by far the most diverse coalition in this election, we’re strengthening the Democratic Party in the states, and we’re ready to do what it takes to win the White House and build a brighter future.

Ambitious? You’re damn right we are. We have big dreams for our country, and we’re going to fight to make them happen — that starts with winning this primary once and for all.

We’re less than two weeks from the huge primary in New York — will you chip in $38 right now to make sure Hillary can win?

If you are wondering why I am on both lists: I gave to the Sanders campaign when I ordered a Sanders t-shirt for my daughter. And I’ve given the Clinton campaign a small amount of money (and ordered shirts) because that is who I support.

The Clinton campaign is suggesting that Sen. Sanders is long on platitudes but short on policy knowledge:

And others have suggested that Sen. Sanders isn’t fully leveling with us about how much his proposed programs will cost:

But here’s the thing: we now have a clear view of Sanders’ positions on two crucial issues, financial reform and health care. And in both cases his positioning is disturbing — not just because it’s politically unrealistic to imagine that we can get the kind of radical overhaul he’s proposing, but also because he takes his own version of cheap shots. Not at people — he really is a fundamentally decent guy — but by going for easy slogans and punting when the going gets tough.

On finance: Sanders has made restoring Glass-Steagal and breaking up the big banks the be-all and end-all of his program. That sounds good, but it’s nowhere near solving the real problems. The core of what went wrong in 2008 was the rise of shadow banking; too big to fail was at best marginal, and as Mike Konczal notes, pushing the big banks out of shadow banking, on its own, could make the problem worse by causing the risky stuff to “migrate elsewhere, often to places where there is less regulatory infrastructure.”

On health care: leave on one side the virtual impossibility of achieving single-payer. Beyond the politics, the Sanders “plan” isn’t just lacking in detail; as Ezra Klein notes, it both promises more comprehensive coverage than Medicare or for that matter single-payer systems in other countries, and assumes huge cost savings that are at best unlikely given that kind of generosity. This lets Sanders claim that he could make it work with much lower middle-class taxes than would probably be needed in practice.

To be harsh but accurate: the Sanders health plan looks a little bit like a standard Republican tax-cut plan, which relies on fantasies about huge supply-side effects to make the numbers supposedly add up. Only a little bit: after all, this is a plan seeking to provide health care, not lavish windfalls on the rich — and single-payer really does save money, whereas there’s no evidence that tax cuts deliver growth. Still, it’s not the kind of brave truth-telling the Sanders campaign pitch might have led you to expect.

It is the classic battle between “idealism vs. pragmatism”:

As Matt O’Brien rightly said recently, even the incremental changes Hillary Clinton is proposing are very unlikely to get through Congress; the radical changes Bernie Sanders is proposing wouldn’t happen even if Democrats retook the House. O’Brien says that the Democratic primary is “like arguing what’s more real: a magical unicorn or a regular unicorn. In either case, you’re still running on a unicorn platform.” This is, alas, probably true: the platforms of the candidates are better seen as aspirational than as programs at all likely to happen.

But in that case, why not go for the magical unicorn? A couple of reasons.

One is that there are degrees of realism: a program that could be implemented in part if Democrats retake the House might turn out to be a useful guide relatively soon, while a program that requires a political revolution won’t.

Another is that, perhaps inevitably, the Sanders insistence on the need for magical unicorns has led to invocations of economic as well as political magic. I warned a while back that even Sanders wasn’t willing to level with voters about what his ideals would require — that, in particular, he was assuming unrealistic savings in order to gloss over the reality that quite a few middle-class Americans would be net losers from a transition to single payer. I’m not alone in raising such concerns, and not just about the health plan.

And this could matter a lot in a general election. For sure the Republican, whoever he is, will be offering plans that are obvious nonsense; but if the Democrat is also offering a plan that doesn’t add up, you know that the media will portray the situation as symmetric, even if it isn’t. (And it wouldn’t be: whatever is problematic about the Sanders platform, GOP fantasies are in a whole other league.) This is why it’s important to bring up the criticisms of Sanders now, not wait until later — and it’s also why the campaign’s knee-jerk response of attacking the messengers is such a bad one. It might work in the primary, but it definitely won’t work later on.

OK, so I’m not happy with magical unicorns as a campaign strategy. But I understand the problem, which is also the problem Clinton faces: among young people in particular, being a wet blanket is no way to be hugely popular. “No, we can’t — at best, maybe a little” isn’t all that inspiring to people who want uplift. Realistically, the slogan should actually be “They shall not pass”, which actually could be inspiring. But that’s probably for the general.

This poses an interesting problem for Clinton — who will, if nominated, be pretty good at portraying herself as the defender of Obama’s achievements, but needs to get to that point. Can she try to match Sanders in uplift? Probably not, because it would be insincere and come off that way. She’s a veteran of many years of partisan trench warfare, of personal vilification, of seeing how hard positive change is (and yes, some of that applies to me too, although not to remotely the same degree.) She’s not going to be able to promise magic without being obviously false. Sanders, on the other hand, probably believes what he’s saying; the rude awakening still lies ahead.


But you see the problem. It’s a rough time for progressives who don’t believe in magic.

But there are many who do believe in magic; many of them are the young people supporting Sanders, and, well, implying that they are naive dupes isn’t good politics (even if they ARE). Hillary Clinton is NOT a great campaigner; Sanders is better in this area.

And if you want to see impassioned fireworks with policy substance, check out this 12 minute video where Barney Frank and Robert Reich debate the “too big to fail” issue. Frank repeats that it is the size of indebtedness vs. the size of the assets that is the problem. Reich counters and notes that Sanders’ “I don’t know” answer (re: bank breakup) was in respect to the Fed’s role and power and not about what the President can do. If nothing else, it is an excellent discussion of the issues. Both Sanders and Clinton supporters will enjoy it, I think.

April 7, 2016 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

A couple of “maybe Trump would be better than Clinton” thoughts …and one reason Trump is doing well…

Workout note: 8.1 mile “run” in 1:31:11 46:37/44:33. Perfect weather; legs were shot from the get go so I kept it easy and attempted to pick it up a bit at the end. Really couldn’t.

Could Trump be better than Clinton?
A couple of “famous” people said “maybe so”, but get a load of their reasoning:

James Webb (former Democratic Senator and Secretary of the Navy):

Former Democratic presidential candidate Jim Webb won’t be voting for Hillary Clinton, but he hasn’t ruled out casting his ballot for Donald Trump.

Webb, who briefly flirted with an independent bid before deciding against it, said on Friday morning that the Democratic front-runner wasn’t inspirational.

“I would not vote for Hillary Clinton,” Webb said on MSBNC’s “Morning Joe.”

When asked whether he’d vote for Trump, Webb said he wasn’t closed to the idea. “I’m not sure yet. I don’t know who I’m going to vote for,” he said.

He said Clinton would simply continue President Barack Obama’s policies, but that with Trump, things would change — but he’s not convinced it would be for the better.

“If you’re voting for Donald Trump, you may get something very good or very bad,” Webb said. “If you’re voting for Hillary Clinton, you’re going to be getting the same thing.”

Emphasis mine. Note that I actually agree with Sen. Webb on one thing: Hillary Clinton would be close to a continuation of Barack Obama; it is just that I see that as a good thing. He does not.

Susan Sarandon (“activist”/actress):

The actress and activist has been a powerful surrogate for Sanders on the campaign trail over the past few months, and during an interview with MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes Monday night, she said she doesn’t know if she can bring herself to vote for Clinton if it comes down to it.
“I think, in certain quarters, there’s growing concern that the folks that are into Bernie Sanders have come to despise Hillary Clinton or reject Hillary Clinton and that should she be the nominee, which is as yet undetermined, they will walk away,” Hayes said.
“That’s a legitimate concern,” Sarandon replied. “Because they’re very passionate and principled.”
“But isn’t that crazy?” the host asked. “If you believe in what he believes in?”
“Yeah but she doesn’t,” Sarandon shot back. “She accepted money for all of those people. She doesn’t even want to fight for a $15 minimum wage. So these are people that have not come out before. So why would we think they’re going to come out now for her, you know?”

“All those people”? Ok, IF you are talking about “taking money from Wall Street” and you are talking about the official Clinton campaign, remember that individuals have a limit. Wall Street is in New York and Sec. Clinton represented New York. It would be like President Obama getting a lot of money from people who worked in industries that are based in Illinois.

But look at the two situations: one doesn’t like Clinton because of her being too close to being like Obama; the other doesn’t like her because she isn’t progressive enough.

Why is Trump doing so well anyway? Well, one reason is that he is appealing to the white working class, a group that even the National Review is attacking:

The National Review, a conservative magazine for the Republican elite, recently unleashed an attack on the “white working class”, who they see as the core of Trump’s support.

The first essay, Father Führer, was written by the National Review’s Kevin Williamson, who used his past reporting from places such as Appalachia and the Rust Belt to dissect what he calls “downscale communities”.

He describes them as filled with welfare dependency, drug and alcohol addiction, and family anarchy – and then proclaims:

“Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster, There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. … The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.”

A few days later, another columnist, David French, added:

“Simply put, [white working class] Americans are killing themselves and destroying their families at an alarming rate. No one is making them do it. The economy isn’t putting a bottle in their hand. Immigrants aren’t making them cheat on their wives or snort OxyContin.”

Both suggested the answer to their problems is they need to move. “They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.”

Downscale communities are everywhere in America, not just limited to Appalachia and the Rust Belt – it’s where I have spent much of the past five years documenting poverty and addiction.

I have to laugh. People like William Julius Wilson and Paul Krugman said that this split would eventually happen:

Lately inequality has re-entered the national conversation. Occupy Wall Street gave the issue visibility, while the Congressional Budget Office supplied hard data on the widening income gap. And the myth of a classless society has been exposed: Among rich countries, America stands out as the place where economic and social status is most likely to be inherited.

So you knew what was going to happen next. Suddenly, conservatives are telling us that it’s not really about money; it’s about morals. Never mind wage stagnation and all that, the real problem is the collapse of working-class family values, which is somehow the fault of liberals.

But is it really all about morals? No, it’s mainly about money.

To be fair, the new book at the heart of the conservative pushback, Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” does highlight some striking trends. Among white Americans with a high school education or less, marriage rates and male labor force participation are down, while births out of wedlock are up. Clearly, white working-class society has changed in ways that don’t sound good.


One more thought: The real winner in this controversy is the distinguished sociologist William Julius Wilson.

Back in 1996, the same year Ms. Himmelfarb was lamenting our moral collapse, Mr. Wilson published “When Work Disappears: The New World of the Urban Poor,” in which he argued that much of the social disruption among African-Americans popularly attributed to collapsing values was actually caused by a lack of blue-collar jobs in urban areas. If he was right, you would expect something similar to happen if another social group — say, working-class whites — experienced a comparable loss of economic opportunity. And so it has.

So we should reject the attempt to divert the national conversation away from soaring inequality toward the alleged moral failings of those Americans being left behind. Traditional values aren’t as crucial as social conservatives would have you believe — and, in any case, the social changes taking place in America’s working class are overwhelmingly the consequence of sharply rising inequality, not its cause.

Gee, maybe the “moron” in this meme is finally catching on.


March 29, 2016 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, running | , , , | Leave a comment

Nevada, Sanders, and the personal upswing continues

Weight before lifting: 183.5.
rotator cuff
pull ups: 15=15-10-10
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 10 x 170 (strong sets)
incline presses: 10 x 135 (easy)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 55 (singe arm dumbbell)
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, moving bridge recoveries, headstand (easy)

Swim: 500 free, 500 drill/swim, 5 x 100 (25 fly, 25 free, 25 back, 25 free), 3 x 100 (alt side, free) 100 pull, 100 free, 100 pull, 100 fins.
It was sort of a play-day swim.

Later: saw the Bradley women lose to Indiana State; they were within 4 late in the game 68-59. They were within 4 late in the game, but ISU knocked down some huge 3 point shots late in the game to put it away.

The Democratic Nevada Caucus is tomorrow. In the betting line, HRC is a 8/13 favorite, with Sanders at 11/8.


But I’ll say this: Nevada is very hard to poll, so I see that race as a toss-up:

For starters, when it comes to surveying public opinion, Nevada is still very much the Wild West, and pollsters may be unwilling to gamble their reputations on the state: Nevada is among the hardest places to poll in the nation, with a spotty track record to prove it. Going into the 2008 Republican caucuses, the polling average gave Mitt Romney just a 5-point advantage over John McCain; Romney ended up winning by 38 points. In 2010 when Republican Sharron Angle challenged Harry Reid, then Senate majority leader, for his seat, the polling average showed her beating the incumbent by a 3-point margin; she lost to Reid by nearly 6 points.

According to Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster who’s done extensive work in the state on behalf of Reid, caucus polling is “excruciatingly difficult” to begin with, but the fact that Nevada’s caucuses are relatively new makes polling them even more fraught with uncertainty. After the 2004 election, the parties moved from primaries to caucuses, and Nevada was bumped up to a higher spot in the primary calendar, a play to incorporate a broader swath of the American electorate in the candidate-winnowing process.

But that means that Nevada populace’s is still pretty unfamiliar with caucusing, making for difficult polling work. “

So I take this with a grain of salt:


And Trump is a prohibitive favorite to roll in South Carolina.

Now back to Sanders vs. Clinton.
Things have gotten ugly. And yes, those who say “his assumptions just don’t add up…they are not plausible assumptions are vilified as being Hillary shills and the like. Guess what: not having power doesn’t make you right. I know: I graded undergraduate student exams today. If anything, the line to support Sanders’ numbers is a much shorter one.

Look for yourself at what Sanders is assuming:


Seriously, we’d be rolling our eyes if Republicans made such assumptions.

February 20, 2016 Posted by | Democrats, economics, economy, politics, politics/social, swimming, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment

Sanders’ proposals: the numbers really don’t add up

There are two important blog posts from Paul Krugman:

1. His plans depend on unrealistic assumptions:

I’ve tweeted this out, but want to point out that this is a pretty big deal: Four former Democratic chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers have put out a letter warning that Bernie Sanders’s economic program contains a very worrisome amount of voodoo:

We are concerned to see the Sanders campaign citing extreme claims by Gerald Friedman about the effect of Senator Sanders’s economic plan—claims that cannot be supported by the economic evidence. Friedman asserts that your plan will have huge beneficial impacts on growth rates, income and employment that exceed even the most grandiose predictions by Republicans about the impact of their tax cut proposals.

As much as we wish it were so, no credible economic research supports economic impacts of these magnitudes. Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic. These claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates.

2. His making these claims really gives Democrats a credibility problem:

But here’s what Friedman has said, in what the campaign’s policy director calls “outstanding work”:

– Real growth at 5.3 percent a year, versus a baseline of around 2
– Labor force participation rate back to 1999 level
– 3.8 percent unemployment

OK, progressives have, rightly, mocked Jeb Bush for claiming that he could double growth to 4 percent. Now people close to Sanders say 5.3??? Even those of us who believe that there’s still significant slack in the US labor market are aware that much, probably most, of the decline in labor force participation since 1999 reflects an aging population — prime-working-age LFPR has reclaimed most of the lost ground since the Great Recession, and there’s probably a long-term downward trend even there. It’s possible that we can get unemployment down under 4 percent, but that’s way below any estimates I’ve seen of the level of unemployment consistent with moderate inflation.

The point is not that all of this is impossible, but it’s very unlikely — and these are numbers we would describe as deep voodoo if they came from a tax-cutting Republican.

Now I am directing this toward the more thoughtful Democrats. Krugman points out that these critiques won’t be taken seriously:

And if your response to these concerns is that they’re [the economists critiquing Sanders’ numbers] all corrupt, all looking for jobs with Hillary, you are very much part of the problem.

Yes, I love to chortle at how much influence the anti-intellectuals have in the Republican party. But sadly, we have such people on “our” side as well. You find them attacking things like GMO foods and supporting candidates that pander to their fantasies.

February 17, 2016 Posted by | economics, economy, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Public WiFi, Trump and Obama’s job creation record…


Yes, President Obama has been a much better “jobs” president than President Bush, though one could argue about the quality of the jobs (new ones pay less?)

Now Donald Trump is leading the Republicans. One danger is that Trump’s perceived extremism might make the bad “mainstream” Republican proposals look good by comparison. It is good to avoid that trap.

Public Wi-Fi: if you don’t take security measures, using the wifi in public areas can really open you up.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Politics, bodysuits, minimum wage, etc…

Evidently, a grade school teacher stripped down to a skin tight “human anatomy” bodysuit to teach a lesson on human anatomy.


In my teen years…I’d be praying that she turn around and face the board.🙂

Here is another view of them:


Minimum wage Right now, there just isn’t much economic mobility. Getting beyond a minimum wage job can be difficult.

Politics The top Republican candidate to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House has withdrawn. Some have suggested Paul Ryan, who Paul Krugman calls the “flim-flam” man. Might there be a deal in the works for a bipartisan “coalition speaker”? As nice as that sounds, I doubt it.

October 9, 2015 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social, spandex | , | Leave a comment

Clinton and the TPP…meh..

Hmmm, so today Hillary Clinton said this:

In an interview Wednesday with PBS’s Judy Woodruff in Iowa, Clinton said, “As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it.

The former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner cited the “high bar” she set earlier in the year as the reason she was giving the deal a thumbs down.

“I have said from the very beginning that we had to have a trade agreement that would create good American jobs, raise wages and advance our national security and I still believe that is the high bar we have to meet,” Clinton said.

She added: “I don’t believe it’s going to meet the high bar I have set.”

Emphasis mine. Note how artful this statement is; it has qualifications. However this TPP proposal is a bit different than it was at first, as even “lukewarm critic” Paul Krugman noted:

What I know so far: pharma is mad because the extension of property rights in biologics is much shorter than it wanted, tobacco is mad because it has been carved out of the dispute settlement deal, and Rs in general are mad because the labor protection stuff is stronger than expected. All of these are good things from my point of view. I’ll need to do much more homework once the details are clearer.

But it’s interesting that what we’re seeing so far is a harsh backlash from the right against these improvements. I find myself thinking of Grossman and Helpman’s work on the political economy of free trade agreements, in which they conclude, based on a highly stylized but nonetheless interesting model of special interest politics, that

An FTA is most likely to politically viable exactly when it would be socially harmful.

The TPP looks better than it did, which infuriates much of Congress.

So, I wonder…this woman chooses her words very carefully. Of course, Sanders supporters are declaring victory (“See, she’s feeling THE BURN”) but, well, as far as the deal goes, I am ambivalent. I suppose if I had to choose, I’d trust President Obama here, and yes, I know that means going against the knee jerk anti-trade woo-woos..though this deal really isn’t that much about trade.

So, on this issue, I am at odds with Sec. Clinton. Sort of. It really isn’t THAT important to me, either way.

October 8, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, economics, economy, hillary clinton, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Rages, surges, water, clocks and wasps..

Workout notes: swim, then weights.

Swim: 500 easy (Jason sort of raced me), 5 x (50 drill/free (fins for drill, no fins for free), 5 x 100 on the 2:10 (two in 1:50; rest 1:47-1:49), 2 x 100 IM, side/free

1800 (1 mile) total.

Weights: pull ups (did ok), incline press: 10 x 135, 3 x 160, 3 x 150
rotator cuff
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell
bench press: 10 x 70 dumbbell

yoga: 10 minutes worth; did some headstand.

It was ok, given that I was fatigued from yesterday.

The Fed and interest rates: a certain collection of bankers benefit when the rates are raised.

Science: wasps can indirectly alter caterpillar DNA. The interaction is complicated and there are still open questions.

Election 2016: If there is a “Sanders surge”, polls aren’t picking it up. I believe that sometimes people confuse intensity of support for breadth.

Clocks, etc.
In the clock case: no, the kid shouldn’t have been arrested nor suspended. In fact, we should not have ever known about it. But as far as the clock itself: probably not much profound there, other than a kid’s curiosity.

Note: I did similar stuff at that age; I remember disassembling a small radio to try to use its parts in other ways. What I ended up doing is using the earphone jack to power an external speaker…not exactly a huge feat of electrical engineering.🙂

September 21, 2015 Posted by | economics, economy, evolution, political/social, politics, science, social/political, swimming, weight training | | Leave a comment

Perceptions, getting caught in traps and urban renewal

I think it is clear that, on the average, we tend to hang around those who are a bit like us. Hence it is easy for the wealthier (or merely comfortable) among us to get a false sense of what things are like for most people.

And here is an example of that: a person becomes disabled in a crash..and the only way to qualify for Medicare treatment and facilities is…for the family to remain poor. This is one problem with means-tested programs; if your income level is in the “wrong” area and you don’t have the right types of insurance, it can be devastating to a family.

I’ve also seen cases in which a couple in which one person was more elderly than the other have to get divorced; nursing home care can be outrageously expensive and if one person’s assets get exhausted, they go after the other person’s assets (house, everything).

Urban renewal: politically, this puts a lot of liberals in a concentrated area. Hence, urban congressional districts are often won by massive margins; the rural ones are won by Republicans with lesser margins. Gerrymandering makes this effect worse.

Bottom line: we can have situations in which the Democrats in Congress get many more votes than the Republicans, and yet the Republicans come away with a large majority. But the numbers hold up in Presidential elections.

July 30, 2015 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social, social/political | | 2 Comments