blueollie

I am almost sorry I didn’t vote for Trump

Ok, yes, I still consider Donald Trump to be an unqualified amateur who lacks the necessary deportment and humility to be President of the United States.
I fear that his recklessness will get us into a shooting war; that his ham-handedness will wreck our economy and heaven forbid what will happen when we get our first genuine crisis.

But, well, look at what is happening:

1. A Trump supporter in Chicago is whining about being…bullied? Uh, Trump is the quintessential bully. Oh, let me make it clear: I do NOT approve of threats and the like; if I saw someone vandalize their business, I’d report it to the police right away.

And for what it worth, I do business with companies that are run by Republicans all of the time; I go by things like customer service, how I am treated, how they treat their workers, etc.

But if others want to make choices with their dollars or to denounce their choice, well, that is just “freedom”, no? And remember that Trump bullies people all of the time.

2. Many Trump voters are…worried about losing their Obamacare and/or Medicaid. Seriously? Hey, Trump made much of his money via cons and stiffing contractors. And you thought that he’d tell the truth to you? OMG…I am dying with laughter:

An aim of Republican legislation is to reduce private premiums, but Ms. Sines’s son, who along with her other two grown children signed up for Medicaid under the expansion, has been warning that their coverage could be “in trouble,” she said. She cannot believe Mr. Trump would allow that to happen.

“I can’t imagine them not keeping it like it is now,” said Ms. Sines, who runs a group home for the elderly.

Mr. Waltimire said he hoped to return to the police force, and the health benefits it provides, this year. But with no guarantee of good health — he was injured in a fall in 2009 and has had circulatory problems ever since — he also hopes other options remain available.

“It’s kind of hard for me,” he said of having free government coverage. “I’ve always worked all my life. But like my counselor said, sometimes you just have to say thank you and move forward.”

3. And those who live in impoverished areas just KNOW that good jobs are coming back:

“I voted for Trump 100%,” says Barbara Puckett, a 55-year-old mom, who lives in the small and friendly town of Beattyville. “It’s the most hopeful I’ve been in a long time now that he’s in there.”
Trump won 81% of the vote in Beattyville. People here love that Trump doesn’t “sugarcoat” anything. They feel he understands them, even though he’s a billionaire.
“Donald Trump’s got all the money he’ll ever need,” says Steve Mays, judge-executive for the county and life-long Beattyville resident. The 49-year-old says he’s never been more excited about a president than he is now. “Trump will be a president for the common man.” [..]

“If you got a job here in Beattyville, you’re lucky,” says Amber Hayes, a bubbly 25-year-old mom of two, who also voted for Trump. She works at the county courthouse, but is paid by the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (K-TAP), a form of welfare.
Coal, oil and tobacco made Beattyville a boom town in the 1800s and much of the 1900s. Locals like to bring up the fact that Lee County — where Beattyville is located — was the No. 1 oil-producing county east of the Mississippi at one time.
“Growing up in the ’70s? Yeah, this was the place to be,” says Chuck Caudhill, the general manager of the local paper, The Beattyville Enterprise. He calls the town the “gem of eastern Kentucky.”
Today, the town is a ghost of its former self. The vast majority of Beattyville residents get some form of government aid — 57% of households receive food stamps and 58% get disability payments from Social Security.
“I hope [Trump] don’t take the benefits away, but at the same time, I think that once more jobs come in a lot of people won’t need the benefits,” says Hayes, who currently receives about $500 a month from government assistance. She’s also on Obamacare.

Uh huh. I am sure that businesses are itching to set something up in this town. ROTFLMAO.

Hey if you vote for a known con artist, you are voting to get conned.

March 20, 2017 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social, poverty, social/political | | 2 Comments

Thinking about poverty…

This was a 2014 Alternet article about poverty. That, plus reading some of the status updates of some of my friends helps me have a better understanding.

This is why: yes, there were times when I was short on money. But these were usually “between guaranteed jobs” times or “graduate student” times; one still had health insurance and still knew that a job was on the way. That makes a difference.

And of the poor people I actually know: well, many families have that “one or two” deadbeats that just mooches off of everyone else. They had the same parents, often had the same opportunities (and even got degrees in some cases) and even got the same inheritances …and blew it. Some sat by you in school. Others even had parents who made six figure incomes. And yet they failed and continue to fail, no matter how many times they are bailed out.

But this is the hazard of extrapolating from what one knows; it just doesn’t work that way for many of the working poor.

Workout notes: easy 5 mile walk at my “quick pace” outside. I felt yesterday’s leg workout.

March 19, 2017 Posted by | political/social, poverty, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

The unpopularity of the Democratic Party

Yes, President Trump has historically low approval ratings (for it being this early in his administration).

That is undeniable. (this graph is via Gallup).

But ..the Democratic party...rates even LOWER

Of course, the Bernie Bros are claiming “see, you need to become more like Bernie” and they cite articles like this one:

But what this apparently means to the people who are calling for unity is getting behind the corporate, suit and tie, lobbyist-driven agenda of the establishment. But let me break it to you – the establishment has almost no grassroots momentum. Virtually every progressive grassroots movement in America right now is fueled by people outside of the Democratic Party establishment and this is a huge reason why the party is so outrageously unpopular.

Huge grassroots movements, made up of millions and millions of people, are fueling the fight for a $15 minimum wage, fighting back against fossil fuels and the Dakota Access Pipeline, fighting to end fracking, fighting to remove lobbyist money from politics, fighting to end senseless wars and international violence, fighting for universal healthcare, fighting for the legalization of marijuana, fighting for free college tuition, fighting against systems of mass incarceration, and so much more. But mainstream Democrats aren’t really a central part of any of those battles, and, to be clear, each of those issues have deep networks, energized volunteers, and serious donors, but corporate Democrats virtually ignore them.

In the past two months, I’ve spoken in a dozen states around the country and thousands of people show up. Wednesday night, in the freezing rain, lines were wrapped around multiple city blocks to attend an event I was hosting at a local Seattle high school. We literally formed the event a few days ago on Facebook and didn’t spend a single penny putting it together.

This is a breath-taking amount of ignorance. Yes, “activists” really love those things and have energy. But a tiny percentage of people can be a lot of people in a country of 320 million. That, by no stretch of the imagination, translates into something the electorate will rally around.

Riddle me this: how did left wingers do in the past election? Example: Russ Feingold lost by a larger margin than Hillary Clinton did in Wisconsin.

While left wing populism might be very inspirational to a small percentage of the population, it really isn’t a winning political coalition:

On November 20, less than two weeks after Donald Trump’s upset win, Bernie Sanders strode onto a stage at Boston’s Berklee Performance Center to give the sold-out audience his thoughts on what had gone so disastrously wrong for the Democratic Party.

Sanders had a simple answer. Democrats, he said, needed to field candidates who would unapologetically promise that they would be willing “to stand up with the working class of this country and … take on big-money interests.”

Democrats, in other words, would only be able to defeat Trump and others like him if they adopted an anti-corporate, unabashedly left-wing policy agenda. The answer to Trump’s right-wing populism, Sanders argued, was for the left to develop a populism of its own.

That’s a belief widely shared among progressives around the world. A legion of commentators and politicians, most prominently in the United States but also in Europe, have argued that center-left parties must shift further to the left in order to fight off right-wing populists such as Trump and France’s Marine Le Pen. Supporters of these leaders, they argue, are motivated by a sense of economic insecurity in an increasingly unequal world; promise them a stronger welfare state, one better equipped to address their fundamental needs, and they will flock to the left.

“[It’s] a kind of liberal myth,” Pippa Norris, a Harvard political scientist who studies populism in the United States and Europe, says of the Sanders analysis. “[Liberals] want to have a reason why people are supporting populist parties when their values are so clearly against progressive values in terms of misogyny, sexism, racism.”

The problem is that a lot of data suggests that countries with more robust welfare states tend to have stronger far-right movements. Providing white voters with higher levels of economic security does not tamp down their anxieties about race and immigration — or, more precisely, it doesn’t do it powerfully enough. For some, it frees them to worry less about what it’s in their wallet and more about who may be moving into their neighborhoods or competing with them for jobs.

Yeah, left wing populism and a focus on the poor and economic injustice may have worked…in 1932 when unemployment was at 25 percent!

But the reality is:

1. Most do not care all that much about the Dakota Access Pipeline
2. Most have little in common with those who are at risk of losing their Obamacare insurance (and many of these ignorant jackasses voted for Trump)
3. Most of us earn well above the minimum wage
4. Most are not Muslim and most do not have Muslim friends
5. Most of us do not care whether someone is offended by someone else using the “wrong” pronoun.
6. Most of us did not go out and have a bunch of kids that we could not afford to raise.

In fact, much of left wing populism appears to be a transfer of money from those who have achieved to “the unworthy”.

Oh, there are many good reasons for those programs; I happen to believe that wealth trickles up through the economy and NOT down; when the bottom of the economic ladder is better off, the rest of us are are better off. Personally, I want more people to be able to afford to send their kids to my university and to patronize the neighborhood businesses. There is evidence that poor kids that get SNAP do better than those who don’t.

But that is a difficult sell, especially to people like me, who have been raised on The Ant and the Grasshopper.

But there is more from the Vox article quoted above:

When Corbyn took control of Labour leadership last September, UKIP — Britain’s far-right, anti-EU party — had been in decline, netting around 10 percent in the Britain Elects poll aggregator. By the June 2016 Brexit vote over whether to leave the EU, UKIP’s numbers had risen to a little over 15 percent.

Corbyn and Labour publicly supported staying in the EU, but didn’t campaign for it particularly hard. It may not have mattered: Eric Kaufmann, a professor at the University of London who studies populism, looked at what Brexit voters said were the “most important” issues facing the UK. More than 40 percent said immigration; a scant 5 percent said “poverty and inequality.”

According to Kaufmann, this reflects an uncomfortable truth: The kind of voter who’s attracted to the far right just doesn’t care a whole lot about inequality and redistribution, Corbyn’s signature issues. Tacking left to win them over, as Corbyn has, is “a bad idea,” he told me in a phone conversation.

Yes, this is the United States, not the UK. But:

This, they hypothesized, was not an accident. People are only willing to support redistribution if they believe their tax dollars are going to people they can sympathize with. White voters, in other words, don’t want to spend their tax dollars on programs that they think will benefit black or Hispanic people.

The United States is marked by far more racial division than its European peers. Poverty, in the minds of many white Americans, is associated with blackness. Redistribution is seen through a racial lens as a result. The debate over welfare and taxes isn’t just about money, for these voters, but rather whether white money should be spent on nonwhites. “Hostility between races limits support for welfare,” Alesina, Glaeser, and Sacerdote conclude flatly in the paper.

Now, it’s been a decade and a half since this paper was published, so it’s possible the evidence has shifted. I called up Sacerdote to ask him whether any subsequent research has caused him to change his mind. His answer was firmly negative. “It’s almost sad that it’s held up so well,” he told me.

And I see it as being grimmer than this.

Take public education. One would expect teachers to have to have a basic standard of literacy, right? Well, in New York, the public education establishment is about to do away with a literacy test for teachers because…too many minorities are not passing the test!

New York state is poised to scrap a literacy test for people trying to become teachers, in part because an outsized percentage of black and Hispanic candidates were failing.

The state Board of Regents on Monday is expected to adopt the recommendation of a task force to eliminate the exam, known as the Academic Literacy Skills Test.

Critics of the exam said it is redundant and a poor predictor of who will succeed as a teacher.

Backers of the test say eliminating it could put weak teachers in classrooms.

Just 46 percent of Hispanic and 41 percent of black test takers passed it on the first try, compared with 64 percent of white candidates.

The test was among four assessments for prospective teachers introduced in the 2013-2014 school year.

(note to conservatives who might be laughing: I hope you are equally outraged at attempts to give creationism “equal time” in science curricula).

And so it goes. It is bad enough that we have racism in our population, but then we go and lead with our chin with stupid stuff like this. Guess whose kids those illiterate teachers will be teaching?

Workout notes: home treadmill (snow outside): 10 minute jog, then 50 minutes of “quick walking”; 5 miles in just about 1 hour (maybe 1:00:20 or so).

March 13, 2017 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, political/social, politics, poverty, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

Annoying terminology: “war on the poor”

I sometimes cringe when some subjects are brought up. Poverty is one of them.

I often hear “war on the poor”. I’d like to know what is meant by that.

IF one is talking about things like, say, a dearth of good, affordable food options (food deserts) or businesses that prey on the poor (e. g. payday loan places), ok, I agree that these things are bad. The former is a consequence of being too reliant on the capitalist model for everything (food stores in such areas are often not good investments) and the latter is, well, greed.

BUT if one is saying “we want to lower taxes and make safety net programs less generous”, I don’t see how that can be called a “war on the poor”. I don’t think that there is an obligation of someone, no matter how rich, to pay for someone else’s living expenses.

So, becoming less generous really isn’t a “war”.

Now, I am for these safety net programs for a variety of reasons; I think that it is a good thing to do with tax money, and I’d much rather do that than some of the other stupid stuff we do. It think that being a bit more generous (as a society) is a good thing and I support politicians that support that.

But to NOT do that hardly constitutes a “war”.

Workout notes: easy 4 mile walk outdoors in Bradley Park. The weather was brisk. My walk wasn’t.

March 10, 2017 Posted by | poor, poverty, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

The shallow level of discussion about poverty in the US

Articles like this one drive me nuts. Yes, it is statistically accurate in that if someone is born into grinding poverty, they are likely to stay there, even if they behave reasonably.

What it overlooks is that many do NOT behave reasonably, as this liberal friendly article admits:

Edin sees in these obstacles to full-time fatherhood a partial explanation for what’s known as “multiple-partner fertility.” Among low-income, unwed parents, having children with more than one partner is now the norm. One long-running study found that in nearly 60 percent of the unwed couples who had a baby, at least one parent already had a child with another partner.

That is pathological and irresponsible, no matter how one spins it. But try getting a liberal to admit that…OMG.

Now, of course, there are also these aspects:

1. Which came first: pathological behavior or poverty; which caused which? There is strong evidence that poverty is the CAUSE of such behavior and not really the result of it. (slso here)

2. While I agree that poor people can make themselves even poorer via poor choices, it does not follow that good choices will lead one OUT of poverty.

I’ll use a sports analogy. Those in my age group who run the fastest times and win the most awards train more than I do. And were I to quit lifting weights so much and to run more, I might improve…but only so much. I might, might, get into the 24s..maybe 23’s with super training. But I can forget getting anywhere the winner’s circle in my age group; guys who do that were generally “college track team” quality in their youth (or the equivalent).

So good behavior will only move the needle so much; only rarely is it enough for someone to escape.

But yet discussion of these issues often causes he heartburn.

Here is what I think is going on: I have people who went to the same schools as I did and had parents who were of the same economic class as my parents. They had the opportunity to apply to the same colleges as I did. I had no special influence as to getting into my undergraduate college, and no “pull” in getting into graduate school. Then years down the line…guess who is said to have been “lucky”???

While one can make statistical inferences about how a general population will do, there is variation between individuals of the same group. Yes, my parents did right by me…more so ..and I was lucky enough to avoid horrible things (abuse, diseases, accidents, etc.) None of that was due to any merit on my part; I admit that.

Anyhow, I DO see quite a bit of “excuse making” by people that I know made bad choices that hindered them down the road. But …that is at the individual level..not a statistical average.

Still, I struggle to accept a life experience that was so different than my own..especially when initial circumstances seem to be so similar.

I suppose that some truths are simply counter intuitive to me.

Workout notes: weights plus my 2 mile treadmill run: 5.2-5.6 for the first 10 minutes, then 6.7-7.0 (every 2:30, 1 minute at 7.1). 11 minutes for mile 1, 19:40 for mile 2.
Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: decent), incline press: 10 x 135, 5 x 150, 10 x 135 (strict, planted those hips), military (dumbbell), 10 x 50, 2 sets of 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110. abs: 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, head stand…not that bad this time.

March 10, 2017 Posted by | poverty, running, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

One difference between this liberal and Trump supporters: I don’t vote my resentments

I stopped in a Red Roof Inn just outside of Columbus, Ohio (off I-70, heading toward Dayton). I went to eat at Perkins and got change to leave for a tip for my motel maid. Then I noticed a couple of them outside of the building, smoking. I had (brief) thoughts of taking my tip back …and before you jump on me…I did NOT take the tip back. I wouldn’t do that, even if I knew that the person who cleaned my room smoked.

But it reminded me: yes, I DO have social resentments, and I share many of these with my conservative friends. This sort of thing disgusts me.

Now yes, I agree with President Obama when he said that “you didn’t build that alone”

And yes, it is NOT just society (schools, parents, infrastructure) it is also like “what you were gifted with and WHEN”. If that doesn’t make sense to you ask yourself this:

Yes, Larry Bird is a wealthy man. Would he have been wealthy, say, 80 years ago? No. He is wealthy because he was a good athlete in an era that rewarded good athletes. Would, say, an ace computer programmer been as well off, say, in the 18’th century? Different gifts thrive in different eras…even if the personality and the will to work hard is the same.

So, I understand that sheer luck has a lot to do with success, EVEN if the person who is successful worked their butt off to attain that said success. Hard work is “necessary but insufficient”, as a mathematician might say.

Nevertheless, stupidity would lead to failure in any era, and yes, there are lot of people who behave in very dumb ways and who make very bad choices.

Time and time again, I’ve been told “you are lucky you didn’t have a family to support” early in life. Well, I knew enough not to impregnate a woman before I was ready to support a kid!!!! But alas, such lessons are lost on many. There is some truth to the “Ant and the Grasshopper” fable.

But…I still support safety net programs, even if it means that a portion of the support goes to dummies and slackers. For one, many people do get hit hard by stuff even a reasonably diligent person might not anticipate (lay-offs, death of a breadwinner, severe illnesses, etc.). And there is evidence that poor kids who get SNAP benefits are less likely to need public aid as adults than poor kids who don’t.

Also, there is some economic stimulus to SNAP/welfare benefits..it trickles up through the economy; it stimulates demand.

So, for me, the reality of the spreadsheet, along with the compassion that an affluent society can afford, leads me to support such programs with my tax dollars…even if I am disgusted by a small percentage of recipients of said benefits.

December 21, 2016 Posted by | political/social, poverty, social/political | Leave a comment

Black Lives Matter, small traffic fines and Scandinavia?

One reason there is inequality with respect to race and law enforcement is that black people have more encounters with law enforcement, even among minor matters (such as speeding tickets). One reason for this: black poverty rates are higher and a smaller percentage of poor people can pay traffic fines. Yeah, I don’t like a 100.00 dollar speeding ticket but it won’t break me. I’ll grumble and pay it.

Others don’t have that luxury; that leads to more fines, more traffic stops, etc. Sometimes poverty can turn reasonably honest people into criminals.

That got me to thinking about the way that many Scandinavian countries (including Finland) handle speeding tickets: there, the fine is based on income. Yes, a 100.00 dollar ticket is painful, but manageable for me (about the right amount). It could break a poor person and it would be a “Monopoly Money” fine for a very rich person.

Would this be politically viable in the United States? Yeah; it does make me think about “what does fair” mean. But I’d quietly support such an option.

August 7, 2016 Posted by | poverty, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Semester is over and I opine on politics, Fox News, etc.

Politics and Social Issues

Yes, President Obama called out Fox News for distorting the debate about poverty:

Of course, Fox News complained (and probably grinned ear to ear, enjoying a viewer surge) but..well, the DO say the kinds of things that he accused them of saying.

I am beginning to think that Fox is secretly hoping that Hillary Clinton will win the Presidency.

Now speaking of the election: let us not forget how bad Gov. Jeb Bush would be. Think of who is advisers would be and of how awful they were the last time they were in power. The Democrats must remind people of this.

Yes, I am hearing about the Bush vs. Clinton “dynasties”. Please. This article gets it right..at least mostly right. But it does leave one thing out: the Bush sons come from a super wealthy, very connected family whereas the Clintons are self-made.

Yes, I was never a big fan of Secretary Clinton as a presidential candidate in 2008; you can read my (sometimes scathing) opinion of her campaign and campaign tactics elsewhere on this blog. But here is something you can never take away from her and her husband: these were NOT silver spoon people. Bill grew up poor, and Hillary grew up middle class. Both excelled academically but this was NOT a matter of some outrageously wealthy, connected family pulling the strings for them. They made it under their own steam, period (as did President Obama). There is no comparison between their story and the story of the Bush family. Period.

And yes, I see her as a worthy candidate and I’ll support her if she wins the Democratic nomination, as expected. And no, I know of any other credible Democrat challenger and…forget the Republicans. Every Republican who has announced is a loon (at least, with respect to politics; many have achieved in other professions).

Social/Political snark

Yes, 32 percent of Republicans think there is something to the “Obama wants to take over Texas” conspiracy. That’s right..and this isn’t just Texas Republicans either.

PPPJadehelm

Note who these people tend to favor for President; there is an interesting correlation, no?

Now, yes, sometimes a famous Democrat will speak out after a major event (in this case, the Amtrack crash in Philadelphia), and yes, in this case, the train was going 100 mph in a 50 mph maximum zone. And yes, often said famous Democrat will have no qualifications in that field. What is funny is that this offends some conservatives …I wonder how many of these listen to Chuck Norris or Ted Nugent? Heck, even Joe “the Plummer” has a following. 🙂 Pot: meet Kettle.

Academia: stuff like this gives academics, and the humanities in general, a bad name:

An incoming Boston University professor has apologized for her controversial remarks regarding White males on Twitter, Fox News reports.
Saida Grundy, an Assistant Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies at Boston University who identifies as a “feminist sociologist of race & ethnicity,” was hit with criticism after calling White college males a “problem population” on her social media page.
Many slammed the professor and called her tweets bigoted after she stated she wouldn’t contribute to White-owned businesses on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and called St. Patrick’s Day a “made up holiday.”

“Why is White America so reluctant to identify White college males as a problem population?” she wrote.
“Every MLK week, I commit myself to not spending a dime in White-owned businesses. And every year I find it nearly impossible.”
“Can we just call St. Patrick’s Day the White people’s Kwanzaa that it is? This is not a thing in actual Ireland. It’s completely made up.”

Her tweets have since been deleted.

OF COURSE, she claims that …well..her comment was “nuanced”. That is how the game is played; cry foul if it appears that YOUR group is being attacked, but turn around and make similar statements about other groups and claim to be “misunderstood”.

Yes, we in academia (especially us lefties) to have to clean up our act and this is a step in the right direction, as is this.

May 15, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, poverty, racism, republicans | , , , | Leave a comment

Contempt for the poor who get public aid

This is not one of those “other people suck but I am so wonderful by comparison” posts. I am talking about an attitude that I am prone to as well.

This post stems from seeing public reaction of the Baltimore riots, listening to people talk about the anti-poverty activities that they are involved in, discussing family situations and the like.
This is not a discussion about police actions; clearly there is a problem there.

This post is more about my reactions to hearing about the poor.

Example: someone told me that a principal at a low income school found that some of her students didn’t have warm winter coats (we live in Illinois, where the winters are very cold). So she called up a local Rotary club, which provided some. Yes, that was a good thing, but I felt anger toward the parents of those kids.

I feel the same way when someone says that they are outraged about child poverty and child hunger in the US: isn’t it PARENTAL responsibility to feed and clothe the kids?
Anger and contempt for these “parents” wells up in me.

Look at the biological mothers who have multiple kids (often via many different men) and think it is someone else’s job to provide for them:

Yes, these are individual examples, and I know that the question of “who uses welfare: chronic users or short time users” is a question which answer depends on how the question is framed: “at any given time, are they more chronic users than one time users” versus “of all who have ever used it, are there more chronic users or one time users”.

But this phenomenon of poor men having kids via multiple women is a real one, as even this “poor people friendly, liberal slanted” article admits:

Edin sees in these obstacles to full-time fatherhood a partial explanation for what’s known as “multiple-partner fertility.” Among low-income, unwed parents, having children with more than one partner is now the norm. One long-running study found that in nearly 60 percent of the unwed couples who had a baby, at least one parent already had a child with another partner.

Multiple-partner fertility is a formula for unstable families, and it’s really bad for children, which Edin acknowledges in the book. But rather than view “serial dads” as simply irresponsible, Edin suggests that they suffer from unrequited “father thirst,” the desire for the intense experience of being a full-time dad. Consciously or not, they keep trying until they finally sort of get it right, usually with the youngest child, to whom they devote most of their resources at the expense of the older ones.

Note the psychobabble employed to excuse the actions of these irresponsible men.

I should point out that the contempt is not an attitude exclusive to white conservatives. Read what Snoop Dogg (a black rap artist) had to say when he was defending his song lyrics when they were compared to what Don Imus said on television:

Snoop Dogg has issued a new warning: Don’t dare to compare his lyrics — or any other MC’s — to syndicated radio host Don Imus’ recent racially inflammatory comments about the black women on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. Imus called them “nappy-headed ho’s,” among other insults.

Admittedly, Snoop and some of his peers have called women “bitches” and “ho’s” in their lyrics, but as the Dogg put it Tuesday afternoon (April 10), there is no parallel to what Imus said.

“It’s a completely different scenario,” said Snoop, barking over the phone from a hotel room in L.A. “[Rappers] are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We’re talking about ho’s that’s in the ’hood that ain’t doing shit,…

And yeah, I feel that attitude too. I wonder why someone who is poor is also..well…fat, a smoker and making kids that they have no hope of being able to afford to raise properly.

Now as to causes, well, this post really isn’t about that. You have the conservative side that blames crappy morals and bad attitudes, and yes, even among the white poor.

On the other hand, the data suggests that, statistically speaking, social pathology follows joblessness and poverty and not the other way around and that, well, poverty itself leads to bad decision making.

But that isn’t always the reason.

That reminds me of what I saw recently. Many years ago, a brother and sister were left with an equal inheritance (low 6 figures). Both siblings had educational opportunities growing up; in fact both have masters degrees. But the life paths diverged. The “reasonably well off” one still has her money. I had predicted that the “perpetually in need” person would lose it all in 2 years time. Instead…he lost it in UNDER SIX MONTHS.

So, in some cases, stupidity plays a role in ending up poor to begin with. People indeed piss away opportunities.

And lottery winners frequently lose it all (70 percent do!)

Of course, the lottery is a poor risk to begin with…

So, what is this all about?

For me: it is probably fear. I know that I am….perhaps, one lay-off or one untimely illness/accident from being just like that. I’d like to think that I controlled ALL (or most) aspects of my life and don’t want to think that much of it was merely good fortune.

May 8, 2015 Posted by | Personal Issues, poverty, social/political | | 1 Comment

Poverty, Baltimore, disagreement, TPP, etc.

Baltimore protests and riots (which are different things)

The American Renaissance has a reputation as being a white supremacist site/publication. But some of what they say might appear to be merely “uncomfortable truth” that others are too polite or cowardly to say:

Discovers why blacks riot.
An article from yesterday’s New York Times about the relative calm in Baltimore stumbled by accident onto something like the real reason why blacks were rioting. Near the famous burned-out CVS–the city had begged the company to “invest” in a dodgy neighborhood–the Times reporter found someone it identified as “Robert Wilson, a college student who went to high school in Baltimore.” The article concludes with Mr. Wilson’s explanation of why blacks rioted. He said nothing about Freddie Gray or police brutality. Instead, he said this:

We’re just angry at the surroundings–like this is all that is given to us?–and we’re tired of this, like nobody wants to wake up and see broken-down buildings. They take away the community centers, they take away our fathers, and now we have traffic lights that don’t work, we have houses that are crumbling, falling down.

After the riots in Baltimore in 1968, whites panicked and sold their property at desperation prices. Now, these houses are “broken down” because blacks didn’t maintain them. This pattern of white flight and “broken down” houses was repeated in Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Washington, St. Louis, Memphis, Atlanta, Birmingham, Jacksonville, and countless other American cities. Some of the best city housing in the world was handed over to blacks who wrecked it. Neighborhoods filled with irreplaceable architecture are now wastelands.

Mr. Wilson complains that “we have houses that are crumbling, falling down.” The remedy for crumbling houses is for the people who live in them to fix them, but instead, Mr. Wilson asks, “Is this all that is given to us?”

This quote almost perfectly captures the black mentality that leads to rioting. Blacks live in neighborhoods that they, themselves, have wrecked, and then ask, “This is all that is given to us?”

Hard-working white people built the “broken-down” buildings Mr. Wilson is complaining about. Many had parquet floors, high ceilings, and fine moldings found today only in the most expensive new construction.

Like so many blacks, Mr. Wilson doesn’t realize how perverse it is even to think in terms of pleasant houses and neighborhoods being “given” to anyone. Does he imagine the white authorities “giving” nice neighborhoods to whites and cruelly handing out slums to blacks? They didn’t start out as slums. Whites saved and worked hard to build those neighborhoods. They maintained them, repaired them, and loved them.

But in today’s world of welfare, food stamps, government housing, and white guilt, Mr. Wilson doesn’t know any better than to ask for handouts.

Ok. Yes, it is true: those houses were once nice houses and now they aren’t; they weren’t kept up and yes, blacks were living in them when they went downhill.

But that is, at best, incomplete information.

For one: if these houses were rented (as they surely were), who is responsible for the major upkeep? Yes..the landlord. Who actually OWNED those houses?
And as far as the poor blacks that moved in: what we really had was well paying blue collar jobs leaving. Remember that higher education was less accessible to the poor, especially the black poor. They weren’t in a position to follow the paths of the well paying jobs.

Now as far as social pathology: yes, it is there. But the best evidence is that the dearth of employment opportunities and poverty come first; the social pathology follows. It is time to act economically. And yes, our poverty reduction measures have worked better than some claim.

TPP: Yes, much of this is about intellectual property and though this is not likely to be a disaster, Paul Krugman wonders why President Obama is spending political capital on this.

Robert Reich is a more passionate critic.

Me: sort of on the fence; I tend to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt based on how his other programs have worked out or are working out.

May 5, 2015 Posted by | economics, economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, poverty, racism, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment