Friday, November 25, 2011

We Are the 99.9% - Paul Krugman

The Ultra-Rich are not Job Creators:

Why do Republicans advocate further tax cuts for the very rich even as they warn about deficits and demand drastic cuts in social insurance programs?

Well, aside from shouts of “class warfare!” whenever such questions are raised, the usual answer is that the super-elite are “job creators” — that is, that they make a special contribution to the economy. So what you need to know is that this is bad economics. In fact, it would be bad economics even if America had the idealized, perfect market economy of conservative fantasies. ...

But, you say, the rich pay taxes! Indeed, they do. And they could — and should, from the point of view of the 99.9 percent — be paying substantially more in taxes, not offered even more tax breaks, despite the alleged budget crisis, because of the wonderful things they supposedly do.

Still, don’t some of the very rich get that way by producing innovations that are worth far more to the world than the income they receive? Sure, but if you look at who really makes up the 0.1 percent, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, by and large, the members of the super-elite are overpaid, not underpaid, for what they do. ...

So should the 99.9 percent hate the 0.1 percent? No, not at all. But they should ignore all the propaganda about “job creators” and demand that the super-elite pay substantially more in taxes.

This Video Makes It Perfectly Clear Why Karl Rove Is Terrified Of Elizabeth Warren

This Video Makes It Perfectly Clear Why Karl Rove Is Terrified Of Elizabeth Warren:

She’s solid as a rock, and there’s nothing the GOP can attack her on. It’s about time a candidate like Elizabeth Warren came along!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

If the Church Were Christian

In this world of religious fanaticism and widespread intolerance, this by author Philip Gulley is an extremely important message to reinforce:

If the Church were Christian...
1) Jesus would be a model for living rather than an object of worship
2) Affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness
3) Reconciliation would be valued over judgment
4) Gracious behavior would be more important than right belief
5) Inviting questions would be valued more than supplying answers
6) Encouraging personal exploration would be more important than communal uniformity
7) Meeting needs would be more important than maintaining institutions
8) Peace would be more important than power
9) It would care more about love and less about sex
10) This life would be more important than the afterlife

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Could Florida happen again?

Charles Stewart III of MIT and the Voting Technology Project in their milestone 100th Working Paper (emphasis added):

Nowadays, when I am asked “could Florida happen again?” I answer, “We won’t have any more problems of hanging chad, but I actually think the chance of a large-scale meltdown in many parts of the county are greater now than they were. I at least expect ‘another Florida’ in my lifetime.” The reason I answer this way is that innovation in the core technology of voting has failed to keep up with the challenges of the voting environment. At the same time, the “new” machines purchased with HAVA (Help America Vote Act) money have proven to have shorter life spans than initially estimated. Just as the pregnant chad problem was caused by the failure to keep up the maintenance of old technology that inevitably degrades, the “next Florida” is likely to come when a cash-strapped county somewhere in America lets its maintenance contract lapse, or fails to update its software in time.
In other words, low-tech human failures.

Animated map of nuclear explosions, 1945-1998

Here is a fascinating map animation that shows every detonation of a nuclear bomb through 1998, by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto. The Map Scroll posted this last fall when Boing Boing called attention to it and The New Yorker commented:

The New Yorker:

It is the sort of set of pictures that makes you want to read—to learn more, for example, about how it came to be that France exploded more than a tenth of those bombs (two hundred and ten); China blew up forty-five. Not that anyone was taking cover in Provence: if you don’t watch the icons above and below the map, you might think that Algeria, and not France, was the world’s fourth nuclear-armed power (and that Australia, not Britain, was the third). The Gerboise Bleue explosion, of a seventy-kiloton device, took place in 1960, in the Sahara desert, in the midst of the Algerian war; several others followed. (Later, after Algeria gained its independence, France’s tests moved to French Polynesia; its last one was in 1996.)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Supreme Court Justices can be Corrupt Politicians Too

Few justices allow political ideology to influence their judicial opinions as Scalia and Thomas do.

Not only do we have Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices using their offices to promote ideological political agendas, but also hiding their politically funded income from public view.

Antonin Scalia is the latest to cross the line with an announcement that he plans to address the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives. The New York Times editorial board accused Scalia of becoming a “Justice from the Tea Party,” for his planned participation in their caucus seminar. This isn’t Scalia’s first breach of court practices.

Scalia also spoke at a Koch Industries retreat, sponsored by two billionaire brothers with a history of supporting extreme right-wing positions.
Normally, when judges are personally involved in cases before the court, they recuse themselves because they cannot give an unbiased opinion when they have a conflict of interest. Supreme Court justices are legally exempt from this requirement, but few justices push their involvement with extremists as Scalia and Thomas have.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Who is Jared Lee Loughner?

This is the best analysis to date on the web of Jared Loughner's motivations:

"At this early stage, I think Loughner is probably best described as a mentally ill or unstable person who was influenced by the rhetoric and demonizing propaganda around him. Ideology may not explain why he allegedly killed, but it could help explain how he selected his target.

One thing that seems clear is that Giffords, who was terribly wounded but survived, was the nearest and most obvious representative of “the government” that Loughner could find."

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Even if Jared Loughner acted alone, he heard the rhetoric!

In the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, we must end the violent rhetoric that has exploded in American politics. Violent rhetoric has consequences. As stated by Sady Doyle:

It does not matter whether the man who shot Giffords was schizophrenic. There are a lot of schizophrenics who don’t shoot people!

What matters is this: That if you create a culture of violence, if you inflame anger (that’s fine to do, and often necessary!) and direct it toward specific targets (that’s fine to do, and often necessary!) and then point people in the direction of physical violence including gun violence as a solution, someone is going to take your word on that.

Someone is going to be vulnerable enough to your message to take you at your word and shoot someone, because they are:
  • Young
  • Stupid
  • Drunk
  • High
  • Just got dumped and full of rage that needs somewhere to go
  • Just got fired and full of rage that needs somewhere to go
  • Socially disempowered or disenfranchised, and (especially — in my experience — if they are white men, who are not taught to expect or deal with being socially disempowered) full of rage that needs somewhere to go
  • Poisoned by a toxic variety of masculinity that equates manhood with power and power with violence
  • Very unhappy and self-destructive
  • Isolated and unloved and willing to get attention by any means possible, even negative attention
  • Or just not thinking right, in some very rare cases due to mental illness, but with the above factors probably contributing, or else THEY ARE JUST NOT THINKING RIGHT
SOMEONE IS GOING TO HEAR THAT, AND IT IS GOING TO RESONATE IN THEIR MINDS THE WRONG WAY. I am all for anger; I am all for, even, pointing at someone and saying “here is a person to be angry at!” What I am not a fan of is going, “do you know what would help with your anger? Second amendment remedies. Guns, they will help with your anger.”

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Now we're talking --- James Galbraith goes against the tide

In my mind I have been questioning the wisdom of raising the retirement age for receiving full Social Security benefits, which seems to be the Beltway CW. Why force people who often won't live a long time to continue working, or in many cases, fruitlessly looking for work, until age 67, 68 or more? Here's an excerpt from Now we're talking --- James Galbraith goes against the tide.

The most dangerous conventional wisdom in the world today is the idea that with an older population, people must work longer and retire with less....

Older people who would like to retire and would do so if they could afford it should get some help. The right step is to reduce, not increase, the full-benefits retirement age. As a rough cut, why not enact a three-year window during which the age for receiving full Social Security benefits would drop to 62 -- providing a voluntary, one-time, grab-it-now bonus for leaving work? Let them go home! With a secure pension and medical care, they will be happier. Young people who need work will be happier. And there will also be more jobs. With pension security, older people will consume services until the end of their lives. They will become, each and every one, an employer.