I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
that I have found appealing and/or amusing over the years;
and, if you choose, your civil contributions which will make it into a conversation.

He not busy bein' born, is busy dyin'. - Bob Dylan

Please refer to participants only by their designated identities.

suggestion for US citizens: When a form asks for your race, write in: -- American

Saturday, April 30, 2011

prohibition

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I am against prohibition.

We tried it with alcohol and all we got for it was organized crime.

That type of organized crime is one of the things that comes from drug prohibition except that this one is international.

But there is a lot more than just that. With the sentences that we give out for drug crimes in America we are ruining the lives of millions of people.

The land of the free has a larger percentage of its population in prison than any other country in the world. That is not compared to the industrialized world. Not the developed world. Not just democracies. Greater than any other country in the whole world!! We have 6% of the world's population and 24% of its prisoners.

Why? Well for one thing about half of all of the people in federal prisons are there for drug related crimes (as in manufacture, sale, possession, or use).

What we are doing now isn't working.

I am not advocating a laissez faire attitude toward drugs. Treat marijuana like liquor and exercise even greater control over hard drugs. But, at least, get rid of the criminal penalties for possession of personal amounts.

In Alberta, Canada all liquor is sold from stores operated by the government. The tax on it is high, so high that the cost of wine for home use is as high as consumption in a bar or restaurant. They pay for their health care with the funds from those sales and taxes.

Maybe it is God's will that our approach to this continues to be that we do the first thing that pops into our head: lock'em up. But He gave us these brains and I don't think that it is likely that He would be offended if we were to use them in dealing with this problem.
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Gang of six

This is from a letter from No Labels.

With only a few more days until Congress resumes session, both sides are gearing up for a fight. Democrats are refusing to cut entitlement programs. Republicans are demanding no new taxes. One thing is clear: this intransigence will only lead us further from a solution.

But amidst the loud voices of the extremes and the petty partisan bickering, six senators have come together—despite their differences—to formulate a plan.

These senators, known as the ‘Gang of Six’, have been working together to introduce a bipartisan deficit reduction deal that could be agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans alike. The plan is widely expected to be rolled out next week, but already critics are lashing out.

A letter from No Labels

If our leaders aren’t willing to sit down and hear these proposals, how will we ever find a solution?

In the next several weeks, Congress will decide the fate of our financial future. The 'Gang of Six' are working together and putting their labels aside for the future of our country -- now we need you to do the same. Click here to send a letter to your local newspaper and make your voice heard. Let your neighbors and representatives know there are citizens who demand a bipartisan solution. We can ensure our future economic stability - but only if we do it together.

Now is the time to stand up and speak out. The stakes are too high for silence.


Many thanks,


Nancy Jacobson & Mark McKinnon
Co-Founders of No Labels

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Charlotte Church

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Listen and watch Charlotte sing What Child is This?

Washington DC

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The continuing problem of representation for the people who live in Washington D C (600,000) arose again as a result of the recent compromise on the budget.
PBS had a story on this last night and there are all sorts of solutions that were very complicated and involved constitutional considerations.
The problem is that MCs (members of congress) are assigned to states and DC isn't a state. They made a special case for DC in 1964 and gave them 'the number of votes in the electoral college that they would have had if they were a state.' That took a constitutional amendment.

It was set up that way. "not exceeding ten Miles square" was the wording in the constitution.Virginia and Maryland ceded 100 square miles of land to the Feds to make DC. It was a rotated square. In 1847 the Feds ceded back to Virginia its part leaving the 2/3 that came from Maryland to be the District of Columbia. That part of Virginia is roughly the city of Arlington. Not all of the government is in DC. The Pentagon and CIA headquarters are in Virginia. Not everybody whose office is in DC lives in DC. All sorts of people who work in DC live in Virginia.

I'll bet that the alert reader saw a solution to the DC problem in that last paragraph.

Take 6 or 8 square miles of the capital that contain all the government buildings (in the current DC), restaurants, hotels, and a lot of room for more of them and enought for parks etc etc. Draw a line around it. Give the rest back to Maryland. Zone what the feds keep for business, government and parks. Don't let anybody but the President and VP live there. Repeal the amendment that gave DC electoral votes.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Mr. Y article

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As I mentioned before my complaint with Bill Clinton is that he did not seize upon the post Cold War era and lead the world in framing the new world order. For 20 years we have willy-nilly watched this new world unfold without laying out a new approach. Time is running out. These folks have something to say on the subject.

PREFACE

By Anne-Marie Slaughter
Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs
Princeton University
Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State, 2009-2011


The United States needs a national strategic narrative. We have a national security strategy, which sets forth four core national interests and outlines a number of dimensions of an overarching strategy to advance those interests in the 21st century world. But that is a document written by specialists for specialists. It does not answer a fundamental question that more and more Americans are asking. Where is the United States going in the world? How can we get there? What are the guiding stars that will illuminate the path along the way? We need a story with a beginning,
middle, and projected happy ending that will transcend our political divisions, orient us as a nation, and give us both a common direction and the confidence and commitment to get to our destination.

These questions require new answers because of the universal awareness that we are living through a
time of rapid and universal change. The assumptions of the 20th century, of the U.S. as a bulwark
first against fascism and then against communism, make little sense in a world in
which World War II and its aftermath is as distant to young generations today as the War of 1870
was to the men who designed the United Nations and the international order in the late 1940s.
Consider the description of the U.S. president as “the leader of the free world,” a phrase that
encapsulated U.S. power and the structure of the global order for decades. Yet anyone under
thirty today, a majority of the world’s population, likely has no idea what it means.

Moreover, the U.S. is experiencing its latest round of “declinism,” the periodic certainty that we
are losing all the things that have made us a great nation. In a National Journal poll conducted in
2010, 47% percent of Americans rated China’s economy as the world’s strongest economy, even though
today the U.S. economy is still 2 ½ times larger than the Chinese economy with only 1/6 of the
population. Our crumbling roads and bridges reflect a crumbling self-confidence. Our education
reformers often seem to despair that we can ever educate new generations effectively for the 21st
century economy. Our health care system lags increasingly behind that of other developed nations – even behind British National Health in terms of the respective overall health of the British and American populations.

Against this backdrop, Captain Porter’s and Colonel Mykleby’s “Y article” could not come at a more
propitious time. In 1947 George Kennan published “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” in Foreign Affairs
under the pseudonym X, so as not to reveal his identity as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. The X
article gave us an intellectual framework within which to understand the rise and eventual fall of
the Soviet Union and a strategy to hasten that objective. Based on that
foundation, the strategic narrative of the Cold War was that the United States was the leader of
the free world against the communist world; that we would invest in containing the Soviet Union and
limiting its expansion while building a dynamic economy and as just, and prosperous a society as
possible. We often departed from that narrative in practice, as George Kennan was one of the first
to recognize. But it was a narrative that fit the facts of the world we perceived well enough to
create and maintain a loose bipartisan national consensus for forty years.

Porter and Mykleby give us a non-partisan blueprint for understanding and reacting to the changes
of the 21st century world. In one sentence, the strategic narrative of the United States in the
21st century is that we want to become the strongest competitor and most influential player in a
deeply inter-connected global system, which requires that we invest less in defense and more in
sustainable prosperity and the tools of effective global engagement.

At first reading, this sentence may not seem to mark much of a change. But look closer. The Y
article narrative responds directly to five major transitions in the global system:

1) From control in a closed system to credible influence in an open system. The authors argue
that Kennan’s strategy of containment was designed for a closed system, in which we assumed that we
could control events through deterrence, defense, and dominance of the international system. The
21st century is an open system, in which unpredictable external events/phenomena are constantly
disturbing and disrupting the system. In this world control is impossible; the best we can do is to
build credible influence – the ability to shape and guide global trends in the direction that
serves our values and interests (prosperity and security) within an interdependent strategic
ecosystem. In other words, the U.S. should stop trying to dominate and direct global events. The
best we can do is to build our capital so that we can influence events as they arise.

2) From containment to sustainment. The move from control to credible influence as a
fundamental strategic goal requires a shift from containment to sustainment (sustainability).
Instead of trying to contain others (the Soviet Union, terrorists, China, etc), we need to focus on
sustaining ourselves in ways that build our strengths and underpin credible influence. That shift
in turn means that the starting point for our strategy should be internal rather than external. The
2010 National Security Strategy did indeed focus on national renewal and global leadership, but
this account makes an even stronger case for why we have to focus first and foremost on investing
our resources domestically in those national resources that can be sustained, such as our youth and
our natural resources (ranging from crops, livestock, and potable water to sources
of energy and materials for industry). We can and must still engage internationally, of course, but
only after a careful weighing of costs and benefits and with as many partners as possible.
Credible influence also requires that we model the behavior we recommend for others, and that we
pay close attention to the gap between our words and our deeds.

3) From deterrence and defense to civilian engagement and competition. Here in many ways is the
hard nub of this narrative. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen has already said
publicly that the U.S. deficit is our biggest national security threat. He and Secretary of Defense
Robert Gates have also given speeches and written articles calling for “demilitarizing American
foreign policy” and investing more in the tools of civilian engagements – diplomacy and defense. As
we modernize our military and cut spending the tools of 20th century warfare,
we must also invest in a security complex that includes all domestic and foreign policy assets. Our
credibility also requires a willingness to compete with others. Instead of defeatism and
protectionism, we must embrace competition as a way to make ourselves stronger and better (e.g.
Ford today, now competing with Toyota on electric cars). A willingness to compete means a new
narrative on trade and a new willingness to invest in the skills, education, energy sources, and
infrastructure necessary to make our products competitive.

4) From zero sum to positive sum global politics/economics. An interdependent world creates many
converging interests and opportunities for positive-sum rather than zero-sum competition. The
threats that come from interdependence (economic instability, global pandemics, global terrorist
and criminal networks) also create common interests in countering those threats domestically and
internationally. President Obama has often emphasized the significance of moving toward positive
sum politics. To take only one example, the rise of China as a major economic power has been
overall very positive for the U.S. economy and the prosperity and stability of East Asia. The
United States must be careful to guard our interests and those of our allies, but we miss great
opportunities if we assume that the rise of some necessarily means the decline of others.

5) From national security to national prosperity and security. The piece closes with a call
for a National Prosperity and Security Act to replace the National Security Act of 1947. The term
“national security” only entered the foreign policy lexicon after 1947 to reflect the merger of
defense and foreign affairs. Today our security lies as much or more in our prosperity as in our
military capabilities. Our vocabulary, our institutions, and our assumptions must reflect that
shift. “National security” has become a trump card, justifying military spending even as the
domestic foundations of our national strength are crumbling. “National prosperity and security”
reminds
us where our true security begins. Foreign policy pundits have long called for an overhaul of NSC
68, the blueprint for the national security state that accompanied the grand strategy of
containment. If we are truly to become the strongest competitor and most influential player in the
deeply interconnected world of the 21st century, then we need a new blueprint.

A narrative is a story. A national strategic narrative must be a story that all Americans can
understand and identify with in their own lives. America’s national story has always see-sawed
between exceptionalism and universalism. We think that we are an exceptional nation, but a core
part of that exceptionalism is a commitment to universal values – to the equality of all human
beings not just within the borders of the United States, but around the world. We should thus
embrace the rise of other nations when that rise is powered by expanded prosperity, opportunity,
and dignity for their peoples. In such a world we do not need to see ourselves as the automatic
leader of any bloc of nations. We should be prepared instead to earn our influence through our
ability to compete with other nations, the evident prosperity and wellbeing of our people, and our
ability to engage not just with states but with societies in all their richness and complexity. We
do not want to be the sole superpower that billions of people around the world have learned to hate
from fear of our military might. We seek instead to be the nation other nations listen to, rely on
and emulate out of respect and admiration.

The Y article is the first step down that new path. It is written by two military men who have put their lives on the line in the defense of their country and who are non-partisan by profession and conviction. Their insights and ideas should spark a national conversation. All it takes is for politicians, pundits, journalists, businesspeople, civic leaders, and engaged citizens across the country to read and respond.

That was the preface.
Read the entire article here.
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Monday, April 25, 2011

debt ceiling

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They say we have to raise the debt ceiling no matter what.

So

In what sense is it a "ceiling"?
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Changes in attitude

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The rate of change in America's attitude toward same sex marriage is truly phenomenal.
See this article from the NYT.
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

bankruptcy is not a problem?

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My liberal friends (3 PM) A liberal friend tells me that worries about bankruptcy are just scare tactics by the Rs.

Last Monday, Standard and Poor downgraded its outlook on US government debt from stable to negative.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Doing the Right Thing

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by Niall FergusonApril 17, 2011

America finally comes to its senses and faces the fiscal facts.

“The United States will always do the right thing—when all other possibilities have been exhausted.” Thus Winston Churchill, who, as the son of an American mother, was entitled to say such things.

After a week on the road with my own 100 percent British son, visiting possible colleges from Dartmouth to Duke, I can confirm that the United States is finally getting close to doing the right thing.

Ours was quite a trip. It began in New Hampshire and took in Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C. We saw crunchy snow in the North and felt baking sunshine in the South. And we didn’t just do colleges. We also did conferences.



The odyssey began in Bretton Woods, N.H., at the Mount Washington Hotel, where, in 1944, the foundations for the postwar global economic order were laid. The shadow of John Maynard Keynes seemed to hover over the proceedings of the second meeting of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, founded in 2009 by George Soros.

Keynes was a believer in government deficits as a short-term expedient to combat depression. But even he would have regarded America’s current fiscal trajectory as disastrous. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s alternative fiscal scenario—which it sees as politically more likely than its baseline scenario—the federal debt could hit 344 percent of GDP by 2050. Interest payments would absorb nearly all federal tax revenues.

Keynes would also have been dismayed by the extent of America’s reliance on foreigners to finance its borrowing habit. Small wonder the No. 1 topic of discussion at Bretton Woods was the relationship between the United States and its primary creditor: the People’s Republic of China. The consensus at the conference was pretty clear. It’s not just that the Chinese need to wean themselves off an undervaluedexchange rate. Americans need to kick their deficit habit, and the money printing that goes with it.

Conspicuous by its near absence from the discussion was the Middle East, where real wars rather than currency wars are the worry. To grapple with America’s foreign-policy challenges, we had to get ourselves from Mount Washington to Washington, D.C., and the founding meeting of the McCain Institute, a new strategic think tank to be set up this year under the auspices of the University of Arizona.

The consensus around this table was that American foreign policy was in disarray and that the Arab Spring was unlikely to be followed by a summer of love in the Middle East. But what to do, with the military already overstretched and the defense budget set to fall from 5.1 percent of GDP to 3.4 percent by 2016? Something’s got to make way for all those interest payments, after all.

The most heartening thing about our road trip was the realization that such questions are not only on the minds of statesmen and professors. The students we met were also eager to discuss finance and politics. Even Joe Public now gets it: according to Gallup, 17 percent of Americans now see the deficit as the biggest problem facing the United States, compared with just 5 percent six months ago and practically zero a year ago.

Churchill had it right. The United States will always do the right thing once all the other possibilities have been exhausted. For a long time many people clung to the delusion that the United States could simply borrow $1 trillion a year for the rest of time. Now only two possibilities remain.

The first possibility is the one devised by Rep. Paul Ryan, which would eliminate the deficit largely through deep spending cuts and Medicare reform. Possibility two is President Obama’s bid to close the budget gap with more modest cuts and tax hikes on “millionaires and billionaires.”

It’s a bracingly binary choice. Shrink the government. Or squeeze the rich. It will be worth my son’s coming to college in the U.S. just to see which of the two Americas he chooses.

YA: Neither will be sufficient by itself.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tax Incentives for Mustaches

I've worn a beard and mustache for some time now, but have been considering transitioning to a mustache-only face.

Then today I came across this wonderful organization, and my decision was made.

I suppose that if John Bolton were to run for president in 2012, the AMI would have to endorse him.

Trump made me do it.

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I have not said anything about this because it all seemed so silly (and still does). I think it doesn't make any difference where Obama was born. His mother was a US citizen therefore any child of hers would be a citizen by virtue of his/her birth, i.e. a natural born citizen.

If you need another example I believe that John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone (perhaps) but it doesn't matter because his parents were US citizens.

I'm for Bill Gates for president cause he has more money than Trump.
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

San Jacinto Day

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This is the 175th anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto which was won by the "Texicans" and which established Texas independence from Mexico.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

a mooncast shadow

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"Rob Roy" is a movie in which Liam Neeson plays Robert McGregor an 18th century Scottish folk hero who has gotten crossways with some of the nobility. He is about to do one of those things that “a man’s gotta do”, something either foolish or honorable depending on your point of view. His wife, played by Jessica Lange, goes to see the Duke of Argyle to get him to intervene on Rob’s behalf. She explains that her husband would not appreciate her being there, but she must or else give him over entirely to his enemies. “And though I love his honor, it is but a mooncast shadow of the love I hold for him.”

corrected 5-26-11

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tax code expenditures

On April 15th I complained that Obama is apparently among those who think of that part of your income that you keep after taxation as "government spending".

It was based on his suggestion that we could reduce the deficit by "cutting expenditures in the tax code."

I thought he was thinking like those in the first paragraph. He may think that way, but that remark is not evidence of that because it appears that there is a genuine concept called a "tax code expenditure."

So here is what I think that I have learned since then.
The government supports certain activities roads, PBS, etc by direct subsidy. That is clearly an expenditure.

But they also support certain other activities by granting to a corporation or individual a deduction (or direct tax credit) for charitable giving or home mortgages. This also "costs the government money" and is therefore an "expenditure" just as surely as if the government sent a check. If you eliminate those things I mentioned or the farm subsidy program you reduce the deficit.

So it would appear that I was W... WR ... WRO ... . Well, I don't seem to be able to say the word, but you get the idea.
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

staking out positions

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The Rs have said that they want to revise medicare for those born after 1955.
O has delighted the left with his position defending the welfare state. Pretending that it can be done without hurting the middle class and elderly.

I am in the unhappy position of agreeing with the left about goals and with the right that it is time to quit pretending because something serious must be done.

Meanwhile Warren Buffet, whose credibility is somewhat higher than mine, says:

"If you ask me if the US dollar is going to hold its purchasing power fully at the level of 2011, 5 years, 10 years or 20 years from now, I would tell you it will not.”

and please notice the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) have agreed that we need a new international monetary reserve system. The world's confidence in the dollar is sinking. When it sinks our interest rates are going through the roof.

If we do not act soon it will go up in smoke.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The good ole days

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Here is a story that shows determination in the face of some things which were not go good about those days.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

1984 + 27

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Until I watched Jon Stewart afterwards, I didn't even notice that Obama had said that the way we would cut the deficit was "... and spending reductions in the tax code." That is just how you say raise taxes right?

I had forgotten that some politicians, and Obama is apparently among them, think of that part of your income that you keep after taxation as "government spending".

Jon wondered whether we would have enough savings to cut the deficit AND pay those royalties to George Orwell.

Added April 18,2011: It appears that there is a genuine concept called a "tax expenditure" I will say more on April 19th.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

a model

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Tom Coburn, a VCR (very conservative Republican), says:

“[Obama] is our president,” Coburn said. “He’s my president. And I disagree with him adamantly on 95 percent of the issues, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a great relationship. And that’s a model people ought to follow.”
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Welcome to a new contributor - emptyset

Emptyset
You are welcome. However I feel that I should tell you that my major professor seriously doubted your existence on the the grounds that a set is a collection of things and, therefore, could not be empty.

On Jefferson's birthday

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Thomas Jefferson was perhaps the only president who did not consider his presidency one of his major achievements.

His epitaph, written by him, reads:

"HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON
AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
OF THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
AND FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA." And below it:
BORN APRIL 2. 1743. O.S.
DIED JULY 4. 1826.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Who are we kidding?

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You may think that you understand how silly the government discussions about cutting the deficit are.

But maybe not. Consider this.
We are currently borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend.

Suppose that we got all of the spending cuts that the Rs want !AND! all of the tax increases that the Ds want. ALL of them.

Then we would still be borrowing 20 cents of every dollar we spend.

I know a family of three with an income of over 100,000 per year whose federal income tax for 2010 was less than 13% of adjusted gross income.

That is not excessive taxation.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

the American debt

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"If the dollar was not the international currency we would be Greece."

James Baker, former Secretary of Treasury and Secretary of State
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

the middle class 1

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There was a PBS news story a few weeks ago about some people who felt that the middle class had slipped by them. They had three people there who were telling their stories. One was a single mother in her late 30s with children who talked about how she couldn't get ahead or go to college. What they didn't tell us was what decisions these folks had made in their earlier lives. This seems pertinent to me. My inclination is to be sympathetic, but I don't think you get to make a lot of bad decisions, get natural results, and then claim that you are mistreated by the system.

Tom pointed out in a previous post that, when he was younger, they considered themselves to be middle class though they had much less than some of those who now consider themselves to be left out of the middle class.

PS What is needed is some good measures of what a healthy middle class looks like, so that we could compare ours then and now kind of thing. They are out there and it is on my list to find out what they are. But I haven't yet. Does anybody know some?
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Kaci Bolls at the Bluebird Cafe

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Well I've been away for a couple of days.

Went to see Kaci Bolls at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.

She is wonderful.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

something that bugs me a bit

I wish politicians would stop referring to the American people as if we were a monolith of support or dissent for a given topic, bill, idea, etc.

I have only recently started paying much attention to Washington D.C., and I am aware that this is, likely, not a new development...but it just bugs me when I hear things like:


"... I would once again encourage our Democratic friends to...support the kind of spending cuts that the American people have asked for..." - Mitch McConnell


Again, not the idea of spending cuts that necessarily bugs me, but rather the constant use of "the American people want/don't want" by R and D politicians.

Who is serious?

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In October of 1962 the world came perilously close "Nucular combat toe to toe withe the Rushkies" as Slim Pickens would describe the concept in Dr. Strangelove. President Kennedy and Secretary Khrushchev were exchanging letters and other types of communications. As it got more tense there came from Mr. Khrushchev two letters. One was hostile and one was conciliatory. According to The missiles of October Mr. Kennedy took the chance offered by Mr. Khrushchev and responded to the conciliatory one and ignored the hostile one.

I wonder if this might provide us with a way to measure how serious someone is. If Sarah Palin is constantly talking about Nancy Pelosi and death panels and ignoring the moderates, then perhaps she is not very serious about solving real problems. Similarly if, like Harry Reid, whenever you look to the right all you see are Tea Partiers, then maybe you are not very serious either.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

FDR and unions

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There has been a number of things recently suggesting that "even FDR was opposed to public employee unions." An example is the following from the Monmouth Musings.
Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.” Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

However: In Anchor Rising you find the following:
In a letter to a public employee union, Roosevelt explains that, yes, they do have a right to organize, but there are some restrictions:

"All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters."

"Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that "under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government."

So perhaps it was just public employee union strikes that FDR opposed not the existence of the union itself.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

centrist - 5

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A friend was talking about being a centrist the other day as if it was a choice.
I didn't decide to be a centrist.
The positions that I came to seemed to put me there.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

burning the Quran

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I have conflicting thoughts on Preacher SFB burning the Quran.

Has he said what it is he is trying to accomplish? Seems past silly.
If a nonreligious person did it, it would be silly. But a religious person should be able to imagine how it would feel to insult his holy things.

Then on the other hand. If you get offended by somebody half way around the world and your response is to go and kill somebody who had nothing to do with it, then ... .

Religion, really does make some folks crazy doesn't it.

The Guardian took a poll. Here are the results:

44.7% Yes, it is a provocative blasphemy against others' beliefs

55.3% No, it should be considered a legitimate free speech act

You've got to love the wording and the fact that they don't seem to recognize that it could be (and is) "both of these."
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

email

If it wasn't true, then they couldn't put it in an email.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2012 Candidates - April 2011

New stuff in bold.
Changes in italics.
Here are some possible candidates for the major party nominations for president in 2012.
The numbers in parentheses are my wild guesses about the percentage chance that each of them has, at this point, of getting the nomination.
My principal reaction to each is listed afterword. If you will point out stuff to me I can improve this description over time.

Democratic
Obama (99) I would consider him.

Republican
Mitt Romney (24)(was 26) I would consider him. Some say he has a problem in that the Romney health plan in MA is similar to Obama’s national plan. Some say that it is therefore a contradiction for Romney to oppose Obamacare is. I think not. But I don't know if he can make the case.
Mike Huckabee (18) (was 21) - Fails the YAMSLT. Is he running?
Sarah Palin (18) (was 21) - A lightweight. Fails the YAMSLT.
Mitch Daniels (16) - I would consider him. Very straight forward.
Tim Pawlenty (16) (was 08) - I would consider him.
Newt Gingrich (4) - I would have considered him.
……… I do not like his position on Park 51 – not only that they should not, but that Muslims do NOT even have the right to, build there.
Rick Santorum (1) former PA Senator - Too far right for me. Fails the YAMSLT.
Bobby Jindal (1)- Fails the YAMSLT.
Jim Demint (1) - Too far right for me
Jon Huntsman -(1)
Haley Barbour (0) - probably self removed by his citizens council remarks.
Donald Trump - (0)- Will not be a credible candidate.

John Thune -Says he’s not running.
Mike Pence – Says he’s not running.
Chris Christie – Says he’s not running. I would haver considered him.
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YAMSLT

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This is the Yellow Armadillos Math Science Literacy Test. Revised August 18, 2011

I expect political candidates that I support to be able to pass this test.

Q.1. If the annual budget for program X has a built in annual bump up of 11% per year and you reduce that bump up by 3%, then the change in the amount spent for program X is most accurately labeled as:
a) an 8% decrease, b) a 3% decrease, c) a 24% decrease, or d) an 8% increase.

Q.2. Can we eliminate the deficit by returning to the Clinton tax rate for those making over 250,000?

Q.3. Do you believe that, regardless of what the income tax rate is, cutting that rate will stimulate enough growth in the economy to increase revenue?

Q.4. Do you oppose teaching religious belief in science class?

Desired answers are in comment 1.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Might be interesting...

It's about a year old...But I don't suppose it could be much more up to date.

The new world order

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So here is the thing for which I cannot forgive Bill Clinton and to some extent Bush 41. The Cold War was over and it was time to lay the foundation for a new world. That would mean getting the leadership of both parties together and decide what our approach to the world for the next half century (or even a decade or two) would be.

Apparently, Bill didn't even think about it. Naw, something worth doin' will turn up.

See a discussion about this by Fareed Zakaria.
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