What was that about a Democratic “enthusiasm gap”?
Whichever pollster coined that phrase neglected to consult with the citizens converging last week on the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall here. They filled the parking lot, then the one next door, then the one across the street.
It’s amusing to read articles recounting the amazing buffoonery of the republican presidential parade. They don’t account for much since none of the radical fringe of that party can or will be elected. There is really only one republican candidate worthy of serious consideration and that’s Mitt Romney. The dangerous thing about him is his ideological kinship with Barack Obama (or should I say Obama’s ideological kinship with Romney.) What’s dangerous is that Romney actually has a serious chance of getting elected and with him comes all the rest of the republican antisocial agenda. So enjoy the banter while it goes on but don’t waste much time on it. Instead, beware “liberal” Massachusetts politicians bearing nice smiles and good morals. Stalin had a nice smile too…
The Republicans’ War on Science and Reason
Katrina vanden Heuvel | Washington Post | 25 Oct 11
Last month, Washington Post columnist Steve Pearlstein wrote that if you wanted to come up with a bumper sticker that defined the Republican Party’s platform it would be this: “Repeal the 20th century. Vote GOP.” With their unrelenting attempts to slash Social Security, end Medicare and Medicaid and destroy the social safety net, Republicans are, indeed, on a quest of reversal. But they have set their sights on an even bolder course than Pearlstein acknowledges in his column: It’s not just the 20th century they have targeted for repeal; it’s the 18th and 19th too.
The 18th century was defined, in many ways, by the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement based on the idea that reason, rational discourse and the advancement of knowledge, were the critical pillars of modern life. The leaders of the movement inspired the thinking of Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin; its tenets can be found in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. But more than 200 years later, those basic tenets — the very notion that facts and evidence matter — are being rejected, wholesale, by the 21st-century Republican Party.
There has been lots of talk about how the internet has changed everything for better or worse. One way I can see it better is the site described below. The White House has just launched a new feature called ‘We The People – Your Voice in Our Government.’ As you will see if you click on the link, it enables anyone, even you, to petition the government to do whatever you want it to do. Get enough signatures on your petition and you’ll get action. What action, how fast, how effective, etc., remains to be seen. But as a mechanism of ‘democracy in action’ this is pretty cool. Thank you Barack…
The following article, which appears at Nation of Change.com, is the clearest display of the total lunacy of all the so-called ‘flat tax’ schemes that I have seen. I have heard people say they like this fellow Cain simply because he offers new ideas regarding taxes. Unfortunately they haven’t actually read what those ideas are. This is like someone announcing that since we’re all fed up with airline discomfort here’s a new plan… let’s all jump out!
Cain’s Plan: Minimum Wage Earners Pay 460 Times More Taxes Than Millionaires
The question of the supposed simplicity and fairness of a flat tax keeps popping up every few years in political debate, most recently with the 9-9-9 plan of Herman Cain. I just wanted to look at what this kind of flat tax would look like for people across the income range to see how fair and simple it would be. One question needs to be addressed before we can begin to look at real numbers. How much needs to be spent every month to meet the requirements of what the majority of people would consider to be necessities? How much do we need to pay our rent/mortgage, utilities, food, clothing, medical expenses, etc.? Let’s say we need a minimum of $1,000.00 each month for these basic necessities. Before you say “$1,000 a month, that is way too…” Were you going to say large a sum, or small? Though this is an argument that should be addressed, perhaps we can save it for another article and agree to use the figure of $1,000.00 per month for now. Let us also add that half of that money will be used for non-taxable expenses such as rent/mortgage and half would be taxable by a flat tax similar to sales tax.
When we lived on a boat we met many sailing families with kids. Without exception we found the kids raised and home-educated on boats to be brighter, more interesting and more motivated than their land-bound counterparts. One of the reasons was their lack of television and other digital diversions that addicts many young people in this country. This article describes a school which views computers as a hindrance to education, especially when they are used as surrogate teachers. Notably, the school is located in the center of the silicon valley home of the computer industry. Seems the people who make the gadgets don’t want their kids to grow up dependent on them. Maybe the next great app is no app at all…
A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute
Matt Richtel | NYTimes | 22 Oct 11
The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.
But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.
Ever had a hankering to take a ride on an F-15 with the Navy Blue Angels? If you’ve ever seen one of these taxpayer-financed exercises in male macho war-machine fantasy you may wonder what it’s actually like to travel at 700 mph within 15-feet of another aircraft while doing barell rolls and waving at the crowd. Anyway, here’s your chance to soar with the eagles… oops, sorry, Angels…
For those of you still living back in the stone age, pre Siri, that is the name of Apple’s perspicacious (and female) voice who answers all questions placed to the new iPhone 4S. Ask her any question and she replies with alarming accuracy, intuition and even humor. Inevitably one of the more creative types out there decided to sing a duet with his robot…