Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Abstinence-only flops

Yet another study correlates abstinence-only sex education with increased rates of teen pregnancy.  I grant that correlation isn't causation, but if such education really worked, one would expect the effect would be seen in the statistics.  Sadly, the reverse appears to be true.  It's time to bust this myth.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Things to Tax

Taxing opportunities are plentiful.  As noted elsewhere, excessive income doesn't translate into increased happiness.  But it does channel resources into activities that benefit the few instead of society as a whole.  Appropriate taxation would bring the system back into balance.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy the Constitution

The OCCUPIED amendment to get corporations out of direct political contributions probably has as much chance as Boehner's balanced budget amendment.  But it would do a great deal more good for the country.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Yam What I Yam

The orange-colored sweet potatoes are not really yams. We just call
them that.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Scientist have determined happiness doesn't increase with incomes higher than $75K.  What would our tax structure look like if  there were a $75K standard deduction and highly aggressive tax brackets above that?

Clarence Thomas and Ethics

Here is an example of how powerful people just don't have to follow the same rules as everyone else.  Without enforcement, rules don't mean much.

What Voter Fraud?

When Republicans generate rules for voting that effectively limit voter participation, we need to be sure to point out that they have nothing to do with voter fraud.  A study of New Mexico voting shows that it simply doesn't exist.  Everyone should call the Republicans on their BS.  Why would they want to put energy into solving a non-existent problem when the solutions for it have the by-product of helping them win elections?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Local Republicans Hold Human Needs Hostage

If you want any appearance of compassion from our local (Republican) state legislators you must accede to their agenda.  That's how they think.  If they can just make it bad enough for enough people, eventually the Democrats will have to play by their rules.  In other arenas of life, this is called extortion.

Scrat is for real

Turns out there really was a sabre-toothed squirrel.

Food chemical regulations rely heavily on industry self-policing and lack transparency, report finds

There may be reason to expect a food quality crisis in the future akin to our recent banking crisis because similar regulatory practices are at work.  Regulation has to be independent.  Otherwise, given financial pressures and human nature, it is prone to corruption.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Mount Rainier Casts a Shadow On The Clouds

How often do you see a mountain casting a shadow on the clouds above?  A spectacular photo.

One More Republican Canard Exposed

Bruce Bartlett confesses that the idea that regulation costs jobs was just made up back in the Reagan days.  It isn't regulations or lack of cash in the hands of millionaires that are the cause of our bad economy.  It's the lack of demand.  Prudent economic policy should channel money out of the hands of the rich folks and into the hands of the poor and middle-class so they can spend it on goods and services.

Here's to Hope

The Republican majority in the House is in danger.  We would be so much better off when sanity finally returns to our government.  Just think of it: responsible fiscal policy, real banking reform, healthcare that works, genuine infrastructure investment for future growth.  The possibilities boggle the mind.

The Internet isn't free

The internet and the its requisite server farmers account for two percent of the global energy use.

Geothermal Potential

A recent geothermal survey shows that potential sites for energy production are spread across the country.  Newer techniques require less intense heat sources and that broadens the potential even further.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Here Comes Solar Energy

The problems with Solyndra notwithstanding, solar power is on its way.
Solyndra’s failure was actually caused by technological success: the price of solar panels is dropping fast, and Solyndra couldn’t keep up with the competition. In fact, progress in solar panels has been so dramatic and sustained that, as a blog post at Scientific American put it, “there’s now frequent talk of a ‘Moore’s law’ in solar energy,” with prices adjusted for inflation falling around 7 percent a year.

Waking Up

A recent poll shows that moderates and independents are waking up to the idea that Obama is trying to do something constructive while Republicans just want to block everything.  They will do everything they can to stop his policies and then blame him for lack of accomplishments during the election.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Government Can Create Jobs

Peter Goodman makes the case that the to reduce joblessness in uncertain economic times is for the government to put people to work doing things that have value; education, infrastructure, etc.

Only ideological silliness (and, let's face it, Republican obstructionism), prevents the obvious fix: having the government put people back to work in the service of public goods such as infrastructure, education, public health and research. But we can at least begin to address the dire picture of joblessness by dispatching the notion that the government can't create jobs.

Anyone willing to write a check can create a job. Only two camps have access to a big enough checkbook to create enough of them to make a difference. The private sector must answer to corporate shareholders who have no appetite for hiring until they see profits attached to adding payroll. The government is supposed to answer to the rest of us. Where is the constituency against job creation?

Oligarchy, American Style

Anyone who has tracked this issue over time knows what I mean. Whenever growing income disparities threaten to come into focus, a reliable set of defenders tries to bring back the blur. Think tanks put out reports claiming that inequality isn’t really rising, or that it doesn’t matter. Pundits try to put a more benign face on the phenomenon, claiming that it’s not really the wealthy few versus the rest, it’s the educated versus the less educated.

So what you need to know is that all of these claims are basically attempts to obscure the stark reality: We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only