Thursday, November 29, 2012

Forget the Grand Bargain

Give up on the grand bargain.  Even if one were to be struck, it wouldn't survive the next election cycle.  In the meantime, the pursuit of it generates continuing uncertainty.  It would be better for Congress to work on today's problems today and let future congresses deal with the future problems.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Next Great Urban Transportation Device?

A system based on gondolas has been proposed for Austin. They would be cheaper than light rail since you wouldn't have to purchase rights-of-way or dig tunnels.

Buffet for a Minimum Tax for the Wealthy

Warren Buffet calls for a minimum tax for the wealthy.  In his experience, taxation levels have never entered in to investment decisions.
...we need Congress, right now, to enact a minimum tax on high incomes. I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that. A plain and simple rule like that will block the efforts of lobbyists, lawyers and contribution-hungry legislators to keep the ultrarich paying rates well below those incurred by people with income just a tiny fraction of ours. Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the wealthy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

U.S. Deficit Shrinking At Fastest Pace Since WWII

So, as a note to the deficit Chicken-Littles out there, our deficit is shrinking at an historical high rate.  We should push the austerity bomb down the road and let the cycle take its course.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sailing at 65 knots

How cool is this?  This specially-designed craft has broken the sailing "sound barrier" of 50 knots.  It clocked one run of just shy of 65 knots.  And I get excited when my old. lumbering Catalina breaks 6 knots.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

100-Watts, $50

A new 100-Watt Light Bulb that uses LED's but has a spectrum close to incandescent.  It can be dimmed.  Industrial users will like it because of its 25,000 hour life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New view of low-level radioactivity

Scientists include that even low-level radioactivity is damaging,  This means that everyone everywhere suffers some damage from radiation throughout their lives.  So the real question should be, "Do exposures from the nuclear industry make any detectable difference?"

More Election Consequences from Rachel Maddow

We are not going to have a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe versus Wade. There will be no more Antonin Scalias and Samuel Alitos added to this court.

We`re not going to repeal health reform.

Nobody is going to kill Medicare and make old people in this generation or any other generation fight it out on the open market to try to get themselves health insurance. We are not going to do that.

We are not going to give a 20 percent tax cut to millionaires and billionaires and expect programs like food stamps and kid`s insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut.

We`re not make you clear it with your boss if you want to get birth control under the insurance plan that you`re on.

We are not going to redefine rape.

We are not going to amend the United States Constitution to stop gay people from getting married.

We are not going to double Guantanamo.

We are not eliminating the Department of Energy or the Department of Education or housing at the federal level.

We are not going to spend $2 trillion on the military that the military does not want.

We are not scaling back on student loans, because the country`s new plan is that you should borrow money from your parents.

We are not vetoing the DREAM Act. We are not self-deporting.

We are not letting Detroit go bankrupt.

We are not starting a trade war with China on Inauguration Day in January.

We are not going to have, as a president, a man who once led a mob of friends to run down a scared, gay kid, to hold him down and forcibly cut his hair off with a pair of scissors while that kid cried and screamed for help and there was no apology, not ever.

We are not going to have a Secretary of State John Bolton. We are not bringing Dick Cheney back. We are not going to have a foreign policy shop stocked with architects of the Iraq war. We are not going to do it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The 'Obamacare Layoffs' Are Way Overblown

As one would expect, all the hype about layoffs driven by Obamacare is just that, breathless hyperbole.  Yet another example how portions of our population will believe anything that reinforces their preconceptions.  But that's just human nature I suppose.

Friday, November 09, 2012

No Deal Is Better Than A Bad Deal

Let’s Not Make a Deal.  Obama is in the driver's seat this time around.  Now is the time to return the tax rates back to the pre-Bush levels and save our economy and our government.  As for the fiscal cliff:
Nobody wants to see that happen. Yet it may happen all the same, and Mr. Obama has to be willing to let it happen if necessary.
Why? Because Republicans are trying, for the third time since he took office, to use economic blackmail to achieve a goal they lack the votes to achieve through the normal legislative process. In particular, they want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, even though the nation can’t afford to make those tax cuts permanent and the public believes that taxes on the rich should go up — and they’re threatening to block any deal on anything else unless they get their way. So they are, in effect, threatening to tank the economy unless their demands are met.

Gerrymandering Saves Republican Majority in the House

Democratic House candidates received more votes than Republicans.  If districts had been drawn to reflect a proper population distribution, we would have a Democratic House majority.  Republicans keep their majority because of their partisan control of redistricting at the state level.  This exposes a flaw in our political system.  But it should bode well in the upcoming policy battles.  People did not vote for a split Congress. It's just that way because of a technical fluke.  

Thursday, November 08, 2012

You think this is warm?

You ain't seen nuthin' yet.  After developing an appreciation for Nate Silver's election modeling, one might want to see what modeling on climate change is showing these days.

Share buttons added

I just figured out how to add Share buttons to the blog posts.  So, if you're so inclined, you can share away.

CBO: Letting upper-income tax cuts expire would barely hurt economy

There are plenty of daunting things in the Republican fiscal cliff,  but upper-income tax increases will have a minimal effect on the economy.  Talk about your low-hanging fruit.

HD 40307g

HD 40307g.  Remember that name.  It's a planet that is as close as 42 light-years away that could very well be suitable for liquid water and life.  Let's see what future observations bring.

Teachable Moment

It's a truism that in failure is when we actually learn something.  This election presented the opportunity for much to be learned by conservatives since their failure was so striking.  With thanks to Rachel Maddow, here's a list of things to learn:

Ohio really did go to President Obama. 
And he really did win. 
And he really was born in Hawaii
And he really is legitimately president of the United States, again.
And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. 
And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. 
And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. 
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math.
And climate change is real. 
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. 
And evolution is a thing.
And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us. 
And nobody is taking away anyone`s guns. 
And taxes have not gone up. 
And the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. 
And the moon landing was real. 
And FEMA is not building concentration camps. 
And U.N. election observers are not taking over Texas
And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services
industry in this country are not the same thing as communism.

She had so much good stuff to say in that broadcast, I may be putting some more up as I process it all.

The Tax Mandate

There is a mandate for higher taxes as a part of deficit reduction.  In all seats that hadn't been gerrymandered by Republican legislatures, Republicans lost.  The Republican majority in the House is a technical artifice and doesn't reflect the desires of the majority in the country at large.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Sandy Gets Occupied

If you have been wondering whatever happened to the Occupy Wall Street folks, it turns out that they continue to lead the way in community organizing.
So how did an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, best known as a leaderless movement that brought international attention to issues of economic injustice through the occupation of Zucotti Park in the financial district last year, become a leader in local hurricane relief efforts?  Ethan Murphy, who was helping organize the food at St. Jacobis and had been cooking for the occupy movement over the past year, explained there wasn’t any kind of official decision or declaration that occupiers would now try to help with the hurricane aftermath.  “This is what we do already, “ he explained: Build community, help neighbors, and create a world without the help of finance.  Horst said, “We know capitalism is broken, so we have already been focused on organizing to take care of our own [community] needs.” He sees Occupy Sandy as political ideas executed on a practical level.