Friday, November 16, 2012

The United Grapes of America

What's red and blue, and purple all over?  The United Grapes of America.
(For those of you who remember the "Alexander the Grape" jokes.)

The electoral map (cartogram, actually) that is much more reflective of the reality of the American populace than the silly and misleading Mercator-projection (?) geographical map they show us all the time.  Check out the link.  Many other interesting variations. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Long Con: Social Security and Medicare in the “Grand Bargain”

Update below.

“Social Security and Medicare have absolutely nothing to do with the short-term U.S. fiscal problem.”

And, no, not “long-term,” either, in any way that requires what’s being proposed.   Please, read the article by William Lind, which contains the chart and quote linked above.  It’s a clear, short analysis that I hope will put an end for you to the mendacious tropes constantly peddled throughout the media that suggest the opposite.  Let it sink in, once and for all: absolutely nothing.  (You might also want to take a look to my previous post on Social Security, to see that this program is one of the United States government’s biggest creditors.) 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Choices: What to Do Instead

[Escape from New York delayed completion of this post this until after election night. All the better. Now that the great danger has been dodged, let’s look to the future.  Advisories: 1) I’m talking here about presidential elections.  2) You really have to see the videos.]

Having made the case against voting for Obama in a previous post, it’s only fair for me to suggest the alternative. 

I value the right to vote as fundamental.  I have seen how people who don’t have that right fight for it, and how people who get it for the first time eagerly embrace it, and go to extraordinary lengths to use it.  Although I consider electoral politics only one aspect of a thoroughgoing democratic polity and of individual democratic engagement, it would be hard to conceive of a democratic schema, no matter how revolutionary, in which a transparent, trusted voting process was not important.  It may be one among many, but a vote is an important political tool/weapon, and a terrible thing to waste.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

As I was saying...

Update on previous post, "Social Security in the Great Jambalaya,":  Dean Baker, in The Guardian, "Cutting back benefits could mean delays in repaying the government bonds held by the Trust Fund. The money to repay these bonds would come primarily from a relatively progressive income tax revenue,,,,Politicians, especially Democrats, who speak up for cuts to social security can count on lavish praise from the media." 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Escape from New York

No power or water in our downtown Manhattan apartment. Won't be for many days. (A few blocks from the Con Ed plant that exploded). Fought our way uptown through the zombie zone to my nephew's apartment on the upper west side, where everything is copasetic, and all folks are worried about is whether they can get the sushi delivered. 

Worst thing I've seen in the city in my long life as a native New Yorker. Fleeing to wife's homestead in western PA, where her father tends a lovely garden in the shadows of the cooling towers of a power plant that's still fully functional.

So, a chunk of the city without electrical power, running water, public transportation, neighborhood businesses, and the other part with crowded pubs and Starbucks. Hmm...a little hint of first world/third world dichotomy right here in River City (impinging somewhat more obviously on the cool kids of Manhattan than, say, Camden, does). A wet run, perhaps, for more to come?

Second post on Election Choices will be late.

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