Friday, July 31, 2015

The crippling blindness of the punditry]

I normally like the CSM, but publishing this idiot has me doubting things.
If there's anything that's true about the United States of Amnesia, it's that our crisis of armed violence against African-Americans has everything to do with decisions of the founders.

All of this happened in the wake of the tragic and totally senseless shooting in Charleston, S.C., an event that had little if nothing to do with any of our Founding Fathers.

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The other most under-appreciated president ever nails it at 90

(LBJ being the other)

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

WORD: Catholic Nun Explains Pro-Life In A Way That Will Stun Many

> "I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sugar, the sweet poison

The most familiar chemical additive may be the most deadly.

The Evidence Supports Artificial Sweeteners Over Sugar - The New York Times

Shared via my feedly reader

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Monday, July 27, 2015

Krugman nails conservative "analyses"

As in so many cases, the self-styled hardheaded realists are nothing but phony blowhards who start with the desired answer (cut taxes and regulation, privatize, etc.) and reason backwards to their desired policy prescriptions (cut taxes, privatize, etc.)

The real reason conservatives want to do away with Medicare has always been political: It's the very idea of the government providing a universal safety net that they hate, and they hate it even more when such programs are successful. But when they make their case to the public they usually shy away from making their real case, and have even, incredibly, sometimes posed as the program's defenders against liberals and their death panels.

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Noam Chomsky: Bubble Tests Yield Meaningless Rankings - Living in Dialogue

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

Transit districts, not cities should be the ones to tax and regulate Uber/Lyft type services

Portland and Salem are both taking steps to try and figure out rules for the new "network" rideshare providers like Uber and Lyft.

This is because cities see these services as competitors to taxi services, which cities have historically regulated.

So this is a good opportunity to fix a historically based regulatory mismatch at the same time as promoting a general improvement in the public welfare.

First, the right local government to regulate the Ubers and Lyfts are the transit districts, not the cities. This is because, done right, these network rideshare services can fill gaps in the transit services, and augment mobility.

Second, the Ubers and Lyfts have to help with the challenge of ADA transportation burdens, which have all been dumped on the transit systems -- which is wrong, but right now, that's the state of play. What "helping" means is that every Uber and Lyft ride that is NOT in a vehicle capable of giving a handicapped person a ride is taxed, with the tax going to the transit system. Probably, the natural setpoint for this tax is the regular single-trip busfare for the number of riders.

The Ubers and Lyfts will howl, of course, since their business model is to avoid responsibility for anything they can avoid, to boost profits. But we don't have to listen to the howling. In Salem and Portland, the threat of Uber isn't just that it will kill cabs --- it's the threat to transit systems that should concern us. If these new networked ride providers succeed, it will be at the expense of the regular transit system, leaving an even worse budget calamity for supporting ADA accessibility.

Third, and in partial compensation for the tax, is that for every rideshare vehicle that IS capable of transporting the handicapped, the transit system should pay the fare whenever a person who could call on the paratransit service uses the Uber or Lyft ride instead. In other words, we make the paratransit system a true alternative that offers disabled people something like equivalent mobility 24/7.

Fourth, all networked rideshare providers pay a small transit tax on each ride, regardless of whether the vehicle is handicapped accessible or not, but the tax is only during those hours when the transit system is in operation. So during regular hours, riders using a networked provider help support the transit system that they will want to fall back on during those moments when Uber and Lyft don't have a vehicle available, or when their "surge" pricing makes them unattractive.  But there's no such tax in the middle of the night when the transit system isn't running.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

THIS. Brilliant.

This is so great. I'm not much of a weightlifter -- slices of pizza being my heaviest lift most days -- but this is a great example of a deep insight.

So many problems in society need a dose of this kind of thinking: Instead of adding force and insisting that the solution is more power (more of what is already not working), why not reverse the problem and see an elegant solution.

There's an important lesson here, with applications everywhere, for all who have eyes to see.

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."

There's a simple way to end gerrymandering. Too bad Congress made it illegal. - Vox 

Years back, a law professor told me that when she teaches a class on the drawing of legislative districts, she leaves the issue of multi-member districts for last because it solves all the problems too well and makes the rest of the material uninteresting.

I was reminded of that when I read Kim Soffen's Upshot column about the way geography rather than gerrymandering disadvantages Democrats in Florida when it comes to the US House of Representatives. . . .  

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."