Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bleary-eyed posting

I have one of those colds where I can barely read because my eyelids are too heavy. This doesn't mean I sleep, it just means I'm bored a lot. I mean, I could go to bed with my Pratchett book, but my eyes just do not want to stay open for anything, even Terry. I don't know how I'll file my ballot papers since I can't read them. So here are some links I started to collect when i could still see:

We do have a presidential candidate who is talking tough on a genuinely difficult issue. She's also the first Jewish presidential candidate.
One of the ground-breaking innovations of Obama's "signature triumph", the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, aka ACA), is reduced nursing home care in Tennessee.
The Curious Case of the Part Time Worker: The BLS Jobs Report Covering September 2012

We all know that Romney's tax proposal can't work - but what is Romney's tax proposal? And why did Obama misstate it?

Find the secret code words for "Social Security Cuts".

The "why Obama lost the debate" genre is of some fascination to me. Here's Doug Henwood's contribution "What do liberals stand for these days? Damned if I know. It's not a philosophy you can express in aphorisms. (Yeah, politics are complex, and slogans are simple, but if you've got a passionately held set of beliefs you can manage that contradiction.) Too many qualifications and contradictions. They can't just say less war and more equality, because they like some wars and want to bore you with just war theory to explain the morality of drone attacks, and worry about optimal tax rates and incentives. Join an empty philosophy to an empty personality and you get a very flat and meandering performance in debate. Romney believes in money. Obama believes in nothing."

CMike has been kind enough to supply the remarks of Presidents Johnson and Truman on the occasion of the signing of Medicare: "Not one of these, our citizens, should ever be abandoned to the indignity of charity. Charity is indignity when you have to have it. But we don't want these people to have anything to do with charity and we don't want them to have any idea of hopeless despair."

Theodore Sturgeon once had a dry spell, and in desperation, wrote to Robert A. Heinlein about his writer's block. The response was as generous as could be. Via Mark Evanier, to whom we send our condolences over the loss of his mother. I'm glad you have such fond memories of her, Mark, and no big regrets about your relationship with her. That's worth more than gold.

12 comments:

  1. Myself, I'm rereading Caleb Carr's The Alienist. It helps gives me some valuable insight into the Romney campaign. next i'll reread the sequel, The Angel of Darkness to give me some insight into Sarah Palin.

    Anyway, on the homefront, this is fixing to be the scariest Halloween ever.

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  2. Simple fact 1: It takes between 120,000 and 150,000 new jobs a month to keep up with population growth. So the actual zero line for job growth is a little north of 125,000, not really zero.
    Simple fact #2: Median household income has not stopped going down. It's been going down for four years. Don't get swindled by "average". If Bill Gates goes to a soup kitchen, the average net worth of everyone there is a billion dollars, but it's still Bill Gates and 50 or 60 bums.

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    1. Simple fact 1 update per Paul Krugman (NYTimes):

      [indent]>>>>>On the employer side [CMike- the Current Employment Statistics, aka the "Establishment Survey"], the current numbers say that over the past year the economy added 150,000 jobs a month, and revisions will probably push that number up significantly. That’s well above the 90,000 or so added jobs per month that we need to keep up with population. (This number used to be higher, but underlying work force growth has dropped off sharply now that many baby boomers are reaching retirement age.)<<<<<[end indent]

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    2. I really enjoyed Krugman's innuendo about Jack Welch cooking the books at GE, but for the life of me I can't believe anyone can be at the point where they are talking about "good" job numbers. In fact, if Welch meant to make it look like Obama's job figures were good, he succeeded.

      Good job numbers would put unemployment at no more than 4%. Period.

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    3. Back in '09 The Economist said [link]:

      [indent]>>>>>>Under Mr Welch, GE's accounting was so creative it could be hung on the wall of the Museum of Modern Art (although it was all within legal bounds). Frequent use was made of off-balance-sheet vehicles, on a greater scale even than Enron. The firm's huge, opaque financial arm, GE Capital, was used as a top-up fund in case profits in the rest of the business fell below the consistent growth promised by Mr Welch. Over the 80 or so quarters he was in charge, GE's profits grew so consistently they were almost a straight line. Those were the days....

      And there's the rub. Since leaving GE, Mr Welch's reputation has remained strong, whereas GE's has sunk into the mire. Thanks to its plunging share price, its market capitalisation is now barely 20% of what it was when Mr Welch left. There has been growing pressure on Mr Immelt to offload GE Capital, both from shareholders and now, it seems, judging by the proposed reforms of financial regulation announced on June 17th, from the government. Mr Immelt's grip on the top job seems to be weakening.[*]

      All of which raises a big question. Is GE's poor performance since Mr Welch left a reflection of how good a job he did, and how hard he has been to replace? Or is it his legacy?...<<<<<[end indent]

      *CMike -- Turns out not to worry, Mr. Immelt has led GE back to glory through the miracle of the market (i.e., access to the Fed window and other government favors).

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  3. Regarding Henwood's riff, I guess none of us are liberals then. Why should the president, who correct me if I'm wrong has never self-identified as one, reflect on millions of authentic liberals? We know exactly what we stand for--those pledging fealty to party or candidate have clearly lost the plot.

    "What do liberals stand for these days? Damned if I know. It's not a philosophy you can express in aphorisms. (Yeah, politics are complex, and slogans are simple, but if you've got a passionately held set of beliefs you can manage that contradiction.) Too many qualifications and contradictions. They can't just say less war and more equality, because they like some wars and want to bore you with just war theory to explain the morality of drone attacks, and worry about optimal tax rates and incentives. Join an empty philosophy to an empty personality and you get a very flat and meandering performance in debate. Romney believes in money. Obama believes in nothing."

    But he's right about the inherent limits of centrism--if you explained 3rd way rhetoric in bald terms you'd garner no pluralities. Thus the need for gifted speakers, ideally ciphers who've not been observed particularly closely, their actual records, who can spin their variation on subservience to the oligarchy successfully. But when you see what this means in reality, the marriage of corporations and government, the continued abandonment of everything FDR and LBJ stood for (except for bombing the poor and the brown, mind you), well, of course you might listen to what the other phony in the race is clucking about.

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    1. This is extraordinarily well said, JC.

      That's exactly right: there is no popular constituency for what they're actually about, so they need better and better Obamas --which they're hard at work creating for us.

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  4. I've got the same damned thing, and it's miserable. Get well soon.

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  5. Yes, get well, Avedon.

    But it's not reasonable to blame the Affordable Care Act for what Tennessee is doing. In the case of home care, this is a debate that's been going on for years. People who are able to provide the assistance to their parents at home want the extra money. I think the evidence is that home care funding tends to get poorly used, but you'll find plenty of people on the opposite side of that opinion. The Kaiser report linked from the story you link gives the example of a woman who doesn't want to lose her independence or be separated from her dog, both of which would happen if she went to a nursing home.

    In the larger picture, the unrestrained rise in the cost of medical care combined with congressional parsimony has been creating unacceptable outcomes for years. Critically ill people getting refused care at hospitals. People who are unable to care for themselves being discharged immediately after surgery. Nursing homes where patients wallow in their own excrement. This is the real problem. Blaming ACA for what Tennessee is doing is backwards.

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    1. The above post from Charles, who foolishly used OpenID which used to work in the old commenting system

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  6. [Would someone tell Jay A. it's sometimes Miami of Ohio, never Miami and Ohio? He was at it again when speaking to Dave Johnson.]

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    1. I'll try to tell him in the next couple of days.

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