My barber for the last seven years has died. Mr. Willie L. Shivers was a wonderful man. He was 93!! He was still very active. Hell, he was more active that I am. If you have seen the movie Barbershop… that was Mr. Shivers. He always had something to say. He was thoughtful and kind. He didn’t mention the fact that he was a World War II veteran. When you think about it, is that all you want from someone? Mr. Shivers will be missed. He is survived by two children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Government shutdown – well, here we are again. It’s been a little over a year since we’ve heard the phrase “government shutdown.” Now we face discussions (or arguments, rather) over the federal budget and also about raising the debt ceiling. Last week, some lukewarm bill looked like it was coming to the floor before Republicans killed their own bill. Paul Krugman has more – So, now we face the imminent threat of a government shutdown and/or a U.S. government default because Republicans refuse to accept the notion that duly enacted legislation should be allowed to go into effect, and repealed only through constitutional means. The cause for such GOP threats of chaos is ensuring that tens of millions of Americans continue to lack essential health care.
Look, we always are trying to find the “key” to any mass murder. There seems to be this reflexive, knee-jerk reaction that we as Americans have to these incidents. We foolishly believe that if we had only unlocked one or two things, we could’ve seen this coming. Hogwash. The one thing that is clear is that we are terrible at predicting individual human behavior. It turns out that Aaron Alexis was in the VA hospital system. Although he had some ringing in his ears and some other disorders, he was not labeled as a paranoid schizophrenic. There are no simple answers. Investigations into how he slipped through the cracks and had clearance to be on a Navy Yard base will be ongoing for the next several months. Don’t expect there to be any specific revelations. We’ve seen how these investigations work. They simply will be inconclusive. On the other hand, there is one thing that is clear from this latest shooting incident. The NRA is completely wrong that a good man with the gun will beat a bad man with a gun. We simply need fewer guns. No other country in the world has the number of mass shootings that we do. BTW, did you read the sad note from the mother of Aaron Alexis? Continue reading News Roundup – Government Shutdown, Aaron Alexis, Economic Austerity→
The violence in Egypt is simply breathtaking. Maybe heartbreaking is a better term.. I understand that Egyptians, for the most part, weren’t happy with the Muslim brotherhood. I’m sorry. If you indeed had a free and fair election, you need to live with the consequences. I am sitting here in North Carolina seizing over what has happened to what was the most progressive state in the South. Our answer is not to take to the streets and begin randomly shooting people. Instead, we are organizing. We’re going to get more people registered to vote. We’re going to vote these ultra conservative Republicans out of office and take back our state.
Paul Krugman had two excellent posts yesterday. The first post had two things that were very interesting to me. First, Professor Krugman wondered if most Americans knew that the budget deficit has been rapidly decreasing. Somebody from Google got in contact with him and they quickly put out a survey. This isn’t the exact same thing as a poll, but it does give you an idea of the power of the Internet. The poll suggested that over 75% of the respondents had no idea that the federal deficit had significantly decreased. This brings me to my next point, that the budget deficit has significantly decreased compared to GDP.
In Paul Krugman’s other post, he talks a little bit about the economy in the Netherlands. The Netherlands had the kind of “Grand Bargain” that several in Washington have been arguing for for the last couple of years. Basically, cut the federal budget and cut the federal budget some more. Then, when you think you’re through, cut the federal budget once more for good measure. Well, this didn’t work out so well for the Netherlands. Their economy is in the tank. Continue reading News Roundup – Egypt, Paul Krugman, North Carolina→
It is kind of creepy that a landing gear from the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center was found yesterday.
One of the things that I find very interesting about our society is how myths continue to be perpetuated. One of my favorite myths is the notion that the United States government should balance its budget “because” it is just like your household budget. Absolute craziness. There are almost no similarities between the federal budget and our household budget. I know of no household able to set its own interest rates. I know of no household that is able to print its own money. Yet, we perpetuate this myth.
Paul Krugman went into some detail about the austerity myth yesterday. The austerity fantasy goes something like this – we have been bad as a country, as a nation, as a world. We’ve overspent. Therefore, we must cut back on spending in order to fix the problem. Sure, this worldwide cutback will cause some significant pain, but we are promised that it is going to be worth it in the long run. Again, garbage. There’s no evidence that austerity will pay off in the long run. Instead, as Krugman points out, austerity is about hurting those who really had nothing to do with the overspending. Austerity is about prolonged unemployment. It is time for our government and other governments around the world to recognize that now is the time to spend money on infrastructure. Now is the time to hire millions of unemployed citizens to get our economies back on track.
You know, it was less than two years ago when Netflix simply fumbled the ball. Subscribers were leaving left and right. It was unclear whether Netflix was actually going to survive. It appears that Netflix has weathered the storm and is heading in the right direction. Now, you have to wonder about JC Penney’s and if they can right the ship.