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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by bricktop, Jan 17, 2017.
We've failed as a society if we're to the point where men have a problem with yoga pants
only 30 years after he's dead, thanks joe!
why spend your million bucks on something that helps alleviate the day to day depression and just give the money to suze instead
Im glad my life long question of why are mormons usually so rich has been answered.
Replies are amazing as you'd expect, this one is my favorite.
btw if you aren't familiar with Orman's background, her story begins with her literally being gifted thousands and thousands of dollars by sympathetic (and meansy) patrons at her workplace. Because of course.
The FIRE folks and their austerity porn articles are the worst kind of porn
I have a student who loves Soviet Russian, yesterday as a gift he got me a big Soviet flag. Looks like I’m comrade now
the kids are alright
Botched PR and 'serious money issues': Infighting roils House GOP after 40-seat midterm loss
NRCC chair Tom Emmer
After losing 40 seats in the House in the midterms, the NRCC desperately needed to get back on track this year. Instead, it appears to be suffering some sort of meltdown. Last week, unnamed GOP operatives grumbled to Politico that "unease with the NRCC is bubbling among important Republicans in the Capitol" after the committee issued a whiny press release attacking Democrats for a bill that would raise congressional pay—even though top Republican leaders had come out in support of such an effort and were negotiating with Democrats over the measure. The NRCC's hapless communications director, Chris Pack, offered a bizarre defense of the maneuver, only to be forced to yank down the release by the weekend.
This week, the furor over the NRCC's dysfunction spilled into the open on a second front: the committee's fundraising. Politico first reported on Tuesday evening that Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House, got into a heated confrontation with NRCC chair Tom Emmer at a Monday meeting after Emmer hectored fellow GOP lawmakers about paying their committee dues. Emmer questioned Cheney's commitment to making good on her dues, at which point Cheney shot back that Emmer might be "artificially inflating the fundraising numbers he brings in," according to those present.
Later Tuesday night, The Hill elaborated on both ends of this imbroglio. Speaking of the NRCC, one unnamed "senior Republican" admitted that "we do have serious money issues," which some members have accused Emmer of trying to paper over by "double counting." What that means is that when a top GOP official—like, say, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy—holds a fundraiser for the NRCC, Emmer is (supposedly) crediting both McCarthy and the NRCC for the funds raised. On the dues spreadsheets, everyone looks like they're pulling their weight, but as far as the bank—and reality—is concerned, that cash only came in once.
Part of Emmer's money woes, though, stem from the fact that three leaders in his caucus are considering Senate bids and have allegedly been neglecting their obligations to the House. That includes Cheney, along with North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker and Alabama Rep. Gary Palmer. Emmer reportedly called the trio out by name, which prompted Cheney's accusations.
Walker sought to deflect with a different excuse. According to one of The Hill's sources, Walker had said he won't pay his dues because the NRCC allegedly reneged on a pledge to pay his legal bills related to the April indictment of North Carolina GOP chair Robin Hayes and a GOP donor named Greg Lindberg on charges of bribery. Walker was not named or charged in the indictment, but Politico used public FEC records to identify him as the person described as "Public Official A," whose political committee received a $150,000 donation from Lindberg right as Lindberg claimed Walker had sought to use his influence to pressure North Carolina's insurance commissioner on a business matter.
It's strange that the NRCC would offer to cover the attorney's fees of a member in a safe district in the first place, but if such a deal ever did exist, it's understandable that Emmer would nix it after Walker publicly mooted a primary challenge to GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, a possibility he brought up again last week. (One tinfoil-hatted source for The Hill even accused Tillis of having a hand in ensuring Walker's oblique mention in the Hayes/Lindberg indictment.) On Thursday, Walker finally announced he wouldn’t run against Tillis—though he said the same thing in April before going back into consideration mode.
Finally, there's Palmer, who's been weighing a bid against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. Ironically, when he discussed a possible Senate campaign in a radio interview in March, Palmer went on at length about the importance of Republicans trying to reclaim the House in 2020, saying that "any other issues personally should be secondary to that." According to Emmer, at least, that was nothing but a gust of hot air.
What’s also strange is that in that March interview, Palmer sounded quite reluctant to leave the House. We’d heard nothing new about his interest in a Senate run in the nearly three months since then, so it felt like he was comfortable staying put. However, Emmer very much seems to think otherwise, and Palmer isn’t using this blowup as an opportunity to close the door on a statewide bid.
All three of these alleged deadbeats could get themselves off the hook with the NRCC if they'd actually declare for the Senate: Members seeking higher office are no longer expected to help out their House campaign committees. However, because of new internal party rules adopted late last year, Cheney, Walker, and Palmer would all have to step down from their leadership roles if they go ahead with Senate bids.
As a result, they've chosen the worst possible option: delay their campaigns as long as possible so that they can hang on to their plum positions as long as possible in order to use those perches to raise money for themselves while simultaneously stiffing the NRCC. In other words, the GOP has set itself up to make it likely that things will get worse before they get better—if they ever do.
This story is in the late Jerry Parr’s book “In the Secret Service”. Parr was the agent who saved Reagan’s life.
How long until Trump claims he did this?
He'd have the nurse put a MAGA hat on the burn victim and then have a press conference outside the window.
What’s the point of that story
The One Percent Have Gotten $21 Trillion Richer Since 1989. The Bottom 50% Have Gotten Poorer.
By Eric Levitz
This is fine. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Some Democratic presidential candidates say that America’s economic system is badly broken and in need of sweeping, structural change. Others say that the existing order is fundamentally sound, even if it could use a few modest renovations. The former are widely portrayed as ideologues or extremists, the latter as moderates.
And it’s certainly true that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are ideologically “extreme,” if our baseline is the median member of Congress or the median policy agenda pursued by recent American presidents. But it’s not clear why these would be the appropriate metrics.
After all, we do not equate calls for sweeping change (whether from recent precedent or from current consensus) with extremism in all circumstances. When young people in an Islamist autocracy take to the streets demanding basic civil rights, we do not regard them as radicals, or the regime’s apologists as moderates. Our assessment of the dissenters’ ideological character does not hinge on how far their values depart from those of the status quo order — but rather on how far that status quo departs from our consensus values.
Thus, whether it is truly extreme or moderate to demand sweeping changes to American capitalism depends on the degree to which the existing system aligns with common-sense views of what a just or rational economic system should look like.
Happily, the Federal Reserve just released some data that makes the state of this alignment easier to gauge. In its new Distributive Financial Accounts data series, the central bank offers a granular picture of how American capitalism has been distributing the gains of economic growth over the past three decades. Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project took the Fed’s data and calculated how much the respective net worth of America’s top one percent and its bottom 50 percent has changed since 1989.
He found that America’s superrich have grown about $21 trillion richer since Taylor Swift was born, while those in the bottom half of the wealth distribution have grown $900 billion poorer.
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Notably, this measure of wealth includes liabilities, such as student debt. And it does not include consumer goods, such as computers or refrigerators, as economists do not conventionally view such products as wealth assets. But if one did include the Fed’s data on the distribution of consumer goods, the wealth gap between the top one percent and bottom 50 would actually be even larger.
So, is an economic system that distributes its benefits in this manner consistent with Americans’ common-sense views of economic justice? If not, would incremental changes be sufficient to bring it into alignment with the median American’s values? Or would more sweeping measures be required?
Put differently: Does the average American believe that, over the past three decades, our nation’s richest one percent have contributed roughly $22 trillion more to our collective well-being than the poorest 50 percent have? Does she think that the tens of millions of working-class people who spent the past 30 years cooking other Americans’ dinner, cleaning their toilets, caring for their children, harvesting their crops, ringing up their groceries — and performing the countless other poorly remunerated forms of labor that our society demands — collectively produced an infinitesimal fraction of the value that America’s corporate lawyers, hedge-fund managers, venture capitalists, specialist physicians, heirs and heiresses, and other high-paid professionals did?
Survey data (and common sense) says otherwise. In 2011, Michael Norton of Harvard Business School and Dan Ariely of Duke University published a study on Americans’ views of how wealth was distributed in their society, and how they felt it should be distributed. They found that, in the average American’s ideal world, the richest 20 percent would own 32 percent of national wealth. In reality, the top quintile owned 84 percent as of 2011. And that share has grown in the intervening years. Today, the one percent alone commands roughly 40 percent of all America’s wealth.
This image comes courtesy of Slate. Chart: Slate
Given all this, any politician who insists that American capitalism is “already great” is clearly a far-right extremist whose indifference to inequality puts him or her wildly out of step with ordinary people. But is it the case that Warren and Sanders would take things too far in the other direction?
Not remotely. I do not have the relevant data or skills to project precisely how the full implementation of either candidate’s agenda would influence America’s wealth distribution. But neither candidate is calling for a series of reforms that would place the United States far outside the Western European norm. In fact, both Warren and Sanders have cribbed their signature policies from European nations. As the 2018 World Inequality Report demonstrated, policy choices do matter — and income inequality is much lower in Western Europe than it is in the U.S.
But even Scandinavia’s social democracies feature far more inequitable distributions of wealth than Americans think to be fair, according to Ariely and Norton’s survey. What’s more, it will take a lot of redistribution just to prevent America’s current wealth gap from growing even larger. The fundamental challenge in combating inequality is that wealth begets more wealth. Those who can afford to invest in bonds get to collect annual interest payments; those who invest in stocks or real estate typically see their capital assets annually appreciate. Thus, most years, our nation’s collective capital stock directs loads of passive income to America’s wealthiest citizens. As Vox’s Matt Yglesias observes, much of the explosion in wealth inequality that the Fed documents can be attributed to the fact that the one percent began 1989 owning a wildly disproportionate share of corporate equities and private businesses. The passive income generated by these assets would have allowed the one percent to pull away from everyone else, even in the absence of soaring wage inequality.
Nothing short of progressively redistributing ownership of capital assets could bring our nation’s wealth distribution into alignment with its values. For the moment, neither Warren nor Sanders has released a detailed plan for doing that on a large scale. Their current platforms would be less likely to significantly reduce wealth inequality than to merely slow its growth.
Perhaps “we should adopt redistributive policies and institutions that are common throughout Western Europe, so as to prevent the one percent’s share of national wealth from rising too far above 40 percent” sounds like an extreme proposition to you. But the alternative — or at least the alternative’s implications for wealth inequality — would strike the average American as far more radical.
Automation and robotics are bigger threats to American jobs than outsourcing
Boston Dynamics is a company that develops robotics for commercial and military applications. The company is probably best known by the general public for the videos it produces to show off its products.
Recently, a parody of Boston Dynamics’ videos was released and, as of this writing, has over 6.4 million views on YouTube. It shows a robot being subjected to abuse by humans; the robot becomes aware; the robot gets sick of humanity’s shit; and the robot strikes back. Just like a thousand sci-fi stories published over the years.
While this is just a parody, and hopefully is not a foreshadowing of our dystopian future with benevolent (or not so benevolent) robot leaders, it does provide a warning. While we will not be forced to work by gun-toting robots sick of our shit, we will see wholesale job losses, and world economies flipped upside down. This will not happen overnight, but it could very well happen in my lifetime.
In the 2004 movie I, Robot, Will Smith’s character, Del Spooner, distrusts robots. He chases one down for purse-snatching, and learns that the robot was doing what was commanded by its owner. We learn that his distrust of robots goes back to his grandfather losing his job to an automaton. During the opening scenes of the movie we are treated to a look into the not-too-distant future, where bipedal machines will be making package deliveries and driving garbage trucks.
In 2004 it seemed like the events depicted in the movie were a long way off. But today, we are stepping ever closer to that reality. The most recent example is the U.S. Postal Service’s testing of self-driving trucks for over-the-road transport.
San Diego-based startup TuSimple said its self-driving trucks will begin hauling mail between USPS facilities in Phoenix and Dallas to see how the nascent technology might improve delivery times and costs.
Turns out it is easier to teach AI how to drive on the interstate than on city streets.
Price said self-driving trucks have advantages over passenger cars, including the relative ease of operating on interstates compared with city centers, which reduces mapping requirements and safety challenges involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
Not far behind self-driving trucks are robotic delivery systems.
The robot in question is called Digit, and it stands just over five feet tall. It has a pair of skeletal legs, two arms ending in shapeless nubs, and a sensor array where its head should be. It’s the creation of startup Agility Robotics, which has been developing bipedal robots since 2015 when the company was spun out of research from Oregon State University.
In Ford’s imagining, Digit would be bundled into the back of a self-driving car. When the car reaches its destination, the trunk pops open, and Digit unfolds itself in a manner unnervingly similar to the droid army in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
The robot can then complete the last crucial step of the delivery: actually picking up the parcel and dropping it on your doorstep. No humans required.
What the above video missed is that the guy putting the items in the box to ship would likely also be a robot.
When I was a child, my dad refused to use self-service gas pumps (they were still relatively new) because he feared it would put people out of work. Eventually, he gave in and started using them; now, for the most part, they are the only way of fueling a car. I have heard arguments against using self-service kiosks in grocery and department stores; they are the same arguments my dad made in the early ‘70s about self-service gas pumps. McDonald’s has started using self-service kiosks in its restaurants; it is only a matter of time before cooks are replaced by robotics.
The Caliburger chain can’t keep burger flippers employed. They quit too often, it says.
So the plan is to try something new: a robot that has been programmed to flip hamburgers all day long. Named Flippy, the $100,000 machine is capable of flipping as many as 2,000 burgers a day.
The CEO of the company that makes Flippy says that his robot will not replace human workers, but progress stops for no one. Flippy never calls in sick, never has a hangover, and does not need health insurance. Flippy will replace workers.
Today, our leaders are focused on trade polices with China and other developing nations. The current White House resident is focused on using 18th-century trade policy (tariffs) in the modern world. Those vying for the Democratic nomination are focused on job creation. What no one is talking about is the shockwaves automation and robotics will cause to the American economy. What happens when all of the low-skill, low-wage jobs are performed by robots? What happens when we start losing skilled jobs to robotics? We need to start looking for 21st-century solutions to our problems. Tariffs will not save us, nor will cutting taxes for the supposed job-creators.
The world economy is changing in fundamental ways unseen since the Industrial Revolution, and we are not prepared for it.
Not sure why I am posting this but in my recent visit to France we made it a priority to visit many of the French Rev sites of importance and this thread & you fine gents were on my mind.
Tour Guide: Here is where they beheaded M Antoinette
Me: Man, the guys sure would like to see this shit
Did you ask for tips on building guillotines?
At the conciergerie (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conciergerie ) we learned that prisoners had to have their head shaved so that hair did not impinge upon the proper operation of the guillotine. I commented to my wife, "see, if they had used the TMB Official Mass Hydraulic Press (tm)(r) head shaving would have never been a problem."
No, but head shaving can be viewed as an added bonus