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My humiliating demographic

OK, so I've mentioned that I've gotten hooked on a podcast, the excellent History of Rome, that I use both to fall asleep to, and to listen to, as content[1]. (Is America the New Rome? Not, so far, even in the same league.) Anyhow, one too many crazy emperors, and one too many battles, so I moved on the next series of podcasts, Revolutions.

So, the podcaster (Mike Duncan) finally got to the stage where he could do a little monetizing, and the first ad I hear is for this company: Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

Yes We Can Pay for Increasing Social Security Benefits

Some time ago, in the pages of USA Today, Duncan Black, better known to some as Atrios voiced the immediate need for increased Social Security benefits of 20% or more even if it means raising taxes on high incomes, or removing the payroll tax cap on salaries.

Black is right about the need for increased benefits; but legislating that increase doesn't require increasing taxes. In fact, Congress should both increase benefits and remove the payroll tax entirely.

But how is that possible without greatly increasing “the national debt”? The answer to that one is easy. Don't tax or borrow to pay for it. Just mint a single one oz. platinum coin at the beginning of each fiscal year with a face value large enough to cover expected the cost of SS payments. Doing it that way will both take care of retirement needs and also provide a huge shot in the arm for employment, since the increase in Social Security benefit payments and the ending of the payroll tax won’t be offset by tax increases elsewhere that will depress aggregate demand. Read below the fold...

Taking the goddamned bus to the hardware store...

... to buy insulation for the windows, because we don't have a goddamned hardware store in my own town anymore. Read below the fold...

"The Potemkin Moment"

(Playing off "The Minsky Moment.") I have a picture, perhaps wishful, of the political system as a painted canvas, like a stage set, and then some clumsy galoof puts a foot through the it, or a kid pokes a hole in it with a pencil, and then suddenly everybody realizes what they thought was real and permanent and everlasting isn't. For example:

ObamaWar demotivates the Democratic base. 2010, here we come? [The Week]. Interestingly, Ryan Coole shifts focus at the end to this conclusion:

But let’s face facts: expecting our jalopy institutions to successfully navigate the rapidly shifting tangle of alliances in Syria is ludicrous. America is a country where the Secret Service doesn’t notice the White House has been shot until four days after the fact, and is apparently unfamiliar with how door locks work.

It sounds like Cooper’s been reading Naked Capitalism, or Golem XIV, or the Archdruid, all of whom would concur on our “jalopy institutions” (“corruption” is far too narrow a frame). Will institutional rot and demented and sclerotic elites become an issue in 2014 or 2016? Seems unlikely, but then what Ryan Cooper wrote above would have seemed unlikely too, until quite recently. It was also unlikely that Emperor Cuomo would have been challenged, but you can see Teachout and Wu working these same issues in their interviews with Naked Capitalism (the PayPal button is to your right), and they came out of nowhere to take 30% of the vote. So you never know! And remember that the legacy parties are jalopies, too, despite their fearsome appearance and noisy operation.

So, the operation run by the political class is ripe for a "Potemkin Moment," right? Here's another: Read below the fold...

In the garden: Green leaves and red berries

Western sun shining through the leaves of the filbert tree. No nuts this year, unfortunately! Read below the fold...

BruceMcF's picture

Sunday Train: Cyclists Clamoring for Segregation

While browsing around reading transport cycling news, I ran across a blog post from the UK from the second half of September: Bas' Blog: Coming to London: cycle paths fully separated from other traffic (vote!) 23 September 2014:

This morning in my inbox:

I am writing to let you know that Transport for London, in partnership with the boroughs of Southwark, Camden, Islington and the City of London, would like your views on proposals for a new Cycle Superhighway between Elephant & Castle and King’s Cross.

Yes please! TFL is asking for comments on the plans in a public consultation. More information on the plans can be found here (East-West route) and here (North-South route), you can leave comments here (E-W) and here (N-S).

,,, and when I looked around, stories about segregated "cycle paths" or "cycle tracks" or "cycleways" were not that hard to find. Join me below the fold for a look. Read below the fold...

Common Household Remedies Request

My kitchen is so disgusting I can't think straight, and so I am beginning the process of cleaning it. Read below the fold...

DCblogger's picture

Hillary Clinton is popular

Two years out, poll shows Hillary Clinton’s the 2016 favorite

WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton has a comfortable lead among Democrats for the 2016 presidential nomination, while the Republican race remains a free-for-all, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

Read below the fold...

Tweet of the day

Bernie Sanders testing the waters in Iowa for 2016

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier:

DAVENPORT | Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will be in Iowa this weekend testing the waters for a potential 2016 presidential bid, said Thursday that American voters are angrier at many of the country’s institutions than many realize — and even though they want real change, most will sit out this year’s midterm elections.

“What we have to appreciate right now is there is a great demoralization politically in this country,” Sanders said in an interview with the Quad-City Times.

Still, the senator has been showing up on the doorstep of the first-in-the-nation caucus state. He was at an event in Clinton County in May. And he also appeared in the state three weeks ago, the same weekend as Sen. Tom Harkin’s final steak fry, which featured Clinton in her first return to the state since her loss in the 2008 caucuses.

I'm not sure I agree with this. Read below the fold...

DCblogger's picture

Household remedy request

So my landlord set up a Raid fogger. I had no notice or time to prepare. So how should I clean up? Bear in mind that I have a collie dog, so I know I have to mop the floor with vinegar, What else? Read below the fold...

Hong Kong Vignettes: Part I

The master theory of the Hong Kong protests will have to wait for another day; in this post, I'm going to collect vignettes from the ground: Crowd scenes, maps, images, tactics, the role of the built environment. I may, as needed, make reference to Gene Sharp's 198 Methods of Non-Violent Protest and Resistance, since the Hong Kong protests are explicitly non-violent. First, I'll start with the cell phones at night:

"She can't pay the rent"

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