Government

Guns don’t kill people, cars kill people

Ride-hailing apps may help to curb drunk driving

GUN violence in America gets plenty of attention, but cars kill more. Around 40,000 people a year die on American roads, more than all fatalities caused by firearms (of which two-thirds are suicides, not homicides).

Facts, just sayin….

File under: Things we should all know

What they learned after only seven years is worth remembering (or learning, as the case may be).

The Articles of Confederation versus the US Constitution:

The United States has operated under two constitutions. The first, The Articles of Confederation, was in effect from March 1, 1781, when Maryland ratified it. The second, The Constitution, replaced the Articles when it was ratified by New Hampshire on June 21, 1788.

The two documents have much in common – they were established by the same people (sometimes literally the same exact people, though mostly just in terms of contemporaries). But they differ more than they do resemble each other, when one looks at the details. Comparing them can give us insight into what the Framers found important in 1781, and what they changed their minds on by 1788.

They might have been onto something here:

Term limit for legislative office
Articles: No more than three out of every six years
Constitution: None

Interesting but guessing they haven’t much regretted not using the special exemption:

New States
Articles: Admitted upon agreement of nine states (special exemption provided for Canada)
Constitution: Admitted upon agreement of Congress

For those seeking advanced knowledge only: The Preamble was several full clauses in the Articles of Confederation.  Perhaps using the abbreviated version in the Preamble was saving too much paper. Just sayin….

The Preamble

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

From the Articles of Confederacy:

Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

Provide for common defence was:

Article III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

On raising armies:

Article VII. When land forces are raised by any State for the common defense, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each State respectively, by whom such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment.

Good documents to reread often. Just sayin….

 

Flying Cars! Uber’s white paper

On-Demand Urban Air Transportation

A network of small, electric aircraft that take off and land vertically (called VTOL aircraft for Vertical Take-off and Landing, and pronounced vee-tol), will enable rapid, reliable transportation between suburbs and cities and, ultimately, within cities.

Imagine traveling from San Francisco’s Marina to work in downtown San Jose — a drive that would normally occupy the better part of two hours — in only 15 minutes. What if you could save nearly four hours round-trip between São Paulo’s city center and the suburbs in Campinas? Or imagine reducing your 90-plus minute stop-and-go commute from Gurgaon to your office in central New Delhi to a mere six minutes.

Every day, millions of hours are wasted on the road worldwide. Last year, the average San Francisco resident spent 230 hours commuting between work and home—that’s half a million hours of productivity lost every single day. In Los Angeles and Sydney, residents spend seven whole working weeks each year commuting, two of which are wasted unproductively stuck in gridlock. In many global megacities, the problem is more severe: the average commute in Mumbai exceeds a staggering 90 minutes. For all of us, that’s less time with family, less time at work growing our economies, more money spent on fuel — and a marked increase in our stress levels: a study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, for example, found that those who commute more than 10 miles were at increased odds of elevated blood pressure.

Where do I sign up? Just sayin….

Maybe he’s onto something here…

Republican self-destruction is fun to watch, but bad for us all

January 29 at 1:44 PM Washington Post

…An intellectually vibrant conservatism is essential to a healthy democracy.  The United States needs conservatives willing to criticize the grand plans we liberals sometimes offer, to remind us that traditional institutions should not be overturned lightly and to challenge those who believe that politics can remold human nature.

Wait, is he suggesting we are slow to change? No, say it’s not so!

At its best, as Philip Wallach and Justus Myers argued in National Affairs , conservatism is a “disposition” that “has the most to offer societies that have much worth conserving.” Even those of us who are critical of our nation’s injustices and inequalities can agree that the United States is such a society. The task of conservatives, Wallach and Myers write, is to offer “incremental adaptation” as an alternative to radical change.

So, in plain speak, progress at a thoughtful pace.  How reasonable.

Conservatives in power could never materially reduce the size of government, because so much of what it does and spends money on — from supporting the elderly to protecting consumers to providing for the common defense — is so popular. Conservatives haven’t been able to roll back cultural changes, because most Americans don’t want to return where we were before the rights revolutions on behalf of African Americans, women and gays. And politicians can’t reverse the fact that white Americans gradually are losing their majority status in an increasingly diverse nation.

It’s a good read.  Just sayin….

 

 

An Economist Blog post on why raising Corporate taxes won’t help workers or the deficit

Stop cheering, Keynesians

Wait, more money for doing the same thing is not helping?

SEATTLE SEES UNEXPECTED FALLOUT FROM $15 PER HOUR MIN. WAGE

by WARNER TODD HUSTON 24 Jul 2015 Seattle, WA

…many have suddenly found that the new rate has had unexpected consequences.

Some workers across the city are left telling bosses to give them fewer hours at the higher wage because a full week’s earnings now puts them past the threshold for some welfare payments such as food stamps and assistance with rent.

Of course, one of the things that supporters of the higher wage said was that they wanted to help lift min. wage workers out of poverty and welfare.

So another law that didn’t do what the legislators wanted it to do?  Shocking! Just sayin…

What is being asked of Greece:

A three-year memorandum and 86-billion-euro loan in return for the following reforms   13 July 2015 / 15:07:39  GRReporter

All measures of the new agreement:

  • VAT on restaurants immediately increases from 13% to 23%.
  • VAT on hotels rises from 6.5% to 13% as of October 2015.
  • Gradually reducing VAT on the islands as of October 2015.
  • Gradually increasing the retirement age as of July 2015. In 2022, it will reach 67 years or 62 years in the event of 40 years of service.
  • The above measure excludes heavy and unhealthy professions and mothers of disabled children.
  • Gradually eliminating the social solidarity benefit for all pensioners by the end of 2019.
  • Increasing the health insurance contributions of pensioners from 4% to 6% in the main and supplementary funds.
  • Merging all additional health insurance funds until 1 January.
  • Privatisation of the independent power transmission operator.
  • Reforming the labour market and applying the instruments of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
  • Opening shops on Sundays, changing the ownership of pharmacies, dairies, bakeries, opening of closed professions.
  • Reducing defence spending by 100 million euro in 2015 and 200 million in 2016.
  • Competitions for the sale of Piraeus and Thessaloniki ports by the end of October 2015.
  • Completing the competitions for the airports and railways in the country as well as for Egnatia Highway and the old airport in Athens.
  • Introducing a unified payroll table for public sector wages from 1 January 2016 and determining wages in accordance with the qualities and responsibilities required for occupying a specific post.
  • A new permanent plan for mobility in the public sector as of October 2015.

– See more at: http://www.grreporter.info/en/threeyear_memorandum_and_86billioneuro_loan_return_following_reforms/12985#sthash.2ph6P96e.dpuf

T.S. Eliot, “The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility, and humility is endless.”

Is the U.S. Government Really Broken?

By David W. Brady – February 2, 2014


My approach is to try to assess how the U. S. is doing, relative to the other developed democratic countries. The premise for the analysis is that the great transformation of the world economy over the last 30 years (documented by Nobel laureate economist A. Michael Spence) has generated a difficult set of problems that no individual or country has solved. There is in this new transformed economy increased global competition as labor in Asia and the developing world displaces the middle class and high-paying manufacturing jobs in Europe and the U.S., leading to high unemployment levels and the concomitant spending increases.


The present crisis generates a similar set of problems, though even more consequential for the U.S., because the world is more connected now, with China and India leading the transformation. The problem for the U.S. is further complicated by the world economy counting on U.S. military might to keep oil flowing around the globe and to bring stability to the Middle East, among other duties. Given this daunting set of problems, how is the U.S. doing economically, relative to the rest of the developed world?

Even with the possible exception of Germany, one cannot credibly claim that the U.S. economic response to the recession compares unfavorably to other advanced democracies. All of which raises a logical question: How could a broken, gridlocked, dysfunctional government come out so well when compared to other countries?

Yet this is not the narrative one hears discussed—on either side of the Atlantic.

It may not be perfect, but who’s doing better? Just sayin…

Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/02/02/is_the_us_government_really_broken_121395.html#ixzz3QEwHnqCM

“Blizzards are like roller coasters: they’re only fun if they scare the bejeebers out of you.”

Blizzards can seem like the end of the world

By  GLOBE STAFF  JANUARY 27, 2015

I don’t see the point of writing this column because no one is going to read it. The world is about to end. I saw it on the news.

I was talking to the mayor, Marty Walsh, about the storm and he seemed positively sanguine about the situation.

“Marty,” says I, “it’s the apocalypse. I just saw it on TV.”

Boston’s mayor responded with some tripe about using common sense and common courtesy and we’ll get through this, and I’m thinking, “What’s got into this guy?” Keeping his head when everyone around him is losing theirs? I’m very worried about Marty.

This is Charlie Baker’s first ride at the snow rodeo as governor and he was steely calm when he showed up at the bunker in Framingham Monday afternoon. He’s ditched his predecessor’s MEMA fleece in favor of a suit, a sturdy raft of placidity in a sea of panic. What fun is that? He’s as bad as Marty.

The governor actually had the audacity to point out that it snows around here and sometimes it snows a lot. He obviously didn’t get the memo. This is no time for levelheadedness.

And it all will melt.  Just sayin….

“Why sleep at home when you can sleep in Congress?” – Will Rogers

Government by CRomnibus – blind, deaf and dumb: Column