Opinion

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….

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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….

Digital Asset Estate Planning is critical!

Sadly, we had a good friend who did not make these arrangements and I still get his image popping up from his Facebook so here’s a short reminder on making changes to your estate plan for your digital assets:

Estate Planning for Digital Assets

The adviser realized leaving her client’s eBay and PayPal accounts open after his death could leave his heirs vulnerable to having those accounts hacked, a logistical nightmare if she didn’t have access to them.

“Anyone could hack into the accounts—which are connected to bank accounts—and take the money or rack up huge debts that the estate is then responsible for,”

They researched service agreements at social media, e-commerce and file storing sites. In accordance with those agreements, they came up with an amendment to the client’s revocable trust that they hoped would give the trustee, Ms. Pedersen’s firm, access to all of the client’s digital accounts when he dies.

Think about your accounts at Google, Facebook, Amazon, PayPay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, BitCoin, Itunes, etc. and how digital your life has become and make arrangements for someone to take down your digital accounts.  Don’t have your face pop up on a friend or family Facebook account after you’re gone, plan today.  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

Ever wonder why so many Americans are disgusted with Washington? Look no further than the demoralizing display of Kabuki democracy surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline.

Why the showdown over the Keystone XL pipeline is totally pointless

Damon Linker The Week January 14, 2015

After more than six long years of argument, debate, protest, lobbying, and court rulings, a bill approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is wending its way through the Senate. Once the bill has passed, it will be sent to the president’s desk, where Barack Obama has pledged to veto it, marking only the third time he has chosen to use that constitutional power, and the first time he has done so since 2010.

It’s exciting.

And also utterly pointless.

The strongest argument against the pipeline is that it will contribute in a significant way to increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The only problem is that everyone knows that the contribution will be negligible — with estimates ranging from 27 million to 110 million additional tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year out of a global total of roughly 40 billion tons. That’s an annual increase of somewhere between .0675 and .275 percent.

That’s right: the high-end estimate predicts that the pipeline will increase global greenhouse emissions by slightly more than one quarter of 1 percent.

But of course, stopping the pipeline would do no such thing. As everyone on both sides of the debate concedes, the Canadians will get their tar sands oil to market one way or the other, whether or not the pipeline is approved and built as proposed. (Rail transport is the most likely alternative.) And that means that rejecting the project will have essentially no impact on global carbon emissions.

And trains don’t contribute to Global Emissions, right? Or risk huge natural disasters and deaths as they pass through our cities and towns, right?

Yet the number of jobs at stake is as negligible as the projected increase in pollutants. Estimates place the number at around 2,000 annual temporary jobs over two years of pipeline construction, followed by 35 permanent positions once it’s up and running.

You heard that right: 35. Two digits; no zeros.

All of this is common knowledge. Pretty much no one on either side of the argument attempts to deny or refute any of it.

And yet here we are at the O.K. Corral, the Senate and president poised for a showdown.

Are you getting excited yet?  Feel the drama building and your blood boiling with passion?

Of course, for everyone in the country who isn’t an environmental activist, the hoopla defies comprehension. But hey, that’s the way our politics work now: enormous amounts of time, energy, and resources — and the president’s limited political capital — expended on a ploy to get a special-interest group trained and tested for…some as-yet-undetermined future fight.

Pssssssss – that’s the air going out of the drama balloon.  A whole bunch of time, money and energy wasted.  Oh wait, we are talking about politicians aren’t we.  Just sayin’…

Because I know all you talk about with your friends are taxes

Waste: Federal Tax Paperwork May Cost More Than The Corporate Income Tax Collects

Earlier studies of the costs of overall tax compliance, the deadweight costs and sheer economic waste, postulated several percent of GDP, or hundreds of billions of dollars. Surveying such material I reckoned $329 billion as a placeholder for those costs, noting also that, assuming $47 dollars an hour for compliance personnel to deal with the 7 billion would be all it takes to reach that height (but costs encompass more than salaries, of course).

Note something interesting; that $329 billion exceeds the $321 billion that the Treasury Department reports as what is taken in by via corporate income tax receipts.

Corporate income tax reform is needed; it’s a priority. But the greater problems are over-regulation and too much paperwork and red tape. Simplification and common sense, all around, is needed.

So, let me get this straight.  We can net the government more by eliminating the paperwork and burden of regulations than they collect in corporate income tax?  So Corporate Income Tax is a net loser?

One more bit of information to have at your fingertips:

The individual income tax receipts component of all this is $1.394 trillion. The corporate income tax, meanwhile, was $321 billion (p. 5, Table 3).2014 Corporate Income Taxes vs Tax Paperwork

Just sayin…

It made me think and it made me grin. Two good reasons to read.

“Vote first, ask questions later” is not a mantra of good citizenship. It’s a marketing strategy designed to reward politicians for voters’ ignorance.