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"But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?"

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The link near the end of this article was a really interesting rabbit hole to go down: Death to the Gerrymander, wherein the same author argues that Monday's ruling in Cooper v. Harris striking down racial gerrymandering was an appetizer to the main dish, Whitford v. Gill, a case from Wisconsin dealing with purely partisan gerrymandering. It seems that SCOTUS views such purely partisan gerrymandering as unconstitutional but without a reliable, predictable tool for distinguishing it.

It's generally inadvisable to place all hopes on any single outcome but Whitford v. Gill shows a lot of promise for reducing political polarization. It's preferential that politicians not be rewarded for their partisan games, i.e. outlawing gerrymandering, but in this instance it would benefit Democrats, a development I'm disposed towards.


I'll start at the "laboratory of democracies" level first. See if Maryland is up for it. Hopefully that will mitigate some Republican hostility.

Multiply your history by a hundred million. That's this country. It's ridiculous.

I'll take this moment to plug my idea for a solution. A (non-compulsory but highly encouraged) service program, wherein 18 year olds spend a year or more in service to the country doing all the work that needs doing--caring for the elderly, daycare and education services, infrastructure improvement and development, etc.--and in exchange, you get free tuition at a public university. What do you think?

Pardon my incredulity, but you still had student loans? In my eyes, you're an older middle aged gentleman with skills. Was that not enough to ameliorate your student debt? Or was it just simply that onerous? I say this in the spirit of solidarity. As in, what hope do my peers have (I'm 25) when student loans still afflict older, much more established people to the degree where a gift that extinguishes said debt constitutes the most meaningful gift you could receive?

blackbootz  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Roger Ailes Dies at 77

I'm waiting for Trump's tweet. "A great man died today. He grabbed it when he wanted it. An inspiration creeps and narcissists everywhere."

It's hard to look at this soberly and not sound melodramatic. The middle and lower classes are unwitting sled dogs, with new and scarier whips designed each day to separate them from their meager incomes. Add to that the most expensive healthcare system in the world providing--depending how you measure it--healthcare at parity with Slovenia or Costa Rica. And god forbid you try to point them towards a political solution that distributes risk and cost, you'll find them sprinting to the polls to elect a gold-plated nitwit.

(Also, anytime it's over 90° outside, I'm reminded that Antarctica is melting.)

Positives. What are the positives? With all this data being made available to the public, we're seeing a huge push in statistical analysis, i.e. Raj Chetty's Equality of Opportunity work or Steven Pinker's Better Angels. That's heartening.

You're right. I hadn't considered that it's such a boon to lenders. Tax (or deduction) incidence is an interesting rabbit hole. It almost makes tax law really interesting.

There's a thought piece that I come back to often. It's an episode on Planet Money called The No-Brainer Economic Platform. In it, six economists that span the political spectrum present six policy changes they'd make to the economy. Importantly, it's six policy ideas they all agree on. And first on that list? The MID. But the other ideas are great, too.

It's revealing that all of them are political non-starters.

Funny, my stats professor just sent me this this morning.

I think one’s perspective on the Zestimate’s “within 5% of median selling price” claim depends on how impressive or not you think the tool is. In my eyes, it’s kind of a miracle, especially considering how difficult it is to compare any two houses even if they’re in the same neighborhood and similar square footage, features, etc. There’s just so much variance. Furthermore, the Zestimate has to always somewhat trail selling prices, due to changes in preferences that even experienced realtors have difficulty predicting, let alone excel spreadsheets. But I think the plaintiff is partly right—everyone uses Zillow to gauge prices. Shit, it's their business model. So Zillow's claim that the suit is without merit is wanting it both ways, but of course they'd say that in the face of a potential class-action.

This was fascinating. I couldn't stop reading.

I've heard in a few economic circles about the scope of largesse that is the MID. But Jesus. $71 billion a year. And pretty much mostly for rich people.

    In providing millions of middle-class families stealth benefits, the American government rendered itself invisible to those families, who soon came to see their success as wholly self-made. We forgot because we were not meant to remember.

It makes my head spin to think of how secure I am because I was approved for a homesteader's credit that put me into a home with an affordable mortgage. I hope that not only do I pay all of it back in taxes, but that we look into this:

    President Barack Obama’s 2017 budget proposal estimated that it would take $1 billion a year over the next 10 years to eliminate family homelessness in America — not decrease it or slice it in half, but end it. That’s less than 1 percent of what we currently spend on homeowner subsidies. And yet a bill designed to provide every child in America with a home was pronounced dead on arrival in Congress. Up to this point, bills proposing modest reforms to the mortgage-interest deduction have met the same fate.

What low hanging fruit. Instead we're gutting $800 billion from Medicaid to pay for a tax cut for rich people.

Desmond's Evicted has been recommended to me a few times. This was a great introduction.

blackbootz  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 10, 2017

I've only ever been on one side of this equation, so I'm exceptionally ill-qualified to proffer advice. But I think you're taking the developments in great stride. Knowing how hard I pushed boundaries, I bet I'll be blessed with quadruplets living the terrible twos until their twenties.

If it makes you feel any better, there was a time (incidentally, at the exact same age as your son) where I was obsessed with the n-word. It's not that I lacked the brain development to understand the reasons why it was off limits. I simply lacked the executive control to stop myself from relishing the thrill of dabbling in taboos. It wore off quickly. It's a stupid phase, but part of being sixteen is doing things you aren't supposed to because you aren't supposed to.

Those are startling strong words for a spineless senator.


Could you fucking imagine if Hillary fired the director of the F.B.I. while under investigation?

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