Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Tech Companies: Be your own town and government

I saw this bit of news on Steven Colbert’s show last night. Seems Nevada’s Democratic Governor thinks tech companies need to be their own town. The thinking is that this is a way to attract business development without spending money. What could go wrong?

From the AP news:

“Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak announced a plan to launch so-called Innovation Zones in Nevada to jumpstart the state’s economy by attracting technology firms, Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday.

The zones would permit companies with large areas of land to form governments carrying the same authority as counties, including the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and courts and provide government services.”

I am surprised that a Democratic governor would think this is a good way to attract commercial development. Is he not familiar with history and the mill housing? The company stores? The lyrics of “Sixteen Tons”?

How much further are we going to push the idea that corporations are people as referred to in our Constitution. This appears to be the Republican “emergency manager” without the emergency. The layers of legalities is stunning. We would have a democracy national government on top of a democracy state government on top of a non-democracy corporation on top of a sort of democracy town government? Which state’s laws would oversee the corporation?

What is wrong with these people?

Here’s Steven.

Two Audio Interviews: Rethinking the Constitution and The New PhD

I thought readers would enjoy the following two interviews.

The first is with Mary Anne Franks: The Cult of the Constitution. The discussion is titled: Rethinking the Constitution. She gets into the first and second amendment. What I found thoughtful was her presentation of the Constitution being viewed as a sacred document. Think the Bible etc. Considering the influence of the Evangelical Right in the Republican party, it put clarity to the Right’s arguments involving the Constitution. This discussion coincides with Peter Dorman’s post: We need a Plan for Militias.

The second interview I heard a bit ago: The New PhD, How to Build a Better Graduate Program. Leonard Cassuto and Robert Weisbuch. What they suggest is that the Graduate programs have to change from their conservative (not political conservative) historical approach to this aspect of the education and make it more relevant to what is present for such students in today’s world.

Both interviews are about 1 hour long. Enjoy.

It’s by Design: Texas’ Electrical Mess

Something is funky with our comment function. They are showing up at the WP site, just not showing here today. Though, sometimes you might see them, then not. So, leave a comment. We’ll get it happening.

By now, you are aware that the problem Texas is having is because they failed to build their system to withstand cold/winter weather. That is the mechanical reason for their problem. Of course, this leads many to assume that as soon as it warms up, the power will be back on and life is good again.

Unfortunately, that does not account for all the water damage that has happened and will happen as broken plumbing thaws. It won’t just be people’s homes. I’m confident there will be news about failures within the municipal systems and of course, failures with the plumbing in the power plants including those that pump the natural gas and cool the nuclear generators. Rebuilding will take months or more.

However, the issue of failure to build the system for the environment is not the real tragedy here. The true horror is the economic model sold to the citizens. Free Market. Yup, that all powerful, God like, invisible hand. Oh…and FREEDOM! Because when you read ex-governor Perry’s statement about Texans being willing to suck it up for 3 more days, you can only assume this system was built for the great Texas secession. Sacrifice for your FREEDOM! Endure that cold! Any day now, it’s going to happen.

It seems that in truth, the electric system is functioning exactly as it was designed to function. High demand. Low supply. High prices to discourage demand. What’s your problem?

I give you: William W. Hogan. Harvard professor of global energy policy at the Kennedy School. “…the architect of the strategy that was adopted by the state seven years ago.”

“…acknowledged that while many Texans have struggled this week without heat and electricity, the state’s energy market has functioned as it was designed.

That design relies on basic economics: When electricity demand increases, so too does the price for power. The higher prices force consumers to reduce energy use to prevent cascading failures of power plants that could leave the entire state in the dark, while encouraging power plants to generate more electricity.

It’s not convenient,” Professor Hogan said. “It’s not nice. It’s necessary.”

The Supreme Court rationalize like children or, The US court is selfishness incarnate

So, here is the thing about the arguments the Republicans are making regarding mail ballots based on this article at Slate.

“the court held that Florida’s recount used procedures that violated “the equal dignity owed to each voter.” Because the standards used to recount ballots varied between counties, the court concluded, the process violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause. “

Being that “equal protection” is the issue as to getting a vote counted on election day such that a vote counted after election day is violating the “equal protection” of said voters on election day, then there is an issue for those who voted prior to election day via mail.

If mailing a ballot is considered a valid means of voting, and the Republicans and their judges are not arguing it is not, then the issue is time. The time issue is that no matter what, the process of mailing just can not deliver anything on the same day of mailing. 24 hours is the minimum.

That I’m allowed to mail a ballot including on the day of the election, but there is no way it can get there on the day of mailing, then to not count my ballot has, in the Bush v Gore ruling removed my equal protection. To force me to make judgement of an entity such as the post office as to how it will handle my mailing with out me having first hand knowledge of the intricacies of it’s processes has placed an undo burden on my right to use the mailing of a ballot as a means to vote.

There is no reasonable way for me to get first hand knowledge of the intricacies of the postal service such that I can make an informed determination as to when to mail the ballot.  However, I should not have to make such a determination.  I am allowed to use the postal system to vote.  I am allowed to use the postal system on election day to mail my ballot.  There is nothing that states I am not allowed too.  Being that is the case, then my vote should be counted.  To not count my vote is to penalize me for the apparent negligent operation of the postal service’s inability to deliver my vote on the same day.   This penalty amounts to the grievous harm of  unequal dignity toward my by my government thus a violation of my equal protection.

I can use the mail to vote. But I can not get the vote delivered on the day of mailing. The court needs to deal with this if they are going to keep insisting that the post mark of mail is not relied on for determining the time of which an official government document is in the hands of the government.

The other issue, is the post office is in the constitution. Thus, it is the government. To argue that a document in the hands of the post office is not in the hands of the government is to deny the post office as an appendage of the government. This creates problems all over the processes of government function. All of them time related.  To deny that my ballot is not delivered when it is in the hands of the post office is to deny that the post office is representative of the US government. They have created a constitutional issue.   That it is not in the hands of the state is not a valid argument as the states are only serving as fiduciaries of the US government as it relates to the US government holding an election.  They are by all intent and purpose one in the same as it relates to the mechanics of operating an election. Thus the post office is by extension the depository for ballots for all states.

See how easy that is?

The latest ruling regarding ballot counting is an example of just how bad our judicial system is. The arguments that are passing for scholarly work are down right childish. The holes are huge. They are always of the same type of hole: massively void of appreciation for vastness of the human experience. These Federalist, originalist view themselves as enlightened as the founders.  They are nothing but selfish children.   I doubt they even know how to change a tire, never mind understanding rotating them.

Tic Tac Toe, Supreme Court style

(This was first posted February 21, 2008.)

Bribes, payola, favor of the physical kind? Forget-about it. Just put the right person in the appropriate agency, preferably a person from the line of business the agency is to regulate. But, for extra insurance over the long haul, with a little luck of timing you get to fix the legal issue almost permanently: supreme court justices.

Justices Make it Tougher to Sue Makers of Medical Devices

The case has significant implications for the $75 billion-a-year health care technology industry, whose products range from heart valves to toothbrushes. In a recent three-month span, federal regulators responded to over 100 safety problems regarding medical devices.

At issue before the Supreme Court was whether the estate of Charles Riegel could sue a company under state law over a device previously cleared for sale by federal regulators. State lawsuits are barred to the extent they would impose requirements that are different from federal requirements, said the ruling by Justice Antonin Scalia.

In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that Congress never intended “a radical curtailment of state common-law lawsuits seeking compensation for injuries caused by defectively designed or labeled medical devices.”

Senator Whitehouse lays it all out or: How to hide the Court Packing

This is what I believe Eric Kramer is asking for.  If we are ever going to fix the justice system and ultimately this nation, what Senator Whitehouse presented today needs to be internalized by everyone.

Yes, ACA, abortion, gay marriage.  They are major issue, I have a stake in 2 of them.  But – a big ass BUT – the real game is the machine that has been operating for a very long time and honed to a run as smooth as a screaming F1 engine.  And it’s screaming.  Senator Whitehouse has just educated everyone on the engineering of this engine.

It is reverting.  It should be all over the news.  It should be what the Democratic party et al start pounding during these final weeks of campaigning.  It is the real court packing that has been happening.  Note in this presentation the Republican Congress men that signed court briefs written for them as if they did it out of their own conscience.

And, has Senator Whitehouse notes, this was just the ground work for his questioning of her tomorrow.

Did I see a hint of shame in Barrett’s face?

Why Post Election stealing by Trump is highly unlikely

I stumbled across this article at Electoral-Vote .com.  They have a chart showing the control of the Secretary of States, Legislatures and Executive offices.   They combine that with the current polling in each state and electoral votes.  Their conclusion, more than hell would have to freeze over for Trump and the Atlantic’s article warning of a post election electoral steal to happen.

We have addressed many of the concerns that Davis and Gellman raise, and have been dismissive of most. However, Gellman builds a substantial part of his article around a semi-new concern, one that has gotten particular attention since The Atlantic posted his piece, and one that we would like to address. The general idea is that Team Trump will use the courts (or anything else at their disposal) to throw a wrench into the works, dragging things out, and affording state legislatures the necessary cover to announce that they will just award their state’s electoral votes by themselves, as the Constitution empowers them to do. In the worst case scenario, it could be a repeat of the Election of 1876, when many states submitted two different slates of electors, leaving Congress to figure out which slate to accept.

This analysis seems rather tight.  That being the case, why did the Atlantic not do such analysis.  Would that not have been the proper reporting, the complete reporting of the story?

Do read the article.

People were warned!

I’m certain readers here know this, but… it really needs to be posted.

Rep. Schiff closing remarks of the senate trial of Trump January 23, 2020:

If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost. Framers couldn’t protect us from ourselves, if right and truth don’t matter. And you know that what he did was not right. …No constitution can protect us, right doesn’t matter any more. And you know you can’t trust this President to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because right matters and the truth matters. Otherwise, we are lost.

And it is about time the media starts putting a mic in the faces of the republicans.  This needs to keep happening.

People were warned . . .

Study looks at the course of recovery for Covid 19

This is an interesting study.  This link is to the summary.   There is a link there to the full study.   600 people with active disease of over 2 weeks completed a survey to find out just what people are experiencing with the illness.  I find the following most interesting:

Early testing is crucial, and questions remain around test accuracy: Despite all respondents showing COVID-19 symptoms, 47.8% were either denied testing or not tested for another reason. The main difference between respondents who tested positive and those who tested negative was how early in their illness they were tested (on average day 10 for those testing positive, and day 16 for those testing negative).

Furthermore, the only difference in symptoms between these groups is that those who tested positive reported loss of smell and loss of taste more often, even when controlling for testing time.

It suggests that the test being used is testing for what ever caused the loss of smell/taste. But, if that is not you, you test negative.  It also appears that the longer you are into the disease, the less likely you will test positive.

Both of those combined suggest the need to test for a different marker of the virus as what is being tested for does not react the same in too many cases and may even pass away thus no longer being present.

 

Define Rich, part II: Rat Race and the American Dream

I have had this re-posted today because I believe it is as relevant today as when I wrote it in May, 2009.  My hope is that this event we are living moves enough new people to realize the society we built is not sustainable.  My hope is that one of the basic questions I was trying to answer in a more completely when I started blogging at AB is answered in a manner such that the nation and ultimately humanity becomes more inclusive: Why do we have an economy?  I will not accept the answer: To make money.

I believe today, people are discovering the rat race they have voted themselves into. I hope enough people will come to understand that just making money is not life sustaining.

My concern is that the use of the “war” analogy will lead us to policy which implies an end point…a win.  We are not at war.  You can not have a war with nature.  Nature has no ideology to fight against.  Nature just is.  It’s just doing.  It has no persona.  It has no intent.  It just reacts based on what has come in the past.  It’s not logical, it’s not irrational.  There is no end.  There is no win.  There will be another virus.  If we are lucky, only 1 virus at a time.  Yes, as we saw the past 2 days, weather events still exist.  Nature can do more than one thing at a time.

We are in the first nationwide crisis since the Depression.  WW2 was not a crisis in this nation.  The biggest difference between the Depression and now is that man created the Depression which had a natural event imposed on top of it (the Dust Bowl).   That natural event only effected a part of the nation.  Today we have a depression being imposed on us by nature.  The entire nation.  The Depression could and was undone by its creator.  This current developing one can not be undone by the creator: nature.  It can be argued that our policies pushed nature (pollution, climate change) and thus we created the disaster leading one to believe we can undo it.  Not really.  Not in the sense of simply undoing the policies that set up the environment such that nature has brought us to this point.  Nature only reacts.  It just does.  There is no simple solution as with the Depression.  It only required some policy changes addressing only the economy.

We can’t win.  We can only live.   Hopefully with a more inclusive thought process and thus society.

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Rat Race and the American Dream

There were some good responses to the first posting that I agreed with. They were, could we say, jumping the gun as to how I want to proceed, however. So, with this post I want to continue with looking at phrases/concepts/thoughts that are a part of, or were a part of any discussion regarding “rich”.

Have you missed the phrase: Rat Race?
Wonder why we ask: Is the American Dream dead?
Could it be that in an economy where “rich” is not or will not be defined, the race is won and the dream obtained? After all, we’re all rich now! Sodahead specifically asked the question.