Archive for July, 2012

Amazon, Get With the Program

July 23rd, 2012 Comments off

I’ll do anything to avoid hitting the keyboard.  Anything.  Eat:stuff myself, gain back the weight I lost (did I mention I’ve lost 25 pounds in 6 months?).  Google for pornography. Check out the latest magazine update to arrive on my Kindle (New Yorker, Nation, Atlantic, Harper’s)-. Do my laundry-. Check out what Avis is watching on the TV. Roam outside, water the shrubberies. ANYTHING to avoid doing: this.  Typing.  Typing new things.  Thoughts, random thoughts, much less in any wise directed thoughts;

Like for instance, what’s up with that Kindle, and hasn’t Amazon learned anything with its directed avertising? [DDET Read more…] Amazon knows just about everything there is to know about me; I’m one of their most loyal customers.  But it never uses the data it gathers on me from my orders, from my browsing, to direct advertising to me on the Kindle.  Email, yes: emails all the time about things I’ve ordered, things I browsed…but never on the Kindle.  And the Kindle shows an ad just about every time I pick it up:–it turns itself off after about one minute, at which point an ad is displayed. But never for anything that I might find enticing.

I order from Amazon books; I’m interested in US history of the late 19th and early 20th century–I’ve got two shelf-loads of books from Amazon on that subject.  And what does Kindle offer?  Werewolves.

From Amazon I’ve oredered salt-cured olives; Kindle offers me steaks.  From Amazon I buy computers; Kindle offers me whiter teeth.  At Amazon I’ve searched for solar panels. Kindle tries to entice me with organic tea (okay, getting warmer, but come on!).

Come on, Amazon.  You know how to reach me (you  know it’s my Kindle those ads are going to; why not use some of those terabytes of data on me you’re storing?[/DDET]

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Romney’s big tax give-away to the rich

July 19th, 2012 Comments off


Obama vs. Romney Tax changes, by quintile

It’s also worth noting that these numbers only tell half the story: Romney has promised to offset the cost of most of his tax plan through spending cuts and tax reforms, and so any analysis of who pays is incomplete without those policies. But that information is impossible to graph, as Romney hasn’t released it yet. All we can say is that since Romney has promised to increase spending on defense and honor Medicare and Social Security’s scheduled benefits for the next decade, it’s hard to see how he makes good on that promise without cutting deep into programs for the poor and tax preferences that benefit the middle class, and if that’s right, then the poor and middle class are paying much more than you can tell from the graph above.


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Your problem

July 19th, 2012 Comments off

You know what the problem with you is?  You’re not like anyone else, that’s your problem.  No  matter who you are: that’s it.

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Almost All My Earning Years Shot to Hell

July 18th, 2012 Comments off

Krugman 7/18/2012

Median Income (inflation-adjusted dollars)



US Drought Today

July 17th, 2012 Comments off

WaPo 7-17-12  It’s been more than 50 years since a drought this extensive has afflicted the Lower 48 states.

Drought in US July 2012

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Causes of Inequality

July 17th, 2012 Comments off

Dean Baker, Monday 16 July 2012

[There are] a number of different policies that had the effect of redistributing income upward. For example, exposing manufacturing workers to direct competition with low-paid workers in the developing world, while protecting highly educated professionals (e.g. doctors and lawyers), would be expected to lower the wages of both manufacturing workers and the large number of workers who will compete for jobs with displaced manufacturing workers. …
Central banks that target low inflation even at the cost of higher unemployment will also increase inequality…
And when a government adopts a one-sided approach to enforcing labor laws, so that courts intervene to benefit management and weakens unions, it will reduce workers’ bargaining power. This will mean lower pay for ordinary workers and higher corporate profits and pay for those at the top…The huge paychecks of the Wall Street crew have to come from somewhere and our analysis indicates that it came from those below the 90th percentile in the income distribution…If we are serious about reducing inequality, reining in the financial sector must be a big part of the plan. And, a tax on financial speculation would be a great place to start.

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It can always happen…

July 15th, 2012 Comments off

Something to remember: Tacoma Narrows Bridge

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Practice is Praxis

July 15th, 2012 Comments off

In meditative life, practice is praxis.

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Is Automation Killing Us?

July 9th, 2012 Comments off

From NYT 7/9/12:


USA trends

On his blog, McAfee explains the graphic:

Since the Great Recession officially ended in June of 2009 G.D.P., equipment investment, and total corporate profits have rebounded, and are now at their all-time highs. The employment ratio, meanwhile, has only shrunk and is now at its lowest level since the early 1980s when women had not yet entered the workforce in significant numbers. So current labor force woes are not because the economy isn’t growing, and they’re not because companies aren’t making money or spending money on equipment. They’re because these trends have become increasingly decoupled from hiring — from needing more human workers. As computers race ahead, acquiring more and more skills in pattern matching, communication, perception, and so on, I expect that this decoupling will continue, and maybe even accelerate.

He offers some (and some not so good) solutions here.

Also, charts on the development of poverty since Harrington.

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