Weekend Update 04-28-2012

From now until May 20 the proceeds from sales of Second Mile Band’s CD, my friend Tom Cottar’s worship band, benefits Rafiki Africa Ministries, an orphanage in Uganda established and run by another friend. I’ve enjoyed their music both on the CD and in person. Love Wins is particularly good.

The Amnesia Candidate. How stupid does the Romney campaign think Americans are? Pretty stupid, actually. Hopefully we aren’t really as stupid as they believe we are.

We’re on course to follow Europe into a double dip recession. It’s not just that economic theory tells us that government austerity during periods of economic contraction is bad. We developed those economic models based on the experience of the Great Depression and have seen them confirmed in multiple smaller contractions. And the principles aren’t even hard to understand. They seem pretty obvious to me, at least. The current European and American insanity is so contrary to reason and reality, it’s hard to grasp.

Bullying the Nuns. I went to a Catholic school for three years and I’ve known a pretty fair number of nuns in different contexts throughout my life. With only a few exceptions, they have all seemed like pretty amazing women to me. I wouldn’t bet against the nuns. 😉 Moreover, they are really part of the heart and soul of Catholicism.

Here’s the graph comparing the results of Cameron’s austerity campaign in Britain to Britain during the Great Depression. The picture is pretty clear. And this is a graph showing the collapse in American public employment during the GOP austerity campaign here which Obama has largely failed to counter. As the graph indicates, normally public employment grows during a crisis and recovery compensating for private sector weakness. In economic peak times, public employment tends to wane as the private sector offers higher compensation. We’re running counter to that trend, especially at the state and local level, and there was no rational reason for the public sector contraction. If we had followed the trend from past recoveries, we would be a whole lot better off as a nation right now than we are. The GOP platform across the board at all levels is to double down on the damage they’ve already caused. As a nation, are we really stupid enough to let them do it? I guess we’ll find out.

Of course, the GOP seems to be going out of its way to alienate key influential and growing segments of our population. I guess once you lose touch with reality, it’s hard to respond to its cues in any venue, even when the failure to respond is self-destructive.

Death of the confidence fairy. Zombie economic policies. Reign of error. Three great phrases in this Krugman column.

The last blurb in this post about Ayn Rand is hilarious and so spot on! “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

The rich are different from you and me. Being wealthy and raised in privilege does not necessarily mean you are so utterly clueless about the lives of others and so completely lacking in empathy. FDR and Kennedy were certainly children of privilege and wealth. But Mitt seems absolutely tone deaf.

Really? Genetically modified insecticide containing corn is bad for the soil? Who da thunk?

I remember in the 80s the “assumption” among the young that SS wouldn’t be there when we got older. But guess what? It’s doing pretty good. The Greenspan Commission fixed the basic structural flaws and even now it only needs a small tweak to maintain full solvency. (Even without that tweak it’s a very long-term problem in which the fund could only pay three-quarters of expected benefits, not insolvency.) When you’re healthy and twenty-something, you might think less about health insurance and retirement. I know. I’ve been there. Wait a couple of decades. Reality will kick you in the teeth. I was never as caught up in that hubris as some of my friends. I had already learned a lot of hard lessons by that age. And I’m pretty decent at math. I’ve discovered that helps. A lot.

Elizabeth Esther mentions her Myers-Briggs personality type a fair amount in her writing. I don’t as much. In fact, I doubt I’ve every mentioned it on my blog. But I first took the test back in the early nineties in a work context — so it was the full test, not an abridged version. And each time I’ve taken it since I’ve come up the same type, INFP. I’m practically off-the-chart N and P. I’m relatively strongly I. And I’m borderline F. (That’s perhaps not surprising given my strong mathematical bent and the fact that my profession leans heavily to the T side.) I’ve found a site with descriptions of the various personality types and this description of INFP is not bad and pretty accurate in places.

 

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