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How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes August 6, 2016

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It’s not just Trump who is worried about a rigged election; it should be all of us.

With Russia already meddling in 2016, a ragtag group of obsessive tech experts is warning that stealing the ultimate prize—victory on Nov. 8—would be child’s play.

Source: How to Hack an Election in 7 Minutes – POLITICO Magazine

Thinking About the American Presidency | Geopolitical Futures December 30, 2015

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To understand the American system, it is important to grasp how little power the American president has at his disposal.

Nevertheless, the American presidency was crafted for the unexpected moment, such as 9/11, where fundamental decisions need to be made within hours or days. When I vote for president, I ignore the policies and programs because they will rarely have the opportunity to pursue them. The American public is very clear in how it votes — it looks at the candidates, not the issues. This has been seen as a sign of shallowness. It is actually a sign of their deep understanding of the presidency.

FreeBeerVoterThe most important decisions presidents make are the ones they were never prepared for and have no policy for. Truman and Korea. Eisenhower and Suez. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Johnson and Vietnam. What their farm programs might have been is of monumental irrelevance. First, they can propose but Congress and the courts must enact. Second, it was the crises that defined their presidency. They had no policy for any of these, because they did not know what was coming.

When voters say they judge the person, what they are saying is that character is more important than the intentions. Intentions of presidents are crushed by history. Character, if you can glimpse it, tells you if the person is smart enough to understand the moment of history he is compelled to govern in, and the constraints it imposes on his choices. He needs to understand what is possible and impossible, in order that he have the ability to cause the least damage to the nation. Because in the end that’s what presidents must do. And the president must have the strange combination of hubris in imagining being president, and modesty, in understanding how little it means

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/thinking-about-the-american-presidency/

Why is that so confusing for you? September 24, 2015

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Climate Science Is Not Settled – WSJ September 20, 2014

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ikePolicy makers and the public may wish for the comfort of certainty in their climate science. But I fear that rigidly promulgating the idea that climate science is “settled” (or is a “hoax”) demeans and chills the scientific enterprise, retarding its progress in these important matters. Uncertainty is a prime mover and motivator of science and must be faced head-on. It should not be confined to hushed sidebar conversations at academic conferences.

Society’s choices in the years ahead will necessarily be based on uncertain knowledge of future climates. That uncertainty need not be an excuse for inaction. There is well-justified prudence in accelerating the development of low-emissions technologies and in cost-effective energy-efficiency measures.

Any serious discussion of the changing climate must begin by acknowledging not only the scientific certainties but also the uncertainties, especially in projecting the future. Recognizing those limits, rather than ignoring them, will lead to a more sober and ultimately more productive discussion of climate change and climate policies. To do otherwise is a great disservice to climate science itself.

via Climate Science Is Not Settled – WSJ.

Why CBS Chose Colbert April 17, 2014

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, In The News, philosophy & politics, Politics.
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The ideal television viewer is now in his twenties or thirties, lives in a city, has plenty of disposable income and is highly active on social media so that his or her brand choices influence their peers. He bought a new smartphone in the last 12 months and the next gaming console, he goes to bars and night clubs, spends $400 on video games and $300 on music. He is more likely to do these things than to become a parent, invest in stocks or buy a home.

Colbert_and_sons_by_David_Shankbone

CBS’s Hawaii Five-O may be highly rated, but it skews to older audiences, which is why it costs $58,000 to advertise on it, while Grimm, which has a smaller audience, charged $82,000. Both shows are about even in the demo,  but Grimm’s viewers are valued more. Blue Bloods may have fantastic ratings, but its audience is old, so it’s also down at the $58,000 level.

via CBS, Colbert and Contempt for America | FrontPage Magazine.

Russia’s Bridge to Nowhere September 8, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in In The News, Politics, Science & Technology.
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Alaska doesn’t have the biggest boondoggle bridge project.  Putin just wasted over a billion dollars on a bridge to show off at this week’s 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference.  The bridge to the Russky island, the world’s largest cable-stayed bridge, dead-ends just beyond the bridge, meaning that the 5,000 local residents, who live on the other side of the island and have no access to telephones, public lighting or running water, still have to use a ferry to reach the mainland.

via Bridge to Russky Island – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Undecided Voters Choose the Next President September 8, 2012

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The U.S.A. is so evenly polarized that world events, beyond the control of any campaign, should determine the winner of the Presidential election. Today, voters in a handful of swing counties, within a few undecided states, would tip the balance towards Obama. As an example the I-4 corridor through Orlando will decide Florida. It separates the Republican North with the Democratic South. Florida is the only part of the US where as you drive North, you head South.

But one thing to expect in this world we live in is to expect the unexpected – whether its politics, weather, finance…

Boomer or Bust – The War Against Youth March 30, 2012

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The recession didn’t gut the prospects of American young people. The Baby Boomers took care of that.

David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter, had the guts to acknowledge that the Tea Party’s combination of expensive entitlement programs and tax cuts is something entirely different from a traditional political program: “This isn’t conservatism: It’s a going-out-of-business sale for the Baby Boom generation.”

The impasse of the moment is, tragically, the result of the best aspects of the Boomers’ spirit. The native optimism that emerged out of the explosively creative postwar world led them to believe that growth would go on forever; that peace and prosperity were the natural state of things. Their good intentions seem like willful naivete today, but the intentions were genuine. Clinton actually believed that globalization would export the First World rather than bring the Third World home; it did both.

via Young People in the Recession – The War Against Youth – Esquire.

People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say March 5, 2012

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The research, led by David Dunning, a psychologist at Cornell University, shows that incompetent people are inherently unable to judge the competence of other people, or the quality of those people’s ideas. For example, if people lack expertise on tax reform, it is very difficult for them to identify the candidates who are actual experts. They simply lack the mental tools needed to make meaningful judgments.

As a result, no amount of information or facts about political candidates can override the inherent inability of many voters to accurately evaluate them. On top of that, “very smart ideas are going to be hard for people to adopt, because most people don’t have the sophistication to recognize how good an idea is,” Dunning told Life’s Little Mysteries. (more…)

Is It 3rd Party Time In 2012? October 3, 2010

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“We basically have two bankrupt parties bankrupting the country,” said the Stanford University political scientist Larry Diamond. Indeed, our two-party system is ossified; it lacks integrity and creativity and any sense of courage or high-aspiration in confronting our problems. We simply will not be able to do the things we need to do as a country to move forward “with all the vested interests that have accrued around these two parties,” added Diamond. “They cannot think about the overall public good and the longer term anymore because both parties are trapped in short-term, zero-sum calculations,” where each one’s gains are seen as the other’s losses.

We have to rip open this two-party duopoly and have it challenged by a serious third party that will talk about education reform, without worrying about offending unions; financial reform, without worrying about losing donations from Wall Street; corporate tax reductions to stimulate jobs, without worrying about offending the far left; energy and climate reform, without worrying about offending the far right and coal-state Democrats; and proper health care reform, without worrying about offending insurers and drug companies.

via Op-Ed Columnist – Third Party Rising – NYTimes.com.

The Coming VAT Tax Exemptions Quagmire April 5, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Food, Politics.
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“Food of the kind used for human consumption,” to a British bureaucrat, is something “the average person, knowing what it is and how it is used, would consider it to be food or drink; and it is fit for human consumption. . . . The term includes . . . products like flour, which, although not eaten by themselves, are generally recognized food ingredients . . . [but] would not usually include . . . dietary supplements, food additives and similar products, which, although edible, are not generally regarded as food.”And so, in the United Kingdom, according to the regulations of Her Majesty’s Inland Revenue Service, crackers made from tapioca starch carry no tax; prawn crackers made from cereals do. Frozen yogurt that needs to be thawed before eating is zero rated, frozen yogurt bears the tax. Get it? If you don’t, too bad—Her Majesty’s tax collectors are not in the habit of offering an explanation for their regulations.

This process of writing regulations for the VAT man when he cometh is more than merely amusing. For one thing, it confers enormous power on faceless bureaucrats.

They can hand a competing product the advantage in the U.K. of a price 17.5% lower (in Sweden it’s 25%) than a close substitute. That invites both lobbying and corruption and sheer, inexplicable arbitrariness. Get your “sweetened dried fruit” deemed to be “held out for sale as snacking and home baking” and your product will bear a tax and have to compete on grocers’ shelves with zero-rated “sweetened dried fruit held out for sale as confectionary/snacking.” Peddle your sandwiches “as a general grocery item” and consumers pay no tax, but offer them as “part of a buffet service” and the VAT man wants his 17.5%.

via Irwin Stelzer: Small Bras and the Value-Added Tax – WSJ.com.

The Real Rogue Of 2009: Levi Johnston December 25, 2009

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It’s unverifiable – but no less so than Palin’s autobiography. And compared with her bizarre, constantly changing stories and multiple lies about any number of empirically indisputable facts, Johnston’s monosyllabic yeses and nos and plain English eye-witness accounts that have never changed are like oases of sanity and calm.

When I got to meet Johnston, I asked him simply how he seemed so calm as a nineteen year old up against an international celebrity with millions of dollars and every pimp in the “publishing” and political industries trying to suck up to her. “Because I’m tellin’ the truth,” was his simple, and immediate answer.

I can’t know who’s telling the truth for sure. But after a decade of frauds enabled and abetted by political corruption and media cowardice, Palin might well be the biggest fraud of all, perpetrating a hoax so massive no one can quite see it. Perhaps the most memorable quote of the year came when Levi said quite simply, even after unloading all of the above:

“There are some things that I have that are huge. And I haven’t said them because I’m not gonna hurt her that way … I have things that can, you know — that would get her in trouble, and could hurt her. Will hurt her. But I’m not gonna go that far. You know, I mean, if I really wanted to hurt her, I could, very easily. But there’s — I’m not gonna do it. I’m not going that far.

Or as he also put it:

:She knows what I got on her.”

But the rest of us don’t.

Yet.

via The Real Rogue Of 2009: Levi Johnston – The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan.

Top 1% Taxes Exceeds That of Bottom 95% July 31, 2009

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IRS data shows that in 2007—the most recent data available—the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of the total income taxes collected by the federal government. This is the highest percentage in modern history. By contrast, the top 1 percent paid 24.8 percent of the income tax burden in 1987, the year following the 1986 tax reform act.

blogTax20090729-chart1Remarkably, the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 percent now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined. In 2007, the bottom 95 percent paid 39.4 percent of the income tax burden. This is down from the 58 percent of the total income tax burden they paid twenty years ago.

To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent is comprised of just 1.4 million taxpayers and they pay a larger share of the income tax burden now than the bottom 134 million taxpayers combined.

Some in Washington say the tax system is still not progressive enough. However, the recent IRS data bolsters the findings of an OECD study released last year showing that the U.S.—not France or Sweden—has the most progressive income tax system among OECD nations. We rely more heavily on the top 10 percent of taxpayers than does any nation and our poor people have the lowest tax burden of those in any nation.

via The Tax Foundation – Tax Burden of Top 1% Now Exceeds That of Bottom 95%.

How Much Is A Trillion Dollars? July 29, 2009

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YouTube – One Trillion Dollars Visualized from www.mint.com.

2008 In Carols January 2, 2009

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It’s been a whole year since Uncle Jay has SUNG an entire episode, and here’s the reminder why! It’s the year-end review of the news, and maybe it’ll seem a little better with music.


Social Security and Madoff – Both Pyramid Schemes December 30, 2008

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madof121820081. Legitimate investment vehicles take investor funds and invest them in businesses, real estate, and other assets. These investments are intend to generate returns for shareholders. Madoff didn’t do this. He paid off early investors with cash from subsequent investors. Investment assets were never purchased.

Similarly, Social Security has no investments. It pays retirees benefits with cash deposited by younger workers. What’s worse is that Social Security has taken in a surplus of funds over the years. Instead of investing the extra funds legitimately, the government spent it on other programs. Now Social Security is completely unfunded — something that’s illegal for companies to do but not the government.

2. Madoff’s early investors received excellent returns, which averaged 12 percent to 14 percent a year. Similarly, Social Security provided excellent returns to its early participants. The first person to receive monthly Social Security benefits was a woman named Ida May Fuller. She paid $24.75 total into the Social Security system over a three year period, and received $22,889 during her lifetime. Even Madoff was not so egregious to provide such a large return to his early investors. (more…)

Barack Obama’s Speech Writer – Jon Favreau December 6, 2008

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He is too busy to read much. “I’m embarrassed to say that since college” — Favreau graduated from Holy Cross in 2003 — “I’ve been so busy speechwriting for Kerry and then Barack that I haven’t been reading all the good literary stuff I used to read back in the day.” As for speechcraft, while he says the speeches of Bobby Kennedy are his favorites, he also says Peggy Noonan is his all-time favorite speechwriter. He cites Ronald Reagan’s Pointe du Hoc speech marking the fortieth anniversary of D-day as his favorite of hers,

via Barack Obama’s Speech Writer – Jon Favreau Writes Speeches for Obama – Esquire

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The Rich Elected Obama November 11, 2008

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Top Clinton advisor Mark J. Penn points out that…the exit poll demographics show that the fastest growing group of voters in America has been those making over $100,000 a year in income. In 1996, only 9 percent of the electorate said their family income was that high. Last week it had grown to 26 percent — more than one in four voters. And those making over $75,000 are up to 15 percent from 9 percent. Put another way, more than 40 percent of those voting earned over $75,000, making this the highest-income electorate in history.

The poorest segment of the electorate, those making under $15,000, has shrunk from 11 percent to 6 percent over the past dozen years. And those making $15,000 to $30,000 annually — the working poor — also shrunk from 23 percent to 12 percent of the electorate.

President Clinton got 38 percent of the vote among those making over $100,000. This year Obama earned 49 percent of that vote. He also got 52 percent of a new polling category — those making over $200,000 a year who were no longer among the top 1 percent of earners, as they had been in past elections, but were now the top 6 per cent. (more…)

Election Day USA November 4, 2008

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Conservatives For Obama October 30, 2008

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When Conservative Blogger Andrew Sullivan endorsed Obama back in November, he became the darling of TV land’s talking heads. Now he gives 10 good reasons why Conservatives should vote for a Democrat for President.

I could add ,he left out reaction to the Democrats over-reaching , just as their Republican brethren did “Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely”. Then maybe the Cato institute wing of the party will replace the Bush/Cheney ideological wing, which so disdains his homosexuality, and be swept to power by a public revulsion to the probable Liberal excesses.

via The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan (October 27, 2008) – The Top Ten Reasons Conservatives Should Vote For Obama

What the Candidates Drive October 1, 2008

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Obama’s lone vehicle also is a green machine, a 2008 Ford Escape hybrid. He bought it last year to replace the family’s Chrysler 300C, a Hemi-powered sedan. Obama ditched the 300C, once 50 Cent’s preferred ride, after taking heat for driving a guzzler while haranguing Detroit about building more fuel-efficient cars.

We knew about Palin’s government-provided Suburban, a hockey-mom prerequisite. Her SUV ownership reminds us that for some ever-growing families, a seven-passenger car is truly the most efficient means of transport. Plus, it’s big honkin’ V8 is great for hauling snowmachines and a quick getaway during a Russian attack. It’s also surprising that such a strong proponent of offshore drilling drives a car that can get better gas mileage than a Prius. (more…)

Bullwinkle Assassinated September 29, 2008

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Thanks to Tom Eldridge

How Florida Could Screw Up The Election Again September 26, 2008

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Back in 2002, Congress passed something called the Help America Vote Act, which was supposed to prevent eligible voters from being turned away at the polls because of unresolved paperwork issues. Under the act, these voters are entitled to cast a provisional ballot on Election Day, and their status is later investigated to determine whether their votes should be counted.

Sounds voter friendly. But a lot of things can go wrong with a provisional ballot, especially in Florida. (more…)

Are We Born Conservative Or Liberal? September 19, 2008

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The participants with traditional conservative views — supportive of the Iraq war, death penalty, immigration reform and The Patriot Act — had strong physical reactions to the threatening images of spiders and calm reactions to the non-threatening images of bunnies and happy children.

Those with more liberal views — low support of Iraq war and higher support of gay marriage, gun control and abortion rights — showed no differences in reaction when viewing the threatening and non-threatening images. They appeared to physically react to the same to an image of a bowl of fruit and one of an open war wound.

Fascinated by the clear differences in the results, Rice University researchers believe this study, while small, is proof that our political views, in part, are genetically instilled in us.

“We estimate your biological makeup has a 30 to 40 percent role in how you will vote,” says Alford. “The other portion is how and where you were raised as well as environmental factors” Paging Dr. Gupta: – Blogs from CNN.com

Is She Dick Cheney In Drag? August 30, 2008

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Republican VP and Alaska Governor Palin, as a kid, used to get-up at 4:30 to go Moose hunting. This picture, from Bob Bopp, supposedly taken in her Mayor’s office , shows the ex-sportscaster draped over one of her kills .

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