Democracies cannot persist with the kind of income inequalities that we have, and the lack of economic mobility that we have, forever. It is true that children have no lobbyists in Washington D.C. and that may be one of the reasons why; you know, I’ve been there on the floor late at night when people are breaking their back at the end of the year before they go home for the holidays, to make sure rich people’s tax cuts are extended, to make sure that tax cuts for the largest corporations are extended.
When it came to children living in this country, Washington just went home.
LAST YEAR it looked like America had found the solution to child poverty: spend more. The expanded child tax credit is thought to have lifted around 3.7m children out of poverty. But the legislation expired and rates shot back up. How did America find the answer to a long-running problem, only to abandon it?
The Economist (still looking for a gift subscription)
We are 38th out of the 41 industrialized countries in the world when it comes to child poverty. Parents cannot work and raise children, they have to either work or raise children. I know because I lived in a single parent household from the age of 14 until I found a decent job and moved out of my mother’s house. I raised her children because she was at work all the time. That was 1977-1983, the longest six years of my life.
We treat children like an afterthought here in the US. We certainly don’t spend the time or money to make sure that they are fed, housed, clothed and given access to the educations that they need to thrive. Children are the future and the future is everyone’s problem, not just the parent’s problem. If we had half a brain in this country, we’d be spending far more than what the child tax credit gave to the poor children of America.
A wildcatter is an individual who drillswildcat wells, which are exploration of oil wells drilled in areas not known to be oil fields. The term dates from the early oil industry in western Pennsylvania. Oil wells in unproven territory were called “wild cat” wells from mid-1870, and those who drilled them were called “wild-catters” by 1876.
The oil industry is all up in arms over the demand that they produce more oil now to compensate for the loss of Russian oil on the markets. They just can’t do it, they say. It’ll take a year, they project. There aren’t workers to do the jobs we need done, they complain. All of it is bullshit. All of it.
Two years ago the oil producers were begging for money from the government to cap and plug wells in West Texas and New Mexico. They were desperate to get active wells reclassified as orphan wells because the wells weren’t producing enough to pay the royalties due on them. Not at the negative oil prices then in effect. Now that the price is back in the familiar territories of $100+ a barrel, they’re saying there’s not enough oil and gas and so they have to charge exorbitant prices.
It is true, the oil industry lost billions of dollars during the pandemic lockdowns. They and all the other industries that made their living on people intermingling and traveling across the globe to enjoy their vacations, all of them have had a rough two years of it.
The fact that the world economy is stretched thin is probably why Vladimir Putin picked now to start a Russian civil war in Ukraine and thereby causing the energy panic that has now gripped the world.
Look, Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country,” McCain said. “It’s kleptocracy. It’s corruption. It’s a nation that’s really only dependent upon oil and gas for their economy, and so economic sanctions are important.”
More sanctions on oil? Americans were already complaining about high oil prices:
I would have sworn that everyone was onboard with oil prices rising so as to save the oil industry? That seemed to be the mantra under the last president. Now we can’t bear to pay too much for gasoline? Pick one, people. You can’t have it both ways.
I get it, the oil companies are posting record profits for the first time in two years. Great. Maybe they should suck up some of the increased cost instead of raising prices at the gasoline pumps? Sure, that sounds good. I’m sure the investors won’t squall about not getting their larger checks in the mail. Maybe they should squall. Maybe they should get out of the investment business if they think investment should be a certain bet. They aren’t and they shouldn’t be.
I guarantee you that if the US government lit a fire under oil company CEO’s asses they could go find some more oil tomorrow, not in a year. You might not see an increased flow of oil for a few months, but then we shouldn’t see a serious tightening in oil and gasoline availability for a few months, either. It won’t do much good for the political maneuvers that need to be conducted right now, but that is how things work out in the real world.
As for there not being workers, that is a flat-out lie. There are plenty of people willing to work if you’ll pay them. That is the catch, after all. The cost of living has gone up in cities across the nation. You can no longer work for even fifteen dollars an hour and be able to afford a place in most major cities. You should pay no more than 30% of your wages on housing costs and apartments average out around 1500 in Austin. One person living alone might be able to swing the cost of an apartment, but that is a dead-end life of no love, no children and no fun.
My grandfather was raised in Kansas. He used to tell me stories of working on his Uncle’s farm just outside of Scott, Kansas. When he decided it was time to go out and make his mark in the world, he moved to Texas and started working in the then newly discovered oil patch. Over the course of ten or fifteen years he made enough money to buy a large spread of land in the next county over from his Uncle’s. That is what being well-paid looks like. Workers who put in their time and then leave to go do the things they really want to do. Nobody wants to spend their life working the rigs in the oil field. Nobody should spend their whole life doing it unless they want it to be a pretty short life.
These days employers pay only what they are required to pay and then complain about how they can’t find quality work anymore. Why not try offering more money? There is a thing that every corporate leader expects these days, and it is a crime that this thing even exists. They call it the golden parachute. These benefits are paid out in addition to the outrageous stacks of cash that they are paid for every day they hold their jobs.
Oil executives should make less money than the roughnecks that work for them. This is a plain fact that can’t be stated baldly enough. Unless these guys are willing to get out on the rigs and do the dirty work along with their crews, they should be paid office scale for comfortable office work. Their benefits should include not being killed on the job. Not being maimed on the job. Not being forced out of work by repeated injuries that leave you disabled, but not disabled enough to earn disability benefits.
If you started paying the roughnecks the wages that they deserve, I guarantee you that you will get the workers you need to get oil out of the ground faster than we can use it. It has happened before and it can happen again. It just takes a willingness to put the chips on the table and force the play. Are you in, or are you out?
I hate to break it to Fran Hart but substack is the blogger of 2019. Give it time. “I have a substack” will be derided like blogs are today in a very short order, especially with people like her publishing on the platform. If people come to my blog it’s because they think my writing is worth reading. I don’t have to force people to wade through my spam every day to get to what they want in their inboxes.
A Caudillo is more murderous. I’m thankful that the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) isn’t a Caudillo. He’s a tiny little wannabe Caudillo. He’s a Caudito. My apologies to Spanish speakers for murdering their language.
I only bring this up because Robert Reich says that,
A dictator is on trial in his home country. Over half the jury is in his pocket, the foreman is openly coordinating with him to make sure he goes free, and despite public outcry the foreman is refusing to conduct a fair trial.
The word for strongman leader, colloquially, in the language that is spoken South of the United States border, is caudillo. I have this on the good authority of Maria Hinojosa and this episode of Latino USA. If Trump was a dictator in the fashion of third world countries, countries that used to be South of our border here in the States, then he would be a Caudillo. Since he is a little short of the mark, I will from this point onward refer to him as a Caudito. The Caudito, Mr. Orange Hate-Monkey if I want to address him formally.
I thought Trump was a dictator in waiting when he first asked to be given the job of president. I still think he is a dictator in waiting, I just don’t think his mental makeup is vicious enough for him to be able to be a Stalin or a Mao. This is a good thing.
[We] enter an age of Democracy in that you must appeal to the people. You can either do so by going to the ballot box and be elected; or, if you are a dictator, you can pretend somehow that the people really, truly love you, even though they never voted for you. But this is surely the paradox of dictatorship in the twentieth century, that even dictators ultimately wish to portray themselves as democratic figures.
That author specifically rules out Donald Trump as a dictator because the structures of the United States government have so far kept him in check. I think the professor overestimates the fondness that Stormtrumpers feel for the United States government. I think they’d happily live under a dictatorship that governed according to the rules they felt were important enough to kill over. Things like abortion, which isn’t murder, but I digress.
The former president of Mexico, Vincite Fox, thought Donald Trump was a dictator back in 2016,
Just like the rest of us did. However. If Donald Trump, the OHM, really had the metal it takes to be a Stalin or a Mao, he’d have cut a bloody swath across the country already with the power that the presidency controls. Luckily for us (so far) he is too incompetent to do the job he was sent to do by his Stormtrumpers. It isn’t too late for one of them to step up and be the Stalin or the Mao, and it won’t be too late for that to happen for quite some time. Not until he is safely removed from office and cannot be brought back to power by some group or other in violation of the law of the United States.
…for now he remains Caudito Trump. But for how much longer?
Robert Reich goes on to suggest that Mitch McConnell is going to orchestrate the acquittal of his Trump card. However, Mitch McConnell isn’t in charge of the Senate during an impeachment trial. Mitch McConnell is nothing more than another senator for as long as this trial lasts. What needs to happen is for someone to point out to the actual leader of the Senate during trial, Chief Justice John Roberts, that Mitch McConnell is claiming more authority than is his due. Even the Chief Justice refers to Mitch McConnell as Leader McConnell, so the chances that pointing out his error will change his behavior is slim. But Mitch McConnell isn’t leader anything during an impeachment trial. He is senator McConnell, and the word disgraced should preface even that since he should have been removed from office already for his unwillingness to do his job properly.
The rest of the video is informative, as far as it goes. The yield curve inverted. That was a bad thing. Tariffs are bad for trade and the OHM loves tariffs. This is also a bad thing. The economy is weakening. Also bad. If we allow Trump to continue in office, he will drive the economy into the ditch all the while blaming everyone around him for the problems that he doesn’t know how to fix because he is a caudito. A caudillo would have executed a dozen people already and blamed them. Be thankful Trump isn’t one of those.
Anyone who doubts that Trump doesn’t want to be a dictator need only look at what he said to Representative Schiff via Twitter. Trump threatens his prosecutors. That is what that Tweet was, and no lying press secretary can change the text in the OHM’s tweets. It was a threat, and it wasn’t even the first one issued against someone who didn’t act like one of his toadies does. Jokes are funny. That was not a joke. Remove the Cadito.
A few words for all you people who still read physical papers. Still read actual newsprint and can’t figure out why those irresponsible young people don’t read them. There is nothing wrong with reading your news on a screen, as long as it’s accurate information that you are getting. Listening to news on the radio/podcast is also completely fine, as long as what you are getting is the truth. TV news is generally at best a waste of time (Unless you are watching All-In or Rachel Maddow) and at worst an active propaganda agent (FOX or your local TV affiliates owned by Sinclair media) but I also don’t know anyone under 30 that watches TV. I don’t know anyone under 30 that owns a TV that they don’t use almost exclusively for video gaming.
The reason we have a reality TV star in the presidential office is that old white people went to the polls in greater numbers than anyone else, and they voted for the guy who was the star of The Apprentice a show I’m very proud never to have watched. They still think that is the guy who now sits behind the White House desk. The camera lies. Reality TV is all lies. Every bit of it. Cut the cable and never look back. That’s what I’ve done.
But my children and most of their friends are far more informed than any older person I know, people who are still afraid of the Soviet Union twenty years after it fell. Old people are on Facebook. Ask any younger person and they’ll tell you. Facebook is for old people. They aren’t getting their information there. They get their information from other sources. Not necessarily better sources than your antique newsprint, but probably sources that are as reliable as they are. So don’t fret too hard. I’m sure they’ll find a nice home for you to antagonize the nurses at when the time comes. Drink your Ensure and tune in for more Hannity. Just remember he’s lying to you.
’OUMUAMUA, an object tumbling through space that was discovered on October 19th, has already made history. The speed at which it is moving relative to the sun means that it cannot be native to the solar system. Its official designation is thus 1I/2017 U1, with the “I” standing for “interstellar”—the first time this designation has ever been used.
That is exciting. Some scientists, though, entertain an even more exciting possibility: what if ’Oumuamua is not an asteroid, as most think, but an alien spacecraft? Asteroids come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but ’Oumuamua seems particularly odd. As best as astronomers can tell, it is cigarlike, being roughly 180 metres long but only about 30 metres wide. That makes it more elongated than anything known of in the solar system. Such a shape would be a sensible choice for a spaceship, since it would minimise the scouring effect of interstellar dust.
During the formation and evolution of the Solar System, significant numbers of cometary and asteroidal bodies were ejected into interstellar space. It is reasonable to expect that the same happened for planetary systems other than our own. Detection of such interstellar objects would allow us to probe the planetesimal formation processes around other stars, possibly together with the effects of long-term exposure to the interstellar medium. 1I/2017 U1 ‘Oumuamua is the first known interstellar object, discovered by the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in October 2017. The discovery epoch photometry implies a highly elongated body with radii of ~ 200 × 20 m when a comet-like geometric albedo of 0.04 is assumed. The observable interstellar object population is expected to be dominated by comet-like bodies in agreement with our spectra, yet the reported inactivity of ‘Oumuamua implies a lack of surface ice. Here, we report spectroscopic characterization of ‘Oumuamua, finding it to be variable with time but similar to organically rich surfaces found in the outer Solar System. We show that this is consistent with predictions of an insulating mantle produced by long-term cosmic ray exposure. An internal icy composition cannot therefore be ruled out by the lack of activity, even though ‘Oumuamua passed within 0.25 au of the Sun.
Every word is a little software agent that replicates and competes for space in people’s minds and on the page and everywhere else. It’s the differential reproduction of things like words, and other memes that can’t be pronounced, that’s what creates human culture. – Daniel Dennett
His new book is From Bacteria to Bach and Back. I love Daniel Dennett. The human groups that could communicate essential information; danger/safe attack/hide food/poison. Those groups would have a higher probability of survival than the ones who could not. What an insightful application of knowledge at work in that observation. All of it because of him and his work. I (and science) will be forever in his debt.