When you own a website, sometimes you need to type out an article and lay out your lamentations about the decline of something in your culture. Usually, this coincides with hitting a certain age and believing “that wasn’t the case when I was a kid”. I don’t have any excuse like that; my cynicism is a reaction to a perfect storm of articles in recent days which, far from moving the Overton Window, broke the window and ripped out all the framing. Heck, it probably knocked down the wall.
In the episode of the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VII, you can find one of the most poignant cultural references ever made by a cartoon:
Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They’re nothing but hideous space reptiles!
Kodos: It’s true, we are aliens… but what are you going to do about it? It’s a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us!
Man1: He’s right, this is a two-party system!
Man2: Well, I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate…
Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away!
Of course, Ross Perot is then show punching a hole in a “Perot ’96″ hat.
So, let’s say that you aren’t completely happy with either Democratic President Barack Obama or Republican Candidate Mitt Romney. What’s a budding protester to do?
Newsflash: most people don’t know who their representatives are. Let’s correct that oversight, at least for those of you who come to this website!
On this page you’ll find some code which identifies what politicians represent a given address. You can either enter an address in the search box, or zoom the map in and do a single click (don’t drag) to get politician information. I wrote this piece of code as part of a far larger project, but it stands on its own merits so I decided to release it to the public. Have fun!
Spoiler alert for anyone who is still ignoring the Presidential race, Republican Mitt Romney has picked Paul Ryan (a Representative from Wisconsin) as his running mate (and President Barack Obama and Joe Biden work out some kinks). The battle has already begun as each campaign has pivoted from talking about the economy to talking about how their opponent will cut Medicare to the bone, and leave millions of seniors without health care options. If talking about Social Security and Medicare is the third rail of American politics, then the best way to describe it would be to say that the candidates are trying to push their opponents onto the track.
I’ve made the warning before… and I’ll make it again: be wary of false precision. This time, in particular, I’m talking about political odds – yes, of the very sort I now display prominently on the right sidebar of this very site!
The multi-payer system sets up the incentive for those without their own insurance to be unhealthier. Car accident deaths increased after the seatbelt law was instituted. When I finally have to foot some of the bill, do I still want to see Americans wolfing down their Wendy’s?
In a case of great timing, DQYDJ’s article guessing how Mitt Romney has so much money in his IRA is now the third most popular article on the site! While I hold no belief that this situation will continue past November of this year, I think that, in the moment, it’s interesting to ask how a retail investor (read: the rest of us) might have fared had we contributed as much as the Romney family must have during Mitt’s 24 year stint in the public sector (whew). So, how much out-performance did Mr. Romney achieve?
Media and fellow bloggers alike enjoy bemoaning the hazardous plague of inflation. I will show that not only is this argument not grounded in reality, but that it also ignores many ancillary benefits of an inflationary rate: spending encouragement, debtor relief and avoidance of a deflationary spiral.
It has been mentioned here and elsewhere that the mortgage interest deduction in the tax code is a roundabout way of subsidizing banks. If interest rates are determined by supply and demand then the demand for interest rates is only dependent on what a taxpayer’s “effective interest expense is”. A new study suggests that most of the benefits fall into the hands of lenders.
If there is anything in politics sillier than Congressional Job Approval polls, I’ve yet to find it – yet here I am writing about it. Ostensibly, these polls are set up to gauge the public’s trust in Congress – to get an idea about the public mood regarding our elected leaders.
In reality, the entire setup of the poll is a sham. Here’s the thing – unlike the President, the average voter cannot vote out the average Congressman (or woman). The truth is, Congress is set up in the way that it is strictly to avoid the public’s mood from tearing the House and Senate apart.