Stopping the speeding train to autocracy

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I-Voted

As I noted in an earlier post, the first-priority Republican legislative effort nationwide right now is to restrict voting rights before the next national elections come. The Brennan Center has cataloged at least 253 bills in 43 states working their way through legislatures aimed at cutting back on the right of people, especially minorities and young people, to vote. My… Read more »

January 6 and the fallacy of ‘No True Scotsman’

Scotland

A recent Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll found that 58% of self-identified Trump supporters believe that the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol was “mostly an antifa-inspired attack that only involved a few Trump supporters.” Aside from being just plain factually false, this belief is an example of a classic “brain fart,” a well-documented logical fallacy that can affect… Read more »

Giving up Rush Limbaugh for Lent

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Odious

A coincidence, surely, that Rush Limbaugh and I share a birth year, or that he died of lung cancer on Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian 40-day “penance” tradition of Lent. When I would visit my then-88-year-old Norwegian grandmother while attending university near her Upper Peninsula Michigan home, she would open the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette in the… Read more »

Affective risk aversion and Covid vaccine denial

Rollercoaster

After several unsuccessful attempts in the confused and governor-hobbled Florida vaccine roll-out, my spouse and I were recently able to get the first of two Moderna jabs. Despite the tragic (and up to 40% unnecessary) loss of life and the trashing that our economy has suffered because of the coronavirus over the last year, the number of people who are… Read more »

A tax plan for Biden #3 – taxing corporations *updated*

The first two parts of this series of posts updated first some quick hits and then larger principles that I recommended to the Biden campaign last summer when Joe emerged as the front-runner candidate. The Trump administration really screwed up the U.S. Tax Code even worse that it had been, especially in business taxes. We need desperately to restore both tax… Read more »

GameStop, Double Indemnity and four old investment stories

Double Indemnity

Now that GameStop is drifting back to pre-craze valuation levels I would like to step back and suggest that this phenomenon has simply been the confluence of four old investment stories and one great old movie. The stories are, in brief: Short selling is not some intrinsic evil, however it does frequently elevate an old ethical dilemma called moral hazard…. Read more »

A tax plan for Biden #2 – guiding principles *updated*

Tax expenditures 2018

In Part One of this series, I updated several “quick hit” actions a Biden Administration could take to restore some measure of sanity to the U.S. tax system. In this part, I want to update my four basic principles for a fairer, simpler, and more effective federal income taxing system. I believe these principles also to be legislatively achievable. But… Read more »

A tax plan for Biden #1 – the quick hits *updated*

Progressive tax rate

I first published my three-part recommendation for a Biden tax plan when his nomination looked assured last July. This is an update to first part of that recommendation. If you have any contacts in this new administration, please pass this post on. Joe Biden has long been honest about the reality of raising taxes to offset the reckless and economically… Read more »

John Lewis hopefully gets his last say

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I am most pleased that one of the priority bills in Congress during this post-Trump session is the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (designated H.R. 4 in the new Congress) which is intended to correct flaws in the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I will detail this bill later in this post. Although this bill is much needed after… Read more »

Kids, can you say epistemology?

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Blaise Pascal

Zen kōans (similar to parables) are notoriously hard to source, but the “stick” theme is common. This “stick kōan” about accepting reality is of unknown provenance, but it makes its point: The master held out a large bamboo stick and asked the student “Is this stick real?” The student, trying to show his superior understanding, replied, “How can we know… Read more »