Category Archives: Politics vs. math

A tax plan for Biden #2 – guiding principles

Tax expenditures 2018

In Part One of this series, I looked at 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 lay out my basic principles for a fairer, simpler, and more effective federal income taxing system. I believe these principles also to be legislatively achievable…. Read more »

A tax plan for Biden #1 – the quick hits

tax-rate-changes-snap

Joe Biden has been honest about the reality of raising taxes to offset the reckless and economically disastrous 2017 cuts if he gets in office. “You all know in your gut what has to be done,” he told a group of fundraisers a year ago. My CPA certificate is in retirement status but I still know how to count. The… Read more »

A Florida coronavirus film noir in four acts

June Florida Coronavirus

The dramatic June resurgence of Covid-19 cases in my current home of Florida strikes me as film noir that has been playing out in four acts. You could write this story in a number of ways, but I see the plot line as a battle among the exciting(?) mathematical concepts of uncertainty, probability, and fecundity, with some ugly politics thrown… Read more »

Mail voting – an auditor’s dream

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mail-in-ballot

My Certified Public Accountant certificate is in retirement status, so I am not speaking in an official capacity here. But if I were still a legit CPA, I would assert that the best mail-in systems around the U.S. are much more secure than any in-person voting process in the country. For one thing, they are much easier to audit after… Read more »

Justice Gorsuch and the two conservatisms

Republican coalition vectors

Religious conservatives were taken aback by the recent Bostock v. Clayton County Supreme Court case, and especially by Neil Gorsuch’s blunt affirmation of the rights of LGBTQ people in the workplace under his “textual” reading of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I see this as an unequivocally good decision, but the “surprise factor” here is worth some… Read more »

Worth a read: Galileo and the Science Deniers by Mario Livio

Galileo and the Science Deniers

“[T]he present Pope, who abhors the liberal arts and this kind of mind, cannot stand these novelties and subtleties; and everyone here tries to adjust his mind and his nature to that of the ruler.” Piero Guicciardini, describing Pope Paul V (1550–1621) Astrophysicist and Hubble Telescope guru Mario Livio suggests that you substitute the name of some current political ruler… Read more »

College after coronavirus #3: Sports

Note: This is the last of three posts about threats to higher education exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The second part of this series, on the campus social experience, is linked here. This week the president of the University of Michigan, a pretty good school from which I hold a couple of “credential papers,” announced that, if there are to… Read more »

College after coronavirus #2: The social holding pen

Note: This is the second of three posts about threats to higher education exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The first part of this series, on “education versus credentials,” is linked here. I was like most of my 18-year-old male peers in 1969 when I went off to attend an engineering school in northern Michigan. I wanted my own car. I… Read more »

Driving drunk in Coronavirus World

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Covid risk of harm

Whenever I get into my car, even on a nice day while wide awake and sober, I am taking on the risk of death. And very late every snowy winter’s night in Minnesota, some guy is out on the road driving fast and drunk. Which one of these risks is most like the “Coronavirus World” in which we currently live?… Read more »

The ethical theory of “Sucks to be you!”

Coronavirus history US

Utilitarianism is a classic “vector” of ethical theory, a structured way to decide “the right way” to resolve life-and-death dilemmas like the one facing us today. This is a versatile model, one that that has continued to re-emerge in modified forms ever since its roots in the writings of Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806–1873). The coronavirus news… Read more »