Worth a listen: “On the Media” talks to the Pentagon Papers author

We finally made the time to see the Meryl Streep/Tom Hanks film “The Post,” about the Washington Post’s coverage of the Pentagon Papers, exposing secrets regarding the conduct of the Vietnam War. The film is well worth seeing, and I followed it up with listening to an interview with the lead Pentagon author on the papers, Leslie Gelb, on the… Read more »

Income inequality and the Rule of 72 – part 1

Income inequality is an issue fraught with political stake-in-the-ground positioning, but there is some very basic math that, if understood, deflates a lot of the political grandstanding from either side. If we get the math out of the way then perhaps the policy implications and choices become clearer. The first principle applied here is that nature itself does not usually… Read more »

Progressive or conservative? No, “payday lender.”

I have been working on a three-part post about the math of “income inequality” which goes online tomorrow and over the next week. I think it takes an important and different tack from other viewpoints. Hint: the newest tax law will only make income inequality worse. I am still banging my head trying to pin the “Tax Cuts and Jobs… Read more »

Taraji P. Henson meets Gottfried Leibniz

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Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

The excellent 2016 film Hidden Figures starred Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer, and was based on the women “computers” (that is what they were called) who worked behind the scenes to calculate trajectories for the first U. S. manned rocket flights. What you were seeing written on the chalkboards in that film was mostly the mathematics of differential and… Read more »

Here is how to compare U.S. and British health care

Recent headlines highlight problems in delivering appropriate patient care in the United Kingdom as this flu season overwhelms the National Health Service. [1] While this certainly does put a lot of British citizens at risk, the usual trashing of the British health care system by elements of the American press is, as usual, grossly misplaced. I have lived under the… Read more »

When Norway was a s***hole (and why it’s not now)

I posted recently about how “chain migration,” currently under attack by our President, was the norm in how our immigrant forebears assimilated into the United States, even those from places other than the countries he described as “s***holes.” I also shared, in a recent book review, how my grandfather came from Sweden in 1901 at the age of 19, escaping… Read more »

Albert Einstein and his dice – part 2

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In Part One of this post, I described how Albert Einstein clashed with the younger generation of physicists over the role of probability in the events shaping this universe daily. Over the years he more than once invoked the name of God to say that “He does not play dice with the world.” The curious thing here is that Einstein… Read more »

Worth a read: “Grown-up Anger” by Daniel Wolff

My father was born just one mile down Ripley Hill from the one of the last surviving copper mine headframes in the Copper Range of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, almost exactly two years after, and only fifteen miles away from, a tragic event called either the “Italian Hall disaster” or the “Calumet Massacre of 1913” depending on your union viewpoint at… Read more »

Here is how you really simplify taxes

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In an earlier post from January 9, I noted how the most recent change to the U. S. tax code makes compliance more complex, not less, for many taxpayers, and certainly for businesses. In this post, I will lay out some opportunities for truly reducing tax complexity. For the vast majority of ordinary taxpayers, the “quick-hit” route to simplification is obvious…. Read more »

Chain migration the old way

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I recently watched an advertisement on Tampa’s WFLA-TV warning me against this danger called “chain migration,” and the racist dogwhistle rang so loudly that my hearing aids picked it up. These advertisements are sponsored by a PAC called NumbersUSA.com, which is really just one guy, Roy Beck, and some anonymous, very rich donors. Beck, it turns out, has a long… Read more »