Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for February 23rd, 2017

The intoxication of righteous indignation—but it’s addictive

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Kevin Drum has a very interesting post with cool charts.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2017 at 8:12 pm

Posted in Democrats, GOP, Math

Watching Rango again, and struck by its Don Quixote spirit

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It’s really worth watching, and watching thoughtfully. Having read Don Quixote helps in watching the movie, as in so much else.  Rango! [mariachi band] This time I gave up and purchased it.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2017 at 6:50 pm

Posted in Books, Movies & TV

Now cabinet secretaries are not only contradicting Trump, they’re contradicting themselves (and within an interview)

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Kevin Drum has the post that explains. From the post:

The Trumpies really ought to make up their minds about whether America is a trade-blighted hellhole or the best performing economy in the world.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2017 at 5:13 pm

The Myth of the U.S. Immigration Crisis

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Noah Smith reports at Bloomberg:

With the rise of Donald Trump, anti-immigrant sentiment has reached levels not seen in decades in the U.S. Anger against illegal immigration and fear of refugees, previously confined to the fringes of the Republican base, are now at the center of public dialogue. Among some pundits and intellectuals, the response has been to try to accommodate this anger — to see immigration as a problem that needs solving. For example, my friend Josh Barro at Business Insider recently wrote an article lambasting Democrats for failing to have a coherent program for immigration reform.

I think this is wrong. Yes, I’m in favor of improving the U.S. immigration system — my proposal is to implement a skills-based system like Canada’s. Yes, the current system is suboptimal in a number of ways. But by treating immigration as an urgent problem in need of dramatic policy action, centrists are conceding way too much. The current situation is not an emergency at all.

Illegal immigration to the U.S. ended a decade ago and, according to the Pew Research Center, has been zero or negative since its peak in 2007 [graphic at the link is interactive = LG]:


About a million undocumented immigrants left the country in the Great Recession. But even after the end of the recession, illegal immigration didn’t resume.

Why? One reason might be economic — even after growth resumed, there was no return to the mania of the bubble years. Another reason is that Mexicans — both undocumented and otherwise — are flocking back to Mexico. Despite the country’s drug-related violence, it’s starting to look more attractive as a place to live. The economy has improved, and the fertility rate has fallen a lot, meaning that young Mexicans are needed back in Mexico to take over family businesses and take care of aging parents: . . .

Continue reading.

So Trump plans to spend over $20 billion for a wall that we do not in the least need and which will do terrible ecological damage. And for what? To pay off the contractors who will build it? That’s great, but what does the public get? Shafted.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2017 at 4:44 pm

We’ve come to this: Brain tumor patient removed from hospital, detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement

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Aren’t we proud? That‘s what American stands for, by God!

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2017 at 4:35 pm

White House asks FBI to confirm no contacts between Trump advisers and Russian officials. **crickets**

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Just read the story, including between the lines. The report concludes with:

CNN reported Thursday, citing “multiple U.S. officials briefed on the matter,” that the FBI declined to publicly corroborate Priebus despite a rare request from the White House to do so. The New York Times and CNN reported last week that Trump campaign aides and associates were in touch with Russian intel officials during the campaign.

Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.) told CNN that it “exacerbates the air of suspicion” around the administration.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2017 at 4:29 pm

Beta test of universal basic income: The Future of Not Working

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Update: In connection with the following story, also read this.

Annie Lawrie writes in the NY Times:

The village is poor, even by the standards of rural Kenya. To get there, you follow a power line along a series of unmarked roads. Eventually, that power line connects to the school at the center of town, the sole building with electricity. Homesteads fan out into the hilly bramble, connected by rugged paths. There is just one working water tap, requiring many local women to gather water from a pit in jerrycans. There is no plumbing, and some families still practice open defecation, lacking the resources to dig a latrine. There aren’t even oxen strong enough to pull a plow, meaning that most farming is still done by hand. The village is poor enough that it is considered rude to eat in public, which is seen as boasting that you have food.

In October, I visited Kennedy Aswan Abagi, the village chief, at his small red-earth home, decorated with posters celebrating the death of Osama bin Laden and the lives of African heroes, including JaKogelo, or “the man from Kogelo,” as locals refer to former President Barack Obama. Kogelo, where Obama’s father was born, is just 20 miles from the village, which lies close to the banks of Lake Victoria. Abagi told me about the day his town’s fate changed. It happened during the summer, when field officers from an American nonprofit called GiveDirectly paid a visit, making an unbelievable promise: They wanted to give everyone money, no strings attached. “I asked, ‘Why this village?’ ” Abagi recalled, but he never got a clear answer, or one that made much sense to him.

The villagers had seen Western aid groups come through before, sure, but nearly all of them brought stuff, not money. And because many of these organizations were religious, their gifts came with moral impositions; I was told that one declined to help a young mother whose child was born out of wedlock, for example. With little sense of who would get what and how and from whom and why, rumors blossomed. One villager heard that GiveDirectly would kidnap children. Some thought that the organization was aligned with the Illuminati, or that it would blight the village with giant snakes, or that it performed blood magic. Others heard that the money was coming from Obama himself.

Finally, Tala passed the microphone to her colleague, Brian Ouma. “People of the village,” he said, “are you happy?”

“We are!” they cried in unison.

Then he laid out the particulars. “Every registered person will receive 2,280 shillings” — about $22 — “each and every month. You hear me?” The audience gasped and burst into wild applause. “Every person we register here will receive the money, I said — 2,280 shillings! Every month. This money, you will get for the next 12 years. How many years?”

“Twelve years!”

Just like that, with peals of ululation and children breaking into dance in front of the strangers, the whole village was lifted out of extreme poverty. (I have agreed to withhold its name out of concern for the villagers’ safety.) The nonprofit is in the process of registering roughly 40 more villages with a total of 6,000 adult residents, giving those people a guaranteed, 12-year-long, poverty-ending income. An additional 80 villages, with 11,500 residents all together, will receive a two-year basic income. With this initiative, GiveDirectly — with an office in New York and funded in no small part by Silicon Valley — is starting the world’s first true test of a universal basic income. The idea is perhaps most in vogue in chilly, left-leaning places, among them Canada, Finland, the Netherlands and Scotland. But many economists think it might have the most promise in places with poorer populations, like India and sub-Saharan Africa.

GiveDirectly wants to show the world that . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2017 at 3:00 pm

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