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Why I need not be frightened of Santorum, Cruz, Perry or other second tier Republican Candidates

The latest poll from Fox News puts Donald Trump at the top of the Republican field, with 18 percent. Scott Walker is in second at 15 percent, and Jeb Bush is third at 14 percent. No one else reaches double-digits in the national survey: Rand Paul, 8%; Marco Rubio, 7%; Ben Carson, 6%; Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, 4%; Chris Christie, 3%; John Kasich and Rick Santorum, 2%; Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal and George Pataki each received one percent or less. Remember: the top 10, as decided by Fox, get into the first debate next month. Yesterday, Univision released its own poll showing that 7 in 10 Hispanic registered voters have an unfavorable impression of Trump.

via The Daily 202 from PowerPost.

Every day I seem to get some breathless report about some new outrageous thing a Republican presidential primary candidate has said. And I’m not talking about the eye rollers from joint front runners Trump, Walker and Bush. It’s like “Can you believe that Santorum said that?” “Have you heard the latest devilry from Ted Cruz?” “OMG Rick Perry is going to turn the US into a theocracy!”

I’d like to ask everyone to take a deep breath and forget them for the time being. Look at that national poll again. No one besides Trump, Walker and Bush hits the double digits. And they have plenty of in their records to complain about. Let’s not dilute criticism of these records with angst over people who quite likely will be gone from the field next Spring. Don’t give them attention they don’t deserve.

Give Bernie Sanders some attention if you want. He’s polling around 15% among Democrats. That makes him more popular in his party than EVERYONE in the latest Fox poll except The Donald. If you’re a progressive, spreading hopeful stories about Bernie makes more sense than worrying about dead enders like Cruz and Santorum.

If other Republicans can break double digits, I’ll pay attention to them. Or if a Republican emerges who’s not simple a “Me too! But I’m tougher and cut more taxes and bomb more countries than those losers!” I’ll pay attention. Until then I don’t think the scary stories are worth my time or yours. Unless you’re a Republican voter.

Robert Reich (Why Wages Won’t Rise) – I think he’s right

None of these changes has been accidental. The growing use of outsourcing abroad and of labor-replacing technologies, the large reserve of hidden unemployed, the mounting economic insecurities, and the demise of labor unions have been actively pursued by corporations and encouraged by Wall Street. Payrolls are the single biggest cost of business. Lower payrolls mean higher profits.

via Robert Reich (Why Wages Won’t Rise).

For whatever reason lately, Facebook has been showing me items from robertreich.org as “new” even though they’re months old. The piece above is from January, I think it is still true today. I haven’t seen much wage growth in the economy at large. All of the reasons that Reich gives appear intuitive. If you have studies suggesting otherwise, I’d certainly read them. I hope we can agree that unions are pretty much under continuous attack. If you don’t, I don’t believe you’ve been following either the Republican Presidential primary race or the recent to-do’s over employee unions in Alaska, Kansas and Wisconsin.

While the incentives for individual corporations to reduce wages and worker rights as much as possible are enormous, it’s not sustainable. In the United States we live in a consumer driven economy. The economy needs sales in many sectors to grow. The 0.1% just do not have enough needs and wants to spend the same amount of money that the bottom 99% used to spend. So eventually, when all of the high wage jobs in this country have been outsourced or automated, consumer spending will go into free fall and business will fail on an economy wide scale.

It’s a classic tragedy of the commons. A confident middle class with money to spend is important to the economy as a whole. But driving wages to the bottom gives near term profits to any individual company. That’s why I believe in a mandated living wage, limits on working hours without overtime pay and stronger unions.

If you don’t like those ideas what are yours? What market incentives can we give to American business so that sustaining a viable middle class aligns with individual companies as well as the economy as a whole?


US wealth inequality – top 0.1% worth as much as the bottom 90% – http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/nov/13/us-wealth-inequality-top-01-worth-as-much-as-the-bottom-90

From Mountains to Moons: Multiple Discoveries from NASA’s New Horizons | NASA

The mountains on Pluto likely formed no more than 100 million years ago — mere youngsters in a 4.56-billion-year-old solar system. This suggests the close-up region, which covers about one percent of Pluto’s surface, may still be geologically active today.

“This is one of the youngest surfaces we’ve ever seen in the solar system,” said Jeff Moore of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team (GGI) at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

via From Mountains to Moons: Multiple Discoveries from NASA’s New Horizons | NASA.

We find new mysteries to solve with nearly every space probe we send out and New Horizons is no exception. Pluto and its largest moon Charon have large smooth areas. A smooth area is interpreted as a young surface because throughout the Solar System’s history there were asteroids and comets that slammed into planet (yes, even dwarf planet) sized objects. We don’t notice many of these marks on Earth because we have wind, water, volcanic activity and tectonic plate activity to wipe out all but the largest craters in a very short time, geologically speaking. But look at the Moon with modest modification and you’ll get a sense of how many rocks have hit it over the years. The Moon has craters within craters with a few exceptions. That’s because it has no water or atmosphere to smooth things over.

Earth is geological activity because it is large enough to produce its own heat. The moon is not. Pluto and Charon are much smaller than the Moon and they shouldn’t be able to heat themselves either. There are smallish moons around Jupiter and Saturn that have water volcanoes. In these cases, tidal interactions with their giant primaries heat the interior, which drive geologic activity. Though we had no idea this could happen before the Voyager space probes.

After Voyager, we figured we had covered all the ways that a body could stay geologically active. New Horizons has proved us wrong. Again. I hope it returns enough data for us to put together a reasonable explanation, because it will be a long, long time before any probe goes to Pluto again. None are planned and it takes nearly a decade to get there.

Dragged into the 21st Century: Mobile Deposit

I’ve read about making deposits with your smartphone for a few years now. With my last credit union app update — several months ago I think — I gained the ability to do mobile deposit. But I still resisted. It just seemed weird that I could take photos of my checks to the bank. Something just didn’t feel right.

Then I went through a two week stretch of really, really intending to make to the bank to make a few deposits. But I keep forgetting to go after work. By last Friday I was ready to give it a try. While I could find the mobile deposit agreement, I couldn’t find the function itself, but an e-mail to the credit union cleared that up. During my lunch on Monday I got out my two checks, endorsed them and fired up my banking app. I went to “mobile deposit” and it was really straightforward. All I had to do was:

  • Type in the amount of the check.
  • Take a picture of the front of the check with the signature to the right.
  • Take a picture of the back of the check with my endorsement to the right. There was even a shaded spot where my endorsement was supposed to fit.
  • Hit the submit button.

I got e-mails telling me the checks were received and then more e-mails letting me know the checks had been successfully added to my account. After a specified waiting time I don’t have in front of me, I should destroy the physical checks.

The whole process made me feel bad about being so resistant. I’m definitely going to use this method from now on. Though if my credit union was still next door to me, I might still take checks over.

Marriage Equality – Will it Mean End of Modern Republican Coalition? Make it Easier to Fight Big Business?

I’m hardly the first to bring this up, but reactions to the Obergefell v. Hodges decision making marriage equality the law of the land seem to me to have the potential to fracture the Republican Party.

While many Republicans, most notably EVERY Republican seeking their party’s Presidential nomination are beating their breasts and talking Constitutional amendments and/or Supreme Court impeachments, Congress is not taking the step of passing a Constitutional amendment to send to the states. In fact, Senator Majority leader Mitch McConnell had this to say on 7/1/2015:

“It isn’t going to pass. It’s one thing to talk about a constitutional amendment,” he said. “We’ve only done that 27 times in the history of our country. It’s not going to pass.”

Part of this is bowing to reality. Under Article V of the US Constitution you need a 2/3 vote in both houses to pass an Amendment. With 44 Democrats in the Senate, this will not happen. But if enough Democrats could be arm-twisted,  three-fourths of the states would need to ratify it. Prior to Obergefell eleven states (22%)  enacted marriage equality through legislation or by initiative, so even if an amendment got through Congress, it would be unlikely to be ratified by enough states to make it law.

On the other hand, Republicans in Congress have only been too happy to attempt repeal of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare over fifty times, despite the fact that such things were dead in the Senate and at the White House. So why not push on something popular with primary voters?

Thanks to an amicus (friend of the court) brief by 379 corporations back in March 2015, I think we know the answer. Big business, the bread and butter of the Republican Party, supports marriage equality. Despite grumblings from the rank and file, Republican leaders in Congress and in the Party generally are not going to stand up to their funders and try to roll back marriage equality.

Why did major corporations care about marriage equality? Flexibility for the employer, according to a copy of the brief obtained by the Huffington Post:

“Employers are better served by a uniform marriage rule that gives equal dignity to employee relationships,” reads the brief, filed by global law firm Morgan Lewis. “Allowing same-sex couples to marry improves employee morale and productivity, reduces uncertainty, and removes the wasteful administrative burdens imposed by the current disparity of state law treatment.”

Essentially, keeping track of the paperwork for same-sex couples cut into profits, so it had to go. While they could have gotten consistency by advocating for “traditional marriage” they saw that as a losing battle owing to previous court battles and growing popular support for marriage equality. So they threw their outsized, corporate personhood behind marriage equality.

In doing so, they threw social conservatives under the bus. Then backed it over. Social conservatives don’t even have a realistic option to boycott the corporations who sold out their cause. If they did so, they’d have to give up most of their communications and transportation options and shun a great deal of food in the marketplace.

What will they do? Will they be like progressives in the Democratic Party who stay despite Democratic support for so many things progressives can’t stand – security theater, surveillance, secret trade treaties and so on? Or have they become so angry that they’ll break out of the Republican Party altogether to form some sort of Christian Conservative/”Back to God” movement? Would that movement turn anti-corporate and join progressives in bringing down corporate personhood?

Or will social conservatives become exhausted and stay home? I have no clear ideas but find it hard that social conservatives will simply bow their knees to their party’s corporate masters. What do you think will happen?


Scotus Blog.  Obergefell v. Hodges  – http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/obergefell-v-hodges/

Carney, Jordain. McConnell: Congress can’t roll back gay marriage decision. Politico, July 01, 2015, – http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/246637-mcconnell-congress-cant-roll-back-gay-marriage-decision

Cornwall, Daniel. Constitution Monday: Changing the Constitution – https://alaskanlibrarian.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/constitution-monday-changing-our-constitution/

US House. Congressional Profile – http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/cong.aspx

Wikipedia. Same Sex Marriage Laws in the United States – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States#States_and_territories_that_fully_licensed.2Frecognized_same-sex_marriage

Berman, Russell. Why Republicans Are Voting to Repeal Obamacare—Again. The Atlantic – http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/02/why-republicans-are-voting-to-repeal-obamacare-again/385105/

Kaufman, Alexander C. Here Are The 379 Companies Urging The Supreme Court To Support Same-Sex Marriage. Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/05/marriage-equality-amicus_n_6808260.html

Bogage, Jacob. Companies celebrate the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/26/companies-celebrate-the-supreme-courts-same-sex-marriage-ruling/

Quirk, Mary Beth. America’s Biggest Companies React To SCOTUS’ Same-Sex Marriage Ruling. Consumerist. – http://consumerist.com/2015/06/26/americas-biggest-companies-react-to-scotus-same-sex-marriage-ruling/

Day 8: Fireworks and Phones


A short post from my phone so I can claim Day 8 of “Write Every Day.”

This picture was taken on July 3rd with my Samsung Galaxy 5. I was surprised to get a usable photo from a smartphone. We have come a long way.

I took four pictures and three of them came out. I would have taken more, but I was standing on a balcony and am easily startled. I quickly became nervous about dropping my phone 20 feet.

The photos were taken July 3rd because Juneau Alaska has “first in the nation” fireworks at 11:30 ish pm. They finish just after midnight on 7/4.

What’s the most surprising photo you’ve taken with a smartphone?

7/15 Pluto’s First Close-Up: What will be your #PlutoRXN (reaction)? | usra.edu

The New Horizons spacecraft will fly by Pluto and its moons July 13/14, 2015, capturing the first ever close-up images of the Pluto system. The first close-up image of Pluto will be released on July 15. What will the world think the first time we see this image? What will you think? We want to know. Simply tweet the first thought(s) that comes to your mind when you see this first, historic image of Pluto.

via Pluto’s First Close-Up: What will be your #PlutoRXN (reaction)? | What’s New.

You won’t need clear or dark skies to see the first truly close up pictures of Pluto EVER. Just check your computer on July 15th. Then share your reaction.


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