Bits & Pieces (Wednesday Night Open Mic)

iPad textbooks won’t replace textbooks soon. Heck, I can’t even get an iPad 2 so I can do demonstrations to our school support staff. At least, not yet. 😉

Did a webinar for the new Filemaker features. Had to agree to an NDA, but the demonstration of new features was extremely weak tea compared to what I saw at FileMaker DevCon this year. Alas, with the school merger pending, we may never do another FileMaker upgrade. Still, there’s not a better integrated DB and interface builder around. What, Access you say? Pthpht!

Does money really buy elections? Freakonomics says no.

A primer on 3D printing from TED:

Thomas Dolby talks about, and then performs, One of Our Submarines from his Sole Inhabitant Tour.


I’m a big Thomas Dolby fan. Golden Age of Wireless is a near-perfect album.

Speaking of which, I’ve posted this before but I’m going to post it again, because I love the song. Thomas Dolby’s “Oceanea”.

For anyone with a Spotify account, here’s the link for Thomas Dolby’s “Cruel”, one of my favorite songs from him.

That’s it for tonight. Please talk amongst yourselves. —KW

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And a bleg — please vote in my poll if you haven’t already.  It looks to be very close between Newt and Mitt, though Mitt got a bit of a bounce from the debate Monday night.

Mike

One more thing to spend time doing: Interactive map of Euro crisis

249 Responses

  1. If I didn’t have kids in daycare I’d be sorely tempted to get a 3d printer.

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  2. A slice of Americana from the Florida Primary.

    First a fact…About two-thirds of Florida’s population was born in another state, the second highest in the country

    Now an anecdotal story that “I believe” is typical of many Floridians based on dealing with dozens of them every week here at work.

    My office manager is among the 2/3 who have relocated. She is 50 her hubby early 50’s. They pastored a church in upstate N.Y. for 16 years before he had a falling out with the deacons. They went west to San Diego for a couple of years. He couldn’t find satisfying employment. They moved to Florida the final year of the real estate boom and bought a nice condo on the water, with a golf course, in Clearwater. He moved here to accept a position as Director of a start up Christian school. The greatest break in my adult life. She is simply the best manager ever, she is the Kevin of our office and keeps everybody off the ledge and smiling. I feel guilty admitting that I’m glad (not really) they are upside down. His job at the school didn’t work out and he can’t get a job here and so he is working in Pennsyvania and visiting once a month. Since they are upside down they are stuck. We pay her more than he is making in PA and so knock on wood I’ll keep the best office manager ever!

    They were lured to the R party because of social issues back in the “Reagan revolution. They are devout Christians. She is a very low information voter, she’s just disinterested. He is a Fox news regular. During the 08 election she kept telling me that Obama was going to raise our taxes..I reassured her that none of us made $250,000 so not to worry. She didn’t stop worrying until 09 when I took her paycheck to her and showed her the extra $37 because of the payroll tax cut. That bit of jarring reality contrasted with what Fox had made her believe and has changed her views substantially.

    But as an R who do you think she likes and why? She is like many other R’s…who choose none of the above. She asked me what I thought of Newt. I said he’s a bright man who is incredibly quick on his feet but I think he simply has too much baggage to actually get elected.

    And so I asked her..what about Romney? Now this is one example not a “significant’ number…but in my personal experience I think she represents a lot of everyday working folks who are low info voters, certainly when compared to the folks who participate here.

    Her response? Nothing about Romney’s wealth, nothing about his taxes, nothing about his flip flops on issues…first words out of her mouth…Oooh he’s just too plastic, he seems like a big fake. That is her gut reaction not anything based on policy or issues and that IMO is Romney’s biggest problem.
    Who wants to have a beer with Mitt Romney? At least Newt is entertaining. If Newt didn’t have the baggage he would be a formidable candidate, and indeed he might be even with the baggage.

    Disclaimer. I am a progressive who plans on voting for Obama. I do not have a dog in the R primary fight but please do not assume I like Newt best because I think he’d be easiest to beat. It’s just a biased progressive opinion…Newt is the only current candidate who can stand on the same stage with Obama during the debates IMHO. if you’re a Romney or Paul supporter I mean no offense.

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    • She is a very low information voter,

      I should note here, while this is probably true of most voters (and in a sense is true of every voter: you don’t really know what people are going to do in the future, and how that will interact with a much broader and more complicated system, but I digress), it’s always true of people who don’t vote the way I think they should. 😉

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    • Ricochet has had a few interesting podcasts on Romney’s electability. This one with Troy Senik and Ben Domenech, and the previous one with Ann Coulter, who gives Romney full-throated support. Troy and Ben make the point that Romney is speaking to supports and not making the case to critics. James Lileks has a great line, when they are talking about how a politician in a campaign should make the case that he or she is like the voter, about Mitt Romney saying that “people like you have come to my house, to do various chores, so I understand your concerns”. I love James Lileks.

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      • Isn’t it a bit hard to accept Ann Coulter’s endorsement.
        I can’t get that clip out of my mind..the one that’s been looped over and over and over again.

        Paraphrasing…We need Chris Christie…if he doesn’t run Romney will be the nominee and we’ll lose!

        She didn’t exactly say this in timid or half hearted fashion..it was more like So let it be written so let it be done. Pharoah Ann made a pretty damning statement about Romney.

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    • Though flawed, I’d vote for Ron Paul against Obama. But probably Obama against Romney, unless Romney does something amazing. In any case, my vote is not important, as Tennessee will go for the Republican if it’s Romney, Paul, Newt, John Huntsman, or Gary Johnson.

      I suspect Newt would win any given debate with Obama, to my satisfaction, if he could keep his foot out of his mouth, but that’s just a personal impression.

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      • Wow Kevin that’s an…shall we say eclectic lineup of choices. 🙂

        Ron Paul? Well if you must jump into the libertarian pool I can understand Gary Johnson..the rational libertarian..but Ron Paul…well I must say I do LOVE his foreign policy!

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      • Both Gore and Kerry beat Bush in debates–on points. Bush won both sets of debates going away. I’ll lay odds that Newt would turn off more people than he turns on, but he’ll score a lot of shots on Obama.

        BB

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  3. A “bleg”–that’s funny, Mike! 🙂

    I already voted, but want me to go vote again? I’m not from Chicago, but I’ve had layovers there, so I could channel it if need be. . .

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    • Michi,

      I can’t take credit for “bleg” — I’ve seen it on a few other websites.

      I’m not from Chicago

      Well, I am, sort of. So, nobody knows for sure how those votes are going to end up getting counted …

      Actually, my mom told me that I’m still on the voter rolls in my home town. Funny! I haven’t lived there since Reagan’s first term.

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  4. We are having a Ted-x event at our campus this Friday. Unfortunately, I cannot attend because it is during the day and I have work commitments. Plus it’s $100 per seat. Wish I could go!!!

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  5. it’s always true of people who don’t vote the way I think they should.

    Don’t mind Kevin, ruk. He’s a low information poster.

    On a more serious note, my mother-in-law is certainly not a low information poster, she’s an associate general counsel at one of the preeminent health systems in the country, and when I asked her what she thought about Newt, the first thing she said was the he seemed a like a jerk and wasn’t electable. I’m not sure the fact that you have a strong reaction to a personality means you are a low information voter. I’m sure she’ll vote for Newt if he gets the nomination.

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  6. So I’m changing my avatar temporarily but apparently it can take up to an hour to take effect, something else to add to the FAQ, I suppose.

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    • Hey lmsinca. I remember it took a couple of posts for mine to show up when I first changed mine.

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    • Didn’t take an hour. LOL

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    • I see it already on the comments page but I would have preferred a grander entrance.

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    • Please post it as an image in a comment so it’s larger.

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    • OMG did I almost insult you lmsinca. Remember there are some old dudes on this blog, you know with weak eyes. Before I rolled the cursor over it I thought it might be a pic of you! LMAO

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      • Hah…I was going to make a comment about how lmsinca looks great for her age.
        Instead I’ll just go with this quote from Dumb and Dumber:
        Lloyd Christmas: Hey, I guess they’re right. Senior citizens, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose.

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      • Watch out, ashot. There is a significant senior citizen contingent here. You might get hurt (or iced . . . we’re still fun).

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      • ruk, I don’t know if this will thrill you or depress you but I actually look like an older version of Mika B on Morning Joe. I have no idea if anyone finds her attractive or not. I’m older and my hair’s slightly longer but almost as blonde. Come to think of it she has that same Church Lady expression from time to time…………haaaaaaahaaaaaa.

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      • Better be careful ashot……I have the keys to the Castle here….oh wait……so do you.

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        • Just quoting a movie is all. Besides, I’m about to change my avatar and once you see it, you won’t be able to be mad at me anymore.

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      • Wow lmsinca…you’ve discovered my secret flame.
        It’s a good thing I know about Walter and that I’m very happily married.

        I think Mika is one of the hottest ladies on TV!!! She used to irritate me because I thought she was too deferential to Scarborough. But the more I watch the more it seems like she’s really just giving Morning Joe enough rope to hang himself. She makes her points more subtly…and even though I obviously don’t have that gift……I can still appreciate it.

        Mika is hot lmsinca..Walter is a lucky man!

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  7. Scott, I prefer Church Lady to Policeman or Net Nanny…………..thanks though.

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  8. A taxing question..pun intended.

    Joe Scarborough stated this morning that Mitt’s 15% tax rate is really not all that important because 47% pay no income tax, so raising the tax on millionaires won’t really effect them anyway.

    Am I missing something here? That still leaves 53% of the American public. If you subtract the 1-3% who will be impacted by these new suggested taxes that still leaves 50%. Is Scarborough simply blowing off half of this country with that statement?

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    • Yes, he is. Much of that 47% are paying 15% in FICA taxes, but of course, those don’t count for JS or other Republican commenters.

      BB

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  9. ruk, I’m not seeing any logic at all in that Scarborough statement as you report it. Maybe somebody can explain it?

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  10. So, I go for a run, do a couple errands and come back to find. . . The Church Lady has invaded the blog! What is this place coming to??? 🙂

    And, ascot, I see you’re still trying to pick a fight with Kevin! I want to see the two of you in a cage match!

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  11. And since I’m full of questions tonight…this one to determine if I’m really a technological Luddite.

    Do you tweet? Are you involved with Twitter in any way?

    I don’t even know what a hash tag is..lol…but if Kevin starts tweeting maybe I’ll sign up.

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  12. And, ascot, I see you’re still trying to pick a fight with Kevin!

    You noticed that eh?

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    • ashot/ascot

      Cute kid!!!!!!!

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    • Why, I oughta . . . ;P

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    • Beautiful, ashot!!!

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    • Thanks for the compliments. He has his mom’s nose and her blue eyes, but the rest is all me. Especially when he’s mad.

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    • About 2 months old now? I apologize, but I’m not good at keeping track of that kind of stuff.

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    • Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

      I still wanna see you and Kevin in a cage match, though. But only after you change out of that cute little avatar!

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    • Congrats ash…I know you must be a very proud papa!

      Our upstairs tenant..the residential real estate broker brought his new young son Lucas down to my office for a visit today. He’s only two months and beyond cute.

      But I must confess babies scare me…I’m afraid I’d lie awake all night to make sure their still breathing, I’m afraid to hold them for fear of breaking them.

      At least you’re not still dealing with pins when you change diapers ash. In fact you may be too young to even be aware that diapers used to be pinned and they used to be cloth and you threw them into some big pails after you dumped out the dooty. I remember as a young kid always being frightened to watch Aunts and other relatives changing diapers with those giant pins…and somehow they managed to keep their fingers between the baby’s butt and the diaper in case the pin went through incorrectly.

      I don’t wish to accuse anybody of being as old as me….but I suspect lmsinca and okie remember changing diapers and using those pins..maybe they can share their technique for not sticking the baby’s butt.

      You got it easy ash…what tape and disposable? Are you good with the diapers? Has he done that trick yet where he whizzes straight up in the air when you’re in the middle of a change?

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      • I remember cloth diapers. My parents used them for my younger brother. Cloth diapers have actually made a bit of a comeback due to environmental concerns over all those disposable diapers ending up in landfills. The problem is that while they create less waste in landfills, it takes a lot of energy to clean cloth diapers (lots of hot water).

        And yes, ashot jr has pulled that trick and several others. At this point I’ve gotten quick enough and smart that there isn’t a prolonged period where he isn’t covered.

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  13. So Michele Bachmann has announced she will run for Congress again. Do we have anybody on board from MN? It seems to me she’s from an ultra conservative district, but I’m also recalling in my now-feeble-senior-citizen brain that she did not have a cakewalk in her last election. I’m wondering if her craziness (IMO) in the Pres campaign will in any way impact her chances of re-election.

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    • That’s a great question okie and I add to it if I might…will redistricting impact her chances.

      I’m not sure we have any Minnesotans.

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    • we do: me. I live in Ellison’s district, which is Minneapolis & some 1st ring suburbs. Bachmann’s current district is north of me, wrapping as a belt of sorts around the north side of the metro area; from St Cloud ~ 60 miles NW of the cities, to Stillwater, ~30 miles east.

      We’re still in the midst of redistricting, it is not at all clear whether MN 6 will survive in anything close to its current form. It will likely shrink & likely will not be quite so GOP friendly.

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  14. Lms, Well, isn’t that special?

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  15. Okie, ABC is from MN, but she’s not around very much. I can’t think of anyone else. Her campaign really fizzled and I have to wonder if it’ll affect her back home. Of course, I can’t imagine how she got elected in the first place. But then, I live in a very conservative district for CA and I can’t believe we keep electing Ken Calvert either.

    Hi McWing.

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  16. bsimon is a Minniesohtahn.

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    • Michi (or anyone else I suppose), do you watch the sitcom How I Met Your Mother? They have a pretty good running gag poking fun of Minnesotans and Canadians.

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      • ash–yes (or, at least, I did until I got rid of my TV last year). I haven’t checked online yet to see if I can find a stream, but I love that show!

        Is it still in current episodes (i.e., Ted hasn’t met Her yet)?

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        • Ted will never meet her, until the day the show airs its last show. Which bugs the hell out me.

          BTW, you can stream it on netflix, which is where I have watched every episode after discovering the show about 2 months ago.

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        • Okie- Basically the running gag is that Minnesotans are gigantic (really tall), eat giant portions of food (one scene involves an appetizer plate of “mini-burgers” that are all full sized burgers), are immune to cold weather, are obsessed with the Vikings and are excessively nice. So they work those traits into various episodes.

          Michi- Yes, the show is still making new episodes and Ted has not yet met his wife. Although I sort of have a theory that he briefly met her during the St. Patricks episode a few seasons ago. And by met I mean they bumped into each other at the bar.

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      • Thanks for the info, Scott–I don’t know why didn’t know that since I’ve been watching lots of other stuff on Netflix. I went to the show’s website and found out that I’ve only missed the first 14 episodes of the current season, so that’ll give me something to do this weekend (no football, and rain scheduled for the whole time–blech).

        I can see where the premise of the series would drive you a little buggy. 😉 That’s why I asked ascot what I did, although actually he has met her–he just didn’t realize it at the time, and all the audience saw was her left ankle as she ran into the bathroom. . .

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        • I’m not sure the current season is on netflix. I’ve been catching up on all the old seasons. Almost done with season 6, I think.

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        • Here’s my case that he bumped into her in the bar during the episode about St. Patrick’s Day. We know that the mother has a yellow umbrella. That is the episode where Ted first picks up the yellow umbrella in the bar. Therefore, we know she is at that bar. We know that the yellow umbrella is hers because in a later episode he unkowningly returns it to her when he leaves it in her apartment (the epsiode where he sees her ankle). We also can safely assume she is a brunette because the children are dark haired. The girl he bumps into is a brunette. Lastly, in the episode about St. Patrick’s day, Ted bumps into the woman, they show her face, they show their eyes meeting, there is a slight pause and the woman looks away from Ted embarassed, but in a she thought he was cute sort of way.

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      • Detective Ascot!

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      • And he unknowingly left it (the umbrella) in her apartment because he was there to pick up his girlfriend. . . who was her roommate! I must’ve missed the St Patrick’s Day episode, and Scott is right–the current season isn’t on Netflix yet.

        So I guess there’s nothing to do but go back and start with Season 1, episode 1 and work my way forward–by the time I get back up to the end of last season the new one will probably be out, either on Netflix or DVD.

        Stick with us, okie, we’ll get you clued in to good current entertainment yet! 🙂

        Does anybody else watch “Once Upon on Time” on ABC (Hulu, for me)??

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        • If you or Scott are interested, the St. Patrick’s Day episode is Season 3, Episode 12 called “No Tomorrow.” When I googled to see what seaon that episode was in, it became apparent that lots of people share my theory.

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    • Thanks, michi. Hopefully he will weigh in relatively soon. I’m reading stuff from a google search now to refresh my memory.

      Hey, Mr. McTroll!

      ashot, haven’t seen it. But I literally watch nothing on TV except sports and news (and the occasional children’s cartoon). Can you describe the running gag to somebody who has not ever seen the show?

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  17. lmsinca

    Since the conversation turned to local politics how about an update on how Jerry Brown is doing. Since I’m hearing nothing about California these days does that mean no news is good news? Or is he still Governor Moonbeam? Who came up with that anyway?

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    • By all accounts he’s doing a pretty good job. We’re still in budget crunch so he’s kind of pissing everyone off with cuts but it looks like we’re going to have a few tax increase options on the table in November. One from him, which is probably the best one IMO, and I think two others are still in the works. We’re not feeling any kind of a recovery out here yet because of the housing market still. Moonbeam was during his first stint as a much younger liberal and married to Linda Rondstat. He’s a bit more pragmatic now.

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    • My cousin is a lawyer for the Great State of California (until recently she was some big Poobah in the Emergency Management Center in Sacramento–sometime I’ll tell you about the way cool tour I got of the inner workings. California really does have an excellent emergency management setup there) and a rock-ribbed Republican. . . but when I was out visiting at Thanksgiving she repeatedly remarked that she’d been pleasantly surprised at how much better a Governor he’s turning out to be than she’d feared. She’d still prefer to see a Republican in that office just on general principles, but it’s her belief that the Republicans in the state legislature are killing the state and she’d like to see the lot of them thrown out of office. She says Brown is actually much easier to work for/with than Schwartzenegger (sp?).

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    • Our Republican Legislators are in such a minority that the only power they have is over budget issues so they exercise it relentlessly.

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    • lms, I don’t understand that. If they are such a minority, why do they have power over budget issues?

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      • I believe it takes a 2/3 majority to pass a budget in CA; lms?

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      • Budget here needs a 2/3 vote. One of the campaign issues Brown ran on was extending the tax increases “The Terminator” passed but only through an election last November. He spent the first year trying to convince 1 or 2 Republicans to let the people vote……no dice. He even got the Chamber and several other corporate and business groups on board. Of course it was more of a regressive tax but it was already in place and people were used to it and he wanted to extend it only a number of years, 3 to 5 years if I remember correctly. Lots of hard feelings over that one.

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      • corked me

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      • Thought it would be something like that. Thanks to both of you for the info.

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  18. Bachmann is from “Minnesota’s most conservative district” according to this myfoxtwincities 11/03/2010 piece. Also, “Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann was re-elected in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, ending the nation’s most expensive U.S. House race.”

    But apparently she won 2010 easily, 52.5% to 39.8% for the D with two independents taking the rest. Per Wiki Riding the Tea Party crest.

    The political climate seems much different to me than in 2010, but I don’t live in MN. So I’m not sure if any of this info means anything now or not. I am opposed to almost everything I know about her, so I am interested in whether there is a chance she would lose. (Sorry, Kevin, I know she introduced some light bulb legislation.)

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  19. okie: re Michele Bachmann. I don’t know if it actually came to pass, but there was talk about redistricting her out of office there for a while. Did your research mention any new district?

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    • Thanks. ruk mentioned redistricting also. I just did a quick google and I did not include that. I’ll look at it. Also had not checked out any of the political blogs that are mentioning it so don’t yet know what opinions or links they might offer on her re-election.

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  20. Scott (knowing how much you LOVE nested comments, I thought I’d drop this in here):

    Are your girls watching “Once Upon a Time” on ABC (Sunday nights)? If not, I think you’d get some major Daddy points by introducing them to it. . . they can currently watch the entire first season to date on Hulu so that they’re caught up. It’s the first show in years that has become “must see” for me; the writing is incredibly dense/multi-layered, the acting is fabulous, and the storytelling is compelling. You’d probably find yourself drawn in, too; I’ve watched a few of the episodes four or five times now to go back and pick up on seemingly insignificant details, that you realize a few episodes later how important they are–the story arc was obviously completely planned for the entire season before they started filming.

    Daddy points, I’m telling you!

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  21. I’m out, see y’all manana. Good nite from the Church Lady…….no naughty dreams if you know what’s good for you.

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  22. What lms said (minus the Church Lady, of course).

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  23. speaking of 3d printing, the makerbot replicator is now available, a 2-color 3d printer for the home user…

    $1800 bucks

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    • Absolutely star-fricking crazy. Why? For what purpose??

      This is one of those things that makes me think that going with some form of a VAT is a very, very good thing. . .

      Yacht VAT = $100K
      Mercedes VAT = $10K
      Hot tub VAT = $1K
      3D printer VAT = $500
      Laptop VAT = $250
      etc., etc., etc., except a little more scientific than these numbers I’ve pulled out of my head.

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      • Why not just institute a national sales tax, which only introduces drag to the economy at the point of sail to the consumer, rather than a VAT tax which introduces economic drag in every step of production?

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      • What you are arguing for is a “luxury tax”, not a VAT tax. Typical result is to drive sales (& production) of the affected items overseas.

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  24. Brian, did you see the conversation above about Ms. Bachmann? You could probably add some local flavor to it.

    If David Petraeus ran for POTUS in 2016, on which ticket would he run?

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    • If a couple of former officers that I know who worked for him in both Iraq and Afghanistan are right, Democratic. But, then, that’s what I thought Colin Powell would do in 1992 right after the Gulf War.

      I don’t think Petraeus will run–Generals are good at dealing with politicians, but aren’t good at being politicians in general (no pun intended). Eisenhower probably wouldn’t be elected today.

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      • Interesting. I remember reading a while ago that Petraeus was registered as a Republican in the Northeast somewhere (NH?).

        Maybe in the New Yorker? Ah, here, but he apparently stopped voting in 2002.

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  25. OMG. For a belly laugh, see this article on “Oklahoma GOPer Proposes Bill to Outlaw ‘Aborted Human Fetuses’ In Food.”

    Sigh.

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    • I’m not sure I want to, okie. . .

      EDIT OK, I did go look at it. Really, where do these people get these ideas???? Did it occur to him that maybe, just maybe it’s illegal to use human tissue in, you know, food????? I would not want to live inside his head!

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    • And, yes, I am SO not going down the soylent green road right now, but trying to take him at face-off value.

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    • Man, I’m all for that. I don’t want fetuses in my McNuggets . . . at least, not any more. 😉

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  26. I didn’t watch SOTU and have not kept up well with the important national issue of Warren Buffett’s secretary’s taxes, but it did get my attention when I heard she claims to pay a tax rate over 35%, which of course is impossible unless she is counting other taxes and/or is actually a 1%-er.

    http://broadsidebooks.net/2012/01/25/buffett-and-his-secretary-cant-get-their-story-straight-on-taxes/

    I want her tax returns, and Warren’s, for the past few years. Where is the media besides shilling her spin on this? (Rhetorical question of course.)

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    • qb:

      I want her tax returns, and Warren’s, for the past few years.

      Me too. If she is going to consent to being a political prop for Obama, then she is fair game. There ought to be a real media investigation into just what her income and her taxes are.

      BTW, it would not at all be surprising to find out she is, in fact, a 1%er.

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    • Remember the media reaction to Joe the plumber? Strange that we are not getting a similar reaction to Buffet’s secretary.

      Then again, maybe not so strange. (Where is FOX when you need them?)

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      • Heck, remember the media’s reaction to Obama’s ill-considered “spread the wealth” comment? Or their reaction to the partisan carpet bombing of Joe the Plumber? If all things were equal, the media would be digging through Warren Buffet’s secretary’s trash and doing deep research into her background . . .

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    • I want her tax returns, and Warren’s, for the past few years.

      Agreed. Or any relevance she ever had to the national dialog on taxes is over, and that whole point should be dropped.

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      • I have no problem with that Kevin but you do understand there is a huge difference.

        If she is also paying 15% it actually makes her even more “altruistic” for advocating taxes that will punish her. It’s one thing for somebody like me who is never going to see “carried interest” or large continuing streams of “investment income” to advocate for higher taxes on millionaires…easy for me to say..it’s not my money as Scott would be quick to point out…but for Warren to say it is actually the opposite of conflict of interest.

        Romney on the other hand has not only put money in offshore accounts (not going to be popular whether for tax reasons or not) and taken his legitimate 14-15% tax rate…he’s proposing even greater cuts for HIS wealthy class. If there’s a conflict of interest it would be Romney advocating for his own benefit…and sorry to play the ‘class warfare” card but it’s just not pretty from a man worth a quarter of a Billion dollars.

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        • Ruk, if you mean there is a huge difference between what they get paid and their net worth, I’m sure there is. However, I think the context would be informative, which is why it’s not being provided.

          I have a hard time seeing advocating that you raise taxes on everybody as altruism. It may be a rational policy choice, but altruism is something you do, personally. I don’t think “fairness”, the definition of which varies depending on who is using it, is a good basis for tax policy. As you may know, I have no object to people with Buffet’s income paying a lot more in taxes, but I don’t think it’s accurate to refer the advocacy of such policies as “altruistic”.

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      • ruk:

        The primary point here is that she is being used as a political prop based on some claim about her taxes relative to her boss, but, wholly apart from the deceptive nature of the claim, even the face value of it cannot be verified unless the returns are made public. If they are not willing to make them public, then their claims should not be part of the discussion.

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      • Scott

        I accept your point and again your wonderful focus as exposed a weakness in my post. I jumped in when the conversation was about TWO ladies and I didn’t make myself clear I was referring to Warren.

        As to Buffet’s secretary…political prop is certainly one way to look at it…real life illustration is another. But I certainly can see that filtered through our partisan prisms we’d each probably choose opposite descriptors…not sure however either of us could claim to be correct…since IMO there is some truth in both views.

        BTW I feel certain Buffet is including FICA in that computation, I don’t know, just a very strong feeling. But whether or not FICA is a tax or an “investment” is another debate. And while I view it as simply another tax I readily concede that FDR and the Dems that followed basically lied to sell these programs. They felt that was the only way to get them passed. Which then begins another debate or discussion…:-)

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        • ruk:

          real life illustration is another

          Again, that’s the point. We have no way of knowing this unless they release the returns so we can see exactly what is illustrated by them.

          BTW I feel certain Buffet is including FICA in that computation,

          I’m sure he is. He is also excluding all the corporate taxes that he pays. Which is why his claim is, to be polite, entirely deceptive. There is no way that Buffet doesn’t know this, which makes him, to be less polite, a lying POS.

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      • It’s just a weak argument for a change in tax policy. Why, I pay less than someone else with fewer deductions. We must overhaul the tax code!

        As presented, it sounds like the reason we should raise taxes is because, in a very arbitrary positioning of goal posts, Warren Buffet’s probably comfortably wealthy secretary pays a greater percentage of her income in taxes than Warren Buffet, when compared in a specific way. Well, if that’s really the problem, why don’t we just pass a law requiring wealthy people to withdraw a few million in cash at the end of every year, pour kerosene on it, and set it on fire?

        The goal is being positioned as if there is some inherent benefit in wealthy people having more of their money confiscated, rather than in finding ways for the government to either accrue more money to do more beneficial things for society at large, or to find ways to more with the money they already have.

        Like

    • Neither Buffett nor his secretary are private citizens, so expect your request to remain unfulfilled. The numbers are not unreasonable.

      Here’s the short-hand version. I might make a full post out of this later. My household is in or close to the top 10%. We have a mortgage (6 1/2 years in out of 15) and two dependents.

      For just witholding plus the self-employment contributions of my wife, our net tax burden is about 29%. Our true rate of taxation is somewhat higher as one should include the employer contribution and adjust the income upwards by that amount. The net total is about 32.5%. Of that net, 28% are federal taxes and 4.5% are state taxes.

      Where I suspect your calculation went wrong is that you only look at the income tax rate. Forbes contributor Paul Roderick Gregory made the same error with his headline. What Buffett explicitly said was Warren Buffett “the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf” — was 17.4 percent of his taxable income. That is not the marginal income tax rate. That’s the total tax burden.

      As long as you’ve got folks like Gregory on your side shilling for Romney, I’m not going to worry about it too much. And, no, I’m not going to show anyone my tax returns.

      BB

      Like

  27. Important news from the Florida Primary you won’t get from the pundits.

    Let’s begin with an “eat your heart out” for my Northern friends

    Weather..today mid 70’s and sunny, Tshowers tonight and tomorrow, then back to sunshine and low 70’s through next Monday.

    Does anyone suppose the press corps loves this primary?

    The carpet bombing has begun…MItt’s PAC obviously has some very, very, deep pockets! And if that wasn’t enough, now an Obama SuperPac has tossed in some spots, one of them fairly clever portraying a potential Obama-Romney debate on taxes. Actually that one could have been just as easily run by Newt’s guy.

    And for Mike or any other Floridian who wishes to avoid seeing the onslaught…here’s an effective antidote…watch MSNBC, I haven’t seen any political ads there. LOL
    But then having R’s advertise on MSNBC would be as big a waste of ad bucks as a Dem advertising on Fox…not exactly well targeted $$$.

    Like

    • MItt’s PAC obviously has some very, very, deep pockets!

      Ya think? I wonder if Obama’s PACs are going to end up throwing some cash at the election before November?

      Like

      • If you read my post Kevin you’ll see he isn’t even waiting until the general..his superpac is ALREADY throwing money into the middle of an R primary.

        I’m not sure of you’re point. That Obama will be just as equipped to toss money into the race as any R…I do not dispute that and would even concede that he probably has more. That’s kind of why I mentioned him already spending in Florida in the midst of a sea of R commercials.

        The odd men out in this equation are Santorum, Paul and perhaps to a lesser degree Newt. I know Adelson tossed in another 5 mill but it’s not showing up much on my TV screen yet…but we still have a long weekend ahead.

        Like

    • But then having R’s advertise on MSNBC would be as big a waste of ad bucks as a Dem advertising on Fox…not exactly well targeted $$$.

      Venturing into the lions den with an argument that is more nuanced and thoughtful than “President Obama, you’ve failed” or “Republicans are the party of the rich!” could be very well-targeted, if thoughtful Gingrichian or Buckley-style arguments were made. While still not a fan of the ACA or Obama’s signing the NDAA, among other things, one of the things Obama did that helped win me over was go on to Bill O’Rielly’s show on Fox.

      When the Democrats boycotted Fox, my immediate reaction was: well, they spit on my vote, so screw ’em.

      Republicans boycott MSNBC? Same thing. I understand why certain politicians might not want to appear on certain talk shows with certain hostile hosts, but if you don’t feel your argument can endure a partisan attack, maybe you’re not the standard-bearer.

      In any case, any politician who chooses to preach to their enemies, rather than proselytize to the already-converted, win points from me.

      Like

  28. john/banned

    Friendly advice from someone who likes and appreciates all that you have to offer whether I agree or not. You frequently toss out some very interesting thoughts that are great for debate.

    However IMHO you are casting your pearls before swine at the “other” place. I thought your comment about Buffett paying his secretary the equivalent of us paying one $26 annually was thought provoking. I don’t agree with your observation but it is certainly apropos. Bring it over here so you don’t get called all kinds of names…

    “f*cking moron.” I can’t imagine why that post would generate that type of response john/banned…it’s why I’m so happy to be over here. And sadly I like the guy who posted that..he’s young and bright and it’s just sad that he wastes such gifts on pointless and disgusting ad hom.

    Remember john/banned…I’m over here now..your praetorian guard is gone Caesar you’re on your own! LMAO

    BTW this post was not intended to discourage posting on other blogs…just sayin’ I don’t get why someone I consider a very thoughtful and talented posters gets so much grief.

    Like

  29. I’m getting confused in taking that prior thread to such a long nested comment..now I see why Scott’s is less than pleased with them…so if I could continue…

    “The goal is being positioned as if there is some inherent benefit in wealthy people having more of their money confiscated, ”

    Not really Kevin. It’s really quite simple. The Gov’t has certain obligations to meet (we can argue over what should be obligations and waste etc.) and we all agree that deficit spending is not good over the long term..IE we need to pay our bills.

    Now how we divvie up that bill is a separate argument. Our country has historically believed in a progressive tax system…the rich are expected to pay more because they reap more benefits from our society.

    Nobody wishes to “confiscate” or “burn” anybody else’s money. We simply are saying that the bills are being passed out unevenly.

    Imagine you and I go to a swank restaurant for dinner and we decide to split the bill.
    If I drink coffee and your downing $100 bottles of wine I’m not really going to be happy when that bill arrives and you wish to split it 50-50. It has nothing to do with my envy or your larger salary or impressive wealth or your culinary achievements dwarfing mine because you can appreciate a couple of $100 bottles of wine. It really is truly a simple argument about fairness, not envy.

    Like

    • Not really Kevin. It’s really quite simple. The Gov’t has certain obligations to meet (we can argue over what should be obligations and waste etc.) and we all agree that deficit spending is not good over the long term..IE we need to pay our bills.

      That’s not the argument being made by Warren Buffet as regards his secretary. I can’t attack you as being a drunk and a sodomizer (at least, not today) and then say my argument is really about how you handled your retirement planning. Well, I suppose I could, but . . .

      What you’ve presented is the beginning of a policy argument, based on exactly what I said: that the government needs revenues to accomplish certain things and that there are limited ways to secure those revenues. How much Warren Buffet’s secretary pays as a percentage of her income versus how much Warren Buffet pays, as an illustration of some abstract notion of unfairness, is a different and much weaker approach. IMHO.

      Nobody wishes to “confiscate” or “burn” anybody else’s money.

      Then arguments that present a “problem” where those options would solve the presented “problem” are not relevant to the policy question.

      If I drink coffee and your downing $100 bottles of wine I’m not really going to be happy when that bill arrives and you wish to split it 50-50.

      I don’t know why not, sounds imminently fair to me. And since the problem is not “paying the bill”, but “being fair”, I’m perfectly satisfied with the fairness of our 50/50 split. Please, Ruk. What’s more “fair” than going halfsies? 😉

      Like

      • Well Kevin…If I ever visit you in Memphis or you visit me here in St. Pete…I’ll know to ask for separate checks. LMAO

        OK Scott knock that one out of the park because I know that’s what you’ve been asking for all along..separate checks please. 🙂

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  30. Forgive if I’m violating “nested” versus simple new posts…I’ll eventually get the hang of your preferences…but continuing the thoughts on taxation, Warren, Buffet etc.

    There is a good reason this country decided progressive taxation was proper. 75% of our nation self identifies as Christian. Our nation’s values are said to have derived from the Judeo-Christian ethic…

    Luke 12:48

    “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

    To my non Christian friends I’m not using this verse as an endorsement for progressive taxation as much as a possible explanation as to why the majority of this country has always felt comfortable with it.

    Like

    • “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

      Matthew 25:29

      I doubt anyone denies that progressive taxation appeals to a segment of society based on your reasoning, but it is nevertheless fallacious, because high earning does not equate to taking the most out of society. If anything, it probably means more the opposite.

      The verse really has no application, though. Neither the government nor society “gives” people their income, and the verse you cite is about a servant who left his affairs in a servant’s hands. That hardly describes our relationship to government or society.

      Like

  31. Wow..I hate to have to run but it’s payday here in paradise. Staff get really upset if I don’t finish payroll. I’ll definitely check back in later however as I’ve enjoyed the discussion.

    Thanks to Q.B. for starting it and for Kevin and Scott making points for thought.

    A question about the rules…is calling Warren Buffet a POS ad hominem?

    Just kidding Scott…I feel your passion about this and respect it. Forgive a bit of hopefully humorous snark.

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  32. ruk:

    Our country has historically believed in a progressive tax system…

    Only if you ignore the first 150 years of our history.

    …the rich are expected to pay more because they reap more benefits from our society.

    No, the rich are expected (by some) to pay more for the simple reason that they can. I think you would have a hard time justifying the claim that the rich reap more benefits from our society. And besdies, I thought we agreed yesterday that society does not equal government. Reaping benefits from society does mean reaping benefits from government. Taxes pay for government provided goods and services, not society-provided benefits.

    If I drink coffee and your downing $100 bottles of wine I’m not really going to be happy when that bill arrives and you wish to split it 50-50.

    The analogy fails, because income is a measure of what one produces, not what one consumes.

    A more proper analogy would be that you and Kevin go to a restaurant. You each get the same meal and have the same drinks. And when the bill comes, you expect Kevin to pay 70% of the bill because he’s got a higher paying job than you do. And then the next day you invite a homeless guy to dine with the two of at the restaurant. He can’t pay anything, of course, so you expect Kevin not only to pick up 70% of what the two of you eat, but to also pick up 100% of what the homeless guy eats, because you are already paying as much as you can. And hey, Kevin can afford it, he makes a lot of money. And then you congratulate yourself on your benevolence to the homeless guy, while complaining that Kevin is a greedy bastard for objecting to paying more.

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  33. I did put a bachmann comment into the nest… nutshell: redistricting is not yet complete. It’s in the hands of the courts now, as the lege’s suggestion was not signed by the gov. There will likely be significant changes to 6, 7 & 8 (bachmann, Peterson & cravack). Partisan makeup TBD.

    Like

    • Forgot MN3, paulsen, which will shrink too. Those 4 will probably change the most. Changes to the other 4 districts likely won’t upset the incumbents (Walz, Kline, Ellison, mccollum).

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  34. ruk:

    A question about the rules…is calling Warren Buffet a POS ad hominem?

    Only if he is here. And I would certainly like that to happen.

    Like

  35. Here we go again. Of course the wealthy amass more benefits. They benefit enormously from the structure of our society which favors & facilitates the accumulation of massize amount of wealth. The notion that the wealthy don’t benefit any more than the poor is comical.

    To try to summarize as succinctly as possible, I think a critical fault of our system is that wealth accumulation gets easier as one’s wealth grows. It should instead be harder.

    Like

    • I’m not sure how you can make it harder. By definition, the more wealth I accumulated, if I tended not to spend it, would make it easier to accumulate wealth because, thanks to my frugality, I’d be spending the same, yet accruing more money. It’s a strategy the Federal Government might benefit from.

      Although one could argue that the wealthy are benefitting not from society so much as being incredibly wealthy. I imagine that receive more general benefit from having huge amounts of money than they do from anything else. 😉

      I don’t know if it’s a critical fault—I don’t believe it is—but I think it will forever be a bone of contention. And think it will remain so, so long as any person is tangibly better off than other person. To paraphrase a recent hot topic: everybody is a little bit envious.

      Fortunately, there is a solution to the unfairness. Kurt Vonnegut provided it, years ago: Harrison Bergeron.

      Like

    • The wealthy have more wealthy than the nonwealthy. That is true.

      The wealthy also typically amassed their wealth by benefiting everyone else more than the nonwealthy as well.

      This is not what populists and occupiers want to hear, but it is nevertheless the truth.

      Like

      • The wealthy also typically amassed their wealth by benefiting everyone else more than the nonwealthy as well.

        They also amass wealth by benefitting strictly other wealthy people, many of whom amassed their wealth by benefitting everyone else. Then they hire people or pay taxes that let government’s hire people, so it’s mostly win-win.

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  36. I think you would have a hard time justifying the claim that the rich reap more benefits from our society.

    Well, clearly, the rich reap more benefits from our society than most. Many of them also reap many more benefits from their own initiative and hard work and how the think than most people. How do we equalize that?

    In regards to the rewards that redound to the wealthy that we do not enjoy, how much this has to do with government spending, unless they are a government contractor, I’m not certain. Obviously, various industries, especially the oil industry, benefit from the nationalization of protection from hostile states by the military, and we might not spend some of that money if we didn’t have an oil industry. Of course, even poor people drive, and they benefit from having a cost-per-mile much lower than it might be without an American military . . .

    However, that again goes to a fairness argument, in which case there are lots of alternatives, including shutting down the electric grid, killing the rich people, burning the hospitals, making everybody illiterate so everybody’s lives are wretched, brutal, and short, but much more egalitarian.

    We all benefit from our society, the benefit we enjoy has tended to increase over time. I struggle to pay the bills, but I’m certainly better off than I would have been, no matter how hard I worked, 100 years ago. Or 200 years ago. No iMacs, no iPads, no telephones, no air conditioning, no antibiotics, no cars, horse manure everywhere . . . Truly, the people who suffer the gravest injustices and deepest unfairness is the vast swathes of wretched humans trapped in the past. To be fair, all other efforts towards anything must be dropped immediately, and focused on the development of time travel, until we can go back in the past and justly share the riches of the present with the impoverished people of the past. /snark

    Again, I support a more progressive tax structure (but apparently for the wrong reasons, since I’m not concerned that rich people enjoy things I don’t, and that’s unfair). The fairness argument fails completely for me, however. It’s as practical and achievable a utopian goal as building a time machine and giving the Dark Ages air conditioners, antibiotics, and iPads.

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    • “Again, I support a more progressive tax structure”

      I don’t, simply because I don’t think the rich are any more or less responsible to fund the government than rest of us. equally responsible. if the question is “how much does it cost” in no way does is make sense to respond “depends, how much you got?”

      I heard on WTOP this morning that Arlington Cemetery is “missing” $12 million. they don’t think it was stolen, it’s just unaccounted for.

      that’s more than I or anyone I know will ever pay in taxes. every dime i ever paid in the past through the last dime they pull out of my estate will do towards that. and it’s “missing.” yet we continue to put our faith and turn to government for solutions.

      Post has details on the situation at Arlington: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/arlington-national-cemetery-trying-to-account-for-missing-12million/2012/01/25/gIQActihRQ_story.html

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      • I heard on WTOP this morning that Arlington Cemetery is “missing” $12 million. they don’t think it was stolen, it’s just unaccounted for.

        There ya go. That’s money in the bank, if they can find it. Best to try and round that up (and there’s probably a few hundred billion in the DoD) before raising taxes.

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  37. Kevin:

    Well, clearly, the rich reap more benefits from our society than most.

    What makes this so clear to you? It is not clear to me at all.

    Like

    • They have more money. And usually newer cars. And bigger houses. And lots of them have boats.

      And unless they have developed the ability to eject $100 bills out of their hind end, they’re reaping the benefits on top of the infrastructure and markets and individuals of which the larger society is composed.

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  38. bsimon:

    They benefit enormously from the structure of our society which favors & facilitates the accumulation of massize amount of wealth.

    It is not the “structure of our society” that does this, but rather the natural order of reality. Yes, one can attempt to impose a structure on others which blunts or even reverses this natural order. But that is exactly why liberal policies designed to do just that require the implementation of government coercion. Because if people are free to do so, they will find ways of accumulating wealth.

    You are mistaking the absence of a “structure” that would achieve your desired ends with the existence of a “sturcture” that prevents them. There is a difference.

    Like

    • It is not the “structure of our society” that does this, but rather the natural order of reality.

      Which turns out be a society with at least some basic standards (such as a monetary system, so that we can benefit from the fruits of our labor without always resorting to barter), standardized education (this would not have to be a public system, but a general social compact that an educated populace makes for a thrifty working class, Mr. Potter) and some method of adjudicating disputes without resorting to violence or theft, and an agreed upon system of enforceable contracts. But I tend to suspect the “natural order of reality” is to theorize, test, then test again. Thus Communism, as failed experiment at organizing a large human population, was just as much the natural order of reality (as was it’s failure) as is massively-distorted quasi-free market capitalism that America now enjoys. 😉

      I don’t see how you could possibly have the massive accumulation of wealth we have now without standard monetary systems and exchange rates, with the standards enforced, if not by the government, then by standards bodies or courts of final appeal. I suspect the society would also need some standardized system to provide for the national defense, otherwise their accumulated wealth would always be at the mercy of mercenary states.

      As to bsimon’s point, I would argue that any system that favors the massive creation of wealth and innovation for almost everyone in the society will, by nature, also manifest massive accumulations of wealth, and if you address the one you eventually suffocate the other, whether or not that’s your intention. And the poor and middle classes don’t have nearly as far to fall as the hugely wealthy, and so will likely be hurt the most in the attempt to address the “problem” of massively wealthy people.

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  39. bsimon:

    I think a critical fault of our system is that wealth accumulation gets easier as one’s wealth grows. It should instead be harder.

    What principle of justice suggests that this “should” be the case?

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    • I can play that game. Which principle says it should not?

      Like

    • What is the real benefit in making wealth harder to accumulate, as one gets richer? And why wouldn’t any limitation on that end up filtering down, making it harder for the poor to enter the ranks of the middle class and for the middle class to enter the ranks of the modestly well-to-do?

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  40. bsimon:

    Which principle says it should not?

    The principle that the initiation of coercion by one person against another is generally wrong. And what you desire can only be achieved through the use of such coercion.

    To be clear, I do not say it “should” be easier or harder. To me it is not a matter of justice. It is simply a matter of reality. It is what it is.

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  41. For the record, I have nothing against accumulating wealth. In my own small way I am attempting to accumulate a small pile of my own. And its getting easier, which is nice. We’ve passed the tipping point, depending on returns in a given year, where the miracle of compounding is adding more to the pile each year than we’re adding from ouur wages. But we still have to work & contribute to society as active participants in the workforce. Once people pass the point of needing to work, the incentives should change.

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  42. bsimon:

    Once people pass the point of needing to work, the incentives should change.

    Again, what principle of justice indicates that this “should” be the case?

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  43. KW – structured properly, incentives would facilitate upward mobility from poor to middle class. But would make it more difficult for the excessive accumulation & concentration of wealth we’re seeing today. Not impossible, but more difficult. As the land of opportunity, we need to encourage broad opportunity & fair rewards for hard work, which is lacking today.

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  44. Scott, reality is what we make it. Any society is a collection of rules that definite what is acceptable behavior. We, as human beings, establish collectively which behaviors to encourage and which to discourage then setup incentives and penalties accordingly.

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  45. bsimon:

    As the land of opportunity, we need to encourage broad opportunity & fair rewards for hard work, which is lacking today.

    In what way is this lacking today? What objective standard do you have to establish a “fair” reward for hard work?

    What is the “fair” reward for someone who works very hard digging a hole in the ground during the morning and then works just as hard filling it in in the afternoon? Is it more than someone who works only marginally hard at, say, producing the food you will eat for dinner tonight?

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  46. bsimon:

    We, as human beings, establish collectively which behaviors to encourage and which to discourage…

    This cannot be so. Since, by your own reckoning, your notions of what to encourage and discourage are actually in opposition to that which currently exists in our society, you must have established these notions of yours outside of what has been “collectively” established.

    I provided you with a principle of justice that grounds my thoughts on the matter. You may disagree with that principle, but if so one would think you would have some other principle that grounds your thoughts on the matter. It’s easy for any of us to claim that our desires “should” be fulfilled. But if we want to convince others, we need to be able to explain why they should be fulfilled.

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    • Ah, one more point; society’s rules & norms change over time. Assassination.g what works & changing what doesn’t is a sign of health. Excessive accumulation of wealth for a few at the expense of stagnation for the majority is a sign of an unhealthy society.

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  47. Scott

    Just for clarification and to help my understanding of your views.

    You claim there is no behavior associated with “society”. That we are all just individuals and “society” is the myth. And that society and and government are not to be conflated. I agree with that second point. A society could be like the “Lord of the Flies” and participate in anarchy or no government. A government can exist separate from society…or the wishes of society…but of course you do not accept the principle that there is such a thing as “society” or “collective action”..just groups of individuals doing their thing.

    Perhaps I have misstated your views in which case I apologize. But of course you’ll be able to clarify them for me, where I am wrong.

    And now a question asked with respect and no snark intended although it sounds to my ear like I’m hurling ad hom at you or at minimum inferring…and so please know that is not my intention.

    But if you do not believe in “society” doesn’t that make you by definition “anti social”?

    Now perhaps our concept of “anti-social” has been abused and that shouldn’t be viewed as something negative but rather something objective…as simply someone who doesn’t believe in society. Then again if you don’t believe in something a point could certainly be made that..how can you be against something you don’t even recognize as existing.

    Just curious as to your thoughts.

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    • BTW Scott

      As I’m sure you are aware I of course do believe in society, and in the context we are speaking I would select this Merriam Webster definition to express that belief…

      “a community, nation, or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests”

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    • antisocial means ne has no empathy and it is a mental disorder. It’s a serious one.

      I think that we do have a social contract, but it has lapsed and now is not defined or understood.

      My 2 cents.

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  48. Scott, I must have missed your principle of justice. I did see where you said something to the effect of justice being irrelevant in favor of reality. That’s where I said we control the reality of establishing the rules of society.

    I am in favor of a non-aristocratic society. In my view, a society that allows the excessive accumulation of wealth & the bequeathing of such wealth to subsequent generations approaches that kind of aristocracy which out forebears rebelled against.

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  49. ruk:

    You claim there is no behavior associated with “society”. That we are all just individuals and “society” is the myth.

    No, I didn’t and don’t say that society is a myth. I said that society is not an entity with human characteristics and capabilities, although our use of shorthand language often suggests that it is.

    Society is an abstract concept that identifies certain kinds of relationships amongst and between people. It is not, like a human is, a sentient being that acts, values, feels, etc. I don’t necessarily object to the shorthand use of language like “X is good for society”, or “society has decided X”, but only so long as it is understood that such statements are shorthand and not literally true. Society doesn’t actually “decide” something, for society has no mind capable of deciding anything. Individual people make decisions, and when a critical mass of people within a given society have decided something, and act on that decision, then we say, as shorthand, “society has decided X”.

    But if you do not believe in “society” doesn’t that make you by definition “anti social”?

    Hopefully we’ve cleared up this notion that I don’t believe in society. But anti-social generally suggests to me someone who avoids associating with other people. My very presence here everyday militates against the notion that I do that. But I’ll leave that for others to decide.

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    • Scott

      “anti social”

      mccurtis has corrected me on that point .

      Apologies…an ignorant, in the literal not pejorative sense, comment on my part.

      When I get time later I’d love to delve more on whether societies are able to exhibit human characteristics or whether we falsely “personify” them, much as some might do with a car or a boat.

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    • When a foriegner think of American “society” what do think they would say?

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      • I mangled the sentence. So I hope I can correct it.

        When a foreigner thinks of American “society” what do you think they would say?

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      • the American answer is: “who cares, speak American!”

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      • Let’s not twist my valid question. I am curious. Really, I am.

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      • i can answer with an anecdote. I had drinks with a English couple in Bangkok once. their opinion of American was that there are two: the coasts and everything in between. basically, NYC and LA with a vast wasteland of Applebees in between.

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      • Applebees. That’s funny. I’ve had Brazilian friends visit. I’ve spoken to quite a fiew recently arrived people from other countries. So some of those anecdotes are interesting. One was from my Brazilian friend. While out eating she commented that the waiters are treated very rudely here and in Brazil they are treated with respect. She never would work as wait staff here. This lead her to a generalization of how Americans treat those on the lower end.

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        • This lead her to a generalization of how Americans treat those on the lower end.

          Given how I’ve been treated by wait staff, I’m not sure that’s an accurate generalization. Perhaps everybody could treat everybody else a little better.

          Like

      • This was the only point she made at the time. When I visited her in Brazil she made the overall point. She saw a lot at bus stops. One thing that did throw her was my parking the car and leaving it somewhere unwatched. That was something she was amazed with. In her town one has to have someone watch your car even though you are parked downtown. So , our country is much safer in public areas than theirs is. I’ve seen that myself.

        While there I had the BBQ and the wait staff were very respectfully treated. Lot’s of thank you’s and no thank you’s constantly. The waiters went out of their way to find me a souvenir.

        Like

  50. bsimon:

    Scott, I must have missed your principle of justice.

    It’s here.

    I did see where you said something to the effect of justice being irrelevant in favor of reality.

    Again, just to be clear, whether or not wealth already possessed makes it easier or harder to accumulate more is not, in my mind, a matter of justice. There is no “should” to it. It just is what it is. However, attempts to impose one’s desire about it being easier or harder on others is indeed a matter of justice, and I judge that matter based on the principle I provided.

    That’s where I said we control the reality of establishing the rules of society.

    There is a difference between establishing (imposing) rules in order to achieve a desired outcome, and refusing to impose rules, thus allowing the outcome to be what it may. The first requires coercion, the second does not.

    I am in favor of a non-aristocratic society.

    An aristocracy generally refers to a type of government, not a type of society. We do not have, and are in no danger of establishing, an aristocracy.

    In my view, a society that allows the excessive accumulation of wealth & the bequeathing of such wealth to subsequent generations approaches that kind of aristocracy which out forebears rebelled against.

    Our forbears had nothing against the accumulation of wealth, nor with the passing of such wealth to subsequent generations. They rebelled against a government which they perceived was unjustly imposing upon their unalienable rights. I’m guessing that they would view the type of restrictions on freedom required to achieve your desired ends as similarly unjust impositions.

    BTW, I remain interested in your answers.

    Like

    • It’ll take time, but your last is quite a generalization. I’ll dig into the laws and see if this is born out. My mind reels.

      Like

    • mcurtis:

      It’ll take time, but your last is quite a generalization.

      Yes, but certainly no more so (in fact, precisely the same as) the generalization I was responding to. And to which you seemingly had no objection.

      Like

    • You can have an aristocratic society within a government that is not so. As I googled to make sure of myself, I found all kinds of papers about the aristocratic society aside from the existing government. I understand your point, but there seem to be other thoughts existing as well.

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      • I messed that up. Tired from a late play.

        You can have an aristocratic society within a government that is not aristocratic.

        Like

  51. mcurtis:

    There is a character to American “society”…

    I agree, and it is embodied by, and understood by observing, individual Americans.

    Like

  52. mcurtis:

    When a foreigner thinks of American “society” what do you think they would say?

    They say all kinds of things, many of them contradictory, and most of them skewed by the source of their information about America.

    (For your guide, I lived overseas for 15 years, in both Asia and Europe, so I actually have quite a bit of experience with what foreigners think about America.)

    Like

  53. I am in favor of a non-aristocratic society. In my view, a society that allows the excessive accumulation of wealth & the bequeathing of such wealth to subsequent generations approaches that kind of aristocracy which out forebears rebelled against.

    Our forbears not only had nothing against accumulation and inheritance of wealth but unequivocally esablished a nation and a system of government designed to foster it and protect it from confiscation and interference by government and in particular by the excesses of democracy. See Federalist 10, for example, on how the system was designed to prevent such evils.

    The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.

    The government they rebelled against, btw, was principally a monarchy.

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    • And, as I recall, the rebellion had a little something to do with taxation with representation in regards to those paying the taxes—i.e., the people lacked a voice in regards to what types of taxes were being levied upon them.

      Like

      • Being a cynical type, I would say that by lowering the tax on rum (or was it sugar . . .I forget) to 6 pence it was cheaper to follow the law and pay the tax rather than smuggle it. However, the proinciple was at issue. 🙂

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  54. mcurtis:

    I guess I’ll not get examples

    Well, as I said, they say all kinds of things.

    For example, many people I know in Britain believe the US is characterized by crazed religious fundamentalism. Or,as Justin Webb of the BBC once admitted , “America is often portrayed as an ignorant, unsophisticated sort of place, full of bible-bashers and ruled to a dangerous extent by trashy television, superstition and religious bigotry.”

    Others think that the US is characterized by a harsh Darwinism, a dog-eat dog society where people are left to fend for themselves and only the fittest survive.

    Still others think it is characterized by great opportunity, a place where anyone can make a new and better life for themselves if they set out to do so.

    Again, the views of America from foreigners are as vast and diverse as the foreigners themselves.

    Like

    • Yes, that what I get as well. The dog-eat-dog image is where my Brazilian friend came down when she visited here. That was not gathered by looking at us from afar.

      Many start out with the land of opportunity, but I’d say 70% change their minds once here.

      Like

      • Many start out with the land of opportunity, but I’d say 70% change their minds once here.

        Fortunately, there are more perfect places in the world, and aeroplanes to take them there. 🙂

        Like

      • I don’t think they were looking for perfection.They were looking for opportunity. They could take the flaws if they could have the other.

        However, this will become one of those heated discussions I’m going to wait on. Really, for now.

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  55. mcurtis:

    Many start out with the land of opportunity, but I’d say 70% change their minds once here.

    I wonder where you get that number from. Or why, if that is true, so many of them stay.

    The fact that we have so many immigrants who not only seek to stay here, but stay here illegally, suggests to me that they really do see the US as a land of opportunity.

    Of the 10 people sitting around me in my office at the moment, 5 of them are immigrants, all from different nations (China, Britain, India, France, Japan), all of them came here for job opportunities, 4 of them have essentially made the US their permanent home, and 2 of them have actually sought and obtained US citizenship. All of them have had children here in order to assure that their kids are American citizens.

    BTW, the one person who does not plan on staying here wants to stay, but knows he has been assigned here temporarily, and will eventually be transferred back home. Which does not please him.

    It would be interesting to see the statistics on percentages of foreigners who come to the US temporarily and eventually seek to make it their home. I’m guessing, based on your 70% figure, that you would be very surprised.

    Like

    • The number comes from friends and friends of friends who visit here. People I interact with from different countries as well. So it comes from that circle. These people are not immigrants, but have homes to go back to. They are French, German, South american and so on. It’s not a huge sample.

      Now many who came here in 2005 from a particular country (Brazil) have seen vast improvements and now would go back home.

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  56. mcurtis:

    You can have an aristocratic society within a government that is not aristocratic.

    How does one recognize such a society?

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    • They would be a rich group very upset about the the average people getting in.

      The Federalists thought (this is off the top of my head) that the new aristocracy should be those trained at universities.

      The rest were just common people. So when they saw that Congress was made up of common men they were very disappointed and thought the government was going to hell.

      So we had a combination. We still had an aristocracy, but also an atitude by many that no deference to these people was required.

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      • mcurtis:

        They would be a rich group very upset about the the average people getting in.

        Getting in to what?

        The Federalists thought (this is off the top of my head) that the new aristocracy should be those trained at universities.

        By aristocracy here you seem to be suggesting people who run the government. So not the kind of aristocracy that you were talking about when you spoke of “aristocratic society within a government that is not aristocratic.”

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      • Getting into leadership positions. Sorry. My mind is faster than my fingers. Old age.

        I was using an example that is commented upon. I can also use society where mthe merchant class saw themselves as a part of the aristocracy and wanted to join in. This was fought over. There are also many a period fiction describing exactly this conflict.

        Sorry I allowed you to play gotcha with me.

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        • mcurtis:

          Getting into leadership positions.

          Can you give some examples? I am trying imagine what “leadership positions”, apart from government positions (which we have excluded by definition), that wealthy people might have by dint of their wealth, and which they want to reserve only for the wealthy.

          Sorry I allowed you to play gotcha with me.

          I’m not sure what you are talking about. I’m just seeking clarification.

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      • See my post above about the merchant class. This takes out the leadership stuff that worried the Federalists.

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      • Oh, I see, join in isn’t clear. Join the party. Visit the party of a Federalist up the road. They were denied because they were not seen as part of the new American aristocracy. Gordon Wood covers this in a couple of his books.

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      • Oops, sorry, party means mingle with the other aristocrats as defined by the Federalists. Marry their daughters. New rich mixing with the old rich. Typical class type stuff.

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  57. mcurtis:

    I can also use society where mthe merchant class saw themselves as a part of the aristocracy and wanted to join in….Join the party. Visit the party of a Federalist up the road. They were denied because they were not seen as part of the new American aristocracy.

    OK. This still doesn’t tell me what “leadership positions” you are talking about. But if this is what you mean, why should anyone care about the existence of a class of people who are insular about who they invite to their parties?

    This whole discussion began with bsimon objecting to the creation of an aristocracy in the US. The obvious and historical objection to any aristocracy is the fact that it holds political power over others, and I understand such objections. But as I pointed out, we do not have, and are not in any danger of creating, any such aristocracy in this country. So what exactly does bsimon object to?

    Now, I know you are not bsimon and so cannot say for sure, but if the aristocracy he worries about is akin to the one you are talking about above, ie one that exists independent of governmental power, and is defined by members’ insularity with regard to who gets to go to their dinner parties, that probably does exist, but I confess bewilderment as to why bsimon or anyone else would object to its existence.

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  58. mcurtis – This discussion may be heading towards a ledge, so please be considerate, even if there are those whom you consider to be inconsiderate.

    As this showed up in a threaded comment, I’ll report it at the bottom. Given that Warren Buffett’s secretary is unlikely to show her tax returns the media, I ran a few calculations. Buffett said that “the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf” — was 17.4 percent of his taxable income. In other words, income taxes, FICA taxes and the employer match. So, it is reasonable that a well

    Here’s the short-hand version. I might make a full post out of this later. My household is in or close to the top 10%. We have a mortgage (6 1/2 years in out of 15) and two dependents.

    Using the same definition as Buffett, my federal tax burden is 28% of the gross income. The numerator would be the calculated income tax owed, my FICA contributions, the employer match, and the self-employment tax owed for my wife’s income. The divisor is my gross income, my wife’s net business income, and the employer match. So, two dependents and a mortgage nets me out at 28% for the federal burden. Incidentally, I forgot to note above that the number I used excludes pre-tax contributions to flexible spending accounts and TSP (401k for feds). I’ll pay taxes on the TSP later so that’s fair. I probably should have adjusted my gross income upwards for the FSA and then increased the tax burden.

    I tried playing with the numbers to get an estimate if I were a single person with a standard deduction and couldn’t get to 35%. The problem is that once the income goes over $100k, the FICA taxes drop to zero. So, the number does sound a bit high, but not unreasonably high. She probably pays close to 30% in federal taxes.

    BB

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  59. What happened here? Threading of comments was collapsed and they stopped 7 hours ago.

    BB

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  60. FB, Kevin is trying un-nested comments tonight to see if we like it better or less. He can switch it back if that’s what everyone wants. If you go to the dashboard and then comments you’ll see all of the current comments on various threads. You can reply to another commenter there but it won’t look like a reply here in the actual thread. You do however, have more editing options from there. See what you think and let us know.

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  61. Sorry, I have no clue where the ledge is comming from. I can’t sort the threads. I sent an email out concerning this. I can’t make things clear concerning aristocracy and societies without research time and putting what I know and what the sources are in a coherent manner for the group. I do not know how BB and other issues meshed. I’m not used to this kind of threading. I’m used to a thread list that is topic based and then would have a title like “Aristocratic Society.” All the discussion on the historical basis for that discussion would be there and it could be found at any time.

    This keeps threads from drifting into tax returns and threads from the PL. I’m really not wanting thread drift from PL into here.

    Because I do lots of source collection and analysis that takes time I am going to seem like I’m running away when that is not the case at all. In this event and because of my confusion about Buffet, the PL and the aristocracy discussion (which to me is one of sociology) I’m going to pass. For in a few days when my work is done, this will have dropped off the radar.

    Make sense?

    Like

    • mcurtis:

      This keeps threads from drifting into tax returns and threads from the PL. I’m really not wanting thread drift from PL into here.

      There’s not enough daily posts to be able to insist on keeping comments topic specific. Poeple will want to talk about whatever they want to talk about, and those subjects will come up in the comments section of a given post, so topic drift will happen. It’s the nature of the blog.

      Yesterday’s comments will appear particularly confusing, because we turned nested commenting off last night, and so comments that used to appear underneath the one they were responding to, and therefore needed no context reference, now appear in time sequence and hence are lacking the necessary context. My advice is, when commenting, to simply make some kind of reference to the comment you are responding to, ie a quotation (I do it in bold) or a name and time reference or even a link to the comment. That should make the comments easy to follow.

      Like

  62. mcurtis, I think it is highly unlikely that this site ever will be set up as a topic-based discussion forum like you are used to. So you’ll have to figure out a way to deal with that if you want to participate here. That said, we love research! When you are ready to get back to a particular topic, you can bring it forward and re-post it on a thread that is current at the time. You can even link to the old thread for reference.

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  63. mcurtis – It was the comment: “Sorry I allowed you to play gotcha with me.” Mind you, Scott has what I call prosecutor mode. I decline to answer yes/no questions or go off and do research to prove a point on a thread that will be forgotten in a couple of weeks.

    As for tax returns, both QB and Scott were teeing up on Debbie Bosanek. It seemed appropriate to illustrate that an aggregate tax rate of 35% for an upper middle class income isn’t that unreasonable. I suspect that state taxes were included in her rate as that gets mine up to 32.5% (and we’ve got more allowances). So, I do think the conservatives on the board are full of it claiming that this is an unreasonable number. Then again, this is the first time I’ve ever heard someone advocate a flat income tax starting at dollar number one of income.

    Now, the loss of threading was a bit confusing. Threading has pluses and minuses. I didn’t object to the Post introducing threading. I objected to the combination of top commenters with only allowing someone to see several comments at a time. I think it killed the freewheeling nature of PL discussions. If you’re not a Top Commenter, don’t even think about introducing a topic. One can get around this by replying to Greg’s original I have a post comment. But, there’s no way to get around the disappearance of threads. I once tried to get back to an early thread and had to hit MORE ten times.

    As for topicality, this is an Open Mic thread. Other threads do stay closer to the topic of the original post. Unless there’s a battle royale, of course.

    BB

    Like

    • fb:

      Mind you, Scott has what I call prosecutor mode.

      Otherwise known as expecting people to substantiate their claims and be logically consistent when doing so. I suppose I can understand, though, why some people might have a problem with such an approach.

      BTW, what led you to assume that mcurtis would have reason to think I have been “inconsiderate”? Please be specific.

      As for tax returns, both QB and Scott were teeing up on Debbie Bosanek.

      Total rubbish. All I did was say that if she is going to allow herself to be used as a political prop because of her tax returns, she should make those returns public. Otherwise, her particular tax situation ought to be left out of the discussion. To call this “teeing up” on someone says more about your judgment than anything else.

      Like

      • BTW, what led you to assume that mcurtis would have reason to think I have been “inconsiderate”?

        A frog probably thinks it’s inconsiderate when a student dissects them. 😉

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      • Total rubbish.

        I believe you mean “recyclable materials”.

        All I did was say that if she is going to allow herself to be used as a political prop because of her tax returns, she should make those returns public.

        This seems entirely reasonable to me. I think the context of her personal wealth is fair game, if the difference between what she pays in taxes and what Buffet pays is going to be used to raise taxes on anybody.

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  64. As for tax returns, both QB and Scott were teeing up on Debbie Bosanek.

    We are in the middle of a national “debate” over the structure and future of the federal tax code based upon claims of this woman and her boss about their personal taxes . It is unfathomable to me how probing the facts behind their claims is somehow inappropriate. Joe the Plumber was subjected to a media proctological exam just for disagreeing with Obama about the need to raise taxes and spread the wealth around. Now we have Obama seating Warren Buffet’s secretary in the SOTU gallery, repeatedly invoking her personal taxes as proof that our tax code is unfair, and it is inappropriate to ask for details behind the claims? This seems a bit off the mark to me.

    So, I do think the conservatives on the board are full of it claiming that this is an unreasonable number.

    It’s easy to say people are full of it when you misrepresent what they said. I said that her claimed rate of 35%+ an only be only the level if they are counting more than federal income tax and/or she is a 1%er herself , since the top marginal rate isn’t even that high. There seems to be little doubt that they are manipulating these figures and misleading the public to believe they are talking about income tax when they aren’t. Even your analysis implicitly concedes this.

    Then again, this is the first time I’ve ever heard someone advocate a flat income tax starting at dollar number one of income.

    I’ve heard people advocate this many times over many years, but I don’t see how it is relevant to your argument that she could well be paying around 30%.

    Like

    • Joe the Plumber was subjected to a media proctological exam just for disagreeing with Obama about the need to raise taxes and spread the wealth around.

      This seems like a fair comparison to me although it’s not a perfect comparison. To some extent Buffet put his secretary in this position with is comments. Joe the Plumber also held a press conference and appeared on morning talk shows. Has Ms Bosanek done the same? Regardless, she can’t sit in next to the FLOTUS during the State of the Union and note expect some heat. I don’t remember all the specifics in either situation, but to my knowledge they both have made comments about their income and how much they pay or will pay in taxes. Seems to me they should both be treated the same.

      Like

    • We are in the middle of a national “debate” over the structure and future of the federal tax code based upon claims of this woman and her boss about their personal taxes . It is unfathomable to me how probing the facts behind their claims is somehow inappropriate.

      Second. Either it’s material, or it’s not. I believe it’s not, but if it is, we should be allowed to have more context. If no additional context is forthcoming, then it’s just political posturing, and nothing more.

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  65. I know Scott does the prosecutor mode and I will not play that in an historical discussion. It takes time for the issues are complex. If someone is playing that mode then gotcha is a response that would be understandable. Once you know me I do not work in black and white concepts. Period. Conclusions take many peices of evidence in the historical sense. So when talking about a society and the types witin that society we can have unions, disunions and other mathematical pictures(right word?). Some groups move within each other and some have very little interaction. In the early republic and, even now for that matter, we have somewhat the same thing. There is a leadership class that tends to congregate with each other. There is the monied interest which, while not wanting to lead, wants to influence and so there is a Union at times of those groups. I can go down the line to the very bottom and bore everyone.

    (Note: The edit box gets really messed up and the cursor gets lost at times. This is on all my computers and I’m using the latest browser (IE)).

    In the Early Republic there was a mesh of what one group in power insisted was the leadership group. There was an aristocracy (richer sort) that ran in their circles and really didn’t think all that much about the leadership group unless they had to. You see, the leadership group had to be disinterested and those not meeting Federalist conditions were not disinterested. If one reads travels by British or even French visitors you will catch on to this conflict and mesh. You will read about confusion in that there really didn’t seem to be an aristocratic class to them because they couldn’t recognize it when compared to their own. Basil Hall saw this as did the famous French visitor whose name I do not want to misspell.

    Now I’m going to stop here. There is, in my view, and attempt to validate modern political philosophy with perceptions that do not always ring true. Maybe they do not rig true to me. I do not exclude the greys so when I see dictates on X I see all the little x’s and y’s. I’ll tend to bring those into discussions. If I get the third degree I’ll have to pass for time and request a collection of sources. Mostly they are in my personal library or in my head. However to get the citation takes time for I have to find my backup. I’ve learned that to single source in some instances leads to misunderstandings.

    ScottC, I do not take well to your style if you expect an immediate response. It will not work. Also you used the term “total rubbish” then said you were making a case abut her. So it wasn’t total rubbish. Your area about this person was narrow and not as expansive as the other person claimed. Hence there is not total or black and white.

    Does that make sense? Have I made myself clear above or have I crossed a line in my explanation? I’m getting clarity on personalities here.

    Like

    • even now for that matter, we have somewhat the same thing. There is a leadership class that tends to congregate with each other.

      The Bilderbergs.

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    • mcurtis:

      I know Scott does the prosecutor mode…

      Shall I start characterizing your “mode”? Regulars have urged that you, as a newbie, be given a pass on some of the things you say, but you should know that my patience is not infinite.

      ScottC, I do not take well to your style if you expect an immediate response.

      What, exactly, leads you to think I might expect an immediate response? Please be specific.

      Like

  66. Sitting next to the First lady was that woman who got a job via training. It wasn’t the secretary. That’s what I recall, ashot.

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  67. Kevin,

    Please, my statement was not completely quoted with my expansion and complete thought.

    The discussion, to my mind was can we have an aristocratic class without it being the leadership class. My reading says yes to this.

    “In the Early Republic there was a mesh of what one group in power insisted was the leadership group. There was an aristocracy (richer sort) that ran in their circles and really didn’t think all that much about the leadership group unless they had to. You see, the leadership group had to be disinterested and those not meeting Federalist conditions were not disinterested.”

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    • Please, my statement was not completely quoted with my expansion and complete thought.

      Welcome to the Internet!

      The discussion, to my mind was can we have an aristocratic class without it being the leadership class. My reading says yes to this.

      I agree that this is possible.

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  68. Scott I did not initiate the phrase prosecution mode. Someone else did that. Since that someone else did that I thought it was general knowledge. Heck, what a mine field.

    Okay, then you do not expect an immediate response. Your black and white words seem to require or expect an immediate knowldege.

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    • Everybody knows Scott is a merciless debater. He’s a remorseless Socratic machine. He can’t be stopped. He won’t ever stop!

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    • mcurtis:

      Scott I did not initiate the phrase prosecution mode. Someone else did that. Since that someone else did that I thought it was general knowledge.

      I would imagine that if someone initiated the phrase “condescending professor routine” to refer to your comments, you wouldn’t then assume it was “general knowledge” to be used freely by anyone else in the future. You would take it for the pejorative that it was obviously intended to be.

      Your black and white words seem to require or expect an immediate knowldege.

      I only expect clarity, substance, and logic. (Or, I should say, I desire it. Alas, I’ve come to realize that expecting it all too often leads to disappointment.) If you want to take time to respond to anything I say, I will not rush you. Nor have I.

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  69. For ScottC:

    Fairlington Blade, on January 27, 2012 at 6:15 am said:
    mcurtis – It was the comment: “Sorry I allowed you to play gotcha with me.” Mind you, Scott has what I call prosecutor mode. I decline to answer yes/no questions or go off and do research to prove a point on a thread that will be forgotten in a couple of weeks.

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  70. I don’t know what slippery means. I think a lot of assumptions are being made without much evidence, Kevin. Reallly, we can have a discussion without this stuff going on. For example: the prosecutorial phrase was not mine. Yet, I get nailed for it while discussing Farington Blade’s response. This is not fair to me. Is this mine field going to continue? Can we take this off-line?

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    • I don’t know what slippery means. I think a lot of assumptions are being made without much evidence, Kevin. Reallly, we can have a discussion without this stuff going on.

      I’m pretty sure I’m not the one who started talking about people’s “modes”. Just a first impression, based on my interactions. I imagine I have a “mode”, too. I’m fairly positive it’s “devilishly handsome”.

      The prosecutorial phrase was not yours, but you used it. That’s like saying “Yeah, I shot him, but it wasn’t my gun”. 😉

      Yet, I get nailed for it

      My apologies. I hardly considered that “nailing”. Wasn’t even a thumb tack.

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  71. The prosecutorial phrase was not yours, but you used it. That’s like saying “Yeah, I shot him, but it wasn’t my gun”.

    I see. Yet, the approach of the accuser was very positive.

    No, I do not see it in the way you do at all. That’s the problem, Kevin. I’m not a newbie to the internet. I’ve been doing this stuff for decades. I’m a bit put out by your attitude.

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    • I’m a bit put out by your attitude.

      Apologies. Perhaps I’m in the wrong here. Put another way: it did not seem to bolster your point.

      Perhaps I’m mistaken about that.

      Perhaps we could stick to the topic at hand, and not worry about people’s “modes”, no matter who originally brought them up? Because apparently it’s not fun when people start discussing our mode.

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  72. No “condesending professor” would not illicit a response from me. I try as hard as I can to address the topic and content.

    Prosecutorial style is not perjorative to me. I sometime use that style elsewhere. If someone accuses me of it I take it as a compliment and then ignore it. Then, I guess, that’s me.

    At some point I hope you understand what I’m about. I’m NOT about attacking persons. I try as hard as I can to address posts.

    As to the last. If human-beings were always logical and clear we might not have wars. You have a high expectation for an internet blog in my opinion. So if you really want that then people should take a lot of time in responding to you.

    Can we get off the person and back to the topics?

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  73. When another person here present an opinion like that publically, I see it as a known here in the group. It’s been discussed before and might be seen as amusing. I find those types of characterizations amusing. So I was agreeing with the other person in the same vein. So maybe smiley faces and so on are needed to take away the sting?

    I’m trying to learn here. Let me also be very clear. I’m not here to fight with personalities or call people names or hint about their attitudes. I am human and after pinged enough will respond in kind, but I’ve learned here that it is best to just take the smacks and shut up.

    I keep being tested in this mine field. I would be fair if people backed off and also respected what I’m trying to say without thinking there is some kind of motive covert or overt. I’m very overt in what I say.

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    • I find those types of characterizations amusing.

      Now, I’m just an Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. Your world is strange and frightening to me. But it seems to me that you aren’t all that amused when the shoe is on the other foot. While I’d be the first to admit no one except the person speaking has the context of their thoughts and intentions, I have not said anything that wasn’t either light-hearted or slightly bemused, and yet you were put off by my attitude.

      Ergo, it is possible, one might be forgiven for thinking, that it could reasonably work the other way.

      I keep being tested in this mine field.

      This may be a matter of perspective, but I don’t think this is really that much of a mine-field. We challenge each other on stuff all the time. Early on Scott and I got into it on issues of tone, which are likely to come up, from time to time. I’ve recently been called to task for my tone, and not unreasonably. It happens. However, everybody here has a soap box, and rhetorical devices used in discussion are fair game, in my opinion, should someone want to challenge or critique them.

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  74. “‘Excuse!’ cried Harvey. ‘D’you suppose I’d fall overboard into your dirtly little boat for fun?’”

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  75. Kevin: Okay modes are off topic. You need to add that to the rules page. (We seem to be going down a slippery slope here.)

    Also Kevin it is difficult trying to moderate for you cannot be all things to all people. I know for (FWIW) and I’m not saying this to brag (see how overly sensitive I am?), I’ve been there.

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    • I don’t know that they are off topic, let’s just say, as a general principal, expect that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so keep that in mind when positing a critique, or even an observation, of style. Or ask ahead of time. I have no trouble with your characterization of my “mode” as “devilishly handsome”. “A brilliant rogue” is also acceptable.

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  76. Geeze, you will not take this off-line. So be it.

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  77. My initial reaction to being attacked continually seems to have biased your impression. My mistakes at the start have biased your perceptions. There sems to be no way around this. I’ve learned that with this group I need to go back to my old way of thinking. Forget attacks on the person and deal with the topics.

    Yet, we go ’round and ’round with this thing abut something another poster said and suddenly it is all about me. This is amazing! You do not want to know about my world and that has been made clear. So I’m trying to learn about your group and if this blade person made an error of manners that I didn’t know abut then okay. I can get over it. Can the rest of the people here get over it. Post after post after post things are getting distorted and even you are making things unclear by redefining what happened.

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    • Yet, we go ’round and ’round with this thing abut something another poster said and suddenly it is all about me.

      I feel obligated to point out that it takes two to tango, and you are certainly playing a role in making it all about you, I think. Anyway, I’ll drop the topic.

      I suspect this is all part of an effort on your part to avoid an honest discussion of the Bilderberg Group. 😉

      and even you are making things unclear by redefining what happened

      I don’t believe I’ve redefined anything. If I did, it certainly wasn’t intentional.

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  78. Whom do I ask? How do I ask. Why should I have asked in light of the post I was responding to?

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  79. Okay, now the Aristocracy topic is lost in all the above stuff. That’s why some of this REALLY needs to go off-line, IMHO.

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  80. Bilderberg group?

    Flip it back on me. Is that fair?

    Yes, you’ve redefined what happened totally and completely.

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  81. Consider it droppped.

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  82. Scott – Your prosecutor mode is lining up direct questions, frequently yes or no, and demanding a direct response. You don’t state your opinion and invite a response. You behave in the manner of someone questioning a witness. At that point, you exhibit no desire for a conversation, only a desire to score points.

    Here’s a suggestion. You’re not the attorney questioning a witness. You in a debate in which you have 60 seconds and the opposing party has 60 seconds. Behave in that manner and you might get some satisfaction.

    QB – I am well aware of the various flat tax proposals that have been made. NONE of them has a zero personal exemption. If you think I’m wrong, feel free to cite a bill introduced with a flat tax as you prefer it.

    BB

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    • All

      I’ve deleted a comment I posted earlier this morning. It was a response to FB’s post, and while I tried to be restrained in the face of his provocations, in retrospect I think I failed. Hence the deletion. My apologies to those who saw it. I’m torn over whether, having decided I shouldn’t have posted it in the first place, deleting my post was the right thing to do. I don’t want to be seen as cleansing “the record” as it were, but I also want to keep this place as civil as possible, as per the ROE, so it is a bit of a catch-22.

      Fairlington:

      Given that you are neither a friend nor a political comrade here on this board, I think it is rather presumptuous of you to imagine you are in a position to lecture me on my posting style with the expectation of having any effect. Although, since I imagine that your post was aimed more at satisfying yourself than in assisting me in getting any satisfaction (as you put it), perhaps you had no such expectation.

      In any event, if you don’t like my style, the obvious solution is don’t engage me. If you don’t like the questions I pose to you, the obvious solution is don’t answer them. But if you present an opinion here that seems questionable to me, I will question you on it if I am so inclined. If you worry that your failure to answer my questions will reflect poorly on you or your thoughts, and would prefer, therefore, that I not ask them in the first place, well, too bad. Get used to it.

      BTW, I note, and it is notable, that you have failed to point out why it is that you thought mcurtis had reason to think I was being “inconsiderate”. Making such insinuations and then refusing to substantiate them indicates to me that you are not exactly acting in good faith here.

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  83. I always like to point out that FICA is a flat rate with a regressive cap and zero exemption. For many people payroll taxes are a more onerous burden than income taxes.

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  84. QB – I am well aware of the various flat tax proposals that have been made. NONE of them has a zero personal exemption. If you think I’m wrong, feel free to cite a bill introduced with a flat tax as you prefer it.

    You moved the goalposts twice just in those sentences, nor is the comment even relevant to the main point I stated.

    Like

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