The World is Getting Better…Much Better

shanghai

What Mao’s China looks like now

Our attention is nearly always focused on what’s wrong with the world for good reason. Our problems, not our achievements, demand our most immediate attention.

It pays sometimes to step back and look at what’s working. Things do get better. Taking time to appreciate the progress we experience helps us maintain focus and hope. For human beings, the past twenty five years have marked some stunning victories.

Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty has dropped by half in only a generation.

Out of the collapse of Communism has emerged a massive global middle class. By 2030, almost two thirds of the world’s population will have moved into the middle class.

For all the conflict and instability we see there is not a single active war between nation-states on the planet. The age of American global military dominance has marked a historic low in military violence. The world is more peaceful than it has ever been.

In the US, most aspects of life have been improving at rates no one could have anticipated in 1990. Teen pregnancy, abortion, cocaine use, murder, crime, homelessness, and divorce are all in steep, long-term declines that have gone largely unnoticed.

The cost of almost everything is in steep, long term decline with one very important and very positive exception. Human expertise is more valuable than it has ever been.

The number of Americans getting a college education is not only climbing, but that climb is accelerating. Why does college cost so much? One reason might be the good news listed immediately previous. Another might be the next bit of good news.

High school graduation rates are the highest they have ever been in the US, and heading toward 90%. For all the hand-wringing about US schools, we are educating more of our people than ever by a very wide margin.

When technology, health care improvements, crime, and the declining cost of nearly everything is taken into account, even America’s least fortunate are radically richer, freer, and safer than they were just a generation ago.

Population growth has stabilized everywhere in the developed world, including China. Population growth rates are in steep decline globally. We are on track to see global population begin to decline in absolute numbers starting in less than 40 years.

Thanks to a gradually stabilizing population and technological advances, America has probably already reached the historic peak of our demand for farmland.

The Chicago River, which no so long ago was a long sewer, now hosts kayak tours through downtown. Since the passage of the Nixon-era environmental protection acts, our nation’s air and water have become remarkably clean, even in the middle of big cities.

One of the hottest neighborhoods in New York City is Harlem. Brooklyn is trendy.

Twenty years ago Dr. Dre was producing a particularly angry brand of rap music. Now he is a billionaire tech entrepreneur. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, 50 Cent and a very long, mostly obscure list of other former “stars” have made more money in business than they did in their entertainment careers. African-Americans from all kinds of backgrounds are making the transition from “rich” to “wealthy.”

Green energy is no longer a dream. Dark, rainy Germany is on track to generate a third of power from solar energy alone by 2020. The price of solar energy has dropped by half in just five years. In sunny parts of Asia solar power is already cheaper than gas. It is expected to be cheaper than fossil fuels globally within five years.

The most exciting new sports car in America is powered by electricity. It isn’t built in Detroit or Mexico or Brazil, but in suburban San Francisco.

Thanks to a boom in energy production in the US, Mexico and Canada, America is now effectively energy independent. We may be capable of meeting all of our energy demand within our own borders within twenty years. Our natural gas imports alone have fallen by almost 70% in less than a decade.

The US is the only global military power on the planet. Russia still maintains one aircraft carrier. It has to be accompanied on missions by a fleet of tugboats. No other military force, apart from our European allies, is even close to being able to operate beyond their borders. We possess the only offensively-capable “defense” force on Earth.

The United States is the wealthiest nation on the planet and the margin isn’t close. Our economy produced just short of $16tr last year. The second-ranked country, China, came in at less than $10tr, but that number appears to be radically distorted. China’s population is more than four times as large as the US. Its GDP per capita ranks 83rd, roughly the same as Peru.

But aren’t we bankrupt? Hardly. Our debt is growing, but that was not always the case and need not be. Just over a decade ago we were debating what to do with a massive projected surplus. George W. Bush took office with a budget plan inherited from his predecessor which was projected to pay off the national debt entirely by 2009. Eight years later, Obama inherited a budget that created the largest single-year deficit in American history.

We could get back in black with a modest tax increase, a few changes in defense and safety-net spending, and a fraction of a point increase in economic growth. We’ve had a formal, bi-partisan plan on the table to do this since 2010. We haven’t done it because the people who claim to care the most about our debt don’t actually care about balancing a budget.

Our debt is having zero economic impact in the present and no impact on the economy in the foreseeable future. It is purely a political problem.

We live in an extraordinary time of peace, freedom, and wealth and we are almost entirely blind to it. Conditions for Americans and the rest of the world could be, and probably will be, even better in the future. How much better things will get and for how many people, will depend to a very large extent on decisions that Americans make in coming years.

Progress means graduating up to better and better problems. We will cope with those new problems more capably if we properly appreciate our accomplishments.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Economics
290 comments on “The World is Getting Better…Much Better
  1. DanMan says:

    Dang, just when everything was looking rosy we get the announcement we only have 500 more days until Climate Chaos. Bummer man. Get it all done before September 26, 2015.

    • Crogged says:

      It is hard to describe the level of willful obtuseness one has to expend in maintaining that interest on federal debt in forty years is a pressing concern today.

      • DanMan says:

        yet you busy yourself with the hysteria of gorebull warming like its going to destroy us tomorrow

        care to comment on the IRS smidgeons of scandal closing in on Obama?

      • Crogged says:

        Is ‘Gorebull” a NASA employee? I mean, I know NASA is just full of libs itching to get their hands on funding in order to support their life style of running around in their spare time obstructing Congressional witch hunts, I mean, investigations, into the IRS plan actually drafted by the President himself, to tax Chupacabara, if he registers as a Republican.

      • desperado says:

        This is the crap you learn on Hot Air.

      • DanMan says:

        It also explains why Carl Levin isn’t running again Despo.

      • Crogged says:

        It explains better than that he’s nearly 80 years old? People want to dress up in Colonial costumes, hold up placards and then figure out a way to create a political organization which never has to pay any taxes because of IRS regs about 40 chapters deep into the Code of Federal Regulations and then complain to all the old people watching Fox or the young conservatives reading Hot Air. I wonder why most people just don’t care.

  2. tuttabellamia says:

    I’m curious to know people’s opinion of the Washington Post. For personal reasons I had closed myself off from news and media for several years, and it’s only recently that I emerged from my cave and began testing the waters again. I find the barrage of current news sources overwhelming, and I’ve sort of settled on the Wash Post as my main online source.

    • DanMan says:

      I put ’em in the category of the NYT, AP, Reuters, Hearst and those types of dem megaphones for the most part. They may report actual news once in awhile but its not their objective.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I like the Wash Post opinion pages, which have a mix of left and right viewpoints.

      • DanMan says:

        I hit Real Clear Politics for that type of banter and they link WaPo alot. They typically list a left and center article together on each topical issue and each day usually lists about 8 current issues in the morning and again in the afternoon.

        Ace of Spades and to a lesser extent Hot Air breaks news that doesn’t show up in legacy media.

        Quite often some breaking news shows up in the comments at Hot Air and if its got substance the crew at AOS has pretty thorough commentary out their stable of contributors on those occasions.

      • Crogged says:

        Oh my god, in only 36 years government spend goes from 22 percent of GDP to 26 percent and if we don’t cut spending today for….spending……tomorrow….what?

        Love that graph and the hope the website authors have in the inability of its readers to notice how the spending as percent of GDP actually goes down during this terrible decade of out of control….responsibility.

      • DanMan says:

        Nothing else jumps out Crogged?

        A couple of weeks ago our humble host commented “this is why we can’t have nice things”. Look at the interest payments (and note, they are shown in todays lower rates). Reckon there’s anything going to happen when inflation hits? la dee da

        Cap. That comment yesterday about passing floors on the way down and not feeling any pain was priceless.

    • rightonrush says:

      WP is my favorite Tutt. I don’t spend any time on so called news sources that are bias one way or the other.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Thank you, gentlemen. I used to read the New York Times, but as I became more conservative it lost its appeal. I grew tired of its self-righteous tone.

    • Crogged says:

      How can you go wrong with “Biased and Balanced” Andrew Sullivan (and I pay him to endorse him). Not that focusing more than I would on gay rights makes him a bad person.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        You do have a penchant for posting links to articles by Andrew Sullivan.

      • Crogged says:

        As you said, there is so much out there, where to start? I like people who question and doubt themselves, and have the means to hire a staff of people who help them question themselves in an easily readable format. This is a good result from the demise of ‘traditional’ media–but one of the downsides is these former traditional media had ombudsman and copy editors to challenge the truth of the writing, many political websites just publish and move on.

  3. Tuttabella says:

    I came across this article this morning. Don’t be fooled by the title. Both “sides” are criticized.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2014/05/13/gop-should-give-grownup-politics-a-chance/

    • CaptSternn says:

      Very good article. Thanks for the link, my dear lady.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      A very good and spot on article. I hope it is not only read by the right people but heeded.

      Captain, you are a lucky man. (I usually say blessed but didn’t want to offend)

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Kabuzz, you’re funny. Cap likes to use and hear the term “blessed.” I once worked with a lady who would get bent out of shape whenever someone wished her a blessed day, an attitude which I’ve never understood. I believe kind words should always be accepted with grace.

      • GG says:

        Tutt, I’ve had that said to me before and while I think it sounds silly and ridiculous I just say “you too”. I’m certainly not going to get bent out of shape about it. It’s the same as “allah be with you” or “Namaste”. As an apathetic Agnostic they all mean the same to me.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        GG, exactly. I was going to say that even an atheist ought to to accept it graciously as a simple courtesy.

      • GG says:

        Actually most Atheists I know are fairly low key and you’d never know since most people don’t discuss their religious beliefs but a small number of them that are loud and obnoxious just as there are some loud and obnoxious Christians.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Right there with you Captain. I listen and look for the message. If I was to discount what someone is trying to communicate to me via signs or letters, I would miss out on the ideas of a lot of people. I am just not snooty at all. Everyone is welcome.

      • GG says:

        But you don’t welcome everyone kitty litter.

    • John Galt says:

      Imagine how much more productive the last few years would have been if the GOP had criticized the real problems of the Obama administration (which most certainly exist) rather than argue about where he was born, voting to repeal Obamacare 50 times, or playing budget brinksmanship. In that case I bet Hillary wouldn’t be looking at the potential GOP nominees in her rear view mirror.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Democrats wanted nothing to do with that, John. They even physically locked republicans out. How many bills are still sitting on Reid’s desk that were passed by the house that would have helped the economy? No, the democrats are spoiled, petulant brats. The adults are with the tea party movement. That’s why we are feared by both the democrats and the GOP establishment.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Ah, the Tea Party slogan: “Oderint Dum Metuant.”

        ‘Cause everybody knows what a family-values titan invented that phrase.

      • John Galt says:

        Yes, the adults are with the Tea Party, of course. How’s that working out for you this election cycle? How are the TP-affiliated candidates faring in polls against Hillary?

        I think it is precisely this sort of denial of reality that the author calls childish behavior.

      • CaptSternn says:

        So far it is working out rather well. Looks like the republicans have a good chance at taking the senate and gaining seats in the house. Even the establishment republicans are having to step up and answer. Too early to call yet, but it could be another shellacking for the democrats like it was in 2010. Thanks for asking.

      • GG says:

        “The adults are with the tea party movement. That’s why we are feared by both the democrats and the GOP establishment.”

        Well, thanks for the belly laugh today. I almost spewed on my screen. Yes, the rallies with badly spelled sign, horrendous grammar and silly costumes just screams adult.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Those signs are almost always liberal infiltrators, GG. They have been outed for it many times over.

      • GG says:

        Oh, come now, cap, they all can’t be “liberal infiltrators. If you cannot accept that some in the TP are ignorant and uneducated that is one of your big problems.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        As always, it is the liberals that says “ignorant and uneducated” do not have the right to support conservative causes. Wonderful GG. I always did know the left were snobby and elitist but I am glad to see it spelled out. You get an A for honesty.

        A TEA Party senatorial candidate just won the GOP primary in Nebraska. No serious dem challenger.

        Three TEA Party wins in Montgomery County.

        While the left makes noise about the TEA Party people are going about their work and due diligence to check out the candidates and support them. Just like in 2010.

      • GG says:

        Yes, buzzy, I’m snobby and elitist for desiring all people to be able to read and write on at least a high school level. Go peddle your faux outrage somewhere else kitty litter. I don’t give a shit about Nebraska and, honestly, are surprised the tp won in Montgomery County? With their demographics?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        GG, not everyone is as smart as you are. So, people who aren’t perfect spellers and grammarians should have no voice in politics?

      • GG says:

        Not at all Tutt. They just shouldn’t display their lack on signs. If they want to be taken seriously have someone who can spell make their signs. We all make mistakes, as we all have right here on this blog, either by typing too fast or just having a minor lapse. I’m by no means an expert on grammar but my spelling is 99.9% spot on and I at least know where commas go and the difference between “their” and
        “there” and “too” and “to”.

      • CaptSternn says:

        What gets me is when people don;t know the proper use of the semicolon. 😛

        But do you know when to use “they’re” and “two”?

        Seriously though, I never attack typos, spelling or grammar (I speeled that’un raht for once), not because I make them as well but because it has no relevance. The relevant part is the idea behind the argument.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I am all for free SPEACH. 🙂

      • CaptSternn says:

        NOOOO! NOT THAT! LOL

    • DanMan says:

      “Both “sides” are criticized.”

      yeah, both sides…Tea Party extremist (ha!) and dems

  4. Intrigued says:

    Well I’m glad Fifty and whoever agrees with him had a good discussion. My experience on the other hand is best represented by this qoute:

    “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture. Enjoy, sir, your insensibility of feeling and reflecting. It is the prerogative of animals.”

    Thomas Paine

  5. fiftyohm says:

    We’ve had a pretty good, reasonable discussion all afternoon, and nobody got called a dildo. Hope this continues!

    • DanMan says:

      you miss bubba too? yeah, me neither

    • CaptSternn says:

      Lifer, what did happen to Bubba? I saw a couple of his comments (ugly) get banned, and he hasn’t shown up since. Did you ban him from your blog?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Or is he just in Lifer Limbo?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Bubba Be Banned?

      • objv says:

        Tutt, you’re funny. I was wondering what happened to bubba. I think we would all like to know how to avoid “Lifer Limbo.” What are the guidelines for being banned here? Amazingly, I was never banned on the old chron site – although others sometimes were banned for the most innocuous posts.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OV, remember when I was banned from the Chron for a 24-hour period? Someone mad over my defense of President Obama must have reported to the Chron that on my profile page under Location instead of an actual place I had posted a Rilke quote (imagine that). I changed it to “In the Loop” and was reinstated within minutes.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        OV, I see the cat’s back. Cool!

    • Juarez says:

      Yeah, the kids have been playing nicely today. Good article, civil discussion. Even Owl was restrained in his insult.

  6. objv says:

    Interesting discussion on Germany’s use of green energy, but the problem is that greenhouse-gas emissions in Germany have been rising lately. This is due to the increased use of coal and the shutdown of nuclear power plants.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-28/merkel-s-green-shift-backfires-as-german-pollution-jumps.html

    Then, too, there’s the Teutonic attraction to powerful cars and unlimited speeds on the Autobahn. Unfortunately, it’s hard to have good fuel efficiency when going at speeds over 100 mph while trying to pass the slow poke going 95. 🙂

    • John Galt says:

      Germany levies a heavy tax on gasoline – nearly two-thirds of the present ~$8.50/gallon is taxes – that both curtails consumption and covers externalities related to its use. As a result, off the autobahn, you see a lot of small cars. On the flip side, if you can afford a $100,000 Mercedes that can go 150 on the autobahn, then $8.50 a gallon is not going to keep you in the slow lane.

      • DanMan says:

        ‘covers externalities related to its use’

        like the rest of Europe it’s poured into their national treasury to pay for all the free stuff isn’t it?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Obviously, Germany has its own problems. One of them is not their national defense, which we largely pay for. I don’t think you have to look too deeply to see the flaws in the European model. And the consequences are just beginning…

      • Crogged says:

        If it’s ‘paid for’ how is it ‘free’?

      • objv says:

        JG: You’re not the only one with a BMW in the garage. My husband has three. (If you count two motorcycles and a 14 year-old-car.) Alas,when we traveled the Autobahn in days gone by, we only had a Toyota Corolla, and we were the ones being passed constantly – although not from lack of trying on our part.

        Gas prices were high when we made our trips, and assuredly, this caused many people to buy more fuel efficient cars, but the problem was that even a highly fuel efficient car produced more more emissions going 100 mph than 60 mph.

        If Germans were truly concerned about pollution, they would cut Autobahn speeds overall instead of just sections. However, that would be a sad day for many motorists …

      • Crogged says:

        If you incentivize workers to retire at 55 (France) you will have issues. If you have an EU with a currency, but allow other member states to ‘owe’ to the EU in their own currency, the poorest run country will be exposed (Greece) and other states doing just fine will be hurt (Italy, Spain).

        An economy is not a household or a business and in some situations common sense rules don’t apply. Einstein discovered the speed of light changes the rules of physics, it changes time, it changes everything in the circumstance of the speed of light. If everybody saves money at the same time, everyone loses money.

        This isn’t hard, any economist who told you in 2000/10 that the Federal Reserve ‘printing money’ and the government running debt would cause horrible inflation needs to explain why it didn’t happen. Period.

      • Crogged says:

        I meant 2009/10.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It is happening, Crogged. Food, fuel and energy prices are way up. The rest will hit when interest rates are raised. People that refuse to see the damage being done and coming are like the guy that falls off a 100 story building, and as he passes each floor he says, “So far so good.”

      • Crogged says:

        Food, fuel and energy are always up. Down. Up again. Down.

        And the stimulus is so long gone and forgotten that your man hitting the ground needs to blame the butterfly in Brazil for ‘causing’ his pain.

        I’m begging anyone for a real story of why and how this is. The Captain, God bless him, will just deny reality for his own world of rampant inflation that even Republican economists can’t measure. Bless him and all the dreamers.

        How can one write about DOOM on the opinion pages of the WSJ and five years later not be called out to at least explain why their considered opinion was so wrong?

      • fiftyohm says:

        crogged- I think most economists would suggest the small matter of a global recession had something to do with it. Furthermore, regardless of our debt, the rest of the world is worse, and the place to park wealth is still the greenback. It would be a grave error to assume however, that the wholesale printing of money has no long-term, deleterious effect. Consider, if you will, the consequences of interest rates returning to historical norms, and the resulting increase on debt service.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Ok Crogged, I will use a much shorter version, just two words: Interest Rates.

      • DanMan says:

        Crogged asked
        If it’s ‘paid for’ how is it ‘free’?

        oh the irony

        Part deux
        How can one write about DOOM on the opinion pages of the WSJ and five years later not be called out to at least explain why their considered opinion was so wrong?

        I’m cracking up. Think gorebull warming.

        I think a light bulb may be lit here. Make it curly one even.

      • Crogged says:

        Interest rates are set by people and interest rates cause economic results, not the other way around.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Interest rates are set by the Federal Reserve.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Gentlemen: Interest rates, at least those associated with financing government debt, are ultimately set by market forces. If your bonds are perceived safe when compared to alternatives, they don’t have to yield as much as riskier ones. OK?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Cap- that’s got nothing to do with financing our national debt. Nothing at all. Perhaps I’m confused, but that was the subject, right?

      • John Galt says:

        We’ve been down this road before, in the 1950s. Then, like now, we were the only economic power that anyone considered safe and if you doubt that US government debt is considered safe, the think about how the “downgrade” of US debt actually lowered yields on that same debt. Who else is there? Australia, Canada, Switzerland are all nice, and have a combined economy about 20% of the US. Are you going to pour money into the opaque hole that is China? To the Euro mess in Germany? In the ’50s this allowed us to essentially offer a negative real return on US debt for the better part of a decade and we essentially inflated our way out of it. With some common sense budgets and a time horizon beyond the next Reuters poll that is what will happen this time too.

      • CaptSternn says:

        It allows the federal government to borrow at lower rates and it keeps inflationmoderately low in general.

      • DanMan says:

        gotta admit I started writing a dissertation on the 12 fed banks, fed policy, interest rates, T-bills debt we owe ourselves and thought I was getting close…scrapped it for work though.

        trying to explain fed policy on this blog is beyond me without getting paid

      • Crogged says:

        The Federal Reserves sets a rate to which it loans money to regional banks–currently at Zero percent interest. The US sells bonds to support its operations-the interest rates on those bonds is set by the market. The ‘inflation’ caused by the US printing money (via the Fed Reserve quantitive easing) and increasing the deficit by the stimulus (recall that the ‘stimulus’ was forty percent tax cuts)was predicted to happen despite the global recession. The acts of doing those things were predicted to cause inflation by just about every ‘economist’ you read (assuming you avoid the bearded guy at the NYT). This ‘wrong’ prediction has not ever been explained by saying ‘the world was in recession’-simply printing money was always supposed to cause inflation.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The inflation will hit when the interest rates are raised.

      • Crogged says:

        Captain, you do realize the Federal Reserve monitors inflation and then adjusts interest rates with regards to its view of the arc of the economy. When inflation is bad, it raises interest rates, making it more expensive to borrow money, which in theory slows the economy down. When demand is low, it cuts interest rates for the reverse reason. This is known as monetary policy and your sentence appears to put the cart before the horse.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The fed is keeping interest rates low to avoid the massive inflation that will happen when the interets rates are raised. Like the man falling off the building, you are saying so far so good as you pass each floor.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Crogged, you do understand that massive inflation is what democrats like Obam, Pelosi and Reid want, right? It destoys wealth, makes the federal debt less of an issue and makes more people dependent on the government. But like the PPACA, they just don;t want it to happen while they are campaigning for election or reelection. They are doing all they can to delay it for as long as possible with the hopes of eventually blaming republicans. It’s politics.

      • Crogged says:

        So only the pure of heart want higher interest rates? Captain, higher interest rates cause inflation to GO DOWN because it makes borrowing money more expensive, which means businesses don’t expand as much and people spend less on their purchases on credit. And if you own a home, you may not be as against inflation as you think you are. If you owe money inflation is a good thing-if your credit bought an asset at a fixed price, the creditor is owed the same dollars declining in value. I think you need to view economics a little more distantly, without including moral judgments regarding words such as ‘debt’, ‘credit’, ‘inflation’, ‘creditor’ and ‘debtor’.

      • CaptSternn says:

        You’re getting closer, Crogged. Yes, inflation destroys wealth, and that what democrats want. They just don;t want it when they are in control, so they are working with the fed to keep interest rates low in order to delay infation. Later they can try to blame republicans. Again, it’s politics.

      • Crogged says:

        By your own standard Democrats seek to destroy themselves, since inflation destroys wealty without regard to party. And they have somehow infiltrated the Federal Reserve, which has its own independent mission.

  7. flypusher says:

    Definitely life in the 21st Century First World is far, far better for more people than any other time or place in history.

    So let’s not screw it up.

    • fiftyohm says:

      One way to screw it up is to not recognize the progress that has been made, and continue fighting fires with huge fractions of national resources, without any rational way to quantitatively measure the results.

      • John Galt says:

        You mean like fighting yesterday’s wars?
        http://www.cnbc.com/id/101664089

      • fiftyohm says:

        An excellent example, JG!

      • Intrigued says:

        I agree Fifty but some of our progress is measured such as crime rates, teenage pregnancies, poverty rates and general census statistics. One of the problems with Government is we underfund programs and expect them to produce magical numbers. To be clear I am not necessarily advocating for more taxes, or revenue as the republicans like to call it, but allocating our resources properly to ensure success.

      • Crogged says:

        There was a ‘mile long’ assembly line, and by the time one gets to the ore company extracting the particular rare metals which go into a endeavor like this, you will find precious few of those employed individuals who would agree with the assessment of ‘waste’ or ‘lack of purpose’. They, as would anyone, would worry about their jobs if the production of this vehicle was halted. Government doesn’t ‘waste’ anything, especially when it comes to money–the waste is salaries and income to third parties providing goods and services. To repurpose this money would require gigantic political capital, because the enemy isn’t overseas.

      • Intrigued says:

        Crogged I think there is definitely waste. For example, funding provisions which restrict sharing resources between seperately funded projects and the use it or loose it which encourages waste opposed to efficiency.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Intrigued, conservatives understand that the best way to increase the revenue is to allow the economy to thrive. Not only does that boost revenue, but more people would be going back to work and paying their taxes. As it is, we have a smaller percentage of people working than we have had in decades, and democrats want more of it.

      • Crogged says:

        Intrigued, even businesses ‘waste’ money, if you mean spend it imprudently. But they don’t put it in a trash can and burn it–every dollar pays someone a salary or buys somebody a product. The money isn’t lost or disappear from circulation.

      • Intrigued says:

        Stern, the party of reasonable people know that revenue is a sugarcoated word for taxes. We also agree that “the best way to increase the revenue is to allow the economy to thrive”. Where we disagree is giving tax dollars to the private sector and not expecting anything specified in return.

      • DanMan says:

        Intrigued – if more people are paying taxes, federal revue would increase. Giving tax dollars to private companies is not taxing them in the first place, thus they have more of their own actual revenue to return to the market by spending as they see fit on products and services that benefit them. And on down the chain it goes.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The federal government shouldn’t be “giving” money to the private sector at all. That leads to things like Solyndra.

      • Intrigued says:

        Stern, what about the DOD, research and development, and social welfare programs?

      • CaptSternn says:

        National defense is a legitimate constitutionally granted power, but even there the government shouldn’t be “giving” money away. Social welfare should be done at the state and local levels, not federal.

      • Intrigued says:

        Ok Stern let’s focus on defense. Do you think the Government should subcontract to the private sector whenever possible and relinquish control so the private sector can function more efficient without Government interference? Maybe I misunderstood but I thought this was the point Fifty was trying to make.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The federal government sets standards for what it wants a weapon to do, then private companies compete to meet the demands and the winner gets the contract. There is waste in defense that can be trimmed.

      • Intrigued says:

        Good luck trimming the waste without restructuring. I mistakenly thought we were discussing wasting resources on Government funded programs that do not produce quantitive results. Apparently, it was just the same ignorant assumption that employment laws somehow have a negative impact on the economy.

    • Crogged says:

      I’m not understanding-what is ‘huge fractions of national resources’ and what happens to them-do they just disappear?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Not exactly. No more than a trillion spent on a fighter program that was designed for a war that will never be fought, or a new welfare program, or about any other domestic expense at taxpayer expense. The issue is the size of government expenditures and that fraction of economic activity.

        We’ve done very well so far, as the piece has illustrated. History has not been kind to other societies who allowed that balance to tip too far in the other direction. Our model is working. So far.

      • DanMan says:

        yeah, until the kids grow up and realize they owe for stuff they never benefitted from

      • Crogged says:

        What other societies have had hard times because of large government debt? A large debt to GDP may not be so much a cause, as it may be a result.

      • fiftyohm says:

        crogged- Governments who have controlled directly their economic trajectory through direct ownership, meddling, and the suppression of the private sector have all failed. There are no exceptions.

      • flypusher says:

        “…. what happens to them-do they just disappear?”

        You could say that designing/ building that plane created jobs. But how much better to create those jobs while building something useful. I see it as the $ for such projects is never completely wasted, as it isn’t vanishing, but it’s sure not buying as much as it ought to.

      • Crogged says:

        Fiffty, well yes, the USSR and other bad nations have bit the dust, but there is no connection between their choices and our own is there? What parallel are you saying exists?

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Really, what are you basing that on?

  8. DanMan says:

    uh-oh

    remember how Obamacare was going to stimulate the economy? And they reported the recovery showed that with a robust growth of 0.1% for the last quarter!!

    As usual, they initial reports ALWAYS have to be adjusted, and ALWAYS seem to be adjusted downward – at least for the past 22 quarters. Well that 23rd adjustment is showing up.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/05/13/u-s-economy-contracted-in-first-quarter-latest-figures-show/?mod=WSJBlog&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    This initial adjustment shows ‘growth’ of between -0.2% to -0.8% with two more adjustments to go.

    The world is getter better. As we sink.

    • DanMan says:

      23rd quarter, not adjustment (not that there’s much difference actually)

    • fiftyohm says:

      Anyone who thought the ACA was going to have a measurable effect on the economic recovery over the short term, either way, was an idiot.

      • DanMan says:

        I agree but the administration is the group that did so, care to venture a long term prediction?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Generally negative, but it will be impossible to ferret out that signal from the noise of other factors.

      • DanMan says:

        such as the 40 plus changes so far? The first 23 or so are merely delays in mandates and such so the negatives impacts are coming or the delays wouldn’t be there

      • fiftyohm says:

        Regardless Dan, the mistake will be when somebody says, “See, see, see! I told you so!” It’s an S/N thing, like I said.

      • DanMan says:

        that s/n regulation device used to be need/responsibility. Remove those modulators and we are left with only static

      • fiftyohm says:

        Dan, buddy – I have absolutely no idea what that means. (Remember, I do this for a living…)

      • DanMan says:

        I don’t. And yet it makes sense to me. Dial in pal.

  9. fiftyohm says:

    I think Chris’ message here is pretty much true. Things are getting generally better for everyone. Especially for the poor.

    The improvements in our lives, as discussed here in the last several weeks, do not lend themselves easily to conventional metrics, however. GDP per capita, a metric pretty much considered the gold standard for wealth and progress, has not a thing to say about cell phones, or washing machines. (See the TED video posted the other day.) Nobody starves here any more – in fact our ‘poor’ people are mostly too fat. And no, old people don’t eat dog food, either. Dozens of other social ills , many mentioned in Chris’ piece, have improved markedly. And all of this is virtually invisible by the GDP metric. Or any other that I can think of right now.

    So, how do we, in the face of all the exponential growth in technology, (“Second Machine Age”), and all the benefits it brings, all the improvements in our lives, measure them? It’s a damned important question because it reads on the appropriate position of the social safety net. It reads on the so-called ‘wealth gap’, and what should be done about it. It reads on taxation. It reads directly on more than half of the federal and state budgets.

    If you can’t measure a thing, you can’t tell how much progress you’ve made against it. And if you can’t measure that, you damn sure shouldn’t be sitting around deciding how much further to go.

    • DanMan says:

      When someone promotes specious global improvements in China and Africa as yardsticks to measure our contentment I’m again reminded of an observation one of my kids made when he was about 12 or so and I was trying to assure him of his place in the future by comparing our station in life to the rest of the world. I told him we are in the top 1%. His response:

      “Dad, why would compare ourselves to those below us?”

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I see little point in making comparisons. I don’t care if you make twice as much or half as much as i do. What I make has its own intrinsic value.

      • DanMan says:

        I reflected on this comment for hours earlier today. Forgot about and it came back to me. It is still solid.

  10. DanMan says:

    “We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has,” said Marcus Merz, the chief executive of PreferredOne, an insurer in Golden Valley, Minn., that is owned by two health systems and a physician group. “We’re all trying to break away from this fixation on open access and broad networks.”

    http://hotair.com/archives/2014/05/13/billion-dollar-obamacare-contract-pays-people-to-do-nothing/

    Own it libs.

    • desperado says:

      Hot Air via the Weekly Standard. Garbage squared.

      • DanMan says:

        Hot Air is an aggregator of information with commentary. You disagree with the information? Are you saying it is false or you just don’t like knowing about it?

    • John Galt says:

      In line with your schizophrenia, you have a quote followed by a link to an entirely different issue. First the quote, which is actually from this NY Times article (I’m impressed, Dan – was this reposted on the Washington Times?): http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/13/business/more-insured-but-the-choices-are-narrowing.html?_r=0 Later in that article:
      “On the [Minnesota] state exchange, PreferredOne offered an inexpensive plan with a network of 13 hospitals, but those low premiums helped the insurer grab 60% of the individual insurance market.”

      Wow. So given a choice, lots of people picked the cheaper and more limited option. The horror. Apparently free choice is good, except when it’s not.

      Second, the Serco bit, is a compelling news source of an anonymous employee using voice masking backed up by anonymous online comments. That’s super trustworthy. I also liked the transcript using grammatical errors (they’re/their). Even if all this is true, though, it’s because they don’t have enough paperwork because people are signing up online. That’s good. The contract for processing is for 1 year, renewable at the government’s option for up to four more years. The splashy headlines report the maximum amount of the contract. Of course, had there been to few people to process applications, Fox would have been at the door showing us how incompetent they were.

      • Tuttabella says:

        JohnGalt, I hope you’re not making the common mistake of thinking schizophrenia is multiple personality disorder. A scientist like you ought to know schizophrenia means a break or separation of the mind from reality.

      • DanMan says:

        There you go again with the ad hominem of attacking me instead of debating the facts. You are very weak. Pathetically weak.

        What are their choices Cuffy? Plans without their doctors. That is why the plans are cheaper.

        Serco. $1.2 billion contract. Zero of that is spent treating patients. Four failed state exchanges are reported to have cost $475 million. Zero of that will treat patients. I also note you discount the article for grammar yet even you can’t sort out when to use to/too in your response. Defend this all you want Cuffy, you’re the one looking foolish.

        http://www.politico.com/story/2014/05/obamacare-cost-failed-exchanges-106535.html

      • John Galt says:

        Schizophrenia is a break or separation from reality, but one that often comes and goes so that periods of lucidity alternate with periods of altered status. Yes, I think that describes Dan pretty well based on his alternating between comments with which I might not agree, but are reasonable, and bizarre throwaway posts with ad hominems and liberties with reality.

        Amazing that 13 hospitals in Minnesota are operational without a single doctor. Oh, wait, this limited network plan is only available in the Twin Cities and includes the largest hospital system, the academic (U. Minnesota) hospitals and a variety of other clinics. If you wanted a broader choice (they claim 99% network coverage), then it was all of $18/month more.

        Choice and individual responsibility: you and Sternn bleat about this incessantly and then staunchly defend people who make choices they later discover to be poor.

      • DanMan says:

        Please provide a link citing the $18/month extra for 99% of network coverage. That seems to indicate one could maintain 99% of their current coverage for the added $18/month. I’d like to see the language.

        Also, is that before or after the $2,500/year average savings we were promised?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        JG is no scientist. A scientist wouldn’t use a serious mental disorder to make cheap political point. Intellectually, JG thinks he is above it all but he is down in the gutter and doesn’t know it.

      • DanMan says:

        Let’s see his citation for the $18/month increase and we’ll go from there. But yeah, I agree with you Kabuzz. He likes to toss around words and phrases he picks up from Rachel Maddow and Sally Kohn to deflect from the issue. If a schizophrenic mental boob like me can see it I assume even the rucas posse can too.

        Of course that is me giving them a huge benefit of the doubt. And we all know I’m a giver that way…

      • John Galt says:

        “”In the Minneapolis region, PreferredOne is able to offer the least expensive silver plan in part by offering a narrow network version of its other plans,” researchers wrote. “The Select network comes with lower monthly premiums: a 40-year-old enrolling in an Accent Select silver plan would pay $154 per month, compared to $172 per month for a broader network Accent Choice silver plan.””

        $172-$154=$18. Or am I doing the math incorrectly?

        http://www.twincities.com/business/ci_25639151/preferredone-grabs-big-share-new-marketfor-health-insurance

        BTW, I picked Minnesota because it was highlighted in the unattributed NYT quote Dan used to start this thread. I have no doubt that some people are finding fewer choices than they would like. That article also mentioned that state insurance commissions were keeping an eye on plans to ensure that the limitations in some of them did not become excessive.

      • DanMan says:

        eh Cuffy, I’ll try to be gentle this time…
        Your math is fine. You comprehension is suspect.

        “The exchange does not represent everyone shopping for non-employer sponsored insurance. Individuals can bypass MNsure and purchase policies directly from insurance companies, so it’s not clear yet how each company’s overall share of the individual market stands.”

        The article states 5% of Minnesotans are expected to apply for individual plans outside of their employers, while 55% get their insurance through their employers. Your discussion is limited to 5% of Minnesotans. The company (Preferred One) getting the monthly premiums 10% lower ($18) do so by limiting access to doctors and hospitals. The dollar comparisons of the silver option plans between the other companies (BCBS, etc) is not reported. The $18/month is for PO’s Select Accent Silver plan vs PO’s Accent Choice Silver plan (the 10% savings mentioned).

        “About 41 percent of policies sold by PreferredOne on the MNsure exchange, for example, provide platinum benefits. Across all companies, only 28 percent of MNsure shoppers have bought platinum.”

        So PO has 59% of 5% of Minnesotans. Almost 3%. Then it states 41% of PO’s customers are buying Platinum plans. We’re down to 1.74% of Minnesotans. PO only sells in Minnesota. Then it states

        “In general, PreferredOne’s broad-network plan remains most popular, Merz said, but a larger share of those buying on MNsure opted for what he called the company’s narrower “high-value” network.”

        We’re down to a minority amount of 1.74%. Let’s be generous and assume it is barely below half at 49.5% of the remaining. We’re now down to 0.86% of Minnesotans are saving $18/month on limited access health insurance through this one company. With qualifiers of age 40 or under and going from there. So you based your argument on less than 1% of the population of a state that went whole heartedly for Obama as a model for comparison? When the law has been dramatically curtailed for political expediency and I’m not realistic? Really? And finally,

        “The question going forward is whether consumers will push back against these narrow networks, said Stephen Parente, a health policy expert at the University of Minnesota. Consumers in the 1990s, during the HMO era, bristled against such restrictions.
        Patients might also find the doctors they’re limited to don’t have enough time to see them, Parente said, although he doubts consumers in the Twin Cities will have such troubles. “

        Read: They don’t even serve the Select Choice network outside of the Twin Cities!!!

      • John Galt says:

        You were upset at the concept that people would be denied their choices of doctors or networks. “Plans without their doctors. That is why the plans are cheaper” you blustered. Now you tell me that it doesn’t matter because few people are choosing them and only in Minneapolis.

        Pardon me for being slow today, but can you clarify what you are upset about (right now, at least): is it the lack of choice or the fact that not enough people are opting for limited choice plans to matter?

      • DanMan says:

        the fact you are extending such a limited, incomplete and unrelated (by virtue of the law being fully implemented) sample to an entire nation and declaring it workable doesn’t have me upset, it has me wondering what reality you live in

      • John Galt says:

        I provided an example to refute what you are doing, which is to take unrelated and incomplete repostings on news aggregators and right-wing nut job sites and extrapolate to the country as a whole. Obamacare has some wins and some losses. I’ve never claimed otherwise. You have never claimed anything other than that it is a complete and utter failure. I’m perfectly happy to see shades of grey; you apparently never have.

      • DanMan says:

        It goes against human nature Cuffy. We can have a safety net. Obamacare is not that. We don’t spell that color that way mate. G’ night.

  11. kabuzz61 says:

    It must be hard to be optimistic and a democrat when their anointed champion Hillary is supposedly suffering from brain damage. Ouch! That has got to smart.

    Now here comes the Yak!

    • Anse says:

      Well, we already had a president who was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s in his second term, and apparently he was the greatest president we’ve ever had or something.

      • DanMan says:

        well it’s easier to govern when you follow the laws of the land, compare it to taking your foot off the gas and driving with the cruise control set within the legal limit

      • Anse says:

        Reagan followed the laws of the land? Really? But he had the perfect out: “I do not recollect…” And god knows he wasn’t lying, dude probably couldn’t remember how to put on his own shoes at that point.

      • DanMan says:

        hey Anse, the guy’s been out of office for 26 years and buried for 10. Care to came forward?

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Megyn Kelly reminded Karl Rove of what actually happened…In a bizarre twist, Karl Rove contested his own network’s projections on election night. His protests prompted Megyn Kelly to confirm the call with the network’s number-crunchers.

      That’s when Kelly said, “You keep saying that, but he won, Karl, he won… and that’s what the Republicans care about, what the Democrats care about.”

      When you are getting called out by Fox News for being a raving right-wing loon, you probably need to take a long look in the mirror.

    • desperado says:

      “Now here comes the Yak!”

      What happened? Did your girlfriend wander into the room?

    • kabuzz61 says:

      No reply to the assertion, just the usual BS. Telling.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Wait…we are supposed to respond to the assertion? Buzz…buddy, I’m worried you are slipping in your game.

        Unlike many GOP politicians who happily make all sorts of medical diagnoses without training, credentials, or actually seeing the person, you will be hard pressed to find such loons here (even yourself, normally, are not that loony).

        Now, it is absolutely true that Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are possessed by the same demons that possessed people in Ghostbusters. This information has been out there for a while, and so far, no one has been able to provide even a shred of evidence that it is not true.

      • rightonrush says:

        So says the king of bullshit.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Ah! I get it. We demand health records for Republicans but democrats get a free ride. You guys are so duplicitous. All I can say is “let the games begin.”

        She puts her pantsuit on one leg at a time like all men.

        Her favorite food is everything she sees.

        Bill can’t wait to grope women back in the WH again.

        Now comes the Yak!

      • vivalagalgo says:

        “duplicitous” Nice word. You find that on your word of the day calendar?

    • Intrigued says:

      Kabuzz it that going to be the 2016 tea party strategy? Disparaging someone based on a past brain injury? Considering a low estimate of 20% of Veterans have been diagnosed with a brain injury in addition to the higher percentage of undiagnosed cases, such a strategy would be the end to the disgraceful tea party movement.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        No. The dye was cast with Palin. We can make rape jokes about Chelsea. Mentally challenged jokes about he child. Of course there is Bill the hound dog. And of course, the beautiful, svelte Hillary and her childish “What difference does it make” when talking about 4 dead Americans.

        You lefties always, and I mean always set the bar and forget how the tables turn.

      • Intrigued says:

        Are you seriously arguing that one justifies the other? Making “rape jokes” or any jokes about a child for that matter should not be tolerated by either party. Regardless my point was if the TP uses that strategy they will yet again offend their own voter base possibly securing the demise of the TP movement.

      • Intrigued says:

        BTW Buzz if you are arguing that Palin was treated more harsh by the public because of her gender, I agree.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Intrigued, on this site and others, not to mention all the late night shows consistently put her and her family down. Relentless.

        It was because she was a female, but the worse kind, conservative.

    • John Galt says:

      OMG. You are referring to reports in the National Enquirer and Globe (that Hillary has a brain tumor). Is this how far Republicans have sunk? You are grasping at straws reported in tabloids? They’re not even new rumors – they’ve been around for two years. Pathetic.

  12. rucasdad says:

    No, no NO, Chris!!! You have to believe that it’s…

  13. geoff1968 says:

    It’s getting better all the time! Optimism is something sorely lacking in our current political climate which seems to be entirely predicated upon hatred for the other. Partisanship is the cancer in the body politic of our time.

    If I’m a Republican it’s not simply a matter of opposing a Democrat. I’m more than willing to poach there ideas if I find them useful. I’m also willing to listen.

    We’re not going to undo the last hundred years of progress. We have to deal with it and make things better.

    That is all.

    • geoff1968 says:

      Their, terribly sorry.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I think the more “optimistic” candidate has seemingly won every Presidential election in my lifetime.

      Gore-Bush might have been an optimism toss up (or lack-of-optimism toss up), and that was reflected in the election outcome.

      Angry, scared, grumpy, and mean will win you lots of House elections and even some Senate elections, but it won’t get you the presidency.

      • John Galt says:

        Completely right. I have commented on this before, but Reagan’s “Morning in America” spot in 1984 was about the most effective political ad I’ve ever seen. Though his 1980 campaign had its moments of negativity, it was also a very optimistic campaign.

      • Tuttabella says:

        I heard on a recent radio segment (it must have been NPR) that we tend to vote for the most STABLE candidate.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that, but Bush Sr. likely would have seemed more stable than Clinton.

        Although there was no way Carter could win, I think Reagan might have seemed more of an out of control maverick. Carter might have seemed depressed enough to be unstable, but he certainly was more calm than Reagan.

  14. John Galt says:

    Lots of things are getting better and the pace of change continues to accelerate. For many people, this change is negative in and of itself, as they are unable or unwilling to adapt fast enough and this feeds the anxiety and sense that we’re headed in the wrong direction. None of the things Lifer mentions are secrets, which makes me think that the problem is something other than the trend lines.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      There’s a nitwit on the *Chronicle* site who keeps complaining about same-sex marriage, like most liberal policies, as leading to “disorder”, yet who refuses to define exactly what “disorder” means (since, as is easily demonstrated, abortion rates are falling, murder rates are down, etc.)

      It seems to be a conservative code-word for “change”, much like the fear of societal change which prompted people to cling to Jim Crow laws in the South or to slavery itself in the antebellum period — or, going further back, led to closed-minded attempts to shut out difference through demands for local if not universal religious conformity like “cuius regio, eius religio”.

      And a desire for a comfortable stasis might explain why many conservatives are older. Not everyone has their moral sense and societal expectations calcified at a certain age, but some do.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      I think a major problem not touched on here is that many people feel very insecure in their current employment and this adds to all kinds of problems (unwillingness to spend, invest, etc.; unwillingness to have children; general mental issues and stress). People may have more education but they are increasingly seeing an economy where work seems to be more transiant and less stable.

      To many that is a good thing and they thrive on unpredictability. I kinda like that actually. But to many, this is very troubling.

      • DanMan says:

        A salient observation. Fear propels hoarding and minimalism and that is happening for those with fewer or unpredictable resources. That makes it very tough on small business. Unpredictability definitely drives fear. Selectively enforcing laws is a great way to engender that lack of predictability.

        Where have we seen this?

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        There has always been something called prosecutorial discretion.

        But I agree that too much selectivity in the enforcement of laws is bad thing. Another bad thing is the uncertainty when regulations and proposed reforms are not set in stone (for example, over health care).

        But I think the current unpredicability is really based more on the fact that work is now much more transient for many people. A generaion ago, people worked for the same company their entire life and lived, worked and died in the same town. Now that is increasingly rare.

      • DanMan says:

        You make a great democrat. You like chaos and don’t care how it impacts others.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I’ve become more and more of a minimalist over the years because I don’t want to have the burden of attachment. I like the freedom that comes from having little or nothing to lose. I also don’t want to be a burden on society or on anyone in particular, and I don’t want to leave a mess behind when I’m gone.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I prefer to keep a low profile and be as unobtrusive as possible.

      • John Galt says:

        Dan, have you ever been diagnosed with schizophrenia? Because you make some decent comments, such as the 3:55 comment above that starts with “A salient observation…” and then launch into the laziest xenophobia as in the 4:26 retort to jg75’s comment that mostly agreed with you except for his acknowledgement that laws have not always been enforced equally since, say, humans started writing things down.

      • DanMan says:

        Cuffy, 75 did make a good point and then used as his example Obamacare. Here are 40 changes to Obamacare since it was passed on a party line vote, using bribes, lies and empty promises.

        http://www.galen.org/newsletters/changes-to-obamacare-so-far/

        Read them carefully. Note that congress changed several of them. As did the supreme court. All of the changes that congress made had to go through Harry Reid, which means the dems needed those changes to try to stay ahead of the politics of the chaos they imposed. The changes made by the SC are of course for legal reasons, which means the dems didn’t hesitate to push the limits of our laws to take control of our society’s health care.

        I’m schizophrenic? Where does that leave you and the rucas posse? I’d say somewhere between delusional and ignorant. Hope that helps you ease your worries about me.

      • John Galt says:

        He used that as an example of a problem with uncertainty, but said that it was not as important as income insecurity, which is true. You then launched an ad hominem about how he was a Democrat who loved chaos. It made no sense other than you being in one of your all too common altered mental status states.

      • DanMan says:

        what evs lightweight, every dem voted for Obamacare. It is a huge mess. That mess is chaos in that segment of our economy. Whether you believe it is not really my problem and you not seeing the connection doesn’t make it ad hominem. It is a comment that addresses directly the very issue 75 brought. You attacking my mental abilities is ad hominem. Do you even know what the term you throw around means?

        Show me where I said anything about income insecurity not being a problem. That was my initial agreement that you affirmed.

  15. DanMan says:

    aw, deleted a comment about a gay kissing his boyfriend? how many is tha today? 2 or 3 at least.

    • rightonrush says:

      Here ya go DannyBoy

      • way2gosassy says:

        That might be a little too nuanced for him ROR!

      • rightonrush says:

        True Sass. BTW when are ya’ll moving to Tennessee again? We have decided to move to Ky and build on the farm in 2-5 years. Getting way to crowded down here.

      • way2gosassy says:

        We have a closing date of June 12. Hopefully we can get all this junk moved by the end of July. We are going to be about 15 miles from the Kentucky state line so we’ll be neighbors! Woo Hoo.

      • rightonrush says:

        Sass, keep in touch. I know you are gonna love Tennessee.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Will do! We already love it!

      • CaptSternn says:

        “That might be a little too nuanced for him ROR!”

        Or just really, really stupid.

        Why are you worried about cheerleaders in Texas making banners based on Bible verses?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “Why are you worried about cheerleaders in Texas making banners based on Bible verses?”

        Because they’re displaying them while wearing official school uniforms, on the school’s athletic field, during a school event. And it’s a public school, meaning it’s an organ of government.

        If they want to hold the banners up while wearing their own clothes and sitting in the bleachers with the rest of the crowd, there’s no problem.

      • Ivar says:

        To put a generational difference of opinion out there, from an ESPN article;
        When (Producer Seth) “Markman’s wife explained to their 7-year-old son that his father was busy working on something that was controversial, Sam’s kiss on TV, the boy replied: “Is it because they’re not married?””

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yep, the fowl stands against freedom and tolerance, but supports discrimination based on religion. No suprise here.

      • DanMan says:

        yep

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sternn, please ask Tutt to slap you for lying.

        I support freedom and tolerance. I support the freedom of students to display almost any sign they like — while they’re in the bleachers watching the game. And I support the freedom of the students and other attendees at the game NOT to have the public school sponsor declarations of specific religious faith as part of the official school activity. I would support the cheerleaders wearing their uniforms and carrying their signs OFF-SITE at a non-school-sponsored activity. Where is the tolerance missing here?

        The way you deliberately misunderstand others is a serious indication either of extreme malevolence, a dangerous break from reality, or true cluelessness.

        So you really need to be either slapped or committed.

  16. Anse says:

    The housing market goes up and it goes down. I’m sure you’ll cite Detroit’s morass and fail to grasp the disjoint in your non-logic. If you are going to have a problem, having a house that’s doubled in value over the last decade is a darn good problem to have.

    • Anse says:

      Oy…this was meant as a reply..

    • Tuttabella says:

      The important thing to remember about gentrification is that it’s not just about the people who move in, it’s also about the people who are displaced.

      I agree it’s good to have the value of your home increase astronomically, except when your taxes become outrageous. For many people it works out well — they can get a good price for their home and move out to the suburbs or the country or in some cases back to Mexico where they can retire. Others would rather not have to move from where they have lived for generations. Many are renters who don’t care one way or another.

      On the other hand, you can’t always believe what you read in the papers. I myself live in a trendy neighborhood just northwest of downtown, in a home purchased at a low price pre-gentrification, and I received all kinds of dire warnings from people telling me I needed to prepare to move out, because my taxes were going to skyrocket. That hasn’t happened, plus the house is paid for in full, I’ve lived in this neighborhood since I was a kid, so why would I want to move? You have to take it on a case by case basis.

      What I don’t like is the attitude of some newcomers, bragging about how they are improving my neighborhood. It’s always been a nice neighborhood. Overall, the newcomers are cool, but I actually had a young couple, some new neighbors, have the nerve to tell me, “Your neighborhood is going to start looking really nice now.”

      • Anse says:

        Well, all that is true. I lived in a Heights duplex for $400/month over a decade ago; now that one and two others I lived in have been torn down to make way for the Disneyfried Victorians that have popped up everywhere. But it really is the people who matter. There are few things worse than bad neighbors.

      • way2gosassy says:

        “There are few things worse than bad neighbors.”

        I couldn’t agree more. My “hood” is about 60 years old. Most of the folks who live here were kids when their parents bought their homes here in the 50’s. Most of the older folks are gone now and some of the houses have been sold to young families just starting out. Nothing fancy to see here, just comfortable. Most of the people here know their neighbors and have a strong tendency to look out for one another. Even though my home has more than doubled in value since I bought it there is nothing more valuable than a great community.

      • Anse says:

        This is why I’m ambivalent about things like housing design restrictions. I love old architecture, but if your quaint older neighborhood has just turned into half-million dollar two-bedroom bungalows filled with dooshy BMW-driving yuppies, what did you preserve, exactly?

      • way2gosassy says:

        I know exactly what you mean. I’m just glad that hasn’t happened here yet. One of the things I will miss here is the familiar sights, sounds and people. The upside is a 100 year old home in the country with neighbors close enough to see but too far to throw a rock at living in homes as old as yours!

      • John Galt says:

        It appears you have some obnoxious neighbors, Tutt.

        My neighborhood, on the southwest side of the inner loop, has been gentrifying for about 20 years. The old ’50s-era bungalows (they’re not really bungalows, but that’s what everyone calls them) are being knocked down and replaced with larger houses. Many of these old houses are 1,500 sq.ft. 2BR 1BA places and just are not economically viable when the dirt underneath them goes for $400k for 7,500 sq.ft. While many of the original homes left are well-maintained and occupied by perfectly neighborly owners, they are Levittown track houses and cannot be called quaint in any way. Bulldozing them makes a pile of money for their owners, employs people building new houses, and increases the value of the land for the tax coffers. Mostly a win.

        Anse – we have housing design restrictions, but mostly on setbacks and clearances. A fantastic variety of homes are being built, from Mediterraneans, to modern museum homes, to brick traditionals. It makes for an interesting neighborhood (architecturally, at least). But there are a lot of BMWs around, including one in my garage 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        JohnGalt, I wouldn’t call those particular neighbors of mine obnoxious. They were friendly, and I’m sure they were well-meaning, but sometimes people will let slip comments that are a teensy bit condescending — which I prefer to describe as “questionable.”

  17. johnofgaunt75 says:

    It is true that the world as a whole is becoming a richer, safer place which is of course very good. And for all the problems we have in this country(and we have many), we are becoming a more educated, more tolerant society.

    One thing that I really enjoy and I see this expanding in the future is the fact that the word is becoming much more interconnected. Business, education, pop culture…it is all becoming much more international. This is a good thing and I see it as contributing to a more peaceful world.

    • DanMan says:

      Good thing China agrees with you and has stopped building their new aircraft carriers. And Putin put down his sabers. And the muslim territz ceased their assaults on the west. And that new mattress factory in Iran will displace their desire for nuclear weapons. Cute narrative y’all are putting out this week.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      A more tolerant society? Really?

      Two brothers had a deal with HGTV for a series about flipping houses. They are devout Christians. The GLAAD organization found a video where they voiced their opposition to homosexual marriage and abortion. Now they series is cancelled.

      Now that HGTV is a private business, they have the right to discriminate but for you to say we are getting more tolerant while the fascist GLAAD is threatening everyone if they don’t toe their line is incredible.

      • goplifer says:

        I know. It’s brutal being treated the way nearly all homosexuals were treated just fifteen years ago.

        There’s a strange justice to the universe.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        There is nothing tolerant about accepting intolerance.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Now that it’s *your* ox being gored, you suddenly care, kabuzz?

        I believe that’s called “hypocrisy”. Too bad for you that the new social standards favor genuine tolerance rather than retrograde bigotry.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The party of tolerance is the most intolerant of all, and they never recognize the conflict of being intolerant of intolerance.

      • DanMan says:

        ah, the ‘ol payback ploy, white males must pay!

      • rightonrush says:

        Those twins make Siegfried and Roy look like lumber jacks.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        When there are calls for making it illegal to hold anti-gay views or calls to prevent bigots from getting married, come back to us Capt.

      • DanMan says:

        my waiter at Katz’s this past weekend had one of those lumberjack beards…I bet he couldn’t even pick up an axe

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Payback’s recommended by Chris. Wow! Tolerant.

        HGTV can do what they want, but according to you liberals, private business can’t discriminate. Are they not being punished for their views? Not actions? Thought? Faith? Where is your outcry?

      • DanMan says:

        Like all of their takes, its selective Kabuzz.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “HGTV can do what they want, but according to you liberals, private business can’t discriminate.”

        As so often with you, kabuzz, that’s a clueless and incompetent characterization of the liberal viewpoint. You really shouldn’t try to argue from a position of such profound ignorance.

        I’m sure it’s purely a matter of convenience that you’ve forgotten the demands by religious conservatives that JC Penney fire Ellen Degeneres as a spokesperson. I’m sure it’s purely chance which has caused to slip from your mind the widespread calls for the Dixie Chicks to be dropped by their recording label. I’m sure you have merely overlooked the frantic calls from the retrogradely religious to boycott the NFL because of Michael Sam.

        What’s that word again? Oh, right: hypocrisy!

        Learn it; you’ve earned it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        As have you, Owl. Besides, isn’t it actually illegal to discriminate based on religious beliefs?

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So if some idiot employee claims that his religion allows and endorses slavery, and that the Prophet Jefferson Davis told him to hang the flag of the traitorous Confederacy from every vehicle he drives (including company cars), I can’t fire him?

        Yeah, right. Pull the other one. It’s both amazing and amusing how much baggage modern Republicans want to hang on “freedom of religion” in order to justify their own abject bigotry.

      • DanMan says:

        skreeeeech!

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Ah, the sound of the gears in Dan’s head locking up and tearing themselves apart. A sad sound, a reflexive but useless “yawp” at an uncaring universe marching on toward modernity and leaving facile bigots behind.

      • DanMan says:

        fun fact: there are breeds of owls that don’t have ass holes. They have to yak up what are called casings that are the remnants of what they digest. We see that happening every time Ms Owl comments.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Very good Danman. An Apt fit for the creature in the crosshairs.

        Yak! Yak! Yak! That’s going to get a lot of play.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Fun fact: as usual, Dan doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about, and relies on half-misunderstood, incomplete facts.

        http://www.owlpages.com/articles.php?section=owl+physiology&title=digestion

        Owls *do* have a complete digestive system, with openings on both ends, just like many other animals. However, that doesn’t prevent them from expelling pellets. The reason is not the lack of a cloaca, but the content of the pellets. Read and learn, yahoos.

        To show kabuzz the folly of his own lazy assumptions, too, the act is described thusly: “When an Owl is about to produce a pellet, it will take on a pained expression – the eyes are closed, the facial disc narrow, and the bird will be reluctant to fly. At the moment of expulsion, the neck is stretched up and forward, the beak is opened, and the pellet simply drops out without any retching or spitting movements.”

        I think that comment of yours just showed up in one of my pellets, Dan. Indigestible, useless garbage.

      • JakeFromStateFarm says:

        kabuzz,
        Let’s discuss this tolerance thing down at the Woolworth’s lunch counter. I’m buying.

      • DanMan says:

        1963 called Jake and he actually answered the phone…in his khakis

  18. CaptSternn says:

    Yes, things are pretty good, and that is in spite of the efforts of democrats. Our energy production is up while the Obama administration is taking leases and cutting production on federal lands.

    Our economy is still stagnant. The democrats are working hard to keep it down. They claim that it allows them to do things they would not otherwise be able to do. And it keeps people dependent on the federal government. We will deal with their spending and policies when the interest rates go up.

    But things are looking better this year as the republicans are expected to make some real gains in the election … maybe. Still a long ways to go before the elections and a lot can happen. Let us hope the tea party backed conservatives can win so the economy and other things can start to recover. It has been over seven years since the democrats gained control, and it has been rough on the nation.

  19. tuttabellamia says:

    I for one find it refreshing to see a focus on the positive every now and then, which is not the same as denying that we continue to have problems.

    Also, I think our focus on problems tends to be media-driven, with a focus on certain trendy topics, that doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s really happening, and what truly deserves our attention.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Tutt…then don’t look up at the comment above yours!

      • way2gosassy says:

        Exactly!

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Next Halloween, Tutt and Sternn really ought to dress up as an angel and a devil, with a giant head and shoulders mounted between them.

      • Juarez says:

        I know who could be the giant head – no costume required! Of course, Owl, you’d have to stomach going trick-or-treating with Sterrn.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Stir, stir, stir Juarez

      • objv says:

        Owl, I know the very thought might induce you to produce a “pellet” but I believe Tutt was trying to say that Cap was the angel in the relationship. I don’t believe that she is either a giant or the offspring of a fallen angel and a human. (Could be wrong, though.)

        My daughter plays Settlers with a group of friends when they have a game night. She suggested that we buy the game for when my son comes home from college, but since my marriage barely survived playing Risk years ago, I’m not sure that would be such a good thing.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      I would hate to come between Sternn and Tuttabella. How could either forgive me?

  20. desperado says:

    Yep, all true but you’ll never get the usual nattering nabobs to admit it. Those who have spent the last 6 years telling us that the sky is falling and the country is doomed. They might have to (shudder) give Obama some credit and that will never happen. BENGHAZI!!! It also might cut into the ad revenue and ratings of the right-wing TV and radio propaganda network.

  21. Anse says:

    Mr. Ladd, I implore you to take off the blinders. Michael Sam was filmed kissing his partner. The End is Nigh I tell you! Just read the comments in the Houston Chronicle about it. All the good and righteous Americans say so.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Anse, there is nothing like the smell of a lovely mix of homophobia, racism, and just good ol’ fashion bigotry in the morning.

  22. tuttabellamia says:

    Sassy, it’s too early in the morning for games.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Sorry, that was meant as a reply to Sassy at the VERY bottom of the thread.

      Sometimes the last shall be first.

    • way2gosassy says:

      Really Tutt? I never thought it was too early or too late for the games to begin!

      • tuttabellamia says:

        🙂

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Any other avid boardgamers in the GOPLifer crowd? (I’m a fan of “Euro” games like *Settlers of Catan*, etc.)

      • way2gosassy says:

        I have a fetish for boardgames like triominos, scrabble and chess. I have to admit I haven’t tried any of the “Euro” games.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Actually, I’ve always loved board games, but as an only child I never had anyone to play with, but now I can “play” with Cap.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Is that actually a “board game” Tutt? =)

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        That depends on whether it’s more like a board or just a vinyl mat….

  23. tuttabellamia says:

    No LIFER’S LAMENT this morning? 🙂

    I have mixed feelings about gentrification. You consider displacing longtime minority residents “progress?”

    Also, sports, music, and acting may be “entertaintment” for their audiences, but they are serious crafts which require lots of talent, time, discipline, and dedication from their purveyors.

    • Anse says:

      I’m not sure there’s very much one can do about gentrification, apart from policies that encourage home ownership among those long-term residents. I say this as a guy who is very close to being priced out of my own home on Houston’s NW side. My taxes+insurance now exceed my mortgage payment. Not sure how much longer I can hold out.

  24. DanMan says:

    Polly Anna on steroids, LSD and crack washed down with tequila. Gonna be an epic hangover if he recovers.

  25. kabuzz61 says:

    It is mid term election year and Chris has to present a very positive face for the democrats. I’m not biting. Sounds like the democratic blogosphere got their memo’s to start pumping how great things are.

    Do we need to list your past posts about how dreary things are?

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Dang…we would get away from it were it not for you meddling kids!

      It really puts a damper on our grand conspiracies when Buzz figures them out so quickly.

      Sure, we got him to believe those black helicopters really were for US Customs, but he sees right though us here.

  26. way2gosassy says:

    What are you smoking? Where did you get those rosy new glasses?

    • goplifer says:

      Care to describe which part wasn’t accurate?

      • way2gosassy says:

        Just thought I’d get your fans started on their usual rants about how wrong you are and how left you are…..you get the drift. I see I wasn’t wrong.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Also I happen to agree with most of what you’ve written. I had just finished an article on the Chron about the huge improvements in education, health and welfare, economics and trade in Africa. My husband lived in Kenya for a couple of years in the 80’s. While many people lived a basically hand to mouth existence they were hard working and industrious. The strides that country has made since then are nothing short of a miracle. I have to agree with the articles author though in that there just isn’t anything positive being written about Africa or Africans. It seems that for many that it much easier to focus on the negative rather than look to the positive results being had and a future that looks very positive.

      • DanMan says:

        “the declining cost of nearly everything is taken into account…”

        food and energy are way up, look at Anse’s lament about being priced out of his house, health insurance is waaaaaay up. I’s like to know the prices that are down.

        “George W. Bush took office with a budget plan inherited from his predecessor which was projected to pay off the national debt entirely by 2009. Eight years later, Obama inherited a budget that created the largest single-year deficit in American history.”

        Starts with BS and removes the actions of two years of dem controlled congress out of the equation. Note in those two years Obama voted for every spending scheme devised by said congress.

        “Germany is on track to generate a third of power from solar energy alone by 2020. The price of solar energy has dropped by half in just five years. In sunny parts of Asia solar power is already cheaper than gas. It is expected to be cheaper than fossil fuels globally within five years.”

        Germany is eliminating green energy initiatives as fast as they can replace them with fossil fuel alternatives. There is no way for us in the US to compare costs of solar in China and apply it to our when it comes to gas as a variable. That last sentence is about as reliable as global warming predictions.

        “Our debt is having zero economic impact in the present and no impact on the economy in the foreseeable future. It is purely a political problem.”

        Shear lunacy. See Greece, Italy, Spain, Argentina, etc. History is replete with examples to destroy this myth.

        “One of the hottest neighborhoods in New York City is Harlem.”

        And blacks being displaced are throwing a wall-eyed fit.

        “The United States is the wealthiest nation on the planet and the margin isn’t close. Our economy produced just short of $16tr last year.”

        Our debt surpasses our GDP . When’s the last time that happed?

      • Anse says:

        As I stated above, DanMan, if you are going to have a problem, having a house that’s doubled in value over the last decade is a good problem to have. Gentrification is bad for some, a boon to others. Surely an economics expert like yourself understands that.

        Japan’s debt is now over 200% of GDP. Belgium, France, the United Kingdom all have debt that exceeds gross domestic product. A number of other countries are close. The sky has not fallen. We had a much higher debt-to-GDP ratio at the end of WWII and had a remarkable economic boom.

        The doomsday vision doesn’t hold up, but I guess it’s hard to see from inside the bunker…?

      • Turtles Run says:

        Danny-Boy wrote: Germany is eliminating green energy initiatives as fast as they can replace them with fossil fuel alternatives.

        Why is Germany eliminating their green energy subsidies? A thinking person would ask for the root cause instead of making mindless assumptions. Germany started the subsidies to encourage the use of solar power, these subsidies offset the high cost of installing solar panal arrays. Since 2008 the cost of solar power has decreased 75% and so the need for subsidies would decrease.

        A thinking person would have asked the natural follow up question, why is Germany reducing its green energy initiatives? Because of the success of solar energy use in that nation. Instead ideological blinders are covering up the truth for the right wingers.

      • Anse says:

        With solar getting so cheap, it will take a real dunderhead to condemn it as fantasy. I came across a cool article about an idea for solar-panel highways; make the roads out of cheap solar panels and we could generate more power than is currently consumed. The numbers work out. It’s only far-fetched in its execution.

        If prehistoric man had had Republicans, they would have never gotten out of the Stone Age.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Funny that this article completely disputes the lie being told about Germany’s green energy initiatives.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/12/world/europe/germany-taps-universities-in-its-push-for-green-energy.html?nlid=68174363&tntemail0=y&_r=0

      • kabuzz61 says:

        In other words Chris, Way2 wants to say what a fabulous writer you are, how insightful and smart. How great you put people in their place if they disagree with you. You are the best. Smooch, smooch. Gosh! It’s sickening. Way2, you can and should do better.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        kabuzz, physician, heal thyself. When was the last time you offered anything substantive to these discussions?

      • DanMan says:

        my bad Anse, I read your comment as a complaint. I sold my house that had 10% increases for years and was still capped. Got over 3 times what I paid for it. Moved to a neighborhood less than 2 miles away and my taxes have dropped 3 years in a row. I like it like it that. So much I put in a pool.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Danny-Boy

        It seems like you call them in a way that fits your view.

        Germany is generating 25% of its generation needs from green energy and on peak days that amount rises to 2/3rds. That is a remarkable feat or as the right-wingers call it a failure.

        In 2011 the country’s installed capacity of wind generation was over 29,000 mega-watts and much of the older less efficient wind turbines are being replaced with much more efficient turbines.

        http://www.ewea.org/fileadmin/ewea_documents/documents/publications/statistics/Stats_2011.pdf

        See page 4

      • DanMan says:

        Good stuff Turtlehead. Way2’s article was all about proposed stuff, university grants and even showed a conceptual as the picture and yours uses data from 2011 and was written a year before my article.

        Keep running….

      • Turtles Run says:

        Yes and it seems your article ignored the progress in green energy. For example it completely ignored solar energy and it refused to acknowledge the existence of currently installed capacity.

        I will run with that all day long.

      • DanMan says:

        you do that biggun’

      • way2gosassy says:

        Russia’s strangle hold on energy to Europe is another great incentive to become as energy independent as possible given so few resources in the region. Might be why they are actually investing in the research and commitment to continue progressing with renewable energy. Contrary to what some believe.

      • DanMan says:

        Putin is merely taking advantage of the chaos. See 75 above. He likes it.

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