Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Friday, January 19, 2018

The idea of annulling debts nowadays is so unthinkable that economists and theologians doubt whether the Jubilee Year could have been a common practice. Instead of causing economic crises, these debt jubilees preserved stability in Near Eastern societies. Economic polarization, bondage and collapse occurred when they stopped being proclaimed. Royal debt jubilees freed society from debt bondage, without liberating slaves. Debt jubilees also returned the land or crop rights that debtors owed to creditors. This enabled families to resume their self-support on the land and pay taxes, serve in the military, and provide free labor on public works. Commercial "silver" debts among traders and other entrepreneurs were not subject to these debt jubilees. Rulers recognized that productive business loans provide resources for the borrower to pay back with interest, unlike consumer debt. This was the contrast that medieval teachers later would draw between interest and usury. read more

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Don't forget to wear a wetsuit, its cold out there.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Trump has set the record for most federal appeals judges confirmed in the first year of a presidency. Those lifetime appointments are conservative judges, who support the causes of the 1% regardless of law, or the constitution. Republican obstruction in the final years of Obama's presidency boosted the record number of vacancies. A significant number of Supreme Court justices are approaching retirement or mortality, the highest chamber threatens to tilt just as dramatically to the right. The Senate has confirmed 19 of Trump's nominees, which includes one Supreme Court justice, 12 circuit court judges, and six district court judges. The only way to stop the seizure of the judiciary is for Democrats to win the Senate in November.

Monday, January 15, 2018

We pretend that technology will rescue the planet without another stock collapse. Perhaps sustained by a universal basic income someone will find an algorithm that will permit us to continue trashing the planet, keep the stock market rolling to new heights, without a human engineered corruption of our planet. Only those 50 or older have no fear of how uninhabitable the planet will be in another fifty years. And yet that dystopic future is in their hands. Elect more young people to office, people more likely experience what their legislation creates. Not worrying about a future one will not personally ever inhabit is the real flaw in the game of Winner/Loser that we play. Stop worrying about what Trump will do and worry about education. Take your kids out of any school that teaches coding without reading comprehension and expository writing. Stop the narrowing of curriculum to STEM study, studies that feed a need for increasing profits extracted from new technologies. read more

Sunday, January 14, 2018

We expect those on the right to let their politics trump good science. Yet those on the left are just as skeptical of well-established science when those findings clash with their political ideologies. This was demonstrated in an experiment titled " Culturally Antagonistic Mems and the Zika Virus", in which an article links Zika public health risks either to climate change or immigration. When Zika is linked to climate change Democrat concerns are raised and Republican concerns decrease. But, when Zika is linked to immigration Republican concerns are raised and Democrat concerns decrease. People who find pleasure in learning that the universe does not work the way we expected it (curiosity devoid of politics) is more of a bulwark against politicization of science than facts alone. read more


Largest Wave ever surfed was in Portugal, as I understand it, 100foot.


Like some crazy mountain climbing, these photos take a brave or braver photographer.

The first winning Bid for California's High-Speed Rail (phase 1) was alleged to be completed for $1.2 billion, $800 million under the State's budget estimate. Just get the contract first and then change order the massive project to death. No better example of this behavior than Bechtel's "Big Dig". It is also the business plan of every defense contractor.

But, is there really any reason to differentiate between public support for rail transportation and air transportation? One difference, of course, is air transportation is completely privatized Government subsidization, with benefits flowing to the airlines. This is OK to Conservatives, but they are dead set against any subsidy which might flow to the user of public transportation services. This ideology is really hypocrisy and greed in full display.

The benefit/cost relationships of public transportation projects depend largely on population densities. San Francisco and the entire Bay Area are better off today than Los Angeles, because of those public investments. Investments which conservatives fought tooth and nail, leaving San Mateo County originally out of BART.

The EU and Scandinavia have public transportation services superior to ours, until Thatcher decided its better to let Richard Branson and a few others profit from those monopolies. They don't need school buses, they just provide all students with free bus passes. We pay for redundant systems because our public transportation system is inadequate for serving the general public. General Motors was historically instrumental in undermining public transportation, a real problem in congested cities.

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