here is a riddle

I haven't pondered before. Your friendly state-issued photo driver ID is now demanded for all sorts of nondriving purposes. It can get ya booze and cigarettes. It can prove identity to the Feds, from employment to flying. You can see gory movies and rent porn.

Apparently, though, it's not useful for its most basic purpose: proving identification for driving purposes to the state that issued you the ID.

I say all this because I seem to have temporarily accidentally placed my passport in a clearly defined known unknown nonkinetic position, and I don't wish to cause a squirmish at the DMV 36 hours before I have to have my license renewed.

Hopefully the birth certificate isn't stuck in an open-ended commitment to hiding itself.

P.S. This is why you never wait to the last day to do things. You wait until the next to the last day.

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budgeting post script

Time to whip out the Excel charting function one more time.

Apparently, according to Reuters, top Federal Reserve official Bill Dudley was trying to relate to the common man. I suppose he gets props for effort; at least he mentioned something the average American has heard of in a question and answer session that involved more questioning than stenography.


"Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful," he said referring to Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) latest handheld tablet computer hitting stories on Friday.

"You have to look at the prices of all things," he said.

Now, there are a number of interesting questions that might elicit such a response. Something about technology, or innovation, or business strategy, or upsetting Reggie Middleton, or when your real question is censored so all you can ask is Mac or PC.

However, here's the actual Question to which Dudley responded:

But in Queens, New York, on Friday, William Dudley was bombarded with questions about food inflation, and his attempt to put rising commodity prices into a broader economic context only made things worse.

"When was the last time, sir, that you went grocery shopping?" one audience member asked.

So, a questioner asks about this part of the budget (food):

And he answered with this (computers):

What a perfect illustration of how people ask questions about the important things and our leaders talk about the trivial items. And of course, my personal budget probably puts more emphasis on computing than the average household budget.

Keep that in mind the next time some Important Serious Person says they can balance the budget (or any budget, for that matter). It's really not that complicated. Individual households need decent wages and affordable housing, food, healthcare, education, transportation, and energy. Federal and state governments need some combination of increased taxes on the wealthy and reduced spending on the military, financial industry, fossil fuels, prisons, agribusiness, and healthcare. The final combination of those options is determined by the particular political economy we wish to deliver; there's no one 'right' solution to fiscal responsibility.

But talking about much else, from iPads to public broadcasting, from the NEA to the NEA, is a combination of ignorance and malice, varying in relative proportion from pundit to pundit.

By the way, did you notice the typo in that Reuters quote? I don't know how English teachers can possibly compete for students when the corporate media itself has been busy dismantling all writing standards from ethics to proofreading. Reuters is one of the Good Guys of our traditional media outlets, and it appears they pay about as much attention to an article as I do to a blog post.

Maybe they'd have more advertising dollars and readers if the media had spent more time the past couple decades making our leaders answer serious questions with serious answers.

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the world is changing

Are you excited for the future?

Or fighting it?

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the superiority of social insurance

(P) So I'm testing out the online reporting system for medical information at my work. It's pretty standard and works reasonably well. They brag about how it saves you having to fill out 27 pieces of paper every year.


This processs reminds me of one of the basic failures of private health insurance: a fragmented system is extremely inefficient. Take identification. How do insurance companies identify you?

The answer, of course, is that they don't. They panic and run to the obvious solution - socialized medicine [cue scary music].

Here's my challenge of the day for those who believe government should not provide basic social insurance coverages, like health insurance and unemployment insurance. If the government is so inefficient, why do private companies use ID numbers created by the Social Security Administration?

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