Wednesday , February 21 2024
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Some USPS History and the Latest

1 day ago

Some history

While debating the original Post Office Act, Alexander Hamilton and others argued the post should support itself and make money for the rest of the government. Others, including George Washington and James Madison, didn’t seem to care whether it turned a profit. Jonathan Trumbull, the speaker of the House of Representatives in 1792, observed that having the post subsidize the circulation of periodicals would be “among the surest means of preventing the degeneracy of a free government.” In the end, Washington and Madison won the day. The government allowed printers to ship their newspapers and magazines at a very low cost: one cent to destinations within 100 miles, and one and a half cents to destinations more than 100 miles away. This

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Who do you work for?

3 days ago

Who do you work for? The one-handed economist, David Zetland

Economists assume that people work for themselves first, i.e., accepting payment (extrinsic motivation) to do something they would not do if they were not paid.

But that “model” ignores the role of intrinsic motivation (we do what we like) which plays a role — large or small — in determining where we work, but also how much we are willing to accept to do the work (more intrinsic motivation on offer means reduces the need for extrinsic motivation).

So it’s complicated.

Now get into the common problem of outsiders assuming you are there for intrinsic reasons when you are there for other reasons. For example:

You work at a non-profit, but only because of the salary (extrinsic).

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The mail slows down, again

4 days ago

A pretty damning report detailing Louis DeJoy’s program’s failure to replicate mail delivery or improve mail delivery which was the goal.

The mail slows down, again, Save The Post Office,

Steve Hutkins

As you have probably noticed from personal experience and reading the news, the Postal Service is having a difficult time delivering on time. Mail and packages are delayed for days, even weeks, sometimes never arriving at all. For its part, postal management often seems unresponsive to complaints, and they have even refused to participate in town meetings with elected officials to discuss the problems.

Admittedly, not all the mail is slowing down. During the first quarter of FY 2024 (Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, 2023), Marketing Mail had an excellent

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Social Security has Nothing to Do with Debt or Deficits

6 days ago

Dale Coberly lead-in to his discussion on Social Security is something which has been debated back and forth by politicians, those who wish to cut it, those who seek to end it, and those who have done all of the above such as Andrew Biggs. Social Security for the today’s elderly and those who will retire in the future can be fixed rather inexpensively. Dale, Bruce, and Arne etc. have argued the points extensively on Angry Bear.

Dale has given me some latitude on this commentary, so I am going to add to it with regard to healthcare.

I just completed an exchange with a commenter on the costs of commercial healthcare plans such as found on the PPACA. The PPACA is another government plan. It includes commercial healthcare insurance who are

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Cost Plus Drugs has added 5 new products

6 days ago

I get quite a few commentaries on healthcare and also announcements. I thought I would follow Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs site for a while. I can vouch for the lower cost drugs I use are close to what Mark’s business is citing. If anyone see one of these drugs is of a lesser cost, please check Mark Cuban’s “Cost Plus Drugs” site for accuracy.

The latest . . .

Homepage of Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs

Mark announces Cost Plus Drugs has added 5 new products to our online pharmacy! We’ve included the full list below so you can check to see if your medication was added. Click on the medication names below to see pricing and product information. See below . . .

Dapagliflozin Propanediol 5mg Tablets (Generic for Farxiga) Cost for 30 Tabs:

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Will a Candidate for the Presidency be Disqualified? Probably not and here are some reasons why

7 days ago

Justice Clarence Thomas asked why there weren’t more examples of states disqualifying candidates under the 14th Amendment after the Civil War.

There have been and I am confident Clarence knows this. Rather than face the issue of who can disqualify trump, Clarence chose a moment when he can shine by asking a question and then insisting it be answered. Indeed, he is probably the weakest justice on the SCOTUS bench.

Last line, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment says, “But, Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

This would apply to the president.

Project on Government Oversight has an article concerning the 14th Amendment and disqualification of candidates. In particular, the state of Colorado has

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Open Thread February 13 2024 Inflation cooled again in January . . .

8 days ago

But came in above Wall Street’s expectations, another sign that the Federal Reserve’s path to interest-rate cuts is far from settled.

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that consumer prices rose 3.1% in January from a year earlier, versus a December gain of 3.4%. That marked the lowest reading since June. Inflation at 3.1% Reflects “Stubborn Pricing Pressure, Clouding Outlook for Fed Rate Cuts,” msn.com, WSJ article.

Open Thread February 6 2024 “hard to find jobs right now even with low unemployment” – Angry Bear

Tags: inflation

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Three Abortion Study Results are Retracted from a Publication

8 days ago

This is supposed to be the experts bringing data to the public. Prestigious name coupled with a doctorate and Masters. Tied to exceptional universities. So what gives? Read on as this information was used in court and cited by a judge.

— Two of the studies were cited by a federal judge in the case against the abortion pill.

Publisher Retracts Three Abortion Studies,

MedPage Today, Rachael Robertson

February 8, 2024

Sage Journals retracted three abortion studies — including two cited by a federal judge in a case against the abortion pill mifepristone (Mifeprex) — after an investigation revealed methodological flaws and misleading conclusions.

In the retraction notice, Sage stated that an investigation following concerns raised by a

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State Supreme Court Issues A Devastating Rebuke of the U.S. Supreme Court

9 days ago

As you read this Slate article, this is something I was also thinking about. How did SCOTUS arrive at its decision and what was the basis or history supporting its decision? SCOTUS was interpreting what they thought it should be. Thomas was telling judges to study the history of gun control before they arrive at a decision. The discussion centers around militia and right of individuals to bear arms. Read on . . .

A State Supreme Court Just Issued Another Devastating Rebuke of the U.S. Supreme Court, msn.com, Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern.

The Hawaii Supreme Court handed down a unanimous opinion on Wednesday  February 7th, declaring Hawaii’s state constitution grants individuals absolutely no right to keep and bear arms outside the

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Gen Z is Leaving Michigan in Droves

9 days ago

Michigan has always had its ups and downs. Pretty much this was the resuly of automotive being a core business within the state. Michigan economy would go which ever was automotive and the economy would go. Another core industry would help in Michigan.

Michigan now find itself as the only state from which more Gen Z people departed than arrived during 2022, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data analysis by the Seattle-based real estate tech marketplace Zillow.

Study: Gen Z is Leaving Michigan in Droves

DBusiness Magazine, Tim Keenan

Michigan was the only state from which more Gen Z people departed than arrived during 2022, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data analysis by the Seattle-based real estate tech marketplace

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What Judge Luttig’s Report Reveals

9 days ago

I listened to former Federal Judge Luttig’s last night. Luttig covers what SCOTUS may be intending to do with trump. Covers the DC Court of Appeals opinion. And the good judge has a few words of reprimand for prosecutor Hur and his random off-roading opinion of President Joe Biden which was not a part of his assignment. I dislike talking to prosecutors as their role is to break you down. In this case, Hur took advantage of his role.

Hope you listen to it all.

[embedded content]
What Biden’s Critics Get Wrong About His Gaffes, The Atlantic, Yair Rosenberg

Tags: Biden, Luttig, trump

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Why I changed my mind and think Trump should be thrown off the ballot

10 days ago

January 6 was an insurrection, rebellion against the election of a new president. Congressmen/women and Senators fled for their lives. No help came from city police or elsewhere to quell the insurrection. There is no question about what it was. Calling it a riot is an attempt to make it less then what it was, an attempt to overthrow the government.

Opinion | Why I changed my mind and think Trump should be thrown off the ballot

The Washington Post,

E.J. Dionne Jr., February 4, 2024

The argument from many is January 6 was not an insurrection or rebellion, and it was a riot. Hopefully, the deception resulting from a change of words does not take hold through verbal intercourse about insurrections and insurrectionist politicians. It was a

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Cohousing Could Be the Answer for Aging Baby Boomers

11 days ago

Cohousing, another way to have multifamily and multigenerational housing.

Why Cohousing Could Be the Answer for Aging Baby Boomers,

Carbon Upfront, Lloyd Alter

In a recent post, Why the future of housing should be multifamily and multigenerational, I mentioned cohousing, which was started in Denmark primarily by young families as a way of sharing resources like childcare. Katheryn McCamant and Charles Durrett summarize it in the title of their book “Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves.” As the title suggests, it’s about taking control, working cooperatively and “housing ourselves.”

As cohousing evolved, it became clear that what works for young families also works well for older people. You can see how it works

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What is Causing Increasing Food, etc. Prices

12 days ago

This is a follow-up to two posts on Tuesday and Wednesday. One topic being “Low Income Consumers” and the other being GAO Prices etc. Neither said the Biden Administration is at fault. If you read Thursday’s report by New Deal Democrat, we are avoiding a recession.

Briefly, Much of the cost from pricing increases people are experiencing result from rent-taking by corporations the same as what happened in 2008. They can do it (raise prices) because they can do it. What are you going to do about it? Also the pandemic clearly interfered with the economy.

Funding passed on to people since they could not work (a well-known requirement by Republicans [if you can crawl-you better be working]), the Biden administrative made sure there were funds for

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Take the Medical Profession and Healthcare Back from Corporate Interests

13 days ago

Shot an email off to Kip Sullivan to see what he was up to with Medicare. He returned my email with a copy of a letter he wrote Much going on in this letter I was not aware of and am assuming many other are not aware of either. Still they persist in corporatizing Medicare and private practices into commercialized medicine such as Medicare Advantage. Kips message back to me . . .

I’ve been very busy monitoring and commenting on four studies authorized by the 2023 session of the MN legislature and monitoring CA’s new Health Care Affordability Board. I’m monitoring the CA board because a MN legislator introduced a bill in the MN legislature modeled on the 2022 law that created the CA board. The MN bill almost became law, and was watered down at the

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Swiss healthcare costs rise steeply

13 days ago

I guess the US is not the only place having issues with the rising costs of healthcare. Swiss healthcare is rising at a faster rate also. However, I suspect Switzerland has greater control over those costs than the US does. However, the industry is attempting to pass along higher costs.

The cost of compulsory health insurance in Switzerland rose by 4.6% in 2023 compared to the previous year, raising the bill per insured person to CHF4,513. 

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Swiss healthcare costs rise steeply – SWI swissinfo.ch

These are the results of a study by the Curafutura association, an alliance of four health insurers focused on bringing improvements to the Swiss healthcare system. 

The costs rose the most in the area of physiotherapy, with an increase

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January Growth in Jobs and Wages

14 days ago

Job and Wage Growth Surge in January

Center for Economic and Policy Research, Dean Baker

I believe this report by Dean Baker to be a bit premature. If you are keeping up with New Deal democrat, he cites reasons why this still can go either way at this point. One reason is the Fed’s foot still on the brake. Another is manufacturing workweek is practically screaming “recession.” And U6 underemployment rate increased again. We could be near the end and on our way to a better economy. However high Fed Rates translate to higher mortgage rates. Something else to thing about.

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The January jobs report removed any immediate concerns about a weakening labor market as the economy added 353,000 jobs. In addition, the December figure was

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Low Income Consumers are Having It Their Way

14 days ago

McDonald’s wants to win back low-income consumers,

Laura Bratton @ QUARTZ

US customers making less than $45,000 stayed away in 2023. That could continue this year, executive says . . .

McDonald’s chief financial officer Ian Borden told investors Monday (Feb. 5) that he’s looking for ways to win back the low-income customers the company lost last year.

US consumers whose incomes fall below $45,000 are really important to the fast food chain, even though they make less than the average McDonald’s customer. Their significance was especially felt in the third quarter of 2023, when they stayed away from McDonald’s restaurants after the company hiked prices.

Low-income customers furthered their distance even more at the end of 2023, Borden

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GAO: Food Prices: Information on Trends, Factors, and Federal Roles

15 days ago

This is a good recital by the GAO on Food Prices, its trends, factors affecting it, and how the government plays a role in it. It covers quite a bit of territory on costs and prices pre-2021 and 2021 to 2022. It was those two years when Covid was having an impact on the nation and globally. The impact came in getting food to market, processing it, and making it available. If have some time to review this report, I believe you will come away with how Covid impacted the food chain. Take this review and apply it to other industries. You will have a better understanding.

What is missing and I am pretty sure occurred was the degree of rent taking by commercial interests along the way. Increased prices because they can and not because of cost. Maybe

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Give It To Idaho …

16 days ago

AB: Another commentary about Oregon . . .

“Give It To Idaho …” | Homeless on the High Desert, Ten Bears

Oregon’s Appalachia. Associated Press and Central Oregon Daily report:

Central OR lawmaker ignorant of US Constitution, Article VI, section 3

Of course it’s ignorant, the stupidest people in Oregon live in South Central Oregon. G’ma used to say “it’s in the water” and point to the back of the Oregon Fish and Game Guide: “don’t eat the fish, high concentrations of mercury …”

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker who represents part of Deschutes County has suggested that “you don’t want” Muslims, atheists and other non-Christians to serve in elected office.

Rep. E. Werner Reschke, who represents Oregon’s 55th District, made the

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Biden, A Master of the Oil-Trade?

18 days ago

Originally published at Benzinga

Biden The Master Oil Trader Part III? President Refills Emergency Stash as Crude Price Slides – United States Oil Fund, Benzinga, Aaron Bry, Editor.

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The Biden administration has been slowly replenishing stocks in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as oil prices fell in the fourth quarter, buying crude at prices that could rate the president as an oil trading legend.

The SPR is an emergency stash of crude oil — the world’s largest — that was created to ease oil supply problems or shortages. It was created in 1975 following the Arab oil embargo that saw crude and gasoline prices spike, and caused damage to the economy.

Back in 2022, in response to a price spike after Russia invaded Ukraine,

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Just One U.S. GDP Chart to Talk About

18 days ago

U.S. winning world economic war, axios.com, Neil Irwin.

The United States economy grew faster than any other large, advanced economy last year, by a wide margin, and is on track to do so again in 2024.

Why it matters: America’s outperformance is rooted in its distinctive structural strengths, policy choices, and some luck. It reflects a fundamental resilience in the world’s largest economy that is easy to overlook amid the nation’s problems.

By the numbers: U.S. GDP looks to have grown 2.5% in 2023, according to the IMF’s hot-off-the-presses World Economic Outlook, the highest among the G7 economies (Japan was second at 1.9%).

IMF economists forecast similarly best-in-class growth this year, with 2.1% U.S. growth (second place: Canada

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Open Thread February 2 2024 federal judge tosses disinformation superspreader Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s lawsuit

19 days ago

Last September, Kennedy—who has lambasted social media platforms’ attempts to contain his fact-free rants about vaccines as unforgivable infringements on free expression—brought suit in New Hampshire to squelch a blogger who posted anonymously on the Daily Kos website about a speech that the late Sen. Robert Kennedy’s son delivered in Berlin to a group called Querdenken. “Free Speech Lover RFK Jr. Loses Bid to Punish Online Critic,” Daily Beast, William Bredderman.

Open Thread January 25 2024 Should WE Extend the 2017 Tax Break, Angry Bear

Tags: 2024, February Open Thread

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A Primer to the Use of Alternatives to lithium-ion batteries

19 days ago

This is taken from a more detailed and longer write-up on alternatives to lithium-ion batteries. It has been edited and comments have been added. Sometimes when you write a long piece, people just quit reading halfway through it. My point here is to get people to read what is out there and where we are with alternative power sources beside gasoline driven motors.

We are still a long way away from having a long term and suitable replacement for energy derived from oil powered vehicles and an infrastructure supporting it. It is a good read.

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Six Alternatives to lithium-ion batteries: What’s the future of energy storage? android authority, Calvin Wankhede.

Smartphones to electric vehicles, batteries single-handedly power some of the

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New Solar Panel Technology

20 days ago

I know Joel had Solar Panels on his home in St. Louis. He was pretty happy with them. If I remember correctly, he had them for a number of years. Since I am in AZ, it makes sense to install them. Maybe when we sit down and consider the return we will consider such. They are not low in cost.

Japan’s new solar panel technology (perovskite solar panel) might forever alter the renewables market, The Week, Devika Rao

For a long time, the solar panel market was dominated by China because of that country’s control of the silicon supply chain. But the solar-panel tides may be turning, as Japan has created a solar panel that does not use silicon and instead uses a mineral-created material called perovskite. The new panels have caught up to the

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The VA Privatization and Other Detrimental Policies

20 days ago

Disadvantaging the VA: How VA Staff View Agency Privatization and Other Detrimental Policies

I use the VA as I am eligible for it. I need to apply for my two+ years in and out of Camp Lejeune. Just have not done. My disorder comes and goes and Rituxan seems to put it into remission. There are others there who have far more serious issues than I. The VA does offer good care in spite of what you hear. These reports as shown here are not made up. If you have some time, read patient comments.

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When President George W. Bush launched the “War on Terror,” Republicans almost immediately pushed fordeep and poorly timed VA budget cuts. In 2003, the House tried to slash nearly $15 billion worth of veterans’programs. At risk, according to the

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Review by David Zetland: When a Crocodile Eats the Sun”

21 days ago

The same as David, I have heard good things about this book. I am also old enough to remember some of the news of the turmoil in Zimbabwe.

Book Review: When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, The one-handed economist, David Zetland

A white woman in South Africa suggested that I read this 2006 book by Peter Godwin, and I am glad that she did.

I mention the color of her skin because skin matters in this memoir of how Zimbabwe fell apart in the late 1990s. This “change of condition” was shocking for many (including me) because of Zim’s prior reputation and status as a safer, richer place than its neighbors. This book explains how those relative positions changed as Robert Mugabe (Zim’s dictator) struggled to hold power. (There are strong parallels

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Young people can’t Afford Homes

24 days ago

CNN Tells Us, Young People can’t Afford Homes Even Though more Young People have Homes now than when Trump was in the White House, CEPR, Dean Baker

Major media outlets continually push the theme that young people can’t buy homes even though a larger share of households headed by someone under age 35 own homes today than when Donald Trump was in the White House. CNN pushed its entry into the contest for the best “Death of the American Dream” piece last week, with an article headlined “What Broke the American Dream for Millennials.”

CNN hoped to get extra credit for this segment about student loan debt burdens:

“I think a lot of Millennials were forced into saying, ‘you need a four-year degree in order to be successful,’” says Rachael, who is

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January 26, 2024, Letters from an American,

25 days ago

As far as you and I, antics in a court room would not have been acceptable. Trump is begging for a jail cell. Begging so he can claim to be a martyr for his beliefs. No feeding of the chimps no matter how much they jump up and down and toss excrement at you. It has to be frustrating to him that no one will react,

January 26, 2024, Letters from an American, Prof. Heather Cox-Richardson

This afternoon a jury of nine Americans deliberated for less than three hours before it ordered former president Trump to pay writer E. Jean Carroll $83.3 million for defaming her after she accused him in 2019 of raping her in the 1990s. In May 2023 a jury found Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll in an assault. For which, the judge said is commonly known as

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