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Daniel Becker

Articles by Daniel Becker

The New Math Textbook (Oklahoma)

13 days ago

The following was a comment posted at Crooks and Liars. One respondent suggested that question #5 was a trick question noting that God and not Moses did the deed.

AJ Jacobs

Hallelujah! Thank you to my creative friends for all these great Biblical math problems. They’ll really help the Oklahoma school superintendent’s goal of inserting biblical content into math and science! I’ve collected a multitude of the problems into one post for ease of reading:

1) Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).

If he lay with one wife or concubine every night, but took off one day per week for rest, how many days would it take him to lay with all of his wives and concubines?

2) David captured the foreskins of 200 Philistines (1 Samuel

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We have always had the crazy

January 1, 2024

On this day when we like to review the whacky, crazy crap that has happened, here is something that fits. Though, not from last year. It is easy to see how conspiracy develops when learning of such past. It’s not just the uneducated that create the nuttiness. It is not just the lack of knowledge that will lead oneself down the rabbit hole. We seem to have a knack for creating institutional lunacy from the application of deference. Add some pompous to the mix and wah lah…socially accepted nutso. The theory: Societal stature and in this instance, posture suggest betterment.

And to think people paid extra for the bestowment of Ivy League credentials.

The “Great Ivy Leaue Nude Posture Photo Scandal”

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Happy New Year.

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“If things are good, then why do I still have nothing left over?”

September 29, 2023

Angry Bear: I have been bugging Daniel to write on occasion for Angry Bear. Daniel did write occasionally and his commentaries were good. I know it is a burden. Well, here is one of Daniel’s comments. A good one as usual . . .

I believe the interest costs are part of the story as to the perception of inflation.  Within that, so what if wages kept pace with rising costs (excluding interest), all it means is the person stayed even while hearing how good things are?  If things are good, then why do I still have nothing left over?  That’s I believe is part of the perception.

At the same time, the media is pushing the inflation fear/hurt button all the time.  It’s all people hear especially from 1 side of the aisle.  Plus, they see more automation

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Does the pendulum swing back? Can it? Will it?

June 20, 2023

“From his very first term, Bush shocked many by reaching who had either been convicted or pleaded guilty to crimes during the Reagan and Bush administrations’ and others who many felt should have been indicted.“

“You have a very long list of people and what emerged through the two terms was that people who seemed to be accused of violating the law had a rapid accent in this administration.“

“Now, instead of investigating that, the congress actually gave the president a standing ovation during the State of the Union speech when he promised to continue to violate that law.“

“…this president’s theory of his power is now I think, is so extreme it is unprecedented. He believes that he has the inherent authority to violate federal law. He has

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John Oliver Talks TANF Helping Families and States Sitting on the Funds

March 24, 2023

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If you think there is abuse in our welfare system, in this case TANF, you are correct. Only, it is not the people for whom the system is suppose to be helping. In fact, there are state who are sitting on the money not having spent/distributed it as they should have. As usual, John does a great job on this issue.

“States have broad flexibility over the use of state and federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. Many have used that flexibility to divert funds away from income support for families and toward other state budget areas often unrelated to TANF’s goals. In 2021, states spent only about a fifth of the funds on basic assistance to meet essential needs of families with children. Investments in cash

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The Big Myth, by Naomi Oreskes

March 20, 2023

Naomi Oreskes: All good myths have a kernel of truth.

The other title: MAGA: You’ve been played.

In her book: The Big Myth, How American Business Taught us to Loathe Government and Love the Free Market she researched the history of the source of the position and ideology of “Free Market” capitalism void of regulation. It came out of her work researching big tobacco and climate change for her book: Merchants of Doubt. The short of the story: The goal is to tie the thought of market freedom to individual freedom. Imposition on market freedom is imposition on personal freedom. The strategy involved reaching all aspects of one’s social involvement. There was even a magazine: Christian Economics. The Prosperity Gospel? It was recognized

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All Electric comes to Heavy Equipment

March 17, 2023

I thought this would be interesting to our readers, especially those who are following the development of electric vehicles. Electric has infiltrated heavy equipment.

This is Volvo’s latest all electric excavator: EC230. It is a 23 metric tonne (25 ton) machine. Not small. It is just like their diesel version but with batteries and an electric motor. 264KW of battery power. They are in the double digits for sales already. They have it structured for 4 to 5 hr run time then a 150KW, 1 hr charge and your good for the rest of the day. The battery life is 2000 to 5500 charging cycles.

Keep in mind, unlike a diesel machine, if this machine is not moving then power is not being used. I’m assuming that Volvo had to take into account power drain as

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Norfolk Southern, are they for real? (Are we for real?)

February 23, 2023

The recent train derailment in Ohio of a Norfolk Southern train has me thinking. As this accident relates to our social order, there is just so many paths, perspectives and questions one can dive into. I almost could not decide what direction to address it all from.

We have the capitalism/free market angle. Is this disaster an example of market failure? Is this government failure? Does this disprove the “too much government” argument? You know, that Reagan’s 9 scariest words. Is this voter failure? Voters not actually doing the work to become an informed citizen? Is it a Republican thing? Is it a Democratic Party thing? Too much money in politics? Does this prove Sam Alito wrong regarding money influencing government? Is this a case for the Build

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Understanding Inflation using Gasoline Prices

October 28, 2022

Seems that gas, fuel, gasoline is being used as a marker to understand just how horrible we have it as a result of the current inflation. It’s just sooooooooooo terrible. I’ll just say this. As a marker of inflation and our personal economic experience all it shows is how terrible we are at remembering. Unfortunately for us, such a bad memory leads us to terrible voting decisions. Though, it does allow for easy emotional manipulation of the citizenry come election time. Enough lecturing. On to the lesson. You can skip to the very end to see the results, but you’ll miss a great story.

Let us look at a bit of recent history. I used this site for historical gas prices: U.S. All Grades All Formulations Retail Gasoline Prices (Dollars per Gallon)

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Hit by the Proverbial Mack Truck, Alas it is empty

August 23, 2022

Republican: A synonym for Selfishness and Narcissism and Violence

Synonym: a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language; a person or thing so closely associated with a particular quality or idea that the mention of their name calls it to mind.

Selfishness: the quality or condition of being selfish.

Narcissism: selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.

I should also include Libertarian as a synonym for selfishness and narcissism.

Violence: the unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force.

Political Violence: Political violence is the deliberate use of

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Outlawing Abortion, It is a costly Endeavor

May 24, 2022

Boston Public Radio May 19th episode held a discussion of the consequences for the nation when abortion is outlawed. The guest was Jonathan Gruber, the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT. He was involved with the ACA and the Mass health insurance system.

Getting right to it:

Based on studies: Women who wanted an abortion but could not get one are more likely to die in child birth, have worse mental health outcomes and a huge increase in serious financial difficulties. An 80% increase in bankruptcy. Increasing costs for society.

When abortion was made available, It lowered births by 10% and reduced teen motherhood by 34%. In black women there was a 30% decline in births, 1/3rd decline in maternal mortality and a 25% rise in the odds of

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Today’s math challenge: Less than 50% of the vote but 72% of the seats

April 20, 2022

On Morning Joe today, they interviewed Senator Mallory McMorrow. She mentioned toward the end (around 8:02 minutes in) that in 2014 the Republican party had less than 50% of the vote. However, they had 72% of the seats. Unfortunately, it was toward the end and no one’s ears perked up upon hearing this. She notes it will not get any better unless they are voted out of office.

At Crooks and Liars today is a post of James Carville suggesting that the Democratic Party needs to start pointing out how “weird” and “strange” the Republican Party is. I’m thinking he did not hear Senator McMorrow. Her words all revolved around the word “hate”. The hateful, hate filled words coming out of the mouths of the Republican Party universally.

Both note that

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Our relationship of work, technology and life

December 12, 2021

I stumbled upon this article riding home yesterday. It is a pod cast called: On the Media. I catch it at times on my local NPR. Some very intriguing discussions are presented.

This one is very timely considering the great dropout in the work force. Or, “resignation” as it is being called. It caught my attention because of what just might be a new interest in unions?

Take this Job and Shove It: The article is about 1 hour long. It looks at the question of loving your work and how people have been moved to experience their job as “family”. There is the issue of technology and it not actually freeing us. In the end there is a discussion of the Luddites and how their stand against tech has been misinterpreted in that technology needs to

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The Powell Memo by Senator Whitehouse

June 17, 2021

Senator Whitehouse posted the clips of his presentation on the Powell Memo at youtube. Ken posted the text of it here. I have known about the Powell memo for a long time. People really do need to come to internalize just what this part of our political history means for our present day social structure and government. People might not be so gullible once they understood what he has been saying for years. Then again, to understand this history one has to be wanting more than a jingle phrase or chant for understanding their condition.

Just reading the words of Senator Whitehouse deprives one of the disgust he has for what has happened to our courts, especially the Supreme Court. So, do take the time to actually listen to his presentation.

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Tech Companies: Be your own town and government

March 4, 2021

I saw this bit of news on Steven Colbert’s show last night. Seems Nevada’s Democratic Governor thinks tech companies need to be their own town. The thinking is that this is a way to attract business development without spending money. What could go wrong?

From the AP news:

“Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak announced a plan to launch so-called Innovation Zones in Nevada to jumpstart the state’s economy by attracting technology firms, Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday.

The zones would permit companies with large areas of land to form governments carrying the same authority as counties, including the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and courts and provide government services.”

I am surprised that a Democratic

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Two Audio Interviews: Rethinking the Constitution and The New PhD

February 22, 2021

I thought readers would enjoy the following two interviews.

The first is with Mary Anne Franks: The Cult of the Constitution. The discussion is titled: Rethinking the Constitution. She gets into the first and second amendment. What I found thoughtful was her presentation of the Constitution being viewed as a sacred document. Think the Bible etc. Considering the influence of the Evangelical Right in the Republican party, it put clarity to the Right’s arguments involving the Constitution. This discussion coincides with Peter Dorman’s post: We need a Plan for Militias.

The second interview I heard a bit ago: The New PhD, How to Build a Better Graduate Program. Leonard Cassuto and Robert Weisbuch. What they suggest is that the Graduate programs

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It’s by Design: Texas’ Electrical Mess

February 19, 2021

Something is funky with our comment function. They are showing up at the WP site, just not showing here today. Though, sometimes you might see them, then not. So, leave a comment. We’ll get it happening.

By now, you are aware that the problem Texas is having is because they failed to build their system to withstand cold/winter weather. That is the mechanical reason for their problem. Of course, this leads many to assume that as soon as it warms up, the power will be back on and life is good again.

Unfortunately, that does not account for all the water damage that has happened and will happen as broken plumbing thaws. It won’t just be people’s homes. I’m confident there will be news about failures within the municipal systems and of course,

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The Supreme Court rationalize like children or, The US court is selfishness incarnate

October 27, 2020

So, here is the thing about the arguments the Republicans are making regarding mail ballots based on this article at Slate.
“the court held that Florida’s recount used procedures that violated “the equal dignity owed to each voter.” Because the standards used to recount ballots varied between counties, the court concluded, the process violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause. “
Being that “equal protection” is the issue as to getting a vote counted on election day such that a vote counted after election day is violating the “equal protection” of said voters on election day, then there is an issue for those who voted prior to election day via mail.
If mailing a ballot is considered a valid means of voting, and the Republicans and their

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Tic Tac Toe, Supreme Court style

October 20, 2020

(This was first posted February 21, 2008.)
Bribes, payola, favor of the physical kind? Forget-about it. Just put the right person in the appropriate agency, preferably a person from the line of business the agency is to regulate. But, for extra insurance over the long haul, with a little luck of timing you get to fix the legal issue almost permanently: supreme court justices.
Justices Make it Tougher to Sue Makers of Medical Devices
The case has significant implications for the $75 billion-a-year health care technology industry, whose products range from heart valves to toothbrushes. In a recent three-month span, federal regulators responded to over 100 safety problems regarding medical devices.
At issue before the Supreme Court was whether the estate of

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Senator Whitehouse lays it all out or: How to hide the Court Packing

October 14, 2020

This is what I believe Eric Kramer is asking for.  If we are ever going to fix the justice system and ultimately this nation, what Senator Whitehouse presented today needs to be internalized by everyone.
Yes, ACA, abortion, gay marriage.  They are major issue, I have a stake in 2 of them.  But – a big ass BUT – the real game is the machine that has been operating for a very long time and honed to a run as smooth as a screaming F1 engine.  And it’s screaming.  Senator Whitehouse has just educated everyone on the engineering of this engine.
It is reverting.  It should be all over the news.  It should be what the Democratic party et al start pounding during these final weeks of campaigning.  It is the real court packing that has been happening.  Note in this

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Why Post Election stealing by Trump is highly unlikely

September 28, 2020

I stumbled across this article at Electoral-Vote .com.  They have a chart showing the control of the Secretary of States, Legislatures and Executive offices.   They combine that with the current polling in each state and electoral votes.  Their conclusion, more than hell would have to freeze over for Trump and the Atlantic’s article warning of a post election electoral steal to happen.
We have addressed many of the concerns that Davis and Gellman raise, and have been dismissive of most. However, Gellman builds a substantial part of his article around a semi-new concern, one that has gotten particular attention since The Atlantic posted his piece, and one that we would like to address. The general idea is that Team Trump will use the courts (or anything

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People were warned!

June 4, 2020

I’m certain readers here know this, but… it really needs to be posted.
Rep. Schiff closing remarks of the senate trial of Trump January 23, 2020:
If the truth doesn’t matter, we’re lost. Framers couldn’t protect us from ourselves, if right and truth don’t matter. And you know that what he did was not right. …No constitution can protect us, right doesn’t matter any more. And you know you can’t trust this President to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he will do what’s right for Donald Trump. He’ll do it now. He’s done it before. He’ll do it for the next several months. He’ll do it in the election if he’s allowed to. This is why if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Because right matters and the

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Study looks at the course of recovery for Covid 19

May 18, 2020

This is an interesting study.  This link is to the summary.   There is a link there to the full study.   600 people with active disease of over 2 weeks completed a survey to find out just what people are experiencing with the illness.  I find the following most interesting:
● Early testing is crucial, and questions remain around test accuracy: Despite all respondents showing COVID-19 symptoms, 47.8% were either denied testing or not tested for another reason. The main difference between respondents who tested positive and those who tested negative was how early in their illness they were tested (on average day 10 for those testing positive, and day 16 for those testing negative).
Furthermore, the only difference in symptoms between these groups is that

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Define Rich, part II: Rat Race and the American Dream

April 14, 2020

I have had this re-posted today because I believe it is as relevant today as when I wrote it in May, 2009.  My hope is that this event we are living moves enough new people to realize the society we built is not sustainable.  My hope is that one of the basic questions I was trying to answer in a more completely when I started blogging at AB is answered in a manor such that the nation and ultimately humanity becomes more inclusive: Why do we have an economy?  I will not accept the answer: To make money.
I believe today, people are discovering the rat race they have voted themselves into. I hope enough people will come to understand that just making money is not life sustaining.
My concern is that the use of the “war” analogy will lead us to policy which

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This is our president, and it’s sickening.

April 3, 2020

This is the complete letter Trump sent to Senator Schumer on April 2nd.   It is beyond embarrassing.

Senator Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
Washington, D.C.  20515
Dear Senator Schumer:
Thank you for your Democrat public relations letter and incorrect sound bites, which are wrong in every way.
As you are aware, Vice President Pence is in charge of the Task Force. By almost all accounts, he has done a spectacular job.
The Defense Production Act (DPA) has been consistently used by my team and me for the purchase of billions of dollars’ worth of equipment, medical supplies, ventilators, and other related items. It has been powerful leverage, so powerful that companies generally do whatever we are asking, without even a formal notice.  They know

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Yes, someone in the Media finally says it…It’s the REPUBLICANS!

March 26, 2020

[embedded content]I have been wondering for a while, when would the media start pointing out that it’s no longer Trump. It is the Republican party. Well, finally.
She asked THE question that needed to be asked: How Long are we going to let him go?  Not that his party would hear her.  Even Joe is cringing at hearing it.  Too Bad Joe!

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Moscow Mitch was hoping the fever would break

March 19, 2020

[embedded content]The closing remarks of Moscow Mitch McConnell statement before the vote to spare Donald John Trump his presidency.
He was talking about “factional fever” that the “framers” referred to as a concern for majorities acting in a partisan manor.  And yet, here we are.

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Digital technology as used in today’s campaigning

January 29, 2020

I just read the this article: Trump’s Digital Advantage is Freaking out Democratic Strategist.   It is a NYT’s opinion piece.
I know and have known about the use of collecting our data to sell us stuff.  The concern for me is that there is almost no way for an individual to stop having their self tracked and mined any more based on this article.  What is worse though than just having it used to sell me stuff is having it used as what clearly has become psych ops.  We are clearly in the subliminal suggestion pathway to influencing personality.
Steven Livingston, a professor of media and public affairs and director of the Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics at George Washington University, has been tracking this sub rosa electioneering in the current

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Anand Giridharadas in a Dutch interview: Their Parliament’s Finance Committee called him

December 26, 2019

I found this interesting.  Mr. Giridharadas was invited to discuss his perspective regarding his themes of his book Winners take all.  He was invited by the Dutch Parliament’s Finance Committee to discuss his book.  All 6 parties showed up.  All had been given the book prior and several had read it.   This is a link to the entire 1.5 hour presentation via Youtube.
One of his points that I found most interesting was at 7:13 of the discussion, during his introduction he points out the role the Dutch system has played as a tax shelter inhibiting nation’s like the US to adequately tax.  He notes, that the Dutch have a history of being very egalitarian with their governing approach, but their status as a tax haven is “exporting oligarchy to other countries”.

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If you are a conservative, you have no memory. Jonathan Turley

December 4, 2019

I learned a long time ago at much personal expense, that there is a personality type which function within reality, but only in the present moment of reality.  That is, what ever I say now has no bearing or relationship to what I just said or what I am about to say.  I will deny what you thought you heard.  If that is not enough, I will qualify it but…it has no bearing on what you believe I am saying.  You can just never know and ultimately have no conversation that resolves.
It’s as if they can time shift.  You can just never know and ultimately have no conversation that resolves.
That is what I believe we are witnessing today with the republican party.  They are not protecting Trump.  They are protecting an image they believe in at the moment fully

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