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Old 2008-10-23, 16:54   #694
ewmayer
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Default Paul Krugman: The Real Plumbers of Ohio

NYT Op-Ed | Paul Krugman: The Real Plumbers of Ohio
Quote:
What’s really happening to the plumbers of Ohio, and to working Americans in general?

First of all, they aren’t making a lot of money. You may recall that in one of the early Democratic debates Charles Gibson of ABC suggested that $200,000 a year was a middle-class income. Tell that to Ohio plumbers: according to the May 2007 occupational earnings report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income of “plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters” in Ohio was $47,930.

Second, their real incomes have stagnated or fallen, even in supposedly good years. The Bush administration assured us that the economy was booming in 2007 — but the average Ohio plumber’s income in that 2007 report was only 15.5 percent higher than in the 2000 report, not enough to keep up with the 17.7 percent rise in consumer prices in the Midwest. As Ohio plumbers went, so went the nation: median household income, adjusted for inflation, was lower in 2007 than it had been in 2000.

Third, Ohio plumbers have been having growing trouble getting health insurance, especially if, like many craftsmen, they work for small firms. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2007 only 45 percent of companies with fewer than 10 employees offered health benefits, down from 57 percent in 2000.

And bear in mind that all these data pertain to 2007 — which was as good as it got in recent years. Now that the “Bush boom,” such as it was, is over, we can see that it achieved a dismal distinction: for the first time on record, an economic expansion failed to raise most Americans’ incomes above their previous peak.

Since then, of course, things have gone rapidly downhill, as millions of working Americans have lost their jobs and their homes. And all indicators suggest that things will get much worse in the months and years ahead.

So what does all this say about the candidates? Who’s really standing up for Ohio’s plumbers?

Mr. McCain claims that Mr. Obama’s policies would lead to economic disaster. But President Bush’s policies have already led to disaster — and whatever he may say, Mr. McCain proposes continuing Mr. Bush’s policies in all essential respects, and he shares Mr. Bush’s anti-government, anti-regulation philosophy.

What about the claim, based on Joe the Plumber’s complaint, that ordinary working Americans would face higher taxes under Mr. Obama? Well, Mr. Obama proposes raising rates on only the top two income tax brackets — and the second-highest bracket for a head of household starts at an income, after deductions, of $182,400 a year.

Maybe there are plumbers out there who earn that much, or who would end up suffering from Mr. Obama’s proposed modest increases in taxes on dividends and capital gains — America is a big country, and there’s probably a high-income plumber with a huge stock market portfolio out there somewhere. But the typical plumber would pay lower, not higher, taxes under an Obama administration, and would have a much better chance of getting health insurance.

I don’t want to suggest that everyone would be better off under the Obama tax plan. Joe the plumber would almost certainly be better off, but Richie the hedge fund manager would take a serious hit.

But that’s the point. Whatever today’s G.O.P. is, it isn’t the party of working Americans.
My Comment: I wonder if the GOP`s recent $150,000 clothes-shopping spree at Saks and Neiman-Marcus for Sarah Palin qualifies as "the clothing of middle-class hockey Moms"? I'll bet Obama wants to raise taxes on that kind of "middle class necessities shopping".
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Old 2008-10-23, 22:11   #695
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wblipp View Post
If God chooses to test them, like Job was tested, by putting Obama into the White House, I am confident that most of them will be strong enough in their faith to resist the temptation of converting to Democrats.
That's what five thousand years of development will do for a religion -- provide an excuse for everything.

(* hmmm ... would it that computer software would handle all exceptions so smoothly as organized religion does ... *)

I'll have to mention that in the Brights discussion forum -- secularism will never displace religion until it can provide just as many excuses. But someone else has probably already pointed that out.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2008-10-23 at 22:19
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Old 2008-10-24, 21:45   #696
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
That's what five thousand years of development will do for a religion -- provide an excuse for everything.
And to show how desparate and despicable the republitards are getting:

A female McCain campaign volunteer has now been charged with lying to the
police after a story she concocted fell apart.

She showed up at a College Station police station with bruises and
a backward "B" etched on her face. She told a story of how she was
robbed by a Barack supporter who, when he found out she was a McCain
supporter, etched the "B" and told her 'now you are a Barack' supporter.

After the police poked holes in her story and an ATM video camera
failed to show the attack, she admitted she lied about the whole
thing... She etched the "B" herself. How she got bruised is a mystery...

It seems that McCain & cronies will go to any lengths to try to make
Obama and his supporters look bad......
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Old 2008-10-24, 23:07   #697
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
And to show how desparate and despicable the republitards are getting:

A female McCain campaign volunteer has now been charged with lying to the
police after a story she concocted fell apart.

She showed up at a College Station police station with bruises and
a backward "B" etched on her face. She told a story of how she was
robbed by a Barack supporter who, when he found out she was a McCain
supporter, etched the "B" and told her 'now you are a Barack' supporter.

After the police poked holes in her story and an ATM video camera
failed to show the attack, she admitted she lied about the whole
thing... She etched the "B" herself. How she got bruised is a mystery...

It seems that McCain & cronies will go to any lengths to try to make
Obama and his supporters look bad......
Right out of Morton Downey Jr.'s playbook.
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Old 2008-10-25, 02:13   #698
AES
 
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Quote:
Todd confessed to police that she was driving alone, looked in the mirror, saw her black eye and the "B" on her face, and didn't know how they got there.
She's a real psychopath. However, I do believe a mirror was involved after seeing her picture with a faint back facing "B".

I was attacked and received knife wounds in the 11th grade. It leaves more than a few irritated skin inflammations.

Last fiddled with by AES on 2008-10-25 at 03:08
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Old 2008-10-25, 02:30   #699
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Silverman View Post
And to show how desparate and despicable the republitards are getting:

A female McCain campaign volunteer has now been charged with lying to the police after a story she concocted fell apart.

.........

It seems that McCain & cronies will go to any lengths to try to make Obama and his supporters look bad......
This is called the fallacy of composition. http://www.nizkor.org/features/falla...mposition.html
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Old 2008-10-25, 02:48   #700
AES
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
This is called the fallacy of composition. http://www.nizkor.org/features/falla...mposition.html
I agree. She's a psychopath.

However, her latest photo with Pittsburgh detectives is not a PR win for my alma mater.

Neither is this- http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post...lege-dorm.html
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Last fiddled with by AES on 2008-10-25 at 03:23
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Old 2008-10-25, 04:44   #701
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Default Racism accusations?

You've got to be kidding......
If I were a black nationalist who would I vote for?
What pull would I perceive with a president named 'Obama'.....ask Kenya.

Such is part of what I am weighing.
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Old 2008-10-27, 11:33   #702
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"Fear, Death, and Politics: What Your Mortality Has to Do with the Upcoming Election

A psychology professor explains how thoughts of death influence how we vote or make other decisions"

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=...h-and-politics

Quote:
Sheldon Solomon is a professor of psychology at Skidmore College. He has spent the last few decades studying how thoughts of death can powerfully influence our decisions and judgments. He and Jonah Lehrer, the editor of Mind Matters, discuss what this phenomenon can teach us about the upcoming election.

. . .

LEHRER: Do you think this effect comes into play during election season [ http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=voters-fear-death ] ?

SOLOMON: Yes, we think so. In his 1998 book, The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker, based on Max Weber’s study of charismatic leadership, proposed that in times of crisis, when fears of death are aroused, people are more likely to embrace leaders who provide psychological security by making their citizens feel like they are valued contributors to a great mission to eradicate evil.

To test this hypothesis, we had participants read campaign statements purportedly written by three gubernatorial candidates after a MS or control induction. The candidates varied in leadership style: charismatic, task-oriented and relationship-oriented. For example, the charismatic leader stated: “You are not just an ordinary citizen, you are part of a special state and a special nation . . . .” The task-oriented leader stated: “I can accomplish all the goals that I set out to do. I am very careful in laying out a detailed blueprint of what needs to be done so that there is no ambiguity.” The relationship-oriented leader stated: “I encourage all citizens to take an active role in improving their state. I know that each individual can make a difference . . . .” Participants then selected the candidate they would vote for. In the control condition, only four of 95 participants voted for the charismatic candidate, with the rest of the votes split evenly between the task and relationship oriented leaders. However, following MS, there was almost an 800 percent increase in votes for the charismatic leader; votes for the task-oriented leader were unaffected, but the relationship-oriented leader’s votes significantly declined.

This result led us to wonder if President George W. Bush’s tremendous popularity following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center resulted in part from the dramatic and ongoing reminder of death and vulnerability caused by the events of 9/11. Prior to 9/11, Bush’s presidency was viewed as ineffectual and uninspired, even by many of his Republican supporters. However, within a few weeks of declaring that the nation was at war and warning other nations to join the “crusade” to “rid the world of the evildoers” or face the “full wrath of the United States,” President Bush’s approval ratings reached historically unprecedented heights. [For more on the power of words, see “When Words Decide,” by Barry Schwartz; Scientific American Mind, August/September 2007.]

So in the next experiment, after either pondering their death or an aversive but nonfatal control topic, participants read and indicated their support a statement that included sentences such as: “Personally I endorse the actions of President Bush and the members of his administration who have taken bold action in Iraq. I appreciate our President’s wisdom regarding the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power and his Homeland Security Policy is a source of great comfort to me.”

Thinking about death dramatically increased support for President Bush and his policies in Iraq, even when reminders of 9/11 or the World Trade Center were presented subliminally, or outside of conscious awareness. Furthermore, in a spring 2004 follow-up study, we found that although participants rated Senator John Kerry more favorably than President Bush after thinking about unpleasant events unrelated to death, after a reminder of death, Bush was more favorably evaluated than Kerry. In another study conducted in September 2004 registered voters favored John Kerry over George Bush by a four-to-one margin in a control condition, but favored Bush over Kerry by a two-to-one margin after thinking about death.

Based on these experiments, and other research demonstrating a positive relation between government-issued terror warnings and poll data on Americans’ opinions of President Bush from 2001 to 2004, I believe the outcome of the 2004 presidential election was influenced by repeated reminders of death by President Bush’s campaign, which was carefully crafted to emphasize the war on terrorism and domestic security (for example, “Republican leaders said yesterday that they would repeatedly remind the nation of the Sept. 11 attacks as their convention opens in New York City today…” New York Times, August 30, 2004). The effort was aided by the release of a video by Osama bin Laden the weekend before the election. This finding is not to suggest that all support for President Bush was necessarily a defensive reaction to concerns about death, or that the strategic use of fear to advance political agendas, which has a long history in American politics, is confined to the Republican party.

Also, we are not sure what, if any, effect concerns about mortality might have on the upcoming presidential election. In 2004 Senator Kerry was anything but charismatic, and was successfully portrayed by his opposition as weak and waffling. In the current election, Senator Barack Obama and Governor Sarah Palin are both charismatic individuals who evoke passionate support from their respective followers. In a recent study, we found that after a reminder of death, liberal Americans were especially supportive of a liberal charismatic leader (but not at all enthusiastic about a conservative charismatic leader), whereas conservative Americans were especially supportive of a conservative charismatic leader (but not at all enthusiastic about a liberal charismatic leader). Extrapolating from this finding, reminders of death could increase support for Senator Obama among his followers and increase support for Senator McCain via enthusiasm for Governor Palin among their followers. This result would be interesting, but practically inconsequential in that a mortality salience induced exaggeration of pre-existing political preferences would not influence the outcome of the election.

LEHRER: Is it possible to resist the biasing effect of mortality salience? In other words, how can we protect ourselves against this reflexive bias?

SOLOMON: The best antidote to this problem may be to monitor and take pains to resist any efforts by politicians or others to capitalize on fear mongering. As social psychologist David Myers at Hope College so eloquently put it in a 2004 op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times: “It is perfectly normal to fear purposeful violence from those who hate us. When terrorists strike again, we will all recoil in horror. But smart thinkers also will want to check their intuitive fears against the facts and to resist those who serve their own purposes by cultivating a culture of fear.”

As a culture, we should also work to teach our children and encourage our citizens to vote with their “heads” rather than their “hearts.” And it may also be helpful to raise awareness of how concerns about mortality affect human behavior. I hope that such measures will encourage people to make rational choices based on the political qualifications and positions of the candidates rather than on defensive needs to preserve psychological equanimity in response to reminders of death.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2008-10-27 at 11:37
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Old 2008-10-27, 21:50   #703
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Default Latest Faux-Facial-Mutilation News

Obama supporter describes being attacked by an old white man for not having a John McCain bumper sticker on his car:
Quote:
"When I came to my senses, I found myself lying in a puddle of my own drool, with the bags of Halloween candy I'd just bought at Godiva gone, and an upside-down 'M' carved into the face of my Halloween pumpkin ... there were seeds and pumpkin gore everywhere. The whole thing was simply traumatic beyond words."
See the shocking video

p.s.: An upside-down 'M' - wouldn't that look pretty much like a 'W'? [Pronounced 'Dubya' in much of the country]. Or am I still living in the pre-Maverick era?
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Old 2008-11-01, 03:26   #704
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Senator Obama has a great financial edge at this point. Can he capitalize on this or will he socialize this, and run it into the ground?
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