November 23, 2014

I Just Saw the Obamacare Health Insurance Premium Estimates … God Help the Middle and Lower Classes

Obamacare Premiums Unaffordable

Out of curiosity, I ran the numbers for the health care premiums on the upcoming Obamacare enrollment period as if Aaron and I were two regular people, looking for health insurance in the general market.  The results are insane; completely, totally detached from reality.  This means that now, not only do we here in the United States live in a country where we collect more absolute dollars of tax revenue from our citizens than many socialist nations, we get to pay for inflated health insurance on … [Read more...]

Mail Bag: Do You Think Polygamy Will Be Legalized in the United States?

Polygamy in the United States

Over the past few years, I've received a lot of questions about the role of polygamy in American society and, in some cases, whether I think it will ever return and whether I think it should be legalized following its restriction in the 19th century.  Since I'm working on several other mail bag responses I'm about to publish (most of which have to do with economics or portfolio management; e.g., one on currency fluctuations and investing), this was a welcome distraction.  I finally decided to ta … [Read more...]

Read the Amazing, Fantastical, Autocratic Bob Jones University Student Handbook

Bob Jones University Public Domain Photograph

I mentioned the infamous Bob Jones University student handbook in an earlier post after explaining it was the school from which one of the extremist authors I was reading as part of a self-imposed cultural studies program graduated back in 1950.  It was the university that famously insisted God didn't want blacks intermingling with whites and refused to admit non-married black students until as late as 1975.  It was ultimately money that changed their mind as the IRS revoked their tax exempt sta … [Read more...]

Should Government Benefits Be Tied to Behavior and Decisions?

EBT Card

I don't talk about it very often, but one of the charitable organizations close to my heart are community food banks and soup kitchens.  These non-profits collect groceries for those who can't afford to feed themselves or their children, allowing them to avoid hunger.  They resonate with something very deep in my core, maybe because I love cooking so much, but it strikes me as morally inexcusable for an American child to starve while living among the greatest aggregation of wealth ever amassed by … [Read more...]

You Have To Watch This – The Newest Propoganda Out of North Korea Is So Masterful, It’s On Par with Leni Riefenstahl’s Work for Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany

North Korea Propoganda

One of my reading projects this month has been North Korea.  I mentioned a few days ago that I'm in the middle of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick, one of the highest rated books ever written on the experiences of typical citizens living in the world's most brutal regime.  Next on that list is the 400-page report by the independent Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from the United Nations.  You can download the repor … [Read more...]

And I Thought Tim LaHaye Hated Catholics …

Tim LaHaye

A few of you know I'm in the middle of my 1970-1990 counter-evidence study, in which I dive into books on both extremes of the so-called culture wars, reading everything from radical feminists to conservative preachers to understand some of the things that were happening in the United States at the time from the perspective of those in the trenches. Reproductive technology, the draft, the role of women in the home, divorce, prayer in school, gay rights, political alliances, employee … [Read more...]

Where Do You Fall Relative to Your Fellow Citizens in the Pew Ideological Consistency Scale?

Ideological Consistency Scale

Pew Research has an Ideological Consistency Scale it uses to roughly estimate the rigidity to which a person subscribes to a particular political philosophy.  If you have a few seconds, it's a bit interesting to take.  For each conservative position you hold +1, for each liberal position -1, and for each "I don't know" or "other", you do nothing.  Sum your results at the end of the short questionnaire and then compare it to the ratings scale. The scoring is as follows: Consistently con … [Read more...]

The Mess That Is the Hobby Lobby Case

Hobby Lobby Supreme Court

The Hobby Lobby decision has been all over the news and it seems like everyone has an opinion on it (few people bothering to read the actual opinion from the Supreme Court).  Despite many messages from you asking my thoughts, I haven't written about it for several reasons. I believe this is a case that never should have been brought in the first place because it is a symptom of fact the American system is anachronistic.  It is irrational to tie health benefits to employment.  The idea that you … [Read more...]

The Sultan of Brunei Has Played the Ace of Spades

Sultan_Omar_Ali_Saifuddin_Mosque_02

For several weeks, I've found myself ruminating on a passage from a book I recently read during my research on the good, bad, and benign of multi-tier marketing systems.  This was part of my counter-evidence file; people who strongly opposed the model as currently practiced.  It was written by Steve Butterfield several decades ago and is called Amway: The Cult of Free Enterprise.  While I think some of his conclusions are not supported, I keep coming back to this, on page 161: Disaster is broug … [Read more...]

Bask In The Imperial Symbolism

Tolmachevy Sisters

After writing about the mathematics of Borda count voting systems as applied to the Eurovision contest, I realized I never posted the Russian performance, presented by the virginal 17-year old Tolmachevy Sisters.  Bask in the symbolism of both the staging and the orchestration choices.  Those of you with a history or music background will spot it right away. Marketing genius Clotaire Rapaille must be shedding a tear at the subconscious appeals to Russia's unspoken culture code.  (And in some p … [Read more...]

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