Thursday, September 8, 2011

GOP debate

Actually watched the GOP debate last night (although I had to do so on my computer, as Comcast Boston has decided that MSNBC doesn't need to be carried on basic cable... but FoxNews does.... hmmm...). 

I'm not going to bother getting upset with a variety of the bizarre, but now routine, GOP orthodoxy -- the anti-science, pro-execution, etc.  (Rick Perry: Galileo was a scientist silenced by religious fanatics -- probably not the best example of skepticism-in-action). 

Rather, what gets me most upset is the continued absence of decent questioning and follow-up by the moderators.  They spend so much time trying to get simple yes/no answers from the candidates that they have completely lost sight of following up the implications of their positions.  For example, there was a lot of questioning about the individual mandate for health care, a lot of questioning politicians about their past records, etc. in the hopes of finding some hypocricy somewhere.  But then the most important question went unasked of any candidate: so, if you throw out the individual mandate and someone chooses to go uninsured, then shows up at the hospital on the verge of death, do you treat him or not?  If so, who pays for it?  The consequences of positions rarely get explored at these debates, which is a loss for everyone watching them.

Real huh-moment at the debate: when Newt Gingrich says that Ben Bernannke has led the greatest era of inflation ever at the Fed, which is demonstrably completely false.   

Friday, January 28, 2011


You'd be hard pressed to find a single quote that better encompasses the do-nothingness that is the US Senate than this one, from Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, in talking about producing a plan to get the US budget under control:
I’m not certain that it’s not going to fall to us to put a plan out there for our colleagues on the floor.
Yes, Kent, the Budget Committee might have some say over the budget.  As my congressman in the House was once heard to utter, they oughta get a diaper-changing service in the Senate.

Monday, January 3, 2011


As one who has previously railed against the Idiot Tax that is the state lottery, I very sheepishly report that I actually bought a lotto ticket today.  Here was my thinking... the pot is up to about $290 million, but the odds of winning ($1 ticket) are 1 in 175,711,536.  $290,000,000 divided by 175,711,536 is $1.65.  So, clearly, that's a favorable risk/reward.  Of course, you want to avoid splitting the pot with anyone, as I might not even bother turning in the ticket if it was only for $145 million, because now I'm below a dollar using the above math.  Since humans are really bad at statistics and the idea of randomness, and the vast majority of lottery players are, by my definition, idiots, I went with a consecutive string of numbers.  

If I win, I'll be sure to let you know.