We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Storm stuff: Yesterday, we all gave my Dad a good birthday party, had good fun tossing a football around, took a long autumn walk with my sibs, spouses, kids and the dogs, and then packed Mom and Dad off to one of my sisters' houses over in northern Connecticut so they will have some help when the power inevitably does down. I am parking my car up the road in a spot with no trees to fall on it, and so I don't get blocked in by big fallen trees. Got gas and oil for the chain saw, though. I love harvesting free firewood. Also, tipped over everything outdoors that could be damaged by wind. Daughter and Yorkie got out of NYC because her building on the Hudson River was evacuated. Last but not least, switched my office phone to link over to my iPhone. Hope it's not a big dud.
Obama’s strategy, says Heileman, is built around the idea that he can win with a coalition of the “demographically ascendent,” African Americans, Hispanics, women, and young people. To a degree, the bad economy has pushed Obama toward this approach. The obvious hope is that economic weakness can be countered by appeals to socially liberal women and young people on cultural issues. But don’t underestimate the extent to which this strategy is a deliberate decision that could have gone otherwise, as the behind-the-scenes opposition of some Democrats indicates. Obama is clearly willing to abandon centrist voters and place his own likeability at risk for the sake of creating a socially and economically liberal Democratic coalition that would allow him to govern securely from the left.
...if you’re feeling disappointed, insulted, or left out by Obama’s campaign of trivialities and low blows, it’s fair to say the effect was intentional — or at least that Obama was willing to risk offending you for the sake of something he wanted much more.
The president is going for broke. He wants to govern from the left and ignore the center. His top strategists promised a campaign that would permit this, and that’s the campaign Obama has delivered. Noticed that Obama has actually doubled down on this strategy when he still might have tried a last-minute pivot to the middle. That’s how badly Obama wants to abandon the center and take this country to the left.
There is a precise way to determine the relative severity of any storm. Take the largest storm of each year for some long time period, say the Twentieth Century, 100 storms. Rank order them from largest to small and assign a rank number, m. Then calculate the return period, T, as follows: T = (n + 1)/m, where n is the number of storms, here 100.
Sandy is clearly not the biggest storm to hit the East Coast. That is the great hurricane of 1938, which my mother experienced in Methuen, MA. So, Sandy is at worst the second biggest storm to hit the East Coast. If it is, it has a 50 year return period. More likely, Sandy ranks third or lower, so its actual return period is more like 20 years.
This means that a storm like Sandy should be expected once every 20 years on average.
I'm not going to bother to collect all the hurricane data for the Twentieth Century because I want to nap and watch TV. Anyway, here in Knox County it's going to be a windy, chilly rainy day as we get the edge of Sandy.
Standard textbooks on hydrology will give more details and statistical theory if you are interested. Or go to Wikipedia,
They recommend using T = n/m, but that is a biased estimator.
Food is cheaper today. According to the article, food is cheaper today relative to our incomes. What they seem to be missing is that you need to have an income in order for that to be true. In Obama's America that is a questionable assumption.
Obama's homeless - it is not just the truly homeless, there are most likely more folks who are living with relatives because of lost incomes, lower wages, etc. And I am not just referring to recent college grads, a friend volunteers at her church's homeless shelter - she says the number of families coming through are much higher than she has ever seen before (she has been volunteering since the late 90s). Folks who have college degrees and at one time held good jobs are now showing up - their unemplyment benefits have run out, they have lost their house, been evicted from their rentals, etc. And where is the news media on all this? (rhetorial question)
On Barzun: His concern about the West's descent into decadence:
"He later argued that the “peoples of the West” had “offered the world a set of ideas and institutions not found earlier or elsewhere.”
But at the same time, he said, Western civilization had also cultivated the seeds of its undoing by envying what it renounced and succumbing to the lure of rebellion. Its virtues and failings, he argued, were in some respects identical: the freedom to rebel could turn into sweeping nihilism, resulting in decadence."