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Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Water Cooler

Readers: Please feel free to share these links in your social media timelines. Reuse this material! I curate this stuff so you don't have to!

What Would Happen If We Just Gave People Money? (fivethirtyeight.com). A long, meandering, cautious, "balanced" story on a controversial topic. Discussions like this ultimately need to be data-driven. But unfortunately, the data are (thus far) sparse. Yet the signs are encouraging.
"Families receiving MINCOME had fewer hospitalizations, accidents and injuries, Forget found. Mental health hospitalizations fell dramatically. And the high school completion rate ticked up during the years of the experiment, with 16-to-18-year-old boys, in particular, more likely to finish school. Younger adolescent girls were less likely to give birth before age 25, and when they did, they had fewer kids."
Does inequality cause health and social problems? (jrf.org.uk) Thirty years of austerity and trickle-up economics have driven thousands of people into "poor health decisions" (because notice how it's your fault if you're self-medicating with food, booze, pills, tobacco, or a bullet to the head; clearly, it's not the plutocracy's problem).

Income inequality correlates with health and social problems. USA is at the top right.
How the state of the economy is literally killing people (nypost.com). This isn't news any more, but the fact that the New York Post saw fit to run this story means maybe word is finally getting out. Economic hardship leads to early death, whether by slow suicide (smoking, drinking, overeating, etc.) or outright suicide.

Woman who ran Obamacare warns of big insurance prices hikes (cnbc.com). Which is why we need to get insurance companies out of health care (where they do nothing but extract wealth and insert friction) and graduate to a single-payor system like every other grownup country in the world.

How License-Plate Readers Have Helped Police and Lenders Target the Poor (theatlantic.com).

Planet Loser (fredrikdeboer.com). Wherein the real question isn't "Why do people go to grad school?" but why do people write articles called "Why do people go to grad school?"

Apple posts first sales drop in 13 years (reuters.com). We've reached Peak iPhone, for now. And unless Apple produces something more grandiose than a freakin' watch (like, say, a car?), maybe we've seen Peak Apple. For now, at least.

Correcting Correct The Record’s Record (medium.com). Hillary's lack of technology prowess was never more evident than when she (presumably herself) gave the okay for a PAC to spend $1 million to fight individual hecklers individually on social media, a hilariously desperate move, the Kafka-like absurdity of which seems lost on HRC and her sycophants. Bring on the white-noise machines!

Why Hillary Clinton Should Fear Donald Trump (newrepublic.com). The latest in a series of puerile, "Gee, no one ever thought of this before" articles on how unhinged, unpredictable, and unstable Donald Trump is. Oh my gosh Mildred, he might actually say something rude, mightn't he? [Pearls clutched tightly to chest.] Um, yeah, Trump will pull Hillary's balls out through her asshole. The question is: Will it matter?

Scenario: Trump clinches, pre-July, easily (and the country briefly has a collective "Holy shit" moment). The Republican convention goes without a hitch. No riots.

Scenario: The Democratic convention is unruly, contentious, acrimonious, and ends with Sanders endorsing Hillary (in suitably unconvincing, tepid fashion), in return for her adopting certain hard-left policy planks that she'll then turn her back on later.

Scenario: In November, record numbers of voters stay home.
Thanks for visiting. Be sure to check out prior weeks' Water Coolers (see links at right).


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