* Grow the pie, or re-slice it?

Here comes the spoils society

Don’t let that odd title put you off.  I think this op-ed by Robert J. Samuelson is pretty important.

The question is whether we direct the economy so as to increase wealth for everyone, or instead merely give poorer or richer people larger pieces of the “pie.”

In my conversations with other homeless folk and poor people generally, I hope to emphasize the desirability of creating wealth as opposed to merely taking it away from others.

On that point, I’m certainly prone to agree with Andy Kessler, though I have uneasiness as to whether or not he would support corresponding policies.

Other recent articles on similar questions:

An Obituary for the American Middle Class
Race, income, education increasingly polarize U.S. families since recession
Higher education’s biggest challenge is income inequality

As to Catharine Hill’s piece, I really have to question what “special services” rich families are “demanding” that are bidding up tuition costs.

 

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She discovered the opiate receptor

Candace B. Pert, neuroscientist who discovered opiate receptor, dies at 67

The significance of this discovery is not to be underestimated.

I would have supposed it occurred much earlier.  To put things in context, 1973 is the year I graduated high school.  So maybe that’s about right.

This opened the door to study of the whole world of receptors, with many important developments.  Discovery of the serotonin receptors was key to invention of the medicines now most widely prescribed, and most successful, for treatment of depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Discovery of the insulin receptors has wholly changed research into diabetes.

At least from its Amazon page, Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d seems to deserve attention.

* Sneak peek

Thanks to the reader who sent me this link:

Poor people aren’t stupid; bad decisions are from being overwhelmed, study finds

I am preparing a substantial response and should have it ready to publish a few weeks from now.  In the meantime, I thought others might be interested in the original article.

Andy Kessler, Round 1: How to do things backwards

A reader just brought to my attention a recent “controversial article” by Andy Kessler that appeared in the July 8, 2013 Wall Street Journal, suggesting that I might respond to it here.

We’ll see.  Thus there may be a “Round 2.”

One response to Kessler’s editorial: “Andy Kessler, Former Hedge Fund Manager, Says Shelter Volunteers Cause Homelessness”

The big obstacle is that the original is available online only to WSJ subscribers.

Quoting from my e-mail reply to the reader:

Thanks for the lead.  I’ll see what I can do with this. 
 
The most direct help would be if you could use your subscription to get us electronic copies of the text.
 
I could submit comments to [reporting on the article, e.g. at HuffPost] — I did that at NYTimes and got some blog views behind it.  I am wary, however, of responding on my blog to anything other than the original, since responses to the original may misrepresent it.
 
WSJ sort of cooks its own goose as to credibility, handling its site that way:  it comes off as, “Us rich folk can just discuss these things amongst ourselves, thank you very much; we don’t need any dissenting opinions.”
 
I do have a October 17, 2012 post noting a different very rich man who’s taken a far better approach.

 

If you’re not familiar with the October 17, 2012 post, I commend it to your attention now.

 

News 08/17/13: Religiosity and intelligence; NDEs

Links to the headlines within this post:
Tenn. judge changes infant’s name from ‘Messiah’
Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, study finds
Near-death experiences may be explained by brain activity


Tenn. judge changes infant’s name from ‘Messiah’

No comment.

Religious people are less intelligent than atheists, study finds

I know many people who must be exceptions to the rule.

In practical terms: who provide me food, shelter and clothing?

Near-death experiences may be explained by brain activity

Nothing here surprises me.  The NDE is a special case of astral projection, and not to be dismissed completely unless we account for features of clairvoyance and precognition, as for example in the case of George Ritchie.

News roundup 08/10/13 – Tawana Brawley, Tavon White, more

Links within this post to headlines:
Tawana Brawley
Tavon White pleads guilty
Mercury and autism


Tawana Brawley hoax: Why she’s paying $627 a month
Trials of Tawana

I had not known about the defamation case.

Gang leader Tavon White pleads guilty in jail scheme

Study Sees No Link Between Mercury Exposure, Autistic Behavior

The search continues for an environmental scapegoat, for what to me appears to be a strictly genetic disease.

News roundup 08/03/13 – Home-schooled = Un-schooled? etc.

Links within this post, to the headlines:
Home-schooled = Un-schooled?
Baltimore City Schools’ BELL program
Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work
Sexting: How typical is Anthony Weiner’s behavior?
2 ‘Real Housewives of NJ’ stars charged with fraud


Student’s home-schooling highlights debate over Va. religious exemption law

“By the time he was 16, [Josh Powell] had never written an essay. He didn’t know South Africa was a country. He couldn’t solve basic algebra problems.”

He took three years of remedial courses at a community college before obtaining admission to Georgetown at age 21.

“Most of all, he worries about his siblings: There are 11. One, old enough to be well into middle school, can’t read, Josh Powell said.”

City’s summer school program sees results

This is at the diametric pole from the just-previous item. See also the previous post, D.C. to implement 9th-grade rescue plan.

Exclusive: 4 in 5 in US face near-poverty, no work

I don’t need to comment on that.

Sexting: How typical is Anthony Weiner’s behavior?

This quote struck me:

” ‘ In the case of Anthony Weiner, and other partnered people who sext with non-partners, it strikes me as a kind of pornography, where the drive is toward excited, impersonal sex rather than true intimacy.

” ‘ With Weiner, it’s a case of pornography meets narcissism. ‘ ”

Some folk may be incapable of “true intimacy,” but I don’t see how a life of strictly “excited, impersonal sex” can bring real gratification.

2 ‘Real Housewives of NJ’ stars charged with fraud

As little as I know about Joe and Teresa Giudice, it seems to me this could not have happened to a more deserving couple.

I take some gratification from this news, in that rarely in this life do I really feel I see justice done.

I anticipate having a lot to say about this in the future.