understated

thoughts on politics and philosophy.

Why Democrats and Republicans don’t understand each other

I feel like I’ve been gravitating towards liberalism lately. It’s always been obvious to me that waste and corruption in American politics is rampant and that smaller government, freer markets, and expanded political and economic liberties are something that we should always be striving for. But I’m finding more and more practical solutions offered by Democrats that make sense to me, while Republicans seem to offer less substance. Even the arguments against sensible liberal policies like the carbon tax or publicly funded elections are philosophical arguments.

I understand that eventually market forces would lead companies to pollute less, but is there a better policy to expedite that process, while also raising money allowing taxes to be cut elsewhere? Is there a more libertarian way to ensure that every citizen has an equal voice in elections? Convince me that it will ensure equal political freedom. I want a small, efficient government, but I also want practical solutions — and for the most part only one party is providing that right now. 

What a 6-magnitude earthquake does in China vs. the US

Michelle Obama laments role of money in politics — then asks donors to write 'a big, fat check'

hipsterlibertarian:

On Thursday evening, First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged Democratic donors at a fundraiser in Chicago to spend big on Democratic candidates in the midterm elections. At the same event she used the bully pulpit to decry Republicans’ use of large donations in previous election cycles, remarking:

So, yeah, there’s too much money in politics. There’s special interests that have too much influence. But they had all that money and all that influence back in 2008 and 2012 and we still won those elections.

The first lady also said:

There is something you can do right now today to make a difference, and that is to write a big, fat check. I kid you not. I’m going to be honest with you. That’s what we need you to do right now. We need you to write the biggest, fattest check that you can possibly write.

Okay, you know what you do? You buy yourself a tape recorder, you just record yourself for a whole day. I think you’re going to be surprised at some of your phrasing.

Sure, it’s a nice, catchy headline, but this is really just a silly complaint. Given the current role of money in politics, many candidates need to ask donors for a big, fat check to get elected and once they are elected they can go about changing the role of money in politics so that FUTURE candidates will not need to ask donors to write a big, fat check! 

humansofnewyork:

"Right after I lost vision in my eye, I was so bad at walking that I ran into a girl eating ice cream, and knocked her cone out of her hand. She screamed: ‘Are you blind!?!?’ I turned to her and said: ‘I am blind actually, I’m so sorry, I’ll buy you a new cone.’ And she said: ‘Oh my God! I’m so sorry! Don’t worry! It’s no problem at all! I’ll buy another one.’ So we walked into the ice cream store together, and the clerk said: ‘I heard the whole thing. Ice cream is free.’"

humansofnewyork:

"Right after I lost vision in my eye, I was so bad at walking that I ran into a girl eating ice cream, and knocked her cone out of her hand. She screamed: ‘Are you blind!?!?’ I turned to her and said: ‘I am blind actually, I’m so sorry, I’ll buy you a new cone.’ And she said: ‘Oh my God! I’m so sorry! Don’t worry! It’s no problem at all! I’ll buy another one.’ So we walked into the ice cream store together, and the clerk said: ‘I heard the whole thing. Ice cream is free.’"

Radiolab - In Silence

Remember that stuff about crazy people and bad code? The internet is that except it’s literally a billion times worse. Websites that are glorified shopping carts with maybe three dynamic pages are maintained by teams of people around the clock, because the truth is everything is breaking all the time, everywhere, for everyone. Right now someone who works for Facebook is getting tens of thousands of error messages and frantically trying to find the problem before the whole charade collapses. There’s a team at a Google office that hasn’t slept in three days. Somewhere there’s a database programmer surrounded by empty Mountain Dew bottles whose husband thinks she’s dead. And if these people stop, the world burns. Most people don’t even know what sysadmins do, but trust me, if they all took a lunch break at the same time they wouldn’t make it to the deli before you ran out of bullets protecting your canned goods from roving bands of mutants.