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Bloomberg Proposes Electric Vehicle Parking Expansion

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New York Mayor Bloomberg has decided to build an extensive infrastructure of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the boroughs of NYC. There are powerful trends driving this decision. For instance, electric vehicle (EVs) batteries are undergoing a significant learning curve as did the MOS/LSI chips with electronic calculators. Now EVs are cheaper to drive than gas vehicles since electricity costs less per driver mile than gasoline.

Throughout this century, oil supplies will be depleting and the practicality of EVs will be even more evident. Besides being more cost effective, EV charging at parking spaces will provide a much needed economic boost to neighborhoods throughout the boroughs.

Sales of plug-in vehicles have been growing steadily in recent years as the population in the United States gets larger and the retiree population begins to explore cheaper alternatives to the gas guzzlers now on the road.

Since more people are expected to adopt EVs as a viable alternative in the coming years, the electronic neighborhood infrastructure must be put into place to service the tremendous demand. In addition, EVs are cheaper to maintain since they are lighter with a simpler design for access by mechanics.

Power generating companies like overnight charging of electric vehicles because overnight charging stabilizes the distribution system so that the load is not experienced all at one time.

There is a dual benefit for consumers. The migration to EVs will begin to reduce the demand for gasoline thereby lowering gas prices proportionately. In addition, battery electrics require very little servicing beyond tires and wiper blades.

There is even a benefit for consumers in the aftermath of major storms. As seen with Hurricane Sandy, distribution gas outlets were down for weeks after the storm while electric power was restored on a more timely basis.

In addition, gasoline is flammable at the fill-up station. This is the reason motorists are asked to shut off their running engines while filling up. In addition, patrons are asked not to smoke while filling up in order to reduce the likelihood of explosions at the pump. Clearly, the safety advantages of EV charging at parking spaces are vastly improved over the dangers of filling up at the gasoline pump.

Improvements to the solar energy technology this century will make EV fill ups at parking spaces even cheaper because the energy source (the sun) is virtually costless and limitless.

Electric vehicles are here to stay. The cost benefits and ease of maintenance far outweigh the conventional gas guzzlers at the gas pump and repair service stations. Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to go ahead with EV infrastructure construction at parking spaces is farsighted and clearly in the public interest.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.
  • Clav

    You say, “Now EVs are cheaper to drive than gas vehicles since electricity costs less per driver mile than gasoline.”

    While it is true that electricity is cheaper on a per mile basis than gasoline, the cost of electricity or gasoline is only part of the equation, particularly where EVs are concerned; there is a substantial difference between the cost to purchase an EV, even taking into account the government’s $4500 rebate for the purchase of an EV, as well as the various state rebates available.

    In an article titled “How to Compare the Cost of Electric and Gas Cars,”National Geographic makes a far more realistic comparison study, which takes into account the difference in purchase price.

    Notes the magazine:

    [T]he initial price to buy a new Leaf, at $37,250, is 44 percent higher than the Elantra ($20,595), based on the top manufacturers’ suggested retail prices cited fueleconomy.gov. The Leaf’s price pain is eased by the federal tax credit of $7,500, and for drivers in California, the state clean vehicle rebate of $2,500. With the tax incentives, the Leaf costs 32 percent more than the Elantra.

    It would take nearly six years for the EV fuel cost savings to pay back the $6,655 initial price premium for the California consumer who chooses a Leaf over an Elantra, based on average U.S. driving habits outlined and the current gasoline price at fueleconomy.gov. In states without rebates as generous as California’s, the payback would take longer. Only if gasoline prices skyrocketed to $15 per gallon would consumers see a payback period in less than a year for the original outlay required for the Leaf. (Emphasis added)

    Until the pricing of EVs becomes more competitive, they will not be a good substitute for gasoline vehicles. At current prices, none but the most well off can afford to buy an EV, and subsequently absorb the substantial difference in operating cost incurred by the huge price difference.

  • Doug Hunter

    If I was going to buy one, I’d skip the $37K for the Leaf and turn heads in a Tesla starting at $52K. You can also get up to 300 mile range with the Tesla although you need an upgraded battery that cost more.

    That’s the only remaining concern I have with electric vehicles (besides the lack of recharging infrastructure NY is addressing)… the batteries. You mention maintenance, the cost to replace a battery gone bad is $20K-$40K. They are advertised to only lose down to 70-80% of their original charge over 5-10 years but anecdotal evidence is that that is under better conditions… run it too hot or too cold and you can decrease output much quicker. Also, in some cases your battery can simply “brick” and not hold any charge forcing you to spend the aforementioned $20-40K. Once there is reliable data showing long term reliability of the battery system among a range of drivers you can count me on board to get one myself (I’ve pondered getting on the Tesla list a few times, I just can’t quite bring myself to pull the trigger on such a fancy toy)

  • Doug Hunter

    To be clear on my above post, they still maintain 70% of their power after some years, not lose 70%.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I agree with Doug – I’d much prefer the Tesla. I checked one out at a showroom in a local mall and it was an instant case of lust. A Leaf or a Prius might please my liberal senses, but the Tesla satisfies somethinga a bit more…visceral.

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    I did mention learning curve in the article. We are just at the beginning of the learning curve technologically. Prices should go down, as they did with calculators, television sets, computers and many other consumer goods. In addition, the technology of vehicles like the Tata is providing a much more affordable product for consumers. Soon, vehicle manufacturers will marry the Tata concept with the electric vehicle in the USA.

  • Clav

    An interesting (and accurate, IMO) take on electric cars in an article published online today at Real Clear Politics.

    Some excerpts:

    Electric cars never really made any sense. They are cloaked in the sanctimony of the green movement, because they don’t use nasty fossil fuels like gasoline. Instead, they use electricity, which is sent out through power lines from big power plants, which generate this electricity; how? Oh yes, by burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. This is known as the “long tailpipe,” which goes from the car charging up in your garage all the way back to the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant. And don’t forget, electric cars also have giant batteries made from nasty toxic metals like lithium and cobalt, the manufacture of which frontloads carbon dioxide emissions.

    So the electric car was always more an exercise in green paternalism: it is the future, as selected for us by our betters, than a serious attempt to solve any real or imagined problem.

    The rest of the article discusses the controversy generated by New York Times reporter John Broder, [who] set off to test the Tesla S by driving it from Washington, DC, to Boston, only to encounter persistent problems with the range of the car and its ability to make it from one Tesla charging station to another without running out of juice. He ends [by] having to drive with the heat off on a cold day to conserve power, some luxury car!, until his battery conks out and the Tesla has to be towed. In short, the review was a PR disaster for Tesla.

    Electric vehicles (EVs) one day may or may not be at least one of the solutions to the alternate energy problem (but not by operating on electricity produced by burning fossil fuels), but that day is still far in the future.

    Meanwhile, most of Mr. Bloomberg’s special parking slots will remain empty for lack of demand.

  • Doug Hunter

    #6

    The facts remain that electricity can power a car for around 25%-50% the energy cost of gasoline today, although fair comparisons are hard to come by. You can’t compare a Leaf to an SUV and gasoline has additional taxes that skew the results, but $2 in electricity can currently get you 60-100 miles in an electric vehicle. Maintenance costs are minimal as well. You know I don’t care about carbon emissions, but those big power plants are pretty efficient and I think electric vehicles are indeed the future.

    The local NY government may be jumping the gun, but the technology is close. The Tesla is supposed to have a 300 mile range, but lets say that’s only 200 miles. I think a legitimate 300-400 mile range would be satisfactory to most people so we’re only looking at a 50%-100% increase in capacity. Charge times for the Tesla are supposed to be an hour, but let’s say it takes 90 minutes. I think people could live with 20-30 minutes when you need a fast recharge on long trips, give you some time to obese up on some convenience store snacks and hit the toilet. If the charging infrastructure was there, then day to day running would be no problem on 300 mile range. The battery cost needs to come down from $40K to $15K or so before people will take the risk.

    The battery range, recharge, and price are all not far off for fairy fledgling technology (gas cars have many decades and hundreds of millions of units of practice perfecting their system). China is spending $15 billion getting a jump on the electric vehicle market, they’re not ones to be stupid with their money. Ultimately, I think the flexibility (electricity can be made from anything) and efficiency of electricity will find it’s way into vehicles… it’s only a matter of finding a capable battery and I think they’re getting at least in the ballpark.

    I’d love to see the US make the breakthroughs and take the lead in this technology. If an electric car can survive our mountains and desert southwest, make it on cross country trips and through our suburban sprawl it’ll exceed capacity and sell like hotcakes anywhere else.

  • Igor

    A lot of cars will be sold to Early Adopters (the same people who made the iPhone popular), they are rather price-insensitive.

    John Broders misfortunes could have been avoided. There’s a rebuttal by Tesla at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Of course, RMI is biased, but so is RCP.

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk almost immediately took to social media to cry foul. On February 12, Broder published a defense of his initial article on the Times’ automotive blog. One day later, Musk published his own rebuttal on the Tesla blog, with a scathing and seemingly damning refutation of Broder’s claims, based on what Musk claimed were data logs from the Model S Broder drove. Yet another day later, Broder responded to those criticisms. Finally, two days ago, the Times’ public editor, following a detailed investigation in light of the firestorm that blew up surrounding the review, noted “problems with precision and judgment” in Broder’s Model S and Supercharger network review. Consider it a partial vindication for Tesla.

    Meanwhile, other media outlets, including CNN, have successfully completed the D.C.-to-Boston drive in a Model S with barely a fraction of the issues Broder encountered.

  • Doug Hunter

    An Clav, although NY’s plan may indeed be a boondoggle at least it’s one that has a potential return on investment rather than the usual spending as of late which just makes being poor that much more comfortable. Paying people unemployment longer or more food stamps, while making people comfortable, has no future payoff after it is spent at Walmart… encouraging electric vehicles may ignite a spark that puts us ahead of an entire industry, making transportation cheaper and more efficient for all.

  • Igor

    @6-=Clav: I’m surprised to hear anyone say that “An interesting (and accurate, IMO) take on electric cars in an article published online today at Real Clear Politics.”

    The Times itself said … two days ago, the Times’ public editor, following a detailed investigation in light of the firestorm that blew up surrounding the review, noted “problems with precision and judgment” in Broder’s Model S and Supercharger network review. Which goes directly against Clavs assertion.

  • Igor

    The supercilious attitude of the RCP article should reveals their bias:

    “Electric cars never really made any sense.”

    “They are cloaked in the sanctimony of the green movement,…”

    “…because they don’t use nasty fossil fuels like gasoline.”

    “Instead, they use electricity, which is sent out through power lines from big power plants, which generate this electricity; how? Oh yes, by burning fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. This is known as the “long tailpipe,” which goes from the car charging up in your garage all the way back to the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant.

    “And don’t forget, electric cars also have giant batteries made from nasty toxic metals like lithium and cobalt, the manufacture of which frontloads carbon dioxide emissions.”

    “So the electric car was always more an exercise in green paternalism: it is the future, as selected for us by our betters, than a serious attempt to solve any real or imagined problem.”

    The RCP article seems to follow the pattern many of us have become accustomed to from RCP: they start off seeming reasonable and unbiased then they veer off into far right politics.

  • Clav

    In re electric cars:

    Hydrogen power is infinitely a better choice; it just needs more development, although Hyundai has announced they will have a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle on the road by the end of this year. In addition to Hyundai, Toyota, Daimler and Honda all have fuel cell powered cars in development.

    According to this CNN article:

    A fuel-cell-powered car can travel much longer distances than battery-powered ones before needing to be refueled, and fuel cells can be more readily used in large vehicles like trucks and SUVs.

    Although Hyundai claims that it will be the first to offer fuel cell vehicles commercially, other carmakers will be right behind it. Toyota and Honda have said they will release a fuel cell car in 2015.

    The advantages fuel-cell vehicles have over cars like the Leaf and Volt are shorter refueling times and greater range.

    The Nissan Leaf, for example, runs for only 73 miles and takes seven hours to charge on a home-charging station.

    In contrast fuel-cell cars can be driven for hundreds of miles before needing to be refueled, and it takes only a few minutes to fill a tank with hydrogen.

    The relative high purchase price of electric cars comes from the cost of the lithium-ion batteries, which a Ford executive recently revealed can make up one-third of a car’s price.

    In a survey of auto industry executives conducted by KPMG, respondents expected that among electric vehicles, hybrids will have the highest customer demand by 2025, followed by fuel-cell vehicles, outdoing the demand of battery-powered cars.

  • Clav

    Which goes directly against Clavs assertion

    Which, as stated, is not an “assertion,” but his opinion.

    That much of this once-great country is still, last I checked, one of our freedoms.

    Except, of course, on college campuses…

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I saw a Tesla the other day when I was driving home from work: glided past me effortlessly. That is one nice, nice car.

    Musk’s reaction to Broder’s review hardly shows his company in a good light, though, especially since it wouldn’t have made any sense for Broder to have pulled most of the shenanigans Musk accuses him of pulling.

    Clav’s Real Clear Politics piece is off the mark though, because while it is true that most generated electricity currently comes from plants that burn fossil fuels, it assumes that such will always be the case. It’s as if the author has never heard of nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal, wind or solar power. It also ignores the fact that many new fossil fuel plants are designed to reduce pollution to a minimum, and that research is under way to develop conversion technologies to reduce or eliminate altogether the emissions from existing plants.

    Electric cars were as popular as gas-powered ones a century ago. They died out not because they were any less efficient or “never really made any sense” but because Ford, who pioneered mass production, happened to manufacture vehicles with internal combustion engines. Who knows where electric technology would have been today if the car industry had gone in a different direction back then…

    I think Doug is right, purely on economic grounds. Gasoline isn’t going to be getting any cheaper, and that fact is already driving consumers to look at alternatives. I can’t turn my head in a parking lot these days without seeing at least one Prius; as a matter of fact we just bought one ourselves and so did my sister-in-law, who drives a lot on business.

    The hybrid car is the bridge technology in the move toward electrification of the roads. We considered a fully electric vehicle but decided the existing efficiency and infrastructure didn’t justify our buying one – yet. Maybe in 5-10 years when we’re next in the market, though…

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Oh, and Doug, while I’m on your side here I couldn’t let this one slip by:

    Paying people unemployment longer or more food stamps, while making people comfortable, has no future payoff after it is spent at Walmart…

    I was out of work for eight months last year, and although I received unemployment benefits for almost that entire period, I assure you that I did not spend a penny of them at Wal-Mart.

    :-)

  • Doug Hunter

    #15

    Maybe yours went to something useful then. Had those benefits not been available you might have had to find out what it’s like to work there though (at least until you found a position more commensurate with your experience). I’ve never had a job or been eligible for unemployment since my military days, but for some strange reason they allowed you to get unemployment benefits for several months after choosing to leave the military which they helped you file for on discharge. I never had any intention of getting a job, but I soaked up unemployment as beer money for a few months anyway. I could have extended too for up to an additional year or something but it wasn’t a whole lot of money and my conscience finally got the best of me (I do have one, it just takes longer than average to kick in)

  • troll

    y’all should consider the recent sleek endurance models of horses…

  • Clav

    Doc,

    Did you read my post on fuel cell technology?

  • Clav

    I think Doug is right, purely on economic grounds.

    Not when one considers purchase price he isn’t. Not yet (and maybe not ever). As the article mentions, to offset the astronomical cost of electric cars, one has to drive for more years than most people keep their cars.

    In addition, I’m not so sure that, with new tech like fracking, we’ll actually run out of carbon fuels as fast as the doomsayers say we will. I’m reminded of Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlichmann.

  • Clav

    y’all should consider the recent sleek endurance models of horses…

    Looking for job security, troll?

  • Clav

    (the same people who made the iPhone popular)

    Actually, the Crackberry addicts were the early adopters; the iPhone came later.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Doug (@ #16):

    My unemployment benefits went almost entirely towards household management and paying the bills, just as my wages did and again do. My wife is the chief breadwinner in our household; nonetheless, life without UIB would have been difficult.

    My remark about Wal-Mart was pointed, but a joke. I loathe the place and wouldn’t be caught dead shopping there, let alone working there.

    Your idea about lowering one’s expectations and working in a more humble situation during lean times is fine in principle, but impractical in today’s economy. During my period of unemployment I did apply for many low-wage jobs in retail, fast food etc., but encountered very little interest due to the fact that I have no experience in those fields and (I suspect) because I’m too old and brainy.

    I actually was offered a job after only three months out of work, but since it was in the law enforcement industry the background checks took forfreakingever (they were fascinating though), so I figured I might as well keep looking. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I eventually received three good competing job offers and was able to pick the best of them.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Clav (@ #18),

    I did read it, but you must have been composing it at the same time I was typing mine. I didn’t see it until after I posted my comment.

    Fuel cells are another exciting technology and I’m interested to see what develops. As superior as they may be to batteries right now, I feel that the clean vehicle industry would be unwise to throw all of its eggs into one basket. The advantage batteries have, to my mind, is that they’re a proven technology with a pedigree going back more than a century, and that makes them highly promising.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I’m not so sure that, with new tech like fracking, we’ll actually run out of carbon fuels as fast as the doomsayers say we will.

    Bit of a red herring, that, Clav. It’s not a question of running out but of cost. I’m not sure that it makes more economic sense to invest in fracking R&D than in alternative vehicle power R&D.

  • troll

    (…you know me Clavos Grande – ever self-promoting)

  • Doug Hunter-

    #19

    That is going to change, quickly. Replacing the graphite in a Lithium Ion battery with silicon raises the capacity three to ten times and decreases charge time to 10 minutes but introduces other problems as the silicon swells and shrinks gathering and releasing so much lithium and eventually breaks down. There are several promising techniques to alleviate this that science is working on. There is reason to believe a breakthrough could occur and I think this is an area where the country (and world really) would get an excellent return on it’s investment.

    * If they can figure out how to stabilize the silicon and the batteries are 3-10 times more powerful you can hit a 350 mile range with a smaller battery and 10 minute charge time would not be far removed from current refueling standards. Then you’ve only got to hit the price point on the batteries and electric vehicles will replace gas very quickly. All that’s without even considering additional breakthroughs we haven’t an inkling of could occur.

  • Doug Hunter-

    As for fracking, I’m sort of an all-of-the-above guy. Cheap, efficient, reliable energy is the key to humanity’s future IMO. Batteries play a role in that, so does fracking, so do fuel cells.

  • roger nowosielski

    And shamelessly so …

  • Clav

    It’s not a question of running out but of cost.

    Seems to me the two are related; as the end of carbon looms, the price rises. Fracking (and perhaps other, yet-to-be-discovered technologies?) are pushing back the threshold for exhausting carbon.

    But in any case, if I were King (I’m not democratic or American enough to want to be president), I would raise the price of gas — immediately, thus offering competing technologies the opportunity to compete on a more level field, while also discouraging carbon consumption to some degree. Based on what I paid for gas in my rental car while on honeymoon in Italy three years ago, I think I know the right point, too: $10.00 a gallon.

  • Doug Hunter

    I must have missed something. How is raising the price of gas ‘leveling the playing field’?

  • Clav

    How is raising the price of gas ‘leveling the playing field’?

    Obviously by making the operation of a gas car as expensive as buying and operating an electric car. You can’t sell a cheap Hyundai for $40K+, but you can raise the gas [rice by taxation and probably reduce carbon consumption while you’re at it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    My remark about Wal-Mart was pointed, but a joke. I loathe the place and wouldn’t be caught dead shopping there, let alone working there.

    Me, too. I shop instead at Fred Meyer’s, J.C. Penney’s, and the Navy Exchange (but not Target). All of these cost more than Wal-Mart, but I don’t care. Wal-Mart’s a cancer on our economic system.

  • Igor

    Hydrogen vehicle power is still promising, after all these years. I still belong to the American Hydrogen Association, too, after all these years (30). Our motto: “there’s a hydrogen powered car in your future”. Still.

    Indeed, a number of buses in Canada are powered by the Ballard system.

    We built two prototypes: an IC powered Karmann Ghia that ran on H (but only fitfully, with much misfiring) and a fuel cell H car that actually ran from LA to SF on one fillup.

    H has a lot of appeal, since it is a closed cycle, so it operates basically as a good battery.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Dunno about “cancer on the economic system”, Glenn, I just don’t like the place. Even though they’ve scrubbed up considerably over the past decade, I still always feel like I need to take a shower after the rare occasions I get dragged in there.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    I stand by the ‘cancer on the economic system’ comment because they pay their people so low that many – and perhaps most – of their workers so little that they still qualify for food stamps and other government assistance, which means that the American taxpayer is essentially subsidizing Wal-Mart’s payroll.

    And what makes this especially egregious is the fact that the Walton family has more wealth than the bottom 40% of American citizens – look it up on Politifact – it’s there.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    True, Glenn – they pay many of their employees minimum wage. But they’re by no means unique in this practice. If you set a legal minimum wage, then that’s exactly what many companies will pay.

  • Clav

    Illegals get paid even less than minimum — but more than they would make back home.

    Which is why they come.

  • Clavitos

    @#35:

    “Egregious” is the only word for it, Glenn.

    The nerve of that bastard Sam Walton to have a better idea than any other retailer, and then to actually implement it!!! And that’s not all! Then he goes out and at gunpoint, forces all those thousands of people to work in his — oh wait…he didn’t do that, did he? He just offered jobs, and people who needed them flocked to his stores and volunteered to work there! Well, he’s still a bastard, because he created jobs that people needed and thus prevented them from just sitting around and collecting entitlements from the government. What a heartless jerk!

    Imagine him forcing all those millions of people to flock to his stores and buy stuff for less than they could get it elsewhere. And some of the stuff wasn’t even cheaper!!! He just put his stores out in the boonies, where Kmart and Target wouldn’t go, then forced the folks to drive only a couple of miles instead of having the pleasure of driving themselves thirty miles to town to shop at Kmart and Target — and what a dirty thing to do to those stores — didn’t he have any sense of fair play!!!

    Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao were all choirboys compared to that ruthless, money-grubbing SOB!!

  • NKFJR

    This past November, Becket Adams, of The Blaze,wrote an article based on a series of Twitter Tweets published by Peter Suderman, senior editor at Reason, addressing many of the complaints about Wal Mart that people like Glenn have been expressing. Because it’s based on Tweets, it’s short. Her it is in its entirety:

    It’s no secret that many on the left (and even some on the right) really, truly dislike Walmart and its business practices. Indeed, just yesterday the union-backed OUR Walmart tried to disrupt the big box retailer’s Black Friday sales by staging a nationwide protest. Luckily for Walmart, the protest did little damage and the much-touted employee walkout never materialized.

    But let’s talk about the long-standing and persistent hatred against the company. Let’s face it, ever since Walmart became an economic powerhouse, they’ve been attacked, maligned, smeared, and, in some cases, blocked by certain communities from even opening stores.

    We all know the arguments against the retailer: Walmart puts mom-and-pop stores out of work; Walmart doesn’t pay its employees enough; Walmart doesn’t offer the healthcare benefits its employees deserve; Walmart operates on “greed.”

    But there has to be another side to this argument. Is there anything to be said that might explain the retailer’s massive and continued success? Perhaps.

    Peter Suderman, senior editor for Reason.com, on Saturday used Twitter to lay out his observations on the big box giant. Luckily for us, a tweet from The Heritage Foundation’s excellent Lachlan Markay notified us as to what was happening on Suderman’s timeline and we were able to follow along.

    Below are Suderman’s thoughts on Walmart, its employee pay, and what would happen if unions get their way [author's note: We've put Suderman's tweets into list format because it’s much easier to read that way]:

    Really enjoyed talking Walmart and Black Friday on @upwithchris [MSNBC’s Chris Hayes] this morning. I’m going to add a few stray observations on twitter.
    1. Walmart’s customer base is heavily concentrated in the bottom income quintile, which spends heavily on food.
    2.The bottom income quintile spends about 25 percent of income on food compared to just 3.5 percent for the top quintile.
    3. So the benefits of Walmart’s substantially lower prices to the lowest earning cohort are huge, especially on food.
    4. Obama adviser Jason Furman has estimated the welfare boost of Walmart’s low food prices alone is about $50b a year.
    5. Walmart’s wages are about average for retail. Not amazing. But not the worst either.
    6. Paying Walmart’s workers more would mean the money has to come from somewhere. But where?
    7. Erase the Walmart CEO’s entire salary, and you can raise average hourly wages by just a penny or so.
    8. Erase the entire Walton family fortune and you get an average $1/hour boost to Walmart workers.
    9. Raise prices to pay for increased wages and you cut into the store’s huge low-price benefits for the poor. It’s regressive.
    10. But what about Costco? They pay more, right? Yes, but it’s a different, smaller market.
    11. Walmart’s average customer earns roughly $35k. Costco’s average customer earns about $75k.
    12. Costco only has about half as many employees as Walmart. What would happen if Walmart adopted a Costco model and shrank to Costco size?
    13. Not at all clear that the remaining half of Walmart workers would be better off. Many would almost certainly be worse off. Unemployed.
    14. Obama econ adviser Jason Furman did a lot of the work on Walmart’s progressive benefits. His case: slate.me/R3bkc2
    15. Finally, as someone who’s actually been a regular, small-town Walmart shopper, I’d like to argue for its community benefits.
    16. Yes, some small stores close when Walmart opens. But in small towns, Walmart can become real community hubs; more so, because of size.
    17. As for Walmart workers getting health benefits thru Medicaid, that’s due in part to a policy liberals argued for: wapo.st/axXXNE
    We’re not sure which is more impressive: The all-encompassing nature of Suderman’s observations or the fact that he was able to do it in 140-character bursts.

  • Igor

    @26-Doug: but it might spend a billion and fail and then everyone would say: “That’s Dougs Solyndra! An expensive failure!”.

  • roger nowosielski

    @38

    It’s the liberals’ syndrome. Since government is never a major part of the problem but in fact “a crucial part of any solution” (see a comment by the so-called Contrarian on the Bernanke thread), they’ve got to have their whipping boy — in this case, Sam Walton fits the bill. Next week, it’ll be somebody else.

    Whatever works!

  • Zingzing

    Roger, can you try to think of a time when liberals did not like the gov’t or the actions of the gov’t? When would that be? Wow. That wasn’t hard. Whatever works, eh?

  • Clav

    You don’t suppose he was referring to the smearing of Sam Walton, do you, zing?

  • roger nowosielski

    @43

    As a matter of fact, you’re right — rarely if ever do I consider any action by the govm’t “good,” but I don’t have any need to compensate for my views. And that was the point of my comment … case you missed it.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Since government is never a major part of the problem but in fact “a crucial part of any solution” (see a comment by the so-called Contrarian on the Bernanke thread), they’ve got to have their whipping boy — in this case, Sam Walton fits the bill. Next week, it’ll be somebody else.

    I suggest you read zing’s #43 and then think about little things like the Iraq War, Iran-Contra, and Star Wars. Was there a great deal of liberal support for these? And let’s not forget the current Republican War on Women – so much for support for “small government” among conservatives!

    But I forget – you’re Roger, and people like zing and myself are in your stated opinion the greatest threat to democracy.

    And next time, try quoting me accurately instead of twisting my words into something I never said. What I said was, “while government is not and can never be the whole solution to the world’s problems, government certainly is and will always be a crucial part of any such solution to the world’s problems.” I have NEVER said or even implied that government is “never a major part of the problem”. THAT, sir, is nothing more than completely unfounded attribution on your part. Government can be and sometimes is a major part of the problem…but the simple fact that I’m one of the very few who defend the role of government gives you ZERO cause to make such blanket statements and cast false accusations at me.

  • Clav

    For the record, Glenn:

    This MY opinion, everybody, NOT Glenn’s — he’s too much a believer in fairy tales.

    ” Government can be and usually is a major part of the problem…”

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    Try to stay with the critique of electric vehicles as in comment #33.

  • Zingzing

    Clavos, he mentioned Walmart at the end… Not sure what you’re questioning…

    Roger… So your comment was about you, eh? So what happened between 2001 and 2009?

  • roger nowosielski

    Since Glen denies ever having said that government is never part of the problem, and therefore admits that (more often than not? occasionally? at times? but we’re not quibbling here about frequencies, or do we?) it is, he is in apparent agreement with your #47, Clavos.

    Glad the two of you are on the same page at last.

  • Clav

    That was my point, zing.

    From your response, I see I probably misinterpreted yours.

    Wasn’t the first time; likely won’t be the last…

  • Clav

    Glad the two of you are on the same page at last.

    If so, likely not for long, Roger.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I’ve no problem with Wal-Mart having “a better idea” – their biggest advantage is their “just-in-time” inventory tracking system that in real time allows them to track what’s selling best in a particular market and informs them of what items need restocking. From a marketing standpoint, that’s a brilliant system.

    But I have a real problem with a company wherein its managers can get away with demanding unpaid overtime, that goes out of its way to stop any kind of unionizing among its employees.

    And when you point out that Wal-Mart’s wages aren’t so bad because others do it too and some are even worse about it, what you’re forgetting is that “well, the other guys do it too” is ZERO excuse. That’s like getting pulled over by a cop for speeding – do you really think he’s going to accept your excuse that “others do it too”? I don’t think so!

    You make excuses for the Waltons’ vast wealth as if they couldn’t be bothered to pay their workers a bit more, so I’ve got a question for you – what’s the single biggest factor in any economy? It’s the degree to which the people spend their money in that economy…and the poorer people always, always, always spend the nearly all of their money in that economy. When the poor have a bit more money to spend, they save very little of it, but will spend more of it to buy things they can’t otherwise get…and this is nothing but GOOD for the economy. However, when the rich have money, they tend to hang on to as much of it as they can – like in bank accounts overseas.

    THAT, Clavos, is why a high level of income inequality is bad for any economy. You can claim “it’s just not fair to the rich people” all day long, but all I have to do is point you at how well the American economy did when we had 70+% top marginal tax rates. If you want an economy to function at its best, you MUST NOT allow too great a level of income inequality.

    And Wal-Mart should be the first and foremost target for this since they are by far the biggest and highest-profile of such companies.

  • roger nowosielski

    @49

    No, zing, my comment was about an apparent need on the part of some of you to compensate for believing, as Clavos so aptly put, in fairy tales. And yes, I find this apparent proclivity rather symptomatic.

  • roger nowosielski

    #50 was intended to communicate sarcasm, sorry haven’t made it plainer.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Roger –

    Since Glen denies ever having said that government is never part of the problem, and therefore admits that (more often than not? occasionally? at times?

    You made the accusation that I said that government is never part of the problem. SHOW ME WHERE I EVER SAID OR EVEN IMPLIED THAT! I’ve never said that nor implied it…and you know it. You should own up to your error.

    But you won’t – and judging by your refusal to admit similar such errors in the past, you’re too emotionally insecure to sincerely admit even to yourself (much less to me) that you were wrong. Maybe you’ll do something completely different here and own up to your error…but I won’t hold my breath.

    HERE is what I said – I stand by it and I don’t think I’ve ever said anything much different:

    “while government is not and can never be the whole solution to the world’s problems, government certainly is and will always be a crucial part of any such solution to the world’s problems.” I have NEVER said or even implied that government is “never a major part of the problem”. THAT, sir, is nothing more than completely unfounded attribution on your part. Government can be and sometimes is a major part of the problem.

    You and Clavos can continue to wear your government-is-all-bad-all-the-time cynicism on your sleeves and live locked away in your mutual echo chamber, but when it comes to cynicism, I prefer to live by this quote:

    “Better to be occasionally cheated than perpetually suspicious.” – B.C. Forbes

    You can see me as a gullible fool and pollyannish tool if you like – but I’d rather be that way any day than to be perpetually cynical and suspicious of others.

  • Zingzing

    Roger, when you simplify things down to statements that are demonstrably false, you’re just spreading the bullshit a little more thin. The way I see it, all your protestations about gov’t always being wrong aren’t going to make the gov’t suddenly disappear. You’re living in a fairy tale of your own creation. In the present day reality, gov’t is necessary. It’s not always good, it’s not always right, but it performs a vital function in society, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Deal with it–deal with reality, not with your simplified version of it. Yeah, it is easier to defend your point of view. And it’s easy to always have an answer when your answer is meaningless to the reality we live in.

  • NKFJR

    And when you point out that Wal-Mart’s wages aren’t so bad because others do it too and some are even worse about it,…

    I didn’t “point that out.” However one of the articles I quoted pointed out, not that “others do it too,” but that Wal Mart’s wages are “about average” for retail jobs. I have no problem with that, If I owned a corporation and employed people in no skill, lower level jobs “about average” is what I would pay, too. That’s a justification for the existence of a minimum wage, but nothing more.

    You make excuses for the Waltons’ vast wealth as if they couldn’t be bothered to pay their workers a bit more,…

    I did no such thing and never would; their wealth is due to the brilliance, hard work and determination of Sam Walton; there is no wrong there, and therefore no need for “excuses.”

    Your long impassioned explanation of how the poor spend a greater portion of their income than do the wealthy, while true, is irrelevant: Most of the time Sam Walton was building Wal Mart (all but the last several years), the economy was booming; how much (or little) he paid his workers did not even cause a blip on the nation’s economic radar.

    …point you at how well the American economy did when we had 70+% top marginal tax rates…”

    Which didn’t even slow the pace at which people joined the “rich” class, much less slow their accumulation of wealth. In fact, the current “income inequality” had its genesis in and was built during the time the tax rates were higher; people were getting rich (and substantially so) right after WWII, and they continue to do so even today, and there hasn’t even been a slowing of that process in all the time since then. Even the periodoc recessions we’ve experienced had little to no effect on the wealthy; they were far more injurious to the poor, and especially the middle class.

    Perhaps Obama should take note of that, and instead of trying to steal from the rich, turn his attentions to rectifying the economy. Taking the wealth of the wealthy won’t do it; even if he were to strip them of ALL of their wealth, it’s not enough to cover the national debt already incurred, much less what he continues to spend: the Obama administration has spent more than all the preceding five presidents collectively spent. Five. Presidents. Collectively. More.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    NKFJR –

    (btw – are you Clavos or someone different?)

    Which didn’t even slow the pace at which people joined the “rich” class, much less slow their accumulation of wealth. In fact, the current “income inequality” had its genesis in and was built during the time the tax rates were higher; people were getting rich (and substantially so) right after WWII, and they continue to do so even today, and there hasn’t even been a slowing of that process in all the time since then. Even the periodoc recessions we’ve experienced had little to no effect on the wealthy; they were far more injurious to the poor, and especially the middle class.

    WRONG! HERE – look at this graph showing income growth of the low-, middle-, and high-income percentiles. They all tracked almost in unison from 1947 until the Reagan tax cuts after he took office. It has been only since then that the rich have seen their incomes explode and the middle- and low-income people have seen their incomes stagnate or decrease.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Dr. Maresca –

    Try to stay with the critique of electric vehicles as in comment #33.

    Sorry, but that’s usually how it goes in forums and blogs – after a number of comments the discussion almost always goes far afield. Check out other article threads and you’ll see the same thing. Sometimes the different subjects come right away, sometimes after 40 or 50 comments. But the eventual changing of the topic to something other than the topic of the article is more of a rule than the exception to the rule.

  • Clavitos

    Yes, I’m Clavos. The spam trap has taken a strong dislike to me this afternoon.

    WRONG! HERE – look at this graph showing income growth of the low-, middle-, and high-income percentiles. They all tracked almost in unison from 1947 until the Reagan tax cuts after he took office.

    Wrong how? I said the wealthy continued to grow as a class and individually during the days of high taxes; your statement above doesn’t disprove that, it merely points out that they grew faster under Reagan.

    Again, the size of the upper class and the individual incomes of its members wasn’t slowed by the high taxes. First of all, those are incremental rates, not what the wealthy would pay on their entire income. Secondly, anyone with any brains shelters (legally) as much of their income as the law allows. The law being what it is, that can mean that any individual with enough smarts (either their own or hired help) can shelter most of their income — legally.

    And pretty much everyone does.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Thanks (about NKFJR).

    The point about the graph isn’t so much about the income of the rich – it’s about the income of the middle- and lower income families. It puts the lie to the statement that high taxes somehow punish the rich and don’t do anyone any good, because the tax policies before Reagan obviously did well for the lower- and middle-income brackets as well as for the rich.

    Now, however, with America still in thrall to low-tax Reaganomics, the rich are doing even better – but what’s happening to the middle- and lower-income families?

    You can see it for yourself.

  • Clavitos

    …but what’s happening to the middle- and lower-income families?

    They’re getting shat upon, but by their government, not the rich nor their taxes.

  • Clavitos

    Even Obama, idol of the “progressive” class, steers most of the stimulus money to companies and projects run and supported by his supporters and friends of the Democratic party — often without even due diligence (can you say “Solyndra?”).

    The middle class have no advocates, the lower class even less.

  • Doug Hunter

    The US government and especially welfare spending have grown enormously in the timeframe Glenn mentions as well, he chooses what he wants to see. If big government and food stamps were the key to a great economy we should be going gangbusters rather than hitting 0.8% total combined growth over the last four years while setting a ‘new normal’ unemployment rate at near 8%. For all Glenn’s concern regarding marginal rates, the total tax burden as a percentage of GDP has remained very stable since the mid 40’s. Government income has remained steady, government spending (and hence debt) has grown out of control.

    It’s very simple, people do what you pay them to do. Our government has decided it’s a good investment to pay people to be poor…. it’s working.

  • Dr Dreadful

    the Obama administration has spent more than all the preceding five presidents collectively spent. Five. Presidents. Collectively. More.

    Source?

  • Clavitos

    USNWR, Doc.

  • zingzing

    that chart doesn’t appear to say that… unless you’re being really funny with what that sentence means. and it’s pretty clear that there was a bush hangover on spending, which is then dramatically reversed. also, look at all the caveats at the end. when something smells like bullshit, you should probably to check if there’s some bullshit.

  • Clavitos

    I read the article, and don’t see it as bullshit:

    Federal spending was close to 20 percent under the Carter administration, dropped to 18 percent under Clinton, and is currently at an incredible 24 percent of GDP. According to the Congressional Budget Office, federal spending may hover around 22 percent for the next decade.

    Federal spending is also higher this year than any year since 1949.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    zing’s right. That source show the preceding five presidents have collectively spent more than Obama

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    And yet “Federal spending as a percentage of GDP is not necessarily the best way to reflect a president’s spending — it’s just one of them.”

    Clavos’ source

  • Clavitos

    Of course, I’m not bedazzled by, and in love with that schmuck in the White House, either.

    Not that I’m saying you are, zing, but at least half of the american peasantry appears to be…I was reading an FB thread about his woman’s appearance on the Oscar “show” last night; it’s kinda creepy how close the masses are coming to crowning those two.

    The Revolutionaries may have wasted their time.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    And the 2009 budget belongs to Bush so why does the chart put credit all the Federal Spending that year to Obama?

  • Clavitos

    And yet El Bicho’s quote doesn’t negate the rest of the article — it just points out there is more than one way to measure performance — and that some may be (but “not necessarily”) better than this one, which is generally true of anything subjected to measurement.

  • Clavitos

    So put it all to Bush (another schmuck, as have been most of the “presidents” of the last 40+ years — IMO all but two: Reagan and Clinton), which is actually overcompensating, but I’m generous, then take another look at the chart: all of the obama years are higher.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Clav, I questioned your claim because it seemed so egregious. Unless it was very poorly worded (although what else would you mean by “collectively”?), you were asking us to believe that Obama has somehow spent more than his five predecessors put together. I somehow think we’d have noticed.

    If the source weren’t the US News and World Report, I’d have a very strong suspicion that that graph had been reproduced in an illegibly small, unclickable format on purpose. (I did find a much clearer, similar graph here.) Notwithstanding, I don’t feel that spending as a percentage of GDP is a very reliable measure. For example (and I’m not saying this is based on real data, it’s just a hypothetical), Reagan’s GDP could have been massively higher than Obama’s, meaning that he could fork out billions or trillions more than the current Prez and still come out looking rosier because he’d spent a lower percentage of the available wonga.

    In raw terms, your claim is not much better than saying “Obama has spent more than the first five presidents put together”. Well, duh.

    To get a better picture of presidential spending habits, I think you need to look at federal expenditure per capita, since government revenue comes almost entirely from taxation. Obama, in theory at least, has more money available to him than Reagan because there are more Americans now than there were during the Gipper’s presidency. And you want to adjust for inflation as well, of course.

    I don’t know if anybody’s actually tried doing that. All the graphs I’ve found just look at growth. Those graphs universally give the lie to the notion of Obama as a wild spender, but I’m not convinced that not spending as fast equates to not spending as much.

  • Doug Hunter

    “And the 2009 budget belongs to Bush so why does the chart put credit all the Federal Spending that year to Obama?”

    Because many of the major pieces of spending legislation that year were signed by Obama. Bush did authorize TARP in FY2009, but much of that money as since been paid back.

  • Clav

    Doc,

    You’re a formidable debater; you outstrip virtually everyone else on these boards (me included); as much for your politeness and measured tone as for your obvious intelligence, knowledge and erudition. When I read one of your posts (#75 Is an excellent example), your tone elicits my respect, which in turn forces me to pay more attention as I read than I might otherwise, and that in turn results in my agreeing with you more than any other progressive (or is it liberal? It’s difficult to know anymore) on these boards.

    That said, the only possible response I can give to your #75 is “Well said, sir,” and then retreat into the depths of my capital ship to lick my wounds.

  • Zingzing

    Clavos, not sure how much any of #68 or the dig on Michelle Obama goes towards proving the blatantly false statement about how the pres spending more than the previous 5 administrations combined.

  • Zingzing

    Ah, well I didn’t see #77 before I posted. Glad doc got through to you, although you had still better go about recalibrating your bullshit detector.

    Also, “spending”=”has spent” in that last comment of mine. Or drop the “how” or something. Wonky syntax.

  • Clav

    the dig on Michelle Obama

    Huh?

  • Clav

    Glad doc got through to you

    Glad you’re glad.

    Don’t expect much, however.

  • Zingzing

    Clavos: “huh?”

    Meh. So maybe you weren’t ragging on her. Plenty of the right wing is, but I’ll leave it alone.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    [takes a modest bow]

    Thanks, Clav. You’re a gent.

    From my perspective, the sooner some of you realize that our resident boat merchant isn’t really an irascible reactionary old fart but just plays one on TV, the more you’re likely to get out of your engagements with the old f… him.

    :-p

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    I’m glad I don’t wind up debating you very often for the same reasons Clav listed – you’re out of my league. And I agree with you about Clav – he drives me nuts and I often want to choke him, but he’s got my respect.

  • Doug Hunter

    “So maybe you weren’t ragging on her. Plenty of the right wing is”

    No worse than the entire left wing going gaga over her. I don’t think I’ve ever said much one way or the other, but I get sick of the love Hollywood and media elites bestow on her and her husband. It seems like her mug is on the cover of every single magazine at least once a quarter, plus the whole talkshow and television circuit, the Oscars, etc., etc. If you’re looking for a reason why people give her a hard time I’d start with overexposure then follow that up with analyzing why you jumped to her defense with the victim card so quick when no one was even attacking.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    No worse than the entire left wing going gaga over her. I don’t think I’ve ever said much one way or the other, but I get sick of the love Hollywood and media elites bestow on her and her husband. It seems like her mug is on the cover of every single magazine at least once a quarter

    I didn’t know the supermarket tabloids were left wing. How would one tell?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    One wonders where the right-wing outrage was when Laura Bush and Ronald Reagan gave taped messages to the Oscars….

  • Zingzing

    Glad you’re around to attack her when no one else is then, Doug. Cheers for that, you sucker…

    (And all I did was point out that the comment wasn’t really germane to the discussion. Rag on her all you want. Or victim card the victim card some more, I don’t care. But is the First Lady at the academy awards really worth discussing? I think not.)

    Also, I did a little poking about and it seems that obummer would have to spend about 30 trillion dollars between now and… NOW for the “last 5 presidents combined” malarkey to be true. And that’s without inflation, I think. And that’s considering 2009 all his and 2013 a done deal. I’m sure someone here will tell me I’m missing something, but you’ve got a long hill to climb to get to the promised land.

  • Doug Hunter

    Oh, how cute it’s daily affirmations time. Doc is indeed a master debater and when he’s not over his head on the subject of climate isn’t necessarily a complete idiot… Clav on the other hand evidently forgets his meds from time to time, one moment he appears sane and the next I think he has delusions of being the next king of the American reconquista movement or some such. I admire Glenn’s interest in facts but his odd theory that the entire universe can be understood simply in breaking everything down by red state / blue state voting (with no regard for any other factors) I find odd. Even Chris Rose sounds reasonable to me these days, although he does tend to respond to the most minor slight with something akin to caustic verbal diarrhea. Me, I like to come on here to vent sometimes, usually going off half cocked on a petty verbal tirade or some meandering non sequiturs or even trolling outlandish statements (or playing gynecologist on the pap smear thread). Overall, it’s not a bad mix.

  • Clav

    See, that’s why you don’t get either much of my attention or any of my respect, zing. Doc pretty much laid the issue to rest back in #75, but here you are rehashing it in that annoying manner you have that’s so reminiscent of those little yappy dogs old ladies in Miami Beach favor so much.

    You’re an intelligent guy, zing, but you could learn a lot from Doc about burnish and presentation.

  • Doug Hunter

    #86

    Don’t get so excited about your snark you forget to think things through. The left wing is gaga over the Obama’s, the media just sells them what they want (which is evidently like an Obama cover story on every other issue)

    #87

    Who is outraged?

    #88

    You played the victim card, it ‘worked’ and I responded with the vicious assault you were looking for claiming she was overexposed. I’m glad I could reinforce such a winning play for you… great show.

    Also, I don’t know what promised land you’re speaking of, but I never defended Clav’s obviously incorrect assertion. I think you may be getting something confused.

  • Zingzing

    Yes sir, clavos, sir. I’ll always remember to check with you before posting facts in chart form! (Just remember you’re not the only person here, and it gets even more difficult when you post under totally unrelated names. Had no idea it was you that posted the original comment that got this ball rolling.)

    I’ll be sure to point out to you any yapping dog behavior I see from you in the future, now that you’ve defined it as one paragraph addressed to another person also taking part in the conversation who is not you. As for presentation, maybe you ought to think on it as well if this is how you respond to someone actually doing a bit of work to dig up numbers.

  • Zingzing

    Doug, #76 kinda looks like it. You certainly didn’t state it was “obviously incorrect” until just now.

  • Zingzing

    (And the “you” in the “promised land” comment was to the “someone here,” meaning someone here, not you, not clavos, just someone here.)

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Doug, the Doc’s impressive patience and willingness to engage with even the most absurdist commenter are two of the qualities that made me decide to invite him onboard the good ship Blocritics as my vice captain of the comments space. A necessary counterpoint to my more passionate and idealistic style I feel.

    I embrace a dialectic tension characterised by being at once both inside and outside, much like the child in Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. I like the heroic and romantic, whilst disliking heroes and preferring intelligence to instinct.

    I guess that does make me a little caustic from time to time, my idealism limited by some sense of practicality and a large dose of impatience with the dishonest and the stubborn nature of deception.

    I’m loyal to no dogma, including my own, but faithful to friends and principles like honesty. Romanticism and pragmatism are my friends. Such is life!

  • Dr Dreadful

    Well, Doug, I don’t pay much attention to the US printed media and even the newspapers aren’t much better these days. I’m dimly aware from the garish headlines at the checkout line that Bill Clinton is spending his “sad last days” raging at the Obamas whilst divorcing Hillary for $150 million and having an affair with Oprah. Or something.

  • Doug Hunter

    “I’m dimly aware from the garish headlines at the checkout line that…”

    That’s where I get all my news too!

  • Clav

    Thanks, Doc, for #83.

    It is difficult to to be recognized as having some merit, when the whole world is aware that one is a shameless extrovert, and worse, that one’s sister was once a thespian in that Sodom-on-Hudson, New York. That said, I insist (as I have many times in the past) that there is no truth whatsoever to the shameless allegation that I am a known homo sapiens, nor to the slanderous rumor that I practiced nepotism with my sister-in-law, although at one time, I was into celibacy — but only briefly; I quit as soon as I started needing glasses.

  • roger nowosielski

    # 56 – Zingzing
    Feb 24, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Roger, when you simplify things down to statements that are demonstrably false, you’re just spreading the bullshit a little more thin

    What statements are those?

    The way I see it, all your protestations about gov’t always being wrong aren’t going to make the gov’t suddenly disappear. You’re living in a fairy tale of your own creation.

    Hardly protestations. If you were but to skim through some of the stuff I’ve been writing, you’d know I provide reasons, and sometimes cogent reasons, behind some of my conclusions. Besides, you’d also know that most of my critique is directed not vs. government per se but against the institution of statehood. You’d know, too, that the critique is not a substitute for the forces at work which chip at the institution of statehood, nor that it is intended as such. So what “fairy tale of my own creation” are you talking about?

    Yeah, it is easier to defend your point of view

    Don’t be ridiculous, zing. None of the stuff I’ve written in the past six month or so has been easy; on the contrary, it called for a great deal of thought and hard work.

    And it’s easy to always have an answer when your answer is meaningless to the reality we live in.

    “It’s [government] not always good, it’s not always right, but it performs a vital function in society.”

    Is this your example of a meaningful statement, zing. Is this from the pen of “an intelligent guy” Clavos is talking about?

    In any case, zing, I don’t usually respond in snippets, but you write and think in snippets, and snippets and sound bites is apparently the only thing you understand.

    I was going to ignore your protestations, for, along which Clavos, I do agree with the gist of #90 — “that’s why you don’t get either much of my attention or any of my respect, zing” — and a “little yappy dog” is a description that fits you to a T (remember Tse-Tse the Fly from my take off on The Animal Form?), but his comment kinda inspired me. So there it is!

  • Cindy

    You’re living in a fairy tale of your own creation.

    Well, if he is, then we all are, and at least it’s one he’s had the courage to create by questioning the fantasy world of those who refuse to question the pablum they’ve been spooned.

    In the present day reality, gov’t is necessary.

    According to scientologists, being locked up and beaten by David Miscavige is a necessary thing.

  • Cindy

    And the typical liberal, and the typical male has been spoonfed his ideology.

    (Just in case you missed the insult.)

  • Cindy

    Hardly protestations. If you were but to skim through some of the stuff I’ve been writing, you’d know I provide reasons, and sometimes cogent reasons, behind some of my conclusions.

    If he were but to skim? That is one big IF. He is better at defending what he already knows, which seems to be everything. As he apparently need not skim, or listen to, or learn anything else.

    Thus, I have learned to take an opinion for what it is worth–often just about the 2 cents typically offered.

  • roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    While I do appreciate your show of support, I certainly don’t want to see you becoming estranged by some of the commenters here because of association.

    I realize I’m a bad influence on you, as some people have been known to say, so stop it. Think for yourself for a change, if you can!

  • Zingzing

    You two are precious to me. Roger, I was responding to your comment, not the totality of your musings, and in your comment you used a big brush to take a meaningless swipe.

    Cindy, I see you’re back in attack mode, so what do you think your two cents is worth? (And where was that other conversation we were having? I lost the thread. You were being much nicer over there, so this is disappointing.)

  • Cindy

    Roger,

    I realize that at times you have an odd way of phrasing things without realizing either that your analysis is flawed or your implications are less than optimal. So, I will not take what you said at face value.

    You can attribute this critique to both parts of your comment.

    Now I will go elsewhere, where there aren’t so many points of view that grate on my nerves.

  • roger nowosielski

    It wasn’t meant to be taken at face value, Cindy, only with a touch of irony.

    I hoped to have communicated that.

  • roger nowosielski

    I’m happy we can still talk, zing. I admit I took liberty with Glen’s original comment, though I seriously think that what I said truly reflects what he really thinks, his protestations to the contrary. But be that as it may, I’m looking forward to a time when we can see on some things eye to eye.

  • Cindy

    (sigh)

    Sorry Roger and zing. My grumpy mood has colored my perceptions. I am going to go back to looking for my lost passport now. I will try to be more careful in the future.

    Perhaps I will not find it today. I should give up and watch some mindless show.

  • troll

    …passport?

    who needs one – sell yourself into white slavery and see the world

  • roger nowosielski

    Especially since “women aren’t intelligent [enough and] sometimes they need men to help out with the tough science and hard numbers.”

  • Cindy

    But I’m only going to Florida, troll. lol

    lmao, Roger. I saw that thread. :-)

  • roger nowosielski

    I wish you’d decide on California instead, no disrespect to Clavitos.

    I have many mansions.

  • Cindy

    Do you, now? Well I am still going to visit you sometime, Roger. For now, though got to plunk down a deposit on another house before the interest rates go up.

    I will never again pay NJ real estate taxes. NJ is out of control raising taxes and taking away services and must eventually collapse. Really, it must.

    I asked the tax collector why the town cannot meet its budget. Why are people who work at the library getting laid off? Tax sales assure the budget is funded. She said, “Everything is just getting so expensive.” And do you know what, Roger? That is about as much as anyone who runs the local economy seems to know about it. lmao! It’s doomed, I tell you.

    At least FL is cheap. And I can indulge my favorite pastime–stalking little old dudes to make sure they are okay. Recently, I followed a darling little old man out of the grocery store. As I caught up at the sidewalk’s edge he said plaintively, “I’m lost. I don’t know where my car is.”

    Oh Roger, I am tempted to take them all home and make them pancakes. :-)

  • roger nowosielski

    Let me assure you, you wouldn’t be disappointed in the least.

    I still look the part of Adonis, not to mention the fact I can still write, if I set my mind to it, like a dream.

  • Cindy

    The Adonis-effect, eh? Must be that California influence. Well, just don’t go getting any botox shots, Roger.

  • roger nowosielski

    Nothing to worry about. And no, California’s got nothing to do with it, just my natural charm.

    Perhaps Adonis is not the alter ego I was aiming for, too narcissistic, which certainly is nothing like me.

    How ’bout Apollo?

  • Cindy

    ROLFLMAO! LOLOL!!!

  • roger nowosielski

    Well, let’s meet.

    And I promise not to sweep you off your feet.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    I guess that does make me a little caustic from time to time

    You don’t say!

  • Zingzing

    Roger: “I admit I took liberty with Glen’s original comment, though I seriously think that what I said truly reflects what he really thinks, his protestations to the contrary.”

    It’s simplified quite a bit, taking out all the things relevant to the contrary… He will give a pass to things you wouldn’t, but I wonder how much that has to do with what people decide to concentrate on as much as anything else. I’ll take a pass on things as well. You and Cindy have your pet projects and anything under those purviews that is out of line with your views concerning such produces a pretty violent backlash. Just because someone doesn’t take the hard line doesn’t mean they aren’t open to some of the ideas or even ideals you have to offer. But the condemnations and simplifications of those who aren’t all-in with you seems to me to be pretty counterproductive if your end is to convince people of the more difficult answers your questions propose.

    Education is the answer. Shame us with numbers and stories. Force us with truth and knowledge. But don’t use force and shame as weapons themselves. They’re terrible weapons, which glance off with the smallest brush of the hand.

    Maybe you don’t hope to convince anyone. I hope you wouldn’t waste your time that way.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Nothing to worry about. And no, California’s got nothing to do with it, just my natural charm.

    That’s right, Cindy, Roger’s OK. We aren’t all that bad out here. It’s not always relentlessly sunny, for example at night, so we can be persuaded to leave the beach if there’s a nice gay civil union to attend. We often donate our old surfboards for use as homeless shelters. There are, to my knowledge, two Californians, one in Malibu and the other in Fort Bragg, who make their living from sources other than busking on the boardwalk. In some parts of the state, every third field is set aside for growing crops other than marijuana. A handful of our most erudite citizens, of which Roger is one, restrict themselves to saying “dude” only seven or eight times a day. Why, occasionally a conservative has even been known to make it back across the Arizona state line alive.

    Come visit soon!

    ;-)

  • Glen Contrarian

    Roger –

    I admit I took liberty with Glen’s original comment, though I seriously think that what I said truly reflects what he really thinks, his protestations to the contrary.

    Really? I guess I was completely okay with the government lying us into the Iraq war, and with Iran-Contra, and with Obama’s drone strikes, and with federal judges being fired by Bush because they didn’t trump up charges of voter fraud (never mind that there was very, very little (or no) evidence of such). Never mind about the many articles I’ve written about the stupidity and outright evil that our government has done, no, according to you I don’t think that government is ever part of the problem.

    THAT, sir, is why zing pointed out that you are making statements that are demonstrably false.

    And apparently you base that assumption on the fact that I have the temerity, the bad manners to say that which is unforgivable in your eyes, to say that government is NOT always the problem, but is in many ways crucial to our way of life. I see not only the bad but also the good…and you castigate me for it.

    Roger, your prejudice is showing. Your actions are really no different from those on Fox ‘News’ and (if to a much lesser extent) MSNBC who see creeping evil in everything a politician from the other side does.

    And what’s the proof? They point to a politician of the other stripe and yell “He’s a Nazi/Socialist/Communist/Atheist/Jesus-Freak/Statist/Fascist/Anarchist!” on the news every single freaking day. And have you done the same? Remember when you claimed that zing and I are the greatest threat to democracy?

    You need to see your prejudice for what it is, Roger, and how it affects your whole outlook on life. You need to learn to see not just the bad but ALSO the good in others even when you don’t like those others…because if you don’t learn to do so, then you’re no different from the people I’ve known over the years who despised and thought the worst of others because of their race/religion/ethnicity/politics…and all of these have led to countless tragedies over the years.

    Remember this one statement, Roger – when it comes to those who are prejudiced against other people because of their race/religion/ethnicity/politics, regardless of the target of the their prejudice, it’s still PREJUDICE. It’s all the same process of neurons and synapses in our brains – the only difference is the target.

  • Glen Contrarian

    zing –

    Education is the answer. Shame us with numbers and stories. Force us with truth and knowledge. But don’t use force and shame as weapons themselves. They’re terrible weapons, which glance off with the smallest brush of the hand.

    QFT! Well and poetically said.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I guess I was completely okay with the government lying us into the Iraq war, and with Iran-Contra, and with Obama’s drone strikes, and with federal judges being fired by Bush because they didn’t trump up charges of voter fraud

    Feel free to show me where I’m wrong, Glenn, but I seem to remember you mounting a vigorous defence of the drone strike that killed al-Awlaki in Yemen a couple of years back.

    And they were US attorneys, not federal judges. Judges are very hard to fire.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Yes, I did defend our strike that killed al-Awlaki and rightly so – and if that were a one-off, a one-time deal then I’d seem like a big hypocrite. But this past October I posted an article where I stated the following:

    For all his foreign policy successes, I believe that Obama’s profligate use of drones in Pakistan may prove to be a serious, even a grave, mistake.

    And yes, you’re right (when aren’t you?) that they were US attorneys and not judges.

    And Doc, if you’re this good at American political history, I can’t help but wonder how good you are with English political history. Tell you what – let’s both live a long time and meet there in 2066. There should be a certain Really Big Party in London at the time (1000 years of not being invaded) and I’ll only be 104. After all, that’s only five years after my target for longevity – I want to see Halley’s Comet in 2061.

  • Dr Dreadful

    2066 will be my centenary, if I make it that far, which I fully intend to do even if the history of my family’s male line isn’t that promising.

    I already took up (half) marathon running three years ago, so I’ve got a 46-year head start on this guy. I’m hopeful.

    Strictly speaking England has been invaded several times since 1066, and successfully invaded at least once, but since the invaders were either (a) Scottish, (b) exiled Englishmen trying to take over, or (c) invited in by the natives, it’s widely regarded that they don’t really count.

    Halley is only one (though arguably the most famous) of trillions of comets, a respectable handful of which regularly visit the neighbourhood of the Sun, so you won’t have to wait that long for a spectacle. Comet Ison, expected this November, promises to put on a show unrivalled by any other comet in 300 years.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    I know you’re highly edjimicated, but now you’re showing off!

    But as to longevity, I’d like to go by a quote from one of the characters in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22: “I’m going to live forever if it kills me!”

    I’ve heard the same about Comet Ison, but ever since the comet-of-the-century hullaballo over Comet Kohoutek, I’ve learned not to get my hopes up.

  • Clav

    2066 will be my centenary…

    Which, of course, means you were born in 1966, the year I came back to the world from Vietnam, Kid.

    I already took up (half) marathon running three years ago…

    My brother-in-law, the brother of my deceased wife, after several years of practice and lesser races here in Florida, last year, at age 65, ran the Boston Marathon — not only ran it, but finished third in his age category as well.

    Keep at it, Doc! Would love to hear about you showing up for the Boston or other race like it one day.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Glenn: Ah, Catch-22. One of my favourite novels. And, of course, one of the major inspirations for M.A.S.H., though they never admitted it.

    Clav: The missus and I have the goal of doing a half marathon in every state. 7 down, 43 to go. There’s no way either of us’ll ever qualify for Boston, so we’ll have to find a more benign event when we get to Massachusetts.

    What city would you recommend when we get down to your neck of the woods?

  • Zingzing

    I love me some catch-22, and chapter 39 (the eternal city) is one of those chapters I’ve read over and over again (like the try-works chapter in moby dick, or the 2nd chapter of the great gatsby) because it feels like a work of deranged prophecy, where every word has some mysterious extra meaning.

    As for catch-22 and mash, there’s definitely a connection between the attitudes toward the military and American society in both, and I wish Altman had gotten to catch-22 first, but the film version of catch-22 was already in production and Altman had little cache at the time. Altman said the novel of mash was terrible, so I’m thinking made his own version of catch-22 with the material he could actually play with. Didn’t hurt that mash was made by the greatest film director to ever grace this earth.

  • Clav

    Doc,

    Here’s a site which lists all the half and full marathon runs in Florida. From a quick review I just did of it, I would bet the setting of the Key Largo Bridge Run would make it worthwhile. Also, there’s a run along (not on, beside) Ft, Lauderdale beach that probably would be pretty scenic as well. When the time draws nigh, let’s communicate off site, and not only talk about race possibilities, but also a get together while you’re here.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Sure thing, Clav. Are you also, like me and Glenn, planning to linger infuriatingly into your triple digits? I only ask because we’re doing two or three a year, Florida won’t necessarily be one of the states immediately upcoming, and I’ve calculated that I’ll be 69 years old by the time we’re done with all 50… perhaps you could enter as well and I could push your wheelchair round the course. :-)

  • Igor

    @132-DD: you speak bravely now, but you’re very young, still. You might want to contemplate why it is that old people don’t succumb to death while shaking their fist and proclaiming themselves unready to go.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    You’re right – I’ve yet to see an elderly person who, when they know their time is near, tries to fight against going into that good night.

    But up until that time that they start to feel their time approaching, you must admit that the elderly usually try to do what they must to try to extend their lives, which is why so much of our national cost of health care comes from the last decade or so of a person’s life.

    I think, then, that it must be wiser to be able to accept death when it is coming, that one’s last weeks or months may be peaceful – and hopefully surrounded by family.

  • Clav

    the elderly usually try to do what they must to try to extend their lives, which is why so much of our national cost of health care comes from the last decade or so of a person’s life.

    You have outdone even yourself with that remark, Glenn. Over the years you have posted some of the most over the top, out there crap ever seen on these threads, but that gets the Bloggy award for pure, unadulterated and unbelievable horseshit.

    Th reason “why so much of our national cost of health care comes from the last decade or so of a person’s life” is because that’s when most people are at their sickest, not because they “try to do what they must to try to extend their lives.”

    Did you not read Igor’s #133? In it, he says, “You might want to contemplate why it is that old people don’t succumb to death while shaking their fist and proclaiming themselves unready to go. (Emphasis added)

    And he’s absolutely right, Glenn; the vast majority of people reach the end of life quite at peace with themselves and with dying, William Blake notwithstanding.

    Sheesh, Glenn that’s your most erroneous remark of all time — bar none.

  • Clav

    Disclaimer: This comment has virtually nothing to do with anything discussed on this thread up to now; I am only posting it because the quote presented at the end of this comment almost DID make me literally blow coffee all over my monitor, but first, the setting:

    I’m reading an opinion piece by Mark Steyn published in this morning’s NRO titled “Sequestageddon,” which lists Steyn’s take on the terrible effects of sequestration foretold by Obama.

    Here’s the quote:

    “…the Ebola virus will be rampant across Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, and other swing states, where it will nevertheless enjoy higher approval ratings than Marco Rubio and every other prospective GOP nominee.” :)

    Love it!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Good grief, Clav – who pissed in your coffee cup this morning? Look at what you posted:

    Th reason “why so much of our national cost of health care comes from the last decade or so of a person’s life” is because that’s when most people are at their sickest, not because they “try to do what they must to try to extend their lives.”

    If, in the years before they knew their time was near, they were truly at peace with dying, then they would not proactively seek out the medical care they need to extend their lives in the first place! Not only that, but you’d see a significantly higher suicide rate among the elderly who don’t want to be a burden on their children. The only time in my life I’ve ever seen a elderly person truly at peace with dying even though his time was not near was a great uncle who’d had a near-death experience and wanted to go back to the place he’d seen.

    On the other hand, I remember a woman who went skydiving in Hawaii for her 99th birthday quite a few years ago – you might say she was a kindred spirit of Amelia Earhart, since she’d been an adventurer, a wild child who once even married a chieftain of an Indonesian tribe that lived in the jungle. She loved life and was not afraid of death – but the key here is that she wasn’t giving up – she still searching for new experiences. She was okay with dying just as you or I would be if our time came…but she wasn’t giving up or letting go – she wanted to stick around as long as possible to see what else she could do that she’d never done before.

    It is my contention, Clavos, that the time when the elderly are at peace with passing is when they know it is near. That’s why in adult family homes and nursing homes, when the residents know someone’s about to pass, a lot of times they’ll quietly gather around the one who is dying just to make sure that person is not alone, especially if that person has no family with them at the time (which is all too often the case).

    Every once in a while when my grandmother and her 12 siblings were asked how they were doing, they’d reply “Oh, I’m tired of living but scared of dying.” In reality, none of them were truly scared of the idea of death, but while they were healthy, they sure as heck weren’t at peace with the reality of it!

    The elderly are certainly not afraid of death, but “not afraid of death” and “at peace with dying” are two different things, if only subtly so…and it’s that difference that led to your insulting comment.

  • Clav

    No, what led to my deservedly “insulting” comment is your absurd contention that the principal source for elevated health costs in the final decade of most people’s lives is not their increasingly failing health, but their attempts to stave off death.

    As I said, one of your more foolish utterances.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    what led to my deservedly “insulting” comment is your absurd contention that the principal source for elevated health costs in the final decade of most people’s lives is not their increasingly failing health, but their attempts to stave off death.

    It’s almost as if you’re searching for something, anything to gripe about. In case you haven’t noticed, when people are young, they don’t think too much about health care. But when they’re older, they start paying a lot more attention even when they’re still in very good health – they see their friends passing away and it brings home the fact of mortality. YES, Clavos, their health is failing, but life becomes even more precious when one is older.

    Bonnie Raitt’s song Nick of Time says it best:

    Life gets mighty precious when there’s less of it to waste

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And one more thing – I suck at making chile relleno from scratch. The poblano chiles fell apart and it all went downhill from there.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Igor has a point, but surely the trick is not to get old in the first place.

    The Who had it about right, I reckon.

  • Clav

    Who? :)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    I strongly disagree with The Who – I’m much happier now than I ever was when I was younger…and I have quite a few friends my age who think the same way. Fortunately for me, my wife is also happier now than she was then.

    And it drives my kids nuts when I tell them that I wouldn’t want to be a teenager again. They look at me, at my on-and-off-again disabilities and wonder just how the heck I could like life better now than then. But I figure it gives them something to look forward to….

  • I know I am the worst offender

    Good article, Dr. Maresca’s, but I just can’t shake the image of someone looking down from Mount Crumpet at all these goings-on:

    They must needs NOT park their electric cars, they ran them in marathons, playing Who-ville guitars, and chased 22’s, 19, 1066, seeking chili relleno…(at Walmart, I think.)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I strongly disagree with The Who – I’m much happier now than I ever was when I was younger…

    But you’re not old, are you, Glenn?

    And if you sustain the attitude you have, you never will be.

    That’s what The Who were getting at…

  • Igor

    I’m pretty old: 76. IMO oldsters who run around pretending they’re young (jumping out of airplanes, etc.) aren’t fooling anyone. At my age one should recognize fakery and deceit to a greater degree.

    Doing stupid things doesn’t make you seem younger. It just makes you look stupid. Just because we forgive young people some small part of their stupidity isn’t going to make a stupid person look young.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Igor, first of all, who said anything about having to do stupid things to make yourself feel young? Come to that, who said anything about feeling young at all?

    And why couldn’t a 76-year-old jumping out of an airplane be doing so not to recapture his lost youth, but simply because he wants to do a parachute jump?