Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Rob's front yard was pretty fun at the ebbing tide this afternoon. I've probably only surfed this wave five times. It's always fun, but always crowded. I had a free Wednesday afternoon to slide and picked the right board for the occasion. The 6'9" Frye was enough foam to compete with the SUP capital of the world's resident population. Fun, slippery high line rides were enjoyed. I caught plenty of waist to chest high zippers. Longfish do that long radius cutback so nicely. Where is that video of RK at San Juanico?
About halfway through my session a guy who is doing a bit of a distance paddle comes by. Soul patch and surfer drawl: "Nice board." "Thanks." "You know, I have the only bonzer Skip ever made." "Cool." He paddles on. I catch some more waves. Guy, if you're reading this, send me a pic of that board!
Monday, October 27, 2008
I liked Thread, by P.Trefz. I'm kind of tired of it. So leave me a comment on this post involving the phrase "getting rad" and I'll put your name into a raffle hat. In two weeks I'll pull a name. If I pull your name I'll send you the DVD. Fun!
If you live in Japan or Mozambique or Papua New Guinea we might have to talk about shipping. Pragmatism stinks.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Because I just received an email from a blog reader who wondered how the supply/demand economics policy of Obama might be evaluated. Not definitive, merely a snapshot of the thoughts of some people who know more than I do about economics.
Our survey is not, by any means, a scientific poll of all economists. We e-mailed a questionnaire to 683 research associates, all we could track down, of the National Bureau of Economic Research, America’s premier association of applied academic economists, though the NBER itself played no role in the survey. A total of 142 responded, of whom 46% identified themselves as Democrats, 10% as Republicans and 44% as neither. This skewed party breakdown may reflect academia’s Democratic tilt, or possibly Democrats’ greater propensity to respond. Still, even if we exclude respondents with a party identification, Mr Obama retains a strong edge—though the McCain campaign should be buoyed by the fact that 530 economists have signed a statement endorsing his plans.
The detailed responses are bad news for Mr McCain (the full data are available here). Eighty per cent of respondents and no fewer than 71% of those who do not cleave to either main party say Mr Obama has a better grasp of economics. Even among Republicans Mr Obama has the edge: 46% versus 23% say Mr Obama has the better grasp of the subject. “I take McCain’s word on this one,” comments James Harrigan at the University of Virginia, a reference to Mr McCain’s infamous confession that he does not know as much about economics as he should. In fairness, Mr McCain’s lower grade may in part reflect greater candour about his weaknesses. Mr Obama’s more tightly managed image leaves fewer opportunities for such unvarnished introspection.
A candidate’s economic expertise may matter rather less if he surrounds himself with clever advisers. Unfortunately for Mr McCain, 81% of all respondents reckon Mr Obama is more likely to do that; among unaffiliated respondents, 71% say so. That is despite praise across party lines for the excellent Doug Holtz-Eakin, Mr McCain’s most prominent economic adviser and a former head of the Congressional Budget Office. “Although I have tended to vote Republican,” one reply says, “the Democrats have a deep pool of talented, moderate economists.”
Accurate? No. Humorous? Yes.
I tend to base my votes on environmental issues, education issues, and equity issues. Though the current "e" word of the moment, "economic issues", is in the fore of many thoughts, I cannot ignore these three primary interests of mine. I also believe that careful, proactive engagement with these three issues will lead to more economic stability in the long term.
With these issues in mind, Born To Lose (remember, the title is ironic), officially endorses the Democratic ticket for the offices of President and Vice President. Other, less influential endorsers include The Sierra Club and The League of Conservation Voters.
Pieces of information the environmentally aware voter should know, taken from grist.org.
By no means do I think that all of the below will be accomplished. But I am allowed to have attainable hope for a (slightly) better environment to leave with my son.
- Calls for cutting U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Would accomplish this through a cap-and-trade system that would auction off 100 percent of emissions permits, making polluters pay for the CO2 they emit.
- Would channel revenue raised from auctioning emissions permits -- between $30 billion and $50 billion a year -- toward developing and deploying clean energy technology, creating "green jobs," and helping low-income Americans afford higher energy bills.
- Calls for 25 percent of U.S. electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025, and for 30 percent of the federal government's electricity to come from renewables by 2020.
- Proposes investing $150 billion over 10 years in R&D for renewables, biofuels, efficiency, "clean coal," and other clean tech.
- Calls for improving energy efficiency in the U.S. 50 percent by 2030.
- Calls for 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be used in the U.S. each year by 2022 and 60 billion gallons of biofuels to be used in the U.S. each year by 2030.
- Calls for all new buildings in the U.S. to be carbon neutral by 2030.
- Calls for reducing U.S. oil consumption by at least 35 percent, or 10 million barrels a day, by 2030.
- Introduced the Health Care for Hybrids Act, which would have the federal government help cover health-care costs for retired U.S. autoworkers in exchange for domestic auto companies investing at least 50 percent of the savings into production of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Supports raising fuel-economy standards for automobiles to 40 miles per gallon and light trucks to 32 mpg by 2020.
- Supports a phaseout of incandescent light bulbs by 2014.
- Cosponsor of the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act. After being badgered by MoveOn and other progressives over the issue, he "clarified" his position by saying he would support liquefied coal only if it emitted 20 percent less carbon over its lifecycle than conventional fuels.
- Has been endorsed by Friends of the Earth Action, in part for his opposition to a summer "gas-tax holiday" that McCain and Clinton support. (FoE Action had previously endorsed John Edwards.)
Friday, October 24, 2008
Yes, the title of this post is a reference both to the preferred hairstyle of iconic surfer/shaper Mike Hynson who created above twinzer and a description of what would happen to rider's hair when this board was ridden by capable pilot. The twinzer is made for slippery speed. It occupies the place between keel and quad. I must say, if this board had been two or three inches shorter it would still be in my garage. I'm not a fan of boardworks pop out Hysons but I respect the man's design work. Now, if only I could take a red fin out for a ride...
Bad bit of surfing luck recently: three or four weeks ago, little barrel attempt at blacks, stick the jhallquad into the sand, break off the tail. JRoper hooks me up, thanks Joe, the next weekend is in dreaded Vegas, not my cup of tea, next weekend I surf 1 foot blacks, a collegiate surf contest takes up the only operating peak, educator stress relief on a Wednesday afternoon, first surf back on the JHallquad after surgery, I ding it on my own knee. Tomorrow, wake and surf and be grateful.
Friday, October 17, 2008
After reading some inane arguments about voting for McCain in order to support the economy over on that bastion of thoughtful conversation, MyLocalLineup, I decided to hunt down this gem that I remembered from my Public Education (how socialist of me!). Original text found here.
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers, he
said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.
The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.
But what about the other six men who are the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'
They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly
the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
And so: The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'
'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!
'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'
'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important.
They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for
being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia
For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
This next bit is the good part!
Here's what it looks like with some additional relevant information, specifically the men's income and total cost of beer relative to their income:
The first 4 men make $8 a day and their beer costs them $0.80 a day. They still have $7.20 in their wallet afterward (90% of their income).
The fifth man makes $32.55 a day and his beer costs $4.48 a day. He still has $28.07 in his wallet (86.2% of his income).
The sixth makes $78.85 a day and his beer costs $16.06 a day. He still has $62.79 in his wallet (79.6% of his income).
The seventh makes $164.55 a day and his beer costs $40.05. He still has $124.50 in his wallet (75.7% of his income).
The eighth makes $357.70 per day and his beer costs $103.79. He still has $253.91 in his wallet (71% of his income).
The ninth makes $800 per day and his beer costs $258.60. He still has $541.40 in his wallet (67.7% of his income).
The tenth man makes $5,000.00 per day and his beer costs him $1,728.60. He still has $3,271.40 in his wallet (65.4% of his income).
Overall, the bartender makes $2154.78 each day.
So, one way to look at it is "The first four men only paid 80 cents for their beer while the tenth man paid over $1700 for his beer. That's completely unfair!"
Another way to look at it is "At the end of the day, the first four men only have $7.20 left in their wallet but the tenth man has nearly $3300 left in his wallet. Even though the tenth man is paying a lot more for his beer, his wallet is still awfully fat when he leaves the bar."
I think the most interesting thing though is the plight of the guys in the middle, specifically the sixth man. Everyone is paying roughly 4% more of his total income than the previous guy except for the sixth man, who is paying nearly 7% more than the fifth man.
So let's adjust the numbers again and make everyone pay 4% more than the guy in front of them, except for the 9th and 10th men who will pick up the burden of paying 7% and 9% more than the 8th man, respectively (in other words, let's simulate a rough version of Obama's tax plan):
The first 4 men make $8 per day and their beer still costs them $0.80 per day. They still have $7.20 in their wallet afterward (90% of their income).
The fifth man makes $32.55/day and his beer costs $4.56/day. He still has $27.99 in his wallet (86% of his income).
The sixth man makes $78.85/day and his beer costs $14.19/day. He still has $64.66 in his wallet (82% of his income).
The seventh man makes $164.55/day and his beer costs $36.20/day. He still has $128.35 in his wallet (78% of his income).
The eighth man makes $357.70/day and his beer costs $93/day. He still has $264.70 in his wallet (74% of his income).
The ninth man makes $800/day and his beer costs $264/day. He still has $536 in his wallet (67% of his income)
The tenth man makes $5,000/day and his beer costs $1750/day. He still has $3,250 in his wallet (65% of his income).
Overall the bartender makes $2165.15 each day.
So what did we learn from this exercise? The first 5 men (i.e the lower classes) pay pretty close to exactly what they were paying before. The sixth, seventh, and eighth men (i.e. the middle and upper-middle classes) all pay between 9.6% and 11.6% LESS than they did before. Only the 9th (i.e. rich) and 10th (i.e. ultra-rich) are paying more than they were before and they are only paying 2.1% and 1.2% more, respectively. Also notice that the bartender (i.e. the Federal Government) is making half of a percent more than he did before!
By the way, translated into real dollars, the ninth man makes $800,000 a year, the tenth man makes $5,000,000 a year. Just move the decimal place three spaces to the right to see how actual income matches up. How many people do you know who would qualify as an eighth, ninth, or tenth man? How many of them seem on the brink of insolvency due to the progressive tax system? Conversely, how many of you are fifth, sixth, or seventh men (i.e. make between $32,550/year and $357,699/year)? How well are you making ends meet in today's economy?
So please explain to me again why trickle-down economics are good for everyone. Because I'm sure as hell having a hard time swallowing that particular conclusion.
Also, as an aside, a progressive tax system is NOT Socialism. Socialism is when your Government buys a controlling interest in your entire banking system. So if you support a government bailout of the financial institutions, you support Socialism by definition.
So what did we learn here today kids?
1) Trickle down economics suck unless you're making a ludicrous amount of money.
2) Relieving the tax burden on the middle class helps the people who need it the most.
3) Sending poorly researched and erroneously attributed mass forward emails to me is a bad idea unless you want to get publicly called out for your faulty data.