Friday, February 13, 2015

Food Stamps As Democratic Bribes To Buy Votes

Fox News' Stuart Varney explains how the president buys votes with food stamps

You should watch the video at the link (I couldn't get it to embed). 

In it Varney explains how the US cannot afford food stamps or any things from a long list of government "handouts" (which, by the way, includes health care for the poor and social security payments for the elderly). Then he explains that these "handouts" are paid by the tax payers, thus suggesting that those getting them never were or are taxpayers themselves.  Think about that division of people into two groups.  One gets all the undeserved benefits, one pays for all of them.  That the retired, for example, paid towards social security all their working lives is irrelevant.

And "we" cannot afford all these handouts!  "We" must take out loans to pay for them.  For Varney that "we" does not include the people on the "handouts."

I liked listening to Varney, because he is so good at triggering the anger and fear of the conservatives.  Someone is getting something for nothing and I am not!  

The logic is also fun to watch.  First Varney argues that the recession is over so why aren't people coming off food stamps (and "we" cannot afford those food stamps as "we" don't have the money but in fact we (as the government) should have the money if the recession is over).  But then he argues that two-thirds of Americans don't think the recession is over!

Gotcha, he mutters.  But of course there's the possibility that this recovery from the recession is another one of those weird ones where all the gains go for a small group of people on the top of the income distribution.  Varney tries to stuff to contradictory arguments down our throats:  Either there's no need for so many food stamp recipients anymore or there is, but Obama is to blame in both cases.

If you step a little back from these thoughts you could well ask why "we" cannot afford social security or Medicaid or food stamps but can afford a military system three or four times as expensive as the next largest military force on this earth.

Or you could ask why the government can afford to give "handouts" to corporations but not to individuals.

But then you would get depressed. 

Instead, let's ask if giving a lot of food stamps indeed makes people vote for Democrats.  That's a silly sentence.  To answer that we would need to control for the incomes of the potential voters and what the two parties actually propose to do for the affluent and the less affluent and so on.

Still, it's unlikely that food stamps work as money to be paid for Democratic votes.  That's because a) the highest percentages of people on food stamps tend to be found in Republican-voting states and b) because the poor are much less likely to vote than the more affluent.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What To Do When Snowed In

According to my recent experiences:

1.  Have a bad head cold.  It's fun to sneeze and important to support the tissue industry.  If the snow emergency lasts a long time you can turn it into a sinus infection.  That has the added advantage of giving you the sexiest of voices.  At least ravens would agree.

2.  Decide to bake tricky and difficult cakes using recipes you have never before attempted.  Take out almost all the ingredients, crack and beat eggs and so on, then realize that you are utterly out of flour.  Consider skiing to the stores but give up on it.  Create an extremely weird banana dessert from the beginnings of the banana bread recipe.  Eat it.  Then eat the bag of the bitter chocolate pieces for the chocolate-pear tarte.

3.  Suddenly notice that the large bowl of onions on the counter-top is sprouting.  It reminds you of spring which will never never arrive.  Use a slow cooker and some olive oil to create caramelized onions out of about five pounds of them.  It takes ten hours and the whole house will smell of onions.  On the other hand, you can eat a large saucepanful of yummy caramelized onions.

4.  Write a blog post with a list of all the things above because the sinus demon leaves very little space for brainz to work on anything more serious.  Then go out and build a snow demon (sinus demon in snow). 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Echidne Thoughts For Today: On Misogyny, Mostly

1.  Absent-minded web-surfing can result in interesting findings.  Like turning over a stone to see what slithers out.  For example, I saw a comment attached to an article about feminism (yes, one should not read those comments, but at least they demonstrate the importance of feminism) which stated that feminists are out to to either kill all men or to subjugate all men.

The commenting system allowed me to see what else this concerned person has in his writing routine, including comments on other sites.  Lo and behold (!), he had recently expressed the view that all women are emotional lying basket-cases who need to be dominated and ruled.  That's every single one of the billions of women on this earth.  The gentleman (pretty sure he identifies as a man and pretty sure he does not identify as gentle) also expressed various racist views in his comment history and all sorts of extreme right political views.  But the majority of his comments were about the perfidy of women and the diabolic nature of feminism.

This is interesting, not because I'd be a masochist (NO Fifty Shades for me, however poorly written) who loves reading about Men Who Hate Women Too Much, but because of the package in which these hatreds come (is this the sub-group the Republicans seek?)  and because  that odd fishing experiment (I've never done this before) cast a sharp light on how a little orphan comment floating all alone in the cyber-sphere looks very different when we see its parentage.