Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Links -- October 13

It's late in the day to be posting, but I came across several good links this morning worth passing on. 
Read this very informative piece by Evan Hill about how nosey the National Security Agency has become.
If you don't find this disturbing your faith is stronger than mine. 

SSL keys are, in the world of computer engineering, the crown jewels of an online enterprise. When you shop, bank or send an email on your computer, you are often unknowingly relying on the protection of SSL encryption. It is almost ubiquitous in 21st-century commerce. Companies such as Apple, Amazon and Gmail use SSL to prove to your computer that they are who they say they are and to protect the information you exchange with them. They are required, by industry standards, to alert the companies that certify their SSL encryption if their keys ever fall into the hands of a third party. When a tiny icon of a padlock appears in your Web browser, it is because the site you are accessing is using SSL to encrypt what you are doing — to make sure that only you and your bank know that you have just deposited your grandmother’s $100 birthday check into your savings account or donated to an activist in the Middle East. Levison’s key would have unlocked everything.
What is a universal basic income, and why are we hearing more about it now?
The proposals that are floating around the world vary a lot. But the basic idea is, no matter what you do, if you’re a resident — or in some cases, a citizen — you get a certain amount of money each month. And it’s completely unconditional: If you’re rich you get it, if you’re poor you get. If you’re a good person you get it, if you’re a bad person you get it. And it does not depend on you doing anything other than making whatever effort is involved to collect the money. It’s been a topic of discussion for several decades. Why is it happening right now? I think it’s obvious that it’s a reaction to the high level of economic inequality that we’ve seen. Most European countries haven’t had big increases in inequality at the same scale that we [in the U.S.] have, [but] some of them have had much more than they’re used to.

This is just the start. Go to the link for more. This sounds like satire, but so does the position of the Suicide Causus -- and they're serious. 
Would it be hyperbole to say deadly serious?
Here's my down-the-middle solution, which I offer as a professional economist: 
Suspend Obamacare and cut the budget--just as House Republicans have demanded--but here's the compromise: do all the cutting in just the 80 or so congressional districts of the most ardent Tea Party members. 
Cut Social Security and Medicare payments in just those 80 districts. Cut Food Stamps and defense spending (for national security, transfer military personnel to other districts; some would be Democratic, some Republican other than the Tea Partiers'.) Close any national parks, science labs, or public schools in these 80 districts that rely on federal aid. Cut the 80 districts' share of aid to Israel and Egypt, and of military expenditures in Afghanistan and for the NSA and CIA and FBI.

Oldie but a goody! 

Now back to the nation's capital for a puzzling question. It is the stated goal of the Tea Party Suicide Caucus to dismantle 
most of the federal government, starting with ACA. 
But the punch list includes Medicaid, Social Security, Medicare, Dept. of Education, EPA and Lord knows what else...

Top five states for meth (Red) and cocaine (Blue).

Tea Partyers, led by Sarah Palin. Ted Cruz and southern racists waving the confederate flag, throw metal fences at the White House gates to protest the GOP shutdown of the government.
 Note the typo that was clumsily corrected in the sign.

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