The “For What It’s Worth, Now With More Grizzlies” News, 19 January 2017

The use of quotations, citations, and links do not imply endorsement.


“There is more alcohol being consumed since the election across the board.” Jared Raegar of the Redwood Restaurant near Washington D.C. (APM Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal)

“It is certainly accurate and true that we're seeing some of the lowest levels of crime in the history of the United States of America. The Obama years are some of the most peaceful years in American history as it relates to crime…Now that means very little to a family living in…Chicago…or many of the neighborhoods in Baltimore or even in D.C…The majority of the country has become safer but areas that are dangerous have become more dangerous.” Wesley Lowry (PBS NewsHour)

“…I am very worried that the consequences of these particular proposals will be to channel the benefits to those at the very high end and with very limited benefit for most Americans and I think some of the deregulation risks ushering in another financial crisis…If we know anything, it is that populist policies can easily lead to short-run benefits with very big long run costs.” Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, discussing the proposed economic and fiscal plans of the incoming Trump administration. (APM Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal)

“It will not be my intention to do anything that will benefit any American.” Dr. Ben Carson, testifying to the Senate in his initial confirmation hearing as Donald Trump's nominee as Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Twitter; CNN)

“Donald Trump is the grizzly bear in The Revenant; If you get his attention, he will get awake … he will walk over, bite your face off, and sit on you.” Newt Gingrich, lover of bears, speaking to the Heritage Foundation in December, 2016. (The Atlantic; MSNBC)

“I will refer back to Senator Enzi and the school that he was talking about in Wapiti, Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine, that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.” Trump nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, answering a question from Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) about whether guns should be permitted in schools. (CNN; C-Span;


5. So-called super-utilizers of healthcare make up only five percent of the U.S. population but account for 50 percent of the healthcare system in the country. (Kaiser Health News; PBS NewsHour)

19. The percentage of adults, globally, who have no formal schooling at all is 19 percent. Many of these are concentrated in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. (Pew)

43. The percentage of U.S. businesses that observed the Martin Luther King Jr federal holiday as a paid holiday for its employees reached 43 percent this year. (APM Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal)

2,481. The average American consumed 2,481 calories a day in 2010; 23 percent more than in 1970. (Pew)

A billion. The former president of Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, had previously claimed that he would rule the African country for a billion years if he wanted. He lost Gambia's election in December 2016, conceded, but then refused to leave his position. Gambia's new president, Adama Barrow, was sworn in today in Senegal. Jammeh has until noon tomorrow, 01/20/2017, to leave office before military action is taken. (New York Times; Reuters)

Links: 1.) Indivisible: A Guide (2.) Mike Pence's interview from Face the Nation (3.) Samantha Power's interview on PBS NewsHour (4.) Via Vox Media: A Primer on All-Payer Rate Setting for Healthcare (5.) The Invention of the White Working Class (6.) So, this goat metaphor for Obamacare is pretty crazy. Luckily, it's been illustrated and it's so great.

Other Things:

What is it with vice-president elect Mike Pence and box turtles? Mike Pence, speaking this morning about the Cabinet positions being filled said “When you see a box turtle on a fence post, you know he had some help getting there,” explained as an old Indiana saying. His Hoosier folksiness was then decried on Twitter: “has anyone actually heard this before?” “Why would anyone put a box turtle on a fence post?” “Never heard it.” “Kentucky?” “He stole that from Bill Clinton.” Of course, maybe by “old Indiana saying,” maybe Pence was just quoting himself from 2015 when he first tweeted it. (Fox News; Maureen Groppe; Twitter)


No Comment:

Tillerson Senate Hearing

“Money follows the child. Imagine a child walking into school with a backpack of money strapped to his back.” Regarding school choice and vouchers, proponents say that the money should follow the child to whichever school they attend. Sure, in a perfect world, this is an easy thing if the child attends the same school for an entire school year. But kids move. At private schools or charters or religious schools, they don't make the grade and get expelled. So, what happens to the money then? Is it not nearly impossible to retrieve the remainder and transfer it to the next institution of learning the child attends? And how do schools create their budgets, which must be completed in advance of an academic year, based on funds that may or may not come their way or appropriately cover the expenses of a child's education when they haven't budgeted for that child because they weren't in their initial enrollment estimate? How does money following the child actually work in the real messy world? Barring the actual strapping-on of backpacks of money to children and charging a daily per-diem, which…just kidding. That's crazy. Maybe like money following a child being a workable reason for vouchers and “choice.” Seems like this would seriously disadvantage public institutions, which cannot pick and choose students based on their performance mid-year but keep the money the kid theoretically “packed” with them.


Worth a Thousand Words, for reals.

Donald J Trump "writing"


The government should be run like a business. Many believe this. It could be right, I don't know. But if it's the path a government should take, it's worth wondering about the incoming administration's cabinet picks: many have shown up for their hearings without completed preliminary background and ethics checks or full paperwork submitted; Rick Perry didn't know what the job he is applying for even entailed or what basic area of government it concerned; Betsy DeVos has no relevant experience; and most of the nominees have no government experience at all. But if businesses are running now by hiring people for high-responsibility, high-prestige, and high-paying jobs who have no clue what the job is, don't complete their resumes and applications, and have zero experience, then business is in trouble. And if the government runs like that, can it actually run? This seems like a bad thought experiment, let alone a working study.

I mean, for what it's worth.



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