50 million miserable Americans post-election (at least)

To the Beyond Labels Gang:


I broke with long-standing precedent and posted to Facebook here because I thought the linked article was so good.

It’s based on this post in FB.

Original Post

Whoever wins the election, roughly half the voters will be somewhere between saddened and terrified and furious. Think about that before you celebrate.

There were 126M voters last presidential election. Ignoring the polls, and assuming a roughly 50-50 split and the same turnout, that’s 62 million really unhappy voters. All of them are people.

And a lot of unhappy non-voters, too. They are people as well.

If you assume that the current polling numbers are roughly accurate, Trump will get around 50 million votes. It will not be enough. But still: on the day after the election, 50 million of our fellow Americans will be unhappy, or terrified or furious.

Think about them. I think that most people who think Trump is a horrible person don’t understand why anyone would vote for him–unless they are equally horrible.

But I don’t think that’s true. Some of Trump’s supporters are assholes–and that’s being kind to them. But I expect that most of them are people who– judged by personal behavior not political preference–we would find admirable. They are good to their friends, loving to their children, contributors to their communities.


If you are someone who can’t understand how 50 million people would vote for Trump, I encourage you to read the article attached to the post by Jim Wright that I have shared. It put a lot into perspective for me.

The guy who wrote the article that Jim shares, says “I was born and raised in Trump country. My family are Trump people. If I hadn’t moved away and gotten this ridiculous job, I’d be voting for him. I know I would.” He knows whereof he speaks, and he’s a damn good writer, too. The headline is a bit of a troll, but never mind that.

I encourage you to read the article. And also the comments attached to Jim’s post.

And if you like this, follow Jim. Apart from family and a couple of friends, he’s the only reason I actually read anything on FB.

Also, to thoroughly pimp Jim, his blog is http://www.stonekettle.com/

Notes from today’s meeting (3 Oct 2016)

Read this post online here (assuming the link works!)

Minimum wage and related issues

Worth watching: Nick Hanauer, Seattle billionaire, giving a TED talk on the dangers of growing inequality.

Worth reading:  Hanauer in the Atlantic on the minimum wage.

If human beings’ sense of fairness is sufficiently violated, they will do economically irrational things to punish the unjust. There’s ample research to back this up and theory to explain it. So if your economic theory doesn’t consider this as a factor, then it’s deficient and does not conform to reality as best we understand it.

When people in the United States have been polled to find out what they consider a fair division of wealth, they DO NOT think that everyone should be equally wealthy. But they are unaware of how far from ideal things actually are.

Here’s a paper by researchers Michael Norton (Harvard) and Dan Ariely (Duke). I don’t know Norton’s work, but I do know some of Ariely’s other work, and I think he’s brilliant.

The short summary:

This is what people think the ideal wealth distribution looks like, by income, political preference, and gender.


This is what they think it actually is. Quite different than the ideal, for all. Maybe even starting to be considered unfair (see polls referenced below).


Here’s what it actually looks like.


Gallup poll: “Americans Continue to Say U.S. Wealth Distribution Is Unfair

Pew Research “Most Americans say U.S. economic system is unfair, but high-income Republicans disagree

911 Terrorism bill and fallout

To correct the record: the bill was sponsored by John Cornyn, [R-TX].  Chuck Schumer is a one of about a dozen cosponsors (listed below) and tries to take more credit than appears due, here. He’s notable for introducing an amendment that watered down the vote.

Complaints from Republicans in the House and Senate that Obama did not sufficiently explain the consequences are cited in this CNN report, excerpted below. Emphasis in the quote, mine.

“Because everyone was aware who the potential beneficiaries were, but nobody focused on the potential downside in terms of our international relationships. And I just think it was a ball dropped,” McConnell said. “I wish the President — and I hate to blame everything on him and I don’t — but it would have been helpful had…we had a discussion about this much earlier than the last week.”

GovTrack.us is a great site that scrapes government data from Congress.gov and presents it in more helpful ways.

The 9/11 terrorism bill is S.2040, or JASTA.  Here’s JASTA at congress.gov and  here’s JASTA at GovTrack.

Here’s one of GovTrack’s graphics, which makes voting patterns a little clearer. Below is an excerpt from this page.


The bill was originally sponsored by Sen. Cornyn, John [R-TX] and cosponsored by:

Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Coons, Chris [D-DE] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Cruz, Ted [R-TX] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Feinstein, Dianne [D-CA] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Flake, Jeff [R-AZ] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Franken, Alan “Al” [D-MN] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Graham, Lindsey [R-SC] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Hatch, Orrin [R-UT] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Lee, Mike [R-UT] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Markey, Edward “Ed” [D-MA] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Perdue, David [R-GA] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Tillis, Thom [R-NC] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
Whitehouse, Sheldon [D-RI] (joined Sep 16, 2015)
And a bunch of latecomers who came to the party, became co-sponsored,


A few links from today’s meeting

This site “explores the pros and cons of controversial topic.  The page on “peer reviewed studies on medical marijuana” says 63% of such studies were favorable, and only 8%  not.

BUT some of the “peer reviews studies” were in publications with suspicious sounding names like “Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics.” Which, for all I know, is a completely legit publication. On the other hand.

International Journal of Advanced Computer technology sounds legit-ish, but

Google’s public data explorer has a bunch of data in easy-to-browse and visualize form. For example you can compares per-capita  income in the US, over time, in various locales. Or unemployment in Europe, over time. Or an animated view of changes in life expectancy and fertility rate, over time.

Background check stats from The Brady Campaign say

Since taking effect in 1994, the law has blocked more than 2.8 million gun sales to prohibited purchasers including felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous individuals

Source of NRA income form tax filings.


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