I’ve read a million time travel stories… and even read a million variations on time travel stories that try to be “different,” but I don’t think I’ve ever read any that are different in quite this way. While it settles uncomfortably next to very serious and even tragic things, the story’s humor is quite pronounced. … And it does an excellent job of creating an air of danger, and thus interest, due to the well-realized sense of actual traveling in (and perhaps getting lost in) time, as well as the criminal aspect and what they’re doing to the people in the past and how those people might react. It’s also a good vehicle to address issues all the way from existential bad faith to religion possibly being the amphetamine of the masses.Jason McGregor for Tangent Online
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I’ve finally sorted out my micropayment/subscription situation. Here are a couple easy ways to support my kinda weirdness:
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P.S. Wash your hands!
This all might be old news for you—especially the bit I shoved in the title, as I’m told that finding actually saw a fair bit of press earlier this month—but I found this all eye-opening:
Three key takeaways:
1. This single factoid on the impact of tiny wage increases on suicide rates is pretty stunning:
At the bottom of the income heap, relatively minor adjustments in pay can yield such a dramatic difference they register as public health benefits, according to the second study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health. That paper found “state-level increases of $1 in minimum wage corresponded with a 3.4 percent to 5.9 percent decrease in the suicide rates of people with a high school diploma or less” among 18- to 64-year-olds
Picking that rather tortuous second sentence apart is a little tricky. Americans 18- to 64-years-old account for something like 200,000,000 people. About half of them would probably fall in the “have a high school diploma or less” bucket. So, this group—less educated American adults of working age—amount to something like one-third of the country. But they make up something like 70% of our suicides. So, that’s a population that’s really hurting, to the tune of more than 30,000 suicides per year. If you reduce that by an average of a 4.7% (as the above mentioned study found), that translates to ~1,600 lives saved.
That’s good. I don’t think anyone reading this is going to say “Thousands of families kept whole? Fuck that, Dave: Let them choke on cake!”
But what’s the cost? I mean, maybe it costs some absurd amount to get this done, and there’s a legit question if it’s a good investment or not.
Minimum wage is still pretty insanely variable across the US, but it looks like the average US minimum wage worker earns $11.80 per hour (given how the population of working-age Americans is distributed). That being the case, a $1 raise amounts to an ~8.5% increase in payroll. If that’s entirely passed directly to consumers (with all else staying equal), you might end up paying as much as 25 cents more for a Starbucks coffee, or almost 70 cents more for a Bacon Turkey Bravo sandwich at Panera.
That’s literally pocket change. It seems like a pretty frikkin easy way to save 1,600 lives each year. I say let’s do it.
2. Even 1%ers struggle with medical bills‽
“Among low-income households, for instance, nearly 40 percent said they had trouble paying their medical bills in the past several years and 30 percent reported having difficulty paying for food, Ingraham writes. “Among the top 1 percent, those shares were 5 percent and zero, respectively.”
I’m sorry, put we’re talking about the handful of families that have more than half the nation’s wealth—and even they can’t all cover their medical expenses? That right there is the single most persuasive argument I’ve ever heard for socialized medicine.
3. This all translates to a significant Democratic tailwind in the presidential election. Our economy is doing great—which historically gives an incumbent PotUS an easy win for reelection. But that great economy is only benefiting a small group of people in the upper reaches of the wealth curve. They’re happy and they vote—but they each get just one vote.
Meanwhile, huge swaths of Americans are “dissatisfied” (or much, much worse)—and don’t tend to vote. Get more of these less-likely voters to the polls, the Dem advantage increases (incidentally, as voter turnout increases, policies tend to get more progressive, too—BONUS!).
This all points to the one thing you can do if you want to see a Dem in the White House: Work to increase voter turnout. Get folks registered. Get them to the polls. Get them their absentee ballots.🇺🇸
Read this article:
…and saw the chart:
And then did some math:
The “average American” (that’s a family making $50k–$99k in this article here) gives ~3–6% of their income to charity each year. Now, that’s income, not wealth. If we want to apples-to-apples this, we need to gauge giving vs. wealth. It appears the “average” American’s wealth is something like $97,000 (which kinda sucks, given that the average American home is worth more than twice that—and is mortgaged to the gills). So, we end up in about the same place: The average American annually gives money worth ~3% of their wealth.
In other words, the average American is significantly more generous with their wealth than pretty much every goddamned billionaire out there. Even Warren Buffet (who I actually really admire) is just a tiny bit above average on this one.
So, if your argument against a wealth tax is “It’s OK for folks to sit on billions of dollars, because rich people are super charitable”—well, they just aren’t. In fact, multiple studies have found that as folks get poorer in this country, they give a higher percentage of their income to charity (and generally have zero or negative wealth). People at or below the poverty line often give ~10% of their annual income to charitable causes each year.
So, yeah, give thanks on Thursday, sure—but give some fucking money, too, dammit.
This video is mostly narrated by Dr. Robert Cialdini, who’s most famous for his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (where he first presented most of the ideas seen here). This is a text book—if not the Bible—on how to talk to people about things that you really care about, and get them to see your perspective.
Cialdini started out as a research psychologist, and my understanding (which fits the tone of the book) is that he began working on the book—which catalogues and examines several categories of sales/influence tricks and techniques—as a sort of warning to lay folks. After its first publication, it became enormously influential among marketers, copywriters, businessfolk, and all manner of modern propogandists. If you write for any purpose (e.g., speechs, op-ed, news, fiction, non-fiction, persuading folks on the fence to vote for this or that) or run any sort of business, you need to read this book. For that matter, even if you don’t seek to persuade anyone of anything, I still strongly recommend every adult in America read this book, in order to better understand how it is you’ve come to believe what you believe, embrace what you embrace, and reject what “just isn’t your thing.”
(While we’re on the topic, you really should also read Darrell Huff’s HOW TO LIE WITH STATISTICS; the black arts outlined in these two books cover the two major toolsets that the politically and economically motivated are using to manipulate you and your loved ones every single day. Get your hands on Master’s tools; consider their possible applications in tearing down Master’s house*.)
Caveat: Yes, some of the hard data and studies in the original Influence haven’t aged well, but the bold strokes—about how people behave and how our minds get changed without our realizing it—is still rock solid.
BONUS: Check out this analysis of Oprah, and compare it with what Cialdini describes above:
Three things worth noting:
- Colt is the father of the AR-15 and creator of the once highly profitable consumer-grade assault weapon niche. It’s enormous news that they’re out.
- This headline implies that the market is saturated because so many guns have been produced and sold, but if you read the article, that’s not what Colt said. They simply say demand is down. Yes, one explanation is that they overproduced and flooded the market. Another is that fewer people want these guns (often characterized as “the must vilified gun in America.”). Think about cigarettes: Demand for those in the US is also down, not because cigarette manufacturers overproduced and flooded the market, but because we worked hard to make having and using cigarettes less socially neutral and much more publicly controversial.
- Contrary to popular perception, while these guns are enormously popular with those committing the most heinous crimes, they are used in a vanishingly small percentage of total gun crimes.
About half of all Americans fundamentally misunderstand how U.S. “tax brackets” work. (Ironically, those in the traditionally “fiscally conservative” party are significantly more likely to fundamental misunderstand our tax system.) As a result, many, many, many Americans argue and vote against both public interest and their own interest, with the sole beneficiaries being the extremely rich (both human and corporate).
Now’s the time to get your head straight. The Twitter thread embedded below lays it out nicely, as does this article from the Washington Post (which takes just three minutes to read, and even explains why we use this somewhat counter-intuitive and often confusing tax bracket scheme).
This is your Civics homework for today. It’s pretty easy. I’m sure you’ll get a gold star!🌟
Post WWII, the tax rate peaked at 94% on annual income over $200,000 ($3mil in 2018 dollars). In the decades following, it dropped to a marginal tax rate of 70% of all income over 200k/annually (again, 2-3mil in today’s dollars, depending on year).
— Dianna E. Anderson 🏳️🌈 (@diannaeanderson) January 5, 2019