traveling 3900 miles to work for a buck fifty a day, the deficit myth, motion aftereffect

men wanted railroad work one fifty per day

From the archives of the NYT is a report from August 1880 about accusations about a man who sent Swedish railroad workers, who had taken a ship over from Sweden, to a project  in Arkansas. Acting as an agent for an employment agency and himself he(Zander) seems to have mislead the men about how much they would have to spend for their transportation and their pay. He also seems to have been stingy with food rations. It turns into a what Zander claimed versus what the imported labor said story. One telling aspect is that about a dozen of the immigrants were rescued by Germans in Memphis.

I’m borrowing most of this post by Jonathan Chait, Bernie Sanders, Left-Wing Madman

If you want a short encapsulation of how far right the economic debate has moved, check out this passage from the Washington Post:

Sen. Bernard Sanders, a Vermont independent with socialist leanings, delivered a 90-minute address Monday outlining his plan calling for 50 percent of all savings to come from tax increases. “The wealthiest Americans and the most profitable corporations in this country must pay their fair share,” Sanders wrote Monday in a letter to Obama.

Such a proposal has no chance of passing because Republicans and many Democrats believe steep tax increases are both politically unpopular and potentially harmful to the struggling domestic economy.

So the socialist plan for one of the lowest-taxed advanced economies on Earth — a country that could balance its budget entirely through tax hikes and still have a tax burden that ranks in the lowest third among the OECD — is to cut the deficit with a plan consisting of half spending cuts. And that plan is immediately dismissed as so wildly unrealistic it stands no chance of passage. Cut hundreds of billions of dollars of spending and also raise taxes to cut the deficit, during a massive economic crisis? Go back to Russia, you crazy socialist!

Polls show that most Americans support a tax increase on the wealthiest 1%. That despite the shrill noise of the 24/7 conservative noise machine. Yet the goal posts that frame the debate are way the hell off in wing-nut gulch. A lot of people really believe the country in some kind of dire spending crisis and it is certainly the End-Times if we don’t solve the problem solely through spending cuts. If the Bush tax cuts were done away with there would be no debt crisis. Even president Obama is going along like a well-trained member of the Republican-lite party, otherwise known as centrist Democrats. All he is asking for is to close some loop-holes for the uber rich.

black and white train interior

Woman arrested for videotaping traffic stop from her front yard. This is the second story of similar events that I’ve read in the pass month. I still believe most police are decent and do a good job, but there are a sizable minority of police who need to do more serving and protecting, and less brutalities and abusing their authority. The police did get this nutter, Former Rand Paul Campaign Worker Gets Probation for Stomping Liberal

 The Time Michele Bachmann Thought She’d Been Kidnapped By Lesbians


Neuroscientists Find Famous Optical Illusion Surprisingly Potent

The yellow jacket (Rocky, the mascot of the University of Rochester) appears to be expanding. But he is not. He is staying still. We simply think he is growing because our brains have adapted to the inward motion of the background and that has become our new status quo. Similar situations arise constantly in our day-to-day lives – jump off a moving treadmill and everything around you seems to be in motion for a moment.

This age-old illusion, first documented by Aristotle, is called the Motion Aftereffect by today’s scientists. Why does it happen, though? Is it because we are consciously aware that the background is moving in one direction, causing our brains to shift their frame of reference so that we can ignore this motion? Or is it an automatic, subconscious response?

[  ]…This discovery reveals that the Motion Aftereffect illusion is not just a compelling visual oddity: It is caused by neural processes that happen essentially every time we see moving objects.